The first precept / upasaka vow ...?

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In need of guidance about vows....

Postby minimayhen88 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:32 pm

Dear all,

(I would be so grateful of your help)

I only discovered Buddhism quite recently and after considerable research found that Tibetan Buddhism fitted in perfectly with my own beliefs. However, I am still very young and in recently leaving university / trying to start a career in Charity work – I only have time to do research on the internet.

In February I took a vow of Ahimsa – non violence. I did so to Mother Maya of the ‘Om Mission’ and to this day I hold the vow purely in thought speech and action.

I thought this vow translated well into Buddhism – the First precept. But then after much research ...I became very confused. I always thought that the first precept (upasaka vow / genyen) – involved being ‘harmless’ in ‘thought, word and deed’. But after much reading the first precept only seems to cover injuring / killing sentient beings... whereas I practice it in terms of abstaining from all negative thoughts, speech and actions.

So basically I am asking if the first precept includes abstaining from harmful thoughts, words and actions? Or does it simply mean not to kill? I hope it covers actions of thought, word and deed...as that would seem far more complete to me.

I apologise if this is in any way confusing, it’s just that I have not yet had the chance to find a teacher and I am unsure about the meaning of the first precept in Tibetan Buddhism.

Kindly,

Claudia James

:namaste:
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Re: In need of guidance about vows....

Postby Malcolm » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:39 pm

The vow or precept of not killing only extends to physical actions.

However, the comittment of taking refuge in the Dharma is that one must abandon harming sentient beings in thought and deed.

N
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The first precept / upasaka vow ...?

Postby minimayhen88 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:51 pm

Dear to all whom may help,

Does the first precept include ‘harmful’ thoughts, speech and actions – or simply just physical actions. I have read many sources and they all seem to offer different interpretations.

Kindly,

claudie
:namaste:
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Re: The first precept / upasaka vow ...?

Postby minimayhen88 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:56 pm

*for instance this site suggests that the 'first precept' is broken if one directs negative emotions towards oneself and others....

"When one person murders another they might do it out of fear, anger, fury, greed or some other negative emotions. When a person kills himself or herself they might do it for very similar reasons or because of other negative emotions like despair or frustration. So whereas murder is the result of negative emotions directed towards another, suicide is the result of negative emotions directed towards oneself, and therefore would be breaking the Precept."

http://goodquestiongoodanswer.net/content.php?CID=4
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Please Help .... Vows?

Postby minimayhen88 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:08 am

Dear all,

I am a young buddhist trying to understand the Dharma. Having only just left University and starting a career in Charity leaves me with little time to find a teacher.

Anyway, as regards the first precept 'Do not harm but cherish all life' .... can this be taken as a vow? and does this include acts of thought word and action, as in tibetan buddhism it simply covers actions, so I am told.

I would be incredably greatful of a reply,

Kindly

claudia
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Re: Please Help .... Vows?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:58 pm

"Action" means the physical actions of the body, the verbal actions of speech and the mental actions of the mind. "Activity" might be a more accurate word. Formally taking a vow or precept, on the one hand, is merely a ceremonial thing, like a wedding. But we humans seem to derive a greater sense of conviction through these types of rituals. On the other hand, by receiving vows from an authentic teacher you also receive the 'blessings' of the lineage of that teacher, and these act as a support for you keeping those vows.

Whether you can formally take vows or not, the very best thing to do is to simply start practicing them. It is better to practice them without formally committing to them, than it is to take a vow and not practice it! And this is where beginning to know your own mind comes into play, because (I will guess) nobody has to tell you, for example, not to go killing or stealing or lying. So, as you begin to spontaneously practice virtuous actions, you begin to reveal, a little bit, the mind's awakened nature.
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1st Lay vow ...what is the definition of 'physical actions'?

Postby minimayhen88 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:47 pm

The 1st lay vow / lay precept / upasaka ..... of non violence


I was informed that ...."The vow or precept of not killing (harmlessness) only extends to physical actions" ..... Do these 'physical actions' include harsh speech and the mental actions of the mind? Or quite litorally only 'not killing'

:buddha1:

Kindly,

A young lay follower, who wishes to keep their vow pure
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Re: 1st Lay vow ...what is the definition of 'physical actions'?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:00 pm

minimayhen88 wrote:The 1st lay vow / lay precept / upasaka ..... of non violence


I was informed that ...."The vow or precept of not killing (harmlessness) only extends to physical actions" ..... Do these 'physical actions' include harsh speech and the mental actions of the mind? Or quite litorally only 'not killing'

:buddha1:

Kindly,

A young lay follower, who wishes to keep their vow pure


Quite literally, only "not killing". The five lay precepts as a total apply only to one's physical actions (speech being a physical action).

Basically, there are ten non-virtues: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct for the body; lying, harsh speech, calumny and gossip for speech; malice, envy and wrong view for the mind.

Of these, killing, stealing, sexual misconduct and lying are covered in the vows, as well as intoxicants, for a total of five lay precepts or vows.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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what is the definition of 'physical actions'?

Postby minimayhen88 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:22 pm

The 1st lay vow / lay precept / upasaka ..... of non violence

I was informed that ...."The vow or precept of not killing (harmlessness) only extends to physical actions" ..... Do these 'physical actions' include harsh speech and the mental actions of the mind? Or quite litorally only 'not killing'



Kindly,

A young lay follower, who wishes to keep their vow pure
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Re: The first precept / upasaka vow ...?

Postby Tara » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:28 pm

Hi minimayhen88, :smile:

I have merged the topics together relating to "The first precept / upasaka vow ... ? as they are all quite similar. They are now together in one topic in this forum, Exploring Buddhism. This is a relatively small community so there is no need to post duplicate questions in more than one forum as Dharma Wheel members from different traditions often read and post in forums other than the ones relating directly to their own tradition.

Regards,
Tara

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If you haven’t practiced, books won’t help you when you die.
Look at the mind – that’s my sincere advice.

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Re: The first precept / upasaka vow ...?

Postby Astus » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:52 pm

Not killing in terms of lay vows primarily means only killing other humans. This is usually extended to all sentient beings as killing in any form involves negative karma. But full karma exists only when there is intention, act and result. Without result (somebody dying) it is not killing, neither it is without intention. Killing includes any method to kill other beings from direct murder to convincing someone to commit suicide. However, killing oneself is not always included as the precept is interpreted as always in relationship with others. If you keep looking even into this single precept, you can find many different interpretations.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
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Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

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Re: In need of guidance about vows....

Postby padma norbu » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:16 am

how far we go with that is debatable... would you let yourself suffer a scabies infection your whole life? Would you sacrifice your house to termites? Wash things to kill germs and prevent bug and pest infestation, etc.? I think you do the best you can, regret when you slip up or must choose wisely and try to purify the actions afterward. I try not to kill anything, but I regularly slip up and cut people with words.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Young scholar in search of clarification :-) .....

Postby minimayhen88 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:33 pm

Dear to whom may spare the time to answer,

I am desperately trying to achieve full clarification of the precepts ~

The first precept reads, in many texts 'do not kill.' I have, however read numerous Buddhist texts stating that this extends to any 'harmful behaviour.' Is this the case? And therefore could the precept also be interpreted as 'abstaining for all harmful behaviours.'

I would be immensely appreciative of any responses. I wish to study Buddhism in depth.

Kindly,

:namaste:
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Re: The first precept / upasaka vow ...?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:28 pm

Try not to kill any living creature if you can avoid it.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: The first precept / upasaka vow ...?

Postby AdmiralJim » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Hi there,
I think reading about karma will help make things a lot clearer. For example if you have a negative intention and carry it out, then the karma for that action fully ripens. If you have a negative intention and do not carry it out, then the karma for that action will not ripen. however if you continue to have negative intentions it will imprint your mind making it more likely for that thought to appear again.
for example i have a weakness for chocolate raisins. i have two choices. i can eat the raisins and get fat, or i can choose not to eat them. in terms of the mind in karma, if i think of eating them and then carry that act out, i will imprint my mind with 'chocolate karma', however if i get the urge to eat them and stop myself, nothing really ripens other than the intention. i.e. i will imprint my mind to keep on thinking about them, so even though i dont eat the chocolate this time, i make it more likely for the temptation to arise again.
so this is why the precepts are meant to be taken with a bit of wisdom, you shouldn't beat yourself up for lapsing from time to time, as long as you make the intention to not do it again. so coming back to my example of chocolate raisins, if i continually get the urge to eat them but stop myself, eventually the strength of this habit will weaken to such an extent it will not occur again. this is true all of all behaviour, killing, stealing, sexual misadventures etc.....

hope this helps
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