I completely agree. And there is hardly anything "convenient" about it, as some might allege.PadmaVonSamba wrote: ↑Sat Jan 20, 2024 12:00 amOr, use a criteria based directly on standard Mahayana criteria:
“Does this activity (or will this activity potentially) cause beings to suffer?”
Then if you want to go beyond that:
“Does this activity increase self-attachment which will lead to samsaric rebirth?”
And this isn't just limited to Mahayana. The Sama Jataka contains (in the "story of the present") a story about a monk who shared the food that he gathered on his alms rounds with his impoverished parents, who would have otherwise starved. The monk even went out every day twice on his alms rounds, and gave everything from the first round to his parents, and only ate for himself what he gathered the second time. This is a clear violation of two basic monastic vows: (1) sharing food given on alms rounds with non-monastics, and (2) going out twice a day for alms. When this was brought to the Buddha's attention he praised the monk, and clearly stated that it is always right to care for others, even if this appears to violate the rules.
So, the idea that what will benefit others, and what will cause harm, trumps merely following rules, is not a "modern" idea at all. It is also not blanket pre-approval to just do whatever you feel like doing. Indeed, if what we are inclined to do benefits others and does not cause harm to others, then how can a Buddhist, or any good-hearted person, find fault?
Of course the problem is: how often do we really clearly (or even vaguely) understand the consequences of our actions? My grand-teacher (Master Seung Sahn) would say: "If your mind is clear, just go straight. If your mind is not clear, follow the precepts."
Here's a couple of links on the Sama Jataka:
https://images.stetson.edu/photos/resea ... 1/Bush.pdf