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Interesting that we pick and choose how we pick and choose. Everyone cherry picks and complains when others cherry pick. I include myself in this general comment.
As always, I appreciate TNH's approach to the precepts. I do think it is time to extend the precepts to include newer phenomenon and account for our more modern lives. And as always, it depends who you ask. HHDL has always maintained that if he learns new information, he changes his view, as it should be. And over time he has changed his view on gay relationships and marriage as a result. I don't think there is any one answer.
I think it is hard for us when we look for hard and fast rules about how to do or how to be Buddhist (or whatever else). I think we want that. But I get the sense, increasingly, that we are meant to adjust our views as we delve deeper into our understanding, and that things were not 100% spelled out for that reason. Every precept is going to take on a slightly different meaning for each of us, which makes for challenging discussions, but I think that is how it should be. It makes Buddhism a living practice instead of just following rules and trying to clarify how we should be following them.
I think a lot of our "I want to understand this exactly so I can work to follow it exactly" still stems from the puritan and Christian values so many of us are raised with. There there is a right way, and we need to really understand that to "do it right" but I just don't think that is true.
TNH's take on it if anyone needs a refresher:
They can be tall orders, especially if we read something and realize we behave that way. But that doesn't make it a bad thing. It's not meant to be a judgment of yourself. Just a way to continue our practices to be living, and adjusting constantly. I think we have to go through particular experiences to come out the other side sometimes.
An interesting post, Karasti (as usual).
But I guess I have to take a sort of middle of the road approach to what you said.
On the one hand, we do have to adjust our principles to some extent to changing times. But I don't see principles as being overly flexible. And I think we have to be alert to whether -- when we are modifying our principles -- we are just fooling ourselves and just wanting to do what we want to do, instead of reasoning through a principle that we hold to see if we actually need to rethink the principle. The former is what I refer to as "pop Buddhism", the latter is delving deeper into our principles and seeing if there is a need to look differently at them BASED ON OTHER PRINCIPLES. And then, on a completely different level, that puritan approach that Americans have often taken is based not as much on principles as they are on RULES. And rules can get pretty silly. Like the argument that ensued at one of our faculty meetings about how important it was to have a rule that students could not chew gum in school...even though a majority of teachers thought teachers should be able to chew gum in school. Another rule bit the dust when the principle refused to allow that kind of hypocrisy (I was the principal).
Ok so I guess rushing in and taking that pesky chemo 20 years ago was pointless too right?
i did the same thing 15 years ago
I mean if I'd just WAITED the cancer would have cured itself
if i knew what i know now definetely i wouldn't rush to the doctors
however i know it is not advisable to suggest people to avoid taking medicine for their illness
if one knows how to be mindful and have a concentrated mind one doesn't need medicene to cure one's illness
but can we say everyone does know how to be mindful and have a concentrated mind?
therefore it is not a generally valid suggestion for everyone
because only the people who knows how to be mindful and have a concentrated mind can change four elements positively
if we do not do Insight meditation we can not see the validity of the above writings
I'm sorry, but I agree with Dhammachick. In my view, you cannot meditate away a serious organic disease. You cannot meditate away cancer, or a heart condition, or Alzheimers. You may be able to deal with some of the emotional stress around such conditions, and thereby improve your way of handling a situation, or even improve your general condition.
Did you know there are hospital in Thailand just for monks? Did you know that the Dalai Lama has a personal physician?
Incidentally asking celibates for help on sexuality is like asking an anorexic for gateaux baking recomendations ...
Just to add to the confusion:
What about a single person sleeping with a prostitute?
The vibe I got from some interpretations of the third precept is that if you're single you should be celibate.
Not sure how I feel about that......
Interesting that you mention that. I very briefly and gently asked about the Precept to two Thai monks, and the impression I had from their response was that you should be celibate if you are single. Not sure I agree. But I have been contemplating the topic.