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Are Precepts commandments

vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

I'm in a testy discussion of this topic on another forum. My belief is that the Five Precepts are (for wont of a better word) 'guidance' for reducing or eliminating suffering. The Hindu arguing insists they are exactly the same as biblical Commandments.

Any thoughts?

Lionduck

Comments

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    Hey vinlyn!

    To me it seems pretty clear that they are meant as trainings to help us develop spiritually. If the purpose of the teachings is enlightenment then to that end its important for us to learn and grow. Following rules doesn't really get us there.

    In terms of karma and multiple lives. Strictly following them would help ensure better future karma. But again, in terms of spiritual development, we need to gain wisdom and understanding so its important to understand the way cause and effect works regarding our actions around the precepts rather than following rules. Which isn't developing wisdom.

    SuraShine
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @person said:
    Hey vinlyn!

    To me it seems pretty clear that they are meant as trainings to help us develop spiritually. If the purpose of the teachings is enlightenment then to that end its important for us to learn and grow. Following rules doesn't really get us there.

    In terms of karma and multiple lives. Strictly following them would help ensure better future karma. But again, in terms of spiritual development, we need to gain wisdom and understanding so its important to understand the way cause and effect works regarding our actions around the precepts rather than following rules. Which isn't developing wisdom.

    I think you and I are sort of coming from the same place. I don't see them as rules, but guides we can use to make wise decisions.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I guess, what they are comes down to what the intent of them is. What does the other fellow say the purpose, or outcome, of following them is?

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @person said:
    I guess, what they are comes down to what the intent of them is. What does the other fellow say the purpose, or outcome, of following them is?

    Simply that they are totally comparable in intent to the Ten Commandments...things that you MUST obey.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    Ask him why.

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran
    edited November 9

    Precepts are not commandments.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @vinlyn
    Long time no see.
    I think that...
    Buddhist Precepts are guidances, which run in accord with enlightened action.
    Biblical Commandments are laws, which when broken are against mankind & God.

    Which makes me wonder if
    precepts apply to Buddhist concepts of no soul
    whereas
    commandments better apply to the concept of a God and of a soul in peril?

    personShoshin1FleaMarketLionduck
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @how said:
    @vinlyn
    Long time no see.
    I think that...
    Buddhist Precepts are guidances, which run in accord with enlightened action.
    Biblical Commandments are laws, which when broken are against mankind & God.

    Which makes me wonder if
    precepts apply to Buddhist concepts of no soul
    whereas
    commandments better apply to the concept of a God and of a soul in peril?

    Hi how! Good to be back. It's been a while.

    Very interesting to contemplate your post! I like it!

  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    Interesting question. I'm currently going through the old testament with a friend so this bit was somewhat fresh and they do not look the same to me even if there is some overlap.

    The segment of old testament where Moses receives the ten commandments from God.

    https://www.biblestudytools.com/esv/exodus/20.html

    5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
    6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
    7 "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain..."

    in comparison to a portion of the five faultless gifts

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/index.html

    "There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from taking life. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the first gift, the first great gift — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that is not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans..."

    Davidperson
  • Welcome back @vinlyn
    I'm in the guidance camp with a big dollop of Ehipassiko (seeing for myself]) thrown in for good measure...

    Commandment = Something that must be obeyed ( like for example an order from a god )

    Guidance =Advice or information aimed at resolving a problem or difficulty, especially as given by someone in authority. ( like for example the Buddha)

    Ehipassiko = Here's the DIY guide...knock yourself out...

    person
  • I think the difference is that following the precepts does not please a deity rather it is supposed to help the other areas of Buddhist practice. Wisdom, mindfulness, tranquility, meditation, equanimity and so forth become less obstructed as one stops harming themselves and others.

    lobsterpersonFleaMarket
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    Good to see you back, @Vinlyn.
    In the Plum Village tradition they are considered training vows.

    The Five Mindfulness Trainings have their root in the Five Precepts offered by the Buddha. They have been expanded and updated so that they represent a way to bring mindfulness into every area of life. Rather than hard and fast rules, they offer us a framework to reflect on our actions, speech and thinking so we can create more happiness for ourself and for the world around us.

    https://plumvillage.org/mindfulness/the-5-mindfulness-trainings/

  • The Hindu arguing insists

    • Thou shalt insist on not arguing with anyone … except god and he never argues back
    • knobble the silence
    • Thou shalt be wrong - as a right

    Jesus died for your sins his karma - bless

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @David said:
    Good to see you back, @Vinlyn.
    In the Plum Village tradition they are considered training vows.

    The Five Mindfulness Trainings have their root in the Five Precepts offered by the Buddha. They have been expanded and updated so that they represent a way to bring mindfulness into every area of life. Rather than hard and fast rules, they offer us a framework to reflect on our actions, speech and thinking so we can create more happiness for ourself and for the world around us.

    https://plumvillage.org/mindfulness/the-5-mindfulness-trainings/

    Thank you David. Good to be back. And the link you gave...perfection.

  • Hi Vinlyn!

    For me all the precepts make kind of sense, like "why wouldn't you follow them?" though the fifth precept was always a bit of a conflictive one. Ah Mary Jane...my love...sweet thick smoke... ehm... yes, back to the precepts being commandments or not.

    I would define them as "great suggestions", in line with what you said as "guidance", not biblical commandments. In another thread I posted here I shared Ajahn Jayasaro's view on the 5 Precepts. In a nutshell: they help us to avoid the negative effects of bad kamma which is detrimental to our spiritual growth.

    personFleaMarket
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    I once heard the reasonings behind the precepts explained as gifts we give to the world. So not killing becomes giving the gift of safety, not lying becomes giving the gift of truthfulness, and so on. I thought it was a beautiful way of showing the underlying meaning of the precepts.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Although I'm finding all of us are sort of on the same wavelength here, I am enjoying the conversation here for the various descriptions and nuances!

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Excuse me if I haven't fully read the thread (has this been pointed out already?)
    Hinduism, isn't Buddhism. Our world views are not the same. So for HINDUS, they're 'commandments'. For BUDDHISTS they're a moral guidance. And that's ok.

    As some wit once pointed out "If God had meant us to be so liberal, he would have given us 10 suggestions".
    There again, I personally don't know one single Christian who hasn't broken more than one, at some time.
    I'm betting we can admit to the same, regarding the first 5/8 precepts....
    If Hindus wish to be so rigid, let them.

    Hi, @vinlyn, how you keeping?

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Hi Federica!

  • Are precepts commandments?
    Is Buddhism Christianity?

    In my view the difference between precepts and commandments follows from the differences in how we view the religion/philosophy: In Christianity, there is a god (or maybe three), and he is authoritarian and issues commandments. Buddha specifically said he isn't a god, he is awake.

    Do all Christians follow all the commandments (can they even name them all without looking them up)? Do all Buddhists follow all the precepts? So, as a practical matter, is there actually a difference between the two?

    Shoshin1lobsterVastmindperson
  • SuraShineSuraShine South Australia Veteran

    Ok so here's my 2 cents' worth. And to clarify this is just MY personal take

    I recently formally took refuge and Bodhisattva vows. So for me, as I take my vows very seriously, I also take the precepts as more than just guidance. However, for someone who has not taken formal vows, I guess they could see them as guidelines. I have always vehemently disagreed with the argument people put forth for excusing drug use and the Fifth Precept (another thread, another debate).

  • lobster mashup precepts, commandments, life tips:

    • thou shallot kill (time included)
    • Eat thou the onion family; leaks, garlic, spring
    • thou shalt grow
    • be thouest kind, goodly and most excellent
    • If you meet god on the road, wrestle her or offer your shallots
    • Be thou dharma and dumber?
    • Look before you leek
    • hear to help
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @SuraShine said:
    Ok so here's my 2 cents' worth. And to clarify this is just MY personal take

    I recently formally took refuge and Bodhisattva vows. So for me, as I take my vows very seriously, I also take the precepts as more than just guidance. However, for someone who has not taken formal vows, I guess they could see them as guidelines. I have always vehemently disagreed with the argument people put forth for excusing drug use and the Fifth Precept (another thread, another debate).

    Okay. Interesting. But who is making the COMMAND?

  • SuraShineSuraShine South Australia Veteran
    edited November 10

    So be clear, is it semantics linguistically for you or is it guidance vs commands/rules?

    Edit - so I re-read your OP rigidly again. Your question above to me seems like a loaded gun. Hindus believe in Atman and a creator, Buddhism teaches anatman and no creator. My personal opinion - AGAIN - is that the Buddha himself has put the 5 precepts in place for a very good reason (after all, he is awake yes?). So if I am following his teachings seriously, I will take the Precepts seriously - as I previously stated. It seems like a logical progression for anyone seriously journeying this path. Otherwise, there are plenty of other ones to choose :+1:

    Vastmind
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited November 10

    @SuraShine said:
    So be clear, is it semantics linguistically for you or is it guidance vs commands/rules?

    Edit - so I re-read your OP rigidly again. Your question above to me seems like a loaded gun. Hindus believe in Atman and a creator, Buddhism teaches anatman and no creator. My personal opinion - AGAIN - is that the Buddha himself has put the 5 precepts in place for a very good reason (after all, he is awake yes?). So if I am following his teachings seriously, I will take the Precepts seriously - as I previously stated. It seems like a logical progression for anyone seriously journeying this path. Otherwise, there are plenty of other ones to choose :+1:

    To me it is more than semantics.

    Let me put it this way. Before retiring I was a school principal. The vast majority of the time, when dealing with teachers, I made suggestions: "You might want to think about...", "You might want to try...", "You might want to consider...", and so forth. On rare occasions I would have to say something along the lines of, "Here is what I am requiring you to do, and if you fail to do it, there will be disciplinary consequences". As far as the Five Precepts go, I would say that I strongly follow four of them, and there is one -- that would depend on how you want to define it -- that perhaps I'm not as good at as I should be. But the difference is, I don't believe that I am going to be literally punished by an authority figure for not fully fulfilling one Precept; instead I realize that cause and effect (karma) may result in occasionally a bit of suffering that if I were more careful I might have avoided. To me, as a former christian, the Ten Commandments indicated an order ("Thou shalt not...") followed by punishment.

    person
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited November 10

    For every party there's a party pooper.

    Perhaps even folks who have taken and have tried to live by the 16 precepts for the last 49 years, think that it's the actualization of such vows, and not a perfect description of them, that's important.
    Whether directed externally or internally, only in this one fleeting moment, can you become a manifestation of those vows or not. With the next nanosecond, another chance to renew such precepts is offered endlessly again....& again.

    There may well be as many different motivations to follow one's vows or precepts or commandments as there are people.
    Divide off those motivations and categorize them according to your chosen values if you must
    but remember that even with such vows whenever they are clung to, rejected or deliberately ignored, they inevitably bring to fruition, the seeds of our own suffering.

    Shoshin1lobster
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @how said:
    For every party there's a party pooper.

    Perhaps even folks who have taken and have tried to live by the 16 precepts for the last 49 years, think that it's the actualization of such vows, and not a perfect description of them, that's important.
    Whether directed externally or internally, only in this one fleeting moment, can you become a manifestation of those vows or not. With the next nanosecond, another chance to renew such precepts is offered endlessly again....& again.

    There may well be as many different motivations to follow one's vows or precepts or commandments as there are people.
    Divide off those motivations and categorize them according to your chosen values if you must
    but remember that even with such vows whenever they are clung to, rejected or deliberately ignored, hold within themselves, the seeds of our own suffering.

    But I think the key here is where you said, "hold within themselves", which is -- at least to me -- the very opposite of someone else commanding you.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I think perhaps it might be a mistake to measure the Precepts against the 10 Commandments. Smoke and mirrors? Apples and oranges? I dunno, maybe both.

    If you take a rudimentary glance at the 10 Commandments, they're pretty Kick-ass, and, apparently, transmitted from an entity with a massive Egotist problem.
    Thou shalt, thou shalt not... (Shall being the imperative, will being the suggestive... Curiously in the first person, it's the other way round... I WILL, You SHALL.... Sorry.... I digress....)
    It depends also whether the transmission of the precepts (which existed before the Bible became a written transmission) is done in Pali, or in Hindi/urdu or whichever language a particular Hindu speaks.

    Lost in translation?

    SuraShine
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @federica said:
    I think perhaps it might be a mistake to measure the Precepts against the 10 Commandments. Smoke and mirrors? Apples and oranges? I dunno, maybe both.

    If you take a rudimentary glance at the 10 Commandments, they're pretty Kick-ass, and, apparently, transmitted from an entity with a massive Egotist problem.
    Thou shalt, thou shalt not... (Shall being the imperative, will being the suggestive... Curiously in the first person, it's the other way round... I WILL, You SHALL.... Sorry.... I digress....)
    It depends also whether the transmission of the precepts (which existed before the Bible became a written transmission) is done in Pali, or in Hindi/urdu or whichever language a particular Hindu speaks.

    Lost in translation?

    My feeling, exactly.

    That's actually another problem in the discussion: that she is using a dictionary definition of "precept".

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited November 10

    Just a view from here but we don't really have to try and keep to the precepts. There is no deity that will punish us if we know better but still do something unskillful. Just like no deity will punish us for burning the lentils. The lentils will simply be burned for our lack of attention.

    If we go against the precepts, we have a smaller chance at awakening. Any given action can bring us closer or further away.

    @SuraShine said:
    I have always vehemently disagreed with the argument people put forth for excusing drug use and the Fifth Precept (another thread, another debate).

    I feel the same way about the First and eating meat but we can only control what we do. Living by example is always better than preaching.

    Shoshin1lobsterperson
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    I've been away from this forum for quite a while...and it's good to be back to a site/forum dedicated to Buddhist thought.

    personfederica
  • as a hypocrite my perfect prefect precepts:

    • do as I say not as iDoDo
    • Make up your own mind, don't mind mine
    • Re-mind do not preach to peaches
    • Accept everyones floors/flaws and temporary sealings/ceilings
    • When we change, the world changes with our hypercritical Dodo
    • Thou shalt, thou wilt, thou flourish
    Shoshin1
  • I guess when it comes to how one 'chooses' to adhere to them (as commandments or as advice)...
    I don't think it's a case of It's my way or the highway
    its more a case of whatever floats one's raft....and keeps it afloat...

    Bearing in mind it will all come out in the karmic wash

    FleaMarketKotishkalobster
  • SuraShineSuraShine South Australia Veteran

    @vinlyn said:
    That's actually another problem in the discussion: that she is using a dictionary definition of "precept".

    "She" has a name. And I wasn't even thinking about dictionary definitions, I was asking you to clarify because you came across as changing the goalposts in your response to me. I wanted to make sure I understood.

    @David said:
    I feel the same way about the First and eating meat but we can only control what we do. Living by example is always better than preaching.

    Yes I agree. I wasn't preaching just to clarify, I was giving my opinion that's all.

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    .. and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He [Jesus] said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. Love God above all else. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

    — Matthew 22:35-40

    So, is that a commandment from on high, with eternal hell fire the price of failure, or is that guidance for life lived in the spirit of God, and not so very different from the precepts of Buddhism?

    personlobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @SuraShine said:
    Ok so here's my 2 cents' worth. And to clarify this is just MY personal take

    I recently formally took refuge and Bodhisattva vows. So for me, as I take my vows very seriously, I also take the precepts as more than just guidance. However, for someone who has not taken formal vows, I guess they could see them as guidelines. I have always vehemently disagreed with the argument people put forth for excusing drug use and the Fifth Precept (another thread, another debate).

    The level of seriousness one takes them isn't really at issue. Its your choice on how important you want to take them and how serious you take your commitment.

    The point is whether as a result of following them or not will you be punished as a result of following them or not, or will the cause and effect consequences of following them or not lead to pleasant or unpleasant outcomes. Or as @David put it, are the burnt lentils punishment for inattention or a result of inattention?

    @Fosdick said:
    .. and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He [Jesus] said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. Love God above all else. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

    — Matthew 22:35-40

    So, is that a commandment from on high, with eternal hell fire the price of failure, or is that guidance for life lived in the spirit of God, and not so very different from the precepts of Buddhism?

    That's a decent point. I don't know, but the counter that comes to my mind is there a semantics issue? Are those commandments of the same nature as the 10 commandments, or is there a distinction but the wording is the same?

  • Some Christian traditions see the ten commandments contained and fulfilled in those commandments of eternal life spoken by Jesus.

  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    @person said:
    Or as @David put it, are the burnt lentils punishment for inattention or a result of inattention?

    I like how this frames the two sides and the debate can be an exciting and passionate one but wouldn't the solution be not burning the lentils and avoiding the debate all together? The outcome is the same regardless. Burning the lentils kinda sucks so don't burn the lentils. Then the knowing loses purpose. And if they burn, do better next time.

    Or, like me, just keep burning them to make sure I really really know if it's punishment or cause and effect.
    I may just like burnt lentils.. :(

    is there a semantics issue?

    I read somewhere recently "Translation means interpretation". Separation of the two appears to be a great challenge.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @Fosdick said:
    .. and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He [Jesus] said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. Love God above all else. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

    — Matthew 22:35-40

    So, is that a commandment from on high, with eternal hell fire the price of failure, or is that guidance for life lived in the spirit of God, and not so very different from the precepts of Buddhism?

    One of the things I learned in educational law is the legal meaning of the word 'shall'. And that gets us to a commandment.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @FleaMarket said:
    Burning the lentils kinda sucks so don't burn the lentils.

    There is no excuse for burning the lentils if you have a smartphone. Use a timer!

    FleaMarketShoshin1lobsterSuraShine
  • Buddhist precepts are guidance.
    The can be viewed as, "If you wish to achieve Nirvana, Enlightenment, the state of Buddha...However you wish to cal it, these are the means to achieve your wish.

    Christians and others tend to view Commandments (precepts) as laws. Follow the laws and you shall be richly rewarded. Violate these Commandments (Precepts) and you shall suffer greviously.
    The one is gently advising the path, guiding the student, practicioner.
    The other is threatening, "You do or don't do this or or that or you will be punished.

    Long ago, I conveted from Christianity to Buddhism in part due to the hunamistic and inclsionist holistic approach Buddhism had to life and the practice of the Way.

    Peace to all

    lobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @Jeroen said:

    @FleaMarket said:
    Burning the lentils kinda sucks so don't burn the lentils.

    There is no excuse for burning the lentils if you have a smartphone. Use a timer!

    Is that a suggestion or a commandment? 😉

    @Silouan said:
    Some Christian traditions see the ten commandments contained and fulfilled in those commandments of eternal life spoken by Jesus.

    I'd like to hear this idea elaborated on.

    Shoshin1Jeroen
  • taiyakitaiyaki Appearance Itself Veteran

    It depends on how desperate the individual in question is.

    For instance, If I am an alcoholic and I am working the 12 step. I am somewhat taking a vow not to drink. That to an alcoholic is life and death.

    The same could be said for some people who practice dharma. It is a life and death affair. Precept or let's say vows are taken to the degree of desperation. I think choice is a luxury and for those who really suffer, the vows are truly something one has to really cling to.

    But the axioms are quite different in Dharma. One has to really understand the nature of suffering and how karmic momentums work. Instead of a deity, judging you and causing you harm. It is your mind, and your life that is in question. So the level of responsibility is much grander. And if you want to even go wider, you're actually responsible for all of reality. It's somewhat much easier to blame a deity tbh.

    The vows/precepts also become much more subtle in various traditions. Meaning less to do with what your external appearance is doing, verses what you're doing with your mind. And that isn't something anyone else is going to actually be able to notice. That's all on you.

    I guess it's a question of why we then would take a vow. A vow is a kind of jail that we want to get out of as fast as possible. No one likes jails and rules. Even if they make logical or emotional sense to us. They are still a restriction.

    But we also are naturally full of delusion, anger and lust. Which can be an issue, unless we decide to stop it. So maybe right now it feels like I have a choice. I can be wishy washy with my vows. But if I take karma seriously then there isn't much room for choice. The right answer is always obvious. I have to surrender to my vows because if I don't then I am surrendering to my delusion.

    And lastly, moving beyond ourselves. To maintain a society and culture, which is conducive to spiritual practice and individual rights. Upholding whatever level of vow we can helps the virtuous momentum of reality.

    So a long winded answer to say, yes it is a commandment. Not from God. Or anyone else. But from one's own naked heart. Love is a demand and responsibility.

    JeffreyJeroenFleaMarketSuraShine
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Beautifully put, @Taiyaki. I think it is right to say the precepts come from one’s heart, and in a way I found myself already living them before I encountered Buddhism. Being sensitive to the heart’s way of living is a good thing.

    In reality the precepts are a reminder, and an explanation, why the things the heart wants to worship are important: life, truth, honesty, sensitivity. These are things which are not hugely respected in the modern world.

    FleaMarket
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @taiyaki said:
    It depends on how desperate the individual in question is.

    For instance, If I am an alcoholic and I am working the 12 step. I am somewhat taking a vow not to drink. That to an alcoholic is life and death.

    The same could be said for some people who practice dharma. It is a life and death affair. Precept or let's say vows are taken to the degree of desperation. I think choice is a luxury and for those who really suffer, the vows are truly something one has to really cling to.

    But the axioms are quite different in Dharma. One has to really understand the nature of suffering and how karmic momentums work. Instead of a deity, judging you and causing you harm. It is your mind, and your life that is in question. So the level of responsibility is much grander. And if you want to even go wider, you're actually responsible for all of reality. It's somewhat much easier to blame a deity tbh.

    The vows/precepts also become much more subtle in various traditions. Meaning less to do with what your external appearance is doing, verses what you're doing with your mind. And that isn't something anyone else is going to actually be able to notice. That's all on you.

    I guess it's a question of why we then would take a vow. A vow is a kind of jail that we want to get out of as fast as possible. No one likes jails and rules. Even if they make logical or emotional sense to us. They are still a restriction.

    But we also are naturally full of delusion, anger and lust. Which can be an issue, unless we decide to stop it. So maybe right now it feels like I have a choice. I can be wishy washy with my vows. But if I take karma seriously then there isn't much room for choice. The right answer is always obvious. I have to surrender to my vows because if I don't then I am surrendering to my delusion.

    And lastly, moving beyond ourselves. To maintain a society and culture, which is conducive to spiritual practice and individual rights. Upholding whatever level of vow we can helps the virtuous momentum of reality.

    So a long winded answer to say, yes it is a commandment. Not from God. Or anyone else. But from one's own naked heart. Love is a demand and responsibility.

    Perhaps this is a bit of semantic interpretation, but I would say that since it is a choice that means they're not commandments. Taking something deadly seriously isn't a commandment, its a deadly serious choice. A firm choice comes with understanding, a commandment doesn't.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 28

    I think it's all semantics in the sense that each is basically referring to things we shouldn't do because they cause harm and/or have negative consequences. Hence, the reasons for observing them are similar. That said, the Buddha refers to the precepts as training rules and gifts. They're less authoritatively stated, and more strong suggestions for anyone desiring to cause and experience less suffering. As such, there's merit to observing the precepts, just as I think there are to observing the ten commandments.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @person said:

    Perhaps this is a bit of semantic interpretation, but I would say that since it is a choice that means they're not commandments. Taking something deadly seriously isn't a commandment, its a deadly serious choice. A firm choice comes with understanding, a commandment doesn't.

    I think that's a good way to put it, and personally I don't think it's simply semantics. To me, a command comes from outside, while the choice to make a commitment comes from inside.

  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    The path is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good at the end. How can anyone feel good about the looming fear of threat from God? It's like being threatened to be whipped if you aren't happy. Not to mention this God figure in the bible is pretty ridiculous if you actually read the thing.

    The precepts are road signs, directions on the way to what is sought. Something ultimately pleasant, not fearful. Succumbing to fear just prolongs the goal.

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