Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Precepts - (The following)

mockeymindmockeymind Veteran Veteran
edited April 2015 in Buddhism Basics

I think this is the only group of people, where I can explain and understand why I need to follow certain precepts in the practice. I feel a little "outcast" in daily life. Like my wife told me to put insecticide to kill bugs, but I can't do it no more. Knowing to harm sentient beings brings so much cloud in the mind.

Another issue is alcohol. I don't drink anymore (since last year - i don't miss it, not a bit) Most of my friends at work and neighbour got this habit of going get together on a weekend for drinks. So I am running out of alibi of not joining them. I got lucky on Christmas and some weekends, but they started to ask why I don't drink no more. I became weird to them.

Nothing mystical or miraculous about it. It just got in a way of simple living as the practice required. Anybody had similar experience? How do you guys handle transition. I have no Sangha, and I still go to church with my wife, because I told her that buddhism isn't a religion. But as the practice deepens, the teaching in the church doesn't makes sense anymore. Sorry if I offend some christians.

lobsterEliz

Comments

  • 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

    Remember the Precepts are Guides to being Mindful.
    And if you look at them acutely, you will see that the First Precept basically covers all the others.
    Primarily, the first person you can 'harm' is you.
    This is also through the way you think.
    So is the WAY you adhere to the precepts skilful? Is it 'Harming' you?

    Yes, in a way, it is.

    You know, if there are pests and insects which ultimately can do you a great deal of harm, then - sorry - you have a right to protect yourself.

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama has killed pestilential mosquitoes; A monastery in California had to get pest control in to clear cockroaches; and flies - well! Filthy, spreading disease! Sorry, but in my book, the sentient beings (guaranteed) in my home, take precedence over the sentient (highly questionable!) pests...

    Do what is Right Effort and Right View. Be skilful in your decisions, because sometimes, 'following things to the letter' needs adaptation, and working on to fit....

    mockeymindBuddhadragonlobsterEliz
  • SarahTSarahT Time ... space ... joy South Coast, UK Veteran

    @mockeymind said:
    as the practice deepens, the teaching in the church doesn't makes sense anymore. Sorry if I offend some christians.

    Not offended in the slightest. I frequently walk out of church services because what the preacher says has nothing to do with the gospels as far as I can see. I am sure it's well intentioned and some are willing to debate and even change but others take their old indoctrination as read and seem to spend more time with St Paul than with the gospels. But it wasn't Buddhist practice that led to this lack of sense for me, just reading the bible. As ever, it comes down to the individual I guess? Perhaps, if you wish to continue to accompany your wife, you could try some different churches/preachers? I am extremely careful about which services I go to.

    Completely understand about insecticides. What goes round comes round and all that. They are not only toxic to insects. But there are more natural methods. Rust resistant roses. Stroking plants to rid them of greenfly (neighbour always thought my grandfather was getting over friendly with his roses - didn't realise that's what he was doing!). Natural predators. http://www.planetnatural.com/product-category/natural-pest-control/ gives some pointers:

    We believe the logical solution to organic pest control is to create a balance of organisms in your yard or garden. In a diverse ecosystem pest populations are regulated naturally. Development of this balance relies on products that minimize harm to pollinators and other beneficial insects. Traps & Lures are used to identify the presence of pests, and to help control them. If garden pests are present the least-toxic solutions should be used first — Barriers & Repellents, Beneficial Insects, Biological Pesticides, Soaps and Oils — with the more toxic (but short lived) Botanical or Natural Insecticides used only if necessary.

    My philsosophy is that each and every one of us is unique and therefore precious. To me, your approach to pest control makes you part of a balance of humanity.

    :heart:

    mockeymindEarthninjalobsterNele
  • 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 would add I wasn't thinking of the METHOD of pest control. I was thinking about the act itself, of elimination....

  • mockeymindmockeymind Veteran Veteran

    @SarahT My philsosophy is that each and every one of us is unique and therefore precious. To me, your approach to pest control makes you part of a balance of humanity.-

    The great teacher Ajahn Chac always mentioned about the Dharma is all around us.

    "One great tap-word of Buddhism is compassion, which is the deep affection that we feel for everything because we’re all in it together. **Be it other human beings, other animals, the planet as a whole, the creatures of this planet, the trees and rivers of this planet. Everything is connected." - Jane Hirshfield - **

    Earthninja
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    @mockeymind I don't kill anything intentionally any more. It just doesn't feel right so I don't.
    I did have a mouse problem in my house though a little while ago, I tried using the sonar things. Didn't work. I tried trapping them live, then released then into the wild.
    My wife got fed up and poisoned them.

    I'm thankful she didn't ask me.

    As far as the precepts go, do what feels right. As your practice deepens you will slowly change and see things more clearly. I've grown apart from some friends and I avoid many social events, I'm not sad. I'm thankful.

    Just do what feels right, I don't follow the precepts because the law tells me to. I follow them based on what my heart tells me. They seem to be close so far.
    mockeymindlobster
  • mockeymindmockeymind Veteran Veteran

    @Earthninja - it is exactly what I tried to follow. I'm happy walking in the Path and it is crystal clear that those things seems a road blocks for me. As Ajahn Chac said - "Buddhism is a religion of heart" and one he recommend is to read our own heart.

    But, you know what? Maybe I'll try to look in another looking glass. I might just need a new way of looking at it. Thanks.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Hi mockeymind, If your friends look upon you as weird, it's a feeling that has already come and gone, so it's no big deal....and if some of them seem to either poke fun at you about you not drinking any more, or you feel they distance themselves from you, it's a small price to pay for you doing what you know is right for you in your heart. <3

    mockeymind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    I am weird. I talk to plants and eat friends (fish friends mostly, well potential friends). I go to church and meditate on occasion.

    I try not to be too weird around others, I feel that is a mark of compassion.

    mockeymindEliz
  • ElizEliz Explorer Arizona, USA Explorer

    Another issue is alcohol. I don't drink anymore (since last year - i don't miss it, not a bit) Most of my friends at work and neighbour got this habit of going get together on a weekend for drinks. So I am running out of alibi of not joining them. I got lucky on Christmas and some weekends, but they started to ask why I don't drink no more. I became weird to them.

    I'm curious to see what others say about this as well. I've never been a big drinker, but I also gave up alcohol completely last year. In general, it seems that my real friends (and family) really don't care whether I have a drink with them or not. I have noticed that some "friends" don't want to get together as much now that I don't drink with them. I've decided that these "friendships" are probably not a big loss (and they are things that I need to gently release from my life).

    At work, I really don't bring it up and just say "I need to drive later so I'm not drinking today" if we go out for a social gathering. It's not worth a long argument with them - and I don't have a desire to try to convince anyone that I made the right decision. I know I made the right decision for me.

    Overall, I feel much better without alcohol. I'm still learning how to deal with what you mentioned above though. I'll enjoy reading what others have to say about this... those that have more experience than I do with these circumstances. :)

    Vastmind
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran

    Although more because of the expense and that fact that I just didn't enjoy alcohol that much, I gave up drinking about 30 years ago. I still went to happy hours with friends, and not much was ever said about my drinking a regular coke, other than maybe someone asking if I was against drinking. A mature person wouldn't have a problem with someone not drinking.

    Eliz
  • DakiniDakini Veteran Veteran
    edited April 2015

    OP, if you go out to drink, you can always order a non-alcoholic cocktail. All establishments serve them these days. If you're going to a gathering at someone's home, you can just ask for ice water with lemon, or club soda, or a soft drink, if they have one. It's possible to be low-key about your precept observances, and blend in.

    Pest control in the home, that's always a tough one! I'd encourage you to research alternatives (prevention is the main one), and try looking for companies that have alternative treatments of some sort.

    The Dalai Lama said that once he got over the belief that Buddhism was the best path for everyone, and that some religions were better suited culturally for some nationalities, he started noticing that all religions have the same goal at their core: to help people better themselves and be kind to each other. Look for the teachings at church that echo Buddhist teachings. They're there. Take the others with a grain of salt. Get a book comparing the Buddha's teachings with Jesus' teachings (there are several). Not all Christians believed in the divinity of Jesus, you know. Historically, some believed he was just a wandering teacher, like the Buddha. The history of Christianity can be fascinating.

    Be open to compromise. Right now, Buddhism is new to you, so you're noticing the differences between your practice and other people's. You're starting to feel like you don't, or can't, fit in. Start turning your attention to commonalities, and work on finding subtle ways to accommodate your precept observance, rather than feeling awkward, and ending up being in-your-face about it with people. This will come more naturally, as your practice becomes more routine, and the novelty wears off, I think

    lobstervinlynEliz
  • shadowleavershadowleaver Veteran Veteran
    I think of precepts as guidelines, rather than absolute commandments. I think it is best to find the middle way, rather than being difficult in the society we live in.

    For instance, getting drunk is clearly against them, but is having a glass or two of wine with friends or family a problem? Squashing a single bug seems unreasonably cruel but if our house is infested with ants, are we supposed to not use chemicals to make it habitable again?

    Precepts may also be in conflict with each other. For instance, sometimes not telling a lie may be very harmful to someone...just think a violent person asking where someone is.

    We need to develop our inner compass, that is true practice. There are no catch all rules out there. Every situation is unique and requires fresh insights and approaches. Learning to find those is wisdom.
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran

    The problem with looking at the Precepts as only guidelines is that that makes one free to fudge them more and more and more.

    True, some leave more room for interpretation than others (for example, there is not total agreement on what sentience is). One's understanding of them varies depending on how one was taught about them (for example, I was taught not to take alcohol or drugs that could cause heedlessness, not that the taker thinks causes him or her heedlessness). There's a lot of "this suits my POV" thinking in regard to the Precepts. For example, did Buddha drink alcohol? As far as I know, no (please correct me if I am wrong), yet many Buddhists drink or use drugs. On the other hand, we know that Buddha did eat meat, but those with a POV that favor vegetarianism ignore that.

    I'm not saying it's good or bad, but perhaps that is why Western Buddhism attracts many people who are not rule-followers.

    Eliz
  • MumonkanmanMumonkanman Explorer Explorer

    In respect of the OP, when one has a glimpse of their true nature they will of course experience a direct and strong aversion to causing harm, either to sprinkling poison on insects in the garden or to oneself through ingesting the poison of alcohol. You can still meet with your drinking friends and simply drink non alcoholic units. If they are truly your friends then they will respect you, if they do not respect you then they might be envious that you have turned a corner, in which case they are not your true friends.

    SarahT
Sign In or Register to comment.