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.

Five Precepts

With the requirement of everyday life. I tried to follow (as best as I can) the five precepts that is recommended - In the tradition which I am trying to follow, it is a sort of a guide for a "clear thought" It also deals with hindrances of mindfulness.
I don't know during the time of the Buddha what is the hardest to follow. I came across some meditators and mostly they said the precept not to tell a lie is the hardest. I will appreciate any input and thoughts on this. Which of the five precepts do you think is the hardest to follow. Thank you so much.

Comments

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    To some extent, it depends on how you define several of the Precepts.

    I can't imagine killing anyone in any type of situation I have ever been in. But when you get down to other life forms, well, that's where the individual's definition comes in.

    I don't think I've ever stolen anything in my whole life. When still working I would occasionally take home a ream of paper, but much of it was used on work done at home, and it didn't come close to making up for supplies and materials I bought with my own money and brought into work. When a clerk gives me back to much change or undercharges me for something, I figure that's his or her job, and his or her problem. I guess that would bother some people.

    Who can agree on the definition of sensual misconduct. Some of it is pretty obvious, other parts are not.

    False speech is a tough one, because honest speech can hurt people. So do I tell "white lies" to spare feelings? Yes. And I have lied in other things, too, but it's rare.

    I don't drink and don't take un-prescribed drugs, and to me this one is easy. This is the one most people fudge on the most, in my view.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited May 2015

    the precepts I was given by my teacher are different than the typical 5 but it's easy to see that the typical 5 should be included in the ones I was given as well. The ones my teacher gives his students are:
    One should no longer take refuse in worldly attainments
    One should no longer harm sentient beings
    One should no longer associate with negative individuals
    One should show great respect towards any representation of the Three Jewels.

    Remember though that the precepts aren't meant to be rules you adopt and then expect yourself to live up to constantly. If you could do that, you'd probably be enlightened already. It's a path to continuously work on that helps clear your mind so that you can learn the Dharma and practice it. Which ones are hardest for me (my teacher's or the typical 5) depends on the day. I guess I have to say #5 because I do not actively or consistently work at completely abstaining. I have a beer now and then (and we make our own,so it's always available) and wine on date nights.

    Honestly, for me, TNH's version of the precepts, his 5 mindfulness trainings are the best aspirations I have, and what I try to use. For me it's easy to make excuses with the others. I feel he covers ground in his that Buddha would likely agree to considering the world we live in. I feel we do ourselves a disservice by ignoring those things because they aren't in precepts that are 2500 years old. Is it ok for me to abstain from drugs and alcohol if I am a caffeine addict? What about if I am a Netflix addict? And so on. I think in our world now, what TNH extends to include are important to consider. I think they are a good guide to use in addition to the precepts.

    Buddhadragon
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    I never took "refuse" even into my worldly attainments! :p

    karastiRowan1980Shak
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    LOL @vinlyn I make that typo a lot and usually catch it. Oh well.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Actually, think of it this way -- when you take refuge you get rid of refuse!

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    I agree with @karasti that the Five Mindfulness Trainings as presented by Thay, make for a more compassionate -and self-compassionate- aspiration to goodness than a dry, black-and-white application of the Precepts as presented in more traditional views.
    At least, as presented in my collection of rare Victorian books on Buddhism, such as Rhys-Davids or Max Müller's volumes.
    I don't know how to copy-paste with my tablet, so I'll owe you these ones, @mockeymind.

    I use the Precepts as ethical guidelines, though not as tools either to berate myself for dwelling in the grey areas, not to judge too severely those who stray openly from them.

    Sex and drinking are my problem areas.
    My husband and friends enjoy drinking, though we never go beyond the tipsy point... most times.
    And sex, because, well, I just enjoy it and I believe that as long as two consenting parties agree on their limits, anything goes.

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    Great topic,

    I would say for me the hardest one is refrain from intoxicants, I'm drinking less but I've been brought through a culture of binge drinking. It's slowly getting better as I get older. :)

    I look at the precepts as guidelines but also analyse why they are there. I'm learning to not follow rules just because they are there but to trust my heart on matters.

    So I think drinking isn't good for the body or mind so I'm working on cutting it back. :)

    I don't play playstation and rarely watch a movie. I feel I lose attention to reality during this time and again I'm wasting my time. I won't get upset if I watch a movie though. This is how I feel these precepts should be looked at.

    I heard an alan watts talk about a Japanese zen master who drank a whole bottle if whiskey to see if he would become unaware of him being enlightened.

    I don't see these as a 5 step process to enlightenment. Just a smart and skilful way to live life.

    I think most people fudge up the sense pleasures one. It's not just sex but could be any form of chasing pleasure. Eg chocolate, Shopping, driving fast cars.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Ah yes the behaviour modification way to enlightenment. :confounded:

    I follow all ten precepts, five is for dabblers and dharma tourists
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Precepts

    • Refrain from limited nutrition without fish and meat from killed living creatures
    • Stealing people's wasteful time and energy
    • Refrain from chastity and listless passion
    • Refrain from incorrect Silence.
    • Refrain from intoxicating virtue
    • Refrain from fad diets all day
    • Much Singing, dancing, playing music or attending entertainment programs (performances) - nobody likes a misery guts
    • Wear perfume (phew) and garland (decorative accessories eg mala)
    • Refrain from sitting on high chairs and sleeping on luxurious, soft beds - still working on this sheer luxury, gosh what a discipline failure I am
    • Accepting money to encourage generosity. Swiss bank donations account open.

    Nine out of ten is not bad :p

  • Thank you for all the inputs.

    I believe that following the Five Precepts are aimed to achieve morality. As in our tradition Morality, Concentration and Wisdom are the key in living mindfully at its fullest.

    I have no problem not harming any sentient beings -

    I don't take what is not freely offered -

    Since I started meditation, I totally abandon alcohol intake - and I don't use drugs.

    Sexual misconduct - nahhh ,

    Not to tell a lie - this one needs to investigate. I believe most people lie for reasons they can only answer. But of all the precepts, I look at lies - directly as a result of EGO. In the short period of practicing buddhism - I find this "EGO" a major road block to see things clearly, I wanted to cultivate wisdom to handle this ego, to see how it arises and what causes it. it is indeed a long way to go for me.

    vinlynZenshinlobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Everything can be tricky. They seem very straightforward but perhaps they aren't so much. If you support someone who breaks the precepts, what is your responsibility in that? (ie, you eat meat but you don't kill the animals yourself, or you support a business who steals by not paying fair taxes or paying their employees fairly). I'm always investigating that kind of stuff, and obviously we just make the best choice we are truly able to, but it can go so much farther if we chase it far enough. How far? I don't know.

    Lying can have benefits. I don't think a person can always say lying is bad. I have a son who likes to lie (and badly at that) and so I talk to him about it. But he's not quite old enough to consider the deeper reasons behind why he does it. I lied a lot as a teenager and young adult. Not to deceive, but because I am very private and I had earned the right to not explain every detail of my life to my parents but they didn't think so. I didn't "lie" most of the time, but I omitted the truth often, because I didn't (and still don't) feel I need to satisfy all their questions. But, I have gotten better now at simply telling them that it isn't something I want to share. Sometimes, someone wants to do something and I do not feel like it and I lie about why. That is the part I am working on now. I panic and do not want to hurt feelings so instead of being honest I'll make up a reason why I can't. Or, I say yes and take on more than I have the time for, which doesn't work either.

    In any case, people lied to protect Anne Frank and her family. Lots of people lied to protect others-the underground railroad, those hiding from the nazis and so on. So it's not always so clear that lying is 100% always bad. Not that most of us are hiding anyone, just saying. I've lied to protect people. I lie to my kids every year when "Santa" comes, lol. When their father died and they asked if he suffered, I told them no. What about secrets? What about when someone tells you something you know could impact someone else (but not in a life-threatening way) where is the line between keeping the secret or telling someone? It's definitely not always so easy.

    The whole thing is about being skillful in the choices we make. Remember that there is more to breaking precepts than simply defining them and sticking to it. There must be intention behind breaking them. You don't get extra points for telling the truth if in the process you harm someone.

    lobstermockeymindCinorjer
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited May 2015

    The Nine Precept Buddha

    There was once a young, dedicated monk who lived in a busy Buddhist monastery and did his best to follow the Ten Precepts. Some of them were easy and some harder. Still, he managed to keep the Precepts in mind and let them guide his actions.

    But there was one Precept he couldn't seem to keep. He loved to talk and no matter what his intentions when rising, by the end of the day he'd say something that he knew broke the Precept. Finally, he went to the Master in distress.

    "Master, I don't know what else to do," he said. "I have no problem with nine of the Precepts. No intoxicants? No problem. Sexual thoughts? Cold showers. No killing? I let the mosquitoes feast on my bald head and grit my teeth instead of squashing them. But, I am an incurable gossip. I can't make it through the day without breaking that one Precept. What can I do?"

    The Master looked at the monk in amazement. "You make it though the day and only break one of the Precepts? That's better than I've ever managed. You should be teaching me!"

    Zenshinlobstermockeymind
  • After reading @Cinorjer and @karasti - I should say that intention indeed plays a major part of it whether a person lies for personal or for the better good. At the end of the day- after it is all said and done - it is just an experience of a being.

    Cinorjer
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Here's a possible "lying" situation for you. If someone is selling something you want but you know the price is WAY below what it's worth, do you tell them? Do you offer to pay more? Or do you just assume that they don't care/want to get rid of it faster/whatever?

    I belong to a swap and sell page on FB for my area. Today I bought a camping backpack that a man sold for $15. It's worth about $200 even in used condition. On top of their inherent value, they are guaranteed 100% for life. If a mouse chews a hole in it, they will fix it for free. If a strap breaks after you've had it for 50 years, they will fix it. I actually offered him a bit more but he declined so I let it be. But I did not tell him "hey did you know these sell for like $200 pretty much everywhere?" Brand new they are over $300.

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

    Maybe it was hot merchandise, @karasti. No one would know.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    His name is in the bag (and you can tell it was not written recently) so it's unlikely it is stolen. Also, in a town as small as ours it's pretty risky to attempt to sell stolen items on a public page. Our town has less than 3000 people, everyone knows everyone else, and he is from a very well known family in town.

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

    @karasti said:
    His name is in the bag (and you can tell it was not written recently) so it's unlikely it is stolen. Also, in a town as small as ours it's pretty risky to attempt to sell stolen items on a public page. Our town has less than 3000 people, everyone knows everyone else, and he is from a very well known family in town.

    Oh. I'm used to thinking in terms of big city. ;)

    Why do you suppose he gave it away like that?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    He bought new gear and was cleaning out his garage and just wanted old stuff picked up quickly to make room. He had half his garage contents sitting out in the snow and rain when I got there. We had a good chat, I had the chance to ask him if he realized how much it was worth. But I didn't.

    I often will sell stuff at below it's value to get rid of it. When I am in a clutter clearing mood, the last thing I want is to have stuff sitting around to try to get money for it. If it's not sold in a couple days I usually donate it or give it away despite what it might be worth if I were to sell it on ebay. If someone wants to the work to sell it, more power to them. I hate doing that kind of stuff, lol. I just want the stuff gone. So perhaps he is like me and that was why he sold it so cheap. Perhaps because it is older he thought it wasn't worth as much. I'm not sure. But they are widely known, they are an iconic product and it's not generally something someone like him wouldn't know the value of.

    But looking at it through precepts, obviously it was freely traded, so I didn't steal anything. But was I obligated in some way to make him aware of the true value? Or not? I was thinking about in the lines of what @vinlyn said about whether correct change is given or not-are you obligated to correct the mistake? Would you correct it if you were on the losing end versus the winning end? Would you correct what was probably a simple human mistake if you know the cashier would get fired for her drawer being off later that day? I was just thinking along the same lines. In allowing someone to sell me something cheap that was worth so much more, was I in the wrong according to precepts? It happens at thrift stores and rummage/garage sales and things all the time. Someone buys a $5 print at a rummage sale knowing it's worth more and then makes $20,000 profit off it, lol. Were they obligated to tell the person they bought the item from, or to share the profit? Legally, obviously not. But morally. I don't know. I'm on the fence about it all. Wondering what others think. Obviously my intention wasn't to swindle or rip him off, he offered it and I accepted his offer. And I offered more and he didn't accept, so I couldn't have done much else in that regard.

  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran

    @karasti Would you have paid fifty dollars for it? Did you turn around and resell it for two hundred, or even a hundred? A used item is worth how much someone is willing to pay for it, after subtracting what sort of effort someone is willing to go through to sell it for a higher price.

    Having said that, one time a delivery man came to my grandmother's house to deliver a new mattress, saw an old desk she had, and talked her into selling it to him for about a hundred dollars. We had told her it was worth "a lot of money" and to take care of it but I guess she didn't believe us or thought a hundred was a lot of money. It was to her. We had to go down to the store and raise heck and did get it back from the guy. It was appraised at more like a thousand soon after.

    Did the man have a moral obligation to tell my grandmother what the desk was actually worth? He never said a single lie. She didn't have to sell it to him. Why is it his responsibility to let her know the value of what she owns? Yet somehow, this still feels like the man stole from my grandmother, doesn't it?

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

    It can be looked at two ways (the desk issue): Business is always business, even if it's between individuals and not a store or a corporation. But because it was between individuals, more is expected in terms of ethics - but there can be misunderstandings or an attitude - like your grandmother had a choice to sell or not. She may have felt it was an opportunity that fell in her lap to get rid of something that was just taking up space and to make $100 was the icing on her cake. But...the guy could have said more about what it was actually worth, to give her an idea.

    Cinorjer
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @karasti said:
    Everything can be tricky. They seem very straightforward but perhaps they aren't so much. If you support someone who breaks the precepts, what is your responsibility in that? (ie, you eat meat but you don't kill the animals yourself, or you support a business who steals by not paying fair taxes or paying their employees fairly). I'm always investigating that kind of stuff, and obviously we just make the best choice we are truly able to, but it can go so much farther if we chase it far enough. How far? I don't know.

    Lying can have benefits. I don't think a person can always say lying is bad. I have a son who likes to lie (and badly at that) and so I talk to him about it. But he's not quite old enough to consider the deeper reasons behind why he does it. I lied a lot as a teenager and young adult. Not to deceive, but because I am very private and I had earned the right to not explain every detail of my life to my parents but they didn't think so. I didn't "lie" most of the time, but I omitted the truth often, because I didn't (and still don't) feel I need to satisfy all their questions. But, I have gotten better now at simply telling them that it isn't something I want to share. Sometimes, someone wants to do something and I do not feel like it and I lie about why. That is the part I am working on now. I panic and do not want to hurt feelings so instead of being honest I'll make up a reason why I can't. Or, I say yes and take on more than I have the time for, which doesn't work either.

    In any case, people lied to protect Anne Frank and her family. Lots of people lied to protect others-the underground railroad, those hiding from the nazis and so on. So it's not always so clear that lying is 100% always bad. Not that most of us are hiding anyone, just saying. I've lied to protect people. I lie to my kids every year when "Santa" comes, lol. When their father died and they asked if he suffered, I told them no. What about secrets? What about when someone tells you something you know could impact someone else (but not in a life-threatening way) where is the line between keeping the secret or telling someone? It's definitely not always so easy.

    The whole thing is about being skillful in the choices we make. Remember that there is more to breaking precepts than simply defining them and sticking to it. There must be intention behind breaking them. You don't get extra points for telling the truth if in the process you harm someone.

    Well written, @Karasti. And thought provoking.

    I'm fairly strict with the 5 Precepts, as I interpret them.

    That alone -- personal interpretation -- is one problematic issue. It becomes very convenient for people, in general, to interpret anything for their convenience more than for the sake of the thing being interpreted. For example, I was taught that the Precept about intoxicants was about those things that "could" cause heedlessness, rather than those things that "do" cause heedlessness. Which is a huge difference. The first version is clearly against alcohol and drugs. The second interpretation allows you to drink and use drugs if you think (perhaps conveniently) that you are not becoming heedless. And I remember once my father coming home from his evening "rounds"; it was winter with lots of snow on the ground; when he came in the house he was all snow; a friend stopped by a few minutes later and said he had followed my father home to make sure he made it (he had been walking), and he said my father fell down in the snow 5 times; yet my father said, "Oh I'm not drunk"). And how many times have I gone to happy hours and worried about someone driving home, yet heard them say, slightly slurred, "Oh this isn't affecting me at all".

    And then there's issue number 2 for me. The old, "well they're not commandments" or "they're not laws". No, they aren't either of those things. But when you consider how often people break LAWS (like speeding or gliding through stop signs), it kinda opens up breaking MERE Precepts to the point of ignoring them.

    And then there's issue number 3 for me: "Precept ___ is important, but Precept ___ isn't". Well, isn't that convenient...and more grounds for justifying almost anything we want to do?

    And finally my 4th concern: that the Precepts are "just training" for some nebulous purpose. I would say that Precepts are training for not breaking Precepts. Not killing is training for not killing...making it a more and more firm in ones personal constitution. Not using substances that could bring on heedlessness is training for not using substances that could bring on heedlessness...and strengthening that habit in your personal constitution.

    But relax. It's my choice. It's your choice. This is just a conversational debate. I don't really give a shit which way any of you decide it. This is just one opinion. But the next time someone harms you by breaking a law or a rule or a Precept (going through that stop sign and smashing into you, or not picking up their dog's feces, or ruining your child's birthday party when they get just slightly drunk, or stealing your lawnmower), just remember, they're "just" Precepts.

    Again, just MHO.

    CinorjerRowan1980
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @karasti said:
    I was thinking about in the lines of what vinlyn said about whether correct change is given or not-are you obligated to correct the mistake? Would you correct it if you were on the losing end versus the winning end? Would you correct what was probably a simple human mistake if you know the cashier would get fired for her drawer being off later that day?

    To me, this is a tough one.

    Let me give you an example. One holiday season I needed a new set of cookware, and Macys had that Visions cookware (remember that way back when) on sale for half off. Perfect. So I went in, picked up a set, and when I got up to the cashier counter there were 2 college kids (undoubtedly temporary help) chatting away, not paying attention to what they were doing. I forget the actual prices, but let's say the set was normally $80. It was marked down half ALREADY...to $40. The cashier, who wasn't paying any attention to what she was doing...she was chatting away. Said, "Oh, that's 50% off. And rang up $20. So, Macys was not supervising their personnel and the personnel were doing a lousy job. Tough luck on Macys. It should not be my job to do their job.

    Another time a cashier at another store didn't know how to make change. In other words, she couldn't do basic math. It's my job to do her job? I just don't think so.

    The store tells you how much a product costs. Sometimes it's marked wrong, either too high or too low. But their job is to tell me the cost. I have the freedom to accept the price or reject the price.

    To me it comes down to responsibility. When I was a kid working in the grocery store, I made a huge mistake in judgment one time, and frankly should have been fired. If I had been (the employer was quite generous), I wouldn't have complained because it was my mistake and my responsibility (in fact, the reason I didn't get fired was because generally I was one of their most responsible employees. As a teacher, if I made a mistake grading a paper, and a kid got a higher grade than deserved -- well, that was my responsibility and the kid got a bonus. As a principal, when a teacher made a mistake, they were not allowed to shirk their responsibility.

    But, that's just me.

    Cinorjer
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited May 2015

    I worked a lot of years in retail. Drawer shortages and overages are just part of the game, but they do watch for patterns (people giving deals to friends, theft etc). But people make mistakes. It happens. When it's christmas and there are 2 hours worth of people waiting in line, you rush and you grab an extra $5 when you give change because they stick together, or whatever. When it happens, I generally point it out because I know how that sucky job goes. The store environment of the guest is always right has a huge impact on their bottom line (not that they are hurting for profits most of the time). My son loves new techonology, and can load gift cards onto his phone. Except half the time when the store scans it, it doesn't work. So they to keep lines moving and not annoy the customer, often just do a manager markdown. So really, he could continue using the same $10 gift card over and over and over and over again because their employees aren't trained on how to use the new technology. Would it be right for him to do so? He says no, so once he gets the discount, he removes the gift card from his phone. I did send an email to the store manager to let them know of the issue because it has happened 3 separate times.

    We just have to find a line that agrees with our morals and do our best, I suppose.

    As for the precepts in general, I always find #5 the toughest for me to work around. I like beer, lol. But I do try to be honest about where my point of heedlessness is, and what it even is, and how it affects me. I know if I have more than 1 beer, my balance for yoga in the morning is off, even if I didn't have a buzz the night before. When I am just home with my husband, my level of what I consider heedless is different than if I am out with 5 girlfriends at the bar. In both cases, I have crossed the line. Not so much recently as several years ago. When I am at home, I can have several drinks (which is very very rare and hasn't happened in quite a long time) and be downright drunk, but not necessarily behave or even think recklessly. It's only been a few times in my life I have been so drunk as to not remember things or to behave in a way I found embarrassing the next day. Mostly in my young inexperienced years. I do try to keep myself honest with myself though, most of the time, about how I feel and how I behave and how it impacts my practice and the way I want to live my life, regardess of whether there other external consequences or not.

    @vinlyn, LOL, I remember that Vision cookware! My mom had some and thought it was the best thing ever.

  • namarupanamarupa Veteran

    Five Precepts

    A checklist for one who wants to keep on the right path. :)

  • 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
    edited May 2015

    @vinlyn said:... But that's just me

    That's deliberate theft, frankly, and fobbing it off as someone else's fault, problem or responsibility is just as inexcusable. To be bluntly honest, I would expect a higher level of social responsibility from someone who constantly reminds us of his high-level profession and status as an educator of the next generation.
    Poor example and nothing to be proud of, however you want to dress it up as "SEP."

  • @mockeymind said:> I don't know during the time of the Buddha what is the hardest to follow. I came across some meditators and mostly they said the precept not to tell a lie is the hardest. I will appreciate any input and thoughts on this. Which of the five precepts do you think is the hardest to follow. Thank you so much.

    I find Right Speech a real challenge sometimes, not being dishonest but sometimes being critical or negative. I've always found the precepts to be a useful reminder of what skillful behaviour looks like.

  • mockeymindmockeymind Veteran
    edited May 2015

    Hmmm - I wonder how a practicing lawyer practice the Five Precepts.

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

    I did not know about TNH's 5 mindfulness trainings before. Thank you @karasti for pointing me towards them! For others who would like a reminder and for my own reference, they are:

    One: Reverence for Life

    "Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life."

    Two: True Happiness

    "Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need."

    Three: True Love

    "Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends."

    Four: Loving Speech and Deep Listening

    "Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations."

    Five: Nourishment and Healing

    "Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness."

    from http://buddhism.about.com/od/Morality/a/Thich-Nhat-Hanh-S-Five-Mindfulness-Trainings.htm

    All pretty challenging but I probably fall shortest on 5. I smoke and I eat unhealthily as my appetite is poor. Possibly a result of smoking but I tend to congratulate myself if I get any calories in as getting too anxious about it all results in my not eating at all, just existing on nicotine. I have pretty much cut caffeine out of my diet as I have become so sensitised to it but will allow myself an occasional treat, just have to be aware of the consequences. I am careful about sense impressions, volition and consciousness so hpoe that will balance the scales a little!

    I do kill snails. I see them as bird food. Possibly unforgiveable here ... but I like my hostas!

    Progress not perfection ...

    ps: does anyone know how to stop making automatic numbering changing every number to 1 and dashes into bullet points? :confounded:

    lobsterBuddhadragon
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Minerals?

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

    @vinlyn said:
    Minerals?

    Why not? Reduce, re-use, recycle and all that ;)

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. In the context of "suffering caused by the destruction of life", I don't see it.

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

    There are more things etc, etc :awesome:

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @mockeymind said:
    I believe that following the Five Precepts are aimed to achieve morality. As in our tradition Morality, Concentration and Wisdom are the key in living mindfully at its fullest.

    Yes, there is a logic for morality being one of the three pillars on which cessation of dukkha rests.
    An ethical life presupposes liberation from attachments and cravings.
    As long as we are swayed by them, inner peace and equanimity won't be altogether attained.

    vinlynRowan1980mockeymind
  • @mockeymind said:> Hmmm - I wonder how a practicing lawyer practice the Five Precepts.

    Probably easier for a prosecutor than a defender.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited May 2015

    @SarahT said:> I did not know about TNH's 5 mindfulness trainings before. Thank you karasti for pointing me towards them! For others who would like a reminder and for my own reference, they are:

    I used to recite these regularly when I was in an Interbeing group. I like that they are positive rather than negative expressions, though they seem a lot to remember and aspire to. Talking of which, here is the monastic set: http://www.orderofinterbeing.org/for-the-aspirant/fourteen-mindfulness-trainings/

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @vinlyn In what I have read, what I have taken away about the mineral part is the overall respect for our planet. Mining, especially in other countries, causes extensive damage to the environment and I think most of us that is one thing we definitely brush under the carpet of "lalalala I don't know and don't want to know" because we are extremely reliant on that type of mineral mining and none of us, myself included, want to give up our items that are created with such irresponsible mining. That aside, the crust of the earth is pretty important to everything living on the planet, so an overall respect of ALL things that make up our planet is good.

    I like that TNH says that just doing these things yourself isn't necessarily enough, that when having the opportunity you should speak up when things are being done to others that don't live up to the trainings. #5 is still my hardest one, my diet actually is pretty good. I exercise daily. But there are plenty of shows, movies, music and games that I "consume" that aren't very good. It makes me wish I could go back in time and avoid all those things as best possible. Who knows how they have affected my mindset over the years.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Explained well, @karasti. I can see that. But I also assume people need mineral use for things like heating homes in places like where you live. As long as it's a balance.

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

    14????? :scream: Thanks, @Spiny :mrgreen:

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

    @SpinyNorman said:
    @mockeymind said:> Hmmm - I wonder how a practicing lawyer practice the Five Precepts.
    Probably easier for a prosecutor than a defender.

    I took this comment as a joke when I first read it but, as a qualified lawyer who practiced until I became too ill to continue and worked on both sides of the plaintiff/defendant "fence", am going to take this as an opportunity to review how I put the precepts into practice in my legal life (using the TNH version):

    Reverence for life: As a lawyer, I started out aiding those who did not have their own voice to sort out civil disputes - over land, over money, over employment and such other issues. This avoided physical violence, the success of the physically stronger. OK, ability to fund such sorting out did have an impact and, being an employee, I had no influence over how much was charged for my time. But I was able to ensure that my time was productive and that I used my experience and talents to protect my client to the best of my ability.

    I then continued into contract negotiation. As a result of my work, agreements were made to build hospitals, schools, roads and other infrastructure - all of which to me are a part of the reverence for human life. Again, I saw the principal product of my work as being to avoid arguments in future as both parties knew exactly what they were taking on before they signed up. It was partly crystal ball gazing - what problems might arise during the term of the contract? - but I could use my experience from the first part of my work and ensure that everything was set out in plain language that both sides understood.

    True Happiness: Possibly not a lot of this around in the City of London but I was told by many that they wouldn't want my job! Perhaps by doing something they would not want to do but that I was trained for and enjoyed doing, I reduced some suffering? We certainly had many laughs (I was told I was not suitable for commercial law as I laughed too much ....).

    True Love: doesn't seem relevant to employment. I did experience a small amount of sexual harassment but most seemed to appreciate that I was happy with my ex and laid off when it became clear that I wasn't looking anywhere else (even if one did tell me I should divorce him. Was probably right in retrospect but wouldn't have my daughter if I had!).

    Loving Speech and True Listening: Much of the first part of my job was about taking witness statements and putting them in to the witness's own words. Impossible to do this without True Listening! Then, when drafting agreements, it was again about listening to what the parties agreed and putting it down in black and white.

    Negotiations can be hard - as can trawling over what went wrong - and, without loving speech, I'm not sure that it would have been possible to do my job. Statements would have resulted that would not have stood up under cross examination and agreements drafted that were not signed as the parties did not feel they had found an acceptable compromise. Yes, there were times when I had to challenge my client's words, to ensure that they really did want to accept a particular risk or were not twisting the truth (discovered in particular that Indian concept of truth is not always the same as the English courts' and that folk are not always happy to admit they are illiterate) but it was always possible to do this sensitively, with love and compassion.

    Nourishment and healing: Lawyers can get through an unbelievable amount of paper!!!! Some of this is unavoidable - the courts specify how many bundles are required, printers sometimes don't print right etc - but I always tried to at least print double sided and took non-confidential single sided printing to my son's nursery school for them to do drawings on.

    I think this statement was tongue in cheek @mockeymind? But it's nice to be reminded how fulfilling I did find my former employment :)

    Jeffreylobster
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    I have worked with lawyers on occasion professionally, and hired lawyers a couple of times privately. I would say they were as professional or not professional as any other group of professionals, and as moral or not moral as any other group of everyday people. They have a tough job because everyone deserves representation...even the bad guys.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Another thing about precepts. I don't totally avoid drinking alcohol, but the precept does have an impact in drinking less for me. It's not an all or nothing proposition for me.

    For lying the hardest thing for me is when someone else wants me to lie to cover their reputation. It is an interesting problem. I will lie to their friends and family but to my own I tell the truth even if it is about them. Of course I don't volunteer information for no reason just like if I need to lie to answer 'why is..' and I cannot answer their question without either a lie or a truth. I won't tell the lie to my own people, but would lie to their friends/family to keep their reputation.

  • howhow Veteran
    edited May 2015

    Perceptual breakages are just teachers pointing out where we pay more homage to our
    attachments than to sufferings cessation.

  • 111111 Explorer

    it is my understanding that if one truly lives a moral life, lies are unnecessary in any situation. most lies are to decieve and hide, but if one is morally just then what is there to lie about and hide? I think something that should be added is maintaining silence. you are not required to speak in any situation. if you feel uncomfortable speaking the truth, maintain silence. it is difficult, but maintaining adherance to the Precepts is not supposed to be easy. Thank you - <3

    silverEarthninja
  • shadowleavershadowleaver Veteran
    edited May 2015
    I think the key here is being aware of one's motivation behind any particular action. If it is just for me, the action is usually unskillful. If it is for the benefit of others, the action is usually skillful. Buddhist practice teaches us to see clearer what our minds are really doing and thus helps us make that determination.

    As far as lying, I find it unjustifiable in 90% of the cases. But then there are the tricky 10%. I'm not even going to bring up the classic dilemma of a Nazi asking where the Jews are hiding. Just think a depressed relative asking how your day was when in reality that day was dreadful. Well, I would lie and say it was fine, because I know that they are relying on me for support and me burdening them with my crap would sink them even lower.

    Particular actions are neutral, except when put in a context. The key to unlock them is the question: why am I doing that?
    lobsterSarahT
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    For me, in daily interactions, I guess I kind of prioritize and rate things. If telling the truth is going to significantly hurt someone, I'll take on the consequences of the lie.

Sign In or Register to comment.