Can I mix and match precepts?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby SarathW » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:54 pm

Can I organise the precepts the way I like?
Say instead of Five Precepts I follow only four precepts. (Say I drop Consume Alcohol precept or replace it with refraining taking food after mid day)

Then how these will effect in terms of attaining Samadhi and Panna?

The question is whether the traditional Five Precepts are the bare minimum.
(This is what I support. Mixing any other way is not effective attaining the goal - Niravana)


:juggling:
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:14 am

The precepts are training rules or guidelines not commandments, you can do whatever you want.

Bear in mind that the 5 precepts is what the Buddha advised as best practise for lay people and whatever your actions you will receive appropriate results, so if you choose to ignore that advise then that's your responsibility.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby Sekha » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:28 am

the precepts are requirements. you can't drop any of the five and still hope for redemption
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:32 am

Greetings,

Sekha wrote:the precepts are requirements. you can't drop any of the five and still hope for redemption


Well, you could argue that Channa didn't adhere to the precepts on the grounds that he committed suicide... and what became of him? Arahantship.

Consider also the following words from Nanavira Thera...

Source: (http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=50)
Nanavira Thera wrote:Why am I glad that you are shocked to learn that a sekha bhikkhu can be fond of talk (and worse)? Because it gives me the opportunity of insisting that unless you bring the sekha down to earth the Buddha's Teaching can never be a reality for you. So long as you are content to put the sotāpanna on a pedestal well out of reach, it can never possibly occur to you that it is your duty to become sotāpanna yourself (or at least to make the attempt) here and now in this very life; for you will simply take it as axiomatic that you cannot succeed. As Kierkegaard puts it,

Whatever is great in the sphere of the universally human must...not be communicated as a subject for admiration, but as an ethical requirement. (CUP, p. 320)


This means that you are not required to admire a sotāpanna, but to become one.

Let me illustrate the matter in a different way. It is possible that you were living as a young man in India in the Buddha's day, and that at the same time there was a young girl of a neighbouring family who had been with her parents to hear the Buddha teach. And she may have understood the Buddha's Teaching and become sotāpanna. And perhaps she might have been given to you in marriage. And you, being a puthujjana, would not know that she was a sekha (for remember, a puthujjana cannot recognize an ariya—an ariya can only be recognized by another ariya). But even though she was sotāpanna she might have loved you, and loved being loved by you, and loved bearing your children, and enjoyed dressing beautifully and entertaining guests and going to entertainments, and even been pleased at the admiration of other men. And she might have taken a pride in working to keep your house in order, and enjoyed talking to you and to your friends and relations. But every now and again, when she was alone, she would have called to mind her sotāpanna's understanding of the true nature of things and been secretly ashamed and disgusted at still finding delight in all these satisfactions (which she would see as essentially dukkha). But, being busy with her duties and pleasures as your wife, she would not have had the time to do much practice, and would have had to be content with the thought that she had only seven more human births to endure at the most.

Now suppose that one day you had gone to see the Buddha, and he had told you that your wife was not a puthujjana like yourself, but an ariya, one of the Elect—would you have been content to put her out of reach on a pedestal (where she would, no doubt, have been very unhappy), saying to yourself 'Ah, that is too difficult an attainment for a humble person like me'? Or would not rather your masculine pride have been stung to the quick and be smarting at the thought that your devoted and submissive wife should be 'one advanced in the Dhamma', while you, the lord and master of the household, remained an ordinary person? I think, perhaps, that you would have made an effort at least to become the equal of your wife.


Further reading:

If a stream-winner...
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4241

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby SarathW » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:15 am

Greetings Retro
Can you find me the link for Channa story?

:)
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:17 am

Greetings Sarath,

MN 144: Channovāda Sutta - Advice to Channa
http://www.yellowrobe.com/component/con ... hanna.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:29 am

Sekha wrote:the precepts are requirements. you can't drop any of the five and still hope for redemption


Buddhism doesn't have any concept of redemption.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby SarathW » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:38 am

Thanks Retro
I was never confused like reading that story!!!
So what I understood was that Channa was an Arahant and he committed suiside!
Am I correct?
:juggling:
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby santa100 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:49 am

SarathW wrote: So what I understood was that Channa was an Arahant and he committed suiside!
Am I correct?

It's still an open question between the Comy. and Ven. Bodhi:
The Comy.:
MA: he cut his throat, and just at that moment the fear of death descended on him and the sign of future rebirth appeared. Recognising that he was still an ordinary person, he was aroused and developed insight. Comprehending the formations, he attained arahantship just before he expired.

Ven. Bodhi:
It should be noted that this commentarial interpretation is imposed on the text from the outside, as it were. If one sticks to the actual wording of the text it seems that Channa was already an arahant when he made his declaration, the dramatic punch being delivered by the failure of his two brother-monks to recognise this. The implication, of course, is that excruciating pain might motivate even an arahant to take his own life—not from aversion but simply from a wish to be free from unbearable pain.

Anyway, regardless of which version was correct, one thing for sure is that Ven. Channa was no ordinary monk. He really knew his stuff. It wouldn't be a good idea for an ordinary run-of-the-mill person to imitate what he did.
About the Five Precepts, since they're precepts, not commandments, just try to do the best you can. Just note that like anything else in life, one'll need to give up something to gain something else. "There's no such thing as a free lunch" as they usually say..
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby SarathW » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:02 am

Thanks Santa
I think that an Arahant must have attained at least 5th Jhana so he can easily suppress pain.
Even he can transcend to cessation of perception and feelings.
So at this stage I will stick with the Comy.

I think there is another thread on this issue.

So I will go
:focus:
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:07 am

I would say experiment

Does following the set list lead to more wisdom and happiness, or less?

Maybe you cant do the whole 5, so do 4

and If you cant do 4, then do 3

One precept is better than none. However all are valuable, so you can drop one to replace with another but you still have left out something that is beneficial IMO
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby SarathW » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:24 am

I think monk do not have a choice.
Because s/he has taken the ten precepts.
(But some monks break the handling money rule)
===========
For a lay person, may be they can do their best provided s/he has not taken the Five Precepts but they keep Nirvana as their objective.
===========
Then I am heading to another hurdle.

What about people who teach Dhamma?
What about N8P?
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby Mkoll » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:17 am

You'll do whatever you want, Sarath. Just remember the law of kamma.

"Student, beings are owners of kamma, heir to kamma, born of kamma, related through kamma, and have kamma as their arbitrator. Kamma is what creates distinctions among beings in terms of coarseness & refinement."
-MN 135

:anjali:
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:19 am

Mkoll wrote:You'll do whatever you want, Sarath. Just remember the law of kamma.

"Student, beings are owners of kamma, heir to kamma, born of kamma, related through kamma, and have kamma as their arbitrator. Kamma is what creates distinctions among beings in terms of coarseness & refinement."
-MN 135

:anjali:



:goodpost:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:38 am

Do what you feel capable of doing fully. Although I would urge you to consider the reasons why you wish to dropping one.

You can set aside the uposotha days or another day to invest time practicing the precept you do not feel capable of holding too properly. But do remember that there is a reason for each rule and bearing this in mind even if you don't participate with the precept would still be useful.

Try reading this for a pretty comprehensive breakdown of them
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... _golde.htm
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby StandBright » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:25 pm

I trust that the precepts are in a precise order for a reason.

In the case of abstaining from alcohol and other intoxicants, here is my guess (based on personal experience, not directly from sutras) as to why it is part of the 5 precepts but it is the last of them.

Intoxication inhibits mindfulness, which is of course key. Extreme intoxication can lead one to not only be unmindful, but to forget to follow the other 4 precepts.

However, in moderation, this inhibition is only temporary. I believe that we should all aspire to completely abstain from intoxicants, but an occasional drink is not as harmful as, say, an occasional killing.
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby SarathW » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:54 am

Hi Stanbright

Then why don't you sayo casional braeking all five precepts OK?
:thinking:
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby SarathW » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:55 am

Mkoll wrote:You'll do whatever you want, Sarath. Just remember the law of kamma.

"Student, beings are owners of kamma, heir to kamma, born of kamma, related through kamma, and have kamma as their arbitrator. Kamma is what creates distinctions among beings in terms of coarseness & refinement."
-MN 135

:anjali:


Thanks Mkoll
Can you give me the link for MN 135.
:)
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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:57 am

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Re: Can I mix and match precepts?

Postby StandBright » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:51 am

SarathW wrote:Hi Stanbright

Then why don't you sayo casional braeking all five precepts OK?
:thinking:


What do you mean by "OK"? Breaking any precept leads to suffering. The only difference would be the amount of suffering.
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