The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

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bodom
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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by bodom » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:48 pm

Peter wrote:
bodom_bad_boy wrote:
Peter wrote: Suicide is not an instance of "one being killing another".
There are instances of assisted suicide though. Anyone remember Jack Kevorkian?
What does Dr. Kevorkian have to do with understanding Buddhist teachings?
Compassion maybe?

"My aim in helping the patient was not to cause death," the paper quoted Kevorkian as saying. "My aim was to end suffering. It's got to be decriminalized."

Sounds Buddhist to me. He had good intentions to end the suffering of others.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

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With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by BubbaBuddhist » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:16 pm

Sometimes discussing theory doesn't give me the "flavor" of the situation. In the drowning scenario, let's do this:

Scenario one: A total stranger is drowning.
Scenario two: Your child is drowning.

You don't swim very well and the water is turbulent, so there is a good chance you may drown too if you jump in to rescue the victim.

Examine your mind states in these scenarios. I'll be honest. If it were my child there would be no thought at all; I'd jump in without hesitation. If it were a stranger I'd still probably jump in but there would be a moment of "Oh crap, what am I doing?" right before.

In the second scenario I guess it could be argued I replaced an unwholesome mindstate (fear, hesitation) with a wholesome mindstate.

Now what if you recognize the drowning person as a recently-escaped rapist/murderer/arsonist/terrorist? Would you decide, "kamma. Screw him." :lol: Or dive in and drag him out.

J
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?

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Jechbi
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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by Jechbi » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:37 pm

Peter wrote:Suicide is not an instance of "one being killing another".
In one sense it isn't, but in another sense it is. It's true that we are the same being from birth to death, but it's also true that we are a new being with every changing moment.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by kc2dpt » Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:31 pm

Jechbi wrote:
Peter wrote:Suicide is not an instance of "one being killing another".
In one sense it isn't, but in another sense it is. It's true that we are the same being from birth to death, but it's also true that we are a new being with every changing moment.
It seems to me you are confusing two modes. Any discussion of morality belongs to one mode. Any discussion of anatta belongs to the other mode.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by clw_uk » Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:38 pm

It seems to me you are confusing two modes. Any discussion of morality belongs to one mode. Any discussion of anatta belongs to the other mode.
Sadhu!

Jechbi

It's true that we are the same being from birth to death
This is not the teachings of the buddha friend.
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Ben
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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by Ben » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:42 pm

clw_uk wrote:
It seems to me you are confusing two modes. Any discussion of morality belongs to one mode. Any discussion of anatta belongs to the other mode.
Sadhu!

Jechbi

It's true that we are the same being from birth to death
This is not the teachings of the buddha friend.
Craig if you are going to refute the person's contention above by indicating that it is not the teaching of the Buddha, then please back it up with a quote from the Tipitaka or commentaries, as per the guidelines of this forum.
Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by clw_uk » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:52 pm

My apologies

Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?"

"Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty. And what is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self? The eye is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Forms... Eye-consciousness... Eye-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self.

"The ear is empty...

"The nose is empty...

"The tongue is empty...

"The body is empty...

"The intellect is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Ideas... Intellect-consciousness... Intellect-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Thus it is said that the world is empty
There is no same being throughout exsistence.


:namaste: :focus:
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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by kc2dpt » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:30 am

I just realized I need to clarify something.
retrofuturist wrote:
Peter wrote:Since the suttas teach:
a] the moral quality of the volitional kammic action is the mind-state underpinning it, which can be wholesome or unwholesome
and
b] certain actions are always unwholesome (such as intentional killing)
we can conclude
c] certain actions (such as intentional killing) will always be underpinned by unwholesome mind-states.
It's your assumption that I am questioning.

It is not my assumption; it is what I have learned. See teachings on the 10 courses of unwholesome action, for example.

Let me be clear: I do not post my assumptions as what is tradition when discussing Classical Theravada. If I make an assumption, I say so clearly. Many people post their assumptions as what is traditionally taught. I do not. I post what has been traditionally taught as what is traditionally taught.

Unfortunately, I do not have the background of someone like Bhikkhu Dhammanando or Bhikkhu Bodhi so I cannot always go into the details of a teaching like they can. Nevertheless, please do not confuse my posts with those that would attempt to understand the teachings all by themselves. I merely repeat what I have had the good fortune to have learned.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:33 am

Greetings Peter,

Thanks for the clarification.

Hopefully venerable Dhammanando can help us out with this once he's better.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by kc2dpt » Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:07 am

Clarification to my clarification: There's always the chance I'm misremembering something. :rolleye: And that would be my fault, not my teachers'.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by Jechbi » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:45 am

Hi guys,
Peter wrote:It seems to me you are confusing two modes. Any discussion of morality belongs to one mode. Any discussion of anatta belongs to the other mode.
The specific point I was responding to was whether suicide might be regarded from one perspective as "one being killing another." I understand what you're saying with regard to the two modes. You may be reading more into my comment than was intended.
clw_uk wrote:There is no same being throughout exsistence.
Then there is no such thing as suicide, only homicide. But frankly I think you're oversimplifying the Buddha's teaching.

From here:
There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father.
It's true to say that there is no same being throughout existence. It's also true to say that there are individual people.
Peter wrote:Many people post their assumptions as what is traditionally taught. I do not. I post what has been traditionally taught as what is traditionally taught.
I also am trying to do that in these posts here in this forum. Likewise, I'm not a formal scholar. Just doing the best I can based on what I perceive to have learned through study. If these posts come across as spouting assumptions, then I apologize. That's not my intent. I'm here to learn.

Metta
:smile:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Ben
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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by Ben » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:05 am

Ok, then its probably best to reference statements or positions to canonical and commentarial sources in this forum. This will help to dispel any creeping perception that posts are one's own analysis of the Dhamma rather than representing an authoritative source.
Many thanks

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

pt1
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Re: The Ethics of Non Action (Classical Theravada version)

Post by pt1 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:40 am

Hi, regarding non-action and kamma, I came across this in Nina Van Gorkom's ADL chpt 17 that seems relevant:
Vyapada or ill-will is the cetasika which is dosa... Vyapada prevents us from kusala. When there is vyapada we cannot have lovingkindness and compassion for other people.

Thina and middha [sloth and torpor] cause us to have lack of energy for kusala. The 'Visuddhimagga' (XIV, 167) states concerning thina and middha :

... Herein, stiffness (thina) has the characteristic of lack of driving power. Its function is to remove energy. It is manifested as subsiding. Torpor (middha) has the characteristic of unwieldiness. Its function is to smother. It is manifested as laziness, or it is manifested as nodding and sleep. The proximate cause of both is unwise attention to boredom, sloth, and so on.

Don't we all have moments in a day when there is laziness and lack of energy to perform kusala? ... It may happen that we see someone else who needs our help, but we are lazy and do not move. Then we are hindered by thina and middha...

Uddhacca is translated as 'agitation' or 'excitement' and kukkucca as 'worry' or 'flurry'. Uddhacca arises with each and every type of akusala citta. It prevents the citta from wholesomeness.

As regards kukkucca, worry, the 'Visuddhimagga' (XIV, 174) states:

...It has subsequent regret as its characteristic. Its function is to sorrow about what has and what has not been done, It is manifested as remorse. Its proximate cause is what has and what has not been done. It should be regarded as slavery.

When we have done something wrong or we have not done the good deed we should have done, we might be inclined to think about it again and again. We may ask ourselves why we acted in the way we did, but we cannot change what is past already. While we worry we have akusala cittas; worry makes us enslaved. Uddhacca and kukkucca prevent us from being tranquil.
So, it seems that when we don’t act in a wholesome (kusala) way (non-action like not helping someone we can), it is because of unwholesome hindrances (akusala cittas), which are present at that moment (like fear for my own life, laziness, disliking people like criminals, strangers, etc). Akusala cittas lead to akusala kamma vipaka in the future. And in the more immediate future there’s also the likelihood of regret (kukkucca) arising.

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