silly question

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silly question

Post by hoya » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:44 am

hello i am south korean who is reading english version of nikaya

sorry to ask a silly question

it is the meaning of refrain and abstain

in our english- korean dictionary says thoes words mean do something less .
on the other hand many english dictionary says stop doing something cus its not good for health or morally wrong?

what is the meaning of abstain and refrain

1. just decide totally not to do something ?

2. decide to do something less or try to do something less

cuz try to stop lying and stop lying are very difference meaning

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Re: silly question

Post by JamesTheGiant » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 am

The English dictionaries are correct. But if you cannot stop completely, then reducing is better than indulging.

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Re: silly question

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:00 am

Greetings Hoya,

Both involve a conscious, voluntary decision not to do something.

Assuming you are talking about the Buddhist precepts, then the precepts state that we should not do that activity at all.

However, if you do lapse or transgress, just commit to trying harder next time!


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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: silly question

Post by Laurens » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:58 am

I think, to use your example, it means you should aim to stop lying completely. Try to never do it again.

However it can be hard. Sometimes we cover up the truth because we are embarrassed and in those situations sometimes a lie will slip out before we are even aware we are doing it because the feeling of shame can be very strong. This is okay, it happens. If it does happen it's very important not to think "well I tried to stop telling lies, but it didn't work so I'll just go back to lying whenever I feel like it" what we should do is let go of our mistake and then take up our aim not to tell anymore lies again.

If we approach it in this way we will definitely tell less lies. And we will get better and better at catching the ones that do slip out until we reach our goal.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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Re: silly question

Post by perkele » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:27 pm

As a non-native English speaker, I will try to pinpoint the difference in usage which I seem to have picked up:

refrain: not do something at this moment, for one instance, not do it this time (but maybe later, at some other time)
abstain: not do something ever, or at least not for some determined period of time

It seems to me that there is this difference in the implied intention: to never or not for some determined period of time do something (again), or to just not do it for now.

This Q&A on stackexchange seems to corroborate my intuition somewhat.

I don't know how exactly the ... veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami stock phrase from the pañca-sila or attha-sila or dasa-sila formula is best translated. But it seems to me that "abstain" would fit better than "refrain", because the sincere aspiration would be to keep the sila for an extended period of time.

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Re: silly question

Post by Alīno » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:19 am

perkele wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:27 pm
veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
Ajahn Jayasaro translate the word "sikkha" as "training" or "learning", for exemple one of the epithet of an Arahant is "asikkha" or "beyond training/learning" some who no mo need to train his mind. So as I understand the idea here is to apply effort to avoid something, training means that sometimes we will success and some times not, but faults it's a fertile ground for learning something...
Ajahn Nanadassano (before ordaining) : Venerable Ajahn, what is the bigest error that buddhist do in their practice?
Ajahn Jayasaro : They stop practicing ...

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Re: silly question

Post by anthbrown84 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:35 pm

The precepts are a determination to not do things that have bad effects on ourselves and others..

The interpretation is not important. What is important is our mind set when taking them

Obky Arahants have perfect sila, this can be read in The Suttas on one form or another, so don't be to hard on yourself

Try your best not to lie nd if you do, then when you take the precepts again, make a determination in your mind not to break them.
Be well
"Your job in practise is to know the difference between the heart and the activity of the heart, that is it, it is that simple" Ajahn Tate

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