Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:18 am

Greetings,
Vepacitta wrote:You should have heard him speak about eco-buddhism and capitalists
I see his Facebook feed, that is more than enough for me.
Snp 3.11 wrote:"Let his mind be free from attachment, let him not think much about wordly affairs, let him be without defilement, independent, and devoted to a religious life.
Is sīla the same or different for layfolk and bhikkhus?

Might the "parameters" of sīla (as presented in the Suttas and Vinaya) yield different recommendations?

Might the recommendations be different based on the precepts you've taken - 5, 8, 10, 227 etc.

These seem to be important distinctions to call out in light of this conversation, lest we inadvertently jump between the two lifestyles without notice, or without calling out and acknowledging the distinction in the first place.

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: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:25 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
Vepacitta wrote:You should have heard him speak about eco-buddhism and capitalists
I see his Facebook feed, that is more than enough for me.
Snp 3.11 wrote:"Let his mind be free from attachment, let him not think much about wordly affairs, let him be without defilement, independent, and devoted to a religious life.
Is sīla the same or different for layfolk and bhikkhus?

Metta,
Retro. :)
Didn't know he was on Facebook.

IMO, sīla is different in "letter" for layfolk v. bhikkhus, but not in "spirit."
Goodwil
Daniel

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by Vepacitta » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:27 am

Daniel - I"m not so hot at linking here - but if you go to BAUS.org, then Chuang Yen Monastery - follow the link to Bikkhu Bodhi - his classes are definately there and you mahy find his 2010 Eco Buddhism talk there - I helped to promote it and set up the hall, but I can't remember if it was recorded or taped - but his stuff usually is.

Retro - Bhante's Facebook page isn't managed by Bhante - I'm not sure who does it as a matter of fact. I guess you don't care for Ven Bodhi and that's ok - but if someone else wants links to his stuff - I will give it - although I stink at linking- but I will help them search. His teachings are not only informative and eye-opening - he has an open-ness that one doesn't find very often in religious teachers - you can disssent and bring up 'unpopular' questions in his class - and it's 'ok' - you can actually discuss it - and not get shut down. This is a rarity in a religious teacher - there are no sacred cows in his class.

From the fierce spirits on Mt. Meru,

V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by DarwidHalim » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:35 am

Dan74:
I don't agree with Darwid above and refer him to the well-known Zen koan of Hyakujo and the Fox. A liberated person is not above or beyond the law of kamma.
:rofl:

We feel very bad, when we do bad thing.
And
We feel extremely happy, when we do good thing.

Only ignorant people will feel happy, when they do good thing.

Why?
They should in fact cry day and night.

Because it is due to that culprit of good action, you are inside samsara.
That good action is the cause for that person to be human or demi god or god.

So, dont be happy when we do good action. Although that action doesn't throw you to the hell, that action throw to as human, demi god, and god.

Good action is as bad as bad action. Both of them are the culprit of the wheel of samsara.

Although good action is as bad as bad action, good action is still better than bad action. Because through good action, it gives us the chance to go BEYOND good and bad action.

Good action gives us a condusive environment, to practice beyond it.

It is extremely difficult for demi god and god to be a buddha. It is because the good action has given them condusive environement beyond limit. Because it is too good, that good action bind them inside this samsara even stronger.

Bad action throw us to the hell, or animal realm, due to the suffering, it gives us a perfect wish to get out from this samsara.

From this perspective, bad action is better than good action.

In human realm, we more or less have balance, good and bad. The bad result give us warning to get out from this samsara. The good result gives us warning to practice.

If we do not know this, good action is just the poison.

We must train until we are free from action, free from karma.

None of Buddha subject to karma. Because karma is action of samsara.

Please see this link:
Going beyond kamma - the ultimate aim of the path
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha057.htm#k10" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Going beyond kamma - the ultimate aim of the path
The ultimate aim of the path of the Buddha is not simply to achieve good results by performing good kamma. This is a mundane aim. The true aim of the path is to go entirely beyond the chain of kamma and results.

As long as we go on performing kamma and accumulating kamma, we remain subject to birth and death, and we will meet with suffering in its diverse forms. Whether one is living in a fortunate world or an unfortunate world is secondary. All states of existence are impermanent, without substance and unsatisfactory.

Kamma is generated due to clinging, clinging to good or bad actions. Clinging rests upon ignorance. By developing mindfulness and insight, by learning to see things as they really are, we can put an end to clinging and break free from kamma. Then we discover the freedom beyond kamma, the freedom of liberation.

The arahant, the liberated one, does not generate any more kamma. He continues to act and perform volitional actions, but without clinging. Hence his actions no longer constitute kamma. They don't leave any imprints upon the mind. They don't have the potency of ripening in the future to bring about rebirth. The activities of the arahants are called "Kriyas", not kammas. They are simple actions. They leave no trace on the mental continuum, just like the flight of birds across the sky.
Dont be happy with the good action we are doing. They are just as poison as the bad karma we are doing.

Go beyond good and bad karma.
Go beyond karma.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by Ferox » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:37 am

using the nazi/jew example.. I zoom back to the top when retrofuturist said this
If in doubt, examine the intention.

when faced with the example of saving lives or lieing... intentional lieing may be " unskillful" to a certain degree, but if performing the action brings about benefits for many beings, then I'd gladly break the precepts for this. We might also be good to bring up the five factors of speech -


Five keys to right speech

"Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

"It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will."

— AN 5.198

lieing to the nazis to save jews I would say fits four of the five factors of well spoken speech.. I'd say that's not a bad trade for doing the right thing.


now this -

The danger in lying

"For the person who transgresses in one thing, I tell you, there is no evil deed that is not to be done. Which one thing? This: telling a deliberate lie."
The person who lies, who transgress in this one thing, transcending concern for the world beyond: there's no evil he might not do.


and of course this -


The criteria for deciding what is worth saying

[1] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[2] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[3] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

[4] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[5] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[6] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

— MN 58


who knows what the Buddha would of done/said in this situation. If he thought that there is much suffering in life and humans kill each other all the time so this is nothing new and no reason to break precepts, I could almost understand that perspective.
-just one more being treading the ancient path of Dhamma-

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by santa100 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:26 am

..reminds me of the leaping frog puzzle that as many of you may already knew: a frog fell into a well 14.5 feet deep. He could jump 3 feet, but slid back 1 foot on each try. How many jumps does it take to get out of the well? Guess what friends, the well is Samsara, the frog is you and me, the 3-foot foward hop is good kamma, and the foot-long slide is bad kamma. As long as we're the frog stuck inside a well, we WILL generate good and bad kamma. And that's quite all right. Don't worry too much about how much you've slid. Just make sure the forward hops are plenty enough so it'll result in a positive net gain. That way, sooner or later, you'll be able to get out of that darn well..

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by perkele » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:40 am

DarwidHalim wrote: Good action is as bad as bad action. Both of them are the culprit of the wheel of samsara.
You often speak as if you thought to have already reached Nibbana.
Be careful about your thoughts.
But first and foremost: Be careful about your actions.

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:43 am

Greetings Vepacitta,

The issue isn't about what I think of particular individuals. The matter I'm drawing attention to is whether the practical application of sīla is the same for both a bhikkhu and a layperson. In other words, is it universal or subject-relative?

Daniel's post asked...
In your experience, do the "parameters" of sīla (as presented in the Suttas) always give you clear-cut guidance, or do you often struggle with ambiguity in ethical decisions using sīla as a guide?
Presumably he'll allow that to be extended to the Vinaya for the Bhikkhu, and so on.

Therefore, is the same application of the parameters of sīla universal to bhikkhus and laymen?

Is it cetana/kamma/action or the external form of sila that is paramount?

Is being "engaged" (as in Engaged Buddhism, or "speak[ing] about eco-buddhism and capitalists") correct sīla for both, considering that right speech, right livelihood and right action fall under the banner of sīla in the threefold training? Is it correct action for both the layman and Theravada bhikkhu? (We can set aside Mahayana for now - that's an off-topic can of worms)

Does what I quoted from Sn 3.11 apply equally to both?

Is what is deemed tiracchāna-kathā for one group acceptable practice for the other?

etc.

This is of vital importance to the topic because if they are different, and sila is therefore subjective and relative to your chosen mode of livelihood, we then need to be cognizant of which teachings were given the bhikkhus, which were given to householders, and which were given to both.

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: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:29 am

Ferox wrote:...who knows what the Buddha would of done/said in this situation. If he thought that there is much suffering in life and humans kill each other all the time so this is nothing new and no reason to break precepts, I could almost understand that perspective
Hi Ferox,
Would you call this equanimity?
Goodwill
Daniel

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:35 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Vepacitta...,

Daniel's post asked...
In your experience, do the "parameters" of sīla (as presented in the Suttas) always give you clear-cut guidance, or do you often struggle with ambiguity in ethical decisions using sīla as a guide?
Presumably he'll allow that to be extended to the Vinaya for the Bhikkhu, and so on....
Metta,
Retro. :)
Of course I'll allow it. And I apologize for not adding personal experience as allowable in my OP. That's fine with me, too.
Goodwill
Daniel

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by Vepacitta » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:40 am

Retro - gotcha. I will bring it up with Bhante once class starts- it's my understanding, from reading, that there are slight variations in sila between laypersons and renunciants - although there are indeed 'the basics' that apply to all.. although I could be merely mixing up the rules of the viniya with sila - it's possible.

That being said, I have my own personal 'horse sense' opinions about sila, religious conventions and the real world. :soap: :smile:

Best from Mt. Meru,

V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:42 am

Retro is making very important points, and I think he's directing this topic to a fruitful place. I'll refrain for the moment from responding to what he's said partly because I'm pooped and partly because I'm curious to see how others respond to his posts.

Edit: & I'd like to hear from Monkey Mind, as he has "syncretist" take on the bhikkhu/lay "lifestyles" for us "modern" Buddhists.

Is there a Monkey Mind "Bat Signal"?
Goodwill
Daniel

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by Virgo » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:04 am

tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Daniel,

I'll listen to it later but perhaps you could say what some of the issues are that were raised?

:anjali:
Mike
Sure. The example Ven. Bodhi used was the Germans who lied to the Nazis about the Jews they were hiding.
Goodwill
Daniel
One should not lie to Nazis?
To this end, I feel it is important to understand that Buddhists are (or should be, in my opinion, after years of study and practice) moral absolutists first and foremost. It is also just as important to understand that moral absolutists should be able to use their own wisdom to pick the lesser of two evils in some cases and choose one action to prevent another. People should understand that doing so, in extreme cases, does not make one a moral consequentialist. This is not a gray-area type thing, it is a specific type of absolutist doctrine. We have to use our wisdom knowing what is wholesome and what is unwholesome. In no way, shape, or form are we (or should we be) utilitarianists, and not moral relativists of any kind.

Kevin

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:38 am

Virgo wrote:]
To this end, I feel it is important to understand that Buddhists are (or should be, in my opinion, after years of study and practice) moral absolutists first and foremost. It is also just as important to understand that moral absolutists should be able to use their own wisdom to pick the lesser of two evils in some cases and choose one action to prevent another.
We should be absolutely relativistic based upon the circumstamnce and one's moral wisdom. Got it.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by DarwidHalim » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:55 am

In my opinion, what Bhikku Bodhi said is really good.

Sila is no something fixed. This one must be like this one or like that one.

By knowing sila itself is just a tool to go beyond, we are free from the victim of our ego.

Sila can become the pillar of our ego in judging others.

We can see this in our daily life, sila somehow become the standard in judging other behavior.

We can say oh this guy is not good, his sila is bad and so on.

By knowing sila is not absolute black and white, just because someone drink alcohol, doesn't mean he is a bad practitioner. He can actually even purer than us.

Sila can be helpful, but at the same it has somehow become the pillar of our ego.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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