Want to improve sila

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
Digity
Posts: 1332
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Want to improve sila

Post by Digity » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:21 am

I want to focus on improving my sila. I was thinking of focusing on mental, verbal and bodily conduct. My plan is to pick one mental, verbal and bodily act that's positive and practice it daily. What are your thoughts on this approach and what would you personally pick for those three things?

My motivation for this is that I keep falling into these bad mental states and want to improve my mental conditions. My hope is that these daily practices will lead to such an improved state of mind and hopefully lead to improve mental states.

JohnK
Posts: 581
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by JohnK » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:03 am

I think your idea is a great one for gladdening the mind.
How about a deliberate act of generosity every day, something beyond what you might routinely do? And rather than selecting one to repeat, decide to be attentive to what opportunities might present themselves in the course of the day. However, to help at first, you might consider in advance your daily routine to explore some possibilities. These acts don't have to be a big deal, the recipients might barely notice the kind word, the extra attention, (or whatever you have to offer).
Good luck.
It would be great if you let us know how this goes whatever you decide to do.
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

User avatar
ryanM
Posts: 355
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:13 pm

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by ryanM » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:04 am

They'll be many opportunities to practice good conduct in body, speech, and mind throughout any given day. Personally, there's a lot of mistakes made along the way, so I always try and be gentle when I do slip up.

Falling into bad mental states. There's a chance to practice good conduct right there. Make peace, be kind, be gentle. Having little quips on hand can be useful when there's a lot of confusion.

Take care and good luck to you.
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"

Digity
Posts: 1332
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Digity » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:05 am

What would a good daily act of generosity be?

User avatar
Crazy cloud
Posts: 442
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 8:55 am

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Crazy cloud » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:34 am

The world is created at home here and now, so a nice activity to start with is optional to the gentle heart ... - I like to have a cup of coffee at first :smile:

A pure heart and a gentle mind will always do whats best in every situation

best!
If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care for you

We would zig-zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain

Wondering which of the
Buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing
- Roger Waters

User avatar
binocular
Posts: 5405
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by binocular » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:54 am

Digity wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:21 am
/.../ what would you personally pick for those three things?
On a general note: it should be activities where one can clearly measure whether one has done them or not.
For example, "be more generous" is hard to measure, but "give the cat fresh water every day" is measurable.

JohnK
Posts: 581
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by JohnK » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:50 pm

Digity wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:05 am
What would a good daily act of generosity be?
I don't know your daily routines and who you may come into contact with, but just showing interest in someone (especially someone you routinely ignore) can be an act of generosity; and you could pick a different person each day or only do the "showing interest" on Mondays and pick a different sort of thing for Tuesdays, etc. I think part of the practice is to figure out what might be a generous thing that you could do. After a while, you might not need much advance planning, you might just become more attuned and practiced in seeing opportunities and taking them.
Part of this would be for it to be a specific thing so you do know that you are doing it (vs. "be more generous").
While this may sound easy, I think the hard part is not just falling back to the habitual daily routines; I know I tend to do that -- but that is a potential benefit of this practice to -- not just falling back on auto pilot.
Good luck!
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

User avatar
LG2V
Posts: 215
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:40 pm

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by LG2V » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:57 pm

Try to make some sort of gamification scheme. Gamify it. Give yourself points based on good actions taken, and deduct points based on mistakes made. Add or subtract it in a text document or spreadsheet. Set goals for yourself and see if you can hit them. Here's a helpful video:

https://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgoniga ... rs_of_life
Here are some excellent sites for giving free Dana (Click-Based Donation):
http://freerice.comhttp://greatergood.com/www.ripple.orgwww.thenonprofits.com

User avatar
binocular
Posts: 5405
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by binocular » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:06 pm

On another general note:
Devote a small notebook to writing down ideas for moral actions, sorting them by category.

For example:
Ideas for being more generous in physical actions:
- give the cat fresh water every day
- send my friends birthday cards on their birthdays
- go grocery shopping for a friend who has a broken leg

And so on.

When you read the forums here, when you talk to people, read books etc., you can easily come across ideas for how to be more generous. People talk about the good things they have done or the good things they have seen other people do. Take advantage of that and write it down, otherwise you might forget. Once you start a collection and write down a few items, that gives you the impetus to think of even more and to pay attention to new ones. Then make a point to read through those lists once a week, say, every Saturday. Think which of the listed actions you could do this month, this week, today, within the next few hours, and do them (or write them into your calendar).

JohnK
Posts: 581
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by JohnK » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:17 am

Speaking of acts of generosity (dana), I just came across the word "abhayadana" -- giving freedom from fear.
So, with some introspection, if you think you might be a bit "scary" to some people, another possible act of generosity would be to soften the behavior that may be scary. (This may not be relevant in the current context, but I thought it was interesting and worth sharing.)
I saw the term in Ajahn Amaro's The Breakthrough.
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

User avatar
Zom
Posts: 2065
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Contact:

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Zom » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:02 am

I want to focus on improving my sila. I was thinking of focusing on mental, verbal and bodily conduct. My plan is to pick one mental, verbal and bodily act that's positive and practice it daily. What are your thoughts on this approach and what would you personally pick for those three things?
Right approach is "bodily" -> "verbal" -> "mental", simply because 1st one is the most evident and gross thing and is the easiest to deal with.

Digity
Posts: 1332
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Digity » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:13 am

I don't see why you can't do all three in parallel. Unless you're struggling to see the issues in your conduct then yes, maybe work on the obvious stuff first. I feel pretty aware though of my problems with mental/verbal/bodily conduct, so I feel I can approach them all at once.

User avatar
Zom
Posts: 2065
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Contact:

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Zom » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:00 pm

Because if you can't manage with gross mental activities that lead to bodily actions, there's little chance you ll be able to do that with more subtle mental activities that lead to speech and thinking ,)

Digity
Posts: 1332
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Digity » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:27 am

Zom wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:00 pm
Because if you can't manage with gross mental activities that lead to bodily actions, there's little chance you ll be able to do that with more subtle mental activities that lead to speech and thinking ,)
Well, what I'm practicing is pretty simple. For verbal, I'm practicing greeting my coworkers in a friendly manner in the morning. For mental, I'm making sure to take a pause once a day and spend a minute reflecting on my good qualities. For bodily, I'm practicing a small act of generosity, like giving a $1 donation when getting a coffee or going out of my way to help someone. These are small acts and I don't see why they can't be done in parallel.

User avatar
L.N.
Posts: 504
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:01 pm

Re: Want to improve sila

Post by L.N. » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:57 am

Be kind to yourself too.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 22 guests