Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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daniil
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Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by daniil »

Still very new to the dhamma.

While girlfriend is away on her first retreat, I decided to tey and step my pracrice up to 2 hours a day. Since I have been practicing very 'surface level' techniques in the past, i have not seen much progress, but this time i tried to follow a 2 hour daily meditation of satipatanna vipassana, plus being mindful at work and home noting experience as much as i can with the goal of 1/sec.

Its day 6/21 and while i definetely jumped forward in my practice, the idea of experiental reality really freaked me out once i grasped it. Have i literally been living a conceptual lie i made up for myself this whole time?

Anyway that question led to doubt then fear, anger etc. And i smoked weed. Long time go-to of mine.

terrible idea as i had been following 8 precepts, which then deteriorated into 6 and then eventually 4.

This led me to guilt, then to to disliking which inevitably leads to wanting and craving/addiction. Is this the point of following the 5th precept? Substances keep you in the loop.

SarathW
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by SarathW »

A related story you may have heard before (perhaps a zen story):

A monk is given the order to do one of the following:

1. Kill a goat and eat it.
2. Sleep with a prostitute.
3. Drink a bottle of whiskey.

Knowing that all 3 break the precepts, the monk considered which would be the "lesser" of the evils. He concluded that drinking whiskey would be the least damaging since it is not killing anyone nor a serious violation of his monk's precepts. So he drank the whiskey, got drunk and while drunk, slept with the prostitute, killed the goat and ate it.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=19594&hilit=Alcohol&start=30
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Srilankaputra
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by Srilankaputra »

If we obey some one out of fear or inconvenience we feel like a slave or beggar. Obeying internal commands by kilesas(defilements) is no different. It makes us feel ashamed and remorseful. But us laymen can be happy if we keep the five precepts confident in the fact we have carried out the blessed ones instruction to us.

IMO.
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

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DooDoot
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by DooDoot »

daniil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:23 pm
the idea of experiental reality really freaked me out once i grasped it. Have i literally been living a conceptual lie i made up for myself this whole time? Anyway that question led to doubt then fear, anger etc.
The impression is you jumped into the deep end of the swimming pool or into an ocean where the waves were too big; thus needed an artificial life raft.

Possibly just focus on the basics of meditation, namely, samatha (calming breathing) and clear-comprehension (noting mental states as they arise, continue for a while & subside).

Also, if you can, do some simple walking meditation in a park with trees or in a secluded place; with the goal of simply remaining in that walking space and being comfortable with whatever arises internally.

:smile:

As for smoking weed, it becomes a crutch or dependency; which signifies a deficiency in spiritual resilience. If doubt, fear &/or anger arise in the mind, you should try to simply clearly-comprehend those arisings, simply noting: "Doubt has arisen, fear has arisen, anger has arisen". If you have patience & endurance, these mental clouds will pass away; sooner or later.

Your girlfriend is away on retreat. If you feel alone or loneliness, again, simply clearly-comprehend: "I feel alone", until the feeling passes.

We can't turn to drugs & alcohol every time there is a bad mood or some conflict in our lives. Instead, we should try to use our human awareness & intelligence to sort out the bad mood or the conflict.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

buddho99
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by buddho99 »

Great post, thank you DooDoot.

dharmacorps
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by dharmacorps »

It sounds like you have earnest interest in practicing meditation and following the precepts which is great. You may need to delve deeper into your relationship with substances though-- I experienced the same problems myself but with alcohol. I would recommend going to a 12 step group (Marijuana anonymous is a good group). The teachings of the Buddha are wonderful, but your personal experience with substance abuse may be something addressed in conjunction with a 12 step group. Once I was able to get my sobriety stable with a support system and peer support, then I was able to hold all the precepts solidly, and my practice was able to proceed. Something to think about at least.

SarathW
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by SarathW »

Its day 6/21 and while i definetely jumped forward in my practice, the idea of experiental reality really freaked me out once i grasped it. Have i literally been living a conceptual lie i made up for myself this whole time?

Anyway that question led to doubt then fear, anger etc.
It appears to me that you have overcome by Mara's 6th and 7th army.
The Mara won and he push you back to the lowest level and now you are under his first army.
Good news is you manage to beat five of his army.
So do it again and continue.
Practice Vipassana not Samatha.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=35806&p=535737&hil ... ra#p535737
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

SteRo
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by SteRo »

daniil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:23 pm
Still very new to the dhamma.

While girlfriend is away on her first retreat, I decided to tey and step my pracrice up to 2 hours a day. Since I have been practicing very 'surface level' techniques in the past, i have not seen much progress, but this time i tried to follow a 2 hour daily meditation of satipatanna vipassana, plus being mindful at work and home noting experience as much as i can with the goal of 1/sec.
Seems like the absence of your girlfriend inspired your practice. But what about your practice when your girlfriend is back?
daniil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:23 pm
Its day 6/21 and while i definetely jumped forward in my practice, the idea of experiental reality really freaked me out once i grasped it. Have i literally been living a conceptual lie i made up for myself this whole time?
Maybe yes, maybe no.
daniil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:23 pm
Anyway that question led to doubt then fear, anger etc. And i smoked weed. Long time go-to of mine.
Failure is normal in the beginnings.
daniil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:23 pm
terrible idea as i had been following 8 precepts, which then deteriorated into 6 and then eventually 4.
Again: Failure is normal in the beginnings.
daniil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:23 pm
This led me to guilt, then to to disliking which inevitably leads to wanting and craving/addiction. Is this the point of following the 5th precept? Substances keep you in the loop.
Without insight it's difficult. If you don't recognize your own stupidity then what or who might be able to point it out?

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Aloka
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by Aloka »

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:57 am
daniil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:23 pm
the idea of experiental reality really freaked me out once i grasped it. Have i literally been living a conceptual lie i made up for myself this whole time? Anyway that question led to doubt then fear, anger etc.
The impression is you jumped into the deep end of the swimming pool or into an ocean where the waves were too big; thus needed an artificial life raft.

Possibly just focus on the basics of meditation, namely, samatha (calming breathing) and clear-comprehension (noting mental states as they arise, continue for a while & subside).

Also, if you can, do some simple walking meditation in a park with trees or in a secluded place; with the goal of simply remaining in that walking space and being comfortable with whatever arises internally.

:smile:

As for smoking weed, it becomes a crutch or dependency; which signifies a deficiency in spiritual resilience. If doubt, fear &/or anger arise in the mind, you should try to simply clearly-comprehend those arisings, simply noting: "Doubt has arisen, fear has arisen, anger has arisen". If you have patience & endurance, these mental clouds will pass away; sooner or later.

Your girlfriend is away on retreat. If you feel alone or loneliness, again, simply clearly-comprehend: "I feel alone", until the feeling passes.

We can't turn to drugs & alcohol every time there is a bad mood or some conflict in our lives. Instead, we should try to use our human awareness & intelligence to sort out the bad mood or the conflict.
:goodpost: Excellent advice.

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DooDoot
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by DooDoot »

buddho99 wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:32 pm
Great post, thank you DooDoot.
Aloka wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:15 am
:goodpost: Excellent advice.
:thanks: :heart:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Crazy cloud
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by Crazy cloud »

daniil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:23 pm
Its day 6/21 and while i definetely jumped forward in my practice, the idea of experiental reality really freaked me out once i grasped it. Have i literally been living a conceptual lie i made up for myself this whole time?
You're doing great, discovered samsara, and of course, you got scared. But that's okay, it's normal for us all.

Drinking and smoking aren't wrong, but it clouds the mind and might lead you to do unwise things, and continue the wandering on in samsara. Better shake off the shock, don't beat yourself and just keep on watching your mind all the time. But be careful to set up perfect standards, because in the beginning, they can burn you out. Better to keep it slow and simple. And what is simple is to keep a clear mind.

ethics, serenity, and wisdom

:console:
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

manas
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by manas »

daniil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:23 pm
Still very new to the dhamma.

While girlfriend is away on her first retreat, I decided to tey and step my pracrice up to 2 hours a day. Since I have been practicing very 'surface level' techniques in the past, i have not seen much progress, but this time i tried to follow a 2 hour daily meditation of satipatanna vipassana, plus being mindful at work and home noting experience as much as i can with the goal of 1/sec.

Its day 6/21 and while i definetely jumped forward in my practice, the idea of experiental reality really freaked me out once i grasped it. Have i literally been living a conceptual lie i made up for myself this whole time?

Anyway that question led to doubt then fear, anger etc. And i smoked weed. Long time go-to of mine.

terrible idea as i had been following 8 precepts, which then deteriorated into 6 and then eventually 4.

This led me to guilt, then to to disliking which inevitably leads to wanting and craving/addiction. Is this the point of following the 5th precept? Substances keep you in the loop.
Hi daniil,
I've been practicing the Dhamma, in one sense, for many years. One lingering problem, was never quite being able to let go of weed. I would 'take breaks', and make justifications for not being able to let it go fully. I can't be bothered going into those, but I do have some advice which might help, in letting it go.

Yes, getting high or intoxicated, does lead to suffering & stress, and in my experience, it hinders progress, or at the very least slows it down. I kept wondering over the years, why, despite my increasing appreciation of the Dhamma, I would regularly be plagued by doubts, often agonizingly so. And I have known of the Dhamma, for about 25 years now! The answer has come to me only recently, when I finally resolved that it's over. I can't even smoke weed 'medicinally' to help me get to sleep, because even one puff of it will send me right back to that intense craving which, the longer I abstain from it, seems to (1). get less and less over time, and (2). gets easier to 'turn away' from, should it (the old craving) arise. In any case, it's a bit easier for me; I've got chronic kidney disease, and if they continue to degrade at the rate they have, I could be on dialysis and awaiting a transplant in two years. The writing has been on the wall for a while now. However, after a decent 'break' recently, I got tempted once more. Strongly. I dreamed about it, too. I was going to go get some. But the little steps I've taken in understanding of the Dhamma, especially over the last few years, and even more so, over the last few months, made me pause and reflect. I noted how clear my mind has been, since I've been off the stuff. I noted how much better sati-sampajanna is, both in daily life, and during meditation. I looked into my heart, and felt a sad feeling - that I would be letting myself down, that the caring thing to do, would be not to have it. And I reflected how, I just don't have time to waste anymore. I had to give it up, for good this time. And soon after, i made that resolve, properly - and I had to really mean it, not 'keep the door open' that maybe if I got better, I could have it again? The answer must be, no. No more intoxication for me, for as long as life lasts.

Well, soon after making that resolve (also, I don't want to take the risk of dying in an intoxicated state, the notion horrifies me, and I'm surprised it didn't enough, before) - I feel tangibly more at ease. I don't mean that there are not still 'ups and downs' in mood, just that I am not so easily unbalanced by them. The Dhamma is (as I understand it) for attaining total release from dukkha (to be precise, knowing we're released from dukkha, 'knowledge & vision of release' ). The cause of dukkha being, 'that craving that leads to further becoming, accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here and now there, ie, craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for not-becoming'. Abandoning craving is obviously a long-term task for almost all of us, myself included, but on the Path to it's abandonment, we must inevitably, 'go against the grain of our desires' somewhat. There is no other way, if we want to reach the ending of dukkha. And it involves some restraint, initially from gross harmful actions, and over time, from more subtle ones. Even this restraint, has to be graded, according to one's capability; we should neither be too slack, nor too intense (in a way that might itself cause us excessive stress). Our level of effort needs to be 'tuned', 'just right'. But to intoxicate the mind, is a really basic unwholesome action, it's like, you meditate, clean the mind somewhat, then have a smoke (of, say, weed) and depending on what you indulge in while you're high, there are repercussions and reverberations in the mind for a few days after the high, I've found. At the very least it greatly slows progress, but the most annoying thing for me, was how, for a few days at least, sati-sampajanna would be reduced, and to be honest, the lack of commitment in the heart was an issue also - not keeping the fifth precept in an unbroken way (I've 'given up' quite a few times in the past, you know?) was a continual source on unease in the mind-heart, a source of remorse, which is as you might already know, is one of the five hindrances to meditation (nīvaraṇa).

Anyway, I'm trying to make this process smoother for myself, I am gifting myself alternatives, such as "well, you can't have weed anymore, but if it's really hurting, you may have a pizza instead" or whatever it takes, to give the mind something, some kind of substitute sensual pleasure that's less (much less!) harmful - but being firm, that intoxicants are now out of the question - well soon after making that firm resolve, one of those inspiring experiences happened, where I could see more clearly for a time, and drew nearer to the Dhamma, and it moved me quite a lot, I shed some tears in fact. I then realized how essential good sila is, to really progress on the Path. I now don't want to go back, that's another miracle. (note: I don't wish to set you up for disappointment, by creating expectations of sudden joyful experiences as soon as you give up weed; in my experience, such things come when they come, not as an act of will; we can't force them and waiting around for them to happen ensures they won't happen, in my experience; better just 'let go of expectations & do the practice as instructed'. Also, the little step forward, happened not 'for no reason', but with a cause & supporting condition, I believe - reading & listening to suttas over the past few months, trying to practice the Noble Eightfold Path better over the last few months, etc - it didn't come 'cheap', if you know what I mean. Abandoning weed, in and of itself, would not have been enough.) Meditation is improving, anyway, and I'm gradually coaxing this mind to learn how to enjoy calm, the relative stillness of just being with one object for a while, and while it's an acquired taste for me - my restless mind still seeks 'entertainment' - this, too, is getting easier.

I now feel more faith in the Dhamma than before. I'm not saying this has been easy - no, it's been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do (and I must admit, this crisis of physical health, has been an additional spur to get it done, since I never wanted to risk dying with this old addiction still intact, and time is kinda running short for me), but it was so worth it. I hope this inspires you in some way.

One more thing: I think it's good to, initially at least, just really commit to follow the basic five lay precepts as purely as you can. You can always increase the number of precepts later, but it's good to firmly establish yourself in those first, I believe. Since i've dedicated myself to these, I feel a sense of relief and inner peace I've not felt in many years. A sense of safety - the unsurpassed protection of the Dhamma.

with metta.
:anjali:

EDIT: If what I've written is a bit too intense or feels burdensome, I should remind you, I did progress through the years, during the 'breaks' from smoking, which were fairly regular, and sometimes of a reasonable duration; what I meant was, I believe one would progress more quickly, and with less angst, if one simply observed all five precepts strictly from the beginning. However, I wouldn't want you to feel so despondent, that you gave up on the Dhamma, just because you 'slipped' now and then; I guess I'm really just trying to save you some time and trouble, but in any case, I would always recommend studying & practicing the Dhamma anyway, even if you sometimes didn't observe the fifth precept purely. (I still recommend observing it as purely as possible, though! Give it your best shot :) ). m.
“It would be better for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person to hold to the body composed of the four great elements, rather than the mind, as the self. Why is that? Because this body composed of the four great elements is seen standing for a year, two years, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred years or more. But what’s called ‘mind,’ ‘intellect,’ or ‘consciousness’ by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another." - SN 12:61 (excerpt)

manas
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by manas »

By chance, I just came across this video; from about 33:00 or soon after (I find it hard to pinpoint the exact spot), Ajahn Achalo begins talking about the 5th precept (although the entire talk is excellent). I think he explains this issue better than I.

“It would be better for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person to hold to the body composed of the four great elements, rather than the mind, as the self. Why is that? Because this body composed of the four great elements is seen standing for a year, two years, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred years or more. But what’s called ‘mind,’ ‘intellect,’ or ‘consciousness’ by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another." - SN 12:61 (excerpt)

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WindDancer
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Re: Breaking the 5th precept. How it leads to suffering

Post by WindDancer »

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:57 am
daniil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:23 pm
the idea of experiental reality really freaked me out once i grasped it. Have i literally been living a conceptual lie i made up for myself this whole time? Anyway that question led to doubt then fear, anger etc.
The impression is you jumped into the deep end of the swimming pool or into an ocean where the waves were too big; thus needed an artificial life raft.

Possibly just focus on the basics of meditation, namely, samatha (calming breathing) and clear-comprehension (noting mental states as they arise, continue for a while & subside).

Also, if you can, do some simple walking meditation in a park with trees or in a secluded place; with the goal of simply remaining in that walking space and being comfortable with whatever arises internally.

:smile:

As for smoking weed, it becomes a crutch or dependency; which signifies a deficiency in spiritual resilience. If doubt, fear &/or anger arise in the mind, you should try to simply clearly-comprehend those arisings, simply noting: "Doubt has arisen, fear has arisen, anger has arisen". If you have patience & endurance, these mental clouds will pass away; sooner or later.

Your girlfriend is away on retreat. If you feel alone or loneliness, again, simply clearly-comprehend: "I feel alone", until the feeling passes.

We can't turn to drugs & alcohol every time there is a bad mood or some conflict in our lives. Instead, we should try to use our human awareness & intelligence to sort out the bad mood or the conflict.
Thanks DooDoot. Your reply is very helpful.

:namaste:

WindDancer
Live Gently....

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