Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
spacenick
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by spacenick » Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:52 pm

Maarten wrote:Doesn't it depend on the intention? Technically it's not stealing, but it can be in spirit. If you download in order to save money then I think it should be considered stealing, since the creator is losing money here. But what if you download a product that you would never buy if downloading was not possible? So you would only get it if it was free. In this case the owner does not lose anything does he? he would have never had your money anyway. So in this last case no one is losing anything so it's not really stealing right?

With Metta,

Maarten
Nah the precepts are pretty straightforward and do not include intention. However intention is the molding factor that will make you, sooner or later, experience the fruits of that intention (vipaka) to a degree that is basically proportional to your original intention, and your current state of mind (then we get into all the kammic complexities so let's not)

To add my view to the thicket: to me this is a straightforward "yes, it does violate the 2nd precept". You are taking something that is not given (I don't really see the debate here tbh). Now, do I think that this has strong kammic consequences? Absolutely not. This sounds pretty minor to me. BUT, you're still breaking the precept.

So it depends how pure you want your Sila to be. When the mind gets to certain degrees of deep stillness, it doesn't need much to move... Or I should say, the disturbance of minor things like that become more apparent (while before you would think this would never have any consequences whatsoever)

It's quite funny because both this topic and the porn ones are the most viewed on this sub-forum; basically it comes down to "I really like doing that, and I don't intend to change - can I find a way so that it accords with the Buddhist side of my personality?". We just need a topic about the glass of wine at dinner and I think we have a winning trio :tongue:

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samseva
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by samseva » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:05 pm

spacenick wrote:Nah the precepts are pretty straightforward and do not include intention.
Intention is part of the precepts.

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by spacenick » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:36 pm

samseva wrote:
spacenick wrote:Nah the precepts are pretty straightforward and do not include intention.
Intention is part of the precepts.
Care to develop a bit more your statement here?

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samseva
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by samseva » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:44 pm

spacenick wrote:Care to develop a bit more your statement here?
Intention is a major factor in all the precepts (in all actions actually).
1st Precept wrote:A complete act of killing constituting a full violation of the precept involves five factors: (1) a living being; (2) the perception of the living being as such; (3) the thought or volition of killing; (4) the appropriate effort; and (5) the actual death of the being as a result of the action.
2nd Precept wrote:According to the commentaries, for a complete breach of the precept to be committed five factors must be present: (1) an article belonging to another legally and blamelessly; (2) the perception of it as belonging to another; (3) the thought or intention of stealing; (4) the activity of taking the article; and (5) the actual appropriation of the article.
3rd Precept wrote:The texts mention four factors which must be present for a breach of the precept to be incurred: (1) an illicit partner, as defined above; (2) the thought or volition of engaging in sexual union with that person; (3) the act of engaging in union; and (4) the acceptance of the union.
4th Precept wrote:Four factors enter into the offense of false speech: (1) an untrue state of affairs; (2) the intention of deceiving another; (3) the effort to express
that, either verbally or bodily; and (4) the conveying of a false impression to another.
5th Precept wrote:For the precept to be violated four factors are required: (1) the intoxicant; (2) the intention of taking it; (3) the activity of ingesting it; and (4) the actual ingestion of the intoxicant.
Source: Bhikkhu Bodhi's Going for Refuge & Taking the Precepts

spacenick
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by spacenick » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:56 pm

So first of all, this comes from the commentaries. I take the 5 precepts from the Canon as being this:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/pancasila.html wrote: 1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
As you can see, no intention is mentioned here.

But anyway, I mentioned intention in the sense of: it is not the having the intention to harm that is breaking the precept. In that sense, precepts are not about intention. Obviously, intention precedes action, so that's a given.

But if you have a thought of killing your co-worker, you're are not breaking the 1st precept. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't uproot that thought quickly; but you are not breaking any precept. This would be having a kind of sinner approach to the precepts which is not helpful and give rise to all sorts of guilt and other unhealthy things.

Equally, you are not not breaking a precept because you lied "to do good". So it works both ways. [^1]

I'm guessing that intention is mentioned in the commentaries because it does make a difference kammically let's say if you step on an ant unintentionally.

[^1]: And it's helpful to try to escape our Judeo-Christian conditioning as much as we can and to remember that these training rules (that is what they are) are for our own benefits and to optimize progress in our practice towards awakening. No one is gonna punish you for breaking a precept (ok, based on your kamma you might get into a scenario of being judged at death time, but that's another discussion); we already "pay the price" for breaking precepts by having created the potential for negative kamma to ripen. In themselves, they are not an "absolute thing" (and it's not surprising to see that blind attachment to precepts drops at stream-entry)
Last edited by spacenick on Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:09 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Janalanda » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:05 am

Buddha said "kamma is intention". Even normal humans realized this. For example: you don't go to jail for killing somebody by mistake. If it wasn't your intention, no need to feel too bad about it.
"'Kamma should be known. The cause by which kamma comes into play should be known. The diversity in kamma should be known. The result of kamma should be known. The cessation of kamma should be known. The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said?

"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... kamma.html

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samseva
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by samseva » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:22 am

spacenick wrote:So first of all, this comes from the commentaries. I take the 5 precepts from the Canon as being this:
1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
As you can see, no intention is mentioned here.
We would have barely any understanding at all of many parts of the Canon if it weren't for the Commentaries. Furthermore, the absence of the word 'intention' in only the formulation of the precepts—not the explanations—is an incorrect argument regarding intention not being part of the precepts.
spacenick wrote:But anyway, I mentioned intention in the sense of: it is not the having the intention to harm that...

[...]

[^1]: And it's helpful to try to escape our Judeo-Christian conditioning as much as we can and to remember that these training rules...
Obviously, intention of each precept alone aren't the precepts themselves; it is one factor among others—and most or all the factors must be fulfilled for the breach of a precept. Also, the association with Judeo-Christian beliefs and behaviours is not something everyone shares and is very much dependent on one's personal conditioning.

Intention is part of the precepts. I am sure there are many Sutta passages describing this. If the above excerpts from Bhikkhu Bodhi's work aren't sufficient, then please feel free to search for Sutta passages that support either point of view that intention is or isn't part of the precepts (you will probably find some for the former and none for the latter).

Regards.

spacenick
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by spacenick » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:28 am

I guess we will agree to disagree.

:anjali:

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Chula
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Chula » Mon Aug 29, 2016 5:42 pm

I recently found a detailed response on this from Bhante Yuttadhammo that I think does a very good job:

http://buddhism.stackexchange.com/quest ... /2869#2869

I think I generally agree with that perspective.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:47 pm

A monk can be guilty of defeat without taking any physical object.
Buddhist Monastic Discipline wrote:d. Smuggling: A bhikkhu carrying items subject to an import duty hides them as he goes through customs. The taking is accomplished when the item leaves the customs area.
The law of the land decided that duty is payable on certain goods. Failing to pay that duty is theft.

The law of the land decides that payment is due on downloaded films, music, or software. What is the difference here if one fails to make the legally required payment?

Similarly, what about evasion of payment when travelling by train? One could argue that there is a negligible cost to the train company in carrying another 100 Kg when the fully loaded train weighs thousands of Kg. However, that's not the point. The law requires payment to be made.
Buddhist Monastic Discipline wrote:Special cases cited in the Commentary include the following:
a. False dealing: A bhikkhu makes counterfeit money or uses counterfeit weights. The taking is accomplished when the counterfeit is accepted.
b. Extortion: Using threats, a bhikkhu compels the owner of an object to give it to him. The taking is accomplished when the owner complies.
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:02 am

does there not have to be a physical object? you can't take information, only see it
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 am

see it, hear it, etc., i mean. i'm surprised to see a lot of people here describing kamma as a positive obligation (rather than a negative one); to me, it is something you don't do.
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by cappuccino » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:58 am

Stealing — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from stealing is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to the loss of one's wealth.

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by cappuccino » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:00 am

when indulged in, developed, & pursued

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Re: Does illegal downloading violate the 2nd precept?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:32 am

forcibly liberating a slave in the united states would have been considered theft, but it would have been a very kind thing to do
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
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