the 5th precept

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
binocular
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Re: the 5th precept

Post by binocular » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:34 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:34 am
In Vinaya texts there is never any stated reason as to why guilt under one rule depends upon mens rea, while under another actus reus suffices. One can always conjecture of course, and in the present case I suspect the aim may be to foster in bhikkhus a heightened circumspection about anything they put in their mouths.
Dhammanando wrote:
Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:41 am
Dhamma_Basti wrote:
samseva wrote: I'm pretty sure intention has nothing to do with the breaking of the precept or not; whether one intended to drink alcohol or not is still a breach of the precept. I would need to check for sure for the precept, but I can confirm for pācittiya 51 (Vinaya rule regarding alcohol).
Dear samseva,
Where exactly do you see your interpretation of intentionality in the Patimokkha-Sutta? I just see a rule that says 'drinking of alcohol has to be confessed', not stating however whether this includes unintentional drinking of alcohol.
What Samseva stated is correct.

It isn’t possible to get a full understanding of any Vinaya rule just by looking at how it’s phrased as a training clause in the Pāṭimokkha. You need to look at the Vinaya’s detailed adjudications on it. What you’ll then find is this...

  • “Thinking that it is an intoxicant when it is an intoxicant a bhikkhu drinks it: he commits an offence of expiation.”

    “Being in doubt about whether it is an intoxicant when it is an intoxicant a bhikkhu drinks it: he commits an offence of expiation.”

    “Thinking that it is not an intoxicant when it is an intoxicant a bhikkhu drinks it: he commits an offence of expiation.”

    “Thinking that it is an intoxicant when it is not an intoxicant a bhikkhu drinks it: he commits an offence of wrong-doing.”

    “Being in doubt about whether it is an intoxicant when it is not an intoxicant a bhikkhu drinks it: he commits an offence of wrong-doing.”

    “Thinking that it is not an intoxicant when it is not an intoxicant a bhikkhu drinks it: he commits no offence.”
    (Vin. iv. 110)
From the third of the above judgments we can see that the prohibition against intoxicants is an example of an acittaka rule, meaning one in which the mere act is an offence, and so the bhikkhu’s intention and his perception of what he’s drinking are treated as irrelevant to the question of his culpability.

The fact that this rule is acittaka may also be seen from the Parivāra, in which it is stated that transgression of it may originate either from “body and mind” or from “body alone”. (Vin. v. 21).

Dhamma_Basti wrote:From my point of view intention is the whole point behind the training rules.
Well, I’m afraid you’re mistaken, as even a very cursory survey of the Suttavibhaṅga’s adjudications will show you.

Intention is what makes an action a skilful or an unskilful kamma. But moral restraint in the Vinaya has a much broader scope than just avoiding unskilful kammas. It’s concerned also with the maintenance of communal harmony within the sangha and harmonious relations between sangha and laity.

Certain kinds of action are objectively disruptive of this; that is, the disruption produced is quite independent of the bhikkhu’s intention for doing those actions. The Vinaya rules that prohibit such actions are therefore more likely to be ranked as acittaka than sacittaka (i.e. they’ll be rules where the bhikkhu’s state of mind and motivation is treated as irrelevant).

In this connection you might also look up the ten reasons the Buddha gave Upāli for his establishing the Pāṭimokkha. It is clear from these that (contrary to a statement in one of your later posts in this thread) there is actually a strong utilitarian component to the Vinaya.
Dhammanando wrote:
Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:33 pm
samseva wrote:Is ignorance or not having a thorough understanding of the precept an exculpatory factor for the 5th (or any) of the precepts?
No. Ignorance is exculpatory only where it has the effect of cancelling out one or more of the factors of transgression.

For example, when a person squashes a bug that he didn't see, he hasn't broken the first precept because his ignorance of the bug's presence cancels out the two factors of perception of a living being and the intention to kill it. But if he deliberately kills a bug because he is ignorant of the meaning of the first precept and thinks that it only applies to killing humans and mammals, then the factors of transgression would be complete.


(emphases in red mine)
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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