Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

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

Post by danieLion » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:08 pm

In his lecture on the Ambalaṭṭhikārāhulovāda Sutta (MN 61) to be found at

http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic- ... ikaya.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

and starting around the 10:30 minute mark and ending around the 19:00 minute mark, Ven. Bodhi discusses the actual complexity of most moral choices, and the reality that sīla is not always cut and dry.

My hope in this topic is to extend the discussion from where this lecture left off.

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?

Goodwill
Daniel

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:11 pm

Greetings,
danieLion wrote: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?
If in doubt, examine the intention.

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 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:14 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
danieLion wrote: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?
If in doubt, examine the intention.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Did you listen?
Goodwill
Daniel

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:19 pm

Greetings Daniel,
danieLion wrote:Did you listen?
To Bhikkhu Bodhi's equivocation on sīla? No, my statement was based on the Buddha's teachings, and parallels what Bhikkhu Pesala said here - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 35#p175935" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I answered your question... your question was about personal experience. I told you what I do. Thus, I don't need to listen to Bhikkhu Bodhi talking slowly in order to learn and apply the Buddha's teaching on sīla.

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 Virgo » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:42 pm

Edit I will post later.

Kevin
Last edited by Virgo on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:44 pm

Hi Daniel,

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

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Daniel,
danieLion wrote:Did you listen?
To Bhikkhu Bodhi's equivocation on sīla? No, my statement was based on the Buddha's teachings, and parallels what Bhikkhu Pesala said here - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 35#p175935" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I answered your question... your question was about personal experience. I told you what I do. Thus, I don't need to listen to Bhikkhu Bodhi talking slowly in order to learn and apply the Buddha's teaching on sīla.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Fair enough. Could you please expand on how examining intention gives you conviction to act with ethical certainty?
Goodwill
Daniel

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:06 am

Greetings Daniel,
danieLion wrote:Fair enough. Could you please expand on how examining intention gives you conviction to act with ethical certainty?
Cetana is kamma, and the vipaka will be commensurate with that.

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 1:24 am

Virgo wrote:Edit I will post later.

Kevin
Looking forward to it.
Goodwill
Daniel

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:26 am

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

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:52 am

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?
>> 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 2:00 am

I am fully agree with Bhikku Bodhi.

It is true there is no clear cut in sila. If there is a clear cut, it is against the highest Buddhist teaching of Anatta.

For practitioner like us, sila is important, because we still subject to sense of self. As long as there is this sense of self, we are subject to good and bad karma.

Buddha is free from karma because he doesn't have the notion of self at all. In this case, whatever he does, he is not subjected to karma.

Karma just mean action. If we give Buddhist teaching, there is a good karma, because we still have the sense of self. Doing the same thing, this action doesn't give rise good karma to Buddha.

When there is no self, there is no karma. Just because there is no actor, we cannot have the action.

We can slay the sky, but the sky will not get hurt.

Even when the Buddha kill someone, he will not be subjected to bad karma.

The difference is for us that action looks like killing. But from Buddha eyes, that action is not killing. Just like the mountain eruption is considered natural disaster from human eyes, but from the eyes of nature, it is not a disaster.

Only someone who is absoluty free from the notion of self, he is beyond the touch of karma. For him there is no longer boundary and clear cut in sila.

However, it is warned that as long as we still have the notion of self, sila is the only guide to keep us in track.

Sila is not the rule that put us in the jail. Sila is the guide that bring us beyond the sila.
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 Dan74 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:10 am

DarwidHalim wrote:I am fully agree with Bhikku Bodhi.

It is true there is no clear cut in sila. If there is a clear cut, it is against the highest Buddhist teaching of Anatta.

For practitioner like us, sila is important, because we still subject to sense of self. As long as there is this sense of self, we are subject to good and bad karma.

Buddha is free from karma because he doesn't have the notion of self at all. In this case, whatever he does, he is not subjected to karma.

Karma just mean action. If we give Buddhist teaching, there is a good karma, because we still have the sense of self. Doing the same thing, this action doesn't give rise good karma to Buddha.

When there is no self, there is no karma. Just because there is no actor, we cannot have the action.

We can slay the sky, but the sky will not get hurt.

Even when the Buddha kill someone, he will not be subjected to bad karma.

The difference is for us that action looks like killing. But from Buddha eyes, that action is not killing. Just like the mountain eruption is considered natural disaster from human eyes, but from the eyes of nature, it is not a disaster.

Only someone who is absoluty free from the notion of self, he is beyond the touch of karma. For him there is no longer boundary and clear cut in sila.

However, it is warned that as long as we still have the notion of self, sila is the only guide to keep us in track.

Sila is not the rule that put us in the jail. Sila is the guide that bring us beyond the sila.
I agree with Bhikkhu Bodhi - I think as usual intention and the state of mind is paramount. There are cases where one has to break sila in order to fulfill a greater sila. In any case Bhikkhu Bodhi's analysis is both common sense and in line with the Dhamma as I see it.

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.
Last edited by Dan74 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by Vepacitta » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:11 am

Well, that link didn't lead to the discussion in question. However, I have taken Bhante's class and this discussion has come up - about how Sila isn't always cut and dried. Believe me, Bhante wouldn't have an issue about lying to Nazi's about hiding Jews. He has also spoken and I wish I knew the link at BAUS.ORG because all of our classes are taped - this was quite awhile ago - when Bhante said some of these things would be difficult for him to follow - despite the teachings. He'd have a hard time doing nothing while someone was getting the snot kicked out of them - by way of example. However, Bhante will also note that one can defend oneself or others without hurting someone else.

There is a lot of back forth in our class about using one's own horse sense - yeh - most of those comments are from me, of course (insert Asura icon).

You should have heard him speak about eco-buddhism and capitalists - Bhante is a very kindly person - but not mealy mouthed by any means.

V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Post by danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:16 am

Vepacitta wrote:You should have heard him speak about eco-buddhism and capitalists - Bhante is a very kindly person - but not mealy mouthed by any means.

V.
Hi V,
This is tantalizing. Is it available?
Goodwill
Daniel

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