Want to improve sila

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Zom
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Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Zom » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:45 am

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.
They can, however, if you (generally) do bad deeds and at the same time try to speak gently from time to time - this will lead you nowhere, because you are trying first to fix things which must be fixed later.

Same with meditation. For example, yes, you can meditate 10 minutes a day - but generally this will lead you nowhere until you are proficient in previous preliminary path stages. However, once you are accomplished in that, every meditation session will give you significant boost and advancement - like it was with the Buddha himself. He was so prepared, that he just sat under the tree and accidentally entered jhana. He didn't need to meditate 8 hours every day for 30 years to make it - because other things lead you in there, not "as many sessions as possible".

This gradual approach to practice is something people poorly understand, unfortunately.

Digity
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Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Digity » Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:05 am

Zom wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:45 am
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.
They can, however, if you (generally) do bad deeds and at the same time try to speak gently from time to time - this will lead you nowhere, because you are trying first to fix things which must be fixed later.

Same with meditation. For example, yes, you can meditate 10 minutes a day - but generally this will lead you nowhere until you are proficient in previous preliminary path stages. However, once you are accomplished in that, every meditation session will give you significant boost and advancement - like it was with the Buddha himself. He was so prepared, that he just sat under the tree and accidentally entered jhana. He didn't need to meditate 8 hours every day for 30 years to make it - because other things lead you in there, not "as many sessions as possible".

This gradual approach to practice is something people poorly understand, unfortunately.
I don't think my issue is performing bad deeds. I follow the five precepts (although, I'm breaking one currently due to carpenter ants), but generally I live a pretty moral life. No major transgressions, but in the past I've been less than nice to people.

Anyway, I think at this point in my practice this is the right thing for me. It's nothing too extreme, but it's edging my mind more and more into wholesome areas. If anything, I think I'm very much following the gradual process. I've actually give up intense meditation so that i could step back and focus on the basics and that's what I feel I'm doing here.

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Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Zom » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:23 pm

I don't think my issue is performing bad deeds. I follow the five precepts (although, I'm breaking one currently due to carpenter ants), but generally I live a pretty moral life. No major transgressions, but in the past I've been less than nice to people.
That was not personal, but just an example .)

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Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Digity » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:45 pm

Zom wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:23 pm
I don't think my issue is performing bad deeds. I follow the five precepts (although, I'm breaking one currently due to carpenter ants), but generally I live a pretty moral life. No major transgressions, but in the past I've been less than nice to people.
That was not personal, but just an example .)
Well, I've always appreciate your advice on taking the gradual path and it's helped shape my own practice. I've put the more formal meditation practice on the back burner and spend my time practicing calmness and relaxation exercises. I just had to face the hard truth that I wasn't ready to dive into the deep end. I need to spend more time in the shallow end learning the basics.

Digity
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Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Digity » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:19 pm

Zom wrote:
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.
Isn't generosity considered step 1? That'd fall under bodily, correct?

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Re: Want to improve sila

Post by Zom » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:36 am

Isn't generosity considered step 1? That'd fall under bodily, correct?
Mostly yes, but not necessarily, because the highest dana, according to the Buddha, is dhamma-dana, that is, some (obviously, verbal) advice in Dhamma up to whole lectures, dhammatalks and long-term personal instructions. This is from where monks make their bulk of punnya 8-)

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