Saturday, August 25, 2018

Via Lion´s Roar / Buddha’s Bicycle

Siddhartha taught that moral responsibility was an important tool for the prevention of dukkha or suffering. But, says Zachary Bremmer, clinging to the five precepts as law can cause more suffering than it prevents. Instead, we should approach the five precepts as training wheels to guide our practice.
The brilliance of the precepts is that they also work on a much more subtle level. The not so obvious benefit is that through our practice we are not only transforming externally by avoiding unskillful ways of acting but simultaneously transforming the internal structure of how we think about and react to certain situations. If I habitually give in to my cravings I will certainly suffer as a result because, as Mick Jagger pointed out, I can’t always get what I want. If I do not allow myself to be pulled around by these insatiable desires, though, I will become awakened to a new way of dealing with these feelings. I will begin to realize that I do not need to act on my lust for food or drink or objects. I will no longer be ruled by an endless cycle of grasping but rather simply take notice that I have certain desires and let them be. The precepts help to accomplish this.

Via Lion’s Roar / The Guidelines of Buddhism

I’m not sure I remember anymore what I was looking for when I first came to Buddhism — some kind of meditative lens, I suppose. But, what did I think that would really be? Whatever it was, I didn’t get it.
I do remember, though, that I was not looking for some new set of moral guidelines. I was a fairly uptight kid already, and I think I saw in Buddhism a path toward loosening up a little, trying on a different me. So when I got handed the precepts, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I’m sure I didn’t always interpret them according to their original spirit; honestly, I’ve always held them clumsily, with far more questions than answers. But I’ve never put them down since.

The basic five go like this:
  1. Do not kill (refrain from destroying living creatures).
  2. Do not steal (refrain from taking what is not given).
  3. Do not misuse sex (refrain from sexual misconduct).
  4. Do not lie (refrain from incorrect speech).
  5. Do not indulge in intoxicants (refrain from substances that lead to carelessness).
On the surface, these seem impossible to really uphold: the internet keeps telling me that I’m eating pounds of bugs in my sleep, as one example. And in today’s economy, how can we always know what is given or not given? If I click “Like” just to be supportive, is that a lie?
At the same time, the precepts are ambiguous enough that we can, if we’re so inclined, weave some convincing stories about how the thing we most want to do is actually the exception to the rule. Eventually, they can become mere background noise. But they can also — if we remain open to what they mean in each new circumstance — provide a framework of questioning that turns the lens of this practice away from ourselves and toward how we can serve others. They can give us, at least in this moment, a place to stand.

—Koun Franz, deputy editor, Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly

Via Daily Dharma: An Understanding That Will Change Your Life

Just understand your mind: how it works, how attachment and desire arise, how ignorance arises, where emotions come from... Just that gives so much happiness and peace.

—Lama Thubten Yeshe, “Chocolate Cake