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Breaking the precepts

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  • Breaking the precepts

    Does anyone have any thoughts on what would be the right action to take if you break the precepts? Say one that is not violating any laws, like stealing or killing, but lying, cheating or drinking?


    Metta
    T

  • #2
    Ajahn Brahm's AFL code springs to mind. Acknowledge it. Forgive yourself. Learn from it.

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    • #3
      A good start, no doubt Stuart

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      • #4
        I would think that it would also be appropriate to apologize to anybody who has been hurt by the action, and to make restitution so far as possible.

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        • #5
          Hi Tory,

          Here is something from Krishnamurti that is fairly deep.

          There were a few fishermen walking back to their villages from the town, but the beach was almost deserted and silent. A single star was above the clouds. On our way back, a woman joined us and began to talk of serious things. She said she belonged to a certain society whose members meditated and cultivated the essential virtues. Each month a particular virtue was chosen, and during the days that followed it was cultivated and put into practice. From her attitude and speech it appeared that she was well grounded in self-discipline and somewhat impatient with those who were not of her mood and purpose.

          Virtue is of the heart and not of the mind, When the mind cultivates virtue, it is cunning calculation; it is a self-defence, a clever adjustment to environment. Self-perfection is the very denial of virtue. How can there be virtue if there is fear? Fear is of the mind and not of the heart. Fear hides itself under different forms: virtue, respectability, adjustment, service and so on. Fear will always exist in the relationships and activities of the mind. The mind is not separate from its activities; but it separates itself, thus giving itself continuity and permanence. As a child practises the piano, so the mind cunningly practises virtue to make itself more permanent and dominant in meeting life, or to attain what it considers to be the highest. There must be vulnerability to meet life, and not the respectable wall of self-enclosing virtue. The highest cannot be attained; there is no path, no mathematically progressive growth to it. Truth must come, you cannot go to truth, and your cultivated virtue will not carry you to it. What you attain is not truth, but your own self-projected desire; and in truth alone is there happiness.

          The cunning adaptability of the mind in its own self-perpetuation sustains fear. It is this fear that must be deeply understood, not how to be virtuous. A petty mind may practise virtue, but it will still remain petty. Virtue is then an escape from its own pettiness, and the virtue it gathers will also be petty. If this pettiness is not understood, how can there be the experiencing of reality? How can a petty, virtuous mind be open to the immeasurable?

          In comprehending the process of the mind, which is the self, virtue comes into being. Virtue is not accumulated resistance; it is the spontaneous awareness and the understanding of what is. Mind cannot understand; it may translate what is understood into action, but it is not capable of understanding. To understand, there must be the warmth of recognition and reception, which only the heart can give when the mind is silent. But the silence of the mind is not the result of cunning calculation. The desire for silence is the curse of achievement, with its endless conflicts and pains. The craving to be, negatively or positively, is the denial of virtue of the heart. Virtue is not conflict and achievement, prolonged practice and result, but a state of being which is not the outcome of self-projected desire. There is no being if there is a struggle to be. In the struggle to be there is resistance and denial, mortification and renunciation; but the overcoming of these is not virtue. Virtue is the tranquillity of freedom from the craving to be, and this tranquillity is of the heart, not of the mind. Through practice, compulsion, resistance, the mind may make itself quiet, but such a discipline destroys virtue of the heart, without which there is no peace, no blessing; for virtue of the heart is understanding.

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          • #6
            Dear Ed, thank you for your beautiful and precise insight on the subject. I really enjoyed reading this.

            Of course you are absolutely right – constructing virtue is like practicing Dana only when you know someone is watching. Still, I think in the matter of precepts and diligence in following them, that the effort we put into it is an important part of conditioning the mind towards a natural state, step by step leaving the somewhat stiff and clumsy novice approach behind. At least that is how I see it from where I am today. Then, when stronger and more conditioned, it hopefully will help insight again leading to a more natural implementation of virtue.

            Also I haven´t really broken any precepts myself, so the question was more of an academic one

            Metta
            T

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            • #7
              De nada. Sorry for misspelling your name. I have to work on remembering those things. Yes virture doesn't seem to be something that happens when you try for it, except in a very superficial way. Virtue seems to come about when with a very uncluttered, bright, open mind, one sees, in a flash, their non-virtuous action. Ugh. It only takes one time for a fundamental shift to occur in the consciousness. These kinds of things happen for example, when one comes out of jhana. At that time, the ego doesn't superimpose itself as much on whatever is noticed.

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              • #8
                No worries about the name, I´m trying to get rid of it anyway as part of my anatta-practice

                The virtue-question is indeed interesting, and again thanks for a really good take on it. Will be reflected upon

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