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Posted by: Johann
« on: August 21, 2017, 07:38:24 PM »

Having come accross a question "How to observe precepts?" My person thought giving this reasonable question an answer that migh explain it and help to observe them for best benefit and highest fruits and results:

Please feel free to add good advices and raise questions or discuss it here in the topic as well, valed/venerable/dear Guest.

How to come to be able to observe precepts?

Obsersing precepts, may they 5,8,10, requires first to have been given them, know the, understood them and resolve to keep them.

To get them be given and explained, if not habe been told on an occation, is traditional made by approaching monks or nuns of the Sangha of the Buddha, but one an also approach knoledgeable lay people who observe them by themselves.
Since it is usuall to take refuge into the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha of his monks/monastic disciple, is better to seek for appoching them, since the request is traditionally made together with the declaration of refuge and in this way the Sangha also knows about your resolve, which has next to the mental different impact trough the circumstances also other benefits, not to speak about the fact that yoy actually have got known members of the Sangha of the Buddha personally and you are known by the Sangha as lay follower (Upāsaka male, Upāsikā femail), which makes some things in relation with the Sangha easier.

It's good if you also ask for detail explaing of all, before the formal act, which is usually consisting of requesting the refuge and precepts three times from the Members of the Sangha (5, 8, 10) or Novices (5, 8)

Obervance:

Once you have heard the, understood them and resolved to keep them, does that mean that you observe them, for you benefit and as gift for countless being, which you give certain freedom of fear for you with act of that, in best possible way of your circumstances and willingness of letting go and giving.

A serious observing of precepts requires heedfullness and mindfulness, meaning keeping them in mind before you act (by speech and body), while you act and for the observings improving, after you have act, so to see the effects of your actions and if your previous judgement was right and also to be sure if a precept was broken or not.

So the observance is actually at three times, before, while and after.

And it's actually easy to do in regard of the observance, at beginning not so easy in keeping.

Before you performe an action (with body and speech) you ask you self, for example in regard of the secound precep, abstaining from taking what is not given, when taking somethink

Has it an owner, somebody who holds it as its possession currently?

If, than abstain to take it, if he has not told you that you may do so and has joy with it in doing so as far your convertion reaches. There might be certain agreements around certain things. As a Lay Person you have the alternative to ask for it from the owner, who may give it freely or in exchange of what ever.

It's good to know clear that one is really the owner, as far as possible to know or even required by certainlaws.

If it has no owner, is abounded, thrown away, and you know that, or if there is a general agreement that this can be taken by everyone, you may take it. Be careful: If it is "just" gone lost by someone, and he has not abounded his ownership for it, it still counts as his. Here it might be useful to know, if certain laws you may underly allow you to take on abounded things, since certain laws take care of such circumstances when things got lost. You may have the obligation to act in certain ways, but that is already a matter of you wordily laws you underly and of cause you are still subject to them.

If you are not sure if it has an owner or not, you may possible ask, or obsere (in the case of what seems to abounded) the item for a longer while if an owner might be trace able. If still not sure the better way is not to take it.

While you are taking it, move it from its place or take on use, you are still observant. It might be that an owner approaches, or that the owner pulls it back, in the case it's given personally.
You may lock after certain obligation you might have agreed, if it is still not in you possession, but the transfere in progress.

After you have taken it, it might be that someone approaches and makesdemand on it, saying it's his. In cases where you, after required prove, did not know it, meanig you didn't had the intention to take it even it is not give or has no owner, there is no break of the precept, if you give it back or are able to agree and give a compenssation to him/her (in the case he is really the owner). Since such cases can that be quite confusing, it's good to approach an knowledgeable admirable friend or teacher and speak about it in regard of the precepts.

In the cases you take what is not given, may you make it intentional, knowingly, before or continue and act, while getting known that you do so, or when you find out later, that you did careless (with a subtimle agreement to bear such a case, the precept is broken.

In such a case it's good to confess such an action to the owner, if possible, give it back or make a compensation if possible and bear the consquences of possible obligation you might now have.

In any case it's good to resolve to do not do such a break again. In cases where it might happens out of certain habits or by the way you maintain you lifelihood, it's good to improve them best possible and step by step. Such may take time.

The more clear the answer can be given, the easier it will become. In the first time one may have a lot to think about, dependend on ones habits and ones heedfullness to keep the precepts in mind and ask himself simply question. It might be come then, that certain struggles between habits and keeping them arise, and to get ride of them requires to possible talk with friend or teacher. It's in no way good to start to build on certain justifications an to construct a lot around the simple starting question but to go step by step the opposit way, to do not fall into long thinking and investigating how possible take possession of some thing while not breaking the precept, since such has a lot of space of hypocrisy observing, which has no benefical effects and is actually the way you maybe did before as well, but to simply let go of taking, if things are not clear and become complicated.

In its highest one might simply only take what is given personal direct and with two hand (body) and speech ("Here, for you"). Such is of cource the most benefical way, but since many many desires and needs might be still there, its good to ask, trade and fulfill once obligation in proper an honest way and of what ever one is not given or might be not able to fulfill a demanted obligation, one lets go.

The same way one walk also in regard of all precepts.

Would it be taking live? Do I take live? Did I took live?
Would it be taking of what is not given? Do I take of what is not given? Did I took of what was not given?
Would it be sexual misconduct? Is it sexual misconduct? Was it sexual misconduct?
Would it be true what I am up to say? Do I speak war is true? Did I spoke what is true?
Am I up to take indoxications? Do I take indoxications? Did I take indoxications?

It's here mabe importand to tell or point out again, that moving other people my means of speech (that incl.script, signs, gestures...) to organice you taking of live, what is not give, forward for you what is not true, counts as if have act your self, in reagard of misconduct and taking indoxicants you usually can only make it your self. Of course their would be such things possible as to order abuse or to inject yo drugs.

At the beginning you may see that you might be most busy with the question afterwards, where you also have the most problems to "fix" things or better to make you as light as possible to walk a life without bad conscience. You may find out that most of your thinking around, disease, even all your current acting has much relation with this third question and you know from the past that much fear was or maybe still is, in connection with the time after an unskilfull act. This question might come any time, from outside, and inside.
Now this is, or was, because you did not observe the basic precepts or not heedfull, keeping them in mind.

The more you train them, the more yoh fix the question before and while you do and the better you do it, the more you will see that you can answer with "No, I did not" clearly, an when this happens you have all reason of joy and you should even rejoce and always remember it, that this is actually not only the great benefit of you outstanding gift you made for yourself and others, but also the better drive to stick and improve it, as when you be driven by failures, bad conscious, fear and punishments from outside (which are the lowerst kind of drives usuall in normal sociaties, to keep the live most possible safe for everyone)

The more and better you practice and improve the observance, the more and faster you may have results freedom of bad conscious, good selfestimate, joy and fearlessness that any bad result may follow out of your actions fot you.

Importand as told before is, that you do not bend and stretch the precepts to your habits, livelihood and your desires, and build intellectual constructions around to justify this and that, but to change and improve you habits and livelihood and let go of certain desires and ways of acting.

So keeping precepts without being honest to one self and keep it simple, will not have much impact and benefit, since nature of cause and effect does not care about idees around but is straight and without "mercy" or without "stinginess and cheating". That what you give, you get. If you give fearlesness by means of precpepts you get your share back.

On the way you will investigate many things like intention, circumstances as they really are, effort, objects, means, results and so on. You will find out that certain acts depend on certain factors around the act, to be a skillful or unskillful, a break or not, and you will see that most depends on you intention (resolve, will...), since every action has intention as leader.

There are detail explainings of factors in the Commentary of the Texts, but although they are usually shared and taught, they lead much to the danger to build once ideas around actions and one easier tends to find excuses for performing deeds so that they are justified, rather than to make it simpler and more honest. The Buddha himself never talk laypeople about such things as factors and that out of good reason, to let you investigate you step by step by yourself and get more known about yourself and as you will see or have already understood here, the more simple the more benefit and on the right track.

The more you observe precepts to more you will investigate and get known of your mind and intention and there you become familar with whats going on behind your outwardly actions in speech and with body.

 Since you have got more freedom of bad conscience, you are more and more able to investigate there, and the more you are on the source of action, the more you are aware before acting, the more natural you vitrtue becomes and you grow next to the benefits of the precepts step by step more and more into the meditation an concentration part of the path and soon you might see that your observing of precepts become more and more meditation and observing of things as they are and you have a solide foundation that next to a best joyful and secure live, for calm and insight meditation, will easier find concentration not only in daily live.

It's worthy to say here, that the doors of kamma are not complete observed and judged by the precteps since there is the third door: the mind.

What ever acceptance, joy, approve one has with an unskillful acting or thought, or wish, has also it's kammic impacts as well as the opposit, disapproving... of sunskillful or approve... of skillful will cause is results.

Althought one will learn to get this mind world more and more known, and finde out more and more how to act skillful in all three ways (mind, speech, body) it is not technical item of the precepts and a precept, althought it kamma is performed as well, id done by mind, is not broken if one wishes for example "may this being dy", or approves it's killing or have joy with it.

May person may now end here and might add more inspirations later.

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa

Five blessings

"Five blessings, householders, accrue to the righteous person through his practice of virtue: great increase of wealth through his diligence; a favorable reputation; a confident deportment, without timidity, in every society, be it that of nobles, brahmans, householders, or ascetics; a serene death; and, at the breaking up of the body after death, rebirth in a happy state, in a heavenly world."

The rewards of virtue, till their highest

[Ananda:] "What, O Venerable One, is the reward and blessing of wholesome morality?"

[The Buddha:] "Freedom from remorse, Ananda."

"And of freedom from remorse?"

"Joy, Ananda"

"And of joy?"

"Rapture, Ananda"

"And of rapture?"

"Tranquillity, Ananda."

"And of tranquillity?"

"Happiness, Ananda."

"And of happiness?"

"Concentration, Ananda."

"And of concentration?"

"Vision and knowledge according to reality."

"And of the vision and knowledge according to reality?"

"Turning away and detachment, Ananda."

"And of turning away and detachment?"

"The vision and knowledge with regard to Deliverance, Ananda."

— AN 10.1 (Nyanatiloka, trans.; from Path to Deliverance, pp. 65-66)


Anumodana!

[no German translation for now]
Posted by: Johann
« on: August 21, 2017, 07:04:40 PM »

Text accidently quoted after editing, see next post: