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Re: [DhammaStudyGroup] Sila, Nourishing The Roots,

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  • Robert Kirkpatrick
    Dear Leonardo, Regarding the relationship of sila and wisdom I saw something by Nina VG which might be of interest. She writes in the Perfections leading to
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 2, 2000
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      Dear Leonardo,
      Regarding the relationship of sila and wisdom I saw
      something by Nina VG which might be of interest.
      She writes in the "Perfections leading to
      enlightenment": her wonderful book on the parami
      "Khun sujin reminded us that when there is the
      development of satipatthana there is no attachement to
      the result of kusala, no clinging to an idea of : "i
      should have more dana, I should have more sila, I
      should have more calm"....If there is no development
      of satipatthana we are actually in a dangerous
      situation. there may be conditons for kusala citta
      which observes sila, perhaps for a very long time, but
      who knows his accumulations of akusala?.....We may
      think we " I can observe the precepts" and delude
      ourselves into thinking that we are so good, but not
      notice the countless moments of akusal citta."



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    • Leonardo Neves
      Dear Robert, ... Thank you ... I think we have the tendency most of the time to consider sila as a minor and preliminary step of the Path. In the first contact
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 8, 2000
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        Dear Robert,

        > Dear leonardo,
        > I want to stress again how much I appreciate your
        > questions and comments and especially your careful
        > study of everyones comments. Your participation in
        > this forum is highly beneficial for all of us.

        Thank you

        > I guess my replies, which place so much stress on
        > anatta and uncontrollability, must seem to minimize
        > the importance of other aspects of the Buddha's
        > teaching, such as sila. A major reason for this is
        > because of my own experience and particular
        > predilictions for this aspect. If you go to Thailand
        > and meet with other members of the foundation you will
        > see that they stress sila much more. Speakers such as
        > Khun Tanit talk mainly about the different refinements
        > of sila and it is very beneficial to listen; one
        > leaves the hall so aware of the dangers of sense
        > desire; it can really condition "guarding the sense
        > doors". Khun sujin too often goes into the details of
        > sila - it really is a most important subject.

        I think we have the tendency most of the time to consider sila as a minor
        and preliminary step of the Path. In the first contact with Buddhism, usually thought
        that morality was some cultural and religious stuff. Nowdays, I think of those who
        understand sila are the ones who have more panna. Why ? Because as I have read,
        there are a mundane Right View and a Supra mundane Right-View. We have to begin our
        journey from where we are, and not where we think we are. There is a strong
        correlation between panna and sila. Even sila keeps itself in the mundane 'side' of
        the practice, it is the very foundation for panna arises. And there is no sila
        without some amount of understanding.

        > I see you have many works by bhikku bodhi (I had a
        > brief correspondence with him last month as I sent him
        > 150 copies of realities and concepts by sujin
        > boriharnwanaket which he requested)so I will refer to
        > a translation he made of the cariyapitaka (Net of
        > views p 300) "esteeming virtue as the foundation of
        > all achievements, as the soil for the origination of
        > all the Buddha qualities, the beginning, footing, head
        > and chief of all the dhammas issuing in buddhahood.".
        > Sila IS that important. However, I notice that
        > some/many people misunderstand about sila. They work
        > so hard at it but with an idea that "they" are keeping
        > sila. I know people who live a life of austerity,
        > celibacy and non-harming; much more than I even aspire
        > to, and yet even after many years they cling to wrong
        > practice. I like to point out these matters as I know
        > silabata upadana - clinging to sila and ritual - is a
        > great obstacle on the path. When we have this aspect
        > of wrong view it is hard to give it up. It feels right
        > because we change our life. Before learning about
        > Dhamma we were maybe careless, led a reckless life, or
        > had no real aim in life? Now we have rules to follow
        > and special difficult practices to try and master. Our
        > life has changed so much and we can see the difference
        > it makes- we are calmer and think more clearly. We
        > take these things as signposts that wisdom is also
        > growing but this may not be so. The Visuddhimagga
        > Xvii63 "his non-abandonment of that ignorance about
        > the four noble truths in particular prevents him from
        > recognizing as suffering the kind of suffering called
        > the fruit of merit". And the samyutta nikaya ii 82
        > "not knowing, bhikkhus, in ignorance he forms the
        > formation of merit, forms the formation of demirit,
        > forms the formation of the imperturbable". Sila and
        > samattha, can so easily be just more bricks added to
        > samsara; they too keep the wheel of paticusamupada
        > spinning. They are not to be feared as they lead to
        > pleasant result, but is it not better to have
        > understanding as well. At every moment satipatthana is
        > being correctly developed there is a level of sila
        > that is higher than if sila is developed without
        > wisdom.

        Robert, the big problem I see is that every teaching is directed to a
        particular kind of individual. If it is not the case, the Budhha didn`t preach on a
        great variety of aspects, one time stressing very basic things - for example, what an
        husband/wife should do in relation to hi/her partner, etc.. There are many, many
        levels of understanding of the Dhamma. Some people will never grasp the more profound
        aspects of the Dhamma. So, sila is in itself a very good tool to 'survive' in samsara
        and more important to create more suitable conditions for panna arises.

        you`ve said:

        > " Sila and samattha, can so easily be just more bricks added to
        > samsara; they too keep the wheel of paticusamupada
        > spinning. They are not to be feared as they lead to
        > pleasant result, but is it not better to have
        > understanding as well."

        In a ultimate sense of the Dhamma you are correct, but what about the
        millions of men and women now around the world not having the opportunity to study
        the Dhamma i a right way ? For those people sila and also samatha will be of a great
        value.

        > On Bhikkhu Bodhis book "Nourishing the roots". I think
        > I emphasize different factors to Bodhi. He sees the
        > value of sila- good. I see the danger of clinging to
        > it. We need to be exposed to different
        > interpretations.

        I can be wrong but I think we have different understandings of what sila
        means. I don't think sila as an external practice, it is not aimed do give us some
        better position in samsara or to elude ourselves with "an ego-game to be ever better
        then ever". Sila runs hand to hand with panna. How ? The more we abandon our strong
        unwholesome tendencies through, for example, practising the second precept or
        practicing dana, the more our self identity loses its force. And this is panna itself
        isn`t it ?
        I think some people practice sila to acumulate things but the real sila is
        conected with panna and it is for the sake of remove the many sheets of our big ego -
        this facilitates not only the intelectual understanding but also seeing annata.


        > He writes about cetana, volition. "This redirecting of
        > volition is initiated by voluntarily
        > undertaking the observance of principles of conduct
        > belonging to a
        > righteous order --
        > by willing to abstain from evil and to practise the
        > good."
        > I would perhaps remind that cetana is part of
        > sankharakkhandha, that it "is not-self because
        > uncontrollable"Visuddhimagga xiv224.

        Although Cetana is a sankharakkhanda and of course not-self, I think the
        right conditions must be created - kusala cetanas is the aim. Do you think that there
        are conditions to a more profound understanding without sila ? Robert, I never put
        too much emphasis in any kond of morality :-) so for me it is alomost funny this
        conversation.

        > The next part of the sutta depends very much on the
        > understanding or misunderstanding of the reader. For
        > example the phrase
        > "For one who is concentrated, no deliberate volition
        > need be exerted: "May I know and
        > see things as they really are." This is the natural
        > law, bhikkhus, that one who is concentrated knows and sees things as they really
        > are."

        > What type of concentration is this? It is the type of
        > concentration that arises with sammaditthi and that
        > takes a paramattha dhamma as object. And yes, exactly,
        > no need for 'deliberate volition", it all happens by
        > natural law. If we don't know the subtleties of the
        > path we can so easily construe this passage to mean
        > "get concentrated; become wise" but be unaware of the
        > different types of concentration.

        Excelent remark ... but for me "get concentrated with the right understanding
        and become wise"
        Thanks :-))


        > The suttas I read 10 years past look different to me
        > now. The Atthasalini (translated as the expositor
        > p31)"the bhikkhu who is ill-trained in the Suttas gets
        > a wrong idea, ..consequently he arrives at wrong view"
        > . This tends to happen with those who only study
        > sutta. Studying Abhidhamma has potential problems too-
        > a wrong grasp can lead even to madness if "he makes
        > his mind run to excess in metaphysical abstractions".
        > And if we don't study and develop at all then we will
        > go down to apaya anyway. Nothing is easy!
        > Robert

        Yes, unfortunately nothing is really easy ....

        thank you,
        Leonardo
      • Leonardo Neves
        Dear Robert, ... How do you develop satipatthana ? (sorry for the basic question ) Metta, Leonardo
        Message 3 of 4 , Oct 8, 2000
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          Dear Robert,


          > Dear Leonardo,
          > Regarding the relationship of sila and wisdom I saw
          > something by Nina VG which might be of interest.
          > She writes in the "Perfections leading to
          > enlightenment": her wonderful book on the parami
          > "Khun sujin reminded us that when there is the
          > development of satipatthana there is no attachement to
          > the result of kusala, no clinging to an idea of : "i
          > should have more dana, I should have more sila, I
          > should have more calm"....If there is no development
          > of satipatthana we are actually in a dangerous
          > situation. there may be conditons for kusala citta
          > which observes sila, perhaps for a very long time, but
          > who knows his accumulations of akusala?.....We may
          > think we " I can observe the precepts" and delude
          > ourselves into thinking that we are so good, but not
          > notice the countless moments of akusala citta."

          How do you develop satipatthana ? (sorry for the basic question )

          Metta,
          Leonardo
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