Buddhism for You-Lesson 11-Sila&Bhavana | Vipassanā | Noble Eightfold Path

Lesson 11 The Unlosable Treasure-Store Dana (Part 2) Sila and Bhavana

Noble Eightfold Path
Just as a high rise building needs a strong foundation, all efforts towards higher spiritual achievement must begin with Sila (Morality) which enables the mind to be calm and easily focused. Without virtue, mental cultivation (Samadhi) and wisdom (Panna) are not attainable.
Wisdom Concentration

Right Speech Right Action Moralit Right Livelihood y

Precepts

Sila (Buddhist Morality) Buddhist morality is based on the universal law of cause and
effect. An act is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ according to the manner it affects oneself and others. All other criteria are misleading. Lay Buddhist morality as embodied in the Five Precepts may be considered at two levels: 1. It enables men to live together with mutual trust and respect. 2. It is the starting point for the spiritual journey towards Liberation and this is emphasised by the Buddha.

The Five Precepts (Panca Sila) serve two The Precepts
purposes: • act as a barrier to evil mental 5th 2nd impulses and • prevent a person deeds from generating bad Kamma. They are the basic rules 4th 3rd of mental and spiritual hygiene, the antidote against the poison of evil insures Observance of preceptsdeeds. a person
1st

against the risk of being reborn into states of suffering and woe.

Pãnãti-pãtã veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi Adinnã-dãnã veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi Kãmesu micchã-cãrã veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi Musãvãdã veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi Surã meraya-majja-pamãdatthãnã veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi

I take the precept to abstain from destroying living beings. I take the precept to abstain from taking things not given.

I take the precept to abstain from sexual misconduct.

Observing Five Precepts

I take the precept to abstain from false speech. I take the precept to abstain from taking anything that causes intoxication or heedlessness.

First Precept: Pãnãti-pãtã veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing living beings.
This precept is to control anger and to develop loving-kindness such that a person regards and respects the lives of other beings as his own. Due to improper understanding, many people feel that they are unable to observe this precept at all times. This precept is not a commandment which forbids a person from killing at all costs. It is only a vow a person takes voluntarily based on the Buddha’s advice that to restrain from killing will generate good results.

Questions often asked: Can I kill a mosquito? Can I kill the white ants in my house? Must I become a vegetarian? Should

Second Precept: Adinnã-dãnã veramani sikkhã padam
samãdiyãmi
I take the training rule to abstain from taking things not given.

This precept is aimed at controlling desire for material possessions and cultivating generosity. There are many forms of commitingRobbery; Stealing; theft: Exploitation of Swindling employees Ruthlessly driving competitors out of business Accepting bribes and trade on their influence Manipulating the market; creating artificial shortages A Buddhist may acquire wealth but through honest means. He should also use the wealth properly.

Third Precept: Kãmesu micchã-cãrã veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi I undertake the training rule to abstain from sexual misconduct. Kamesu micchacara is sexual misconduct or adultery. The offence is that of taking sexual pleasure from a woman who is under protection of her parents and guardians or is the wife of another man. Kamesu also signifies excessive sensual indulgence of any kind. All sexual desires are rooted in craving and passion; they are, in fact, the strongest and most difficult to eradicate. of the fundamental passions, Sex is one common to all sentient beings in the human and animal worlds.

Fourth Precept: Musãvãdã veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech. This precept stresses the importance of truthfulness and the need to control cowardice and illwill, the chief causes of false speech. The man who is addicted to lying, slander and back-biting destroys his friendships and his own reputation. Habitual liars become unable to distinguish truth from falsehood that in the end his whole outlook and judgment become distorted. The man who upholds the truth strengthens his character and reasoning powers and is more readily able to acquire penetrative insight into the nature of reality and understanding.

Fifth Precept: Surã meraya-majja-pamã-datthãnã veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi I undertake the training rule to abstain from intoxicating drinks and drugs causing heedlessness This precept is aimed at controlling the craving for unwholesome excitement and cultivating mindfulness. Under the influence of drink, a man may break all the precepts without even realizing at the time that he is doing so. Besides that the alcoholic or drug addict will stop at nothing to obtain the means of satisfying their craving.

The Eight Precepts – Attanga Sila
On Uposatha days, the Buddhist layman observes eight precepts. These are vows of a mildly ascetic nature whose purpose is to subdue the senses and strengthen The will. Precepts begins with the same Five the Eight Precepts with the exception of the third. Instead of abstaining from sexual misconduct, it becomes, “Abrahmacariya veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami – I take the training rule to abstain from sexual pleasure of any kind.”

Precepts

Sixth Precept: Vikala-bhojana veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking food at an unsuitable time. The lay devotee temporarily adopts the rule of the Bhikku Sangha in regard to food, by restricting himself to one meal or two taken before midday. It is a prescription against the over indulgence of appetite which tends to dull the mind and is not conducive to study and meditation.

Seventh Precept:

This precept is concerned with the purification of the mind. Craving arises from contact between objects and the organ of sense. To control this craving, Buddhism urges us to abstain from frivolous pleasures and selfUccasavana-mahasavana veramani Eight I undertake the training rule to abstain from sikkhapadam samadiyami. beautification. Precept: In old days, the more luxurious and elaborate beds were built very high. The high couch symbolises pride while its luxury stands for every kind of the 8th precept, he does not make By observing uncontrolled self-indulgence. himself superior to others by outward show.
using high and luxurious couches.

Nacca gita vadita visukadassana mala gandha vilepana dharana mandana vibhusanatthana I undertake the trainingsamadiyami. veramani sikkhapadam rule to abstain from dancing, singing, music and unseemly shows; from the use of perfume; garlands and ungruent and from bodily adornments.

Bhavana – Meditation or Mental Culture vast Within each of us lies the
potential to grow, to expand, to fulfil ourselves. This process of change is not the result of chanting the right prayers, reading the right books or believing in some religious Real change goes deeper. To formula. develop oneself, a person has to come to know himself, to experience all the hidden parts – good or bad – of his mind. This self-knowledge and realization, the basis for further development, comes from the practice of meditation or mental

Why Meditate?
Meditation is central to Buddhism, to our own spiritual growth and evolution to develop higher levels of consciousness. These higher levels of consciousness are characterised by the presence of ‘skilful mental states’ and the absence ‘Skilful mental states’ are those of ‘unskilful states’. based on charity, loving-kindness and ‘unskilful states’ are rooted in greed, hatred and delusion.

The Process of Transformation The experiences of different individuals differ in
meditation. However, the process can be classified into three stages: Concentration Absorption Insight

The Process of Transformation Concentra
I need to see my girlfriend tomorrow. It is her birthday. What shall I get for her? I don’t have money now……

tion

Beginners of meditation have difficulties in concentrating on the object of meditation. Their mind is like a monkey, jumping from one thought to another The mind is always thinking about thought. the past or the future but seldom on the present resulting in our energy being scattered and wasted.first stage of meditation is So, the the development of concentration which enables the mind to focus on the object of meditation. Then we have achieved what we call

The Process of Transformation Absorption (Jhana)

The next task is to achieve vertical integration by harmonising the energies of the gross and subtle aspects of the mind. This is much harder to achieve than horizontal integration. Once achieved, the meditator has started to go beyond the stage of concentration, and embark on the stage of absorption. The ‘absorption’ refers to higher states of consciousness than those we usually experience. For simplicity, we can broadly divide those higher levels into four ascending levels. Each higher level develops out of the previous lower level.

The Process of Absorption (Jhana) Transformation Level Levels One feels happy and bouyant emotionally; complete absence First Level of
Integration of stray thoughts, although there may be some discursive mental activity. Second Level of inspiration The mind is likened to a pool of water which is constantly refreshed by an underground spring. One feels in contact with a fresh spring of creative energy. There is no more discursive mental activity. This level is likened to a bed of lotuses growing in the water, totally soaked and saturated by water. You experience the creative energy not as bubbling up within you but as saturating your entire being. The mind is so positive that you cannot be affected by anything negative. The mind is so positive and concentrated that it can affect the environment, even acting at a distance in supernatural ways.

Third

Level of saturation

Fourth

Level of radiation

The Process of Transformation Insig The Fourth Jhana Level should ht be the ultimate goal of not
spiritual life even though it is veryprocess of selfThe blissful. transformation must be taken to a higher level so that the underlying causes of unhappy states of by developing insight It is only mind can be removed. into reality that one finally uproots the causes of one’s suffering forever. With a mind refined, powerfully focussed and purified, one turns to the contemplation of reality itself, using the Buddha’s teaching about

The Process of Transformation Insig ht development of insight The
is an overpowering experience which transforms a person’s whole being. At first Subsequently these glimpses insight comes in glimpses. become more prolonged, until finally the mind of the meditator dwells permanently in the radiant state of illumination, marked by the complete flowering of the

Meditation Methods
Meditation is a systematic development and culture of positive states of mind. There are several meditation practices and they are all designed with the objective of eradicating negative emotion.

Mindfulness of Breathing most fundamental This is the of all Buddhist meditations. It is a concentration exercise and is traditionally the antidote to restlessness, The main effect of this anxiety and worry. practice is integration: to harmonize and collect all the different energies and focus This method can also lead to them. insight into the true nature of

Meditation Methods
Vipassana (Insight) Meditation This meditation technique is based on the important teaching of the Buddha called the Satipatthana or This discourse teaches the Mahasatipattana Sutta. Four Foundations of Mindfulness – mindfulness of body, feelings, mental states and mental objects. The ultimate aim of Vipassana meditation is to understand the Three Characteristics of Life (Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta) and

Meditation Methods
Metta Bhavana Meditation This can be translated as the Development of Universal Loving-Kindness or Unlimited Friendliness. Through this practice we gradually develop feelings of warmth, friendliness and wishing well for ourselves (for charity begins at home), for those who are close to us, and by degrees, to everything that lives.

The gift of Dhamma excels all gifts the taste of Dhamma excels all taste, the delight in dhamma excels all delights, The Craving-Freed vanquishes all suffering. - Dhammapada verse 354

End of Lesson 11

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