Author Topic: How far are we taking our sila/morality?  (Read 614 times)

garyatblackhouse

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How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« on: May 20, 2019, 07:45:20 PM »
Hi everyone,

There are aspects of morality I would like to ask about and discuss. It involved the little things, things I have neglected to think about until just lately. Things like streaming TV shows on the internet, not wearing my seat-belt on public transport, bringing my bike on public transport and not paying for it unless the driver asks me to, going to the local school and filling a few bottles of filtered water, lighting a candle at the church and not paying the 20c even though they ask you to.

All of these, though perhaps minor examples, are still lies and stealing nonetheless, but for some reason I've never really considered it before. So my question, how far do you take your morality? Is it in every aspect of your life or just the bigger aspects, such as don't kill/harm another living being, don't rob a bank, don't commit adultery, and so on. It seems obvious to most not to do the latter, but what about the seemingly smaller day to day actions?

Or is it just common sense, and I should get over myself and stop taking it all so serious? :D

"If you haven't cried deeply a number of times, your meditation hasn't begun." - Ajahn Chah

garyatblackhouse

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Re: How far are we taking our sila?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2019, 08:53:42 PM »
I read back over this and it sounds more obvious than I thought. I've been fairly lax with my sila over the years but aiming to put it right, been thinking so much about the big things, like weed, meanwhile passively taking little bits of olive oil from my housemates cupboard.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2019, 09:04:43 PM by garyatblackhouse »
"If you haven't cried deeply a number of times, your meditation hasn't begun." - Ajahn Chah

Dharmic Tui

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2019, 09:08:41 AM »
In all honesty these all lead to bad karma. You should behave the opposite, donate more than 20 cents, make your housemate tea, etc.

Heitentinger

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2019, 01:56:13 PM »
Personally , I wouldn't bother much about it.

Everybody has his own morallity and I don't belive that if you decide that your action aren't immoral it will affect you in any way. Good actions are good because they make you feel good, and bad actions are bad because they make you feel bad. If you don't feel bad, it's not a bad action.  :P

In my sence stealling can be very moral if done like Robin Hood (only my opinion). You are the only juge of what you are doing. :angel:

I know a lot of people won't agree with me but that's only my opinion.
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dharma bum

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2019, 03:16:48 PM »
I think the goal is be free of attachment to 20 cents or not feel the need to take without permission. The way to detachment is to practise morality as a first step.

If the mind is resistant to spending 20 cents extra, then it is an opportunity to practise detachment.  I think that is the theory.
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Dharmic Tui

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2019, 04:17:35 PM »
Perhaps this may be of use.

https://tricycle.org/magazine/noble-eightfold-path/

I think true Sila requires conscious effort. We are all living in glass houses to an extent.

garyatblackhouse

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2019, 06:08:43 PM »
Thanks for your responses. Taking it all on board. My foundation has been very much lacking since I began meditating, but I believe it is growing with age and effort. I feel as if I've had to learn the hard way my entire life, it's one thing the buddha, anyone else or an establishment/organization saying "be good" but it's another thing actually knowing that you should be good and what the motivations for it should be.

It's probably a rebellious thing taken from my youth, if my mother or the church say don't steal and don't lie and don't drink, you had best be sure'd I'm going to test that out! Someone told me once that when someone tells a child "don't" they hear "do." I think I had to learn for myself, basically. Still a few areas to work with but getting there, paradoxically, in the moment. I don't think perfect morality happens over-night, as described in the book "the buddha's brain." There seems to be a process, for me anyway. Others might catch on quicker, or have a different perspective, or just be more faithful and courageous.
"If you haven't cried deeply a number of times, your meditation hasn't begun." - Ajahn Chah

stillpointdancer

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2019, 12:19:17 PM »
Thanks for your responses. Taking it all on board. My foundation has been very much lacking since I began meditating, but I believe it is growing with age and effort. I feel as if I've had to learn the hard way my entire life, it's one thing the buddha, anyone else or an establishment/organization saying "be good" but it's another thing actually knowing that you should be good and what the motivations for it should be.

It's probably a rebellious thing taken from my youth, if my mother or the church say don't steal and don't lie and don't drink, you had best be sure'd I'm going to test that out! Someone told me once that when someone tells a child "don't" they hear "do." I think I had to learn for myself, basically. Still a few areas to work with but getting there, paradoxically, in the moment. I don't think perfect morality happens over-night, as described in the book "the buddha's brain." There seems to be a process, for me anyway. Others might catch on quicker, or have a different perspective, or just be more faithful and courageous.

My argument is that if you had perfect Buddhist morals you wouldn't need to practice or even be a Buddhist. There are two different schools of thought, which are both right. If you act morally, then your brain changes and you become a more moral person. If you undertake certain programmes of meditation, your brain changes and you become a more moral person. Either or both is good, but it depends on you.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Dhruv

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2019, 02:12:22 PM »
Good question.

I think we should focus on subtlest aspects of morality, if possible. We should not excuse ourselves out of anything small, say driving without seat-belt or checking phone while driving or not indulging in gossips or frivolous conversations.

All these smaller things if followed will bring significant changes over a period of time.

In a way, it teaches to perfect our conduct, no matter anyone is keeping an eye on us or not.


mobius

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2019, 01:54:59 AM »
Personally , I wouldn't bother much about it.

Everybody has his own morallity and I don't belive that if you decide that your action aren't immoral it will affect you in any way. Good actions are good because they make you feel good, and bad actions are bad because they make you feel bad. If you don't feel bad, it's not a bad action.  :P

In my sence stealling can be very moral if done like Robin Hood (only my opinion). You are the only juge of what you are doing. :angel:

I know a lot of people won't agree with me but that's only my opinion.
I more or less agree with this. The way I put it is morals are relative. There is no universal moral that governs the entire cosmos. (How can there be if there really is nothing in the first place :P )
What's good or right for one person may not be good or right for another. But our society can only operate well if most of us agree on most things most of the time. In my country (U.S.) its sort of becoming not the case; there is major disagreement on some major issues; thus turmoil. It all makes perfect sense to me honestly.

I've had a few personal revelations about how moral or immoral I am since meditating. I think an important thing is to not stress out over little mistakes you make, or any mistakes for that matter; just learn from each mistake and see how you could do better next time. I used to really lament over dumb/wrong things I did in the past, but I haven't been doing that as much lately.

Good question.

I think we should focus on subtlest aspects of morality, if possible. We should not excuse ourselves out of anything small, say driving without seat-belt or checking phone while driving or not indulging in gossips or frivolous conversations.

All these smaller things if followed will bring significant changes over a period of time.

In a way, it teaches to perfect our conduct, no matter anyone is keeping an eye on us or not.
That is a really nice point as well.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 01:56:58 AM by mobius »
"Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away."
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Dhruv

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2019, 07:02:58 AM »
" The way I put it is morals are relative. There is no universal moral that governs the entire cosmos."
Can you give me some examples of how morals are relative?
@mobius
I'm not intending to start any debate here and just want to learn more.

eva hermit

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2019, 11:18:30 PM »
If it harms others, or yourself, or both, it is wrong.

If it does not harm others, or yourself, or both, it is right.

This applies to all actions; including physical actions, spoken words, and thoughts. Spoken words are harmful if their intention is to hurt others or oneself; thoughts are harmful if their motivation is hurtful to others or oneself or both.

How I would apply this to your examples: Not wearing your seatbelt in public transport is most probably caused by either laziness or moha, and you put yourself and others at risk. Bringing your bike on public transport and not paying for it, you're not really harming anyone, but you can create conditions for conflict and problems for yourself; and what is driving inside at that moment you decide not to pay, that you are so eager to avoid paying? Streaming live tv shows is not necessarily directly harming anyone, but what makes you want to do it?

Don't focus so much on the action itself, try to analyse the intention behind it. Is it an intention of generosity, helping someone, kindness and compassion, or is it a selfish intention of just taking something for yourself, giving yourself entertainment and enjoyment, keeping something for yourself?

Morality is not something that can be decided upon once and then forgotten about and followed all one’s life. It requires constant work, constant effort, to see in the present what is right to do and what is wrong to do, to know whether your action will be helpful for yourself and others or harmful for yourself and others. To see clearly the difference between a right and a wrong action is the definition of wisdom, and as meditators, one of our main tasks is to work to develop and grow this wisdom in ourselves.

mobius

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2019, 02:31:06 AM »
Alright so warning this post is likely just a bunch of rubbish. I wrote it feeling proud of my intelligence then read it over and realized I'm just a stupid idiot who knows only here-say and assumptions, but if you like reading; have at it!*  :D

Sorry but I speak best in examples and metaphor, so I'll try to explain it that way. (and I apologize if this gets a bit grizly but I don't else to prove my points, so that's that..)

I believe that just like the self, morals are a concept, which means on some level they're illusory, not real. But also; While it might not sound like it I pretty much agree with everything eva hermit said, well said points imo.

I'll quote eva hermit's post:

[If it harms others, or yourself, or both, it is wrong.
If it does not harm others, or yourself, or both, it is right.]

What about a situation where a person is shot with an arrow; to save them you must pull it out; harming them in the short term but saving them in the long run? What about every step we take which surely kills tiny creatures crawling around on the ground that we weren't even aware of? I realize that this is nitpicking and getting very technical but I think it's important. Important to realize that harm is unfortunately part of life and unavoidable in many cases.
I agree with every else said btw; it's the intent that matters. Having a harmful intent is immoral; where as having an intent not to cause harm (even if it is sometimes unavoidable) is "good".

In this way; sometimes "good" intentions or actions can actually cause harm or be evil. Didn't Hitler think he was doing good, by 'uniting mankind under one rule' (or trying to)? Did the Nazi's consider themselves evil? Not that I know of; they thought they were good, they thought they were in the right and it was the Jews that were evil.

And likewise a "bad" intention or action can actually do good.
-If two people are alone stranded on an island and the one is bitten by a poisonous spider and goes paralyzed; is under agony and can't eat, is most surely going to die; and asks you to kill them and put them out of their misery. Is it better to let them live for hours/days in torture and tremendous suffering? or commit murder and let them be at peace?

I'm not honestly certain of the answers to these questions and these are thankfully extreme examples that most of us never have to deal with. My only point is that it seems to me like we decide on some level (perhaps very deep) on what's right and wrong.

*Oh now I can see pride coming back to me in admitting how proud I was and shaming myself in my first statement, like everyone's gonna think better of me even though I said dumb things cause I admitted it was dumb and I was proud. Wow; I've gotta a loooong way to go..  ::)
Well maybe I shouldn't make posts like this? But again, its thanks to meditation, I think, that I at least realize these flaws now.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 02:34:40 AM by mobius »
"Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away."
-Hakuin Ekaku

"I have seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it has never come to pass" - Mark Twain

stillpointdancer

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2019, 10:35:23 AM »
There's a whole lot of interesting research on this, such as the thought experiment where a train is hurtling down a track towards people. You can choose to send it along a track where one person will get killed, or along another where many will get killed. What do you do? I don't think there are any answers as to the decisions we should make, but the process of mulling over what we would do is useful in understanding moral issues. The research is useful in giving us insight into how others make decisions in such situations, and their moral choices.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Dhruv

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2019, 10:34:17 AM »
If it harms others, or yourself, or both, it is wrong.

If it does not harm others, or yourself, or both, it is right.

This applies to all actions; including physical actions, spoken words, and thoughts. Spoken words are harmful if their intention is to hurt others or oneself; thoughts are harmful if their motivation is hurtful to others or oneself or both.

How I would apply this to your examples: Not wearing your seatbelt in public transport is most probably caused by either laziness or moha, and you put yourself and others at risk. Bringing your bike on public transport and not paying for it, you're not really harming anyone, but you can create conditions for conflict and problems for yourself; and what is driving inside at that moment you decide not to pay, that you are so eager to avoid paying? Streaming live tv shows is not necessarily directly harming anyone, but what makes you want to do it?

Don't focus so much on the action itself, try to analyse the intention behind it. Is it an intention of generosity, helping someone, kindness and compassion, or is it a selfish intention of just taking something for yourself, giving yourself entertainment and enjoyment, keeping something for yourself?

Morality is not something that can be decided upon once and then forgotten about and followed all one’s life. It requires constant work, constant effort, to see in the present what is right to do and what is wrong to do, to know whether your action will be helpful for yourself and others or harmful for yourself and others. To see clearly the difference between a right and a wrong action is the definition of wisdom, and as meditators, one of our main tasks is to work to develop and grow this wisdom in ourselves.




Excellent explanation, @ eva hermit

Marino

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Re: How far are we taking our sila/morality?
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2019, 04:59:02 PM »
Hello,

Your morality comes from your naturalness. I have heard this from one spiritual teacher and later on discovered in my self during meditation. You are born with your morality and truth. It's like you have been born with your natural religion. Communists tried to split me off from my truth and indoctrinate me with society and school.

When you become self-realized, you will always be moral and not commit any immorality. This is the goal of meditation.

If you look up the definition of morality, you will find that morality is also defined as a quality.

Quote
morality

noun
  • conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.
  • moral quality or character.
  • virtue in sexual matters; chastity.
  • a doctrine or system of morals.
  • moral instruction; a moral lesson, precept, discourse, or utterance.
  • morality play.
Surce: Dictionary.com

You can follow all moral rules and at the same time infringe your natural morality, that comes from your consciousness. As a conscious living entity, you are moral as well. You don't need any external morality but it's good at the beginning of self-realization to follow some moral rules that fit you best.

So morality is also the quality of your consciousness.

Thank you,
Marino
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 05:34:32 PM by Marino »