What Does Love Have to Do with It?: Excruciating Lessons on My Path to Enlightenment

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In such countries, people are presumed Buddhist from birth without much of an initiation. The precepts are often committed to by new followers as part of their installment, yet this is not very pronounced. However, in some countries like China, where Buddhism was not the only religion, the precepts became an ordination ceremony to initiate lay people into the Buddhist religion.

Chinese Buddhists interpreted the fifth precept strictly, even more so than in Indic Buddhism. For example, the monk Daoshi c. However, in some parts of China, such as Dunhuang , considerable evidence has been found of alcohol consumption among both lay people and monastics. Later, from the 8th century onward, strict attitudes of abstinence led to a development of a distinct tea culture among Chinese monastics and lay intellectuals, in which tea gatherings replaced gatherings with alcoholic beverages, and were advocated as such.

In Thailand, a leading lay person will normally request the monk to administer the precepts by reciting the following three times:.

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After this, the monk administering the precepts will recite a reverential line of text to introduce the ceremony, after which he guides the lay people in declaring that they take their refuge in the three refuges or triple gem. He then continues with reciting the five precepts: In the fifth precept sura , meraya and majja are kinds of alcoholic beverages.

After the lay people have repeated the five precepts after the monk, the monk will close the ceremony reciting:. The format of the ceremony for taking the precepts occurs several times in the Chinese Buddhist Canon , in slightly different forms. One formula of the precepts can be found in the Treatise on Taking Refuge and the Precepts simplified Chinese: The five precepts can be found in many places in the Early Buddhist Texts.

On the other hand, living a life in violation of the precepts is believed to lead to rebirth in an unhappy destination. The precepts are normative rules, but are formulated and understood as "undertakings" [57] rather than commandments enforced by a moral authority, [58] [59] according to the voluntary and gradualist standards of Buddhist ethics.

In other words, all living beings are alike in that they want to be happy and not suffer. Comparing oneself with others, one should therefore not hurt others as one would not want to be hurt. In the upholding or violation of the precepts, intention is crucial. Upholding the precepts is sometimes distinguished in three levels: These consist of injuring a Buddha, killing an arahant , killing one's father or mother, and causing the monastic community to have a schism. Lay followers often undertake these training rules in the same ceremony as they take the refuges.

The five precepts are at the core of Buddhist morality. Nevertheless, Buddhists do not all follow them with the same strictness. When they become used to the precepts, they start to embody them more naturally. Religion scholar Richard Jones concludes that the moral motives of Buddhists in adhering to the precepts are based on the idea that renouncing self-service, ironically, serves oneself.

In East Asian Buddhism, the precepts are intrinsically connected with the initiation as a Buddhist lay person. The texts describe that in the ritual the power of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas is transmitted, and helps the initiate to keep the precepts. This "lay ordination" ritual usually occurs after a stay in a temple, and often after a monastic ordination has taken place.

The ordained lay person is then given a religious name. The restrictions that apply are similar to a monastic ordination, such as permission from parents. In very solemn occasions, or for very pious devotees, the precepts may be taken as a group rather than each separately. Spiro found that someone who did not violate the precepts, but did not have any intention to keep them either, was not believed to accrue any religious merit.

On the other hand, when people took a vow to keep the precepts, and then broke them afterwards, the negative karma was considered larger as in the case no vow was taken to keep the precepts. Several modern teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Sulak Sivaraksa have written about the five precepts in a wider scope, with regard to social and institutional relations. In these perspectives, mass production of weapons or spreading untruth through media and education also violate the precepts.

The first precept prohibits the taking of life of a sentient being.

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What Does Love Have to Do with It? : Excruciating Lessons on My Path to Enlightenment

It is violated when someone intentionally and successfully kills such a sentient being, having understood it to be sentient and using effort in the process. However, it has also been pointed out that the seriousness of taking life depends on the size, intelligence, benefits done and the spiritual attainments of that living being.

Killing a large animal is worse than killing a small animal also because it costs more effort ; killing a spiritually accomplished master is regarded as more severe than the killing of another "more average" human being; and killing a human being is more severe than the killing an animal. But all killing is condemned. The description of the first precept can be interpreted as a prohibition of capital punishment.

Ordering another person to kill is also included in this precept, [9] [94] therefore requesting or administering euthanasia can be considered a violation of the precept, [9] as well as advising another person to commit abortion. Interpretations of how Buddhist texts regard warfare are varied, but in general Buddhist doctrine is considered to oppose all warfare. At the same time, though, the Buddha is often shown not to explicitly oppose war in his conversations with political figures.

He may have believed such involvement to be futile, or detrimental to Buddhism.

What Does Love Have to Do with It?: Excruciating Lessons on My Path to Enlightenment

Nevertheless, at least one disciple of the Buddha is mentioned in the texts who refrained from retaliating his enemies because of the Buddha, that is King Pasenadi Sanskrit: The texts are ambiguous in explaining his motives though. In the chronicle, the king is saddened with the loss of life after a war, but comforted by a Buddhist monk, who states that nearly everyone who was killed did not uphold the precepts anyway.

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Field studies in Cambodia and Burma have shown that many Buddhists considered the first precept the most important, or the most blamable. Early Buddhists did not adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. There are prohibitions on certain types of meat, however, especially those which are condemned by society.

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The idea of abstaining from killing animal life has also led to a prohibition on professions that involve trade in flesh or living beings, but not to a full prohibition of all agriculture that involves cattle. For example, the Thai Santi Asoke movement practices vegetarianism.

Furthermore, among some schools of Buddhism, there has been some debate with regard to a principle in the monastic discipline. This principle states that a Buddhist monk cannot accept meat if it comes from animals especially slaughtered for him. Some teachers have interpreted this to mean that when the recipient has no knowledge on whether the animal has been killed for him, he cannot accept the food either.

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