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Thread: Bing Bing

  1. #1

    Bing Bing

    to quote Harry:

    I primarily rely on just my own experience and words, as we all must really; as a wise man once said "I really can't be fooled by others" (or words to that effect)
    Nonin over on the E sangha forum has stated a few times to the effect that: the way we understand something is just a reflection of how deep our practie is.

    Sometimes I find that when reading something, something just rings true bing, bing. Depending on the point that my understanding is at.

    As was the case with reading the following precepts by Thich Nhat Hanh:

    THE 14 PRECEPTS OF THE ORDER OF INTERBEING
    Thich Nhat Hanh

    1.Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist systems of thought are guiding means. They are not absolute truth.

    2. Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.

    3. Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.

    4. Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering, including personal contact, visits, images, sounds. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.

    5. Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.

    6. Do not maintain anger or hatred. Learn to penetrate and transform them when they are still seeds in your consciousness. As soon as they arise, turn your attention to your breath in order to see and understand the nature of your anger and hatred and the nature of the persons who have caused your anger and hatred.

    7. Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings. Practice mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment. Be in touch with what is wondrous, refreshing, and healing both inside and around you. Plant seeds of joy, peace, and understanding in yourself in order to facilitate the work of transformation in the depths of your consciousness.

    8. Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

    9. Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people. Do not utter words that cause division and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things of which you are not sure. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.

    10. Do not use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit or transform your community into a political party. A religious community should, however, take a clear stand against oppression and injustice and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.

    11. Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to live. Select a vocation which helps realize your ideal of compassion.

    12. Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Find whatever means possible to protect life and to prevent war.

    13. Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others, but prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

    14 Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only an instrument. (For monks and nuns): Preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of the Way. (For brothers and sisters who are not monks and nuns): Sexual expression should not take place without love and a long-term commitment.
    http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... opic=69640

    Gassho Will

  2. #2

    Re: Bing Bing

    Hi Will,

    Thank you for posting that. These "14 PRECEPTS OF THE ORDER OF INTERBEING" by Thich Nhat Hanh are a wonderful restatement (is that the best word?? Maybe "expression" is a better way to say it) of the Mahayana Bodhisattva Precepts ... I have long thought to incorporate them into our Precepts Practice here at Treeleaf, and I was intending to cover them during our Precepts study for Jukai (yes, we will have a Jukai soon :roll: ).

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3

    Re: Bing Bing

    Jukai? I think I read that somewhere in an article, but it has slipped my mind. Some sort of ceremony I think, right?

  4. #4

    Re: Bing Bing

    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosWithin
    Jukai? I think I read that somewhere in an article, but it has slipped my mind. Some sort of ceremony I think, right?
    Hi,

    Sometime soon we will begin on-line study of the Precepts in anticipation for a Jukai (undertaking the Precepts ceremony). This would involve study of each of the Precepts over multiple weeks (much as we do the book club chapters, we would discuss each of the precepts one by one) plus sewing a Rakusu (the bib thing I wear that is a form of Buddhist robes). It will lead to an on-line Jukai ceremony (the first in the world, as far as I know).

    Here is something I wrote on the Precepts so you can understand those a bit ...

    I consider the Precepts signposts or guides for life in a healthful manner.

    Our Zen practice teaches us that we are free to act at each moment. We are free to harm others and/or harm ourselves (same thing ultimately), or we are free not do harm and to be helpful. It really is up to us. The Precepts guide us toward conduct that, generally, will not cause harm.

    The Precepts both naturally arise from, and facilitate, our Buddhist Practice. For example, one who meditates will tend to be less angry and clutching at material goods, thus less prone toward overstepping the Precepts on anger, stealing etc. On the other hand, someone who lives so as to avoid anger, stealing etc. will find a certain equanimity cultivated within themselves by that lifestyle that will, in turn, facilitate their Buddhist Practice.

    It is possible to engage in something like Zen Practice and go over to a kind of "Dark Side" (because their is a fine line between freedom and nihilism), so the Precepts guide us away from that.

    The Precepts are more like frameworks or guidelines than "Commandments" in the Judeo-Christian meaning. First, the details within the guidelines are left rather open ended in our Zen Practice (e.g., one should not kill, but what about to protect society?? Should one tell a white lie if telling the truth will hurt someone's feelings, or are all lies wrong? ... the Precepts provide few hard and fast answers.). There is no particular belief that a god or the universe handed us the Precepts as "Commands", and they are viewed more as matters of human "common sense" lifestyle. We go to a kind of heaven and hell sometimes due to breaching the Precepts (although the Karmic ramifications are far from mechanical and clear), but that "heaven" and "hell" is viewed as a psychological realm within us.

    Although there are some fundamentalist strains in Buddhism (as in all religions) that impose hundreds and hundreds of very strict and detailed Precepts (especially for Priests over lay people, and worse for women than men ... Ooops. I may have just violated the Precept on criticizing other Buddhist in their Practice ... but did I do so for an educational, and thus positive, reason???), our Zen Precepts have been boiled down to a common sense few (which we would study as part of a course for Jukai). And in my view, each and all of the Precepts come down to this variation on the Golden Rule:

    Live, as you can, so as not to harm other, not to harm yourself ... and to know that there is ultimately no difference.

    It is the manifestation of Wisdom in life, and Compassion toward others.

    Gassho, Jundo

  5. #5
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Bing Bing

    Thich Nhat Hahn's precepts are, indeed, political. One the one hand, he says that the community should not become a political party, but throughout his precepts he presents political ideals. They go beyond a simple moral or spiritual system should. (IMO).

    Note that precept 14 sounds downright Lutheran. I think it was Hitchens, in his book on religion, who asked why religions always care about what goes on between my (and our) legs.

    Kirk

  6. #6

    Re: Bing Bing

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Sometimes I find that when reading something, something just rings true bing, bing. Depending on the point that my understanding is at.
    Yes. A turning word is worth a thousand pictures.

    Gassho
    Ken

  7. #7

    Re: Bing Bing

    Thank you once again, Jundo. You are an invaluable source of information.

  8. #8

    Re: Bing Bing

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Thich Nhat Hahn's precepts are, indeed, political. One the one hand, he says that the community should not become a political party, but throughout his precepts he presents political ideals. They go beyond a simple moral or spiritual system should. (IMO).
    But I think he is trying to posit the idea that there is a difference between being present in the "polis" vs the "political"/"political party." Political party or politics is seen by him as seeking power for the sake of power and not for the benefit of all.

    Note that precept 14 sounds downright Lutheran. I think it was Hitchens, in his book on religion, who asked why religions always care about what goes on between my (and our) legs.
    I think all Nhat is saying do not *@#$ for *@#$'s sake, i.e., no-no on Hedonism.

  9. #9

    Re: Bing Bing

    Quote Originally Posted by HezB

    "Sexual expression should not take place without love and a long-term commitment".

    I don't agree with this at all, I mean it is out of step with current realities (if indeed it was ever in step with reality). But it probably just comes from a different culture/ value system.

    Its silly really, to be lectured on sex by celebates. Why don't we just go to a pig farmer to get our teeth filled?
    Hey,

    Call me old fashioned, but I think that Precept 14 is a very liberal and sensible aspiration ...

    14 Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only an instrument. (For monks and nuns): Preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of the Way. (For brothers and sisters who are not monks and nuns): Sexual expression should not take place without love and a long-term commitment.
    In TNH's tradition of Theon (Zen) Buddhism, as in most sects of Buddhism "on the continent", the clergy is celibate. The Precept just recognizes that fact. You can, of course, then debate whether celebacy is the right or wrong way to Practice, but I think it a matter of personal choice.

    And I do think that sex generally belongs within a loving and long-term relationship. But I also recognize that things happen outside of loving relationships sometimes, and I think it not a problem if nobody gets hurt by it. My attitude is much the same with regard to alcohol consumption: generally, it should be avoided or kept in moderation (I drink a glass or two of wine with dinner). But, all human beings have "nights out with the boys" when "more than a few are consumed". I find that no problem if (1) not every night ... if it is every night, there is a problem and (2) nobody gets behind the wheel of a car. The reason is that someone will or is likely to get hurt. It is the same for sex in my book.

    The bottom line for me is always whether someone is getting hurt by conduct, or whether it is harmless, or helpful and heathful.

    Like I said, I'm just old fashioned.

    Gassho, Jundo

  10. #10

    Re: Bing Bing

    TNH is writing it down. Somehow he sees it as beneficial. We can choose to try it out or do something else. In the end it's it's up to what we choose to do.

    Sometimes our experience, understanding, and honesty guide us to choose. Sometimes our dillusion, misunderstanding, and dishonesty do the same.


    G,W

  11. #11

    Re: Bing Bing

    Spot on Jundo - sensible, balanced advice - that I would be happy to give my kids
    Best wishes
    Jools

    ps - use a condom :shock:

  12. #12

    Re: Bing Bing

    I think it is important to look at some of the background behind Precept 14. In his book For A Future To Be Possible, Thich Nhat Hanh talks in more length about the Five Precepts for laypeople. The one dealing with sex is laid out in more detail and includes a lot about the need to protect other people. There is much more about protecting children and vulnerable people (e.g. the mentally handicapped and mentally ill, elderly, etc) from abuse. Mindfulness about the misuse of sexual power is what he is asking for. With the recent events in Austria, the rape of Vietnamese boat children, marital rape, abuse of children by priests and so on, as well as things such as sexual exploitation and extreme pornography, I think it is important to raise awareness about the misuse of sex.

    I didn't want to bring the fact that I am a woman up, but it does seem pretty relevant here ! As a teenager I remember being absolutely terrified of being raped. I lived in a place with a traditionally high rate of crime against women (for historical and cultural reasons, I suppose) and despite the fact I spent most of my years there fairly well self-cloistered I still managed to cop some very unpleasant verbal abuse. I wasn't the only one to feel this way either. It certainly has an effect on the way you live your life and I'm not sure whether this is a problem that affects men in the same way.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that for many women love and respect is very important and this is generally going to be part of a long term commitment - although maybe not in all cases. Biologically women have more to gain from being part of a stable relationship and it is a genetic advantage for men to 'sow their wild oats' this causes a tension between the sexes. I'm not sure this is about being 'old-fashioned' (I'm not really sure what's wrong with that anyway - hypocritical, censorious, judgemental yes, but that's a different thing surely?) I think it's about having respect, a caring and loving attitude and understanding that some people (often women, but I'm sure a lot of men too) take sex very seriously and can be deeply hurt and even damaged by being treated in a cavalier, degrading, humiliating or manipulative way.

    Jundo, I think it would be lovely to consider TNH's formulation of the Precepts. I would be very happy to take Precepts that are formed this way, as I find them so different to commandments. (I think this is sometimes the problem when people from a Judeo-Christian culture look at the Precepts, they think they should be viewed as prescriptive edicts, when they are more an expression of one's attempts to live in a way that is increasingly supportive and kind to others.)

    Gassho Louise

  13. #13

    Re: Bing Bing

    And, yes, I agree that all such matters are a matter of personal choice, preferences, and perceptions etc.
    Harry

    Well, it's good you agree. I don' know what I would do if you didn't. :cry:


    G,W

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Bing Bing

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

  15. #15

    Re: Bing Bing

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise
    I think it is important to look at some of the background behind Precept 14. In his book For A Future To Be Possible, Thich Nhat Hanh talks in more length about the Five Precepts for laypeople. The one dealing with sex is laid out in more detail and includes a lot about the need to protect other people. There is much more about protecting children and vulnerable people (e.g. the mentally handicapped and mentally ill, elderly, etc) from abuse. Mindfulness about the misuse of sexual power is what he is asking for. With the recent events in Austria, the rape of Vietnamese boat children, marital rape, abuse of children by priests and so on, as well as things such as sexual exploitation and extreme pornography, I think it is important to raise awareness about the misuse of sex.

    I didn't want to bring the fact that I am a woman up, but it does seem pretty relevant here ! As a teenager I remember being absolutely terrified of being raped. I lived in a place with a traditionally high rate of crime against women (for historical and cultural reasons, I suppose) and despite the fact I spent most of my years there fairly well self-cloistered I still managed to cop some very unpleasant verbal abuse. I wasn't the only one to feel this way either. It certainly has an effect on the way you live your life and I'm not sure whether this is a problem that affects men in the same way.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that for many women love and respect is very important and this is generally going to be part of a long term commitment - although maybe not in all cases. Biologically women have more to gain from being part of a stable relationship and it is a genetic advantage for men to 'sow their wild oats' this causes a tension between the sexes. I'm not sure this is about being 'old-fashioned' (I'm not really sure what's wrong with that anyway - hypocritical, censorious, judgemental yes, but that's a different thing surely?) I think it's about having respect, a caring and loving attitude and understanding that some people (often women, but I'm sure a lot of men too) take sex very seriously and can be deeply hurt and even damaged by being treated in a cavalier, degrading, humiliating or manipulative way.

    Jundo, I think it would be lovely to consider TNH's formulation of the Precepts. I would be very happy to take Precepts that are formed this way, as I find them so different to commandments. (I think this is sometimes the problem when people from a Judeo-Christian culture look at the Precepts, they think they should be viewed as prescriptive edicts, when they are more an expression of one's attempts to live in a way that is increasingly supportive and kind to others.)

    Gassho Louise
    Dear Louise,

    Thank you very much for sharing this. I will save it and read it again when I am putting together the final 'curriculum' for the Jukai study.

    Gassho, Jundo

  16. #16

    Re: Bing Bing

    Will, Darling, you'll have to excuse me, I'm really no expert on Buddhist custom: at what point exactly did we get married

    (and does Venerable TNH approve of "this sort of thing"!!!?)
    :lol:

  17. #17

    Re: Bing Bing

    Quote Originally Posted by HezB
    Yes, Will, all admirable, admirable, admirable like so many systems of morality and conduct in the world.

    Its not the gist of the real matter though. I personally find more resonance in Dogen's advice and commentary on the simple line 'do not commit wrongs'.

    Dogen brings it down to the level of our own conduct in the present moment, to the little 'pivot' of time and experience where we decide to act one way or the other.

    I have books and books of fine ideals like those outlined above on my shelf but, in the real moment, I can only do what seems right as dictated by the real situation and my current perception of it, including my perception of myself at that moment.
    This reminds me of last week when I was studying for my motorcycle learner's permit test. I got my driver's license when I was 16 (hint: in the 80s) and of course that was the last time I studied any of these government "how to drive" books. What struck me is that while it was all good advice, if you actually used the thought process on any of the subjects they present such as "collision avoidance" it would be apocalypse on the highways as everyone smashed into each other lost in though. It's great advice, but only so far as to make "mental models" or run through hypothetical scenarios, to hone your instincts for when the time actually comes to make that split-second decision.

    It's good advice, but it takes more than book knowledge. You have to get out and play in traffic.

    At the same time, you have to have some training so you don't get splattered before you can learn what it's really about.

    I'd hazard to say its not just driving that's like that.

    Skye

  18. #18

    Re: Bing Bing

    I've had another look at For a Future To Be Possible by TNH, and specifically at Precept 14 (I think the 14 Precepts are for ordained people - there are 5 for laypeople - In this book the sex Precept is number 3). TNH actually discusses the reason why 'long term commitment' is included in there. He also talks about loveless marriage and how that doesn't really meet the criteria of the Precept.

    In my understanding the Buddha didn't teach precepts at all until some untoward event threatened the sangha. For example, after nuns were admitted and told to go out and serve people, one bhikuni was doing just this when she came across a difficult situation and was nearly raped. Once she was safely back in the sangha the Buddha heard about the incident and made a rule about bhikunis always having to travel in pairs or groups - to protect themselves and the sangha. I have always believed that the Precepts were formulated in the light of the experience of the sangha and that the 5 Precepts for laypeople were those that the Buddha thought were most conducive to lay life and practice. They are guides to help us, perhaps in our weaker moments to avoid causing harm and not sticks to beat ourselves with.

    That's why nuns have even more Precepts. In Buddha's day (and until recently, in some places this is still the case) women were thought of as the property of their father until they married and became the property of their husband. When Buddha allowed women into the sangha he was doing something very radical and potentially very dangerous, which is why some of the precepts for nuns seem so draconian and nowadays quite ridiculous (especially the one which says that a nun of however many years of practice and whatever her attainments is always to give precedence to a monk even if he is a novice!). I think that this is something that 'Western' Buddhism can help address.

    Gassho Louise

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