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Thread: The role of the silas in Soto-Zen

  1. #1

    The role of the silas in Soto-Zen

    Hello Treeleafers,

    Today i found a discussion in a german buddhist forum about the role of the 5 silas in Soto-Zen and Zen Buddhism in general. They talked about two famous Soto-Masters who were very attached to ciggars and alcohol (i forgot their names, but i can look them up if you want), and they were not the only ones.

    So my question:

    What is the relationship between Zen and the 5/8/10 Silas?
    And when they viewed as relative, how are other common buddhist teachings handled?

    Have a nice evening!

  2. #2
    Hello there "Evening Star", is that your real name

    We are discussing the precepts in the forums during Jukai. You might want to take a look at these discussions and readings. Precepts, (silas), especially for us not living in monasteries are not laws set in stone, but guidelines for us to live by. With regard to Zen Masters being attached to cigars and alcohol, one of the precepts is to abstain from intoxication. While some Zen people do drink alcohol, there is no ban on alcohol, rather a suggested precept to avoid intoxication. For some of course that would mean having to stay away from it altogether. That being said, in the precept readings we are undertaking, Pat Phelan, Roshi talks about how generally unwholesome activities are those that create attachments. Certainly addictive substances could easily fall into that category. We are encouraged to look into what the precepts mean for us and live accordingly, however I think with serious practice, for me, it becomes difficult to justify the ingestion of any harmful substances.

    Gassho, Ishin
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-22-2019 at 07:58 PM.
    Grateful for your practice

  3. #3
    Thank you.

    Sorry for poating in the wrong Topic :0

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Evening Star View Post
    Thank you.

    Sorry for poating in the wrong Topic :0

    Yes, we are looking at the Precepts one by one in our preparations for our Jukai (Undertaking the Precepts Ceremony) in January, and will be to the Precept on Intoxication shortly ...

    In a nutshell, some smoking and light imbibing of alcohol is widely accepted in Japanese Buddhism, which tends toward an "everything in moderation and balance" approach to such things and all of life. However, addictions are a medical problem that sometimes can overpower physically, and have plagued even a few Zen and other Buddhist teachers. Maezumi Roshi and the Tibetan teacher Trungpa Rimpoche were alcoholics who struggled with their drinking, Daido Loori smoked too much. For such people, even one drop of alcohol or other substance is poison.

    Gassho, Jundo


    PS- Yes, would you post a human face photo, and sign a first name to your messages? It helps keep things a little more human and personal around here. Thank you.

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