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Thread: Is morality the measure of wisdom?

  1. #51

    Re: Is morality the measure of wisdom?

    Quote Originally Posted by cyril
    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly

    While writing this I found the following link, which I have only cursorily looked at but seems to be appropriate here.
    I really, really like that Ceaseless Practice article. Thanks for posting the link!
    I will readily admit to a limited intrest in ethics, so when I saw the URL, I was not that interested. However, I was having a very dull day at work, so I thought "anything has to be better than this." :roll: And I was rewarded - this is an excellent article, IMO. A very down to earth, readable explanation of a lot of the concepts Jundo has been trying to beat through my thick skull (not that this explanation is any better than Jundo's explanations, but different explanations are often helpful in subverting my mentl blocks!). I would recommend this short reading to any newbies on the forum who are confused about non-attachment, dualism, why we sit zazen, etc. Not to imply I know have these concepts down, but this was very helpful.

    Thanks for the link!!!


  2. #52

    Re: Is morality the measure of wisdom?

    The challenge in "Buddhist" online groups is participating in a setting where those involved come to discussions from a wide variety of understandings about what Buddhism is or is not. That's all well and fine. It is as it is, but to me, Buddhism (by definition) is the study of Buddha's Dharma. More specifically, the Dharma proposed by Gautama Buddha (the historical Buddha).
    The obstacle sometimes seems to be a real bias against anything which people perceive as scripture. The reality is that without the record of GB's teachings there is no such thing as "Buddhism". Don't get me wrong. I think there were many Buddhas, but it is Gautama Buddha in whose name these teachings were recorded and from whom all lineages are traced by reference or inference.
    In application of these teachings I bring you to the case in point: "Is morality the measure of wisdom?". My answer is a resounding "yes". Do I run about trying to proselytize to that effect? No. I only answer here because the question is asked. Do I believe my answer is the prescriptive one? No, I do not. I only know this: Gautama Buddha proposed the answer and left a teaching to to advise others like me not to blindly accept, but rather test his views on the matter; adopt them if they work, don't if they fall short.
    Specifically, the first teaching recorded which set the wheel of Buddha Dharma in motion was a sutta or "thread" called Dhammacakkappavatthana Sutta. In it, like a doctor, he described the human condition, its cause, declared it curable and decribed the cure. All this was done not in a "sacred" scripture way, but as a mentor might counsel a student. These elements constituted the four truths of all his propositions. He proposed solutions to which he added the caveat, "If it works for you, adopt it. If not, then don't".
    When GB outlined his four foundational propositions, the fourth was his description of the path which he realized had always existed. It was the Eightfold Path. He suggested we try it as a way to reach a good place in our lives, for us and those around us. It included elements which have come to be divided into three categories; wisdom (right view and right intention); ethics or morality (right speech, right action, right livelihood); mental development (right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration). All these were proposed not as individual steps or separate endeavours, but as integrally linked or inextricably entwined elements of one path. Each one in turn was the subject of further description and delineation in following teachings recorded in suttas of the Foundationional Vehicle (Theravada), sutras of the Great Vehicle (Mahayana) and Diamond Vehicle (Vajrayana).
    All in all they form an amazing variety of diverse ways to experience the same goal; nirvana or cessation. Cessation of the malady in the human condition described by Gautama Buddha whose lineage and teachings came all the way down to Bodhidharma and subsequently to all the ancestors we claim.
    Were there modifications? Absolutely. Did ways change here and there? Certainly. But I view those as being in accord with exactly what GB proposed to all:
    "When you know for yourselves that these qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" then you should abandon them........When you know for yourselves that these qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' then you should enter & remain in them." - excerpts from Kalama Sutta: To the Kalamas" (AN 3.65), Access to Insight, June 8, 2010.
    Certainly don't go by my words. I did not write this for praise or blame, nor for agreement or disagreement. The question was asked and having experienced this path, I know it works for me in daily application when I am mindful enough to apply wisdom and morality together. Does that mean morality is the measure of wisdom? Perhaps I would alter the phrasing to be "there is no wisdom without morality". Understanding this much has lessened the suffering I cause myself and others.
    I enter Zen from there.

  3. #53

    Re: Is morality the measure of wisdom?

    So we have both the Eightfold Path and Dogen's words about kind speech etc.
    While we can never judge a human being by their behaviour over a short time, over a longer time it is all we have to decide whether they "walk the talk".
    This is the only way we can choose a teacher. It is easy to spout clever words, particularly now with the plethora of teachers in all sorts of traditions and the wide variety of writings to draw from to create a persona.
    It is also one way to stop ourselves falling into delusion. It is easy to find teachings that will allow us to be ok with behaving badly. While not completely false it is only one half of the picture. We also need to manifest the teachings to make this world a better place, whether this works or not. Purposeful action, but without attachment to result.
    Of course we must have compassion for ourselves and others as we trip and stumble but, as I said in a previous post, perhaps there should be less teachers in this world. Those who manifest the teachings to a higher degree than the masses.
    Within every tradition we seem to find teachers that perhaps should be under guidance rather than guiding.

    Don, I walk in similar steps to you.

    Craig and Cyril, I am glad the link proved useful.

    All the best


  4. #54

    Re: Is morality the measure of wisdom?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Heathen
    Quote Originally Posted by zak
    zak wrote:
    When the self becomes the selfless/self everything is irrevocably changed. The whole has been transformed. The greatest change of all takes place within oneself without the "attachment" of approval from anyone. Gassho Shogen

    Jundo wrote:
    I find that a very idealistic statement if you are implying that this "irrevocably changed" person will never slip, never fall into the mud again. Buddhists say that kind of thing all the time, because the dead (and steam cleaned) ancestors are described that way in old Buddhist story books with their every blemish removed. I have met enough living Buddhists who were all too human ... myself included ... to have any faith in such an absolutist statement. I have never met a perfect driver who never, ever runs a stop sign by accident or runs over the curb once in awhile in many years of driving.

    Hopefully, nobody gets killed in the mistake, and we can get back to safe driving ... vowing to be more careful.

    Falling off the wagon or falling in any moral way was not my interest in replying "specifically" to what Jaana said, "Why would we care if someone is awake or not (including ourselves), if it changes nothing? Stephanie replied, " exactly."
    I was saying that not only the individual (component) but the whole (dharma) was effectively changed by the individuals awakening. What opinion others have of that is irrelevant such as Stephanies exactly reply. zak
    I have read and reread this post. I am honestly confused about the point you are making other than what I have bolded, which seems a bit hostile in it's tone, which is fine I suppose, just wondering where it is coming from and what exactly you are trying to get across. I am sincerely interested because I think I am honestly missing something.
    Hi Rob
    Impossible to miss anything, just look. The arrogance of statements and replies... never hostility. Sorry not to respond sooner to your humble words. Been very busy engaging life. Thank you for your efforts. Gassho Zak

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