How the Precepts destroyed my life!

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  • disastermouse

    How the Precepts destroyed my life!

    More coming, I just wanted to park this here so I can say what I really want to say after dinner. Sorry for the tease.

    Chet
  • Shohei
    Member
    • Oct 2007
    • 2854

    #2
    Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

    I ll park here next to you just to see whats for dinner

    Gassho Hungry Ghost

    Comment

    • will
      Member
      • Jun 2007
      • 2331

      #3
      Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

      I'll have second thanks.

      W
      [size=85:z6oilzbt]
      To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
      To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
      To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
      To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
      [/size:z6oilzbt]

      Comment

      • Tobiishi
        Member
        • Jan 2009
        • 461

        #4
        Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

        Good grief, Chet- how long does it take you to eat?! I'm dyin' over here!
        It occurs to me that my attachment to this body is entirely arbitrary. All the evidence is subjective.

        Comment

        • Dojin
          Member
          • May 2008
          • 562

          #5
          Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

          Chet, hope it wasnt serious... otherwise we will need to beat the Cr*p out of those evil precepts.
          I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
          - the Buddha

          Comment

          • chessie
            Member
            • Jun 2008
            • 266

            #6
            Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

            Is there any dessert left over?

            Ann--who can't seem to follow the precept about not over eating or indulging in too many sweets

            Comment

            • disastermouse

              #7
              Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

              Alright guys -

              After dinner, I went out with some girls from work and didn't get home till about 0230 - and more than a bit drunk at that.

              As some of you may remember, I had a sort of 'aha-holy-shizzle-kensho' thing when I was seventeen. Two years later, at 19, I began to deepen my practice and learned that yes, I probably really was a Buddhist.

              So I looked at the precepts:

              Don't kill: This led to my vegetarianism, which was disastrous for me physically and turned me into an unbearable moralist re: vegetarianism. Because of wanting to uphold this precept, I continued with vegetarianism long after the deleterious health effects should have led me away from it. So, strike one for the precepts!

              Don't lie: Okay, this one I often used to be brutally honest with people and to beat them over the head with my opinions. But hey, I was just being honest! Strike two!

              Don't steal: Okay, this one seems to have come out unscathed - there doesn't seem to be a downside to not lying.

              No sexual impropriety: This one I used to repress a lot of my sexual needs and to develop a shadow attraction to pornography. It seem the more I tried to resist it, the more attracted to pornography I became. It is still a staple of my sexual diet at this time.

              No intoxication: This made me an unbearable moralist to my friends. I bashed girlfriends over the head with it, etc. Also, I excised television from my life, as I saw it as a sensory intoxicant - and I forced more than one live-in girlfriend to forego a TV in order to live with me.

              The neurosis caused by trying so hard to be a 'good Buddhist' resulted in a total spiritual meltdown at the age of 24. I went from meditating daily to meditating about bi-yearly. I'm only just now sitting more regularly, and sitting daily has not come easily or quickly despite the renewal of my interest in Zen (it never went away completely, but as a daily practice, it was simply not in my life for nearly ten years).

              Now, I know, a lot of this comes from the inappropriate application of the precepts - but there are many in the Buddhist community who would support each and every one of these applications of the precepts as correct (minus the shadows, which would not be acknowledged as resulting from trying to be a 'good Buddhist').

              Now this is in addition to the pure wreckage done to my life by the application of what I thought at the time was a 'non-attachment to material things', which was really just a repression of the pure fact that I really did want some things very badly. This sort of resulted in rebound stupidity once my daily practice collapsed in 1998.

              Chet

              Comment

              • Tobiishi
                Member
                • Jan 2009
                • 461

                #8
                Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

                I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I appreciate your candor- the tone and content of some of your other posts has become clearer to me after reading this. Thanks for sharing.

                gassho
                It occurs to me that my attachment to this body is entirely arbitrary. All the evidence is subjective.

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39221

                  #9
                  Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

                  Hi Chet,

                  This is why I believe so valuable the slow and personal study we each made of the Precepts in preparation for our Jukai (Undertaking the Precepts Ceremony) ... reading many teachers' interpretations, and each of us discovering how the Precepts fit into our own lives ...

                  viewforum.php?f=7

                  The Precepts should not be chains which bind us hand and foot, nor a whip with which to beat ourselves. On the other hand, many describe the Precepts as aspirations, or guideposts, or arrows pointing to a way of living that is healthful to our life and the lives of others (not two, by the way), and which will support one's Buddhist Practice.. I have described them this way ...

                  All the Precepts come down to our seeking, as we can, to live in a manner harmless to ourself and to others, and healthful and helpful to ourself and others, knowing that ultimately there is no separation between ourself and others. If we are living already in such manner … seeking as we can do be a good father/mother/son/daughter/friend/human being … then (in my view) we have already “undertaken the Precepts”, and the ceremony[of Jukai] merely commemorates that fact. However, the ceremony also signifies our vow to continue to do so in the future.


                  Nishijima Roshi wrote this ...

                  The rationale of all of the Buddhist Precepts, the Mahayana Boddhisattva Precepts …… is as a pointing toward the best ways for us to live in this life, in this real world…. how to live benefiting both ourselves and others as best we can.

                  The signposts and arrows of the Precepts just point us away from directions and locations which are bound to be destructive and harmful to us, others and this world (not three, by the way).

                  That does not mean that there are not some definite "black & whites" amid all the daily choices we should make. But I think that they should not be much more restrictive then traffic rules ... allowing us to go where we want on life's highway, free choice, bearing the effects of our actions. The signposts point out a good path and road to the destination "home" (which, we find, was always where we started, always where the rubber meets the road).

                  Yet, there are definite rules for actions that will likely cause harm to this driver, other drivers and getting anywhere ... like driving while intoxicated, driving while misusing sexuality (sudden flashback from some things I did when 17 years old, behind the wheel of my old Chevy ops: ), like running wild and going off the cliff, driving while angry, driving without respect for other drivers, driving while going too fast.

                  The Ksrmic fines are tasted in your own life, here and now, when you do go off that cliff, spin out or hit someone!

                  But apart from that ... drive! Put on some good tunes, see how the road opens before you, enjoy the trip!

                  Here is a posting from the time we started Jukai study that gives many flavors for the Jukai. We will have the Jukai again soon, and I hope you will consider to join, Chet.

                  viewtopic.php?f=7&t=994

                  Gassho, Jundo
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • disastermouse

                    #10
                    Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

                    I should also point out that I had no teacher or real life advisor on these matters. I will say, though, that things like the 'no TV' and vegetarianism were encouraged by other Buddhists once I began to sit with others. (I grew up in a remote section of the US and there were no teachers, nor even any other Zen Buddhists, nearby). Much of my neurosis would probably have been cut off had I had a true spiritual friend at the time. I think it's odd though how what started as a liberating realization not so slowly became a binding chain of shoulds and shouldn'ts.

                    Chet

                    Comment

                    • Shohei
                      Member
                      • Oct 2007
                      • 2854

                      #11
                      Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

                      Thank you for sharing!

                      Gassho, Shohei

                      Comment

                      • chicanobudista
                        Member
                        • Mar 2008
                        • 864

                        #12
                        Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

                        Originally posted by disastermouse
                        I should also point out that I had no teacher or real life advisor on these matters. I will say, though, that things like the 'no TV' and vegetarianism were encouraged by other Buddhists once I began to sit with others.
                        Ya know, even Thich Nhat Hanh doesn't prohibit watching TV. :wink:

                        Overcoming the Fear of Death
                        by Thich Nhat Hanh
                        Dharma Talk given on July 28, 1997 in Plum Village, France.


                        I think it is possible to be happy without watching television a lot. Again, I want to say that I am not against television, because we can profit a lot from television. But we should have an intelligent policy. I think that the family should get together and discuss how to use the television. Everyone has to be present and we should agree on what kind of programs we should view and what kind of programs we should not view. I think we should have a TV magazine to find out what we can see and what we should not see.

                        I know a family in Boston. They selected the programs of television very carefully. If they see in the program a very good film, they agree that everyone should be present to view the film together. Grandma, Daddy, Mommy, everyone wears their best dress and goes to the living room and sit very comfortably and watches televison, like going to the cinema, it’s like a ritual. Imagine, Grandma puts on her best dress and wants all her grandchildren to come and sit close to her. She is very happy. Watching that film alone would not make her as happy as watching together with the whole family.
                        I once met a young lady who is mennonite. She was raised w/o much TV. She had no cultural relation with me when I talked about certain cultural events/references because much of it was related to TV. Nevertheless, she was a very cool and compassionate person.

                        TV are like hammers. Neither hammers or TV are inherently evil....or good.
                        paz,
                        Erik


                        Flor de Nopal Sangha

                        Comment

                        • Eika
                          Member
                          • Sep 2007
                          • 806

                          #13
                          Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

                          Originally posted by Jundo
                          Hi Chet,

                          This is why I believe so valuable the slow and personal study we each made of the Precepts in preparation for our Jukai (Undertaking the Precepts Ceremony) ... reading many teachers' interpretations, and each of us discovering how the Precepts fit into our own lives ...
                          Though it may be presumptuous, I would add that to be truly living the precepts means that we are forever committed to redefining and discovering how the precepts fit into our lives. Their meaning cannot become fixed without them losing relevance to our ever-changing lives.

                          Peace,
                          Bill
                          [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

                          Comment

                          • murasaki
                            Member
                            • Mar 2009
                            • 473

                            #14
                            Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

                            You think the precepts are restrictive? Try being a Muslim female. Damnnnn. You'll be begging to return to the precepts. They'll feel like a coke party in the Hamptons. Oh well, the grass is always greener, innit.

                            gassho
                            Julia
                            "The Girl Dragon Demon", the random Buddhist name generator calls me....you have been warned.

                            Feed your good wolf.

                            Comment

                            • Jinho

                              #15
                              Re: How the Precepts destroyed my life!

                              HI Chet,

                              I can only say what everyone else has said and say thank you for your post! And thank you to Jundo for your joyous response. And to everybody else's response.

                              I am reminded that in Jeff Kitsis (zen master in Seung Sahn's Kwan Um School lineage) said about the precepts:"one must know when to keep them and when to break them". But Jundo's not causing harm to self or others (not two) is a great basis for these decisions?

                              And of course Mel Weitzman's two sides to the precepts (proscriptive and prescriptive, e.g.
                              Do not kill / cherish life.

                              gassho,
                              rowan/jinho (at least three or four)
                              who really needs to stop fucking around (not about sex!)

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