Taking Precepts....HELP!

Amanda Toney, modified 10 Years ago.

Taking Precepts....HELP!

Posts: 13 Join Date: 1/29/11 Recent Posts
Hey,Sorry if this comes off as a noob problem. I have been practicing Buddhism for a year and a half now. I wanted to give Buddhism a shot and see if it worked for me. As it turns out, yeah and with flying colors! I think I am ready to kick it up and take my precepts. Here is the problem....taking my precepts in an official ceremony and joining a community has turned into a pool of stress. Whenever I ask about it, the groups are so disorganized they don't even have a date for the ceremony, when the classes are, or who is in charge of it. But at the same time demanding that the lay students do these activities in order to take the precepts to begin with. These are some of the problems that I have encountered while trying to join a group; last minute developments changing the schedule, I have been stood up by mediation groups... twice! Activities scheduled during exam or school weeks cutting off student participation, active discouragement from asking intense questions or making declarative statements, lagging behind on uploading dhamma talks onto the websites by sometimes up to a year or refusing to use new technology at all, and to ice this cake, other lay practitioners making you feel weird for wanting to take the precepts if you are under 30. These groups are the only way I have contact with monks. HELP, it's a problem for students trying to take their precepts or deepen their practice! What can I do?
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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Taking Precepts....HELP!

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Amanda Toney:
Hey,Sorry if this comes off as a noob problem. I have been practicing Buddhism for a year and a half now. I wanted to give Buddhism a shot and see if it worked for me. As it turns out, yeah and with flying colors!

Awesome! How has it worked for you exactly?
I think I am ready to kick it up and take my precepts.

Why do you want to take your precepts, exactly? What will that accomplish that couldn't be accomplished without?

These groups are the only way I have contact with monks.

Why do you want contact with monks?

HELP, it's a problem for students trying to take their precepts or deepen their practice! What can I do?

Those are two different things... do you want to take your precepts or deepen your practice?
Amanda Toney, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Taking Precepts....HELP!

Posts: 13 Join Date: 1/29/11 Recent Posts
Beoman Beo Beoman:
Amanda Toney:
Hey,Sorry if this comes off as a noob problem. I have been practicing Buddhism for a year and a half now. I wanted to give Buddhism a shot and see if it worked for me. As it turns out, yeah and with flying colors!

Awesome! How has it worked for you exactly?
I think I am ready to kick it up and take my precepts.

Why do you want to take your precepts, exactly? What will that accomplish that couldn't be accomplished without?

These groups are the only way I have contact with monks.

Why do you want contact with monks?

HELP, it's a problem for students trying to take their precepts or deepen their practice! What can I do?

Those are two different things... do you want to take your precepts or deepen your practice?


Why is a good question. Before I started attending groups, I practiced for a few months on my own and read a few books before deciding to go. Reading was no substitute for guidance from peers or monks. Questions about translations, or phases of practice can be addressed better by an expert or peers with more practice than I had.
I don't separate precepts from practice. And this is part of the reason why Buddhism has worked with flying colors. Not living by the precepts is a cause of stress and shall hinder my chances of enlightenment. I guess I should tell a little bit about myself at this point. In high school, I was kinda a goth party chick. I stopped, but my friends continued. These are the things that happened to them. Addiction to drugs, unplanned children, alcoholism, gambling addictions that developed into a massive amount of debt, depression, attempted murder, attempted suicide... the list could continue into next week of all the things that went wrong. This vid sums up the whole thing. It's called the Kids aren't alright by the Offspring. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrZ4sMRYimw .
Its not because I am a religious nut case. Some of the problems of worldly life are so intense that the practice needs to be kicked up by observing a basic moral code. A mind at ease by abstaining from unskillful actions is a big part of my practice. Many students are on the same boat as I am. Considering how much peer pressure and the damage from unskillful actions there are, younger people need some sort of support for trying to live by the precepts. Hence the need for taking refuge in the community. But, under 30 something Buddhists have not been welcomed in many of places that I went to. I don't think its intentional, its just a lack of motivation to keep current. And that's a problem, not just for young lay practitioners, but for American Buddhism as a whole.
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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Taking Precepts....HELP!

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
(I re-ordered your post a bit in my answer.)

Amanda Toney:

I guess I should tell a little bit about myself at this point. In high school, I was kinda a goth party chick. I stopped, but my friends continued. These are the things that happened to them. Addiction to drugs, unplanned children, alcoholism, gambling addictions that developed into a massive amount of debt, depression, attempted murder, attempted suicide..
...
Not living by the precepts is a cause of stress and shall hinder my chances of enlightenment.

It's true. Unwanted children, massive amounts of debt, attempted murder, etc., would all probably get in the way of effective practice =P. I'm glad you were able to find a way to avoid all that.

Amanda Toney:

Some of the problems of worldly life are so intense that the practice needs to be kicked up by observing a basic moral code. A mind at ease by abstaining from unskillful actions is a big part of my practice.

Observing a moral code is a good start, and it seems to have worked well for you. Eventually you'll have to investigate what is causing the desire to do something that would break the moral code, so don't forget to do that!

Amanda Toney:
Not living by the precepts is a cause of stress and shall hinder my chances of enlightenment.

If enlightenment is your goal, I strongly recommend you read Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. The later paths differ from traditional interpretations, but the MCTB approach seems to get you somewhere useful, and Stream Entry at least seems to match up. And it's apparently easier than one would think, based on the success rate here (and at Kenneth Folk Dharma, another forum advocating the approach in that book).

Amanda Toney:

Reading was no substitute for guidance from peers or monks. Questions about translations, or phases of practice can be addressed better by an expert or peers with more practice than I had.

Indeed! There are a lot of accomplished people on the DhO, so feel free to ask questions and one of them may be able to help you.
Amanda Toney, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Taking Precepts....HELP!

Posts: 13 Join Date: 1/29/11 Recent Posts
The MCTB link you sent was very comprehensive. It's all right pretty much right there! As to why there is the desire to break the rules.My life has been much easier without unskillful action, there is little desire to break the rules. Your reply made me realize that the desire not to be isolated is probably the core problem. I am not sure if I should address isolation itself and accept it as part of being a young layperson, or keep trying to find like minded individuals because isolation is mentally unhealthy for long stretches of time.
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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Taking Precepts....HELP!

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Amanda Toney:
Your reply made me realize that the desire not to be isolated is probably the core problem. I am not sure if I should address isolation itself and accept it as part of being a young layperson, or keep trying to find like minded individuals because isolation is mentally unhealthy for long stretches of time.


I wouldn't recommend accepting isolation, since that would mean that you do feel isolated but feel nothing can be done about it, and you'd resent it (I think that's why you said it would be mentally unhealthy). If you wanted to address isolation itself, you'd have to realize that there is no reason to feel isolated in the first place, then that whole issue would dissolve.
Amanda Toney, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Taking Precepts....HELP!

Posts: 13 Join Date: 1/29/11 Recent Posts
This is true, there is some resentment. Because it did feel like there was nothing I could do about it. But, now that I found this forum ( thanks buddhist geeks) some of it has been dealt with. A couple of people give a frak... that's good for now.
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Frank Trenholm, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Taking Precepts....HELP! (Answer)

Post: 1 Join Date: 12/19/10 Recent Posts
Friend Amanda,

I'm surprised at the difficulty you are having in taking the five precepts; in fact, there is no official reason why you need to validate your commitment by participating in a formal ceremony.

Here is a link to "Frequently Asked Questions About Buddhism,” that should assist you in proceeding on the path.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bullitt/bfaq.html#convert

It's just that easy...

With Metta,
Eezy
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Julie V, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Taking Precepts....HELP!

Posts: 82 Join Date: 8/17/10 Recent Posts
I'm with you here. I'm also under 30, and because of the age difference, it's harder for me to connect with a lot of practitioners at the center I have been going to. I guess I'm lucky enough that the teachers at the center actually hold some 32-and-under events for young practitioners, so I ran into and connected with other young people with the same interest that way.

About the precepts, I think having intentions not to break them is enough so not to cause sufferings to others. In Thailand, the monks always say that if you break any of the precepts, you can take them on your own, and it's the same. In your case, you can do the same. Say them to yourself or in front of a buddha statue, if that make you feel better and will keep you from breaking any of them. Trying to follow the precepts is definitely a good way to bring mindfulness into your daily life. You can also keep refining your precepts, as the time goes by as well.
Amanda Toney, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Taking Precepts....HELP!

Posts: 13 Join Date: 1/29/11 Recent Posts
What center does have under 30 programs? The only one I know of is in California.