Mortality Is it needed?

Jas, modified 7 Years ago at 10/20/16 6:12 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/20/16 6:12 PM

Mortality Is it needed?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/17/16 Recent Posts
Can an individual without morality achieve stream entry? Morals seem to be determined by the time. A diffrent location a diffrent era and rape and pillage could have been your ticket to valhalla. In the indivduals mind they decide what phenominon is right and wrong so how can morality possibly help? Or is it an individuals choose thier own morality to help them keep grounded?
Abba, modified 7 Years ago at 10/21/16 4:22 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/21/16 4:04 AM

RE: Mortality Is it needed?

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I think you won't find a yes/no answer to this question (although I'm preaty sure that stream entry is not connected with consensus morality).
This is a wide topic and I know that on this site: a guy tries to go through it and even tries to get to some conclusions (well it is more that he has a thesis).

I tried myself to go through the subject once and I ended up with a notion that without the element of "soul" introduced to the system(and i'm not sure there is), you can't realy speak of any morals(becouse soul introduces something of "indyvidual value" that should be preserved). Currently I'm content with my position of "I don't know"|. From what I remember about the text above, he ended up with a kind of flexible system. It is worth reading.

As to somewhat more established concepts, there is a notion of Maat of Justice or Cause and Effect (so you can do some reading) But those are not realy concerned with morals, If anything, it's more about balance.

Then you have a subject of what good and evil even are? They canno't be separeted from each other, so there's that, but what makes an action evil? And the answer is usually(always?) "someone, somewhere, said so". This also means you can change your mind ;)
If you want a broad terms then good is connected with creating and evil with destroying, but how about giving up smoking or killing the killer or even better killing or beeing killed?emoticon

Anyway, our culture is dying. Huge waves of mental changes are going back and forth through societies. Observe and analyse, maybe you'll come up with an answer for the future. Maybe

EDIT: just thought about calling evil an extream deflection from a balanced point(good) - so maybe that's that? Though thousand buddhas in one place is a nice cozy hellish place in this system emoticon
Andrew K, modified 7 Years ago at 10/21/16 5:12 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/21/16 5:12 AM

RE: Mortality Is it needed?

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They will need some degree of morals to achieve stream entry, too little morals and there won't be enough mental stability at all. For example if you recently killed a man and are on the run from the police, your mind will be far too agitated to see clearly into your mind and gain insight. Even if you are not on the run because you are quite confident that nobody knows what you did, the energy and motivation required to kill someone will mean your mind will not be at all settled enough. Likewise, if you lie everyday to your partner, or family, or boss or whatever, that need to hide something and manipulate others to hold up a particular story for whatever reason will also be a great hindrance to practice.

So morals (or ethics or virtues or merits) in the buddhist sense don't really refer to keeping in line with societal conventions, rather they mean virtuous qualitites of mind, that is to say, the paramitas. So, generosity, patience, kindness, enthusiasm, determination, etc. The more of these you have, the more stable and happy your mind will be, so the easier it will be to meditate.

This is the function of the 5 precepts: to protect your mind from doing things that will cause it to be unbalanced and full of worries, which is what the minds are like of people who have no care for life and kill, who steal things and lie, etc. The buddha gave the precepts to practitioners to help them, it wasn't a religious thing to help promote peacefulness in society (although that is a powerful secondary benefit).
The primary reason for the precepts isn't just to protect others, but from the perspective of a practitioner, it's to protect yourself. This is also why the more  "dubious" two last precepts are included, because many people find it harder to see whats wrong with intoxication or misusing your sexual energy if you don't harm anyone; the point is that from a meditative stand-point, you are disturbing your own mind's energy, creating barriers to your own practice.

So its not really about what you choose as right or wrong. It's about what leads to wholesome mind states or what leads to unwholesome mind states. What thoughts, actions, attitudes, etc, lead to mind states that are positive and conducive to meditation and compassionate activity are considered "ethical/wholesome", and vice versa.

Someone might think it is their "right" to drink and lose their shame and think, act and speak spontaneously without consideration for the consequences in order to relax and have fun, or to indulge in lustful sexuality by themselves or with other people, or take mind altering subtances and have lots of interesting or emotional experiences, and while socio-politically they may correct (depending on their time/space in society..), from the perspective of buddhist training, the point is that if you do these things you are hindering your own progress in practice. Not because the buddha doesn't want you to do them, or because other people don't want you to, but just the cause and effect of the way these things influence your mind, and the type of mind training necessary in order to have the mind be tranquil, guilt free, blame/burdenless, happy and content, confident and enthusiastic, easily concentrated and wanting to practice.

And I think that is one of the ways in which dharma quickly degenerates and gets mixed and mashed up with all sorts of things, to the point where you can't tell what is good for you and what isn't; when you take out the ethical side and just leave it up to attaining concentration states or nondual states or whatever, suddenly anything goes and who knows what the hell people are practicing or what their motivation for practice really is.
Abba, modified 7 Years ago at 10/21/16 6:41 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/21/16 6:05 AM

RE: Mortality Is it needed?

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Everything you talk about is a cultural guilt and I assume you can go outside of it, at least to some extent (like making human sacrifices probably didn't bother anyone at the time, just like you don't reall care about where the meet on your plate comes from)

What if non of the stuff makes you uncomfortable? You are free to do anything you want as long as it doesn't disturb your mind?

If you want to talk about buddhist etics(which is not really concerned with good and evil as you mentioned, just with countering some common hinderances encountered at that time and place they were spoken of) then there is no "you", so how can "you" care or be affected by anything at all?emoticon
And this is not just a funny comment, becouse if you listen to Alan Watts or U.G Krishnamurti, they present a position that there is nothing you can do, to make yourelf better - and this is probably the most horrendous thing to say in the west. (and one ot the reasons behind that is that you can not know what the better(good) really is)

Don't get me wrong. I do believe that everyone has a kind of Damocles sword hanging above him, I'm just not sure what are the triggers or if they are the same for everyone.
Stirling Campbell, modified 7 Years ago at 10/21/16 10:07 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/21/16 10:07 AM

RE: Mortality Is it needed?

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Andrew K:

Exactly what I wanted to say. Really nicely done. emoticon
Daniel M Ingram, modified 7 Years ago at 10/23/16 3:12 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/23/16 3:12 AM

RE: Mortality Is it needed?

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Andrew K's points about mind states are very pragmatically useful. Nicely put.
Matt, modified 7 Years ago at 10/23/16 9:30 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/23/16 9:28 AM

RE: Mortality Is it needed?

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I distinctly remember a moment on the cushion, realizing that subtley/internallly chastizing myself about my automatic response to internal events was counterproductive to insight, that empathetic, compassionate *regard* (not response) for those initial reactions and my reactions to those reactions etc was in essense exactly equanimity, and that mechanism benificially translates to my moral response to *others* in the world around me.

This insight of compassion and empathy was both a key framework for more insight, and and a concequence of insight.  That said, my ability to see and adopt that transformation was linked to (a sort of morality) advise from an acting coach a decade ago to just go ahead and talk to that pan handler instead of looking the other way.
Noah D, modified 7 Years ago at 10/21/16 5:16 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/21/16 5:16 PM

RE: Mortality Is it needed?

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@OP: morality=habit-formation=less stress+life on auto pilot=easier progression thru nanas and paths

path provides certain beneficial side effects which interface with future habit formation choices to begin working towards the next path... thus morality and wisdom synergize 

you can do a SWOT analysis of each major life area to figure out the things most likely to interfere with insight development.... it's different for everyone, not universalizable precepts
Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 10/22/16 12:39 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/22/16 12:38 AM

RE: Mortality Is it needed?

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for stream-entry, the ego must die 

therefore, why would or how could the non-ego mind rape & kill? 

immorality & stream-entry are incompatible 

it is pointless to even bother since the purpose of stream-entry is peace 

since when did raping, murdering & pillaging lead to (internal) peace? 

Noah D, modified 7 Years ago at 10/22/16 2:13 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/22/16 2:13 AM

RE: Mortality Is it needed?

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Hi Nicky,

Would your definition of SE include the specific, sensory events (and cessation of them) described in Mahasi Sayadaw's Manual of Insight?  Or, would you describe it in a different way?  More broadly, would you define it as a singular event, or rather a degree of hindrance-reduction and amplified morality-skills?  

I've spent many hours trying to reconcile one map I learned my first teacher (Mahasi style) with the map that Dhammarato has been describing to me.
Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 10/22/16 7:01 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/22/16 5:48 AM

RE: Mortality Is it needed?

Posts: 484 Join Date: 8/2/14 Recent Posts
Hi Noah

My previous post was extreme to make a strong contrasting point.

As for your question, I am just a inflexible strict Pali nerd. 'Stream-entry' for me is a combination of seeing clearly that non-craving & non-attachment is peace & also requires seeing the non-substantiality of the mind concocted 'self' idea. 

Per Mahasi, the Pali also describes the clear seeing of impermance ('all that is subject to arising is subject to cessation') as stream-enty however, I would add, for certainly, this clearly seeing of impermance should result in an attitude of non-grasping towards those impermanent objects. In other words, the inherent danger & unsatisfactoriness of impermanent things &, particularly, clinging to them, is clearly seen. 

In the Pali, when stream-entry occurs, there will be no doubt about the teachings therefore I would again conclude liberation (of non-attachment) must be tasted. 

Morality is also part of stream-entry, for me, because seeing clearly that greed, hatred, anger, fear, craving, attachment, etc, create inner mental disturbance is part of stream-entry, thus a natural discouragement towards immoral or aggressive behaviour. When the mind inwardly feels the states of mind that do not harm oneself then the nature of morality is clearly comprehended. In other words, it is known clearly that morality is not about rules & commandments but primarily about non-harming onself (which flows onto not harming others). 

Thus above are the three fetters broken, namely: (i) ending self-belief; (ii) having no doubts about the Teachings; & (iii) ending wrong views about morality & rituals. 

As a singular event, I would consider SE to be when the mind enters into a state of sufficient 'letting go' that the mental processes of purification visibly incline towards Nibbana. In other words, the mind is feeling & clearly seeing a flow & unfolding of purification & calming, like 'peeling an onion'. The certainty, convinction & trust in this process is consolidated with hindrance-reduction and amplified morality-skills. 

As many people describe, there can ordinarily be single moments of 'self-dissolution', including when people take drugs, Thus, the fetter of 'self-belief' ('sakkhaya ditthi') may be broken, even when engaging in hedonistic activities like drug taking. However, without the experience of hindrance-reduction, amplified morality-skills & a true taste of freedom, the other two fetters will not be broken thus, based on the official Pali criteria, stream-entry will not occur. 

Regards emoticon
Noah D, modified 7 Years ago at 10/22/16 4:11 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/22/16 4:11 PM

RE: Mortality Is it needed?

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Interesting, thanks.  My working hypothesis is that fetters can be broken, but most likely through a gradual path involving behavioral modification and attitude change, in addition to the clear seeing characterized by the insight knowledges.