Thus Have I Heard--Siddhartha Gautama

“I am concerned only with suffering and the release of suffering” -Sakyamuni Buddha, The Anuradha Sutta

Sakyamuni Buddha is said to have not proscribed any behavior of monks and nuns unless and until he perceived a need to do that – generally, if the behavior was disturbing the exercise of the dhamma ( i.e., teachings, responsibilities and practices of Buddhism) and impeding a person's progress and disturbing others in the process.

Eventually, hundreds of rules were promulgated. These precepts are said to lay a moral foundation considered necessary for subsequent, successful spiritual endeavor. The following are the primary five moral teachings of Buddha (these precepts are stricter for monastics than for laity):
  1. No killing (more generally, non-injury to living beings, including oneself).
    Meat consumption is a contentious issue; some Buddhists do not consider it a dilemma if the particular animal was not killed specifically for them, whereas others believe that an animal killed for meat eaters is an integral part of the chain of supply and demand; some believe that accepting any meat induces demand for meat and the eater thereby shares a responsibility in the consumed animal’s death. Additionally, by allowing another person to kill and prepare a meat dish for one's own plate, some Buddhists believe that person is allowing another person to accumulate and bear negative merit (butchering the animal) for the satisfaction of one's own palate, albeit a brief satisfaction--allowing another person to do harm for one's own selfish  taste for flesh and blood.
  2. Not taking that which hasn’t been freely given — in other words, no stealing
  3. Not misrepresenting the truth — in other words, no lying
  4.  No sensual (often represented as ‘sexual’) misconduct — more precisely, no one is hurt in fulfilling one’s sense-pleasure desires; interpretations vary widely as to what this implies regarding personal behavior, particularly sexual motives and activities.
  5. Not becoming intoxicated (another variation is not taking intoxicants whatsoever) — intoxication is said to interfere with and reduce one’s will to practice dhamma,

The list goes on and not touching money is included in the first ten original precepts but now widely disregarded by all but the most orthodox monks and nuns.
Mayadevi Temple in Lumbini, Nepal. This is the site of Siddhartha Gautama’s birth. He later became known by the title of Buddha. His mother Mayadevi (Queen Maya) died within a week of giving birth to her son.

1 comment:

  1. Thus I have heard, the Buddha gave a very simple and straightforward instruction for "next-to-no illness, next-to-no-affliction, lightness, strength, and a comfortable abiding". He isn't suggesting elaborate or extracurricular training at all...actually just doing less of something.
    The Kitagiri Sutta (excerpt below of translation by Thanisarro Bhikkhu) has a prescription for health and well-being. Does it apply to laypeople, too, as well as monastics?
    Abstaining from the evening meal can sometimes be a challenge in Nepal when with company as there is a general dislike for sleeping on an empty stomach. Often, an an enormous, all-you-can-eat meal (dal-bhat-tarakari) is taken just prior to sleeping.
    Thus I have heard, "I abstain from the night-time meal. As I am abstaining from the night-time meal, I sense next-to-no illness, next-to-no affliction, lightness, strength, & a comfortable abiding. Come now. You too abstain from the night-time meal. As you are abstaining from the night-time meal, you, too, will sense next-to-no illness, next-to-no affliction, lightness, strength, & a comfortable abiding."