MORALITY through A TELESCOPE

by K.G. Justin de Silva

Humans, Moral conduct and Cessation of craving

The fact that the normal human being has to endure so much to get rid of craving was a primary concern of Lord Buddha. It was no easy task, especially for the unintelligent being (Putajjana). Thereform Buddhism has various sets and stages of desciplines to select ffrom , dependant on the status of psychology of the follower. Anyhow the the path to be followed by any person is the Noble eight fold Path.

For an average person the sequence of following the Eight fold path starts from 3 to 5.(Please refer to chapter 3) which is the moral conduct or Sila also called virtues. Under the moral conduct is laid the sila or desciplines to perfofrm right speech, right action and right livelihood.

The lowest or the easiest sila or precepts laid down is Panca Sila as follows.

  1. Abstaining from killing or destruction of life.
  2. Abstaining from steeling or possessing what is rightfully others.
  3. Abstaining from sexual conduct which is not correct.
  4. Abstaining from vain talk.( lying, speaking etc)
  5. Abstaining from taking intoxicants or narcotics or drugs as a mean of sensual pleasure.

It can be easily observed that, all the five precepts are laid in order that the followers can maintain a sensual pleasure yet with less harm to morals and degradation of sila or virtues. The folloer of five precepts does not happen to be obsessed with thoughts of Akusala mula.As such the rebecoming of the follower in a next life is not adversely affected by Karma formations. It is mainly the craving (greed) that adversely affect the proper rebecomimg. The attitude of nature is “ You scratch my back and I will scratch your back"

It is explained that observation of high moral desciplines can be elevated through practice to a very high standard, starting from the five precepts rising upto ascetic life, as Buddha himself did. As one develops high morality , Dana or generosity too becomes part of habit as one loses greed. Dana also is not only giving out , out of compassion but also giving up possession.

While performing high morality, the next satge of the noble pathwill be the trainignof the mind (Bhavana or meditation) which is two fold. The bhavana aspect falls in to samatha (concentration) and analysis of damma or sankara (our body and mental activations) called vipassana bhavana. Samatha creates tranquility and joy of mind while Vipassana trains to analyse our own physical body and how our body is related to nature and feelings. (Nature here is co relation of maha bhuta : apo , tejo, vayo , patavi) and feelings is the emotional aspect in relation to changes in nature.

Samatha again is the training of the mind in concentration and vipassana is its training to create an insight in to the absolute nature, (the beginnings of apo, tejo, vayo, patavi) also called darma.

The proper investigation in to our own self as shown in DEvatassa Sutta, becomes our self awareness, which can high light an in-depth in to seeing what the world is and its escape.

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