SUBJECT: II. Comprehensive Intro. to Buddhism (from the Buddha and B. Bodhi)
Topic: 2. Merit and Goodness in Society
The currently selected QUESTION:
What establishes Merit and Goodness in Society?
Merit and Goodness in SocietyAdded by Brad on Sat 24th January 2015 1.28PM
In Society, 6 required relationships with reciprocal duties:
parent -- children
teacher -- pupil
husband -- wife
friend -- friend
employer -- worker
lay persons -- religious guides
Each have 5 obligations with regard to their counterpart (see B. Bodhi, 2005, p. 117).
This requires each person to rise above self-interest and have wholehearted concern
for the other(s) and for the greater good of the whole.
Fulfillment of desire to be based on ethical principles:
Lay persons: 5 principles (especially of right livelihood):
I. right conduct (esp. 5 precepts and right livelihood)
II. (w/r to future welfare):
moral discipline (unbroken observation of 5 precepts)
wisdom (insight into [phenomenon] arising and passing away)
Material conditions (in society) matter for good behavior, so there must be economic
6 qualities that lead to disputes
VS 6 Principles of harmony (below):
loving acts (of body, speech, and mind)
common observance of precepts
unity of views
[ Dhamma (aka Dharma) : knowledge of good of all realities (fully known only by the Enlightened).]
In marriage: share faith, moral discipline, generosity, and wisdom.
4 things leading to happiness and welfare of the family man: faith, moral discipline,
generosity, and wisdom (as above)
* Dispute comes from those who dwell without respect and deference toward: Teacher,
Dhamma, and Sangha (aka The Three Jewels) . This leads to dispute and harm
and unhappiness in Sangha
* 6 Principles of Cordiality:
bodily acts of loving-kindness
verbal acts of loving-kindness
mental acts of loving-kindness
things in common with virtuous companions
these things in common, unbroken and leading to concentration
AND that which leads to the destruction of suffering
(All these 6)
* Enhancing conditions for spiritual development in the Dhamma:
acquisition of merit -- capacity of wholesome actions to yield beneficial results
(Governing factor in this process: Kamma -- which refers to volitional action
(willed action): actions that originate from that which is volitional.) These
may be mental or express outwardly.
Kamma has to do with the capacity of deeds to produce morally appropriate
results -- fruits that correspond to one's own intrinsic tendencies.
* 3 Bases for Meritorious Deeds:
giving (value proportionate to worthiness of recipient(s) ; gifts to Sangha,
moral discipline (involves the 3 Jewels: Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha)
and meditation (mental development)
* THE 5 PRECEPTS : (Buddha enjoins lay followers to observe these)
abstain from taking life
abstain from stealing
abstain from sexual misconduct
abstain from false speech
abstain from use of intoxicants.
Observance of these is a sort of giving because it is related to freedom from fear,
hostility, and oppression.
When describing persons in service of whom you become better,
the Buddha lists the following characteristics:
do not kill living beings
do not take what is not given
do not engage in misconduct in sensual pleasures
do not engage in false, malicious or harsh speech or gossip
and are: uncovetous, have a mind without ill will, and hold right view
(for one reference, see the Esukari Sutta, Middle Length Discourses).
* 3 additional precepts for monks: self-restraint, simplicity, contentment.
Meditation is the “third base” for merit (as noted above). Meditation is the heart
of the path and a source of merit in its own right.
Four other meditations are the “4 divine abodes”.
The 4 are: loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity
For merit, particularly good is the development of loving kindness.
The type of meditation most fruitful for production of mundane merit is:
the development of loving-kindness.
Concentration arising from these meditations can be next as the basis for
cultivating wisdom of insight (insight culminates in liberation)
Most fruitful deed: perception of impermanence
* Meritorious deeds: giving, self-mastery, refraining
3 BASES : giving, moral discipline, development of meditation
Reasons for giving:
4 bad (not spelled out here)
4 “good”: tradition, with thought, full-hearted, because it ennobles the mind
Best giving is: out of faith, respectfully, done at the right time, with a generous heart
and without denigration
* 8 streams of merit:
refuge in the Buddha
refuge to the Dhamma
refuge to the Sangha
(the “three refuges”)
AND the 5 Precepts
As for liberation of the mind: loving-kindness is greatest among things involved in making merit.
Also very important are: compassion, altruistic joy, equanimity
The 8 streams of merit and the last 4 characteristics are all done without
hostility or ill-will.
Giving for good:
perception of impermanence
* For CONFIDENCE :
Among things conditioned: 8-fold path is the best.
Among thing conditioned or unconditioned: dispassion is declared the best.
With regard to groups: the Sangha of disciples is the best.
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