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Chapter 4 Quiz [Dec. 1st, 2007|05:15 pm]
Dharma Study Group - Chos Grwa


1. What are the four elements of a negative action?

2. What are the three kinds of suffering?

3. What is the gravest sexual misconduct?

4. What are the three types of lying?

5 What are the two worst of the 10 negative actions?

6. What is the "Experience similar to the cause" of lying?

Ok so tomorrow I will post and we can start on chapter 5. Its only like 3 pages long so it will be a good start since we have all be away for so long.

Would anyone like to answer these, and also any comments on the last chapter or the rest of the book?

[User Picture]From: djonma
2007-12-02 12:09 pm (UTC)
Gah, now I'm hunting for all the notes I wrote up. I've just had a major move around in my room because I got a new manual wheelchair I had to fit into space that I had boxes in.
(The joy of being a mature student in student halls of residence - the rooms are designed for youngsters who leave all their stuff at their parents house!)

*goes to hunt and to grab The Book [TM]
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[User Picture]From: djonma
2007-12-02 01:31 pm (UTC)
Right, I've found some of my notes. I'm missing some though.

What I'll do is answer your questions first, then put up some thoughts of my own about the chapter in general. I think I'll put those thoughts in a seperate comment, or it'll just get too long.


1) Basis, Intention, Execution, Completion.

Basis - this seems to be the knowledge that the act would be wrong - for example in killing an animal, knowing the animal is sentient.

Intention - The wish to do a thing. Deciding that one is going to do a thing. More on this in my own opinions later.

Execution - The physical act - actually doing the thing that is wrong. I'm assuming that this is the worst of the stages.

Completion - as it says - the end of it.

2) From the previous chapter I think :-)
The suffering of change, suffering upon suffering and the suffering of everything composite.

3) That which causes others to break their vows. So having sex with a monk or a Nun would be terrible.
See more in my opinions.

4) Ordinary lies - basically normal things, untrue statements, deceiving people.
Major lies - Making statements against the Dharma, like there's no positive benefit in doing positive actions.
Phoney Lama Lies - Claiming to be a Lama or posess special qualities.

5) Taking life and wrong views.

6) We are often criticized and belittled and lied to by others.
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[User Picture]From: buff114
2007-12-08 06:53 am (UTC)
OHHH Great I think these are all good and from the text.

I generally like doing what you are doing. Give the book response and then give my own personal response as a supplement.
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[User Picture]From: djonma
2007-12-08 11:28 am (UTC)
I think giving our own response and opinions means we put down what we've learnt from the chapter really, and what we've taken away from it ourselves. And that's the most important thing, it's all about what we think the chapter has been about, and of course, if something is glaringly wrong, others can correct us :-)
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[User Picture]From: djonma
2007-12-02 02:25 pm (UTC)
This is coming in multiple posts as I got a message saying:
"Sorry, but your comment of 11838 characters exceeds the maximum character length of 4300. Please go back, shorten it, and try posting it again."


So... my own opinions on things.

Patrul Rinpoche was writing in a time when a lot of things we take for granted now, were not around, not available, just not there. Also, when certain moral standards were higher and more set in place, whereas today it's not necessarily seen as a bad thing for bad language to be used in everyday life.
When Buddha was teaching, life was very, very different.

I think we have to remember that times have changed. Everything changes, we of all people must know that. Impermanence. Not that the things we are taught are incorrect, but that we must look at today's life and culture and work out how to fit lessons from over two thousand years ago into the world of today and into our modern, mostly hectic, lives.

Actions. I personally feel that there are two levels of action. Conscious and subconscious/unconscious.Conscious thought needs to be changed first; our every waking thoughts and actions gradually abandoning negativity and embracing positivity. Once we have mastered our conscious htoughts we start to master our unconscious thoughts. This is most important, it is our unconscious thoughts that will lead us when we are in the Bardo, and before we have formed conscious thought in each life, such as non-human births and young human life, or times when we are in great pain, or beset by emotion too strong to consciously deal with.

So anyway... The Ten Negative Actions to be Avoided.
Pretty obvious really - things not to do.

1. Taking Life.
Killing another person is pretty much a no-brainer. Killing animals as well, as Buddhists we believe they are sentient beings.
There's a lot of talk here about Buddhist Monks and Lamas accepting meal, etc.
If meat is given as a proper offering by someone who doesn't realise it's wrong I don't think it's necessarily bad. It's said that if you're a monk and someone offers meat without knowing, then it's ok to eat it.
However, this talks about going places so they slaughter animals and eating meat with greed and longing. That is wrong, but not really done nowadays.
Tibetan Buddhism has met the West and both have influenced each other, and with the move of many Monks / Lamas to India and the West, it's much easier to have a fully nutritious vegetarian diet.
Same with brides - vegetarians can have a great meal, and I don't think that the 'decedance' that Patrul Rinpoche was seeing around him is really there anymore, especially with the Chinese occupation.

Accidental death of insects, etc. I do think of this whenever I step on grass. I don't always remember when eating vegetables or grains, which can be included in a prayer before eating, though I must admit I usually forget this as I am very forgetful!
On the sheep thing though I must admit I'm confused. Killing lice whilst fleecing, sure - say prayers for the lice. We keep our cats flea-free, which kills the fleas, sorry to the fleas, but I won't allow my cats to suffer either (fleas can cause serious anaemia and lots of pain and suffering), so we pray for the fleas when we apply the anti flea stuff.
It also says that the negative karmic result of the acts of the sheep - as in accidentally killing insects whilst walking around and eating grass, falls on the owner as well though. I really don't get this. How can accidental actions on the part of an animal give negative karma to the owner? Surely the sheep gets that negative karma? That's kind of the whole point of being reborn as animals and developing subconscious thought so that these actions are purified.

Intention - This is why I question unintentional acts causing us bad karma - I can understand that they do, but surely they cannot be as negative as intentional acts.
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[User Picture]From: djonma
2007-12-02 02:25 pm (UTC)
Taking what is not given - this is not just stealing posessions. I would say that especially today this applies to so much more than posessions - fraud, identity, sex, cheating, etc.
Again Patrul talks about Lamas and Monks doing bad things. It must have been a thing of his time - hopefully our Monks and Lamas are true to themselves nowadays.

Sexual Misconduct.
This is the biggie.
I personally believe that sexual misconduct applies to sex not freely given, sex with someone who has vows, sex with someone who is committed to someone else, a child (though we'd say below the age of consent now), close family members, animals.
I don't see that masturbation and anal and oral sex apply today.
In the time that Buddha was teaching, such things were seen as dirty and could cause health problems. With modern medicine and modern views such views are rather antique.
What about homosexuality? Does this mean that homosexuals cannot have sex?
I don't think that's the point, though in the day that Buddha was teaching, homosexuality was considered a terrible thing.
Times change. Attitudes change.
We no longer see homosexuality as a dirty thing.
Masturbation is seen as just one of those things nowadays.
I also don't see that having sex in a place where representations of the three jewels are present is bad. I take that to mean ones personal shrine. Photos of ones Lama, perhaps photos of H.H Karmapa, Thangkas, images of the Sangha, and other such things.
Well... I was always taught to see ones Lama as enlightened.
H.H Karmapa is enlightened.
The Bodhisattvas on my Tangkas too.
They can all see me all the time.
So why would going into a different room, or turning them around, or closing doors on them do anything?
I find it quite insulting actually to do that; it's like I'm telling myself they can't see me if I turn them away. Which is clouding my mind and giving myself a wrong view.
I may be wrong though.

Lying is pretty obvious, except that sometimes we use white lies.
I don't think they're always necessary.
Though I sometimes tell my boyfriend I'm ok when I'm not really ok, but because I don't really want to worry him. Recently he was away for the weekend at an event he'd been looking forward to for ages. It cost him a lot to go, and he was really enjoying it.
I was very, very ill. If I'd told him though, he'd have driven back.
I didn't want that, it wasn't really fair on him.
So I lied to him; I told him I was fine whenever we spoke on the phone.
I know it *is* a negative action, but I don't see that it can be *that* serious.

I think the rest of them seem to be pretty straight forward really.

Wrong Views is quite difficult. Fundamentally it comes down to the whole thing that if you're lucky enough to find Dharma in a lifetime, then it's a result of your past actions. And so many other people go through life with Wrong Views, and it's very sad really.

Ok now I want to ask a question...
I have Bipolar Affective Disorder.
I often have thoughts and feelings that I cannot control. They are not 'my' feelings, they come from this medical condition that I have, and they are very opposite to my normal feelings.
For instance, I have a manic state where I am very violent and want only to hurt myself and other people and to kill myself and sometimes other people.
I also get very, very depressed where I want to kill myself.
This is not my normal thoughts at all, quite the opposite!
(just to note: I'm well medicated, just making a point here!)
But in those states I have a lot of those negative actions. But they're not wilfully brought about by myself. It's not even my subconscious thoughts. It's some odd thing brought about by a physical defect in my brain.
Am I accumulating a ton of bad karma every time it happens?
I feel like saying it's not my fault, which is very childish, and I try and try to keep my mind pure and keep myself on track, but if I have an episode, I feel like I've lost everything I've worked towards.
Any opinions?
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[User Picture]From: djonma
2007-12-02 02:25 pm (UTC)
Onto effects of the ten negative actions. I think this section of the chapter is more an interesting read really than anything else.
I am very seriously disabled with many, many disabling medical conditions.
I was once speaking to a Pagan friend of mine, we were talking about reincarnation as she believes in it also as part of her Religion. We got to talking about the way Buddhists believe that your state in life is as a result of your past actions. Being ill all the time and having lots of illnesses is the experience from the cause of having taken lives.
We did wonder what I did in my past life.
I can't help wondering if I worked at Auschwitz sometimes!

Positive Actions.

I think the most important thing about this part of the chapter is that it is not enough to stop taking life! You MUST vow to not do it for the rest of this life, and for all of your lives!
I think that maybe stoping the ten negative actions is harder than Patrul Rinpoche makes it out to be.
I know I certainly find it to be so. I'm never going to kill anyone, but looking at someone's coat and thinking "Oooh I'd like that" is such a difficult thing to stop.
Plus with my bipolar, I get harmful thoughts and actions, and harsh speech every now and then. Does that mean I'm breaking vows all the time?
How does one purify this?
If we take a vow to not commit any of the ten negative actions, and we find it difficult to really bring ourself to complete purity (let's face it, only Boddhisattvas and Buddhas are really that pure!), how do we purify the negative karma of breaking that vow continually? Is the positive karma of taking the vow enough to overcome the continual negative karma of breaking it minorly? Or is it actually worth not taking it? No... that would be bad, taking it is always worth it, that way we work harder to keep it.

So... protect the lives of living beings, practice generosity. These two positive actions work well together - one can easily give to charities that help to protect living beings. Though it's not very hands on. One could also go and give time, ie work, to charities that protect living beings.
Follow the rules of discipline. I guess this means don't have sexual misconduct, and be true to the person you're with.
I don't really know what the rules of discipline are.

Tell the truth, reconcile disputes, speak pleasantly. Again, three things that go well together. Often disputes arise when people are sowing discord, someone coming in and speaking pleasantly and telling the truth can be just what is needed to solve the dispute.

Recite prayers. Always good :-)

Learn to be generous, cultivate the desire to help people, establish yourself in the true and authentic view.
Again these relate... establishing yourself in the true and authentic view means you will wish to be generous to people and as part of wishing to become enlightened, you will wish to bring all people to enlightenment, which is a desire to help people.

These are very simple examples.
What if you find no disputes to settle? Is it enough to give money to charities who are protecting the lives of living beings?

I think that these positive actions are very difficult for us, and ultimately it is these positive actions, if acted upon all of the time, and firmly entrenched in the subconsicous as well as the conscious mind, that cause us to be enlightened. One can study the sutras every day for hints and tips to help us along the path, but those simple positive actions are what makes a Buddha.

Two more things to do every day:
When one wakes up, turn your mind to your dreams. Have you done anything wrong in them? Regret it and confess it.
Have you done anything good? Be glad and dedicate the merit so that all may attain Buddahood.

At night when you go to sleep, do not just drop off into unconsciousness. Reflect upon the day in the same way.

I have to say, I love the stories of old Lamas and Monks and Kings and things. They're examples to live to. They tell us exactly how these causes and actions have their effect. And how it can be many, many lifetimes later.
And they're lovely to read.

So that's my thoughts on Chapter 4.
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[User Picture]From: buff114
2007-12-08 07:21 am (UTC)
In regards to the Bipolar, this I think would be a result from your past karma...so in a way it is your thought...from a past life and you are experiencing it as effects now.

This may be "Actions similar to the cause" and/or "The Proliferating effect" manifesting. After all your past negative actions create the body, environment and even brain you have now.

But I think you are safe if you see it as a continuum of past karma and apply the 4 component powers (4 powers of purification) after an episode......I am wary to give advice in this regard since I am not a specialist but this is my understanding from the Buddhist point of view.

I know a Nun who has a degree in clinic psychology would you like me to give her your e-mail or something.....I am sure she could help you with this more then I can.
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[User Picture]From: buff114
2007-12-08 07:23 am (UTC)
Sorry thats *clinical psychology
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[User Picture]From: djonma
2007-12-08 11:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think it's a result from my past karma. I don't quite understand something about that though - my past karma puts me into a position where I can only make things worse...

It's like, some people are born and they'll never have the chance to find the Dharma. That's because of their past Karma. It's known to be a product of your past Karma if you find the Dharma.
So, if they're born without finding the Dharma, and they die with wrong views, then they'll be born lower, and lower, and lower, how do people EVER find the Dharma??
Every lifetime you'll get further and further away!

I think Karma is one of the most complicated subjects we have :-)
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[User Picture]From: djonma
2007-12-08 11:37 am (UTC)
Oh, and yes, being able to speak to that Nun would be fantastic! Thank you!

If you could use scu06njd@reading.ac.uk, Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: buff114
2007-12-08 07:03 am (UTC)
I see where things like the fleas is a slippery slope. Killing is bad but those fleas can cause much more harm. I think slow torture with out death could sometimes be more wrong then a quick painless death....maybe? Not to mention fleas killed millions with the plague.

I think I have actually seen some debates if parasitic insects are sentient....I don’t know they seem to be, but their whole life is devoted to inflicting pain....its hard to get around as a Buddhist I think. Similar to the debates about if war is ok or not. Very hard subject.

I think the best way would be take preemptive measures to make sure the animal does not get them in the first place, thus saving you from having to kill fleas and other things. That is also hard to do tho.

I think unintentional acts can bring about bad karma. The karma I think would be much weaker since the desire to do that act is not there. For example I might not mean to step on that bug, but was I being mindful to NOT step on it as well? There was no wrong intention in the act but there was also no mindful intention to NOT do the act as well....I think that is how it can cause bad karma.
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[User Picture]From: djonma
2007-12-08 11:34 am (UTC)
When two of our cats were young, they had fleas, and although you can get flea spray for kittens / young cats, one of our cats has brain damage, and we used the flea spray (instant quick, painless death to fleas) a couple of times, and the difference in her after it was unbelievable. The spray had DDT in it (or whatever that really nasty chemical is that they stopped using on crops because it was so nasty), and we took her too the vets because she was so badly affected by it, and he said that it was obviously affecting her brain and we had to stop using it.
Unfortunately, fleas are very, very difficult to get rid of without good treatment, and they were too young to use frontline (the one you just put a drop behind their head with and it just kills the fleas and their eggs really quickly, and stops them coming back - which is why we use it now, it prevents them from coming back, so we're no longer killing fleas).
I had to sit with a bucket of warm water and a flea comb which was electrified to kill them quickly and comb her every single day.
Every single flea I killed I recited Om Mani Padme Hung.
It was pretty horrible though.
Unfortunately she's extremely nervy (possibly schizophrenic as well) and so she hides in strange places, so when she went out, she'd pick up fleas again. Her sisters were fine, it was just her.
But she's a good cat and she let me do it without complaining too much and it was much better to get the fleas off her than to let her go on in pain.
I don't think fleas have a very long life span anyway really.
It was pretty yucky killing them all though, the bucket of water would end up red.
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[User Picture]From: buff114
2007-12-08 06:50 am (UTC)
Thanks for all the hard work guys!!!

I need to work harder myself.

Also I felt that what the book said about regarding sex was misinformed ( likely simply due to society at the time) Anal, oral, masturbation are empty and therefor can be bad if done with a certain mind set but could also be fine if done with a certain mind set.
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