Continuing the exploration of what the Dhamma means in the 21st century, the basic precepts of Buddhism were discussed. Peter explained that the precepts are organized around the cultivation of wisdom, which is the combination of clear awareness and benevolent intention. The potential value of using the word commitment rather than precept was explained as commitment implies an action phase. A new list of commitments was provided (which will be posted on the web site), carefully constructed to convey the basic aspects of wisdom, hopefully in a way more useful in our era.
Continuing the exploration of how to increase the relevance of Buddhist wisdom in our era, this discussion explored the relationship between the concept of kamma (karma) and action. Emphasis was placed on using mindfulness to restrain impulsive action in order to promote behavior that cultivates kindness and compassion. This was related to current personal, cultural and spiritual conditions. This sets a foundation for thorough exploration of Right Livelihood in the next few talks.
This is the first of two dialogues about the Wisdom aggregate of the Noble Eightfold Path, continuing to explore the relevance of traditional Buddhist psychology to modern scientific and psychological insights. Tonight’s discussion emphasized Right Understanding as “clear awareness” of the three characteristics: impermanence, dissatisfaction, and non-self, as well as the realization of the reality of karma, that is, for every effect there’s a cause. Next week’s discussion will emphasize Right Intention as “benevolent intention”, focusing on how urgency is felt and managed to manifest Wisdom.