Virtue is a basic component of any spiritual tradition found in the world. As regards Buddhism, virtue, that is Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood are key elements of the Noble Eightfold Path, and are derived from the Wisdom aggregate of the Path, particularly Right Intention. During this talk, Peter reviewed the multiple ways Buddhism cultivates virtue as an essential component during the process of Awakening. He also emphasized the contemporary psychological and social benefits derived from a virtuous lifestyle. This was followed by discussion focused on how virtue has improved the lives of those present during the talk, and how regular meditation practice fosters the shift from a conceptual understanding of virtue towards the experiential realization of virtue.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: UNDERSTANDING THE VALUE OF VIRTUE
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This continues a series of discussions regarding the Paramis, the qualities of the mind to be perfected in support of the awakening process. Tonight’s topic is Sila (pronounced shelah), virtue. During the talk, Peter read excerpts from the Sigalavada Sutta, within which the Buddha describes mental characteristics operating when virtue is absent and when it is functioning well. This sutta also describes the different virtuous actions taken relative to different relationship circumstances. He also quoted from Ajahn Buddhadassa’s book “Heartwood Of The Bodhi Tree-The Buddha’s Teaching On Voidness”, regarding the correlation between the absence of a separate self (voidness) and the expression of virtue. Peter then considered how the cultivation of virtue may have evolutionary value, in the same way that the historical emergence of language enabled the development of civilization. This was followed by engaged discussion among the people present during the meeting.
Here are the notes prepared for this discussion: The Benefits Of Virtue
Next week’s topic will be the Parami of renunciation.
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This talk begins a series of explorations of the paramis, qualities of the mind to be perfected during the process of awakening. The word parami is translated from Pali as perfection; in Sanskrit, the word is paramita. These qualities emerge as the frequency and potency of wholesome self-state organizations flourish. In describing the paramis, Peter emphasized the importance of cultivating attention through the combination of mindful investigation and benevolent intention. In the Theravada tradition, there are 10 paramis: generosity, virtue, renunciation, Wisdom, energy/persistence, patience, truthfulness, determination, lovingkindness, and equanimity/balance. These were reviewed as a wholesome system for self-state integration and liberation, with an emphasis on the interpersonal/societal benefits as well as personal awakening. This was followed by general discussion of the holistic “package” of the paramis, that is, how the function of one integrates with all the other paramis. In forthcoming talks, each of the paramis will be explored more deeply, with an emphasis on practical applications in contemporary secular life. The first parami, generosity, will be discussed at the next meeting.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk; please note the definition of the paramis follows a very traditional format, that is, characteristic description, specific function, its manifestation and proximal cause: Perfecting Qualities For Awakening
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In reviewing the Virtue aggregate of the Eightfold Path, this week’s focus is on effective listening. We live in a culture that doesn’t support a long attention span, which leads to poor interpersonal communication. Using Right Speech as a guideline, ways of cultivating mindfulness for effective listening were reviewed. Next week’s topic will be Right Speech.
This dhamma dialogue continues an ongoing exploration of the importance of using mindfulness practice to examine the classic Buddhist teachings so they can be adapted to a world experience that is much more complex than the time of the Buddha. Virtue is examined as the manifestation of wisdom (clear awareness plus benevolent intention) in our daily routines. This talk is laying the foundation for exploring the meaning of Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood in the 21st century, drawing on modern psychological research.