Reviewing the Value of Virtue and Right Speech

During this talk, Peter provides an overview of Sila, the Buddhist Virtue Aggregate, which is found within the Noble Eightfold Path, with an emphasis on the importance of mindfully recognizing the non-virtuous elements of contemporary cultural conditioning, which create disharmony and dysfunction with significant negative consequences for social cohesion and the environment, renouncing them, and instead orienting one’s thoughts and actions through the filter of Virtue–harmlessness, compassion, generosity and equanimity.  He then focuses on Right Speech in the context of a person’s internal self-talk, as well as interpersonal communications.  He adds another consideration he calls Right Listening, the ability to bring skillful attention and discipline to bear on the cognitive distortions that prevail in contemporary media and counter their effect on one’s clarity, purpose and peace of mind.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  THE VIRTUE OF RIGHT SPEECH  The contents of these notes are more expansive and descriptive than the verbal recording of the talk.

Next week’s talk will focus on another function of the Virtue Aggregate of the Noble Eightfold Path: Right Action.


Insights On The Path Of Awakening

In this talk, the progression from self-state integration is described, beginning with combining the Virtue aggregate and the Mental Training aggregate of the Noble Eightfold Path.  As the self-states no longer function with less internal and interpersonal conflict, then the Buddhist “Progressions of Insight” are developed.  These concepts were linked with various teaching instructions provided during the retreat, to help the participants understand the Theravada Buddhist notions of how enlightenment can occur.

The Precepts As Commitments

During this dialogue, Peter reviewed previous dialogues on The Power Of Commitment and the Five Precepts, hoping to foster a different perspective on the precepts.  In the history of Buddhism, the precepts are worded as “abstentions”, that is, behaviors that are to be avoided.  In this rendering, we are asked to consider positive aspects of them as commitments to manifest clear awareness (Right Understanding) and benevolent intentions (Right intentions).  In the course of the dialogue, participants were urged to realize that regular meditation practice is essential for the cultivation of the virtues that the precepts represent.  A one page summary reviewing the usefulness of working with the precepts as commitments is posted on the site for review.  Next week, the dialogue will begin to explore the practice of Right Mindfulness, which include the four foundations of mindfulness (satipatthana).

See also accompanying text: A New Approach to Fostering Buddhist Principles

How We Know Virtue

In another of a series of dialogues during which Peter explores ways to transpose the wisdom of the Buddhist teaching called The Four Noble Truths, modern ways of validating the usefulness of virtue to support peace of mind and clarity regarding our daily lifestyle decisions.  The significant differences of  complexity in our era as compared to the time of the Buddha was emphasized, which requires diligent mental discipline to manage effectively.  Next week’s dialogue will explore more modern understandings of Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood, which are the elements of virtue in the Noble Eightfold Path.

[s3mm type=”audio” files=”wp-content/uploads/2013/07/11130454/How We Know Virtue.mp3″ /]

Cultivating Spirituality in the 21st Century

In this dialogue, we explored the distractions that interfere with regular meditation practice, contrasted with the opportunities that are also present in our time to deeply practice and understand the liberating teachings of the Buddha.  The practice of Right Livelihood was renamed “Right Lifestyle” to reflect the increasing complexity of current culture, and that the goal of spiritual practice is living a wholesome life.