« Happiness, 3 | Main | Happiness, 5 »

August 19, 2010

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e5537c83be88340133f3086f1f970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Happiness, 4:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Suzanne

Let go of controlling the story, and the story takes care of itself.

Lauren Crane

Barry,
"destruction of life" could be very different from " killing." The former being a very active, goal driven pursuit, and the later including passive accidents. Any clues in Pali as to what the original flavor was?

-lauren

Marcus

"In short, the Buddha observes that refuge and precepts produce happiness."

Wonderful stuff! Thank you Barry!

Barry Briggs

Suzanne, thank you for your wise comment. Stories remain stories, if we let them be.

Lauren, you ask an important question - which the post doesn't address. The Buddha was most clear in stating that intention determines the karmic outcome of our actions. For example, in AN 6.63 he says, "Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect." In other places, the Buddha says that it's not enough simply to formulate a correct intention before acting - we must also "check" our intention repeatedly while engaged in the action. If we do this, and our intention is not to harm, then "passive accidents" do not generate afflictions. That's my understanding of this.

Thank you, Marcus!

Lauren Crane

Barry,

Thank for the detailed consideration. It rather kicks down the door of an understanding I thought I was settled on, which is "intentions and thoughts and so are 'empty'" and I guess, can not be so important to karma. I thought it was the real action itself that was the most important thing to karma, or to assessing the morality or appropriateness or skillfullness of a situation. To say that intention trumps real action sets my head spinning. Guess I'll have to brush up on Buddhist scripture to work this out again. Any recommendations (book title) for a start?

-Lauren

Barry Briggs

Hey Lauren,
The one thing that most distinguishes Buddhism from other paths, in my view, is that intention is everything.

My friend Bob sometimes says, if you want to know what a person intends, look at their actions. Our intentions always become clear, if we look at how we behave in the world. In my case, this is usually not a pleasant bit of self-study.

Here's a place to look into this more (excerpts from the Pali Canon on intention and karma):
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-ditthi/kamma.html

And here's a good article by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on intention:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/intentions.html

No book springs to mind, but I'll give it some thought. TNH probably talks about this in The Heart of Buddha's Teaching, but I don't have it at hand to confirm.

Best wishes,
Barry

The comments to this entry are closed.

About

  • Zen teachers sometimes use the Ten Ox Herding Pictures to describe the path of awakening. Within this metaphorical framework, the ox symbolizes the secretive, unruly human mind.
  • Ox Herding reflects my ongoing pursuit of the ox. You can reach me (Barry Briggs) at oxherding [at] me.com.

My Other Weblogs

Comments

  • I’m truly grateful to everyone who leaves a comment on this blog. Even though many comments are generous and thoughtful, I rarely respond. Thank you for your understanding.

American Zen

Buddhist Magazines

Thanks!

  • I extend grateful appreciation to my daughter, Susie, who designed this site; to Zen Master Seung Sahn, for crossing the ocean; and to all beings for their never-ending encouragement and teaching.
  • May we together attain enlightenment and save all beings from suffering.

Free e-Books

Finding the Ox