Buddhism Manual of Practice

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This Wikibook is about the way and practice of Buddhism. If you believe in "to know the practice by knowing the theory", then welcome to the other side of it, that is "to understand and realize the theory by knowing and doing the practice". For some people, the first way might work but for other people the second might be better.

The first way is more suited for people with deep wisdom. Seeing the theory, they can understand it. Understanding the theory, they can deduce their way of practice. People with lesser wisdom will be confused when they see the theory. Even when they are reading it, they do not understand it. However, simply stating what they should do and then practicing it is much better.

Repeating what has been written, this book

  • is not about theories, but about ways of practicing
  • lets people know the way of practice so that they will understand the theory
  • is not tied to a particular method; instead it will try to describe several methods that are available.

General[edit]

The Five Precepts and the Eightfold Way[edit]

Morality[edit]

Morality is a quality of mind. It produces a level of calmness and happiness in oneself and produces a basic level of security in society, making it a reasonably safe place to live. Morality can be developed by following certain guidelines, IF one has the right attitude.

The first set of guidelines that a lay Buddhist (who is still interested in family life) undertakes are known as The Five Precepts. They are:

  1. Don't kill any living creature
  2. Don't take what is not given to you
  3. Don't commit sexual immorality
  4. Don't speak falsely
  5. Don't become intoxicated such that you lose your ability to judge properly (this includes, drugs, alcohol etc.)

The next set of guidelines that a lay Theravada Buddhist (who is losing interest in family life - they could still live at home) undertakes for shorter to longer lengths of time, are known as The Eight Precepts. The change of precept number three above and the extra precepts (6-8) are related to restraining the six senses and support the meditative practice of looking inwards for true happiness, rather than outwards for sense pleasures. They are:

  1. Don't kill any living creature
  2. Don't take what is not given to you
  3. Don't have intentional sexual activity
  4. Don't speak falsely (don't lie, not even white lies)
  5. Don't become intoxicated such that you loose your ability to judge properly (this includes, drugs, alcohol etc.)
  6. Don't eat after noon
  7. Don't dance, sing, play or listen to music, go to see entertainments, wear garlands, use perfumes, or beautify the body with cosmetics
  8. Don't use high or luxurious furniture

Novice monks of the Theravada tradition follow 10 precepts, but actually it is only one more than the eight above, because number seven above is divided into two. The 10 are:

  1. Don't kill
  2. Don't steal
  3. Don't have intentional sexual activity
  4. Don't speak falsely (don't lie, not even white lies)
  5. Don't become intoxicated such that you loose your ability to judge properly (this includes, drugs, alcohol etc.)
  6. Don't eat after noon
  7. Don't dance, sing, play or listen to music, go to see entertainments
  8. Don't wear garlands, use perfumes, or beautify the body with cosmetics
  9. Don't use high or luxurious furniture
  10. Don't accept and use money

The only difference between the 8 and 10 Precepts is number 10. The last precept marks the giving up of addiction to sense pleasures. If we have money, we can buy whatever we want (depending on how much money we have, of course).

Monks and nuns follow even more precepts, many of which are specific to a monk's or nun's life in a monastery or as a wanderer. These are around 230 precepts for a monk and around 300 for a nun (it varies depending on which Buddhist tradition is being referred to).

Concentration[edit]

Meditation is a part of Buddhist concentration that helps to purify karma. Devout Buddhists should meditate on a daily basis.

Wisdom[edit]

Wisdom is insight into dependent origination; it's insight that believes that everything is caused and hence impermanent, based on suffering and not-self. This is seeing with insight the Four Noble Truths. This is consciousness and perception and feeling which are conjoined and inseparable from wisdom. "Wisdom is to be developed and consciousness is to be understood", said the Buddha in the sutta spoken by Bhikkhuni Visakha.

The Way of Practicing Satipatthana[edit]

Satipatthana comes from two words; sati and patthana. Sati meaning mindfulness, and patthana meaning foundation. Thus, the Satipatthana Practice is the foundation for the development of mindfulness.

Thinking Tilakkhana[edit]

Here are the thoughts that comply with the concept of anattā (non-self) in the Tilakkhana (the three marks of existence in Buddhist theory):

  • The thought of anger appears
  • A bad action has been done

And here are the thoughts that do not comply with the concept of anattā (non-self) in the Tilakkhana.

  • I am angry
  • I have done a bad thing