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Sequence of the gradual training (Part 3. Sila Practice)

Sequence of the Gradual Training

III. Sila practice:

1. Repeated reflect/examine on Kamma and Its Fruits (MN 60, MN 135, AN 5.57); Establish conscience/prudence about bad bodily/verbal/mental conduct and unwholesome qualities as well as fear of their consequences; seeing danger in the slightest fault; understand the rewards of sila (MN 54, AN 3.65, AN 4.111, AN 4.54, AN 8.7, AN 8.39-40, AN 10.1-3, AN 10.76, AN 11.12, DN 16, SN 3.25; T 211.31 SuttaCentral).

“Just as the great ocean is stable and does not overflow its boundaries, so too, when I have prescribed a training rule for my disciples, they will not transgress it even for life’s sake.” (AN 8.19)

“… Furthermore, an unethical person enters any kind of assembly timid and embarrassed, whether it’s an assembly of aristocrats, brahmins, householders, or ascetics.
Furthermore, householders, one lacking in virtue, one who has lost his virtue, dies bewildered. …” (DN 16)

“If I were to kill living beings, I would blame myself for doing so; the wise, having investigated, would censure me for doing so; and on the dissolution of the body, after death, because of killing living beings an unhappy destination would be expected. But this killing of living beings is itself a fetter and a hindrance. And while taints, vexation, and fever might arise through the killing of living beings, there are no taints, vexation, and fever for one who abstains from killing living beings.” (MN 54)

“If you hold yourself dear
then don’t fetter yourself with evil,
for happiness isn’t easily gained
by one who commits a wrong-doing.
When seized by the End-maker
as you abandon the human state,
what’s truly your own?
What do you take along when you go?
What follows behind you
like a shadow that never leaves?
Both the good & bad that you as a mortal perform here:
that’s what’s truly your own,
what you take along when you go;
that’s what follows behind you like a shadow that never leaves.
So do what is good,
as an investment for the future life.
The good deeds are the support for beings
when they arise in the other world.”
— SN 3.4

"There is the case where a noble disciple, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from taking life. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. [The same applies to abandoning taking what is not given, illicit sex, lying, the use of intoxicants]

“And this is … reward of skillfulness, nourishment of happiness, celestial, resulting in happiness, leading to heaven, leading to what is desirable, pleasurable, & appealing; to benefit & to happiness.”

2. Purify the three fold conduct and livelihood by living restrained in precepts and by repeated reflection/examination (DN 1, MN 61, AN 5.57, AN 10.176, AN 11.12);

  • Precepts for monastics: DN1

  • Precepts for lay followers:

Five Precepts:

  • Abstaining from the taking of life (panatipata veramani): “Herein someone avoids the taking of life and abstains from it. Without stick or sword, conscientious, full of sympathy, he is desirous of the welfare of all sentient beings.” (AN 10.176).

“One who does not kill, Nor cause others to kill” (Iti 27)

  • Abstaining from taking what is not given (adinnadana veramani): “He avoids taking what is not given and abstains from it; what another person possesses of goods and chattel in the village or in the wood, that he does not take away with thievish intent.” (AN 10.176) “… Accepting and expecting only what is given, he dwells in honesty and rectitude of heart.” (DN 1)
  • Abstaining from sexual misconduct (Kāmesumicchācāra veramaṇī):
  • Abstaining from false speech (Musāvādā veramaṇī):

“‘Having abandoned false speech, the recluse Gotama abstains from falsehood. He speaks only the truth, he lives devoted to truth; trustworthy and reliable, he does not deceive anyone in the world.” (DN 1) “… he doesn’t consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward.” (AN 10.176)

  • Abstaining from alcoholic drink or drugs that are an opportunity for heedlessness (Surāmerayamajjapamādaṭṭhānā veramaṇī)

The Uposatha Observance: add the following three precepts (AN 8.41)

  • Eat in one part of the day, abstaining from eating at night and from food at the wrong time.
  • Give up dancing, singing, music, and seeing shows; and beautifying and adorning themselves with garlands, fragrance, and makeup.
  • Give up high and luxurious beds. They sleep in a low place, either a small bed or a straw mat.

3. Prictice Right Livelihood:

  • Right Livelihood for monastics: see DN1.

  • Right Livelihood for lay followers: MN 97, SN 42.2, SN 42.3,

Lay followers should avoid any occupations that are based on doing harm to other beings, any that are based on encouraging heedlessness and intoxication in oneself or others, and any that are based on inciting wrong resolves in one’s own mind. One should not pursue livelihood in an unprincipled, unjust and dishonest way (MN 97). One should earn money in a wholesome way.

“Mendicants, a lay follower should not engage in these five trades. What five? Trade in weapons, living creatures, meat, intoxicants, and poisons.” (AN 5.177).

“And what is meant by maintaining one’s livelihood in tune? There is the case where a lay person, knowing the income and outflow of his wealth, maintains a livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher.” (AN 8.54)

“One discerns wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood, and right livelihood as right livelihood. And what is wrong livelihood? Scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, & pursuing gain with gain. This is wrong livelihood… “(MN 117)

These are the seven kinds of wealth:
Faith (in the Buddha’s awakening),
Ethical conduct,
Conscience (feeling shame at bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct),
Prudence,
Learning (listened to the Budddha’s teaching often, remembering them, reciting them, mentally scrutinizing them, and comprehending them theoretically)
Generosity,
Wisdom.
When a woman or man has these kinds of wealth,
they’re said to be prosperous,
their life is not in vain.”
(AN 7.6)

“I’ve enjoyed wealth,
supported my dependents,
and overcome adversities (make provisions against the losses that might arise).
I have given an uplifting offering
& performed the five oblations (to relatives, guests, ancestors, the king, and the deities).
I have served the virtuous monks (who train themselves for nibbāna),
the self-controlled celibate ones."
(AN 4.61)

"Knowing the happiness of debtlessness,
and the extra happiness of ownership,
a mortal enjoying the happiness of using wealth,
then sees clearly with wisdom.
Seeing clearly, a clever person knows
both kinds of happiness:
the other kind is not worth a sixteenth part
of the happiness of blamelessness.”
(AN 4.62)

“Heedful at administering or working at one’s occupation,
they balance their finances,
and preserve their wealth (by not womanizing, drinking, or gambling, and having good friends, companions, and associates).
A person of faith (on the Buddha),
consummate in virtue (observe the five precepts),
generous, free of selfishness,
constantly clears the path to security in (this life) and the lives to come.
(AN 8.54)

For Sequence of the gradual training (Part 1. Right View) see Sequence of gradual training

For Sequence of the gradual training (Part 2. Right Solve) see

  1. Sequence of gradual training (Part 2. Right Resolve)