BHODIRATANARAMA DAMMA SCHOOL Canada Friendship Road Katunayake Grade 8 Questions 1. Briefly explain the ten perfections ( Dasa kusal/ දස කුසල්) ? 2. Does Buddhism have a code of morality (Five precepts / පන්සිල්) ? 3. All religions have holy writings, what is the Buddhist holy book? 4. What are the main teachings of the Buddha (Noble Truths/ චතුරාර්ය සත්ය)? 5. Briefly explain the Four Noble Truths (Noble Truths/ චතුරාර්ය සත්ය)? 6. What are the Three Refuges (තිසරන)? 7. Briefly explain the Eight Fold Path (ආර්ය අෂ්ටාoගික මාර්ගය)? Answers 01. The Ten Perfections Generosity (dana) This can be characterized by unattached and unconditional generosity, giving and letting go. Giving leads to being reborn in happy states and material wealth. Alternatively, lack of giving leads to unhappy states and poverty. The exquisite paradox in Buddhism is that the more we give - and the more we give without seeking something in return - the wealthier (in the broadest sense of the word) we will become. By giving we destroy those acquisitive impulses that ultimately lead to further suffering. Morality (sila)-virtue, integrity It is an action that is an intentional effort. It refers to moral purity of thought, word, and deed. The four conditions of sila are chastity, calmness, quiet, and extinguishment, i.e. no longer being susceptible to perturbation by the passions like greed and selfishness, which are common in the world today. Sila refers to overall (principles of) ethical behaviour. Renunciation (nekkhamma) Nekkhamma is a Pali word generally translated as "renunciation" while also conveying more specifically "giving up the world and leading a holy life" or "freedom from lust, craving and desires." In Buddhism's Noble Eightfold Path, nekkhamma is the first practice associated with "Right Intention." In the Theravada list of ten perfections, nekkhamma is the third practice of "perfection." Wisdom (pañña) Prajña (Sanskrit) or pañña (Pali) has been translated as "wisdom," "understanding," "discernment," "cognitive acuity," or "know-how." In some sects of Buddhism, it especially refers to the wisdom that is based on the direct realization of the Four Noble Truths, impermanence, interdependent origination, non-self, emptiness, etc. Prajña is the wisdom that is able to extinguish afflictions and bring about enlightenment. Energy/Strength (viriya)- effort It stands for strenuous and sustained effort to overcome unskillful ways, such as indulging in sensuality, ill will and harmfulness. It stands for the right endeavour to attain dhyana. Virya does not stand for physical strength. It signifies strength of character and the persistent effort for the well-being of others. In the absence of sustained efforts in practicing meditation, craving creeps in and the meditator comes under its influence. Right effort known as viryabala is, thus, required to overcome unskillful mental factors and deviation from dhyana. Patience (khanti) Khanti (Pali) has been translated as patience, forbearance and forgiveness. It is the practice of exercising patience toward behavior or situations that might not necessarily deserve it. It is seen as a conscious choice to actively give patience as if a gift, rather than being in a state of oppression in which one feels obligated to act in such a way. Truthfulness (sacca) Sacca is a Pali word meaning "real" or "true." In early Buddhist literature, sacca is often found in the context of the "Four Noble Truths," a crystallization of Buddhist wisdom. In addition, sacca is one of the ten paramis or perfections that a bodhisatta must develop in order to become a Buddha. Resolution - determination (adhitthana) Adhitthana (Pali; from adhi meaning "higher" or "best" plus stha meaning "standing") has been translated as "decision," "resolution," "self-determination," "will" and "resolute determination." In the late canonical literature of Theravada Buddhism, adhitthana is one of the ten "perfections" (dasa paramiyo), exemplified by the bodhisatta's resolve to become fully awakened. Lovingkindness (metta) Metta (Pali) or maitri (Sanskrit) has been translated as "loving-kindness," "friendliness," "benevolence," "amity," "friendship," "good will," "kindness," "love," "sympathy," and "active interest in others." It is one of the ten paramitas of the Theravada school of Buddhism, and the first of the four Brahmaviharas. The metta bhavana ("cultivation of metta") is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism. The object of metta meditation is loving kindness (love without attachment). Traditionally, the practice begins with the meditator cultivating loving kindness towards themselves,then their loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers, enemies, and finally towards all sentient beings. Commonly, it can be used as a greeting or closing to a letter or note. Buddhists believe that those who cultivate metta will be at ease because they see no need to harbour ill will or hostility. Buddhist teachers may even recommend meditation on metta as an antidote to insomnia and nightmares. It is generally felt that those around a metta-ful person will feel more comfortable and happy too. Radiating metta is thought to contribute to a world of love, peace and happiness. Metta meditation is considered a good way to calm down a distraught mind by people who consider it to be an antidote to anger. According to them, someone who has cultivated metta will not be easily angered and can quickly subdue anger that arises, being more caring, more loving, and more likely to love unconditionally. Equanimity (upekkha) "The real meaning of upekkha is equanimity, not indifference in the sense of unconcern for others. As a spiritual virtue, upekkha means equanimity in the face of the fluctuations of worldly fortune. It is evenness of mind, unshakeable freedom of mind, a state of inner equipoise that cannot be upset by gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and blame, pleasure and pain. Upekkha is freedom from all points of self-reference; it is indifference only to the demands of the ego- self with its craving for pleasure and position, not to the well-being of one's fellow human beings. True equanimity is the pinnacle of the four social attitudes that the Buddhist texts call the 'divine abodes': boundless loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity. The last does not override and negate the preceding three, but perfects and consummates them." 02. Yes it does. The five precepts are the basis of Buddhist morality. 2.1 The first precept is to avoid killing or harming living beings. 2.2 The second is to avoid stealing, 2.3 The third is to avoid sexual misconduct, 2.4 The fourth is to avoid lying 2.5 The fifth is to avoid alcohol and other intoxicating drugs. 03. The sacred book of Buddhism is called the Tipitaka. It is written in an ancient Indian language called Pali which is very close to the language that the Buddha himself spoke. The Tripitaka is a very large book. The English translation of it takes up nearly forty volumes. 04. All of the many teachings of the Buddha centre on the Four Noble Truths, just as the rim and spokes of a wheel centers on the hub. They are called 'Four' because there are four of them. They are called 'Noble' because they ennoble one who understands them and they are called 'Truths' because, corresponding with reality, they are true. 05. 5.1 The First Noble Truth is that life is suffering. To live, you must suffer. It is impossible to live without experiencing some kind of suffering. We have to endure physical suffering like sickness, injury, tiredness, old age and eventually death and we have to endure psychological suffering like loneliness, frustrations, fear, embarrassment, disappointment, anger, etc. 5.2 The Second Noble Truth is that all suffering is caused by craving. When we look at psychological suffering, it is easy to see how it is caused by craving. When we want something but are unable to get it, we feel frustrated. When we expect someone to live up to our expectation and they do not, we feel let down and disappointed. When we want others to like us and they don't, we feel hurt. Even when we want something and are able to get it, this does not often lead to happiness either because it is not long before we feel bored with that thing, lose interest in it and commence to want something else. Put simply, the Second Noble Truth says that getting what you want does not guarantee happiness. Rather than constantly struggling to get what you want, try to modify your wanting. Wanting deprives us of contentment and happiness. 5.3 The Third Noble Truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness attained. This is perhaps the most important of the Four Noble Truths because in it the Buddha reassures us that true happiness and contentment are possible. When we give up useless craving and learn to live each day at a time, enjoying without restlessly wanting the experiences that life offers us, patiently enduring the problems that life involves, without fear, hatred and anger, then we become happy and free. Then, and then only, do we begin to live fully. Because we are no longer obsessed with satisfying our own selfish wants, we find that we have so much time to help others fulfil their needs. This state is called Nirvana. We are free from psychological suffering. 5.4 The Fourth Noble Truth is the Path leading to the overcoming of suffering. This path is called the Noble Eightfold Path and consists of Perfect Understanding, Perfect Thought, Perfect Speech, Perfect Action, Perfect Livelihood, Perfect Effort, Perfect Mindfulness, and Perfect Concentration. Buddhist practice consist of practising these eight things until they become more complete. You will notice that the steps on the Noble Eightfold Path cover every aspect of life: the intellectual, the ethical and economic and the psychological and therefore contains everything a person needs to lead a good life and to develop spiritually. 06. A refuge is a place where people go when they are distressed or when they need safety and security. There are many types of refuges. When people are unhappy, they take refuge with their friends, when they are worried and frightened, they may take refuge in false hopes and beliefs. As they approach death, they might take refuge in the belief in an eternal heaven. But, as the Buddha says, none of these are true refuges because they do not give comfort and security based on reality. Truly these are not safe refuges, not the refuge supreme. Not the refuge whereby one is freed from all sorrow. But to take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha and to see with real understanding the Four Noble Truths. Suffering, the cause of suffering, the transcending of suffering and the Noble Eightfold Path that leads to the transcending of suffering. This indeed is a safe refuge, it is the refuge supreme. It is the refuge whereby one is freed from all suffering. Taking Refuge in the Buddha is a confident acceptance of the fact that one can become fully enlightened of the fact that one can become fully enlightened and perfected just as the Buddha was. Taking Refuge in the Dhamma means understanding the Four Noble Truths and basing one's life on the Noble Eightfold Path. Taking Refuge in the Sangha means looking for support, inspiration and guidance from all who walk the Noble Eightfold Path. Doing this one becomes a Buddhist and thus takes the first step on the path towards Nirvana. 07. 1. Right View Wisdom Samma Ditti 2. Right Intention Samma Sankappa 3. Right Speech Samma Waacha 4. Right Action Ethical Conduct Samma Ajiwa 5. Right Livelihood Samma Kammamtha 6. Right Effort Samma Wayama 7. Right Mindfulness Mental Development Samma Sathi 8. Right Concentration Samma Samadhi 1. Right View Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realise the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions. 2. Right Intention While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention refers to the volitional aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Buddha distinguishes three types of right intentions: 1. the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire, 2. the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion, and 3. the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion. 3. Right Speech Right speech is the first principle of ethical conduct in the eightfold path. Ethical conduct is viewed as a guideline to moral discipline, which supports the other principles of the path. This aspect is not self-sufficient, however, essential, because mental purification can only be achieved through the cultivation of ethical conduct. The importance of speech in the context of Buddhist ethics is obvious: words can break or save lives, make enemies or friends, start war or create peace. Buddha explained right speech as follows: 1. to abstain from false speech, especially not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully, 2. to abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others, 3. to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others, and 4. to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth. Positively phrased, this means to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary. 4. Right Action The second ethical principle, right action, involves the body as natural means of expression, as it refers to deeds that involve bodily actions. Unwholesome actions lead to unsound states of mind, while wholesome actions lead to sound states of mind. Again, the principle is explained in terms of abstinence: right action means 1. to abstain from harming sentient beings, especially to abstain from taking life (including suicide) and doing harm intentionally or delinquently, 2. to abstain from taking what is not given, which includes stealing, robbery, fraud, deceitfulness, and dishonesty, and 3. to abstain from sexual misconduct. Positively formulated, right action means to act kindly and compassionately, to be honest, to respect the belongings of others, and to keep sexual relationships harmless to others. Further details regarding the concrete meaning of right action can be found in the Precepts. 5. Right Livelihood Right livelihood means that one should earn one's living in a righteous way and that wealth should be gained legally and peacefully. The Buddha mentions four specific activities that harm other beings and that one should avoid for this reason: 1. dealing in weapons, 2. dealing in living beings (including raising animals for slaughter as well as slave trade and prostitution), 3. working in meat production and butchery, and 4. selling intoxicants and poisons, such as alcohol and drugs. Furthermore any other occupation that would violate the principles of right speech and right action should be avoided. 6. Right Effort Right effort can be seen as a prerequisite for the other principles of the path. Without effort, which is in itself an act of will, nothing can be achieved, whereas misguided effort distracts the mind from its task, and confusion will be the consequence. Mental energy is the force behind right effort; it can occur in either wholesome or unwholesome states. The same type of energy that fuels desire, envy, aggression, and violence can on the other side fuel self-discipline, honesty, benevolence, and kindness. Right effort is detailed in four types of endeavours that rank in ascending order of perfection: 1. to prevent the arising of unarisen unwholesome states, 2. to abandon unwholesome states that have already arisen, 3. to arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen, and 4. to maintain and perfect wholesome states already arisen. 7. Right Mindfulness Right mindfulness is the controlled and perfected faculty of cognition. It is the mental ability to see things as they are, with clear consciousness. Usually, the cognitive process begins with an impression induced by perception, or by a thought, but then it does not stay with the mere impression. Instead, we almost always conceptualise sense impressions and thoughts immediately. We interpret them and set them in relation to other thoughts and experiences, which naturally go beyond the facticity of the original impression. The mind then posits concepts, joins concepts into constructs, and weaves those constructs into complex interpretative schemes. All this happens only half consciously, and as a result we often see things obscured. Right mindfulness is anchored in clear perception and it penetrates impressions without getting carried away. Right mindfulness enables us to be aware of the process of conceptualisation in a way that we actively observe and control the way our thoughts go. Buddha accounted for this as the four foundations of mindfulness: 1. contemplation of the body, 2. contemplation of feeling (repulsive, attractive, or neutral), 3. contemplation of the state of mind, and 4. contemplation of the phenomena. 8. Right Concentration The eighth principle of the path, right concentration, refers to the development of a mental force that occurs in natural consciousness, although at a relatively low level of intensity, namely concentration. Concentration in this context is described as one- pointedness of mind, meaning a state where all mental faculties are unified and directed onto one particular object. Right concentration for the purpose of the eightfold path means wholesome concentration, i.e. concentration on wholesome thoughts and actions. The Buddhist method of choice to develop right concentration is through the practice of meditation. The meditating mind focuses on a selected object. It first directs itself onto it, then sustains concentration, and finally intensifies concentration step by step. Through this practice it becomes natural to apply elevated levels concentration also in everyday situations. BHODIRATANARAMA DAMMA SCHOOL Canada Friendship Road Katunayake Grade 7 Questions 01. How should one live the Buddhist way of life? 02. How is universal loving-kindness taught in Buddhism? 03. What is the Buddha's teaching about caste and colour? 04. What are the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha? 05. What are the results of the practice of the Five Precepts? 06. What is the holy text of Buddhism? Answers 01. To live the Buddhist way of life one should avoid doing evil, perform wholesome acts and purify one's own mind. The "don't and do" moral principles of the Buddhist way of life are as follows: 1. To abstain from killing, and develop loving-kindness and compassion to all living beings. 2. To abstain from stealing, and develop right means of livelihood. 3. To abstain from sexual misconduct, and develop restraint of the senses. 4. To abstain from lying, and develop truthful speech. 5. To abstain from intoxicants, and develop restraint and mindfulness. The more one can observe the above Five Precepts and Five Virtues, the more happy and peaceful life one will achieve. Furthermore, trying to purify one's own mind from greed, hatred, and delusion step-by-step in daily life is the ideal way for all Buddhists 02. Loving-kindness (Metta) means extending good-will or benevolence which is opposite to ill-will. Buddhism teaches that loving-kindness should be diffused to all sentient beings, be they human or non-human. If the world follows the teaching of diffusion of universal loving-kindness, conflicts may be solved not by confrontation but through peaceful means. 03. There is no division of caste and colour in Buddhism. In some country, the caste system is a very important social structure. However, Buddhism is free from caste, racial, and gender prejudices. Everyone is equal in spiritual potential. The Buddha explained that a man's virtues or vices depend on his deeds, not his birth or wealth. One who comes to be ordained in Buddhism has equal rights such as the right to vote in meetings. The only difference is the order of seniority which goes according to the precedence in ordination. Buddhism lays stress on human equality by pointing to the importance of knowledge and good conduct. The Lord Buddha taught that one who is endowed with knowledge and good conduct is excellent among divine and human beings. 04. To be a Buddhist, one is expected primarily to take refuge in the Triple Gem: the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Buddha means the Enlightened One. Dhamma means Truth realised and taught by the Buddha. Sangha means the Buddha's disciples who behave and practise righteously. The ideal Sangha means those who attain the Four States of Noblehood. The meaning of the Triple Gem or the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha may be understood in three different levels as follows: (1)The First Level The Buddha : the Enlightened One represented by His replica or Buddha image. Dhamma : Truth realised and taught by the Buddha, represented by Tripitaka or the Buddhist scripture. Sangha : the Buddha's noble disciples represented by Buddhist bhikkhus (monks) and bhikkhunis (nuns) in general, who have not yet attained the Four States of Noblehood. The Sangha in this level is called Conventional Sangha or Sammati Sangha. (2) The Second Level The Buddha : The Enlightened One, who was formerly Prince Siddhattha of the Sakya clan. He renounced the worldly life in search of Truth and after His Enlightenment established Buddhism. Dhamma : Truth realised and taught by the Buddha, learned and put into practice by the Buddhists, both ordained and lay people. Sangha : the Buddha's noble disciples who have attained the Four States of Noblehood. (3) The Third Level The Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha become one. The Buddha in this level is identical with Dhamma as it was stated by Him that "One who sees Dhamma sees me; one who seems me sees Dhamma." This shows that Buddhahood is Dhamma and Dhamma is Buddhahood. The ideal Sangha is the embodiment of the realised Dhamma.. 05. The Five Precepts are not laws but they are self-training rules that lead to moral practices and right behaviour. Since one does not live alone, living in society requires self-awareness, self-control, adaptability, non-violent attitude and good-will. The Five Precepts are to abstain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, and intoxicants which cause carelessness. One should be kind, honest and mindful. Then our society will reach the goal that persons can live together peacefully and in mutual trust. 06. The teachings and conversations of Buddha are divided into three parts, which collectively make up the Tripitaka (three baskets): Sutta—discourses of Buddha Vinaya—rules for right conduct Abhidhamma—further knowledge There will also be different sutras depending on the sect.
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