2021-06-03 Kusala (9 of 10) The Buddha's Teaching to his Son
9:08PM Jun 3, 2021
So, good morning everyone and, or Good day. And today we're continuing with that theme of kusala. The Pali word for either translator usually is either wholesome, or skillful. And Park they have what's defined is wholesome and skillful is that which is non afflictive, meaning not and doesn't cause harm, and doesn't cause pain. And that combination of neither harm nor pain, because some things are painful, you know, like, today I'm going to the dentist, I think it's gonna be a little painful. But it's not harmful is actually beneficial. So, the things that are beneficial, bring happiness are those things which are wholesome. And these things come together very nicely in. In a teaching the Buddha gave to his son, the Buddha had one child, a son named rahula. And he was apparently he joined his father and lived with his father from the time he was about seven onwards. I don't know what living with his father meant when his father was a monk. But, you know, in that he lived in the monastic world with his father and was a novice monk at the age of seven. And, and this particular story seems to be seems to be when the son was a teenager, young teenager. So maybe 13 or 14? And no, no, actually, I'm sort of confusing two stories. So was when when the sun was supposed to be quite young, he's maybe soon after he was became a novice good moves father, seven, eight years old. And, and it seems that he was caught the telling a lie. And the Buddha then sat him down and said, something like the, the religious life, the monastic life of someone who tells a deliberate lie, is about as valuable as the amount of water left in this bowl of mine by eating bowl, it turns it upside down, after having cleaned it, the know whatever water is left in there kind of drips out. And, you know, so it's kind of a maybe somewhat indirect way to say to a young child that what he did was not valid, you know, was counterproductive or not good. And then, and then at some point, he goes on and tells his son, the criteria for how to know what to do physically with the body, what, what to say, and even what to think. And it involves a reflection. And so he begins, the Buddha begins by saying to his son, and what's the purpose of a mirror, and the son says, it's for reflection. And the same way, this is how you should reflect on yourself. So this is a way to be a mirror for yourself to really see what's going on. And so it helps you guide you in deciding what you're going to do. So here is an act of attention of mindfulness, not just for the sake of mindfulness, but mindfulness for the purpose of knowing how to act in the world, what to say what to say and do and even to think. And so in some ways, this teaching that the he gives assigned maybe could be seen as being simple teachings for a seven, eight year old. But there's a tendency in MIPS boot, many Buddhist teach some Buddha's teachers, I know, they're really including myself to see this as this simple teaching has kind of encapsulate very clearly, that thrust of the Buddhist teachings, the center of it, this is what he had to say to his son, in a very simple way, that all the rest of the Buddhist teachings in Buddhism can flow from this in a very important way. So, so, he, so this is how he tells his son to consider his his actions and action with the body should be done after repeated reflection. An action by speech should be done after repeated reflection and action by mind should be done after repeated reflection in this way. rahula. When you wish to do an action with a body, you should reflect upon the same bodily action, thus
would this action that I wish to do with The body lead to my own affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both. And I think the word affliction here could equally be harm. does it lead to your harm someone else's harm, or to both your harm? Is it an unwholesome bodily action with painful consequences with painful results? When you reflect, if you know this action that I wish to do with a body would lead to my own affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both. It is an unwholesome bodily action with painful consequences with painful results, then you definitively should not do such an action with the body. But when you reflect, if you know, this action, that I wish to do with a body would not lead to my affliction, or to the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both. It is a wholesome bodily action, with happy consequences with happy results, then you may do such an action with the body. And then he goes on to say the same thing for acts of speech, and also acts of the mind. So even how we think there's a movement to reflect how I'm thinking right now, the attitude I have the bias, I have the, the desires, I have the is this afflictive is it harmful to me, to someone else? Or to both of us? Is it unwholesome unskillful? And does it lead to pain, to suffering. And if it doesn't, if it leads to what's beneficial for leads to what's wholesome, if it leads to what's bad to happiness, then go ahead and do it. And so that's what he says, what you should do before you do something, so this before doing something, reflect on it best you can, while you're doing it, you should reflect he goes on to say, same thing. But you should also reflect while you're doing it, to have some self awareness as you're doing something. And while you're doing it, if you find out that it's afflictive and unwholesome, then stop doing it. If it's not, then keep doing it. And the value of checking in while we're doing something is we get more information about the situation, we don't always know ahead of time, the impact our words our actions are going to have. And so I'll leave in the middle of doing something that we say, Oh, wait a minute, I didn't realize that situation is different than what I thought. And actually, for me to say this, or do this right now is harmful to me or harmful to others or something like that. So to continue the reflection while we're doing. And the Buddha then goes on to tell his son, when you finish doing something, to also be be reflective about it. And same way, and is what I did. harmful, unwholesome, painful, if it is in his interesting here, he says, if you have caused harm this way, then you should go find a wise person that you know, and let them know what you did. In other words, be accountable for it ends, there's something about letting someone else know what you did, I think that really is a real wonderful step of honesty. And it's a way of, to, to kind of work through something or to acknowledge it fully. And to really begin the movement of no longer being behind that no longer easily slipping into doing that kind of behavior again, because now it's known by someone else. And so it's a little bit more, I think it's more likely your own mind is going to be more attentive and careful to not do something that you don't want to do what you have the support of someone else. So here are the Buddha's teaching a reflective life with that, so mindfulness here, being in the present moment, seeing what's going on, is his support for living a considered life. And, and sometimes it might seem that to do so is a lot of work. You know, adding a whole layer of self reflection about it or our self reflection kind of can slide into being self conscious and self critical in negative ways. But there that's why that third category
to pay attention to what you're doing in your mind. Is it harmful? Is it unwholesome? Is it painful? If it is stuff doing it. So we are self corrective mechanism in mindfulness, where the very way in which we're mindful or reflective or tracking yourself, what's going on, the way we do, it should be beneficial, the way we do it should hopefully bring some well being and happiness. So it needs to be a movement of reflection, which is not a critical is not heavy is not stressful to do. But one that has a light touch, is generous to ourselves is kind to ourselves, is it as a nice feeling kind of like we're our own best friend, who's supporting us and, and Rec and helping us see ourselves in a better light and, and wants the best for us. And so to have your own best friend inside, that wants the best for you, that cares for you and support you and who in a certain kind of way is not you know, always going to see you in a positive light, but not let you get away with doing things which are harmful or unwholesome or painful or causes suffering. So, here we see this, you know, inaction the practice of working with what skillful unskillful wholesome and unwholesome and, and what's interesting here, one thing I find interesting, these are not commandments of what you should do the things you should and should not do. They are what you should investigate how you should investigate principles for finding out for yourself, what is appropriate, not appropriate, not the external kind of rules that morality or something. So, we see as wholesome and unwholesome, less skillful and unskillful as being a valuable part of this, Buddha's teachings. And the see on the chat, there's someone asked where this is from, and it's, again, and also in the middle length discourses and its teachings to rahula. And it's, I think it's discourse number 61 in there. So thank you. And we have one more day tomorrow to talk about this topic. And I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you.