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April 27, 2011


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I was also going to add, Clyde, that if your point is that all three pure precepts should be undertaken, then you would also have to agree that Thubten Chodron's statement is wrong.

The three pure practices merely state the progressive discipline boiling the eightfold path down to 3 parts. Arguably, 3 things do not make an "essence" so they must be further reducible that is to say there must be some principle behind the 3 pure precepts. I would argue that their goal is their essence.

The blog's point as I see it is that it is completely wrong-headed to reduce the teaching of Buddhism down to what Thubten Chodren did, essentially the first of the 3 progressive phases of the path. The 3 pure precepts are progressive. If you are completely focused on the first, there will be a problem; namely, you will be fixated on "mere morality" as it is called by the Buddha, and no progress will be made.

If we were to study the Buddha's teaching more thoroughly, we would find the Buddha's own statement on what the essence of his teaching is, and it is quite natural. The "essence" of the Dhamma is Nibbana. period.
"Having understood the unconditioned state, Released in mind with the cord of being destroyed, They have attained to the Dhamma-essence. Delighting in the destruction (of craving), Those stable ones have abandoned all being."

My point is that Buddha’s quote in the OP (which I provided another translation of) notes three guides and that all three must be undertaken by a follower of the Buddha. This is similar to the Buddha’s teachings of the Noble Eightfold Path and the Five Precepts; i.e., all the paths and guides must be undertaken, not one above or before the others – at least that’s my understanding.


p.s: Regarding my reference to Hinayana, it seems to me that if one focuses solely on “purification of one’s mind” without also committing to “the non-doing of any evil” (do no harm) and “the performance of what’s skillful” (be generous), then one is only concerned with one’s own liberation – which is the definition of Hinayana; while doing all three is the definition of the Bodhisattva path.

Clyde: Not sure if I got your meaning but the Mahayana path begins with bodhi-citta, the mind that is bodhi which I take is pure.

Here is another translation (via http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.14.than.html ):

The non-doing of any evil,
the performance of what's skillful,
the cleansing of one's own mind:
this is the teaching of the Awakened.

These three guides are sometimes referred to as the Three Pure Precepts. If one ignores the first two and only focuses on the last (“purification of one’s mind”), it seems one is following a Hinayana path, not following the Bodhisattva path.


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