Friday, 10 July 2009

Sila, the root of Buddhist Ethics


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Sīla (nt.) [cp. Sk. śīla. It is interesting to note that the Dhtp puts down a root sīl in meaning of samādhi (No. 268) and upadhāraṇa (615)] 1. nature, character, habit, behaviour; usually as -- ˚ in adj. function "being of such a nature," like, having the character of . . ., e. g. adāna˚ of stingy character, illiberal Sn 244; PvA 68 (+maccharin); kiŋ˚ of what behaviour? Pv ii.913; keḷi˚ tricky PvA 241; damana˚ one who conquers PvA 251; parisuddha˚ of excellent character A iii.124; pāpa˚ wicked Sn 246; bhaṇana˚ wont to speak DhA iv.93; vāda˚ quarrelsome Sn 381 sq. -- dussīla (of) bad character D iii.235; Dhs 1327; Pug 20, 53; Pv ii.82 (noun); ii.969 (adj.); DhA ii.252; iv.3; Sdhp 338; Miln 257; opp. susīla S i.141. -- 2. moral practice, good character, Buddhist ethics, code of morality. (a) The dasa -- sīla or 10 items of good character (not "commandments") are (1) pāṇâtipātā veramaṇī, i. e. abstinence from taking life; (2) adinn'ādānā (from) taking what is not given to one; (3) abrahmacariyā adultery (oṭherwise called kāmesu micchā -- cārā); (4) musāvādā telling lies; (5) pisuna -- vācāya slander; (6) pharusa -- vācāya harsh or impolite speech; (7) samphappalāpā frivolous and senseless talk; (8) abhijjhāya covetousness; (9) byāpādā malevolence; (10) micchādiṭṭhiyā heretic views. -- Of these 10 we sometimes find only the first 7 designated as "sīla" per se, or good character generally. See e. g. A i.269 (where called sīla -- sampadā); ii.83 sq. (not called "sīla"), & sampadā. -- (b) The pañca -- sīla or 5 items of good behaviour are Nos. 1 -- 4 of dasa -- sīla, and (5) abstaining from any state of indolence arising from (the use of) intoxicants, viz. surā -- meraya -- majjapamāda -- ṭṭhānā veramaṇī. These five also from the first half of the 10 sikkha -- padāni. They are a sort of preliminary condition to any higher development after conforming to the teaching of the Buddha (saraṇaŋgamana) and as such often mentioned when a new follower is "officially" installed, e. g. Bu ii.190: saraṇâgamane kañci nivesesi Tathāgato kañci pañcasu sīlesu sīle dasavidhe paraŋ. From Pv iv.176 sq. (as also fr. Kh ii. as following upon Kh i.) it is evident that the sikkhāpadāni are meant in this connection (either 5 or 10), and not the sīlaŋ, cp. also Pv iv.350 sq., although at the above passage of Bu and at J i.28 as well as at Mhvs 18, 10 the expression dasa -- sīla is used: evidently a later development of the term as regards dasa -- sīla (cp. Mhvs trsln 122, n. 3), which through the identity of the 5 sīlas & sikkhāpadas was transferred to the 10 sikkhāpadas. These 5 are often simply called pañca dhammā, e. g. at A iii.203 sq., 208 sq. Without a special title they are mentioned in connection with the "saraṇaŋ gata" formula e. g. at A iv.266. Similarly the 10 sīlas (as above a) are only called dhammā at A ii.253 sq.; v.260; nor are they designated as sīla at A ii.221. -- pañcasu sīlesu samādapeti to instruct in the 5 sīlas (alias sikkhāpadāni) Vin ii.162. -- (c) The only standard enumerations of the 5 or 10 sīlas are found at two places in the Saŋyutta and correspond with those given in the Niddesa. See on the 10 (as given under a) S iv.342 & Nd2 s. v. sīla; on the 5 (also as under b) S ii.68 & Nd2 s. v. The so -- called 10 sīlas (Childers) as found at Kh ii. (under the name of dasa -- sikkhāpada) are of late origin & served as memorial verses for the use of novices. Strictly speaking they should not be called dasa -- sīla. -- The eightfold sīla or the eight pledges which are recommended to the Buddhist layman (cp. Miln 333 mentioned below) are the sikkhāpadas Nos. 1 -- 8 (see sikkhāpada), which in the Canon however do

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not occur under the name of sīla nor sikkhāpada, but as aṭṭhanga -- samannāgata uposatha (or aṭṭhangika u.) "the fast -- day with its 8 constituents." They are discussed in detail at A iv.248 sq., with a poetical setting of the eight at A iv.254=Sn 400, 401 -- (d) Three special tracts on morality are found in the Canon. The Cullasīla (D i.3 sq.) consists first of the items (dasa) sīla 1-7; then follow specific injunctions as to practices of daily living & special conduct, of which the first 5 (omitting the introductory item of bījagāma -- bhūtagāma -- samārambha) form the second 5 sikkhāpadāni. Upon the Culla˚ follows the Majjhima˚ (D i.5 sq.) & then the Mahāsīla D i.9 sq. The whole of these 3 sīlas is called sīlakkhandha and is (in the Sāmaññaphala sutta e. g.) grouped with samādhi -- and paññākkhandha: D i.206 sq.; at A v.205, 206 sīla -- kkhandha refers to the Culla -- sīla only. The three (s., samādhi & paññā) are often mentioned together, e. g. D ii.81, 84; It 51; DA i.57. -- The characteristic of a kalyāṇa -- mitta is endowment with saddhā, sīla, cāga, paññā A iv.282. These four are counted as constituents of future bliss A iv.282, and form the 4 sampadās ibid. 322. In another connection at M iii.99; Vism 19. They are, with suta (foll. after sīla) characteristic of the merit of the devatās A i.210 sq. (under devat'ânussati). -- At Miln 333 sīla is classed as: saraṇa˚, pañca˚, aṭṭhanga˚, dasanga˚, pātimokkhasaŋvara˚, all of which expressions refer to the sikkhāpadas and not to the sīlas. -- At Miln 336 sq. sīla functions as one of the 7 ratanas (the 5 as given under sampadā up to vimuttiñāṇadassana; plus paṭisambhidā and bojjhanga). -- cattāro sīlakkhandhā "4 sections of morality" Miln 243; Vism 15 & DhsA 168 (here as pātimokkha -- saŋvara, indriya -- saŋvara, ājīvapārisuddhi, paccaya -- sannissita. The same with ref. to catubbidha sīla at J iii.195). See also under cpds. <-> At Ps i.46 sq. we find the fivefold grouping as (1) pāṇâtipatassa pahānaŋ, (2) veramaṇī, (3) cetanā, (4) saŋvara, (5) avītikkama, which is commented on at Vism 49. -- A fourfold sīla (referring to the sikkhāpada) is given at Vism 15 as bhikkhu˚, bhikkhunī˚, anupasampanna˚ gahaṭṭha˚. -- On sīla and adhisīla see e. g. A i.229 sq.; VbhA 413 sq. -- The division of sīla at J iii.195 is a distinction of a simple sīla as "saŋvara," of twofold sīla as "caritta -- vāritta," threefold as "kāyika, vācasika, mānasika," and fourfold as above under cattāro sīlakkhandhā. -- See further generally: Ps i.42 sq.; Vism 3 sq.; Tikp 154, 165 sq., 269, 277; Nd1 14, 188 (expld as "pātimokkha -- saŋvara"); Nd2 p. 277; VbhA 143.
-- anga constituent of morality (applied to the pañcasikkhāpadaŋ) VbhA 381. -- ācāra practice of morality J i.187; ii.3. -- kathā exposition of the duties of morality Vin i.15; A i.125; J i.188. -- kkhandha all that belongs to moral practices, body of morality as forming the first constituent of the 5 khandhas or groups (+samādhi˚, paññā˚, vimutti˚, ñāṇadassana -- kkhandha), which make up the 5 sampadās or whole range of religious development; see e. g. Nd1 21, 39; Nd2 p. 277. -- Vin. 162 sq.; iii.164; A i.124, 291; ii.20; S i.99 sq.; It 51, 107; Nett 90 sq., 128; Miln 243; DhA iii.417. -- gandha the fragrance of good works Dh 55; Vism 58. -- caraṇa moral life J iv.328, 332. -- tittha having good behaviour as its banks S i.169, 183 (trsln Mrs. Rh. D. "with virtue's strand for bathing"). -- bbata [=vata2] good works and ceremonial observances Dh 271; A i.225; S iv.118; Ud 71; Sn 231, etc.; sīlavata the same Sn 212, 782, 790, 797, 803, 899; It 79 sq.; ˚ -- parāmāsa the contagion of mere rule and ritual, the infatuation of good works, the delusion that they suffice Vin i.184; M i.433; Dhs 1005; A iii.377; iv.144 sq.; Nd1 98; Dukp 245, 282 sq.; DhsA 348; see also expln at Cpd. 171, n. 4. <-> sīlabbatupādāna grasping after works and rites D ii.58; Dhs 1005, 1216; Vism 569; VbhA 181 sq. -- The old form sīlavata still preserves the original good sense, as much as "observing the rules of good conduct," "being of virtuous behaviour." Thus at Th 1, 12; Sn 212, 782 (expld in detail at Nd1 66), 790, 797, 803; It 79; J vi.491 (ariya˚). -- bheda a breach of morality J i.296. -- mattaka a matter of mere morality D i.3; DA i.55. -- maya consisting in morality It 51; VvA 10 (see maya, defn 6). -- vatta morality, virtue S i.143; cp. J iii.360. -- vipatti moral transgression Vin i.171 sq.; D ii.85; A i.95; 268 sq.; iii.252; Pug 21; Vism 54, 57. -- vipanna trespassing D ii.85; Pug 21; Vin i.227. -- vīmaŋsaka testing one's reputation J i.369; ii.429; iii.100, 193. -- saŋvara self -- restraint in conduct D i.69; Dhs 1342; DA i.182. -- saŋvuta living under moral self -- restraint Dh 281. -- sampatti accomplishment or attainment by moral living Vism 57. -- sampadā practice of morality Vin i.227; D ii.86; M i.194, 201 sq.; A i.95, 269 sq., ii.66; Pug. 25, 54. -- sampanna practising morality, virtuous Vin i.228; D i.63; ii.86; M i.354; Th 2, 196; ThA 168; DA i.182.

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