Friday, October 2, 2009

10 Ways to Avoid Downfall

Susan Elbaum Jootla (BPS, Wheel Pub. No. 414/416)

Rev. Aaron Pyne (

On one occasion a deva asked the Buddha to explain the causes of the downfall, or moral decline, of beings. In reply, the Buddha first gave a summary: "One who loves Dharma progresses, whereas one who hates it declines." Then he named ten specific dangers to avoid:
  1. the company and teachings of the vicious
  2. excessive sleep and talk
  3. being irritable
  4. not supporting aged parents if one has the resources to do so
  5. lying to a monastic or Dharma teacher
  6. being stingy
  7. being conceited about birth, wealth, or community
  8. running around with many lovers
  9. drinking, gambling, and cheating
  10. marrying someone many years younger than oneself.
The Buddha concluded, "Reflecting thoroughly on those causes of downfall in the world, a wise person, endowed with insight, enjoys bliss in a happy state." Meditation on this negative subject makes wisdom grow, through avoidance, while encouraging insight and bringing pure happiness (Sutta Nipata, vv. 91-115).

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