deadly sins?

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deadly sins?

Post by floatingbubbles07 » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:04 pm

First of all, I apologize that this is going to be quite lengthy, because I have backstory I want you to know about before I ask my questions relating to the backstory.

As a young child, I was raised in a Chinese Buddhist household. I didn't exactly study about Buddha's teachings, but I prayed to the Buddhist deities in my house often. I barely had any friends who were Buddhist and the closest friends I had were of a different religion. My friends kept saying to me that in their religion, you must only worship that religion alone. However, when they tried numerous times to get me into their religion, I stayed true to my Buddhist faith. As I grew into the phase where most kids start to feel uncertain about themselves (ages 10-12), I had surrounded myself with the other religion that my friends tried to get me into. One of my favorite artists was a part of that religion and always spoke of her devotion to it during her interviews and her songs, and I admired her deeply since she was an incredible artist/singer. I also didn't have many Buddhist friends. I was gullible kid during those ages, so when I didn't hear anyone besides my family and the people at the Buddhist temple I went to occasionally speak of Buddhism, I started to believe what other people were saying about how you must only worship the other religion.

At one point, when I came home and saw my mother meditating or praying in front of a statue of a Buddhist deity, I freaked out and thought that she was tainted for being so focused on practicing a religion other than the religion I had surrounded myself with. My mom immediately stopped what she was doing and seemed confused. I asked her to get me an ice cream so that I could cool down, and later she told my dad that it seemed like I was acting as if she was doing something really bad. I still enjoyed going to the temple with my parents every week, but I never went to listen to what the monks were teaching (part of this was because I barely understood a word that the monks spoke Vietnamese, a language that I didn't understand too well and wasn't so fluent in). A few times I insulted the practice of Buddhist chants and the uniforms people typically wear when going to the temple (I thought the chants sounded strange and the uniforms weren't fashionable at that point but soon after I learned that their purpose wasn't to be trendy or fashionable). I remember telling my parents several times that praying all the time wasn't going to get them what they wanted if they didn't work towards it, not to mention it wasn't the fun way to get what you wanted. At one point, my mom actually stopped going to the temple for a while, and when I asked her why, she said that praying was 'silly'. I did say some insulting things about Buddhist practices in the past in front of her, and I did refuse to pray to the Buddhist deities in my house once or twice because I was so uncertain. I may have even said while praying once that the Buddhist deities weren't real. But when I heard my mother say that, I knew that she was still passionate about the religion, and I didn't want her to give that up. I said to her that she shouldn't worry about what other people think and should just do what she thinks is right. She agreed with me when I said that and has since been an even stronger Buddhist than before. Does this count as creating a schism in the Sangha? At that point I wasn't fully supportive of my parents going to the temple every week because I was under the influence of the other religion, but I never wanted to turn anyone against Buddhism either, since I respected it as a religion. I made lots of friends in the temple who went to the monk's teachings and prayer sessions often, and I never tried to stop them from going. If it did count as creating a schism in the Sangha, and I didn't know it was a cardinal sin since I was a child who hadn't studied Buddhism yet and didn't have proper judgement due to outside influences, would I still go to hell nonetheless? This all happened when I was 10-11 years old, that was the time I was the most gullible in my life. I feel like at that time I must've thought that since my faith was different from all my friends, that I needed to change for their full acceptance.

When I was 12 years old, my parents started bringing me to a new Vietnamese temple farther away from my house every week. I enjoyed going there to feel the peaceful atmosphere. I still didn't attend the lessons from the monks, but I helped out in the temple's kitchen so that I wouldn't be bored. There were rarely any children who regularly attended this temple like I did, so I guess I helped out in the kitchen to pass time, but helping out in the kitchen made me feel good inside. Since I didn't attend the lessons lead by the monks, the people who were usually with me in the kitchen would sometimes teach me basic things about Buddhism. I learned about karma for the first time, and I participated in the chants that would be performed before eating lunch in the temple. I didn't chant myself since I didn't know the words, but I still took part and listened to the chants. I started to get closer to my Buddhist faith again. Although I was bored a lot of the time because there were no other kids close to my age to interact with, I still enjoyed talking to the monks sometimes. Even though I sometimes didn't understand what they were saying in a different language, it gave me an opportunity to work on my Vietnamese communication. It was such a kind, loving and peaceful community. I enjoyed communicating with pretty much everyone who went to that temple, some of which my family and I are still close with today. I even attended one of the monks' lessons once. Although I didn't understand a word he was saying and was bored, I definitely didn't consider it a bad thing. After a while I didn't mind being bored or having nothing to do. I sometimes brought homework to do from school or my own methods on entertainment. And I still helped in the kitchen every week when I went there. Even just walking around there felt good. I loved going to the temple very much, I wanted other kids like me to regularly come to the temple like I did, so that I would have someone closer to my age to hang out with. I tried writing emails to the people who regularly attended the temple, and posting notes on the fridge in the kitchen, encouraging those people to bring their children to the temple more often.
Going to the temple made me feel close to my Buddhist faith again, almost like how I was as a young child, before the influences from the other religion came into play. I had visited several different temples that I had never been to before, some of them far from where I lived and some of them closer. There was a Japanese temple I once visited with a monk who could speak English, and I learned quite a few things about Japanese Buddhism from him. In most of the temples I visited, however, hardly any people spoke English like I do (English is my primary language), so even though I developed a lot of curiosity and desire to learn Buddha's teachings, I still didn't attend the lessons because I wouldn't be able to understand what the monks or the people were saying anyways.

By the time I was 13, I was once again firm that Buddhism was the faith that I wanted to live by. It was around that time, when I finally decided that I wanted to learn Buddha's teachings, and I started to pray to the Buddhist deities that my family believes in again. My house has an altar and a room with a statue of Buddha, and a statue of a Buddhist deity, Guanyin, who I often prayed to as a child before the influences from the other religion came along. I'm almost 17 now, and I don't regularly go to temples anymore because of a busy schedule, but I still think about Buddha's teachings every day, and try to be a good person every day, like Buddha teaches. I still find the time to pray to Buddha and Buddhist deities sometimes, and I'd be happy to go to a temple with my parents if they asked me now. I have had times when I've messed up. I have a small picture of Buddha in my room on a shelf, and sometimes I have viewed pornography while jerking off with the picture on the shelf above me. My mother always told me that whenever I'm in the room that we have just for praying to Buddha, I must be modest. I feel like I might have disrespected Buddha by doing what I did. I'm still trying the very best I can to quit pornography and be as respectful as I can to the Buddha and Buddhist deities.

I read somewhere on the internet that 2 of the five cardinal sins in Buddhism are injuring a Buddha and causing schism within the Sangha. I read that if these sins are committed, then one would be immediately brought to hell without an intermediate state in between. Do you feel as if I did any of these? I'm not exactly sure what 'injuring' a Buddha' means exactly. Does it mean trying to destroy the Buddhist religion or hurt Buddha's feelings? Can the feelings of Buddha or Buddhist deities be hurt? If they can, then does that count as 'injuring a Buddha'? I mentioned earlier that I may have said some rude things to them while praying to them, such as expressing my uncertainty on their existence when I fell under the influence of the other religion. I wasn't trying to hurt the feelings of any Buddhist deities, people, or the Buddha. I don't exactly feel like I tried to destroy the Buddhist religion, or cause a schism in the community. I honestly had nothing against it. It's just that when I fell under the influence of the other religion, I kind of lost my judgement. I was a child at that point at well, so I don't really think I had the right judgement, either. All I know is that I never tried to get anyone to go against the religion, or each other. I just couldn't understand why certain things were done they way they were in the Buddhist faith, but now I do and I appreciate it all. I'm really concerned about what's going to happen to me. I don't want to go to hell even if it's just for temporal punishment. Also, is there a way I can apologize to Buddha or Buddhist deities if I've been disrespectful to them or messed up in front of them?. Is there anything I can do to make up if I've done any of these? If I turns out that I did commit one of these sins but didn't know that it was a sin and was a child at that point with little understanding, then would I still go to hell? Will Buddha and Guanyin always be there for me even if I did something this bad? I apologize if this was lengthy. I deeply respect Buddhism and Buddhist practices now since I can understand why each practice is done, and I know that this is the faith I want to follow, and I wouldn't let anything else tell me otherwise. I'm just really concerned about what's going to happen to me after my life in this world comes to an end. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and please help me out...

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Re: deadly sins?

Post by Ayu » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:24 pm

"Injuring a Buddha" means to shed his blood.

If you did something you regret, you can make the strong wish not to do it again. And after this you can dedicate your practice (meditation, recitation, whatever you do) to the purification of that negative act. You can also ask the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to help you to purify the deed and to not do it again.
This is a 4-step-purification technique described in Tibetan Buddhism. Maybe East Asian Buddhism knows some other purification practicees.
I was told, regret is a strong means for purification.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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Re: deadly sins?

Post by Losal Samten » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:32 pm

floatingbubbles07 wrote:Does this count as creating a schism in the Sangha?
Can the feelings of Buddha or Buddhist deities be hurt?
Also, is there a way I can apologize to Buddha or Buddhist deities if I've been disrespectful to them or messed up in front of them?. Is there anything I can do to make up if I've done any of these?
Recitation of Shakyamuni's mantra is a common and simple purification practice. More elaborate systems are to be found in the Akashagarbha Sutra and Triskandha Sutra, the latter being quite popular.
Will Buddha and Guanyin always be there for me even if I did something this bad?
Last edited by Losal Samten on Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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Re: deadly sins?

Post by Losal Samten » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:59 pm

For karma to be created there needs to be three things, intention, action, and satisfaction. Without all these three, karma cannot be created. Regret (Note: not guilt!) destroys the last requirement of satisfaction, and so is extremely purificatory. When only one or two of the three requirements are met, it does not create new karma, however it strengthens previous karma.

The Sutra Teaching the Four Dharmas:
  • When a bodhisattva applies the four opponent powers, all unwholesome deeds accumulated can be overcome. What are the four opponent powers? They are the power of regretting having done wrong, the power of action as antidote, the power of resolution, and the power of support.
The power of regretting having done wrong: Understanding that negative actions hinder progress towards enlightenment.
The power of action as antidote: Putting this regret into practice, and doing purification.
The power of resolution: Vowing to never commit negative actions again.
The power of support: The outer support being the buddhas and bodhisattvas, and the three inner supports being faith, taking refuge, and generating bodhicitta.

There are much better explanations out there from qualified teachers which shouldn't be too hard to dig up.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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Re: deadly sins?

Post by AlexMcLeod » Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:36 am

Namo Kuan Shi Yin Pu Sa.

And don't worry so much. It's unhealthy.
Relax! Smile From The Heart!
There is a difference between the Mundane and the Transcendental. If you purposefully confuse them, I will ignore you, you nihilist.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace. There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge. There is no Passion, there is Serenity. There is no Death, there is the Force.

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Re: deadly sins?

Post by Vasana » Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:19 am

I agree with all of the above posts. You didn't create a schism or harm a Buddha so don't worry.

You have a very sincere attitude to the BuddhaDharma ,floatingbubbles, this will always help you whatever happens :)

My advice would be to not be so hard on yourself and just do your best. We all still have our own karma and habitual tendencies to work out so don't be too surprised to make mistakes every now and then, we all do. Dont be surprised to find it difficult to break certain habits of mind ,body and speech either. Sometimes we make some progress then slip up or feel as if we're going backwards...this is all still part of the journey.

The best thing you can do it you still can't find any English teachers in your tradition is to find some good books ,preferably ones that have a long tradition of use and commentary behind them, although contemporary modern books can help too.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: deadly sins?

Post by shaunc » Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:44 am

I'd just like to say that I agree with everything that everyone has said. Be good to yourself.

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Re: deadly sins?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:02 pm

Bubbles, I know you're asking a question about your situation, but I just want to tell you you're post was incredibly inspiring to me. Your sincerity is truly beautiful. And, your questions have elicited some of the best responses I've read on dharmawheel.

There are many repentance practices in East Asian Buddhism.

Zhiyi, the founder of the Tiantai school of Chinese Buddhism, taught this basic outline for repentance:
First, develop a clear understanding and belief in cause-and-effect;
Second, give rise to profound fearfulness of retribution;
Third, bring forth a deep sense of shame and dread of blame;
Fourth, seek out a method to extinguish offenses
Fifth, reveal and confess prior offenses;
Sixth, cut off the thought of continuing the offences;
Seventh, resolve to protect the Dharma;
Eighth, make a great vow to liberate beings;
Ninth, be ever mindful of the Buddha;
Tenth, Contemplate the nature of offenses as being unproduced.
I think you've already gotten to the third step, at least.

Notwithstanding, as others have counseled, your acts were not as grave as you fear, and your profound sincerity may already have purified the karma.

You may not realize, but in showing us your sincerity and sharing your example, you may very well be a Bodhisattva appearing to inspire us.

Best wishes. :smile:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: deadly sins?

Post by rory » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:09 am

I too found your post very touching. As Queequeg says repentance practice is a common thing in East Asian Buddhism. I think it would be a very good thing for you to ask your parents to go to the temple (don't wait for them to suggest it) and speak to the monk about when there will be a repentance ceremony. There should be one at least once a year. I went to one at a Chinese Buddhist Temple and it was extremely meaningful for me to sincerely repent the bad karma I had created and begin a regular practice. You can too and start afresh.

Also you should now study Buddhism, there are plenty of materials in English to help you. Here is a really nice site
Buddhist Door:
you can find out about karma, read Jataka stories (the previous lives of the Buddha)

And here is the practice of chanting Amitabha's name (Ch: Amituofo, Viet. Adida Phat) it will clear all karmic obscurations
The Name “Namo Amitabha” enables an Amitabha-reciter to clear his karmic obscurations and to nurture the root of his wisdom through Amitabha’s blessings. It enables him to expedite the fruits of his virtuous karma and to delay the retributions of negative karma. It can extend his life and avert disaster. ... o-amitabha

If you repent and then start to study and practice you won't have anything to worry about.
Namo Amitabha!
gassho /\
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58

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Re: deadly sins?

Post by Jeff H » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:37 pm

I came to Buddhism very late in life (59) and my goal for this life is to learn enough, affect enough purification, and gain enough positive karma to be born as someone like you in the next life.

Your story expresses a remarkable degree of faith and fear for a sixteen-year-old. I don’t mean fear is necessarily a good thing, but as Shantideva says often, it can be very useful as a stimulant to heartfelt practice. And your faith needs to be fleshed out with deeper understanding. But you’re well under way.

The thing about rebirth is that we don’t bring all the specifics of our previous lives with us, just the most deeply ingrained propensities. Each time we are born we start over and have to go through the entire human learning cycle again. Your instincts and emotions, it seems to me, are leading you in the right direction, but now you need a path.

Dharma Wheel is a wonderful forum, but not necessarily a good place for a beginner. I say that because there are people of many different traditions and every level of development contributing here, and it can be very difficult to know whether or how the things said here apply in one’s own case. My personal advice is to stay with DW, but also find a teacher in your tradition who can guide you along one, comprehensive path. That path can then be enriched by the variety on DW without causing undue confusion.

The point is, you’ve come through a powerful life-lesson in your 16 years and now you need to get your feet solidly on the ground and find a direction that works specifically for you.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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