Discipline

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Discipline (Skt. śīla; Tib. ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས་, tsultrim; Wyl. tshul khrims) literally, ‘acting appropriately’. The purpose of discipline is to simplify our lives. Discipline is a way of being that is conducive to positive and happy states of mind. It is the first of the three trainings and the second of the six paramitas.

The Means of Keeping Discipline

Patrul Rinpoche says[1]:

"The means of keeping discipline are:

  • Conscientiousness, which is a meticulous concern for what is to be engaged in and what is to be avoided;
  • Mindfulness, which means not forgetting what should be adopted and abandoned;
  • And vigilance, which involves [continually] checking the status of your body, speech and mind.

Firstly, through mindfulness, you do not lose sight of what should be adopted or abandoned. Then secondly, because you are checking the status of the body, speech and mind with vigilance, you recognize any occasions when you are tempted to avoid something virtuous or to engage in something negative. At that time, because of your conscientiousness, you recall the benefits of virtuous actions and undertake them, or remember the faults of negative conduct and unwholesome actions and avoid them."

Subdivisions

Chökyi Drakpa says:

"Discipline is divided into the discipline of avoiding negative actions, the discipline of undertaking positive actions, and the discipline of bringing benefit to beings:

  • The first kind of discipline means that you give up even the slightest unwholesome deed of body, speech or mind.
  • The second means that you strive to practise virtue as much as you possibly can, beginning with the tiniest of positive acts. Be sure to embrace these acts with the proper preparation, main part and conclusion.
  • Thirdly, bringing benefit to beings means working for the welfare of others through the four ways of attracting disciples, once the time has come for you to do so, and when you are free from any selfish motivation. For beginners, it is most important to train the mind in the first two types of discipline with the bodhichitta motivation of wishing to benefit others."

Alternative Translations

  • moral conduct, moral discipline, morality (Dharma Publishing)

Notes

  1. LotsawaHouse-tag.png The Brightly Shining Sun: A Step-by-Step Guide to Meditating on the Bodhicharyavatara by Patrul Rinpoche

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