The Five Hindrances in Buddhism
Buddhist writings often reference the Five Hindrances when discussing obstacles in meditation, but if you continue meditating and are aware of the hindrances as they build up inside you, observe the sensation of the hindrance, then let it go. You will learn to recognize each hindrance as it you become more aware of the sensation of each.
1. Sensual Desires
As rain penetrates an ill-thatched house,
So lust penetrates an undeveloped mind.
As rain does not penetrate a well-thatched house,
So lust does not penetrate a well-developed mind.
2. Ill Will (wishing ill will towards another being)
Weeds are the ruin of fields; Ill will is the ruin of people.
3. Sloth and Torpor
Not arousing oneself from discontent and laziness is the proximate cause for sloth and torpor.
Commentary to the Middle Length Discourses
4. Restlessness and Remorse
Frequently giving unwise attention to a restless mind nourishes restlessness and remorse that is occurring and which has not yet occurred.
5. Doubt or Uncertainty
“I know of no other single thing that has the power to bring on doubt and to cause doubt to increase, than unwise attention.”
See also: 10 Unwholesome Actions, The 38 Supreme Blessings, Benefits of Meditation
Ten Unwholesome Actions from Buddhism
- Destroying Life – Killing – Don’t kill any living being. Person, ant, bird, spider, or any other living being. No one has any right to take the life of another.
- Taking what is Not Freely Given – Stealing – Don’t take what isn’t freely given to you.
- Wrong Conduct In Regards to Sense Pleasures – Sexual misconduct – Abstain from anything sexual or sensual.
- False Speech – I originally associated False Speech with “Don’t lie”, but False Speech includes much more than lying, including white lies, “didn’t hurt anyone lies”, lying by omission, information out of context, and so forth.
- Slanderous Speech – Bigotry – Don’t slander or claim hatred of another being.
- Harsh Speech – Malicious speech – Don’t speak unkindly to another. Do unto others…
- Idle Chatter – Gossip – Don’t pass idle information to others. You be the stop when the gossip gets to you. Don’t pass it on.
- Covetousness – Coveting – Don’t spend energy wanting what others have, whether it is another person, a vehicle, a house, or a laptop. Be content with you and yours. Love you.
- Ill Will – Wishing harm on another – Don’t wish ill will on anyone or anything. Let each be who they are and accept who they are without judgement.
- Wrong View – I believe in this, not in that. Thus “that” is not my concern – Don’t close your mind to ideas that you don’t fully understand. Be open-minded.
Ten Wholesome Actions as Described in Buddhism
Ten Wholesome Actions described in Buddhism are the exact opposites of the Ten Unwholesome Actions:
- Do not kill or destroy any living being, plant, animal, and so forth.
- Do not steal.
- Avoid sexual or sensual situations and practice.
- Tell the truth. It shall set you free.
- Do not slander, do be a bigot, don’t judge, and don’t be prejudice another.
- Use your words wisely and kindly.
- Do not pass on the gossip and try not to listen to it.
- Love you and your life, not someone else’s.
- Do not wish harm or illness on another.
- Open your mind to all possibilities.
Reference The Dhamma Encyclopedia for more information.
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If you haven’t read them already, then read: 38 Supreme Blessings of The Buddha and Benefits of Meditation
The Buddha was asked by a deva, what constituted the highest blessings? The Buddha’s answer included the following 38 blessings, which describe what is most valuable in this life.
- Not to associate with fools.
- To associate with the wise.
- To pay respects where they are due.
- To reside in a suitable location.
- To have previously done meritorious deeds.
- To be heading in the right direction.
- To have much learning.
- To be skilled and knowledgeable.
- To be restrained by a moral code.
- To have beautiful speech.
- To be a support for your parents.
- To cherishing your wife [or significant other] and children.
- Business pursuits, peaceful and free from conflicts.
- Acts of giving
- To conduct yourself according to Dharma.
- To helping your relatives.
- Blameless actions.
- To shun evil.
- To abstain from evil.
- To refrain from intoxicants.
- To be diligent in your practice of the Dharma.
- Timely hearing of the Dharma.
- Meekness when corrected.
- To meet with (seeing) monks.
- To discuss the Dharma at the proper time.
- To have energetic self-restraint.
- To live a holy and chaste life.
- To have insight into the Noble Truths.
- To realize Nirvana.
- To have a mind unshaken by the ups and downs of life.
- To have freedom from sorrow.
- To have freedom from defilements of passion.
- To have perfect security.
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Next: 10 Unwholesome Actions