What are some Buddhist practices which would make someone a better decision maker? Does Sila improve the right view thus enabling better decisions, thoughts?
We all experienced a situation where it is so easy to advise friends when they face difficulties. But when it comes to us, we become clueless, are left in the dark, we loose perspective. This is a forgetfulness that accompanies all afflictions. Whenever we are subject to an affliction, be it anger, sadness, lust, etc. we are subject to this type of forgetfulness.
Indeed, the three higher trainings (Sila, Samadhi, Panna) will help see things clearly so as to take proper decisions (decision that do not come from fear, frustration, and so forth).
But sometimes, when our delusion is too strong, our mind becomes like a suction cup grasping at the object. Taking a step back is extremely difficult. In such circumstances, I find that training in patience is the most important. In fact, it is about abandoning the eight worldly concerns, especially attachment to pleasure and aversion to pain.
We are so afraid of pain that, as soon as our mind doesn't go where we want it to go, or doesn't dwell with what we want it to dwell, we try to change its course forcefully. We have the tendency to want to get rid of pain right away and that is not skilled. Ethical discipline and concentration do not come about as long as the mind is not flexible and willing, and this comes by practicing patience. So many times do we not see what is right under our nose just because we want to be some place safer. Practicing patience allows you to take a step back and it makes the mind more open and adaptable.
A mind that is too rigid and forgetful does not take the context into account and therefore is not proper for taking informed decisions.
Even if a follower of the Way attempts to improve him/herself through Sila (true morality), it is not possible if the pragna (intellectual and intuitive faculties) are not developed in him/her. Only pragna gives the force or energy with which one can confront the enemies that are of loba (greed), dosa (hatred), moha (delusion). That is why when talking about the Noble Eightfold Path, it is very common to group the 8 points under three headings, 1) panna, 2) sila, 3) samadhi. It is a gradual training. To understand this read the Anubuddha Sutta: Understanding – AN4.1, and Sakka Sutta: To the Sakyan – AN3.73, and Culavedalla Sutta: The Shorter Set of Questions-and-Answers _MN44
The three aggregates of virtue, concentration, & discernment are not included under the noble eightfold path, but the noble eightfold path is included under the three aggregates. Right speech, right action, & right livelihood come under the aggregate of virtue. Right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration come under the aggregate of concentration. Right view & right resolve come under the aggregate of discernment.
Also being mindful is important. Day in and day out, each of us is making a lot of decisions that nobody else will know. It is the internal dialogue that goes on with us. If you are aware of this, you will know which little decisions you make from moment to moment to moment. That’s what you want to learn how to observe. Developing your inner sensitivity as much as you can, you are able to make sure your decisions are going in the right direction.