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I read your message but didnt't really understand much. What do you recommend for a beginner at buddhism? I read a bit about right effort and view. Where to start? I've been meditating for about 3 years or so. What is really meant by sensual restraint? Dont get me wrong but I don't want to give up my desires and passions and preferences that I like... .

Have a nice one ;)

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Wise attention is the forerunner of the Noble 8 Fold Path so cultivate it.

Dawn, bhikshus, is the forerunner, the harbinger of sun-rise.

Even so, bhikshus, for a monk this is the forerunner, the harbinger of the arising of the noble eightfold path, that is, accomplishment in wise attention.

Bhikshus, when a monk is accomplished in this wise attention, it is to be expected that he will cultivate the noble eightfold path, develop the noble eightfold path.

Yoniso Manasikāra Sampadā Sutta

You can develop wise attention by being equanimous to every sensation which is felt and noting its impermanence. For what unwise attention is see this answer.

Regarding sense restraint on each sense door results in sensations which are either pleasant, unpleasant or neutral

i. On seeing a form with the eye,

  • one investigates the form that is the basis for mental joy,
  • one investigates the form that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the form that is the basis of equanimity.

ii. On hearing a sound with the ear,

  • one investigates the sound that is the basis for mental joy,
  • one investigates the sound that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the sound that the basis of equanimity.

iii. On smelling a smell with the nose,

  • one investigates the smell that is the basis for mental joy,
  • one investigates the smell that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the smell that is the basis of equanimity.

iv. On tasting a taste with the tongue,

  • one investigates the taste that is the basis for mental joy,
  • one investigates the taste that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the taste that is the basis of equanimity.

v. On feeling a touch with the body,

  • one investigates the touch that is the basis for mental joy,
  • one investigates the touch that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the touch that is the basis of equanimity.

vi. On cognizing a mind-object with the mind,

  • one investigates the mind-object that the basis of mental joy,
  • one investigates the mind-object that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the mind-object that is the basis of equanimity.

Each of these sensation should be treated as follows:

If he feels a pleasant feeling,

  • he understands that it is impermanent;
  • he understands that it is not to be clung to;
  • he understands that there is no delight in it.

If he feels a painful feeling,

  • he understands that it is impermanent;
  • he understands that it is not to be clung to;
  • he understands that there is no delight in it.

If he feels a neutral feeling,

  • he understands that it is impermanent;
  • he understands that it is not to be clung to;
  • he understands that there is no delight in it.

If he feels a pleasant feeling, he feels it in a detached manner.

If he feels a painful feeling, he feels it in a detached manner.

If he feels a neutral feeling, he feels it in a detached manner.

Dhātu Vibhaṅga Sutta

You should be careful that you do not react to the sensation with unwholesome thoughts which are craving, aversion or ignorance.

(1) the latent tendency to lust reinforced by being attached to pleasant feelings;

(2) the latent tendency to aversion reinforced by rejecting painful feelings;

(3) the latent tendency to ignorance reinforced by ignoring neutral feelings.

Pahāna Sutta

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The Eightfold path is practice in many different levels. The eightfold path practice by five preceptors is not the same as an Arahant. To answer your question as a lay person you are expected only to follow the Eightfold path in line with the five precepts. So there is no need to give up all your passions and desires. As a layperson, you can practice eight precepts on Uposatta days. This is optional.

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