Can a person decide to do X action and be able to do it forever... from a mental point of view - if physically he can do that action?

What I'm trying to say is many times I decided to not do anything for fun or to meditate Y time every day but even when it was 5 minutes every day I didn't do it.

Every time either I didn't want to sit to meditate or even be mindful of actions - or I wanted to watch a YouTube video and pass the time with YouTube videos etc.

Is it possible to decided to do something and not break it at all?

I mean for example I keep the 5 precepts by default and will probably keep them at the future hard for me to see a situation I won't - but for example if I decide to keep the 8 precepts and never break them (again mentally) even if I never have to face something like a physical injury or even friend begging me to go to a movie etc but just in dealing with my own defilement - can I decide not do break it in advance and guarantee myself I won't break it in the future (again if physically it's possible to avoid it).


It looks like your problem is that you want to practice but you don't want to practice.

This whole fiasco can be pondered. The whole thing is the three characteristics manifesting. Are you in control? Do your plans and focus keep ending? Are you suffering? What are you learning? Ask yourself what you are taking for granted.

You could learn a lot by just pondering what is driving your every action, your karma.

We are either distracted or mindful.

Check out the 5 hinderances that are in your way.

Don't make vows or oaths but instead undertake training to not do or to do X and if you fail ponder it but don't react like breaking the training rule must be punished or reacted to is some way. Don't get angry, get compassionate.

Check out how to overcome procrastination. LOTS of people have procrastination problems. There are a lot of free pdf's or ppt's online about procrastination.

Do not smoke marijuana everyday because it often zaps ones ambition.

  • i keep 5 precepts so i dont smoke marijuana (wouldnt even without the precepts though) suffering i am - whats driving my action is greed and aversion and ignorance i know that even by experience and not just cause i read it ... and yet i still do it Are you in control? well it seems im not in control - so why try ? – breath Dec 13 '17 at 15:50
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    There is a reason patience is a virtue. Meditate whenever you can even for 5 seconds. It adds up. Ponder, intellectually right at the moment you are doing something to distract yourself. We are either distracted or asleep. You have experienced it but you don't always remember. You are seeing how deep you are rooted into your habits. ..The "why even try" question is governed by views that things like zoning out on YouTube is the thing to do. There is a good fight going on between Buddha and Mara. Don't let Mara win. – Lowbrow Dec 13 '17 at 16:08
  • Seeing that you are not in control IS the vipassana practice. – Lowbrow Dec 13 '17 at 16:16
  • i dont seem to be able to form a good habit no matter what i do not even of 5 seconds - it seems i need to do something "drastic" like an oath ect to stop the habits (though i tried oaths in the past and that didnt work as well) - i did retreats as well (10 days , 20 days ect - even one of 10 days at home) – breath Dec 13 '17 at 17:11
  • Maybe a commitment to yourself, not to a specific action or lack there of. Not an oath or vow either. Rather, taking care of you first before attending to what may need to be goals further down the road. – C Smith Dec 13 '17 at 23:14

I know what you mean about oaths. It is easy to make an oath but usually less so to keep it. Often an oath is an aspiration. I suspect that nobody can be sure to stick to an oath except those who don't need to make one. The idea of the practice is to transcend the need for oaths and to live spontaneously but to reach this point one usually has to make some aspirational oaths.

You might like to read up on Indian religion and the three Gunas. It seems you might be in the grip of one of them and this is a well understood condition. Pondering on the three gunas might give you a way of beating your inertia. I don't know a short introduction but Krishna Prem's wonderful commentary on the Bhagavad Gita covers the ground.

I imagine most practitioners make and break oaths and promises quite regularly but their oath is to keep climbing back on the wagon come what may, so that in the end the oath may still be effective.

For your condition Sadhguru recommends sitting in your room doing nothing for a few days. This charges the batteries and rekindles motivation. Usually we are too mentally busy and well-entertained to stay focused on our true goals.

It seems a mistake to stop doing anything for fun although it might depend what you mean. Why else would the universe be here but for fun? Even God gets bored sitting in his room. If you associate fun with creativity then it is transformed. Not having fun is not what Buddhism is about.

At least your problem is extremely common so is much discussed in the literature. I don't believe it is possible to control ones actions fully until one has seen the non-existence of self and it is a reality. Until then we all have to do the best we can and falling off the wagon means no more than than having to climb back on again, and again and again, until our oath is fulfilled and the wagon becomes our stable abode.


It is possible to make an oath (some people do), and for some people it (making an oath) even actually works, but other people find they break the promises which they make to themselves.

A possible variation is to make the oath to someone else (a teacher, your family, a friend, the Buddha) -- that (social standing, commitment) may provide a powerful extra incentive.

I think the suttas say that the right way is to clearly understand the disadvantage of something -- it's that that would cause you (or that would give you cause to) refrain from it.

You mentioned "I decided to not do anything for fun"; it's also said that people need a reason for doing something, that you can't force yourself to do it unless you want to. Maybe you're supposed to find or experience some benefit in meditation. Maybe too you have to be discerning about what is and isn't fun -- some people (perhaps mistakenly) find drinking alcohol to be fun, for example.

  • well i clearly understand the disadvantages of seeking to have fun not enough though so i wont do it just like that - i see advantages of meditation but not enough that i do it i guess (by reading and logic i see very clearly advantages from a long time ago) but really im lazy and nothing i do changes it - i tried to go very easy even 1 minute meditation or only being mindful and i tried going gung ho with a few hours a day but i always stop after a day or two – breath Dec 13 '17 at 13:05
  • i did manage to do 20 say retreat at monastery - even 1o days at home but that was exceptions (also failed at home) - i really wish there is some way to make this oath thing work - but im not sure if its possible ... im really a mess doing stuff for fun all day and very lazy and cant brake the cycle - though i think if i have a chance its by doing some very big change and not small ones - cause i need the motivation and small change doesnt give me that – breath Dec 13 '17 at 13:08
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    Maybe try one more day? – ChrisW Dec 13 '17 at 21:20
  • sorry this went over my head i guess - is the moral of the story : "practice like your head is on fire" ? – breath Dec 13 '17 at 22:01

Generally, it is important to view the precepts as training rules, rather than something set in stone. Right speech, for example takes active practise, and of course constant reflection on it. You will fail short of your ideals because past mental formations are still lingering and are too strong.

Moreover, it's always best to have a flexible, non-dogmatic, non-extreme outlook with regards to falling short of one's aspirations. With flexible I mean that even though you have (strong) wishes and goals, they must not necessarily be in place right now & that you can - although being a struggle - tolerate such adversities, and that it's often worth to tolerate the uncomfort because you have a goal in mind (especially if you are indecisive whether to breach a precept or not).

Another "flexible attitude" is that of human fallibility,complexity & uniqueness. All human beings are making mistakes, and that we're all by default complex and unique. By complex I mean here that we're doing good, bad and neutral acts. There is no way in disputing these things. They are undisputable and therefore realistic, or flexible.

Above said, the Buddhist path is often called the "Gradual Path", which requires energy (viriya), enthusiasm (chanda) and cultivation (bhavana).

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