Clear Motivation

"Be kind whenever possible. It's always possible" – The Dalai Lama

The Five Precepts

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Living with a basic standard of wholesome ethical conduct immediately puts a stop to the gross forms of misery that afflict us. Distrust, paranoia, and insatiable greed are all held away from one with the five precepts.

All sorts of scandal, extortion, war, and environmental degradation would stop if these precepts were widely adhered to. If criminals committed to live by these precepts, there would be no repeat offenders.

The actions I’ve done for which I still feel sorrowful regret were transgressions of these precepts. All the troubles arising from dishonesty, stealing, abusive or disloyal sexual conduct, drugs and alcohol, and killing are avoided by training in these precepts.

 

Yesterday was sojong (purification and restoration of precepts) for the monastic community, but lay persons, too, can hold the 24-hour Mahayana vow and purify and restore our precepts. I was struck by the power of conscientiously refraining from harmful behaviors as I exerted special effort yesterday to abide by the precepts.

Self-confidence grows by seeing that I really can transform my deeply ingrained habitual tendencies. I felt light and contented by understanding that a pure life is a blameless, guiltless, worry-free, trouble-free life. There’s nothing better!

 

Today, I’ll continue!

The five precepts as formulated by Ven. Thubten Chodron:

  1. From my own experience and examination, I know that harming others, specifically taking their lives, harms myself and others. Therefore, I undertake to protect life and to avoid killing. By my doing this, all beings will feel safe around me and peace in the world will be enhanced.
  2. From my own experience and examination, I know that taking things that have not been given to me harms myself and others. Therefore, I undertake to respect and protect others’ property and to avoid stealing or taking what has not been freely given. By my doing this, all beings can be secure around me and harmony and generosity in society will increase.
  3. From my own experience and examination, I know that engaging in unwise sexual behavior harms myself and others. Therefore, I undertake to respect my own and others’ bodies, to use my sexuality wisely and kindly, and to avoid sexual expression which could harm others or myself physically or mentally. By my doing this, all beings will be able to relate to me honestly and with trust, and mutual respect among people will ensue.
  4. From my own experience and examination, I know that saying untrue things for the sake of personal gain harms myself and others. Therefore, I undertake to speak truthfully and to avoid lying or deceiving others. By my doing this, all beings can trust my words and friendship among people will increase.
  5. From my own experience and examination, I know that taking intoxicants harms myself and others. Therefore, I undertake to avoid taking intoxicating substances–alcohol, recreational drugs and tobacco–and to keep my body and environment clean. By my doing this, my mindfulness and introspective alertness will increase, my mind will be clearer, and my actions will be thoughtful and considerate.
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Author: Jonathan Owen

Just another human being.

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