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Do Not Kill

Remember the first of the Ten Grave Precepts?  “Do not kill.” While this translation is easier for Western people to grasp, the Japanese word “fu” actually means “non” so the correct rendering is “non-killing.”

You see Eastern view is that life does not end but changes form or is reborn.  The notion of killing or ‘death’ presupposes the substantial reality of that which is killed and that which kills.  But in the standpoint of the world of Zen, there are no such separate objects or substances.  No such thing as death.

So you see self-nature is clear and obvious.  Within the ever-abiding Dharma, “not grieving” or nursing a view of extinction is called the precept of not killing. The dead cannot be betrayed.  But the living can betray themselves, their lives and their futures, by yearning after those who are gone. My mother lives on through me and in all those whose lives she touched the same as yours has.

I start every morning now with a small prayer:

Earth, water, fire, air, space and time combine to give my body form. Numberless beings gave their lives and labors so that I may find wisdom.  May I be enlightened so that I may embody them and nourish and transform others on their journey.

In gassho, MSL

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