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Some Thoughts on Studying the Precepts

I woke up today thinking I am a hypocrite. Here I am, studying the Buddha’s precepts but failing in every single one of them. I kill with my mind and speech almost everyday. I take what is not given to me constantly. I misuse sexuality to gain power and control. I lie. I intoxicate my body and mind, and sometimes the mind and body of others. I speak easily of others faults and praise myself over others. I am possessive and full of anger. I repeat these behaviors endlessly, disparaging The Triple Treasure: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Then, how I pretend on taking the Buddha’s precepts? How come I aspire to embark on the path of the Bodhisattva? Will I be able to maintain the vow to be upright in the middle of life for the benefit of others?

Through the study of the Precepts I am learning to see my darkness. In seeing my own faults, I see my suffering. When the suffering is too painful I am tempted to run away to not see it. In doing so my resistance fuels my anger and I suffer. In wanting to control the suffering, I engage in changing it and my unskillfulness manifests, and I suffer again.

But sitting with my suffering has given me the opportunity to see how others suffer as well. I cry and hear the cry of others. I cannot help it. I feel the wound of separation although I am with everything! I feel the pain of others. I want to alleviate their pain as much as I wish to alleviate mine. And in the middle of darkness, a warm sunlight ray reaches my face and heart. And I smile. I am alive! And then, in stillness, I see the universe smiling at me.

It is like the Universe’s smile is whispering the teaching of The Four Noble Truths! It reaches my face and heart. And I smile. I am alive! And then, in stillness, I see the universe smiling at me.

Life is suffering. There is a cause to suffering. There is an end to suffering. There is a path to complete liberation of suffering.

I might be far from enlightenment, and probably will fail many times to wake up to my true nature, but in studying and vowing to follow and maintain the Buddhas’ Precepts I can manifest my true wish of cultivating patience, tolerance and understanding to my conditioning and the conditioning of others.

Nurturing breath, stillness and right conduct I am beginning to understand what really means to water the seed of compassion. Wishing that one day, when opportunity blooms to see life as it is, I might recognize it and respond appropriately bringing joy and freedom to all beings!

In gassho, Shoun

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