Every Law student studies the case in which Oliver Wendell Holmes advised that when we come to a railroad crossing, we should “stop, look and listen” in order to be safe. Great advice, not only for railroad crossings, but for all the crossings, large and small, in life. It is akin to the last words of the Buddha on his deathbed to his disciples: “Strive on with heedfulness.”
The first five precepts taken in conjunction with going for refuge to the 3 Jewels are a framework for living heedfully and harmoniously, assuring safety in community. This ethical practice, rooted in meditation and wisdom, aligns us with the Path, reminding us that the factors of Wisdom, Ethics and Meditation are integral to and dependent on, each other.
To live a heedful life means that we carefully pause, look and listen to life happening within and around us, resolve to do no harm and restrain the conditioned impulse to act unethically, building a spiritual backbone and offering the gift of fearlessness. We delight in that.
What are the precepts? —The undertaking training to refrain from:
1. intentionally taking life or harming any other person or creature;
2. taking what is not offered—not stealing;
3. using sexual energy harmfully;
4. reckless, divisive, false or malicious speech; and
5. taking intoxicants that cloud the mind.
Which is particularly straightforward in your practice? This week, appreciate every time you act in alignment with that precept, knowing how it feels before, during and after you act in that way. Enjoy!!!