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there also is love, joy, tenderness, and compassion, and all of the virtues
of Jesus and the great bodhisattvas. It s all in there.
We re talking about non-harming now. One part is that we see that
we have aggression, hatred, and greed, and it comes from fear, and that s
generated from pain. What s the route of that,what sthe route of all that?
Maybe the route is a very simple thing, deep but very simple. The sense
of  me, of  mine, of separateness.  I have this, I want this, I want to
keep this body, this sensation, this feeling, this way of being. And out
of that comes fear, or out of that comes identification, pain; then fear.
If we want to learn about Right Action and non-harming,we need to
look at this sense of self, of  I , and we need to look at our own pain. We
need to see how we separate ourselves. Who in the world do you consider
 we and who do you consider  them? Are the Russians  them, are the
Republicans  them, are the Democrats  them, are women  them, are
men  them, are poor people  them, are rich people  them, are angry
people  them, or spiritual people  us, or non-spiritual people  us ?
Wherever there s that sense of  us and  them, it s like an extension of
 I,  me,  mine. . It s now  we,  us,  ours, and  them and they re
different. And then it becomes possible to harm.
From the Tibetan lama Kalu Rinpoche:
You live in the illusion and appearance of things.
There is a reality, but you do not know this.
You are that reality.
When you understand this,
you will see that you are nothing,
and being nothing,
you are everything.
That is all.
Very simple teaching. Very profound and deep.
The basis for virtue, for Right Action, is both mystical and practical,
40 Chapter 4. Right Action
in that it comes truly from non-harming; it comes out of a sense of our
connectedness with one another, and with all of life. It s mystical and
practical, and it ties those levels of our experience together.
The Buddha taught the path to happiness through body, through
speech, through the heart, through the mind  altogether. And the tools
he gave were those of virtue, of learning how to speak, and acting kind-
ly and wisely, of generosity, of learning how to give and love, so we ll
be happier. Virtue makes us happier; acting honestly and truly, and non-
harming makes us happier, generosity makes us happy, and then medita-
tion, calming of the mind and opening of the heart. All of these parts are
the path and bring a certain joy, a certain strength to our practice.
These are the instructions the Buddha gave the people who under-
stood his teachings:
 Go forth, O monks, for the gain of the many, for the welfare of
many and compassion for the world, for the good, the gain, the
welfare of all beings. Proclaim, O monks, the glorious Dharma
and treat your life of holiness, perfect and pure.
For householders, which is what we are as a group, our main
practice is virtue. You could say our main practice is awareness, but the
main teachings are working with virtue, which means working with how
we act in the world since we are not renunciates; how we speak and act
with one another, to learn to be grounded in ahimsa or non-harming. In
discovering the uprightness of heart and action, there s a real strength
that comes to us.
In the Dhammapada, the very first verses of the Buddha, it s said:
One person on the battlefield conquers
an army of a thousand men,
another conquers themselves
and they are the greater.
Conquer yourself, not others,
discipline yourself and learn
true freedom.
There s not only a sense of joy that comes from living an honest and
straightforward life, but there s a power to it. Power is wonderful if it s
used properly. There s a strength and a power to living honestly.
The element of Right Action or virtue really holds two parts to
it; one is the non-harming which we ll call  restraint ; and the other is
the positive side, not that of restraining oneself, but of caring or acting,
which we call compassion or love.
In the shortest talk the Buddha ever gave, someone asked,  Give me
the gist of your teachings real simply. He said,  Fine. Refrain from that
which is unskillful or that which harms; do good, and purify your heart.
That s it!
The teaching of the heart and the training of it is to begin to learn
how to care for all that we do with our world. My teacher Achaan Chaa
loved to talk about virtue. He would give talks to the villagers week af-
ter week about it. You would think, God, he d get bored. He doesn t
want to talk about nirvana, or enlightenment, or the Abhidharma (Bud-
dhist psychology), all the different mental states, no. He loved virtue.
He loved virtue the way people love trees or air or their loved ones. He
just thought it was the most marvelous, wonderful thing. And it is actu-
ally, it s fantastic. It s not talked about in our culture; we forget it. It s
in the Ten Commandments, and it s in the churches. If we kept the first
Commandments,maybe one of the commandmentsnot to kill,maybe not
even the Buddhist precept of not killing any life, but just half a precept
not to kill people, what an amazingly different world it would be. Can
you imagine a world in which people didn t kill each other? It sounds like
such a horrible thing. I mean, we re not going to go and murder some-
body, right? But yet what a transformed planet it would be for just half a
precept. He loved virtue because they re so wonderful. It has the power
to transform us.
Let s look at the traditional precepts one at a time. The first one is
not to kill. That s the restraint side of it. It means non-hatred, non-acting
on our aversion, not to kill people, not to kill animals, not even to kill
little things if we can avoid it. Someone says,  Well, what does that
mean,  if we can avoid it? You have to figure that out. But it means to
live lightly on the earth, to take care with all the life around us. At many
retreats I use that cartoon from the New Yorker of the two deer on the
hillside, the hunter is down below, and the deer are talking to one another
and saying,  Why don t they thin their own goddamned herd? It s not a
problem with the deer,as far as I can tell in thisworld. There are too many
somethings but it s not deer. We get all of these excuses and concepts
about it.
To non-harm, to not kill, first we have to look at our mind states. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]