Thursday, September 08, 2005
Right Action, the second limb of the Sila branch of the Eightfold Path of Peace, is of course based upon Right Thinking and Right Understanding. It is Wisdom in action. It can be simply defined as that action that prevents or alleviates duhkha. Patanjali tells us that duhkha that has yet to arise must be prevented from arising. Right Action is PREVENTIVE MEDICINE! Right Action is bodhicitta in full bloom.
Right Action is embodied in the remaining four of the Five Precepts taught by the Buddha (the fourth precept is Right Speech, which the Buddha felt so important he made a separate limb in his Eightfold Path).
When I first took the Five Mindfulness Trainings (The Five Precepts as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh) I was given as a practice to devote at least one week at a time to a different Training and look as deeply as I could into what it can teach me about suffering and happiness.
Perhaps at least some of you would like to join me on this endeavor for the next few weeks? If you would like to join me, then each day for a week, after your regualar morning practice, read the Training that we are looking into and contemplate non-judgementally the meaning of the Training. Throughout the day, each day of the week, use the Training as a mirror and as a lens to look at your actions -- learning ways to cultivate happiness and alleviate suffering in yourself and in others.
Let us begin with the First Mindfulness Training: Reverence For Life
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals.
I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.
This is the heart of "Engaged Buddhism," the motivating factor for those of us who work for peace in the world. And yet, when I boiled my water for tea this morning, I killed countless organisms that were in the water. The grain and fruit I ate were alive at one time. ALL life depends upon life, so how do we take this teaching?
Knowing that our life necessitates the taking of life, how do we practice non-harming (ahimsa)? What are some practical, down-to-earth responses to this teaching of harmlessness and the cultivation of compassion?
I look forward to hearing from as many of you as possible, as it has been said (truly, I believe) that the heart of all Yoga practice is ahimsa.
.: posted by Poep Sa Frank Jude 7:06 PM