Last blog we explored the last of the things I find it helpful to to say 'no' to or at least try to minimize. The final point made related to 'things that do not align with who I am and my values, likes and dislikes'. I made reference to the ten Buddhist precepts which Lama Marut helpfully refers to as the ten 'misdeeds' one should avoid and their positive opposites one should adopt. He says that these and similar ethical instructions from yogic and religious texts make up a universal code of behaviour. He also says that they give us a handbook for life, the rules of the game, that can allow us to avoid major undesirable future worries and create the causes for contentment and peace.
We can often resist these ethical guidelines because we don't like to be told what to do and what not to do! It really helps to understand why it is in our own best interest to apply these to the way we live our lives. In order to do this we need to understand the laws of karma or causality to know why it is important to practice these ethical instructions in order to create the lives we want. Put simply, karma or causality can be thought of 'what goes around comes around'. So, if we put positive deeds of body, speech and mind out in the world we will create the perception of seeing them come back to us. And the converse is also true, when we perform misdeeds these too will boomerang back to us. When we understand this we are more motivated to let these ten guidelines guide our behaviour to create the life we want.
In the Buddhist list of ten, the first three relate to actions of the body. So lets look at the first of these this blog.
I referred to the first of these ethical guidelines as
1. Refrain from harm (including to ourselves)/practice kindness.
Lama Marut more succinctly says
1. Don't kill/Protect and honour life
This is all about practicing non-violence, not killing or physically harming others. Why? Because 'what comes around, goes around'. It refers to protecting all life, even that of small insects, pests and bugs. Lama Marut says when it comes to death, sickness or physical pain of any sort all living beings want to avoid it. So why would we want to harm others, our future selves and ourselves by doing what we all most fear - harm.
So, if we want to feel protected and honoured in our own lives we need to practice protecting and honouring the lives of all living beings.
I like to remember to include practicing non-harm to myself too. This means for me trying to remember to be a kind and encouraging to myself and to look after my health and well being, so I can be in good shape to be of benefit to others.
It is not possible to live without causing harm because our very existence means we harm others, often without being conscious of it, like when we kill insects on the front of our cars on a road trip. What is important is our intention to practice non-harm, respecting and caring for the lives of others as best we can.
In the Buddhist and Yogic texts the karmic correlations to practicing non-harm are outlined. Among the positive correlations are good health and longevity. So lets do our best to do as Lama Marut, the Daila Lama and Gandhi suggest and practice non-harm both for the welfare of others and our future selves.
With love, appreciation and very best well wishes to us all