Thursday, June 30, 2011

Observing the 5 Precepts/Gaining Merit

This week Venerable Bendit guided our meditation class, followed by dhamma talk on merit. For those who attend our weekly meditation classes this isn't foreign to them, there are ten ways of gaining merit which can be summarized to three basic practices 1) Charitable giving/generosity 2) Keeping the precepts 3) Cultivation of the mind. As long as we are still breathing, we should spend our time wisely by performing as many good deed as we can. We should carry out the practices outline on a daily basis, since our time on earth is limited and our time of death is unknown.

Let me focus on number 2 for now keeping the precepts. There are five no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying, no consumption of alcohol/intoxicants. The precepts are instrumental in purifying one's deeds, words, and thoughts. Many individuals are of the belief that the five precepts have been laid down by the Lord Buddha, hence only Buddhist need to observe them. This is not true. The truth is the five precepts are what define us as human. They are principles by which we must live by. Rather, they were discovered by the Lord Buddha to be crucially important to our safety both in this and our future existence, and were taught to us for our good.

The Venerable stated that upholding the five precepts helps purify the mind so that when one sits to meditate it will be much easier to still the mind and have positive experiences with meditation. There is a direct correlation in the quality of the mind and meditation results.

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