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5 Precepts Compassion by Elizabeth Harris

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  • Antony Woods
    The foundation for any spiritual progress within Buddhism is the Five Precepts. Rites, rituals, ascetic practices, and devotional offerings are all
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2008
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      "The foundation for any spiritual progress within Buddhism is the Five
      Precepts. Rites, rituals, ascetic practices, and devotional offerings
      are all subservient to the morality they stress. Compassion for the
      life, feelings, and security of others is inseparably linked with the
      first, second, and fourth precepts.

      1. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from injury to
      living things (paa.naatipaataa verama.nii sikkhaapada.m samaadiyaami).
      2. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from taking what is
      not given (adinnaadaanaa verama.nii sikhaapada.m samaadiyaami).
      3. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from false speech
      (musaavaadaa verama.nii sikkhaapada.m samaadiyaami).

      For instance, the ideal of ahi.msaa (non-harming) of the first must
      flow from compassion if it is to be effective. The Vasala Sutta makes
      this relationship explicit, although the word dayaa, usually
      translated as sympathy or compassion, is used and not karu.naa:

      Whoever in this world harms living beings, once-born or twice-born, in
      whom there is no compassion for living beings — know him as an outcast.19

      (Ekaja.m vaa dija.m vaa pi yo paa.naani hi.msati, yassa paa.ne dayaa
      n'atthi ta.m ja~n~naa 'vasalo' iti.)

      Important to the exercising of this kind of compassion is the
      realization that life is dear to all, as shown in the following
      Dhammapada verse:20

      All tremble at violence
      Life is dear to all
      Putting oneself in the place of another
      One should neither kill nor cause another
      to kill.

      (Sabbe tasanti da.n.dassa
      Sabbesa.m jiivita.m piya.m
      Attaana.m upama.m katvaa
      Na haneyya na ghaataye.)

      Here, non-harming and compassion flow both from a sensitivity to our
      own hopes and fears and the ability to place ourselves in the shoes of
      others. Compassion towards self and compassion towards others are
      inseparable."
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/harris/bl141.html
      From: Detachment and Compassion in Early Buddhism
      By Elizabeth J. Harris
      For Free Distribution, as a gift of Dhamma, from Access to Insight and
      the Buddhist Publication Society http://www.bps.lk
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