With palms together,
Good Morning Everyone,
The other day, I addressed the The Pure Precepts. This morning I would like to talk about the first of the Ten Grave Grave Precepts, do not kill. This precept is first among the Ten Grave Precepts. It is a very challenging precept for many reasons. Like most precepts its paradoxical. We must live, in order to live we must eat, in order to eat we must kill, yet here it says: do not kill. How can this be?
Moreover, even as we breathe or walk we kill. As we drink water we kill. Even if we are vegetarian, we kill. So how can we follow this precept?
Killing is more than simply taking a life, although that is its meaning. This precept is about the wanton killing of beings for no purpose, but to kill them. We are asked not to kill for the joy of killing, as a game, or a sport. We should try to avoid killing unintentionally, as well.
To meet this precept we must act mindfully around all beings. We should not kill for any reason but to sustain ourselves. So, we often frame this precept in the positive, that we vow to respect all life. This leads us to consider the many ways we may nurture life, to be in-service to life, and to appreciate life.
Each of us is responsible for our own decisions regarding this precept. some of us eat only vegetables and grains. Others allow fowl or fish. Still others allow for red meat. The what is less important than the appreciation we give to the being who gave its life that we may live. It is so easy to be mindless about the food we eat. Not recognizing the many hands and many lives that went into its preparation. Zen is about noticing and appreciating. This is the first grave precept.
On a personal note: Last night we were blessed with the arrival of our daughter, her partner, and our grandson Tate. We were also blessed with the presence of our son, his partner, and granddaughter Olivia. Lastly, we were blessed by the Hanukkah lights, the first of many during this festival of lights. Our other son is to arrive sometime this afternoon and so, for the first time in many, many years we will have all our heartbeats under the same roof.