Saturday, February 25, 2012

Keeping The Five Precepts

Last night was a very special and happy occasion for me. I finally managed to do something that was on my mind for many years, ever since I became a Buddhist in 2005 - I brought my Dad to listen to the Dhamma for the first time at Subang Jaya Buddhist Association (SJBA).

The Speaker, Dr Chan Kah Yein is a very skillful and knowledgeable Dhamma practitioner who explained to us the meaning of keeping the Five Precepts. She started with summarizing the teachings of The Buddhas: Avoid Evil, Do Good, Purify The Mind - Dhammapada 183.

And from 'Avoid Evil' she broke down the Five Precepts for us. Since my Dad has problem sitting on the floor, he sat on a chair behind me while I sat on the floor. I turned my head and saw him listening attentively and it brought such joy to my heart.

Even though I thought I knew the Five Precepts quite well (pride is such a bad thing), I've learned few interesting things tonight:

1. The Five Precepts can be summarized into the Golden Rule, which was first taught by The Buddha to his son, Rahula. This rule is useful for those of us who have trouble remembering or understanding the Five Precepts in detail. My understanding of the Golden Rule is before we say or do anything, we must first ask ourselves: "Will this brings harm to myself or others?"
Dr Chan also mentioned about putting ourselves in the other person's shoes so that we only don't do things to others that we don't want done to ourselves, such as killing living beings.

2. Precepts are rules to training that leads to peace and harmony, within ourselves and those around us. It will lead to happiness all around us if everybody keep the precepts diligently.

3. If we break the precepts, it is not because it is impossible to keep it, but because we have not develop the wisdom to keep it. With enough wisdom, we should be able to keep all the precepts. I really can relate to this because I did managed to keep the precepts in the past by exercising options which at first might seem unpleasant, difficult, silly or doesn't look like a choice at all. But if it's possible to do, then I suppose it is a choice after all. Only our attachment and defilement prevent us from making those wise choices. It could also be because we have not try hard enough or think deep enough before making a choice.

I look forward to attending next Friday Dhamma talk with my Dad again.