Janine's Articles From the Soul From the Outside Poetry Corner Prisoner Letters

  Question One-Answer Seven

by JK
Illinois

In the Anguttara Nikaya ( a collection of Buddhist sutras grouped by the number of their parts), in the section of eights, there is a teaching on rewards (AN VIII.39).  This is the sutra in which the Buddha lays forth the five precepts (abstaining from killing, abstaining from staling, abstaining from sexual misconduct, abstaining from false speech, and abstaining from the use of intoxicants).  In this teaching the Buddha continually repeats that abstaining from /abandoning these actions, “gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings.  In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression.” (Translation from Handful of Leaves: Volume 3 by Thanissaro Bhikkhu)

I believe that this teaching is a classic example of, “we get what we give.”  Unfortunately, we are so focused on achieving our own peace, security, etc.  That we do not even contemplate giving it to others.  We are so attached to our ego and our sense of “I” that we only concern ourselves with our own desires and everyone else had better either get on board with helping us fulfill them or they had better get out of the way.  By abandoning our attachment to our false sense of a permanent self, we can come to realize that “our way” is not “the only way” and maybe not even the right way.  In doing so we open ourselves more to the idea of helping others and thereby helping ourselves.

 

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