The Second Precept

So, the Second Mindfulness Training, ‘Do not steal’ is a real bite. This is generally interpreted as including the avoidance of fraud and economic exploitation.  Yeah …. I am pretty much guilty.  The previous remind me of the Catholic’s Mortal sin. They are as follows:

    1. Anger, hatred;
    2. Blasphemy;
    3. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit;
    4. Envy;
    5. Malice;
    6. Murder;
    7. Neglect of Sunday obligation;
    8. Sins against faith;
    9. Sins against hope;
    10. Sins against love; and
    11. Sins that cry to Heaven.

So from the above, I have hated, blasphemed, envied, neglected the Sunday obligation, had sins against love, hope, faith and some that cried to heaven. I was pretty much a real ‘dipstick’ in a previous life. In response to the rich man, Jesus answered, “Do not kill; Do not commit adultery; Do not steal; Do not bear false witness; Do not defraud; Honor your father and your mother.”  According to the Catechism all those who commit mortal sin and die without confessing it to a priest are doomed to hell.  Trust me, even when presenting them to a priest, all may not be forgiven … at least by the Church.

For a Buddhist, the second precept means to be aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression.  This is not a commandment, but rather a ‘right action,’ a path of discipline that leads to enlightenment. This means doing the hard soul searching work on a very profound personal level. It means to honestly evaluate personal motivation and your actions will affect others. In turn, wisdom, compassion, and enlightenment will remain open.

If I hadn’t been led to become a better man by the only true love of my life, I might still be that dipstick. But since I am no longer that man, I undertake honor and refrain from taking that which is not given.

Lastly, I reintroduce Thich Nhat Hanh once again. His thoughts on the second precept are as follows:

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing and oppression, I vow to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well being of people, animals, plants and minerals. I vow to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

Live in peace.



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