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:
- Anger, hatred;
- Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit;
- Neglect of Sunday obligation;
- Sins against faith;
- Sins against hope;
- Sins against love; and
- 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.