Napa Valley Insight Meditation Message Board › Integrity: Readings for April 24th NVMG meeting
This Wednesday (April 24th) we will focus on the 5th step in the Awakening Joy course – Integrity. This is a broad topic and I invite all of you to read the entire 5th chapter, if you have time, to get the breath and beauty of this topic.
In our discussion we will focus on two of the guidelines, or precepts as they are called in Buddhism, that provide direction for building positive habits for living a more wholesome life. You can down load a copy of the reading by clicking on the link below:
A copy of the entire 5th chapter can be downloaded here:
For those of you who would like to own a copy of the book Awakening Joy, you can purchase a copy at Copperfield’s Books (they have some in stock), or at Amazon:
The five precepts, also known as habitats of happiness, are meant to help us make healthy and skillful choices in our lives in areas where we can easily go astray. The principal underlying all of them is the same – if you want to be happy, don’t intentionally cause suffering to yourself or others.
The precepts can be summed up as follows:
1. Honor all life
2. Share your time and resources
3. Take care with your sexual energy, respecting boundaries and offering safety.
4. Speak kindly and carefully.
5. Develop a clear mind and a happy heart.
Cultivating integrity is the practice of mindfully listening to our internal moral compass and realizing that the more we follow it the happier we’ll be. Integrity is not about trying to be perfect, but simply becoming more aware of the feelings that accompany our actions. The deeper question for us to ponder is: are our actions skillful or unskillful – do they bring us greater happiness or more suffering?
It is important to remember, that the precepts in Buddhism are guidelines to help us discern what it means to live a more integral life. They are not commandments. Instead they invite us to examine our behavior in order to help us develop more skillful mind states. This is often not easy to do, because many of our unskillful behavior patterns are very habitual - often developed at an early age as a mechanism to protect ourselves or as a way to find acceptance and love.
Practicing the precepts help us develop what Baraz calls the “Bliss of Blamelessness. “ When we live with more integrity, we decrease our feelings of regret and increase our abilities for compassion and forgiveness. The precepts can often bring up resistance in us, as habitats are hard to break. Even if they cause us suffering, they are like old friends that we hate to let go. The beauty of bringing the precepts into our practice is that we often find that we are bigger than we think, and when we stretch ourselves beyond our limits, we find our capacity for joy is also bigger.