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The First Precept: Refrain from Taking Life

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2002-04-29
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



The precept to refrain from taking life is concerned with developing sensitivity to all forms and expressions of life. Where do you lose that sensitivity? Although no being is dismissed as irrelevant, “refraining from” is not the same as “thou shall not.” What is the difference? Is it possible to live and never kill other life forms? This week build in the pause of “refrain from” and use the space to connect with life rather than eliminating it. The gross infractions are more obvious but the subtle components of this precept might include any dismissive or negating behavior of another. What are the effects on this precept when you only consider your own needs? How is the hurt from your dismissive actions rationalized (“She deserved it anyway….”)?

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