Affirming Life: The First Precept


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Even though the precepts were not directed to the community directly, they are all about community. The precepts are about action and intention. I appreciate this from Wendell Berry,

“ To act in short is to live. Living is a total act. Thinking is a partial act. And one does not live alone. Living is a communal act…

He goes on to quote Emerson,

“I grasp the hand of those next to me, and take my place in the circle, to suffer and work.”

I love the lack of sentimentality in these words. For us, the suffering is the first noble truth- dukkha – the acknowledgment that in the midst of life there is suffering and for us, the work is the practice. The precepts can be seen as the practice. This is what we do as a Sangha, we take each other's hand in our suffering and do the work. And what precept is more at the heart of community than affirming life? The first precept is from which all the other precepts flow.

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