Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/03/2017

Taking on the Eight Precepts

Due to current life circumstances it appears that I have an opportunity to practice the 8 precepts on a full-time basis. I have been observing brahmacariya for about the last month and sleep on the floor most nights but I feel I should make a more formal commitment now. I mean, why not? Continuing to pursue the so-called pleasures of lay life is utterly and ultimately meaningless so why invest more energy there? Rather than allow my course to be dictated by another person out of a feeling of obligation, why not take upon myself a way of living that will more quickly lead to liberation?

I’ve been struggling with how to formulate this emerging viewpoint but it seems to me, in a world where sexual relations cause so much misery and are often enough weaponized by both sexes it would be best to put them down for good. As difficult as it may be to practice brahmacariya, it is at least cut and dry. And yet, there are a few other parts of the 8 Precepts that I’m unsure of how to practice in daily life.

It is the following precept which gives me pause:

7. Nacca-gita-vadita-visukkadassana mala-gandha-vilepana-dharana-mandana-vibhusanathana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyamiI undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainmentswearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics.

You see, my kids take music lessons for various instruments and, as the parent with musical training, I end up being the one to tutor them. Does this constitute breaking the precept? Furthermore, does reading or listening to supposedly true accounts of mysterious and paranormal happenings constitute a breaking of the precept against watching entertainments?


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