The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
Ethics, Action, and the Five Precepts
2015-07-21 Ethics, Action, and the Five Precepts 3:26:01
with Jason Murphy, Shaila Catherine, Sharon Allen, Steve Gasner, Tony Bernhard
This series explores virtue as the indispensable foundation of Buddhist practice. It is structured according to the five training precepts. These precepts are not rules to be followed obediently; rather, they serve as guidelines for the intentional development of compassion, mindfulness and wisdom. These five precepts offer us a joyful method to cultivate the heart, nurture harmony in our relationships, and free the mind from inner forces of greed and hatred that if left unrestrained might cause suffering for ourselves and others.
2015-07-21 Precepts: The Gift of Fearlessness 28:24
Shaila Catherine
This talk by Shaila Catherine is the first in a speaker series titled Ethics, Action, and the Five Precepts. It offers an over view of the five precepts (sila) as training tools for bringing mindfulness and restraint into our actions, relationships, and daily life activities. These basic guidelines for living an ethical life, and the power of restraint are as relevant in the modern world as they were in ancient India. Taking care with our actions can be a source of joy and happiness. When our actions are clear, the mind is free from regret, guilt, and remorse; we gain self-respect, self-esteem, and confidence. The four bases of success (iddhipadas) can be used to strengthen these training precepts. With the support of desire, energy, consciousness, and investigation we can fully commit to abstain from unwholesome actions, and develop wholesome states, thereby gaining sovereignty over our own mind.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2015-07-28 How Conduct Bears Fruit: Training in Not Killing 37:52
Shaila Catherine
This is the second talk in a speaker series titled Ethics, Action, and the Five Precepts. This talk by Shaila Catherine explores kamma (karma) and the training precept to refrain from killing. The Abhidhamma presents a detailed analysis of both wholesome and unwholesome mental states to explain how some actions lead to suffering, and other actions lead to happiness. The conditions that surround an action, the intentions that instigate it, and the reflective understanding of potential consequences will influence the intensity of the patterns that affect our options. If you find that you have killed a living being, perhaps an insect, notice your mental state. Was hatred or greed present? Learn what happens in the mind to enable killing, and what happens in the mind when you refrain from violence. The act of restraint is a particularly potent action. When virtue (sila) is pure, reflections on the abstention from harming can be a source of joy. The potency of wholesome restraint can be increased by reinforcing it with the wisdom that understands the causes and end of suffering—right view of the path.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2015-08-04 Refrain from Stealing 45:15
Tony Bernhard
This is the third talk in a speaker series titled Ethics, Action, and the Five Precepts. How does the training precept of refraining from stealing differ from the Biblical Commandment of “thou shall not steal?” The precept of not to steal is based on the Buddha’s teaching of ending suffering. Instead of a black and white rule, this precept is meant to protect our mind from impulses to take what is not freely given. At the deepest level, this precept is designed to end tanha, our thirst, our grasping, our greed. It is a raft that carries us to liberation, rather than a rule to be clung to.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2015-08-11 Refrain from Sexual Misconduct 46:53
Sharon Allen
This is the fourth talk in a speaker series titled Ethics, Action, and the Five Precepts. This precept deals with abstaining from sexual behavior that causes pain, suffering or injury to others, including sexual activity that is damaging to relationships. Looking at our behavior in relationship to the precepts, they protect us and others from harm. The precepts are not commandments, but rather training rules that support our spiritual development and the quality of our personal character. They are how an awakened person acts through intention, sensitivity, and a pure heart. They are principles to live by.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2015-08-18 Refrain from False Speech 24:16
Steve Gasner
This talk by Steve Gasner is the fifth in the speaker series titled Ethics, Action, and the Five Precepts. The training precept of refraining from false speech is one of the components of Right Speech in the Noble Eightfold Path. The other three components of Right Speech include refraining from harsh speech, divisive speech and idle chatter. (The other four training precepts fall under Right Action.) Although virtue (sila) will enhance our meditation, unfortunately, we have a tendency to lie, especially telling white lies. We may think white lies are not harmful, however they could create basic trust issues in relationships, because someone is always fooled. So one of the general rules that the Buddha gave is to speak truthfully, usefully and timely.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2015-08-25 Refrain from Taking Intoxicants 23:19
Jason Murphy
This talk by Jason Murphy is the sixth in the speaker series Ethics, Action and the Five Precepts.The five training precepts are not commandments nor are they a list of “don’t dos.” Instead, they have an over-arching principle of ahimsa, or do no harm. In other words, following the precepts can be seen as a way to stop us from spilling our suffering onto the rest of the world. In addition, the aim of observing the precepts is to allow practitioners to be blameless and at ease, thereby preparing their minds for meditation. The fifth precept deals with not taking alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants that will lead to heedlessness. This precept is really about seeing clearly: we cannot see clearly and develop our wisdom when we intoxicate our mind.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley

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