Exploring the First Precept: Non-Harming

Northwest USA  

March 2, 2013
9:30 amto4:30 pm

Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Teachers: Bob Stahl, Richard Shankman

This daylong will be devoted to exploring the first precept of non-harming, which is the basis, or foundation, for the remaining four precepts against stealing, causing sexual harm, using harmful speech, and intoxication.

The heart of the Buddha’s teachings is cultivating wisdom and compassion. This is developed by living virtuously through the cultivation of non-harming in thoughts, words, and actions that purify the heart and mind. In the Rhinoceros Horn Discourse, the Khaggavisana Sutta, the Buddha says, “Renouncing violence for all living beings, harming not even a one…”

We will explore non-harming (ahimsa) in our modern world. Is it even possible to live without killing or harming? How do we reconcile the conundrum of doing no harm as it pertains to killing and the remaining precepts?

In light of the first precept of non-harming, which literally means to not take away one’s breath, how do you reconcile eating meat or wearing leather? How do you deal with termites, mosquitoes, flies, mice, rats, bacteria, or other creatures? How do you feel about using products that may hurt animals?

We can also look at ways we harm others or ourselves through destructive criticism or judgment, as well as with our speech and action. Are there conscious or unconscious choices we make in various aspects of our lives that cause harm?

What is our highest aspiration for living a life of non-harming? What can support us to live more in fully in alignment with those aspirations? Is it possible to live without harming in our society? What can we do to reduce harm? What are you willing or not willing to do?

This daylong will have periods of silent sitting, walking meditation, and small and large group discussions.

Teachings are appropriate for individuals as well as health care professionals. Continuing Education (CE) credit available. See below for more information.

Young Adults (18-26) and Seniors (65+ with limited income) are invited to attend this day for $25.