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Why practice ethics?

It's often said that we can't get free if we're busy lying, cheating, and disliking others. The path to enlightenment is created by watching our thoughts, words, and actions, and by doing the best we can to live in a compassionate, caring way. According to the laws of karma, our actions plant the seeds for our future experiences. If we want to experience a future paradise, ethical practice gives us a roadmap to that result! 

Image by Hudson Hintze

The ethics we practice at Sama come from a text called The Essence of the Ocean of Vinaya by a teacher named Je Tsongkapa, who taught the first Dalai Lama. Each restraint also has a corresponding positive practice that we do try to do. This list, called the 10 Virtues and Non-Virtues, closely corresponds to other lists from yogic texts like Patanjali's Yoga Sutra and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and is practiced by people all over the world. Though this list comes from Tibetan Buddhism, you do not have to be a Buddhist to practice them. They are universal in nature. 

The list of "non-virtues" is a list of items that create undesirable results in our lives. We freely choosing to refrain from them because we know doing so won't create a beneficial result and because we know that those actions are not how we want to engage in the world. 

When you practice something that may be going against the grain of what you're used to, it's very helpful to have the support of community. The Essence of Practice is a monthly meeting at Sama to discuss how we're working with each practice and restraint, talk about questions or challenges we have, and support each other and celebrate our successes. 

We meet on the Monday evening closest to the full moon at 7:15 pm, both in studio and virtually. You can find the links to register here. Please join us!

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