Why practice ethics?
It's often said that we can't get free if we are 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. Our actions plant the seeds for a future experience of paradise, and ethical practice gives us a roadmap to that result!
The Sanskrit word YAMA translates to mean "restraint." This isn't a restraint like a punishment, but rather something we are freely choosing to refrain from because we know it won't create a beneficial result.
The yamas 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.
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. Please join us!