To Precept or not…


Once upon the Buddha’s time, a hunter strolled through the woods and was attacked by a giant python constrictor. In his right hand a knife, which he was using to scar the path he was walking on earlier. Reacting on pure instinct, he raised the knife about to stab into the body of the snake when he recalled that a few days earlier he took the 5-Precept with a Buddhist monk. Placing the knife down close to him, he offered the snake radiation of kindness in the hope that it would spare his life. The constrictor instead did the opposite, it upped its strength and the man struggled in pain. He picked up the knife, raised it in the air for the second time, but his devotion to the precepts ‘that he took’ made him put the blade back down again. Not knowing what to think, he held off the constrictor with whatever strength he had left. When the snake applied another squeeze at his already very tenderized frame, he picked up the knife for the third time, but this time chucked it far away, offering his life to his sacred vows in the same process. Immediately, the Python felt a hot burning sensation, a sensation of wronging one feels when bringing pain to those who are pure. It released the constriction and let the man go.

Moral of the story; A regular good-hearted person wouldn’t kill without a reason, say a snake crawling 10 feet away wouldn’t normally be harmed… however should his life one day hang in the balance by a constrictor up close and personal, most of the times, one with weapons and means would not hesitate to kill. The difference with taking up the Precepts is that we are reminded of our restraints.


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