The Buddha’s Five Precepts


Being mindful of suffering
caused by the taking of life,
we are determined to live in ways
that preserve and protect life in all its forms.


Being mindful of suffering
caused by the taking of what belongs to others,
we are determined to take only what is freely given
and to give freely as we are able to those in need.


Being mindful of suffering
caused by sexual acts that break commitments,
we are determined to keep our commitments
and to respect the commitments of others.


Being mindful of suffering
caused by careless or malicious speech,
we are determined to use words
to heal the wounds of misunderstanding,
anger, hate, and fear.


Being mindful of suffering
caused by taking poisons into our bodies and minds,
we are determined to take into our bodies and minds
only those things that nourish awareness, life, and love.

From Ken Wilber’s “One Taste” ps 34 – 37.

“…But isn’t this view of mine terribly elitist? Good heavens, I hope so. When you go to a basketball game, do you want to see me or Michael Jordan play basketball? When you listen to pop music, who are you willing to pay money in order to hear? Me or Bruce Springsteen? When you read great literature, who would you rather spend an evening reading, me or Tolstoy? When you pay sixty-four million dollars for a painting, will that be a painting by me or by Van Gogh?
All excellence is elitist. And that includes spiritual excellence as well. But spiritual excellence is an elitism to which all are invited. We go first to the great masters – to Padmasambhava, to St. Teresa of Avila, to Gautama Buddha, to Lady Tsogyal, to Emerson, Eckhart, Maimonides, Shankara, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Bodhidharma, Garab Dorje. But their message is always the same: let this consciousness be in you which is in me. You start elitist, always; you end up egalitarian, always.
But in between, there is the angry wisdom that shouts from the heart: we must, all of us, keep our eye on the radical and ultimate transformative goal. And so any sort of integral or authentic spirituality will also, always, involve a critical, intense, and occasionally polemical shout from the transformative camp to the merely translative camp.
If we use the percentages of Chinese Ch’an as a simple blanket example, this means that if 0.0000001 of the population is actually involved in genuine or authentic spirituality, then .99999999 of the population is involved in nontransformative, nonauthentic, merely translative or horizontal belief systems. And that means, yes, that the vast, vast majority of “spiritual seekers” in this country (as elsewhere) are involved in much less than authentic occasions. It has always been so; it is still so now. This country is no exception.