December 15 : Rejoicing in Taking Precepts

It is good to rejoice in taking precepts. There are many benefits from taking them and living in the precepts. What we often do not realise is that just having the opportunity to take precepts requires a great deal of merit. Just to have that opportunity to take them means that in the past we created some merit that is ripening in that opportunity. We see how rare it is just to have that chance to take precepts, even for one day. How many people spent yesterday eating all day, exaggerating or lying at family dinners to make themselves look good, speaking harsh words, getting irritated, and coveting each other’s stuff? We can see that just having the chance to spend a day at the Abbey and take precepts and live in pure ethical discipline means that we did something quite extraordinary in a previous life.

Rejoice at the opportunity that we have and then rejoice that we have made use of the opportunity, lived within the precepts, used the precepts to purify our bad habits of body and speech and thus of mind, and that we used the precepts to create a great deal of merit as well. It is quite important to be able to rejoice at our own and others’ virtue, not just looking at our mistakes, but rejoicing at our opportunities and rejoicing at how we make use of the opportunities to create the causes for happiness in the future. As we dedicate the benefit of taking and keeping the precepts, we can rejoice and send the merit out in all directions. We think of it as white light radiating out of our hearts. As we give away the results of our positive actions, we share them by dedicating to the welfare, long-term benefit and awakening of each and every sentient being.

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