Published Sunday, 10 August 2014
As a trader with precious cargo avoids threat,
and those who love life avoid poison,
so you should avoid evil actions.
Dhammapada v. 123
We do have precious cargo; human consciousness. And we do love life; hence the effort we make to protect it. The Buddha is saying we should watch over this good fortune that we have inherited by avoiding all evil actions. Great benefit can be discovered in this life if we are careful and cultivate wisdom. Similarly great suffering can arise if we are heedless. Evil is a strong word and we might prefer to not use it. But we are naive to not contemplate it. When the heart is possessed by greed or hatred, evil actions can follow. Once performed, there will be painful consequences. Nobody else can save us from heedlessness, not even the Buddha. With kindness and wise reflection we contribute to the protection of all beings.