The most basic ones are the Five Precepts: no killing, no stealing, no lying, no sexual misconduct and no intoxication.
His most basic teaching comes down to:
Avoid harm. Do good. Purify the mind.
And, he started with what to avoid, because we cannot even begin to ‘do good’ -let alone purify the mind- if we don’t first stop harmful actions.
And, he gave us these guidelines, not from a place of judging us as ‘bad’ people if we don’t follow them, but from a place of knowing that all actions that we take have their specific consequences. He was showing us ways to avoid unnecessary suffering.
All of these precepts are of varying degrees depending on ‘where’ you find yourself and what you are capable of committing to at this time.
One that I wanted to explore with you is intoxication.
Intoxication does not just refer to drinking alcohol. We can become intoxicated with anything…surfing the web, watching the news, texting, Facebook, shopping, eating, sex…you name it – and if you are not careful, it can take over and run your life. And…ruin your life as well.
And, if you are not careful with this one, it can lead you to break all the rest of the precepts!