A disciple of the Buddha does not steal, and I've heard it a few times. I took that vow, and this vow has been a threshold I've stepped over and back over the last couple of days.
This is a part of my Everything Changes, Everything's Connected, Pay Attention, program.
First, I sat in a benefits meeting at work. There was a rich man telling us we could all get rich, too. All we had to do was invest with his firm, and better yet, my school was going to match my contribution up to 5%. Someone raised their hand and asked if the company could direct our investments to green or ethical companies, so he wasn't funding genocide or ecocide, and the rich man said, no, that just wasn't a part of what his program offered.
Besides not wanting to destroy sentient beings, I feel very anti-capitalist, even green capitalism turns me off, and here was this threshold- but here was this "free money", too. I knew to enroll wouldn't sit well with me- we all draw lines somewhere- and here was something that felt like a no brainer, so no thank you, I won't be investing. On my eight fold path, it seemed like the right step to take.
Then two days later I came home to see that my rear bike wheel had been stolen. Gone, gone, gone, very much like my other bike which was stolen about 6 months ago. I hadn't locked that back tire up...I'm an anger type, and my first instinct was to punch my car. I didn't punch my car. I haven't punched anything (or anyone) for a very long time, however, that's what comes up. I thought, I don't have to be happy about this, I don't have to rationalize this, but I also can't avoid the emotion. I decided to read Reb Anderson's chapter on the precept of not taking that which is not given, and I wondered what I'd been stealing.
Reb gives a very detailed break down of the precept and includes example of stealing like having sex in a relationship that's not mutual and that murder is a type of stealing, too. But the one that rang true for me was making commitments you don't keep.
It's glaring in my mind- have you ever heard someone talk about something negative and just knew that it was 100% you? I have. My principal was talking about teacher absences and how detrimental they are for the classroom and my ears were burning. For the last 4 years I've missed about 25 days of work. It feels criminal. It feels like stealing.
Granted, I've had my burnout issues, I've had my investigations into depression, alcoholism, resentments of the system at large, and tried some "cures" too. Self diagnosis rooted in delusion gave cures rooted in that same delusion. Truth is, I'm afraid to fail, and that's what keeps me home. Funny though, you only fail when you do, and there's not much to cure that!
So, commitments. I made a commitment to my school this year, to a team of teachers, to the innercity kids coming my way, and I don't want to steal from them.
How do I bring this to the forefront of my practice? How do I make sure I don't forget? I feel very alone, very much facing in the direction of the Buddha.