By Bhiksu Heng K’ung
In the Dharma Ending Age when sensual pleasures are in abundance, the desire to hold precepts is not easily stimulated. Emerged in worldly delights, talk of morality is painful to our ears. This is mostly due to our limited concept of the word pleasure as a thing that can be experienced by an individual interacting in society and its attractions. We fail to consider the practical fact that the average person works a full day or week for the momentary satisfaction that is the usual outcome of an engagement with the opposite sex, and spends his or her time in between looking forward to the next meeting. Or we toil for half a day looking forward to a lunch with a friend, or perhaps after a day's work we go to the theater or a sporting event. The possibilities are too numerous to mention. But simply stated, our pleasure is constantly being compared with another facet of our lives.
Morality evens things out quickly. This is just keeping the five precepts against killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicants. If these are observed for a long period of time, we will come to realize a pervasive pleasure that is not dependent on external stimulus or circumstances a pleasure that cannot be sought but seems to spontaneously arise out of what's most ordinary.
If we wish to realize an unbroken stream of happiness, we must first discipline ourselves and break up our animalistic views. We must discipline ourselves in being human, for being non human is deeply ingrained within most of us. The advantages of self control and patience will unfold according to the sincerity with which they are applied. How foolish we will feel when we view the shallowness of the pleasures we experienced dependent on elaborate or defiling circumstances compared to the great happiness we come to experience while engaged in the ordinary acts of daily life!