The Thirteenth Minor Precept: The Precept against Beating People as a Livelihood or for a Wage
"If an Upasaka/Upasika who has received and should be upholding this Precept beats or verbally abuses slaves, servants, errand boys or girls, or other hired help, doing that as a livelihood or for a wage, he/she thereby commits an offense through negligence. Failure to repent and reform will lead to a fall, caused by such impure behavior."
There is a saying in Chinese, "Man will die for wealth; birds will die for food." Man can give up his life for external wealth. Although we may not have the intention to harm or kill living beings, we may beat or berate slaves and servants, thinking we have the right to do so since they belong to us. At times, we may get in trouble if we accidentally injure or even kill them. We should not even scold them, for if we scold them too harshly, we may push them to commit suicide.
People who practice the Buddhadharma should not collect antiques, ancient jade objects and other such items, because these items usually carry many spirits. The Venerable Master mentioned in the past that a single ancient jade ring usually had a couple of spirits attached to it. This is because in the past, if the jade ring belonged to a wealthy family but was somehow lost, the owner would presume it must have been stolen by slaves or servants, and he would beat or scold them. They would often commit suicide by jumping into a well or hanging themselves. Their spirits would then hang around those jade objects. Also, in ancient times, burial objects made of jade accompanied the deceased or were placed in their mouths. The spirits of the deceased would attach to these items as they were still greedy. Therefore these objects tend to carry a lot of grievance and enmity. These are the consequences of beating or berating slaves and servants. We should avoid creating such karma.
In fact, the scope of this precept is not limited to just servants or maids; it also includes ordinary people. This kind of bad karma is not worth engaging in. We should bring up for discussion any issues concerning wealth and possessions. We must let go of our possessions when our lives end anyway. Why create such bad karma and receive a bad retribution because of them? Possessions include both tangible and intangible things, such as houses, gold and silver, as well as fame and titles. Some people create bad karma because they cannot resist pursuing fame and titles.
The Fifteenth Minor Precept: The Precept against Keeping Cats and Other Predatory Animals
If an Upasaka/Upasika who has received and should be upholding this Precept keeps cats or other predatory animals, he/she thereby commits an offense through negligence. Failure to repent and reform will lead to a fall, caused by such impure behavior.
"The reason for not keeping such animals is that they habitually kill other animals. We do not want to create more killing karma. We will skip the Sixteenth Minor Precept for now and will discuss it later.
The Twenty-seventh Minor Precept: The Precept against Raising Silkworms
If an Upasaka/Upasika who has received and should be upholding this Precept raises silkworms, he/she thereby commits an offense through negligence. Failure to repent and reform will lead to a fall, caused by such impure behavior.
It is wrong to think, "Well, I raise silkworms solely for others' benefit, and I do not kill them." I believe you heard the Venerable Master talk about the three people—the one who ate pork, the one who sold it, and the one who slaughtered the pig. The three had causal connections. This principle applies to the person who raises silkworms as well.
Therefore, people who practice the Buddhadharma should try to avoid clothing that contains animal products. These materials have a lot of killing karma in them.
The Sixteenth Minor Precept: The Precept against Raising Domestic or Wild Animals without Performing Pure Giving
If an Upasaka/Upasika who has received and should be upholding this Precept raises elephants, horses, cattle, sheep or goats, camels, donkeys or mules, or any other kind of animals whether domestic or wild, and fails to perform pure giving, whereby those animals are, in effect, bestowed on someone who has not taken this Precept, he/she thereby commits an offense through negligence. Failure to repent and reform will lead to a fall, caused by such impure behavior.
We should refer to the Twenty-seventh Minor Precept as a basis when we investigate this precept. Firstly, we should not raise these animals for slaughter. If we are not even allowed to raise tiny silkworms for silk because of the killing karma created; how could we possibly raise horses, cattle, sheep or goats, camels, or mules for slaughter! Pigs are also included. Do not be mistaken and think, "Oh, the Sutra does not mention pigs, so I can raise pigs and sell them to the slaughterhouse." This is definitely impermissible.
To be continued