Namaste Yoga 326 Awakening to Your True Self Series, The Six Perfections: Morality

by Melissa West on


Yoga-Class-on-MoralityIn our Awakening Your True Self Series we are exploring the Six Paramitas or Six Perfections. The intention behind cultivating the six perfections is for the development of compassion. It is considered a path of the Bodhisattva. Today we are reflecting on the second of the six perfections or six paramitas, sila paramita or morality. Morality in this sense is an act of kindness and compassion that grows organically from the inside out as a result of your regular yoga and meditation practice. This ethical conduct is not self righteous, morally superior, arrogant or intolerant in any way. Sila paramita allows you to be flexible, open, forgiving and generous.

The longer you practice, the more your practice purifies you and you recognize that there is a direct connection between your actions and the discomforts that you experience physically and emotionally. You begin to realize that your yoga and meditation practice becomes easier, your mind becomes calmer, you experience more acceptance and patience when you live a life of right ethical conduct and morality. As I mentioned at the beginning, this mindfulness and honesty opens from the inside as you develop a deeper and deeper relationship with your Self. You begin to develop a deeper sensitivity and, you recognize your own suffering and that others experience the same suffering as you and your conduct is naturally elevated.

There are 16 ethical Bodhisattva precepts. They begin with the triple treasure.

  1. Take refuge in Buddha
  2. Take refuge in dharma
  3. Take refuge in Sangha

You can see the triple treasure across many religious traditions – to seek security in something greater than yourself, to rely on the teachings of the spiritual texts and to come together in a spiritual community.

The triple treasure is followed by the 3 pure precepts

  1. Restrain from causing harm
  2. Doing good
  3. Benefiting Others

Doing good we spoke of a bit last week. Doing good includes your spiritual practice. Your yoga practice, your meditation practice, your mantras generate positive energy, they influence your mind and develop your heart. You may do them first for yourself, but then, with the triple treasure, you can offer your practices for the benefits of all beings. All that you do can be an offering for the benefits of others.

Finally there are 10 Prohibitory Precepts which are offered here in the positive.

  1. I vow to cherish life (not kill)
  2. I vow to accept gifts (not steal)
  3. I vow to respect others (not misuse sexuality)
  4. I vow to practice truthfulness (not lie)
  5. I vow to practice clarity (not to intoxicate myself or others)
  6. I vow to speak with kindness (not slander)
  7. I vow to practice modesty (not to praise self at the expense of others)
  8. I vow to practice generosity (not to be possessive of anything)
  9. I vow to practice love (not to harbour ill will)
  10. I vow to cherish the 3 treasures

These practices are not linear or one dimensional. They are to be practiced with discernment and skill. With discernment and skill we will know how to apply them for the benefit of others.

Today we are focusing on yoga postures and pranayama growing from the inside out, with the understanding that morality grows organically, naturally from the inside out. We are also focusing on postures that create clarity and focus.

Props Needed: wall, meditation cushion, folded blanket, chair

Yoga Postures/Asanas: Alternate Nostril Breathing or Nadi Shodhana, Knee to chest pose or Apanasana, Little Boat Pose Vinyasa, Cat Pose or Marjaryasana, Warrior One or Virabhadrasana One Vinyasa, Natarajasana or Dancer Pose, Legs up the Wall or Viparita Karini with Eagles Arms, Matsyangasana or Body of the Fish Pose or Mermaid Pose, Upavista Konasana or Wide Legged Seated Forward Fold, Savasana or Corpse Pose

Resources: Upaya Zen Center The Six Perfections Dharma Podcast Series with Norman and Kathie Fischer

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Through that practice we are taking the fruits of our yoga practice and offering them out into the world. We have taken the spiritual goodness we have generated through our yoga practice and given it to those in need. This is a highly valued and incredibly important and generous practice.

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Thank you for your donations: Sean, Phyllis, Viola, Ivy, and Rickianne

Today’s question to answer in the comments is: How are you going to cherish life today?

The intention behind cultivating the six perfections is for the development of compassion. If you would like an infographic of 4 easy and practical ways to incorporate compassion into your life put your email address into the box below and we will send you 4 easy and practical ways you can incorporate compassion rituals into your life.

If you would like more support in cultivating compassion in your life then I would recommend our Loving Kindness Meditation group.

Particularly two recent weeks on Self Compassion:

Part 1 & Part 2

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Namaste Yoga 326 Photos of Yoga Pose



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