If Another Doesn’t ‘Buy’ the Precepts or Karma

Q: How do I convince my father to observe the Five Precepts, when they don’t ‘buy’ karma readily?

A: The ‘simple’ solution is this. You must learn and practise the Dharma better, so that you will be able to touch and influence him more deeply through your conduct. Whenever you come across good teachings, you can share with him too – in digestible snippets. It’s not always easy but it can be done.

Q: M father sometimes breaks the precept of not lying or taking intoxicants and I find myself arguing with him on why he has to do that.

A: For lying, perhaps you can share with him the simple principle that if it becomes a habit (as in the story of the boy who cried wolf), he will lose the trust of others around him – including yours. Tell him this is simply karma at work – moral cause and effect. For taking of intoxicants, tell him that drinking and smoking impairs health. And this is also karma at work, and that if he gets very sick, you might not be able to afford the medical fees. And if he has to suffer later due to this, it is also karma at play. In short, let him know that there is perfectly logical rationale to abide by the precepts, and that karma is real, dependent on what we do.

It is good to keep remembering this – loss of calm on your part isn’t going to help much. When you are angry, you can tell him firmly that you are so, but walk away – and come back when ready to talk calmly. When angry, you can in your mind immediately chant Amituofo, to be mindful of Buddha. This will help you calm down – but you need to remember to chant!

Q: I might be too ‘attached’ to wanting him to observe the precepts, becoming ‘heartbroken’ when he doesn’t take them seriously.

A: If you are sure that you are doing your best from moment to moment, it’s good enough in the moment. Sometimes, others can be stubborn. Just don’t give up! Remember not to let his mistakes punish you by being angry. You can rest, but don’t give up. Because there is strong karmic affinity between you, you might be his only connection to the Dharma in this life.

2 thoughts on “If Another Doesn’t ‘Buy’ the Precepts or Karma

  1. Good day. I refer particularly to the final answer above. In my previous attempts to share the Dharma with my parents and aunt, it proved to be very difficult due to 1)They are the elderly and they know better and 2)Even if they listen, their habits and behaviour over the years ie lying, getting angry, being greedy etc are just too ingrained for any change in their thinking (perhaps they knew it but are just not showing). After a period, I resorted to placing some basic Dharma literatures near the newspapers hoping they would pick them up or engaging them in conversations with Dharma undertones. I still don’t know if its getting into them and hope to find more ways to get them to open up their minds. Thanks and cheers!

  2. Yes, this is a wonderful idea. Sometimes, we don’t have to do the talking… and let Dharma materials do it! Amituofo


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