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November 9, 2015

It is hard to explain what good precepts can do to your life.  If one were to painstakingly explain what the effect is of not observing precepts (from one’s experience), it would usually take very long and the audience will tend to dismiss it as mere superstition.

But the Chinese is wise in saying “Good medicine is hard to swallow” (良药苦口).  But since I started the precepts, I could not count how many advantages I got out of it.  There are so much good out of it, a typical American would be screaming “That was awesome!”  It’s hard to relate the experience, the best answers would be

Go try it yourself, with the right attitude! For a month or two!”


How does it work in one’s life?  It works in a way that is beyond words.  It is better to use other examples to draw parallel to it.  Let’s say I want TWO things: my kid to be diligent in school work and my kid not get attached to sweets, sugar and snacks.  And not spend too much time watching drama or browsing the internet  (Sorry to add a third).  These are everyone’s dream children.  I could set them rules on how many hours they can be on the internet.  I can give them quotas for how much sugar they can have per week or per month.  I can tell them to go do homework if I catch them goofing off and being lazy. But all those methods don’t work.  It is almost similar to millions of obese people here here who spend millions (and billions) of dollars dieting to make themselves slim.  Those method don’t work.  The Chinese say “脚痛医脚头痛医头,那是消极的办法啊!”

Instead, since the child was born, I do not possess a computer.  And everytime I need some computer time at home, I ask my wife permission for using her computer for 5 – 10 mins.  And of course I do not own a smartphone and there is no way I can browse the internet at home without my child and/or my wife knowing.

How do you ask them to cut down on their sugar, sweet, etc?  I eat no sweet, I put no sugar in my hot drinks and when eating food, I ask my wife if she could reduce the sodium or better still have no salt in my food.

How about homework?  Whenever, I have a simple test like the Civic exam that I have to take in USCIS and simple driver’s test, I would study them diligently myself and ask my kid to test me.  Now usually I would not just put on an act of studying, but I would really learn until I get it.  Then during the first test, I made some mistakes (but was not upset or dismay) and then request to be tested again (after more studying) by my kid. If they ask me anything I don’t know, I would look it up and learn it until I am good enough to tell them like an expert.

So it’s not just putting an act, but genuinely believing what you do and do what you say.  And then what about the part of telling them what to do and giving a quota for them to follow?  No, I never did that.  Instead, if I accidentally eat a donut, I would announce to my family members, “I think I ate too many donuts, from now on, my quota will be one donut at most per month.” Then keep to it

I don’t have to tell my kid to work hard in school.  I never ask her to eat less junk food, nor reduce her hours on the internet.  Instead, she automatically ask for permission to be on the internet, even though her school is CYBER school and she is already there for her daily activity.  I have never asked her to “Go practice your piano!” but she is practicing on that instrument everyday by herself.  The message from what you are and what you do to your kids is very powerful.

So imagine the message you are giving if you quarrel and fight with your spouse frequently.  Imagine what message you are giving if you shout or scream at your child?  Even worse, imagine if you get a divorce!

Let’s get back to precepts.  What do precepts do to my life?  The similar things my kid became my “dream kid” without me telling him/her what to do and what I expected.  Maybe I still did not make myself clear drawing these so-called parallel.  Or did I?


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