Like many traditions and religions around the world, Buddhism is divided into a number of traditions, which are based on several fundamental, core beliefs. There are various constructs, practices, and truths, to name a few, that help to guide individuals to a more complete and happy inner well-being. For one week, I decided to try the precept of not lying within the Buddhist faith, which has ultimately changed how I see and interpret this faith. For an entire week, I dedicated myself to this precept of not lying, as part of the Buddhist beliefs. Other precepts exist along with this one, such as not stealing and not killing; however, the definition of lying encompasses other components in the Buddhist faith. For example, ‘lying’ includes name-calling and gossiping, which I am certainly guilty of in my day-to-day life. When I first opted to give this up for a week, I believed it would be fairly simply; however, I found out that I was wholly wrong in thinking that.
When I am amongst friends, I would like to think that we are good people. However, I found that, after dedicating myself to this precept, that we are all very guilty of gossiping and name-calling. This habit of gossiping is so engrained in myself that I found myself shocked at how easily it came up in conversation. When I told my friends I had given up gossiping for the week, they were stunned, to say the least. This led to a deeper conversation between my friends and I, as we all realized how frequently we engage in gossiping and name-calling, as well. For example, we have nicknames for other people in our life, which seems apparently harmless, at first. However, after talking about this precept with my friends, we were able to realize just how harmful name calling can be, as it certainly affected our entire view of the person, and even propelled us to make false assumptions about their character, based almost entirely on no evidence. When I went home after hanging with my friends, I felt ashamed for having based so many conversations of my life solely on gossiping and name-calling.
I can be hard on myself, which I know does not always align with the Buddhist traditions. Instead of self-bashing after being with my friends, I decided to make a more concerted effort of sticking to this Buddhist philosophy. Deciding to maintain this Buddhist philosophy has ultimately made me into a better person, I realize. I now think twice when I am provoked to bring up someone or something to gossip about, and I know it had an impact on my friends, as well. In addition, I think this has led to a better appreciation of others, particularly the ones I used to gossip about. Now when I meet people and talk about them with my friends, I am more inclined to focus on the good aspects of those individuals, rather than selecting some minor aspect of them to dissect and gossip about.
In summary, I decided to stick with the precept of not lying in the Buddhist faith for one week, which yielded unpredicted and surprising results for my worldview and myself. In the future, I wish to continue committing myself to this precept, as I think it has made me a better, more genuine individual that is able to appreciate others more. I think this seemingly tiny change, overall, has resulted in significantly positive result for my inner well-being, and I wish to maintain this commitment for as long as possible.