The 5 Wayist Precepts

  1. Do not take life lightly
  2. Do not take what is not given
  3. Do not distort facts
  4. Refrain from misuse of the senses
  5. Refrain from delusion and self-intoxication

1. Do not take life lightly

This obviously includes killing, both people and animals. Humans are in the top tiers of the food chain, and it creates huge responsibilities. In the extreme we would be forbidden to kill plants and insects. In practice every act of breathing, moving and eating makes us co-responsible for killing living beings. Antibiotics, germicides, insecticides and weed killers are all weapons of mass destruction of life. We kill things every moment that we move, breathe, sleep, eat and walk. This can't be avoided. Still, this rule is the basis of the vegetarianism of many Wayists. Even though those who eat meat don't kill the animals themselves, their diet create an economic demand, the very reason why those animals were bred to be raised to be killed in the first place. Should there be any cruelty associated with breeding and slaughtering of animals for one’s diet, obviously then one is party to those crimes. Many Wayists (even meat eaters) feel that we are party to the crimes committed against animals and that it is our duty to work towards a more humane way of doing things lest we all inherit that karma.

Humans must, of necessity, take life and commit murder in order to exist. The least that we can do is to thank our neighbours for their sacrifices, honour them for it, and repay them by not annihilating their species and allowing the right to exist authentically. We humans do not have the right to “own” all land on this planet. We have to share. We cannot go about committing genocide and drive out other species because we want to own all the land. It is time for dialogue in this crucial matter. Wayists communicate as best we can with our neighbours and try to be good neighbours.

2. Do not take what is not given

To not take what is not given, really means only taking that which somebody said, “This is yours”. Taking money from a wallet that somebody left on the train is clearly not acceptable if you read this rule of conduct. Thereagain, satsang rules forbid acceptance of personal gifts. We can only accept a gift if it is given to the community and will be shared in the community. Therefore, the gift giver must be made to understand that the gift is given to the satsang and will be made available to the commune.

3. Do not distort fact

Sometimes the way we use words can make something seem acceptable, when it could also have been said differently and be totally unacceptable. This would not be a lie, but it would be a distortion of fact. The intent is to deceive and be less than honest.

4. Refrain from misuse of the senses

smoking monk.jpgThe senses in Wayist philosophy include not only the ones generally thought of: touch, hearing, seeing, smelling and tasting, thinking, space-time senses, etc. Here we are talking about all our senses; there are more than thirty that we often talk about.

This means overindulgence in touching (for instance excessive masturbation or excessive rubbing of the eyeball), hearing (overindulging in listening to music, or being entertained by stupid people talk negative things, for instance), seeing (too much focus on beauty or ugliness around us, or looking into the sun, for instance), smelling (numbing the sense of smell with perfumes and chemicals so that the divine beauty of natural smelling people, animals, nature, rain, plants, etc. cannot be appreciated) and tasting (overindulgence in tasty foods, candy, etc.).

Outside of the satsang, lay people aren't expected to be restrained in sexuality, yet they are expected to refrain from practicing it in ways unprofitable for their spiritual growth. Moderation in this respect has become highly unpopular, with kids having sex at earlier ages every year and sexual crime becoming almost usual. Wayist morality may not make anyone popular.

As an example of another sense that can be overindulged is thinking or thought, or use of the rational faculty of body-mind. One often meets people who think so much, they forget to practice. Or they out-think any morality one can come up with. The mind is a highly deceptive tool because rational thinking is not the only way to truth, it is just a start. Overuse may be equated overvaluing the results of rational thinking. When thoughts start seeming real, and control one’s life beyond what is reasonable, it is perhaps time to consider whether one has overindulged in thinking. Wayists learn to think with body-mind as phase 1 to solving a problem and use of soul-mind in phase 2.

5. Refrain from self-delusion and self-intoxication

This rule has to do with the previous one in the sense that people use things like alcohol as a body-mind altering chemical to relax that mind and not be governed by its usual overbearance. Because some people are controlled by their body-mind, and don’t own their own minds (because of culturally conditioned thinking patterns) they feel that they “relax” or it is easier to “be themselves” when they intoxicate that mind. The problem with this approach is that the lessons learned, and the experiences experienced during that time are of hardly any value to the soul. It is of course better to learn to take charge, be in control of body-mind rather than be debilitated and limited by it. To have an authentic experience as a multi-faceted human being, to explore the amazing sensuousness and deep exotic experiences of the human condition, we simply have to take charge and be able to switch that mundane mind on and off as needed, and to use it for its sensory faculties as and when required, and to not allow it to hinder us so that we cannot “relax” or “be ourselves” when it is present. Body-mind is after all the duller tool in the mind toolbox. We have two greater minds to add to the mix of authentic life but few people have the skill to get out of the body-mind trap.

Self-intoxication includes any use of substance to change how body-mind works. Mind altering “medications” and coffee, chocolate, etc. all fall into that category of things we have to use with great caution, if at all.

Being reasonable about the five precepts

Master of a satsang makes decisions on behalf of the community regarding how far to stretch the reasonableness of the rules.

Some Wayists eat meat; others feel that it should be avoided. In some areas of the world there is inadequate vegetation and cultivation possibilities (deserts, arid lands, arctic and anarchic, etc) to the extent that human rely on animal food sources. Many people smoke tobacco or drink coffee, even though it could be construed to change consciousness and therefore fall under the heading of self-intoxication.

Some satsang (not Wayists) take their monastic rules so far that the rules of dress code, written millennia ago in a hot climate context, are adhered to even if the monastery is located in Canada where the temperatures go down to -400C. They stick to open sandals, a parasol and a single cotton wrap as clothing in these circumstances, because the Pali rules of 400BCE say so.

Every honest Wayist will try to live by the rules of their satsang to the best of their understanding and ability. Living by the rules is not so much something to be proud of, as it is a reminder of what hasn't yet been accomplished. The mere fact that we need rules to help us reminds of how otherwise incapable we are of helping ourselves. Then there is spiritual pride often associated with robes and adherence to lifestyle constraints. Self-righteousness exists in any religious group, but should be guarded against and rooted out. Most people will realize the fact that these rules of conduct are only outward, and though important in their own way, don't signify inner wisdom or enlightenment. Since becoming wise is the only object of Wayism - anything else ought to be merely a stepping stone. Nevertheless, one cannot bow out of logic and simply ignore the truth and ‘get away with it’ without heaping more and more karmic lessons on top of the next life’s challenges.