Do Not Covet

The third Great Precept, do not covet, specifically refers to refraining from sexual misconduct. To covet means to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others. This precept does not mean that we try to deny or suppress our sexuality. We are all sexual beings with sexual feelings. If we wish to cause as little harm as possible and to benefit others as much as we can then we will consider the consequences of our proposed actions and not blindly follow our urges.

This precept encourages us to know that it is possible to sit still in the midst of intense feeling without needing to act on it nor to push it away. As it says in the The Most Excellent Mirror Samadhi –  “Never come too close nor put yourself too far away.” By becoming intimate in this way with all of our desires, aversions and delusions we see how we separate ourselves from others.

Appropriate sexual conduct does not involve power, greed or subterfuge; it is an expression of compassion, love and wisdom between two people who care deeply about each other. Our relationships, sexual or otherwise, are as rich and fruitful a training ground as any other aspect of our lives.

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