Happiness: Precept 13

Reference: The Happiness Rundown


When one does not respect the ownership of things, his own possessions and property are at risk. 

A person, who for one reason or another has been unable to honestly accumulate possessions, can pretend that nobody owns anything anyway. But don’t try to steal his shoes! 

A thief sows the environment with mysteries: what happened to this, what happened to that? A thief causes trouble far in excess of the value of things stolen. 

Faced with the advertising of desirable goods, torn by the incapability of doing anything valuable enough to acquire possessions or simply driven by an impulse, those who steal imagine they are acquiring something valuable at low cost. But that is the difficulty: the cost. The actual price to the thief is high beyond belief. The greatest robbers in history paid for their loot by spending their lives in wretched hideouts and prisons with only rare moments of “the good life.” No amount of stolen valuables would reward such a horrible fate. 

Stolen goods greatly reduce in value: they have to be hidden, they are always a threat to liberty itself. Even in Communist states, the thief is sent to prison. 

Stealing things is really just an admission that one is not capable enough to make it honestly. Or that one has a streak of insanity. Ask a thief which one it is: it’s either one or the other. 

The road to happiness cannot be traveled with stolen goods.



0. Make sure you have completed the exercise section at Happiness: Precept 12-3. Study the precept above.

1. Check the responses to the following questions for false data (see false data steps at Happiness: Prologue).

(a) “Have you been told or taught to steal?”
(b) “Do you have any rules or ideas contrary to not stealing?”
(c) “Have you been led to believe that you should steal?”
(d) “Do you know of anything that conflicts with not stealing?”
(e) “Do you have any false data about stealing?”


2. Go over each of the following questions repetitively, until there are no more answers: 

(a) “How have others transgressed against the precept: ‘Do not steal’?”
(b) “How have you transgressed against the precept: ‘Do not steal’?”

Do a quick review to see if you did not miss any answers on this step. You should be feeling good about this step.


3. See if the following question definitely brings up some name you know of:

“Is there any specific person in your past who really transgressed against the precept: ‘Do not steal’?”

If no name comes up then go to step 4. if a name has come up, then continue with step 3 as follows:

“Can you recall an exact moment when you observed ___(name)___ transgressing this precept?”

If there is a realization, go to step 4. Otherwise, continue contemplating as follows, until there is some realization.

“Is there any time when you wanted to be like ___(name)___ ?” 
“Is there any time when you decided that stealing was a good thing?”
“Did you ever do anything bad to ___(name)___ ? 
(Get all possible answers)
“Are there any differences between ___(name)___ and yourself?”
“Are there any similarities between ___(name)___  and yourself?”


4. Handle any anomalies that come up on the following question by looking at the anomaly more closely. 

”Do you have any reservations about not stealing?”

If the anomaly does not resolve then review the precept as well as all the exercise steps above to see if anything was missed. Then do step 4 again. When there is no anomaly go to step 5.


5. Contemplate on the following question.

“Do you have any reservations about getting someone else not to steal?” 

If any reservation comes up, then consider the following: 

“How would that be a problem?” 

Get answers to this question until there are no reservations.


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