544 TALKS ON " AT THE FEET OF THE MASTER )>
the precept to refrain from taking life; to refrain
from taking that which does not belong to me; to
refrain from any unlawful exhibition of lust; to
refrain from saying that which »is not true; to re-
frain from intoxicating drinks or stupefying drugs."
That is the form; it is not a command but a promise,
an'd the man is asked to take this and he does take
it. But although that is negative, there is a good
deal that is far from negative. You will find that the
Buddha preaches the Noble Eight-Fold Path. One
of the steps of that Path is (< Right Exertion ". It
is not enough to abstain from doing evil, but the man
must endeavour to do good. You will see that in the
summary of that religion:
1. Cease to do evil. e
2. Learn to do well.
3. Cleanse your own heart.
That is the religion of the Buddhas.
So you see, it is not a merely passive thing, there
is active teaching there.
The same in Hinduftm; meiT are told there to
abstain from all sorts of things. They are hedged
round with all sorts of restrictions, but also they are
told to practise good works and charity. Indeed,
you must remember in another of the great parallel
books to this, it is said that inaction in a deed of mercy
may mean action in a deadly sin—that to refrain
from action when you clearly ought to act is itself a
very sad thing indeed.