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Q1:I love and enjoy freedom. So what if I lose my freedom after receiving the precepts?

The Observance of Precepts Q&A
If upholding the precepts can make one a better person, then what are most people afraid of in this regard? Are they afraid of losing their freedom, apprehensive about breaking the precepts, or anxious about having no flexibility? Let us unpack this fear and clarify the true meaning of upholding the precepts.
Ven. Chang Fa (Director of Dharma Drum Mountain Lanyang Practice Center)
Q1:I love and enjoy freedom. So what if I lose my freedom after receiving the precepts?
On the surface, precepts seem to be one regulation after another, preventing us from doing many things we want to do.
I also loved freedom before becoming a monastic. My friends and family were astonished, wondering why I chose to become a nun, because there are rigorous disciplinary rules and detailed codes of conduct to follow when you're part of a sangha.
For example, instead of choosing what we prefer to eat for a meal, the "Xing-Tang" monastic (a monastic in charge of serving dishes at the dining hall of a Buddhist temple) will serve you the food. We must accept the food, whether you like it or not; we are only able to choose the portion size we want to eat.  
This lifestyle may seem to be a constraint that disregards our "human rights"
. In fact, however, this practice actually helps us shift our attention away from focusing too much on the dishes themselves, and instead returning to our inner-awareness as a practice, to avoid craving what we like and rejecting what we dislike. This will prompt us to really appreciate the flavor of the food and become more grateful, open-minded, and able to embrace all and be free of dualistic thinking. I believe this entails a broader and more encompassing freedom.

Most worldly people tend to go after unrestrained freedom. However, this kind of freedom often means remaining ignorant about the law of cause and effect, thinking only of ourselves while failing to keep others in mind, and thus unknowingly creating evil karma with others.
Whether it is merely leaving our personal belongings in a public space or singing karaoke late at night, these acts can annoy and disturb others, thereby leading to undesirable consequences. Therefore, I gradually realized that the precepts may at first seem like a form of self-restraint. In reality, however, by refraining from conducts that might offend others, upholding the precepts can prevent us from encountering interpersonal obstacles, and thus reducing our inner afflictions, thereby broadening the horizons of our lives.

Extended Reading:

Observing the Precepts Allows One to Feel at Ease

To Observe Precepts, One Needs to Have the Right View and Follow the Middle Path

Using the Psychology of Habit to Create the Right Conditions for Keeping the Precepts

Keeping Precepts, a Life Experiment

Q1: I love and enjoy freedom. So what if I lose my freedom after receiving the precepts?

Q2: Why are we afraid of taking the precepts when we clearly know that it is good for us? How do we overcome this uncertainty?

Q3: Is there any room for flexibility in upholding the precepts? If so, how do we maintain this flexibility without losing the spirit of the precepts?

Q4: Is it enough to just do good deeds regularly, or is it necessary to also observe the precepts? How should the precepts be broadly applied in our daily lives?

Q5: How do we encourage our family and friends to observe the precepts? What if they cannot take the whole precepts all at once?

Resource: Humanity Magazine #445 (人生雜誌第445期)
Translated by: Ariel Shen (沈純湘)
Edited by: Chia-cheng Chang (張家誠), Keith Brown
Photo: Wen-ling Tseng (曾文玲)