The 21 Precepts
Do Not Steal


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 hide-outs 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.

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