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I recently broke my vow (do not harm). I purchased a pack of cigarettes for a homeless guy. What should I do to fix this? is there a ritual to do or can i make an offering?

Thanks in Advance...

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  • I remember being homeless. I sure appreciated a packet of cigarettes! ;-)
    – Max
    Jun 16 at 13:32

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Simply carry on your practice in accordance with The Four Right Exertions.

"And what, monks, is right effort? (i) There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen. (ii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen. (iii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen. (iv) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort.
SN 45.8

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First, it's worth taking a broad (karmic) perspective on the issue of harm. Being homeless is a misery all its own, and any act of kindness — even if it carries a risk of harm — can be a positive good. Remember, there is always a danger that moral uprightness can become a rigid, unfeeling, cold-hearted craving, talking your progress and harming others through slights and rejections. Better to err on the side of human warmth...

What you did was sympathetic, if not perfect. Appreciate the good in it as well as the bad, and then dig a bit deeper for a more compassionate response. The vow is for your sake, not for anyone else's, so you don't need to worry about it being broken. Think of it as a guide-rail leading you in the direction where the 'right' response will arise naturally.

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How to fix a broken vow?

Take the precept that was broken again and make a greater effort not to break it in the future. Don't be too hard on yourself.

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