I took Jukai over three years ago and ever since, if not before, I have incorporated the precepts into my daily practice, By that I mean not just the recitations, but an awareness of how I hold them, or how well, or not all, in my daily activities. I believe this has lead to significant and meaningful growth in my relationship to others and the world, and I will be forever grateful to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha for support in that unattainable Path that I continue to maintain.

But as my self-awareness grows I have noticed that I can self-moralize about my upholding of the precepts. I am finding I get stuck in "shoulds," as in I should NOT do that, that is bad, and if I violate that precept that way then I am bad, too, and this particularly happens with some old bad habits precepts. I am getting so much better with these old bad habits, but I don't give myself much, if any, credit for that progress on the Path. My guess is this sounds familiar.

I understand that according to Buddhist philosophy I am perfect already, though I could use some improvement, but moralizing does not seem the way to improvement. While I feel confident that I have improved, I have found that continued moralization just leads to more suffering. It's like I pile dukka on top of pre-existing dukka, and I am just now beginning to dig my way out of the crap heap, some of it self-imposed. Then again, maybe I have dug my way out enough that I now see some daylight. Anyway, my guess is this sounds familiar and I don't recall this as a specific topic, so let's give it a go.