Why do Spiritual Paths have Rules?

Question: Why do you think so many spiritual traditions (and most religions) have ‘rules’ for practitioners to follow? I want to know why rules are used as a technology in spiritual traditions. Why are “do and don’t lists” so important?

My Reply:

I think it’s simple. If you want to get from point A to point B, but have no idea how to do it, you need directions. Directions are a list of do’s and Don’t’s: “Turn right, don’t turn left.”

Rules and regulations are particularly important for the neophyte who has no idea how to go forward. The more experience we get with navigation (often as a result of observing those rules and regulations) the more we develop our own compass. With our own compass, we follow the directions (the rules and regulations) without really feeling like we are. We start to naturally know the right way to proceed, and the rules and regulations point in the same direction.

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