Now there is a strange quality to this action in my mind. For starters, you don't have to be a Buddhist to know that taking something without permission is not particularly ethical. I think if you explained the situation to most 8 yr olds, they would tell you it wasn't the "nice" thing to do. But it has an especially odd aroma to poach Buddhist flavoured writings. We're writing about awareness and considered behaviour and karma, and working with our desires. In fact the second precept in Buddhism, speaks directly to this issue: "Do not take what is not given".
I don't pay a great deal of attention to it but there has been a flurry of news of Sangha Sex Scandals lately, involving teachers and students and there is also a precept that speaks to care in the use of sexuality. So what's the deal? Where there are rules and humans it seems, there will be transgression. Perhaps those who cross the ruled line somehow reason the rules are not for them, their situation is exceptional somehow. Perhaps they avoid thinking about the issue altogether, simply doing what suits them in the moment without reflection. Perhaps their desire for something (sex, adsense dollars) is so strong they can't control their behaviour. I can never know the motivation of others for sure.
There is so much to consider at the point where rules and slippage collide. What about karma, the inevitable consequences of our actions. Am I judging, am I being self righteous in asking what's going on here. In my tiny pea brain, I assume some level of awareness in those involved or interested in studying Buddhist practice or any spiritual path for that matter, so why would you take an action that requires only a little thought to see it's unethical flavour? And when it's pointed out to you, don't you think you might cease and desist (this is cop talk for drop the blog posts) Don't you only have to ask the simple question, "how would I like it, if I was on the receiving end?" This is a simple question that even small children seem to understand.
We all have blind spots, places where we cannot see our actions clearly, where delusion prevails. So if we consider the second precept of "not taking what is not given" we can probably find a place where we cross the line. Did you have a taste from the bulk bin or borrow a newspaper in the hotel hallway? Maybe? Steal a car, rob a bank? Probably not.
So BuddhaRocks has offered us the first part of a great teaching. We have had the opportunity to reflect on the second precept from several angles. Can BuddhaRocks now offer us the opportunity to see someone consider their behaviour and make changes that truly reflect the blog name of both the Buddha and a rock? We're waiting, with palms together.