The eighth grave precept is Give generously—do not be withholding. We should understand that giving and receiving are one. If we really need something from nature, we should vow to return something to nature. We are dependent on nature, no question about it. But there is a difference between recognizing dependency and entering it consciously and gratefully, and being greedy. Native Americans lived amid the plenty of nature for thousands of years. They fed on the buffalo when they needed that type of sustenance. We nearly brought that species to extinction in two short decades. It wasn't for food. Tens of thousands of carcasses rotted while we took the skins. It is the same with our relationship to elephants, seals, alligators and countless others. Our killing has nothing to do with survival. It has nothing to do with need. It has to do with greed. Give generously; do not be withholding.
The ninth grave precept is Actualize harmony—do not be angry. Assertive, pointed action can be free of anger. Also, by simply being patient and observing the natural cycles, we can avoid unnecessary headaches and emotional outbreaks. Usually we will discover that the things we think get in the way are really not in the way. When the gypsy moths descended in swarms one year and ate all the leaves off the trees, so that in the middle of June the mountain looked as if it were in late autumn, the local community got hysterical. We made an all-out attack. Planes came daily and sprayed the slopes with chemicals. People put tar on the bases of trees to trap the caterpillars. The gypsy moths simply climbed up, got stuck in the tar and piled up, so that others crawled across the backs of the dead ones and went up the trees to do what they needed to do. Amid all of these disasters, with the leaves gone and the shrubbery out of the shade, the mountain laurel bloomed as it had never bloomed before. I had no idea we had so much mountain laurel on this mountain. However, the gypsy moths definitely damaged the trees. The weak trees died. By the time July came around, there were new leaves on the trees, and the mountain was green again. But the anger and the hate we felt during those spring months was debilitating and amazing. The air was filled with it.