Will prajna help my sila or am I doing it backwards

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    From Access to Insight:
    “Many Westerners first encounter the Buddha’s teachings on meditation retreats, which typically begin with instructions in how to develop the skillful qualities of right mindfulness and right concentration. It is worth noting that, as important as these qualities are, the Buddha placed them towards the very end of his gradual course of training. The meaning is clear: to reap the most benefit from meditation practice, to bring to full maturity all the qualities needed for Awakening, the fundamental groundwork must not be overlooked. There is no short-cutting this process.”

    Since my very new practice has been mostly influenced by the modern western Insight/Vipassana teachers and the teachers that learned from them, I’ve been approaching my practice from the perspective that learning and practicing insight meditation from the start could assist my prajna and sila. But after reading the above information, and subsequently encountering a talk about the eightfold path given by Gil Fronsdal, one of the more influential teachers in the modern Insight movement, it appears that my approach may be a misguided attempt at a shortcut which could be less effective at the goal- reducing the suffering experienced by me and those I encounter.

    Honestly, right speech and right action are the things that I’ve been hoping to correct. My life has been filled with dishonesty and selfish actions- don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s ALL my life has been, but it’s been enough that I can really see the negative effects that those things have had on my life. I’m 40, married, 2 kids, and I want my ethical carbon footprint to be on the plus side.

    I swear this is frustrating. I feel like I’m back to square one. Not like I thought I’d moved past it in 6 weeks, but I at least thought the path leading from it was beginning to clear. Maybe it was a mirage. To be frank, I just wanna stop being an asshole… but all that the Buddha said was, and I’m paraphrasing: “Don’t be an asshole.”

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