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22 Vows Acknowledgement  | Buddhism  DedicationDr Ambedkar Movie  |  Education

THE FIVE PRECEPTS

(THE PANCHA SHILA)

 

Buddhists undertake certain precepts as help on the path to coming into contact with ultimate reality. Laypeople generally undertake five precepts. The five precepts are: 

 

Pali

English Translation

1

Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam  samadiyami

I undertake the precept to abstain  / refrain from harming / destroying living creatures

2

Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

I undertake the precept to abstain / refrain from (stealing ) taking things not given

3

Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam Samadiyami

I undertake the precept to abstain / refrain from sexual misconduct

4

Musavada veramaṇi sikkhapada samadiyami

I undertake the precept to abstain / refrain from false / incorrect speech ( lying, harsh language, slander, idle chit-chat)

5

Sura-meraya-majja-pamadatthana veramana

sikkhapadam samadiyami

I undertake the precept to abstain from taking anything that lead to loss of mindfulness

 In some schools of Buddhism, serious lay people or aspiring monks take an additional three to five ethical precepts, and some of the five precepts are strengthened. For example, the precept pertaining to sexual misconduct becomes a precept of celibacy; the fourth precept, which pertains to incorrect speech, is expanded to four: lying, harsh language, slander, and idle chit-chat. Monks and nuns also vow to follow the 227 patimokkha rules as described in Vinya Pitaka.

 All religions have some basic rules that define what good conduct is and what kind of conduct should be avoided. In Buddhism, the most important rules are the Five

Precepts. These have been passed down from the Buddha himself.  The five percepts indicate the followings:-

 

1. No killing                              Respect for life
2. No stealing                           Respect for others' property
3. No sexual misconduct           Respect for our pure nature
4. No lying                                Respect for honesty
5. No intoxicants                       Respect for a clear mind

No killing

The Buddha said, "Life is dear to all beings. They have the right to live the same as we do." We should respect all life and not kill anything. Killing ants and mosquitoes is also breaking this precept. We should have an attitude of loving-kindness towards all beings, wishing them to be happy and free from harm. Taking care of the earth, its rivers and air is included. One way that many Buddhists follow this precept is by being vegetarian.

No stealing

If we steal from another, we steal from ourselves. Instead, we should learn to give and take care of things that belong to our family, to the school, or to the public.

No sexual misconduct

Proper conduct shows respect for oneself and others. Our bodies are gifts from our parents, so we should protect them from harm. Young people should especially keep their natures pure and develop their virtue. It is up to them to make the world a better place to live. In happy families, the husband and wife both respect each other.

No lying

Being honest brings peace into the world. When there is a misunderstanding, the best thing is to talk it over. This precept includes no gossip, no back-biting, no harsh words and no idle speech.

No intoxicants

The fifth precept is based on keeping a clear mind and a healthy body. One day, when the Buddha was speaking the Dhamma for the assembly, a young drunkard staggered into the room. He tripped over some monks who were sitting on the floor and started cursing loudly. His breath reeked of alcohol and filled the air with a sickening stench. Mumbling to himself, he reeled out the door.

Everyone was astonished at his rude behavior, but the Buddha remained calm. "Great assembly!" he spoke, "Take a look at this man! He will certainly lose his wealth and good name. His body will grow weak and sickly. Day and night, he will quarrel with his family and friends until they abandon him. The worst thing is that he will lose his wisdom and become stupid."

Little by little, one can learn to follow these precepts. If one sometimes forgets them, one can start all over again. Following the precepts is a lifetime job. If one kills or hurts someone's feelings by mistake, that is breaking the precepts, but it was not done on purpose.

To these, monks and nuns add...  

6.     One simple meal a day, before noon.

7.     Avoid frivolous entertainments.

8.     Avoid self-adornment.

9.     Use a simple bed and seat.

10.   Avoid the use of money.  

Full monastic life adds over two hundred more rules and regulations!

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