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PANCHA SILA

(FIVE PERCEPTS)

 

The following precepts are recited and observed by every Buddhist the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. These precepts are also recited before the com­mencement of all Buddhist meetings, gather­ings and rituals. By reciting these before the commencement of any meeting or activity, Buddhists are reminded to observe these principles and to purify their minds while carrying out their responsibilities.

 Buddhists do not regard these precepts as commandments but observe them voluntarily. At the same time, they do not believe that there will be divine punishment for those who do not follow the precepts; although those who violate these universal principles have to face the conse­quences according to the natural laws of cause and effect. Every Buddhist must remember these noble precepts in his daily life and try to live up to them.

 If Buddhists adjust their way of life according to these five precepts, they can, on the one hand, live happily and peacefully in this world, and on the other hand, help others to live likewise. To observe the precepts is like putting up a fence to protect one's house against robbers. A person without virtue not only endangers himself / herself but also others around him.

 These precepts indicate the five arterial directions in which a Buddhist has to exercise his self-control. Thus the first rule calls upon him to con­trol the passion of anger, the second to control the desire for material possessions, the third to control the lust of the flesh, the fourth to control cowardice and malevolence (the causes of untruthfulness) and the fifth to control  the craving for unwholesome excitement.

 The practice of precepts helps one to cultivate five ennobling virtues which correspond to each of the precepts. The first is the cultivation of compassion; the second, generosity and non­attachment; the third, contentment; the fourth truthfulness; and the fiftn, mindfulness and clarity of the mind.

 Every Buddhist should observe these five pre­cepts in order to elevate himself morally and spiritually. Morality is the first step in the path towards eternal bliss. It is the basic spiritual foundation. Without this base, there can be no human progress and spiritual advancement.

 After establishing the moral foundation, a person can proceed to develop his mind and wisdom. This practice will lead him from the lower levels to the progressively higher levels of mental development, and finally, to the summit of all attainments - Enlightenment. 

 

3. Pancha Sila

1

Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam  samadiyami

I take the percept to abstain from destroying living beings

2

Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

I take the percept to abstain from taking things not given

3

Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam Samadiyami

I take the percept to abstain from sexual misconduct

4

Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

I take the percept to abstain from false speech

5

Sura-meraya-majja-pamadatthana veramani

sikkhapadam samadiyami

I take the percept to abstain from taking anything that causes intoxication or heedlessness

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