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16 04 2012 MONDAY LESSON 583 FREE ONLINE eNālāndā Research And Practice UNIERSITY And THE BUDDHIST ONLINE GOOD NEWS LETTER by ABHIDHAMMA RAKKHITA through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org Dhammapada: Verses and Stories Dhammapada Verse 136 Results Of Evil Torment The Ignorant
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16 04 2012 MONDAY LESSON 583 FREE ONLINE eNālāndā Research And Practice UNIERSITY And THE BUDDHIST ONLINE GOOD NEWS LETTER by ABHIDHAMMA RAKKHITA through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org

Dhammapada:
Verses and Stories

Dhammapada Verse 136  Results
Of Evil Torment The Ignorant

Verse 136.
Results Of Evil Torment The Ignorant

When the fool does evil deeds
their end he does not know,
such kamma burns the one unwise
as one who’s scorched by fire.

Explanation: Fools, unaware that evil
rebounds, through evil acts they hurt themselves. As flies leap into fire and
burn, their own executioners they become.

III.

SIX
SPIRITUAL POWERS

SIX PATHS OF REBIRTH

TEN DHARMA REALMS

FIVE SKANDHAS

EIGHTEEN REALMS

FIVE MORAL PRECEPTS

http://online.sfsu.edu/~rone/Buddhism/FivePrecepts/fiveprecepts.html

Five
Moral Precepts

Compiled
by Dr Ron Epstein


Philosophy Department
San Francisco State University
Please send all comments, suggestions, and corrections to
epstein@sfsu.edu.

The Five
No Killing or Harming of Sentient
Life

No Stealing or Taking What is Not
Given

No Sexual Misconduct
No False Speech
No Taking of Intoxicants


The Five

“Five Moral Precepts, ” Buddhism
A to Z

“Why Should We Take the Five
Precepts?” Excerpted from the Teachings of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
(1918-1995)
“Precepts for Laypeople”
by Ajaan Lee

“The Healing Power of the
Precepts” by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

“The Five Precepts,” Path
to Freedom


“The Five Precepts,” Going
for Refuge,
Taking the Precepts by Bhikkhu Bodhi

“The Five Precepts of the
Layperson” Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom

“Aiding Practices of the
Bodhimanda,” Shurangama Sutra
(.pdf file)
“The Lesser Section on
Virtue”

“Sankha Sutta: The Conch
Trumpet”


“Sunakkhatta
Sutta”–Claiming that one is enlightened does not justify unrestrained
behavior

Pañcasila — the Five Precepts (for
lay men and women)


“Abhisanda Sutta”–The
rewards of observing the precepts: AN VIII.39

“Vipaka Sutta”–The
consequences of failing to observe the precepts: AN VIII.40

No Killing or Harming of Sentient Life

“The Precept Against
Killing,” From Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom

Buddhist Resources on Vegetarianism
and Animal Welfare

“Buddhist Ideas for Attaining
World Peace” by Ron Epstein

“Violence and Disruption in
Society: A Study of the Early Buddhist Texts” by Elizabeth J. Harris

“WHO: 1.6 million die in
violence annually” by Thomas H. Maugh II

“Deaths by Mass Unpleasantness:
Estimated Totals for the Entire  20th Century”

“Youth violence connected to
aggression at home” by Anand Vaishnav

“Violence Unabated: Children’s
Programming in A Cynical Age” by George Gerbner
“Highlights of the Television Violence Profile”

“TV today, violence tomorrow:
Study links viewing by kids to aggression later in life
” by Nanette Asimov
“Spanking Causes
Misbehavior”

“Analysis of Studies Suggests
Abortion Can Raise Breast Cancer Risk” by Jane E. Brody

No Stealing or Taking What is Not Given

“The Precept Against
Stealing,” Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom

“Contemplations to Inspire the
Avoidance of Stealing,” Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of
Wisdom

No
Sexual Misconduct

“The Precept Against Sexual
Misconduct,” Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom

“The Offenses and Retributions
Inherent in Adultery“, Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Great
Perfection of Wisdom

“Cancer, Infidelity Link
Eyed”
by Paul Recer
“Coconspirator? Genital Herpes
Linked to Cervical Cancer” by Nathan Seppa

“Sex and Lifespan”

No False Speech

“The Precept Against False
Speech,” Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom

“Lies Parents Tell Themselves
about Why They Work” by Shannon Brownlee and Matthew Miller

No Taking of Intoxicants

“The Precept Against Consuming
Intoxicants,” Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom
“A Discipline of Sobriety”
by Bhikkhu Bodhi

“Alcohol’s Erroneous Ways
Revealed” by Emma Young

“Cannabis Smoking ‘More
Harmful’ than Tobacco” by Emma Young
“Cannabis Link to
MentalIillness Strengthened” by Emma Young
“Warning Over Light Pregnancy
Drinking”

“Alcohol Increases Breast
Cancer Risk”


“Alcohol or Drug Link Found in
80 Percent of U.S. Prisoners” by Christopher S. Wren

“Why We Are All Addicted”
by Andrew Weil, M.D.

“AMA Urges Ban on Alcohol
Ads” by Suzanne C. Ryan
“Cocaine Kills Brain’s
‘Pleasure’ Cells”
“Study of Twins Backs
Marijuana-Drug Link

 


Return to
Homepage

Established November, 2002.

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma2/5precepts.html

The Five Precepts

Dr. Sunthorn Plamintr

 

The purpose of Buddhist moral precepts

There are three fundamental modes of training in Buddhist
practice: morality, mental culture, and wisdom. The English word morality is
used to translate the Pali term sila, although the Buddhist
term contains its own particular connotations. The word sila
denotes a state of normalcy, a condition which is basically unqualified and
unadulterated. When one practices sila, one returns to one’s
own basic goodness, the original state of normalcy, unperturbed and unmodified.
Killing a human being, for instance, is not basically human nature; if it were,
human beings would have ceased to exist a long time ago. A person commits an
act of killing because he or she is blinded by greed, rage or hatred. Such
negative qualities as anger, hatred, greed, ill will, and jealousy are factors
that alter people’s nature and make them into something other than their true
self. To practice sila is thus to train in
preserving one’s true nature, not allowing it to be modified or overpowered by
negative forces.

This definition points to the objective of Buddhist morality
rather than to the practice itself, but it does give us an idea of the
underlying philosophy behind the training, as well as how the Buddhist moral
precepts should be followed. These precepts are a means to an end, they are
observed for a specific objective.

On the personal level, the observance of precepts serves as the
preliminary groundwork for the cultivation of higher virtues or mental
development. Sila is the most important step on the spiritual
path. Without morality, right concentration cannot be attained, and without
right concentration, wisdom cannot be fully perfected. Thus, morality not only
enhances people’s ethical values and fulfills their noble status as human
beings, but it is crucial to their efforts toward the highest religious goal of
Nibbana.

On the social level, sila contributes to
harmonious and peaceful coexistence among community members and consequently
helps to promote social growth and development. In a society where morality
prevails and members are conscious of their roles, there will be general
security, mutual trust, and close cooperation, these in turn leading to greater
progress and prosperity. Without morality there will be corruption and
disturbance, and all members of society are adversely affected. Most of the
problems that society experiences today are connected, directly or indirectly,
with a lack of good morality.

Questions of morality always concern the issues of right and
wrong, good and evil. For a moral life to be meaningful these issues must not
remain mere theoretical principles, but translated into practice. Good must be
performed, evil must be given up. It is not enough to know what is good or
evil, we also need to take proper action with respect to them. We need concrete
guidelines to follow, and these are provided by the Buddhist moral precepts.
Even the oft-quoted Buddhist ideals of abstention from evil, implementation of
what is good, and perfect mental purification can be initially actualized
through a consistent practice of moral precepts. The precepts help us to live
those ideals; they teach us to do the right things and to avoid the wrong.

Buddhist moral precepts provide a wholesome foundation for
personal and social growth. They are practical principles for a good life and
the cultivation of virtues. If we understand the objectives of sila
and realize its benefits, we will see moral precepts as an integral part of
life rather than as a burden that we are compelled to shoulder. Buddhist moral
precepts are not commandments imposed by force; they are a course of training
willingly undertaken in order to achieve a desired objective. We do not
practice to please a supreme being, but for our own good and the good of
society. As individuals, we need to train in morality to lead a good and noble
life. On the social level, we need to help maintain peace and harmony in
society and facilitate the progress of the common good. The practice of moral
precepts is essential in this regard.

Distinguishing good and evil

The problems of good and evil, right and wrong, have been dealt
with in the discussion on kamma. Here it may suffice
to give a brief summary on the subject.

To determine whether an action is good or evil, right or wrong,
Buddhist ethics takes into account three components involved in a kammic
action. The first is the intention that motivates the action, the second is the
effect the doer experiences consequent to the action, and the third is the
effect that others experience as a result of that action. If the intention is
good, rooted in positive mental qualities such as love, compassion, and wisdom,
if the result to the doer is wholesome (for instance, it helps him or her to
become more compassionate and unselfish), and if those to whom the action is
directed also experience a positive result thereof, then that action is good,
wholesome, or skillful (kusala). If, on the other
hand, the action is rooted in negative mental qualities such as hatred and
selfishness, if the outcome experienced by the doer is negative and unpleasant,
and if the recipients of the action also experience undesirable effects from
the action or become more hateful and selfish, then that action is unwholesome
or unskillful (akusala).

It is quite probable that on the empirical level an action may
appear to be a mixture of good and bad elements, in spite of the intention and
the way it is performed. Thus, an action committed with the best of intentions
may not bring the desired result for either the doer or the recipient.
Sometimes an action based on negative intentions may produce seemingly positive
results (as stealing can produce wealth). Due to lack of knowledge and
understanding, people may confuse one set of actions with an unrelated set of
results and make wrong conclusions, or simply misjudge them on account of
social values and conventions. This can lead to misconceptions about the law of
kamma and loss of moral consciousness. This is
why precepts are necessary in the practice of moral discipline: they provide
definite guidelines and help to avoid some of the confusion that empirical
observation and social conventions may entail.

Buddhist moral precepts are based on the Dhamma, and they reflect
such eternal values as compassion, respect, self-restraint, honesty, and
wisdom. These are values that are cherished by all civilizations, and their
significance is universally recognized. Moral precepts that are based on such
values or directed toward their realization will always be relevant to human
society, no matter to what extent it has developed. Moreover, their validity
can be empirically tested on the basis of one’s own sensitivity and conscience,
which are beyond factors of time and place. Killing, for instance, is
objectionable when considered from the perspective of oneself being the victim
of the action (although when other lives are subjected to the same act, its
undesirability may not be felt as strongly). The same is true with regard to
stealing, lying, and sexual misconduct. Because Buddhist moral precepts are
grounded on these factors, their practicality remains intact even today, and
their usefulness is beyond question.

Precepts for lay Buddhists

Observance of the five precepts constitutes the minimum moral
obligation of a practicing lay Buddhist. These five precepts enjoin against
killing living beings, taking what is not given (or stealing), sexual
misconduct, false speech, and use of intoxicating drink or drugs.

The practice of Buddhist moral precepts deeply affects one’s
personal and social life. The fact that they represent a course of training
which one willingly undertakes rather than a set of commandments willfully
imposed by a God or supreme being is likely to have a positive bearing upon
one’s conscience and awareness. On the personal level, the precepts help one to
lead a moral life and to advance further on the spiritual path. Moreover,
popular Buddhism believes that the practice of morality contributes to the
accumulation of merits that both support one in the present life and ensure
happiness and prosperity in the next. On the social level, observing the five
precepts helps to promote peaceful coexistence, mutual trust, a cooperative
spirit, and general peace and harmony in society. It also helps to maintain an
atmosphere which is conducive to social progress and development, as we can see
from the practical implications of each precept.

The first precept admonishes against the destruction of life. This
is based on the principle of goodwill and respect for the right to life of all
living beings. By observing this precept one learns to cultivate loving
kindness and compassion. One sees others’ suffering as one’s own and endeavors
to do what one can to help alleviate their problems. Personally, one cultivates
love and compassion; socially, one develops an altruistic spirit for the
welfare of others.

The second precept, not to take things which are not given,
signifies respect for others’ rights to possess wealth and property. Observing
the second precept, one refrains from earning one’s livelihood through wrongful
means, such as by stealing or cheating. This precept also implies the
cultivation of generosity, which on a personal level helps to free one from
attachment and selfishness, and on a social level contributes to friendly
cooperation in the community.

The third precept, not to indulge in sexual misconduct, includes
rape, adultery, sexual promiscuity, paraphilia, and all forms of sexual
aberration. This precept teaches one to respect one’s own spouse as well as
those of others, and encourages the practice of self-restraint, which is of
utmost importance in spiritual training. It is also interpreted by some
scholars to mean the abstention from misuse of senses and includes, by
extension, non-transgression on things that are dear to others, or abstention
from intentionally hurting other’s feelings. For example, a young boy may
practice this particular precept by refraining from intentionally damaging his
sister’s dolls. If he does, he may be said to have committed a breach of
morality. This precept is intended to instill in us a degree of self-restraint
and a sense of social propriety, with particular emphasis on sexuality and
sexual behavior.

The fourth precept, not to tell lies or resort to falsehood, is an
important factor in social life and dealings. It concerns respect for truth. A
respect for truth is a strong deterrent to inclinations or temptation to commit
wrongful actions, while disregard for the same will only serve to encourage
evil deeds. The Buddha has said: “There are few evil deeds that a liar is
incapable of committing.” The practice of the fourth precept, therefore,
helps to preserve one’s credibility, trustworthiness, and honor.

The last of the five Buddhist moral precepts enjoins against the
use of intoxicants. On the personal level, abstention from intoxicants helps to
maintain sobriety and a sense of responsibility. Socially, it helps to prevent
accidents, such as car accidents, that can easily take place under the
influence of intoxicating drink or drugs. Many crimes in society are committed
under the influence of these harmful substances. The negative effects they have
on spiritual practice are too obvious to require any explanation.

The five precepts

Theravada Buddhism preserves the Buddha’s teachings and conducts
religious ceremonies mainly in the original Pali language. The five precepts
are also recited in Pali, and their meanings are generally known to most
Buddhists. In the following the original Pali text is given in italics, and the
corresponding English translation is given side by side:

1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam
samadiyami
: I observe the precept of abstaining from the
destruction of life.

2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam
samadiyami
: I observe the precept of abstaining from taking that
which is not given.

3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam
samadiyami
: I observe the precept of abstaining from sexual
misconduct.

4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam
samadiyami
: I observe the precept of abstaining from falsehood.

5. Suramerayamajjapamadatthana veramani
sikkhapadam samadiyami
: I observe the precept of abstaining from
intoxicants that cloud the mind and cause carelessness.

The refrain “I observe the precept of abstaining from
…” which begins every precept clearly shows that these are not
commandments. They are, indeed, moral codes of conduct that lay Buddhists
willingly undertake out of clear understanding and conviction that they are
good for both themselves and for society.

Practical application of the five precepts

Training is based on the axiomatic assumption that human beings
have the potential for development. In order that this development may be
realized, a concrete standard is needed by which people may train themselves.
The five precepts are meant to fulfill this need.

For example, compassion is a spiritual quality that we all possess
to some degree. However, without a conscious and persistent effort to develop
it, this important quality may remain rudimentary and weak. By consciously
practicing the first precept, we bring this compassion to a higher level of
development and come a step closer to the realization of the Dhamma. In the
process, our conduct becomes more refined and our mind becomes more sensitive
to the problems and suffering of others. By practicing the second precept we
not only purify our livelihood but train in generosity and non-attachment. The
third precept has a direct connection with the training in sense restraint,
which is an essential feature in higher spiritual development. In fact,
enlightenment is not possible without mastery over the senses. The fourth
precept deals with training in truthfulness and virtuous speech. The objective
of this precept is not only the cultivation of respect for truth, but a way of
life that is sincere and free from falsehood in every respect. Even the fifth
precept, which enjoins against the use of intoxicants, is not merely negative,
for the resultant effects that take place in the mind in terms of mental
strength and moral integrity are very positive. The observance of this precept
is also a natural precursor to the cultivation of mindfulness and wisdom, which
are the essence of insight meditation. Each and every precept increases our
awareness of how we may skillfully conduct ourselves in body and speech and
helps us to see more clearly whether we are improving in this process of
self-discipline.

We may summarize the five precepts in relation to the spiritual
qualities that they are likely to produce and promote as follows. The first
precept helps to promote goodwill, compassion, and kindness. The second can be
instrumental in developing generosity, service, altruism, non-attachment,
contentment, honesty, and right livelihood. The third precept helps to
cultivate self-restraint, mastery over the emotions and senses, renunciation,
and control of sensual desire. The fourth precept leads to the development of
honesty, reliability, and moral integrity. The fifth precept helps to promote
mindfulness, clarity of mind, and wisdom.

Self-reliance and responsibility are important features of the
practice of Buddhist morality. Because these precepts are meant to be a course
of training, it can hardly be expected that each and every practitioner will be
able to follow them without committing the slightest error, any more than it
can be expected of a music student not to make a single mistake in the course
of his lessons. For people with certain temperaments or occupations, some
precepts may appear more difficult to follow than the rest, but that should not
be an obstacle to making an attempt to keep the precepts. If one is discouraged
from practicing, one need simply consider that these precepts are a course of
training; and training, by definition, implies imperfection and a gradual
process of development.

However, for those who are new to Buddhism, it may be a good idea
to begin with greater emphasis on those precepts that are easier to follow,
bearing the others in mind for later development. For instance, the second and
the third precepts obviously need to be practiced by virtue of necessity, for
they are supported by laws and are in perfect harmony with customs and
conventions in all civilized societies. There is, therefore, hardly an excuse
for not practicing them. Having dealt with these two precepts in this way, the
remaining three present much lighter and less daunting a task. In fact, if we
understand the contents and meaning of the five precepts correctly, we may come
to feel that it is more natural to observe them than not to.

Moral precepts and livelihood

It is not true to say that fishermen, farmers, or hunters cannot
observe the first precept. Like people in other trades and occupations, they
may not be able to observe all the precepts all the time or in all circumstances,
given their family obligations and livelihood, but they can certainly practice
them on special occasions, like holy days, or when they are not actually
engaged in their professions. In fact, there may be more opportunities to
practice than at first seems possible. We observe the precepts in accordance
with our abilities, training by degrees until we are able to make the precepts
part and parcel of our lives.

In the time of the Buddha there were people engaged in occupations
that involved killing, such as hunters or fishermen. Farmers, too, were not
free from killing, although the intention involved might not be as direct. For
all of these people the precepts were there to be practiced, and some were
better able to do so than others. Each person has the opportunity to practice
to the best of his or her abilities until they become more mature and are
spiritually ready to give up occupations or trades that involve unwholesome kamma.

One difficulty for some people is the use of alcoholic drinks:
some feel discouraged from keeping the fifth precept because some of their
friends drink or because they have business dealings with people who drink.
Peer pressure and business objectives may be an obstacle to the observance of
this precept, but this is by no means insurmountable. Most people are
reasonable and do understand religious conscience. Sometimes, citing
physicians’ opinions may add weight to an excuse not to drink, but it is always
best to be honest. In any case, a serious Dhamma practitioner should not allow
trivial things like this to prevent him or her from trying to keep the
precepts. There is always an opportunity to exert oneself if one is earnest in
the practice.

Moral precepts and passivity

If one carefully studies the foregoing discussion on the five
precepts, one will see that, although the Pali texts are worded in the negative
“… abstaining from …”, there is the positive commitment “I
undertake to observe the precept …” in all of them. Negative expressions
do not necessarily represent negative or passive attitudes of mind. Of course,
misunderstandings may result from misinterpretations of the Buddhist moral
precepts (as they arise in regard to other Pali technical terms like Nibbana,
dukkha, santutthi, and anatta).

From the practical perspective Buddhist moral precepts do contain
both positive and negative aspects. However, from the psychological point of
view it is important for practitioners to first recognize that which is bad or
wrong and which should be abstained from. Abstention from wrong or evil deeds
is the most significant step toward real development in spirituality. Strangely
enough, it often appears that people are so preoccupied with doing good, they
forget the most important duty of refraining from evil. That is why even though
one scientific accomplishment after another is being achieved, crime rates are
soaring unchecked, and thinking people begin to question the benefits of those
accomplishments. In religious circles, devotees passionately try to accumulate
more and more merits without ever pausing to reflect whether there are things
that should be cleansed from their minds. As long as this negative aspect is
not attended to on a practical level, spiritual progress will not come about.
On the other hand, consider a society in which people were determined not to do
evil and who abstained from that which is bad and wrong; the result of such a
‘negative’ practice would indeed be most welcome. Even Nibbana
is often negatively described as “the abandoning and destruction of desire
and craving,” and “the extinction of desire, the extinction of
hatred, and the extinction of delusion,” although it is positively the
highest good.

Once wrong and evil deeds have been abandoned, it becomes more
natural to do good. Since life means movement and action, any human expression
which rejects evil is bound to be good and positive. If false speech is given
up, whatever is spoken will naturally be truthful. Giving up of falsehood,
which is a negative act, therefore constitutes in itself not only a negation,
but a positive attitude and commitment. As the Buddha himself has admonished
his followers:

“Abandoning false speech, one speaks the truth, becomes
dependable, trustworthy, and reliable, and does not mislead the world.
Abandoning malicious speech, one does not repeat there what has been heard
here, nor does one repeat here what has been heard there, in order to sow the
seeds of discord. One reconciles and unites those disunited and promotes closer
bonds among friends. Unity is one’s delight and joy, unity is one’s love, it is
the motive behind one’s verbal expression. Abandoning harsh speech, one employs
a speech which is blameless, pleasant, acceptable, heart-touching, civilized,
and agreeable. Abandoning frivolous speech, one uses speech which is
appropriate to the occasion, correct, purposeful, and in accordance with the
Dhamma-Vinaya. One utters words that are worthy, opportune, reasonable,
meaningful, and straightforward.”

One important reason why the Buddhist moral precepts are phrased
in negative terms is because the negative mode of expression tends to convey
clearer and more specific injunctions which can be followed with ease. From a
practical point of view, “Do not kill” carries stronger impact and a
clearer definition than “Be kind to animals” and can be more
conveniently practiced. From experience, however, we will see that anyone who
consciously and constantly observes the first precept will naturally develop
kindness toward people and animals. The second precept, which says, “Do
not take what is not given,” covers all forms of wrong livelihood, whether
by deception, fraud, bribery or theft. By earnestly observing this precept, one
will naturally take a positive step in earning one’s livelihood in a righteous
way. Through constant awareness and direct control of greed and avarice, which
motivate wrong livelihood, one learns to develop generosity, altruism, and
selfless service. These and other positive virtues result from the so-called
negative actions of observing the moral precepts, clearly demonstrating how the
precepts laid down by the Buddha can bear positive results, despite their
wording and expression.

Moral dilemmas

The first of the five Buddhist moral precepts is based on the
altruistic concept of universal love and compassion. It is not only a way of
life and an exercise in personal morality, but also a part of the much larger
scheme in spiritual discipline of which purity of body, speech, and mind are
indispensable ingredients. As such it makes no exception in its practice, given
the lofty ideal to which it is designed to lead. However, in real life
situations, we may need a more practical attitude of mind to approach the
problem in a more realistic manner.

First of all, we must recognize the fact that destruction of life
is a negative act and the volition involved is an unwholesome one. By being
honest with ourselves and by impartially contemplating the results that such
acts bring, we can realize the wisdom of the first precept and consequently try
to abstain from killing in any form. Perfection in the practice comes with
spiritual maturity, and until perfection is attained, one needs to be aware of
possible imperfections in the practice and try to improve oneself accordingly.

Because perfection in morality requires considerable effort and
training, few can achieve it in the beginning. One need not, therefore, feel
discouraged, but should learn how progress in the practice can be made through
a systematized and graduated process of training. For instance, one may begin
by resolving to abandon any killing that is not absolutely necessary. There are
people who find pleasure in destroying other creatures, such as those who fish
or hunt for sport. This type of killing is quite unnecessary and only
demonstrates callousness. Others are engaged in sports which involve pain and
suffering to animals and may even cost their lives, such as bull fights, cock
fights, and fish fights — all senseless practices designed to satisfy sadistic
impulses. One who wishes to train in the Dhamma should avoid having anything to
do with this kind of entertainment. One may also resolve to show kindness to
other people and animals in an objective and concrete way whenever it is
possible to do so. While circumstances may prevent absolute abstention from
killing, this may help to refine the mind and develop more sensitivity to the
suffering of other beings. Trying to look for an alternative livelihood that
does not involve destruction of life is a further step to be considered.

Keeping one’s home free of pests or bugs by not creating
conditions for their infestation helps reduce the necessity for exterminating
them. Ecologically, this is a very commendable practice, since the adverse
effects of chemical insecticides on the environment are well known. Prevention
is, indeed, better than cure even concerning bugs and beetles. Cleanliness of
habitat makes killing in such cases unnecessary. Even in the field of
agriculture, insecticide-free farming is becoming increasingly popular and
commercially competitive. If people are so inclined and compassion prevails,
killing can be greatly avoided even in the real life situations of an ordinary
householder with full family obligations and concerns.

In the unlikely event that killing is absolutely inevitable, it
may be advisable to note the obvious distinction between killing out of cruelty
and killing out of necessity. A person who goes out fishing for pleasure is
cruel. While he may love children or make big donations for charitable
institutions, as far as spirituality is concerned his mind is not refined
enough to be sensitive to the pain and suffering of the poor creatures living
in the river. A man who hunts for a living does so because it is necessary to
maintain himself and his family. It would seem quite understandable that in the
latter case the unwholesome effects would likely be much lighter than the
former. The same thing is true in the case of killing for self defense. Killing
dangerous animals, vermin, and insects accrues less kammically unwholesome
consequences than killing a human being or an animal that serves man (such as a
horse, a dog, or an elephant).

Buddhism, capital punishment and war

As a student of Buddhism, one may realize that each person
practices Dhamma according to his or her ability and the opportunities that
arise. A policeman on duty patrolling a crime-infested street or a soldier at a
border outpost surveying suspicious movements inside hostile territory will
experience totally different circumstances in spiritual endeavor from a monk
sitting peacefully in his cloistered cell. Yet, what they do have in common is
the opportunity to perform their duty. Each must therefore understand how the
Dhamma can be best practiced, given the situation he is in. All of us are
bounded up with certain duties, one way or another. Where policemen and
soldiers are concerned, it would be naive to deny that their duties do include
the possibility of killing.

It cannot be overemphasized, however, that destruction of life is,
from a Buddhist standpoint, never justified. But in discussing the issue under
question it is hardly appropriate not to distinguish between spiritual
objectives and those of national security and administration. Capital punishment,
for instance, is an instrument by which law and order may be effectively
maintained for the common good of society, although Buddhism would not advocate
that such a measure is conducive to the police officers’ spiritual well-being.
The principles and purposes on which the police and military institutions were
established are as far apart from those on which Buddhist spiritual training
was formulated as anything can be. Yet, Buddhism and those secular institutions
do coexist now, as they did during the time of the Buddha. Important military
chiefs and dignitaries are known to have been the Buddha’s most devout
followers. One does not, therefore, make the mistake of concluding that a
person cannot be a Buddhist, or keep the Buddhist moral precepts for that
matter, if he serves in the armed forces or police establishment. As has been
said before there are more opportunities to practice the precepts than not to
practice; this is true even where the above-mentioned professions are
concerned.

Stealing from the rich to feed the poor

Helping the poor is a commendable effort, but stealing from the
rich to fulfill that commitment can hardly be justified. If this were made into
a standard practice, society would be in turmoil. Rights of possession would be
ignored, and stealing would become the accepted norm. Finally, the practice
would defeat itself, and thievery would be recognized as a charitable act. This
is hardly a desirable state of affairs; it is something not even remotely
resembling a moral condition.

One of the distinct features of the Buddhist moral precepts is the
universal character in which they may be practiced with benefit by all members
of society. For instance, non-stealing (second precept) can be universally
observed with desirable results, and the practice will help to promote
coexistence, peace, and harmony in society. If this precept were reversed and
stealing were made a moral principle, we can immediately see that there would
be so much conflict and confusion that society would eventually cease to
function. Thus, stealing can never be made a moral act, no matter how ideal and
noble the motivation.

Extramarital sex

This is a rather complex issue involving ramifications in
emotional, social, and moral fields. The problem is a cause for concern in
modern times, especially in the West where materialism has for so long been the
philosophy of life.

The third moral precept advises against all forms of sexual
misconduct, which include rape, adultery, promiscuity, paraphilia, and sexual
perversions. Actually, the Buddhist commentary emphasizes adultery more than
anything else, but if we take into account the purpose and intention of the
precept, it is clear that the precept is intended to cover all improper
behavior with regard to sex. The broadest interpretation even purports to mean
abstention from the misuse of the senses. The expression “misuse of the
senses” is somewhat vague. It could refer to any morally unwholesome
action committed under the influence of sensual desire or to the inability to
control one’s own senses. In any case there is no doubt that the third precept
aims at promoting, among other things, proper sexual behavior and a sense of
social decency in a human civilization where monogamy is commonly practiced and
self-restraint is a cherished moral value.

For one reason or another, many young people in love are not able
to enter into married life as early as they wish. While marriage is still some
distance in the future, or even an uncertain quantity, these people enter into
relationships, of which sex forms a significant part. This happens not only
among adults, who must legally answer to their own conduct, but also among
teenagers who are still immature, emotionally unstable, and tend to act in
irresponsible ways. Peer pressure and altered moral values are an important
contributing factor to the escalation of the problem. The trend toward
extramarital sex has become so common that it is now virtually taken for
granted. Contubernal arrangements are becoming increasingly popular, and
marriage is relegated to a place of insignificance, jeopardizing in the process
the sanctity of family life.

In the context of these developments, the third precept becomes
all the more relevant and meaningful. Unlike killing, which certain
circumstances seem to warrant, there is hardly any plausible excuse for sexual
promiscuity, except human weaknesses and inability to restrain the sexual urge.
However, there is a distinction between sexual promiscuity and sexual
relationship based on mutual trust and commitment, even if the latter were a
relationship between two single adults. Thus one may begin to practice the
third precept by resolving not to be involved in sexual activities without an
earnest intention and serious commitment of both parties. This means that sex
should not be consummated merely for the sake of sexuality, but should be
performed with full understanding within the people involved and with mutual
responsibility for its consequences. A certain level of maturity and emotional
stability is necessary to ensure a healthy and productive sexual relationship
between two partners. With the realization that there is a better and more
noble path to follow than promiscuity, one may see the wisdom of self-restraint
and the benefit of establishing a more lasting and meaningful relationship
which, rather than impeding one’s spiritual progress, may enhance it.

Finally, if anything else fails to convince people of the danger
and undesirability of sexual promiscuity, perhaps the phenomenal AIDS epidemic
will. This may seem beside the point, since moral precepts and moral integrity
are matters that concern inner strength, fortitude, and conscientious practice,
not fear and trepidation based on extraneous factors. It is, nevertheless,
worthwhile to consider the connection between promiscuous behavior and the AIDS
epidemic and realize how strict observance of the third Buddhist moral precept
could greatly reduce the risk of infection or spread of this deadly disease.
Acceptance of this fact may also lead to an appreciation of the value of
morality and moral precepts as laid down by the Buddha, consequently
strengthening conviction in the Dhamma practice.

White lies

The practice of the fourth precept aims at inculcating a respect
for truth in the mind, implying both one’s own obligations as well as the
rights of other people to truth. This is one of the most important components
in developing sound social relationships, and it makes all documents,
contracts, agreements, deeds, and business dealings meaningful. When we resort
to falsehood, we not only become dishonest but also show disrespect to the
truth. People who tell lies discredit themselves and become untrustworthy.

It is true that sometimes telling lies may prove more profitable
than truth, especially from the material point of view. Because such gains are
unwholesome and may cause harm in the long run, and because material profits are
likely to lead to more falsehood and fabrication, it is imperative that the
practice of the fourth precept be duly emphasized. Where a person’s reputation
and feelings are concerned, discretion should be exercised. Of course, there
are instances where silence is more appropriate than speech, and one may choose
this as an alternative to prevarication and falsehood.

Motivation is an important element in determining if one is
transgressing the fourth precept and whether a given verbal expression
constitutes a kammically unwholesome act. For instance, when an event is
fictionalized for literary purposes, this may not be regarded as falsehood as
such for the intention of the work is obvious and there is no attempt at
falsification involved. Another example is the case of an invective, where an
abusive expression is used (such as angrily calling someone a dog). This is a
case of vituperation rather than fabrication or falsification, although it is,
nonetheless, a kammically unwholesome act. Also, there is a clear distinction
between expressing untruth with a selfish intention and with a well-meaning
motive, as when a concocted story is told for instructional purposes or a white
lie is told in order to keep an innocent child out of danger.

These latter two instances are even accepted as illustrations of
the employment of skillful means. A story is told of a mother who returns home
to find her house on fire. Her little son is playing in the house, unaware that
its burning roof could collapse at any moment. He is so engrossed that he pays
no attention to his mother, who is now in great distress, being unable to get
into the house herself. So she calls out to her child, “Come quickly, my
little one, I have some wonderful toys for you. All the toys you ever wanted to
have are here!” In this instance the mother is using a skillful means that
eventually saves the boy’s life. Under certain circumstances, this may be the
only alternative, but indiscriminate use of such means may lead to undesirable
results. One needs to be judicious, therefore, in the practice of the precepts.

Sometimes speaking the truth may cause more harm than good,
especially if it is done with malicious intent. A vindictive neighbor who
spreads the scandals about the family next door may be speaking the truth, but
she is neither doing anyone a service, nor is she practicing the Dhamma. A spy
who sells his nation’s sensitive classified information to an enemy may be
speaking the truth, but he could cause much harm to his nation’s security and
jeopardize many innocent lives. The Buddha says, therefore, that one should
speak the truth which is useful and conducive to the Dhamma, and should avoid
that which is useless and is likely to cause unwholesome kamma
to oneself and others.

Intoxicants

The fifth precept covers all intoxicants, including narcotics,
that alter the state of consciousness and are physiologically addictive. The
danger and negative effects of narcotics, such as cocaine and heroin, are too
well known to need any further elaboration. Today they represent a serious
health and social problem around the world.

Drinking intoxicants is not part of the Buddhist culture, although
it seems to have become a widespread phenomenon in modern society. It is true
that alcoholic consumption was prevalent before and during the time of the
Buddha, but he never approved of the practice. The fact that something is
commonly practiced does not necessarily mean that it is good and wholesome.
Those who advocate drinking as a factor for promoting friendship forget to take
account of the reality that so many friendships have been drowned in those
intoxicants. The brawls, strife and unruly behavior that often follow the
consumption of alcoholic beverages represent an unequivocal testimony of the
ignoble state to which human beings can be reduced to under the influence of
intoxicants. Friendship founded on compassion and mutual understanding is much
more desirable than that which is based on alcohol. Social drinking may produce
a general euphoric atmosphere among drinkers (and probably a nuisance for
nondrinkers), but it is never a necessary condition for interpersonal
relationship. Often, people use this as an excuse to get drunk. The high rate
of car accidents connected with drunk driving should serve as a strong reminder
of the danger and undesirability of alcoholic consumption. On the other hand,
it may be mentioned in passing that liquor does contain certain medicinal
properties and can be used for medical purposes. Such use, if genuine and under
qualified supervision, does not entail transgression of the fifth precept and
is not considered a morally unwholesome act.

The most obvious danger of intoxicants is the fact that they tend
to distort the sensibilities and deprive people of their self-control and
powers of judgment. Under alcoholic influences, a person is likely to act
rashly and without due consideration or forethought. Otherwise decent people
may even commit murder or rape under the influence of alcohol, or cause all
kinds of damage (such as fire, accident, and vandalism) to people or property.
The Buddha described addiction to intoxicants as one of the six causes of ruin.
It brings about six main disadvantages: loss of wealth, quarrels and strife, a
poor state of health (liability to diseases), a source of disgrace, shameless
and indecent behavior, and weakened intelligence and mental faculties.

Other precepts

Occasionally, lay Buddhists may take the opportunity to observe
the eight precepts as a means of developing higher virtues and self-control. Of
course, these can be practiced as often as one wishes, but the special
occasions on which they are normally observed are the holy days, especially the
more important ones, the three month period of rains retreat, and special
events connected with one’s life. Sometimes, a Buddhist may observe them even
as a token of gratitude and respect to a deceased relative or on the occasion
of a birth anniversary of a monk he reveres. Four of these eight precepts are
identical with the five precepts mentioned above. In order, they are as
follows:

1. to abstain from the destruction of life
2. to abstain from stealing or taking what is not given
3. to abstain from sexual intercourse (to practice celibacy)
4. to abstain from falsehood
5. to abstain from alcoholic drinks
6. to abstain from partaking of food from afternoon till the following daybreak

7. to abstain from singing and entertainments, from decorating oneself and use
of perfumes
8. to abstain from the use of large and luxurious beds.

***

http://web.singnet.com.sg/~alankhoo/Precepts.htm

Leading
a Buddhist Life

 

and
the

 

Five
Precepts

The
fundamental Buddhism is summarised by Shakyamuni in the Dhammapada:

Not to do
any evil,
To cultivate good,
To purify one’s mind,
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.

It is
simple but not easy. When a kid is three years old, he knows it. However, when
he is over 80 years old, he cannot really practice it in his daily life.


Morality

Morality
is the preliminary stage on the path to attain Buddhahood. It is a necessary
condition, though not sufficient, leading to wisdom. It is absolutely essential
for enlightenment.

Morality
in Buddhism is a rational and practical mode based on verifiable facts and
individual experience, which is regarded as the one of the most perfect moral
code ever known in the world.

What is
the criterion of morality according to Buddhism?

In the
admonition given by the Buddha to young Rahula, there is the answer.

If there
is a deed, Rahula, you wish to do, reflect thus: Is this deed conducive to my
harm, or to others’ harm, or to that of both? Then is this a bad deed entailing
suffering. From such a deed, you must desist.

If there
is a deed you wish to do, reflect thus: Is this deed not conducive to my harm,
nor to others’ harm, nor to that of both? Then is this a good deed entailing
happiness. Such a deed you must do again and again.

Thus, in
assessing morality, a Buddhist takes into consideration of the interests of
both himself and others - animals not excluded.

To understand
the exceptionally high standard of morality, one can vigorously study

Dhammapada

Sigalovada Sutra
Vyagghapajja Sutra
Mangala Sutra
Mutta Sutra
Parabhara Sutra
Vassla Sutra
Dhammika Sutra

Good deeds
are essential for one’s emancipation, but when once the ultimate goal of holy
life or enlightenment is attained, one transcends both good and evil. Morality
is a means to an end, but not an end in itself.


Three Poisons / Three Evil Roots

In Flower
Adornment Sutra, it says that

For all
bad Karma created in the past,
Based upon beginningless greed, hatred and delusion,
And born of body, mouth and mind,
I now repent and reform.

It is the
well known Repentance Verse in Buddhism. In Buddhism, the distinction between
what is good and what is bad is simple. It hinges on the intention or
motivation from which an action originates. The deed which is associated with
greed/attachment, hatred/ill will, delusion/stupidity is evil.

Greed,
hatred and delusion

are called the Three Poisons or Three Evil Roots, which are the primary source
of all evil deed. It is the Three Poisons that create all bad Karma, resulting
all kinds of suffering in accordance with the Principle of Cause and Effect.
The Three Poisons are also obstacles to the attainment of good Karma. Thus we
have to abandon them by all means.

Greed
Greed is the cause of many offences. The five greedy desires are: wealth,
sex, fame, eating and sleeping
.

Greedy
desire is endless and therefore can never be satisfied. The lesser the greedy
desire, the happier and more satisfied we are. The best prescription to deal
with greed is in giving away.

Anger
Hatred to people is another cause of evil deed. We should not lose temper and
get angry when we are unhappy. We should be calm and patient.

Delusion
It means the persistent belief in something false and distorted. We have to
observe and think in an objective and rational manner, so as to avoid prejudice
and misunderstanding. For instance, if we don’t believe in cause and effect,
and then commit offence frequently and heavily, we will suffer from the
retribution.


Five
Precepts

Buddhism
is the most profound and wholesome education directed by the Buddha towards all
people. Five precepts are the curriculum of Buddhist teaching, which are
embraced in the moral code of Buddhism. By observing precepts, not only do you
cultivate your moral strength, but you also perform the highest service to your
fellow beings. The Five Precepts are:

1. Do not kill
2.
Do not steal
3.
Do not indulge in sexual misconduct
4.
Do not make false speech
5.
Do not take intoxicants

These are
the basic precepts that all people should practice and abide by. As a result,
you will live in Three Good Paths (
Gods, Demigods & Human), not in Three Evil Paths (Hell, Hungry Ghosts & Animals), enjoy all the blessings,
happiness and freedom in Human and Deva Realm.

 

1. Do not Kill

One must
not deliberately kill any living creatures, either by committing the act oneself,
instructing others to kill, or approving of or participating in act of killing.
It is a respect to others’ lives.

One should
not deprive others (animals not excluded) of the right to live. If one is hurt
or killed, one’s family, relatives, friends will suffer. It is the cause of
rebirth in Three Evil Paths. The effect of killing to the performer are brevity
of life, ill health, handicapped and fear.

In
observing the first precept, one tries to protect life whenever possible.
Furthermore, one cultivates the attitude of loving kindness to all beings by
wishing that they may be happy and free from harm.

 

2. Do not Steal

It is a
respect to other’s properties and the right to own property. If something is
not given, one may not take it away by stealing, by force or by fraud. Besides
these, one should avoid misusing money or property belonging to the public or
other persons. In a broader sense, the second precept also means that one
should not evade one’s responsibilities. If an employee is lazy and neglects
the duties or tasks assigned to him, he is, in a way, “stealing” time
that should have been spent on his work.

In its
broadest sense, observing the second precept also means that one cultivates the
virtue of generosity. A Buddhist gives to the poor and sick because of their
need. He makes offerings to the monks, nuns and masters because he respects the
qualities they possess. He is generous in his gifts to his parents, teachers
and friends because of the advice, guidance and kindness they have shown him.

Besides
giving material things to the needy and the worthy, Buddhists should also offer
sympathy and encouragement to those who are hurt or discouraged. It is said,
however, that the best of all gifts is the gift of the Dharma in the form of
teaching it or in the production and distribution of Buddhist books.

Greed is
one of the Three Poisons, which leads us to attachment and suffering. The bad
effect of stealing are poverty, misery, disappointment, etc.

 

3. Do not Indulge in Sexual Misconduct

Though the
moral standards are different in different countries and in different times,
rape, adultery and other abnormal sexual behaviour that involve physical and
mental injury to others should be prohibited. It is also a matter of respect
for people and personal relationships.

Sexual
desire is one of the main causes of rebirth in the Six Paths. If we wish to end
the birth and death cycle, we should not indulge in sexual misconduct or any
other abnormal form of sexual relationship.

The effect
of sexual misconduct are having many enemies, always being hated, and union
with undesirable wives and husbands.

 

4. Do not Lie

To refrain
from telling lies is to show respect for the truth. No good can come from
telling lies, be it out of fun or malice. When a Buddhist observes the fourth
precept, he refrains from telling lies or half-truths that exaggerate or
understate, and instead cultivates the virtue of truthfulness. Once people
uphold the respect for truth, there will be fewer quarrels and
misunderstandings and fewer cases of false accusations in the courts of
justice. Society will then become more peaceful and orderly.

 

5. Do not Take Intoxicant

Buddhism
emphasises wisdom. Taking intoxicant will descend and lose the seed of wisdom.
Intoxicants, such as drugs, liquor, smoking, etc., are harmful to health. It
seems that taking intoxicant is not hurting others. However, if we are drunk and
lose our consciousness, we may easily commit evil deeds and hurt others.
Therefore, one who breaks this precept will tend to break all other precepts
along with it.

The fifth
precept is based on respect for mental health. It guard against the loss of control
of one’s mind. It is particularly important to those who meditate because, by
refraining from taking intoxicants, they can more easily cultivate awareness,
attention and clarity of mind. Thus the observance of the fifth precept not
only contributes to happiness in the family and peace in society, it also
prepares a person for the practice of Mental Development.


Conditions In Violating Precepts

Five
conditions of panatipata (Killing)

1. The
being must be alive.
2. There must be the knowledge that it is a live being.
3. There must be an intention to cause death.
4. An act must be done to cause death.
5. There must be death, as the result of the said act.

If all the
said five conditions are fulfilled, the first precept is violated.

 

Five
conditions of Adinnadana (Stealing)

1. The
property must be in the possession of another person.
2. There must be the knowledge that the property is in the possession of
another person.
3. There must be an intention to steal.
4. There must be an act done to steal.
5. By that act the property must have been taken.

If all the
said five conditions are fulfilled, the second precept is violated.

 

Four
conditions to kamesumicchacara (Sexual Misconduct)

1. It must
be a man or a woman with whom it is improper to have sexual intercourse.
2. There must be an intention to have such sexual misconduct with such man or
woman.
3. There must be an act done to have such intercourse.
4. There must be enjoyment of the contact of the organs.

If all the
said four conditions are fulfilled, the third precept is violated.

 

Four
conditions of musavada (Telling lies)

1.The
thing said must be untrue.
2. There must be an intention to deceive.
3.There must be an effort made as a result of the said intention.
4. The other must know the meaning of what is said.

If these
conditions are fulfilled, the fourth precept is violated.

 

Three
conditions of taking intoxicant

1. It is
intoxicant.
2. There must be an intention to consume.
3. It is consumed.

If these
conditions are fulfilled, the fifth precept is violated. However, taking
intoxicant for medical purpose does not violate this precept.


The Ten Good Deeds

1. Do not
kill
2. Do not steal
3. Do not indulge in sexual misconduct
4. No lying
5. No double-tongued speech
6. No abusive speech
7. No irresponsible speech
8. No greed
9. No hatred
10. No delusion

The first
three are the first three of Five Precepts; these are Body deeds. The
last three are the Three Poisons, these are Mind deeds. The remaining
four is an elaboration of the evil deeds performed by Speech. Body,
speech and mind are the three means of actions.

Apart from
avoiding the evil actions, one can take positive attitude in performing the
good actions. The Ten Meritorious Deeds allow people to gain a happy and
peaceful life as well as to develop knowledge and understanding. The Ten
Meritorious Deeds are:

1. Charity

2. Morality / Taking Precepts
3. Mental cultivation / Meditation
4. Reverence or respect
5. Services in helping others
6. Transference of merits
7. Rejoicing in the merits of others
8. Preaching and teaching Dharma
9. Listening to the Dharma
10. Straightening one’s own views

To fulfil
all these requirements, one will be re-born in the Deva Realm. One will enjoy
all kinds of happiness and blessings except the suffering of Five Forms of
Decaying
.

Five Forms
of Decaying  are:

When the
devas are dying, there are five symptoms:
1. the flowers around the crown
2. the clothes being dirty
3. having unpleasant smell in the body
4. sweating in armpit
5. Being unhappy in seat


Eight
Precepts

The Eight
Precepts consist of the Five Precepts described above and three others, namely:

1. to
refrain from taking food after midday;
2. to abstain from indulging in songs, dances, music and shows as well as the
use of ornaments, perfumes and cosmetics;
3. to refrain from using a high or luxurious seat or bed.

The Eight
Precepts are usually observed on new moon and full moon days. These precepts
may be difficult for a lay Buddhist to follow. Therefore, their observance is
entirely voluntary. Those who make the attempt are those who wish to experience
the disciplined life of renunciation lived by member of the Order.

In
observing the sixth precept, for example, the lay Buddhist eats one or two
simple meals between dawn and noon and avoids taking food beyond that. This
cuts down the time spent on meals and allows him more time to spend on
mediation. As for the seventh precept, the lay Buddhist refrains from enjoying
songs, dances, music and shows during this period of observance so that he will
not be distracted by sensual pleasures that may give rise to unwholesome
thoughts. At the same time, by refraining from the use of ornaments, perfumes
and cosmetics, he becomes more aware that physical beauty is impermanent and
that one should not be vain. By observing the eighth precept, the lay Buddhist
experiences a simple way of life with the minimum of luxuries.

Observing
the sixth, seventh and eighth precepts requires more effort on the lay
Buddhist’s part because he has to restrain himself from indulging in the
physical comforts and pleasures that he may be so accustomed to in everyday
life. The purpose is to enable him to detach himself from all the distractions
of normal activity in order to gain a better understanding of the real nature
of life.

 


 Part of the information of this page
is extracted from

http://www.buddhism.ndirect.co.uk/notes2.htm


http://www.gardendigest.com/zen/ten.htm

The Ethical Precepts 
and Philosophical Tenets
of Zen Buddhism


1. 
I will be mindful and reverential with all life, 
     I will not be violent nor will I kill.

           

 

                   
Avoid killing or harming any living being.
                 
  I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.  
                   
I shall endeavor to protect and take care of all living creatures.
                   
Do not do harm to other beings.   

             
    

 

“Life
and limb are precious to every living being and nobody has the right to destroy
the life of another 
for any reason.  But we know that human beings kill others individually
and collectively in the name of 
human rights, religion, peace, nation, race, culture and population control-
all assumed good purposes. 
Hatred, jealousy, power, greed, ill will, selfishness, cruelty, callousness,
pride, ignorance are incentives 
that provide and drive one to commit panatipata.  This is a deviation from
the Noble Eight Fold Path - 
Right understanding, thought and action.”
-   The Buddhist Perspective of Lay Morality,  Dr. Bodhippriya Subhadra
Sinwardena  

 
The First Precept: Reverence for
Life
.   Commentary by Thich
Nhat Hanh.


Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
   Sharon Salzberg and
John Kabat-Zinn.  
Shambhala, 1997, 208 pages.  


Must All Buddhists Be Vegetarians?

“The
precepts are to help us cut off our attachments, and when that is done, 
then all the precepts are kept naturally.  And so I will ask you a
question. 
Once upon a time, Zen Master Nam Cheon cut a cat in two with his knife. 
Was this a good or bad action?  If you sit in silence, you are no
better 
than rocks, but all speech is wrong.   What can you do?”
-   Zen Master Wu Bong
(Jacob Perl),  Five
Precepts

“If a person does not harm any living being…
and does not kill or cause others to kill -
that person is a true spiritual practitioner.”
-   The
Dhammapada


2.  
I will respect the property of others, I will not steal.
           

                    
Avoid stealing.  Do not take what is not yours to take.
                 
    I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is
not given.
                     
Live simply and frugally.  

“Aware
of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and
oppression, 
I am committed to cultivating loving kindness and learning ways to work for the
well-being 
of people, animals, plants, and minerals.  I will practice generosity by
sharing my time, 
energy, and material resources with those who are in real need.  I am
determined not to 
steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect
the property 
of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the
suffering 
of other species on Earth.”
         
The Five Precepts

“Do
not steal. If something is not given to us, we should not take it.  This
precept applies not only to 
valuable items such as gold and silver, but even to things as small and
inexpensive as needles. 
This can also be interpreted as living frugally and not wasting
resources.”
-   Buddhism

“The
second precept deals with taking things that are not given.  This is more
that just 
not stealing.  It means not  coveting things in the material,
psychological, or in the spiritual 
realms.  Desire stems from a feeling of incompleteness.  This
precept teaches us to accept 
ourselves wholly and to make this total acceptance is to become complete,
to 
attain the Buddha state.”
-   Zen Master Wu Bong
(Jacob Perl),
Five Precepts

“The
second Major Precept prohibits stealing.  A disciple of the Buddha must
not steal by oneself, 
encourage others to steal, facilitate stealing, steal with mantras, or involve
oneself in the causes, 
conditions, methods, or karma of stealing, to the extent that one must not
deliberately steal the 
possessions of ghosts, spirits, or any other beings – all valuables and
possessions, including 
such objects as small as a needle or a blade of grass. A Bodhisattva should
give rise to a mind 
of filial compliance, kindness, and compassion toward the Buddha
nature….  If instead a 
Bodhisattva steals another’s valuables or possessions, a Bodhisattva Parajika
(major) 
offense is committed.”
-   Brahma
Net Sutra

Dhammic Socialism      100K
A Disciple of the Buddha Does Not Steal   Taitaku Pat
Phelan.   20K

Economics in Buddhism
   
Ven. Galle Udita Maha Thero.   46K.

3.  
I will be conscious and loving in my relationships, 
      I will not give way to lust.
           

                     
Avoid sexual irresponsibility.
                     
I undertake the precept to refrain from improper sexual activity.
                     
Do not engage in sexual misconduct.   

“Aware
of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I vow to cultivate my
responsibility and learn
ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families and
society. I am determined
not to engage in sexual relations without love and long-term commitment. To
preserve the
happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and
the commitments of
others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse
and to protect families
from being broken by sexual misconduct.”
        
The Five Wonderful Precepts.    By Zen Master Thich
Nhat Hanh.

Buddhist Sexual Ethics.    By Winton
Higgins.    28K  

Buddhism, Sexuality and Gender
.   Edited by Jose Ignacio Cabezon.  
State University
at New York,  1991.   241 pages.   ISBN: 
0791407586.   

4.  
I will honor honesty and truth, I will not deceive.

                   
Avoid lying, or any hurtful speech.
             
      I undertake the precept to refrain from
incorrect speech.
                   
Refrain from lying, gossiping, slander, and spreading false rumors.  
                   
Silence in precious, I will not gossip or engage in frivolous
conversations.       
                  

“Aware
of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to
others, 
I am committed to cultivating loving speech and deep listening in order to
bring joy and 
happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering.  Knowing that
words can create 
happiness or suffering, I am determined to speak truthfully, with words that
inspire
self-confidence, joy, and hope.  I will not spread news that I do not know
to be certain 
and will not criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure.  I will
refrain from uttering 
words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the
community 
to break. I am determined to make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all
conflicts, 
however small.”
          
The Five Precepts

“Furthermore,
abandoning lying, the disciple of the noble ones abstains from lying.  In
doing so, 
he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression
to limitless
numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity,
freedom from 
oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless
freedom from danger, 
freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the fourth gift…

          
The Five Faultless Gifts 

“Being
mindful of suffering
caused by careless or malicious speech,
we are determined to use words
to heal the wounds of misunderstanding,
anger, hate, and fear.”
-   The Five Wonderful Precepts -  Blue Iris Sangha

Ta-sui
was asked, “What is the very first point?”
He replied, “Don’t think falsely.”
-   The Pocket Zen Reader.  Complied and translated by
Thomas Cleary.  Shambhala, 1999, p. 122

5.  
I will exercise proper care of my body and mind, 
      I will not be gluttonous nor abuse intoxicants.

                  
Avoid alcohol and drugs which diminish clarity of consciousness.
                     
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which
lead to carelessness.
                     
Refrain from intoxicants that cloud the mind.   

“Aware
of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good
health, both physical
and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating,
drinking, and consuming.
I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being and joy in my body,
in my consciousness, and
in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am
determined not to use alcohol
or any other intoxicants, or to ingest foods or other items that contain
toxins, such as certain T.V.
programs, magazines, books, films and conversations. I am aware that to damage
my body and my
consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my
society, and future
generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion by
practicing a diet for myself
and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for
self-transformation, and for the
transformation of society.”
          
The Five Wonderful Precepts.    By Zen Master Thich
Nhat Hanh.

Being
mindful of suffering
caused by taking poisons into our bodies and minds,
we are determined to take into our bodies and minds
only those things that nourish awareness, life, and love.
-   The Five Wonderful Precepts -  Blue Iris Sangha

Drugs and Alcohol

Comments
by Michael P. Garofalo

Many
people have not yet taken formal vows to abide by the Five Precepts yet
continue
to study Zen, engage in Zen practices, and identify with Zen
viewpoints.   Serious Zen 
students and all monastics (monks and nuns) do take vows to abide by the
Five Precepts
in a formal ceremony (Jukai - Japanese).  Monastics abide by
many additional Precepts 
relating to lifestyle and social behavior.  Taking the Five
Precepts represents one’s formal 
entry into Buddhism, and represents a serious religious commitment to the
Buddha (the 
historical Buddha, enlightened beings, as well as the Buddha nature in all),
Dharma  
(Buddhist scriptures, wisdom literature, as well as the truths and insights
we discover
while living), and the Sangha (the Buddhist community as well as
interrelations with all 
beings).  

The
tendency of Zen writings and lectures to emphasize monistic metaphysics, and
to discourage dualistic perspectives, will create some confusion for new
students of 
Zen Buddhism who are considering its ethical aspects.   Thinking
about good and evil, 
right and wrong, or healthy minded and sick minded all involve making distinctions
and dualistic perspecitves. 

On the
whole, I have found that Zen masters and teachers emphasize
kindness, 
compassion, honesty, humility, love of work and the arts, down
to earthness, 
sobriety, meditation, humor, simplicity, nonviolence, freedom,
self-reliance, 
and enlightenment.  However,  wisdom and enlightenment are given
the highest 
emphasis, and less is said about moral conformity or the moral reform of
society. 

       
Ring the bells that still can ring.
    Forget your perfect offering.
      There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets it.
       
-   Leonard Cohen

Links and Bibliography

(Five
Moral Precepts, Buddhist Ethics and Morality, Virtuous Life)

Abhisanda Sutta     Anguttara
Nikaya VIII.39:   7K    


Basic Buddhism:  Buddhist
Ethics


Being Upright: Zen Meditation and
the Bodhisattva Precepts
.    By Reb Anderson.   Rodmell Press,
2001.  
288 pages.  ISBN: 0962713899.


Buddhism - Ethics.   By the Venerable Khai
Chin.   13K   


Buddhism and Vegetarianism  


Buddhism - Google/DMOZ Link
Categories


Buddhist Economics   7K   


Buddhist Ethics Links from About.com


The Buddhist Five Precepts as an
Ethical Touchstone
.  
Article by David Cortesi.   12K  


Buddhist Morality.    By C. George
Boeree.  Includes the Pancha Shila (five moral precepts),
Metta Sutta, and other important Buddhist moral texts.   14K


Buddhist Morality - DMOZ Links


The Buddhist Perspective of Lay
Morality
.  
By Bodhippriya Subhadra Siriwardena.  24K


A Buddhist Perspective on
Vegetarianism


Buddhist Resources on Vegetarianism
and Animal Welfare
   


Cloud Hands: Tai Chi Chuan and Qi
Qong


Cutting the Cat Into One: The Practice of the Bodhisattva
Precepts.   By the Venerable Anzan Hoshin.  50K.


Daily Practice:  The Five
Precepts
  
4K


Dhammapada Sutta (Dharmapada Sutra)


Dogen, Zen Master


Ron Epstein’s Online Publications   Essays on Buddhist
ethics. 


The Five Moral Precepts and Tenets
of Zen Buddhism
.  
By Michael P. Garofalo.   50K+.   
Quotations, links, bibliography, summary lists, and
references.   


The First Precept: Reverence for
Life
.   Commentary by Thich
Nhat Hanh.


The Five Precepts.   


The Five Precepts   2K


The Five Precepts     Lecture -
audio version.   Insight Meditation Society of Seattle.  


The Five Precepts    Comments by
Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Dechen.   20K.   


The Five Precepts     Essay by
Sunthorn Plamintr.   69K.   


The Five Precepts     Lecture by
Chieng Mai Dhamma Study Group.   47K


The Five Precepts      Notes
by Neil Smithline.   11K   


Fundamentals of Buddhism: Karma


The Five Faultless Gifts 


The Five Wonderful Precepts.   By Zen Master Thich
Nhat Hanh.


The Five Wonderful Precepts.    Blue Iris Sangha
version.   10K.  


Emptiness in Full Bloom.   Comments on Zen Master
Dogen’s Flowers in the Sky.   Links, 
bibliography, poem, notes.   100K.


The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings
of the Order of Interbeing
.   
10K


Google Links - Five Precepts    


Haiku and Zen Poetry


The Healing Power of the Precepts     Article by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu.   13K.  Practical, clear-cut, humane, and
worthy of respect.   


Interactions Among the Ethics of
Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism
.   Ven. Shengkai.   25K.  


Introduction to Zen Buddhism: 
Recommended Reading and Links


Journal of Buddhist Ethics


Leading a Buddhist Life and the Five
Precepts
    
18K    Includes many lists of Buddhist virtues, vices, and moral
guidelines.


Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen
Buddhist Ethics
.  
Robert Aitken.   North Point Press, 1984.  199
pages.  


Observing the Moral Precepts   Comments about the
consequences of breaking the five precepts.   15K


On the Five Precepts.   Lecture by Zen Master
Wu Bong (Jacob Perl).  8K.  


Posting Five Precepts.   Article by Paul D.
Numrich.   A Buddhist Perspective on Ethics in Health Care. 
23K.   


Precepts      
13K   


Shambhala - Heart of Warriorship
Training Program


Sila - Moral Conduct      25K   
Excellent commentary. 


Taking the Five Precepts:  What
Does it Mean?
  
Lecture by Senior Dharma Teacher Neil Bartholomew.   17K.  


Taking the Path of Zen.   By Robert Aitken,
Roshi.  San Francisco, North Point Press, 1985.  149 pages. 
ISBN: 0865470804.   Informative and wise advice for Zen students by a
influential leader.   


The Ten Precepts.   The Digital
Zendo.    


Ten Precepts      
(Dasa Sila)   Ten Precepts for monks and nuns.  


Virtue - Sila  
9K    


Why Should We Take the Five Precepts     
Questions and answers about the Five Precepts.  
51K.     


Zen Poetry      
Extensive links, bibliography, selected quotes, studies.   300K+

Selected
Quotations


To
keep away from all evil, cultivate good,

and purify one’s mind is the advice of all Buddhas.

Pali Verse

Whoever
destroys living beings,
speaks false words, who in the world
takes that which is not given to him,
or goes too with another’s wife,
or takes distilled, fermented drinks –
whatever man indulges thus
extirpates the roots of himself
even here in this very world.
Dhammapada
246-247

“What
keeping the precepts does is that it liberates you from the very confined 
behavior of following your desire, anger, and ignorance.  In fact, not
keeping the 
precepts means staying with a way of behaving which is repressed, self
destructive; 
not sound of self or in relations.  Keeping the precepts means turning
away from 
tunnel vision, a very wide range of behavior; and not keeping the precepts
means 
keeping a very, very narrow range of behavior, because you’re just stuck in
the 
same habit of “I, my, me.”
Taking the Five Precepts:  What
Does it Mean?
   
Senior Dharma Teacher Neil Bartholomew. 

I will esteem the three treasures: Buddha, Dharma, and
Sangha.

I will not defame them.

Do not do unto others what you do not want them to do to
you.

What you do not what done to yourself, do not do to others.
What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not to others.
Confucius, Analects, Book 15:23

“We
may summarize the five precepts in relation to the spiritual qualities that
they 
are likely to produce and promote as follows.  The first precept helps to
promote 
goodwill, compassion, and kindness.  The second can be instrumental in
developing 
generosity, service, altruism, non-attachment, contentment, honesty, and
right 
livelihood.  The third precept helps to cultivate self-restraint, mastery
over the 
emotions and senses, renunciation, and control of sensual desire.  The
fourth 
precept leads to the development of honesty, reliability, and moral
integrity. 
The fifth precept helps to promote mindfulness, clarity of mind, and
wisdom.”
-   The Five Precepts,  Chieng Mai Dhamma Study
Group

The
Ten Grave Precepts

1. 
Affirm life; Do not kill.
2.  Be giving; Do not steal.
3.  Honor the body; Do not misuse sexuality.
4.  Manifest truth; Do not lie.
5.  Proceed clearly; Do not cloud the mind.
6.  See the perfection; Do not speak of others errors and faults.
7.  Realize self and other as one; Do not elevate the self and blame
others.
8.  Give generously; do not be withholding.
9.  Actualize harmony; Do not be angry.
10.  Experience the intimacy of things; Do not defile the Eight Treasures.
-   John Daido Loori, The
Eight Gates of Zen
, 2002, P. 240.  

The Tenets of Zen Buddhism

(The
basic religious, philosophical, ethical and practice principles of Zen
Buddhism.)

1)  A special transmission outside the scriptures.

2)  No depending upon books or words.

3)  Direct pointing to the soul of man.

4)  Seeing into one’s nature and the attainment of
Buddhahood.

      
-   Catch phrases associated with Zen in Sung China,
Masunaga Texts  

1)  Living every moment to the fullest.

2)  Transcending dualism and using it freely.

3)  Respecting the physical.

4)  Enlarging awareness.

5)  Releasing natural altruistic action.

6)  Increasing serenity and effectiveness in daily life

      
-   What is Zen?  Zen in Daily Life. 
Masunaga Text.

 

1)   The realities of life are most truly seen in
everyday things and actions.

2)   Everything exists according to its own
nature.  Our individual perceptions of 

worth, correctness, beauty, size and value exist inside our
heads, not outside them.   

3)   Everything exists in relation to other
things.    

4)   The self and the rest of the universe are not
separate entities but one functioning whole.     

5)   Man arises from nature and gets along most
effectively by collaborating with 

nature, rather than trying to master
it.     

6)   There is no ego in the sense of an endlessly
enduring, unchanging private soul or personality that temporarily inhabits
the body.     

7)   True insight does not issue from specialized
knowledge, from membership in 

coteries, from doctrines or dogmas.  It comes from the
preconscious intuitions of 

one’s whole being, from one’s own
code.     

8)   In emptiness, forms are born.  When one
becomes empty of the assumptions,

inferences, and judgments he has acquired over the years, he
comes close to his 

original nature and is capable of conceiving original ideas
and reacting freshly.     

9)   Being a spectator while one is also a
participant spoils one’s performance.     

10)   Security and changelessness are fabricated
by the ego-dominated mind and 

do not exit in nature.  To accept insecurity and commit
oneself to the unknown 

creates a relaxing faith in the
universe.     

11)  One can live only in the present
moment.     

12)   Living process and words about it are not
the same and should not be 

treated as equal in worth.    

13)   When we perceive the incongruity between
theories about life and what 

we feel intuitively to be true on the nonverbal, nonjudging
plane, there is 

nothing to do but to laugh.     

14)   Zen art has this characteristic quality,
that it can fuse delight in a work of 

visual art, knowledge of life, and personal experiences and
intuitions into one 

creative event.     

15)    Each of us develops into a unique
individual who enters into unique 

transactions with the world as it exists for him. 

      
-  
Zen Art for Meditation.   By Stewart W. Holmes
and Chimyo Horioka.  Rutland, Vermont,
Charles E. Tuttle, 1973.  115 pages.  ISBN: 0804812551.  pp.
15-16.  Each of these “Tenets” is
explained in relation to Zen themes in Japanese and Chinese visual
arts.   

The
following Eight Gates of Training “are designed to help the
practitioner 
get in touch with the free, unconditioned nature of the self.”
-   John Daido Loori, Roshi, Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery

 

1)   Seated meditation - Zazen.

2)   Teacher-student relationship.  

3)   Liturgy

4)   Right Action - Precepts

5)   Art practice

6)   Body practice

7)   Academic study

8)   Work practice

 

Waking Up: A Week Inside a Zen
Monastery, p. xiv-
.   
John Daido Loori, Roshi.   


“1.  Though I certainly may kick ass in a
figurative sense, I will strive not to do so literally.  I will be mindful
of the physical suffering of others, and strive to alleviate it when I can or
gain insight from it when I can not.

2.  I will strive not to take anything that is not
given to me freely, recognizing that the world is a complex place and the issue
of property hard to fully fathom.  I will do my best to share with others
when it will help them.

3.  I pledge to refrain from using lies and hurtful
speech.  My relations with others will be respectful unless otherwise
required.  I will strive my utmost to promote a foundation of ‘kusala’ in
modern communication and understanding.

4.  I take the precept of not committing sexual
misconduct, and in so doing I will strive to understand the nature of
interdependence.  I will strive to never harm someone sexually.  In
relationships I will hold on when necessary and let go when it is time.

5.  The world of samsara is illusion, part and parcel-
a beautiful trap.  Every glimmer in the bejewlled net can ensnare, just as
anything in life can intoxicate- alcohol, drugs, food, sex, TV, music, sports,
even activity or torpor itself.  As one who aspires to the Middle Way of
the Buddhas, I swear to seek enlightenment, not through abstinence or
indulgence, but through wisdom, equanimity, and compassion.  If some
weekend I still choose to get buck wild, then I will strive to follow my
choices, behavior, and their consequences with appropriate mindfulness.”

Jess Gulbranson, Five Precepts Offering, Email to Mike Garofalo on
5/18/2008

 

Introduction to Zen
Buddhism

Recommended Reading and Links

The Beginner’s Guide to Zen Buddhism.   By Jean
Smith.   Bell Tower, 2000.   ISBN:
0609804669.   
224 pages.  A very elementary introduction to Zen
practice.   


Buddhist Ethics:  Links,
bibliography, quotations
.  


Haiku and Zen Poetry     


Manual of Zen Buddhism.    By D. T.
Suzuki.   New York, Weatherhill,
1960.       


Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen
Buddhist Ethics
.  
Robert Aitken.   North Point Press, 1984.  199
pages.  
A thorough, scholarly, and wise commentary on Buddhist precepts and
morality.  


Return to Silence: Zen Practice in
Daily Life
.  
By Dainin Katagiri, Roshi.  Boston, Shambhala, 1988.
194 pages.  ISBN: 0877734313.   May be a bit challenging and
confusing for beginners; but, 
frequently cited by Zen students.


Taking the Path of Zen.   By Robert Aitken,
Roshi.  San Francisco, North Point Press, 1985.  149 pages. 
ISBN: 0865470804.   Informative and wise advice for Zen students by a
influential leader and fine Zen
Master.    


The Three Pillars of Zen : Teaching,
Practice, and Enlightenment
.   By Philip Kapleau, Roshi.   
Originally published in 1965.  Revised and expanded edition in March,
1989.  Anchor Books, 1989.  
448 pages.   ISBN: 0385260938.   A classic introduction
that has influenced many readers.  


Waking Up: A Week Inside a Zen
Monastery
.  
By Jack Maguire.  Woodstock, Vermont, Skylight Paths 
Publishing, 2000.  189 pages.   ISBN: 
1893361136.   Foreward by John Daido Loori, Roshi.   A good
story about life at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, New
York.  


Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection
of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings
.    Edited by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki.
Shambhala Pocket Classics, 1994.  Originally published in 1957.  285
pages.  ISBN: 1570620636.   A collection of
Zen koans, stories, poems, and sayings.   In 1963,  I read Paul
Reps, Alan Watts, R.H. Blyth, and D.T. Suzuki; and 
my views about religion were greatly uplifted and changed
forever.   


Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.   By Shunryu
Suzuki.   Edited by Trudy Dixon.   New York, Weatherill,
1970, 1997.
ISBN: 0834800799.  132 pages.   On nearly every Zen student’s
list as one of the five most influential books 
about Zen Buddhism they have read.    

Quotes for
Gardeners

Haiku and
Short Poems

Cloud
Hands: Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung

Spirituality
and Gardening

Zen Poetry

Green Way
Blog

http://www.drbu.org/dictionary/five-moral-precepts

Five Moral
Precepts

The Five
Moral Precepts are prohibitions against 1) killing, 2) stealing, 3) sexual
misconduct, 4) false speech, and 5) taking intoxicants.


Commentary

“Why
should one refrain from killing? It is because all living beings have a life;
they love their life and do not wish to die. Even one of the smallest
creatures, the mosquito, when it approaches to bite you, will fly away if you
make the slightest motion. Why does it fly away? Because it fears death. It
figures that if it drinks your blood you will take its life. From this you can
see that all living beings love life and do not wish to die. Especially people.
Everyone wants to live and no one wants to die. Although people sometimes
commit suicide, ordinarily people do not seek death. Suicide is a special
exception to the principle. That is why we should nurture compassionate
thoughts. Since we wish to live, we should not kill any other living beings.
That explains the precept against killing.

“Stealing.
If you don’t steal, no one will steal from you. Many of you have heard this
verse I wrote:
If in this life you don’t cage birds,
In future lives you will not sit in jail.
If in this life you do not fish,
In future lives you will not beg for food.
If in this life you do not kill,
In future lives you’ll suffer no disasters.
If in this life you do not steal,
In future lives you won’t be robbed.
If in this life you commit no sexual misconduct,
In future lives you will not be divorced.
If in this life you do not lie,
In future lives you will not be deceived.
If in this life you do not take intoxicants,
In future lives you will not go insane.…

“Some
people say, ‘Of the Five Precepts, the four which prohibit killing, stealing,
sexual misconduct, and lying are very important. But taking intoxicants is a
very commonplace thing. Why prohibit that?’ When you consume intoxicants, it
becomes very easy to break the other precepts. Thus, we ban such things as
drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and taking any kind of intoxicating drugs.

“Some
people say, ‘The Five Precepts don’t specifically prohibit smoking tobacco or
taking drugs. Doing those things is not in violation of the precepts.’ Those
people are wrong. The precept against intoxicants also prohibits smoking
tobacco, taking drugs, and using all intoxicating substances—including
marijuana and opium.” (BRF 59-60)

“The Five
Precepts are extremely important. Strict adherence to them will insure rebirth
in the realm of humans. If you cultivate the Five Precepts, you won’t lose the
opportunity to be born a person.

“Someone
may say, however, ‘I understand why one should not kill. After all, all living
beings have the Buddha-nature, all can become Buddhas, and so every living
being’s life should be spared. I also understand why stealing is not good and
that it is important to refrain from indulging in sexual misconduct and lying,
but why are intoxicants included within the Five Precepts? I always enjoyed
drinking and smoking. Everybody drinks. Everybody smokes. What’s wrong with it?
In fact I’m seriously considering dropping my study of the Buddhadharma just
because of this prohibition against intoxicants.’

“You
should stop and think about it, instead of just following the crowd. Others
enjoy smoking, and so you join them; others enjoy drinking, and so you drink
too. You get caught up in such company and do the things they do until
eventually you get the habit as well. Most people don’t have grave illnesses,
rather merely slight sicknesses and little problems. But just on account of
those slight problems you would consider cutting short your study of the
Buddhadharma. How foolish that would be! Do you want to know why there is a
prohibition against alcohol? I’ll tell you a true story which should clarify
this point.

“There
once was a man who liked to drink. He took the Five Precepts, but afterwards he
didn’t keep them.…One day he thought, ‘Perhaps I’ll have a little drink of
wine.’ He took out a bottle and had a few swallows. He was accustomed to having
something to eat with his drink, so he set the bottle down and went outside to
look for something to eat. He noticed that his neighbor’s chicken had strayed
over into his yard. ‘Good,’ he thought, ‘it will make a good chaser,’ and he
snatched up the pullet. At that point he broke the precept against stealing.
Once he’d stolen it, he had to kill it before he could eat it, and so he broke
the precept against killing. Once the chicken was cooked, he used it to chase
down his wine, and soon he was roaring drunk, thus breaking once again the
precept against the use of intoxicants. About that time there was a knock at
his door. It was the neighbor lady in search of her chicken. ‘I haven’t seen
it,’ he blurted out, thereby breaking the precept against lying.

“A second
glance at the neighbor lady revealed her beauty to him and, aroused by an
overpowering sexual desire, he raped her.

“Afterwards
he was met with litigation. All that came about because he wanted to drink.
Just because he had a few drinks, he broke the other four precepts and got into
a lot of trouble. Intoxicants cause one to become confused and scattered, and
so they are the object of one of the Buddhist prohibitions. A person who is
drunk lacks self-control. With no forewarning he can find himself suddenly in
the heavens, suddenly on earth. He mounts the clouds and drives the fog—he’ll
do anything.…

“If you
receive the Five Precepts and do not violate them, then you are protected by
good Dharma-protecting spirits, who are connected with each precept. If you
break the precepts, the good spirits leave and no longer protect you. That is
why receiving the precepts is extremely important in Buddhism.” (SS I 46-47)


Chinese /
Sanskrit / Pali Terms

五戒 [wǔ jiè] ; pañca-śīlāni ; pañca-sīlāni

http://www.talktalk.co.uk/reference/encyclopaedia/hutchinson/m0097764.html

Five Moral Precepts

In Buddhism, the rules of behaviour accepted by the Buddhist
laity
, who vow to refrain from: 1. taking life, 2. stealing, 3. sexual
promiscuity, 4. lying, and 5. drinking alcohol (which may lead to lack of
control and breaking the other four). On holy days, lay Buddhists may follow
the Ten
Moral Precepts
practised by ordained Buddhists.

http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/getting7.htm

7. The Five Precepts

 

The purpose of Buddhist moral precepts

There are three fundamental modes of training in Buddhist practice:
morality, mental culture, and wisdom. The English word morality is used to translate
the Pali term sila, although the Buddhist term contains its own
particular connotations. The word sila denotes a state of normalcy, a
condition which is basically unqualified and unadulterated. When one practices sila,
one returns to one’s own basic goodness, the original state of normalcy,
unperturbed and unmodified. Killing a human being, for instance, is not
basically human nature; if it were, human beings would have ceased to exist a
long time ago. A person commits an act of killing because he or she is blinded
by greed, rage or hatred. Such negative qualities as anger, hatred, greed, ill
will, and jealousy are factors that alter people’s nature and make them into
something other than their true self. To practice sila is thus to
train in preserving one’s true nature, not allowing it to be modified or
overpowered by negative forces.

    This definition points to the objective of Buddhist
morality rather than to the practice itself, but it does give us an idea of the
underlying philosophy behind the training, as well as how the Buddhist moral
precepts should be followed. These precepts are a means to an end, they are
observed for a specific objective.

    On the personal level, the observance of precepts serves
as the preliminary groundwork for the cultivation of higher virtues or mental
development. Sila is the most important step on the spiritual path.
Without morality, right concentration cannot be attained, and without right
concentration, wisdom cannot be fully perfected. Thus, morality not only
enhances people’s ethical values and fulfills their noble status as human
beings, but it is crucial to their efforts toward the highest religious goal of
Nibbana.

    On the social level, sila contributes to
harmonious and peaceful coexistence among community members and consequently
helps to promote social growth and development. In a society where morality
prevails and members are conscious of their roles, there will be general
security, mutual trust, and close cooperation, these in turn leading to greater
progress and prosperity. Without morality there will be corruption and
disturbance, and all members of society are adversely affected. Most of the
problems that society experiences today are connected, directly or indirectly,
with a lack of good morality.

    Questions of morality always concern the issues of right
and wrong, good and evil. For a moral life to be meaningful these issues must
not remain mere theoretical principles, but translated into practice. Good must
be performed, evil must be given up. It is not enough to know what is good or
evil, we also need to take proper action with respect to them. We need concrete
guidelines to follow, and these are provided by the Buddhist moral precepts.
Even the oft-quoted Buddhist ideals of abstention from evil, implementation of
what is good, and perfect mental purification can be initially actualized
through a consistent practice of moral precepts. The precepts help us to live
those ideals; they teach us to do the right things and to avoid the wrong.

    Buddhist moral precepts provide a wholesome foundation
for personal and social growth. They are practical principles for a good life
and the cultivation of virtues. If we understand the objectives of sila
and realize its benefits, we will see moral precepts as an integral part of
life rather than as a burden that we are compelled to shoulder. Buddhist moral
precepts are not commandments imposed by force; they are a course of training
willingly undertaken in order to achieve a desired objective. We do not
practice to please a supreme being, but for our own good and the good of
society. As individuals, we need to train in morality to lead a good and noble
life. On the social level, we need to help maintain peace and harmony in
society and facilitate the progress of the common good. The practice of moral
precepts is essential in this regard.

 

Distinguishing good and evil  

The problems of good and evil, right and wrong, have been dealt with in the
discussion on kamma. Here it may suffice to give a brief summary on
the subject.

    To determine whether an action is good or evil, right or
wrong, Buddhist ethics takes into account three components involved in a kammic
action. The first is the intention that motivates the action, the second is the
effect the doer experiences consequent to the action, and the third is the
effect that others experience as a result of that action. If the intention is
good, rooted in positive mental qualities such as love, compassion, and wisdom,
if the result to the doer is wholesome (for instance, it helps him or her to
become more compassionate and unselfish), and if those to whom the action is
directed also experience a positive result thereof, then that action is good,
wholesome, or skillful (kusala). If, on the other hand, the action is
rooted in negative mental qualities such as hatred and selfishness, if the
outcome experienced by the doer is negative and unpleasant, and if the
recipients of the action also experience undesirable effects from the action or
become more hateful and selfish, then that action is unwholesome or unskillful
(akusala).

    It is quite probable that on the empirical level an
action may appear to be a mixture of good and bad elements, in spite of the
intention and the way it is performed. Thus, an action committed with the best
of intentions may not bring the desired result for either the doer or the
recipient. Sometimes an action based on negative intentions may produce
seemingly positive results (as stealing can produce wealth). Due to lack of
knowledge and understanding, people may confuse one set of actions with an
unrelated set of results and make wrong conclusions, or simply misjudge them on
account of social values and conventions. This can lead to misconceptions about
the law of kamma and loss of moral consciousness. This is why precepts
are necessary in the practice of moral discipline: they provide definite
guidelines and help to avoid some of the confusion that empirical observation
and social conventions may entail.

    Buddhist moral precepts are based on the Dhamma, and they
reflect such eternal values as compassion, respect, self-restraint, honesty,
and wisdom. These are values that are cherished by all civilizations, and their
significance is universally recognized. Moral precepts that are based on such
values or directed toward their realization will always be relevant to human
society, no matter to what extent it has developed. Moreover, their validity
can be empirically tested on the basis of one’s own sensitivity and conscience,
which are beyond factors of time and place. Killing, for instance, is
objectionable when considered from the perspective of oneself being the victim
of the action (although when other lives are subjected to the same act, its
undesirability may not be felt as strongly). The same is true with regard to
stealing, lying, and sexual misconduct. Because Buddhist moral precepts are
grounded on these factors, their practicality remains intact even today, and
their usefulness is beyond question.

 

Precepts for lay Buddhists

Observance of the five precepts constitutes the minimum moral obligation of
a practicing lay Buddhist. These five precepts enjoin against killing living
beings, taking what is not given (or stealing), sexual misconduct, false
speech, and use of intoxicating drink or drugs.

    The practice of Buddhist moral precepts deeply affects
one’s personal and social life. The fact that they represent a course of
training which one willingly undertakes rather than a set of commandments
willfully imposed by a God or supreme being is likely to have a positive
bearing upon one’s conscience and awareness. On the personal level, the
precepts help one to lead a moral life and to advance further on the spiritual
path. Moreover, popular Buddhism believes that the practice of morality
contributes to the accumulation of merits that both support one in the present
life and ensure happiness and prosperity in the next. On the social level,
observing the five precepts helps to promote peaceful coexistence, mutual
trust, a cooperative spirit, and general peace and harmony in society. It also
helps to maintain an atmosphere which is conducive to social progress and
development, as we can see from the practical implications of each precept.

    The first precept admonishes against the destruction of
life. This is based on the principle of goodwill and respect for the right to
life of all living beings. By observing this precept one learns to cultivate
loving kindness and compassion. One sees others’ suffering as one’s own and
endeavors to do what one can to help alleviate their problems. Personally, one
cultivates love and compassion; socially, one develops an altruistic spirit for
the welfare of others.

    The second precept, not to take things which are not
given, signifies respect for others’ rights to possess wealth and property.
Observing the second precept, one refrains from earning one’s livelihood
through wrongful means, such as by stealing or cheating. This precept also
implies the cultivation of generosity, which on a personal level helps to free
one from attachment and selfishness, and on a social level contributes to
friendly cooperation in the community.

    The third precept, not to indulge in sexual misconduct,
includes rape, adultery, sexual promiscuity, paraphilia, and all forms of
sexual aberration. This precept teaches one to respect one’s own spouse as well
as those of others, and encourages the practice of self-restraint, which is of
utmost importance in spiritual training. It is also interpreted by some scholars
to mean the abstention from misuse of senses and includes, by extension,
non-transgression on things that are dear to others, or abstention from
intentionally hurting other’s feelings. For example, a young boy may practice
this particular precept by refraining from intentionally damaging his sister’s
dolls. If he does, he may be said to have committed a breach of morality. This
precept is intended to instill in us a degree of self-restraint and a sense of
social propriety, with particular emphasis on sexuality and sexual behavior.

    The fourth precept, not to tell lies or resort to
falsehood, is an important factor in social life and dealings. It concerns
respect for truth. A respect for truth is a strong deterrent to inclinations or
temptation to commit wrongful actions, while disregard for the same will only
serve to encourage evil deeds. The Buddha has said: “There are few evil
deeds that a liar is incapable of committing.” The practice of the fourth
precept, therefore, helps to preserve one’s credibility, trustworthiness, and
honor.

    The last of the five Buddhist moral precepts enjoins
against the use of intoxicants. On the personal level, abstention from
intoxicants helps to maintain sobriety and a sense of responsibility. Socially,
it helps to prevent accidents, such as car accidents, that can easily take
place under the influence of intoxicating drink or drugs. Many crimes in
society are committed under the influence of these harmful substances. The
negative effects they have on spiritual practice are too obvious to require any
explanation.

 

The five precepts

Theravada Buddhism preserves the Buddha’s teachings and conducts religious
ceremonies mainly in the original Pali language. The five precepts are also
recited in Pali, and their meanings are generally known to most Buddhists. In
the following the original Pali text is given in italics, and the corresponding
English translation is given side by side:

     1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami:
I observe the precept of abstaining from the destruction of life.

    2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I
observe the precept of abstaining from taking that which is not given.

    3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami:
I observe the precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct
.

    4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I
observe the precept of abstaining from falsehood.

    5. Suramerayamajjapamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam
samadiyami
: I observe the precept of abstaining from intoxicants that
cloud the mind and cause carelessness.

    The refrain “I observe the precept of abstaining
from …” which begins every precept clearly shows that these are not
commandments. They are, indeed, moral codes of conduct that lay Buddhists
willingly undertake out of clear understanding and conviction that they are
good for both themselves and for society.

 

Practical application of the five precepts

Training is based on the axiomatic assumption that human beings have the
potential for development. In order that this development may be realized, a
concrete standard is needed by which people may train themselves. The five
precepts are meant to fulfill this need.

    For example, compassion is a spiritual quality that we
all possess to some degree. However, without a conscious and persistent effort
to develop it, this important quality may remain rudimentary and weak. By
consciously practicing the first precept, we bring this compassion to a higher
level of development and come a step closer to the realization of the Dhamma.
In the process, our conduct becomes more refined and our mind becomes more
sensitive to the problems and suffering of others. By practicing the second
precept we not only purify our livelihood but train in generosity and
non-attachment. The third precept has a direct connection with the training in
sense restraint, which is an essential feature in higher spiritual development.
In fact, enlightenment is not possible without mastery over the senses. The
fourth precept deals with training in truthfulness and virtuous speech. The
objective of this precept is not only the cultivation of respect for truth, but
a way of life that is sincere and free from falsehood in every respect. Even
the fifth precept, which enjoins against the use of intoxicants, is not merely
negative, for the resultant effects that take place in the mind in terms of
mental strength and moral integrity are very positive. The observance of this
precept is also a natural precursor to the cultivation of mindfulness and
wisdom, which are the essence of insight meditation. Each and every precept
increases our awareness of how we may skillfully conduct ourselves in body and
speech and helps us to see more clearly whether we are improving in this
process of self-discipline.

    We may summarize the five precepts in relation to the
spiritual qualities that they are likely to produce and promote as follows. The
first precept helps to promote goodwill, compassion, and kindness. The second
can be instrumental in developing generosity, service, altruism,
non-attachment, contentment, honesty, and right livelihood. The third precept
helps to cultivate self-restraint, mastery over the emotions and senses,
renunciation, and control of sensual desire. The fourth precept leads to the
development of honesty, reliability, and moral integrity. The fifth precept
helps to promote mindfulness, clarity of mind, and wisdom.

    Self-reliance and responsibility are important features
of the practice of Buddhist morality. Because these precepts are meant to be a
course of training, it can hardly be expected that each and every practitioner
will be able to follow them without committing the slightest error, any more
than it can be expected of a music student not to make a single mistake in the
course of his lessons. For people with certain temperaments or occupations,
some precepts may appear more difficult to follow than the rest, but that
should not be an obstacle to making an attempt to keep the precepts. If one is
discouraged from practicing, one need simply consider that these precepts are a
course of training; and training, by definition, implies imperfection and a
gradual process of development.

    However, for those who are new to Buddhism, it may be a
good idea to begin with greater emphasis on those precepts that are easier to
follow, bearing the others in mind for later development. For instance, the
second and the third precepts obviously need to be practiced by virtue of
necessity, for they are supported by laws and are in perfect harmony with
customs and conventions in all civilized societies. There is, therefore, hardly
an excuse for not practicing them. Having dealt with these two precepts in this
way, the remaining three present much lighter and less daunting a task. In
fact, if we understand the contents and meaning of the five precepts correctly,
we may come to feel that it is more natural to observe them than not to.

 

Moral precepts and livelihood
 

It is not true to say that fishermen, farmers, or hunters cannot observe the
first precept. Like people in other trades and occupations, they may not be
able to observe all the precepts all the time or in all circumstances, given
their family obligations and livelihood, but they can certainly practice them
on special occasions, like holy days, or when they are not actually engaged in
their professions. In fact, there may be more opportunities to practice than at
first seems possible. We observe the precepts in accordance with our abilities,
training by degrees until we are able to make the precepts part and parcel of
our lives.

    In the time of the Buddha there were people engaged in
occupations that involved killing, such as hunters or fishermen. Farmers, too,
were not free from killing, although the intention involved might not be as
direct. For all of these people the precepts were there to be practiced, and
some were better able to do so than others. Each person has the opportunity to
practice to the best of his or her abilities until they become more mature and
are spiritually ready to give up occupations or trades that involve unwholesome
kamma.

    One difficulty for some people is the use of alcoholic
drinks: some feel discouraged from keeping the fifth precept because some of
their friends drink or because they have business dealings with people who
drink. Peer pressure and business objectives may be an obstacle to the
observance of this precept, but this is by no means insurmountable. Most people
are reasonable and do understand religious conscience. Sometimes, citing
physicians’ opinions may add weight to an excuse not to drink, but it is always
best to be honest. In any case, a serious Dhamma practitioner should not allow
trivial things like this to prevent him or her from trying to keep the
precepts. There is always an opportunity to exert oneself if one is earnest in
the practice.

 

Moral precepts and
passivity

 

If one carefully studies the foregoing discussion on the five precepts, one
will see that, although the Pali texts are worded in the negative “…
abstaining from …”, there is the positive commitment “I undertake
to observe the precept …” in all of them. Negative expressions do not
necessarily represent negative or passive attitudes of mind. Of course,
misunderstandings may result from misinterpretations of the Buddhist moral
precepts (as they arise in regard to other Pali technical terms like Nibbana,
dukkha, santutthi, and anatta).

    From the practical perspective Buddhist moral precepts do
contain both positive and negative aspects. However, from the psychological
point of view it is important for practitioners to first recognize that which
is bad or wrong and which should be abstained from. Abstention from wrong or
evil deeds is the most significant step toward real development in
spirituality. Strangely enough, it often appears that people are so preoccupied
with doing good, they forget the most important duty of refraining from evil.
That is why even though one scientific accomplishment after another is being
achieved, crime rates are soaring unchecked, and thinking people begin to
question the benefits of those accomplishments. In religious circles, devotees
passionately try to accumulate more and more merits without ever pausing to
reflect whether there are things that should be cleansed from their minds. As
long as this negative aspect is not attended to on a practical level, spiritual
progress will not come about. On the other hand, consider a society in which
people were determined not to do evil and who abstained from that which is bad
and wrong; the result of such a ‘negative’ practice would indeed be most
welcome. Even Nibbana is often negatively described as “the
abandoning and destruction of desire and craving,” and “the
extinction of desire, the extinction of hatred, and the extinction of
delusion,” although it is positively the highest good.

    Once wrong and evil deeds have been abandoned, it becomes
more natural to do good. Since life means movement and action, any human
expression which rejects evil is bound to be good and positive. If false speech
is given up, whatever is spoken will naturally be truthful. Giving up of
falsehood, which is a negative act, therefore constitutes in itself not only a
negation, but a positive attitude and commitment. As the Buddha himself has
admonished his followers:

“Abandoning false speech, one speaks the truth, becomes dependable,
trustworthy, and reliable, and does not mislead the world. Abandoning malicious
speech, one does not repeat there what has been heard here, nor does one repeat
here what has been heard there, in order to sow the seeds of discord. One
reconciles and unites those disunited and promotes closer bonds among friends.
Unity is one’s delight and joy, unity is one’s love, it is the motive behind one’s
verbal expression. Abandoning harsh speech, one employs a speech which is
blameless, pleasant, acceptable, heart-touching, civilized, and agreeable.
Abandoning frivolous speech, one uses speech which is appropriate to the
occasion, correct, purposeful, and in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya. One
utters words that are worthy, opportune, reasonable, meaningful, and
straightforward.”

    One important reason why the Buddhist moral precepts are
phrased in negative terms is because the negative mode of expression tends to
convey clearer and more specific injunctions which can be followed with ease.
From a practical point of view, “Do not kill” carries stronger impact
and a clearer definition than “Be kind to animals” and can be more conveniently
practiced. From experience, however, we will see that anyone who consciously
and constantly observes the first precept will naturally develop kindness
toward people and animals. The second precept, which says, “Do not take
what is not given,” covers all forms of wrong livelihood, whether by
deception, fraud, bribery or theft. By earnestly observing this precept, one
will naturally take a positive step in earning one’s livelihood in a righteous
way. Through constant awareness and direct control of greed and avarice, which
motivate wrong livelihood, one learns to develop generosity, altruism, and
selfless service. These and other positive virtues result from the so-called
negative actions of observing the moral precepts, clearly demonstrating how the
precepts laid down by the Buddha can bear positive results, despite their
wording and expression.

 

Moral dilemmas

The first of the five Buddhist moral precepts is based on the altruistic
concept of universal love and compassion. It is not only a way of life and an
exercise in personal morality, but also a part of the much larger scheme in
spiritual discipline of which purity of body, speech, and mind are
indispensable ingredients. As such it makes no exception in its practice, given
the lofty ideal to which it is designed to lead. However, in real life
situations, we may need a more practical attitude of mind to approach the
problem in a more realistic manner.

    First of all, we must recognize the fact that destruction
of life is a negative act and the volition involved is an unwholesome one. By
being honest with ourselves and by impartially contemplating the results that
such acts bring, we can realize the wisdom of the first precept and
consequently try to abstain from killing in any form. Perfection in the
practice comes with spiritual maturity, and until perfection is attained, one
needs to be aware of possible imperfections in the practice and try to improve
oneself accordingly.

    Because perfection in morality requires considerable
effort and training, few can achieve it in the beginning. One need not,
therefore, feel discouraged, but should learn how progress in the practice can
be made through a systematized and graduated process of training. For instance,
one may begin by resolving to abandon any killing that is not absolutely
necessary. There are people who find pleasure in destroying other creatures,
such as those who fish or hunt for sport. This type of killing is quite
unnecessary and only demonstrates callousness. Others are engaged in sports
which involve pain and suffering to animals and may even cost their lives, such
as bull fights, cock fights, and fish fights — all senseless practices
designed to satisfy sadistic impulses. One who wishes to train in the Dhamma
should avoid having anything to do with this kind of entertainment. One may
also resolve to show kindness to other people and animals in an objective and
concrete way whenever it is possible to do so. While circumstances may prevent
absolute abstention from killing, this may help to refine the mind and develop
more sensitivity to the suffering of other beings. Trying to look for an
alternative livelihood that does not involve destruction of life is a further
step to be considered.

    Keeping one’s home free of pests or bugs by not creating
conditions for their infestation helps reduce the necessity for exterminating
them. Ecologically, this is a very commendable practice, since the adverse
effects of chemical insecticides on the environment are well known. Prevention
is, indeed, better than cure even concerning bugs and beetles. Cleanliness of
habitat makes killing in such cases unnecessary. Even in the field of
agriculture, insecticide-free farming is becoming increasingly popular and
commercially competitive. If people are so inclined and compassion prevails,
killing can be greatly avoided even in the real life situations of an ordinary
householder with full family obligations and concerns.

    In the unlikely event that killing is absolutely
inevitable, it may be advisable to note the obvious distinction between killing
out of cruelty and killing out of necessity. A person who goes out fishing for
pleasure is cruel. While he may love children or make big donations for
charitable institutions, as far as spirituality is concerned his mind is not
refined enough to be sensitive to the pain and suffering of the poor creatures
living in the river. A man who hunts for a living does so because it is
necessary to maintain himself and his family. It would seem quite
understandable that in the latter case the unwholesome effects would likely be
much lighter than the former. The same thing is true in the case of killing for
self defense. Killing dangerous animals, vermin, and insects accrues less
kammically unwholesome consequences than killing a human being or an animal
that serves man (such as a horse, a dog, or an elephant).

 

Buddhism, capital
punishment and war

As a student of Buddhism, one may realize that each person practices Dhamma
according to his or her ability and the opportunities that arise. A policeman
on duty patrolling a crime-infested street or a soldier at a border outpost
surveying suspicious movements inside hostile territory will experience totally
different circumstances in spiritual endeavor from a monk sitting peacefully in
his cloistered cell. Yet, what they do have in common is the opportunity to
perform their duty. Each must therefore understand how the Dhamma can be best
practiced, given the situation he is in. All of us are bounded up with certain
duties, one way or another. Where policemen and soldiers are concerned, it
would be naive to deny that their duties do include the possibility of killing.

    It cannot be overemphasized, however, that destruction of
life is, from a Buddhist standpoint, never justified. But in discussing the
issue under question it is hardly appropriate not to distinguish between
spiritual objectives and those of national security and administration. Capital
punishment, for instance, is an instrument by which law and order may be
effectively maintained for the common good of society, although Buddhism would
not advocate that such a measure is conducive to the police officers’ spiritual
well-being. The principles and purposes on which the police and military
institutions were established are as far apart from those on which Buddhist
spiritual training was formulated as anything can be. Yet, Buddhism and those
secular institutions do coexist now, as they did during the time of the Buddha.
Important military chiefs and dignitaries are known to have been the Buddha’s
most devout followers. One does not, therefore, make the mistake of concluding
that a person cannot be a Buddhist, or keep the Buddhist moral precepts for
that matter, if he serves in the armed forces or police establishment. As has
been said before there are more opportunities to practice the precepts than not
to practice; this is true even where the above-mentioned professions are
concerned.

 

Stealing from the
rich to feed the poor

Helping the poor is a commendable effort, but stealing from the rich to
fulfill that commitment can hardly be justified. If this were made into a
standard practice, society would be in turmoil. Rights of possession would be
ignored, and stealing would become the accepted norm. Finally, the practice
would defeat itself, and thievery would be recognized as a charitable act. This
is hardly a desirable state of affairs; it is something not even remotely
resembling a moral condition.

    One of the distinct features of the Buddhist moral
precepts is the universal character in which they may be practiced with benefit
by all members of society. For instance, non-stealing (second precept) can be
universally observed with desirable results, and the practice will help to
promote coexistence, peace, and harmony in society. If this precept were
reversed and stealing were made a moral principle, we can immediately see that
there would be so much conflict and confusion that society would eventually
cease to function. Thus, stealing can never be made a moral act, no matter how
ideal and noble the motivation.

 

Extramarital sex

This is a rather complex issue involving ramifications in emotional, social,
and moral fields. The problem is a cause for concern in modern times,
especially in the West where materialism has for so long been the philosophy of
life.

    The third moral precept advises against all forms of
sexual misconduct, which include rape, adultery, promiscuity, paraphilia, and
sexual perversions. Actually, the Buddhist commentary emphasizes adultery more
than anything else, but if we take into account the purpose and intention of
the precept, it is clear that the precept is intended to cover all improper
behavior with regard to sex. The broadest interpretation even purports to mean
abstention from the misuse of the senses. The expression “misuse of the
senses” is somewhat vague. It could refer to any morally unwholesome action
committed under the influence of sensual desire or to the inability to control
one’s own senses. In any case there is no doubt that the third precept aims at
promoting, among other things, proper sexual behavior and a sense of social
decency in a human civilization where monogamy is commonly practiced and
self-restraint is a cherished moral value.

    For one reason or another, many young people in love are
not able to enter into married life as early as they wish. While marriage is
still some distance in the future, or even an uncertain quantity, these people
enter into relationships, of which sex forms a significant part. This happens
not only among adults, who must legally answer to their own conduct, but also
among teenagers who are still immature, emotionally unstable, and tend to act
in irresponsible ways. Peer pressure and altered moral values are an important
contributing factor to the escalation of the problem. The trend toward
extramarital sex has become so common that it is now virtually taken for
granted. Contubernal arrangements are becoming increasingly popular, and
marriage is relegated to a place of insignificance, jeopardizing in the process
the sanctity of family life.

    In the context of these developments, the third precept
becomes all the more relevant and meaningful. Unlike killing, which certain
circumstances seem to warrant, there is hardly any plausible excuse for sexual
promiscuity, except human weaknesses and inability to restrain the sexual urge.
However, there is a distinction between sexual promiscuity and sexual
relationship based on mutual trust and commitment, even if the latter were a
relationship between two single adults. Thus one may begin to practice the
third precept by resolving not to be involved in sexual activities without an
earnest intention and serious commitment of both parties. This means that sex
should not be consummated merely for the sake of sexuality, but should be
performed with full understanding within the people involved and with mutual
responsibility for its consequences. A certain level of maturity and emotional
stability is necessary to ensure a healthy and productive sexual relationship
between two partners. With the realization that there is a better and more
noble path to follow than promiscuity, one may see the wisdom of self-restraint
and the benefit of establishing a more lasting and meaningful relationship
which, rather than impeding one’s spiritual progress, may enhance it.

    Finally, if anything else fails to convince people of the
danger and undesirability of sexual promiscuity, perhaps the phenomenal AIDS
epidemic will. This may seem beside the point, since moral precepts and moral
integrity are matters that concern inner strength, fortitude, and conscientious
practice, not fear and trepidation based on extraneous factors. It is,
nevertheless, worthwhile to consider the connection between promiscuous
behavior and the AIDS epidemic and realize how strict observance of the third
Buddhist moral precept could greatly reduce the risk of infection or spread of
this deadly disease. Acceptance of this fact may also lead to an appreciation
of the value of morality and moral precepts as laid down by the Buddha,
consequently strengthening conviction in the Dhamma practice.

 

White lies

The practice of the fourth precept aims at inculcating a respect for truth
in the mind, implying both one’s own obligations as well as the rights of other
people to truth. This is one of the most important components in developing
sound social relationships, and it makes all documents, contracts, agreements,
deeds, and business dealings meaningful. When we resort to falsehood, we not
only become dishonest but also show disrespect to the truth. People who tell
lies discredit themselves and become untrustworthy.

    It is true that sometimes telling lies may prove more
profitable than truth, especially from the material point of view. Because such
gains are unwholesome and may cause harm in the long run, and because material
profits are likely to lead to more falsehood and fabrication, it is imperative
that the practice of the fourth precept be duly emphasized. Where a person’s
reputation and feelings are concerned, discretion should be exercised. Of
course, there are instances where silence is more appropriate than speech, and
one may choose this as an alternative to prevarication and falsehood.

    Motivation is an important element in determining if one
is transgressing the fourth precept and whether a given verbal expression
constitutes a kammically unwholesome act. For instance, when an event is
fictionalized for literary purposes, this may not be regarded as falsehood as
such for the intention of the work is obvious and there is no attempt at
falsification involved. Another example is the case of an invective, where an
abusive expression is used (such as angrily calling someone a dog). This is a
case of vituperation rather than fabrication or falsification, although it is,
nonetheless, a kammically unwholesome act. Also, there is a clear distinction
between expressing untruth with a selfish intention and with a well-meaning
motive, as when a concocted story is told for instructional purposes or a white
lie is told in order to keep an innocent child out of danger.

    These latter two instances are even accepted as
illustrations of the employment of skillful means. A story is told of a mother
who returns home to find her house on fire. Her little son is playing in the
house, unaware that its burning roof could collapse at any moment. He is so
engrossed that he pays no attention to his mother, who is now in great
distress, being unable to get into the house herself. So she calls out to her
child, “Come quickly, my little one, I have some wonderful toys for you.
All the toys you ever wanted to have are here!” In this instance the
mother is using a skillful means that eventually saves the boy’s life. Under
certain circumstances, this may be the only alternative, but indiscriminate use
of such means may lead to undesirable results. One needs to be judicious,
therefore, in the practice of the precepts.

    Sometimes speaking the truth may cause more harm than
good, especially if it is done with malicious intent. A vindictive neighbor who
spreads the scandals about the family next door may be speaking the truth, but
she is neither doing anyone a service, nor is she practicing the Dhamma. A spy
who sells his nation’s sensitive classified information to an enemy may be
speaking the truth, but he could cause much harm to his nation’s security and
jeopardize many innocent lives. The Buddha says, therefore, that one should
speak the truth which is useful and conducive to the Dhamma, and should avoid
that which is useless and is likely to cause unwholesome kamma to
oneself and others.

 

Intoxicants

The fifth precept covers all intoxicants, including narcotics, that alter
the state of consciousness and are physiologically addictive. The danger and
negative effects of narcotics, such as cocaine and heroin, are too well known
to need any further elaboration. Today they represent a serious health and
social problem around the world.

    Drinking intoxicants is not part of the Buddhist culture,
although it seems to have become a widespread phenomenon in modern society. It
is true that alcoholic consumption was prevalent before and during the time of
the Buddha, but he never approved of the practice. The fact that something is
commonly practiced does not necessarily mean that it is good and wholesome.
Those who advocate drinking as a factor for promoting friendship forget to take
account of the reality that so many friendships have been drowned in those
intoxicants. The brawls, strife and unruly behavior that often follow the
consumption of alcoholic beverages represent an unequivocal testimony of the
ignoble state to which human beings can be reduced to under the influence of
intoxicants. Friendship founded on compassion and mutual understanding is much
more desirable than that which is based on alcohol. Social drinking may produce
a general euphoric atmosphere among drinkers (and probably a nuisance for
nondrinkers), but it is never a necessary condition for interpersonal
relationship. Often, people use this as an excuse to get drunk. The high rate
of car accidents connected with drunk driving should serve as a strong reminder
of the danger and undesirability of alcoholic consumption. On the other hand,
it may be mentioned in passing that liquor does contain certain medicinal
properties and can be used for medical purposes. Such use, if genuine and under
qualified supervision, does not entail transgression of the fifth precept and
is not considered a morally unwholesome act.

    The most obvious danger of intoxicants is the fact that
they tend to distort the sensibilities and deprive people of their self-control
and powers of judgment. Under alcoholic influences, a person is likely to act
rashly and without due consideration or forethought. Otherwise decent people
may even commit murder or rape under the influence of alcohol, or cause all
kinds of damage (such as fire, accident, and vandalism) to people or property.
The Buddha described addiction to intoxicants as one of the six causes of ruin.
It brings about six main disadvantages: loss of wealth, quarrels and strife, a
poor state of health (liability to diseases), a source of disgrace, shameless
and indecent behavior, and weakened intelligence and mental faculties.

 

Other precepts

Occasionally, lay Buddhists may take the opportunity to observe the eight
precepts as a means of developing higher virtues and self-control. Of course,
these can be practiced as often as one wishes, but the special occasions on
which they are normally observed are the holy days, especially the more
important ones, the three month period of rains retreat, and special events
connected with one’s life. Sometimes, a Buddhist may observe them even as a
token of gratitude and respect to a deceased relative or on the occasion of a
birth anniversary of a monk he reveres. Four of these eight precepts are
identical with the five precepts mentioned above. In order, they are as
follows:

1. to abstain from the destruction of life
2. to abstain from stealing or taking what is not given
3. to abstain from sexual intercourse (to practice celibacy)
4. to abstain from falsehood
5. to abstain from alcoholic drinks
6. to abstain from partaking of food from afternoon till the following daybreak

7. to abstain from singing and entertainments, from decorating oneself and use
of perfumes
8. to abstain from the use of large and luxurious beds.

http://www.reonline.org.uk/ks2/topiclist.php?2-58

 VOICE OF SARVAJAN

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/mayawati-tells-akhilesh-yadav-to-stay-away-from-her-parks/1/184528.html


Uttar Pradesh: Angry Mayawati tells Akhilesh Yadav to stay away
from her pet parks and memorials

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) boss Mayawati came down like a pile of bricks on
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday, warning him to stay
off her pet parks and memorials.

The former Uttar Pradesh CM, threatened her
young successor in Lucknow with “dire consequences” if his government
fiddled with her parks.

“The SP government should not tamper
with the parks and memorials that were constructed in the honour of great
persons of the scheduled caste during our rule,” Mayawati said in Lucknow
after paying tribute to SC/ST icon Babashaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar on his 121st
birth anniversary.

Mincing no words, she said: “It the SP
tries to do any such thing, it can disturb the law and order of not only UP,
but the entire country.” This was her first direct assault on the new
government in UP.

The pent-up anger was evident. It was an
expected reaction because Akhilesh had announced soon after coming to power
that the precious land around the sculptures could be used for public service.
“Hospitals and educational institutions will be built,” he said after
meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Saturday.

Mayawati, 56, said the SP government should
learn to respect “great persons”. “We never tried to disturb the
memorials named after their (SP) icons. We honoured their feelings and I hope
the new government will do the same,” she said.

The BJP supported Mayawati. Party spokesman
Shahnawaz Hussain said his party “does not want any tampering of parks
meant for the public and no schools or hospitals should be opened in
these”.

http://zeenews.india.com/news/uttar-pradesh/akhilesh-s-statement-on-hospitals-hollow-bjp_770076.html


Akhilesh’s statement on hospitals ‘hollow’: BJP

 

New
Delhi: Speaking on the controversy surrounding the parks built by Bahujan Samaj
Party (BSP) chief Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
has said Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s statements regarding the construction
of hospitals in the vacant space inside such parks were hollow.

“This is just meaningless shadow-boxing. The way in which Akhilesh Yadav
is ruling after becoming the Chief Minister, he will be unable to live up to the high expectations
he created in the eyes of the public,” Javadekar said.

Echoing similar
statements, BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said Yadav must first attend to the
dismal state of the hospitals currently operational in Uttar Pradesh.

Akhilesh Yadav has repeatedly said that empty spaces in the parks, built at
great public expense by his predecessor Mayawati, would be used for
constructing hospitals or colleges for the welfare of the people of the state.

Earlier, Mayawati had issued a stern warning to
the Samajwadi Party (SP) Government, asking it to stay away from the parks and
statues constructed during her regime.

Mayawati said the law and order situation might worsen not only in Uttar
Pradesh, but across the country if the ruling government plans to make new
constructions in the parks where the statues of SC/ST/OBCs icons have been
erected.

“As per reports published in various newspapers, I would like to tell the
Samajwadi Party (SP) Government that if it plans to make new constructions in
the parks where statues of SC/ST/OBCs icons have been erected, then not only in
Uttar Pradesh but the law and order situation may worsen in the whole country
over this,” she said.

ANI

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/international/indias-dalit-queen-vows-trouble-if-statues-razed/511516

India’s ‘Sarvajan Queen’ Vows Trouble if Statues Razed


In this photograph taken on October 14, 2009, covered
statues overlook a park constructed by Uttar Pradesh state Chief Minister Mayawati
in Noida. India’s “Sarvajan Queen” Mayawati warned April 14, 2012
that any move to raze towering statues she built of SC/ST/OBC icons could
create law-and-order problems in the country. The firebrand leader was speaking
to party workers following a colorful term running the country’s most populous
state.

New Delhi. India’s
“Sarvajan Queen” Mayawati warned on Saturday that any move to raze towering
statues she built of herself and other low-caste icons could create
law-and-order problems in the country.




Mayawati, a member of the SC community of India’s complex social hierarchy, was
making her first major public speech since being dethroned last month as chief
minister of Uttar Pradesh state.




During her colorful term leading India’s most populous state, she built huge
statues of SC/ST/OBC leaders as well as of elephants.




“We never tried to disturb memorials and parks named after their [the new
ruling Samajwadi Party’s] icons. We honored their feelings and I hope the new
government will do the same,” Mayawti said on TV.




Any attempt to touch the “memorial parks” could “lead to law-and-order
problems, not only in the state but also in the country,” Mayawati, 56, said in
the Uttar Pradesh capital city of Lucknow.




She was referring to media reports the new government, led by a charismatic
38-year-old engineering graduate Akhilesh Yadav, may open hospitals and schools
in the parks that she built on a scale to rival the monuments of ancient Rome.






India’s 160 million SC/STs were once known as “untouchables” and given the most
menial jobs. Many still face discrimination, are forbidden to use communal
wells and excluded from social events, despite anti-discrimination laws.




“It is a veiled threat by her to the [state] government: don’t push it too far.
You won, but that doesn’t mean you trample all over our symbols, don’t mess
with our heritage,” said Ajoy Bose, who wrote a biography of Mayawati.




“She has been very quiet, this is her first major public statement, she is
warning ‘don’t create a war.’ It is a shot across the bow.”




Uttar Pradesh’s new chief minister said “precious land can definitely be used
for hospitals for children and women.”

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/14/eat-well-without-spending-more.aspx



Americans Eat the Cheapest Food in the World, But What is It
Really Costing?


Story at-a-glance

  • In 2010, Americans spent just over 9 percent of their
    disposable income on food (5.5 percent at home and 3.9 percent eating
    out); this is less than half or more of most any other country on the
    planet
  • The “faster, bigger, cheaper” approach to food
    production that the United States has mastered is unsustainable and is
    contributing to the destruction of our planet and your health
  • Easy access to cheap, poor-quality food is
    contributing to the rising rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart
    disease and other chronic disease
  • Nearly all cheap processed foods in the United States
    contain genetically modified (GM) ingredients and come from confined
    animal feeding operations, which contribute to environmental destruction,
    animal cruelty and the spread of antibiotic-resistant super-germs
  • To protect your health and the environment, strive to
    make 90 percent of your diet non-processed, whole organic foods; it may
    cost more to eat this way initially, but the amount it will save you in
    the long run is immeasurable

By
Dr. Mercola

In 2010, Americans spent just over 9 percent
of their disposable income on food (5.5 percent at home and 3.9 percent eating
out).i

This is a dramatically lower percentage
spent just decades ago in the early 1960s, when over 17 percent was spent on
food, and even more of a “bargain” compared to 1930, when Americans spent over
24 percent of their disposable income to feed their families.

When you compare what Americans spend to
what people in other countries spend, you’ll also notice some great
disparities.

On the surface, having cheaper food may seem
like an advantage, but in reality while Americans may be saving a few dollars
on their meals, they’re paying big time in terms of their health, and the
health of the planet.

No Place
on the Planet Has Cheaper Food Than the United States

As reported in TreeHugger, professor Mark J.
Perry stated on his Carpe Diem blog:ii

“… compared to other countries, there’s no
other place on the planet that has cheaper food than the U.S. The 5.5% of
disposable income that Americans spend on food at home is less than half the
amount of income spent by Germans (11.4%), the French (13.6%), the Italians
(14.4%), and less than one-third the amount of income spent by consumers in
South Africa (20.1%), Mexico (24.1%), and Turkey (24.5%), which is about what
Americans spent DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION, and far below what consumers spend
in Kenya (45.9%) and Pakistan (45.6%).”

Unfortunately, the “faster, bigger, cheaper”
approach to food production that the United States has mastered is
unsustainable and contributing to the destruction of our planet and your
health. Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and a number of other
bestsellers, said it best:

“Cheap food is an illusion. There is no
such thing as cheap food. The real cost of the food is paid somewhere. And if
it isn’t paid at the cash register, it’s charged to the environment or to the
public purse in the form of subsidies. And it’s charged to your health.”

In other words, pay now or pay later.
American food may be cheap, but that’s about the only “compliment” it deserves,
because when you rely on cheap food, you typically get what you pay for.

Why are So
Many Americans Fat and Sick?

In many cases, easily the majority, it is
due to dietary factors! Millions of Americans live in “food deserts”
where fresh produce is hard to find but processed food and fast food is
available everywhere. If your meals consist of $1 burgers and super-size
drinks, your diet may be cheap, but it is also excessively high in grains,
sugars, and factory-farmed meats. This is a recipe for obesity, diabetes and
heart disease, just to name a few calamitous conditions that befall those who
consume the standard American diet!

You have the U.S. government to thank for
this cheap food, as farm subsidies bring you high-fructose corn syrup,
fast food, animal factories, monoculture, and a host of other contributors to
our unhealthful contemporary diet. A report comparing federal subsidies of
fresh produce and junk food, prepared by U.S. PIRG, a non-profit organization
that takes on special interests on behalf of the public, revealed where your tax dollars are really going, and
it’s quite shocking.

If you were to receive an annual federal
subsidy directly, you would receive $7.36 to spend on junk food and just 11
cents to buy apples. In other words, every year, your tax dollars pay for
enough corn syrup and other junk food additives to buy 19 Twinkies, but only
enough fresh fruit to buy less than a quarter of one red delicious apple.

Heart disease is a direct reflection of poor
dietary choices. Heart disease costs us $189.4 billion per year. However,
statistics show that by 2030, these costs will triple, resulting in a
mind-bending $818 billion!iii

Meanwhile, as TreeHugger reported:

“If Americans continue to pack on pounds,
obesity will cost us about $344 billion in medical-related expenses by 2018,
eating up about 21 percent of healthcare spending, according to an article in
USA Today.iv

Not to mention the unseen health issues associated with a genetically modified
and pesticide-bathed food system.”

What’s the
“Cost” of a Food System Based on Genetically Modified Foods?

The damage is quite simply immeasurable.
Nearly all processed foods in the United States contain genetically modified
(GM) ingredients, particularly Bt corn and Roundup Ready soy. These crops and
other GM varieties are now planted on nearly 4 billion acres of land throughout
29 countries, as their makers (primarily Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta) continue
to praise their worth. These companies, which have created patents and
intellectual property rights so that they now control close to 70 percent of
global seed sales, extol the virtues of GM crops as though they are a panacea
for ending world hunger and solving the food crisis.

But in fact, as a report coordinated by
Navdanya and Navdanya International, the International Commission on the Future
of Food and Agriculture, The Center for Food Safety (CFS) and others, has
stated, GM crops are surrounded by false promises and failed yields, to the
extent that they are now destroying the food system with superweeds,
superpests and more.

Scientists have discovered a number of health
problems — like changes in reproductive hormones, testicular changes and
damage to the pituitary gland — related to genetically modified foods, however
these studies have been repeatedly ignored by both the European Food Safety
Authority and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). GM foods are
typically regarded as equivalent to their conventional counterparts. This,
however, is flawed logic because GM foods contain foreign genes that have never
before been introduced into the food supply, and are universally contaminated
with toxic GMO-specific herbicide residues.

Behind
Virtually Every Cheap Burger is a CAFO

It cannot be ignored that the animals raised
on confined animal feed operations (CAFOs) pay one of the highest prices for
Americans’ cheap food. The typical CAFO can house tens of thousands of animals
(and in the case of chickens, 100,000) under one roof, in nightmarish,
unsanitary, disease-ridden conditions.

Animals raised at CAFOs are treated like
objects, not animals — stuck in cages, overcrowded, often covered in feces –
which is not only hard to watch, but also hard to stomach. It is not at all
unusual for animals to be abused in these circumstances; the very conditions in
which they live are abuse in their own right. For those who aren’t aware, about
80 percent of all the antibiotics produced are used in agriculture — not only
to fight infection, but to promote unhealthy (though profitable) weight gain in
animals. Unfortunately, this practice is also contributing to the alarming spread
of antibiotic-resistant disease — a serious problem that is costing tens of
thousands of Americans their lives.

CAFOs have been highly promoted as the best
way to produce food for the masses, but the only reason CAFOs are able to
remain so “efficient,” bringing in massive profits while selling
their food for bottom-barrel prices, is because they substitute subsidized
crops for pasture grazing.

Factory farms use massive quantities of
corn, soy and grain in their animal feed, all crops that they are often able to
purchase at below cost because of government subsidies. Because of these
subsidies, U.S. farmers produce massive amounts of soy, corn, wheat, etc. –
rather than vegetables — leading to a monoculture of foods that contribute to
a fast food diet. As written in “CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal
Factories”:v

“Thanks to U.S. government subsidies,
between 1997 and 2005, factory farms saved an estimated $3.9 billion per year
because they were able to purchase corn and soybeans at prices below what it
cost to grow the crops. Without these feed discounts, amounting to a 5 to 15
percent reduction in operating costs, it is unlikely that many of these
industrial factory farms could remain profitable.

By contrast, many small farms that produce
much of their own forage receive no government money. Yet they are expected
somehow to match the efficiency claims of the large, subsidized megafactory
farms. On this uneven playing field, CAFOs may falsely appear to
“outcompete” their smaller, diversified counterparts.”

As it stands, the book notes that
“grazing and growing feed for livestock now occupy 70 percent of all
agricultural land and 30 percent of the ice-free terrestrial surface of the
planet. If present trends continue, meat production is predicted to double
between the turn of the 21st century and 2050.” Does this sound like a
good deal to you?

Allocating
More Money to Your Food is Investing in Your Most Valuable Asset…

You… and your family (including those who
are yet to be born)! If you want to optimize your health, you simply must
return to the basics of healthy food choices. And, as more and more people
begin to grasp this concept and demand healthy, unadulterated foods, the more
must be produced, one way or another. There is just no way around it — if you
want your family to be healthy, someone in your household, or someone you pay,
must invest some time in the kitchen preparing your food from scratch, using
fresh, whole ingredients.

Avoiding processed food requires a change in
mindset, which is not always an easy task. It CAN be done, however. Rather than
looking at processed foods as a convenience that tastes good or saves money,
try thinking of it as:

  • Extra calories that will harm your body
  • A toxic concoction of foreign chemicals and
    artificial flavors that will lead to disease
  • A waste of your money
  • Likely to lead to increased health care bills for you
    and your family
  • Not something to give to children, whose bodies are
    still developing and in great need of nutrients

Your goal should be to strive for 90 percent
non-processed, whole food. Not only will you enjoy the health
benefits—especially if you buy mostly organic—but you’ll also get the
satisfaction of knowing exactly what you’re putting into your body, and that in
and of itself can be a great feeling. It may
cost more to eat this way, but then again it might
not
. (And in the long run the amount it will save you in the long
run is immeasurable.)

You may be surprised to find out that by
going directly to the source you can get amazingly healthy, locally grown,
organic food for less than you can find at your supermarket. This gives you the
best of both worlds: food that is grown near to you and sold with minimal
packaging, cutting down on its carbon footprint and giving you optimal
freshness, as well as grown without chemicals, genetically modified (GM) seeds,
and other potential toxins.

Restaurants are able to keep their costs
down by getting food directly from a supplier. You, too, can take advantage of
a direct farm-to-consumer relationship, either on an individual basis by
visiting a small local farm or by joining a food coop in your area. To find
these types of real foods, grown by real farmers who are eager to serve their
communities, visit LocalHarvest.org.

Simple
Strategies to Eat Well Without Spending More

There are many strategies available to
stretch your food dollars while feeding your family healthy foods. Rather than
wasting money on expensive cereal boxes and bags of chips, put your money
toward foods that will serve your health well, such as raw organic dairy,
cage-free organic eggs, fresh vegetables and fermented foods you make at home
(fermented foods are incredibly economical because you can use a portion of one
batch to start the next).

The following strategies will also make it
easier to eat well on a tight budget:

  • Identify someone to prepare
    meals.
    Someone has to invest time
    in the kitchen to prepare your meals, or else you will succumb to costly
    and unhealthy fast food and convenience foods. So it will be necessary for
    either you, your spouse, another family member or someone you pay to
    prepare your family’s meals from locally grown healthful foods.
  • Become resourceful: This is an area where your grandmother can be a
    wealth of information, as how to use up every morsel of food and stretch
    out a good meal was common knowledge to generations past. Seek to get back
    to the basics of cooking — using the bones from a roast chicken to make
    stock for a pot of soup, extending a Sunday roast to use for weekday
    dinners, learning how to make hearty stews from inexpensive cuts of meat,
    using up leftovers and so on.
  • Plan your meals: If you fail to plan you are planning to fail. This
    is essential, as you will need to be prepared for mealtimes in advance to
    be successful. Ideally this will involve scouting out your local farmer’s
    markets for in-season produce that is priced to sell, and planning your
    meals accordingly. But, you can also use this same premise with
    supermarket sales or, even better, produce from your own vegetable garden.

You can generally
plan a week of meals at a time, make sure you have all ingredients necessary on
hand, and then do any prep work you can ahead of time so that dinner is easy to
prepare if you’re short on time in the evening.

It is no mystery
that you will be eating lunch around noon every day so rather than rely on fast
food at work, before you go to bed make a plan as to what you are going to take
to work for lunch the next day. This is a simple strategy that will let you eat
healthier and save money, especially it you take healthy food from home in with
you to work.

  • Avoid food waste: According to a study published in the journal PloS One, Americans waste an
    estimated 1,400 calories of food per person, each and every day.vi

    The two steps above will help you to mitigate food waste in your home, and
    you may also have seen my article titled 14 Ways to Save Money on Groceries. Among
    those tips are suggestions for keeping your groceries fresher, longer, and
    I suggest reviewing those tips now.
  • Buy organic animal foods. The most important foods to buy organic are animal,
    not vegetable, products (meat, eggs, butter, etc.), because animal foods
    tend to concentrate pesticides in higher amounts. If you cannot afford to
    buy all of your food organic, opt for organic animal foods first.

References:


Source:  Treehugger March 24, 2012

Related Links:

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NEWS LETTER
by ABHIDHAMMA RAKKHITA through
http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org


84000 Khandas divided into 275250 as to the

stanzas of the original text and
into 361550 divided  into 2547 banawaras containing 737000 stanzas and
29368000

separate letters

Awakeness Practices

All 84,000 Khandas As Found in the
Pali Suttas

Traditionally
the are 84,000 Dharma Doors -
84,000 ways to get Awakeness. Maybe so;

certainly the Buddha taught a
large number of practices that lead to

Awakeness. This web page attempts
to catalogue those found in the Pali Suttas

(DN, MN, SN, AN, Ud & Sn 1).
There are 3 sections:

The discourses of Buddha
are divided into 84,000, as to
separate addresses. The division includes all

that was spoken by Buddha.”I
received from Buddha,” said Ananda, “82,000

Khandas, and  from the
priests 2000; these are 84,000 Khandas maintained

by me.” They are divided into
275,250, as to the stanzas of the original text,

and into 361,550, as to the
stanzas of the commentary. All the discourses

including both those of Buddha and
those of the commentator, are divided

into 2,547 banawaras, containing
737,000 stanzas, and 29,368,000 separate letters.

WISDOM IS POWER

Awakened One Shows the Path to
Attain Ultimate Bliss

Anyone Can Attain Ultimate Bliss
Just Visit:

http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org

COMPUTER IS AN ENTERTAINMENT
INSTRUMENT!

INTERNET!

IS

ENTERTAINMENT
NET!

TOBE MOST APPROPRIATE!

Using such an instrument

The FREE ONLINE eNālāndā Research And Practice UNIVERSITY has been re-organized to function
through the following

Schools of Learning :

Buddha Taught his Dhamma Free of
cost, hence the Free- e-Nālandā

follows suit

As the Original Nālandā University
did not offer any Degree, so also the Free  e-Nālandā

University.

Main Course Programs:

I.
KAMMA

REBIRTH

AWAKEN-NESS

BUDDHA

THUS COME ONE

DHAMMA

II.
ARHAT

FOUR HOLY TRUTHS

EIGHTFOLD PATH

TWELVEFOLD CONDITIONED ARISING

BODHISATTVA

PARAMITA

SIX PARAMITAS

III.

SIX SPIRITUAL POWERS

SIX PATHS OF REBIRTH

TEN DHARMA REALMS

FIVE SKANDHAS

EIGHTEEN REALMS

FIVE MORAL PRECEPTS

IV.

MEDITATION

MINDFULNESS

FOUR APPLICATIONS OF
MINDFULNESS

LOTUS POSTURE

SAMADHI

CHAN SCHOOL

FOUR DHYANAS

FOUR FORMLESS REALMS

V.

FIVE TYPES OF BUDDHIST STUDY
AND PRACTICE

MAHAYANA AND HINAYANA COMPARED

PURE LAND

BUDDHA RECITATION

EIGHT CONSCIOUSNESSES

ONE HUNDRED DHARMAS

EMPTINESS

VI.

DEMON

LINEAGE

with

Level I: Introduction to
Buddhism

Level II: Buddhist Studies

TO ATTAIN

Level III: Stream-Enterer

Level IV: Once - Returner

Level V: Non-Returner


Level VI: Arhat

Jambudvipa,
i.e, PraBuddha Bharath
scientific thought in

mathematics,

astronomy,

alchemy,

and

anatomy

Philosophy and Comparative Religions;

Historical Studies;

International Relations and
Peace Studies;

Business Management in relation
to Public Policy and Development Studies;

Languages and Literature;


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