335 LESSON 05 08 2011 Silabbata Sutta Precept
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Buddhist Studies for Young Students
PTS: A i 225
Silabbata Sutta: Precept & Practice
translated from the Pali by
Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival,
having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed
One said to him, “Ananda, every precept & practice, every life, every
holy life that is followed as of essential worth: is every one of them
that is not [to be answered] with a categorical answer.”
that case, Ananda, give an analytical answer.”
— by following a life of precept & practice, a life, a holy life that is
followed as of essential worth — one’s unskillful mental qualities increase
while one’s skillful mental qualities decline: that sort of precept &
practice, life, holy life that is followed as of essential worth is fruitless.
But when — by following a life of precept & practice, a life, a holy life
that is followed as of essential worth — one’s unskillful mental qualities
decline while one’s skillful mental qualities increase: that sort of precept
& practice, life, holy life that is followed as of essential worth is
what Ven. Ananda said, and the Teacher approved. Then Ven. Ananda, [realizing,]
“The Teacher approves of me,” got up from his seat and, having bowed
down to the Blessed One and circumambulating him, left.
long after Ven. Ananda had left, the Blessed One said to the monks,
“Monks, Ananda is still in training, but it would not be easy to find his
equal in discernment.”
Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa
(Homage to the Blessed One,
the Consummate One,
the Supremely Awakened
Free Buddhist Studies for Young
Students is intended for students and
are well established in the
precepts, good bodily and study habits and
practice of Metta (loving-kindness).
Designed to be used together
with a biography of the
it covers life of the Buddha, his
fundamental teachings and Buddhist history and culture.
The students should be guided to
understand, practice and answer the questions at a
The main aims of this
work are to help students: 1.develop basic
knowledge of the Buddhist
religious tradition and realise the true
value of the Buddha’s
teachings to themselves and others, 2. by
applying the teachings in
their daily lives, become well established in
a peaceful way of living -
the Middle Way of life.
Emphasis on questions and
activities for students to do, so that they
develop their own faculties
and come to realise the answers by
Just as the basic ethical
boundaries to conduct, so the study of the
earliest Buddhist scriptures
and application of the Buddha’s advice in
our daily life, are an
absolute foundation for our Buddhist practice,
and also for instructing others.
Teachers are welcome to use
contents of this work as their wish,
to construct their own
for parents and teachers
1. Introduction to Buddhism
2. Life Story of the Buddha – Childhood
3. Life Story of the Buddha - Married Life
4. Life Story for the Buddha – In Search of Truth
5. Life Story of the Buddha – The First Discourse
6. Good and Bad, and Five Precepts
8. The Four Noble Truths
9: The Noble Eightfold Path, and Meditation
10: Pure States of Mind and Loving-kindness
12: Triple Gem
13: History of the Dhamma and Sangha
14: Buddhist Holy Sites, Festivals and Rituals
15: Buddhist Architecture and Art
Lesson 1: Introduction to Buddhism
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is a peaceful religion started by Gotama Buddha. It has
very little record of any external conflicts with other
or individuals. In its original and essential form, it is a
peaceful way of
life taught by the Buddha. It does not require a belief in a
being, or unquestioning belief in the Buddha and his teachings.
like any scientific teaching or a medicine, it requires an open
and some trust or faith, to examine the Buddha’s teachings and
them in your daily life.
Who is Buddha
A title ‘Buddha’ means ‘Awakened One’ or one who is awake to the
Universal Truth. Based on the earliest Buddhist scriptures, a
is one who has attained the Supreme Awakenment, not known to him
before. This means he has attained the three highest or supreme
realisations, and by himself. According to the scriptures, he:
1) remembered his previous lives;
2) with divine vision he saw
others dying and being reborn according to the Law of Kamma (Law of volitional actions) and
3) fully realised the 4 Noble Truths:
Dukkha (suffering), origin of dukkha, cessation of Dukkha and the
leading to the cessation of Dukkha – The Noble Eightfold
As a result of that, the Buddha understands life fully, loves
and can teach others skillfully truth about reality, and the way
freedom from Dukkha. The first historical Buddha lived and
about 2500 years ago in India. His name was Siddhattha Gotama
Buddha. Like a scientist, he discovered Universal truths,
before, and then started the Buddhist tradition and taught
way of peace.
Who is a Buddhist?
A Buddhist is a follower of the Buddha. In its full sense, it
or she takes a refuge, or a protection, in the Triple Gem,
Buddha’s teachings and practices what he taught. Triple Gem, or
Three Jewels, is: 1. Buddha, the teacher; 2. Dhamma, the
the Buddha, the Universal Truth; and 3. Sangha, meaning here the
noble, or spiritual, Sangha - all Buddha’s students who have
the 4 Noble Truths.
There are 2 main Buddhist traditions: Theravada and Mahayana.
well known is Vajrayana tradition. But because it is an offshoot
Mahayana tradition, we shall not treat it separately in this
scriptures of the Theravada tradition are written in Pali language,
while the scriptures of the Mahayana tradition are written in Sanskrit
language. So we have Kamma, Dhamma and Nibbana (in Pali) and
Karma, Dharma and Nirvana (in Sanskrit).
Theravada scriptures are
the oldest. They were first written down 400 years after the
death. Mahayana scriptures were put down in writing 200 to 400
In spite of various differences, both Theravada and Mahayana
traditions treasure the Triple Gem. Both traditions accept
Buddha as the founder of Buddhism, and 4 Noble Truths and the
of Kamma, as the core teachings. Both have a monastic Sangha,
their robes and some rules of conduct slightly vary.
Where do Buddhists live?
Buddhism started in India around 500 B.C., and it was a major
religion there until approximately 500 A.D. However, today most
Indians are Hindus. At present, Theravada Buddhism is a major
religion in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Laos and Cambodia.
Mahayana Buddhism is a major religion in China, Korea, Japan,
Vietnam, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Both Mahayana and Theravada
schools are growing in popularity in the west.
Why learn about Buddhism?
It is good to learn about Buddhism, because the Buddha taught a
to peace and happiness for everyone. If we take his advice and
cultivate the path he taught, we find lasting personal peace and
security, and we grow in understanding of ourselves and world
us. If everyone followed the Buddha’s advice, there would be no
no violence or crime, we could trust other people more, and feel
safer anywhere we live and anywhere we go. Many wild and domestic
animals would also feel much safer and happier, and most of the
environmental problems would disappear.
Would it not be a much nicer place to live?
a) Use a dictionary, encyclopedia or other reference to discuss
difference between a religion and a way of life. Look up at
different dictionary or encyclopedic definitions of ‘religion’,
and ‘awakening’ and discuss them with others in your class.
b) Why is it not sufficient just to believe in the Buddha’s
and not practice it, to find peace and happiness?
c) Use your school atlas or Internet resources to find out how
people in the world are classified as Buddhists, and what
the world population it is.
2. Use your school atlas or other resources to discuss the
global situation – wars, poverty, extinction of many species and
pollution. Why do you think we have such big global problems?
Do you think we need ancient religious teachings to stop all
global scale poverty, and pollution, or are modern science and
technology sufficient for that?