Five Precepts (Pañca Sīla) - Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature


Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature

The teachings of the Buddha are aimed solely at liberating sentient beings from suffering. The Basic Teachings of Buddha which are core to Buddhism are: The Three Universal Truths; The Four Noble Truths; and The Noble Eightfold Path.

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Thursday, November 16, 2023

Five Precepts (Pañca Sīla)

Lay Buddhist morality is embodied in the Five Precepts, which may be considered at two levels. First, it enables men to live together in civilized communities with mutual trust and respect. Second, it is the starting point for the spiritual journey towards liberation. Although they are very simple, they are very difficult to be observed diligently in every day life.
Unlike commandments which are supposedly divine commands imposed on men, precepts are accepted voluntarily by the person himself, especially when he realises the usefulness of adopting some training rules for disciplining his body, speech, and mind. Understanding, rather than fear of punishment, is the reason for following the precepts. A good Buddhist always observes these precepts in all his life. He vows:  I take the training rule to refrain from:

1. Killing living creatures,
2. Taking what is not given,
3. Sexual misconduct,
4. False speech and
5. Taking intoxicants or drugs and liquor.
Through these precepts, he practices the Five Ennobles as well. While the Five Precepts tell him what not to do, the Five Ennobles tell him which qualities to cultivate, namely, loving-kindness, renunciation, contentment, truthfulness, and mindfulness.
These precepts is very significant for a good Buddhist to purify the mind from gross, violent defilements (lobha, dosa, moha) which are responsible for committing unjust wicked action. They ennoble a person and impart joy, peace and happiness to the mind instantly.
Tolerance, loving-kindness and compassion bloom in him. As a result, he brings peace and happiness to all living being. So his face is calm, serene and adorable, and people love and respect him. He can join any assembly of people with grace and boldness. Because strictly observing these precepts, all his wishes will be fulfilled. In addition, the precepts are also an indispensable basic for people who wish to cultivate their minds. Without some basic moral code, the power of meditation can often be applied for wrong and selfish motive.
To sum up, the precepts are the basic practice in Buddhism. The purpose is to eliminate crude passions that are expressed through thought, word, and deed.

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