5 precepts

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The Five Precepts in Buddhism are not commandments, as the Ten Commandments in other religions, but rather moral guidelines to go by so that one may maintain a healthy practice for oneself and for not harming others. As one develops in the Dhamma, one finds that the Precepts grounds your practice and that one cannot waver and purposely break any of the Precepts.

In following these Precepts one gradually develops a respect for the life of others, for their property, their dignity, their right to know the truth and a respect for the clarity of one’s own mind. The Buddha called the practice of these Precepts a consideration to others which ‘creates love and respect and which is conducive to helpfulness, non-dispute, harmony and unity’ (A.III,287).

On another occasion he called virtue freedom-giving and conducive to concentration (A.III,132). He also mentioned that one of the most important benefits of practicing the Precepts is that one experiences the happiness of being blameless (D.I,70).

The Five Precepts in Pali and English

Theravada Buddhists often recite the Five Precepts on important days, such as the Uposatha Days.

1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

  • I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.

2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

  • I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.

3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

  • I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.

4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

  • I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.

5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

  • I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

(from Anguttara Nikaya 8.39)

Five faultless gifts

"There are these five gifts, five great gifts; original, long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning; that are not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and are unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives and priests. Which five?

"There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from taking life. 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 first gift, the first great gift; original, long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that is not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives and priests...

"Furthermore, abandoning taking what is not given (stealing), the disciple of the noble ones abstains from taking what is not given. 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 second gift...

"Furthermore, abandoning illicit sex, the disciple of the noble ones abstains from illicit sex. 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 third gift...

"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...

"Furthermore, abandoning the use of intoxicants, the disciple of the noble ones abstains from taking intoxicants. 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 fifth gift, the fifth great gift; original, long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning; that is not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives and priests. And this is the eighth reward of merit, reward of skillfulness, nourishment of happiness, celestial, resulting in happiness, leading to heaven, leading to what is desirable, pleasurable, and appealing; to welfare and to happiness."

(from Anguttara Nikaya 8.39)

References

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