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Part of the List of Dharma Terms from the Buddhist Ayurveda Course (SKT220 ) on Sanskrit Terms of Ayurveda and Dharma


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 (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes).

“The Five Precepts prohibit killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicants (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes). Why should one keep the Five Precepts? In order to:

Do no evil, yet reverently practice good deeds.

Do not kill; do not steal; do not commit sexual misconduct; do not engage in false [[speech; do not take intoxicants (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes). If you observe the Five Precepts, you do not do these five kinds of evil deeds and you instead practice good acts.

1. No Killing

“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 thought. Since we wish to live, we should not kill any other living beings. That explains the precept against killing.

Thus, for many Buddhists the precept against killing implies to be vegetarian. (See Shurangama Sutra on Vegetarianism)

2. No Stealing

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.

3. No Sexual Misconduct

If in this life you commit no sexual misconduct,

in future lives you will not be divorced.

4. No Lying

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 (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes), in future lives you will not go insane . . . .

5 . No Intoxicants (No Alcohol, No Recreational Drugs, No Cigarettes)

“Some people say, 'Of the Five Precepts, the four which prohibit killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, and lying are very important. But taking intoxicants (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes) is a very commonplace thing. Why prohibit that?' When you consume intoxicants (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes), 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 (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes) 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 (see Precious Human Rebirth).

“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 (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes) 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 Buddha Dharma just because of this prohibition against intoxicants (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes).'

“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 Buddha Dharma. How stupid 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 (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes). 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 (lust), he violated 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 (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes) cause one to become confused and scattered, and so they re 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 . . . .

Precept Protecting Spirits

“If you receive the Five Precepts and do not violate them, then you are protected by good Dharma-protecting spirits (Dharma Protectors), 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)


1) Chinese: Wu Jie , 2) Sanskrit: Pancha Shila; 3) Pali: Pancha-sila, sikkhapada; Alternate translations: five Items of good behavior, individual liberation vows

See Also: Moral Precepts, Ten Good Deeds.

BTTS References: BRF 59-61; DFS II 211; DFS V 902-3; S42 75-76 (precepts); TT 58; SV 14-29; BNS I 73-97; FAS Ch26(2) 4, 10,17,20, 25-26, 28.


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Fair Use Bibliographic Sources

Fair Use: Primary Fair Use Compilation Source: Ron Epstein, Ph.D, compiler, Buddhism A to Z, Burlingame, California, Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2003, p. ISBN 0881393533 Paperback: 284 pages. http://www.BTTSOnline.org www.Amazon.com http://www.bttsonline.org/product.aspx?pid=118 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0881393533/ref=ase_medicinebuddh-20 and many other sources (see Bibliography).

Primary Original Source: The Tripitaka of Sutra, Shastra and Vinaya Dharma teachings (as found in the scripture storehouse of the Indian Sanskrit- Siddham, Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese traditions of the Nalanda Tradition of ancient Nalanda University) of Shakyamuni Buddha, and his Arya Sagely Bodhisattva Bhikshu Monk and Upasaka disciples.

These Good and Wise Advisors (Kaliyanamitra) Dharma Master teachers include Arya Venerables Om Tare Tuttare Ture Om Ah Hum and Namo to Jivaka, Charaka, Lao Zi - Mahakashapa, Ashwagosha, Shantideva - Hui Neng - Shen Kai Sheng Ren Shr, Bodhidharma, the 16 Nalanda Acharyas 1. Nagarjuna-Manjushri, 2. Arydeva, 3. Buddhapalita, 4. Bhavaviveka, 5. Chandrakirti and Chandragomin, 6. Shantideva, 7. Shantarakshita, 8. Kamalashila, 9. Asanga-Maitreya, 10. Vasubhandu, 11. Dignaga, 12. Dharmakirti, 13. Vimuktisena, 14. Haribhadra, 15. Gunaprabha, 16. Shakyaprabha; Dharmarakshita, Atisha, Tsong Khapa, Thogme Zangpo, Nyingma Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyel, Machig Lapdron, Tilopa, Naropa, Milarepa, Sakya Pandita, Kumarajiva, Xuan Zang, Baozhi, Hui Yuan, Daosheng, Changzhi, Fazang, Han Shan, Shi De, Yunmen, Nichiren, Honen, Shinran, Kukai, Dogen, Hakuin, Jamgon Kongtrul, Nyingma Penor Rinpoche, Bakula Rinpoche, Dagri Rinpoche, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, Geshe Lama Kongchog, Longchen Rapjampa - Gosok Rinpoche, Phabongkha Rinpoche, Patrul Rinpoche, Tenzin Gyatso the Dalai Lama, Sakya Trizin, Hsu Yun, Hsuan Hua, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Choden Rinpoche, Garchen Rinpoche, Karmapa, Mingyur Rinpoche, Geshe Ngwang Dakpa, Geshe Sopa Rinpoche, Seung Sahn, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Sumedho, S. N. Goenka, Mama Ayur Punya Jyana Pushtim Kuriye Svaha, making offerings and b [[bowing at your feet I make requests. Please bestow on me the two attainments of Maha Punya and Maha Prajna Paramita. And Om Ah Hum thanks to other modern day masters. We consider them to be in accord with Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua’s ”Seven Guidelines for Recognizing Genuine Teachers

Nalanda Online University's teachings are based especially on the following Buddhist Scriptures: Lama Tsong Khapa's Lam Rim, the Dharma Flower Lotus Sutra, the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Shurangama Sutra, the Ksitigarbha Sutra, the Bhaisajya Guru Sutra, the Dharani Sutra, the Vajra Sutra, the Prajna Paramita Hridayam Heart Sutra, the Vimalakirti Sutra, the Sanghata Sutra, the Sutra of Golden Light, the Srimala Devi Sutra, the Sutra in 42 Sections, the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the Hui Neng Sutra, Vasubandhu's Shastra on the Door to Understanding the Hundred Dharmas, Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara), Chandrakirti's Supplement to Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Middle Way (Madhyamakavatara), Vasubandhu's Treasury of Manifest Knowledge (Abhidharmakosha) and the Tantras and Mantras of the Vajrayana the 42 Hands and Eyes, Guhyasamaja, the Kalachakra, the Vajrayogini, the Heruka, the Chakrasamvara, the Chod, the Hayagriva, the Hevajra, the Yamantaka, the Kalarupa, the Manjushri Nama Samgiti, the Vajrakilaya, the Vajrapani, the Vajra Claws Dakini, the Mahakala, the Tara, the White Umbrella Goddess (She Dan Do Bo Da La), Kirti Losang Trinle's Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra, and Aku Sherab Gyatso's The Two Stages of the Guhyasamaja Tantra and their commentaries (shastras) by the above Arya Tripitakacharya Dharma Masters. Making offerings and bowing at your feet I make requests. Please bestow on me the two attainments of Maha Punya and Maha Prajna Paramita.

Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: The Seeker’s Glossary of Buddhism, 2nd ed., San Francisco, California: Sutra Translation Committee of the United States and Canada, 1998: http://www.budaedu.org.tw

Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: Muller, Charles, editor, Digital Dictionary of Buddhism [DDB], Toyo Gakuen University, Japan, 2007: Username is “guest”, with no password. http://buddhism-dict.net/ddb - Based in large part on the Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms with Sanskrit and English Equivalents (by Soothill and Hodous) Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass, 1997.

Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: Ehrhard, Diener, Fischer, et al, The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen, Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, 1991. 296 pages. ISBN 978-0-87773-520-5 http://www.Shambhala.com, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0877735204/ref=ase_medicinebuddh-20, http://www.shambhala.com/html/catalog/items/isbn/978-0-87773-520-5.cfm Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: Vaidya Vasant Lad, Textbook of Ayurveda, Ayurvedic Press, 2002; Vasant Lad, BAMS, MAsc, Ayurvedic Institute Gurukula Notes, Ayurvedic Institute, 1994-2006;


NOTE: Numerous corrections and enhancements have been made under Shastra tradition and ”Fair Use” by an Anonymous Buddhist Monk Redactor (Compiler) of this Online Buddhist Encyclopedia Compilation)



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five_moral_precepts.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:11 (external edit)