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Buddhism

Step 10: We observe the Five Precepts.

Principle: Perseverance

The Five Precepts are the five categories of action from which everyone should abstain (much like the 10 Commandments). The difference is that in Buddhism there is no final authority who judges our actions and doles out rewards or punishment. In Buddhism, everyone has the right to voluntarily choose to live by these Precepts out of compassion for themselves and for all sentient beings on Earth. When we live by these Precepts we ensure all creatures absolute safety and we know we cannot create negative karma.

Text or Verse

Right resolves are the resolve to renounce the world and to do no hurt or harm.
Majjhima-Nikaya

So long as the desire of man towards women, even the smallest, is not destroyed, one's mind is still in bondage.
The Dhammapada

Practice

The Five Precepts:

  1. We abstain from killing any being - people, animals, and all living creatures. It is our intention to offer safety to all beings, everywhere without discrimination.
  2. We abstain from taking things which have not been given freely to us. Things not given freely belong to someone else.
  3. We abstain from sexual misconduct defined as sexual abuse, extramarital affairs, and sexual relationships with those who are underage. It is our intention to protect others and ourselves from sexual harms.
  4. We abstain from lying. The essence of Buddhist practice is to seek the truth. Lying creates and perpetuates delusion. Lies have the capacity to create physical and emotional harm. It is our intention to prevent potential danger.
  5. We abstain from intoxicants which includes even small amounts of alcohol and recreational drugs because they cloud our ability to be mindful. They can also contribute to breaching the conduct specified in the other four precepts. Our intention is to prevent potential harm to others and ourselves.

Resources

Mapping the Dharma: A Concise Guide to the Middle Way of the Buddha (go to Links menu to connect to the web site)

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