Tu Viện Quảng Đức105 Lynch Rd, Fawkner, Vic 3060. Australia. Tel: 9357 3544. quangduc@quangduc.com* Viện Chủ: TT Tâm Phương, Trụ Trì: TT Nguyên Tạng   

04. The Five Precepts

06/05/201109:51(Xem: 1333)
04. The Five Precepts

GOOD QUESTION, GOOD ANSWER

Bhikkhu Shravasti Dhammika

[04]

The Five Precepts

-ooOoo-

Other religions derive their ideas of right and wrong from the commandments of their god or gods. You Buddhists don't believe in a god, so how do you know right from wrong?

Any thoughts, speech or actions that are rooted in greed, hatred and delusion and thus lead us away from Nirvana are bad and any thoughts, speech or actions that are rooted in giving, love and wisdom and thus help clear the way to Nirvana are good.

To know what is right and wrong in god-centred religions, all that is needed is to do as you are told. But in a man-centred religion like Buddhism, to know what is right and wrong, you have to develop a deep self-awareness and self understanding. And ethics based on understanding are always stronger than those that are a response to a command.

So to know what is right and wrong, the Buddhist looks at three things - the intention, the effect the act will have upon oneself and the effect it will upon others. If the intention is good (rooted in giving, loving and wisdom), if it helps myself (helps me to be more giving, more loving and wiser), then my deeds and actions are wholesome, good and moral. Of course, there are many variations of this. Sometimes I act with the best of intentions but they may not benefit either myself or others. Sometimes my intentions are far from good, but my actions helps others nonetheless. Sometimes I act out of good intentions and my acts help me but perhaps cause some distress to others. In such cases, my actions are mixed - a mixture of good and not-so-good. When intentions are bad and the action helps neither myself nor others, such an action is bad. And when my intention is good and my action benefits both myself and others, then the deed is wholly good.

So does Buddhism have a code of morality?

Yes it does. The five precepts are the basis of Buddhist morality. The first precept is to avoid killing or harming living beings. The second is to avoid stealing, the third is to avoid sexual misconduct, the fourth is to avoid lying and the fifth is to avoid alcohol and other intoxicating drugs.

But surely it is good to kill sometimes. To kill disease-spreading insects, for example, or someone who is going to kill you?

It might be good for you. But what about that thing or that person? They wish to live, just as you do. When you decide to kill a disease-spreading insect, your intention is perhaps a mixture of self-concern (good) and revulsion (bad). The act will benefit yourself (good) but obviously it will not benefit that creature (bad). So at times it may be necessary to kill but it is never totally good.

You Buddhists are too concerned about ants and bugs.

Buddhists strive to develop a compassion that is undiscriminating and all-embracing. They see the world as a unified whole where each thing and creature has its place and function. They believe that before we destroy or upset nature's delicate balance, we should be very careful. Just look at those cultures where emphasis is on exploiting nature to the full, squeezing every last drop out of it without putting anything back, conquering and subduing it. Nature has revolted. The very air is becoming poisoned, the rivers are polluted and dead, so many beautiful animal species are extinct, the slopes of the mountains are barren and eroded. Even the climate is changing. If people were a little less anxious to crush, destroy and kill, this terrible situation may have not arisen. We should all strive to develop a little more respect for life. And this is what the first precept is saying.

The Third Precept says we should avoid sexual misconduct. What is "sexual misconduct"?

If we use trickery, emotioal blackmail or force to compel someone to have sex with us, then this is sexual misconduct. Adultery is also a form of sexual misconduct because when we marry we promise our spouse that we will be loyal to them. When we commit adultery we break that promise and betray that trust. Sex should be an expression of love and intimicy between two people and when it is it contributes to our mental and emotional well-being.

Is sex before marriage a type of sexual misconduct?

Not if there is love and mutual agreement between two people. However, it should never be forgotten that the biological function of sex is to reproduce and if an unmarried woman becomes pregnant it can cause a great deal of problems. Many mature and thoughtful people think it is far better to leave sex until after marriage.

But what about lying? Is it possible to live without telling lies?

If it is really impossible to get by in society or business without lying, such a shocking and corrupt state of affairs should be changed. The Buddhist is someone who resolves to do something practical about the problem by trying to be more truthful and honest.

Well, what about alcohol? Surely a little drink doesn't hurt!

People don't drink for the taste. When they drink alone it is in order to seek release from tension and when they drink socially, it is usually to conform. Even a small amount of alcohol distorts consciousness and disrupts self-awareness. Taken in large quantities, its effects can be devastating.

Drinking a small amount wouldn't be really breaking the precept, would it? It's only a small thing.

Yes, it is only a small thing and if you can't practise even a small thing, your commitment and resolution isn't very strong, is it?

The five precepts are negative. They tell you what not to do. They don't tell you what to do.

The Five Precepts are the basis of Buddhist morality. They are not all of it. We start by recognizing our bad behaviour and striving to stop doing it. That is what the Five Precepts are for. After we have stopped doing bad, we then commence to do good. Take for example, speech. The Buddha says we should start by refraining from telling lies. After that, we should speak the truth, speak gently and politely and speak at the right time. He says:

"Giving up false speech he becomes a speaker of truth, reliable, trustworthy, dependable, he does not deceive the world. Giving up malicious speech he does not repeat there what he has heard here what he has heard there in order to cause variance between people. He reconciles those who are divided and brings closer together those who are already friends. Harmony is his joy, harmony is his delight, harmony is his love; it is the motive of his speech. Giving up harsh speech his speech is blameless, pleasing to the ear, agreeable, going to the heart, urbane, liked by most. Giving up idle chatter he speaks at the right time, what is correct to the point, about Dhamma and about discipline. He speaks words worth being treasured up, seasonable, reasonable, well defined and to the point".

Gửi ý kiến của bạn
Tắt
Telex
VNI
Tên của bạn
Email của bạn
08/07/202009:09(Xem: 2271)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not over yet. We need to keep looking after ourselves and our community to stop the virus spreading. Due to increased cases in Victoria, some restrictions have changed. From 22 June 2020: · You cannot have more than five visitors in your home · You cannot gather outdoors with more than 10 people · Schools, libraries, places of worship and businesses remain open · Stay close to home and do not travel if possible
12/08/202013:37(Xem: 824)
Hungry Ghosts is a suspenseful, character-driven ghost story with heart, humour and scares. Set in contemporary Melbourne during the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, when the Vietnamese community venerate their dead, four families find themselves haunted by ghosts from the past. As these hauntings intensify, they threaten to unleash their deepest fears and expose secrets long buried. Through an ensemble of characters, both Vietnamese and Anglo, Hungry Ghosts explores the concept of the inherent trauma we pass down from one generation to the next, and how notions of displacement impact human identity - long after the events themselves. Can you ever really leave behind the trauma of your past? Is it possible to abandon both spiritual and physical culture, or does it form part of your fundamental DNA? To free themselves and those they love, each character in Hungry Ghosts must atone for their sins and confront their deepest fears or risk being swallowed by the shadows of their p
22/06/202013:23(Xem: 912)
Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero (Sinhala: අග්ග මහා පණ්ඩිත බලංගොඩ ආනන්ද මෛත්‍රෙය මහා නා හිමි;23 August 1896 – 18 July 1998) was a Sri Lankan scholar Buddhist monk and a personality of Theravada Buddhism in the twentieth century.[3][4] He was highly respected by Sri Lankan Buddhists, who believe that he achieved a higher level of spiritual development through meditation.[2][5] Sri Lankan Buddhists also considered Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero as a Bodhisattva, who will attain Buddhahood in a future life.
23/05/202015:18(Xem: 1187)
Dr. Gagan Malik Interview: Mother Nature's Fury with Human Beings | 4 ways to 'overcome' Covid-19, With the rapidly rising number of covid-19 cases in the world's second most populous country, India, and the world's largest lockdown still continuing, I caught up with my friend who is a Bollywood actor, UN Peace Ambassador for South-East Asia and a passionate Buddhist, Dr. Gagan Malik. In this fascinating 47min interview, he shares his various concerns about the covid-19 situation, such as the lack of clear information available on how covid-19 patients are being treated in hospitals, the wastage of time during the lockdown, our mistreatment of Mother Nature/Earth, and also addresses his Buddhists friends on some concerning matters. He also provides some wise suggestions to everyone from a Buddhist point of view on how we can make the most of the lockdown and how collectively as a human race, we can do something about our current dire plight. Thank you so much Dr. Malik for al
21/05/202009:20(Xem: 1184)
Victorian United Nations of Vesak 2644 (Saturday, 23 May 2020)
23/04/202020:05(Xem: 1458)
In June of 1957, the senior members of the Youth Circle of the Penang Buddhist Association formed a committee to explore the possibilities of forming a Dharma school to convene each Sunday morning for the systematic instruction of Buddhist children in the truths of our religion. Fifteen members of this committee volunteered to prepare themselves to take over teaching duties. This group of volunteers found no great lack of material suitable for instructing adults in the Dharma, but when they turned their search towards lesson material for children, they found a most startling lack of anything remotely approaching the needs of a modern Sunday school. A certain amount of Buddhist literature for children was found in Chinese and Japanese language presentations, but there are few Chinese in Malaya who are completely at home in written Chinese. Moreover, even the children enrolled in the Dharma classes are well versed only in colloquial Chinese, in Penang usually the Hokkien dialect, and the
22/03/202010:11(Xem: 1610)
Hòa Thương Thích Như Điển đã làm lễ khánh thọ lần thứ 70 trong năm qua. Thầy đã mang truyền thống dòng Thiền Lâm Tế Việt Nam sang nước Đức và là người truyền thừa có ảnh hưởng sâu rộng của Phật Giáo tại đây. Đồng thời, Thầy đã đóng góp triệt để cho sự hội nhập của người Việt trong nước Đức – và do đó cũng là một đoạn đường quan trọng cho tính đa dạng của Phật Giáo trong đất nước này. Trong bài tiểu luận này, ông Olaf Beuchling đã vinh danh cuộc sống và những Phật sự của vị Pháp Sư đồng thời giới thiệu tổng quan dòng Thiền Lâm Tế Việt Nam.] Người ta đứng chen chúc trong khuôn viên an bình của ngôi Chùa Viên Giác tại Hannover: Có hàng ngàn người khách hiện diện trong những ngày hè của tháng sáu năm 2019. Họ đến hỷ chúc 70 năm khánh thọ của Hòa Thượng Phương Trượng Chùa Viên Giác – Thầy Thích Như Điển, vị Tỳ Kheo người Đức gốc Việt.
14/03/202009:22(Xem: 2348)
The Book was first published in 1942. The present edition has been revised and expanded. Though primarily intended for the students and beginners rather than scholars, the reader will find it an extremely valuable handbook, offering a sound foundation to the basic tenets of Buddhism as found in its original Pali tradition.
14/01/202009:00(Xem: 1855)
I consider myself to be one of the extremely lucky ones to study the Dharma at the Phap Bao temple every Sunday with awise, caring and compassionate teacher like Ven. Bhikkuni Giac Anh. The classes are like an endless supply of cool and pure water from a gentle stream that my Dharma friends and I can always drink from to quench our thirst and purify our body and mind.Over the years, I have seen incremental improvements in myselfsuch as being calmer, learning and practicing the Dharma better and applying the practical advice from my Teacher to better deal with everyday challenges.
03/01/202019:51(Xem: 1360)
The Gift of Well Being, Joy, Sorrow and Renunciation on the Buddha’s Way by Ajahn Munindo, Among the many books about Buddhism that have recently been brought to my attention this one is unique. It is not a text; it neither exhorts, compares nor expounds. Quite simply, it opens a way through the landscape of life, ageing and death. Reading, one joins the author of the Way. It is vivid; it is honest; it is profound. All, all flows naturally, revealing a terrain of trust.