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What Are the Five Precepts?
How may Buddhists determine if they are leading moral lives? By abiding by the five precepts, a collection of rules for people who want to avoid doing damage.
While some Buddhists adhere to them to the furthest literalist degree, others adopt a more situational perspective, driven by compassion and what brings about the greatest good. While there are many distinct sets of precepts, all Buddhists adhere to five fundamental commandments.
- NOT KILLING.
Although it’s easy to see this as a simple corollary of “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” there are a lot of different contexts in which this commandment might be used. For instance, are we not essentially “killing” what could have happened when we decide in advance not to collaborate with someone?
- NOT STEALING.
Not just that, once again. This precept might also be construed as telling us “not to take what is not freely given.”
- NOT MISUSING SEX.
The majority of contemporary Buddhists would argue that the important thing is how you relate to people, not who you can or cannot have sex with. Misuse is obviously defined as a lack of consent or consideration for your partner’s feelings.
- NOT ENGAGING IN FALSE SPEECH.
A “small white lie” could be helpful occasionally, but what good does mean-spirited slander and deceit accomplish?
- NOT INDULGING IN INTOXICANTS.
Drugs, alcohol, TV, and the internet are just a few examples of things that might obscure your judgment and make it harder to maintain the clear vision that practicing Buddhism is supposed to foster.
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