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The Buddhist

Pancasila

What is the Buddhist Pancasila?

Sila- part of the Eightfold Path (Right Spe


ech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood),
and should be one of the Paramitas or Pe
rfections of Buddhist Virtues.
- is interrelated with the samadhi or
meditation part, the emotive, mystical
aspect (Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, an
d Right Concentration), and the panna or
wisdom part (Right View and Right
Intention) of the Eightfold Path.

The Pancasila plays a permanent role in


the Buddhist practice. It identifies
a
ctions that are to be avoided because th
ey impede progress towards nirvana.

The Five Precepts


1.I refrain from destroying living creatures
2.I refrain from taking that which is not given
3.I refrain from sexual misconduct
4.I refrain from false speech
5.I refrain from intoxicants which lead to
carelessness

1.I refrain from destroying living crea


tures

The first precept requires the Buddhist from


harming living beings, which is understood to
include not only human but also animal and
even plant life.
In the Hindu-Buddhist world, they believe that
individuals may be reincarnated as other life
forms, thus blurring the sharper boundaries
that normally apply in Western thinking.
The first precept also lies behind the widespread
Buddhist practice of vegetarianism, as well as
playing a key role in Buddhist ethical debates
concerning more controversial issues such as
abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment.

2.I refrain from taking that which is n


ot
given

The second precept


concerns theft in its many
forms, including obsession
with material goods which
can lead to stealing.
Alms-giving is an important
aspect of Buddhist life,
especially material support of
the monastic community by
the laity.

3.I refrain from sexual misconduct

The third precept recognizes


that sexual desire is one of
the most powerful, and thus
potentially is one of the most
dangerous drives in a human
person.
It is generally assumed that
final progress toward nirvana
eventually requires the
adoption of the celibate way of life.

4.I refrain from false speech

The fourth precept specifies


that lying and deceit are
unacceptable and that all
communication should be
not only honest, but also
sensitive and constructive.
Truth is an indispensable
element on the path to
ultimate liberation.

5.I refrain from intoxicants which lea


d to
carelessness

Finally, the fifth precept focuses on the


need for mental clarity which is a critical
part of the Buddhist quest for wisdom
via study and meditation.
The fifth precept is somewhat unusual
and distinctive to Buddhism in that the
concern for the harmful effects of
alcohol and drugs is not explicitly
articulated in the Hindu yamas. But the
first four precepts certainly are:
violence, dishonesty, theft, greed and
lust in their manifold forms are identified in
Hinduism and Buddhism as morally
unacceptable.