Do you want to have a moral and happy life as well as to benefit yourself and society? The Buddha showed us the way to achieve that purpose. That is to take refuge in the Three Jewels and especially, observe five precepts. Five precepts that lay Buddhists vow to observe are the foundation of basic morality to fulfil Buddhists’ personalities. So what are they?
Precept 1: Refrain from destroying living creatures
As a Buddhist, we need to cultivate the virtue of compassion. We will not take any human’s life and minimise the act of killing animals as well as all other living beings. Every sentient being wants and has the right to live. We should treasure the lives of others just like we treasure our own. That’s why we should refrain from killing.
Precept 2: Refrain from taking what is not given
Let’s practise the mind of equality. Even our property or others’ property is gained by blood sweat and tears. Therefore, we should protect the property of others the same way as we protect our own.
Precept 3: Refrain from sexual misconduct
All Buddhists who are married must be loyal and faithful to their spouse. If you have an extramarital affair with somebody, you commit adultery. Adultery leads to the breakdown of happiness in the family, and destroys the relation between the husband and the wife. It also causes separation of property and even children, not to mention many other consequences. Therefore, you should never commit adultery.
Precept 4: Refrain from false speech
The Buddha taught His lay followers not to be dishonest. There are four unwholesome verbal actions, namely lying, making up stories, slandering and crude speech. One of the results of committing those is that you will lose the trust and respect of others, and your career will be unstable. When you sow a seed of lies, the bad fruits you reap are not only in the current life but also in many future ones.
Precept 5: Refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness
In Sigalovada Sutra, the Buddha declared that
“Killing, stealing, lying and adultery,
These four evils the wise never praise.”
Besides, The Buddha also prohibited lay Buddhists to be addicted and clearly showed bad effects caused by addiction as follows:
“There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in indulging in intoxicants which cause infatuation and heedlessness:
(i) loss of wealth,
(ii) increase of quarrels,
(iii) susceptibility to disease,
(iv) earning an evil reputation,
(v) shameless exposure of body,
(vi) weakening of intellect.”
Therefore, once you are a Buddhist, you are not allowed to get addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling or games. These addictions will affect your physical and mental health. As a Buddhist, we should live a healthy life and set ourselves as good examples to people around us.
Those who live a moral life and observe five precepts will be loved and respected by everyone. Therefore, Buddhists should always head towards a moral life and noble virtues so that they can benefit both themselves and society now and in the future.