The Original Teacher Shakyamuni Buddha looking into the sky and seeing
the morning star attained enlightenment over 2.500 years ago. After
attaining enlightenment Shakyamuni Buddha widely helped sentient beings
suffering in delusion. Shakyamuni Buddha explained the Four Noble Truths
and the Middle Way, preaching the Dharma for the sake of all people.
At that time, novices of the Buddhist Way came to Shakyamuni Buddha
and asked. ‘What precepts should be practiced?"
Shakyamuni Buddha replied, "First, you should associate with good people,
with virtuous people. Second, you should listen to the Dharma, listen
to the teaching. Third, you should seek enlightenment through practice.
Fourth, you should practice virtue." This was the advice of Shakyamuni
Buddha to the novices. Shakyamuni Buddha then said, ‘Should you have
any doubts concerning your habits of life, you should observe the Buddhist
Observing the precepts, we guard against doing wrong. The precepts
which originated from Shakyamuni Buddha have been transmitted by the
Buddhas and Patriarchs, and were introduced into China by Great Master
Bodhidharma. The precepts were passed down to the Honourable Sixth Patriarch
Hui Neng and continued in Korea, and Japan. and various countries. The
precepts have been handed down to us and are still living in the present
receiving the precepts. normally, incense is offered and prostrations
are made. Then the verse of the Three Refuges is recited.
I take refuge in the Buddha
I take refuge in the Dharma
I take refuge in the Sangha.
First, we take refuge in the Buddha, the Honourable Teacher.
Then, we take refuge in the Dharma, free from worldly dust.
Third, we take refuge in the Sangha, the harmonious community.
Following the three refuges, we receive the Three Pure Precepts.
The Three Pure Precepts are:
First, to refrain from all evil.
Second, to do all that is good.
Third, to benefit sentient beings.
After receiving the Three Pure Precepts we then receive the Buddhist
precepts. It is taught that DHYANA (Zen or Ch’an) and the precepts are
one. DHYANA (meditation) and the precepts are one. They are like two
wheels of a cart, both are essential. The Precepts help to keep us from
error, and they promote goodwill for others, and benefit oneself. The
precepts serve as guidelines for our practice, and as principles for
our life, as it is not just any easy or simple matter to exist in this
The ten Buddhist precepts are as follows:
- Do not kill. Of course we should
not kill. In Buddhism it is taught that we should give life to others.
And within the Buddhist community it is taught that we should treat
other people and things with the same importance as we treat our own
- Do not steal. Of course we should
not take what is not ours. Being diligent in our life, and being content
with our circumstances, we should not steal.
- Do not engage in improper sexual conduct.
We should maintain our integrity according to time, place, and
our function or position.
- Do not lie. We should not deceive
other people for selfish reasons.
- Do not indulge in intoxication substances.
Without indulging in intoxicating substances, we should do our
best each and every day. Pitifully, there are people who have not
heard of this precept, and indulging in intoxicating substances cause
themselves unnecessary hardships on top of the hardships that accompany
our existence. And at times causing other people hardship also. It
is my sincere wish that this precept will become widely known so that
people firmly practicing the Buddhist Way can blossom or flower in
- Do not speak ill of others. To
really live at peace with other people and ourselves, we should not
speak ill of others.
- Do not be proud of yourself and devalue
others. We should be able to see the virtues of other people.
We should be able to work together with other people. Each person
earnestly fulfilling their function, putting our strengths and abilities
- Do not Covet.
We should not be carried away or turned around by greed. It is important
to be content with what one has, and to live within ones means.
- Do not give way to anger. A
person once asked Shakyamuni Buddha. "What is the sharpest
spear?" This person was asking, what hurts other people the most?
Shakyamuni Buddha replied. "One word of anger." We have to he
careful with our anger. However, anger does arise, and at times it
is possible to use our anger. To use our anger positively. When anger
does arise, without unnecessarily getting angry at other people, it
is possible to use this anger. To use this anger, this emotion or
energy as a stimulus to progress in a right direction in life. It
is possible to put all this energy into doing our best each and every
day so that our life can improve.
- Do not defame the Buddha, the Dharma the
Sangha. Do not defame the teacher, the teacher, the teaching, and
the community of followers. Together, the teacher, the
teaching, and the Buddhist community are known as the Three Treasures.
The Three Treasures widely benefit people. And it is important that
they continue to do so. For this reason we should not defame the Three
These are the ten precepts which can help people seeking the Buddhist
Way. The precepts serve as a reference in our life, to keep us free
from error. Buddhism teaches the Middle Way for the sake of all sentient