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MORALITY CULTIVATION (SILA)

 
Sila is usually rendered into English as behavioral discipline, morality, or ethics. It is often translated as precept. It is an action that is an intentional effort. It refers to moral purity of thought, word, and deed. The four conditions of sila are chastity, calmness, quiet, and extinguishment, i.e. no longer being susceptible to perturbation by the passions. There are several levels of sila, which correspond to 'basic morality' (five precepts), 'basic morality with asceticism' (eight precepts), 'novice monkhood' (ten precepts) and 'monkhood' (Vinaya). Laypeople generally undertake to live by the five precepts which are common to all Buddhist schools. If they wish, they can choose to undertake the eight precepts, which have some additional precepts of basic asceticism.
 
 
Five Precepts - The five precepts are not given in the form of commands such as "thou shalt not ...", but are training rules in order to live a better life in which one is happy, without worries, and can meditate well.
  1. To refrain from taking life.
  2. To refrain from taking that which is not freely given (stealing).
  3. To refrain from sensual misconduct (improper sexual behavior).
  4. To refrain from lying.
  5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness.
 
Eight Precepts - In the eight precepts, the third precept on sexual misconduct is made more strict, and becomes a precept of celibacy. The three additional rules of the eight precepts are:
  1. To refrain from eating at the wrong time (only eat from sunrise to noon).
  2. To refrain from dancing, using jewellery, going to shows, etc.
  3. To refrain from using a high, luxurious bed.
 
Ten Precepts - Novice-monks use the ten precepts, which are the basic precepts for monasticism: people who have left the home-life and live in monasteries. The two additional rules of the ten precepts are:
  1. Refrain from wearing perfume, cosmetics and garland (decorative accessories).
  2. Refrain from accepting money.
 
Monkhood (Vayana) is the specific moral code for monks. It includes the Patimokkha, a set of 227 rules in Theravadin. The precise content of the vinayapitaka (scriptures on Vinaya) differ slightly according to different schools, and different schools or subschools set different standards for the degree of adherence to Vinaya.
 
 
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