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BUDDHIST ETHICS

 
Sila is usually translated into English as "virtuous behavior", "morality", "ethics" or "precept". It is an action committed through the body, speech, or mind, and involves an intentional effort. It is one of the three practices (sila, samadhi, and panya) and the second paramita. It refers to moral purity of thought, word, and deed. The four conditions of śīla are chastity, calmness, quiet, and extinguishment.
 
Sila is the foundation of Samadhi/Dhavana (Meditative cultivation) or mind cultivation. Keeping the precepts promotes not only the peace of mind of the cultivator, which is internal, but also peace in the community, which is external. According to the Law of Karma, keeping the precepts are meritorious and it acts as causes which would bring about peaceful and happy effects. Keeping these precepts keeps the cultivator from rebirth in the four woeful realms of existence.
 
 
Sila refers to overall principles of ethical behavior. 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". Lay people 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 add basic asceticism.
 
The five precepts 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 (non-violence towards sentient life forms)
  2. To refrain from taking that which is not given (not committing theft)
  3. To refrain from sensual (sexual) misconduct
  4. To refrain from lying (speaking truth always)
  5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness (specifically, drugs and alcohol)
 
In the eight precepts, the third precept on sexual misconduct is made more strict, and becomes a precept of celibacy. The three additional precepts are:
  1. To refrain from eating at the wrong time (only eat from sunrise to noon)
  2. To refrain from dancing and playing music, wearing jewelry and cosmetics, attending shows and other performances
  3. To refrain from using high or luxurious seats and bedding
 
 
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