This six week course examines the Buddha’s teachings on integrity. We will look at the traditional eight ethical precepts for lay people as guidelines for developing what the Buddha called, “the bliss of blamelessness” or “freedom from remorse.” The path taught by the Buddha is grounded in a commitment to non-harming or reverence for life. This commitment supports the arising of calm, joy, and insight.
- A friend, Lynn Kelly, has an excellent blog that discusses all the issues of ethical conduct for Lay people from the perspective of the Buddha’s teachings https://buddhasadvice.wordpress.com
- The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Ajahn Jayasaro on Mindfulness, Intention and the Precepts
- Read chapter, “Life Without Sila is Like a Car Without Brakes” in
Silent Rain by Ajahn Amaro
- RELIGIOUS CONVENTION AND SILA (Ethical Conduct) PRACTICE by Ajahn Sumedho in Cittaviveka
- The Healing Power of the Precepts by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- The Issue at Hand by Gil Fronsdal Chapter 10: Virtue: The Five Precepts
- Virtue (Sila): excerpts from the suttas
- Saleyyaka Sutta: (Brahmans) of Sala translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- Buddhist Sexual Ethics by Winton Higgins and A Rejoinder by Ajahn Brahmavamso and Ajahn Nanadhammo
- Wise Speech Reflections
- How to Get Beyond Our Tribal Politics By JONATHAN HAIDT and RAVI IYER
- Buddha’s Teachings on Right Speech
- MN 58 Abhaya Sutta: To Prince Abhaya (On Right Speech)
- What Feels Right about Right Action? by Jake H. Davis
- Gil Fronsdal, lead teacher of Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA. has a three part talk, Mindful Steps To An Ethical Life – Sexuality Part 1, 2, & 3
- Unburdened With Duties & Frugal In Our Ways: The Personal Economy Of Right Livelihood Insight Journal – Full Moon Day – November 28, 2012 by Tony Bernhard
- Buddhist Ethics: The Practice of Becoming A Better Person – Talk by Andy Olendzki
- Religious Conventions and Sila Practice by Ajahn Sumedho
- The Beauty of Sila – Dhamma talk to the monastic community of Wat Pah Nanachat by Ajahn Jayasaro
- The Eight Precepts: Attha-Sila
- The Five Precepts: Panca-Sila
- The Healing Power of the Precepts by Ajahn Thanissaro
- The Issue at Hand, on Karma – Chapters seven and ten from Gil Fronsdal’s book
The Five Precepts for daily reflection
These five mindfulness trainings are a powerful foundation for individual and communal happiness. These trainings lead directly to the joy of living in harmony, freedom from remorse, and support the deepening of insight. Committing to these five trainings protects us and others from harm. (Text in quotes adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh, For a Future to be Possible.)
1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I undertake the training to refrain from harming living beings.
“Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of all beings. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life. This is the first of the five mindfulness trainings, I vow to study and practice it.”
2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I undertake the training to refrain from taking that which is not given.
“Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to cultivating loving kindness and learning ways to work for the well-being of all beings. I will practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth. This is the second of the five mindfulness trainings, I vow to study and practice it.”
3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I undertake the training to refrain from causing harm through sexual misconduct.
“Aware of suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual activities without love and commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to protect couples and families from being harmed by sexual misconduct. This is the third of the five mindfulness trainings, I vow to study and practice it.”
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I undertake the training to refrain from false and harmful speech.
“Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am determined to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy and hope. I will not spread information that I do not know to be certain and will not criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words with the intention of causing division or discord. I am determined to make efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small. This is the fourth of the five mindfulness trainings, I vow to study and practice it.”
5. Sura-meraya-majjapamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I undertake the training to refrain from the misuse of intoxicants.
“Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to the cultivation of good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to (mis)use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that undermine spiritual growth such as unwholesome TV programs, magazines, books, films and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with such poisons is to harm all beings. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society. This is the fifth of the five mindfulness trainings, I vow to study and practice it.” (Bell and short pause for reflection)
Idam me silam Maggaphalananasa paccayo hotu
May my conduct conduce to attainment of the highest fruits of liberation.