The Five Precepts – Buddha’s Teachings Explained

Five Precepts present the moral foundation. Morality is one of the three aspects that all Buddha’s teachings fit into. The other two are Mindfulness and Wisdom.

Without morality, leading a peaceful and serene life is impossible. On the other hand living morally and in accord with the precepts leeds to happy and peaceful life, it makes a fertile ground for cultivation of mindfulness and wisdom.

Buddha presented more discipline standards:

  • 5 precepts for the lay people (everyday people)
  • 8 or 10 precepts for Renunciates (those who want to actively progress in the eightfold path- other 3 or 5 precepts are not moral but training rules)
  • 227 precepts for buddhist monks (with detailed explanations for each of those in the book of Patimokkha)

The 5 Precepts in English and in Pali (ancient Buddha’s language) are:

  1. I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing.
    Pāṇātipātā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
  2. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given.
    Adinnādānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
  3. I undertake the training rule to avoid sexual misconduct.
    Kāmesumicchācāra veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
  4. I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech.
    Musāvādā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
  5. I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness.
    Surāmerayamajjapamādaṭṭhānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.[6]

When those are taken officially with the Buddhist Monk, it is a custom to repeat each of the rules 3 times.

These five precepts should not be taken as an “obligation”. On the contrary, Buddha describes them as five gifts. If we are serious about our moral discipline we receive the fruits/ gifts in this very life.

For a more detailed elaboration on Five Precepts please view this Video: