Why Should We Receive and Uphold the Five Precepts?

An Instructional Talk by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua


◎ 不要錯過受五戒的機會


Don't miss the chance to receive the five precepts




People who receive the five precepts, or the eight precepts, are called “Upasaka” (for men) or “Upasika” (for women). If they take the Bodhisattva precepts then they are called Bodhisattvas of initial resolve, because they are making a commitment to uphold the Bodhisattva precepts and follow the Bodhisattva path. Left-home people receive and uphold the Bodhisattva precepts. But since Bodhisattvas of initial resolve are people who wish to learn how to benefit both themselves and others, lay people, too, can receive lay Bodhisattva precepts.





In Buddhism, receiving and upholding precepts is very important. When there is an opportunity to do so, people should not miss the opportunity.





A person can receive one precept, two precepts, three precepts, four precepts, or five precepts. He can also receive eight precepts but he is not eligible to receive the ten precepts, as those are reserved for shramaneras (novice monks) and shramanerikas (novice nuns). But you can take Bodhisattva precepts, the ten major and forty-eight minor precepts.





Receiving one precept is called taking “a minimum share of the precepts,”
Receiving two precepts is called taking “a half share of the precepts,”
Receiving three precepts is called taking “a majority share of the precepts,”
Receiving five precepts is called taking “a full share of the precepts.”





If someone has a problem with receiving the precept of not killing beings, then that person can refrain from receiving that precept and can receive the precept of not stealing. If someone likes to drink, like my wine-drinking disciple who didn’t want to take the precept prohibiting the consuming of intoxicants, then that person can refrain from receiving the precept prohibiting the consumption of intoxicants, but can receive the others.

Someone may say, “I like to boast. I cannot receive the precept against lying.” Well, that person can receive the other four precepts.

Another person may say, “I cannot promise not to kill. Sometimes, unintentionally, I may kill ants and small bugs. If I kill them after receiving the precepts, my offenses will be greater.” That person doesn't have to receive the precept against killing. In general, each person can do whatever he or she prefers, receiving one, two, three, or up to five precepts. Just don’t miss this opportunity.




In China, if a person cannot afford to pay (it used to cost two hundred US dollars), then he won’t be able to receive the precepts. That money did not go toward the purchase of a sash and robe. The preceptees had to purchase those items by themselves. They could buy better or lesser quality sashes and robes, depending on what they had to spend. Just to receive the precepts, one had to make an offering to the teacher and his temple of at least two hundred dollars.


◎ 什麼叫「居士」?


◎ Who are the lay people?




A layperson is someone who believes in Buddhism, upholds the five precepts, and practices the ten good deeds and who has not left the home-life.


◎ 什麼叫「五戒」?


◎ What are the five precepts?




They are the precepts against killing, stealing, engaging in sexual misconduct, and taking intoxicants. People who have received the five precepts are called lay people.


◎ 什麼叫「十善」?


What are the ten good deeds?




The ten good deeds are just the opposite of ten bad deeds. The ten bad deeds are: killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct, which are done by the body; greed, hatred, and ignorance, which belong to the mind; and lying, loose speech, harsh speech, and divisive speech, which are committed by the mouth. Notice that the offenses of the mouth account for almost half of the ten.


◎ 什麼叫「綺語」?


◎ What is loose speech?




Loose speech is crude or lewd speech, such as talking about how women (or men) behave, or gossiping, and so forth.





Lying means not telling the truth.





Harsh speech refers to scolding people, which creates mouth karma.





Divisive speech means being double-tongued in the sense that one back-bites and causes schisms. Such a person tells A about B and then B about A, trying to split them up. That is how divisive speech works.


◎ 十善是什麼?


◎ What are the ten good deeds?




Turn the ten evil deeds around and they become the ten good deeds. What are the ten good deeds? They are: not killing, not stealing, not indulging in sexual misconduct, not being greedy, not harboring hatred, not being deluded, not using loose speech, not lying, not saying harsh words, and not engaging in divisive speech. If you can refrain from doing all these bad things, then you will be wholesome. Lay people should practice these ten good deeds. All lay people must observe the five precepts and practice the ten good deeds.


◎ 必須向出家人求戒


◎ Precepts should be requested from a left-home person--an ordained monk




To uphold precepts is just to do no evil but do all good. How many precepts are there? There are many sets of precepts. First, there are the five precepts. Those who have taken refuge with the Triple Jewel and who like to take another step forward should receive the five precepts. After having received the five precepts, another step forward would be to receive the eight precepts. Following that would come the ten precepts for novice monks and nuns.





Lay people who like to receive precepts must request them from an ordained monk. To transmit precepts means to give the precept substance to the preceptees. The person who transmits the precept substance to you must be a Bhikshu. In the Vinaya, a Bhikshuni is not permitted to transmit precepts.


◎ 佛教徒要守持的根本戒律


◎ The basic rules to be observed by Buddhists




The five precepts are the most fundamental rules that Buddhists should follow. They are: not killing, not stealing, not engaging in sexual misconduct, not lying and not consuming intoxicants.





If you receive the precept against killing and constantly refrain from killing, you will be rewarded with longevity. You will live a long life. Why is it that some people have long life spans while others have short life spans? Those who had upheld the precept against killing are rewarded with a long life, while people who liked to kill have the retribution of short lives.





Why should we observe the precept against stealing? It is because stealing causes others to lose their wealth. What is stealing? It is covertly taking away properties and materials belonging to others. What’s the retribution for stealing others’ things? The retribution will be that of not being able to hold one's own wealth long. For example, someone may be rich, and all of a sudden that person gets robbed.





Sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicants are similar. For instance, someone who does not observe the rule against sexual misconduct might have affairs with others’ women. In the future, that person's own wife or daughter will also be prostituted by others. Those are the kinds of retributions that will happen.





As to lying, if we don’t cheat people, we will not be cheated.





Someone may complain, “I have never cheated anyone in my life. Why is it that many people cheated me?” Didn’t I just say that the matter of retribution is not limited to one lifetime? It spans three time periods: past, present, and future. You may not have cheated anyone in this life, but do you know how many people you had cheated in your previous life? “I don’t know.” You don’t know? So it may be fitting that people cheat you now.





A person may not have intended to boast, but it's very easy to tell a lie without even realizing it. Telling lies can happen very fast. A lie comes out before we know it. For instance, someone may ask a person, “Have you stolen something?”  The person may reply, “I didn’t” without even stopping to think even if he did. If in fact, the person stole, then, by denying it, he commits the offense of lying on top the offense of stealing.





A little wine doesn’t hurt. However, if people drink a lot they will become confused and do crazy things. That’s why drinking wine is prohibited in Buddhism.





If we were to elaborate, the five precepts encompass many principles. The main point is that when we make sure our hands do no killing, we must also be sure that our minds do not entertain any thoughts of killing. Then we are truly upholding the precept against killing. The same applies to the precept against stealing. When our hands are not stealing, our minds must also be free of thoughts of stealing. Regardless of the value of objects, if someone uses something or takes something stealthily without getting permission, then that is considered to be a violation of the precept against stealing.




◎ 可不可以抽菸?


◎ Is smoking allowed?




好像有一個人到外面抽香菸。回來我問他﹕ 「你抽了幾支香菸?」 「我沒有抽啊!」 「有人看見你抽了嘛!他來告訴我的。」 「噢!那,我就抽一個。」


Another example is a person who went outside to smoke. When he came back, I asked him, “How many cigarettes did you smoke?” “I didn’t smoke.” he said. “Some people saw you.” I replied. “Oh. I smoked one cigarette," he said.



你看,他先是說他沒抽,以後又說抽一個。我說﹕ 「你現在還有幾個?」 「現在還有三個。」 「那七個到哪去了?」 「這…這…I don’t know.我不知道。」 我拿一個棍子照他頭就「啪」打一下, 「你知不知這是什麼?你覺不覺得痛?」 「覺得痛。」 「你覺得痛,為什麼你要講大話?」 「這…這戒律上沒有說戒菸的。」 「你讀過戒律了嗎?戒律上沒有說戒菸,你一定知道嗎?那個菸就包括在酒裡面。」 「啊!我不知道。」


You see. He said he didn’t smoke and then said he smoked one cigarette. I said, “How many cigarettes have you got left?” “Three.” “Where are the other seven?” “Well…, I don’t know.” I picked up a club and hit him right on the head--Pow! “Do you know what this is? Does it hurt?” “Yes.” “Yes? Then why did you lie?” “Well…the Vinaya doesn’t prohibit smoking.” “Have you studied the Vinaya? Do you know for sure that it doesn’t prohibit smoking? Smoking is included in the precept against taking intoxicants.” “Oh! I didn’t know.”





The smell from smoking is terrible. Not only does it make a person smell bad outside, it also makes the inside of his body smells bad. Bodhisattvas and Dharma-protecting good spirits will not want to protect you when they find out you smell like smoke. No matter how much merit and virtue you may have, they will leave you alone and many accidents will happen to you.





We don’t have to talk about others; currently there is one person among us who smoked stealthily and caused a very dangerous incident to occur. It happened because he was smoking, but he still doesn't realize it.





People who smoke will fall into the hell of Flames after they die. The hell of Flames is especially prepared for smokers. Whoever likes to smoke has the chance to go down there. If you refrain from smoking, you will avoid the path that leads to the hell of Flames. If you don’t, however, you may end up there in the future. People do not know the seriousness of such matters and do whatever they like. When you understand, you will not do it. Smoking is a more severe problem than drinking.





Why didn’t Shakyamuni Buddha prohibit smoking but disallowed drinking? It is because during that time when the Buddha was in the world no one knew about smoking.




◎ 受五戒的重要性


◎ The importance of receiving the five precepts






殺生,將來是宿殃短命報; 偷盜,將來是貧窮苦楚報; 邪婬,將來是雀鴿鴛鴦報;小鳥好高騖遠,貪邪婬就做了小鳥。


If one can uphold the five precepts and practice the ten good deeds, one will ascend to the heavens. The five precepts are not killing, not stealing, not engaging in sexual misconduct, not lying, and not taking intoxicants:

Not killing is to be kind and compassionate,
Not stealing is to be righteous,
Not engaging in sexual misconduct is to be an upright and proper person,
Not lying is to be a loyal and faithful person,
Not taking intoxicants is not to be a reckless person.

Killing brings the retribution of a short life span,
Stealing brings the retribution of a life of poverty and hardship,
Sexual misconduct brings the retribution of being born as pigeons or mandarin ducks.

Birds are impractical and lustful. If people act that way, they will be reborn as birds.




I often tell you these things, but you never pay much attention. I don’t mind taking the trouble to remind you again. What is it? People must not kill, because all living beings have either been our relatives or friends, or even parents or ancestors, throughout limitless eons. If our former parents have now been reborn as pigs or cows because of offenses they committed, and we kill those pigs and cows, then that would be the same as killing our own parents indirectly.





As for stealing, it’s said, “We should not do to others what we would not like done to us.” Since we don’t like having our belongings stolen, we should not steal others’ belongings.





In the law of cause and effect, the punishment for sexual misconduct is very heavy. Husbands and wives should not casually divorce. If you are married and then divorce later, in the law of cause and effect, your body will be divided into two parts because you had two relationships. You will be sawed in half from head to toe. You will be sawed into as many pieces as the number of marriages you have had. If a woman married a hundred men, she would be cut into one hundred pieces. Each man would get a piece of her.




What’s bad about being cut into fragments? It will be hard for the spiritual nature to come together again. Such a chance would be difficult to come by. If the chance does not arise, the spiritual nature will forever be incomplete and one will become an insentient thing, much like wood or grass. One's nature will be so fragmented that it will be insufficient to function as a sentient being. Even if it does become a sentient being, it would be in the form of a swarm of eighty-four thousand mosquitoes or the like. Those mosquitoes would in turn become mosquitoes that also lacked any awareness of how to change their course. They would not be able to wake up and turn away from the deluded existence. They would continually be born and die within the cycle of transmigration.




Thus, it’s said, “Once the human body is lost, it will not be recovered in tens of thousands of eons.” If we lose the human body, we will have to pass through millions of eons and still may not be able to regain it.




◎ 受五戒的好處


◎ The benefits of receiving the five precepts




今生不籠鳥,來生不坐監; 今生不釣魚,來生不討飯; 今生不殺生,來生無災難; 今生不偷盜,來生無搶案; 今生不邪婬,來生無婚變; 今生不妄語,來生無欺騙; 今生不醉酒,來生不狂亂。


Not caging birds in this life, we will not be put into the jail in future lives; Not fishing in this life, we will not become beggars in future lives; Not killing in this life, we will not encounter difficulties in future lives; Not stealing in this life, we will not be robbed in future lives; Not engaging in sexual misconduct in this life, we will have good marriages in future lives; Not lying in this life, we will not be cheated in future lives; Not drinking in this life, we will not lose sanity in future lives.





“Not caging birds in this life, we will not be put into the jail in future lives.” 

Think about it. When someone puts a bird in a cage, he takes its freedom away. By doing that, the person is not abiding by the constitution of this country. This country advocates freedom. Caging a bird is the same as putting the bird behind bars. The bird will start chanting the mantra, “retribution, retribution…” In the future, the bird will go before the Jade Emperor, who is the Lord of the Heavens, and file a suit against the person who caged it.

The Heavenly Lord will say, “Okay, this person has not been fair. He shall undergo the retribution!” You will then go to jail in future lives. This is because the bird has been chanting the mantra of retribution from morning to night. When the Heavenly Lord hears it, his verdict is that the person who caged the bird should be put behind bars.




I recall it was not in this life but some other lives in the past, I was deluded and didn’t know better. I saw people fishing so I went fishing too. I was quite fond of doing it. When the fish took the bait the water rippled. Then I would swing the fishing pole upward and the fish would be hooked. What happened to me afterward? I became a beggar in the next life. I had to beg for food because I didn’t have anything to eat. Thus, it’s said, “Not fishing in this life, we will not become beggars in future lives.” It’s quite miserable to beg for food. It’s better that we Buddhists do less fishing.





Someone may say, “I can do less fishing. I'll fish just once a year. And I will only fish for small and not big fish. Will that be okay?” Well, a small fish is a life, just the same as a big fish. Fishing once a year, you still end up killing, just the same as when you fish many times a year. However, if you fish less, your debt will be less; fish more, and your debt will be more. That is to say, if you catch half a pound of fish, you must pay back eight ounces in the future.





Not killing in this life, we will not encounter difficulties in future lives. If you refrain from killing any living being, then in future lives you will not be killed and you will be free from all difficulties. You will not be killed by gunshots, burned by fire, or drowned in water. Since you didn’t kill in previous lives, you will also be free from all illnesses in this life.





Not stealing in this life, one will not be robbed in future lives. If you don’t rob others of their things, no one will rob you in future lives. Why would you get robbed? It would happen because you had stolen and robbed people in previous lives. You thought it was quite clever to steal others’ belongings. This life, they snatch things back. This revolving cause and effect is quite inconceivable.





In this life, if you do not engage in sexual misconduct and never get involved in affairs with other men or women, you will not divorce in future lives. But if you were not faithful in previous lives, your marriage in this life will not be a happy one. Various things will happen to disrupt your marriage. That is the retribution for engaging in sexual misconduct.

Not engaging in sexual misconduct in this life, we will have good marriages in future lives. What is a good marriage? It means there will be no divorce nor any other marital troubles. Divorce and marital troubles are a result of failure to follow precepts. Those who have engaged in sexual misconduct will be born with a bad body odor. Whoever had not observed precepts, will have a very bad body smell in this life. The smell will be so strong that no perfume will be able to cover it. Men usually like women, but when they smell that odor, they will run away. Women are also fond of men, but if a man has such a smell, women will also run away from him. Such a person will not be loved. Anyone who does not uphold precepts will not smell good. If you uphold precepts in earnest, your body will emit a fragrance and be said to be “adorned with fragrant light.”




The court lady--Madame Fragrance of Chin Dynasty in China, probably a member of the Uighurs, always emitted fragrance. She didn’t have to use perfume or fragrant soap. She had this natural fragrance from her body that was more fragrant than anything else. The deluded Chinese emperor waged a war and took her back. He named her “Madame Fragrance,” which made all of his other women jealous. The emperor had many wives, and his jealous empress had her killed, after which she was no longer fragrant.





In this life, if you do not engage in sexual misconduct and never get involved in affairs with other men or women, you will not divorce in future lives. But if you were not faithful in previous lives, your marriage in this life will not be a happy one. Various things will happen to disrupt your marriage. That is the retribution for engaging in sexual misconduct.




“Not lying in this life, we will not be cheated in future lives.” If we don’t lie in this life, no one will cheat us in future lives. If someone cheats us, we must realize, “Oh, I must have lied in a previous life and so I am being cheated in this life.”

Someone told me that the four people from the Philippines did not come to leave the home-life. They just used it as an excuse to come to the United States I said that it’s all right. I know their motive very clearly, but I still believe them because I don’t want to cheat people and I also believe that people will not deceive me. Even if I know someone is cheating me, I will not bring forth the thought that he is. The person who hears it may say, “Oh! This is good.” In this world, many people put up defensive fronts against each other. You fear that I may cheat you, and I am afraid that you may deceive me. Am I taking a loss by not minding being cheated? If I am, it doesn’t matter.





“Not drinking in this life, we will not lose sanity in future lives.” Why is it that people lose their sanity or have mental illness in this life? It is because they drank too much and took a lot of drugs in previous lives. Therefore, the insanity continues into this life. The circular flow of cause and effect is this way whether you believe it or not. Whether you believe it or not I will say it just the same.


◎ 學佛法沒有什麼利益?


◎ Is there no benefit in studying the Buddhadharma?




“I have studied, investigated, and listened to the Buddhadharma for a long, long time and I have not gained any benefit!” What benefit do you want? In fact, you have gained great benefit without knowing it. What kind of benefit have you gained?





When you study Buddhadharma here, you aren't out murdering people. Therefore, you are not among those murderers. Is that not a benefit? When you come here to attend Dharma lectures, you will not be found among thieves and burglars. If you don’t listen to lectures, you may get involved in theft, robbery, or even arson. Now that you study Buddhadharma, you are free from all these crimes. Wouldn’t you say that’s a benefit?





When learning Buddhadharma, you do not get involved in sexual misconduct. so you won’t commit crimes such as rape. You do many proper things so you will be free from all crimes. Isn’t that a benefit? When you study Buddhadharma, you won’t tell lies or go around cheating people. Then, you won’t commit the offense of lying. That is purifying your mouth karma. If you can go further to refrain from drinking, smoking, and taking drugs, then your mind karma would be purified too. Since you don’t consume those intoxicants, you wouldn’t be in the company of drug criminals either.




If purifying the three karmas is not a benefit of learning Buddhism, then what is it? If you don’t study the Buddhadharma, you may kill, or steal, or get involved in arson. Then the police will catch you and put you behind the bars, perhaps for life. Wouldn’t that be miserable? Since you are studying Buddhadharma, you are free from all these problems. If that is not a benefit, what is it then? Therefore, we should not grow weary of studying the Buddhadharma.


◎ 不受戒是真「自由」嗎?


◎ Will "not receiving precepts" give you true freedom?




People with wrong views say, “Don’t take the precepts. What do you want to take them for? Why get some precepts to restrain you?” That is a wrong view. You think that not receiving precepts is being free. But it’s very easy to fall into the hells that way. That's where your so-called "true freedom” may lead you. 





If you receive the precepts, you will have the protection of precepts. The precept marks, percept dharma, and precept substance will support you. You will not fall into the hells that easily. Even if you do fall into the hells, you will get out quickly. If you like to be free and don’t take precepts, then later when you fall into the hells, it's not for sure when you will come out.





On the other hand if you have received precepts your time span in the hells can be shortened. It is like when someone who committed a major crime gets caught by the police. If the criminal had worked as a personal guard or an attendant for the president, then the president may write a note ordering that criminal's release. If the criminal doesn’t have such connection, he won’t be released for who knows how long. It is similar to that. When you have the protection of precepts, the long duration of your suffering can be greatly condensed. Therefore, don’t get smart and say, “It’s good not to receive the precepts.”




It’s good for you to receive the precepts. Let me say this to you, “Having taken the Buddha’s precepts, living beings enter the position of all Buddhas.” When living beings take the precepts of Buddhas, it’s the same as having entered the position of the Buddha. Therefore, don’t disparage the precepts or slander the Vinaya of the Buddha.


◎ 破戒怎麼辦?


◎ What if I break the precepts?




Precepts are the mother of Buddhahood. If you want to become a Buddha, you must uphold precepts and not break them. Having transgressed the precepts is just like drifting in the ocean in a leaking boat. Won't the boat sink? Violating the precepts is just like causing the boat to sink in the ocean. When you have received the precepts, you must uphold them. If you don’t, it’s the same as having leaks. When you leak, you are not free of outflows. Having no outflows comes when we do not break the precepts; when you break the precepts, you have outflows. What should you do if that happens? You must mend the precepts. How? You may create merit and virtue either by making monetary donations or by doing volunteer work. By redeeming your offenses and establishing merit before the Triple Jewel, you will wipe out your offenses.


◎ 老修行的故事


◎ The story of an old cultivator




Once an old lay cultivator had received the five precepts and an additional rule of “keeping silent while eating.” However, later he broke all five precepts and only kept the rule of "keeping silent while eating." The precept-protecting spirit that protected this rule hoped that the lay person would violate it so that he could also leave. This person, nonetheless, never broke that rule. He always ate in silence.

Later, that precept spirit appeared in a dream, “You have transgressed all the precepts. Why haven’t you broken this rule of "keeping silent while eating"? Please break it quickly so I can leave.”





The old cultivator thought to himself, “I only hold this one rule of eating in silence and still I have that precept spirit protecting me.” Thereafter, he found a virtuous Dharma Master and received the five precepts again. Consequently, he cultivated and realized the Way. Each person has his own set of causes and conditions.





Therefore, receiving precepts is a very important matter in Buddhism.




◎ 文殊菩薩的寶珠


◎ ManjusHri Bodhisattva's Precious Pearl




While Manjushri Bodhisattva was practicing the Bodhisattva Way, he never lied. Nor did he commit any offense involving killing or stealing. In general, he upheld the precepts strictly. How can we prove that he followed those rules and never stole things? Once, he told the other Bodhisattvas, “Ever since my initial resolve to cultivate, I have held the rule of not stealing. Therefore, my belongings will not be stolen by anyone. Not only will no one steal from me, even if I leave my most valuable possession out in the open, no one will walk away with it.”





Some Bodhisattvas didn’t believe him and said, “We would like to test your claim with an experiment. Leave your most valuable thing at the city gate, which is the busiest place. Leave it there for three days. If no one picks it up that will prove that your statement is true.”





Manjushri Bodhisattva agreed to try the experiment. Thereupon, he put his most precious pearl--all Bodhisattvas possess many precious and valuable things--at the city gate. Many people passed through the gate in the next three days and sure enough, no one picked it up. The other Bodhisattvas then knew that Manjushri Bodhisattva had truly upheld the precept against stealing.




◎ 不要做自己的辯護律師


◎ Don't act as your own defense attorney






Different people explain the same Buddhadharma in many different ways. Accordingly, the methods of cultivation are also different. Each person has his own interpretation. Therefore, there are many different viewpoints.





For instance, true cultivators of Buddhadharma should not smoke, drink, or eat meat. But some Buddhists say, “The Buddha’s precepts prohibit people from killing, stealing, indulging in sexual misconduct, lying, or drinking. However, there’s no mention of smoking. Therefore, smoking is not included in the precepts.” This is a self-justification. Smoking is covered in the precept against drinking. They want to act as their own defense attorneys so they say smoking is not a violation of the precepts.





A person with true wisdom will not do anything improper. He will refrain from doing all manner of bad things, not just those mentioned in the precepts. We should change all our bad habits.





Not killing includes not eating meat and not eating meat also includes not killing. That is because if we don’t kill, there will be no meat to eat. Some Buddhists say, “The Buddha prohibited people from killing, but not from eating meat. The Buddha allowed people to eat the meat that is pure in three ways: 1) One does not see the creature killed; 2) one does not hear the creature being killed; 3) the creature was not killed especially for oneself. Eating meat that is pure in these ways is permitted.” That is also a self-justification because the person basically cannot renounce meat.





I met a professor before who could not get by for one day without eating meat. He said, “Even the smell of meat would relieve my craving for it if I couldn’t get to taste it.” So you see, each person has his own ideas and views and they are all different.





In learning Buddhadharma, we must learn precepts, concentration, and wisdom.






Precepts help us to “refrain from all evil and do all good.” We refrain from doing whatever is bad, but we do all good things. 

Concentration is the vigorous study of Chan meditation. Wisdom is the result of concentration, and concentration comes from upholding precepts. This is called the three non-outflow studies.





We must put an end to greed, hatred and delusion. Being free from greed, we will not fight. When we do not fight with others, we seek nothing. When we do not seek, we will be selfless. When we are selfless, we will not pursue personal advantage. All these are related. Studying Buddhadharma means following the teaching in a precise and honest manner. Don’t take chances and shortcuts, just cultivate honestly.




◎ 什麼是淨戒?


◎ What are PURE precepts?






You should pay attention to the word “pure.” What does “pure” mean? It means being pure and clean, free from all defilement. Not having the slightest defilement is the kind of purity in which not even a single thought arises.





Not killing includes purifying our thoughts. If we uphold precepts on the surface and claim that we don’t kill, but we complain about others constantly or get angry with people, we are still violating the precept against killing.





Not stealing includes mental states. We don’t have to steal physically. When we envy other’s wealth or talents, or become jealous of people, we transgress the precept against stealing.





Not committing sexual misconduct includes not having improper thoughts about the opposite sex. If we indulge in improper thoughts about the opposite sex, then we are being impure and breaking the precept.





Holding the precepts purely means leading a clean life without any defiled thoughts. That is to hold the precepts purely.