The Five Training Precepts
By Tarchin Hearn
When we are lost in confusion or in the grip of negative habitual patterns such as fear and jealously, anger and lust, these traditional training precepts can be a life raft that can save us from doing something that later we might regret.
- I undertake to train myself to abstain from taking the life of any living being.
- I undertake to train myself to abstain from taking that which is not given.
- I undertake to train myself to abstain from sensual misconduct.
- I undertake to train myself to abstain from unskilful speech.
- I undertake to train myself to abstain from taking substances that cause intoxication to the point of heedlessness.
Precepts in Positive Expression
When we are feeling clear, awake and responsive, guidelines for wholesome relating that are expressed as negatives, ie "I will train myself not to do such and such" are hardly enough. Spending our lives not doing things isn't a very creative way of living. These positive expressions of the five traditional precepts point to a way of living that actively embraces and supports the wellbeing of everyone and everything.
- I will train myself to support and appreciate the life of all living beings. I will live with a sensitive and responsible awareness for the whole ecology of life.
- I will train myself to dwell more and more in the mind of spontaneous generosity. Daily I will give material support, emotional support, and an example to others of awakening in action.
- I will train myself to use the senses to further awakening, explore Dharma, and to come to know the world more profoundly and more compassionately.
- I will train myself to communicate in a skilful and compassionate manner.
- I will train myself to be ever more directly aware of how nutriment affects the mind and body. I will eat and drink and nurture myself and others, in a way that supports awakening.
Note from Franca: This information leads naturally to questions about karma. Click here for a very helpful introduction to karma by Ken McLeod.