The Five Precepts
The Buddhist Precepts are an important element of Buddha’s teachings. These precepts outline basic prohibitions against 1) killing, 2) stealing, 3) sexual misconduct, 4) false speech, and 5) taking intoxicants. These principles are viewed by many as the means to living a life in line with the eight fold path of Buddhism. In his book, For a Future to be Possible, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh contends that there is a “deep malaise in society” (Hanh, 1998, p. 7) and has established five mindfulness trainings based on the five precepts in Buddhism. He believes studying and practicing these mindfulness trainings “will surely bring peace and happiness to ourselves, our community, and our society” (Hanh, 1998, p. 11). In this paper, the team will address each of the five precepts and share Hanh’s mindfulness trainings for each. We will also explore the benefits we could reap by following these, not only for current society but also for generations to come. The mindfulness trainings include awareness of the suffering caused by the destruction of life; exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression; sexual misconduct; unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others; and unmindful consumption (Hanh, 1998). The first precept is a very simple way of living when viewed at face value. It is simple to live by the rule of not causing harm towards another human being or to kill any living thing for the sake of killing. The first precept dictates “One must not deliberately kill any living creatures, either by committing the act oneself, instructing others to kill, or approving of or participating in the act of killing. This means that one should not cause harm or death to any living thing. This precept follows very closely to the golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” based on Christian teachings. However, this precept takes the golden rule further, mandating not harming any animal, not even...
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