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Grand Master's Books > Grand Master Lu's Book > 999_TBS Precepts

Five Precepts II

(Excerpted from ''From Heavenly Beings to the Other Shore of Buddhahood'' in Grandmaster's Book 28, Reminiscences Inspired by the Tranquil Spring.)
  1. Refrain from Killing:
    We should have a compassionate heart and exercise compassion towards all sentient beings, treating them fairly and without discrimination. Do not kill or persecute any beings. Shakyamuni Buddha realized that all beings possess the same Buddha-nature and have the same potential to become Buddhas. Also, Buddhism advocates salvaging the world through compassion. Hence, the Buddha taught us to refrain from killing sentient beings. Confucius once said, ''Hearing its cries, one does not have the heart to consume its meat.'' Compassion and benevolence are the basic foundation of Buddhahood. Therefore, one who cultivates compassion must put compassion and benevolence into action by not harming or killing sentient beings. In this way, one does not create negative karma. Let sentient beings live out their natural life, eliminate acts of conflict and hatred, and thereby realize an ideal and peaceful world.
  2. Refrain from Stealing:
    Cultivators must observe righteous behavior and be vigilant in guarding their pure hearts from corruption. If they regard fame and fortune like passing clouds, they will not be seduced by the material world and will not commit fraud, embezzlement, theft, robbery or other wrongful deeds. Cultivators must not take anything that does not belong to them. Taking what is not given, earned, or justly allocated is stealing. I have observed that many sentient beings who do not know this precept have lost their hearts of righteousness. Cases of stealing through scheming and force are constantly in the news. If only people would refrain from stealing, society would be at peace.
  3. Guard the Body Like Jade and Refrain From Sexual Misconduct:
    Refraining from sexual misconduct means not engaging in sexual relations with anyone other than one's lawful spouse. Cultivators should regard lust as a ferocious tiger, fear it and run far away from it. Husband and wife should mutually respect each other. We should regard older women as our mothers and younger women as our sisters. We should not have inappropriate sexual thoughts toward them. One must know that, ''Although the bodies of beautiful women are naturally smooth and soft; they carry sharp swords to ruin ordinary men. One cannot see their heads roll, but inwardly their marrow withers and dries out.''
    In the Advice for Longevity (Chinese folk wisdom), it is said that: Men should ask themselves whether they properly preserve and protect their vital energy. or are they squandering it during their youth? Did they guard it after getting married?
    Men should not have mistresses, visit prostitutes, or engage in sexual activity with homosexuals, minors, animals, etc. Whatever sexual misconduct they engage in, their bodies are depleted of vital energy. Human bodies are not made of steel and cannot withstand this kind of daily abuse. Further stressed by the worries of their life, their bodies age quickly and vital energy diminishes. By avoiding sexual misconduct, men can attain longevity, and because their hearts are not contaminated by deviant habits, they can attain realization as well.
  4. Refrain from Lying and Gossip:
    It is important to be honest. Honesty is the fundamental principle of harmony between heaven and earth. To be in harmony with heaven, one's heart must be honest. Dishonesty is disrespect. Those who are disrespectful and dishonest but still seek Buddhahood are like men who try to ''squeeze blood from a turnip''. They use tricks and scheme to fool others. They deceive others by lying, making fraudulent claims, and giving false testimony. Exaggeration should also be avoided. Exaggeration is false speech which creates negative verbal karma.
  5. Refrain from Intoxicants:
    Cultivators should be in full possession of their mental faculties. Folk wisdom teaches us, ''Don't say that alcohol makes a man feel immortal; one makes many mistakes when drunk; one invites trouble, causing conflict and loss of trust. It is too late for regret after one sobers up.'' Cultivators must maintain a calm mind and avoid consuming alcohol and other intoxicants. Alcohol and intoxicants are mind altering hallucinogens. Becoming intoxicated causes character flaws to develop. Many misdeeds are committed while intoxicated. Therefore, cultivators should maintain calmness of mind and abstain from alcohol and other intoxicating substances.
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