5 Precepts

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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby ground » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:56 pm

heart wrote:First, the way you take these precepts are depending on how they are interpreted by the preceptor and not how they are interpreted on some internet forum.

... or how they are interpreted from within the lineage of transmission one is referring to.

heart wrote:TMingyur, you obviously have a wish to become a monk and I wish you great success in following this aspiration through. However as a monk you will depend on the kindness of laypersons and being to judgmental about different interpretations of these precepts might be both unkind and unwise. There have to be some balance as this is the middle path.

First I definitely will not become a monk in this life. Second I have not been judgemental as to laypersons. If you think I have been then please quote the corresponding statement.

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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby ground » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:01 pm

mudra wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Taking anything that isn't explicitly labeled as free or you do not have permission to take is considered stealing.
The criteria defined for what stealing is are:

1. The basis: The object that is owned by another or others who think(s) or are aware of "This is mine".
2. The attitude or thought which covers
2a. correct perception of the object
2b. obscuring affliction which may be desire, hostility or ignorance
2c. motivation which is the intention to take something you know belonging to someone else. This involves the desire to own and knowing that it was not given to you.
3. The peformance which is the act of stealing.
4. The culmination which means that either you have moved a physical object to your place or if the object cannot be "moved" in the literal sense the thought or awareness "Now I have it" or "Now it's mine".



These four points are not the criteria of stealing, they refer to elements that affect the degree or weight of the karma - it is a description of the full karmic path of stealing.

Well what's the difference? There is no misdeed different from karma.

mudra wrote:So if you take something like usage of music that is not freely given, that amounts to some kind of theft.

"Some kind of" ... well that's why it is not actual stealing according to this definition.
I find covetousness heavy enough.

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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby heart » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:52 pm

TMingyur wrote:
heart wrote:First, the way you take these precepts are depending on how they are interpreted by the preceptor and not how they are interpreted on some internet forum.

... or how they are interpreted from within the lineage of transmission one is referring to.

heart wrote:TMingyur, you obviously have a wish to become a monk and I wish you great success in following this aspiration through. However as a monk you will depend on the kindness of laypersons and being to judgmental about different interpretations of these precepts might be both unkind and unwise. There have to be some balance as this is the middle path.

First I definitely will not become a monk in this life. Second I have not been judgemental as to laypersons. If you think I have been then please quote the corresponding statement.

Kind regards


Obviously the lineage of transmission is important but there are always several ways to interpret the meaning within the lineage. I don't say this because I am looking for loopholes but because it is true. In general it is a good idea to take precepts such as these from a teacher that can describe the meaning and effect of taking and upholding these precept in a way that really inspires you. Because the main reason for taking these precepts it that they are very helpful for your practice.
The reason why I think that your attitude seems judgmental is that you first seems unwilling to agree that there is different ways of interpreting the meaning of these precepts and secondly that the way you interpret these precept in a way that makes it seems like slightly masochistic. Hardly an inspiration for a layman.

/magnus
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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby ground » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:56 pm

heart wrote:The reason why I think that your attitude seems judgmental is that you first seems unwilling to agree that there is different ways of interpreting the meaning of these precepts

So it seems to be an issue of mutual misunderstanding since I have perceived your postings as attempts to establish a (imo) too lax interpretation of precepts as the only appropriate one for lay persons. I did not claim that lay persons have to follow a more strict interpretation but that it may also be appropriate for them and I felt that you negated this categorically.

heart wrote:and secondly that the way you interpret these precept in a way that makes it seems like slightly masochistic. Hardly an inspiration for a layman.

But that "masochistic" and "hardly an inspiration" is only your feeling about it whatever the reason may be for you to feel that way. Please leave it to the individual to decide. There may be great happiness arising from pure conduct as taught by the Buddha ... really if you rid yourself of all those distraction which only foster innate habits then a tremendous improvement of meditation and great bliss may be the effect.

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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby heart » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:23 pm

TMingyur wrote:
heart wrote:The reason why I think that your attitude seems judgmental is that you first seems unwilling to agree that there is different ways of interpreting the meaning of these precepts

So it seems to be an issue of mutual misunderstanding since I have perceived your postings as attempts to establish a (imo) too lax interpretation of precepts as the only appropriate one for lay persons. I did not claim that lay persons have to follow a more strict interpretation but that it may also be appropriate for them and I felt that you negated this categorically.

heart wrote:and secondly that the way you interpret these precept in a way that makes it seems like slightly masochistic. Hardly an inspiration for a layman.

But that "masochistic" and "hardly an inspiration" is only your feeling about it whatever the reason may be for you to feel that way. Please leave it to the individual to decide. There may be great happiness arising from pure conduct as taught by the Buddha ... really if you rid yourself of all those distraction which only foster innate habits then a tremendous improvement of meditation and great bliss may be the effect.

Kind regards


You are right, it is just my feeling. I have seen people that had the same seal you have ending up in a bad place. I am supporting, not laxity, but kindness both to yourself and others. I don't see much happiness or purity in this discussion but I might have you all wrong.

/magnus
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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby ground » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:47 pm

heart wrote:You are right, it is just my feeling. I have seen people that had the same seal you have ending up in a bad place. I am supporting, not laxity, but kindness both to yourself and others. I don't see much happiness or purity in this discussion but I might have you all wrong.


Where there is eating there may be overeating. Where there is exertion, there may be over-exertion.
No matter what methods you are referring to you can always find examples of wrong application. You may focus on the wrong examples or you may focus and the right examples being aware that everything that may be wholesome can also turn into unwholesome. There is really no path or method at all where this is not so.

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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby SonamZangpo » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:18 pm

A fellow Dharma practitioner friend of mine and I (who both intend on becoming monks) were discussing a basic difference in two types of practitioners:

There are those who conform the Dharma to their perspective, and those who conform their perspective to the Dharma. By the first type of person, I mean someone who wishes not to change their conduct, so they interpret the teachings a certain way (naturally, this isn't an intentional distortion), and then proceed to take teacher's words out of context to support such claims. On the latter end, there are those who understand the Dharma and see that their perceptions and behaviors do not align with it, so they change themselves in order to fit the teachings. I am not stating if anyone here is either.

Also, a good point was made about the health benefits of masturbation. It is medically encouraged to masturbate daily for a man, as it drastically lowers his chance to develop prostate cancer and other prostate problems. Therein we find a sort of conflicting... How to put it.

Masturbation is indeed healthy. So, even if one did take a vow, it may benefit them to masturbate. However, the thoughts associated with the action largely create attachment and the indulgence of sensual pleasure would not be beneficial to one's practice. So then we have this issue where, if we are concerned about our health, we should masturbate, but in accordance with virtuous lifestyle, do such without thinking of anything and having no attachment to the physical sensation. This act would likely be considered impossible for many people without higher attainments.

So then, the question arises whether one should do something for health reasons and suffer from the karmic backlash, or to go without and be virtuous, but leave oneself open to developing cancer? Well, it is stated many times over that one should put their vow before all else, including their own life. I have a book in which it says if you have taken the "no kill" vow and you had an option between being killed or killing, you should let yourself be killed. On the other hand, I've heard teachers say something different on a similar topic. It was one of the teachers I've been watching a lot recently but I cannot remember which one (recently has been Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, Khandrol Rinpoche, and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche) who said you should never denounce Buddhism, but if someone points a gun at you and demands you denounce all religion, you should say so to the person but not in your heart. So, it seems there is some conflict between these two things among teachers.

Also, I heard a mahayana teaching, it may have been zen, in which a young monk is sent to journey across the sea to another monastery, but falls asleep on the beach. When he wakes up and boards the boat, there is a beautiful woman who is a princess, and over the course of the ride, they fall in love. When they exit, she pleads that he breaks being a monk and elope with her, and he does. They live out a life together, him becoming a prince, and having two children. However, on a boat ride his two children die and he feels overcome with pain. Then, he wakes up, back on the beach, still as a monk. He goes straight to the monastery he was supposed to and tells (I think) the abbot the story of his dream, and the listener replied "That's why I have been masturbating for the past 60 years!" (or something along those lines)

I think this situation is ultimately one of those "if you can go without, then go without. If you can't, then don't." situations where the area on the whole is gray. I do believe in Vajrayana it is not considered proper, but... we are talking about lay vows. Lay practitioners will take a vow not to kill but still eat meat, take a vow to no intoxicants and will still smoke cigarettes or drink coffee, so... letting something slide as far as masturbation is fine.

Also, it has been shown that if someone entertains thoughts of sexual violence (like rape) but then masturbates to porn, that most of the time it winds up being therapeutic and lessens the desire to commit such acts. So perhaps there is some good in the act overall, even aside from the health benefit.

Also, just to clarify, I partake in such an act. Yes, I do plan on becoming a monk, and yes, I plan on taking the celibacy vow very soon. Masturbation is likely going to be the hardest thing for me to give up moreso than any of the other things I have begun giving up.
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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby SonamZangpo » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:39 pm

heart wrote:
You are right, it is just my feeling. I have seen people that had the same seal you have ending up in a bad place. I am supporting, not laxity, but kindness both to yourself and others. I don't see much happiness or purity in this discussion but I might have you all wrong.

/magnus


I think I may have taken yours and others' posts as being very relaxed, as Mingyur stated, so my apologies for misunderstanding.

I had made some post here, maybe it didn't go through or something, clarifying the tone in which I speak. I am not, how would I put it... I am not being pretentious or thinking I am higher than anyone just because I wish to become a monk. I just feel a sort of sorrow and compassion toward those who feel they cannot accomplish more than "just a lay person." I think a lot of people put down the lay lifestyle in regards to Buddhism. However, if you are a lay person, but take your vows and behaviors just a little further, as to be... Monk-ish, I guess, I think you can do a lot of good. I say that because while many monks are constantly in study or practice, lay people are out in the world interfacing with everyone. This can provide you with two good opportunities- draw people into a more virtuous lifestyle (and perhaps into Buddhism) by leading with a good example, and also you can practice a more engaged form of compassion- volunteer work, etc. Also, you will be able to put a lot of what you learn immediately into practice with the real world.

A suggestion of mine for lay persons (I should do this but have not done it yet) I got from the beginning of this book. Get the book "Taming the mind and cultivating loving-kindness" By Chogyam Trungpa. In there, there are numbered slogans. Make flash cards of each number, and then stack them and shuffle them. Each morning, draw one card out, and look it up in the book, and read the teaching on it. Then try to enact the behavior in that slogan the best you can over the day. Repeating this will not only help you focus on certain aspects, but... you may be in a situation in which the slogan you picked does not apply, but one you did from a few days ago does. By forming this sort of association, one is able to create a sort of web in which to catch our samsaric experiences.

To return back to addressing how I wrote in this thread... while I did not act from a position of authority, I did intend to debate. I feel debate is really healthy and helpful in the Buddhist community with the right mindset. It allows us to actively flex our knowledge and experience of the dharma, but at the same time gives us the opportunity to practice humility, and, if we do, we learn something new.
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"It is more important to be kind than to be right."
(I acknowledge I do not follow the quote above this, that is why it is there! so I will be reminded every time I post! :) )
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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby mudra » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:37 am

TMingyur wrote:
mudra wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Taking anything that isn't explicitly labeled as free or you do not have permission to take is considered stealing.
The criteria defined for what stealing is are:

1. The basis: The object that is owned by another or others who think(s) or are aware of "This is mine".
2. The attitude or thought which covers
2a. correct perception of the object
2b. obscuring affliction which may be desire, hostility or ignorance
2c. motivation which is the intention to take something you know belonging to someone else. This involves the desire to own and knowing that it was not given to you.
3. The peformance which is the act of stealing.
4. The culmination which means that either you have moved a physical object to your place or if the object cannot be "moved" in the literal sense the thought or awareness "Now I have it" or "Now it's mine".



These four points are not the criteria of stealing, they refer to elements that affect the degree or weight of the karma - it is a description of the full karmic path of stealing.

Well what's the difference? There is no misdeed different from karma.

mudra wrote:So if you take something like usage of music that is not freely given, that amounts to some kind of theft.

"Some kind of" ... well that's why it is not actual stealing according to this definition.
I find covetousness heavy enough.

Kind regards


The four points refer to the elements of the karmic path. The more complete, the heavier the karmic result. There are of course other factors which contribute to a karma being heavy or not, but these are all the basic ingredients.

When these are not complete but somehthing has been taken unrightfully, it is still the karma of theft, but if the elements/ingredients of the karmic path aren't complete it has a lesser weight. For example if you misidentify the owner, etc.

This is a technical point only. Of course on another note covetousness is not good.
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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby narraboth » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:39 pm

SonamZangpo wrote:
narraboth wrote:well, this quote doesn't fit the original claim.
Talking about marriage, it's legal for same sex now in many countries. Please qoute where Buddha said it has to be one man and one woman?
Actually in ancient time, having sex with your second or third wife would not be considered as misconduct. The term used was 'not to have sex with other men's women' (pretty male central yeah?)
There was even no the idea of wedding in ancient Tibet. In Terma it's explianed: in India, women who are not in marriage are considered to be under their fathers' protection, so you shouldn't do sex with them. However it's not said about Tibetan or other countries' people. Especially nowadays, adult women don't need to ask their fathers before having sex.
Actually one Chinese translated text even says, it's not misconduct if a man has sex with a hooker, as long as he pays.

What I am trying to say is just: sexual moral is changing with time and place. what's not changing is the basic principle of vows, not the fixed rules. When I asked Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche about this, he told me: just keep one principle: don't harm others. that's all. I tried to ask more details, he refused to answer, just keep saying 'don't harm others, that's all.'



What you are listing here are samsaric delusions. You are listing loopholes and ways to enable yourself to have sex in many situations. However, you must recount the intention of the vow, and how it applies to today's society's and cultures. In the end any sexual conduct is merely giving into attachment of bodily pleasure, and distracts away from the Dharma and the path of Enlightenment. Even in Vajrayana, you have to ask whoever you are taking the vow from what they intend for it to mean. The language of how it is phrased doesn't matter, because you are taking the vow in how the guru transmits it to you.

I myself have struggled with the wording of this vow, and tried to see my way around it, and how I could still have sex under this or that circumstance, but... Thinking in that way would be along the same lines as trying to think of a way to kill despite taking the no kill vow, or a way to take intoxicants even when having taken the no intoxicants vow. Trying to look for loopholes in which you can practice samsaric behavior will not benefit you in any way. Coming to this realization, I have found when I go to take the vows, I will also take the celibacy vow. Being rid of the distraction of sex, and all the effort put into seeking out someone to do it and such, really frees the mind to focus more on practice.

Feel free to indulge in such way and find loopholes. I will find compassion in myself for you. However, when you are on your deathbed, and are not sure where you will take rebirth... will it be worth it?


wow, that's a serious claim, haha.
and many guesses! like if I argue about wordings of vows, I definitely is a gay and at the same time have sex with hookers.
Thanks for you compassion, but I think you can save your worry about other people's next life unless you are very sure which place you are going to go when you die? How do you know that a nice gay guy who have a partner will have better chance to go to hell than you?

Vows are to rule oneself, not to use to finger pointing, especially not to point on a certain group of people:
I have talked to more than one tibetan lama about sex moral, I can say they have much more liberal thinking than some Buddhists in europe, surprisingly, and many Buddhists in the States, unsurprisingly.

Do we need a Catholic/Quaker/Republican sexual ethic in Buddhism?? Do we need someone in Buddhism, like in some strange church branches, claiming that: marriage is holy, one man one woman, otherwise you go to hell? Would Buddha and great masters say things like that? Or just one's own bigot reflect as discrimination on certain group of people?
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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby narraboth » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:55 pm

To make DKR's word clear:
He didn't say that 'not to harm others' is the minimum of Pratimoksha vows. He said that it IS the essence of Pratimoksha vows.

And he is not the first one to say that, you can find that in Karmachagmed's texts too, and also some other masters; I heard that in teachings for many times.

Why is that? we need to go back to the time when Buddha firstly claim 5 vows to his very begining lay students.
In Bali texts, some marchants became the very early lay people students, and they asked Buddha what to do and what not to do, Buddha answered:
'you don't want to be killed, don't kill. you don't want your belongings to be stolen, don't steal. you don't want your women to be used(sexually) by others, don't have sex with others' women. you don't want to be lied, don't lie. beyond that, (alcoholic) drinks disturb your mind, don't drink.'
(translated from a Chinese translation)

For monks, there are many details and lines for breaking vows or not, that's for the necessarity.

Actually I think to follow the essence of 'don't harm others' can be more difficult than just saying 'sex in marriage, one man, one woman'. But some people might keep believing what they believe, that's fine, but please don't judge others so easily, that won't bring your path any good.
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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby tamdrin » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:22 pm

Ok so masturbation is sexual misconduct so then one is better going off out to night clubs looking for women to have sex with because that is not sexual misconduct. Does that really make a whole lot of sense...
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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby Adamantine » Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:44 am

SonamZangpo wrote:It was one of the teachers I've been watching a lot recently but I cannot remember which one (recently has been Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, Khandrol Rinpoche, and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche) who said you should never denounce Buddhism, but if someone points a gun at you and demands you denounce all religion, you should say so to the person but not in your heart. So, it seems there is some conflict between these two things among teachers.


I believe that this was Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and that you are either misremembering, or misinterpreting what he was saying. He was actually paraphrasing something from Gendun Choepel's famous text on the Middle Way. In that text, GC has us imagine the ferocious and nihilistic Tibetan warlord from Nyarong, Gompo Namgyal asking us if he is a Chakravartin(a monarch of the universe, the secular counterpart to Shakyamuni Buddha). In order not to be beheaded on the spot, we say yes, although we don't believe it in our hearts. This was actually GC's metaphor for the Buddha's teaching us the path through language, although in reality the Buddha's awakening was inexpressible. He implies that the entire scope of the Buddha's teachings are similar to this dynamic. (Of course, the motivation is of compassion, not out of fear of death). Dzongsar Khyentse brings up GC and changes the metaphor to a gun to the head, and someone asking if the color of the swimming pool is blue, although it is green, --or something like that. But what he meant is the same as what GC did, and it is a bit different than what you say above. Unless, of course, you are thinking of a different teaching or teacher altogether.
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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby Hanzze » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:06 am

tamdrin wrote:Ok so masturbation is sexual misconduct so then one is better going off out to night clubs looking for women to have sex with because that is not sexual misconduct. Does that really make a whole lot of sense...

Actually, everything starts in the mind. Who honestly keeps the precept constant?
Just that! :-)
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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby ground » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:45 am

tamdrin wrote:Ok so masturbation is sexual misconduct so then one is better going off out to night clubs looking for women to have sex with because that is not sexual misconduct. Does that really make a whole lot of sense...


No because being attached to sensual pleasures and seeking them will trap one in samsara forever.

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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby Jnana » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:51 am

sangyey wrote:Are the 5 precepts undertaken in the Vajrayana like they are in the Theravadin where a practitioner would undertake them daily? If so, does anybody have the formula whereby I would be able to add it to my daily prayers to be recited everyday.

In the Kudṛṣṭinirghātana section of his Advayavajrasaṃgraha, Advayavajra (Maitrīpa) states that mantrayāna practitioners should take refuge in the three jewels and abide by the five precepts:

    The householder bodhisattva (gṛhapatibodhisattva), together with taking refuge in the three jewels, abstains from the five acts of abusing sentient beings, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, false speech, which is by nature blameworthy, and drinking intoxicants. Endowed with discriminating knowledge, the householder bodhisattva, who avoids the ten non-virtuous acts but refrains from non-action, who practices virtuous action, rises early in the morning. After washing his face with clean water, he recalls the three jewels. By reciting oṃ āḥ hūṃ he binds protection to himself. He should then engage in such things as [reciting verses of] praise, recitation of mantra-s, meditation, and study. He should also recite the Nāmasaṃgīti three times a day.

At Gampo Abbey the precepts are recited daily in Sanskrit. For a layperson the five precepts are as follows:

    1) prāṇātipāta-virati-śikṣāpadaṃ samādadāmi |
    2) adattādāna-virati-śikṣāpadaṃ samādadāmi |
    3) kāmamithyācāra-virati-śikṣāpadaṃ samādadāmi |
    4) mṛṣāvāda-virati-śikṣāpadaṃ samādadāmi |
    5) surā-maireya-madyapramāda-sthāna-virati-śikṣāpadaṃ samādadāmi |

    1) I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life.
    2) I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given.
    3) I undertake the training rule to abstain from misconduct in regard to sense pleasures.
    4) I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech.
    5) I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented and distilled intoxicants which are the basis for heedlessness.

On Sojong -- new moon and full moon days -- laypersons can also undertake the addition of three more precepts and the emendation of the third precept so that one maintains complete sexual chastity (brahmacāra) instead of abstaining from sexual misconduct (kāmamithyācāra). A translation of the eight precept ceremony can be found here: The Rite for Taking the Eight Vows translated with commentary by Tony Duff.

All the best,

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Re: 5 Precepts

Postby Adamantine » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:34 am

Yeshe D. wrote:
sangyey wrote:Are the 5 precepts undertaken in the Vajrayana like they are in the Theravadin where a practitioner would undertake them daily? If so, does anybody have the formula whereby I would be able to add it to my daily prayers to be recited everyday.

In the Kudṛṣṭinirghātana section of his Advayavajrasaṃgraha, Advayavajra (Maitrīpa) states that mantrayāna practitioners should take refuge in the three jewels and abide by the five precepts:

    The householder bodhisattva (gṛhapatibodhisattva), together with taking refuge in the three jewels, abstains from the five acts of abusing sentient beings, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, false speech, which is by nature blameworthy, and drinking intoxicants. Endowed with discriminating knowledge, the householder bodhisattva, who avoids the ten non-virtuous acts but refrains from non-action, who practices virtuous action, rises early in the morning. After washing his face with clean water, he recalls the three jewels. By reciting oṃ āḥ hūṃ he binds protection to himself. He should then engage in such things as [reciting verses of] praise, recitation of mantra-s, meditation, and study. He should also recite the Nāmasaṃgīti three times a day.

At Gampo Abbey the precepts are recited daily in Sanskrit. For a layperson the five precepts are as follows:

    1) prāṇātipāta-virati-śikṣāpadaṃ samādadāmi |
    2) adattādāna-virati-śikṣāpadaṃ samādadāmi |
    3) kāmamithyācāra-virati-śikṣāpadaṃ samādadāmi |
    4) mṛṣāvāda-virati-śikṣāpadaṃ samādadāmi |
    5) surā-maireya-madyapramāda-sthāna-virati-śikṣāpadaṃ samādadāmi |

    1) I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life.
    2) I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given.
    3) I undertake the training rule to abstain from misconduct in regard to sense pleasures.
    4) I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech.
    5) I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented and distilled intoxicants which are the basis for heedlessness.

On Sojong -- new moon and full moon days -- laypersons can also undertake the addition of three more precepts and the emendation of the third precept so that one maintains complete sexual chastity (brahmacāra) instead of abstaining from sexual misconduct (kāmamithyācāra). A translation of the eight precept ceremony can be found here: The Rite for Taking the Eight Vows translated with commentary by Tony Duff.

All the best,

Geoff

:thanks:
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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