the great vegetarian debate

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Nighthawk » Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:26 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:Tried being a vegetarian once. It only lasted two days.

I tried once, it lasted 16 years.
.
.
.

Hats off :smile:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby plwk » Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:35 am

I have reason to believe meat eating still happened behind closed doors in Chinese monasteries throughout the Tang amongst sordid activities like slave trading, though the widespread conception was that monks are vegetarian.

Image

Yeah this reminds me of & I am sure you would have remember this legendary & enigmatic 13th Century Southern Sòng Dynasty personality of the famed Líng Yǐn Monastery in Hángzhōu? None other than dào jǐ chán shī (Chán Master Dào Jǐ) or more known by his folk name as jǐ gōng huó fó (Living Buddha Jǐ Gōng / 'The Honourable Living Buddha Who Aids All') said to be an emanation of one of the 18 Arhats, known for his 'crazy wisdom' of teaching and transforming activities and his two alleged pet habits of drinking wine and eating dog meat plus some other 'unmonkish' stunts. When I was at Líng Yǐn Monastery this year, I saw a beautiful hall and statue dedicated to his memory. He's more known and famed amongst the Chinese folklorists and some Taoists than the mainstream Buddhists as I have observed lol
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby reddust » Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:37 am

I know some very mean vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters, I also know some really nice ones too. I did find an article I really agree with. I went back five pages and all the scriptures I wanted to post were already used, I am pretty sure someone else might have posted this article because this thread is huge. I've been cook and server at many Vipassana retreats and while in the kitchen no one is allowed to talk about vegetarian vs meat eating. I've seen so many people rendered totally miserable regarding food "other" people eat. The topic Totally ruins the taste of the dishes we are cooking, (Edit: Sensitive meditators get bad gas eating food that's been cooked by troubled minds) I am serious!

From John Kahila, Are all Buddhists vegetarians?

"Few of us are in a position to judge meat eaters or anyone else for "killing by proxy." Being part of the world economy entails "killing by proxy" in every act of consumption. The electricity that runs our computers comes from facilities that harm the environment. Books of Buddhist scriptures are printed on paper produced by an industry that destroys wildlife habitat. Worms, insects, rodents and other animals are routinely killed en masse in the course of producing the staples of a vegetarian diet. Welcome to samsara. It is impossible for most of us to free ourselves from this web; we can only strive to be mindful of entanglement in it. One way to do so is to reflect on how the suffering and death of sentient beings contributes to our comfort. This may help us to be less inclined to consume out of mere greed." (http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/vegi.html)

I refuse to eat animals or plants from factory farms, that is how I deal with this tangled knot. I am a strict organic vegan when I have to live in the city. If I were to live off of what I could grow on my little hobby farm I would have to eat meat, although the three sisters garden does grow here, which produces a complete protein, corn, squash, and beans, but that takes a lot of land compared to my chickens needs. My goal is to live off of what I can grow, I am almost there! :namaste:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:38 pm

reddust wrote:This may help us to be less inclined to consume out of mere greed." (http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/vegi.html)


Good article. Although, it obvious that the last author is not entirely informed on the topic.
He says:

And consider all those transporting this and that here and there that goes about to set up the factories and the factories for the factories, the infrastructures for all those factories, so that materials can be supplied to them, so that the boxes and pipes and the material to build the green houses can be made for the hydroponic farms, and that they may be sent to the farms, so that hydroponic vegetables can be cultivated, so that you may buy and eat them. Wouldn't all that kill even lots more animals, though they may be smaller and seem insignificant to humans? Don't they suffer too?


Of course small animals suffer. But asking "Wouldn't all that kill even lots more animals". The answer would be "no it generally doesn't."

Wouldn't it then be proper to consider that "If I eat only vegetables I too would be indirectly encouraging killing of animals;" or that, "If I don't eat meat, I would be indirectly a killer too;" [b]or that "If don't eat meat, it wouldn't mean that less animals will be killed. And in fact perhaps more are killed."


All the evidence suggests that less animals are killed, in general, by eating plants instead of animal flesh. The idea that more animals may be killed, but just smaller ones, does not play out when you look at actual evidence. The evidence suggests the opposite.

Of course growing all of your own food would be a different story. However, if you are growing all of your own food and you still eat chicken meat, normally people who do that kill the chickens themselves, by their own hand. This would be a precepts violation even for the most traditional of Buddhists, even if it is just to get food.

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One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:16 pm

Keep asking,
"well, so what..what happens then?"
Even if you are right, keep asking that.
If a buddhist eats meat, are they being a bad buddhist? Are they violating some precepts? Are they hurting sentient beings? Are they perpetuating samasara? Are they destined to take rebirth in a lower realm?

Even if one thinks the answer to all of these questions is YES
Then, ask,
"well, so what..what happens then?"
And if the answer is
"then stop eating meat" and the person does not stop eating meat,
Then, ask,
"well, so what..what happens then?"
Just keep asking this question.
and SEE WHAT HAPPENS!
...and after you see what happens,
Then, ask,
"What happens now?"
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:33 pm

Al Gore is finally a vegan. I say finally because he has always claimed to be this big-time environmentalist and numerous studies have shown that the biggest cause of greenhouse gases is the animal agriculture.

Known across the globe for his political career, Mr. Gore rose to even bigger fame with the release of his 2006 Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth"--which raised awareness about climate change.
That very same year, the United Nations released their report Livestock's Long Shadow, a groundbreaking study that shows animal agriculture creates more greenhouse gases than all the transportation in the world combined.
http://www.mfablog.org/2013/11/al-gore-goes-vegan.html
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Jigme Tsultrim » Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:30 pm

I am an ex-veggie. No shame.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Jigme Tsultrim » Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:56 pm

I find it interesting that in the 12 years I lived next door to a Tibetan temple, meeting a dozen or more high Lamas, and over a hundred monks, I never met a single one who was vegetarian. Seems like they get on with the Dharma ok though..
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby porpoise » Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:05 pm

Jigme Tsultrim wrote:I find it interesting that in the 12 years I lived next door to a Tibetan temple, meeting a dozen or more high Lamas, and over a hundred monks, I never met a single one who was vegetarian.


I think that's a cultural thing. When I was involved in Tibetan Buddhism in the UK most of people involved ate meat, they would rationalise it by saying things like "It's difficult to grow crops in Tibet", to which I'd say "Yeah, but we're in England and round the corner there is a large supermarket with a wide range of non-meat products..." :stirthepot:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:18 am

reddust wrote: If I were to live off of what I could grow on my little hobby farm I would have to eat meat, although the three sisters garden does grow here, which produces a complete protein, corn, squash, and beans, but that takes a lot of land compared to my chickens needs. My goal is to live off of what I can grow, I am almost there! :namaste:



I am assuming you wouldn't kill the chickens to eat, being a buddhist and all.. but are just talking about eating unfertilized eggs?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby reddust » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:30 am

Adamantine wrote: I am assuming you wouldn't kill the chickens to eat, being a buddhist and all.. but are just talking about eating unfertilized eggs?
Yes, killing by proxy, especially within the industrial complex, really bothers me. I am not a coward, if I am going to eat meat I will kill the animal myself. I kill 50 chickens in September, I've done this for the last 3 years, cook and can the meat. I also eat fertilized eggs. I don't follow one of the sila codes, as I was told they are not like the Christian sin and you will go to hell if you break one. Plus I don't think killing to eat is wrong as a Buddhist. I will not argue or debate this point. I refuse to eat plants grown within the industrial complex as well. The factory farming practice is killing our planet. I will not participate in this insanity.

I grew up on a farm so this was not a big jump for me regarding the mechanics. I did struggle with killing and came to terms with this life style. I feel it is more honest and in your face regarding how life really is….
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:48 am

reddust wrote:
Adamantine wrote: I am assuming you wouldn't kill the chickens to eat, being a buddhist and all.. but are just talking about eating unfertilized eggs?
Yes, killing by proxy, especially within the industrial complex, really bothers me. I am not a coward, if I am going to eat meat I will kill the animal myself. I kill 50 chickens in September, I've done this for the last 3 years, cook and can the meat. I also eat fertilized eggs. I don't follow one of the sila codes, as I was told they are not like the Christian sin and you will go to hell if you break one. Plus I don't think killing to eat is wrong as a Buddhist. I will not argue or debate this point. I refuse to eat plants grown within the industrial complex as well. The factory farming practice is killing our planet. I will not participate in this insanity.

I grew up on a farm so this was not a big jump for me regarding the mechanics. I did struggle with killing and came to terms with this life style. I feel it is more honest and in your face regarding how life really is….


Yes, it is 100% incontrovertible, in every single branch of Buddhism, killing is one of the worst karmic actions one could possibly engage in. Especially intentional killing, for food, for money, for sex, it is all purely non-virtue. It is one of the basic 10 vows any Buddhist takes when they take refuge. If one continues to kill throughout one's life, certainly 50 chickens a year, without thinking it is a problem or feeling remorse, then you are certainly creating conditions for rebirth in a lower realm. You have gotten incorrect information. I am telling you this, not to upset your mind, not to argue with you, not to debate with you. I just want to suggest that you research this more thoroughly. You have accepted the default liberal view that killing animals for oneself is superior to buying into the factory farmed industrial system. Certainly the system sucks. There is a lot of information in this thread, if you take the time, that explains why even abstaining from buying in the market does not affect that system. But that is besides the point. Killing for oneself may seem right from a modern cultural POV, but it goes against the truth the Buddha discovered and taught us. It is against the dharma. It will lead you to further suffering, undoubtedly. Again, this is incontrovertible and anyone telling you otherwise is not a qualified Dharma teacher.

I suggest, if you want to sincerely practice Dharma to benefit beings and yourself, and also avoid the factory faming system: that you become a vegetarian, and eat the eggs your chickens lay (unfertilized) as your protein source, along with beans and grains. Otherwise you are certainly causing suffering to the chickens, but also to yourself and anyone else you are spreading your wrong views (about killing) to.

If you think you are not a coward, when you line up 50 defenseless chickens and systematically kill them... I think you are quite mistaken. It is certainly less cowardly to risk having less protein in your diet!
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby reddust » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:03 am

Adamantine wrote:Yes, it is 100% incontrovertible, in every single branch of Buddhism, killing is one of the worst karmic actions one could possibly engage in. Especially intentional killing, for food, for money, for sex, it is all purely non-virtue. ////
If you think you are not a coward, when you line up 50 defenseless chickens and systematically kill them... I think you are quite mistaken. It is certainly less cowardly to risk having less protein in your diet!


Thank you for your compassion I truly appreciate your good will :heart:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:24 am

reddust wrote:
Adamantine wrote:Yes, it is 100% incontrovertible, in every single branch of Buddhism, killing is one of the worst karmic actions one could possibly engage in. Especially intentional killing, for food, for money, for sex, it is all purely non-virtue. ////
If you think you are not a coward, when you line up 50 defenseless chickens and systematically kill them... I think you are quite mistaken. It is certainly less cowardly to risk having less protein in your diet!


Thank you for your compassion I truly appreciate your good will :heart:


:namaste: :heart:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:41 am

Adamantine wrote:Yes, it is 100% incontrovertible, in every single branch of Buddhism, killing is one of the worst karmic actions one could possibly engage in.

I'm not so sure about this. E.g. if you look here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/ariyesako/layguide.html#harmlessness
you can see that "Intentionally bringing about the untimely death of a human being" is a parajika offense, requiring expulsion, in the Theravadan Vinaya, whereas "deliberately killing an animal — or having it killed" is a pacittiya offense, requiring only confession. I suspect it is similar in the other Vinayas.

To put this in perspective, here's a list of the pacittiya offenses:
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=92_pacittiya_(rules_entailing_confession)
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby sukhamanveti » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:07 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Adamantine wrote:Yes, it is 100% incontrovertible, in every single branch of Buddhism, killing is one of the worst karmic actions one could possibly engage in.

I'm not so sure about this. E.g. if you look here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/ariyesako/layguide.html#harmlessness
you can see that "Intentionally bringing about the untimely death of a human being" is a parajika offense, requiring expulsion, in the Theravadan Vinaya, whereas "deliberately killing an animal — or having it killed" is a pacittiya offense, requiring only confession. I suspect it is similar in the other Vinayas.

To put this in perspective, here's a list of the pacittiya offenses:
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=92_pacittiya_(rules_entailing_confession)


On the other hand, from a karmic perspective it is traditionally viewed as pretty serious. Lama Zopa Rinpoche says, "It is said in the teachings that if you kill one animal, because of that karma, you will be killed five hundred times by others. You will suffer in very hot hell realm for one thousand eons."

http://www.lamayeshe.com/?sect=article&id=320
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:19 am

sukhamanveti wrote:Lama Zopa Rinpoche says, "It is said in the teachings ..."

Which teachings?
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:27 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Adamantine wrote:Yes, it is 100% incontrovertible, in every single branch of Buddhism, killing is one of the worst karmic actions one could possibly engage in.

I'm not so sure about this. E.g. if you look here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/ariyesako/layguide.html#harmlessness
you can see that "Intentionally bringing about the untimely death of a human being" is a parajika offense, requiring expulsion, in the Theravadan Vinaya, whereas "deliberately killing an animal — or having it killed" is a pacittiya offense, requiring only confession. I suspect it is similar in the other Vinayas.

To put this in perspective, here's a list of the pacittiya offenses:
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=92_pacittiya_(rules_entailing_confession)


Well, those are formal conduct rules for monks, -pratimoksha- vows and the severity of breaking them. So, what we see there is from the most outward level of external rules of conduct for monks and nuns.. i.e. hinayana level-- that is is a serious break of conduct to kill anything, even insects in water. Of course, it is an unrepairable offense to kill a human-- this has to do with the potential of a human life= Buddhahood, etc. It is still serious to kill other life forms, just not unrepairable. The only way to repair an offense is remorse, and the desire to never do it again.. If one is planning to kill 50 chickens a year into the future, to eat without remorse, there is no way to repair that.

Now, here is an excerpt from Thrangu Rinpoche about the 10 virtues/nonvirtues -- these are primary beyond the three sets of vows we normally discuss (pratimoksha, bodhisattva, and vajrayana). You just referenced pratimoksha vows.

First there are the Pratimosksha vows of the
hinayana which are practiced by ordained monks and nuns;
these consist of following several hundred rules. Then there is
the conduct of the bodhisattvas who are practitioners on the
mahayana path who have taken the vow to help all beings reach
enlightenment before they themselves reach this state. Finally,
there is the conduct of the vajrayana practitioner which is based
on vows and commitments of certain practices.
Whatever type of vows one undertakes there are ten things
to be avoided or given up and ten things to practice or embrace.

One avoids the ten negative or unvirtuous actions because they
are harmful to oneself and harmful to others. One practices the
ten positive or virtuous actions because they are beneficial to
oneself and beneficial to others.


The very first of the 10 nonvirtues is taking a life.
The first negative action of the body is killing; one must give up
the taking of life.
There have to be four factors present to make the action of
killing complete and therefore a negative act. There has to be the
object of the action, the intention, the actual action itself, and
that action has to be completed. If these four aspects of an action
aren’t all present, then killing need not necessarily be a negative
action.


For something to be the negative action of killing a second
factor must be present: the intention. One must have the
motivation to harm that being for it to fall under the category ofThe Ten Virtuous Actions
- 4 -
killing. For example, if we think, “This being is going to harm
me” or “It is dangerous and therefore I wish to kill it.” one is
killing out of anger and the desire to cause harm. One can also
kill through the motivation of desire by thinking for example, “If
I kill this being, then I will have food
, clothing, pleasure and
enjoyment.” One then intentionally kills that being. Or one can
kill through the motivation of ignorance such as sacrificing an
animal for religious reasons, thinking, “If I kill this being, then
the act will be good and beneficial because this was in the
scriptures.” Nevertheless, it is not a good intention because it
was a killing carried out with the motivation of ignorance. If one
did not realize that one is killing a being, then there is not the
negative result that comes from doing an act of killing.
Knowledge and intention must be there


These excerpts are from here : http://www.rinpoche.com/teachings/conduct.pdf
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:48 am

Adamantine wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Adamantine wrote:Yes, it is 100% incontrovertible, in every single branch of Buddhism, killing is one of the worst karmic actions one could possibly engage in.

I'm not so sure about this. E.g. if you look here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/ariyesako/layguide.html#harmlessness
you can see that "Intentionally bringing about the untimely death of a human being" is a parajika offense, requiring expulsion, in the Theravadan Vinaya, whereas "deliberately killing an animal — or having it killed" is a pacittiya offense, requiring only confession. I suspect it is similar in the other Vinayas.

To put this in perspective, here's a list of the pacittiya offenses:
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=92_pacittiya_(rules_entailing_confession)


Well, those are formal conduct rules for monks, -pratimoksha- vows and the severity of breaking them. So, what we see there is from the most outward level of external rules of conduct for monks and nuns.. i.e. hinayana level-- that is is a serious break of conduct to kill anything, even insects in water...

It shows that killing animals was not viewed as one of the worst karmic actions one could possibly engage in. In fact, if you look at the rest of the pacittiya you will see that they are mostly NOT serious offenses, and many of them are quite trivial.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:21 am

dzogchungpa wrote:It shows that killing animals was not viewed as one of the worst karmic actions one could possibly engage in. In fact, if you look at the rest of the pacittiya you will see that they are mostly NOT serious offenses, and many of them are quite trivial.


Listen, we are on a Mahayana forum, I am a lay practitioner (as I imagine you are), so neither of us are qualified to have an intelligent discussion about the vows of monks and nuns, although I am happy to have JKhedrup or other ordained sangha weigh in. Regardless, even talking from a Theravada POV, it is one of the quintessential vows all Buddhists take, along with refuge, as I originally stated. Not only that, it is the very first vow given. The order implies the primacy and importance. From the same website as your links:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/pancasila.html
These basic training rules are observed by all practicing lay Buddhists. The precepts are often recited after reciting the formula for taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha.

The Five Precepts:
1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.

2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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