How long can you observe the five precepts? The five precepts are moral guidelines that every Buddhist observes daily. They are:
1. I undertake to observe the precept of non-killing.
2. I undertake to observe the precept of non-stealing.
3. I undertake to observe the precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct. (Do not commit adultery)
4. I undertake to observe the precept of abstaining from falsehood. (Do not lie)
5. I undertake to observe the precept of abstaining from intoxicating drinks (including drugs)
sounds simple enough?
When I was a child, I couldn't even keep one precept such as non-killing or non-lying. One day, the late resident monk of Mangala Vihara Buddhist Temple in Singapore, Ven. M.M. Mahaweera Mahanayaka Thera, who was my Dhamma teacher, asked a simple question. How long can you observe the five precepts without breaking it?
I was astounded. It was then that I made it a point to observe it earnestly. I recited the five precepts but paid attention to one, non-killing, for a start. I killed less ants. Even when ants were crawling in the sink, I would pick it up and put it on a window sill or in the garden. This went on until it became a habit. Then I focused on non-stealing etc.
It is still difficult observing the precepts. Simple as it sounds, practicing it requires sustained effort. If we can't even observe the precepts for a long period of time, can you imagine if we did not? Imagine the damage we could do to others and to ourselves without this simple moral guidance. Scary isn't it.
Take the effort to practice in earnest now. No better time to start than now, no matter what your age is. It only leads to goodness, and therefore should be done now.
Copyright Â© Bernard Ong, 2006. All rights reserved.