We look to the foundation of Buddhism to better understand our own propensity for unethical behavior and without guilt or judgment, take responsibility to make necessary corrections and become a better version of ourself.
FIRST PRECEPT: Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and to learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.
SECOND PRECEPT: Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I vow to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well being of people, animal, plants and minerals. I vow to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, and I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species of Earth.
THIRD PRECEPT: Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I vow to cultivate responsibility and to learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual conduct.
FOURTH PRECEPT: Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful words and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause diversion or discord or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve conflict, however small, and to speak in ways that bring joy and happiness to others and that relieve others of their suffering.
FIFTH PRECEPT: Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health—both physical and mental—for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins—such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in others by observing a wholesome diet. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.
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