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The Five Precepts In The Context Of The Eightfold Path

2484 words - 10 pages

The Five Precepts in the Context of The Eightfold Path

Both 'The Five Precepts' and 'The Eightfold Path' are significant
elements of the Buddhist religion. The precepts act as a guide for the
average everyday lay Buddhist on how to create the least amount of
karmic energy possible. It by no means is the way directly to reaching
Nirvana. The Eightfold Path however, is known as "the way." It is, in
itself, the Fourth Noble Truth, and the path to enlightenment. In this
examination of the Five Precepts I will endeavour to relate them in
context to the different aspects of the Eightfold Path.

All the precepts begin with, " I abstain from" so a definition of this
word is relevant. The Oxford Dictionary states the meaning of
'abstain' as: " to undertake or restrain oneself." Any undertaking
involves not only skill, but work and practice and therefore
appreciation of the five precepts would be enhanced by developing the
different aspects of the Eightfold Path.

Right understanding would enhance appreciation of The First Precept,
which is to abstain from the destruction of life, because it would
enable a Buddhist to understand not simply that it is wrong to kill,
but why you should not take life. It would enable one not only to see
the true meaning behind the wrongdoing of taking life, but also to be
aware of the consequences of their actions for themselves and their
victim, which is that if anyone kills another human being, they are
preventing them from making spiritual progress and consequently
themselves also.

Right Understanding would help the enrichment of comprehension for The
Second Precept which is not to take things which are not given,
because they would learn not only that it is wrong to steal but the
reason why it is wrong. It would help the enrichment of appreciation
for The Third Precept, which is to not to indulge in sexual
misconduct, because it would enable one to gain supra-mundane
intellectual understanding of the reasons why they should not partake
in sexual transgression. Enrichment of appreciation for The Fourth
Precept which is not to tell lies or speak falsehood would be helped
because right understanding would teach an individual the
supra-mundane understanding of why it wrong to lie. Appreciation for
The Fifth Precept, which is to abstain from the use of intoxicants,
would be enhanced because it would teach an individual the
supra-mundane understanding of why it is wrong to use intoxicants.

The consequences of all the actions abstained from in the precepts
would be fully realised and contemplated to reach a full
understanding. Those consequences of such actions would be suffering
and bad karma, preventing spiritual development for all people
involved.

Right Thought would help the enhancement of appreciation for the first
precept, which is to...

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