As a basis for Buddhist cultivation, it is very important that one takes refuge in the Triple Gems and takes the Five Precepts. Taking refuge in the Triple Gems and holding the Five Precepts is similar to enrolling at university and following the rules of the institution where one studies.
The Triple Gems
The Triple Gem means the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Taking refuge means publicly accepting Buddha as our teacher, the Dharma as his teachings and the Sangha is the religious community. The Buddha, the Dharma and Sangha are the gems of the spiritual life beyond the bounds of this world. Accordingly to cultivate the way (to practice Buddhism) the first significant thing to do is to take refuge in the Triple Gem.
The Five Precepts
The Five Precepts are the Buddhist version of a code of conduct or rules to help people behave in a moral and ethical way. Buddhists should follow the Five Precepts to ensure they are living a morally good life. This helps them to get rid of suffering and achieve enlightenment. The five precepts are as follows:
- I undertake the precept to abstain from killing living beings.
- I undertake the precept to abstain from taking what is not mine.
- I undertake the precept to abstain from sexual misbehaviour.
- I undertake the precept to abstain from harmful speech.
- I undertake the precept to abstain from taking alcohol and drugs.
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