Daily Readings

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The Five Precepts of Buddhism

It must be asserted that the Pancha Sila (Five Precepts) do not necessarily make a person a Buddhist, but to be a real Buddhist, one has to observe the five precepts. This poses the question, "who is a Buddhist?" The simplest answer is, a Buddhist is one who takes refuge in the "Triple Gem" (Tissrana), namely the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.



This aspect of the Dhamma namely Kamma as one's refuge is emphasized in several places in the SuttaPitaka. A notable instance and an oft-quoted passge occurs in the AnguttraNikaya,PanchakaNipata-pp. 87 and 88. "My Kamma is my possession. My Kamma is my inheritance. My Kamma is the womb that bears me. My Kamma is the race to which I am skin. My Kamma is my refuge."


Dhamma is a way of life

Religion, as is ordinarily understood, binds one to such untenable beliefs as a Supreme Creator, immortal soul, eternal heavens and hells. The Buddha Dhamma is free from such beliefs, dogmas, superstitions, and speculative theories. Hence, it cannot strictly be called a religion. The Dhamma is essentially the teaching of cause and effect (Hetuphalavada).



The end of a long process of mental activity, not long perhaps as chronological time is involved, but long in a line of experiences and consequences, there comes consciousness.

It begins, if one may speak of a beginning anywhere at all, with a physical contact (phassa) with one of the six senses of perception (salayatana). This produces a sensation (vedana) which is the experiencing of a challenge. It is at this stage that the process tends to become mental, when the sensation is perceived (sanna).


Dhamma as medicine

In the Middle Length sayings of Gotama Buddha, it has been recorded:
"The Buddha is like a physician in that He is able to heal sickness of the defilements. The dhamma is like a rightly applied medicine, and the Sangha with the defilements cured, are like people restored to health by the medicine."


Ego and Desire

The feeling of a separate "I", which we call ego-consciousness, is directly related to the strength of ignorance, greed, and hatred. The deepest meaning of ignorance is the believing in, identifying with and clinging to the ego, which as we have seen, is nothing but an illusive mental phenomenon. But because of this strong clinging to ego-consciousness, attachment/desire, anger/hatred arise and repeatedly gain strength.