Archive | December 2011

The Third Precept: Abstain from Sexual Misconduct

This is from a book on the precepts for lay people which was written by Shi Faxun, who has kindly given permission for us to serialise it over the coming weeks.


The Precept

Kāmesu micchācāra veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
I undertake the training rule to abstain from sexual misconduct.

Conditions Under Which A Violation Is Considered to Have Occurred

• Object: An illicit partner
• Intention: Lustful intention
• The Act: The act of engaging in union
• Consequence: The acceptance of union

Sexual misconduct occurs when one has sexual relations with an illicit partner with lustful intentions. The key question is who qualifies as an illicit partner? According to the Pali text, an illicit partner is:

(1) a woman  who is under the protection of her parents or guardian, for example, a young girl .
(2)  a woman who is married or engaged to another man.  (For married women, any man other than her husband is an illicit partner.)
(3) a woman prohibited by custom and tradition, for example nuns who observe celibacy are prohibited partners under the religious rule.

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10. The Discourse about Vajira

Thus I have heard:

at one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Sāvatthī at Anāthapiṇḍika’s grounds in Jeta’s Wood.

Then the nun Vajirā, having dressed in the morning time, after picking up her bowl and robe, was entering Sāvatthī for alms. After walking for alms in Sāvatthī, and returning from the alms-round after the meal, she approached the Blind Man’s Wood to pass the day, and having entered Blind Man’s Wood, she sat down at the root of a certain tree to pass the day.

Then the Wicked Māra desiring to give rise to fear, terror, and horror in the nun Vajirā, desiring to drive her out of concentration, approached the nun Vajirā, and after approaching he addressed the nun Vajirā with a verse:

“By whom was this being made, just where is this being’s maker,
Where has this being arisen, and just where does this being cease?

Then it occurred to the nun Vajirā: “Who is this, a human or a non-human, speaking this verse?” Then it occurred to the nun Vajirā: “This is the Wicked Māra desiring to give rise to fear, terror, and horror in me, desiring to drive me out of concentration, who speaks this verse.”

Then the nun Vajirā having understood: This is the Wicked Māra, replied with these verses to the Wicked Māra:

“Why fall back on a ‘being’? Haven’t you come to a view, Māra?
This is just a bunch of processes, no being is to be found here. 1

Just as with a collection of parts the sound ‘chariot’ is said,
So when there are these constituents 2 a ‘being’ is determined on. 3

Only suffering 4 arises, suffering it is that persists,
Nothing other than sufferings 5 arise, just sufferings that cease.”

Then the Wicked Māra (thought): “The nun Vajirā knows me!” and pained and depressed he vanished right there.

The Thematic Discourses about Nuns are Complete.


translated by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu

End Notes

1 Comm: no being is to be found here means in this bunch of pure processes nothing known as ‘a being’ is found in the ultimate sense.
2 Comm: when there are these constituents means when there are these five constituents existing then it is fixed through that state.
3 Comm: a being is determined on means there is just this appellation.
4 Comm: suffering means the suffering in the five constituents.
5 Comm: nothing other than sufferings means except for suffering nothing else arises or ceases.

The Second Precept: Abstain from Stealing

This is from a book on the precepts for lay people which was written by Shi Faxun, who has kindly given permission for us to serialise it over the coming weeks.


The Precept

Adinnādānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not freely given.
I will respect the property of others.

Conditions Under Which A Violation is Considered to Have Occurred   

• Object: Anything belonging to another legally
• Knowledge: The perception of the item as belonging to another
• Intention: The thought/intention of stealing
• The Act: The action of taking the item
• Consequence: The actual misappropriation of the article. Thinking of the article as our own.

A complete act of stealing constituting a full violation of the precept involves these five factors.

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9. The Discourse about Sela

Thus I have heard:

at one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Sāvatthī at Anāthapiṇḍika’s grounds in Jeta’s Wood.

Then the nun Selā, having dressed in the morning time, after picking up her bowl and robe, was entering Sāvatthī for alms. After walking for alms in Sāvatthī, and returning from the alms-round after the meal, she approached the Blind Man’s Wood to pass the day, and having entered Blind Man’s Wood, she sat down at the root of a certain tree to pass the day.

Then the Wicked Māra desiring to give rise to fear, terror, and horror in the nun Selā, desiring to drive her out of concentration, approached the nun Selā, and after approaching he addressed the nun Selā with a verse:

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The First Precept: Abstain from Killing

This is from a book on the precepts for lay people which was written by Shi Faxun, who has kindly given permission for us to serialise it over the coming weeks.


The Precept

Pāṇātipātā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life.
I will respect all living beings.

The pali word pāṇa means “that which breathes.” A living being is one that has breath and has consciousness. Hence it is not only a human being but also includes animals and insects as well, excluding plants as they do not have consciousness. This precept prohibits the killing of living beings. In broader terms, it should also be understood to prohibit injuring, maiming, and torturing a living being.

Conditions Under Which A Violation is Considered to Have Occurred

• Object: The fact and presence of a living being, human or animal
• Knowledge: The knowledge that the being is a living being
• Intention: The intent or resolution to kill
• The Act: The act of killing by appropriate means
• Consequence: A resulting death

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8. The Discourse about Sisupacala

Thus I have heard:

at one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Sāvatthī at Anāthapiṇḍika’s grounds in Jeta’s Wood.

Then the nun Sīsupacālā, having dressed in the morning time, after picking up her bowl and robe, was entering Sāvatthī for alms. After walking for alms in Sāvatthī, and returning from the alms-round after the meal, she approached the Blind Man’s Wood to pass the day, and having entered Blind Man’s Wood, she sat down at the root of a certain tree to pass the day.

Then the Wicked Māra approached the nun Sīsupacālā, and after approaching he said this to the nun Sīsupacālā:

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Arahat Sanghamitta

Yesterday’s Full Moon day is known as Sanghamitta Day in Sri Lanka. Here is an extract from an article based on the entry for Sanghamitta in the Wikipedia (retrieved (11-12-2011):

Sanghamittā was the daughter of Emperor Ashoka and his Buddhist queen Devī. Together with Venerable Mahinda, her brother, she entered the order of Buddhist monastics. The two siblings later went to Sri Lanka to spread the teachings of the Buddha at the request of King Devānampiya Tissa (250 BC – 210 BC) who was a contemporary of Emperor Ashoka (304 BC – 232 BC) of India.

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