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Going for Refuge & Taking the Precepts

Going for Refuge & Taking the Precepts

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On how to become a Buddhist. By Bhikkhu Bodhi. The Wheel Publication No. 282 / 284.
On how to become a Buddhist. By Bhikkhu Bodhi. The Wheel Publication No. 282 / 284.

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Published by: Buddhist Publication Society on Jul 30, 2011
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01/09/2013

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Going for Refuge&Taking the Precepts
 by
Bhikkhu Bodhi
The Wheel Publication No. 282 / 284
Copyright © Kandy; Buddhist Publication Society, (1981)First Edition: 1981BPS Online Edition © (2009)Digital Transcription Source: Buddhist Publication Society and Access to InsightTranscription Project.For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted andredistributed in any medium. However, any such republication and redistribution is to bemade available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis and translations and otherderivative works are to be clearly marked as such and the Buddhist Publication Society is to be acknowledged as the original publisher.
 
Contents
Preface.......................................................................................................................................3G
R
...........................................................................................................................4
I. The Reasons for Taking Refuge..........................................................................................41. The dangers pertaining to the present life...................................................................52. The dangers pertaining to future lives.........................................................................73. The dangers pertaining to the general course of existence........................................8II. The Existence of a Refuge.................................................................................................10III. Identification of the Objects of Refuge..........................................................................111. The Buddha....................................................................................................................122. The Dhamma .................................................................................................................133. The Sangha.....................................................................................................................14IV. The Act of Going for Refuge...........................................................................................15V. The Function of Going for Refuge...................................................................................18VI. The Methods of Going for Refuge.................................................................................19VII. Corruptions and Breach of the Refuge.........................................................................22VIII. The Similes for the Refuges..........................................................................................23T
P
......................................................................................................................24
I. The Essential Meaning of Sīla...........................................................................................24II. The Five Precepts...............................................................................................................281. The First Precept: Abstinence from Taking Life........................................................282. The Second Precept: Abstinence from Taking What Is Not Given.........................303. The Third Precept: Abstinence from Misconduct in regard to Sense Pleasures....324. The Fourth Precept: Abstinence from False Speech ..................................................325. The Fifth Precept: Abstinence from Intoxicating Drinks and Drugs......................33III. The Eight Precepts...........................................................................................................34IV. The Benefits of Sìla...........................................................................................................361. Benefits pertaining to the present life .........................................................................362. Benefits pertaining to future lives...............................................................................363. The benefits of the ultimate good................................................................................37V. The Undertaking of Sìla....................................................................................................37VI. The Breach of Sīla.............................................................................................................39VII. The Similes for Sīla.........................................................................................................412
 
Preface
The first two steps in the process of becoming a lay disciple of the Buddha are the going forrefuge (
saraṇa gamana
)
 
and the undertaking of the five precepts (
 pañca-sīla-samādāna
). By theformer step a person makes the commitment to accept the Triple Gem—the Buddha, theDhamma, and the Sangha—as the guiding ideals of his life, by the latter he expresses hisdetermination to bring his actions into harmony with these ideals through right conduct.The following two tracts were written for the purpose of giving a clear and conciseexplanation of these two steps. Though they are intended principally for those who havenewly embraced the Buddha’s teaching they will probably be found useful as well by long-term traditional Buddhists wanting to understand the meaning of practices with which theyare already familiar and also by those who want to know what becoming a Buddhistinvolves.In order to keep our treatment compact, and to avoid the intimidating format of ascholastic treatise, references to source material in the tracts themselves have been kept to aminimum. Thus we here indicate the sources upon which our account has drawn.
Going forRefuge
is based primarily upon the standard commentarial passage on the topic, found withonly minor variations in the
Khuddakapāṭha Aṭṭhakathā
(
Paramatthajotika
), the
Dīghanikāya Aṭṭhakathā
(
Sumaṅgalavilāsinī 
), and the
 Majjhimanikāya Aṭṭhakathā
(
Papañcasūdani
). The firsthas been translated by Ven. Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli in
 Minor Readings and the Illustrator
(London:Pali Text Society, 1960), the third by Ven. Nyanaponika Thera in his
The Threefold Refuge
(B.P.S., Wheel No. 76).The tract
Taking the Precepts
relies principally upon the commentarial explanations of thetraining rules in the Khuddakapāṭha Aṭṭhakathā, referred to above, and to the discussion of the courses of kamma in the Majjhimanikāya (commentary to No. 9, Sammādiṭṭhi-sutta). Theformer is available in English in Ven. Ñāṇamoli’s
 Minor Readings and Illustrator,
the latter in
Right Understanding,
Discourse and Commentary on the Sammādiṭṭhi-sutta, translated byBhikkhu Soma (Sri Lanka: Bauddha Sahitya Sabha, 1946). Another useful work on theprecepts was
The Five Precepts and the Five Ennoblers
 by HRH Vajirañāṇavarorasa, a lateSupreme Patriarch of Thailand (Bangkok: Mahamakut Rajavidyalaya Press, 1975). Alsoconsulted was the section on the courses of karma in Vasubandhu’s
 Abhidharmakoṣa
and itscommentary, a Sanskrit work of the Sarvāstivāda tradition.
Bhikkhu Bodhi
3

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