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What Are The Five Precepts?

Over the centuries of development, the ethical category in Buddhism has been perfected and systematized in detail into five different precepts.

Today, many Buddhists still wonder about the meaning of these Five Precepts. Ambiguity about the precepts makes religious practice more difficult.

So what exactly are the five precepts, and what do they mean? Continue reading this post below for a detailed answer.

The Five Precepts will include no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying, and stimulants.

Below are the specific meanings of each precept. Scroll down slowly, so you want to get all the essential information!

1. No killing

Non-killing means not harming or taking the life of a person, animal, insect, or other living being. With Buddhism, people are always the center, so this precept mainly refers to the purpose of not killing people.

Murder is a serious and unforgivable offense, even if we have repented. Killing insects or animals would be less severe and challenging to accept in Buddhism.

Not only stopping there but killing in this precept is also understood in many different meanings. Wasting time or destroying resources is also considered a killing form. So what is the primary goal of this precept?

Not killing is to develop human compassion towards the good things in life. So, all Buddhists practice vegetarianism to develop loving-kindness and compassion.

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No killing

2. No stealing

Not stealing is not trespassing on any other’s property. In other words, taking anything that doesn’t belong to you without permission is theft.

In Buddhism, theft is a real offense and can be difficult to forgive if they do not recognize their mistake and repent in time.

Taking and using public tools or stationery without returning may violate this precept. That is considered an unclean action in Buddhism, and the doer will, of course, have to bear the cause-and-effect consequences.

Unintentional theft will not be attributed to sin. But after realizing your wrongdoing, you will violate this precept if you still intentionally possess someone else’s things.

3. No sexual fornication

No sexual fornication

Non-fornication means that no sexual activity can happen without a legal marriage relationship. Typical examples are rape, seduction, polygamy, and the destruction of other families. All these actions are contrary to Buddhist ethics.

If you violate it in an abusive way, there will be corresponding consequences. Individuals who have not yet committed any violation always think of nefariousness and lust in their hearts, which is unacceptable.

Abandoning the wrong sex thoughts, our lives will be comfortable and peaceful.

4. Don’t lie

Lying is taboo in Buddhism, and lying means saying frivolous, untrue words to slander others or provoke conflict between relationships. In Buddhism, lying can be of three types: small, big, and convenient lies.

  • Small lie: People who claim to have attained enlightenment but have not done so. It is a severe lie that affects many people.
  • Big lie: It can be false testimony, misrepresentation, or slanderous fabrications for others.
  • Convenience lies: Misrepresentation but with good intentions. You say nice words or ideas to encourage and motivate a particular issue or individual. Usually, these lies will benefit the listener.
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5. No stimulants

Do not use alcohol, drugs, or other banned substances, such as marijuana, opium, or morphine. Buddhists rarely fall for this precept because of their perception. Primarily religious people are good-natured and less indulgent individuals.

Five Precepts of Buddhism: General Meaning

All these 5 precepts share the same principle of not offending others. For example, you will not be allowed to kill others or not steal if you are not trespassing on other people’s property.

In addition, avoiding sexual misconduct also means not infringing upon the honor, dignity, and integrity of others. Precepts are formed and developed to direct people to a good, peaceful, and free life.

Many people who do not understand deeply often think these precepts are burdens and compulsions they must follow. It is a false prejudice that unintentionally causes people and their lives to change negatively.

In this world, forcing someone to practice according to rules is very difficult. Understanding and feeling about the good it brings after many years can completely change your outlook on life.

Those who understand the five precepts will have true freedom. In the end, the real meaning of precepts is freedom without burden.


What happens if you don’t follow the five precepts?

Follow these five Buddhist precepts to avoid breaking the precepts and having many troubles in our lives. If you fully and strictly follow these precepts, you will be more at ease. From there, life will also be quieter and more peaceful.

Why are the five precepts so important?

It helps to enhance the best human qualities, making life less harmful and more beautiful. To be more precise, it makes each individual perfect with more complete and perfect happiness.

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What does the fifth precept require?

The fifth precept is no stimulants, wishing we could avoid alcohol, drugs, and other harmful substances.

Why do we need precepts?

The precepts help us avoid mistakes in life. However, that’s when you work hard. Otherwise, you will make the mistakes of your life worse.

Why is the precept important?

The five precepts in Buddhism are a code of conduct intended to help people behave more ethically.


Hopefully, the detailed explanations on the Five Precepts above will help you understand more deeply about these rules. And you will be able to practice more adequately and accurately.

If you can follow these precepts for many years, your life will always be more relaxed, beautiful, and peaceful than before.

Thank you for reading!