Evaluate The Influence Of The Core Ethical Teachings On The Lives Of Buddhist Adherents Essay

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The core ethical teachings have a great influence on Buddhist adherents, as it gives them a fundamental set of guidelines in which they should base their lives. The basis of Buddhist ethics is respect for life; not to harm any living being and to ensure the welfare of all, thus reflecting their lifestyle practices and behaviour. Moral conduct for Buddhist adherents differs according to whether it applies to the laity or to the Sangha. A lay Buddhist cultivates good conduct by training in what are known as the “Five Precepts”, whereas the Sangha are governed by rules contained in the Vinaya, influencing aspects such as chastity. The interpretations of these guidelines also vary between Mahayana, Theravada and Vajrayana traditions. The Five Precepts contain fundamental Buddhist values as related to ethical and moral teaching, and are followed by both the laity and the Sangha. They are concerned with the relationship between the individual and the world in which they live, thus significantly influencing the behaviour of adherents towards others and oneself. Each of the five precepts produces its own virtues in which Buddhists should base their lives upon. The first brings about compassion, the second generosity, the third contentment, the fourth honesty and the fifth clarity and awareness. These virtues can be reflected in several lifestyle practices. One must refrain from the taking of life, theft, and inappropriate behaviour towards others in both sexual activity and honesty, but also care for oneself by restraint from intoxicants. Therefore on celebration days, Buddhists will often eat vegetarian food and will not drink alcohol. Gifts will be simple, especially those given to monks. The five precepts are training rules which, I one were to break any of them, one should be aware of the breech and examine how such a breech may be avoided in the future,. The resultant of an action, often referred to as Karma, depends on the intention more than the action itself. These precepts vary in interpretation between Theravada and Mahayana traditions. Thus, the Five Precepts. In monastic communities, breaches of these rules have different penalties depending on the severity of the breach, For example, murder and sexual activity can lead to expulsion from the Sangha. However, the Five Precepts is merely a guide to behaviour for those in the lay community, and therefore have no direct consequences. For example, Laypersons following the Theravada tradition believe meat-eating to be karma neutral, as declared by Buddha in the Pali Canon whose advice on meat eating was directed specifically to the Sangha, whereas Laypersons following the Mahayana tradition will follow a strictly vegetarian diet as a strengthening of the first precept. In Vajrayana tradition, however, meat is eaten freely, as the Tibetan position is that it is not necessary to be a vegetarian if one practices Vajrayana.

The Vinaya Pitaka is the first collection found in the Tripitaka and holds a significant influence to the lives of the Sangha. There are several aspects of monastic Buddhism that are additional to the general guidance given to the Buddhism community at large. An addition to the Five Precepts, the Vinaya is a guide to monastic life and directs monastic behaviour. It influences several lifestyle aspects such as their diet, behaviour and dress. Monks must abstain from taking untimely meals, dancing, music, singing and watching grotesque mime, the use of garlands, perfumes and personal adornments, the use of high seats and accepting gold or silver. The interpretation of the rules, however, dffers between the Mahayana and Theravada traditions. The Theravadins, esespecially those from Thailand, claim to observe the rules to the letter of the…