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නිර්වාණ ධර්ම බ්ලොගය | Nirvana Dhamma BLOG

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Let's Understand about the Real Sila (precepts / virtue / discipline) which helps for NIRVANA!


I found many described Sila as below:

·         Virtue, morality. The quality of ethical and moral purity that prevents one from falling away from the eightfold path.

·         Also, the training precepts that restrain one from performing unskillful actions.

·         Sīla is a mode of mind and intention cetanā manifested in speech or bodily action sees: kamma.

·         Sila is the foundation of the whole Buddhist practice, and therewith the first of the 3 kinds of training sikkhā that form the 3-fold division of the 8-fold path sees: morality, concentration and understanding. Etc…

Rules of moral conduct are to be found in every religion. They may resemble other codes of conduct to a greater or lesser degree depending on the Teacher or religious system from which they originated. Usually they comprise lists of actions from which to abstain, involve that any actions not covered by the prohibitions are permissible. So we should know that there are many type of Sila describe in Buddha Dharma also.  Pancha Sila (5 precepts), Attanga Sila (8 percepts), Nawanga Sila (9 percepts), Dasa Sila (10 percepts), Samanera Sila & Upasampada Sila etc…

Above all these Pancha Sila also known as 5 precepts, the 5 rules or the 5 principles are the Sila which we normally use in all of our day to day life.  It is customary for Buddhists to be delivered during almost every religious ceremony and those present at the ceremonies generally make a formal declaration of their intention to comply with them. This must have seen or heard Bhikkus enunciating ever since the time when we were still small children.  But did we understand them?

So isn’t it important to know how these 5 SILA really help us to achieve nirvana? And isn’t it important to know that 5 percepts, 5 rules or the 5 principles truly are the 5 SILA? Or isn’t it important to know what are real 5 SILA which helps to achieve nirvana?

We accept these 5 precepts by saying “Panathipatha Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami - I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Killing”, “Adinnadana Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami - I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Stealing”, “Kamesu Michchachara Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami - I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Sexual Abuse”, “Musawada Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami - I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Dishonesty” and “Surameraya Majjapama Dhattana Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami - I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Alcohol & Drugs” as long as this life lasts...

When we think about these 5 precepts there is one main fact is very noticeable.  That is when we say these 5 precepts is kind of a Vow or they are seems to be just a religious ritual which we accept and follow even we call them Pancha SILA.   We should understand what Sila is & what this religious ritual which we do as a promise is. 


“Samadana” is obey or observing. “Watha” means something we practice formally as a rule.  So “Yang Samadanag thang Wathang means “something we observe or obey & practice formally as a rule.  Then what is Sila?  “Sangwara” means disciplined then “Sangwarattena Silang” means being disciplined is the Sila also can say being virtuous is Sila.

Let me explain the two facts with their differentiations through examples to understand this fact very clearly. 

A person who lives by hunting or harming animals who is a Buddhist by his religion decided to Observe Sil in a Wesak Poya Day.  He will not kill or harm anyone throughout that day as he is practicing and obeying the some religious rules in this day.  What if he happen to see a rabbit or some another animal is in trouble or trapped somewhere on his way in such a day like this?  The hunter or the person who like to kill or harm animals for his needs and entertain will not take any action against that animal as he Observe Sil or as he vow to a religious formal procedure on that day.  He will think “Oh! Today I promised to stay good or well behaved and I don’t want to harm this animal today I just leave it alone or something like that”.  But if that animal stays the same when he comes next day he will kill it and use the meat or etc…   A person will not do evil actions when he Observe Sil and that is only for that exact time period he take the vow but not throughout his life time. A person who take this vow or follow this religious formal procedure of obeying to 5 percepts which we call 5 Silas can easily change his mind any time to do evil actions. For instance, some do not take alcoholic drinks during the Poya days, but subsequently they start drinking again.  This also shows that ONLY saying these 5 phrases will not give Sila for us.  We all know that many people just saying these 5 phrases and they break them… they believe this is just a religious rule and they even say I know that I am breaking the rules. Or he or she even says I may guide to the hell because I am breaking these religious rules… so is that the way we should discipline?  DO YOU also behave like that? Do you scared to break these just because of you guide to HELL… or do you practice these by force to go heaven?  Are you among the bunch of people who ready to do any of these if these religious rules are not anymore or for those who break these & they get excuses?  Do you say these 5 phrases just as a habit?  So DO YOU STILL feel this as real SILA?


Once the price Mahanama ask Lord Samma Sambuddha “My lord, what is Arya Sila?”  Then our Lord Samma Sambuddha replied “Panathipatha PATIWIRATHI HOTI, Adinnadana PATIWIRATHI HOTI, Kamesu Michchachara PATIWIRATHI HOTI, Musawada PATIWIRATHI HOTI, Surameraya Majjapama Dhattana PATIWIRATHI HOTI ayang uchchathi Mahanama Ariya Sharawako Silawa hoti”

So what is the meaning of this “PATIWIRATHI HOTI”?  The word “Rathi” gives the meaning of “desire / interest / hope”.  And the “Wirathi” gives the meaning that “get rid of desire / interest or no hope to do”

Then what was the meaning of 5 phrases which Lord Samma Sambuddha explained to Prince Mahanama?

“Panathipatha PATIWIRATHI HOTI – no interest for killing or harming others,  Adinnadana PATIWIRATHI HOTI – no interest to stealing,  Kamesu Michchachara PATIWIRATHI HOTI – no interest for sexual abuse, Musawada PATIWIRATHI HOTI – no interest for cheating or dishonesty, Surameraya Majjapama Dhattana PATIWIRATHI HOTI – no interest for intoxicating things” 

“All living beings are afraid of punishment and death. Life is dear to all beings (as well as to ME)”. By putting ourselves in their place, we realize that we, individually, should neither kill nor cause others to kill”. This is the universal Dharma, Lord Buddha wanted us to understand, through entering into one another’s feelings, that all living beings love life as much as we do and have no less fear of death.  If a person who doesn’t even know about these 5 phrases is thinking as above and he or she thinks; “I don’t like if someone come to kill me. I don’t like if someone come to harm me. I know how it’s hurt when someone hit me or do evil things for me.  I am scared for the death and so as they.  They too hurt… they too feel scared… they too don’t like harmful things to them.  So I should not harm anyone else or any animal in this world doesn’t matter how big or how small are they I will not harm them or take evil actions against for them.”

When someone able to think like above they understand one truth through their own wisdom… those who understand this truth like this way and practice the good side like this way have the real SILA and for that it is NOT mandatory to being a Buddhist or Catholic or Christian or Muslim or Hindu or anyone else in your religion or nationality as this a one common universal truth to practice… and it is call being intelligent and being intelligent means they are the real Buddhists!  And that Buddhist cannot categorize to a specific religion or nationality so he or she is free to select any of the religion or nationality in this world as a practice or tradition.   Our beliefs don’t change the universal truth… that changeless truth is “always good / pure cause to the good / pure effect and bad / evil cause to the bad / evil effect!”  So IF anyone decides to DO good / pure things by his or her heart will gain a discipline.  And that discipline comes out through the Sila which described above and that is what said as “Sangwarattena Silang”!

What are the sins which Sowan persons are NOT DOING in any condition?

01)   Killing Mother

02)   Killing Father

03)   Killing greatest Arihats

04)   Hurting / injuring greatest Samma Sambuddhas

05)   Divide the Sangha society (to fight, argue, etc)

06)   Never become a person with false visions permanently

What are the sins which an Arihat DO NOT DO TILL HIM ALIVE? 

01)   They ARE NOT involve with killing (knowingly)

02)   They ARE NOT involve with stealing what belongs to others (knowingly)

03)   They ARE NOT involve with sexual activates (knowingly)

04)   They ARE NOT involve with dishonesty / cheating (knowingly)

05)   They ARE NOT involve with using things which cause to intoxicate (knowingly)

So you can understand now what are the sins a Sowan person and Greatest Arihats are NOT doing…

And there is 5 Sila mentioned in Dhamma which we should understand and you can learn about them in this article. 


If YOU understand the simple universal Dharma which is the ultimate TRUTH which is “always good / pure cause to the good / pure effect and bad / evil cause to the bad / evil effect” YOU will never take step forward to DO the evil or bad things.  If someone says “I’ll give YOU millions or YOU will gain this if you kill or lie or steal or Sexual Abuse or etc…” YOU WILL NOT take any action for the bad / evil side as you understood that IT IS BAD… IT IS EVIL… IT IS HARMFUL FOR THE SOCIETY AS WELL AS FOR ME… IT WILL NOT GIVE ME ANY GOOD RESULTS… THE BAD/EVIL EFFECTS WILL FOLLOW ME FOR SURE… THERE IS NOTHING I CAN GAIN THROUGH THIS BAD/EVIL ACTIONS…etc… this is being wise and this is being intelligent.  If they are fishermen or some kind of profession like that, disregard the first Sila which, if observed, would make fish catching or fish selling impossible, but they may refrain from killing other animals. If medical students, they do not entirely follow the first Sila, observance of which would render the use of animals for research and experimentation impossible, but they may observe the 5 percepts whenever it is practical for them to do… BUT a person who discipline & with Sila is not doing his profession with the interest if his or her profession happen to do bad actions as above… he or she always willing to change the profession as soon as he or she got a chance… and if they truly into that intension they are getting chances also… and this topic is to be discuss later.  

Being tagged as a Buddhist as a result of born in a Buddhist family doesn’t make anyone Buddhists.  Understanding this universal truth will make you a LAZY PERSON TO DO EVIL / BAD actions and those evil actions can’t entertain you anymore which are harmful for you & to the world.  You have no interest to do such bad or evil activities in your life… you are auto disciplined through the dharma.  You don’t have to put any effort to be discipline.  You don’t have to observe Sil only for a day or specific time period AS YOU ARE DISCIPLINED WITH SILA.    We should mean them through practice which comes ONLY through an understanding & wisdom.    And this understanding and the Sila which comes through that wisdom is not a barrier for someone’s professions or someone’s living.  This Sila is the principle of human behavior that promotes orderly and peaceful existence in a community as well as the first step towards concentration (Samadhi) and insight (Panjna).   This is the Sila which helps to national growth, the force that brings about economic prosperity and general contentment. Without Silas, the productivity of individuals will tend to eliminate and destroy itself. Where the productivity of one individual is high but it is detrimental to that of someone else, nothing is added to the community diminishes and consequently it is difficult to promote general progress and prosperity. 

Everyone in this world agreed that “Killing / Harming, Stealing, Sexual Abuse, Dishonesty or Cheating and taking Alcohol & Drugs which lose our thinking ability for a while” are in the side of BAD ACTIONS, CRIME and DO NO GOOD FOR THE WORLD AND ITS BEINGS… even in movies… songs… cartoons… stories & other life entertaining things express the same idea by categorizing these into the bad / evil side… and also those who do these things categorize as bad or evil people or harmful people for the society…

Now it is the time to think!  Why we categorize this way?  Why we categorize these into evil actions? Why we categorize those people as bad?  Why we never specify a religion or nationality or something like that when we categorize these actions or people as bad & evil?  Why we always against for these bad / evil actions even those people are Buddhists or Catholics or Christians or Hindus or Muslims or etc…? Why we normally categorize people even if the president or a king or someone respectable in the society does these bad / evil actions they are also as bad or evil people?  Because everyone accept this universal truth by knowing or not knowing!  

Even from this point of view, it can be seen that JUST ONLY when people observe Sila as a religious formal procedure or a peaceful action in a specific day or time period will not help to build this good & right society.  When they living virtuously or discipline without any extra effort and they have Sila comes through their own wisdom they are NOT harmful for the SOCIETY neither to themselves.  As this Sila quality is with their own understanding no one can make them harmful to the society neither to them by force.  So, realizing this Sila can bring prosperity to the community.

So now we should know what are these real 5 Silas according to the described Sila above; 

“Pahana Silang, Weramani Silang, Chethana Silang, Sangwara Silang, Awithikkama Silanthi!” 

Lord Samma Sambuddha said when a person listens to the real dharma through a Kalyana mitta (real friend guide you to the end this endless suffering) by revising those dharma you listen through your own mind you able to understand the truth.  Through that understanding you realize that this world is not the way we want and that cause us for the suffering and if things are suffering it is destitute.  “Anichcha, Dukka & Anatta” That means the main 3 qualities of this world & us. Through that realization he recognizes that this world is nothing but a illusion and there are nothing useful or nothing suitable to take as I or MINE…  As that person realizes this ultimate truth by his own wisdom no one can change his or her mind.  And he will end suffering for sure… and he or she understands that do things which cause to guide to the 4 main hells are useless things to do…. and there are nothing can gain through those in this changing destitute world.

·         With that thought, the person drops the activities which he or she used to do which cause to him or her to guide to the 4 main hells (Cold Hell, Burning Hell, Asura Hell & Beasts’ Hell and this topic to be described later).  And that is Pahana Sila which meant Sila achieved through dropping evil actions which guide someone to main four hells.

·         That person also stopped entertaining him or herself by attaching to those evil actions which guide someone to main four hells and that is call Weramani Sila.

·         And that person never even gets a thought of those evil actions which guide someone to main four hells and that is call Chethana Sila.

·         By not doing those evil actions which guide someone to main four hells that person gain a discipline which never break and that is call Sangwara Sila.

·         And this person is a Arya person who will end his or her life by achieving Nirvana and the Sila he or she have will never break or change till they attain Nirvana and that is call Awithikkama Sila. 

So this is what we should know as 5 Silas which also known as Pancha Sila or Ariya Kantha Sila. 

There are few facts which you should understand by now then.

Those are this 5 Sila is something which can’t observe or obey through phrases.  Anyone can observe the 5 percepts and live life nicely & peacefully but as long as you are completed through these 5 Silas you still have reasons to have life in those four hells.  This is common to everyone including Bhikkus & Bhikkunies.

Then the Sila is coming with the purity of mind.  And it is not something we gain through forcing to our mind or someone.  It should come through wisdom and once we gain it will never change it as we are with the understanding.


There is one main fact mentioned in every description of 5 Silas which mentioned above is “evil actions which guide someone to main four hells”.  Above described person is a person who gets rid of doing those evil actions which guide someone to main four hells only.  He or she is not a person who stopped all the sins yet.  And according to the dharma it is impossible to live this worldly life by being perfectly avoiding all these described 5 sins as normal worldly persons.  And also I would like to discuss the 5 Sikkha (5 learning/ 5 phrases / Pancha Sikkha we all use to say everyday as 5 Silas or Pancha Sila) and there true meanings which is the highly important for everyone those who say I protect 5 Sila in my life.

“Panathipatha Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami”

“The Greatest Arihat is one who get rid of harming & killing, he gave up harming & killing others, he didn’t have the weapons to kill or harm others… he was shame & scared to do evil actions and sins, he spread metta to every living being with his pure heart.  As a follower of his great Arihat, I too get rid of harming & killing, I gave up harming & killing others, I don’t have the weapons to kill or harm others… I am shame & scared to do evil actions and sins, I too spread metta to every living being with a pure heart and this is my first Learning / first sikkha!”

So do you still think you protect this first phrase by saying it and till end of your life?  Do you still think you have no weapons to even a kill a mosquito or ant or tiny insects which comes to harm you?  Do you still think you are shame to kill even a tiny mosquito even if he spreading the worst diseases for you?  So do you still think this is practical for a person whom trying to save his or her cultivation from insects.  Doesn’t that person use insecticides to kill them to give foods for others?  How practical is this to a person whom trying to save his only food left at home from ants or someone else?  Of course everyone killing & harm others for some extend when it’s come to the existence in this worldly life.  So this is practical for those who live like Arihat.  This is practical for that who live ascetic lives like Bhikkus or Bhikkunies and that is again IF THEY REALLY follow their path like that way ONLY!  So when we can say this exact phrase “Panathipatha Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami” with the true meaning?  Of course you can decide an exact time period or day and practice this for that determined period only BUT make sure you practice it perfectly.  You should not even kill or harm other living being even THEY COME TO TAKE YOUR LIFE… so do you believe you can stay like that? And are you still ready to say that you protect the first sikkha by not killing animals?  Are you sure you don’t have at least insecticide sprayers at home for your protection?  So do you still think you can protect the first sikkha simply as that?          

“Adinnadana Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami”

“The Greatest Arihat is one who gets rid of taking things which he didn’t receive, he only takes the things which he received, he expects only things which he received for himself and he lived his life with purity & pure handlings.  As a follower of his great Arihat, I too gets rid of taking things which I didn’t receive, I only takes the things which I received, I expects only things which I received for myself and I lived my life with purity & pure handlings and this is my second Learning / Second sikkha!”

“Taking things which didn’t receive” means we can’t even eat the things which cook or can’t even drink some tea or water if someone else didn’t give us.  The greatest Arihat didn’t have to eat food which others didn’t provide him.  He got his alms and he didn’t want to earn things and eat or drink or use for his living as he lived purely. Do you have a person always with you which provide the food for eat drinks for drink?  Of course you can say this and protect this in a special day when you observe Sila there are people to serve you and take care of your needs… BUT again you can’t expect things which you didn’t received on that day!  So do you still believe you protect this second sikkha all the time in your daily life?    Is it enough only to avoid stealing to protect this greatest sikkha?

“Kamesu Michchachara Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami”

Those who observe Sila may know that the correct version of this phrase is “Abrahmachariya Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami” and the above version we use for our day to day life…

“The Greatest Arihat is one who gets rid of sexual activities, he avoids all the sexual behaviors and he lived a pure life by get riding of these despicable sexual behaviors.  As a follower of his great Arihat, I too gets rid of sexual activities, I too avoids all the sexual behaviors and I live a pure life by get riding of these despicable sexual behaviors and this is my third Learning / third sikkha!”

I believe you understood the exact meaning of this phrase and I believe anyone who lives a family life can’t protect this greatest sikkha. 

“Musawada Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami”

“The Greatest Arihat is one who gets rid of dishonesty / cheating, he always spoke the truth only, he lived such a pure truthful life.  As a follower of his great Arihat, I too gets rid of dishonesty / cheating, I too always speak the truth only and I too live such a pure & truthful life and this is my fourth Learning / fourth sikkha!”

“Surameraya Majjapamadattana Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami”

“The Greatest Arihat is one who gets rid of intoxicating things (there are fascinating things which cause to attract to this world & worldly things.  The word “sura” gives the meaning of desire. “meraya” gives the meaning of mesmerize.  Then what are the things which help to raise our desire?  Beautiful things which we see, nice sounds which we hear, fragrance, tastes & feelings coming through what we touch simply we call these 5 temptations which we grab through our 5 senses (Eyes, Ears, Nose, Tongue, Skin).  When the desire is high we are fascinating for those things and simply they mesmerize our mind where we have no escape.  This attraction make us delay to complete our path of Nirvana and make us continue this life circle.  This is the deep meaning of “Surameraya Majjapama dattana” and alcohol, drugs & etc just a few part of these things).  So the greatest Arihat never delayed his greatest path to Nirvana and he achieved the final result without any delay.  As a follower of his great Arihat,  I too follow the path to Nirvana without any delay and I too get rid of these 5 temptations which cause to delay my path by dragging me into this life circle where I have no escape and this is my fifth Learning / fifth sikkha!

If you think you are able to follow these greatest meaningful 5 Sikkha which your life directly guide to the Nirvana through the discipline you gain through these please do follow. But make sure you protect them too.  And do you still think that you were protecting these 5 Sikkha by saying all the time just like parrots?  Do you still think you were honest to these 5 learning? 

I am sure as an intelligent reader you already understood the mistake we have done all these days.  And also I believe you are ready to correct your mistake as a true follower of Lord Samma Sambuddha.  Please don’t give up or disappoint about anyone who guide you to do these mistakes.  Spread Metta to all and let’s practice this in a correct way.  You can use these greatest 5 Sikkha “Panathipatha Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami”, “Adinnadana Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami”, “Kamesu Michchachara Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami”, “Musawada Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami” and “Surameraya Majjapama Dhattana Weramani Sikkapadang Samadiyami” when you observe Sila in the temple or somewhere and make sure you thinks a specific time period which you truly behave like these.  And make sure you protect these 5 learning as your life or more than your life in that period.  Everyone can do it nicely if you are truly dedicated to the path of Nirvana and I wish you good luck also.


Well my dear friends, I am not ready to take this risk as I really need to follow my path to Nirvana perfectly and achieve the ultimate goal.  I really don’t need to do anything wrong by knowing or not knowing…   what I believe and observed in those meanings is they are really matching to the Dharma.  And there are possibilities which those 5 phrases have those exact meanings.  So I thought and made my decision.  It’s time for YOU to think and do the right and correct ourselves for the greatest achievement. 


Then what is the most suitable way which we should practice these greatest 5 basic percepts which help to the society as well as to us?

Make these 5 good qualities basic rules of your life – As you know now by avoiding these 5 sins you become a honorable person in the society as well as to you & your family – Avoid these 5 sins by thinking about you & your society – Be a truly honest person which protect these 5 rules as your life – Be honest to protect them when others are not around you also (because some people just show off by showing that they are living with these rules by they are taking the maximum advantage when they get a chance to break these)

So let’s practice these valuable 5 percepts with the meaning like these –

Main thing is practice these 5 phrases in your own mother tongue which gives a real meaning to your mind & heart.  Then only you feel that by practicing these rules you are not just saying or promising to your religion chief or someone else… Make these rules as a promise which makes you to yourself… anyone can cheat others but NOONE CAN CHEAT THEIRSELVES & THEIR OWN MIND OR HEART… this is common to everyone and without any difference of religion or nations all human beings no this simple fact.  As I said earlier also - Our beliefs don’t change the universal truth… that changeless truth which is “always good / pure cause to the good / pure effect and bad / evil cause to the bad / evil effect!”  So practicing these will only guide you to the good for sure!  Think and think again as there are no chance for guiding these simple facts for the bad side… no harm for YOU neither the society… do the best as much as you can… protect these as your own life… it will  not make you any harm.  Be shame to break these… be shame to yourself… when you practicing these things in this way for sure you will feel guilty when you break even one of these and for sure you will take actions to correct it for yourself.      

I avoid all Killing & harming other living beings as the first rule of my life

I avoid all Stealing taking things which are not belongs to me as the second rule of my life

I avoid all Sexual Abuse and all sexual habits which make no good for my family or the society as the third rule of my life

I avoid all Dishonesty and cheating others as the fourth rule of my life

I avoid all Alcohol & Drugs or any other intoxicating things which take my normal senses away and turn me a harmful person to my family & the society as well to me as the fifth rule of my life

So IF anyone decides to DO good / pure things by his or her heart will gain a discipline.  As much as YOU become honest to YOURSELF the discipline also will increase for that extent. 

So we can now understand a real meaning for Sila which we described earlier.  So when the Sila comes through a wise decision and discipline & live in virtuous practice or being virtuous we have no interest or desire to do those 5 evil things described above.  So when that understanding is with us the Arya Sila has improved within us which will guide us to end this endless suffering.    
May you all attain nirvana soon!

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