Opening and beginning instructions for meditation
By Dr.Bokanoruwe Dewananda Thera,
Florida Buddhist Vihara ,
Traditionally a, meditator observes the five precepts having taken the three refuges in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, prior to the beginning of meditation. Taking refuge in the Buddha is meant as an initiation of planting the seed of Enlightenment (nibbana). Buddhists do not take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha blindly and it is not just image worshipping. Actually, there is something beyond that which is regarded as a meaningful way of discipline on the path of purification. To take refuge in the Dhamma very honestly and sincerely means taking a right understanding to live in society, paying due respect to law and order and others’ lives. Administering (observing) five or very appropriate precepts is a very essential and indispensable custom for cultivation of meditation. Basically, the meditator takes necessary precepts in order to maintain essential discipline and purity of body. speech and mind. The five precepts, which should he administered by the meditator conventionally, are: I take the precept to abstain from knowingly killing or destroying living beings. Various organizations that have been formed for human rights, talk about how to protect and achieve basic human rights by holding annual seminars and conferences worldwide where innocent animals are killed and consumed for their grand parties. They are very selfish. They do not think of animal rights. If the whole world honestly practices the five precepts, there is no room for demonstrations and conferences agains the violation of human rights . It will come naturally. Taking the five precepts means granting human rights and a peaceful environment to society. These are the basic commands, which develop citizens’ moral behaviour, discipline and righteous living style that can influence the entirety of living beings’ rights. According to the real sense of the first precept, the preceptor is not allowed to even swat a mosquito, to step over ants, knowingly. And one must think twice before embarking on any business that can cause harm to living beings. Make sure that you practice patience (tolerance) during meditation practice by not even killing a mosquito!
The second precept is “I take the precept to abstain from knowingly taking anything which is not given to me”. Everybody in society likes safety for his or her own things. They want to protect their things from being stolen. The Buddha said that when poverty prevails in society, stealing would arise. No one can deny this. So, there is no peace, harmony and safety in society when stealing prevails. Everyone is living in uncertainty, fear and danger. If people practice this noble injunction, everyone in modem society will be happy and safe. We are responsible for social justice.No one can escape that responsibility. You earn righteously and enjoy in the same way. Stealing is an easy way to earn what you need, but it is not the correct way to earn. One is ‘happy making use of stolen items, but this not true happiness . Restraining from theft is giving the right to others in society to lead their lives peacefully and fearlessly. This is one advantage that you add to your life by administrating the five precepts before meditation.
The third precept is “I take the precept to abstain from sexual misconduct (adultery). Breaking of this precept causes much damage to social justice and harmony. On the other hand, it separates beautiful families in one second, destroying everyone. There is no room for separation of a husband and wife in any family, where they maintain right understanding and mutual relationship. Adultery is a dangerous monster that comes between families in the guise of a ‘friend’ in order to ruin the whole family. Therefore, let’s build social co-existence and a happy and peaceful family life, by avoiding adultery . When you are concerned about a meditation retreat, you may lead a life of celibacy throughout the whole retreat.
The fourth precept is “ I take the precept to abstain from telling lies. The term “musavada” of this precept apparently denotes telling lies, yet it is holding other indications behind it, that is, to abstain from malicious speech (slanderous speech), tale-carrying, harsh words and foolish babble. Verbal indiscipline is a parasite, which destroys the whole of society. Restraining from verbal indiscipline has been promoted as right speech of the eight-fold path. That is mentioned under it’s third factor. Some people tell lies as a habit.People are different; so they may tell lies with many different purposes and doing so they enjoy. They are not bothered about t he destruction it causes to society. The fifth precept is “I take the precept to abstain from taking intoxicants”. Drinking of alcoholic drinks or beverages makes one’s mind mainly unconscious. One who takes intoxicants loses his or her pure consciousness. The Singalovada Sutta has pointed this out.
The discipline and composure earned by following the five precepts may grant a firm and strong base and foundation for the development of mindfulness, and makes the growth of insight possible.
May all beings be well and happy!