Someone asked me: the objective of maintaining the 8 precepts is to be celibate. If he is able to maintain the third precept, the other subordinate precepts such as the sixth, seventh, and eighth precepts, he does not need to maintain those. Is this tru

Someone asked me: the objective of maintaining the 8 precepts is to be celibate. If he is able to maintain the third precept, the other subordinate precepts such as the sixth, seventh, and eighth precepts, he does not need to maintain those. Is this true? https://dmc.tv/a3535

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Oct 16th, 2004 ] - [ read : 14410 ]

Question:
Someone asked me: the objective of maintaining the 8 precepts is to be celibate.  If he is able to maintain the third precept, the other subordinate precepts such as the sixth, seventh, and eighth precepts, he does not need to maintain those.  Is this true?
  

Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku 

Whatever you are doing, treat the precepts as a set.  Do not go down this path.  When the Lord Buddha was about to pass on the wisdom of each of the precepts, he gave them careful consideration.  The Lord Buddha has one characteristic which is widely known: he did not speak or say anything that lacked substance.  He did not speak idly.  He did not say anything unnecessary, even the most minor of words.  He spoke only what was necessary and nothing more.  This is the ethical conduct of the Lord Buddha.

Therefore, the fact that the Lord Buddha established the 5 precepts followed by the 8 precepts means that they were truly necessary.  It is not possible to cut out any of the Lord Buddha’s precepts.  Why is this not possible?  You must see the basic principle behind this.  The sixth, seventh, and eighth precepts were established. Do you see that monks have 227 precepts? This is more than 5 precepts.  I can tell you that the precepts at this level exist to destroy and eliminate the defilements so that there is no trace of them left.

When you must eliminate and wipe out all traces of the defilements, this is the type of action that you can perform carelessly, perfunctorily.  The defilements are already in our minds.  From our day of birth, we have mental defilements.  They are a seed buried in our minds.  They constantly seek ways to strengthen.  They put us under constant pressure.  If they cannot cause problems for us, they have bait to tempt us.  Who will tempt us?  There is a Buddhist maxim: “The maras use bait to entice us.”  You probably understand the term “bait”.  Bait means to use a small thing in order to capture a big thing.

Fishermen use bait on their hooks as lures.  What are they luring?  Big fish. They place little fish on their hooks as bait.  Then the big fish come and bang, they’re snared.  The fishermen get a big fish to cook.  This is the meaning of bait.  We only know about fish bait.  But we do not know about the bait that tempts the minds of human beings.

The Lord Buddha clearly pointed out the things that entice human minds.  What are these things?  There are the temptations of the eyes.  Beautiful pictures entice us.  Our eyes are attracted to them.  We see pretty things which entice us.  Our eyes are pleased.  The feeling goes straight to our minds.  Our minds become so unsettled.  We are caught in the trap.  We cannot sleep.

Pleasant sounds tempt our ears.  This is bait for our ears.  We are attracted to the sounds and our minds become attached.  We cannot sleep once again.

When a pleasant aroma reaches our nostrils…aha, our minds are distracted once again.

Let tasty food entice you. When the food has only just touched your tongue, your mind has become distracted.  Let soft, comfortable things tempt you.  These are bait for your body, which then stick in your mind.  You cannot sleep.  You must seek out something or someone to comfort you.

The objective of maintaining the Sila Vata is that we want to completely eliminate the defilements so none of them remain.  When none of the defilements remain, you must eliminate the enticements, the bait that tempts you.

Here is the sixth precept. Cut out one meal.  It is bait for your palette.  Ah, you cannot use eyeliner, cannot put on lipstick, cannot sing, cannot see any kind of entertainment.  What is this?  Bait for your eyes, bait for your ears, bait for your nose, bait for your body.

Ah, you cannot sleep on thick, soft, comfortable bedding.  What is this?  This is bait for your body.  When you get attached to these temptations, what is the result?  You mind is distracted.  What happens when you mind is distracted?  You cannot sleep.  You twist and turn.  You cannot sleep.  This is how these enticements lure you.

Therefore, if someone is determined to maintain the 8 precepts by thinking that not violating the third precept is good enough; that the sixth, seventh, and eighth precepts do not have to kept, right?  Tell this person no, this cannot be.

If a person does not maintain the sixth, seventh, and eighth precepts well, he will fall prey to temptation.  The third precept will be violated easily.  The temptation will be too difficult to resist.

Anyone who succumbs to the bait that entices our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body, no matter how many precepts you are maintaining, it will be difficult to continue maintaining them. You may not be able to maintain any precepts.

Do not even speak of the 8 precepts.  The five precepts would be difficult enough to maintain as it is.

Therefore, you must maintain the precepts, remain celibate.  Or start by keeping the 8 precepts.  Do no make any exceptions.  Do not try to bargain, to ask Luang Phaw if 7 precepts are alright. No.  Can it just be 6 precepts Luang Phaw?  No, it cannot.

If you maintain the 5 precepts, maintain all 5.  If you maintain the 8 precepts, maintain all 8.  Do not haggle please.  If you haggle, you will succumb to temptation.

Diligently apply yourself to breaking away from the temptations.  Then you can annihilate the maras and completely eliminate the defilements so that no trace of them remain, doing so easily in all of your lives.  I want to have all of you keep this in mind.  In some eras when people had fewer defilements than is the case presently, in that era the Lord Buddha only taught the 8 precepts.  Monks in that era only maintained the 8 precepts and were able to become arahants (enlightened ones).  For those of us now, our defilements are a bit heavy.  Monks nowadays must maintain 227 precepts.  So compliance with the 8 precepts is good. Prepare yourself.


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