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Controversy over the third precept

Sunil Rajamantri

We being lay disciples of the Buddha are very familiar with the five precepts. (pancha sila) out of them, the third one is: I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from sexual misconduct (Kamesu Micchachara Veramani - Sikkhapadam Samadiyami.) and in the case of Eight precepts Ashtanga Sila) when the lay disciples (Upasaka and Upasika) request as Okasa, Aham Bante Tisaranena saddim ashtanga silam Dhamam yachami - Anuggaham katwa silam detha me, Bhante. And promise to observe the Charitra and Varitra sila as follows:

I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from all unchastity (Abramahachariya veramani - sikkapadam samadiyami.)

In the Buddhas doctrine the observance of pancha sila (the five precepts) is recommended to each and everyone regardless of his religious sect, cast the nationality colour or the sex. In this Human Realm (Manussa Loka) from the birth till the death of theirs the men and the women are engaged in finding food, Protection, and the happiness. Hence these beings are under the pressure of Sensual Cravings (Kama tanhas).

When looking at the broader meaning of kama the learned teachers have translated this Pali version to give a narrow meaning and emphasised to depict it as sexual behaviour. This is done so when the third precept out of five precepts was translated in to English medium.

This, we have to consider in depth on behalf of the beginners who learn Buddhism as a subject when studying in English medium. Before moving to that, it is better to give the reason why I was made to embark on this task. A teacher, when explaining the five precepts to the beginners in English medium, the students were asked to recite the third precept loudly as: I undertake to observe the precept - to obstain from sexual misconduct. One boy questioned the teacher, Sir what type of misconduct have I done? So, the teacher just to save himself said No child you have not done any misconduct and also the third and the fifth precepts are to be observed when you are a grown-up, for the time being you got to learn it.

He would not have encountered a situation like this if the learned teachers had not specified only one aspect. That is sex (physical contact) out of five sensuous objects which are dominant to sexual misconduct. Since the text books have already been printed what we could do is to convince the students the appropriate application of the observance.

On the page number ten of A Manual of Abhidhamma by Venerable Narada Maha Thera explain the Kama as follows;

Kama is either subjective sensual craving or sensuous objects such as forms, (Rupa) sounds (Sabda) odour (Gandha) taste (Rasa) and contact (Sparsa). By Kama is also meant the eleven different kinds of sentient existence-namely the four states of misery (Apaya), human realm, (Manussa loka) and the six celestial realms (Sagga or Swarga, Devyaloka).

Here we talk only about the human realm that is manussa loka out of eleven Kamavachara lokas. Any being in this human realm naturally wishes to satisfy the eyes by seeing Rupa (forms). obviously we are fond of seeing flowers, sceneries and beautiful people, then the mind is delighted and you have not done any harm by seeing them, but by satisfying ones mind through the eyes he gets attached to it, then harmful feelings develop in the mind, which ultimately affects him and the society in a disastrous manner.

When a person with subdued mind with a clear consciousness gets poisoned the Kema pops up and the craving desire arise through Rupa or Forms. Now the person is distracted and clinging on to desires have made the mind impure.

Whenever you are using the sensuous object (Eyes) in receiving the forms (Rupa) if your mind is provoked and roused, at unwanted time by the harmful sexual feeling, there you should try to understand a misconduct is done.

With that consciousness you may clear your mind.

In a similar manner through the ears (sensuous object) by receiving the sound (Sabdha) is also capable of doing a sexual misconduct.

Now take the odour (Ganda) in certain electronic media certain advertisements rouses the sexual feelings of the on lookers that creates a market for the advertiser.

If the mind is not in firm consciousness it causes a severe harm to the person who is greedily attached to it who receives the odour through the nose. Falling to the sensual craving through the nose and by rousing the sexual feelings and by receiving the odour a person could get attached to it. If unable to get it he would steel or borrow and fall into trouble. All these troubles are because of cravings as the precept is not observed properly.

The (Kama) attachment, grasping greedily to the sound helps make a misconduct unless proper awareness was not brought in.

The next sensuous object is tongue (jevha). Whenever we eat or drink it is natural to experience some taste which is brought about when the eatable food contacts the tongue. When the mind is attached greedily to, some sort of taste and if the mind runs behind the taste, or if the taste is chased by the mind with sensual craving a misconduct is done.

Now, we are free to realise how the third precept is broken through the Contact (Sparsa) when an external object happens to contact any part of our body we feel its nature. What we experience could be hardness or softness, coldness or warmth etc. walking on a gravel path with bare foot does not give any pleasing mind so no one will have a sensual craving out of that action.

As per the English version given to Third precept I Undertake to Observe the Precept to Abstain from Sexual Misconduct, does not mean only the sexual relationship with men and women, but also the copulation against the nature, which consists of sodomy, copulation between the same sex, and sexual behaviour with beasts which are hindrances to the normal life of a person.

Today man made diseases are on the increase because of this Kama Tanha craving for sexual contact through the avenues which are rejected by the noble society.

The single parents system in Europe, sex freedom before the marriage are not good for the Pancha Sila observers.

They must protect the celibacy, or the single blessedness, until such time they are matured enough to enter in to a successful civil status, a married life, which the Buddha approved to every successful layman and woman.

බක් අව අටවක
පෝය

අපේ‍්‍රල් 28 වැනිදා සඳුදා පූර්ව භාග 07.08 ට ලබයි.
29 වැනි දා අඟහරුවාදා පූර්ව භාග 08.05 දක්වා පෝය පවතී.
සිල් සමාදන්වීම අපේ‍්‍රල් 28 වැනිදා සඳුදාය

මීළඟ පෝය මැයි මස 05 වැනිදා සඳුදාය


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අප්‍රේල් 28

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මැයි 05

First Quarterපුර අටවක

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