In Praise of the Precepts

{Note: in this piece, one can substitute the words sila, vinaya, ethics, ethical sense, moral sense, morality, virtue, fundamental goodness, discipline, conduct, moral guidelines, or any other term with the same meaning.}

Homage to the precepts that give life…


I praise the sila that heals, that soothes, and pacifies,
and that is the foundation for all the good that arises in this world…

Homage to the moral conduct that protects the mind and the body from suffering,
and that brings peace to oneself and to others in the community

Homage to the Noble conduct that restores the balance of the elements

I praise this fundamental goodness that gives health
that gives strength

and that purifies all beings   

I praise and celebrate the pratimoksha-precepts,
the guidelines and embodied ways of living
that are the basis for individual liberation

that are the expression of great respect between people
that are the expression of reverence for life,
that are the expression of this wisdom

Praise to the virtue that is the manifest essential character of all good people,
and that is the guardian and protector of oneself and of all beings

Homage to the morality that supports meditation
that tames the mind, and keeps it humble
and that awakens the sense of innate dignity

Homage to the ethical integrity that is cool and refreshing
whose practice ennobles
whose practice uplifts
whose practice purifies and transforms,
whose practice beautifies the world

Homage to the sila that is true wealth

I praise and celebrate those wholesome instincts, those good roots,
that bring safety to self and others
and that bring freedom from fear to self and others

Homage to the wise, compassionate, disciplined conduct
that creates the causes for happiness,
now and in the future,
for oneself and for others

I praise and celebrate the far-seeing, impeccable morality whose beneficial influence,
when practiced by even just one person, reaches far

Praise to the kindness and decency that clarifies the mind,
and that is a true compass for life in the world

Even the worst person,
as soon as they turn their mind to ethical conduct,
gains some improvement in their mind

Praise to the goodness that is the essential nature of the nectar that relieves the sufferings of the six realms

Praise to the sila that liberates

I praise and celebrate the vinaya – precepts from their origin in wisdom,
and as spoken, written, practiced, and realized

Any person in whom the moral sense is strong is an object of refuge,
whether they be a layperson or ordained
They are a source of safety and strength
Even without speaking, their presence alone comforts, and can heal

Homage to the virtue that is the essential,
abundantly clear character of all good persons,
and that is perfected in all Buddhas and arhats, bodhisattvas and saints

I praise the practice of ethics that nourishes,
that heals, that revitalizes,
and that brings happiness