After accepting the Three Refuges, it is important to take the refuge of
the Right faith. People who have cultivated the Buddha-dharma in their
previous lives and have developed strong, deep roots and thus have
natural confidence in the Teaching can take the refuge of the Right
Faith directly. One takes this Refuge of Right Faith in the presence of
a teacher and offers one's unlimited devotion of the Three Precious
Ones. When reciting one's affirmation of the practice path of Bodhi, One
should visualize worshipping at the Buddha's feet and achieving unity
with the infinite Dharmadhatu of the Triple Jewel. As the nature of a
drop of water and the Ocean is the same, so is the nature of a small
space and a large one; similarly, there is and should be non-
differentiation and non-discrimination between the worshipper and the
worshipped. It follow from this, then that there is no duality between
one's self-nature and the Buddha-nature; i.e., there is no notion of an
ego, personality,being,etc., involved, the only reality being the
complete identification of one's self-nature with the Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas and their unlimited compassion extended to all sentient
beings. This awareness is transcendental to all notions of insides,
outside and middle, and it comprehends all the ten directions.
Transcending considerations of time, it has no beginning or end and
encompasses the Three Realms. Now, just at this moment of right faith
and concentration, one makes a determination of dedicating oneself to
the Dharmadhatu of the Three Precious Ones for all time without
Beginning or end. This is done in accordance with and adamantine faith
in wisdom that is compared to eating a small diamond that one can never
digest. This is the manifestation of fundamental Faith and is one of the
four kinds that are explained in THE SASTRA OF THE AWAKENING OF FAITH IN
THE MAHAYANA, where it is said: "This faith is the delight of True
Dharma." The acknowledgment of this Original Faith is considered to be
right faith, and one who possesses this eligible to undertake the
preliminary training of the Bodhisattva Tao.



This is the actual proof of the efficaciousness of the right faith. For
it one has solid confidence in the Buddhadharma based on wisdom derived
from practice, then all doctrinal disputations or the pitting of one
religious or philosophical view against another leaves one's faith
unmoved. Moreover, the use of the mature wisdom can destroy all absurd
statements, evil modes of though, and erroneous views with which one
might come in contact. The Sutras and the Sastras taught by Buddha and
Bodhisattvas contain a complete, universally valid and reasonable
teaching for all sentient beings. Also, many different masters made
every effort to enhance and glorify these profound doctrines by way of
commentary. Therefore, Taking the refuge of right faith in the
Bodhisattva Tao means not only to recognize the truth for oneself but
also to protect the Buddhadharma against insult and abuse and to profit
others by teaching. Using skillful eloquence of speech and writing, one
should manifest the truth of Buddhadharma to increase the faith of both
oneself and others. The Bodhisattva who takes the refuge of right faith,
with his qualification of self-knowledge, is able, eventually, to arrive
at the stage of non-retrogression. Those who have taken merely the Three
Refuges in order to link up with the tradition of Bodhisattva Practice
are not yet prepared for this stage.


The five precepts, along with the Three Refuges, are the first step in
the practice of Buddhadharma for both laymen and Sangha. The five
precepts are the fundamental discipline in Buddhist training and the
necessary moral practice for human-kind. Therefore, The Bodhisattva
Garland of Precious Gems Sutra states that all sentient beings' ability
to enter the ocean of the Triple Jewel is dependent on faith and
discipline. Our physical, verbal and mental activity are the basis of
our production of wholesome and unwholesome karma. According to the
Buddhadharma the five precepts are of singular importance to enable us
to destroy our evil tendencies, increase the strength of our good
tendencies and purify our minds. They are considered to be the moral
standard for human beings; and, indeed, of they are not practiced and
maintained, then this human form of life will have its demise.

The first precept is to refrain from killing living beings and, instead
to extend loving-kindness to them. The second precept is to refrain from
stealing and instead, to practice generosity. The third precept is to
refrain from adultery and, instead, to practice wholesome family life.
The fourth precept is to refrain from lying and, instead, to practice
truthfulness in all one's dealings. The fifth precept is to refrain from
intoxicants -- both drug and liquor -- and, instead, to live in good
health and practice clarity of mind.

The Buddha explained these ethical principles as follows: The first
four precepts are considered to be natural moral principles, whereas the
fifth precept is considered to be a conventional moral principle.
Natural morality means those ethical principles that all human society
should maintain regardless of what religious denomination or philosophy
is adhered to. Whether one practices Buddhadharma or not, one should
refrain from killing, stealing, adultery and lying. Conventional
morality means to behave in such a way that unwholesome actions cannot
have the opportunity to arise. Even though the consumption of
intoxicants need not necessarily involve others, the resulting state can
lead to transgression of the first four precepts. Furthermore, if one is
given to habitual consumption of liquor or drugs, the obvious result is
the steady deterioration of one's physical and mental health.

Whether one practices Buddhadharma or not, if one cultivates these five
precepts as the standard for one's behavior, one can then become a
person of unwavering morality, worthy of the respect of others. Besides
the voluntary agreement to refrain from some negative or destructive
activity, these precepts all contain a positive attitude or practice to
be cultivated as their counterpart. The five precepts in Buddhadharma
and the Five Constant Virtues in Confucianism are the same.

The practice of non-killing means extending kindness to all living
beings. To kill people is a serious matter in the eyes of the world, but
to kill smaller living things is not conventionally considered quite so
serious. In the Buddha's Teaching, however, the taking of life of any
kind whatsoever is a grave matter. People and societies that value peace
and unity must practice non-killing and its positive counterpart --

Practicing non-stealing means the adoption of right livelihood by human
beings. Clothing, food, housing and transportation are essential
requirements of human society and are produced by people's labor. As
such, they are to gotten in such a way that is justifiable and
legitimate. If people resort to cheating and stealing or acquiring their
property and wealth without the necessary expenditure of labor, then
peaceful co-existence is an impossibility. Therefore, the Buddha stated
that even a needle or a weed cannot be taken from another without

The practice of refraining from adultery will strengthen moral ties
between human beings. The right path to be taken between men and women
is wholesome married life with proper responsibility taken for their
relationship and whatever children may come as a result of their union.
Therefore, the Buddhist tradition allows lay disciples to marry and
considers it correct and justifiable and legitimate source of happiness
in this world. To enjoy sexual activity without taking responsibility
for one's actions only leads to a degenerate social situation and such
unfortunate extremes as incest, venereal disease, etc. Moreover, this is
an evasion of one's true responsibility to raise and educate children
and to inculcate in them proper moral and social values. Children are
not equipped emotionally or intellectually to educate themselves and
need the guidance and good example of their parents and teachers to lead
and point them toward wholesome behavior and healthy physical and mental

The practice of non-lying, or truthfulness, means conforming our actions
to our words and maintaining the spirit of honesty in all our dealings.
Where there is dishonesty, even as small a social unit as that of
husband-and-wife cannot live together in love and righteousness. On an
international scale, global unity will remain an impossibility because
of the propensity to selfishness, dishonesty and betrayal on the part of
nations and societies. The Buddha praised the virtue of words conforming
with actions and observed that honesty and sincerity are characteristic
of the sage. The commentary to the /Prajnaparamita Sutra/ states that
one who habitually lies possesses an ill fame that spreads far and wide,
and such a one, at the end of his life, succumbs to rebirth in a hellish

The practice of non-intoxication, or sobriety, is necessary to increase
and maintain purity of heart and wisdom. Intoxication can frequently
lead to the loss of both one's fortune and honor. The Venerable /Hsu
Yun/ has so wisely observed: "Drinking wine and eating meat upset the
mind-nature...; with clear tea and vegetarian food the mind errs not,
enjoying Dharma night and day." When the consumption of alcoholic
beverages of drugs is allowed to become habitual, laziness and
shamelessness will certainly develop. Therefore, if one aspires to
develop a noble personality and practice the Bodhisattva Dharma, one
should refrain from the use of such debilitating substances.

The observation of the five precepts is also the basis of discipline for
those who leave home to practice the Bodhisattva Tao. Their practice is
stricter than that of laypeople because under extreme conditions the
laydisciple is able to transgress these principles. For example, if a
lay-Bodhisattva is a member of the military and is called upon to defend
the populace, he can justifiably do so for the greater good of the
community. However, the Sangha members cannot, under any circumstances,
be involved in this activity. Another example would be the legitimate
enjoyment of sexuality between husband and wife. Sangha members are
prohibited completely from engaging in sexuality.