Moral Conduct Defined
From Nagarjuna's Treatise
on the Great Perfection of Wisdom
Treatise: Shiila (In the language of Ch'in, it means "being good by nature.")refers to being fond of coursing along in the way of goodness and to not allowing oneself to be negligent (pramaada). This is what is meant by shiila. Perhaps one takes on the precepts and practices goodness or perhaps one does not take on the precepts and practices goodness. They are both referred to as "shiila."
As for shiila, generally described, the regulation behaviors specific to the body and mouth are of eight kinds. They include not inflicting physical harm, not stealing, not engaging in sexual misconduct, not lying, not engaging in duplicitous speech, not engaging in abusive speech, not engaging in frivolous speech, and not drinking intoxicants as well as pure livelihood. These are what are referred to as the "characteristics" of the precepts. If one does not guard them and so lets go and relinquishes them, this is referred to as "breaking" the precepts.