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śīla


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(Skt.; Pāli, sīla).

1 Morality, or a moral precept, for example, as in the Five Precepts (pañca-śīla) and other formulations of normative moral rules. The purpose of śīla is to guide behaviour and cultivate virtue. The precepts are not commandments and are not enforced by any religious authority. Śīla thus differs from the monastic code (Vinaya) which is primarily a set of regulations for the harmonious conduct of the communal religious life and as such embodies externally enforceable penalties and sanctions. The śīlas are derived from the conduct of the Buddha.and are essentially a condensation of the moral behaviour of the enlightened. They list those things an enlightened person will not do, hence their negative form.

2 Name of the first of the three divisions of the Noble Eightfold Path, that which includes steps 3–5, namely (3) Right Speech (samyag-vāc), (4) Right Action (samyak-karmānta), (5) Right Livelihood (samyag-ājīva). In Mahāyāna Buddhism.śīla is the second of the Six Perfections (ṣaḍ-pāramitā).

Subjects: Buddhism.


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