The Buddhist's life standards can be summarized according to the Buddha's words as follows:

       Organizing one's life and social relationships so that they become a solid foundation with the layman's code of discipline [gihi-vinaya], as follows:

Law 1: Refrain from fourteen kinds of evil.

      A. Refraining from the four deeds that defile (kammakilesa):

    1. Killing, doing bodily harm or taking life (panatipata).
    2. Stealing, violating property rights (adinnadana).
    3. Committing sexual misconduct (kamesumicchacara).
    4. Speaking falsely, lying, deceiving (musavada).

      B. Refraining from the four kinds of biased conduct (agati):

    1. Biased conduct on account of like (chandagati).
    2. Biased conduct on account of dislike (dosagati).
    3. Biased conduct on account of fear (bhayagati).
    4. Biased conduct on account of foolishness (mohagati).

      C. Avoiding the six channels to ruin (apaya-mukha):

    1. Being addicted to drink and drugs.
    2. Always reveling in nightlife.
    3. Being bent on entertainment.
    4. Being addicted to gambling.
    5. Consorting with evil friends.
    6. Being chronically lazy.
p_85.JPG (45536 bytes)

p_86.JPG (43697 bytes)

Law 2: Prepare resources for life on two fronts.

         A. Choosing the people one associates with, in order to steer one's life along a path that is prosperous and constructive, by avoiding false friends and associating only with true friends, as follows:

a) Being wise to the four kinds of false friends or enemies in the guise of friends (mitta-patirupaka):
Part1.jpg(93819 bytes) 1. The out-and-out robber, who only takes from his friend, has four features:
  1. He thinks only of getting.
  2. He gives little in the hope of getting much.
  3. Only when he is in danger does he help his friend out.
  4. He associates with his friend only for his own profit.

2. The smooth talker has four features:

  1. He talks only of what is done and gone.
  2. He talks only of what has not yet come.
  3. He offers help that is ineffectual.
  4. When his friend needs a hand, he makes excuses.

3. The flatterer has four features:

  1. He consents to [his friend's] doing wrong.
  2. He consents to his doing right.
  3. He sings his praises to his face.
  4. He runs him down behind his back.

4. The leader to ruin has four features:

  1. He is a companion in drinking.
  2. He is a companion in nightlife.
  3. He is a companion in frequenting shows and fairs.
  4. He is a companion in gambling.
b) Knowing of the four kinds of true friends or friends at heart (suhada-mitta):
1. The helping friend has four features:
  1. When his friend is off guard, he guards him.
  2. When his friend is off guard, he guards his property.
  3. In times of danger, he can be a refuge.
  4. In times of need, he gives more than asked for.

2. The friend through thick and thin has four features:  

  1. He confides in his friend.
  2. He keeps his friend's secrets.
  3. He does not desert his friend in times of danger.
  4. He will give even his life for his friend's sake.

3. The good counselor has four features:

  1. He restrains his friend from doing evil or harm.
  2. He encourages him in goodness.
  3. He makes known to his friend what he has not heard before.
  4. He points out the way to prosperity and happiness.

4. The loving friend has four features:  

  1. When his friend is unhappy, he commiserates.
  2. When his friend is happy, he is happy for him.
  3. When others criticize his friend, he comes to his defense.
  4. When others praise his friend, he joins in their praise.
p_90.JPG (68713 bytes)

        B. Allocating one's wealth by being diligent in earning and saving righteously so that wealth increases, as bees make their hive or  termites make their mound, and by planning expenditure as follows:

bullet One portion to be used for supporting oneself, one's family and dependents, and for doing good works.
bullet Two portions to be used for investment.
bullet Another portion to be put aside for future needs.
 Law 3: Maintain one's relations toward the six directions.

        A. Making reverence in the directions around one by performing the duties toward the people related to one   in due accordance to  their six positions:

First direction: as a son or daughter, one should honor one's parents, who are compared to the "forward direction," in the following ways:

  1. Having been raised by them, one looks after them in return.
  2. One helps them in their business and work.
  3. One continues the family line.
  4. One conducts oneself as is proper for an heir.
  5. After their death, one makes offerings, dedicating the merit to them.

Parents help their children by:

  1. Cautioning and protecting them from evil.
  2. Nurturing and training them in goodness.
  3. Providing an education.
  4. Seeing to it that they obtain suitable spouses.
  5. Bequeathing the inheritance to them at the proper time.

Second direction: as a student, one should show respect to one's teacher, as the "right direction," as follows:

  1. One rises to greet the teacher and shows respect to him.
  2. One approaches the teacher to attend him, serve him, to consult, query and receive advice from him, etc.
  3. One hearkens well so as to gain understanding.
  4. One serves the teacher and runs errands for him.
  5. One learns the subject respectfully and earnestly, giving the task of learning its due importance.

A teacher supports his students by:

  1. Teaching and training them to be good.
  2. Guiding them to thorough understanding.
  3. Teaching the subject in full.
  4. Encouraging and praising his student's goodness and abilities.
  5. Providing a protection for all directions; that is, teaching and training them so that they can actually use their learning to make a living and know how to conduct themselves well, having a guarantee for smoothly leading a good life and attaining happiness and prosperity.

Third direction: as a husband, one should honor and support one's wife, compared to the "rearward direction," as follows:

  1. One honors her in accordance with her status as wife.
  2. One does not disparage her.
  3. One does not commit adultery.
  4. One gives her control of household concerns.
  5. One gives her occasional gifts of ornaments and clothing.

A wife supports her husband by:

  1. Keeping the household tidy.
  2. Helping the relations and friends of both sides.
  3. Not committing adultery.
  4. Safeguarding any wealth that has been acquired.
  5. Being diligent in all her work.

Fourth direction: as a friend, one should conduct oneself toward one's friends, as the "left direction," as follows:

  1. One shares with them.
  2. One speaks kindly to them.
  3. One helps them.
  4. One is constant through their ups and downs.
  5. One is faithful and sincere.

Friends reciprocate by:

  1. Protecting their friend when he is off guard.
  2. Protecting their friend's property when he is off guard.
  3. Being a refuge in times of danger.
  4. Not deserting their friend in times of need.
  5. Respecting their friend's family and relations.

Fifth direction: as an employer, one should support one's servants and employees, as the "lower direction," as follows:

  1. One assigns them work in accordance with their strength, sex, age, and abilities.
  2. One pays them wages commensurate with their work and adequate for their livelihood.
  3. One grants them fringe benefits by, for example, providing medical care in times of sickness.
  4. One shares with them a portion of any special profits that may accrue.
  5. One gives them appropriate holidays and time to rest.
A servant or employee helps his employer by:
  1. Starting work before him.
  2. Stopping work after him.
  3. Taking only what is given by his employer.
  4. Doing his job well and seeking ways to improve on it.
  5. Spreading a good reputation about his employer and his business.

Sixth direction: as a Buddhist, one should show respect to the monks, as the "upper direction," as follows:

  1. One acts toward them with goodwill.
  2. One speaks to them with goodwill.
  3. One thinks of them with goodwill.
  4. One receives them willingly.
  5. One supports them with the four requisites [almsfood, robes, shelter and medicine].

Monks help lay people by:

  1. Enjoining them from evil actions.
  2. Encouraging them in goodness.
  3. Assisting them with kind intentions.
  4. Making known to them things not heard before.
  5. Explaining and clarifying those things they have already heard.
  6. Pointing out the way to heaven, teaching them the way to happiness and prosperity.

B. Helping all people by joining in constructively creating social harmony and unity according to the four principles for helpful     integration (sangaha-vatthu), which are:

  1. Dana: giving, sharing (helping through money and material goods).
  2. Piyavaca: amicable speech (helping through words).
  3. Atthacariya: helpful action (helping through physical effort).
  4. Samanattata: participation (helping through participation in constructive action and problem solving).



Conducting one's life so as to attain the three levels of attha, the benefits that are the objectives of life:

  • First level: the temporal objective or present benefit (ditthadham-mikattha):

p_101.JPG (45536 bytes)

a) Having good health, a strong body, freedom from disease, pleasant appearance and longevity.
b) Having work and income, honest livelihood, and economic self-reliance.
c) Having good status, being of good standing in the community.
d) Having a happy family, making one's family worthy of respect.

All of the above should be righteously obtained and used or treated so as to produce rightful benefit and happiness both for oneself and for others.

a) Warmth, deep appreciation and happiness through faith; having an ideal.
b) Pride in having a clean life, in having done only virtuous deeds.
c) Gratification in a worthwhile life, in having made sacrifices and done good.
d) Courage and confidence in having wisdom to deal with problems and guide one's life.
e) Security and freedom from worry in having done good as a guarantee for the future life.

a) Not wavering in face of vicissitudes and changes.
b) Not being despondent or distressed because of attachments.
c) Being secure, calm, clear, cheerful and buoyant at all times.
d) Living and acting with wisdom, which looks at causes and conditions.

One who is able to attain from the second level of benefit upwards is known as a wise man (pandita).

These three levels of objectives or benefits can be attained on three fronts:

First front: the objective for oneself or one's own benefit (attattha); i.e., the three levels of benefits explained above, which one should establish for oneself or develop one's life toward.

Second front: the objective for others, or other people's benefit (parattha); the three levels of benefits explained above, which one should help other people successively achieve by inducing and encouraging them to develop their lives. p_42.JPG (49597 bytes)

Third front: the mutual objective or benefit to both parties (ubhayattha); the collective benefit, happiness and virtue of the community or society, including environmental conditions and factors, which we should help create and conserve in order to help both ourselves and others advance to the three levels of objectives mentioned above.

Copyright 2002 Mahidol University All rights reserved.
Mahidol University Computing Center, Rama VI Road, Rajathewi, Bangkok 10400, THAILAND Tel. (662) 354-4333