CREDOS: Golden rules

The practical message of the Buddha concerns an ineffable Supreme Being. One short Buddhist document, the Dharmapada, contains more than a score of passages which enjoin self-control, self-conquest, self purification, the need for unceasing alertness and personal responsibility for personal salvation. The document says, “It is good to tame the mind, which is difficult to hold in and flighty. A tamed mind brings happiness. Not even a God could change into defeat the victory of a man who has vanquished himself and always lives under restraint.”

The Buddha had the daring of a truly remarkable reformer in his denunciation and reinterpretation of the caste system. He told the proud rapacious sinners of his day that the really admirable high-class man and the really despicable low-down man must be judged in terms of moral character, not primarily in terms of heredity or status, nor according to the externals of conventional religion. He said, “The man who is angry and bears hatred, who harms living beings, who speaks falsely, who exalts himself and despises others, let one know him as an outcast.”

Five prohibitions are enjoined by Buddha, “Do not kill, steal, commit adultery, lie or drink intoxicants.

The acme of the Buddhist ethical ideal is reached in a state of perfection which is beyond the

realm of ethics even by him who has ceased to think of good or evil or has risen above both good and evil.” The World’s Living Religions