The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words

This page describes Brahmacariya-Pancama Sila contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as on Pāramitā. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).

Brahmacariya-Pañcama Sīla

Brahmacariya-Pañcama Sīla

In addition to the Five, Eight and Ten Precepts, there is also Brahmacariya-Pañcama Sīla observed by the laity. However, that Brahmacariya-Pañcama Sīla is, in reality, the five precepts. The third precept of the original five, “Kāmesu micchā cārā veramanisikkhāpadam samādiyāmi” is replaced by “Abrahmacariyā veramani-sikkhāpadam samādiyāmi” to be Brahmacariya-Pañcama Sīla.

The Brahmacariya-Pañcama Sīla was observed at the time of Buddha Kassapa by Gavesi Upāsaka. (Aṅguttara Nikāya, Pañcaka Nipāta, 3. Upāsaka Vagga, 13. Gavesi Sutta.) At the time of Buddha Gotama, this sīla was observed by Ugga, the Banker of Vesāli and Ugga, the Banker of Hatthigāma, Vajjian Country. (Aṅguttara Nikāya, Atthaka Nipata, 3. Gahapati Vagga, 1 Sutta and 2 Sutta.) The two Uggas took the Brahmacariya-Pañcama Sīla from the Exalted One and kept observing them; of the four wives they each possessed, the eldest ones were given away in marriage to the men they loved and the remaining ones were also abandoned likewise and thereafter they remained single for life; they were lay ‘Non-Returners’. It should not be misunderstood that married persons who want to observe the Brahmacariya-sīla at the present time have to abandon their wives with no more attachment to them. In other words, it should not be taken that they may not observe this sīla unless they are prepared to renounce their wives altogether. Because in the words of the Khuddakapātha Commentary, mentioned above, “of the ten precepts only four, namely, Pāṇātipātā, Adinnādāna, Musāvāda, and Surāmeraya, are regarded as nicca-sīla”. Hence it is evident that Abrahmacariya sikkhāpada and the remaining precepts, such as Vikālabhojana, etc. are not nicca-sīla; they are niyama-sīla to be observed occasionally. Even though they cannot observe the precepts exactly like Ghatikara the Pot-Maker, they can observe them as niyama-sīla as far as possible. So also, with regard to Brahmacariya-Pañcama Sīla, the two Uggas, being ‘Non-Returners’, abandoned their wives without anymore attachment, and observed the precepts for life. If other people can follow their example and observe this precept, it is well and good; but if they cannot emulate them fully, they should observe the precept only according to their ability.

Brahmacariya-Pañcama Ekabhattika Sīla

Furthermore, there is yet Brahmacariya-Pañcama Ekabhattika Sīla (or Ekabhattika Sīla). Ekabhattika means taking only one meal a day, in the morning. So, if lay people want to observe this sīla, they may, after making the vow of Brahmacariya-Pañcama precepts, take one more precept by saying: “Vikālabhojanā veramani-sikkhāpadam samādiyāmi”. Or, if they wish to take the vow as a whole, they may do so by saying: “Brahmacariya- Pañcama Ekabhattikasiliam samādiyāmi”. This sīla was observed by Dhammika Upasaka and

Nandamatā Upāsikā, etc. at the time of the Exalted One, according to the Dhammika Sutta of the Suttanipāta Commentary. At the time of Buddha Kassapa, Gavesi Upāsaka also observed this sīla; so did five hundred laymen. (Aṅguttara Nikāya, Panñcaka Nipāta, 3. Upāsaka Vagga, 10. Gavesi Sutta.)


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