Buddhist Teaching

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These two teachings are the first of five basic to all forms of Buddhism worldwide.

First and Second Mindfulness Trainings

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I vow to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I vow to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

This particular wording is that of Thich Nhat Hahn. In general, they are viewed not as commandments but rather as "guiding stars." The Buddha is not viewed as divine in any way but as a completely human being who has seen the world and life clearly. 

One site at which to find out more about the five mindfulness trainings or precepts is http://www.plumvillage.org/DharmaDoors/MinfulnessTraining/mindfulness_trainings.htm.