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"Believe nothing, no matter
where you read it, or who
said it, no matter if I have
said it, unless it agrees with
your own reason and your
own common sense".

THE BUDDHA

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Theravada Buddhism preserves the Buddha's teachings and conducts religious ceremonies in the original Pali language.'The five precepts' are recited in Pali and their meanings are generally known to most Buddhists. In the following the original Pali text is given in italics, and the corresponding English translation is given side by side:

 

     1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from the destruction of life.

 

    2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from taking that which is not given.

 

    3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct.

 

    4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from falsehood.

 

    5. Suramerayamajjapamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from intoxicants that cloud the mind and cause carelessness.

 

 The refrain "I observe the precept of abstaining from ..." which begins every precept clearly shows that these are not commandments. They are, indeed, moral codes of conduct that lay Buddhists willingly undertake out of clear understanding and conviction that they are good for both themselves and for society.

REF: http://www.geocities.com/athens/academy/9280/getting7.htm