"The practice of precepts helps one to cultivate five ennobling virtues which correspond to each of the precepts. The first is the cultivation of compassion; the second, generosity and non-attachment; the third, contentment; the fourth truthfulness; and the fifth, mindfulness and clarity of the mind."

I found this quote with a reference to The Five Precepts and the Five Ennoblers (pañcasīla-pañcadhamma) by Prince Vajirañāṇavarorasa -- but I can't locate the text anywhere or find anything about it. Can any one shed some light on this?

  • I also can't find the source of the quote. Aug 12, 2015 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


I found it here for free download:

I found it linked from this page: 'The 5 Precepts' at dharmaflower.net.

The quote you're looking for is on page 2:

Contrasted with the negative virtues of precepts, there is also a set of five positive practices, which correspond to them, thus forming a complete practice of virtue. They are:

  1. Loving-kindness and compassion.
  2. Patience in the right means of livelihood.
  3. Contentment in married life.
  4. Truthfulness.
  5. Watchfulness.

The precepts are described further on pages 4 through 34. Starting on page 34 it begins to describe the corresponding virtues; for example it starts with,

The Five Ennobling Virtues

The qualities of a virtuous person are mentioned in the scriptures, referring to precepts (síla) and ennobling virtues (kalyana dhamma). One who has fully observed the precepts is not necessarily one who is equipped with virtue. For example, when such a person happens to see a drowning man while he is passing by in a boat, he is morally bound to stop the boat and to save that man.

If he cannot be bothered to do so, in spite of his ability, and he leaves the man to drown. However, one can say that he has not broken any precepts, but he has certainly lost something higher than precepts and will surely be severely censured for his positive lack of virtue.

The rest of the article (through page 49) describes the virtues.

I've just started reading it, an interesting text and author. Wikipedia says ...

He helped to institutionalize Thai Buddhism.

... and I think this was probably a primary function of this text based on how it reconciles Buddhism with the needs of a state. A striking example:

From the point of view of both Buddhism and the state, killing is held to be a capital crime. In the case of Buddhism, a Bhikkhu (monk) who is guilty of such an offense is called a defeated one (parajika) and is to be expelled from the Order of Monks (Sangha).

In the case of the state, unless the accused can prove himself to be deserving of leniency due to some reasonable excuse, the law of the country generally metes out some form of capital punishment or mitigates this to life imprisonment."

  • Hi Alan and welcome to Buddhism SE. We have put together a Guide and a Resource section for new users that you might find useful.
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    Aug 22, 2015 at 17:26
  • Hi Alan, welcome to the site and thank you for the answer. There's a help page here for how to add formatting (a hyperlink and a block quote for example), or there's a formatting toolbar above the editing textarea. Thanks again for your answer! You can post a comment below this one if you have any questions about the site, or you can post a question on the meta-site.
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