Can someone explain the third precept? Because most are translating this as "sexual misconduct"; but that it so narrow, and distorts Buddhism.

  • 1
    Please see the answers to these two questions: Trouble understanding “sensual misconduct” ... and How is sexual misconduct explained in regards to the five precepts?
    – ChrisW
    May 12, 2017 at 9:14
  • kamesu miccacara means not just sexual misconduct, but also excessive of sense pleasures. One can arrive at this higher meanings by studying 'Nirukthi'. What it means is finding the origins of key words - as to how complex words are put together using key words. May 12, 2017 at 11:32
  • i agree with Saptha Visuddhi.most of are misunderstand as sexual misconduct.that is wrong. The "kama sumichchachara" the word kama mean sensual not sexual. May 12, 2017 at 12:06
  • And these 'nirukthis' are defined by whom? What are the references of these origins? I hope this is not an opinion of a monk who discovered something out of the blue.
    – dmsp
    May 13, 2017 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


This is to have intimacy with someone under the protection of another. A wife or husband would be protective of each other in appropriate advances by another. A mother, father or family member would also do so.

There are four conditions for wrong conduct in sexual pleasures.

i) There must be a man or woman with whom it is improper to have sexual intercourse.

ii) There must be intention to have sexual intercourse with such a person.

iii) Action must be taken to have such an intercourse.

iv) There must be enjoyment from contact of the sexual organs.

With reference to the first condition, there are twenty kinds of women with whom men should have no sexual relations. They can be divided into three groups, namely: women under the guardianship of parents, family members, relatives and authorities charged with their care; married or betrothed women; bhikkhunis and religious women observing the Holy Life. For all women, a man forbidden by tradition or under religious rules is prohibited as a partner. For any unwilling partner who is drugged or forced to have sexual intercourse under threat of violence or coercion, conditions (ii) & (iv) exclude them from violation of the precept.

Source: FIVE PRECEPTS (PACASILA) on urbandharma.org

  • Do you know (or can you guess) where the list of "four conditions" in that definition comes from?
    – ChrisW
    May 12, 2017 at 9:03
  • Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami-here is the problem.the word "kama"means not only sexual pleasure.its about all the sensual pleasures.eg: adict to watch tv is violating this perspective. Word kama loka does not mean sexual world.so sexual misconduct not the correct answer. May 12, 2017 at 9:20
  • The 4 conditions perhaps might be from the commentaries. May 12, 2017 at 9:35
  • @SumindaSirinathS.Dharmasena Just a little question responding your reply. Why the object of breach is woman, if we look at the Sutta, Buddha only mentions women as the object of breach, Buddha never prohibits a married man to have sexual relationship with woman. Why is that?
    – B1100
    Jan 30, 2018 at 11:34

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