The foundation of the Buddhist path is a life of non-harming, which expresses compassion in our relationship to all living things. Entry into the Buddhist path is marked by taking the Five Precepts:
- To refrain from killing living beings. Reverence for life.
- To refrain from stealing or taking what is not ours. Respect for others.
- To refrain from sexual misconduct that causes harm to ourselves or others. Respect for the power of sexuality.
- To refrain from false speech. Respect for the power of language and communication.
- To refrain from using alcohol or drugs that intoxicate the mind. Recognizing that we have all we need to be happy.
These ethical guidelines are the natural outer expression of realization and through their guidance we discover the heart of compassion within us.