Upasaka (masculine) and Upasika (feminine) are the Buddhist terms for laypeople that have taken the Five Precepts and are devout followers of Buddha’s teaching and the Triple Gem.
The five vows to be held by upāsakas are referred to as the “Five Precepts“:
- I will not take the life of a sentient being;
- I will not take what has not been given to me;
- I will refrain from sexual misconduct;
- I will refrain from false speech;
- I will refrain from becoming intoxicated.
The Triple Gem means to take refuge (and look to for guidance) in The Buddha, The Sangha (Community/Monks/Noble friends), and the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings).
Now while I have not gone through the ceremony of taking these precepts, I have taken them personally. And as I study more about this, I have read that in the Pali Canon that some laypeople have even attained Nirvana.
Now not that I have any illusions about reaching enlightenment in this lifetime, I find it inspiring to know that this is possible. I know that is only my mind that prevents me from doing so.
I am also aware that this seems like crossing an ocean. But I think that the Five Precepts and the Triple Gem are like my boat and oars. As the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
But why am I writing about this? Because I want to share what I am learning with all of you that are interested. You are part of my community and I am a part of yours. I do this without expectation or attachment. I do this with love.
I know that we are more alike than we are different. We all experience joy, suffering, pain, happiness, sorrow, laughter and more. Even greater, we breathe the same air under the same Sun and Moon.
I take these Five Precepts here publicly and personally.
And aren’t these five things something we all can practice?
May I always be mindful of these precepts, respectful and compassionate to others. May I harbor no ill-will to those who come against me. May I always practice loving kindness.
And may you all be well, happy and peaceful.