This I Believe

Panyavit - St. Louis, Missouri
Entered on August 29, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

What do I believe? I am a Thai Buddhist, who follows the instructions that has been taught by my parents and my teachers since I was a kid. In Thailand, once the students enter school in first grade, they must remember the “Five Precepts”. According to my religious textbook, the “Five Precepts” are known as “Karma”, which I never learn such a word, only that because this word contained in the textbook. However, “Karma” is somehow “Sin”, from my opinion. Why are the “Five Precepts” such the important rule? According to my religious textbook, they are the moral law of cause and effect. But I think, without the law, these are the only stand for Buddhism.

I will only choose only one precept of all and discuss about it, this I believe in the most important precept, first precept, “Do not take life”. Why? The other four precepts are also important, but I believe this is the serious precept that everyone should follow. Do not take life, simply means you should not kill any human, animal, insects, even plants. Hopefully, if everyone can accept and follow this precept, I believe, this world will be peaceful and without wars.

Does this mean that if someone accidently kills something, would that consider as the sin? According to the textbook, Buddhist morality emphasizes sin from the intention or accidently. In addition, this was taught by my mom, when my family goes to the seafood restaurant, it’s common that we can choose the big fish. But my mom said, “Don’t choose a fish; it’s sin when we pick particular fish. Let it be, whatever the cook catch the fish, we still can eat it”. I believe this the most, this led me to see that it’s so reasonable that the big fish does not want to be big to be eaten, so let thing that will happen goes.

Many of Thai people are vegetarians; those believe that they don’t have sin because they eat only vegetables. But I believe that there is no different, vegetables still the life. It doesn’t mean that when we eat, we break the first precept. We eat because we need to survive. I read this quote from the poster that was in the temple, it said, “Do you eat because you want to live? Or do you live because you want to eat?” I like and believe in this quote, of course, I eat because I want to live.

When I was in grade 7, there was a monk came to my school and preached lots of thing, but I only remember only one thing and never forget. He talked about the sin and gave students an expression. “The sin is salt in a glass of water. The virtue is water in a glass of water. The more water there is, the less salty the water can be.” I feel like comparison is great, because it combine the common thing in daily life.