From The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen translated by Michael H. Kohn; © 1991 by Shambhala Publications, Inc. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc., www.shambhala.com
(śīla) Skt. (Pali, sīla), “obligations, precepts”; refers to the ethical guidelines that in Buddhism determine the behavior of monks, nuns, and laypersons and that constitute the precondition for any progress on the path of awakening. The ten shīlas for monks, nuns and novices are: (1) refraining from killing, (2) not taking what is not given, (3) refraining from prohibited sexual activity, (4) refraining from unjust speech, (5) abstaining from intoxicating drinks, (6) abstaining from solid food after noon, (7) avoiding music, dance, plays, and other entertainments, (8) abstaining from the use of perfumes and ornamental jewelry, (9) refraining from sleeping in high, soft beds, (10) refraining from contact with money and other valuables. The first five shīlas apply also to Buddhist laypersons, who on certain days observe the first eight.