Five Intentions – A New Take on The Five Precepts of the Buddhist


Respect for Living Beings

I know that other beings suffer as I do. I intend to relieve their afflictions and to increase their happiness as best I can. I will refrain from harming or killing other living beings. I know that a great many animals are exploited and harmed by humans; preventing and relieving such harm is one of my highest priorities. I will seek equanimity through meditation, and open-mindedness through civil dialogue. I am determined to concentrate on what is beautiful and nourishing in order to be better equipped to sow peace and quietly decline invitations to strife.

Intentional Generosity

I know that greed, exploitation and theft cause a great deal of suffering. With that in mind, I am committed to practicing generosity, challenging unfair practices, and abstaining from taking what rightfully belongs to someone else. I will pursue both a vocation and a means of engaging with society that does not victimize other beings, that preserves the biosphere, and that makes an effort to fairly share natural and economic resources.

Love, Sex, and Relationships

I recognize love, family and friendship as life’s most precious resources. I intend to honor my ancestors (physical and spiritual) and build up my children (physical and spiritual). I will deeply nourish my love and keep my sexuality tied to a long­term, committed relationship. I will protect children from sexual predators and vigorously oppose the atrocity of rape culture wherever and whenever it manifests. I wish to cultivate deep friendships that cross generational, gender, religious and ideological boundaries.

Expressions of Human Solidarity

I recognize that intent listening and gentle communication are powerful tools by which peace and joy can be spread. By the same token, distracted listening and harsh communication create a great deal of suffering and alienation. It is my intention to listen with an open heart and to speak in such a way as to heal rather than harm.

Awareness of Consuming

What we consume, and how, matters. We consume food, sensory impressions, our will or determinations, and our consciousness­­ the life of the mind. I intend to consume in such a way as to live as nonviolently as possible. In my diet of edible food, it is my intention to cause as little suffering as possible. Understanding that toxins I imbibe through my eyes, my ears, and other senses can be hazardous to my mental health and relationships, I am committed to taking in as few of such poisons as possible. I will purify my will, my volition, so as to seek after goals that are life ­affirming. I will manage my own consciousness with the care and artistry of a master gardener; pruning the weeds of hatred, envy and craving, while cultivating the flowers of lovingkindness, compassion, joy and equanimity.

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