The lay people generally try to follow the five precepts.
These are: I shall refrain from harming living creatures; I shall refrain from taking that which is not freely given; I shall refrain from sexual misconduct; I shall refrain from incorrect speech; and I shall refrain from intoxicants, which lead to loss of mindfulness.
The five precepts are the easiest way for the layman to practice Buddhism. They are fundamental to the conduct of a sufficiently happy life. Now, Thais are in conflict as never before. The root of the conflict lies in their ignorance of the actual political and social environment, their pursuit of self-interest, their use of foul language against each other and intoxication with what is wrong.
The next stage is to gain more insight about the Four Noble Truths. The fundamental of life is suffering or dissatisfaction because of our cravings. The Buddha pinpointed the cause of suffering or dissatisfaction and summarised it in the Fourth Noble Truths - Dukkha, Samudaya, Nirodha and Marga.
Dukkha is the suffering nature of life, governed by a state of change. Samudaya is the cause of suffering, caused by our attachment to or desire for something.
This is rooted in our ignorance.
Nirodha is an end to the suffering, which is what we should strive for. The ultimate road of Nirodha is Nirvana. Marga represents the path that leads us out of suffering.
Marga is further explained in the Noble Eightfold Path - right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
All of these eight paths should be practised all at once as if they are the singular element, although each element complements or reinforces each other towards helping us to become a better human being.
The Eightfold Path essentially consists of meditation, following the precepts, and cultivating the positive converse of the precepts.
The path may also be thought of as the way of developing our mental and moral discipline.
If most of us take time to study some of the fundamental precepts of Buddhism and practice them with a pure heart, one will have a better understanding of the world, will refrain from creating more problems for the world, will live sufficiently happily with the world.
Is this a joke? I love Buddhism as much as the next person, but The Nation preaching to the masses a philosophy that it does not subscribe to in practice on any level reeks of sanctimony and hypocrisy. The irony of this editorial will be that we will get the same lies, double standards and propaganda from Sopon, Tulsie, Thanong, and the Yoonster for many moons to come, which makes the point of this editorial totally meaningless.