At that time, the Buddha was preaching about the benefit of the Five Precepts for the whole great assembly. So, he said, about the Five Precepts, and the benefit of keeping them, “Number one: do not kill, do not harm other people or not harm other beings. If you keep it, then you will have the benefit of having a long life, and a healthy life. And number two: do not steal, do not take things that are not given to you. If you keep this precept, then you will have the merit of being born rich and noble. And then no one, nobody will ever steal your things. Number three: do not commit illicit sex. If you keep it, then Heaven and Earth will respect you very much, and your body will be beautiful. You will be born beautiful. Of course, right now, if you are not beautiful already, then you keep this precept, next life, if you keep these Five Precepts, next life you will be born as human again, with all these. But not having to be born in hell or as vicious animals, or suffering of any kind. Keeping the Five Precepts, you will not go to Heaven. You will, just, if just the Five Precepts alone, then you will not go to Heaven, or a lower Heaven, but at least you’ll be born a human, healthy, rich, and have no problem. Healthy, and having power, position, whatever.
And number four: do not tell lies, but tell the truth. If you keep it, then you will have the merit of a lot of respect from everybody on the planet, from everyone you meet, and whatever you say, people will believe you. Number five: do not take intoxicants like alcohol and drugs and all that. If you keep this precept, the merit you’ll get is intelligence.”
So every cause has a consequence. So he was preaching about the Five Precepts, why you have to keep it. Probably initiation, must, have to keep the Five Precepts.
And the Buddha always praised five kinds of charity, five kinds of offerings, which gives the offerer immense, immense merit, life after life, not just one life. What is the five? Number one, the first one is, if you make offering or charity to someone who came from far away. The person who came from far away, means he’s really in need. It’s the topmost, one of the five topmost. And then number two, if you give offering to people who are going away, going far away, like making a lunchbox or dry food for the road. So, number three, if you offer for the sick people, make offering to the sick people. Because sick people, maybe they’re so helpless. Number four, of course you give food to the hungry. And if the person is just now hungry and you give food to him, that is good. That’s excellent.
And number five is the best, giving the Truth teaching to people who would want it. Not just anyone, of course, but people who want it. So, he said, “These five ways of offering, if you know it and you do it immediately whenever the need arises, then now, in this lifetime, you will have merit also. Obviously, you don’t even need to wait until the next life to see the merit that comes to you.” Even in this lifetime. I don’t know how about you, but I have a lot of merit from that, now that the Buddha said that. Not because I want to do it for merit. It’s just somehow it returns many fold. I do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because of merit.