We do not practice meditation to gain admiration from anyone. Rather, we practice to contribute to peace in the world. We try to follow the teachings of the Buddha, and take the instructions of trustworthy teachers, in hopes that we too can reach the Buddha’s state of purity. Having realized this purity within ourselves, we can inspire others and share this Dhamma, this truth.
The Buddha’s teachings can be summed up in three parts: sila, morality; samadhi, concentration; and panna intuitive wisdom.
Sila is spoken of first because it is the foundation for the other two. Its importance cannot be overstressed. Without sila, no further practices can be undertaken. For lay people the basic level of sila consists of five precepts or training rules: refraining from taking life, refraining from taking what is not given, refraining from sexual misconduct, refraining from lying, and refraining from taking intoxicating substances. These observances foster a basic purity that makes it easy to progress along the path of practice.
Sayadaw U. Pandita
from the book In This Very Life: The Liberation Teachings of the Buddha