Ancient warriors fought in the front line often wore armor and carried shields for protection, otherwise they would easily be injured or even killed by the enemies.
For Buddhist practitioners, precepts are like their armor. Keeping the discipline can prevent the practitioners from attaching to the Five Desires as well as avoiding afflictions and misconception to arise. Sentient beings are easily influenced by their environment. Without strong self-discipline, one can easily be led by the Five Desires (desires for wealth, sex, fame, food and drink, and sleep) in one’s daily life which will hinder their progress in the Buddhist practices. Therefore, self-discipline is the prerequisite for the cultivation of mindfulness and wisdom. While the abiding to precepts can influence our physical actions, the practice of mindfulness will calm our mind and the arise of inner wisdom will extinguish our afflictions. While self-discipline will lead to mindfulness and mindfulness will give rise to our inner wisdom, the three complement each other and are indispensable.
對修行人而言, 戒如盔甲, 在去除煩惱時, 若不自律, 很容易被慾望的利劍刺中。眼睛見到美女, 就心猿意馬; 耳朵聽到悅耳之音, 就手舞足蹈; 鼻子嗅到美酒的香味, 就貪杯; 舌頭嚐到美味, 就貪吃; 身體產生好的觸覺, 就想佔有。 當人身不由己為五欲所轉的時候, 又怎能靜得下心! 因此, 自律為修定和修慧的前提條件, 以戒調身、以定安心、以慧斷惑; 因戒生定, 由定生慧; 三者相輔相成, 缺一不可。