Are five precepts faulty?

Hi guys,

I had a discussion the other day with someone who knows Buddha’s teaching quite well.
We all know the importance of practicing Buddhist precepts. To understand it is not less important.

In order to break the precept, there are requirements need to be fulfilled. For example, in order to break the first precept, one has to have awareness there is a living being, the intention to kill, the effort to kill, the being dies as the result. Then the first precept is broken.

In the Sutta, it’s said that when one has sexual relationship with prohibited women, the third precept is broken.

He misconducts himself in sensual pleasures; he has intercourse with women who are protected by their mother, father, mother and father, brother, sister, or relatives, who have a husband, who are protected by law, and even with those who are garlanded in token of betrothal. Majjhima Nikaya 41

If a man has sexual relationship with any of the above mentioned woman, the third precept is broken. Therefore it’s clear that a woman who has husband, etc. is the object of transgression. If a married man having sex with a single woman or any women who are not listed above then the precept is not broken because the object of transgression does not exist.

Does anyone have any thought? We can’t say someone is breaking the precept when the condition is not fulfilled, right? Thanks.

I’m guessing that it’s because that particular sutta records a discourse the Buddha had with a group of men.

I think in the Suttas those are some examples of inappropriate types of women for men to have sex with which is the most straight forward ways in which kamesu micchacara (sexual misconduct) can be objectively described. But also, you have to examine other factors like the nature of the relationship. Was it a long term relationship with love? A one night stand? Thanissaro Bhikkhu describes the 3d precept as being against “illicit sex”. Maybe that can help you understand what is a misuse of sexuality and what is not.

Does the ‘points based system’ come from the Vinaya or is it from a commentary?

With metta