1. Hanabhagiya sila – precept of an inferior kind:

An individual after observing Sila does not approach virtuous people but approaches people who have no morality. He does not realize that breaking the precepts and contemplates only on sensual pleasures and on all kinds of anxieties.

He does not control his eyes or guard his sense of sight, he looks at anything that can be seen. He does not guard his sense of hearing, he listens to everything; nor does he take care of his sense of smell; he takes pleasure in all kinds of sweet smell or fragrance. He does not guard his sense of touch, he takes pleasure in pleasant touch senses. Lastly, he is not guarding his sixth sense, which is his mind and would be thinking and planning all kinds of things. This kind of precept is an inferior kind of precept, Hanabhagiya sila.

  1. Thitibhagiya sila – precept that is just observed:

An individual after taking the precept does not observe ascetic practices (dhutanga) or be mindful of the virtues of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha nor the virtues of sila, nor practise tranquillity meditation (samatha kammathana) or insight (vipassana) meditation. He merely keeps those precepts. This kind of sila is known as Thitibhagiya sila.

  1. Visesabhagiya sila – precept which has a special effect:

An individual after taking the precept practises samatha kamatthana (Tranquility meditation) until he develops concentration (samadhi) power. This person’s precept or sila has a special effect and therefore, is known as Visesabhagiya sila. In one’s country one has to keep guards, policemen and soldiers for the security of the leaders. In the same way for your security from greed (lobha), anger (dosa) and delusion (moha), kilesa enemies or defilements, you have to keep guards such as practising recollection of the Enlightened One (Buddhanussati), radiating loving kindness (metta), reflecting on the repellent natural of a corpse (asubha) and recollection of death (maranassati). These are the guardian samatha kammatthanas and at least one of these four kammatthanas should be practiced.

It is most appropriate to practise metta kammatthana when observing precepts. By practising metta bhavana one is desirous of other’s happiness. Hence, one will abstain from taking life, stealing and other misconduct which will make others unhappy. Therefore, one’s Sila is secure. That is why practising metta kammatthana is most appropriate when one is observing precepts.

  1. Nibbedabhagiya sila – precept that has a penetrating effect:

By practicing vipassana meditation a certain individual, after taking precepts tries to penetrate the darkness of defilements (kilesa), such as – lobha, dosa and moha which have been inherent in him. This person’s sila is known as Nibbedabhagiya sila meaning it has a penetrating power.

Out of the four kinds of sila, Nibbedabhagiya sila which has a penetrating power is the best and most revered.

May all beings be well and happy & attain the fruits of Nibbana.