(BY MAHASI SAYADAW)
On coming across the Teaching of the Buddha, it is most important for everyone to cultivate the virtues of moral conduct (sīla), concentration (samādhi), and wisdom (paññā). One should undoubtedly possess these three virtues.
For lay people the minimal measure of moral conduct is the observance of the Five Precepts. For bhikkhus it is the observance of the Pātimokkha, the code of monastic discipline. Anyone who is well-disciplined in moral conduct will be reborn in a happy realm of existence as a human being or a deva (god).
However, this ordinary form of mundane morality (lokiya-sīla) will not be a safeguard against relapse into the lower states of miserable existence, such as hell, the animal realm, or the realm of petas (ghosts). It is therefore desirable to cultivate the higher form of supramundane morality (lokuttara-sīla). When one has fully acquired the virtue of this morality, one will be secure from relapse into the lower states and will always lead a happy life by being reborn as a human being or a deva. Everyone should therefore make it his duty to work for supramundane morality.