Digest of terms

Panca Sila / Pantha sila

notion with both political and religious usage. The 'p' word indicates five and the 's' word precepts, principles, or moral virtues. The religious connotation dates back to the earliest years of the Buddhist tradition where they specify not killing, not stealing, not misbehaving sexually, not engaging in abusive speech and refraining from intoxicants. The religious ingredient is explicit in the modern Indonesian version from 1945 which makes the first sila belief in the oneness of God. Here the words used strive to be respectful of Muslim and Hindu theological differences.

The Indonesian formulation as built into the national constitution under President Sukarno is also distinctively different in that the other four principles involve commitment to: just humanity, national unity, representative democracy and social justice. In political negotiations between China and India (President Nehru would have been aware of the Buddhist link) in the 1950s, the five-fold formulation was further adapted to form a working basis for peaceful coexistence:

  • respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty
  • non-aggression
  • non-interference in each other's internal affairs
  • Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit
  • Peaceful co-existence.

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