Buddhist Ethics, the fifth book of Kongtrul Lodrö Tayé's ten-part Encompassment of All Knowledge, begins with a presentation of the qualifications of both the spiritual teachers who embody the different systems of ethics and their disciples, the trainees of these systems. The text explains the process whereby teachers and disciples establish and cultivate a proper spiritual relationship, which, once it has been established, provides a foundation from which teachers can expound the Buddha's doctrine and disciples can receive the teachings. The author then provides a detailed description of the three major systems of ethics, or vows, within the Buddhist tradition.
In Buddhism, vows are viewed in many ways, depending on the context of the discussion, but generally the ethical systems are designated as three sets of vows, as two sets of vows, or as one allinclusive vow. The three sets of vows spoken of throughout all divisions of the Buddhist scriptures are those of personal liberation (prātimokṣa), of meditative absorption (dhyāna), and of the uncontaminated (anāsrava) vows. These are essentially identical to the three forms of training on the Buddhist path: the development of morality, meditation, and wisdom. In fact, in order to gain the different types of enlightenment of their systems, proclaimers (Řravaka), solitary sages (pratyekabuddha), and bodhisattvas must forsake disturbing emotions and other obstacles on their paths by cultivating an uncontaminated discriminative awareness which is developed by training in wisdom.