The nature of true moral virtue is subtle and complex — so complex that it cannot be attained merely by reference to precepts and rules of conduct.
Ultimately, moral virtue is not measured in terms of adherence to external rules, but as an expression of the mind’s pure intentions. The basic goal of the Buddhist path is to eliminate from the mind all impure intentions.
Thus, true virtue can only be achieved by following a path of training that succeeds in rooting out greed, anger and delusion. Moral precepts are a necessary part of the training; but the practice of moral virtue cannot fully accomplish its goal unless it is oriented toward the practice of meditation.
Properly nourished with virtuous intentions, the mind quickly and easily develops meditative calm and clarity…
This reflection by Mae Chee Kaew is from the book, Mae Chee Kaew, (pdf) p. 137.