Precepts ‐ Basic & Advanced
Thoughts Q & A Kalama Hermitage Books

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Precepts ‐ Basic & Advanced

Lay Buddhist practitioners try to keep to the five or eight precepts; and novice monks and nuns would keep to their ten precepts (dasa-sila). A fully-ordained monk (bhikkhu) observes the 227 rules of the bhikkhu Patimokkha; a fully ordained nun (bhikkhuni) would observe the 311 rules of the bhikkhuni Patimokkha. These are numerical basic precepts.

Advanced precepts require following Noble Eightfold Path: no wrong views, no wrong intention, no wrong words, no wrong effort, and even no wrong effort.

Each day we must constantly assess our thinking, our work, things we do that use up our time and effort etc ... to see if any of those goes against the Four Right Efforts (sammappadhānā), Right Mindfulness and Right Samadhi.

If you keep to the 5 or 8 precepts alone you may not have true relieve of the 6 bodily base senses. For example, you eat only once after your morning begging and then play game for the rest of the day then you do not actually disobey any of the eight precepts (if there is music in the game you turn it off); but you get no real peace. Thus, following numerical precepts alone may not lead to true peace.

To truly find the path to liberation, strictly following numerical precepts (basic precepts) alone is not enough. Following the Noble Eightfold Path is following the complete precepts (advanced precepts). How not to be touched and tainted by wrong view, wrong intention, wrong speech, wrong conduct, wrong effort is really difficult. Though during the day we do not disobey any of the numerical precepts, but if our mind still wonders, has regrets, yearning, anger, frustration, dissatisfaction, illusion, then we have already gone against the Noble Eightfold Path - making the effort of following the numerical precepts irrelevant.

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