A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Five or Eight Precepts

While most lay Buddhists who have taken a step beyond the Triple Refuges or Triple Gems , only practice the five precepts. In many Buddhist countries, on special days such as full moons, new moons or significant annual dates, many lay people will spend a 24 hour period observing the eight precepts. This is undertaken on a voluntary basis, and if it doesn’t interfere with their obligations. The rational is that by withdrawing or secluding themselves from the busy world we live in, they may concentrate on their spiritual development. A longer version of this is the temporary ordination many Thai males undertake at least once in their lifetime, during the spring rainy season. Monks and nuns live everyday practising the eight precepts, as well as other precepts. By these temporary adoptions of the additional precepts, lay persons are able to avoid the temptations they face in everyday life. Sensual pleasures, materialism, and other distractions that hinder mental training.

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