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Who are Lay People? / 甚麼是「居士」?

A layperson is someone who believes in Buddhism, upholds the five precepts, and practices the ten good deeds and who has not left the home-life.


What are the Five Precepts? / 甚麼叫「五戒」?

They are the precepts against killing, stealing, engaging in sexual misconduct, and taking intoxicants. People who have received the five precepts are called lay people.


What are the Ten Good Deeds? / 甚麼是十善?

The ten good deeds are just the opposite of ten bad deeds. The ten bad deeds are: killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct, which are done by the body; greed, hatred, and ignorance, which belong to the mind; and lying, loose speech, harsh speech, and divisive speech, which are committed by the mouth. Notice that the offenses of the mouth account for almost half of the ten.


What is Loose Speech? / 甚麼叫「綺語」?

Loose speech is crude or lewd speech, such as talking about how women (or men) behave, or gossiping, and so forth.
"Lying" means not telling the truth.


What is Harsh Speech/Divisive speech?

"Harsh Speech" refers to scolding people, which creates mouth karma.
"Divisive speech" means being double-tongued in the sense that one backbites and causes schisms. Such a person tells A about B and then B about A, trying to split them up. That is how divisive speech works.


Precepts should be Requested from a Left-Home Person - An Ordained monk

To uphold precepts is just to do no evil but do all good. How many precepts are there? There are many sets of precepts. First, there are the five precepts. Those who have taken refuge with the Triple Jewel and who like to take another step forward should receive the five precepts. After having received the five precepts, another step forward would be to receive the eight precepts. Following that would come the ten precepts for novice monks and nuns.


Must Receive Precepts from a Bhikshu

Lay people who like to receive precepts must request them from an ordained monk. To transmit precepts means to give the precept substance to the preceptees. The person who transmits the precept substance to you must be a Bhikshu. in the Vinaya, a Bhikshuni is not permitted to transmit precepts.


Don't Miss the Chance to Receive the Five Precepts

People who receive the five precepts, or the eight precepts, are called Upasaka (for men) Upasika (for women). If they take the Bodhisattva precepts then they are called Bodhisattvas of initial resolve, because they are making a commitment to uphold the Bodhisattva precepts and follow the Bodhisattva path. Left-home people receive and uphold the Bodhisattva precepts. But since Bodhisattvas of initial resolve are people who wish to learn how to benefit both themselves and others, lay people, too, can receive lay Bodhisattva precepts.


Five Precepts, Eight Precepts Ten Precepts and Bodhisattva Precepts

In Buddhism, receiving and upholding precepts is very important. When there is an opportunity to do so, people should not miss the opportunity.
A person can receive one precept, two precepts, three precepts, four precepts, or five precepts. He can also receive the eight precepts but he is not eligible to receive the ten precepts, as those are reserved for shramaneras (novice monks) and shramanerikas (novice nuns). But you can take the Bodhisattva precepts, the ten major and forty-eight minor precepts.


Full Precepts / 全份戒

Receiving one precept is called taking "a minimum share of the precepts,"
Receiving two precepts is called taking "a half share of the precepts,"
Receiving three precepts is called taking "a majority share of the precepts,"
Receiving five precepts is called taking "a full share of the precepts."


The Choice of Receiving Precepts

If someone has a problem with receiving the precept of not killing beings, then that person can refrain from receiving that precept and can receive the precept of not stealing. If someone likes to drink, like my wine-drinking disciple who didn't want to take the precept prohibiting the consuming of intoxicants, then that person can refrain from receiving the precept prohibiting the consumption of intoxicants, but can receive the others.


The Choice of Receiving Precepts

Someone may say, "I like to boast. I cannot receive the precept against lying." Well, that person can receive the other four precepts.
Another person may say,"I cannot promise not to kill Sometimes, unintentionally, I may kill ants and small bugs. If I kill them after receiving the precepts, my offenses will be greater." That person doesn't have to receive the precept against killing. In general, each person can do whatever he or she prefers, receiving one, two, three or up to five precepts. Just don't miss this opportunity.


Receiving Precepts

In China, if a person cannot afford to pay (it used to cost two hundred US dollars), then he won't be able to receive the precepts. That money did not go toward the purchase of a sash and robe. The preceptees had to purchase those items by themselves. They could buy better or lesser quality sashes and robes, depending on what they had to spend. Just to receive the precepts, one had to make an offering to the teacher and his temple of at least two hundred dollars.


Consequence of Refrain from Killing

The five precepts are the most fundamental rules that Buddhists should follow. They are: not killing, not stealing, not engaging in sexual misconduct, not lying and not consuming intoxicants.
If you receive the precept against killing and constantly refrain from killing, you will be rewarded with longevity. You will live a long life. Why is it that some people have long life spans while others have short life spans? Those who had upheld the precept against killing are rewarded with a long life, while people who liked to kill have the retribution of short lives.


Consequence of Refrain from Stealing

Why should we observe the precept against stealing? It is because stealing causes others to lose their wealth. What is stealing? It is covertly taking away properties and materials belonging to others. What's the retribution for stealing others' things? The retribution will be that of not being able to hold one's own wealth long. For example, someone may be rich, and all of a sudden that person gets robbed.


Not Upholding Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct, lying, taking intoxicants are similar. For instance, someone who does not observe the rule against sexual misconduct might have affairs with others' women. In the future, other men will fool around with that person's own wife or daughter. Those are the kinds of retributions that will happen.



As to lying, if we don't deceive people, we will not be deceived. Someone may complain,"I have never deceived anyone in my life. Why it is that many people deceive me?"

妄語,你自己要是不騙人,你就不會被人騙。 說:「我這一生沒有騙人,為甚麼很多人來騙我呢?」

Retribution is not limited to one lifetime

Didn't i just say that the matter of retribution is not limited to one lifetime? It spans three time periods: past, present, and future. You may not have cheated anyone in this life, but do you know how many people you have cheated in your previous life? "I don't know." You don't know? so it may be fitting that people cheat you now.


Boast without Thinking

A person may not have intended to boast, but it's very easy to tell a lie without even realizing it. Telling lies can happen very fast. A lie comes out before we know it. For instance, someone may ask a person, "Have you stolen something?" The person may reply, "I haven't" without even stopping to think even if he did. If in fact, the person stole, then, by denying it, he commits the offense of lying on top the offense of stealing.


Drinking Wine is Prohibited in Buddhism

A little wine doesn't hurt. However, if people drink a lot they will become confused and do crazy things. That's why drinking wine is prohibited in Buddhism.


“The Buddha, like a clear, cool moon,    Forever courses in the space.    When the water in sentient beings’ minds is clear,    Bodhi appears within it.”


Avatamsaka Sutra / 《華嚴經》
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