Elemantary Categories of Precepts


The Vinaya Pitaka – one of Tipitaka – is the textual framework upon which is concerned with the Rules of Discipline governing four classes of disciples (monks, nuns, upasaka and upasika). It includes not only the rules governing the life of every Theravada bhikkhu (monk) and bhikkhuni (nun), but also a host of procedures and conventions of etiquette that support harmonious relations, both among the monastics themselves, and between the monastics and their lay supporters, upon whom they depend for all their material needs.

The code of conduct set forth by the Buddha is not a set of mere negative prohibitions, not suffering of the life, but an affirmation of doing good clearly-resolutely, so bring happyness and piace to oneself and beings.


There are many way to category of rule, but there are four kinds of Buddhist Rule in practice: The Commandments for Mendicant (Sramanera, Sramanerika, Siksamana, Pratimoksha includes Bhiksu and Bhiksuni) and for lay people.

According Mahayana Buddhism, there are five version belong various sects:

(1) Sarvastivada’s version, translated into Chinese by Punyatara in 61 books.

(2) Dharmagupta’s version, translated into Chinese by Buddhayasas in 60 books.

(3) Mahasamghika’s version, translated into Chinese by Buddhabhadra from Sankskrit, translated into Vietnamese by Giác Hiền, in 40 books.

(4) Mahisasaka’s version translated into Chinese by Buddhajiva, in 30 books.

(5) Mula-Sarvastivada’s version, translated into Chinese by I-Ch’ing, in 40 books.

1.1. Sramanera, Sramanerika

+ Sramanera is a novice male monastic in a Buddhist context. He must keep properly ten precepts and the minor commandments.

+ Sramanerika is a novice female monastic in a Buddhist context. She must keep properly ten precepts and the minor commandments. In addition, she has to study Siksamana (six rules) to prepare to receive a full ordaination.

1.2. Pratimoksha

Pratimoksha – The perfect (complete or full) commandments for Monks and Nuns.

+ BhiksuMale MendicantBuddhist monk – who has entered into the order of the Buddha and observes the 250 precepts (according Mahayana Buddhism) or 227 precepts (according Theravada Buddhism).

BhiksuniFemale MendicantBuddhist nun – who has entered into the order of the Buddha and observes the 348 precepts (according Mahayana Buddhism) or 311 precepts (according Theravada Buddhism).

1.3. The commandments for Bodhisattvas

Bodhisattva Precepts  – The commandments or prohibitions for bodhisattvas and monks, including ten primary and 48 secondary precepts. Both Mendicant and lay people may be observed these commandments.

1.4. he commandments for lay people – One who resides at home (in a family).

The commandments that observed by the lay includes:

– Quy y Tam Bảo. To take refuge in the Triratna, or to commit oneself to the Triratna (i.e. Buddha, Dharma, Sangha), to trust the Triratna (Buddha—Dharma—Sangha)

Five commandments for the lay people

Eight commandments for the lay peple.

Ten good rules.

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Last updated: 14th Dec 2018