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Buddhism Foundations: Buddhist Precepts|Four Noble Truths|Noble Eightfold Paths



Different Buddhist traditions adhere to other lists of precepts that have some overlap with the Five Precepts. The precise wording and application of any of these vows is different by tradition.


Eight Precepts

The Eight Precepts are the precepts for Buddhist lay men and women who wish to practice a bit more strictly than the usual five precepts for Buddhists. The eight precepts focus both on avoiding morally bad behaviour, and on leading a more ascetic lifestyle. The five precepts, however, focus only on avoiding morally bad behaviour.


In Theravada Buddhist countries such as Sri Lanka and Thailand, Buddhist laymen and laywomen will often spend one day a week, such as the new moon, first-quarter moon, full moon and last-quarter moon days living in the monastery, and practicing the eight precepts.

The Buddha gave teachings on how the eight precepts are to be practiced, and on the right and wrong ways of practicing the eight precepts.
  1. I undertake to abstain from taking life (both human and nonhuman).
  2. I undertake to abstain from taking what is not given (stealing).
  3. I undertake to abstain from all sexual activity.
  4. I undertake to abstain from telling lies.
  5. I undertake to abstain from using intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
  6. I undertake to abstain from eating at the wrong time (the right time is eating once, after sunrise, before noon).
  7. I undertake to abstain from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume, and using cosmetics and garlands (decorative accessories).
  8. I undertake to abstain from luxurious places for sitting or sleeping.
Ten Precepts

The Ten Precepts may refer to the precepts (training rules) for samaneras (novice monks) and samaneris (novice nuns). They are used in most Buddhist schools.
  1. Refrain from killing living things.
  2. Refrain from stealing.
  3. Refrain from un-chastity (sensuality, sexuality, lust).
  4. Refrain from lying.
  5. Refrain from taking intoxicants.
  6. Refrain from taking food at inappropriate times (after noon).
  7. Refrain from singing, dancing, playing music or attending entertainment programs (performances).
  8. Refrain from wearing perfume, cosmetics and garland (decorative accessories).
  9. Refrain from sitting on high chairs and sleeping on luxurious, soft beds.
  10. Refrain from accepting money.
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