All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

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purple planet
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All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby purple planet » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:02 pm

What are all the good reasons to take 8 precepts

1. :!: Of course no doubt 5 precepts are very important to take and everyone always recommend them

2 . :!: Of course people can advance very good without taking the 8 precepts

But i would like to know what are the advantages of taking the 8 precepts for lay followers cause i mostly hear how they are not "Needed"

sometimes i have been told its important how we use the 8 precepts and that just following them wont help - so how do i know i follow them in a beneficial way and that i dont "waste" my energy with following them

is there a point following them when i dont do any meditation at all ?
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance

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Re: All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby konchokzopa » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:19 pm

(6) Fasting

If we are reborn in the upper realms, keeping this precept will result in our getting food enjoyments easily, without much effort. Also we will have forty very white teeth and have a powerful, transcendental, sense of taste that brings infinite happiness, even if we eat shit.

The reason for fasting is that Guru Shakyamuni’s followers existed on one meal a day (to practice Dharma) and more than that is not necessary, and only develops greed. Fasting can help stop greed and decrease the negative mind.

(7) Not Sitting on High or Large Beds

The bed should be no higher than the length of the forearm plus the hand. Keeping this precept prevents us from acquiring an expensive bed, to which greed will make us attached. A high seat increases pride, depending on whether the negative mind is present or not. The benefit of keeping this precept is that in future lives we will have respect, admiration, and exultation. Also, a better bed.

(8) 1 - Avoiding Perfumes and Ornaments

The result of this is that the body smells naturally good, with a better shape in the future.

2 - Avoiding Singing, Dancing, and Playing Music

Keeping this precept makes mind well subdued, and the body also. We are kept away from creating negative actions, and we are always preaching Dharma.

When we are enlightened we attain the thirty-two and eighty physical signs and perfections of a Buddha’s holy body. The Buddha’s holy body is immeasurably large—so huge that we cannot see the top of the double head. The cause of this result is making prostrations to the holy abbot with the five points of contact (hands, feet, and forehead) on the floor.

- See more at: https://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sec ... BaiWx.dpuf



(1) As the earth is the basis of this world, ordination is the basis of all the realizations of meditation, Dharma practice, and so forth.

(2) If precepts are kept correctly, it is a quick way out of ignorance, an action with immediate benefits. This means living in a discipline to avoid negative mind, so that we avoid the suffering results.

(3) It means not being born in the three lower realms.

(4) It is the best perfume—a natural smell compared to chemicals. Ordination is the best water to cool us from the heat of suffering.

(5) A great Indian pandit said, “Keeping the eight precepts for a day gives greater benefit than one hundred years of charity.” Following the precepts correctly is a serious action, it fights the negative mind. We can pretend many things, saying prayers and mantras, but they’re not action.

(6) The benefits are greater than making offerings to Buddha, who said in his sutra teachings, “Keeping precepts is of much greater benefit than making great offerings to as many buddhas as exist in the number of eons equal to the number of grains of sand in the Ganges.”

(7) Taking precepts causes one to become a disciple of Maitreya in the future. He prophesied, “Any being following the eight precepts, listening to the Dharma of Guru Shakyamuni will be reborn as one of those surrounding me.” In this situation, we get the greatest chance to hear teachings and attain enlightenment—a much better human rebirth.

- See more at: https://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sec ... BaiWx.dpuf

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Re: All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby culaavuso » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:29 pm

purple planet wrote:But i would like to know what are the advantages of taking the 8 precepts for lay followers cause i mostly hear how they are not "Needed"


The precepts are a matter of creating conditions that allow the factors of the path to arise. No particular practice is universally "needed", but through honest assessment of a situation one can determine whether following the precepts would be categorized as Right Effort or not. If following the precepts results in an increase in ill will, greed, sensuality, or other passions then it is not beneficial. If it allows awareness of the drawbacks of more indulgent behavior to be seen so that it can be escaped, then it is of benefit. The eight precepts are closer to the discipline of one gone forth, which is a path that can be highly conducive to awakening. The five precepts focus on the establishment of virtue, while the eight precepts have more of a focus on sense restraint and renunciation. Both virtue and sense restraint are important, though virtue is placed earlier in the canonical description of a step-by-step approach to the Dhamma. The eight precepts are undertaken on a permanent basis by arahants not as a matter of obligation but because they are clearly seen as beneficial.

DN 2
DN 2: Samaññaphala Sutta wrote:Household life is confining, a dusty path. The life gone forth is like the open air. It is not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell.


AN 8.41
AN 8.41: Uposatha Sutta wrote:All arahants, for as long as life lasts, ... [repeats for all eight precepts]


SN 45.8
SN 45.8: Magga-vibhanga Sutta wrote:And what, monks, is right effort? (i) There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen. (ii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen. (iii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen. (iv) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort.


Ud 5.3
Ud 5.3: Kuṭṭhi Sutta wrote:So, aiming at Suppabuddha the leper, he gave a step-by-step talk, i.e., he proclaimed a talk on generosity, on virtue, on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, & corruption of sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when the Blessed One knew that Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elevated, & clear, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination, cessation, & path.


For a lengthy discussion of the allure, drawback, and escape of sensuality see MN 13.

For a discussion of when following the eight precepts is not so helpful, see AN 3.70
AN 3.70: Muluposatha Sutta wrote:And what is the Uposatha of a cowherd? Just as when a cowherd returns the cattle to their owners in the evening, he reflects: 'Today the cattle wandered to that spot and this, drank at this spot and that; tomorrow they will wander to that spot and this, will drink at this spot and that'; in the same way, there is the case where a certain person observing the Uposatha reflects, 'Today I ate this sort of non-staple food and that sort of staple food. Tomorrow I will eat that sort of non-staple food and this sort of staple food.' He spends the day with an awareness imbued with that covetousness, with that greed. Such is the Uposatha of a cowherd, Visakha. When this Uposatha of a cowherd is undertaken, it is not of great fruit or great benefit, not of great glory or great radiance.

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Re: All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby waterchan » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:40 pm

purple planet wrote:But i would like to know what are the advantages of taking the 8 precepts for lay followers cause i mostly hear how they are not "Needed"


It's clear if you think about the precepts in groups:

The first four precepts are all about harmlessness towards others.
The fifth precept is about harmlessness towards yourself.
The last three precepts are about reducing your indulgence in sense pleasures.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)

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Re: All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby purple planet » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:57 pm

Thanks all :namaste: - would still like to hear more comments on the advantages of taking the 8 precepts - but would like to change the focus to all the ways i can "mess up" the 8 precepts taking

For a discussion of when following the eight precepts is not so helpful, see AN 3.70

AN 3.70: Muluposatha Sutta wrote:And what is the Uposatha of a cowherd? Just as when a cowherd returns the cattle to their owners in the evening, he reflects: 'Today the cattle wandered to that spot and this, drank at this spot and that; tomorrow they will wander to that spot and this, will drink at this spot and that'; in the same way, there is the case where a certain person observing the Uposatha reflects, 'Today I ate this sort of non-staple food and that sort of staple food. Tomorrow I will eat that sort of non-staple food and this sort of staple food.' He spends the day with an awareness imbued with that covetousness, with that greed. Such is the Uposatha of a cowherd, Visakha. When this Uposatha of a cowherd is undertaken, it is not of great fruit or great benefit, not of great glory or great radiance.


- my understanding of the quote is that he thinks all day about food - instead of being mindful of the greed right ? but where is the line : lets say it helps a bit to be more mindful of the greed but it also increases the amount of times i get that greed - interesting to know when is it more helpful than damaging
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance

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Re: All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby waterchan » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:09 pm

purple planet wrote: does it mean that arahants naturally keep all precepts ? cause i saw this debated on in many threads and this is a clear cut statement )


Sometimes I think that arahants can break a lot of rules, at least in outward form. Ajahn Chah said that his teacher would tell his monks to eat mindfully and slowly, but he himself would stuff down his food really fast like a glutton. Sometimes his teacher would get angry and yell at his students, rebuking them sharply. Ajahn Chah used to get upset about these things. Then one day he realized that even though his teacher would sometimes appear to act this way, inside there was nothing.

When you think about it, arahants don't really need to practice anymore. They're done with the path. They don't need this boat anymore. They can set it aside. Whatever they do, they can't help but be mindful and equanimous.

Going back to the topic,

purple planet wrote:- my understanding of the quote is that he thinks all day about food - instead of being mindful of the greed right ? but where is the line : lets say it helps a bit to be more mindful of the greed but it also increases the amount of times i get that greed - interesting to know when is it more helpful than damaging


My understanding of the passage you quoted is simply that some eight-preceptors can be heedless. I don't see how being rightly mindful of the greed can make you more greedy. If that happens, then that is wrong mindfulness — mindfulness of the ego instead of the craving in and of itself.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)

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Re: All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:29 pm

purple planet wrote:What are all the good reasons to take 8 precepts

1. :!: Of course no doubt 5 precepts are very important to take and everyone always recommend them

2 . :!: Of course people can advance very good without taking the 8 precepts

But i would like to know what are the advantages of taking the 8 precepts for lay followers cause i mostly hear how they are not "Needed"

sometimes i have been told its important how we use the 8 precepts and that just following them wont help - so how do i know i follow them in a beneficial way and that i dont "waste" my energy with following them

is there a point following them when i dont do any meditation at all ?

Yes, there is a point following them as advised in the texts (on the luner days). They are a tool to highten awareness of how luxurious, and comfortable we are with the way things are. They are a tool to foster renunciation where we tend to foster luxurious habits.

The extra precepts are more to heighten our awareness where we tend to focus on pleasure, and unless you are planning to live these precepts 24/7 following how the vinaya details them is not necessary. Are they useful to bring more awareness to our lives, yes!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:37 pm

purple planet wrote:- my understanding of the quote is that he thinks all day about food - instead of being mindful of the greed right ? but where is the line : lets say it helps a bit to be more mindful of the greed but it also increases the amount of times i get that greed - interesting to know when is it more helpful than damaging

I would recommend you practice appropriate attention.
Knowing you are hungry, and that this is greed is one thing. Directing your mind to something skillful is another.
When you know you have greed (such as being well fed but wanting to eat due to a sense of hunger) it is more appropriate not to focus on the desire. That would be wrong mindfulness. And more useful to focus on that which undermines the desire, such as the down side to eating more, or on those who are actually hungry and the disparity in your situations.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby Anagarika » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:42 am

I can add that there is the anagarika life, which has been characterized as being somewhere between a layperson and a samanera and bhikkhu. It is a lifetime 8 precept ordination, but does not carry the 227 rules, nor does it proscribe handling money. So, the anagarika can live a renunciate life, yet do work and, in my view, use this income to be of partial support to the monastery. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anagarika and for an example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anagarika_Dharmapala . Dharmapala once urged a friend to refrain from ordaining as a monk, as he recommended that one could do more in the lay world when able to travel, use funds, be involved in political issues, etc. Dharmapala ordained as a bhikkhu shortly before his death, his journey through life as a pioneer anagarika having reached its zenith.

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Re: All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby Digity » Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:50 am

My mind feels more settled on the days when I follow the 8 precepts, because I haven't over indulged with food and haven't watched any tv, listened to music, etc. When you abstain from these things for a day you realize what a negative effect they can have on you. Having said that, the mind is the mind and once I'm back to following just the five precepts I easily turn on the tv or listen to music and get caught up in it. :/
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Re: All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby binocular » Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:43 am

purple planet wrote:But i would like to know what are the advantages of taking the 8 precepts for lay followers cause i mostly hear how they are not "Needed"

For example, Benjamin Franklin (and some other people of his time) had some interesting things to say about the importance of sleeping in simple beds -
See here beginning on page 87 in the book, here from page 89 -

And, as regards to early rising, a feather-bed is a decided enemy to that habit, by its powerful allurement to indolence. The human frame is braced, on the contrary, by reposing on a mattress-bed, and can arise early in the morning, -- not, as from the grave of a feather-bed, languid and indisposed for exertion, but in the full tide of
"Good health, and, its associate in the most,
Good temper; spirits prompt to undertake,
And not soon spent, though in an arduous task."



Although we generally don't have feather-beds anymore, we have modern equivalents thereof.

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Re: All the reasons to take 8 precepts ?

Postby binocular » Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:12 pm

culaavuso wrote:If following the precepts results in an increase in ill will, greed, sensuality, or other passions then it is not beneficial.

I think this is an important point that can all too easily be missed.
It seems paradoxical that a practice that is generally advised and considered basic, could have any negative effects.

For example, if one practices the precepts in order ot be able to brag about doing so, or in order to feel above other people, then such a practice can be a problem.


Of interest:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu: The Healing Power of the Precepts


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