What are the prerequisites for the followers to practice Buddhism?

Publish Date:2022-11-29

Font Size: Big Middle Small


The prerequisites for lay followers are to take refuge in the Three Gems (Tiratana), being firmly convinced that the Three Gems, namely, Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, are the only resort to turn to and rely on physically and mentally. Nor should they turn to other religions or gods as their refuge. Next, they should observe the Five Precepts and Eight Precepts of Uposatha. Uposatha means fasting or abstinence on certain days every month, that is, refraining from: eating after midday; using perfume and wearing adornments; singing, dancing and watching entertainment shows; and sitting or sleeping on high comfortable beds. The dates of fasting are generally set on the 1st, the 8th, the 14th, the 15th, the 23rd and the 29thof the lunar calendar. Taking refuge in the Three Gems, observing the Five Precepts, practicing Uposatha, striving to do good for others and keeping one’s own body and mind pure—all of these are the demands for self-cultivation for lay Buddhists. In reality, some fall below the above standards and some surpass them. The Buddha taught a lot of worldly laws to the lay followers. For instance, he explained in detail to Singalaka how to properly deal with relations between parents and children, between mentor and disciple, between husband and wife, between friends, between master and servant and between Sangha and laity. He also talked to a young man Dighajanu about the four ways of seeking comfort and balance, namely, Utthanasampada (perfection of professional training), Arakkhasampada (protection of one’s own property, frugality without waste), Kalyanamittata (making worthyfriends), and Samajivita (leading a decent life). He also talked to the kings of his time about how to deal with problems of domestic politics and good-neighborly relations. The Mahayana codes, on the other hand, discourse generally on how lay Boddhisattas should practice the Six Perfections, Four Embracing Dhamma, and so forth. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)

Hot News