The Buddha encouraged his lay disciples to follow extra training rules as often as they could. They are an enhanced version of the five precepts they follow every day.
The Eight Precepts:
1. Abstaining from killing
2. Abstaining from stealing
3. Abstaining from sexual activity
4. Abstaining from telling lies
5. Abstaining from intoxicating drinks and drugs
6. Abstaining from eating after noon
7. Abstaining from entertainment and beautifying the body
8. Abstaining from using luxurious furniture
We follow these precepts thinking, "The fully enlightened disciples of the Buddha followed these precepts for their entire lives. Let me, imitate these great beings for this day."
Lay people can follow these precepts as often as they like. Traditionally, Buddhists come together to observe these precepts, listen to teachings, and practice meditation on the full and new moon days. Here in Canada, we do this two Sundays every month.
- On the third Sunday of the month we gather to observe these precepts and listen to Dhamma talks in the Sinhala language.
- On the fourth Sunday of the month we gather to observe these precepts and listen to Dhamma talks in English.