[284] How To Personally Vow To Receive The Five Precepts? 如何自誓受五戒?

[284] How To Personally Vow [To] Receive [The] Five Precepts?


[Of] receiving precepts, [this] one matter, if men leave [the] household [life to] be monks, [they] must enter halls [to] practise [their] ceremonies, then knowing monasteries’ rules, as monks’ code. Then wandering, walking [by] foot, completely without obstructions. Otherwise, [the] ten directions’ monasteries, [will] due [to this], not [allow] residential stay.

[Note 1: Monks’ code (僧仪则) are monastic precepts (出家戒). Men at home (在家男子) (householders) should receive lay precepts (在家戒) like the Five Precepts (五戒) at proper Buddhist temples and centres too, if possible, unless unable to. This is so as the more formal the ceremony for receiving precepts is, as conducted by monastics, and participated in sincerely, the more deeply will the precepts be received in the heart and mind, thus having greater commitment.]


If women at home, [are with] family wealth ample, [and are] able [to] decide [for] themselves, [if] visiting monasteries [to] receive precepts, [this is] also not forbidden. As for [those with] themselves and their family poverty stricken, why must [it be] in this way? [They] only [have to], before [the] Buddha [shrine at home, with] earnestness [and] utmost sincerity, repent [their] transgressive karmas.

[Note 2: Due to poverty, some might not be able to travel to distant monasteries to receive the precepts. As this obstacle is due to personal evil karmas, there should be repentance practised. Other reasons that might make travel difficult are being very old, weak and/or sick. If possible, home visits by monastics for conferring precepts can be arranged. Likewise for taking of the Threefold Refuge (三皈依).]


[For] one [to] seven days, personally vow [to] receive [the] precepts. [Having] reached [the] seventh day, facing [the] Buddha, chant aloud, ‘I, disciple Fúxián [i.e. name to be substituted with one’s own], vow [to] receive [the] Five Precepts, as [an] Upāsikā [or Upāsakā] [with] full marks.


([On an] Upāsikā, this [is to] say, [a] female layperson, calling [one who has] already received [the] Five Precepts, capable [of] serving [the] Buddhas thus. Those [with] full marks, [are with the] Five Precepts completely upheld. [A] man [who] received [the] precepts, [is] named [as an] Upāsakā. This [is to] say, [a] male layperson. [By] compiler respectfully annotated.)


[1] [To the] end [of this] life, [I will] not kill lives. [2] [To the] end [of this] life, [I will] not steal. [3] [To the] end [of this] life, [I will] not [have] sexual desires. (If [there] are women [with] husbands [or men with wives], then say “not [have] sexual misconduct.”) [4] [To the] end [of this] life, [I will] not [have] false speech. [5] [To the] end [of this] life, [I will] not drink alcohol.’

[Note 3: To receive the Five Precepts (五戒) is to commit to (i) not killing lives (不杀生), (ii) not stealing (不偷盗), (iii) not having sexual misconduct (邪淫), (iv) not having false speech (妄语) and (v) not taking intoxicants (饮酒).]


Like this thrice spoken, [one is] considered to [have] attained [the] precepts.

[Note 4: Reciting thrice is to confirm, reconfirm and conclusively confirm commitment. This facilitates receiving of the precepts in the heart and mind more deeply.]


Only [with] one’s sincere mind receiving [and] upholding [them, the] meritorious virtues [are] equal, without [those] better [or] worse. There] must not [be] calling those [who] personally vow [to] receive precepts, as [those] not according [with the] Dharma. These [are] all [from the] Brahmā Net Sūtra within, [with the] Thus Come [One’s] sagely instructions.

[Note 5: If there is lack of sincerity, those who receive the precepts at Buddhist temples and centres might be ‘worse off’, than those who personally receive them at home sincerely.]

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (First Compilation): Reply Letter For Xú Fúxián;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (284th Short Section): 8th [Chapter]: Explanations [On] Common Doubts [And] Confusions: Discussions [On] Precepts [And] Rules (4th Short Section)
[Ref: #284 / 8.4]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Text:

Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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