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Those Buddhists who are referred to as upàsaka and upàsikà [Buddhist lay followers] are considered Buddhists of the leading type. They must be steadfast and firmly established in the [Buddhist] principles to serve as examples for Buddhists in general. Apart from observing the Buddhist’s discipline, they must possess the five qualities of Buddhist lay followers (upàsakadhamma) as follows:


1. They have faith, their belief being endowed with wisdom; they are not given to blind faith; they have confidence in the Triple Gem [the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha], neither being shaken nor faltering; they adhere to the Dhamma as the principal and supreme cause.

2. They have morality; apart from maintaining themselves in the Five Precepts and righteous livelihood, they should undertake the Eight Observances on due occasions to develop themselves so that their lives and

happiness depend less on material needs, thus reducing harm and increasing beneficence towards others.

3. They do not get carried away by superstition; they believe in deeds, aspiring to results from their own deeds through their own effort in a rational way; they are not excited by wildly rumored superstition, talismans or lucky charms; they do not aspire to results from praying for miracles.

4. They do not seek the gift-worthy outside of this teaching; they do not grasp at fields of merit, miracle workers or holy personalities that are outside the Buddhist principles.

5. They apply themselves to supporting and helping with the Buddhist cause; they attend to, initiate and support charity work in accordance with the teaching of the Perfectly Enlightened One.

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Steering Life to Its Objectives

A. Three levels of objectives. One should conduct one’s life so as to attain the three levels of objectives (attha) as follows:

Level 1: diññhadhammikattha, i.e. the temporal objective or present benefit

A) Enjoying good health, physical fitness, freedom from maladies, and longevity.

B) Having work and income, having honest livelihood, and being economically self-reliant.

C) Having good status, and gaining the respect of society.

D) Having a happy family, establishing a good reputation of one’s family.

All the four objectives above should be righteously achieved and

utilized for the sake of oneself and others.

Level 2: samparàyikattha, i.e. the spiritual objective or further benefit.

A) Being endowed with warmth, deep appreciation and happiness; being not lonesome or unfirm; having an ideal to adhere to so as to be strong with faith.

B) Being proud of a clean life, of having done only wholesome deeds with virtue.

C) Being gratified in a worthwhile life, in having always done what is beneficial with sacrifice.

D) Being courageous and confident to resolve problems as well as conduct one’s life and duties with wisdom.

E) Being secure and confident in having a guarantee for the future life in consequence of having done only good deeds.


Level 3: paramattha, i.e. the highest objective or greatest benefit:

A) Having a secure, peaceful and stable mind, unshaken even when affected by the ways of the world or confronted with vicissitudes or changes.

B) Not being so distressed by clinging or attachment as to feel disappointed or sorrowful; having a mind that is relieved, clear, buoyant and free.

C) Being refreshed, cheerful, not sullen or depressed; being radiant and free from suffering; enjoying genuine bliss.

D) Being well aware of causes and conditions and acting accordingly; leading a life that is impeccable and bright; conducting oneself with wisdom.

One who is able to attain from the second level of benefit upwards is known as a wise man (paõóita).

Buddhist Discipline - Buddhist of the Leading Type


B. Three fronts of objectives. These three levels of objectives should be realized on all three fronts:

1st front: attattha, i.e. the objective for oneself or one’s own benefit; the three levels of benefits explained above, which one should realize for oneself or develop one’s life to attain.

2nd front: parattha, i.e. the objective for others or other people’s benefit; i.e. the three levels of benefits explained above, which one should help other people successively achieve by guiding and encouraging

them to develop their lives.

3rd front: ubhayattha, i.e. the mutual objective or benefit to both parties; the collective benefit, happiness and virtue of the community or society, including environmental conditions and factors, which we should help create and conserve in order to help both ourselves and others advance to the three levels of objectives mentioned above.

Buddhist Discipline - Steering Life to Objectives


6th direction: As a Buddhist, one should show reverence to the monks, who are likened to the “upper direction,” as follows:

1. One acts towards them with goodwill.

2. One speaks to them with goodwill.

3. One thinks of them with goodwill.

4. One receives them willingly.

5. One supports them with the four requisites [almsfood, robes, shelter and medicine].


Monks help lay people by:

1. Enjoining them from evil actions.

2. Enjoining them in goodness.

3. Assisting them with kind intentions.

4. Making known to them things not heard before.

5. Explaining and clarifying things they have already heard.

6. Pointing out the way to heaven, teaching them the way to happiness and prosperity.


B. Helping one another for social harmony, i.e. helping one another and contributing to creating social peace, stability and unity according to the four principles for helpful integration (saïgahavatthu), namely:

1. dàna: giving, sharing (helping through money and material goods).

2. piyavàcà: amicable speech (helping through words).

3. atthacariyà: helpful action (helping through physical or mental effort).

4. samànattatà: participation (helping through participation in constructive action and problem solving; being equal by virtue of the Dhamma and sharing both weal and woe).

Buddhist Discipline - Steering Life to Its Objectives

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