Is vinaya practice part of the noble eightfold path?

Makes me wonder if the buddha’s strategy doesn’t include the path he described in the monostic principles?

As far as the vinaya is concerning right action, right speech and right livelihood, it’s part of the noble 8fold path.

As far as vinaya goes way beyond it to have so many rules, that’s for monastics, it can speed up the path, but it’s not essential.

Were the whole vinaya be essential to the noble 8fold path, then there’s no hope for lay people to attain to enlightenment. But since lay people do attain to enlightenment, it’s very clear that the answer is the first paragraph above.


Thank you for your answer. If the Venerable would be kind. Please to say the things I should take with the Vinaji in my life to walk the eightfold noble path, and if there are more things to do with the Vinaji then which rules are just a superfluous frills?

I think answering this question is a matter of liberation or continued ignorance.

As you’re a lay person, just learn and practice the 5 precepts and actually right speech and right livelihood goes beyond the basic 5 precepts.

You can also take on the challenge of 8 precepts if you’re keen, to be able to help much better in your meditation.

Don’t need to worry about the vinaya for monastics, unless you wish to renounce one day.

Also, I wouldn’t say that some parts are superfluous, there’s clear origin stories to them and vinaya rules helps to keep the monastic sangha as an organization intact for 2600+ years and counting.

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Dear Venerable. So no matter how many rules I adopt from Vinaya it will not contribute to a greater chance of enlightenment?

It seems to me that my question is quite relevant, because if more rules = more chance of Nibbana, then I should not limit myself, after all, this is the most important issue, while we are in a burning building - how to escape from it as quickly as possible.

Bhante. Does what I’m saying make sense?

What if the supposed enlightenments of Secular people in the Suttas, were more along the lines of random miracles of healing from the Holy Mother of God from Christianity, rather than the planned, deliberate steps that Buddha recommended doing. I think this may be cause for concern… The debate on this topic is of utmost importance at least to me.

If I may interject, I personally like to (try to) take up the sekhiya on uposatha days. For me, their significance goes way beyond mere etiquette.

In any case, their focus is not on the sort of strictly monastic conduct the Venerable was referring to, which might just confuse things unnecessarily for a layman or laywoman. Also, the fact that they don’t have punitive penalties associated with them somehow (at least according to my own perhaps convoluted reasoning) suggests a lack of concern on the part of monastics to any claim of “exclusive ownership” of these particular rules. I would consider it just as disrespectful to practice their rules as I would to, as a layman, wear their robes, but I don’t like I’m overstepping boundaries with these. But, in some SE Asian traditions, as I understand it, novices–who are not exactly the same as monastics–take up the sekhiya in addition to the dasa sīla. And, when I’ve been fortunate enough to go around on almsround with monks, even as a layman, I would be following most of the sekhiya as a matter of course.

Again, I hope I’m not overstepping bounds here. Perhaps the Venerable @NgXinZhao (or any other) would care to provide the monastic perspective on what I just said.

What I have hypothesized is that the Vinaya may be part of the eightfold path and through ignorance and confusion about the teachings we may not see it. If that were the case, adopting more rules would be a better way to follow, so if any monk feels disrespected by someone trying to follow the noble path, that’s his problem. On the other hand, if the Vinaya does not increase the chance of enlightenment and is equal to the secular way of life, well, apparently Mara was right about depriving yourself of many sensual pleasures. “Enjoy the pleasures, young boys!”

Sensual restraint is not a big thing in vinaya. It’s more on dhamma.

Perhaps it’s more obvious when you go from 5 to 8 precepts on no entertainment rule. That is no singing, dancing, watching shows, listening to music.

If you’re ok with observing vinaya, you might as well ordain.

Why I said it accelerate the path is because it’s meant for people who ordains. So ordaining means one don’t have a job where one earn money, but depending on one’s monastery, still can have daily chores, or none at all. Monastics also devote our time for the dhamma, practise and learning.

Otherwise, being hardcore lay practitioner is to just try to observe 8 precepts in daily life. This includes being celibate, no dinner and no entertainment.

A lot of the vinaya is not practical for lay person. Like cannot eat what you cook. Cannot pick fruits from the wild to eat. Must have some unordained person offer it to you. Cannot use money. If you try to observe these and not being a monastic, you cannot survive as a lay person.

So really, observe the rules based on one’s status.

If you want fast track then renounce!


Vinaya (rules of the Sangha) is not Dhamma (such as Suttas on the four noble truths). So, Vinaya practices (rules) are not entirely part of the noble eightfold path.

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I understand that Buddha separated Training from Teaching. The question for me is, is training not based on Teaching? Doesn’t Vinaya have elements of Dhamma in it and thus isn’t part of the noble eightfold path.

I can find some examples from Vinaya where you can talk about additional sensory restraint training:

  1. Not to be found alone with a woman in a remote place that can arise suspicions about a sexual intercourse.
  2. Not to be found alone with a woman in an isolated place that can arise suspicions about conversations on lustful subjects.

I understand this as a general message not to expose ourselves to encounters with people who may be attracted to us.

  1. Not to divert for his own benefit a donation made to the saṃgha.

Even if you are a secular person, you can still not make a business out of the Dhamma.

  1. Not to destroy plants.

I think it’s an extension of being a friend to all living beings.

  1. Not to ask for food of superior quality for oneself.

Not to be greedy for the most delicious food.

  1. Not to affirm that things such as sexual pleasures are not an obstacle to the development of ariyā stage or to jhāna realisations, nor to rebirth in the deva world, when the Buddha explains that these things are precisely an obstacle to those, and not to maintain erroneous views.

Very often I meet with secularists who try to convince me that celibacy is not necessary, it is important that I follow the 5 indications.

Okay maybe my interpretations are wrong. These are just some examples listed. However, it gives me a lot to think about. As for the idea to get ordained, since I have read one forbidden book, I have this goal. But now it’s not about lack of motivation or inspiration, but more about the place and time, which is not favorable.

What forbidden book? It’s not forbidden for lay people to read the Vinaya just so you know.

What’s the unfavourable place and time? Where are you from? Age?

As your examples showed, some vinaya are able to help.

For celibacy thing, since a lay stream winner can still have sex, and they are destined to attained to arahanthood, it’s safe to say that yes, to get to the safety level, the lay practitioner need not be celibate.

I am from Poland, I am 28 years old in January. There is no monastery in Poland yet. The timing for me is not favorable because I have a dog in my care. About the book I will not help to write, because it is forbidden on this forum.

As for celibacy, I rather believe that without Jhan it is impossible to make progress. If celibacy is needed for Jhan, so one should get out of the biggest addiction to sexuality.

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Just practice 5 precepts daily and keep hear true dhamma from Sutta first.

With this statement below, you are not even ready to practice senses restraint. Let alone take up the whole Vinaya.

If one is able to attain and maintain Jhana for 24/7 (real samma samadhi), The whole Vinaya is easy to maintain. But first, 5 precepts need to be maintain for 24/7.

Vinaya is being made to make sure the True dhamma will stay for a long time. It is a way to weed out the bad actors from Sangha and protects good people who want to practice diligently.

Bad actors such as: Like new interpretations, new meaning, new books, etc.

If you understand the true dhamma, you only need Sutta. That is it. The whole Buddha’s teaching.

Thank you with your opinion but I disagree. I want to keep my dog company until his last days. In the meantime, I will try to use Vinaya for myself and 8 precepts, because so far I have not encountered a good argument not to do so. I also read the suttas. The best passages are given to me by some people in this group for which I am very grateful. I am thinking of such noble personae as Thito, CurlyCarl and Paul1. In my opinion they are brilliant, very helpful and supportive.

How many years is your dog expected to live on? Is it closer to new born dog or already with you for 1 decade?

There’re suttas which points out the disadvantages of going forth when old.

“Mendicants, it’s hard to find someone gone forth when old who has five qualities. What five? It’s hard to find someone gone forth when old who is sophisticated, well-presented, and learned, who can teach Dhamma, and has memorized the monastic law. It’s hard to find someone gone forth when old who has these five qualities.”

“Mendicants, it’s hard to find someone gone forth when old who has five qualities. What five? It’s hard to find someone gone forth when old who is easy to admonish, retains what they learn, and learns respectfully, who can teach the Dhamma, and has memorized the monastic law. It’s hard to find someone gone forth when old who has these five qualities.”

You’re willing to be celibate, but cannot let go of attachments to dog? Can give to relatives to care of it.

You cannot adopt the whole Vinaya as a lay person as I mentioned it makes it almost impossible for you to eat. It’s also a bit risky when you try to do it alone as a lay person. Say you interpret the Vinaya this or that way, and when you eventually renounce, the teacher might teach it’s actually this or that way. Can you be flexible enough then to adopt the teacher’s interpretation? Anyway, it’s quite awesome for your energy and spirit to want to go the extra mile.

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You are right dear Bhante, the whole Vinaya without the order I can’t manage, but some elements are intriguing and worth considering already. My dog has already been with me for a decade, he has cancer, I keep telling him that he is "anicca and anatta’. I think I got here only because all the time I did not know how to enter any organization, nor did I rely on authorities, but on my intuition and logic, a very long and winding road, I do not know if any teacher would agree to have such a “student” - I guess it would have to be someone special.

You can start looking for monasteries then. Maybe just a few months or a year or so. Can youtube ajahn brahm meditation retreat, do a self retreat at home, apply for leave from work. Since you’re confident in your morality in able to maintain 8 precepts at home, it should be ok. Just listen to the morning talk, meditate, relax, sit, walk, then listen to the night Q&A talk for 9 days. Then you can still be with your dog since you’re doing the retreat at home. Internet wise, only use for retreat talks, or download the whole set offline and then disconnect your wifi, turn off phone mobile, or hide your phone in a safe for 9 days for the retreat.

Check out sasanarakkha Buddhist sanctuary.

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Great advice Venerable! Thanks for these tips, I will use them. Great Sadhu! :pray:t2:

In February, the parents will get a dog. (My mother agreed to take care of him so that I could be a monk.) I wrote to Samanadipa Hermitage in Slovenia. Will they be willing to take me for training. We will see, maybe I will get that chance.