A Word of Caution before You Access Vinaya Texts for Ordained Monks and Nuns

In the vinaya, or code of discipline, section of the Buddhist canon, texts on precepts for ordained monks and nuns are only for them to access. In those texts, the Buddha specifically requested that anyone who has not accepted the several hundred bhikṣu and bhikṣuṇī precepts to leave the area. Whereas the monastic precepts are essentially based on the Five Precepts of refraining from taking life, theft, inappropriate sexual activity, dishonesty, and intoxication, a strong emphasis is placed on noticing and refining many subtle ways by which desire manifest. The Buddha presumes that laity observes monastics and checks monks and nuns’ behavior against those ethical codes they read about. While monastics are very human, for laity to detect and remark on such faults may adversely affect laity’s faith, karma, and view of the monastic order and Buddhism in general.
In the West, scholars have read, studied, and analyzed these bhikṣu and bhikṣuṇī ethical guidelines. I would recommend that lay translators adhere to the wise words of the Buddha by focusing on researching and translating so many Tripiṭaka texts that still need to be translated other than vinaya tests for ordained monastics.

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