58.3 Principal Text
58.4 The Importance of Vinaya
The status of the seven assemblies is determined by the precepts that they uphold.
The female ordained Buddhists at the age of under 16, who uphold the Ten Precepts.
The female ordained Buddhist from 18 to 20 of age, who uphold the Six Precepts, i.e. The Five Precepts, plus the one that not to eat except in regulated hours.
The male ordained Buddhist, or monk who uphold the full 250 precepts.
The female ordained Buddhist, or nun who uphold the full 348 ( commonly called 500 ) precepts.
There are other supplementary precepts for Buddhists to observe and uphold, such as:
58.2.1 Mahayana Bodhisattva Precepts ( 大乘菩薩戒 )
There are 6 major precepts and 28 minor precepts as the enhanced ones for Upasaka, Upasika, and 10 major precepts and 48 minor precepts, as stipulated in Braham Net Sutra. Since Braham Net Sutra is regarded as the text for Mahayana Dharmakaya Sect (i.e. all things arise from Bhutatathata / Dharma Realm, thus all phenomena are of the same essence as the noumenon), those precepts are also called Mahayana Dharmakaya Precepts.
58.2.2 Yoga Bodhisattva Precepts ( 瑜伽菩薩戒 )
They are supplementary precepts for those who wish to practice in Bodhisattva’s conduct, as stipulated in Yogacaryabhumi Shastra. The shastra is regarded as the text for Dharmalaksana Sect (i.e. all thins of monad nature but differ in form, thus the noumenon will be reflected by specific characteristics, marks or criteria of all existence/ phenomena ), those precepts are also called Mahayana Dharmalaksana Precepts.
58.2.3 Eight and Fasting Precepts ( 八關齋戒 )
Actually they are the first eight precepts of the Ten Precepts, plus the ninth precept regarding fasting, which are upheld by the seven assemblies for a certain period of time, even just one day and night.
There are two types of precepts, one is called Intermediate Precepts, and the other is called Differentiated Precepts.
58.3.1 Intermediate Precepts ( 通戒 )
They are also known as Three Cumulative Pure Precepts ( 三聚淨戒 ), which are three kinds of precepts leading us to the perfection in cultivating Buddhahood:
58.3.2 Differentiated Precepts ( 別戒 )
Differentiated Precepts generally refer to the precepts observed and upheld by Bhiksu and Bhiksuni, i.e. full and perfect precepts.
There are four classifications of every precept:
It is obvious that upholding the precepts is fundamental in studying Buddhism. By upholding precepts, one can meditate correctly. By meditation, one can gain wisdom, thus enlightenment. Therefore, upholding precepts, meditation and wisdom are known as Three Non-outflow Studies in Buddhism.
Lu Sect divided four different stages in cultivation of Buddhahood through Vinaya:
It takes one Asamkhyeya Kalpa to achieve by practicing Ten Faith, Ten Dwelling, Ten Conduct, Ten Transference, etc.
It is equivalent to the first stage of Bodhisattva, in which the Way or the Truth is visualized.
It is equivalent to the second to seventh stage of Bodhisattva, in which the practitioner cultivates the Way. It takes another Asamkhysya Kalpa to achieve the above two stages.
It also takes one Asamkhyeya Kalpa to achieve. It is equivalent to the eighth and the tenth stage of Bodhisattva.
As the Real Mark of all Dharmas is finally realized in the last stage of cultivation through upholding the precepts, the teaching of Lu Sect is regarded as Mahayana.
The founder of Lu Sect, Master Tao-hsuan, established the three different systems of precepts for three different schools in Buddhism:
As there are specific precepts set for the benevolence and the salvation to other sentient beings in the Three Cumulative Pure Precepts, Lu Sect is said to be Mahayana in China.