This guide is aimed at providing an introduction to some aspects of monastic discipline for those lay people who are interested in understanding something of the background to the rules and conventions which structure the way of life of the monks and nuns of this tradition. It is hoped that these notes will be helpful in furthering the relationship of support between members of the Sangha and lay practitioners.
Generally, in the Indian spiritual tradition, there is difference made between those whose lifestyle is that of a householder and those who have ‘gone forth’ from the home life to follow a path of renunciation. For the Buddhist renunciate, this spiritual life is guided by the principles of Dhamma-Vinaya.
The Buddhist monastic discipline, called Vinaya, is a refined training of body, speech and mind. This discipline is not an end in itself, but a tool which, when applied in conjunction with the spiritual teachings (Dhamma), can help foster maturity and spiritual development.
Excerpt From: Amaravati Publications. “Discipline and Conventions of the Theravada Forest Tradition.”