- 1: a command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action
- 2: an order issued by legally constituted authority to a subordinate official
In Buddhism, the fundamental code of ethics is known as the Five Precepts (Pañcaśīla in Sanskrit, or Pañcasīla in Pāli), practiced by laypeople, either for a given period of time or for a lifetime. There are other levels of precepts, varying amongst traditions. In Theravadan tradition there are Eight Precepts, Ten Precepts and the Patimokkha. Eight Precepts are a more rigorous practice for laypeople. Ten Precepts are the training-rules for samaneras (male) and samaneris (female), novice monks and nuns. And the Patimokkha is the basic Theravada code of [monastic] discipline, consisting of 227 rules for monks (bhikkhus) and 311 for nuns (bhikkhunis).