Today’s talk is based on the Dhammika Sutta (Sun II.14). The Buddha delivered this sermon when a layman by the name of Dhammika (which means righteous) asked what constitutes a good disciple of the Buddha.
For an ordained disciple, the Buddha said:
He should go for pindapata at the appropriate time, i.e. between dawn and noon. He will then have the company of other monks also on alms round. If he goes outside of this time he will be in the company of more lay people, and it will be more difficult to guard the five senses. He will more likely break his precepts.
He should talk about wholesome things and not indulge in frivolous talk. Some monks like to use the Dhamma to attack the views of others. Attachments bind them and they are carried away by their emotions.
When eating, he should do so remembering that he takes food not for beauty, but for sustenance. In regards to other things, such as his dwelling (kuti), he should also use them wisely, and not be attached to them.
For a lay person, the Buddha said:
He should support the Sangha and his parents as well as engage in right livelihood.
He should keep the five precepts:
He should neither kill nor ask others to kill. (He should also teach his children from a young age not to harm any living beings.)
He should not steal. (This includes not evading tax.)
He should not commit sexual misconduct.
He should not lie.
He should not take intoxicants.
On holy days (e.g. the full moon and new moon days), he should keep the eight precepts.