Categorizing the BNS Precepts

I was rereading the precepts and struck by their lack of thematic order. A theme can be addressed several times in the Major or Minor section and they aren’t adjacent to each other. Some precepts span two or more themes.

Preserving Life- 1, M3, M9, M10, M11, M14, M20, M32
Respect for Property and ethical economic behavior – 2, 3, M12, M17, M29, M31, M32
Sex- 3 and M4 (If the onions were seen as some sort of herbal viagra)
Honesty- 4 (Maybe should be part of “getting along with others”)
Substance Abuse- 5 and M2
Getting along with others- 6, 7, M5, M13, M19, M25
Anger- 9, M21 (Maybe should be part of “getting along with others”, except anger towards the inanimate is mentioned)
Teaching and Learning the Dharma- 10, M1, M6, M8, M15, M18, M23, M24, M30, M41, M42, M45
Who can be a Bodhisattva- M23, M40
Monastic Decorum- M26, M27, M28, M40, M38, M46
Entertainment, Media Consumption- M33
Thinking- M43
Enthusiasm- M34, M35, M36, M44
Camping like a Monk- M37
Participating in building infrastructure, reading sutras for national/communal benefit- M39
Government Relations- M47, M48 (This is 200AD Buddhists trying to come up with a working Sangha-Imperial Court relationship)

So anyhow, I can use this to create a 15 page picture book to read to my toddler. No way can he patiently sit through 58, semi-legal sounding rules!

Another comment worth making is that the long list is Teaching and Learning. And the BNS has some specific advice on what to teach and learn– it’s mostly talking about the Avatamsaka Sutra, which contains a 50+ stage path of liberation which is described nowhere in the BNS– only referenced.

So to follow the BNS, you need next get a copy of the Avatamsaka Sutra.

Also, next I hope to come up with a similar categorization for the UPS.