There are 227 total precepts for monks and 311 for nuns. The added rules for nuns were for the protection of the nuns and for some of the biological differences. Rules or Precepts that appear to place the nuns in a less than equal rank to the monks were probably written in later times by male dominated cultures. The most important Precepts are the Ten Precepts. The 227 and 311 are mostly an elaboration and further clarification of the Ten Precepts. Today fully ordained women nuns share full equal ranking with the monks.
The 227 and 311 Precepts are organized into four incurable offenses which require expulsion from the Order, 13 very serious offenses, and the rest are minor offenses, wrong actions, and minor rules. The four incurable offenses are: intentional sexual intercourse of any kind, murder, theft, and boasting of spiritual attainments which one does not really have. Most of the rules are minor instructions, such as the maximum size of living quarters, the type of robe that is allowed for wearing, etc.
For the complete list of all 227 precepts for bhikkhus (monks) or the 311 precepts for nuns (bhikkhunis) see:
- 4 parajikas (defeats)
- 13 sanghadisesas (rules requiring a meeting)
- 30 nissaggiya pacittiya (confession with forfeiture)
- 92 pacittiya (rules entailing confession)
- 4 patidesaniya (verbally acknowledged violations)
- 2 aniyata (indefinite rules)
- 75 rules of training
- 7 rules for settlement
- 110 specific rules for nuns