Precepts are rules that the Supreme Buddha gave to his disciples to help them protect their lives and develop their minds. For his lay desciples to always follow, he gave five precepts. For an extra practice, he gave them eight. For his monks and nuns he gave many hundreds to help them realize the Dhamma quickly.
AN 8.39 The five precepts as a gift we give to others
Vv 1.12 Keeping precepts can result in an heavenly rebirth
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