The Buddha's general advice to lay followers
Extracts from the Sutta Pitaka
"Venerable Sir, to what extent is one a lay follower?"
"Jivaka, when one has gone to the Buddha for refuge, has gone to the Dhamma for refuge, and has gone to the Sangha for refuge, then to that extent is one a lay follower."
"And to what extent, venerable sir, is one a virtuous lay follower?"
"Jivaka, when one abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from lying, and from fermented and distilled drinks that lead to heedlessness, then to that extent is one a virtuous lay follower."
"And to what extent, venerable sir, is one a lay follower who practices both for his own benefit and the benefit of others?"
"Jivaka, when a lay follower himself is consummate in conviction and encourages others in the consummation of conviction; … in virtue and encourages others …; … in generosity and encourages others ….; … desires to see the monks and encourages…; … wants to hear the true Dhamma and encourages others…; …habitually remembers the Dhamma he has heard and encourages…; …explores the meaning of the Dhamma he has heard and encourages…; …knowing both the Dhamma and its meaning, practises the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma and encourages others…: then to that extent he is a lay follower who practices both for his own benefit and the benefit of others."
Anguttara Nikaya VIII.26 (Jivaka Sutta)
Source : budsas.org