The Buddhist Monastic Code. Vols. 1 & 2
The Vinaya Pitaka is the code, promulgated by the Buddha, by which the monastics of the Sangha have to live.
It is not necessary for the layperson to follow these rules, however I believe much can be learned from reading this literature.
The Venerable Thanissaro Bhikkhu has made the following document available for free distribution, so I add it here for those who may be either interested in the Monastic life, or who are just interested in learning more about a Monk or Nun’s life.
To quote from Thanissaro’s own site, dhammatalks.org:
This two-volume set attempts to give an organized, detailed account of the Vinaya training rules and the traditions that have grown up around them. The Patimokkha training rules as explained in the Sutta Vibhanga are the topic of the first volume; the rules found in the Khandhakas, the topic of the second. The book as a whole is aimed primarily at those whose lives are affected by the rules—bhikkhus who live by them, and other people who have dealings with the bhikkhus — so that they will be able to find gathered in one location as much essential information as possible on just what the rules do and do not entail. Students of Early Buddhism, Theravadin history, or contemporary Theravadin issues should also find this book interesting, as should anyone who is serious about the practice of the Dhamma and wants to see how the Buddha worked out the ramifications of Dhamma practice in daily life.
The Buddhist Monastic Code Vol 1 & 2
The Complete Vinaya Pitaka
This document contains the complete Vinaya Pitaka available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 licence. The original translation was created by I.B. Horner and the free version was created for SuttaCentral.net. Please feel free to distribute this valuable resource, however it should be distributed freely only, under no circumstances should it be charged for, whether for profit or charity; it is a free gift of Dhamma.
I quote from SuttaCentral’s own page:
The Vinaya Pitaka
May all sentient beings live without fear.