There have always been two categories of Buddhists:
Those who leave their homes to become priests; and
Those who practice Buddhism at home.
These are monks and nuns who left their homes, their native land and
their friends permanently to live in a Buddhist temple or in the mountains spending the rest of their life praying, taking care of temples, cultivating virtue and purifying their minds so as to explain to and help people understand and practice Buddhism. They are not interested in temporal matters. Their family and home are the world, their relatives are the entire mankind.
They devote themselves to their religion in order to become a Buddha and be freed from the law of metemphsychosis.
THOSE WHO PRACTICE BUDDHISM AT HOME
These are all of us. All believers who cannot leave their homes to become priests because they feel they are still bound to their country, their families, and their fellow countrymen that they cannot join priesthood. They are eager, however, to welcome and praise the ideals of
mercy, altruism, and universal concord of Buddhism and the law of cause
and effect (Karma) as preached by Buddha. Therefore, they worship Buddha at home, make vows to take refuge in religion, observe a number of abstinences, read books of prayers to improve themselves and assist monks. In so doing, they can gradually reach deliverance.
These persons study Buddhism to improve themselves. They are lay followers.
From the foregoing, we can see that in our faith we belong to the category of those who practice Buddhism at home, and study Buddhism to improve ourselves