Disciplines are important to both the ordained folks and layman Buddhists. You might not know that once you start practicing the Dharma, regardless of Tibetan or True Buddha Tantras, you have immediately come under the watchful eye of the spiritual world. Every action, speech and thought of yours will be watched closely by the spiritual world.
Disciplines are very important. When you aspire to the attainment of Buddhahood, someone will be watching you in order to prevent you from falling. You are aware of what you do, whether right or wrong, for you cannot deceive yourself. Both the practice and disciplines are of equal importance. When you have accomplished your practice, you will naturally behave well, by then the situation will be different. Otherwise, you must be cautious about your actions at all times. Once you make a mistake, you will face the bad consequence immediately, and you will fall. Once fallen, it will be difficult for you to regain a human life in your next rebirth.
You will no doubt accumulate merits from the recitation of sutras or chanting of mantras. However, such merits cannot free you from the cyclic existence. If you don’t understand the notion of emptiness and the true meaning of practice, you will end up accumulating only merits and be reborn as a wealthy man, and fall. The practice is important. Knowing the right objective of the practice is even more so. It is very important to learn the right teachings to avoid practicing the wrong way. If you practice the wrong way, you will fall, and then you will not be able to regain a human life.
I have repeated this many times that most of the people in the world today will find it extremely difficult to be reborn as human beings in their next lives. Instead, they will very likely fall into the animal realm and be reborn as chickens, dogs, worms, snakes, birds etc. If you want to keep a human body, you must abide by the Five Precepts (no stealing, no killing, no lying, no sexual misconduct, no reckless drinking of alcohol). However, how many people can abide by the Five Precepts? So, you see, the world has become what it is today - constantly plagued by the numerous problems including the financial crisis; for most people do not uphold their disciplines. People fought over money out of lust, hatred and ignorance. So, the world is plagued by the numerous problems. Australia is hit by big forest fires because of a long dry spell etc. Such phenomena occurred because mankind fails to cultivate their mind. Instead, they create negative karma all the time. The world has plunged into a big chaos, with terrifying news reported daily in the newspaper; for mankind has failed to cultivate their mind.
Spiritual practice is very important. I hope you would guard your mind and do not let it go awry. You will know it when you have accomplished your mind training. All your worldly possessions will vanish at the blink of an eye including your family, career, money etc. They will vanish in no time. What is more important is the cultivation of our mind. When you have accomplished your mind training, you will have the ability to help the world and the universe, you will then find your life meaningful. Otherwise you are just wasting your time, and you will not know what you will become in your next life. So, please observe the disciplines closely.