The Buddhist Precepts are the moral and ethical framework of Buddhism.
The life of the Precepts is the life of Buddha, and if we are serious about Buddhist practice then this necessarily involves committing ourselves to living by the Precepts. This commitment comes from within, and doesn't require any validation or acknowledgement from outside. However, it is extremely helpful if we do publicly commit ourselves by taking lay ordination, as this helps and supports our intention. Whether we do this or not, committing ourselves to the Precepts is something that we renew each day and in every moment.
This talk is particularly recommended for anyone considering taking the Precepts at lay ordination.