The Nature of Precepts
“When we commit to the Buddha’s precepts, we commit to a good hearted and intelligent way of life. This way of life is the basis of compassion in ourselves and others founded upon our realization of the interconnected and continuous practice of all beings. This is the mind of a Bodhisattva. A Bodhisattva: someone who recognizes their participation in the whole of life , acts with kindness and consideration for all. This is the self at peace with itself.“ Rev. Daijaku Kinst
“If you try to observe the precepts, that is not true observation of precepts. When you observe the precepts without trying to observe the precepts, that is the true observation of the precepts. Our inmost nature can help us. When we understand the precepts as an expression of our inmost nature, that is the Way as it is. On the other hand we have the opposite nature, so we want to observe our precepts. We feel the necessity of observing the precepts will help us, and when we understand the precepts in this negative or prohibitory sense that is also the blossoming of our true nature.” Shunryu Suzuki, Roshi
“Students of the Way… Just maintain the Buddha’s precepts …do not forget the swiftness of impermanence…as long as your dew-like human life lasts…follow the Buddha’s Way.” Dogen Zenji, Daiosho
VERSES OF REFUGE, PRECEPTS AND ATONEMENT
- I take refuge in Buddha as the perfect teacher
- I take refuge in the Dharma as the perfect teachings
- I take refuge in the Sangha as the perfect life.
Three Pure Precepts
- Refrain from all unskillfulness
- Practice all that is skillful
- Sustain All Beings
Ten Prohibitory Precepts
- I resolve not to kill, but to cherish all life.
- I resolve not to steal, but only to take what is freely given.
- I resolve not to misuse sexuality, but to remain faithful in relationships.
- I resolve not to lie, but to communicate the truth.
- I resolve not to sell or use the wine and drugs of delusion, but to polish clarity.
- I resolve not to dwell on the mistakes of others, but to create wisdom from ignorance.
- I resolve not to praise myself at the expense of others, but to maintain modesty.
- I resolve not to withhold spiritual or material aid, but to share understanding, giving freely of self.
- I resolve not to harbor ill will, but to dwell in equanimity.
- I resolve not to abuse the Three Treasures in respecting the Buddha, unfolding the Dharma, nourishing the Sangha.
Verse of Atonement
All my ancient twisted karma, From beginningless greed, hate and delusion, Born through body, speech and mind, I now fully avow.