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Precept Study Group – Summer 2021

June 4 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Precepts and Lay Ordination (Jukai)

Join our online precepts study group, facilitated by Peggy Reishin Murray and Eisho Sinclair on Zoom. Our weekly classes (7 weeks) will be one hour long, beginning at 4:00pm Eastern time on Friday June 4 ending on Friday July 16. Anyone interested in learning more about the precepts and their relevance in your life and the world today, is welcomed to join. No previous experience with Zen is necessary.

The root of all Buddhist practice is ethical conduct, which is why we study and practice in relationship to the 16 Bodhisattva precepts. Therefore, each year Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community offers practitioners an opportunity to deepen their relationship with the precepts and, if they so choose, make a public statement of their intention to do this practice by formally receiving the precepts in a ceremony called Jukai. In this lay ordination ceremony the precepts are received from a Sensei Joshin Byrnes. At the ceremony, you receive a Dharma name, your simple robe (rakusu), and the lineage paper showing you as part of our Soto Zen lineage family. Receiving the precepts also strengthens and formalizes one’s relationship with the Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community.

Jukai ordination is not required or expected of students taking the precepts class. Most people who take this step find it very helpful once the time is right. Others choose not to take this ritual step, but want to study the precepts. Whether or not to take this step is up to you. It is also valuable to study the precepts without taking jukai. Again, the choice is yours.

All precepts students study the precepts by reading one or more books and examining their own attitudes and life experience with each precept. We also ask that the group of students meet together to explore the precepts in conversation and community.

Recommended books on the precepts

Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up by Norman Fischer

Being Upright: Zen Meditation and Bodhisattva Precepts by Reb Anderson

Waking Up to What You Do: A Zen Practice for Meeting Every Situation with Intelligence and Compassion by Daine Eshin Rizzetto

The Heart of Being: Moral and Ethical Teachings of Zen Budd
hism by John Daido Loori (only second hand or the Kindle version)

Support the Vermont Bookstore by buying the books through this links.
As precept study proceeds, if one seeks to receive the precepts in Jukai, he/she asks Joshin for permission to start sewing a rakusu, the bib-like garment that represents Buddha’s robe. The student sews the rakusu with the support of Petra Zenryū.

This sewing is a meditation practice itself – one takes refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha with each stitch. Once the rakusu is done it is sent to the Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community at least a month (September 2nd) before the Jukai ceremony is scheduled (October 2nd). Prior to the Jukai ceremony the teacher writes your new Buddhist name on the back with his seal and an encouraging Dharma phrase.

If you wish to receive the precepts formally in the Jukai ceremony please speak with Joshin or Zenryū by sending an email to info[at]breadloafmountainzen.org.

The Bodhisattva Precepts

The Sixteen Bodhisattva precepts are a guide for living and points of practice. When we receive the precepts in ordination ceremonies these are the precepts we agree to study and live by. Read more about the precepts here.