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Precepts Class – Spring 2018

April 10 @ 7:00 pm - July 10 @ 8:30 pm

The Ethical Precepts are the foundation of Zen life. The precepts are practices that remind us to always come back to our intentions to reduce harm, relieve suffering, and to live lives that encourage others and allow them to flourish.

This program is free and open to anyone who would like to participate, whether you have already studied and received the precepts in jukai, are considering receiving the precepts, or are just curious to learn more. The more diverse our group is, the richer our discussions will be. You can join from anywhere in the world. After the success of our winter online discussion group, we will continue using Zoom as the video platform. Once you register, we will send simple instructions for getting online.

This course will last about three months, with each week alternating between large groups and smaller reflection circles. There will be 7 whole group meetings during the study period.

The first meeting will be on Tuesday April 10, and each whole group meeting will be on April 24, May 8, May 22, June 5, June 19, and July 10. Each weekly whole group meeting will begin at 7:00 pm eastern time, and end by 8:30 pm. 

To help with planning, we ask that you register for this program by filling out this form. Please email Joshin if you need more information.

1. April 10:Three Refuges & Three Pure Precepts/Three Tenets
2. April 24: First & Second Precepts
3. May 8: Third & Fourth Precepts
4. May 22: Fifth and Sixth Precepts
5. June 5: Seventh and Eight Precepts
6. June 19: Ninth and Tenth Precepts
7. July 10: Four Commitments

We practice with the Precepts of a Zen Peacemaker


Inviting all creations into the mandala of my practice and vowing to serve them, I take refuge in:
Buddha, the awakened nature of all beings.
Dharma, the ocean of wisdom and compassion.
Sangha, the community of those living in harmony with all Buddhas and Dharmas.


Taking refuge and entering the stream of Engaged Spirituality, I vow to live a life of:

Not knowing, thereby giving up fixed ideas about myself and the universe.
Bearing witness to the joy and suffering of the world.
Healing myself and others.


Being Mindful of the interdependence of Oneness and Diversity, and wishing to actualize my vows, I engage in the spiritual practices of:

  1. Peacemakers throughout all space and time recognize that they are not separate from all that is.  This is the practice of Non-Killing.  I will not lead a harmful life nor encourage others to do so, and will abstain from killing living beings, thus living in harmony with all life and the environment sustaining it.
  2. Peacemakers throughout all space and time are satisfied with what they have.  This is the practice of Non-Stealing.  I will not take anything not given, and will freely give, ask for, and accept what is needed.
  3. Peacemakers throughout all space and time encounter all creations with respect and dignity.  This is the practice of Chaste Conduct.  I will give and accept love and friendship without using or clinging.
  4. Peacemakers throughout all space and time listen and speak truthfully and compassionately.  This is the practice of Non-Lying.  I will compassionately and constructively speak the truth as I perceive it, purposely deceiving no one.
  5. Peacemakers throughout all space and time cultivate a mind that sees clearly.  This is the practice of Not Being Deluded.  I will embrace all experience directly.
  6. Peacemakers throughout all space and time realize lovingkindness.  This is the practice of Not Talking About Others’ Errors and Faults.  Accepting what each moment offers, I will realize that I am not separate from any aspect of life.
  7. Peacemakers throughout all space and time realize equanimity.  This is the practice of Not Elevating Oneself and Blaming Others.  I will not blame, judge, or criticize others, nor compete with others or covet recognition.  In this way, I practice inclusiveness.
  8. Peacemakers throughout all space and time are generous.  This is the practice of Not Being Stingy.  I will not foster a mind of poverty in myself or others, and will use all the ingredients of my life, giving my best effort and accepting the result.
  9. Peacemakers throughout all space and time transform suffering into wisdom.  This is the practice of Not Being Angry.  I will not harbor resentment, rage, or revenge, and will roll all negative experience into my practice.
  10. Peacemakers throughout all space and time honor their lives as instruments of peacemaking.  This is the practice of Not Thinking Ill of the Three Refuges.  I will recognize that I and all beings are expressions of oneness, diversity, and harmony.Living The Ten Precepts I commit to:
    • A reverence for all life;
    • A sustainable and ethical economy;
    • Equal rights for all;
    • Stewardship of the Earth.

Books recommended

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

The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics (Right Action Essays Zen Buddhist PR #1)

Being Upright: Zen Meditation and Bodhisattva Precepts (Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts)


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