Jukai - The Precepts · Jundo Cohen - Treeleaf Zendo · Soto Zen Buddhism · Zen - Study

The Precepts – Jundo Cohen

There are many ways to express the Precepts in English. I so much agree that Zazen and the Precepts are one and whole, with Zazen sustaining the Precepts, the Precepts nurturing Zazen. I do not feel that they are “Commandments,” but they are pointers toward a good, gentle, peaceful, tolerant, non-harming and healthful life toward others and oneself (who are not two, by the way). Here is how we word the Precepts at our Treeleaf Sangha.

We say “seek as you can” because, while some situations are very clear as never right (violence against children comes to mind as an example), others are less so, life can be complicated, and human beings sometimes stumble:

I. To seek as you can, in this body and life, to refrain from the killing of life

II. To seek as you can, in this body and life, to live in generosity and refrain from taking that which is not given

III. To seek as you can, in this body and life, to refrain from misusing sexuality and all desire

IV. To seek as you can, in this body and life, to refrain from false and malicious speech

V. To seek as you can, in this body and life, to refrain from intoxication in its many forms

VI. To seek as you can, in this body and life, to refrain from unconstructively criticizing the errors and faults of others

VII. To seek as you can, in this body and life, to refrain from praising oneself and judging others

VIII. To seek as you can, in this body and life, to refrain from stinginess in bestowing the Buddhist Teachings and all precious things

IX. To seek as you can, in this body and life, to refrain from all anger

X. To seek as you can, in this body and life, to refrain from disparaging the Three Treasures, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha

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