bodhisattva precepts

The basis of Soto Zen practice and community life at Brooklyn Zen Center  is our understanding of the Sixteen Great Bodhisattva Precepts — the Three Refuges, the Three Pure Precepts, and the Ten Essential Precepts. All sangha members are asked to engage in study of the Precepts, and our community endeavors to hold their intentions in our hearts.

Three Refuges

To take refuge in Buddha – the vast stillness, clarity and kindness that is the true nature of all life
To take refuge in Dharma – the teaching of the way of life, day by day, that accords with Buddha
To take refuge in Sangha – the community of all beings that is our refuge and support

Three Pure Precepts

To refrain from action that increases suffering
To perform all action that increases awareness
To live for the benefit of all beings

Ten Essential Precepts

  1. To nourish life and not kill
  2. To honor life’s abundance and not take what is not freely given
  3. To respect every person’s whole being and not misuse sexuality
  4. To speak with care and not lie
  5. To polish clarity and not misuse intoxicants, including alcohol, drugs, food, technology or doctrines
  6. To create wisdom from ignorance and not slander
  7. To value the expression of all life and not praise self at the expense of others
  8. To share freely and not be possessive, especially with the dharma
  9. To dwell in equanimity and not harbor anger or ill will
  10. To respect Buddha, unfold the Dharma and nourish the Sangha