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Eighteen Bodhisattva Precepts

2020-05-22

Gandhara Buddha circa 1900 years ago, courtesy of wikimedia commons

More lists, this time precepts (from Wikipedia); most importantly, do not teach emptiness to those whose minds are unprepared.  Confusing; that might mean me, because I don’t think my mind is fully prepared.

Eighteen things NOT to do, still ascribed by Tibetan Buddhists and sworn to by monks:

  1. Praising oneself or belittling others due to attachment to receiving material offerings, praise and respect.
  2. Not giving material aid or (due to miserliness) not teaching the Dharma to those who are suffering and without a protector.
  3. Not listening to others’ apologies or striking others.
  4. Abandoning the Mahayana by saying that Mahayana texts are not the words of Buddha or teaching what appears to be the Dharma but is not.
  5. Taking things belonging to the BuddhaDharma or Sangha.
  6. Abandoning the holy Dharma by saying that texts which teach the three vehicles are not the Buddha’s word.
  7. With anger depriving ordained ones of their robes, beating and imprisoning them or causing them to lose their ordination even if they have impure morality, for example, by saying that being ordained is useless.
  8. Committing any of the five extremely negative actions: (1) killing one’s mother, (2) killing one’s father, (3) killing an arhat, (4) intentionally drawing blood from a Buddha or (5) causing schism in the Sangha community by supporting and spreading sectarian views.
  9. Holding distorted views (which are contrary to the teaching of Buddha, such as denying the existence of the Three Jewels or the law of cause and effect etc.)
  10. Destroying towns, villages, cities or large areas by means such as fire, bombs, pollution or black magic.
  11. Teaching emptiness to those whose minds are unprepared.
  12. Causing those who have entered the Mahayana to turn away from working for the full enlightenment of Buddhahood and encouraging them to work merely for their own liberation from suffering.
  13. Causing others to abandon their Prātimokṣa vows.
  14. Belittling the Śrāvakayāna or Pratyekabuddhayāna (by holding and causing others to hold the view that these vehicles do not abandon attachment and other delusions).
  15. Falsely stating that oneself has realised profound emptiness and that if others meditate as one has, they will realize emptiness and become as great and as highly realized as oneself.
  16. Taking gifts from others who were encouraged to give you things originally intended as offerings to the Three Jewels. Not giving things to the Three Jewels that others have given you to give to them, or accepting property stolen from the Three Jewels.
  17. Causing those engaged in calm-abiding meditation to give it up by giving their belongings to those who are merely reciting texts or making bad disciplinary rules which cause a spiritual community not to be harmonious.
  18. Abandoning either of the two types of bodhicitta (aspiring and engaging).

Here are the Sixteen Soto Zen Precepts, some of which are basic to all Buddhism:

The Three Treasures

  • Taking refuge in the Buddha
  • Taking refuge in the Dharma
  • Taking refuge in the Sangha

The Three Treasures are universally known in Buddhism as the Three Refuges or Three Jewels.

The Three Pure Precepts

  • Do not create Evil
  • Practice Good
  • Actualize Good For Others

These are also known as the Three Root Precepts, and are mentioned in the Brahma Net Sutra as well.

The Ten Grave Precepts

  1. Respect life – Do not kill
  2. Be giving – Do not steal
  3. Honor the body – Do not misuse sexuality
  4. Manifest truth – Do not lie
  5. Proceed clearly – Do not cloud the mind
  6. See the perfection – Do not speak of others’ errors and faults
  7. Realize self and others as one – Do not elevate the self and blame others
  8. Give generously – Do not be withholding
  9. Actualize harmony – Do not be angry
  10. Experience the intimacy of things – Do not defile the Three Treasures

The first four of the ten grave precepts are straightforward and are mentioned in all the lists of prohibitions.  The next six are less clear.  “Do not cloud the mind”– does this mean not taking intoxicating substances?  The others show significant similarities to the previous lists I have posted.  All of this is highly preliminary and requires a lot more thought (on my part– it may be clear to you…)

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