Filed in Mahayana

The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts

Wisdom Collection

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During our 90-day practice period we will be following this traditional set of precepts, which begin by taking refuge in Buddhism’s Three Treasures. As Robert Aitken writes in The Mind of Clover, “Without the precepts as guidelines, Zen Buddhism tends to become a hobby, made to fit the needs of the ego. Selflessness, as taught in the Zen center, conflicts with the indulgence that is encouraged by society. The student is drawn back and forth, from outside to within the Zen center, tending to use the center as a sanctuary from the difficulties experienced in the world…. The true Zen Buddhist center is not a mere sanctuary, but a source from which ethically motivate people move outward to engage in the larger community.” To read more about the precepts and to join your fellow readers and the Tricycle editors in a discussion of the joys and difficulties of following them, visit

The Three Treasures (or Refuges)
1. Being one with the Buddha
2. Being one with the Dharma
3. Being one with the Sangha

The Three Pure Precepts
1. Ceasing from evil
2. Doing good
3. Doing good for others

The Ten Grave Precepts
1. Non-killing
2. Non-stealing
3. Not misusing sex
4. Not telling lies
5. Not deluding the mind
6. Not talking about others errors or faults
7. Not elevating oneself and blaming others
8. Not being stingy
9. Not being angry
10. Not speaking ill of the Three Treasures

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