In February and March of 2010, Sensei Shinryu Thomson led a special three-part workshop on the Bodhisattva Precepts. In his teaching, Shinryu Sensei stressed that the precepts are not a set of abstract rules but are actually a way to see into our everyday lives in very real terms.
Accordingly, on the final night of the workshop, Sensei asked the participants to take five minutes to compose a personal precept that spoke to the immediate concerns of their lives and practice. After hearing the new precepts read aloud, the group wanted to share these insights with the Sangha.
We present them here, as collected by our archivist David Rinsho Solomon, in the order received:
- Opportunity and privilege come with the duty to serve the common good. This is the precept of commonwealth stewardship and accountability.
- When I'm aware, there is no putting down, no raising up. This is the precept of not being flip.
- With a deep breath, there is no lack of time. This is the precept of not being impatient.
- Like pollen on a sleeve...poised to cling, bound to let go. This is the precept of no ideas.
- What happens when "the appropriate response" is non-acceptance? This is called the precept of "I think i gotta take some action."
- Honoring life as an instrument of ever expanding compassion, i.e., awareness, which brings compassion to others and the self.
- To see clearly...not to create false needs, hand-me-down ideas of how I should live.
- Being completely aware in each moment in my interactions with others. This is my precept for being skillful & "responding appropriately."
- When experiencing grasping, aversion, or indifference, ask, "Am I sure?" This is the precept of non-sticking.
- Leave a positive ripple that spreads and grows and builds throughout time, from generation to generation. This is related to the concept of dependent arising, whereby everything that exists arises from the conditions that gave birth to it.
- Not filling your own head with crap about yourself (being great or foolish). This is the precept of "It's OK."
- Giving joyfully, constantly, and without ego, yet protecting oneself in a loving and open manner. Offering all one's gifts as frequently and effortlessly as possible, without relinquishing personal space, self esteem, self respect, and wisdom. Knowing both good and problematic boundaries. This is the precept of caring for the universe unconditionally.
- Recognizing that all things pass away—this is the precept of not succumbing to fear.
- Drop what is in front of you to see what is in front of you. This is the precept of understanding that your head has been filled with crap (already).