Pure Precepts

A jukai ceremony, such as we had on Saturday afternoon at City Center, with five people receiving the precepts, usually also counts as a family affair. The ordinands are taking a big step in their practice, and are supported in this ceremony by their friends, family and community. There are a few stages in the ceremony where, instead of just having the ordinands chanting (there was a notable level of enthusiasm when they did, which does not always happen), everyone in the Buddha Hall joins in, and the harmony lifts everybody.

Linda Ruth got me into the practice of reciting the three-fold refuges while doing prostrations during morning service, which also has the practical value, when you are ringing the bells, of helping you keep count up to nine. For the three prostrations at the end, I recited to myself the pure precepts, drawn from the Dhammapada. There are many different translations used at Zen Center; this version is the one we recite during the full moon ceremony where we all renew our vows:

I vow to refrain from all evil;
I vow to make every effort to live in enlightenment;
I vow to live and be lived for the benefit of all beings.

Right now I am not doing prostrations as regularly as before, and I miss them as much as I miss zazen when I am not doing it. Nevertheless I try to keep these in mind as I go about my life.

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