The Tenth Grave Precept

I vow not to disparage the Three Treasures. (Zen Center) Experience the intimacy of things. Do not defile the Three Treasures. (Zen Mountain Monastery) To expound the dharma with this body is foremost. The virtue returns to the ocean of reality. It is unfathomable; we just accept it with respect and gratitude. (Dogen’s commentary) — This precept has never […]

The Language of Ritual

As we approach the full moon, a final commentary from Dogen, this time on the ninth precept, ‘I vow not to harbour ill will’: ‘Not negative, not positive, neither real nor unreal. There is an ocean of illuminated clouds, and an ocean of bright clouds.’ Reading Enkyo O’Hara Roshi’s book,  Most Intimate,  she offered a […]

The Language of Ritual

The moon is waxing again. Dogen’s commentary on the eighth precept, ‘I vow not to be avaricious’: ‘One phrase, one verse, that is the ten thousand things and the one hundred grasses. One dharma, one realisation is all buddhas and ancestors, therefore, from the beginning, there has been no stinginess at all.’

The Language of Ritual

Continuing with Dogen’s commentary phrases for the grave precepts: the fourth precept, ‘I vow to refrain from false speech’. ‘The dharma wheel turns from the beginning. There is neither surplus nor lack. The sweet dew saturates all and harvests the truth.’

The Language of Ritual

The moon is now only half full on this auspicious leap year day, but another phrase from the full moon ceremony, Dogen’s commentary on the sixth grave precept, ‘I vow not to slander’: ‘In the Buddhadharma, go together, appreciate together, realise together and actualise together. Don’t permit fault-finding; don’t permit haphazard talk; do not corrupt […]

The Language of Ritual

This is the time of the full moon, and the Ryaku Fusatsu ceremony performed at Zen Center connects us back to the earliest days of Buddhism, when itinerant monks in India would gather together at the full and new moon to renew their vows. Perhaps the highlight of my whole summer last year at Tassajara was to […]

Soyen Shaku

‘Buddhist ethics is the simplest thing to practice in the world. It has nothing mysterious, nothing superstitious, nothing idolatrous, nothing supernatural. Stop doing anything wrong, which is against the reason of things; do whatever is good, which advances the course of reason in this life; and finally help those who are still behind and weary […]