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Precept Practice Study Class

An 8-week exploration via Zoom
June 13 to August 8, 2023


Training in Zen is intended to support a practitioner’s capacity to actualize wisdom and compassion. The fundamental practices are meditation, text study, and the Bodhisattva Precepts. The Precepts are considered to be the air, food and water of Zen practice. After we have been practicing for a while and want to commit more to Buddhism as a way of life, we study the 16 Bodhisattva Precepts. These are the Buddhist vows undertaking not to kill, steal, lie and so on, essentially acknowledging the unity and sacredness of all life.   To have a regular meditation practice, and to do our best to practice the Precepts in everyday life, helps us to stop creating suffering for ourselves and others by being willing to change ourselves. Over time, Precepts practice leads us to find authentic compassion and wisdom, and to live in harmony with our True Nature.
To do this is to live the Buddhist life.

Each class presents teachings and inspiration in an interactive format.  Together we will explore the meaning and relevance of each Precept in daily living and share with each other our insights, intentions, and receive support for our engagement with a more aware and ethical way of life.  There are many versions/translations of the Bodhisattva Precepts.  This group uses the version below from Zen teacher Norman Fischer and the Everyday Zen community, as listed below.


Whether you are curious about the Bodhisattva Precepts, formally studying the Precepts towards lay ordination (Jukai*) at a future date, or are someone who has already taken the Precepts and would like to deepen their commitment, you are welcome to join us.  This group is for those who have a committed and ongoing involvement with Buddhist practice, teachings, and way of life for at least one year.  

This 90-minute interactive class meets weekly in an on-line/Zoom format.  We begin with a 20-minute meditation, read a text or essay, actively engage with one another, and end with a brief ritual.  Participants are urged to commit fully to attending all meetings whenever possible. This is not a drop-in group per se.

Host/facilitator: Jennifer Block
Administrator/registrar: Dennis Sarni


When: Tuesdays, 7 to 8:30pm; June 13 to August 8 (no class on July 4th)

By Zoom Using THIS LINK:

Fee: $80.00; scholarships available upon request to registrar

Enrollment: Send an email to

The 16 Bodhisattva Precepts

*There are many versions/translations of the Bodhisattva Precepts. This group uses the version
below from Zen teacher Norman Fischer and the Everyday Zen community.

I take refuge in Buddha, the principal of enlightenment within.
I take refuge in Dharma, the enlightened way of understanding and living.
I take refuge in Sangha, the community of all beings.


Pure Precepts
I vow to avoid all action that creates suffering.
I vow to do all action that creates true happiness.
I vow to act with others always in mind.


Clear Mind Precepts
I vow … Not to kill but to nurture life.
Not to steal but to receive what is offered as a gift.
Not to misuse sexuality but to be caring and faithful in intimate relationships.
Not to lie but to be truthful.
Not to intoxicate with substances or doctrines but to promote clarity and awareness.
Not to speak of others’ faults but to speak out of loving kindness.
Not to praise self at the expense of others but to be modest.
Not to be possessive of anything but to be generous.
Not to harbor anger but to forgive.

Not to do anything to diminish the Triple Treasure but to support and nurture it.


**Jukai is the ceremony in which one formally receives the Bodhisattva Precepts
from a specific Zen teacher and becomes a Buddhist practitioner.

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