Bodhisattva Vows & Precepts

At the conclusion of each group meditation session, the Melbourne Zen Group chants the Bodhisattva Vows. The Bodhisattva Vows affirm that our practice is not a selfish practice – it is a practice to benefit the web of life that sustains us all.

Bodhisattva Vows

The many beings are numberless, I vow to save them;
Greed, hatred, and ignorance rise endlessly, I vow to abandon them;
Dharma gates are countless, I vow to wake to them;
The Buddha’s way is unsurpassed, I vow to embody it fully.

The Ten Grave Precepts

The Ten Grave Precepts grow out of the Bodhisattva Vows. We do not consider them to be absolute commandments, but rather ways to prompt our self awareness.

Talk Audio: The Precepts-Everything that lives and breathes, moves together – Susan Murphy Roshi

I take up the way of not killing.
I take up the way of not stealing.
I take up the way of not misusing sex.
I take up the way of not speaking falsely.
I take up the way of not using drink or drugs.
I take up the way of not discussing faults of others.
I take up the way of not praising myself while abusing others.
I take up the way of not sparing the Dharma assets.
I take up the way of not indulging in anger.
I take up the way of not slandering the Three Treasures

Full Moon Precepts Ceremony

Once a month, usually on the Friday closest to the full moon, the Melbourne Zen Group offers a zazenkai (extended group meditation) that incorporates a ritual contemplation of the Precepts.

Read more about zazenkai

Jukai Ceremony

In some Buddhist traditions, monks undergo an initiation ceremony in which they ‘take the precepts’. In Japan, this ceremony is called Jukai. The Melbourne Zen Group is a community of lay practitioners. Our teachers – also lay practitioners – offer a Jukai ceremony in which the individual can outwardly express their commitment to the Buddha way. Preparation for the ceremony involves working with a teacher to formulate personal responses to the precepts, and to choose a Dharma name, as well as sewing a rakusu (bib-like garment that represents the robe of the Buddha). The decision to undertake (or not undertake) the Jukai ceremony is an entirely personal matter that confers no status of any kind within the group.