Sila: Ethical Conduct II

March 7, 2016

The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts

Bodhisattva is the Sanskrit word for “enlightenment being”; in Mahayana Buddhism a bodhisattva is one seeking buddhahood through the practice of the perfections or paramitas. This practice is done not only for one’s own awakening but for the awakening of all beings. Through ever-deepening insight into his or her own selflessness, a bodhisattva experiences  his or her oneness with all beings. A bodhisattva experiences the suffering of all beings as his or her own, sees the liberation of awakening as one and indivisible. In this sense a bodhisattva is also an”enlightening being” aspiring to live in a way that transmits the liberating intimacy of all being.

The bodhisattva is guided by these vows & practices:

to be one with the Buddha, the awakened nature of all beings
to be one with the Dharma, the ocean of wisdom and compassion
to be one with the Sangha,  the community of those in harmony with all Buddhas
and Dharmas

to Cease from Evil, Not Knowing  & giving up fixed ideas about oneself and the universe
to Do Good, Bearing Witness to the joy and suffering of the world
to Do Good for Others, practicing Action arising through Not Knowing and
Bearing Witness

Recognizing that I am not separate from all that is, I vow not to kill.
Being satisfied with what I have, I vow not to steal.
Encountering all creations with respect and dignity, I vow not to be greedy.
Listening and speaking from the heart, I vow not to lie.
Cultivating a mind that sees clearly, I vow not to be ignorant.
Unconditionally accepting what each moment offers, I vow not to talk of others’
errors and faults.
Speaking what I perceive to be the truth without guilt or blame, I vow not to elevate
myself and put others down.
Using all of the ingredients of my life, I vow not to be stingy.
Honoring my life as an instrument of peacemaking, I vow not to speak ill of the Buddha,
Dharma, or Sangha.