The Three Tenets of the Zen Peacemakers

May 8, 2018

Having taken refuge, we enter the stream of practice. We relinquish ourselves to its shifting currents. We immerse ourselves in the ocean of life.

These metaphors are weak attempts to describe the patience, courage and persistence we will need for carrying out ourdeep intention tto “turn your light inward” as Master Dogen instructs us in his teaching, Fukanzazengi or Universal Recommendation of Zazen. The refuge of the Three Pure Precepts, called among the Zen Peacemakers The Three Tenets, help us nurture the patience, courage and persistence that will sustain us.

They are traditionally offered:
Cease from Evil
Do Good
Do Good for Others

These are offered by the Zen Peacemakers as:
Bearing Witness
Action arising from Not-Knowing
and Bearing Witness

To practice Not-Knowing is to continually relinquish all  ideas of fixed  ideas, labels and identities of ourselves, other beings and other forms. To cease from evil is to continually let go of the tenacious  sense of separate self and knowing  that pervades our human conditioning and allows us to feel untouched by the suffering of others. Our illusion is a self apart from all else. Our bias is toward our own  sense of safety, pleasure and comfort. Relinquishing this preference, allowing  ourselves to identify as all beings , realigns our intentions and actions in service of the well-being of all life.

To practice Bearing Witness to the joys and suffering of the universe is to allow oneself to be touched by happiness and pain of others. In seeing ourself as other and not apart, we live our entanglement with and connection to them. Our well-being is not apart from the well-being of others. It is synonymous with it.

To practice taking action arising from the practices of Not-Knowing and Bearing Witness is to act from a deep intention to hold the broadest possible mind of being and the most inclusive and undefinable identity. It is to commit to a continual effort to act to benefit all.