Some folks were curious about what the Jukai Ceremony that I took place in this weekend meant. It is a formal ceremony in which Boundless Way students share their commitment to the precepts in community. “Taking the precepts” (jukai) with a teacher who has received Dharma transmission from his or her teacher is a way to publicly acknowledge commitment to this way that is beyond words and forms. We vow together to embrace the actual circumstances of our lives, and to enter fully into whatever we encounter.
The precepts were originally designed as guidelines for living a life that supports and deepens practice in everyday life. They can also function as an endless source of contemplation and help us to continually awaken to the universal nature of reality that we call Buddha Nature.
Underlined are the formal vows. Beneath each vow is my own response that I wrote for the ceremony.
I take refuge in the Three Treasures
I take refuge - not as protection or shelter, but to commit myself to this path without reservation; to rely upon my faith, as a person would a raft. These truths sustain me as I encounter the currents of Samsara.
Taking Refuge in the Buddha
“I take refuge in the realization that everyone is a Buddha. Each of us is capable of experiencing full awakening just as we are. We are each perfect though this nature is hidden from us by the veil of our own illusions.”
Taking Refuge in the Dharma
“I take refuge in the truth of Buddha’s realizations. I will practice the path of the dharma without preference, recognizing the impermanent and interdependent nature of all life that is manifest in each moment. I strive to embody these teachings daily and serve as a vessel for the dharma legacy.”
Taking Refuge in the Sangha
“I take refuge in the unity of all living beings, those who share the path of dharma and those who do not. I seek to nurture harmony in my own life and in those lives I encounter. I rely upon my spiritual community, my dharma family - coming together to practice with dedication.”
First Pure Precept: Not Creating Evil
“I will refrain from causing suffering by not acting out of greed, anger and ignorance”
Second Pure Precept: Practicing Good
“I will affirm life and manifest truth through the discernment and practice of skillful action”
Third Pure Precept: Actualizing Good for Others
“Recognizing the unity of existence, I will endeavor for the welfare of all beings. May my compassion for others guide my actions.”
First Grave Precept: Not Killing
“I vow to affirm life with my thoughts and actions. I will embrace a reverence for all things, even as I must consume life to sustain my own.”
Second Grave Precept: Not Stealing
“To possess something is to believe it is permanent and solid. To obtain something is to see oneself as separate from it. Realizing the impermanent nature of the universe, I will strive to not grasp thoughts or forms, letting each moment serve as an opportunity to let go.”
Third Grave Precept: Not Misusing Sex
“Sexuality, like the Buddha nature in all things is the essence of self-realization. As an act of love and trust, it embodies the unity of existence. In the effort to cultivate compassion, I will not use sexuality to manipulate or harm others.”
Fourth Grave Precept: Not Lying
“I commit to manifest truth in my speech. I will refrain from speaking falsehoods by remaining aware of my interactions. May my efforts to speak without self-serving intent, allow me to practice ethical speech and foster honesty with others.”
Fifth Grave Precept: Not Giving or Taking Intoxicants
“Embracing the truth in every moment, I will refrain from intoxicating attachments - substances, actions or thoughts that delude the mind and cloud full awareness.”
Sixth Grave Precept: Not Discussing the Faults of Others
“I will refrain from speaking of other’s faults, vowing to communicate in a way that is beneficial, truthful, aware, and deliberate. I will seek to see the Buddha nature of all beings”
Seventh Grave Precept: Not Elevating Oneself While Blaming Others
“Addressing my own insecurities, I will take responsibility for my thoughts and actions and seek the truth without blame.
Eighth Grave Precept: Not Sparing the Dharma Assets
“The dharma is both abundant and formless. I will deny the illusion of separateness and give generously of myself.”
Ninth Grave Precept: Not Indulging in Anger
“To escape the cycle of suffering, I will seek to actualize harmony in myself and others. Seeing anger for what it is, discord brought about by expectation, I will practice embracing the present moment without desire.”
Tenth Grave Precept: Not Defaming the Three Treasures
“I vow to keep the Three treasures – the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha clear in my mind and present in my life daily. My practice will be to recognize that no action is ordinary, but each moment contains the opportunity to manifest the Buddha way and serve all living beings.”