Since the time of the Buddha, many traditions of Buddhism have developed. The aim of each has been to express the essence of the Buddha’s teaching in a manner appropriate to the time and culture. We follow the tradition of Serene Reflection Meditation, which developed in China and Japan as Soto Zen .
Through simply “sitting still” with an open, alert and bright mind, neither suppressing nor indulging the thoughts and feelings that arise, we can learn how to accept ourself and the world as it is. Profound transformation becomes possible once we see things as they really are.
When we realize our deep connection with all beings and begin to cultivate the heart of compassion, we will naturally wish to stop doing harm, do only what is good to do, and thereby help all beings.
The Buddhist Precepts
To refrain from killing: since all beings are one within the Buddha Mind, how could I willingly cut off the life of any creatures?
To refrain from stealing: since it is my true wish to give up all attachments, how could I willingly grasp after anything that is not freely given?
To refrain from abusing sexuality: since physical affection is a deep expression of love, and love is an aspect of the Unborn, how could I willingly debase this sacred love by merely gratifying my desires in a way which uses, harms, betrays, or abuses anyone?
To refrain from speaking untruthfully: since my heart’s desire is to be one with truth, how could I willingly deceive anyone by any means whatsoever?
To refrain from selling the wine of delusion: since clear awareness is the door to enlightenment, how could I willingly hinder the Way for anyone by enticing them into partaking of substances, ideologies, false beliefs or anything whatsoever which befuddles or intoxicates?
To refrain from speaking against others: since it is my wish to live by the compassion within my heart, how could I willingly speak hurtfully or disparagingly about anyone?
To refrain from being proud of myself and belittling others: since the false notion of self is the very thing I seek to abandon, how could I willingly inflate it with pride, much less do so through seeking to denigrate others?
To refrain from holding back in giving, either Dharma or wealth: since generosity is the first sign of enlightened action, how could I practice stinginess in any form whatsoever?
To refrain from indulging anger: since it is my heart’s wish to let the love within it flow forth unboundedly, how could I hold onto or nourish anger and resentments, which may arise, much less act openly upon them to cause harm?
To refrain from defaming the Three Treasures of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha: since these are my true refuge and the very Way, how could I turn from them myself, much less cause doubt about them to arise in others? (from: A perspective on the Eightfold Path of Buddhism by rev. M. Daizui McPhillamy)
The Precepts are the abiding foundation of Serene Reflection Meditation—for both the newest and the most-experienced trainee, the Precepts continue to guide one’s efforts and guard against self-deception.