by Laura Otto-Salaj, Senior Dharma Teacher
I gave a talk at the Zen Center recently on the Brahmajala Sutra and the Ten Precepts. Included in the talk was another way of looking at the 10 Precepts, by the Zen Peacemakers Order, self-described as a group of “socially engaged Buddhists.” These ways of reframing the Precepts are strengths-based and take a wide view, focusing on ways we can enhance our practice and accept this moment as complete, rather than only focusing on our faults. Members of the sangha attending the talk found them useful, so here they are.
First Precept: I vow to abstain from taking life.
Reframe: Recognizing that I am not separate from all that is.
Second Precept: I vow to abstain from taking things not given.
Reframe: Being satisfied with what I have.
Third Precept: I vow to abstain from misconduct done in lust.
Reframe: Meeting the diversity of life with respect and dignity.
Fourth Precept: I vow to abstain from lying.
Reframe: Listening and speaking from the heart, cutting off attachments
Fifth Precept: I vow to abstain from intoxicants, taken to induce heedlessness.
Reframe: Cultivating a mind that sees clearly.
Sixth Precept: I vow not to talk about the faults of others.
Reframe: Bearing witness to the offering of each moment; also Unconditionally accepting what each moment has to offer.
Seventh Precept: I vow not to praise myself and put down others.
Reframe:Speaking what I perceive to be the truth, without guilt or blame.
Eighth Precept: I vow not to be covetous and to be generous.
Reframe: Using all the ingredients of my life.
Ninth Precept: I vow not to give way to anger and to be harmonious.
Reframe: Bearing witness to emotions that arise.
Tenth Precept: I vow not to slander the three jewels (Buddha, dharma, sangha).
Reframe: Honoring my life as an instrument of peacemaking, and using the resources at hand.