Every month on the Wednesday evening closest to the full moon, the Austin Zen Center community takes part in the ancient Bodhisattva Full Moon Precept Ceremony, which consists of offering light, incense, flowers, as well as our bowing and chanting. No experience is necessary and it is very straightforward to simply follow along with the rest of the congregation!
This ceremony marks a public renewal of our commitment to the ethical practices known as the 16 Bodhisattva Precepts. These guiding principles for our daily conduct in the world are:
- The Three Refuges (refuge in Buddha, the fully awakened and compassionate nature of mind; refuge in Dharma, the flawless truth of interdependence and selflessness; refuge in Sangha, the community of those who practice the Buddhadharma together).
- The Three Collective Pure Precepts (embracing and sustaining standards of conduct, embracing and sustaining good qualities, embracing and sustaining living beings).
- The Ten Major Precepts (not killing life, taking what is not given, misusing sexuality, speaking falsely, clouding the mind, speaking of others’ faults, praising self at the expense of others, being possessive, indulging anger, disparaging the Three Treasures – Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha).
This ceremony is a ritual begun by the Buddha himself, where we renew our commitment to practicing this way of life, in harmony with all beings.