The Three Pure Precepts; The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts listed

The Three Refuges

I take refuge in the Buddha
I take refuge in the Dharma
I take refuge in the Sangha

The Three Pure Precepts

Cease from evil
Do only good
Do good for others

The Ten Great Precepts

Do not kill
Do not steal
Do not covet
Do not say that which is not true
Do not sell the wine of delusion
Do not speak against others
Do not be proud of yourself and devalue others
Do not be mean in giving either Dharma or wealth
Do not be angry
Do not defame the Three Treasures

In previous posts I have talked about the Three Refuges and each of the Ten Great Precepts, so finally we come to the Three Pure Precepts. The Ten Great Precepts are an expansion of the Three Pure Precepts, and the Three Pure Precepts are the overarching ethical principles.

Cease from evil is the first step in leading a wise and compassionate life. If anything you are doing, or thinking of doing, will cause harm then you should look carefully and see if you can act in a more skilful manner. But do not confuse the disappointment or upset of others regarding your actions with doing harm. Fulfilling the desires and expectations of others and of society is not always the kindest course of action. To live a life of integrity we sometimes need to find the courage to go against the stream.

Do only good expresses the deepest wish of the heart to be in harmony with the universe by taking care in all that we do and say. Handling objects gently, reducing wastage, driving carefully, are all ways in which we make manifest our wish to do good.

Do good for others is a reminder that a Bodhisattva is one who is on the spiritual path for the benefit of all beings. Our actions affect others. As we become more aware of the interdependence of all things we begin to realise that we are not the separate, independent being that we imagined. We see that liberation lies in letting go of clinging to a separate self with all its desires and aversions. The question what do I want? becomes what is good to do?

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