19 December 2013

Coming Attractions: Series on the Bodhisattva Precepts

In 2013, our Sunday morning Dharma talks and discussions will be centered around a text known as the Brahma Net Sutra, translated most recently into English by Martine Batchelor and published as The Path of Compassion (available at Amazon and other fine retailers; check bookfinder.com for used copies). 

This text is of central importance to us for practical reasons.  It directs our attention to the fundamental matter of conducting ourselves as bodhisattvas in the world.  We will use this text to provoke this question from many different perspectives:  how ought one to conduct one's life, to act in the world, in order to fulfill the Buddha-path?

Also, this text is of great historical and doctrinal importance to Tendai Buddhism.  The founder of our school in Japan, Saicho (also known as Dengyo Daishi, as he is referred to in our sutra service), built the training and ordination program that became the Tendai school on the foundation of the Brahma Net Precepts.  One might say that the specific characteristics of Tendai Buddhism, this is among the most distinctive.  The Brahma Net Precepts are big part of what make Tendai Buddhism Tendai Buddhism.

Martine Batchelor's translation of this sutra is valuable to us for a number of reasons.  The introduction is lengthy, and while it is particularly appropriate for beginners, experienced practitioners will also learn from it.  I encourage everyone to find a copy, read it, reflect on it seriously, and join us for a discussion on this remarkable cluster of teachings. 

It is not necessary to "do the homework" to participate in and benefit from the Dharma discussion.  But as with so many Dharma practices, you get out of it what you put into it...

I look forward to cultivating the highest intentions for 2014 with you.

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