5 Nov
2019
Posted in: Chanting, Practice, Retreats
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Aware, I Stand and Vow….

At the close of most retreats in the Western Insight tradition, the group recites the Five Lay Precepts, which in English are usually translated as:

  • I undertake the training precept to refrain from killing.
  • I undertake the training precept to refrain from taking that which is not freely given.
  • I undertake the training precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
  • I undertake the training precept to refrain from false speech.
  • I undertake the training precept to refrain from intoxicants that cause heedlessness.

At the retreat I just attended at Spirit Rock, we closed with a more contemporary and expansive version of these precepts (first developed for use at Manzanita Village):

  • Aware of the violence in the world and of the power of non-violent resistance, I stand in the presence of the ancestors, the earth, and future generations and vow to cultivate the compassion that seeks to protect each living being.
  • Aware of the poverty and greed in the world and of the intrinsic abundance of the earth, I stand in the presence of the ancestors, the earth, and future generations and vow to cultivate the simplicity, gratitude, and generosity that have no limits.
  • Aware of the abuse and lovelessness in the world and of the healing that is made possible when we open to love, I stand in the presence of the ancestors, the earth, and future generations and vow to cultivate respect for the beauty and erotic power of our bodies.
  • Aware of the falsehood and deception in the world and of the power of living and speaking the truth, I stand in the presence of the ancestors, the earth, and future generations and vow to cultivate the ability to listen and to speak with clarity and integrity in all I communicate — by my words and by my actions.
  • Aware of the contamination and desecration of the world and of my responsibility for life as it manifests through me, I stand in the presence of the ancestors, the earth, and future generations and vow to cultivate discernment and care in what I take into my body and mind.

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