Ethics from the Heart

These words of wisdom from Lin Jensen talk about the precepts of Buddhism. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, known as Thay by his followers, likes to call these Mindfulness Trainings. In either case, they teach us to practice ethics from the heart.

The Zen attitude about the precepts corresponds quite nicely with Thay’s teachings. In Thay‘s tradition, whether we are in one of the monasteries, practicing in a sangha (sitting group), or practicing alone, the Five Mindfulness Trainings are recited at least once a month. OI1 members recite the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings also.

His point of view is that we make our best effort to study, practice, and observe the mindfulness trainings during each period. The trainings…

represent the Buddhist vision for a global spirituality and ethic. They are a concrete expression of the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of right understanding and true love, leading to healing, transformation, and happiness for ourselves and for the world. To practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings is to cultivate the insight of interbeing, or Right View, which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair. If we live according to the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we are already on the path of a bodhisattva. Knowing we are on that path, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future. [Read More…]

Ethics from the Heart | June 25, 2014

For the Zen Buddhist, an ethical precept is a question to be held up to the light of circumstance, an inquiry rather than an answer. And the nature of this inquiry is not so much the dubious enterprise of trying to figure out the right thing to do as it is an offering of an unaided heart. After all, it’s from this heart of ours that the precepts themselves once arose. At the threshold of choice, the Zen Buddhist trusts this ancient heart above all other authority.[Read More…]

—Lin Jensen, “An Ear to the Ground”

Sterling Silver Buddha

Sterling Silver Buddha
Photo by Jerome Freedman

The precepts as well as the mindfulness trainings guide us towards non-killing, non-stealing, not misusing sexual energy, non-lying, and non-intoxication.

Which of the five mindfulness trainings do you have the most difficulty with? Please share.

Together Under One Roof: Making a Home of the Buddha’s Household

Lin Jensen

In Together Under One Roof, Lin Jensen turns his keen eye and powerful prose explicitly to the teachings of the Buddha, to traditional Zen stories, and to the practices of meditation and compassion–as well as the intricacies of everyday langu… [Read More…]

1 OI  is the Order of Interbeing, founded by Thay in 1966. Members agree to study, practice, and observe the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings and to facilitate sangha building.

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