Preparing to take the Precepts
1. Introduction to Buddhism and Meditation
Those interested in taking the Buddhist precepts are required to attend a Muddy Water Zen Introduction to Buddhism and Introduction to Meditation class. Normally we offer these classes separately, but from time to time they may be combined. Check our upcoming events page to find a scheduled introduction class.
2.Three thousand prostrations
Participants are advised to perform three thousand prostrations: one thousand to one thousand Buddhas in the past; one thousand to one thousand Buddhas in the present; and one thousand to one thousand Buddhas in the future. There are two main reasons for doing the prostrations: the first is to surrender yourself completely to your path and remove the defilements of the three poisons (anger, greed, and delusion) so that you can make the transition from samsara to nirvana. The other is to honor all the Buddhas in the three periods of time so they can attest to the sincerity of you heart.
All participants should finish the prostrations by the weekend prior to the precept-taking ceremony. Since the body needs time to acclimate to this physical demand you should begin prostrations as soon as possible. If you are unable to do prostrations for physical/health reasons you can do bows instead.
3. Chanting the Three Refuges
Those taking the Precepts are asked to recite the Three Refuges out loud 33 times each day until the day of the precept-taking ceremony. Saying or chanting the Refuges regularly with devotion helps to maintain calm and clarity in our everyday lives.
4. Regular Attendance/Participation in the Sangha
Those interested in becoming Buddhists should have regularly participated in temple events. The Sangha (community) is one of the Three Refuges, and life in the Sangha cannot be experienced in isolation.
Renewing the Precepts
The precepts are not commandments. They are voluntary commitments. You are not expected, upon taking the precepts, to lead a perfect life. In the light of one’s own karma (the effects of past wrongful deeds) you are bound to repeat mistakes in spite of your best intentions and commitment. Because of this, it is useful to renew the precepts on a regular basis as a reminder that our work is to simply keep going, stumbles and all.
Fees and Offerings
The fee for the Precept Ceremony is $108. Please submit $50 with your registration form. The balance is payable on the day of the ceremony. The fee for renewing precepts is $75.
On the day of the ceremony is customary to bring offerings to the altar such as candles, incense, flowers, fresh fruits, cakes, nuts, or any such gift one might with to make.