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6. I resolve not to speak of the faults of others, but to be understanding and sympathetic.
7. I resolve not to praise myself and disparage others, but to overcome my own shortcomings.
The fourth teaching of Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede’s Tricycle Retreat, The Precepts as Practice, narrows our focus from analyzing all the Precepts, as we have done with Roshi Kjolhede’s guidance so far, to looking in depth at just two: Precepts 6 and 7, given above in the form used in Roshi Kjolhede’s sangha at the Rochester Zen Center. (Note: This is most likely not the etymology of the phrase, “at sixes and sevens”!)
Why these two Precepts instead of precepts about killing or stealing? Roshi Kjolhede points out that these are the two precepts that seem to trip people up on an everyday basis. It’s so easy to criticize others, and justify our own actions. But this is not really the way we ought to walk the path. We have an unfrotunate habit of spotting our own faults in others, but to make progress on the path, we need to devote some effort to stopping this or we won’t get far.
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