WIthout the precepts, Robert Aitken Roshi once said, Zen practice is no more than a hobby. Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede, who leads our January Tricycle Retreat, teaches—in his Tricycle article and retreat—that we must restore the precepts (sila) to their proper place in Western practice along wisdom (prajna) and meditation (dhyana).
In his Tricycle Retreat, “The Precepts as Practice,” Roshi Kojlhede leads us on a close examination of morality in Zen Buddhism, including the Three Refuges, the Three General Resolutions, and the Ten Cardinal Precepts. The precepts, often thought (mistakenly) to be a Buddhist version of the Ten Commandments, are actually quite different. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with us, not God, but that doesn’t mean we retreat into soft relativism where “anything goes.”
Explore the subtle ins and out of the Buddhist precepts with the roshi of Rochester Zen Center, once known as the Boot Camp of American Zen. At first glance, the precepts may seem to constrain our behavior, but they are ultimately liberating, and the rest of the practice doesn’t hang together without them. Roshi Kjolhede leads the discussion.
See a preview of the Week 1 teaching below, and join the Tricycle Retreat, “The Precepts as Practice,” here.
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters