As compassion arises within, so does a natural desire to put things right. The Precepts are viewed as a code of morality and as an expression of enlightened action. The Buddha’s wisdom is contained within them. They are meant to serve as a guide and are never imposed.
In Soto Zen there are sixteen Precepts. The depth of knowing in meditation is supported by action from the heart of the Precepts, and vise versa.
Long before Buddhism it was understood that acting from a focus of self-concern does not produce true contentment.
The Sixteen Precepts
The Ten Precepts
Refrain from killing.
Refrain from stealing.
Refrain from indulging.
Refrain from saying that which is untrue.
Refrain from selling the wine of delusion, whether drinks, drugs or the emotional appeal of delusive thinking.
Refrain from speaking against others.
Refrain from being proud of yourself and devaluing others.
Refrain from being mean in giving.
Refrain from being angry.
Refrain from debasing the Three Treasures of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha – do not deny the Buddha within yourself or in others.
The Three Pure Precepts
Cease from all harm.
Do only good.
Do good for others.
The Three Refuges
Take refuge in the Buddha (source of the teaching).
Take refuge in the Dharma (Buddha’s teaching).
Take refuge in the Sangha (those who understand and are deeply committed to the Dharma).