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Thread: The Minor Precepts

  1. #1

    The Minor Precepts

    Hello friends,

    I'm just a tich curious: in Japanese Soto, we have:

    Three Refuges,
    Three Pure Precepts,
    Ten Grave Precepts.

    So these are our Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts.

    In Caodong (Chinese Soto), there are also 48 minor precepts. Does anyone know if we still use these, or if not, when/how they fell into disuse?

    Metta,

    Perry

  2. #2

    Re: The Minor Precepts

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicSpud
    Hello friends,

    I'm just a tich curious: in Japanese Soto, we have:

    Three Refuges,
    Three Pure Precepts,
    Ten Grave Precepts.

    So these are our Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts.

    In Caodong (Chinese Soto), there are also 48 minor precepts. Does anyone know if we still use these, or if not, when/how they fell into disuse?

    Metta,

    Perry
    Hi Perry,

    Rather a complex subject, but in a nutshell ...

    The 10 'Major' Bodhisattva Precepts (the 10 core Precepts we are undertaking in our Jukai here), and the 48 'Minor' Precepts are said to derive from the Brahmajala (Bonmokyo, or "Brahma Net") Sutra ... a Mahayana work now known to have been written in China as late as the 6th Century. Gradually, the "Bodhisattva Precepts" came to be felt by some to transcend/embody/fully hold and express the traditional Vinaya ... a view especially held in Japan under the influence of Master Saicho of the Japanese Tendai school. Master Dogen took this a step further, saying that the 10 'Major' Precepts transcend/embody/fully hold and express the 48 'Minor' Precepts.

    Shohaku Okumura discusses it a bit in a short article here ...

    http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/pdf/dha ... e13_01.htm

    Here is a scholar's paper on the topic ...

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr= ... ts&f=false

    And here, in the Sutra, is one list of the 48 'Minor' Precepts. My own view is that a few of the 'Minor' Precepts are quite anachronistic (e.g., not to eat the "5 Pungent Herbs of garlic, chives, leeks, onions, and asafoetida ... which seems somewhat silly unless we live in crowded quarters) ... while the others do fit quite comfortably within, and are encompassed by, the 10 'Majors', so are alive through the 10.

    Here is the Sutra in full, which is perhaps the best list ...

    http://www.zhaxizhuoma.net/DHARMA/Tripi ... amaNet.htm

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3

    Re: The Minor Precepts

    Hi!
    Thank you for the question Perry! And thank you for answering Jundo, very interesting, particularly. Steven Heine's article!

    gassho

  4. #4
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: The Minor Precepts

    My own view is that a few of the 'Minor' Precepts are quite anachronistic (e.g., not to eat the "5 Pungent Herbs of garlic, chives, leeks, onions, and asafoetida ... unless in crowded quarters)
    Umm, not to eat unless in crowded quarters???? :shock:
    Shouldn't that be the other way around? Not to eat them in crowded quarters??? :?
    Talk about anachronistic! Maybe a translator or got this one wrong :wink:

  5. #5

    Re: The Minor Precepts

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    My own view is that a few of the 'Minor' Precepts are quite anachronistic (e.g., not to eat the "5 Pungent Herbs of garlic, chives, leeks, onions, and asafoetida ... unless in crowded quarters)
    Umm, not to eat unless in crowded quarters???? :shock:
    Shouldn't that be the other way around? Not to eat them in crowded quarters??? :?
    Talk about anachronistic! Maybe a translator or got this one wrong :wink:
    No, that's me who got the grammar twisted.

    Changed it too ...

    And here, in the Sutra, is one list of the 48 'Minor' Precepts. My own view is that a few of the 'Minor' Precepts are quite anachronistic (e.g., not to eat the "5 Pungent Herbs of garlic, chives, leeks, onions, and asafoetida ... which seems somewhat silly unless we live in crowded quarters) ...

  6. #6
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: The Minor Precepts

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    My own view is that a few of the 'Minor' Precepts are quite anachronistic (e.g., not to eat the "5 Pungent Herbs of garlic, chives, leeks, onions, and asafoetida ... unless in crowded quarters)
    Umm, not to eat unless in crowded quarters???? :shock:
    Shouldn't that be the other way around? Not to eat them in crowded quarters??? :?
    Talk about anachronistic! Maybe a translator or got this one wrong :wink:
    No, that's me who got the grammar twisted.

    Changed it too ...

    And here, in the Sutra, is one list of the 48 'Minor' Precepts. My own view is that a few of the 'Minor' Precepts are quite anachronistic (e.g., not to eat the "5 Pungent Herbs of garlic, chives, leeks, onions, and asafoetida ... which seems somewhat silly unless we live in crowded quarters) ...
    Whew, literally, what a relief, lol
    I was afraid there was some lesson about letting go of aversion in that

  7. #7
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: The Minor Precepts

    Heh, I took it a whole different way, the only eating pungent foods in crowded quarters. My boyfriend and I have a compromise worked out -- if one of us eats a pungent food, kissing is only fair game if the other has eaten it as well; it's a sort of levelling of the playing field :mrgreen: Seems silly to apply it here, but I really did picture crowded quarters with no one really noticing pungent foods because they've all eaten it.

    I never get tired of examining the ways in which people interpret things from different angles.

    gassho
    Julia

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