Reciting the 5 Wonderful Precepts

Hopefully by now each of you who received the Five Precepts with Thich Nhat Hanh during his 1989 visit has received your Certificate. If not, please let me know. Following is the formal recitation ceremony. For the text for reciting the Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing, the Three Refuges, and the Two Promises for Children, see the book Interbeing: Commentaries on the Tiep Hien Precepts (from Parallax Press)

--Therese Fitzgerald

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Brothers and Sisters, it is time to recite the Five Wonderful Precepts. Please listen. The Five Precepts are the basis for a happy life. They have the capacity to protect life and make it beautiful and worth living. They are also the door which opens to enlightenment and liberation. Please listen to the precepts one by one and answer, "yes," silently each time you see that you have made an effort to study, practice, and observe it. (Bell)

First: Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Find whatever means possible to protect life. Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. (Pause for 3 breaths.)

This is the first of the Five Precepts. Have you made an effort to study and practice it during the past two weeks? (Bell)

Second: Do not steal. Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others, but prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering and the suffering of other species on earth. (Pause.)

This is the second of the Five Precepts. Have you made an effort to study and practice it during the past two weeks? (Bell)

Third: Sexual expression should not take place without love and commitment. Be fully aware of the sufferings you may cause others as a result of your misconduct. To preserve the happiness of yourself and others, respect the rights and commitments of others. (Pause.)

This is the third of the Five Precepts. Have you made an effort to study and practice it during the past two weeks? (Bell)

Fourth: Do not say untruthful things. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things that you are unsure of. Do not utter words that cause division and hatred, that can create discord and cause the family or the community to break. All efforts should be made to reconcile and resolve all conflicts. (Pause.)

This is the fourth of the Five Precepts. Have you made an effort to study and practice it during the past two weeks? (Bell)

Fifth: Do not use alcohol and any other intoxicants. Be aware that your fine body has been transmitted to you by several previous generations and your parents. Destroying your body with alcohol and other intoxicants is to betray your ancestors, your parents, and also to betray the future generations.  (Pause.)

This is the fifth of the Five Precepts. Have you made an effort to study and practice it during the past two weeks? (Bell)

Brothers and Sisters, we have recited the Five Wonderful Precepts, the foundation of happiness for the individual, the family, and the society. We should recite them regularly so that our study and practice of the precepts can deepen day by day.

Hearing the bell, please bow three times to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, to show your gratitude. (Bell)

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