"American Precepts have two sides. One is the negative, prohibitory side, and the other is generating our spirit - something good or positive. The positive side is called shuzen bugyo - to do something good - and the negative side is shoaku makusa. Shoaku makusa is to do no evil. There are these two sides. I think we will naturally need some way of life as a group. It may be difficult to set up all at once, but if we try hard, we will find our precepts which include both sides. This is a very important point in practice, for our practice to help others and to help others to help themselves.

"Having our own way of life will encourage people to have a more spiritual and more adequate way of life for themselves. We must study our way not only for ourselves, but for all people. It is something which we must create or establish starting from our own situation as it is, because our rules are actually for ourselves, as human beings. As a Chinese, Hyakujo established monastic rules called Hyakujo Shingi, and as Americans, I feel, we must establish an American shingi. I'm not saying this jokingly. I'm pretty serious, but I don't want to be too serious. If you become too serious you will lose your way. On the other hand, if we're playing games with it, we will lose our way. So little by little, with patience and endurance, we must find our way for ourselves."

  Suzuki Roshi, 1969


Ethical Principles

The sixteen Buddhist precepts are an intimate part of Zen practice, helping to create a supportive, harmonious and safe environment within our sangha for everyone.