Bringing the Precepts to Life (class), CC 2/2 – 3/16

With Kanzan David Zimmerman
in the City Center dining room

February 2 – March 16, 2017      
Seven Thursdays, 7:30 – 9 pm

Observation of precepts and the practice of zazen is the same thing—not different, [just] as our everyday life practice and our zazen practice is one.     —Suzuki Roshi

The 16 Bodhisattva Precepts are specific, ethical guidelines meant to support the everyday actualization of the wisdom and compassion born of our meditation practice. In essence, they are an expression of our inmost nature and define how an enlightened being functions in the world, relates to others and makes decisions. As the embodiment of the awakened mind, the precepts serve to transform our lives and our relationship to suffering by informing and enlivening our daily intentions, words and actions.

Through reading, discussion and journaling, we will become intimately familiar with the precepts with the aim of making a committed and ongoing engagement with them. Rather than a theoretical study, the class emphasis will be on our direct, personal experience of practicing with the bodhisattva vows and how it is we are bringing them to life for the benefit of all beings.

This class is for those new to Zen practice, for those who are preparing for lay ordination, and for anyone who’s already taken the precepts and wishes to re-enliven their relationship to their vows.

Texts for the class:

  • Reb Anderson, Being Upright: Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts, Berkeley, CA, Rodmell Press, 2001.
  • Diane Rizzetto, Waking Up to What You Do: A Zen Practice for Meeting Every Situation with Intelligence and Compassion, Boston, MA, Shambhala, 2005.

Optional text. Robert Aitken, The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics, San Francisco, North Point Press, 1984.

Fee: $140; $126, current SFZC members; $84, limited income. Some partial scholarships available.

To Register: Use the Register Online button above. Or call our toll-free number (888.743.9362) or our local number (415.475.9362).

Please sign up early, in order to best support the program. Inquiries, comments and feedback may be directed to

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