Ritual for Taking the Five Precepts

Ritual for Taking the Five Precepts


This liturgy is not included in the Daily Chant Book, but it may be purchased separately.

At the 1982 Vajradhatu Seminary, the Vidyadhara introduced the taking of the five upasaka (lay person’s) precepts:

To refrain from killing any sentient being
To refrain from taking anything not freely given
To refrain from sexual activity
To refrain from lying
To refrain from drinking alcohol or taking intoxicating drugs

Taking precepts is always optional; it is a matter of one’s personal inspiration. To begin practicing them, one must first receive them formally from an authorized preceptor. In intensive practice situations, such as a datün or Shambhala Seminary, precepts may be taken as a part of the morning chants. Precepts are renewed on a daily basis with the intention of keeping them until dawn of the following day. One may choose to take one, a few, or all of the precepts on a given day.

Here is a translation of Sanskrit words used in the homage and triple refuge:

NAMAS TASMAI BHAGAVATE ‘RHATE SAMYAK-SAMBUDDHAYA: “Homage to the bhagavat, the arhat, the perfectly and completely awakened one.”

BUDDHAM SHARANAM GACCHAMI: “I take refuge in the Buddha.” In Sanskrit, SHARANAM means “refuge” and GACCHAMI means “I go for.”

DHARMAM SHARANAM GACCHAMI: “I take refuge in the dharma.”

SANGHAM SHARANAM GACCHAMI: “I take refuge in the sangha.”

DVITIYAM API: “Again, for a second time, . . .”

TRITIYAM API: “Again, for a third time, . . .”

A translation of the Sanskrit for the five precepts is provided in the liturgy itself.

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