EIGHT MAHAYANA PRECEPTS
from: 'Pearl of Wisdom': Buddhist Prayers and Practices, Book I, ISBN 981-00-0558-X,
created by the Amitabha Buddhist Centre, Singapore. (Slightly edited by webmaster.)
Note that the practice of taking 8 precepts for one day also exists in
the Hinayana tradition. The only real difference lies in the fact that the practitioner
does not generate the Mahayana motivation. (Also fully ordained monks and nuns
cannot take these precepts as they would be lower than their ordination.)
The Eight Mahayana Precepts are taken for twenty-four hours. It is
especially good to take them on full and new moon days and on special Buddhist
days (see the Tibetan Calendar).
of this practice is to be mindful of the Mahayana motivation; to take these precepts
in order to lead all sentient beings to enlightenment.
for even such a short time has tremendous benefits: one accumulates a great amount
of positive potential (merit) in a short time. One will receive pleasant rebirths
and eventually will attain enlightenment. One is protected from harm and the place
where one lives becomes peaceful and prosperous. One's mind is peaceful and calm;
one gains control over one's bad habits; there will be fewer distractions when
meditating. One gets along better with others. One will meet the Buddha's teachings
in the future and can be born as a disciple of Maitreya Buddha.
1. Avoid killing, directly or indirectly.
2. Avoid stealing
and taking things without the permission of their owner.
3. Avoid sexual contact.
4. Avoid lying and deceiving others.
5. Avoid toxicants: alcohol, tobacco
and drugs (except for medicinal purposes).
6. Avoid eating more than one meal
that day. The meal is taken before noon, and once one has stopped eating for thirty
minutes, the meal is considered finished. At other times of the day one can take
light drinks, but not undiluted whole milk or fruit joice with pulp. Avoid eating
black foods: meat, eggs, onions, garlic and radishes.
7. Avoid sitting on
a high, expensive bed or seat with pride. Also avoid sitting on animal skins.
8. Avoid wearing jewellery, perfume, and make-up. Avoid singing, dancing or playing
music with attachment.
For a precept to be broken completely, four conditions
must be present:
1. The motivation is a negative attitude such as attachment,
2. There is an object of the action, e.g. a being that is killed
or an object that is stolen.
3. One does the action. If one tells someone
else to kill, steal or lie, it is also a transgression.
4. The action is completed,
e.g. the being dies before oneself or one thinks, "This is mine."
time one takes the precepts, it is done from a master. Thereafter,one can do the
ceremony before a Buddha image by regarding it as the actual Buddha.
Stand up and make the following prayers:
REFUGE AND BODHICITTA
Guru is Buddha,
Guru is Dharma,
Guru is Sangha also.
Guru is the originator of all [goodness and happiness].
To all Gurus, I go for refuge. (3X)
To accomplish my and others' aims,
I generate bodhicitta. (3X)
PURIFYING THE PLACE
May the ground
of all realms be pure everywhere,
Free from roughness of pebbles and stones
and so forth,
As even as the palm of one's hand
And smooth as the nature
of lapis lazuli.
MULTIPLYING THE OFFERINGS
of humans and gods,
Those physic'ly offered and those visualized
peerless clouds of Samantabhadra,
Pervading entirely all realms of space.
OM NAMO BHAGAVATE, VAJRA-SARA-PRAMARDANE TATHAGATAYA ARHATE SAMYAK-SAMBUDDHAYA,
TADYATHA, OM VAJRE VAJRE, MAHA-VAJRE, MAHA-TEJA-VAJRE, MAHA-VIDYA-VAJRE, MAHA-BODHICITTA-VAJRE,
MAHA-BODHI-MANDO PASAMKRAMANA-VAJRE, SARVA-KARMAVARANA-VISHODANA-VAJRE, SVAHA
THE POWER OF THE TRUTH
By the power of truth of the
Three Precious Gems
And the blessings of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
The power of both the completed collections,
And the pure Dharmadhatu, may
these gifts be such.
Protector of all sentient
Destroyer of maras with eternal love,
You fully see each and
Bhagavan and attendants, please come to this place.
Do three actual prostrations while reciting three times:
OM NAMO MANJUSHIYE, NAMAH SU SHRIYE, NAMA UTTAMA SHRIYE SVAHA!
HOMAGE TO THE BUDDHA
To the Guru and Founder, the
Endowed Transcendant Destroyer, the One Gone Beyond, the Foe Destroyer, The Completely
Perfected, Fully Awakened Being, the Glorious Conqueror,
the Subduer from the
Shakya Clan, I prostrate, go for refuge and make offerings.
Please inspire me.
Respectfully I bow with body, speech
I present clouds of off'rings, actual and imagined.
all non-virtues I did since time began,
and rejoice in the merit of Aryas
Please, remain here until the ending of samsara,
the wheel of Dharma for all the sentient beings.
I dedicate all virtues to
LONG MANDALA OFFERING
OM VAJRA BHUMI
AH HUM Great, powerful golden base.
OM VAJRA REKHE AH HUM Diamond-hard fence.
This iron fence encircles the outer ring.
In the center Mount Meru,
king of all the mountains,
in the East is the continent Purva-Videha,
in the South Jambudvipa,
in the West Apara-Godaniya,
and in the North
In the East, are the islands Deha and Videha,
in the South,
are Chamara and Apara-Chamara,
in the West, are Satha and Uttara-Mantrina,
in the North, are the islands Kurava and Kaurava.
In the East is the
in the south the wish-granting tree,
in the west
the wish-granting cow,
in the north is the unsown harvest.
the precious wheel, precious jewel, precious queen, precious minister, precious
elephant, precious horse, precious general and the great treasure vase.
are the beauty goddess, garland goddess, song goddess, dance goddess, flower goddess,
incense goddess, light goddess and the goddess of perfume.
Here are the sun
and the moon.
Here is the precious parasol, the banner of victory in every
In the center all treasures of both gods and men.
complete collection, I offer this base to You, Great Compassionate One, together
with your deity-entourage.
Please accept with your compassion, these off'rings
made by all suff'ring beings and bestow your loving blessings, on me and my countless
This ground I offer, as Buddha-fields,
resplendent with flowers,
incense and perfume
in the center Mount Meru, four lands, sun and moon,
may all sentient beings enjoy this Pure Land.
IDAM GURU RATNA-MANDALAKAM
TAKING THE ORDINATION
down on your right knee and put your right handpalm on top of your left while
reciting the following two prayers:
[*Note: to be said only when taken with teacher.]
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas dwelling in the ten directions, please pay attention
*[Master, please pay attention to me.]
Just as the Tathagatas
of the past, the Arhants, the complete and perfect Buddhas who, like the wise
horse and the great elephant, have done what was to be done, have performed their
tasks, have laid down the burden, have accomplished their own purpose, have cut
their ties with existence and who possess perfect speech, well-liberated minds
and well-liberated wisdom, have taken fast-day vows for the sake of all sentient
beings, in order to benefit them, in order to liberate them, in order to eliminate
famine, in order to eliminate sickness, in order that the thirty-seven aids to
enlightenment be perfected, and in order that the highest, complete and perfect
enlightenment be truly realized, so do I, called [..SAY YOUR NAME..], from
now until tomorrow sunrise, for the sake of all sentient beings, in order to benefit
them, in order to liberate them, in order to eliminate famine, in order to eliminate
sickness, in order that the thirty-seven aids to enlightenment be perfected and
in order that the highest, complete and perfect enlightenment be truly realized,
take the [Mahayana] fast-day vows." (3X)
(These verses in Tibetan:
Chog chu na shug pay sang gya dang jang chub sem pa tam cha dag la gong su sol
/ (lob pon gong su sol) ji tar ngon gyi de shin sheg pa dra chom yang dag par
dzog pa sang gye ta chang she ta wu / lang po chen po / ja wa ja shing je pa cha
si par kun tu jor wa yong su za pa / yang dag pa ka / leg par nam par drol wa
tug / leg par nam par drol wa she rab chan de dag gi / sem chan tam cha kyi don
gyi chir dang/ pan par ja wa chir dang / drol war ja wa chir dang / mu ge me par
ja wa chir dang / na me par ja wa chir dang / jang chub kyi chog kyi cho nam yong
su dzog par ja wa chir dang / la na me pa yang dag par dzog pa jang chub nge par
tog par ja wa chir so jong yang dag par dze pa de zhin u dag [...SAY YOUR NAME...]
zhe gyi wa kyang / du di na zung te ji si sang nyi ma ma shar gyi bar du /
sem chan tam cha kyi don gyi chir dang / pan par ja wa chir dang / drol war ja
wa chir dang / mu ge me par ja wa chir dang / na me par ja wa chir dang / jang
chub kyi chog kyi cho nam yong su dzog par ja wa chir dang / la na me pa yang
dag par dzog pa jang chub nge par tog par ja wa chir [tek pa chen po] so jong
yang dag par lang war gyio.)
Lama: THAB YIN NO [this is the method]
Student: LEG SO [good]
After the third repetition,
think you have received the ordination in the form of light and that your whole
body is radiant with that light.
You should feel very pleased. Remember the
PRAYER OF THE PRECEPTS
I shall not take life,
I shall not take other's goods,
I shall not do
sexual acts, I shall not lie.
I shall avoid all alcohol, the cause of many
I shall not use great or high seats and beds.
at the wrong time, perfumes, garlands, orna- ments, dance, song and so forth I
Just as Arhants never do actions such as taking life, I too
shall abandon these.
May I quickly gain supreme Bodhi.
May this world,
disturbed by many sorrows, be freed from the ocean of samsara.
Deng na sog cho mi ja zhing / zhan gyi nor yang lang mi ja / trig
pai cho kyang mi cho ching / dzun gyi tsig kyang mi ma wo / kyon ni mang po nyer
ten pai / chang ni yong su pang bar ja / tri tan che to mi ja zhing / de zhin
du ma yin pai za / dri dang treng wa gyan dang ni / gar dang lu sog pang war ja
/ ji tar dra chom tag tu ni / sog cho la sog mi je tar / de zhin sog cho la sog
pang / la med jang chub nyur tob shog / dug ngal mang trug jig ten di sid pai
tse la drol war shog.)
Sit down again.
OF IMMACULATE MORALITY
OM AMOGHA-SHILA-SAMBHARA, BHARA BHARA, . MAHA-SHUDDHA-SATTVA-PADMA-VIBHUSHITE-BHUJA,DHARA
DHARA, SAMANTA, AVALOKITE, HUM PHAT SVAHA (21X)
By keeping moral law
Purely and without pride,
May we attain the ethics-gone-beyond.
Just like the brave Manjushri and [great] Samantabhadra
have realized the [truth of emptiness],
I dedicate these merits in their
[exalted] ways, that I may follow their [profound] example.
of all three times have praised as the best dedication there is,
all roots of virtue collected, to the excellent conduct of all Bodhisattvas.
DEDICATION PRAYER [Optional]
By Shantideva, revised by His Holiness
the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
May all beings everywhere,
sufferings of body and mind,
Obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
of my merits.
May no living creature suffer,
Commit evil or ever fall
May no one be afraid or belittled,
With a mind weighed down by depression.
May the blind see forms,
And the deaf hear sounds.
May those whose
bodies are worn with toil
Be restored on finding repose.
May the naked
The hungry find food.
May the thirsty find water
May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow
May the forlorn find hope,
Constant happiness and prosperity.
May there be timely rains
And bountiful harvests.
May all medicines
And wholesome prayers bear fruit.
May all who are sick
Quickly be freed from their ailments.
Whatever diseases there
are in the world,
May they never occur again.
May the frightened cease
to be afraid
And those bound be freed.
May the powerless find power
And may people think of benefiting each other.
three prostrations to complete the ceremony.
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updated: September 11, 2011