Requesting the Preceptor to Recite the Precepts for the Assembly
I.The assembly(The whole assembly bows three times to the Triple Jewel with utmost sincerity)
Cantor:In order not to delay this Precept recitation ceremony, those who have committed offenses may confess first, and then, after the Uposatha is complete, may repent in accordance with the rules.
“For all the evil karma that I have done in the past,
Arising from beginningless greed, hatred, and delusion,
And created by my body, mouth, and mind,
1)I seek to now repent of and reform before the Buddhas. (bow)
2)I seek to now repent of and reform of all karmic obstacles. (bow)
3)I seek to now repent of and reform the very roots of karmic offenses.” (bow)
Cantor:May the Venerable One be compassionate and recite the Precepts for the assembly.
Preceptor:I agree to recite the Precepts.
II.The assembly recites the Incense Praise
[The Preceptor offers incense and ascends to the seat of honor.]
Homage to our Fundamental Teacher Shakyamuni Buddha. (3 times)
Rare indeed it is to hear the Sutra containing the Three Clusters of Precepts
Through measureless infinite eons.
To read, recite, receive, and uphold it is difficult too;
To cultivate it is rarer still.
Preceptor: All of you Bodhisattvas in the Precept assembly, listen attentively!
We take refuge with Nishyanda Buddha,
As well as with the Vajra Buddhas of the ten directions.
We also bow to the Shastra Master of the past,
The Compassionate One (Maitreya Buddha),
Who in the future will attain Enlightenment.
The Precepts are like great bright lamps,
Able to dispel the long night’s darkness.
The Precepts are like precious mirrors of true jewels,
Illuminating dharmas one and all.
The Precepts are like mani pearls,
Raining down provisions to aid the poor.
For leaving the world and quickly becoming a Buddha,
These dharmas are supreme.
Therefore all Bodhisattvas
Must diligently guard and uphold them.
Our own old age and death draw near and the Buddhadharma faces extinction.All of you Upasakas (Upasikas), in order to attain the Way, you must single-mindedly seek it with diligence and vigor. Why is that?All the Buddhas have attained Equal and Proper Enlightenment by diligently and vigorously seeking it with oneness of mind.
This also pertains to all other wholesome Dharmas. While we are in the prime of our lives, we should exert all our efforts in cultivating goodness. How can we not pursue the Way now and opt to wait until the advent of old age? What joy is there in that course?
All of you Buddhist disciples, listen attentively with your palms joined together. I will now recite the Preface to the Great Precepts of all Buddhas. All those assembled here should listen in silence. Anyone who is aware of having committed offenses should repent and reform. Having repented and reformed, you will know peace and happiness. Failing to repent and reform, your offenses deepen. Those who are free from offenses should remain silent. By your silence I will know that the assembly is pure. Then I can recite the preface of the Bodhisattva Precepts.
All of you Upasakas (Upasikas), listen attentively!
After the Buddha’s Nirvana, during the Dharma-Ending Age, you should respect and honor the Pratimoksa rules, which are the body of the Precepts.
You who uphold the Precepts are as someone in darkness encountering light, as a poor person obtaining jewels, as a sick person recovering from an illness, as a prisoner being set free, as a traveler returning home. You should know that the Precepts are the great teacher of the assembly. Their presence in the world is no different from the presence of the Buddha.
It is hard to master an attitude of consternation; it is hard to sustain an attitude of goodness. Therefore, the Sutra says, “Do not look lightly upon minor offenses, thinking that they will not result in dire consequences. Although drops of water are insignificant, they can gradually fill up a great basin.”
Anoffense committed during a split second can incur disasters and cause you to fall into the relentless hells. Once this human body is lost, it is hard to regain another in thousands upon thousands of eons. The prime of life cannot be arrested; it races by like a galloping horse. Human life is impermanent; it rushes on more swiftly than a mountain torrent. Although we are alive today, what will happen tomorrow remains to be seen.
Each one of you gathered here in this assembly should single-mindedly and diligently seek the Way with vigor. Take utmost care not to be lax, lazy, oversleep, or indulge in fantasies. During the night youshould gather in your thoughts and be mindful of the Triple Jewel. Do not pass your time in vain or exhaust yourself in futile pursuits, for in the future you will deeply regret having done so.
Each one of you in the assembly should with one mind carefully rely on these Precepts and cultivate them according to the Dharma. This is the proper course of study.
Today, (actual date) is the day of the Uposatha during which the Bodhisattva Precepts are recited. All of you in this assembly should single-mindedly listen well. Those who have offenses should confess their faults. Those who are free from offenses should remain silent. By your silence, I will know you are pure, and I will speak the Bodhisattva Precepts. I have finished speaking the Preface to the Bodhisattva Precepts. I now ask all of you Upasakas (Upasikas), are you pure in these matters? (This question is repeated three times)
From your silence, I am given to understand that all of you Upasakas (Upasikas) are pure. That is how this matter is determined.
[Then, the Preceptor recites the entire list of Precepts in a loud voice.]
[As the assembly chants the Transference Verse, the Preceptor descends from his seat.]
III.Cantor:I bow in appreciation to the Preceptor for reciting the Precepts on behalf of the assembly. (Three bows)
IV.The assembly bows to the Triple Jewel and Venerable Master Hua (three times each).