The Buddhist Precepts
temple bull

The Buddhist precepts are guidleines for everyday life for Buddhists. They originated with Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, in ancient India. In those days there were lots of the Buddhas followers living together in a large commmunity and they needed rules to help sort out some of the issues that arose in the community of Buddhists, and also to help each person live the Buddhist way.

The precepts that were created in ancient India have been passed in varying forms up until today. On this page you can download a PDF file with information about what the precepts are in Zen Buddhism and some background to how they developed. There's also a couple of articles on here about how I did a ceremony to receive the precepts from my own teacher, and about a ceremony I did later on to give the precepts to someone who wanted to receive them.

By the way, even though this page has information about precepts ceremonies, many people who practice Buddhism don't do any formal ceremony to take the precepts. Instead they follow them as best they can in their own way in everyday life. But there are also people who prefer to do a formal ceremony to take the precepts. Anyhow, the purpose of this page is not to get anyone to formally take the precepts and become a "Buddhist". It's just a reference for anyone interested in knowing a bit about the precepts.

Precepts Booklet

This is a PDF file with information about what the precepts are and how they came about. It's also got details of how a precepts ceremony is actually held. It describes what the teacher says and what the person receiving the precepts says.

Turning Buddhist


This is the story of what happened to me when I asked to receive the precepts from my Zen teacher.

What are the precepts?

This is an article about what the precepts are about.

One last thing


Most people who take the precepts try to stick to them as best they can, but there are lots of times when we can't follow them. That's just the way it is.

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