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
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.