Futatsu and the Ten Grave Precepts

Sounds like a fairy tale title doesn’t it – like Snow White and Seven Dwarfs?  But no, with a Jukai ceremony coming up on the April Retreat at Crosby, here’s a thoughtful piece by Eido on the Ten Grave Precepts.

“I was recently intrigued by a talk that Sensei gave on the Fusatsu Ceremony, in which he quoted Kosho Uchiyama’s book Opening the Hand of Thought. The Fusatsu Ceremony is practiced in most full time monasteries and is a “Day of Reflection” in which practitioners to choose one or more of the ten grave precepts and embody it for that day – then hopefully take it forwards in everyday life.

The term Fusatsu is derived from the Sanksrit word meaning observance. The exact form of the ceremony varies somewhat from one temple to another, but it usually begins with an offering of incense and then starts with chanting the Gatha of Atonement.

Traditionally Zen teachers say this Gatha is not a mere confession of personal flaws. Understanding the interconnection of all things, we take full responsibility for all all that is and declare atonement – at-one-ment – with the truth of suffering, the Four Noble Truths. This is not about feeling shame or guilt, but rather is an open-hearted recognition of our part in everyone’s journey of Samsara.

In taking the Buddhist Precepts, students take refuge in the Three Jewels – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha – in a ceremony known as Jukai.  This is a formal acknowledgement of wanting to lead your life according to the Buddha’s teachings. Jukai is a personal and public commitment to aspire to lead your life in keeping with the sixteen precepts that form the basis of the Soto Zen practice

Below is my own understanding and interpretation of the Ten Grave Precepts:

Affirm life – Do not kill
Cultivate Life. Do not See anything as separate from yourself, honour everything

Be giving – Do not steal
Embrace what you have, trust that you have all you truly need

Honour the body – Do not misuse sexuality
Remain faithful in relationships, respect and honour family & friends

Manifest truth – Do not lie
Do not speak dishonestly, communicate truthfully, do not hide your mistakes, always speak from your true heart

Proceed clearly – Do not cloud the mind
Be clear in your actions, dispel delusion, do not take refuge in distractions

See the perfection – Do not speak of others errors and faults
Realise self and other as one, do not elevate the self and blame others, give generously, do not be withholding

Do Not Be Mean With Dharma/ Sangha  – Share Understanding
Give freely of self, do not worry about lacking anything, share what you have)

Actualize harmony – Do not be angry
Do not indulge in anger, cultivate understanding, do what needs to be done with an attitude of acceptance and compassion

Experience the intimacy of things – Do not defile the Three Treasures
Respect the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, cultivate faith and reverence

For reference Kosho Uchiyama emphasises the practice of the three minds: “Magnanimous mind, nurturing mind and joyful mind”.

Gassho  Eido x