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March 25, 2014

The Five Precepts from Manzanita Village—as Discussed by Shahara Godfrey

On Wednesday evening, March 12, Dr. Shahara Godfrey spoke to us at City Center about precepts described in a way that can offer us wider understanding of the Buddha’s teaching regarding morals and ethics. Using the precepts as written by Caitriona Reed—authorized as a Zen teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh, and cofounder of Manzanita Village—as a vehicle to further explore the precepts, Shahara encouraged us to see them as helpful guidelines to living a nonviolent, peaceful and fully engaged, aware life.

From Shahara’s talk:

The precepts are very dear to me. It’s one of the practices, as a Buddhist practitioner, that I find humbling, grounding and very emotionally rewarding, because it’s a practice that’s all the time.

The Manzanita Village version of the precepts is listed here as a helpful reference to complement the audio recording of Shahara’s dharma talk, “The Five Precepts as a Path of Liberation.”

  • Aware of the violence in the world, and of the power of nonviolent resistance, I stand in the presence of the ancestors, the earth and future generations, and vow to cultivate the compassion that seeks to protect each living being.
  • Aware of the poverty and greed in the world, and of the intrinsic abundance of the earth, I stand in the presence of the ancestors, the earth and future generations, and vow to cultivate the simplicity, gratitude and generosity that have no limits.
  • Aware of the abuse and lovelessness in the world and of the healing that is made possible when we open to love, I stand in the presence of the ancestors, the earth and future generations, and vow to cultivate respect for the beauty and erotic power of our bodies.
  • Aware of the falsehood and deception in the world and of the power of living and speaking the truth, I stand in the presence of the ancestors, the earth and future generations, and vow to cultivate the ability to listen; and clarity and integrity in all I communicate—by my words and actions.
  • Aware of the contamination and desecration of the world, and of my responsibility for life as it manifests through me, I stand in the presence of the ancestors, the earth and future generations, and vow to cultivate discernment and care in what I take into my body and mind.

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Shahara_Godfrey_foliage_x350Trained in the Theravada Buddhist tradition for over 20 years, Dr. Godfrey has also been influenced by spiritual teachers from various cultures and traditions as well as the creative arts. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leadership Program, the Path of Engagement Program and holds a PhD in humanities with a focus on transformative learning and change from the California Institute of Integral Studies. A self-taught mixed-media artist, she has exhibited in the Bay Area, Oregon, Washington, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

 

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