A Personal “Translation” of the 16 Bodhisattva Precepts

In working with the Precepts, I have found it useful to “translate” them for myself, using words that capture, for me, the flavor of how each Precept manifests in my life.  I imagine that every person will have their own translation of each Precept, depending on their karma.  Contemplate them and see for yourself!  The official translations used at Bright Way are in bold italics; my interpretations follow, in plain text. 

Do Not Kill – Cultivate and Encourage Life
Do Not See Anything as Separate from Yourself – See and Honor Every Being and Thing as a Manifestation of Buddha Nature

Do Not Steal – Honor the Gift Not Yet Given
Do Not Place Self-Interest before Consideration for Others – Trust That You Have All You Truly Need

Do Not Misuse Sexuality – Remain Faithful in Relationships
Do Not Use the Power of Sexual Attraction Merely For Pleasure, Or For Building and Maintaining Your Sense of Self – Negotiate the Intricacies of Human Intimacy with Care, Respect and Honor

Do Not Speak Dishonestly – Communicate Truthfully
Do Not Hide Your Mistakes or Your True Nature with Coarse Or Subtle Lies – Speak From Your True Heart

Do Not Become Intoxicated – Polish Clarity, Dispel Delusion
Do Not Take Refuge in Distractions – Cultivate the Clarity and Energy Required For Practice

Do Not Dwell On Past Mistakes – Create Wisdom from Ignorance
Do Not Dwell Unnecessarily On the Past or Future – Have Faith in Your Ability, and the Ability of Others, To Grow and Change

Do Not Praise Self or Blame Others – Maintain Modesty, Extol Virtue
Do Not Compare Yourself To Others – Honor Each Person’s Unique Process and Manifestation

Do Not Be Mean With Dharma or Wealth – Share Understanding, Give Freely Of Self
Do Not Worry About Lacking Anything – Take Every Opportunity to Be Generous

Do Not Indulge Anger – Cultivate Equanimity
Do Not Justify Self-defensiveness or Territoriality – Do What Needs To Be Done With an Attitude of Acceptance and Compassion

Do Not Defame the Three Treasures – Respect the Buddha, Unfold the Dharma, Nourish the Sangha
Do Not Give Energy to Skepticism or Cynicism – Cultivate Faith In, and Reverence For, That Which Is Greater