Thursday, July 2, 1971
“Real Precepts Are Beyond Words”
[Today I would like to] … lecture about precepts. I—when I say “precepts,” the first thing you will think of is something like Ten Commandment or ten grave prohibitory precepts. But Zen precepts is not like that. The Zen precepts is—to study Zen precepts means to understand zazen. So it is—another interpretation of zazen is precepts. Using words—word “precepts” we explain what is Zen actually.
The purpose of receiving precepts, observing precepts, is not just to remember what we should do or what we shouldn’t do. And how we observe precepts is to practice Zen or to extend our practice to our everyday life. So the idea of precepts is completely different from the usual understanding of precepts.
The precepts, you know, which is—or foundation of precepts or—true meaning of precept—precepts is various way of understanding of one reality, one reality which is always with you—reality, which cannot—which is not individable in three, or in sixteen, or in ten. Tentatively we divide—we explain it from various angle, but that is just words. Real, you know, precept is beyond word. We cannot—if we talk about it, it is not real precepts already. So if you think precept is just to observe some various rules is precepts, it is very different or very far away from the true understanding of the true prac- [incomplete word: "practice"?]—precepts.