A very important part of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas Year 2000 Threefold Ordination was the transmission of the Lay Bodhisattva Precepts. The precept training began on the evening of August 30 with the introduction of the Six Major and Twenty-eight Minor Lay Bodhisattva Precepts.
On the morning of August 31, Dharma Master Heng Lyu began to explain comportment and the precept against killing. Dharma Master Heng Ruey next explained the precept against stealing. Then Dharma Master Heng Gwei explained the precept against sexual misconduct. Dharma Master Heng Rang explained the precept against intoxicants. Following that, Dharma Master Heng Shr introduced the attitude and methods to holding the precepts for respecting the Triple Jewel. Dharma Master Heng Sure explained how to practice compassion and precepts. Lastly, on the morning of September 2, Dharma Master Heng Liang talked about the precept against false speech and recommended that preceptees read the "Essay to Bring Forth the Bodhi Resolve."
Over 240 lay people requested to receive the lay Bodhisattva precepts this year. Besides those from the United States, there were also those from Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, Canada and other places. During the precepts course, simultaneous translations took place in Chinese, English, and Vietnamese. The preceptees also raised many questions during some lively discussions.
In the area of prohibitions against killing, one laywoman asked, "What should we do if there are mice and termites at home?" Dharma Master Heng Lyu answered, "You first post a notice asking them to leave. Next, you use insect repellants to chase them out. Avoid insecticides because you want to avoid the karma of killing."
One layman asked, "How do you avoid harming living beings while mowing the lawn?"
Dharma Master Heng Lyu said, "You would first post a notice to let the small creatures know that it's best to move, then mow the lawn. While you're mowing the lawn, recite the Great Compassion Mantra at the same time."
Another laywoman also asked, "If you add a few drops of wine to the vegetables that you're stir-frying, they will be especially green and flavorful. When it's done, the alcohol has actually burned off. Is this considered a violation of the precept against intoxicants?"
Dharma Master Heng Rang answered, "Why are you still greedy for the flavor of those few drops of alcohol? You shouldn't use alcohol to cook."
One layman's question was: "What do we do with the wine that we store at home once we have received our precepts?" Everyone laughed because the precepts prohibit one from drinking or giving away alcohol, and these wines are also brand name wines. The Dharma Master encouraged him to dump the alcohol.
In the area of minor precepts, a laywoman had some questions about not raising cats and other such animals. "What should I do with the more than a dozen stray cats that I had adopted?"
Dharma Master Heng Lyu gave her the suggestion, "It's better if you give them away."
Questions could have gone on forever, so Dharma Master Heng Shr advised everyone that, "The length of time is not the issue because you still have opportunities to learn. It's most important to see if your resolve is long-term."
Dharma Realm Buddhist Association compiled and printed the Chinese and English bilingual
Handbook for the Lay Bodhisattva Pre cepts especially for this group of preceptees who have made the resolve for Bodhi so that they may repeatedly study and practice according to it.