(YMBA.org) Mahayana Buddhists, listen! Whoever can understand and accept a Dharma master's words of transmission can receive the Bodhisattva Precepts and be called foremost in purity. (A bodhisattva is a "being-bent-on-enlightenment" to save others).
The Ten Major Precepts
[A] Buddha said to his disciples, "There are ten major bodhisattva precepts. If one receives the precepts but fails to recite them, one is not a bodhisattva, nor is one a seed of buddhahood. I, too, recite these precepts.
"All bodhisattvas have studied them in the past, will study them in the future, and are studying them now. I have explained the main characteristics of the bodhisattva precepts. You should study and observe them with all your heart." That Buddha continued:
1. First Major Precept: Killing
A disciple of the Buddha must not kill, encourage others to kill, kill by expedient means, praise killing, rejoice at witnessing killing, or kill through incantation or deviant mantras. One must not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of killing, and shall not intentionally kill any living creature.
As a Buddha's disciple, one ought to nurture a mind of compassion and filial piety, always devising expedient means to rescue and protect beings. If instead, one fails to restrain oneself and kills sentient beings without mercy, one commits a "major" offense (parajika).
2. Second Major Precept: Stealing
A disciple of the Buddha must not steal or encourage others to steal, steal by expedient means, steal by means of incantation or deviant mantras. One should not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of stealing. No valuables or possessions may be stolen, even those belonging to ghosts and spirits or thieves and robbers, be they as small as a needle.
As a Buddha's disciple, one ought to have a mind of mercy, compassion, and filial piety -- always helping people earn merit and achieve happiness. If instead, one steals the possessions of others, one commits a major offense.
3. Third Major Precept: Sexual Misconduct
A disciple of the Buddha must not engage in licentious acts or encourage others to do so. [As a monastic] one should not have sexual relations with any human, animal, deva, or spirit -- nor create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of such misconduct. Indeed, one must not engage in improper sexual conduct with anyone.
A Buddha's disciple ought to have a mind of filial piety -- rescuing all sentient beings and instructing them in the Dharma of purity and chastity. If instead, one lacks compassion and encourages others to engage in sexual relations promiscuously, including with animals and even their mothers, daughters, sisters, or other close relatives, one commits a major offense.
4. Fourth Major Precept: Lying and False Speech
A disciple of the Buddha must not use false words and speech, or encourage others to lie or deceive by expedient means. One should not involve oneself in the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of lying, saying [as a witness] that one has seen what one has not seen or vice versa, or lying implicitly through physical or mental means.
A Buddha's disciple ought to maintain Right Speech and Right Views and lead others to maintain them as well. If instead one causes or encourages wrong speech, wrong views, or unwholesome karma in others, one commits a major offense.
5. Fifth Major Precept: Selling Intoxicants
A disciple of the Buddha must not trade in alcoholic beverages or encourage others to do so. One should not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of selling any intoxicants whatsoever, for intoxicants are the causes and conditions of all kinds of offenses.
A Buddha's disciple ought to help all sentient beings achieve clear wisdom. If instead one causes them to have upside-down, topsy-turvy thinking, one commits a major offense.
6. Sixth Major Precept: Broadcasting the Faults of the Assembly
A disciple of the Buddha must not broadcast the misdeeds or infractions of bodhisattva-clerics or bodhisattva-laypersons, or of monks and nuns, nor encourage others to do so. One must not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of discussing the offenses of the assembly.
As a Buddha's disciple whenever hearing unwholesome persons, outsiders, or followers of the Two Vehicles [Mahayana and Theravada] speak of practices contrary to the Dharma or contrary to the precepts within the Buddhist community, one should instruct them with a compassionate mind and lead them to develop wholesome faith in Buddhism.
If instead one discusses the faults and misdeeds that occur within the assembly, one commits a major offense.
7. Seventh Major Precept: Praising Oneself, Disparaging Others
A disciple of the Buddha must not praise oneself or speak ill of others or encourage others to do so. One must not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of praising oneself and disparaging others.
As a disciple of the Buddha one should be willing to stand in for all sentient beings and endure humiliation and slander -- accepting blame and letting sentient beings have the glory. If instead one displays one's own virtues and conceals the good points of others, thus causing them to suffer slander, one commits a major offense.
8. Eighth Major Precept: Stinginess and Abuse
A disciple of the Buddha must not be stingy or encourage others to be stingy. One should not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of stinginess. As a bodhisattva, whenever a destitute person comes for help, one should give that person what is needed. If instead, out of anger or resentment, one denies assistance -- refusing to help with even a penny, a needle, a blade of grass, even a single sentence or verse or phrase of Dharma, but instead scolds and abuses that person -- one commits a major offense.
9. Ninth Major Precept: Anger and Resentment
A disciple of the Buddha shall not harbor anger or encourage others to be angry. One should not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of anger.
As a disciple of the Buddha one ought to be compassionate and filial, helping sentient beings develop the good roots of non-contention. If instead one insults and abuses sentient beings, or even shape-shifting beings [such as devas and spirits], with harsh words, hitting them with fists or feet, or attacking them with knives or clubs -- or harbors grudges even when the victim confesses mistakes and humbly seeks forgiveness in a soft, conciliatory voice -- the disciple commits a major offense.
10. Tenth Major Precept: Slandering the Three Jewels
A Buddha's disciple must not speak ill of the Three Jewels or encourage others to do so. One must not create the causes, conditions, methods or karma of slander. If a disciple hears but a single word of slander against the Buddha from outsiders or unwholesome beings, one experiences a pain similar to that of three hundred spears piercing the heart. How then could one possibly slander the Three Jewels oneself?
If instead a disciple lacks faith and filial piety towards the Three Jewels, and even assists unwholesome persons or those of aberrant views to slander the Three Jewels, one commits a major offense.
Conclusion: The Ten Major Precepts
A disciple of the Buddha should study these Ten Major (parajika) Precepts and not break any of them in even the slightest way -- much less break all of them. Anyone guilty of doing so cannot develop the Enlightenment (Bodhi) Mind in the current life and will lose whatever high position one may have attained, be it that of an emperor, a Wheel-Turning World Ruler, Buddhist monk, Buddhist nun -- as well as whatever level of bodhisattvahood one may have reached, whether the Ten Dwellings, the Ten Practices, the Ten Dedications, the Ten Grounds -- and the fruits of undying Buddha Nature. One will lose all of those levels of attainment and descend into the Three Woeful Realms, unable to hear the words "parents" or "Three Jewels" for aeons.