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Lions Roar : January 2017
D URING A RECENT ZEN RETREAT, someone asked me, “Are there ‘best practices’ for living in alignment with awakening?” I pointed him to the vows and precepts that many Buddhists take. Vows are at the very heart of Buddhist practice. When we take a vow, we express our steadfast com- mitment to the spiritual path, to living ethically, and to the service of all beings. Vows and precepts express ways to live that generations of great teachers have found helpful and have transmitted to us. They allow the dharma to penetrate deep into our hearts, influ- encing the way we meet our lives and the world. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with another way to meet these core Buddhist teachings—not as vows but as values. I have found it useful to ask myself: What am I valuing Best Practices for Bodhisattvas JOSH BARTOK is one of the guiding teachers of Boundless Way Zen, a Buddhist pastoral counselor, and the editorial director of Wisdom Publications. He teaches at the Greater Boston Zen Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. PHOTOBYADAMTEBBE Traditional Buddhist vows can seem pretty hardcore, but they’re really just maps for a good human life. Zen teacher JOSH BARTOK translates them into values we can all relate to. 58