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There is a common misconception that to practice Zen is to practice meditation and nothing else. In truth, traditionally, the practice of meditation goes hand-in-hand with moral conduct. In Invoking Reality, John Daido Loori, one of the leading Zen teachers in America today, presents and explains the ethical precepts of Zen as essential aspects of Zen training and development.
The Buddhist teachings on morality—the precepts—predate Zen, going all the way back to the Buddha himself. They describe, in essence, how a buddha, or awakened person, lives his or her life in the world.
Loori provides a modern interpretation of the precepts and discusses the ethical significance of these vows as guidelines for living. “Zen is a practice that takes place within the world,” he says, “based on moral and ethical teachings that have been handed down from generation to generation.” In his view, the Buddhist precepts form one of the most vital areas of spiritual practice.