Waking Up to What You Do

A Zen Practice for Meeting Every Situation with Intelligence and Compassion

By Diane Eshin Rizzetto

Foreword by Charlotte Joko Beck

Waking Up to What You Do by Diane RizzettoThe practice of the Zen precepts can transform our relationship to the world by leading us to a keen awareness of the motivations behind every aspect of our behavior, allowing us to act from the kindness and insight that is our true nature. The precepts are usually thought of as Buddhist moral guidelines—which they indeed are—but they are also far more than that, as Diane shows. They are a form of awareness practice that is not limited to meditation. Anyone can do this practice, and it is rich enough to be worked with for a lifetime.

The precepts are traditionally phrased in short statements such as: “I take up the way of speaking truthfully,” or “I take up the way of using sexual energy wisely.” But Diane encourages us to rephrase them in ways that have personal meaning for us. She advises us to take them on one at a time, beginning with one that has particular personal resonance. The practice then becomes learning to live with the precept until it naturally arises in situations where it applies. We soon learn that the precepts are just about always impossible to fulfill, and that their true function is teach mindfulness—particularly of our actions and our interactions with others.

Diane teaches that the precepts are ultimately a practice about choice, about responsibility, and being awake to the motivation and consequences of our actions. We all must engage in events as they unfold in our lives, but we have a choice to do this with either intelligence or ignorance. The Zen precepts as presented in this book are guidelines to help us tap the intelligence within.

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Book review by Connection Magazine

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