About the Author

Welcome! I’m Sandy Jabo Gougis. I have been studying Buddhism since 1998, and I currently practice both Zen and Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism. I am a Priest in the Five Mountain Zen Order and an Apprentice Teacher at Tara Mandala.

Zen: I’m honored to be the Guiding Teacher for Single Flower Zen in Claremont, CA and for Ocean Eyes Zen Center in Huntington Beach, CA. I took the initial Five Precepts in 2003, became fully ordained in 2013, and received Inka (independent teaching authority) in 2016.

Ordination and Precepts

Tibetan: I took refuge with Lama Tsultrim Allione at Tara Mandala in Pagosa Springs, CO, USA in 2009. In 2015, she asked me to begin training to teach her in lineage.

Lama and Jabo

I have also done graduate work in Buddhist Studies at the University of Sunderland.

This blog contains my thoughts on Buddhism and meditation and how they interpenetrate my everyday life.

A Code to Live by

“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body…”

– Walt Whitman, preface to Leaves of Grass, 1855

The Bodhisattva Monks’ Precepts

Here are the Precepts I’ve taken in the Five Mountain Zen Order:

  1. I vow to support all living creatures, and refrain from killing.
  2. I vow to respect the property of others, and refrain from stealing.
  3. I vow to regard all beings with respect and dignity, and refrain from objectifying others.
  4. I vow to be truthful, and refrain from lying.
  5. I vow to maintain a clear mind and refrain from harming myself or others with intoxication.
  6. I vow to be kind and to encourage others, and to refrain from discouraging others including myself.
  7. I vow to be kind to others and refrain from being boastful and self-centered.
  8. I vow to be generous, to be grateful for what I have, and refrain from yearning for things that do not belong to me.
  9. I vow to promote harmony and refrain from acting in anger or hatred.
  10. I vow to affirm and uphold the three jewels (the Buddha, the Sangha and the Dharma).
  11. I vow to respect my teachers and friends in the Dharma
  12. I vow to abstain from entering into intoxicating situations or consuming substances intended to distract from this moment. 
  13. I vow to be conscious of what I consume, the way in which it was produced, and what harm might result from my consuming it. I vow to bring awareness to the impact of what I ingest and take care not harm myself or any other beings in the process.
  14. I vow to maintain the integrity and sanctity of the teacher/clergy to student relationship by never entering into a sexual or otherwise inappropriate relationship and thereby violating the trust of the student as well as the entire sangha.
  15. I vow to encourage others to view past mistakes as learning opportunities that enable them to make better choices in the future.
  16. I vow to always request the Dharma and make offerings to visiting Sangha members
  17. I vow to attend Dharma talks and events that will open my heart and mind; thus enabling my practice to grow stronger and allowing me to be of better service to others.   
  18. I vow not to divide the Dharma into separate vehicles or doctrines by placing one classification as higher or better than another.
  19. I vow to always give care to the sick and the needy
  20. I vow to abstain from the storing of weapons used to intentionally take away life.
  21. I vow to abstain from serving as an emissary of the military, except in non-violent roles such as Chaplaincy, Medical Positions, and other roles that do not directly engage in the violent expression of military service.
  22. I vow to conduct my livelihood in a way that that is helpful to myself and others and refrain from business practices that limit the freedom or happiness of others.
  23. I vow to communicate in a way that is true, accurate and helpful and to refrain from speech meant to plant seeds of doubt, misinformation, or gossip.
  24. I vow to support life by behaving in a way that respects and protects the environment as well as all beings and to refrain from activities that may cause harm.
  25. I vow to teach the Dharma in a manner that inspires awakening and well-being for myself and others.
  26. I vow to fully understand the Dharma so that I may teach it in a manner that is true, accurate, and helpful.
  27. I vow to share the Dharma as freely as I have received it, with no personal gain as my motive.
  28. I vow to serve others with commitment, kindness, and integrity.
  29. I vow to communicate in a direct and compassionate manner that promotes harmony and to refrain from speech that contains hidden or implied messages meant to cause harm or unhappiness.
  30. I vow to liberate all sentient beings from suffering and the causes of suffering.
  31. I vow to treat others with respect and to refrain from behaving in a manner that violates, harms, or imposes revenge on others.      
  32. I vow to conduct myself in a manner that is consistent with the Dharma: to remain humble and accessible and to refrain from arrogant or self-important behavior.
  33. I vow to teach the Dharma with generosity and an open heart
  34. I vow to put the teachings of the Buddha-Dharma into practice in my everyday life and to teach others how to do the same.
  35. I vow to be a Sangha member that acts with integrity and accountability.
  36. I vow to share all offerings made to the Dharma or the Sangha
  37. I vow to accept invitations given equally to all others and refrain from accepting invitations that exclude anyone based on gender, race, religion, physical condition, age, or sexual orientation.
  38. I vow to be inclusive and to invite all people equally regardless of gender, race, religion, physical condition, or sexual orientation.
  39. I vow to conduct my livelihood in a way that that is helpful to myself and others and refrain from business practices that limit the freedom or happiness of others.
  40. I vow to give all Sangha members equal consideration and respect and to refrain from engaging in any actions that might cause division or conflict.
  41. I vow respect all clergy members and Dharmic objects.
  42. I vow to extend loving-kindness indiscriminately to all sentient beings, and to greet all experiences with openness, curiosity, and acceptance.
  43. I vow to approach all beings with respect and dignity and refrain from objectifying others.
  44. I vow to always keep a clear and open mind.
  45. I vow to make great vows      
  46. I vow to make firm resolutions
  47. I vow to keep myself safe whenever possible and to refrain from putting myself or others in environments where harm is more likely.
  48. I vow to respect all members of the Sangha equally.
  49. I vow to cultivate wisdom and good judgment.
  50. I vow not to unfairly discriminate against others when conferring the precepts.
  51. I vow equanimity in teaching the Dharma and will not to enter into teaching arrangements for the sake of profit.
  52. I vow to offer the precepts only to those that wish to take them with an sincere and open heart.
  53. I vow to uphold all of these precepts.
  54. I vow to value the Sutras and the ethical guidelines set forth by the Buddha.
  55. I vow to teach and serve all sentient beings in ways that are appropriate for who they are.
  56. I vow to teach the Dharma in ways that are appropriate and helpful and to refrain from teaching in ways that cause harm.
  57. I vow to consistently support the Dharma in my daily life.
  58. I vow to keep the Dharma fresh, alive, and vibrant and to refrain from any actions that might cause its destruction. 

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