How to Become a Buddhist

Becoming a Buddhist involves taking Refuge in the Triple Gem and following the Five Precepts. Additionally, to become a Buddhist of the Monijiao school, one also professes the Ten Precepts, practices the Twelve Virtues and the Five Diamonds of Perfection and has unerring faith in the Three Jade Pillars.

The traditional Ten Precepts of Monijiao not only elaborate upon but also embody the traditional Five Precepts.

In order to progress to Liberation (Nirvana/Nibbana), we practice the Twelve Virtues. “Nirvana” or “Nibbana” is another word for “Liberation” which means being freed from the material world of darkness and eventually being perfected in the Sukhavati heaven.

The Three Refuges (the Triple Gem, the Three Treasures)

  • 1. I take refuge in the Buddha (The Teacher)
  • 2. I take refuge in the Dharma (The Teaching, the sum of the teaching of the Religion of Light)
  • 3. I take refuge in the Sangha (The Community, the body of devotees including Householders, Elders, Monks, Nuns, etc.)

The Five Precepts

  • 1. Do not harm or kill living beings (see the Fourth Precept below)
  • 2. Do not steal (see the Sixth Precept below)
  • 3. Do not commit sexual misconduct (see the Fifth Precept below)
  • 4. Do not lie or use deception (see the Second, Seventh and Ninth Precepts below)
  • 5. Do not abuse intoxicants and drugs (the abuse of alcohol and drugs can lead one to break any or all of the Ten Precepts below)

The Ten Precepts

The First Precept: Worship God (Shangdi, the Supreme Deity of Monijiao Buddhism) and do not commit yourself to the worshiping of idols; not bowing down to physical objects, ideals or delusions in order to worship them.

The Second Precept: Do not be dishonest in your ways.

The Third Precept: Do not be greedy.

The Fourth Precept: Do not murder a man, a woman or a child, neither abort an infant; neither commit to unnecessary killing of any life including animals and plants.

The Fifth Precept: Do not be unfaithful to your spouse, or commit any form of sexual misconduct.

The Sixth Precept: Do not commit theft.

The Seventh Precept: Do not deceive someone in order to mislead them.

The Eighth Precept: Do not practice magic.

The Ninth Precept: Do not commit hypocrisy in your ways.

The Tenth Precept: Seek peace and be fair to all regardless of a person’s ethnicity, color, nationality, religious beliefs, or sexuality.

The Twelve Virtues

  • 1. Royalty
  • 2. Wisdom
  • 3. Victory
  • 4. Contentment
  • 5. Purity (Religious Zeal)
  • 6. Truth
  • 7. Faith
  • 8. Patience (and endurance of wrongs)
  • 9. Sincerity
  • 10. Kindness
  • 11. Justice
  • 12. Light

The Three Jade Pillars (sometimes called the “Triad of Divine Foundations”)

  • 1. Sutras (scriptures, Monijiao sacred texts)
  • 2. Tradition (practices and customs associated with the school)
  • 3. Revelation (divine mandates from the celestial realm)

“The Lord is Amitabha and the Buddha of Light is none other than Moni, the Good Messenger of Light and Truth, the Teacher of all humanity. Buddha Moni is an emanation of Lord Amitabha.”
(Elucidation on the Sutra of Buddha Moni’s Good Message)

“The Sutras will help you in cultivating the Three Treasures, the Five Diamonds of Perfection and the Three Jade Pillars, and all that which is required to be a disciple of Bhagavan.”
(Elucidation on the Sutra of Buddha Moni’s Good Message)

“How numerous are the virtues of the Householders! The very sangha of the Householders resembles this good land which takes to itself the good seed, because it is that which accepts the Blessed Sangha; it cares for her and gives her rest in all its works and all its sufferings.”
(The Sutra of Buddha Moni’s Good Message)

The First Jade Pillar is Sutra which is the collection of sacred texts of Monijiao Buddhism. The sutras provide a basis for which the devotee is able to study the ancient history and honored Precepts.

The Second Jade Pillar is Tradition which consists of the external and inner practices of Monijiao. Tradition assists the devotee in building up a hedge around the Dharma to protect it from abuse and to raise it up as the divine standard. Tradition helps the devotee to seek liberation from darkness and samsara.

The Third Jade Pillar is Revelation which contains the various celestial revelations, including terma. Revelation assists the devotee in developing the root of compassion and leads one to liberation or Great Perfection and true awareness. Revelation also contains the sum of the First and Second Jade Pillars.

The Three Jade Pillars lead the devotee to the harmonious cultivation of the Five Diamonds of Perfection which consist of:

  • 1. Proper Reason
  • 2. Proper Mind
  • 3. Proper Intelligence
  • 4. Proper Thought
  • 5. Proper Understanding

The Central Monijiao Mantra

清净, 光明, 大力, 智慧 , 摩尼 光佛

Qingjing Guangming Dali Zhihui Moni Guangfo

The meaning of our mantra…

Purity, Light, Power and Wisdom, Moni the Buddha of Light.

Purity is related to the Practice of the Twelve Virtues. Light is in relation to the Bright Teaching of Buddha Moni. Power is related to spiritual strength but also to our working towards perfection, liberation and eventual full enlightenment. Wisdom is in relation to intelligence, meditation, and peace. Moni is our Buddha and Teacher. The entire mantra is also connected to our willingness to practice generosity towards other living beings and to assist them in various ways, cultivating morality (through the practice of the Five Precepts and the Ten Precepts and the ability to acquire wisdom through unerring faith in the Three Jade Pillars and through meditation.

The Three Jade Pillars along with the Five Diamonds of Perfection are embodied in the Three Treasures.

The Three Jade Pillars, the Five Diamonds of Perfection and the Three Treasures is part of the Great Temple of Lord Amitabha in Sukhavati (the Pure Land) which is promised to all who call upon Buddha Moni and Lord Amitabha in faith and practice.

The Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Creed
Composed by Master Rennyo

  • I rely on Amida Buddha, with my whole heart, for the attainment of Nirvana.
  • I give up trust in my powerless self, and abandon all practices that rely on the false ego.
  • I know that, because of Amida Buddha’s Boundless Compassion, I am assured of re-birth in His Pure Land the very moment that I put my trust in Him.
  • I call His Name, Namu Amida Butsu, in happiness and thanksgiving for the gift of His Universal Vow.
  • I am grateful to Shinran Shonin and his followers for leading me to this profound teaching.
  • I will try to live, throughout my life, according to the way of Nembutsu that they have taught.

To become a Buddhist in association with the Monijiao school, it is not simply recognizing or learning about the above Pillars, Diamonds and Precepts alone, but it is a matter of applying and honestly living in accordance with these teachings.