As we'll see in coming days, the first 5 precepts focus on individual behavior and, as the Buddha emphasized in the Pali Canon, provide the necessary foundation for individual awakening. (The Buddha also said that, by following the 5 precepts, we give others freedom from fear).
Precepts 6 through 64 shift our intention from personal awakening to awakening for all beings. Through the voice of Vairocana, the Brahma Net Sutra describes upholding the bodhisattva precepts as awakening itself:
The precepts are like the radiant sun and moon,
Like a shining necklace of gems,
Bodhisattvas as numerous as motes of dust
Uphold them and attain Buddhahood.
Vairocana Buddha divides the 64 precepts into two groups: the first 10 precepts are known as the Pratimoksa Bodhisattva Precepts, the major precepts that establish the "seed of Buddhahood." The remaining precepts are considered "minor" but still essential the the bodhisattva ideal.
The next post will begin our examination of all 64 bodhisattva precepts. Thanks for reading!