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The Three Teachings: SILA

Updated: Jul 5

In Buddhism, "Sila" pertains to ethics and moral behavior, which is an essential aspect of following the Middle Path.

Ethics are the clustering of value (feeling) around a preferable action. When we are asked what we value, we conjure importance. This is always relational as in why I value spending time with A or doing XYZ. How should we approach this? We intertwine three learnings as our way of life. 

Triśikṣā, in Buddhism, the three types of learning required of those who seek to attain enlightenment. The threefold training comprises all aspects of Buddhist practices. Arranged in a progressive order, the three are: (1) śīla (“moral conduct”), which makes one’s body and mind fit for concentration, (2) samadhi (“meditation”), concentration of the mind being a prerequisite to attaining a clear vision of the truth, and (3) prajna (“wisdom”), understood not as a collection of empirical knowledge but as an intuitive experience of ultimate reality, attained in a state of samadhi.

My Dharma name, Sangaku, means "the three teachings." I’ve come to see this often couched in, “can you help me,” or “what do you think,” questions from others. I point and grunt to offer new perspectives.

Mental-value focused physical actions flow through concentration or Samadhi (one pointed). There is much one may do there to clarify the Dharma/truth. Just as one’s actions are practice so is stillness and quiet. 

The flow of Sila and Samadhi unfolds Prajna, a state of awareness iceberg-like, below the first glance of Samsara. It is all unfolding as if falling into a place that has always been so. It is enlightening things as “it” is. 

Here the three practices become “One Bright Pearl.”  Which is none other than full awareness of Buddha Nature through body and mind:

The essence of causality never ceases and the pearl is always bright. It is our original face and enlightened eye. Hither to fore there have been many notions of what the pearl is or is not, but now Gensha's words have clarified the pearls true nature which is actually our body and mind itself. How is it possible to doubt that life and death are also just one bright-pearl! Even if we are perplexed or troubled it is nothing but the bright pearl. There cannot be any action or thought existing separately from the bright pearl. Consequently, even coming and going in the black mountain cave of demons is nothing but the one bright pearl.

 Our practice is living our practice.

Please check out our website: and join us for Tuesday night service 7:00 PM/EDT First Congregational Church of Falmouth, or at Password FSZS

Palms Together,


Unshin Sangaku Dan Joslyn-sensei

Founder and Guiding Teacher

Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha


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