BIRD HAVEN ZENDO
STATEMENT OF ETHICAL PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURES
Bird Haven Zendo is an intimate home-style Soto Zen practice place sitting on 5 wooded acres in the foothills between the Willamette Valley and the Coast Range mountains of western Oregon.
The Zendo and grounds offer a variety of practice modes including daily sitting meditation, individual and group retreats, and the moving, interactive mediation of daily life in a rural setting.
All Bird Haven Zendo practice opportunities are offered on a dana basis. Dana means generous giving and is an orientation to spiritual and material resources that is the opposite of the “fee for service” orientation that is the norm in our society.
We offer this practice place to anyone with a sincere desire to participate harmoniously. We gratefully receive offerings of food, labor, money or other resources participants may wish to share in order to sustain the practice place and the resident priests.
Affirmation of Welcome:
Walking the path of liberation, our lives arise together with all beings, human, animal, plant, mineral; sentient and insentient; known and unknown; in a Buddha Field beyond form and formlessness. Bowing to the interconnectedness of all beings, we vow to support harmony in the community free from the hindrances of non-acceptance due to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical form or condition. May all beings realize their true nature.
The principles that guide our actions as Zen Buddhist practitioners are the Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts. They are:
The Three Refuges:
I take refuge in Buddha
I take refuge in Dharma
I take refuge in Sangha
The Three Pure Precepts:
I vow to refrain from all evil
I vow to do all that is good
I vow to live and be lived for the benefit of all beings
The Ten Prohibitory Precepts:
A follower of the Way does not kill but rather cultivates and encourages the great web of life.
A follower of the Way does not take what is not given but rather cultivates and encourages fairness, gratitude and generosity.
A follower of the Way does not misuse sexuality but rather cultivates and encourages open, honest, trustworthy relationships.
A follower of the Way does not lie but rather cultivates and encourages truthful, kind, beneficial communication.
A follower of the Way does not intoxicate self or others but rather cultivates and encourages clear thinking.
A follower of the Way does not slander but rather cultivates and encourages respectful speech.
A follower of the Way neither extols self nor demeans others but rather cultivates and encourages awareness of the interbeing at the heart of our True Nature as individuals.
A follower of the Way does not cling to material possesions or fail to share the wisdom of the dharma out of laziness or fear but rather cultivates and encourages sharing material and spiritual resources freely with all beings.
A follower of the Way does not harbor ill will but rather cultivates and encourages loving-kindness, understanding, and forgiveness.
A follower of the Way does not turn away from the Three Treasures but rather cultivates and encourages taking refuge in awakening mind, the truth of the True Nature of things as they are, and living in harmony together with all beings.
It is our sincere intention to align our lives continually in accord with these precepts.
Appropriate action. We aspire to relationships that are characterized by trustworthy, appropriate action based on kindness, cooperation, openness to differences, clear communication, fairness, and respect. The Sangha cultivates these qualities as the practice of keeping the precepts and developing good dharma friendships.
Inappropriate action. Inappropriate action is harmful to others and ourselves. It may include physical violence, sexual misconduct or harassment, drug and substance abuse, malicious gossip, extreme or regular displays of anger, insults or demeaning comments, and manipulative or duplicitous speech or action. Persons who encounter inappropriate actions from any member of the BHZ Sangha, including its resident priests, or who themselves practice such conduct, should be aware that these actions violate the spirit of the precepts and the practice of trustworthy, appropriate action.
Student/teacher relationships. A teacher at BHZ is anyone involved in an instructional capacity. This includes the Resident Priests and anyone designated by them to serve as an instructor or mentor for newer students. Student/teacher relationships should be based on mutual respect, compassion, and kindness. We acknowledge the inequality inherent in such a relationship and the power issues involved.
We specifically acknowledge the great harm, both psychological and spiritual, that results from teachers becoming sexually involved with their students, both for the teacher and student involved, and for the community as a whole. We therefore consider it unethical for a teacher to engage in sexual behavior with her or his student.
We furthermore expect all who participate at BHZ to follow these guidelines:
1) If a teacher and/or student feels at risk of violating the above ethical principle, they should suspend their teacher-student relationship at least until they have sought counsel with a senior teacher.
2) It is considered a misuse of sexuality for a teacher to form a sexual relationship with a former student within six months of the termination of the student-teacher relationship.
3) Any teacher considering forming a sexual relationship with another BHZ participant should discuss the appropriateness of the relationship with a senior teacher.
Procedures for addressing inappropriate action. We are committed to solving problems and resolving differences that may arise from inappropriate action. If a person believes that they have been inappropriately treated and seeks resolution, the following steps may be taken:
Resolution. 1) The aggrieved person should directly contact the person(s) who has (have) allegedly acted inappropriately and make an effort to reach an understanding and to resolve differences. 2) If the grievance is not resolved under step 1), the aggrieved person may request a meeting with one of the resident priests and the person who has allegedly acted inappropriately (if not one of the resident priests) to resolve the grievance.
If one of the resident priests is either the aggrieved person or the one alleged to have acted inappropriately, a meeting will be arranged with a mutually agreed upon person. That person shall make a finding based on the above process. The finding shall be written and shall be communicated to the person filing the grievance and the person(s) allegedly behaving inappropriately within four weeks of the completion of the reconciliation process.
A copy of the finding shall be kept at BHZ.
Atonement. Any person who acts inappropriately is expected to make every effort to realign their conduct in accord with the precepts and to take the actions necessary to to mitigate harm done and to restore the harmony of the Sangha. Such atonement is an integral part of our spiritual practice.
Each student should feel free to explore the Dharma and study the self in an environment of trust and confidentiality.
Private conversations within the community are to be held in confidence including discussions with a teacher or anyone acting in a teaching capacity. However, students should know that teachers may share information between themselves for the express intention of benefiting the student and for the purpose of teacher training.
Personal information offered at open meetings, practice events, or Sangha gatherings is not confidential.
This statement shall be kept on file at the temple and freely available to all.