General Ethical Guidelines

As a lay community of Zen practitioners, we the members and teachers of the Maria Kannon Zen Center resolve to conduct our lives and our relationships taking the Three Pure Precepts as our guiding principle. These are

  1. to avoid all that is harmful,

  2. to foster and promote all that is good, and

  3. to purify our minds and seek the liberation of all sentient beings in all our thoughts, words, and actions.

 

We are bound by the Ten Grave Matters/Prohibitions, which are:

  1. Honor all life, do not kill,

  2. Respect others’ property, do not steal,

  3. Speak truthfully, do not lie,

  4. Live responsibly, do not misuse sex,

  5. Consume wholesome food and drink, do not abuse intoxicants,

  6. Uphold the good name of others, do not engage in harmful speech,

  7. Live in truthful humility, do not praise self or put down others,

  8. Be generous, do not be stingy with material or spiritual goods,

  9. Be compassionate, do not indulge in anger, and

  10. Uphold what is Holy, do not defame the Three Treasures (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) nor anything considered sacred in other spiritual traditions.

Sangha Relations

The relationships between sangha members among themselves and with the wider Earth community, with individual personal behavior observing the above ethical guidelines, constitute the field in which our Zen practice is embodied. The relationships of those in leadership positions (Teachers, Board Members, Executive Director) among themselves and with the other sangha members will receive special attention in upholding those guidelines. Teacher/student relationships especially will be conducted with mutual honor and esteem, with due acknowledgment and maintenance of boundaries, and with due care to confidentiality in matters of individual practice and personal life. We will hold one another in highest respect, and will strive to maintain right speech at all times. On the matter of redressing issues among sangha members or between sangha members and Teachers, we encourage a process of dialogue and consultation with those concerned as need arises, in a spirit of mutual understanding, compassion, and forgiveness of one another’s faults.

Council for Harmony, Ethics, and Reconciliation (CHER)

If anyone has due reason to claim, in a formal complaint addressed to the Board, that a serious violation of ethical principles has occurred, especially in matters that include abuse of authority, financial impropriety, sexual misconduct, or a grave criminal offense with legal and public consequences, a special Council for Harmony, Ethics and Reconciliation (CHER) will be set up by the Board to determine the particulars and carry out any measures necessary to address each case. A formal complaint will consist of a written description of the violation signed by the complainant, with the name of the person or persons accused of committing the violation, and with the proper documentation or testimonial to the veracity of such a claim. The Board and Teachers who receive the complaint will hold the matter in strict confidentiality as far as possible. The said Council (CHER) set up for a particular case and related incidents of reported grave violation will be appointed by the Board, in consultation with the Council of Teachers. If the accusation directly involves a Teacher or Board member, he or she will be recused from such deliberations. The CHER shall consist in no less than three, and not more than five members, some of whom may include persons from outside of the sangha who may have special competence in dealing with the particular matters involved, to be given a specific time frame within which to report to the Board and recommend measures in addressing the case or cases. Having completed its action and having submitted its report to the board on the particular case for which it was formed, the CHER convened for that specific case will then be dissolved. Having received such report, the Board may take measures that may include issuing a written statement to the effect that it does not deem the complaint to be worthy of further action, or based on the findings of said report, may include advisement of voluntary resignation from a leadership or particular sangha position. If the person so advised to resign refuses to do so, the Board may consider expulsion or suspension from a leadership role, or expulsion or suspension from sangha membership. In cases when the Board deems it warranted, it may also refer the matter to legal or other enforcement authorities outside of the sangha where such matters may be appropriately dealt with.

Our Commitment

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