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Ethics Statement

As a Zen practice community and as Zen practitioners, our aspiration is to live in ways that manifest the dignity and beauty of human life. This aspiration is founded on the truth of the interconnected nature of all beings and things.


Living with others in peace and harmony is an ongoing challenge. Therefore we dedicate ourselves and our Center to make continuous effort in finding ways to act with kindness, compassion, and respect, sustaining our vow to support the liberation and well-being of all.

Our guiding principles are expressed in the Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts:
The Three Refuges

  1. Taking refuge in Buddha

  2. Taking refuge in Dharma

  3. Taking refuge in Sangha

The Three Collective Pure Precepts

  1. Refraining from all action that is harmful

  2. Cultivating action that is wholesome

  3. Living to benefit all beings

The Ten Grave Prohibitory Precepts

  1. Refraining from killing

  2. Refraining from taking what is not given

  3. Refraining from misusing sexuality

  4. Refraining from false speech

  5. Refraining from intoxicating the mind or body of self or others

  6. Refraining from speech that is slanderous

  7. Refraining from praising the self while putting others down

  8. Refraining from possessive attachments, including to the Dharma

  9. Refraining from harboring ill-will

  10. Refraining from disparaging the Triple Treasure of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha

Our ethical commitments are carried forward in three kinds of action: body, speech, and mind.

Ethical Conduct

  • Ethical conduct is expressed in appropriate behavior. Every member and participant of Compassionate Ocean is a caretaker of the community’s well-being.  A central purpose of our Center is to cultivate a healthy spiritual community where the dignity and integrity of community members is upheld. Therefore we dedicate ourselves to acting in ways that do not harm others or ourselves, physically or psychologically. We also dedicate ourselves to act in ways that do not harm the community as a whole. Appropriate behavior includes refraining from any form of manipulative or exploitive behavior. It also includes refraining from any form of sexual misconduct or harassment. Members who have any level of official role at the Center have an extra layer of responsibility to practice appropriate behavior at all times.

Ethical Speech

  • Ethical speech is expressed in mindful and respectful speech and listening. Unmindful speech is destructive of individual and community integrity. This includes untruthful or semi-truthful speech, gossip, back-biting, and harsh speech. It also includes disclosing personal information about others that violates trust. Ethical speech includes speaking up in appropriate ways about issues, including possible misconduct, that affect the health and integrity of members of the community or the community as a whole.

Ethical Thought

  • Ethical thought is expressed in taking responsibility for the mental formations we form of others and of situations, declining to disparage others or harbor perspectives that strengthen greed, hatred, and delusion.



We dedicate ourselves to actively cultivate best practices in actions of body, speech, and mind as a central component of our ongoing practice, not assuming that engaged practice is only needed when a difficult situation has already manifested.

This ethics policy is established to provide clarity and guidelines for everyone who practices or visits here. In the event that anyone becomes aware of conduct that he or she feels is harmful to an individual or to the community as a whole, it is important that the concerns be expressed in an appropriate way and not remain hidden. The following Grievance Policy is established as one means of addressing such concerns.

Grievance Policy

Whenever possible, a first step is to address conflicts or concerns directly with the other person or persons involved. Support from teachers, Board members, or other community members can be solicited in this process.

In situations where this does not seem appropriate or adequate, a verbal or written statement of concern should be given to the Board Chair or Board Vice-Chair. In consultation with the person who brought forward the grievance, the Board Chair will propose a process to address the concerns. At the request of the person who brought forward the complaint, or at the discretion of the Board Chair, the Board Chair will appoint a three-person grievance committee to address the issue. If the Board Chair is included in the complaint, the leadership of this process will go successively to the Vice Chair, the Secretary, or the Treasurer of the Board. All involved will be expected to maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings, including any documentation. The committee will meet with all parties involved and thoroughly hear and examine the situation. They will also endeavor to obtain whatever information or training they lack to be able to skillfully address the situation. The committee will seek to find actions that promote a true, thorough, and skillful resolution of the situation. The intention will be to find a way forward that fully addresses any ethical breaches and supports the health and well-being of all individuals and the community as a whole. 

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