Ethical Guidelines

The San Francisco Buddhist Center (SFBC) is part of Triratna Buddhist Community (TBC) founded by Sangharakshita. These guidelines are based upon Buddhist Ethical Precepts and the model ethical guidelines developed by the TBC International Council.  If you have concerns, please contact a member of the Council.  

I undertake the training principle of abstention from harming living beings.  

With deeds of loving-kindness I purify my body.

SFBC activities aim to support the awakening of the individual, for the benefit of all beings, and in a manner appropriate to each person. In all our dealings with one another we aspire to behave in a spirit of kindness, expressing kalyanamitrata, or spiritual friendship.

Our spiritual community has been defined by Sangharakshita as a ‘free association of individuals’. Within this free association, it is important that individuals in positions of trust do not misuse their trusted position or authority (real or perceived) for their own benefit or to influence others inappropriately.

Wishing to minimize the harm we do to living beings, we affirm that physical violence and strong expressions of anger have no place among us.  

SFBC is vegetarian and vegan-friendly.  

We will work within our community, and with other like-minded groups, to reduce and minimize our impact on the environment, locally and internationally.

2

I undertake the training principle of abstention from taking the not given.  

With open-handed generosity, I purify my body.

We wish to offer the Buddha’s teachings in the spirit of generosity, making them accessible to all, regardless of financial circumstances.  

We aspire to express generosity by caring for our community and those who work and practice here by supporting those who take on particular responsibilities at the Center.

Those who handle money, property or other resources for the SFBC must take care of them and avoid their deliberate misuse or misappropriation. The Council will investigate any suspected misuse and take appropriate action.  

3  

I undertake the training principle of abstention from sexual misconduct.  

With stillness, simplicity and contentment I purify my body.

The SFBC is a community of people practicing the Buddha’s teachings together, with a strong emphasis on spiritual friendship. Close relationships can develop, including sexual relationships between members of our community.  All members of our community are encouraged to conduct their sexual relationships ethically, with awareness and kindness.

To maintain an atmosphere of stillness, simplicity and contentment, we are mindful of the potential impact of sexual and romantic comments or overtures.  

People in teaching roles, or otherwise helping to lead Center activities, have a particular responsibility in this regard. Anyone teaching at the SFBC agrees to specific limitations on sexual and romantic involvement with those they teach. These agreements include prohibitions on relationships with people for whom they are the primary teacher or point of contact. Further, visiting teachers agree to refrain from any sexual or romantic involvement with local students. We take violations of the teacher agreements very seriously.  

Anyone who feels they have received unwanted, uncomfortable, or inappropriate sexual or romantic attention from a teacher, other leader or community member at the SFBC is invited to contact a member of the council directly or through another person if that is more comfortable.  

4

I undertake the training principle of abstention from false speech.  

With truthful communication, I purify my speech.

In all our dealings with one another we are committed to truthful, meaningful, helpful and harmonious communication. We recognize that this may be expressed very differently across cultures and communities.

We aspire to create an atmosphere of friendliness, co-operation and trust at the SFBC. When discussing others, we commit to sharing information carefully, motivated by desire for the wellbeing and spiritual progress of those we discuss.  Community members agree to not share information about others without consent.

5

I undertake the training principle of abstention from intoxication.  

With mindfulness clear and radiant I purify my mind.

The SFBC and the Triratna Buddhist Community aim to provide support for the development of wisdom and compassion through deepening awareness.

We undertake to engage with our practice and with each other with as much mindfulness as possible.  

We aim to provide supportive environments for those wishing to live without intoxicants. We will not serve alcohol or other intoxicants at the SFBC. We ask that people not participate in SFBC events while under the influence of non-medical drugs.

Smoking and vaping are not permitted at the SFBC.