The Three Refuges

We take refuge in Buddha

In taking refuge in Buddha, we acknowledge the Buddha Nature of all beings. While there are different levels of religious and administrative authority within Zen Center, the sangha recognizes that fundamentally everyone is equally the expression of Buddha Nature.

We take refuge in Dharma

In taking refuge in Dharma, we acknowledge the wisdom and compassion of the bodhisattva way of life. It is through this Dharma that we embody, express and make accessible the teachings of the Buddha as conveyed to us through the lineage of the Soto Zen School by the founder Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and other teachers. Realizing that our understanding and practice of Buddhism is one of many approaches, we also acknowledge and respect all other expressions of the Dharma.

We take refuge in Sangha

In taking refuge in Sangha, we acknowledge the central role that Zen Center community life has in our practice. Because part of taking refuge is the offering of refuge, we aspire to create an inclusive environment for everyone's engagement in the Bodhisattva Way. When our diversity appears to separate us, our practice is to engage in a careful process of recognizing, understanding, and appreciating our differences. In so doing, we affirm and respect our differences and similarities in gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political belief, and physical abilities and appearances. In creating an inclusive sangha, it is essential that we encourage open, ongoing communication among all residential and non- residential sangha members, and that any ethical concerns or conflicts which arise are fully heard and addressed by the Zen Center community in an appropriate forum. To facilitate this, Zen Center members are encouraged to study the religious and communal contexts, reasons, and limits for authority and decision-making at Zen Center.