Statement of Values: Spiritual Sanctuary and Refuge

The Bozeman Dharma Center is committed to the Buddha’s teachings of wisdom, compassion-in-action, interdependence and loving-kindness extended to all beings, without exception.

Amidst the political and social challenges of our times and reflecting on our commitment to liberation, the Bozeman Dharma Center offers itself to be a spiritual sanctuary and a refuge for all people.

We stand with other Buddhist practice and retreat centers as stewards of the 2600-year old teachings; we build bridges, not walls, and are guided by the Buddha’s wisdom: “Hatred never ceases by hatred but by love alone is healed. This is the ancient and eternal law.”

In the face of political, economic and social systems that allow greed, aggression and indifference to cause suffering on a vast scale, it is clarifying to affirm these teachings and remind ourselves to align our practice, views and action in the world with our core, Buddhist values.

The Buddhist Path teaches that meditation and inner freedom must develop together with a foundation of generosity, ethical behavior and loving-kindness. We affirm that human happiness flows from:

      • intentions that are free from greed, hatred and ignorance;
      • speech that is true, helpful, and timely;
      • and actions that are free from causing harm, killing, stealing and sexual exploitation.

We affirm the interdependent nature of reality. When one being suffers, we all suffer. Thus, our own well-being and liberation is bound to the well-being and liberation of others. We denounce racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and homophobia, all forms of oppression and the valuation of certain lives over others. We value and celebrate diversity, inclusivity and respect for all beings and the inherent dignity of all peoples.

In these challenging times, social and communal harmony have never been more needed. It is our intention to offer the BDC as a sanctuary for all to awaken together. May all beings be free, and may our actions contribute wholeheartedly to that freedom.

“As long as a society holds regular and frequent assemblies, meeting in harmony and mutual respect, can they be expected to prosper and not decline. As long as a society follows the long held traditions of wisdom, and honors its elders, can they be expected to prosper and not decline. As long as a society protects the vulnerable among them, can they be expected to prosper and not decline. As long as a society cares for the shrines and sacred places of the natural world, can they be expected to prosper and not decline.”

— the Buddha, from the Mahaparinirvana Sutta

This document was inspired by and draws passages from the Berkeley Zen Center’s Newsletters and Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Statement of Values. We are grateful for the guidance and clear expression of our shared Buddhist values from these wise teachers.

Please also see our Guidelines for Engaging Political, Social and Economic Topics and Issues.