commitment to inclusion & harmony
New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care is based on the teachings of Zen tradition as it has been transmitted over the past 2,600 years from India, China, and Japan to this time and place. These teachings challenge us to deeply realize, and thus, dissolve the barriers that we create both within ourselves, and between each other, and all things. As a sangha—a community of practitioners—we ceaselessly aspire to realize and actualize these teachings, which naturally lead to a greater understanding of, and respect for, the basic goodness inherent in all individuals.
At NYZC, we endeavor to foster a welcoming atmosphere free of prejudice that is open to all who are sincerely interested in exploring and practicing an engaged life through study, care and Zen. While Zen training can be a challenging path—and our programs require each Zen practitioner to follow the training guidelines during their time at NYZC—everyone is welcome to train and participate regardless of ethnicity, skin color, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, political views, or economic standing.
We are committed to creating an environment where all individuals are recognized as possessing a fundamental respect and dignity, and are therefore to be treated with respect. Each individual has the right to practice in an atmosphere in which they feel safe and free from any form of discrimination. This includes the absence of sexual tension that arises from overt or subtle forms of sexual teasing, harassment, or predatory behavior. In this way, we help each other to more directly and easily encounter the true Dharma.
Everyone who practices at NYZC is expected to act in accord with the Zen Precepts—the Zen teachings on ethical living—which outline a path to living in harmony with all beings. For this to be genuine, each of us must be committed to facing and taking full responsibility for our own conditioned ways of being, and the inclination for this conditioning to promote fear and a sense of “other” which leads to prejudicial views and actions.
As with all intentions, personal or collective, this commitment serves to ground and guide our practice. It is our mutual responsibility to work together with each other to respect and uphold the Precepts. If any individual feels that a member of this community, including formal students, staff, and Guiding Teachers, may not have acted in accordance with these aspirations, please contact or speak with one of the Guiding Teachers or formal students.
Thank you to our dharma friends at Zen Mountain Monastery for their support with the inclusion statement.