Ethics Statement

Zen Center North Shore, Guiding Teacher Myozen Joan Amaral

Individual Statement of Ethics
As a Soto Zen priest and member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, I have committed myself to living an ethical life. Central to this vow is my effort to provide a safe haven in which I, my students, and all who are exploring the Zen path may make contact with our true nature. The sixteen bodhisattva precepts are the foundation of my relationship with ethics. The six paramitas guide my effort to keep these precepts. It is my sincere intention to align my life continually in accord with these precepts and practices.


Ethics Standards, Teacher Relationships, and Grievance Procedures
While the sixteen bodhisattva precepts are the foundation of my vows, I recognize that ethics standards and guidelines are needed to provide commentary and processes for addressing difficult situations that may arise in my sangha or in intersangha relations.


Teacher/Student Relationships
The teacher/student relationship is founded on deep trust and respect that is the mutual responsibility of both parties to honor. However, the authority of the teacher carries with it an increased responsibility to avoid situations and actions that could result in harm to the student, the community or the teacher. I recognize that harm may result if a teacher and student become sexually or inappropriately emotionally involved, or if a teacher violates trust, or uses power or position for personal ends.

I commit to conduct relationships in accord with my sincere efforts to keep the bodhisattva precepts. Because of this commitment, the responsibility for maintaining appropriate and clear boundaries always rests with the teacher. I will respect and protect the personal autonomy of all students, and refrain from sexual involvement with students.

Should I as a teacher feel unable to uphold this standard, I will seek guidance and counsel from my teacher, a senior teacher in my lineage, and/or a senior teacher from the broader community. I recommend that the student involved also seek guidance.


Matters discussed in individual meetings with me as the teacher are kept in confidence, except as may be required by law. I may include the anonymous questions and comments of students made in private in dharma talks and discussions only with the prior permission of the student. Reciprocally, students are encouraged not to engage in idle talk about matters discussed in teacher/student meetings.

There may be circumstances in which it is necessary for a teacher to consult a professional for legal or psychological expertise. It may be necessary to disclose information in the context of such a consultation. Such consultations are also kept in confidence and are only undertaken in the interest of the sangha and the student.


Use of Power and Position
I recognize that individuals in positions of confidence or trust must not misuse status or authority to achieve privileges or other consideration, or to inappropriately influence others.

If I am entrusted with handling funds or assets on behalf of practitioners, I bear responsibilty to provide accountable and transparent stewardship.

I recognize that in my position of authority, my behavior with drugs, alcohol and all intoxicants must be in alignment with my effort to keep the precepts. Abuse of intoxicants is an ethical violation and is subject to the procedures outlined below.


Procedures for addressing ethical concerns:

Ethics Procedures
If a student has an ethical concern it may be addressed directly with me. It may also be wise to discuss it with senior students or with another qualified teacher to assist in discernment and in resolution of the concern.


Formal Ethical Hearings
If matters of importance are not informally resolved, a hearing panel may be convened to implement a formal process. The panel may consist of another teacher selected by me, a teacher selected by the student, and a third teacher selected by the two advising teachers.


Ethical Violations and Members' Obligations to the SZBA
As a teacher within the Zen Buddhist community I have a special responsibilty to ensure a safe teaching environment for my students and sangha members.

Specifically, I as a full member of the SZBA, am bound by these principles:

1. Self-reporting Clause

If a member has been found by the member's sangha to be in violation of its ethical guidelines, s/he must report this to appropriate authorities in accordance with state law and to the grievance committee of the SZBA for review.

2. Illegal Activity Clause

Any member convicted of a felony will be subject to review of their membership by the grievance committee.

3. Diversity Clause

The members of the SZBA are committed to actively seek harmony within such differences as race, class, gender, age, ability, sexual orientation, and other forms of cultural identity.


Teacher to Teacher Relationships
As a member of the SZBA I agree to create and maintain respectful and collegial relationships with my fellow teachers.

Myozen Joan Amaral
October 26, 2014

The sixteen bodhisattva precepts are:

Three Refuges
I take refuge in Buddha
I take refuge in Dharma
I take refuge in Sangha.

Three Pure Precepts
I vow to practice good
I vow to refrain from evilI vow to live and be lived for the benefit of all beings.

Ten Grave Precepts
I vow not to kill
I vow not to take what is not given
I vow not to misuse sexuality
I vow to refrain from false speech
I vow not to abuse intoxicants
I vow not to slander
I vow not to praise self at the expense of others
I vow not to be avaricious
I vow not to harbor ill will
I vow not to disparage the Three Treasures.


Six Paramitas

Giving (dana)
Morality (sila)
Patience (ksanti)
Courage (virya)
Meditation (dhyana)
Wisdom (prajna)