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Ethics Policy & Guidelines

These are the Ethics Guidelines of the Toronto Zen Centre as described in our By-Laws.

26. Code of Right Conduct

The Centre is committed to providing a supportive environment for the practice of the Buddha Way. The Head Teacher, staff, directors, officers, and members strive to incorporate the Three Resolutions and the Ten Cardinal Precepts into daily life.

The Three Resolutions
  1. I resolve to avoid evil.
  2. I resolve to do good.
  3. I resolve to work for the liberation of all sentient beings.
The Ten Cardinal Precepts
  1. I resolve not to kill, but to cherish all life.
  2. I resolve not to take that which is not given, but to respect the things of others.
  3. I resolve not to engage in improper sexuality, but to lead a life of purity and self-restraint.
  4. I resolve not to lie, but to speak the truth.
  5. I resolve not to cause others to take substances that impair the mind, nor to do so myself, but to keep the mind clear.
  6. I resolve not to speak of the faults of others, but to be understanding and sympathetic.
  7. I resolve not to praise myself and disparage others, but to overcome my own shortcomings.
  8. I resolve not to withhold spiritual or material aid, but to give them freely when needed.
  9. I resolve not to indulge in anger, but to exercise restraint.
  10. I resolve not to revile the Three Treasures (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha), but to cherish and uphold them.

A violation of right conduct is defined as that which is at variance with these Ten Cardinal Precepts. The first Cardinal Precept (to cherish all life) precludes any form of harassment or conduct which impairs a member's participation in the life of the Sangha. Harassment and sexual harassment are further defined in Section 26 of these by-laws. An allegation of a violation of right conduct shall be handled through the grievance procedure set forth in Section 27 of these by-laws.



As a religious institution, the Toronto Zen Centre seeks to provide an environment free from bigotry, discrimination, coercion, and harassment. Violation of the 3rd Cardinal Precept (I resolve not to engage in improper sexuality, but to lead a life of purity and self-restraint) impedes religious practice and spiritual growth.

Harassment is defined as verbal or physical behavior which (a) intimidates or insults the dignity of persons or groups on any categorical basis, including race, ethnic or religious back-ground, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age or disability, (b) threatens, either by expression or implication, personal safety, or (c) interferes with a member's full participation in the activities of the Sangha.

When harassment is combined with improper sexuality, it becomes sexual harassment. Sexual harassment undermines a religious community in which students, staff, other practitioners, and teachers form relationships built on inter-dependence and trust. Sexual harassment can occur when one person holds some power, either perceived or real, or authority over another. It en-compasses several types of behavior including (a) sexual advances, (b) requests for sexual favours, and (c) other verbal or physical behaviours of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment can occur between staff members, as well as between a teacher and staff member or other Sangha member. An allegation of harassment shall be addressed through the grievance procedure set forth in Section 27 of these by-laws.



The Centre is committed to resolving problems arising from violations of right conduct set forth in Section 25 of these by-laws. Any member can submit a written complaint directly to the Grievance Committee or through the Board. Grievances can be raised against a teacher, instructor, officer, zendo head, or director.

Upon receiving a written report of a violation of right conduct as set forth in the Statement of Right Conduct adopted as part of these by-laws, the Board will convene a Grievance Committee (which may be a standing committee), consisting of 3 members and 1 alternate to interview the persons concerned and to investigate the matter. Any person involved with the reported violation shall not participate in the Committee, nor shall any other person who would be unable to render an impartial decision. The Committee shall deliberate in private and may determine not to take any action in case of insufficient evidence or seriousness of the allegation. If by majority vote the Committee finds the report to be well-founded, it shall refer the matter to the Board.

Any involved member may appeal to the Board the decision of the Grievance Committee. The Board may supplement the Committee’s investigation by further interviews or by other investigations as appropriate. The concerned persons shall be afforded the opportunity to meet with the Board. The Board shall deliberate in private to determine the merits of the appeal. By majority vote, the Board may decide to take no action or may impose any of the following sanctions: (a) private reprimand, (b) public reprimand or censure, (c) suspension from performing duties or office on behalf of the Centre for up to one year, (d) suspension from all privileges of membership for up to one year, or (e) termination of membership.

Any person involved in a reported violation of right conduct shall not participate in the deliberations of the Grievance Committee or the Board concerning that matter.