Ethics Statement


As students on the path of Zen and/or on the path of contemplative prayer, the members and teachers of Seven Thunders aspire to right conduct in every aspect of our lives. In this aspiration, we have committed ourselves to maintain the Ten Grave Precepts and the Ten Commandments, and we cannot improve upon them as guides and standards for our thoughts, words and deeds. The Precepts and Commandments are open to interpretation, however, so with this ethics statement, we establish a clear and specific set of minimum expectations to which we should be held accountable now and in the future. We hope that publicly specifying these standards of behavior will sharpen our awareness of ethical issues, ensure the trustworthiness of behavior and teaching, and serve to protect and perpetuate the integrity of the Way.

Seven Thunders teachers recognize that our work is founded on trust: the trust placed in us, each by our own teacher, to transmit the Dharma and contemplative practice faithfully and the trust placed in us by our students to provide them respectful and appropriate instruction. In this statement, we concern ourselves explicitly with the latter trust, but we know full well that the two are inseparable; that is, we cannot hope to fulfill our responsibility to transmit the teachings if we do not by behavior embrace fully their ethical implications.

In our capacity as Seven Thunders teachers, we understand that we may fail our students in many ways and to vastly differing degrees. The failures of concern in this ethics statement are of such seriousness that they are demonstrably harmful to our students, either to their practice or to their general well-being, either to one individual or to a group. Seven Thunders teachers commit themselves to refrain altogether from such injurious conduct but especially from any that is intentional, repeated or protracted in duration, deceitfully concealed, exploitive of a student's trust, or any combination of the foregoing.


Specifically, Seven Thunders teachers commit:



to use our power and authority as teachers to serve the interests of the sangha and faith community;


to recognize the sangha and faith community, especially through the Board of Directors, as the highest authority in its own governance and to exercise discretion in our leadership so that we do not unduly influence decisions;


to treat Seven Thunders members, associate members and those attending Seven Thunders events with honesty and deep respect, not subjecting them to disparagement, coercive pressure, or undesired attention of any kind;


to maintain confidences received from students, except as required by law or as explicitly permitted by Seven Thunders;


to practice openness and inclusivity in our relationships with Seven Thunders members, allowing personal affinities a natural place but avoiding destructive favoritism;


to avoid creating harm through sexuality and to avoid sexual exploitation and adultery, to honor vows of marriage, and not to exploit authority and position in order to initiate a sexual relationship with a student and to refrain from sexual interaction with Seven Thunders members, apart from one’s own spouse. In the case of an unmarried teacher and student, if there is a desire on both sides to enter an intimate committed relationship then 1) the formal student-teacher relationship should be dissolved and 2) a period of at least one year should lapse from the dissolution of the formal teaching relationship and the start of the personal relationship. This waiting period is to allow the resolution of any potential transference issues and permit both individuals to enter the relationship on an equal footing;


g)             not to confer teaching authority, and especially    Dharma transmission, on lovers, spouses, siblings, children, employers or known benefactors, nor to offer such authority as a means to attract, retain or induce the cooperation of a student;


h)            to recognize and affirm that substance abuse is a cause of tremendous suffering; not to misuse or abuse intoxicants at any time; to be clear with all those who attend Seven Thunders retreats and other events that there is to be no use of intoxicants during retreats or on retreat premises;


i)             to accept economic support (dana) from individual sangha members only when it is freely given, never making it a direct requirement for instruction or attention;



to join with Seven Thunders members in practicing careful stewardship of its resources, not to enrich ourselves by misappropriation of Seven Thunders funds or properties;


k) to speak in a way that is honest, beneficial, kind and considerate. To refrain from gossip and to cultivate conscious and clear communication with kindness and compassion as the bars of speech;


l)  to bring consciousness to the gifts of the earth’s resources and to endeavor to use them in a respectful manner.



May all teachers who conduct Seven Thunders retreats and other events and guide students be held accountable for adhering to this agreement by the Seven Thunders Board of Directors and members.




Coming Up

Saturday, February 2, 2019 - 8:45am
Trappist Abbey
Monday, February 4, 2019 - 7:00pm
Stones & Clouds
Monday, February 11, 2019 - 7:00pm
Stones & Clouds
Saturday, February 16, 2019 -
8:45am to 3:30pm
Stones and Clouds Zendo
Monday, February 18, 2019 - 7:00pm
Stones & Clouds


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