Teacher Code of Conduct
A code of ethics is a statement in principle which has to be interpreted according to context and situation. The following are general parameters that teachers follow.
All teachers at Satipanya are committed to the Buddhadhamma and to the Five Precepts as the basic guide for their ethical lives. The following expresses how these precepts manifest in our relationship to trainees. The purpose is to establish a secure ethical relationship between teacher and trainee to safeguard each other from error so they may both prosper spiritually.
- We undertake the precept of refraining from killing.
We support the vegan diet offered at meals, unless serious health concerns demand otherwise.
In controversial ethical circumstances such as abortion, euthanasia, the killing of pets, armed intervention and execution (?), the views we express will be our own, reminding ourselves that we do not have Buddha wisdom. We will make trainees aware that we are expressing personal views.
- We undertake the precept of refraining from taking what is not freely given.
We undertake not to misappropriate any monies given as dana. We will use all donations, monitory and otherwise, according to their meant purpose.
We undertake not to favour trainees according to their financial circumstances.
- We undertake the precept of refraining from sexual misconduct.
Any sexual relationship at any level, we understand to be utterly inappropriate and abusive between ourselves and our trainees.
We uphold the rule that all on retreat take the vow of celibacy and that Satipanya is to be free of all sexual activity at all times.
We uphold the dress code of modesty.
We undertake the following rule that no romantic relationship between teacher and student should be explored during or immediately following a retreat.
If a romantic relationship develop between a teacher and trainee, the relationship of teacher-trainee must be ended and each must know it has ended before any romantic or sexual relationship. It is understood that the trainee will find and become established with another teacher. All other teachers are to be informed of any such relationship from the beginning.
- We undertake the precept of refraining from false speech.
We endeavour to follow the advice of the Buddha to make our speech:timely, true, gentle, purposeful and spoken with the heart of loving-kindness.
We undertake not to slander or use abusive language.
We undertake to follow the rules of confidentiality.
We are committed to expressing the Buddhadhamma as truthfully as our understanding permits.
We will not intimate that we have achieved spiritual insights or experiences we have not in truth achieved.
- We undertake the precept of refraining from intoxicants that cause heedlessness or loss of awareness.
We uphold the rule that no intoxicating substances, save medicine, can be taken while on retreat or on the premises. We ourselves agree not to misuse intoxicants at any time.
Should a teacher fall victim to drug abuse, they must inform the teacher body and accept suspension from teaching until the addiction is overcome.
- All communication between the teacher and trainee is presumed to be confidential, unless the teacher feels that silence would cause harm and that it would be more beneficial to the trainee or others if information were shared with the appropriate person or authorities.
- Often a teacher may be told something in informal situations and even though it may be reasonable consider the information to be of a private matter, it would be wise for the trainee to make it clear to the teacher that what they are telling them should be kept confidential. The trainee should know that the teacher can discuss a given situation with other teachers and in some cases may feel conscience bound to tell other affected parties and authorities.
- That one teacher consults another is not be considered a breach of confidentiality as other teachers are all under the same rule. And a teacher must be free to discuss confidential material with his or her teacher in order to gain the benefit of their experience and wise discernment for the benefit of the confiding person.
- If there is a serious impending danger - physical, psychological or spiritual -to either the trainee or another, and the trainee will not take responsibility to prevent the harm, the teacher is conscience bound to do that they can to prevent it.
- Should a trainee die, having disclosed some serious impending danger - physical, psychological or spiritual - and is therefore unable to prevent the harm, the teacher must follow their conscience to right the situation, not only for the benefit of the other, but also for the deceased to undermine any unwholesome karma.
Information for the Trainee
The Five Training Rules are the basis of our ethical lives. They govern our relationship to all beings. Refining our ethical conduct supports spiritual growth.
It is incumbent upon teachers to behave in morally correct ways.
Trainees are invited to make any complaint regarding these rules. Even though a teacher may not have broken any of the rules above, the trainee may still feel they have behaved inappropriately.
To make a complaint, please provide as much information as possible.
Please address your complaints to the Chair of the Trust: (see Trustees in About Us drop down menu.)
Chair of the Trust
Satipanya Buddhist Trust
Powys SY5 0JN