The Oath Against Harm in the Practice of the Dharma has been created to unite Buddhists who believe that causing harm cannot be justified within Buddhism.
It focusses on the worst aspect of harm within Buddhism itself, which is the widespread problem of abuse, and the need to take a stand across traditions. This means re-asserting that this was never a part of the Buddha’s intent.
The oath invites contemplation on healthy student-teacher relationships and practice environments and can be considered as akin to the Hippocratic Oath in medicine. It is a reminder of the core ethical principle in Buddhism of non-harming.
It is built on a basic statement on the purpose of the student-teacher relationship:
—> Advocates for safe organisations
—> Lists harms in terms of abuse that have occurred
—> Finishes with the motivation for creating and taking the oath.
Dharma practitioners might wish to read it for personal reflection. Some may wish to commit to it privately. Others, who are in teaching roles, might wish to share their views about what it raises for them with their students. Buddhist teachers, leaders, and ordained sangha are invited to take the oath and, if they wish, add their name to a list which will be published on this website.
Dharma groups or organisations might wish to endorse it to advance the principle of non-harming within their community and more broadly in the Buddhist community.
Here Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron goes through the oath and shares her thoughts about it. She emphasises that non-harming is the foundation of Buddhist ethics.
Here Venerable Mettaji from the Australian Sangha Association makes it clear that “the Buddha’s teachings abhor any abuse of any type”. He encourages monastics and lay teachers in Australia to take the oath.
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take the oath or your organisation would like to endorsed it.
This is the first edition of the Oath published in March 2020.
Zakletva protiv štete u praksi Dharme (Croatian)
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