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Ethics Policies & Reconciliation Procedures

Our current Ethics and Reconciliation Committee members are
Nyozan Eric Shutt, Kathy Bingham, Libby Bachhuber, Gary Wilson, and Gerrie Griffin.

You can contact any of them directly, or ask any of them to contact you by e-mailing

Ethics Policies for ADZG

The primary objectives and purposes of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate are to express, make accessible, and enact the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha. Our ideals are based on the example of the Buddha and guided by the teachings and lineage of the Soto School as conveyed to us by Dogen Zenji and Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Ancient Dragon Zen Gate values the essential non-duality of practice and awakening in the practice of Zen and the expression of the Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts in our daily lives. We welcome the public to join us for silent meditation.

The Board of Directors has adopted the following ethical guidelines and grievance procedure. All supporters and active participants at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate are required to abide by these guidelines and may avail themselves of the formal grievance procedures.

Anyone involved in the leadership of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, such as members of the Board of Directors, officers, priests, temple officers, our Dharma Teacher and anyone acting in an instructional capacity, must conduct himself or herself in accordance with these guidelines.


The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts are the most fundamental guidelines to our actions and relationships:

The Three Refuges

I take refuge in Buddha
I take refuge in Dharma
I take refuge in Sangha

The Three Pure Precepts

I vow to embrace and sustain right conduct
I vow to embrace and sustain all good
I vow to embrace and sustain all beings

The Ten Grave Precepts

A disciple of Buddha does not kill
A disciple of Buddha does not take what is not given
A disciple of Buddha does not misuse sexuality
A disciple of Buddha does not lie
A disciple of Buddha does not intoxicate mind or body of self or others
A disciple of Buddha does not slander
A disciple of Buddha does not praise self at the expense of others
A disciple of Buddha is not possessive of anything
A disciple of Buddha does not harbor ill will
A disciple of Buddha does not disparage the Three Treasures


Inappropriate behavior is harmful to others and to ourselves. We try to create an environment at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate where we can cultivate conscious and compassionate relationships and where members are supported to focus on practice, free from harsh or manipulative speech or actions, harassment and unwanted sexual or romantic attention.


Please be mindful of your speech. Refrain from harsh speech and gossip and from talking about your private interviews with a teacher. Please safeguard information shared during study groups and other contexts where people may disclose personal information.

Spiritual direction is a central part of our practice. There is a right to confidentiality regarding what is said in dokusan or similar interviews. Teachers and leaders may share confidential disclosures with each other only to the extent required for consultation regarding practice and the well being of the Sangha. Personal details disclosed during interviews that are not relevant to practice or the well being of the Sangha may not be shared.



Everyone who comes to Ancient Dragon Zen Gate has the right to be free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may consist of unwelcome or offensive sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which is unwelcome. Continued expression of sexual interest directed at another Ancient Dragon Zen Gate Sangha member or visitor, after being informed that such interest is unwelcome, is considered a misuse of sexuality.

Anyone involved in an instructional or leadership position has particular responsibility toward others, especially with regard to romantic or sexual relationships within the Sangha. Teachers and leaders include the Dharma Teacher, priests, instructors, anyone in a position of formal authority, such as board members and officers, and the Temple Director, Tenzo, Work Leader and Ino. Particular care must be taken with newcomers. As the foundation of a practice is formed in the first weeks and months, it can be seriously undermined or distorted through the lens of a romantic relationship. Because this area is so sensitive, teachers and leaders should allow a new practitioner some time to develop their practice before initiating such a relationship within the Sangha.

If the people involved in a romantic or sexual relationship are in a teacher-student relationship, a choice must be made between pursuing the personal relationship and continuing the teacher-student relationship. The EAR Committee may help in this decision-making process. A resolution should be achieved with as little delay and as much openness and transparency as possible.

Outside the Sangha, priests, Dharma teachers, and transmitted teachers are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity in all personal relationships.


Any disrespectful, discriminatory, or preferential treatment of others on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, disability, income, political views, religion, ethnicity, or national origin is a violation of the Ancient Dragon Zen Gate ethical guidelines.


Teachers and leaders have a responsibility to anticipate and avoid potential conflicts of interest. Matters of a financial nature among members of the Sangha should be engaged in with open hearts and clear heads. Leaders must perform their responsibilities on behalf of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate and administer its finances in a fiduciary manner, without personal gain, taking for one’s self an opportunity that belongs to Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, or exploitation at the expense of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate.


Mental health professionals, and those in the helping professions, are asked to be sensitive to the possible complexity of dual relationships that may arise when both parties practice at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate. Teachers, psychotherapists and priests are expected to abide by the ethical codes of their professions.



Disagreements, conflicts, misunderstandings and unethical behavior may occur in the course of Sangha activities. Sangha members are strongly encouraged to approach one another to discuss conflicts and ethical concerns. If direct discussion is not comfortable or successful, the Ethics and Reconciliation (“EAR”) Committee is available to assist in resolving conflicts, in reconciling Sangha members with each other and with the Sangha and to recommend disciplinary action to the Board of Directors…

The Board of Directors has established the EAR Committee as a standing committee to assist in resolving conflicts, clarifying ethical issues and responding to allegations of misconduct. The number of members and the membership of the EAR Committee are determined by the Board, and members are appointed by consensus. Tenure is for one year and may be renewed. Members of the Board of Directors may not be members of the EAR Committee. The names of the EAR Committee members are posted on the Ancient Dragon Zen Gate website. In the event that a matter involves either: (i) an allegation that a member of the EAR Committee has acted inappropriately or in violation of these guidelines, or (ii) an allegation brought by a member of the EAR Committee, any such member(s) shall be recused from any meetings of the EAR Committee involving such allegation and shall not influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of such hearing. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any such member of the EAR Committee may address the EAR Committee at the request of the EAR Committee or, if bringing an allegation, as part of the normal process for pursuing such allegation.

Any member of the Sangha is encouraged to bring ethical concerns or interpersonal conflicts to a member of the EAR Committee for consultation, support and advice if direct discussion with the person involved is impossible, unwise, or has been unsuccessful at reaching resolution. Often a meeting with a single member of the EAR Committee will prove sufficient. This can be an opportunity to air a concern and clarify matters. There may be a need for additional consultation. This can be mapped out with the EAR Committee member.

Informal Resolution
A direct conversation between Sangha members regarding a conflict or ethical concern is usually the best way to resolve an issue. When it is not possible, Sangha members should bring their concerns to a member of the EAR Committee. If the matter can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion through an informal process, this will be the end of the matter. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, or for serious concerns, a process has been developed outlined below as the “Formal Procedure.”

There are many possible informal approaches to a complaint. Healing and reconciliation is the goal, although all parties cannot always be satisfied. It may be useful to invite one or more EAR Committee members as neutral witnesses or facilitators to take part in face-to-face conflict resolution. EAR Committee members may be silent witnesses or may be mediators who help ensure that each person has an uninterrupted opportunity to speak. The parties may agree to involve a mutually agreeable third party, for example a neutral acquaintance, or someone who is a trained mediator.

If informal resolution is not possible, or directly addressing the conflict or issue does not bring a satisfactory resolution, it may be brought to the attention of the entire EAR Committee for formal procedures. Anyone aware of the following matters that occur at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate or that occur in connection with a teacher’s or leader’s performance of his or her responsibilities should bring them to the EAR Committee immediately to be addressed in accordance with formal procedures: misappropriation of funds, gross and harmful incompetence in leadership or teaching, abusive behavior, harassment, inappropriate sexual conduct between a teacher and a member of the Sangha, any illegal misconduct by anyone in a teaching or leadership position, or anything that a therapist or minister would be mandated by law to report, such as suspected abuse or neglect of a child, an elder or a disabled person.

Formal Procedure
A formal grievance procedure is available when informal attempts at reconciliation have not worked or are inappropriate. Serious ethical violations may necessitate interventions, possibly including a recommendation by the EAR Committee to the Board of Directors, which may result in sanctions including expulsion from the Sangha or dismissal from leadership or teaching within Ancient Dragon Zen Gate.

The EAR Committee is responsible for determining whether alleged misconduct has occurred, and any recommended consequences. In those cases their recommendation is forwarded to the Board of Directors.

Any complaint to the EAR Committee under this formal grievance procedure must be made in writing. It may be given to any member of the EAR Committee. Anyone who registers a complaint with the EAR Committee should be given a copy of this document, along with a written acknowledgment of receipt of the complaint.

The complaint should describe in appropriate detail the alleged behavior, a history of any attempts to resolve the complaint informally, and a general statement about the desired resolution. The EAR Committee may request additional information to supplement the complaint. The complaint and related documents will be retained by the EAR Committee for such period as it considers appropriate. The EAR Committee may meet with the Sangha members directly involved in the matter giving rise to the complaint, as well as other persons who may be able to provide information regarding the matter.

The EAR Committee should respond to the person who has registered the complaint in writing within a month after receipt of the complaint, if reasonably possible, with a statement of its decision and the reason(s) for the decision.

The possible responses include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following: a finding of no breach, suggesting a mediated resolution, a limited finding acknowledging some breach and forwarding this to an appropriate second party, a reversal of an administrative decision or action, a private and mediated apology, a private reprimand, follow-up meetings with affected parties, a public apology, public censure, reparation when possible, a recommendation for psychological counseling or similar program, a period of probation, suspension or dismissal. Certain ethical transgressions may result in sanctions that involve the individual’s spiritual path. While the EAR Committee may recommend such sanctions, the decision regarding whether such sanctions are to be imposed rests solely with the individual’s teacher. These sanctions are: 1. Retaking of the precepts, with appropriate accompanying repentance practice, and 2. for persons with priest ordinations, relinquishment of the ordination and okesa. In each case, the teacher responsible for giving the precepts or ordaining the individual would be solely responsible for determining whether such a sanction is warranted.

Anyone may appeal the EAR Committee’s decision to the Board of Directors. However, the Board of Directors is expected to work from an assumption that the EAR Committee has acted in good faith and with due diligence, and should not lightly overturn the findings of the EAR Committee. This right of appeal does not apply if the EAR Committee has already involved the Board of Directors in the decision making process.