Buddhism is a nearly 2,600-year-old religion and tradition that has been practiced and spread throughout the world. There are countless branches, schools, sects, movements, and interpretations that have manifested over the centuries.
While Buddhism does not mandate or impose a universal creed or dogma, the following tenets of faith are widely valued and practiced in many cultural and denominational forms, and also embraced by the Institute for Contemporary Buddhist Ministry.
- We take refuge in the Triple Gem, or Three Treasures of Buddha (the historical Buddha and the ideal of Buddhahood), Dharma (unmediated truth and teachings of the Buddha) and Sangha (spiritual community, community of life of all beings).
- We venerate and follow Shakyamuni Buddha as our supreme teacher and spiritual guide. Shakyamuni Buddha is respected and honored as a human being who realized great spiritual awakening and insight, and is not considered a god or deity.
- We subscribe to and practice the core teachings that Shakyamuni Buddha transmitted, such as the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path and also the profound teachings found in the great scriptures of the vast Mahayana canon.
- We cultivate ethical and moral conduct as we aspire to guide our lives in accordance with the Precepts of wholesome thought and action as found in the Vinaya Pitaka.
- We particularly honor, cherish, study, and practice the teachings expounded by the great ancestors of our Zen tradition, such as those teachings transmitted by Nāgārjuna, Bodhidharma, Seng-ts’an, Hui-neng, Lin-chi, Taego, Hyu-Jeong, Wonhyo, and Chinul, among others.
- We exercise various practices of meditation as the preeminent and a posteriori method of cultivating spiritual insight, realization, wisdom, and compassion.