Bright Way Zen’s Mission and Vision
Our mission is to help people find spiritual peace, deepen their wisdom, and manifest compassion. We do this by providing access to the teachings and practices of Soto Zen Buddhism, maintaining a harmonious and welcoming spiritual community, and supporting a vital and sustainable online and in-person Zen center that will be here for future generations.
Practice – We will maintain a strong Soto Zen Buddhist tradition, providing a place of refuge in Washington county and online where people can come to regularly practice zazen, learn Zen and Buddhist teachings, and interact with Sangha (spiritual community). We will be guided by a qualified Soto Zen Teacher,[i] and engage in other traditional Soto Zen practices such as the taking of vows and participating in traditional ceremonies.
Accessibility – We will make our Zen center visible and accessible to anyone who sincerely wants to explore Zen practice. We will offer many different ways to participate, and consciously work to lower any unnecessary barriers to participation based on such things as socioeconomic circumstances, race, disability, or cultural background.
Community – We will foster a strong sense of community, connection, and belonging among our members, striving for clear communication, mutual respect and appreciation. We will show gratitude for the generosity of our members in terms of the time, labor, and financial support they give to the community, and care for our members in need.
The Future – We will help transmit Soto Zen to future generations by creating a strong and sustainable Zen center. In particular: 1) Working toward the financial capability to support the facilities, staff, and qualified Soto Zen Teachers necessary to meet the Sangha’s needs; 2) growing the ability of the Sangha to maintain the Soto Zen tradition and its own culture through the gradual mentorship of seniors into leadership roles, so the vitality of the Sangha is not dependent on any particular teacher, and 3) building a strong and stable organization that can last as long as there are people in the greater Washington County area and in the worldwide online community who want to practice Zen.
Compassion – We will work toward manifesting our bodhisattva vows beyond the digital and physical walls of our Zen center, paying attention to the suffering in the world and responding appropriately. We will play a role in wider Buddhist and spiritual communities and conduct Zen center affairs in environmentally sustainable and socially responsible ways whenever possible.
[i] At least one lay or ordained teacher who has received Dharma Transmission in the Soto Zen lineage.
Result of a Board of Directors Visioning/Strategic Planning Retreat March 18, 2017
Edited March 2018 by Strategic Planning Committee, Adopted by Board March 31, 2018
Edited in 2023 and Adopted by Board Oct. 18, 2023