Bright Way Zen (BWZ) affirms that minors (under age 18) and vulnerable adults (special needs, elderly, etc.) have a right to pursue spiritual practice in a safe environment. BWZ is committed to providing an environment in which these individuals are safe from abuse and neglect, and can receive support and protection if they disclose such a history. The responsibility to provide a safe environment applies to all BWZ members, but especially to the guiding teacher or clergy, those in preparation to become teachers or clergy, staff, and volunteers who have direct or indirect contact with minors or vulnerable adults in BWZ events.
Spiritual communities face a dilemma in their attempt to provide a safe environment that protects such vulnerable individuals and nurtures survivors of abuse and neglect, while simultaneously welcoming individuals who have committed a sex offense in the past and have met, or continue to meet, their legal obligations around that offense. Although BWZ’s mission is to offer instruction in Zen practice and Buddhist teachings to all who are interested, BWZ recognizes that at times it has special responsibilities: (1) to protect vulnerable individuals from harm, and (2) to protect the identities and past details of a Registered Sex Offender (RSO) so that s/he may move forward and create a better future for themselves and others.
To further its goal of a safe place to practice for all, BWZ has developed a Safe Environment Policy relating in part to Registered Sex Offenders. Anyone with a question about this policy is invited speak to our teacher, Rev. Burk, by phone: (971) 770-1299.