Guidelines and Precepts create safety for people from different cultural backgrounds and characteristics of identity to do the inner work and inquiry needed to grow up, wake up, and show up for each other.
Growing up: knowing who we are, having healthy ego boundaries, knowing needs, and asking for needs.
Waking up: moving from ego to essence, from personality to presence.
Showing up: cultivating a non-judgmental, loving, relational field that flows between people. This can be a portal to directly experience the essence of who we are.
Inquiry is a foundational practice at Awakening Truth, offering a practice for self-discovery and co-regulation.
How to Inquire:
Inquiry can be done by oneself with one another in a dyad, group of three, or a small group of 4 or more. The practice involves gently asking questions and watching what happens when we do. We begin by turning our attention inward, observing our thoughts and feelings, and body sensations without judgment. Then depending on the context, in a monologue, for example, we focus on a topic. As we do, we watch and share our thoughts, emotions, and body sensations as we dive into the topic. Sometimes this process reveals underlying patterns and assumptions that shape our experiences. The objective is to stay on the topic, without planning the response, and share whatever arises. For the listener, the practice is to listen deeply. Over time and with experience listening deeply includes oscillating attention between the impact of what you experience and what you observe. When noticing your own experience, you listen with your body, heart, and mind. When you are focused on the other, you are attuned to the content of the share, the emotions underneath what is being said, the body language, the musical fluctuations of the tone of voice, etc.
When we are in a dyad or triad, it can also take different forms.
Forms of Inquiry
Monologue: One person speaks in a monologue while other(s) are deeply listening.
Repeating Questions: The questioner and the listener go back and forth asking and responding to the question for whatever the allotted time. With ‘thank you’ as the only response of the listener before they switch.
Triad: One person speaks and two people listen. Sometimes follow-up questions are asked afterward that help the inquirer explore more deeply into the topic.
Discussion: Open sharing about the topic and the impact of listening.
Cyclonic: A group organizes itself in a circle. On Zoom the circle is created by members self-selecting numbers 1-4. Each briefly responds and it continues circling for the allotted time.
Didactic: This is the practice of oscillating the inquiry between what is happening individually and what is going on in the relationship between the inquiry partners.
Need for Guidelines and Ethics
As inquiry practice requires presence, safety, respect, attunement, trust, and confidentiality we have developed guidelines to support it. In a Buddhist context, an ethical framework supports us in everything we do.
Below are the guidelines and ethical frameworks that have supported our inquiry. Note that this is an alive process and guidelines and ethical frameworks have evolved over time in response to the changing needs in the group.
- Confidentiality: personal shares are not repeated. Before following up about something shared in the group, ask permission.
- Be respectful of the specific access needs individuals have that make it possible for them to participate.
- Pause if you feel less safe. Share only what you feel at ease sharing.
2. Mindful container
- Show up fully and be present.
- Lean into vulnericity- An Awakening Truth term for the mixture of vulnerability and authenticity
- Pause if something is keeping you from being fully present.
- Take care of yourself – ask for what you need.
3. Mindful speech
- Speak from your heart and your own experience.
- Listen deeply: notice what arises as you listen and as you speak.
- When in a group discussion, be succinct.
- Refrain from offering advice unless it is specifically solicited.
- Refrain from blaming or shaming yourself & others
- Take note of who is speaking and who is not. If you have spoken, consider “moving back” and vice versa.
- Use speech that honors different perspectives.
Long Precepts and Ethical Guidelines
Adopted by the Ethics Committee, January 2024
Awakening Truth is a community based on these values: safety, respect, justice, equity, diversity, and belonging. These values allow us to bring all parts of our lives to our spiritual practice. Regularly affirming these precepts and guidelines supports our intention towards non-harm and our positive aspiration towards life-sustaining practices. For this reason, we use these long precepts and the ethical guidelines that are embedded within them.
1. Honoring Life: Aware of the violence in the world and the power of nonviolent resistance, I stand in the presence of ancestors, the earth, and future generations and commit to refrain from causing harm. I cultivate compassion for each living being.
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I commit to cultivating insight into how we are interconnected. I cultivate compassion and learn ways to reinforce the systems that support the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I cultivate openness and non-attachment to views, considering their
context. I commit to respecting the complexity of issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and doctor-assisted suicide and to work to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism.
2. Honoring Stewardship and Trustworthiness: Aware of the poverty and greed in the world and the abundance of the earth, I stand in the presence of ancestors, the earth, and future generations and commit to refrain from taking what is not given or to take more than I need.
I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that belongs to others. Within my capacity, I share my time, energy, and material resources with others. I cultivate a life of simplicity, gratitude, and generosity. Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I commit to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting.
3. Honoring Healthy Sexual Relations: Aware of the abuses and cruelty in the world, and the healing that is made possible with love, care, and respect, I stand in the presence of ancestors, the earth, and future generations and commit to refrain from creating harm with my sexuality. I cultivate respect for the erotic
power of our bodies.
4. Honoring Honesty: Aware of falsehood and deception in the world, and the power of living and speaking the truth, I stand in the presence of ancestors, the earth, and future generations and commit to refrain from false and divisive speech and harmful gossip. I cultivate the ability to listen and to practice clarity and integrity in my communications – through my words and actions.
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I commit to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening. My speech is true and useful and I refrain from gossip. I hold in confidence what is explicitly told to me in confidence except where to do so would support the actions of a person causing harm to themselves or others. I speak up when remaining silent would cause harm to self or others and keep silent when words would likely cause harm. I cultivate communication that is clear, timely, wise, compassionate, and honest.
5. Honoring Mindfulness: Aware of the many ways we are drawn away from mindful awareness and my responsibility to remain clear and awake, I stand inthe presence of ancestors, the earth, and future generations and commit to refrain from misuse of all forms of intoxicants and from addictive behaviors that cause harm or loss of awareness. I cultivate right action and honor the health and well-being of my body, heart, mind, communities, and the planet.
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I commit to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society. I also commit to supporting teachers, leaders, facilitators, and community members who suffer from addictive behaviors that may harm the community.