Some of my favorite “Engaged Buddhist Precepts” (via Thich Nhat Hanh) read all of them here.
1. Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones.
Don’t take this to mean that one can’t revel in or revere any particular doctrine. You can love the word of Christ till the cows come home. You can swim in the oceans of Dharma until you grow gills. But don’t ask me to milk your cows or jump in your waves. Please understand that those choices are yours and no more represent a “True” absolute view than do my humble views. Allow yourself time to nurture your spiritual seeds without stunting your own growth with dogma and needless rigidity.
2. Do not think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints.
We possess relative truth – A truth that is shaped by our own karma and experience. If we are diligent and lucky, we see a glimmer of the Absolute. Evangelicals of any sort don’t see the vast glimmer of understanding; they see the gleam of headlights. Struck down like an animal on a road they collide with a careening vehicle. Guess who is behind the wheel…
3. Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrow-mindedness.
I love this. My own samsara toddler will, no doubt, be exposed to some Dharma during her stint as my daughter. However, through it all, I hope that she can always enjoy the freedom of finding her own path without fear of being chained to what I believe and practice. It reminds me of Marley’s Ghost in “A Christmas Carol”. While he was dragged down and bound to earth in chains of his own forging – greed, ingnorance and cruelty; we forge chains of our own for our children to carry.
Too many children are so chained at an early age; squeezed into a belief system that no longer functions as a benefit. As long as samsara toddler can apply herself to a wise and compassionate practice, I care little what she chooses to label herself. Those are the seeds of Dharma that transcend Buddhism.