Core Values


We affirm all beings as awakened and inherently perfect whole and complete. We maintain the teachings and practices of our lineage and ancestors as we foster the realization and manifestation of the Dharma in accord with the conditions of our time. We commit to realizing and refining this understanding for ourselves through our personal path to awakening and as an expression of our path to interconnected, collective awakening.

Transforming Delusion

We practice meeting life directly. We seek to transform our habitual relationships to the causes of suffering. Individually, and as a community, we grow by asking for help and opening our hearts to humility and change.

Self Study

We engage with our lives through looking at our actions and intentions and taking full responsibility for ourselves. We affirm that there are multiple forms of self-study, including zazen, therapy, 12-step work, the creative arts, and mind-body practices.


We are respectful, open, and welcoming to people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, economic circumstances, and cultures. We support those healing from addictions and the effects of compulsive and habitual patterns. We value diversity within our practice community and within society as a whole.

Shared leadership

We work together to build a strong community and contribute to the life of the community. We are committed to the co-creation of Sweetwater Zen Center’s vision, organization, and programs through shared stewardship. We engage in collective decision-making, shared service and cultivation of our many talents and styles of leadership.


We practice honest and skillful communication. We value truthfulness, respect, and compassion in our actions, speech and thoughts. We use Council, non-violent communication, and any other communication techniques that are productive and appropriate.

Organizational Accountability

We practice financial transparency and organizational stability, which helps to create a strong foundation for the Dharma. We expect organizational and financial conduct based on sound management practices in all Center operations, property, and in our relationships with others.

Ethical Conduct

We take responsibility for creating a safe space for each other to practice and grow. We expect transparency from everyone and especially from teachers, senior students and those who are in positions of authority and power. We emphasize a grievance process that affirms healthy boundaries and appropriate consequences for any ethical violations. We prioritize support and healing for victims and our community.


We freely give, share, and receive in the spirit of service to build fellowship through mutuality and respect. We celebrate our shared abundance through service and social action committed to a reverence for all life; a sustainable and ethical economy; equal rights for all; and stewardship of the earth.