Active Dharma is a Buddhist spiritual practice for lay practitioners which uses the chaos of daily life as a purification vehicle.
Practitioners of Active Dharma have two goals:
Its practice requires 24/7 ruthless self-honesty and constant betrayal of selfish urges.
While most Buddhist traditions aim for liberation from suffering and Buddhahood, we are concerned with cultivating its pre-requisite: wholesome behavior.
Without it, approaching the Dharma could be fruitless or very unpleasant.
Our goal is to become permanently harmless in this lifetime. Whether enlightenment happens or not later is beyond the scope of our tradition.
Our method follows the development of mundane wisdom (paññā) and virtue (sīla) before even embarking on meditation (samādhi).
Unlike other traditions that focus on benefiting others, Active Dharma practitioners focus on themselves first and foremost. We do this to prevent the arising of idiot compassion and establish the foundations for genuine, heroic selflessness based on realizing no-self (anatta).
In our view, only then is one truly ready to benefit others.
Furthermore, while there is a time and place for the non-doing aspect of spiritual practice, Active Dharma favors the doing aspect. Our tradition is, above all, a practice of the Buddhadharma for lay practitioners.
The Buddha taught many routes to liberation, and we follow the path laid out in the Cetanākaraṇīyasutta:
Active Dharma strictly abides by the principle of conditionality (idappaccayata), which states: if this rises, that rises. If this ceases, that ceases.
Conditionality means that if virtue rises, blamelessness rises. If blamelessness rises, joy rises. If joy rises, rapture rises… If dispassion rises, freedom rises.
By the same principle, if virtue doesn’t rise, blamelessness also doesn’t arise, which results in the non-arising of freedom.
Through this understanding, we prevent skipping necessary steps for genuine spiritual development.
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