“If you’re invested in security and certainty,
you are on the wrong planet.” 
– Pema Chödrön


Can Our Life Be Ethical AND Joyous? Steven Tierney

Mar 10, 2024

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Steven Tierney shares that we begin to truly embody the Bodhisattva vow when our decisions are based on their impact on “we” rather than “I.” We pause and consider others before we think or act. It doesn’t mean we forget ourselves, but that others are considered in our actions.

Taking this vow we commit to not being instigators of any further chaos or misery in the world. Just meditating quietly is a moral act because, during that time, we refrain from creating any conflict.

He shares that ethical living (known as Śīla in Buddhist practice) goes beyond refraining from harm – we become liberators. The foundations of Śīla are three components of the Eightfold Path:

  • Wise speech
  • Wise action
  • Wise livelihood

Pausing to consider these three can become our code of conduct that embraces self-restraint, primarily motivated by freedom from causing harm.

Steven Tierney (Kai Po Koshin) is a Dharma-transmitted teacher in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi. Steven practices with: Meditation in Recovery, Great Spirit Sanghai SFLGBTQA Sangha, Gay Buddhist Fellowship and the Harford Street Zen Center.

Steven believes that we can find wisdom, compassion and awakening wherever good people come together for practice, healing, service and joy. Dr. Tierney is a psychotherapist in private practice and Professor Emeritus in Counseling Psychology at CIIS.