Dharma.house was founded in 2016, as a complementary offer to traditional meditation centres. Our mission is to inspire, and show by example that it is possible to create, another way of life, free from ordinary pettiness, free from complaining about our circumstances and free from mental rigidity.

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Denis Wallez

In 2011, twenty years after my first formal Buddhist ‘sitting,’ I started teaching the Dharma online with koan.無. Founded in 2016, Dharma.house is the bricks-and-mortar continuation of this endeavour. It enables deeper and further ways to practice.

As a teacher, I combine scientific interests and mathematical skills (M.Sc.) with philosophical enquiry and knowledge of Buddhist traditions (M.A.), to spread a practical and non-sectarian presentation of the Dharma. My teachings focus on causation and causality, and on the practical cultivation of the Buddhist ideals in the midst of lay life, in saṃsāra.

I practice iaido (2nd dan, Muso Shinden Ryu and Shindo Munen Ryu Tachi Iai) and I am also happy to informally share and train with others when the opportunity arises.

You can reach me via the contact page.

Ethos

Many teachers in the history of Buddhism broke away from the establishment, and it is my choice to teach without an exotic “dharma name,” title or claim of lineage. We can cling to myths and fallacies of ‘unbroken’ transmission, we can keep milking the reputation of our teachers for our own legitimacy, and we can pretend that a particular sub-tradition holds all the answers to all questions… Alternatively, we can focus on our practice and on making the Dharma relevant and helpful in today's world. Seeing the continuity between past and present is antithetical to obsessing about the past; the question is what do you do with this past that you appropriate?

I am academically qualified and traditionally “authorised to teach,” but I am not bound to a specific tradition: anything that might help someone is considered relevant, regardless of the (sub-)tradition it arose in.

Authenticity matters. It is manifested in the embodiment of the practice, the realisation of an equanimous and compassionate way of life; it is not in clinging to “my school is better, my teacher is more legitimate, my insights are more authentic than yours.” Traditions, customs, texts, papers and transmission are important only as far as they support and nurture one's practice: they shouldn't be turned into prisons of conceit or righteousness.

A doctor shouldn't reject any option a priori, out of mere bias and prejudice, prior to seeing a patient and establishing a clear diagnostic. Similarly, the various antidotes from Buddhism arose in a multitude of contexts and situations, and the circumstances of the student dictate what's appropriate, not the preferences or preconceptions of the teacher. Discernment entangled with dogma is the root-cause of Ignorance, while responsible discernment based on the situation at hand is the root-cause of Wisdom: when it is useful, there is judgement and response, but wholesomeness depends on appropriateness, not on preconceived grand ‘truths.’

Understanding causality, and engaging accordingly, are at the heart of Buddhism. The strength of a teacher depends on their ability to listen and to see, to know, how to effectively respond. This doesn't depend on having experienced the same difficulties as the student (maybe over many lives, but not necessarily in this life): you do not ask an oncologist to have personally had cancer or a cosmologist to be a black hole. Perception and knowledge do not mean identity. Requiring a teacher to share some condition (past or present) amounts to declaring you're special, separate from the observable shared reality; it amounts to refusing a diversity of perspectives.

Diversity might be uncomfortable, and it runs against the ordinary tendencies of self-identifying and of equating the ‘known’ and ‘predictable’ with the ‘safe,’ but the Ultimate goal is the harmony of equality and diversity (neither running away, nor building the next Chinese Wall): non-subjective insights can constructively complement personal lessons, without automatically denying them —some schools talk of “two truths.”

Seeing things “as they are” (not just your individual perspective on them) is the root-cause of Wisdom, and listening to others is at the heart of Loving-kindness and Compassion. My teachings are about broadening your horizon, weakening the barriers, and opening yourself to communication. This doesn't deny that specific hindrances call for appropriate, individualised antidotes; however, it maintains a dynamic tension and active navigation between the unique contingency at hand and the wider, shared causal web (from which any separation ultimately is illusory, and for which a ‘person’ is not an appropriate unit of measure).