As the name suggests, Dharma.house is inspired by the Buddhadharma, the teachings of the Buddha.
Unlike a Buddhist monastery, the house is not an institution for the preservation of a single, specific tradition.
While preserving teachings may be a necessary and wholesome enterprise, embodying or realising (“making real”) what the Dharma points to has always been a vital complementary approach (cf. the tension between pariyatti, paṭipatti and paṭivedha).
Embodiment is instrumental to impassion the next generation, and testifies to the value and practical efficacy of the Dharma. The intimacy with “reality as it is” eclipses rote memorisation (cf. the Parable of the Raft, or the autonomy of the Noble assembly).
Nirvāṇa is unconditioned; in particular, it is not dependent on a social status nor on an institutional function. The extinguishing of the fires that cause suffering is as attainable for the layperson as it is for the monastic (cf. e.g. aṅguttara nikāya 6.119, 6.120 or Vimalakīrti nirdeśa sūtra).
Dharma.house is not identified with any particular sect or sub-tradition, or any clique. Lay practice is promoted, without the clans, without the hierarchies, without the myths of uninterrupted lineages, without fallacious and artificial legitimacy: a practice in the midst of each and every person's situation, without waiting for ‘better’ circumstances and conditions, for the benefit of the student rather than the glory of the teacher.
In order to realise the cessation of unsatisfactoriness (the ordinary dissatisfaction with a life which cannot be made to reliably comply with our wishes), the Dharma provides an ethical frame, based on understanding tendencies and causality rather than based on ‘superior’ edicts and rules.
It proposes a path, a cultivation, a method to gradually embody into our circumstances another way of living, which is more appreciative, more compassionate, more generous.
And it promotes a wise engagement with the multiplicity of perspectives, embracing unity and interdependence without denying the diversity of individual conditions and circumstances.
Living a creative, responsible and appropriate engagement with the world —a life free from attachment, aversion and ignorance— is achievable! The eightfold path supports us to drop unconstructive ways of relating to our experiences and to the unpredictability and unreliability of ‘life.’
Ethics, enquiry and wisdom allow for the disenchantment from unhelpful beliefs and habits, leading to the relinquishing of such hindrances.
The many Buddhist traditions arose in response to various contexts and needs. Prejudices and preconceptions aren't constructive. It makes sense neither to mix all the traditions indiscriminately (in an attempt to find a “one size fits all” antidote) nor to rule out entire sets of antidotes prior to the diagnostic of a student's personal hindrances.
Retreats will as easily cover early Buddhism, Theravāda and Mahāyāna evolutions, as they will recent trends (mindfulness, secularism, etc.). We strive to maintain clarity and appreciation of the specificities of each school —without dilution but also without letting nuances hide their commonality— while leveraging their complementarity. On occasions, non-Buddhist traditions may also be touched upon.
While each person may have particular circumstances and conditions to deal with, anyone has the potential to realise Liberation from saṃsāra. We strive to embody the harmony of equality and diversity.