Major Social taboo in a Buddhist Dojo

The word dojo is Japanese and the Chinese word is 道场 (daochang). Translated literally, it means a place where one walks the path or engages in the practice.

A Buddhist dojo therefore includes any place that is meant for the practice of the Buddha’s way. It includes, Buddhist clubs, associations and society, monastery and temple etc.

For a lay person, one major taboo is the

Seduction and romancing with the monastic community.

Taking a cue from the story of Buddha’s truimph against sensual temptation, no Buddhist will ever want to play the role of a tempter against a monk or nun.

It is an absolute taboo to have any form of romantic relationship with the monastic communities.

Regardless of sexual orientations and sexes, lay Buddhist keeps a respectful distance from the monastic community.

This is not meant to be insulting and we are not saying that every monk or nun will become sex crazed if we touch them.

It is more about keeping the spiritual ambience or setting the expectation / relationship clear. Just like keeping silence in a meditation hall. In short, do not send a wrong signal.

This is our practice of mindful consideration and it manifest into a conscious effort to avoid physical contact with them.

Therefore, hugging a monk or nun. Putting an arm over their shoulder etc is not encouraged. In fact, it had been taboo in Asia since ancient times.

We should teach our children at a young age to have the right understanding too.

Such restraints had been practiced in Asia for a long time but becomes an issue when contrasted against western norms and culture.

To show love and respect to the monastic communities we fold our hands in prayer and kneel to great them instead. No hugging please and we do not actually shake hands with them too.

Social contact with fellow lay people.

It may come as a surprise, but intimacy, flirtation and courtship is also being discouraged amongst the lay communities when they are socialising in a Buddhist Dojo.

The rationale is simple. There is a proper place for everything. Displaying mundane affection like kissing and hugging in a Buddhist Dojo is inappropriate. In short, Go Get a Room.

This is also another aspect of mindful consideration. While we may be lost in our world of love, do spare a thought for others.

Buddhist Dojo is meant for the practice of enlightenment. No matter which school of Buddhism (including Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism) we do not want the karma associated with the promotion of craving and desire in a Buddhist Dojo.