Policy Regarding Spiritual Teachers
As Adopted 25 May 2006, and amended 11 Jan. 2010 and 13 Dec. 2010 by the CSS Board of Directors
- Spiritual teacher/mentor: For the purposes of this policy, a spiritual teacher, mentor, or assistant teacher is someone who a) offers educational information to the public about mystical traditions, mystical teachings, and mystical practices, and/or b) offers to spiritual practitioners spiritual teachings and guidance whose sole function and purpose is to help them follow a mystical path.
- Appointment: A CSS spiritual teacher is a person who has been appointed by the CSS spiritual director, with the approval of the board, to serve and represent CSS as a spiritual teacher. An appointment as a CSS spiritual teacher may be withdrawn at any time for any reason by the CSS spiritual director, or by the CSS board of directors. A CSS spiritual mentor or assistant teacher is a person who has been appointed by the CSS spiritual director to provide one-on-one mentoring to students of the Way of Selflessness distance studies course or to assist a CSS spiritual teacher, respectively.
- Stay true to tradition: To maintain coherence of teachings given by CSS teachers, the teachings and guidance given by a CSS spiritual teacher, in their capacity as a CSS spiritual teacher, must be consistent with the principles and practices of teachings at CSS as well as with the teachings of the mystics of the great religious traditions, as outlined in the CSS Mission Statement contained in the CSS Articles of Incorporation.
- Keep it spiritual: To preserve a clear context for spiritual teachings, a CSS spiritual teacher may not provide, in their capacity as a CSS spiritual teacher, any psychological counseling or therapy, medical treatment or advice, or any other form of professional service or advice outside of the scope of spiritual guidance and teaching.
- Admit ignorance: A CSS spiritual teacher shall openly confess ignorance when he or she does not know the answer to a question or does not have the competence to address an issue or question.
- Honor your sources: To preserve the integrity of teachings, when giving teachings, a CSS teacher shall strive to acknowledge the source or sources of the teachings being given, whether it be a book, another teacher, or direct experience.
- Check your facts: To preserve students' confidence in the teachings, a CSS spiritual teacher should be prepared to provide evidence to back up any statements of fact, and should appropriately qualify or restrict statements that would otherwise be too general.
- Give teachings freely: As an outward sign of selflessness, a CSS spiritual teacher, in their capacity as a CSS spiritual teacher, should not ask for nor receive from students any substantial personal compensation for giving spiritual teachings or guidance, except that a) a portion of donations from students attending a teaching event may be accepted by the teacher as reimbursement for travel and other expenses directly related to that teaching event, and b) if a CSS spiritual teacher is in personal financial need, compensation from students or from CSS may be accepted, provided a complete disclosure of the compensation is promptly made to the CSS community.
- Respect privacy: Out of respect for the privacy of students, a CSS spiritual teacher shall keep in strict confidence everything discussed in private spiritual consultations with a student, with the exception that a) some matters may be discussed with the CSS spiritual director (unless the student explicitly requests otherwise), and b) some information may be disclosed to appropriate civil authorities if there is reasonable suspicion that the student plans actions that would result in physical harm being done to the student or others.
- Fair treatment: A CSS spiritual teacher shall treat every student with respect, free of discrimination based on the student's race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or nationality, as long as the student does not disrupt the teachings.
- Sexual candor: CSS practitioners and teachers are lay persons who are not expected or required to be celibate. However, spiritual teachers must exercise great caution and clear judgment before engaging in a sexual relationship with someone who is also a student. In the event that a CSS spiritual teacher is or becomes engaged in a sexual relationship with a student, the CSS spiritual teacher must inform the CSS community of the relationship in a timely manner.
- Walk your talk: To help preserve respect for the teachings and for CSS, a CSS spiritual teacher shall strive meticulously to keep the ten selfless precepts, and should promptly and openly admit transgressions.