My name is Bryan Wagner, and this is “A People’s Dharma” site. The word “Dharma” is being used in the Hindu sense of “Wisdom.” I started this site as a voice for the organization named after the book “Visions of a People’s Dharma.”
The book is about studying and expanding the Dharma based in Taoism, Zen, Hinduism, Christian, Shamanistic, Non-dual, and Buddhist beliefs. At some point in my Zen studies I realized there is an incredible amount of Dharma available if we open a door where people from all paths can come together and share what is working for them. It has been in my heart for years to start a base of operations for those of us who embrace all wisdom teachings and seek to explore the rich varied fields of Dharma.
There are basic ideas that cross reference within all the spiritual traditions. An example is the Golden rule that prescribes treating others as you would like to be treated. Or, another way to say it is don’t treat people in a way that you would not want to be treated. There are many teachings across the world that contain this single universal message. I suspect there are many more that can be examined and used by all.
During the years I was searching for bases of understanding, I kept running into the same problem. There would be a belief, a program, and the resulting dogma. Either you adhered to the dogma and program or you were not accepted. I kept running into examples of “Us and Them” and “This way is the TRUE way” and you can’t possibly “Contain” any truth. You may have experienced what I’m talking about. There was always a structure that created artificial barriers and levels between the information the system was based upon and the people following the system. There were always walls between people following different systems.
One of my core beliefs is that we can all have our own paths and still interact with compassion, intelligence, and caring for others. Instead of viewing other paths as opposition, we have an opportunity to view them as parallel paths. Yes, we may be running on different beliefs, but while we are doing so we can still interact, interweave, and support each other. This means to develop an inclusive mind and heart. My passion is looking for that territory where we connect.
A courageous step will be letting go of the conditioned need to have anyone tell us what to believe in or how to embrace our beliefs. When seeking is about your own spiritual path and internal meaning, there is no other person in a position to tell you how to evolve. It is yours and yours alone. You already have the capabilities to cultivate evolution. Others can act as guides and mentors, but you are the one clearing your path. Me telling you how to do that is as ridiculous as me telling you how to feel or what to believe.
Most organizations are built on a pyramid shaped model. Those closest to the top have more say in how the organization operates and what happens than those below. The closer to the top the less room and more power, prestige, and control. The ones at the top are “Special People.” The organization may have started out in service to the people, but once the pyramid starts to form the main concern of the people at the top is to stay at the top. The organization becomes the server of those in control. They limit access to information and resources to maintain control. This is sad but speaks loudly of human organization for thousands of years. The ones who suffer are the people who could use the wisdom teachings to end suffering and improve the quality of their lives.
That is not how I want to participate. Wisdom, love, compassion, caring, awareness, sharing, and support are available to us all. We don’t need an “authority figure” to tell us how to process caring and love. We are born with that capability. We don’t need to be told we are ready to evolve, we are born in evolution. I have met many people who shared internal wisdom over the years and am still learning form them all. I believe the time has come for us to start interweaving and supporting each other from the ground up! I want to know how you believe, how you put those beliefs into practice, what works for you, and what doesn’t.
I continue to work on the model for A People’s Dharma. The process involves communicating and sharing with several people who have become interested in the project. Some are from other countries so I am so thankful for Skype and email. We share a lot of information, philosophies, and ideas. The vision involves developing a network that has minimal structure. One that all people, regardless spiritual orientation, can use as a hub for communication and sharing. It will be a Dharma study that allows us to be empowered to engage in a development of personal belief systems without fearing being criticized or diminished. A wisdom study where we all guide, express, and support each other about our perceptions and experiences.
If you are interested here is our mission statement.
Build a Dharma study of the people, for the people, and by the people. Tasked to examining the self for the benefit of all sentient beings.
A Dharma study that welcomes diverse groups of people onto a parallel, compassionate, path of peace and understanding, regardless of race, nationality, creed, sexual orientation, gender, or age.
A Dharma study evolving outside of dogma and rhetoric, that is built on the Simplicity of direct communication, expression, direct experience, and encourages all individuals to seek and evolve self-expression on their chosen path.
A Dharma built on relationship with all sentient beings, that seeks to evolve the hearts of all people using the principles of equality, respect, caring, sharing, gratitude, and compassion for each other.
A Dharma built on Sharing and Interweaving with others in need.
A Dharma built on distilling, adapting, personalizing, and living the wisdom cultivated in a safe supporting environment.
A Dharma living in transience and seeking to diminish suffering.
A Dharma committed to embracing a minimal structure to flourish and evolve.
People’s Dharma intends to present some workshops, seminars, email classes and inquiries, and sooner of later, may find a central place where we can meet, interweave, meditate, contemplate, and grow. I will continue to blog and am looking for others with similar interests to share blogs. Possibilities are endless.