Our focus is on everyday spirituality, rather than activities at a formal place of
worship. Our focus on individual spirituality in everyday activities should not be
considered to conflict or compete with an individual's existing religious tradition.
We want to add something, not take anything away. We consider our approach to complement
and enhance any traditional practices that an individual may be following. We see
no need to promote sectarian exclusivity. A person could be a student or teacher
in several traditions or approaches, perhaps integrating different aspects for optimal
Of course, our approach can stand on its own for those persons who have no need to
integrate it with any existing practices. In such cases, there is nothing wrong with
individual spirituality expanding into a formal Sangha with like-minded persons.
In any case, it is not necessary to be judgmental and criticize other approaches
in order to justify what one is doing. We want to be supportive and inclusive with
regard to the "how" of making the teachings available. We recognize that what is
"best" varies with time, place, and person.
A related second point about our Lay Program is that it explicitly endorses the concept
of lay spiritual teachers. This differs from the usual situation of a sharp separation
between lay and clergy, where the clergy delivers the teachings and conducts the
religious rituals, and the congregation receives the teachings and is led in the
rituals. Instead of this kind of sharply defined dichotomy between lay and clergy,
our Lay Program proposes that lay persons be encouraged to provide religious teachings
and practices rather than just be passive consumers or receivers.
Such encouragement can undoubtedly enhance an individual's spiritual growth. It is
quoted, "If you really want to learn something, teach it." This is true because in
order to teach and communicate something clearly to others, one's understanding has
to be deeper and more comprehensive than when one is just the consumer of said teachings.