The intersection of Buddhist and Pagan teachings is a lively crossroads where free will and mind training meet magical and mythic phenomena. Both traditions are vast, fluid, mutable, mystic paths subject to wide vagaries of experience and interpretation. Both have inspired extensive sutras and holy works for contemplation, as well as intense debate. Both offer much-needed practical & spiritual remedies for common problems. Both provide the experience of transcending the lesser states via work on the inner planes, and thereby manifesting a refined view of the world.
The dharma is the force of all phenomena. Like the words Tao, xi, mana, mystery, magick, and wyrd, dharma is a way of understanding universal law: that which cannot be begun or finished, that which moves. Dharma pagans work our ways in accord with this numinous force. It is spaciousness, breath, spark, flow, and root. It is every being and no being at all. It is the ground from which all surfaces and into which all dissolves. It might be called the Mother of the Universe.
"For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire."
In dharma paganism, all deities are self-arisen from within the Great Perfection, which is not separate ultimately from the consciousness of the practitioner. The deities are then empowered by application of the practitioner's devotion, just as the practitioner is empowered by the deity. In this way, we "bring them to life" with our practice and devotion just as they bring us to life with their numinous potency, yet we are not separate from them at any point, nor are we or they separate from the dharma.
The dharma pagan view of the Divine is one of immediacy. Dharma paganism promotes non-duality, and moves beyond the limiting paradigm of polarity as attached to gender or other binary systems of understanding, indicating instead the "one taste" of all the energies that flow through each body and experience. There is no central creation myth, no story of origin or end in dharma paganism- all times are Now. There is no religious intolerance in dharma paganism: all paths lead to wisdom. There is no refutation of science in dharma paganism: it is a set of valuable sutras to be contemplated just as other sutras. For the dharma pagan, there is wisdom that arises from every life situation, every incident, every source.
Dharma paganism is Tantric in the classical sense, viewing all as the Great Perfection, promoting compassionate action in the face of the suffering of the world, an engaged and moving meditation. While not explicitly, dharma paganism can also incorporate tenets of western tantra, and can be sexually tantric, with consent, mindfulness, lovingkindness, ethics, and bodhicitta being among the primary motivations in sacred union. The body, just as the mind, serves as a vehicle for the dharma as it moves upon the Earth.
There are no gurus in dharma paganism. Rather, each student forges a bond with the Inner Teacher through the union of wisdom and method that might also be demonstrated or shared by external teachers. Friendly growth-oriented relationships flourish between peers and those at various stages along the path, and appreciation is shown to all who help us to learn new lessons, or who help us to develop our practice. By training the mind, we also train our magical abilities to manifest mythic awareness in the phenomenal world. The apparent coincidences, magical phenomena, and interdependent co-arising that we witness are also our teachers. Experience itself is the greatest teacher of all.
While dharma paganism is an open field with many sutras, many practices, and many paths leading to the middle way, there are a few central precepts that we mutually follow, living and performing our practices for the benefit of all beings:
Dharma Pagan Precepts
4 Noble Truths
All beings in the body of existence share in common the experience of suffering.
Suffering occurs when our primordially clear state becomes clouded with attachment, aversion, and indifference.
Even when the circumstances of suffering are great, we can find relief in the dharma.
We find relief from suffering in the cultivation of the Noble Eightfold Path, taking inspiration from the example of others who have done the same with beneficial results.
Noble Eightfold Path
Right View: Knowing thyself, know the nature of existence.
Right Intention: Harm none is only the beginning. Go further. Aspire and act to be beneficial.
Right Speech: Our thoughts become our words, which become our actions, which become reality. Be mindful of what you think, speak, or write into being.
Right Action: Observe, train, and conduct the movements of the physical body, rather than allowing misconduct to overtake you.
Right Livelihood: There is no profit in another's pain.
Right Effort: Choose and mount your endeavors and relationships selectively and considerately, neither overstepping nor falling short of your commitments.
Right Mindfulness: Crystal-clear awareness is the moment-by-moment choice to be present.
Right Concentration: Abide in the natural state of clarity, presence, and kindly attentiveness at all times.
The 4 Immeasurables
We willingly generate lovingkindness, or feelings of hospitality and friendliness, toward other beings.
We willingly generate compassion, a sincere intent to help and support others, alleviating their suffering.
We willingly generate joy in their joy when their suffering is relieved.
We willingly generate equanimity, balancing our happiness at another's relief with awareness of the need for further practical action.