The Summa sophia


The Summa Sophia, literally “the summary of wisdom,” is the Bodhidaoist manifesto or declaration. It summarizes the basic tenets of the religion and delineates its basic ethical duties and spiritual practices. This is the most authoritative statement of Bodhidaoism. If you disagree with the Summa Sophia, then Bodhidaoism is probably not the spiritual path for you.

Point 1: A Personal Religion
All religions and philosophies of the past have failed or are failing. The time has come for a careful synthesis of the best insights of the world’s wisdom traditions with the current understandings of science, psychology, and philosophy. Bodhidaoism is just such a synthesis. Bodhidaoism is a personal religion based on scientific naturalism.

Point 2: Scientific Naturalism
Scientific naturalism is the view that, based on the evidence, the natural world is all there is, and science is the best means of knowing this world. A personal God, the supernatural, and a personal afterlife are all beliefs rejected by scientific naturalism, and hence, are not a part of Bodhidaoism.

Point 3: The Way of Awakening
Bodhidaoism is the way of awakening to reality. It is a personal religion for the solitary practitioner that aims to be true to reason, true to science, and true to a life of flourishing. Truth is the correspondence between a claim and reality. The truth of a claim is tested by evidence of its correspondence to reality, its coherence, and its practical consequences in real life.

Point 4: The First Principle
The First Principle of Bodhidaoism is that every philosophy of life will always be incomplete, imprecise, and imperfect. This is due to the limits of language, knowledge, and one’s ability to grasp reality in conceptual form. This means that Bodhidaoism is a philosophy of life that is always under construction. Bodhidaoism is committed to continual improvement according to the best available evidence.

Point 5: The Prime Directive
The Prime Directive of Bodhidaoism is to produce the best worldview for all to flourish in the real world. Flourishing includes (1) personal growth, (2) equanimity, and (3) meaning in life. Equanimity of mind produces tranquility of emotions.

Point 6: The Eight Streams
Bodhidaoism is a new wisdom tradition that is enriched and inspired by eight ancient wisdom traditions, which are known as the Eight Streams. The Eight Streams are divided between the Western ones of (1) Epicureanism, (2) Stoicism, (3) Paganism, and (4) Christianity, and the Eastern ones of (5) Jainism, (6) Buddhism, (7) Confucianism, and (8) Daoism.

Point 7: The Six Essentials
The Six Essentials of Bodhidaoism, which are binding upon all Bodhidaoists, are: (1) that the natural world is all there is; (2) that the focus of Bodhidaoism is daily practice; (3) that evidence alone is our highest authority; (4) that a vegetarian diet is required; (5) that we are informed by the Four Disciplines; and (6) that we live out the Four Core Values.

Point 8: The Four Disciplines
The Four Disciplines of Bodhidaoism, which inform our pursuit of truth, are, in order of reliability: (1) science, (2) psychology, (3) philosophy, and (4) phenomenology.

Point 9: The Four Core Values
The Four Core Values of Bodhidaoism, which guide us to the valuable, are: (1) skepticism, (2) altruism, (3) flourishing, and (4) environmentalism.

Point 10: The Bodhidaoist Compass
Together, the Four Disciplines and the Four Core Values form the compass of Bodhidaoism, with science being its magnetic north. The eight points can also remind us of the Eight Streams.

Point 11: The Cosmic Tao
The Cosmos is all there is or was or ever will be. We call the Cosmos the Tao, because it is a unified whole manifesting itself as a flow of dualities. The Tao is the metaphor we use to speak of the mystery of existence and the deeper significance of our interdependence with the Cosmos.

Point 12: The Hero’s Journey
Whether we realize it or not, we are all on the hero’s journey. It is a journey through life towards flourishing, which is filled with both dangers and rewards. We must discover the hero within and unlock its potential in order to transform our lives and impact the world for good. The Five Steps on the hero’s journey are (1) awakening, (2) tribulations, (3) mortification, (4) transformation, and (5) ministrations.

Point 13: The Four Realizations
The Four Realizations are: (1) that suffering pervades the unawakened life; (2) that suffering is a symptom of eight human afflictions; (3) that if you relieve the afflictions, you diminish the suffering; and (4) that one needs to apply the Eightfold Cure in order to relieve the afflictions, diminish the suffering, and grow towards wholeness and flourishing.

Point 14: The Eightfold Cure
Here is the Eightfold Cure for human afflictions: (1) ignorance is cured by becoming awake; (2) credulity is cured by becoming skeptical; (3) foolishness is cured by becoming wise; (4) selfishness is cured by becoming altruistic; (5) meaninglessness is cured by becoming purposeful; (6) irresponsibility is cured by becoming responsible; (7) reactivity is cured by becoming undisturbed; and (8) alienation is cured by becoming connected.

Point 15: The Human Person
The human person is composed of a body and a brain, from which emerges the psyche. The psyche has two divisions: (1) the conscious and (2) the unconscious. The psyche has four basic functions: (1) thinking, (2) sensation, (3) intuition, and (4) feeling. The ego is the component of the psyche that is represented by our conscious decision-making process and mediates between the conscious and the unconscious, and is responsible for a sense of personal identity. People have limited free choice, which is an emergent property of the psyche. We reject the belief in a soul, being defined as the permanent, immaterial, and immortal part of a human being. We find such a belief an obstacle to awakening and a hindrance to people taking responsibility for this world.

Point 16: The Eight Virtues
The Eight Virtues are: (1) lovingkindness, (2) prudence, (3) courage, (4) justice, (5) moderation, (6) courtesy, (7) humility, and (8) patience.

Point 17: The Seven Ethical Guidelines
The Seven Ethical Guidelines are: (1) Do not harm your body, your mind, other people, animals, or the environment. (2) Do not lie, slander, steal, cheat on, or murder another person. You can defend yourself or the innocent up to and including deadly force. (3) Do not dishonor your parents or the elderly, but be courteous to everyone. (4) Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you. (5) Only act on a moral principle you would want everyone to act on in a similar situation. (6) Do not discriminate, harass, or be disrespectful to another person on the basis of their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, socioeconomic status, or nationality. And (7) do not overlook injustice, but be ready to forgive others as well as forgiving yourself.

Point 18: The 15 Spiritual Practices
The Fifteen Spiritual Practices are: (1) affirmations, (2) spiritual reading, (3) the wheel of the year, (4) gratitude, (5) nature immersion, (6) service, (7) self-examination, (8) fasting, (9) solitude, (10) silence, (11) simplicity, (12) meditation, (13) negative visualization, (14) dream work, and (15) shadow work. Other spiritual practices may be added at the careful discretion of the practitioner. Always be guided by naturalism, the evidence, and the practical results in one’s life.

Point 19: Cosmopolitanism
Although Bodhidaoism is a solitary path, we still strive to be good citizens of the world. Although we tend to be political minimalists, we still work in practical ways to protect and live in harmony with all people, animals, plants, and the environment.

Point 20: Organization
Bodhidaoism has no churches or clergy, but only teachers, who (1) teach, (2) train, and (3) offer spiritual guidance. Bodhidaoism is organized like a school of philosophy, headed by a Scholarch. The Scholarch of Bodhidaoism is in charge of teaching Bodhidaoism and certifying or decertifying other teachers. This Summa Sophia, though imperfect, shall not be changed or modified by anyone, other than the Founder himself. Future Bodhidaoists will need to create their own summary of wisdom.

This document is a work in progress.
(Updated July 12, 2019)

Copyright © 2019 Jay Forrest. All Rights Reserved