Formal students, unlike general seekers, are expected to be people of a certain special character. That is, they commit themselves to the spiritual life and take upon themselves the responsibility to the principles of those who seek enlightenment. Those principles guide basic conduct. These basic principles are:
- Sincerity of Heart- This is at the very core of spiritual life. Spiritual adepts are to be honest, upright, genuine, true, and sincere in their behavior, reflecting Right Thought and Right Action. This doesn't mean the student will never fail, but that they will do their best each and every day to embody the spiritual teachings given to them.
- Gratitude-Understanding that from each experience we gain something to bring us closer to that which we seek. This includes everything we encounter in your daily lives. The Four Elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air provide us with all things necessary to sustain life. This gratitude also takes in other people, our personal possessions, the tools we work with, the vehicle we use for travel–everything. Gratitude for food is often emphasized in community rituals and can be likewise honored in personal devotional practices. The proper intention is not “I have this, and others don't”, but rather mindfulness of the interconnected and interdependent nature of everything.
- Honor & Respect-Understand that with age and experience, generally one gains more virtue, wisdom, and responsibility that should be respected and learned from. In general, this means to respect our parents, teachers, mentors, professionals, elders, and of course at the very top of the vertical relationship there is the Divine (Kami-sama). The higher regarded one is on the vertical relationship scale, the more responsibility they have.
- Devotional Service-Demonstrating honor, sincerity, respect, and above all, love (energies that actualize awe, worship, and reverence in the material world) for the Divine is the center of all spiritual pursuits. Kami-sama, reciprocates by always providing the necessary components for sustaining life, even when you were in illusion and ignored the Divine and devotional service. This sacred love should always be reciprocated by the spiritual adept.
- Consideration and Compassion-It is important to take care of your mind, body and soul. Even if you experience a chronic illness, the disciple does his/her best to care for themselves, whether through medicines or therapy. Right Action requires us to try to maintain ourselves in good condition and with a sincere, peaceful, calm, cheerful, gentle, and polite heart. This also extends to those around us. A compassionate heart is a selfless heart. It seeks the highest good of others, starting with material needs, and growing to include spiritual needs.
- Cleanliness-Our personal space and appearance must reflect the calm, peaceful and ordered spirit we seek to cultivate. In this way we show appreciation and care for both ourselves and the space and objects around us and people will be more attracted by the higher energetic vibrations you will naturally exude, since the calming energy is always attractive to those lacking peace. Clutter and dirt are distracting and disconcerting. Clean body, clean apparel, and clean environment are the key.
- Harmony-The student should do his/her best to keep matters and relationships with others as harmonious and peaceful as can be. This is as important in your circle of family and friends as it is in the spiritual community to which you belong. This does not mean tolerating injustice or negative behavior though, as those cause disharmony.
- Faith-“Faith” means to place trust in something or someone. The spiritual adept first places trust in nature to reveal certain objective truths, and then trusts the spiritual teacher to guide them in developing deeper understanding of these truths through personal instruction in the Perennial Wisdom and by his or her example. In this way, we develop a connection and bond with Kami and find true peace.