Ehtical Conduct in Buddhist Organisations - Fund for Victims of Abuse

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veggiepeace
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Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:02 am

Ehtical Conduct in Buddhist Organisations - Fund for Victims of Abuse

Post by veggiepeace » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:03 pm

Hello everybody,

hope you are all well.

Today I want to get back to the topic of spiritual abuse.
The term „spiritual abuse“ as I understand it comprises all kinds of abuse which imply the imbalance of power, imbalance of authority and the onesided possession of means to dominate the sovereignty of interpretation concerning religious matters and beliefs.

This imbalance seems (by nature) to be inherent in every relation between a student and a teacher, or let’s call it the relationship between beginner and an advanced or more sophisticated student or teacher which in many cases is also an authority figure.

While this role of embodying an authority figure and often an idealised spiritual personality requires a mindful responsibility towards their community, for some reasons this responsibilty is not always given.

I have read that most of you agree upon an unwritten code of ethical behaviour in buddhist communities and many of you endorse the set-up of a documented ethical code. Which seems to be necessary.

As you obviously are aware of, abuse has not been only a topic or problem in catholic church, christian communities, not to mention sectarian ones, but also in buddhist communities, even among zen orders. Globally, all over the world.

Now this only demonstrates that people on the top of a spiritual or religious organisation are as „human“ and prone to the pitfalls of misuse of power (which is present in many secular organisations too, as we probably all know) – as worshippers and believers are vulnerable to not being able to recognise abuse of power – or they recognise it too late.

That being said, I would like to mention, that I have not been a victim of spiritual abuse, or at least „only“ to a minor degree, as I was blinded by the radiation of a spiritual personality who duped their followers, worshippers and donors. I would categorise myself as „observer“ and also „deceived“ or betrayed, because I invested some time, energy and money, not knowing what was really going on behind closed doors.

So this might be common for many other people, too, as again, many of you have acknowledged it in discussions on dharmawheel.net and are aware of this kind of abuse in some – fortunately only few(!) – sanghas and communities.

It is not limited to any specific buddhist line, group or community, but it’s rather a sign of human failure, as far as I would interpret it.

To make this long story short, the reason why I am contacting you today is this question:

Do you know of a fund or organisation that is dedicated to victims of abuse in buddhist communities in general?

What I mean is a kind of superordinate fund or organisation that is not divided by different schools, lines or labels, but concentrates on helping the victims of abuse in buddhist communities.
The focus should be on helping the victims of abuse – not on different interpretations of the buddhist doctrine here! It’s about showing compassion for people who need and deserve some support.

I will be very happy to donate some money into such a fund, if it already exists. Please keep me updated about such an option.

Thank you!
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veggiepeace
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:02 am

Re: Ehtical Conduct in Buddhist Organisations - Fund for Victims of Abuse

Post by veggiepeace » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:48 am

Wanted to edit the previous posting, but did not find the tool for it...

I think, when I wrote "lines" or "schools" this is not the correct term in buddhism, it's rather "lineages" and "traditions", isn't it?

Nonetheless I am sure that the different traditions and lineages have some core values and rules in common. One of them the jewels of buddha, dharma and sangha.
To avoid mistakes due to my unsufficient skills I am quoting from wikipedia:
....
"The Four divine abidings (Brahmaviharas) are seen as central virtues and intentions in Buddhist ethics, psychology and meditation. The four divine abidings are good will, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Developing these virtues through meditation and right action promotes happiness, generates good merit and trains the mind for ethical action.

An important quality which supports right action is Heedfulness (Appamada), a combination of energy/effort (Viriya) and Mindfulness. Mindfulness is an alert presence of mind which allows one to be more aware of what is happening with one's intentional states. Heedfulness is aided by 'clear comprehension' or 'discrimination' (Sampajañña), which gives rise to moral knowledge of what is to be done. Another important supporting quality of Buddhist morality is Trust or Confidence in the teachings of the Buddha and in one's own ability to put them into practice. Wisdom and Understanding are seen as a prerequisite for acting morally. Having an understanding of the true nature of reality is seen as leading to ethical actions. Understanding the truth of not-self for example, allows one to become detached from selfish motivations and therefore allows one to be more altruistic. Having an understanding of the workings of the mind and of the law of karma also makes one less likely to perform an unethical action."

And - yes, I feel a bit embarassed having posted this blog posting and will "avoid actions which were seen to harm one's integrity" and I will develop "Ottappa [which] is an awareness of the effects of one's actions and sense of embarrassment before others" from now on. Hopefully.
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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Ehtical Conduct in Buddhist Organisations - Fund for Victims of Abuse

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Tue May 08, 2018 3:49 am

veggiepeace wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:03 pm
Do you know of a fund or organisation that is dedicated to victims of abuse in buddhist communities in general?

What I mean is a kind of superordinate fund or organisation that is not divided by different schools, lines or labels, but concentrates on helping the victims of abuse in buddhist communities.
The focus should be on helping the victims of abuse – not on different interpretations of the buddhist doctrine here! It’s about showing compassion for people who need and deserve some support.
i don't know if there is a specific org.

there is no much mea colpa on this matter really, if you look well.

one interesting and a bit shy approach i saw is DKJR "Vajrayana in the west" speaches, which are fun and also do clarify what one should know before entering vajrayana, so it helps to do a little more discrimination. a little like: putting thing in order first.

btw if there is and org about this, i would like to hear from them why should i put my tust in a lama then, and how to certify a teching to be practiced or even considered...

such abuse have a demoralizing effect... and as you say, there is no one to recur when your trust is broken. ¡¡¡¿what to do?!!!
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DCEA108
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Re: Ehtical Conduct in Buddhist Organisations - Fund for Victims of Abuse

Post by DCEA108 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:39 am

While I appreciate your inspiration here, veggiepeace, I think the debate would quickly get lost in defining 'abuse'. For instance, in Shambhala the former leader (Thomas Rich) knowingly infected his lovers with AIDS while he was the leader. One of them died as a result. That former leader is still revered within the organisation, regardless. Also, in my own experience with Shambhala, my abuser was protected from the Police in order to avoid his arrest on suspicion of my attempted murder. https://shambhalacrime.wordpress.com/

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