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Buddhadharma : Winter 2014
winter 2014 buddhadharma: the Practitioner’s quarterly 81 but guidelines need to be more clearly articulated than the precepts. A center has to have an outlineof what its pro- cesses are, whether formal or informal. Everything is better resolved at the least formal level necessary, but sometimes that’s not sufficient and a formal pro- cess is required. Of course, I want to offer the caveat that you can have the best guidelines and procedures and even the best outside mediators, but it really comes down to whether all par- ties actually want reconciliation, repen- tance, and renewal. Those are the inten- tions that would have to lie underneath as the groundwork for guidelines and procedures. LAMA PALDEN: I would add that cen- ters need an ethics committee, and the people who sit on an ethics committee should not sit on the board as well. Also, guidelines that spell out the procedures in place when someone brings a complaint should be known to sangha members and to the public. It’s a question of education. DAVID WhITEhORN: It’s important to remember that there are three jewels in Buddhism: Buddha, dharma, and sangha. Often we’re not that inter- ested in the third jewel, but a key part of the path is to have a sangha and to care about one another. From a Shamb- hala point of view, creating a society that manifests the essence of Buddhist understanding and teaching is the main point of why we’re here. The bodhisat- tva vow is to work on our own develop- ment so we can be helpful to others. The procedures and processes that people have talked about are looked upon as practice, so if you’re on the ethics com- mittee, this is a practice that is going to call upon your deepest understanding of buddhadharma to manifest guidance and healing for a healthy sangha. LAMA PALDEN: So much is dependent on the leadership; they’re the ones who are going to have to get outside help and take responsibility for the situation. I’ve sometimes been very disappointed when teachers have refused to deal with the issue. I’ve known a couple of instances in which the board members and every- one quit, and there was a big split. It wasn’t so much that the behavior was that bad—it was a one- or two-time thing that could have been dealt with— but the teachers refused to hear other people, to take responsibility openly and publicly in their community. They just buried their head in the sand. ShINGE ChAYAT: There’s a wonderful koan that really points to that. Someone is asked if an enlightened person is subject to causation, and he says no, because enlightenment means complete libera- tion, so how can you be subject to the law of causation? He gets turned into a fox for five hundred lifetimes for that. Eventually, in the guise of a human, he approaches a new teacher, who says to him, “An enlightened person does not ignore causation.” I think many people have this idea that if the teacher is enlightened, how could he be acting unethically? The reality is that we all have karmic bag- gage; we’re all human. It’s important for us to work on ourselves as teachers. If someone feels somehow entitled not to have to deal with these things, not to have to take responsibility for his or her actions, then there is an incorrect belief that somehow deep wisdom is enough— it’s not enough if we ignore causation. LAMA PALDEN: In these cases, I feel there is a fundamental lack of realization of the emptiness of self. When there’s a lack of realization and a failure to integrate this basic understanding, teachers can be highly defensive and refuse to deal with anyone. Yet some of these same people are teaching about emptiness. Whether accusations are true or untrue, teachers must face them and take responsibility for whatever needs to be accounted for. They have to be willing to fully meet the situation. When I see teachers getting defensive, for me, that’s a sign that there really isn’t realization of emptiness of self. If there were, what would there be to defend? ➤ continued from page 55 www.PGW.com www.rangjung.com www.lotustreasure.com Guru’s Heart Practices Te Ocean of Amrita Precious Songs of Awakening Padmasambhava’s Heart Practices Dispel, Purify, and Awaken Guru’s Heart P ctices Pre Available as ebooks