Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Fact-finding results in response to multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by Dagri Rinpoche

Exactly 18 months ago, on May 16, 2019, a group of well respected senior Buddhist nuns urged the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) “to commission an independent, third-party investigation” into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by Dagri Rinpoche, “and to make the conclusions of this investigation public.” The call was made public – based on requests – via this blog and people could join it via the petition platform change.org. The petition has been signed by over 4,000 concerned people.

A lot has happened since then and finally there are some results. To give you an overview, here is a timeline, and at the end of this post there are some links for further readings.

In October, 2019 the FPMT Board hired FaithTrust Institute (FTI) to conduct an independent fact-finding assessment of allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of Dagri Rinpoche. A confidential mailbox was set up so anyone who experienced or witnessed harm by Dagri Rinpoche could make a report.On Sept. 19, 2020, FaithTrust delivered to the FPMT Board the final report of their almost year-long assessment, and the FPMT Board promised to publish the FaithTrust summary report within 30 days (i.e. by Oct. 19).That date came and went without any report being published. The petitioners learned that the FPMT Board planned to publish their report on Nov. 6, but that plan was reversed at the last minute, with no explanation given.On Nov. 9, the women who reported the allegations, with the help of an Advocacy Group, sent an email to many Dharma friends and centers, asking them to write to the FPMT Board and request them to release the report. This email included their own report on some of the allegations. You can read this report here: Summary of Reports of Dagri Rinpoche Sexual Assault Allegations. (alt.dld)
 
The Advocacy Group are:
Roshi Joan Halifax – Zen teacher, Founder and Abbott, Upaya Zen Center
Dr. Janet Gyatso – Harvard University, Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies and the Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs at Harvard Divinity School
Venerable Lhundup Damcho (Diana Finnegan), PhD – Co-founder Dharmadatta Community, Registered FPMT teacher
____
Investigator, lawyer – Carol Merchasin
Adviser, former partner in a large law firm, experienced investigator into sexual abuse.
And a number of other people who are currently working behind the scenes.
 Between Nov. 6-12, the majority of the members of the FPMT Board resigned.On Nov. 13, the FPMT Board posted an update on their website about the findings of the assessment, and stating “we accept that, according to the standard applied by FaithTrust Institute, Dagri Rinpoche committed sexual misconduct, which also qualifies as spiritual abuse given his position as a spiritual teacher. We have unanimously determined that the temporary suspension of Dagri Rinpoche from the list of registered FPMT teachers (from which FPMT centers can choose to invite to provide Dharma teachings) is now permanent.”

 
The senior nun’s update on change.org concludes:

We are pleased that the FPMT Board conducted an impartial independent investigation as we requested. We are also pleased that after this investigation, it has accepted the truth of the allegations, acknowledged that Dagri Rinpoche’s behavior towards these women constituted both sexual misconduct and spiritual abuse, and clearly stated that such behavior is unacceptable. We request the FPMT to now fulfill its commitment and publish the complete and unedited summary report prepared by Faith Trust.

Further Readings

Summary of Reports of Dagri Rinpoche Sexual Assault Allegations – The Advocacy Group, November 9, 2020Update November, 13, 2020 – FPMT update on the fact findings of the FaithTrust InstituteUpdate November, 14, 2020 by TARA-SOS

See also

Photo by Benjamin Rascoe on Unsplash

Original author: tenpel
  39 Hits
  0 Comments
39 Hits
0 Comments

Buddha Buzz Weekly: Thailand Bans Monks from Protesting

Thailand’s National Office of Buddhism orders monks to abstain from anti-government protests, Tibetan leaders congratulate President-elect Joe Biden, and Myanmar holds an election. Tricycle looks back at the events of this week in the Buddhist world.

By Emily DeMaioNewton and Karen JensenNov 14, 2020

An anti-government protest at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand | Wikipedia

Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.

Thailand National Office of Buddhism Bans Monks from Protesting

On Wednesday, Thailand’s National Office of Buddhism (NOB) ordered Buddhist monks to abstain from participating in anti-government protests, adding to rules prohibiting monks from political activity, Buddhistdoor Global reported. The announcement was prompted by photographs of Buddhist monks at ongoing protests of military influence in Thai classrooms. 

The peaceful protests began when the progressive Future Forward Party was disbanded by Thai courts in February. Led by mostly high school and college students, protesters are calling for the dissolution of parliament and the resignation of prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, further limits to the power of the monarchy, and the drafting of a new constitution. 

Continue reading
  38 Hits
  0 Comments
38 Hits
0 Comments

Teaching Happiness 

Buddhist teachings tell us that the antidote to our propensity for suffering is the noble eightfold path, guidelines that promote ethical conduct infused with compassion and wisdom. Yet in our day-to-day we cling to what we think are the ideal conditions for our personal happiness—the perfect relationship, passion, career, or city to live in that we imagine will bring us fulfillment. The recently released film from Bhutan, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, however, offers cinematic proof for the deeper sources of happiness within us. 

Lunana had its US premiere in January of this year at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and its New York premiere in September as part of the New York Asian Film Festival, which was held virtually. Honored as the opening selection at the Film Festival Della Lessinia in Italy, where it won Best Film, it was recently selected to represent Bhutan at the Oscars in the International Feature Film category. (This is only the second time that the tiny Himalayan nation has had an Oscar entry; the first was Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s movie The Cup, in 1999.)

This understated gem-in-the-rough is the handiwork of Pawo Choyning Dorji, a promising young filmmaker from this Himalayan Buddhist kingdom who learned his craft while assisting renowned lama and filmmaker Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on the film Vara: A Blessingand later producing Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait. The film draws us into the inner conflict of Ugyen, a young Bhutanese urbanite who sports jeans, a T-shirt with a slogan for Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness initiative, and a big set of headphones that block out the sounds around him. Ugyen dreams of breaking free of the constraints of his homeland for the promise of bigger places (Australia) in pursuit of a big-time singing career. The conflict: Ugyen has one year left on his teaching contract to pay for his government-sponsored degree. (The Bhutanese state meets its mandate to provide quality education for all citizens, regardless of how remote their locale, by offering qualified candidates a free education towards a teaching degree with the expectation that they will serve out a teaching placement equal to twice the time of their schooling.)

The village of Lunana

Although Ugyen hopes to avoid this final year of service and launch his personal plans, the education ministry assigns him to a post in Lunana, one of the most remote villages in Bhutan and probably the world. On the day of his departure, Ugyen says goodbye to his friends at the bus station and then, wearing his headphones, settles in for the long and bumpy ride north to the village of Gasa. There, he is met by two yak herders from Lunana, who will accompany him the rest of the way on the arduous, high-altitude, eight-day trek.

On the trail, Ugyen’s headphones give out and he finally hears the sounds of the surrounding environment─birdsong and the touching folksong of the yak herders: 

Continue reading
  34 Hits
  0 Comments
34 Hits
0 Comments

Purify Your Motivation 

The 9th-century Zen master Linji Yixuan said, “There is a true person of no rank who is always coming and going from the portals of your face.” Who is this true person? Through Zen practice, I came to realize that this person is someone who can bring dhyana [meditation], prajna [wisdom], and sila [ethics] together so that they are informing one another. That’s the Buddhist ideal. 

But even if we realize this true person, we always need to take our practice and our realization, such as they are, and see how they are transformed through our conduct, speech, and thought in the real world and what impacts they have. We need to look at what’s involved in distilling our character, or, as one of my teachers Yamada Roshi said, “the perfection of character.” 

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Being able to recognize the actual impact we have on others is a skill that is not talked about enough in Buddhist practice. It requires a suspension of grandiosity. When we have small awakening experiences, we can sometimes feel like, “Well, I’ve got it, and I’ve let go of it. So there! I’ve got plenty of no-self to push around and maybe not so much to learn.” We think we’ve realized something and now know better than others. But even after satori, we may find that our actions have unexpected results. There are some wonderful teachers and adepts who in translating their realization and practice into daily life have done great harm, because they haven’t made allowances for the impact they have on others. 

Keizan, a follower of the great Japanese Zen teacher Dogen, wrote: “Though clear waters range to the vast blue autumn sky / yet how can they compare with the hazy moon on a spring night? Most people want to have pure clarity, / but sweep as you will, you cannot empty the mind.” The first step to realizing the true person is to realize that we’re not able to control the impacts we have. Our effects on others could be divergent from what we think they are. Realizing this is already a little bit of humbleness. 

I was sitting with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and a small group of Buddhist teachers about ten to fifteen years ago at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California. Almost predictably, a participant asked the Dalai Lama if he ever gets angry. (People often treat the Dalai Lama, or Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, as if they come from other planets, and are apt to check to see if they are subject to the same foibles as everyone else.) The Dalai Lama replied, with mild impatience, “Yes.” The next questioner, an esteemed and experienced Buddhist teacher, said that he was overwhelmed with some of the recent scandals around power and money in Buddhist centers, and he didn’t quite know what to do. It had shaken him up, and had shook up the contemporary Buddhist movement, he said, asking the Dalai Lama for some counsel. 

Continue reading
  34 Hits
  0 Comments
34 Hits
0 Comments

Buddha Buzz Weekly: “Burmese Bin Laden” Turns Himself In

Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu surrenders to Myanmar police, Rohingya Muslims raise funds for Buddhists in need, and protesters in Thailand co-opt Buddhist and celestial symbols traditionally used by the monarchy for their struggle. Tricycle looks back at the events of this week in the Buddhist world.

By Emily DeMaioNewton and Karen JensenNov 07, 2020

A Rohingya Muslim holds a banner depicting Ashin Wirathu during a protest outside the Myanmar Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2017. | Ady Abd Ropha/Pacific Press/Alamy Live News

Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.

Buddhist Monk Called the “Burmese Bin Laden” Turns Himself in to Police

Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, who has been called the “Burmese Bin Laden,” surrendered to the Myanmar police on Monday, according to the Associated Press. A Myanmar court issued a warrant for Wirathu’s arrest in May last year on a charge of sedition after he gave a series of speeches criticizing the government and praising the country’s military as champions of Buddhism. Wirathu founded a nationalist organization (that has since been disbanded) in 2012 that was accused of inciting violence against Muslims, particularly of the Rohingya ethnic minority, who are facing a genocide.

Under Myanmar law, Wirathu will have to be defrocked by Buddhist authorities before he can be arrested. If he is found guilty, he could be sentenced to anywhere from three years to life in prison. When he turned himself in, Wirathu said, “I will pay homage to senior monks, and then I will go with police. I will go wherever they send.” One of his supporters, Pyinyar Wunthar, said that Wirathu’s surrender has nothing to do with Myanmar’s upcoming election and that he just wants to “clear the accusation against him before the government changes.”

Continue reading
  35 Hits
  0 Comments
35 Hits
0 Comments