Teachers who abuse students

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Jennifer Hawkins Jennifer Hawkins 5 days, 12 hours ago.

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  • #42349

    Marg2018
    Participant

    Hi, all. I’m really struggling with the whole shakedown at Shambhala International. I no longer practice with the organization, but I was with them for the first seven years of my Buddhist practice. I’ve long been in doubt about gurus and am slowly extricating myself from another Kagyu Buddhist group in upstate New York, but this latest news makes me want to shut down all my associations with these groups NOW. I feel really bad about cutting ties with people I love, but if I can’t tow the party line and trust a teacher, what’s the point? Very thankful for SBA.

  • #42354
    Ted Meissner
    Ted Meissner
    Keymaster

    Hi, Marg. So very sorry to hear of the deeply difficult process you’re going through in leaving a community. There is so much harm caused by abusive teachers, even impacting different groups entirely. We’ve done a few podcast episodes about this topic, please let me know if you have any difficulty finding them.

  • #42358
    Jennifer Hawkins
    Jennifer Hawkins
    Keymaster

    Glad we can be here for you.

    :searches for words:

    I think it can be possible for more hierarchical formats to be beneficial and non-harming in some contexts. I think it can be possible to both distance oneself (for self protection or other reasons) from more hierarchical groups and to still maintain some dialogue with them. I think that if you want to, it’s okay to consider such possibilities for yourself. (Clarification: that said, all communities, including hierarchical ones, have a responsibility to improve themselves and make themselves safer regardless)

    That said, I CLEARLY believe there are contexts where a more “democratic” sort of model is going to be most beneficial and non-harming, and that it’s perfectly fine (or even for the best) for people to be part of those contexts as they need to. SBA is more of a “democratic” model, as is Secular Buddhism in general. And you’re welcome here. In fact, you’ve really brightened up Practice Circle for me the last couple of times you’ve been there (just a personal observation).

    Anyways, it’s okay to be right where you are. Feel your feelings fully, just don’t react from them until you’re ready. Find what works for you. And know that you have ways to reach out if you need them.

    Listen to the Suttas!
    https://tinyurl.com/yaeza39j

  • #42361

    Marg2018
    Participant

    Thank you, Ted and Jennifer, for the feedback and for your support. Being at Practice Circle has been so helpful this past month. I’m looking for skillful ways of maintaining dialogue with my current sangha, but it’s been difficult. I tend to feel like running when situations become uncomfortable.

  • #42363
    kauva
    kauva
    Participant

    so who should I be avoiding in my sangha?

  • #42370
    Jennifer Hawkins
    Jennifer Hawkins
    Keymaster

    ” I tend to feel like running when situations become uncomfortable.” I know that feeling well.

    @kauva: I hope that question was asked with positive intention and impact.

    Listen to the Suttas!
    https://tinyurl.com/yaeza39j

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