Our Mysterious Connection With Others

Lama Shenpen on our connection to others: “Our living connection with other beings is mysterious. We cannot find any boundary to our awareness and yet another being is another being to be loved and responded to. They are not just our imagination. So that living connection or boundary between one being and another is deeply mysterious and wonderful. It is the source of all joy … Continue reading Our Mysterious Connection With Others

Buddhist teacher misconduct

When the Guru Misbehaves

  Lama Shenpen answers a student’s questions following the recent allegations of sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers in the Shambhala community. A Student writes: How can we hold on to the precious teachings of the Guru despite his behavior which appears to contradict some of the teachings especially around ethics? Lama Shenpen: It is good to always remember that all of us, whether Guru or not, … Continue reading When the Guru Misbehaves

Video: The Roles of the Buddhist Teacher

Lama Shenpen teaches on The Guru Principle and the Roles of the Buddhist Teacher, from the Awakened Heart Sangha Birmingham Weekend, October 2018. If you have enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation to the Shrimala Trust (the charitable organisation that supports the work of Lama Shenpen and the Awakened Heart Sangha) If everyone who enjoyed the site gave in appreciation of Lama Shenpen’s … Continue reading Video: The Roles of the Buddhist Teacher

Lama Shenpen Hookham The Buddha Within Female Buddhist Teachers

Article: Keeping The Precepts – Sexual Misconduct & Buddhism

There are five precepts that all Buddhists are committed to keeping. These are to not kill, not steal, not lie and not commit sexual misconduct or take intoxicants.

In the training for the Mahayanagana, students examine these precepts and consider the nuances – what do they actually mean in practice? What happens if we find ourselves acting contrary to these precepts either in spirit or in practice?  There is much to consider. These days there is a lot of anxiety in the Buddhist world, as in other areas of modern life about abusive behaviour and how to safeguard the vulnerable by adhering to firm moral principles. We have been working on such a policy within our Sangha along lines laid out by the government and charity law. How best to safeguard the vulnerable, which could be any one of us in fact.

As we in the Shrimalagana (the inner body of the Awakened Heart Sangha) consider this we realize that however careful we are with our rules of engagement in actual fact the only safeguard is our sangha ethos and for all of us to embody it. If we all take care about how we are communicating and connecting to each other, then we will not make mistakes that leave people feeling abandoned and abused.  Mistakes will happen.

We all tend to project onto each other and misunderstand each others behaviour and intentions. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) helps us to learn how to meet our own needs and be able to speak from a genuine and honest position which enables others to more readily understand and connect to us on a level that is meaningful and mutually supportive.  We all have a responsibility to learn how to communicate in this manner and this way we will all be able to play our part in safeguarding the vulnerable.

So how literally are we to take the way sexual misconduct is presented in the traditional texts?

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