EBU addresses (sexual) abuse in Buddhist communities
At this year’s Annual General Meeting at Adhisthana (Herefordshire, UK), the European Buddhist Union addressed the sensitive topic of (sexual) abuse by Buddhist teachers and leaders.
Unfortunately abuse has taken place throughout history, in many countries and in many religious and spiritual traditions, and is sadly also a reality in some Buddhist communities today.
In the ‘Statement on abuse in Buddhist communities‘, the EBU acknowledges “with great sorrow the suffering of victims of harm inflicted by Buddhist teachers and leaders.”
The statement emphasizes that Buddhist teachers are not only in a position of greater power, but also of greater responsibility than their students. All actions within Buddhist communities should be guided by the first principle in Buddhist ethics, which is to avoid causing harm.
The EBU recommends “that sexual relationships between teachers and students are either subject to clearly defined and effectively applied measures to reduce risk of abuse of power, or prohibited entirely.”
The EBU calls on all Buddhist organizations to address every report of abuse honestly and with compassion, and to follow the example of those Buddhist organizations that have “developed ethical guidelines, and complaints procedures, and support systems for victims of sexual abuse”
All Buddhist organizations should “ensure that all are able to meet the Buddha’s teachings in a respectful, safe and caring environment.”