On the first day of the 16th Sakyadhita International Association for Buddhist Women’s Conference in Australia in 2019, participants listened to moving talks given by women – some lay and some monastics – who had been spiritually, physically, emotionally or sexually abused while in a Buddhist community. One of these talks was featured in Tricycle – “This is Abuse”. These talks facilitated an awareness of the issue among Sakyadhita members that converged into a shared resolve to address abuse within Buddhism. After networking between the foundation members, the creation of the Alliance for Buddhist Ethics was announced on the last evening of the conference.
What does the Alliance do?
Our broad goal is to take a stand for ethical behaviour in Buddhist communities for a future in which the Dharma may flourish with integrity.
Our initial focus is on drafting a declaration that Buddhist teachers can sign that indicates that they are committed to ethical behaviour, and drafting a code of ethics and ethical practice for teachers and organisations.
We are not able to involve ourselves in specific cases of unethical conduct. Our support for those who have been abused or otherwise treated unethically is limited to possibly putting them in contact with a counsellor who can help them work out their options and decide on a way forward. We can also retain a copy of a written complaint that has been submitted to a teacher or organisation, just as a record that such a complaint has been lodged.
Who are we?
The Founding Members are from various Buddhist traditions and are members of the Sakyadhita International Association for Buddhist Women. However anyone interested is warmly invited to join the alliance regardless of their gender identity or membership to Sakyadhita. We are a fluid group with members contributing when they have time and where they have the expertise.
What does membership entail?
Alliance members will be kept informed via occasional emails. They have the opportunity to provide feedback, ideas and assist in various projects at various levels, if they wish to. The ABE community is a force for positive change in the Buddhist world.