Ethics, abuse and conflict
We understand that spiritual teachers hold power over students. There have been some very serious abuses of power by leaders of faith communities including Zen sanghas which have perpetuated harm. Our sangha is committed to be trauma-informed. We want to protect spaces meant for healing and spiritual transformation and not let them become spaces where secrecy and judgement turns grief into shame or trauma. Kanko has spoken about her own disillusionment with several aspects of Zen tradition in her articles/talks (see here and here). We have also taken steps to educate ourselves about healthy boundaries, to be aware of spiritual bypassing and to better understand our responsibilities as dharma leaders.
We trust that it is important for sangha leaders to receive feedback on the impact of their behavior, words and action. Whenever it feels appropriate, we invite anonymous feedback (especially when difficult) to help us serve our community better.
We hope that most concerns will be alleviated after entering a nonviolent restorative communication with us or fellow sangha members. Our sangha is in the process of formally approving ethics, grievance and restorative conflict resolution processes outlined by Heart Circle Sangha (which is directed by Roshi Joan Hoeberichts, one of Kanko’s teachers outside the Cold Mountain lineage).
Please know that as the guiding teacher, Kanko is accountable to multiple Zen teachers beyond our lineage including Roshi Hoeberichts and Osho Genjo Marinello, her peers at Generation X dharma-teachers and American Zen Teachers Association.