A NEW YEAR’S Letter to my Dear Dharma Friends and my Buddhist Spiritual Teachers~
For many years now you’ve given so many teachings and pointed out our flaws, where we are stuck, the defects of samsara and attachments, the problems when we live our lives in an unethical way.
You taught how to think critically using analytical logic, human ethics, the mind of meditation and how to let our actions and words be predicated on an open heart and clear mind. Thank you for teaching us how to self reflect, and be accountable, have regret for mistakes, forgive ourselves and vow to try to be the most benevolent we can be in this life.
I thank you for helping me, however a seeming uphill battle, to hopefully begin to cultivate some of these qualities. But, for this New Year, let’s have it be different. Instead of spending a lot of time telling us what we’re doing wrong from an exalted position, I humbly ask you, rather, if you could really look at some of the issues that we’ve brought up about how students and women, especially children are treated within the walls of our spiritual tradition.
We, including our teachers, could exhibit human humility, accountability, transparency and insight, acknowledge that you’ve heard our concerns with what we have been expressing for years, and for the first time in 2023 be really willing to make the social and cultural changes that are needed to truly preserve the Dharma now and for our posterity.
We can no longer uphold unhealthy institutions where children are taken from their families at a young age, some worshiped, most are not “educated” and loved, but even those with titles are harmed secretly and covertly.
Please, even though it is a worldwide global coverup, we need to look at harm in the name of our religion, under the protection of secrecy, command and control and find a way to talk about this and protect us all.
I so value many tenets of our Buddhist tradition, my practice, the powerful Dharma teachings and genuine, humble friends. Some of those who use the Dharma to feel that they are more special, more enlightened, often wearing robes and posting incessant quotes of teachers all day to virtue signal for Facebook likes, exploit the privacy, power and efficacy of our tradition. This is not how to use social media, please reconsider everything, spiritual narcissism is not “Venerable,” it’s unseemly.
I can’t in good conscience propagate a tradition that I know worldwide harms women, young girls and vulnerable boys as foundational spiritual fodder in these organizations.
I so want it really to be an object of refuge and pure and something that I’m proud to share with others, so I beg you, instead of another formulaic New Year’s Day talk about how amazing you are and how we all need to change, maybe this one time, the tables can turn and you might actually, with accountability and honesty, acknowledge what we need to do socially and culturally to clean up the harm to women, students and children and create a new cultural model for the Dharma to really flourish into the next generation, rather than wane- starting this year, starting today.
Warmest thanks for hearing me and this aspiration. Let’s make 2023 the year where we protect our children from all harm, in both this religious conduct as well as work toward protective social and environmental policy.
All my care and sincere well wishes to everyone, Dawn
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“Everywhere I looked, I saw a system that was created and controlled by men. And they weren’t exactly the healthiest members of the brotherhood. They were deeply wounded men who had no interest in processing their issues or entering heart-first into the visceral world of feeling.”
~ JEFF BROWN