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Adhisthana kula update, November 2019
We’d like to update you about the next steps of the Adhisthana kula work. These next steps formed part of a “Further Response from the Adhisthana Kula to the Observer Article”, published 28th July, and are listed at the end of this update.
On 23rd August we issued a “Message of Apology and Regret” (point 1) as well as a contextualising note “Addressing our Collective History”. Although it became clear that such an Apology could only really be issued on behalf of the Triratna Buddhist Order by those people holding positions of responsibility, we want to continue to explore ways for other members of our Order to engage with the issues we are dealing with from the past as well as creating the conditions we want to take into the future.
The summary of our work is now underway (point 2). We have employed someone to help with this and hope this will be ready by the end of the year. We will publish this summary on our existing blog, https://thebuddhistcentre.com/adhisthana-kula, and longer term we intend to set up a dedicated website. We have set up financial provision for this continuing work (point 5).
When this review is completed and the summary ready, the Order convening network will be asking the Order if there are any gaps in our work, and we will ask Chairs and Mitra convenors of Triratna Centres to find ways of asking their community what else they need in order to feel that Triratna is a safe and inspiring community to practice within. We’re always happy to hear from anyone who is outside of these networks, by writing to us directly: kula [at] adhisthana.org (points 3 and 10).
We have had some discussion about the membership of the Adhisthana kula, but although it is currently Ratnadharini and Lokeshvara who are most active in overseeing the review, we propose the members remain the same until the review is complete. Beyond that point we will review the membership of the kula and include a younger generation of Order members in this work (point 6).
Two points related specifically to Safeguarding (point 4 and point 7). Triratna’s overall Safeguarding officer, Munisha, has had two meetings with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and is now waiting for them to deliver two proposals; firstly, for an external reporting service, how it might work and who might provide it, and secondly, for a review of Triratna’s Safeguarding policies and procedures.
According to the SCIE there is currently no provision for external reporting in the UK – so this might take longer than we initially hoped. The SCIE say that some of the major churches are also considering how to put such a service in place. You can read more about SCIE and the work they do with faith groups here: https://www.scie.org.uk/safeguarding/faith-groups
There have been some initial discussions about training in ethical awareness for teachers and mentors, both for existing Order members, and those training for ordination (point 9) and more details will follow with the review.
We haven’t as yet developed a plan for how to have new forums for discussion nor have we consulted any external communications consultants (point 8), but we still intend to do this.
The Adhisthana kula
This was our update from the 28th July:
A further update from the Adhisthana kula as to how we are addressing controversial aspects of Triratna’s past and what we are putting in place for the future.
Responding to the Past
1. We will issue a clear statement of acknowledgement, regret and undertaking, inviting other Order members to add their name or support to it. (1 week)
2. We will summarise the work of the Adhisthana Kula in a way that is clear and readily accessible, on a stand-alone website, making it clear what we have done so far and our next steps. (3 months)
3. We will present this with clear pathways for comments, questions and suggestions. (3 months)
4. Anyone can report misconduct to our Safeguarding team at safeguarding [at] triratna.community. In addition, we will appoint an external body for receiving such complaints, for the benefit of anyone who feels more comfortable in reporting to an external body. (3-5 months)
5. We recognise this work needs to be a priority (1-4) and will give it the resources it needs. (Ongoing)
Working in the Present
6. We will review the membership of the Adhisthana kula, bringing in a next generation of Order members with fresh perspectives and skills, who have joined the Order since the era in which many of the historic difficulties took place (broadly, this means the 1970s and 80s). (1 month)
7. Our current UK Safeguarding provision will be reviewed by the Social Care Institute for Excellence, to ensure it meets the Charity Commission’s requirements. (6 months)
8. In consultation with external communication specialists we will create new forums for discussion within Triratna, with a view to promoting greater harmony and engagement, and improve external communications. (6 months)
9. We will develop training in ethical awareness for teachers and mentors, both among existing Order members, and those training for ordination. (Initial plans 3-4 months)
Creating the Future
10. When this work is done we will assess, with others, whether a further external, independent review would be helpful. (6-7 months)
11. We will bring on a new generation of leaders, training and equipping them to share responsibility for taking our community forward. (Ongoing)
12. We will do all this whilst honouring our inheritance and recognising the gifts Sangharakshita and the elders of the Order created for us. (Ongoing)