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Board Members

Officers:

Acting President & Vice President: Dr. Robert Kelly*
Vice President of Finance: Shoshana Rogner
Treasurer: Denise Lordi
Secretary: Susan Skolnick
*Acting President upon recent death of KTC President Dr. Judith Bronner-Huszar.

 
Trustees:

Dr. Seth Goldberg
Dr. Al Skolnick
Karl Smith
Charlotte Kelly
Carolyn Hoberman
Eric Garrison
Jane Madill
John Fallon

KTC Ethics Policy and Protocol for Resolving Concerns

Ethics Policy and Protocol for Resolving Concerns

 

I. Policy Statement

Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery, established in 1978, is a community within the Kagyu Lineage of Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhism. Its primary goal is to preserve the authenticity and continuity of the three vehicles of the Buddha’s teachings in the contemporary world in order to benefit all sentient beings, and to make these available to all who are interested. The KTC community is made up of both ordained and lay practitioners.

KTC shares with all traditions of Buddhism the three principal refuges and the commitment to avoid the ten negative actions. All teachers and residents are expected to take these to heart.

The three principal refuges: We take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

The ten negative actions: We vow to refrain from: 1) killing, 2) taking what is not given, 3) inappropriate sexual conduct, 4) false speech, 5) harsh speech, 6) divisive speech, 7) gossip/idle speech 8) covetousness, 9) ill will, and 10) wrong view.

All teachers and residents who have taken formal vows hold a greater level of commitment and are expected to adhere at all times to the specific vows they have taken. Those who hold any level of formal ordination are expected to keep all the vows of ordination. Lay practitioners who have taken one or more of the five lay (genyen) vows are expected to keep the vow(s) they hold by refraining from: 1) killing, 2) taking what is not given, 3) inappropriate sexual conduct, 4) false speech, and 5) intoxicants of any kind.

II. Prohibited Conduct

A. Abuse of Power and Position
While it is the mutual responsibility of teacher and student to honor the deep trust and respect on which their relationship is founded, the teacher is responsible for recognizing the authority implicit in this role and refraining from any use of this authority to secure special privileges or to inappropriately influence others, or for any other personal ends; and to refrain from any situation or action that might result in harm to a student or the community.

B. Breach of Confidentiality
Matters discussed in meetings between teacher and student are to be kept in confidence when confidentiality is requested and agreed to, except as may be required by law. If it is necessary for a teacher to disclose confidential information in the context of a professional legal or psychological consultation, this consultation will also be kept in confidence.

C. Breach of Fiduciary Responsibility
It is incumbent upon any teacher or resident entrusted with handling funds or assets on behalf of practitioners to act solely in the best interest of the community, to serve with accountable and transparent stewardship, and never to use funds or assets that belong to the sangha without authorization.

D. Sexual Misconduct
Teachers and residents are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity in all personal relationships. In particular, with regard to teacher-student relationships, responsibility for maintaining appropriate and clear boundaries between teacher and student always rests with the teacher. A sexual or romantic relationship between any student and teacher is prohibited. A teacher who feels unable to uphold this standard will seek guidance and counsel from a senior teacher at KTC, a senior teacher within the lineage, and/or one or more members of the KTC Ethics Council, and will advise the student to seek independent guidance as well.

If, after receiving guidance, the teacher and student still wish to pursue a romantic or sexual relationship, the teacher must notify the Ethics Council and the teacher-student relationship must clearly and consciously be ended before a more personal relationship begins. The Ethics Council may require disclosure to the community .

E. Use of Drugs or Alcohol
Violation of the precepts regarding drugs, alcohol and other intoxicants is an ethical violation. Lay teachers and residents who have not taken the vow to refrain from intoxicants are prohibited from using intoxicants while wearing robes or while on the property of KTC monastery or its affiliated centers. Likewise, teachers and residents are prohibited from being on KTC property or the property of a KTC affiliated center while in an intoxicated state, and also from engaging in idle talk with students or visitors about the use of intoxicants while in robes or on the property of KTC or its affiliated centers.

F. Discrimination or Harassment
KTC and its teachers and residents are expected to maintain an environment free of discrimination of any kind based on race, color, age, ethnicity or national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

In addition, unwelcome and unauthorized incidents and/or patterns of conduct and/or speech that are severe, persistent or pervasive when such conduct or action is based on a person's or persons' sex, race, color, age, ethnicity or national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, shall be considered harassment.

III. KTC Ethics Council

The KTC Ethics Council (“EC”) will consist of five members selected jointly by the KTC Executive Council and the KTC Board of Trustees to serve a two-year term. In order to stagger terms, 3 of the initial EC members will be appointed for 3 years and 2 members appointed for two years. The EC will include :

1. a member of the Board of Trustees
2. a monastic resident of KTC
3. a non-monastic or lay member of KTC
4. two additional members.

Membership of the EC will be reviewed annually by the Executive Council and Board of Trustees.

The EC provides counsel and assistance to teachers and students concerning nondiscrimination and harassment policies and procedures, and shall oversee the proper conduct of all grievances and informal resolution measures involving KTC teachers and residents under these policies. If, for any reason, any member(s) of the EC has a conflict of interest, illness, or prolonged absence and is unable to carry out his or her responsibilities, a designee shall be appointed by majority vote of the Executive Council and Board of Trustees. Any complaints or concerns regarding ethical issues in the community can be submitted to the EC at any time by writing [email protected].

IV. Grievance Procedure

Persons who experience inappropriate conduct from any member of the KTC sangha (or themselves practice such conduct) should be aware that these actions violate the spirit and practice of right conduct and seriously undermine the harmony of the sangha. In the event of a concern arising in the sangha, either by complaint or perception, the sequence of actions outlined below is recommended.

The purpose of these steps is to facilitate communication and bring the problem to resolution in as honest, simple, and straightforward a manner as possible. We acknowledge that there is no perfect solution to any problem between people, but we will endeavor to help all parties arrive at the best possible solution given the situation. If a person in the sangha has a problem with an individual, teacher, board member, or entity within the sangha, that person should work to resolve the problem by following these steps in order:

1. Meet with the person one-on-one and discuss the problem. If this does not bring a resolution, or if either person, using his or her individual judgment, does not wish, or is too uncomfortable, to meet one-on-one, that person should:

2. Ask for one mutually acceptable person from the Ethics Council to witness and/or mediate the discussion of the problem. If that does not bring about a resolution, either party may:

3. Submit a written statement describing the problem to the Ethics Council by writing [email protected] with a request that the Council as a whole meet with the parties to assist with or mediate the issue. If the problem still persists, either party may:

4. Request a formal hearing by submitting an issue in writing to the Ethics Council. At a hearing, which will be conducted by the Ethics Council as a whole, either party may present his or her version of the dispute, call witnesses, and ask questions of the other party and of the witnesses. A hearing will result in a formal recommendation by the Ethics Council. Either party or the Ethics Council itself may appeal to the KTC Board of Trustees and Executive Council for assistance. In that case:

5. After hearing from all parties and reviewing the recommendation of the Ethics Council, the Board and Executive Council may issue a binding decision, or, at their discretion, may contract with an outside mediator or seek advice from other experts and professionals.

KTC will endeavor to maintain confidentiality in all informal and formal proceedings. All related documents will be maintained as confidential. All participants will be instructed to maintain confidentiality.



Statement of Obligation:

I, as a teacher or resident of Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery, understand and agree to be bound by the above ethics policy and protocol. I understand that I will be asked to renew this commitment periodically.


____________________________________________  
Printed name                                                          


__________________________ 
Date                                                       


____________________________________________
Signature

 

 


Addendum to KTC Ethics Policy and Protocol for Resolving Concerns

 

Examples of resolutions that may be reached in an issue resolution:

This is a list of some possible resolutions intended as a partial, not a comprehensive, guideline. As it is not possible to anticipate every kind of situation that might require resolution, other additional types of resolutions may be reached as well.

• Finding of no ethical breach.
• Finding of no ethical breach while acknowledging the existence of a problem that needs resolution by another means.
• Reversal of an administrative decision or action.
• Direct or mediated private apology.
• Apology to the community.
• Follow-up meetings with one or more members of the Ethics Council or a designated teacher or other party.
• Recommended education, training or intervention program (e.g., therapy or relevant 12-step program).
• Private reprimand.
• Public censure (in which the findings and action of the Ethics Council are made public to the sangha).
• Period of probation, with probationary terms set by the Ethics Council.
• Suspension or dismissal from a position of responsibility in the sangha.
• Suspension from teaching for a period of time, with stipulation of conditions under which teaching may be recommenced.
• Request that teacher or resident leave the monastery.
• Decision limited simply to whether or not an ethical transgression has occurred.

 

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Visitor Information


Visitors and overnight guests are always welcome at Kagyu Thubten Chöling. Whether planning to visit for the day or an extended period of time, please either use our online reservation form or email in advance [email protected].

Individuals interested in an environment combining meditation, study, and work are welcome to stay for any length of time. Guest rooms are available for short retreats.

Overnight guests are asked to assist in routine center chores. Everyone is responsible for maintaining a peaceful environment conducive to meditation.

With that in mind, if you are unwell, we ask that you please stay home to rest and recover and come join us again when you are feeling better. Germs spread quickly within a community and we appreciate your concern for the health of the residents and guests of the monastery.

Please note that many of our meals may contain common allergens incuding soy, wheat, tree nuts, seeds, milk, and egg products.  We are sorry that we are unable to accommodate special dietary needs.

Accommodations at KTC


Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery offers overnight accommodations. Dormitories, semi-private rooms, and private rooms are available. Reservations are required .


Visitors are encouraged to bring warm clothes in cool weather, appropriate shoes and/or boots, a flashlight, alarm clock, and phone card. Personal meditation cushions are only needed for large seminars. If you are planning to be outdoors, you may wish to also bring insect repellent/tick repellent, a hat and socks.


Rates: Daily rates include vegetarian meals (i.e. one overnight stay, plus breakfast, lunch and dinner). Rates do not include teachings/seminar fees, and are subject to change during special seminars.

Local Hotels & Motels


There are a number of hotels and motels in the area.  To get you started in your search, unless otherwise noted, the motels listed below are all located on Route 9 (within 10 minutes of Kagyu Thubten Chöling).

Prices vary. Some of these motels offer discounts to seniors, members of AAA, AARP or government employees. Please call the motel directly for rates in effect during your planned visit.

Ramada Inn
Fishkill (845) 896-4995
Poughkeepsie (845) 462-4600
Days Inn
(845) 454-1010
Note: 20 minutes from
Kagyu Thubten Chöling
Courtyard by Marriott
Fishkill (845) 897-2400
Poughkeepsie (845) 485-6336
Nationwide reservations:
(800) 321-2211
Holiday Inn Express
Poughkeepsie
(845) 473-1151
www.poughkeepsiehi.com.


Holiday Inn
Fishkill
(845) 896-6281
Wellesley Inn Fishkill
(845) 896-4995
Nationwide reservations:
(800) 444-8888
Hampton Inn and Suites
Poughkeepsie (845) 463-7500

 

Shrine Room Rules and Etiquette


Basic Rules:
  • The shrine room is open for practice from 6 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. (except during seminars when hours will be posted).
  • Wear proper attire in the shrine room (i.e., no shorts, open or low cut shirts, or short skirts).
  • No food or beverage is permitted in the shrine room during teachings or empowerments.
  • At the start of each teaching session, perform three prostrations after Rinpoche and the Lamas are seated. When there are no Lamas in attendance, perform three prostrations along with the Umzay (chanting master).
  • Maintain silence in the shrine room at all times. When it is necessary to speak, please whisper.
  • Note that practitioners do not talk during Tsokpa (chanting assemblies).
  • Do not step over pecha tables or place chanting texts on the floor

Other Courtesies:
  • Cushions are limited, please use only one cushion when there are many people in attendance. After the session, please return your cushion to the back of the shrine room.
  • Transliterations of the opening and dedication prayers are available upon request.
  • Chairs can be provided upon request. Inform the registrar if you need one.
  • For more information about Tsokpa (chanting assembly), please speak with the Chöpön (person in charge of the shrine) between chanting services.
  • Take all personal belongings (except chanting texts) with you after each teaching and chanting session. Personal belongings left in the shrine room will be removed to the lost and found.
  • In the event that children become restless or begin to cry, parents are requested to take them downstairs, where the teachings can be heard via speakers.

Policies and Rules

  • No drugs or alcohol.
  • No televisions, radios, newspapers or magazines.
  • No smoking in or near the buildings.
  • No candles or incense in dormitories or guest rooms.
  • Camping by permission only.
  • No pets in the buildings or on the grounds.