Buddhist groups in the United Sates are not any more immune from conflict and misconduct than any other spiritual or religious group. In spite of the ancient Buddhist values of peace­making and the clear guidance of the precepts, people ­ spiritual leaders and students alike ­­ still behave badly, hurt one another, keep secrets, and take advantage of power.

While it is impossible for human communities to function entirely free of conflict and misconduct, there are ways to reduce the chaos and long­lasting damage to individuals and organizations caused by conflict and misconduct. On the one hand, organizations need a strong governance structure that includes up­to­date bylaws, a balance of power, robust ethics statement, and ongoing sangha education. On the other hand, sanghas need ways to cope with conflict and misconduct when they arise ­ a crystal clear grievance procedure, whistleblower policy, and people trained in effective conflict resolution. Read about this important topic and more in the April 2015 An Olive Branch Newsletter

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