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 Buddhist Geeks - Conference in Boulder, CO this summer

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Posts : 1617
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 68
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: Buddhist Geeks - Conference in Boulder, CO this summer   Wed May 29, 2013 9:58 am

BUDDHIST GEEKS CONFERENCE: Aug 16-18 - Boulder, Colorado

(also - you can listen to their podcasts for free - subscribe thru iTunes)

Where Dharma and Technology Meet

Featuring 3-days of live event content including informative Keynote Addresses, power packed TED-style talks, and provocative roundtable discussions, as well as community-led unplugged sessions, the Buddhist Geeks Conference is one of the only events on the planet where you can participate at the intersection of Buddhism, technology, and emerging global culture.

The Buddhist community is no stranger to scandal. With the news of the Sasaki Roshi case making its way into mainstream media earlier this year, scandals in the Buddhist world are increasingly having a greater impact on students, teachers, and society at large.

And it’s no wonder with the issues of fear, power, sexism and the ‘myth of the teacher’ so often in the shadows of these cases, that we tend to get confused, fed-up, and sometimes even disillusioned with our teachers and communities.

So how do we deal with scandals in our communities, Buddhist or otherwise? How do we make sense of unethical breaches in behavior from our teachers and sanghas? As students, what are we contributing to these situations? And how do the internet and social media play into these factors?

As a way to help move this tricky dialogue forward, we wanted to open up and host a very real and intimate conversation at this year’s Buddhist Geeks Conference. The conference is a place to meet in real time to discuss real issues that are effecting our communities, relationships, and lives. And we thought this would be the most effective way of dialoging about this sensitive topic publicly.

In a BG Roundtable discussion titled, “Getting a Handle on Scandal”, we’ll use the latest Sasaki Roshi incident as a launching off point to explore and dialogue about scandals in Buddhist communities. Facilitated by Diane Musho Hamilton with panelists, Shinzen Young, Sofia Diaz, Kenneth Folk and Michael Zimmerman, this discussion aims at not only identifying the contributing factors that make scandals more probable, but will also help illuminate potential ways to work with this complex territory of sexuality and spirituality.

Come and explore this conversation and more at the Buddhist Geeks Conference, August 16 - 18 in Boulder, Colorado - Early-bird tickets expire May 31st.
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Join date : 2010-11-14
Age : 75
Location : Bedfordshire, UK

PostSubject: Re: Buddhist Geeks - Conference in Boulder, CO this summer   Thu May 30, 2013 9:22 pm

Thanks Josh - it's certainly necessary, I only wish I could be there. But, and I think that it is a big but, I fear all that will come of it will be suggestions for some forms of more sophisticated self-regulation. Unfortunately history shows that self-regulation however sophisticated does not work. I am not talking of ten or twenty years of history, I am talking of history going back as far as their foundations for all the major religions, and probably the minor ones as well. The Catholic Church has been rocked by similar scandals throughout its history; has always said that it will do better next time and then proceeded to hush up new incidents 'to protect the name of the church'.

If self regulation does not work then what? I have said that I think an active, open, transparent and external form of scrutiny is called for. What I have refered to before as a behavior audit. As I have argued already we would not dream of letting an organisation deal with pubic money without a financial audit, so why do we trust organisations to deal with the public directly without a behavior audit?

This is not as radical an idea as it sounds. Something akin to this happens in industry already. There are over 1 million organisations that submit themselves already to a quality management audit (ISO9001) that includes:
8.2.1 Customer Satisfaction
8.2.1 Customer Complaints
8.2.2 Internal Audit
8.3 Control of Non-conformances
8.5.2 Corrective Action
8.5.3 Preventive Action

No major home organisation, especially retailers, will deal with far eastern companies without there being an audit of the far eastern companies procedures and compliance with the home organisations standards. I believe there is a company in Singapore specialising in this form of organisational audit that has 75,00 employees world wide, so it is already big business. Would such a system stop abuses? Did financial audits stop Enron, or Bernie Madoff? No, but without financial audits there would be many, many more. They have controlled a problem not eliminated it. Does anyone advise only self financial regulation, say for bankers?
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PostSubject: Re: Buddhist Geeks - Conference in Boulder, CO this summer   Fri May 31, 2013 6:11 pm

I agree that self-regulation has never worked. Human nature is what it is. I like the Buddhist Geeks - it is a more open kind of forum - but at their conference, this will only be one panel discussion which I fear will barely touch the surface. It may get bogged down in focusing mostly on sexual misconduct which is just a symptom of a much deeper set of beliefs and structures. And the host of the panel, Diane Musho Hamilton is a disciple of Genpo, whose teacher was Maezumi, and I am not clear what she has to say on this. She is also very connected with Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen, which is problematic at best. She was probably picked because she is known as a gifted facilitator . But I am glad that this issue is at least being discussed. We shall see.

It will all end up on line no doubt.
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Posts : 1617
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PostSubject: Re: Buddhist Geeks - Conference in Boulder, CO this summer   Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:50 pm

here is a very good opinion piece by a filmmaker friend of mine - about why the Pentagon can't police itself. It applies directly to your point that religious organizations including Zen or Buddhist groups are prone to the same mind-set and institutional paralysis. No different really.

June 3, 2013 - NYTimes
Don’t Trust the Pentagon to End Rape
By KIRBY [banned term]

LOS ANGELES — THE Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing today on sexual assault in the military. This comes after months of revelations of rapes and other violent attacks at military bases and academies. At the hearing, the chiefs of staff of the military branches will likely admit that there is a serious problem and insist that the solution involves changing military culture. But the challenge goes far deeper.

The military has a problem with embedded, serial sexual predators. According to a 2011 report from the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault and Prevention Office, 90 percent of military rapes are committed by men with previous histories of assault. These predators select and befriend lower-ranking victims; often they ply their victims with alcohol or drugs and assault them when they are unconscious.

In my film “The Invisible War,” a retired brigadier general, Loree K. Sutton, describes the military as a “target-rich environment” for serial predators. The training and leadership efforts the Pentagon proposes won’t change this environment. It simply isn’t possible to “train” or “lead” serial predators not to rape.

There is a way to stop these predators: we should prosecute and incarcerate them. But here the military fails entirely.

Though the Defense Department estimates that there were 26,000 sexual assaults in the military last year, fewer than 1 percent resulted in a court-martial conviction. Why? There is a deep institutional bias in the military’s justice system; senior officers can — and often do — intervene to prevent cases from being investigated and prosecuted.

Victims of sexual assault know this well, which is why fewer than 15 percent of sexual assaults in the military are ever reported. I spoke with hundreds of men and women who were sexually assaulted in the military while I was making “The Invisible War”; every one of them was advised by their peers not to report. Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, acknowledged that victims didn’t come forward because “they don’t trust the command.” Victims know they are unlikely to receive impartial justice and that reporting their attackers to the chain of command may well hurt their careers.

Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and colleagues have recently introduced legislation that would empower military prosecutors and judges to decide whether to investigate and prosecute felony crimes. This would remove the decision-making process from the military chain of command and remove the disincentive to report crimes. The Pentagon is resisting this reform, just as it resisted reforms after the Tailhook episode in 1991, over sexual assaults at a gathering in Las Vegas; sexual assaults on female Army recruits at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in 1996; and a 2003 investigation of rapes and attempted rapes at the Air Force Academy, near Colorado Springs.

After each of these scandals, the military claimed it knew best how to handle the problem and proceeded to institute insignificant reforms that did little to reduce assaults among the troops. Now the generals are circling the wagons again, insisting that the legislation’s reasonable reforms would affect commanders’ ability to maintain “good order and discipline.” But, as Ms. Gillibrand noted, a military that suffered 26,000 sexual assaults within its ranks in the last year is already failing to maintain “good order and discipline.”

Sexual assault crimes are among the most difficult to prosecute, which makes it doubly absurd to have anyone other than professional prosecutors decide whether to pursue these crimes. We wouldn’t tolerate a senior commander’s operating a helicopter unless he or she was fully trained to do so. Similarly, we should not allow commanders, who are not trained as prosecutors, to make final determinations as to whether the military should adjudicate sexual assault crimes.

Our military readiness will be compromised unless the military quickly begins to bring sex predators in its ranks to justice. Recruiting top personnel is likely to be more difficult so long as the armed forces are known as an unsafe, lawless institution. Over the last year I’ve been contacted by dozens of mothers and fathers, many of whom have proudly served, who informed me, with great regret, that they could not encourage their child to enlist. If this country finds itself in a new conflict a decade from now, the difference between having the best recruits could mean the difference between winning and losing a war.

This dysfunctional system of military prosecutions affects all of us. With so few predators being convicted, a vast majority are discharged honorably, into an unsuspecting civilian population that unknowingly affords them the opportunity to continue their predation in a new “target-rich environment.”

The military cannot — and will not — fix this problem on its own. Despite the military’s repeated assurances over several decades that it has “zero tolerance” for sexual assault and will hold commanders accountable, more than 500,000 uniformed men and women have been assaulted since 1991. Senator Gillibrand’s bill gives Congress a real opportunity to fix a broken military justice system and begin incarcerating serial predators. Let’s not wait another generation and allow these predators to destroy the lives of another half a million of our sons and daughters.

Kirby [banned term], a filmmaker, directed “The Invisible War,” “Twist of Faith” and other documentaries.
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