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I was one of 12 Staff at a residential Retreat Centre in 2014. It hosts around 1,000 guests annually. My role was as Health, Safety and Security Officer, on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels. The position was senior management. In investigating a Water Boil Advisory, the person responsible for wilfully supplying officially non potable water to over 600 guests and Staff over a period of 56 days became convinced that I should lose my job as I was acting beyond my remit. She had well recognised, unaddressed mental health concerns, by her own admission. She had been responsible for the departure from Staff of four others in that year alone.
I became the victim of attempted murder following a three month campaign of bullying at the hands of three of the Staff and, more subtly the "psychoemotionally deaf" Centre Director, in the words of my former Supervisor. This bullying included five physical assaults, two of them witnessed and an almost hourly litany of noises at night, doors slammed in my face, verbal abuse in front of participants, improperly witheld pay etc. etc.
In one of them, the Assistant Director removed my assailant from my person. The assailant was the one responsible for the non potable water. She has a somewhat co-dependent relationship with the Centre going back 20 years or more. However, the Assistant Director denied witnessing the assault, and does so to this day. A week later, my vehicle was twice sabotaged, once with life endangering consequences to myself and unknown others.
The Sangha is unwilling to discuss either the demon, or the actions of the people who appear to have perpetrated these crimes. I feel the Sangha is unsafe, its integrity compromised and its residential intensive programmes unavailable to me. My Guru is inaccessible to myself as he is surrounded by self-serving administrators who are covering up crime.
After many failed internal conflict resolution processes the Administration advises that I approach the Police, practice, study and get counselling. Some of those processes are elaborate. In one, the information I shared with the Panel at their request and "in confidence" was shared with undisclosed people and without explanation despite my repeated requests. That information contains my sources for monitoring the activities of the alleged perpetrators.
Having fled the country I am unable to fully engage in the Police enquiry which I have begun. It is compromised on the other end by silver tongues who skillfully apply the Dharma to create an appearance of fairness on their part and madness on my own. For instance, the Assistant Director told the Police that the Centre is safe for me because my assailant and I had attended mediation on one occasion. I am unable to muster support for my case in the community around the Centre, if only because nobody wants to admit that such activity may have occurred and I am conveniently on another continent. Such a discussion necessarily casts a poor light on the Sangha which it seems everybody in it wants to avoid as it reflects on them personally in many ways. As such, the Police concluded in 2015 that the Sangha is safe, despite much documentary evidence from within that it is not. They failed to interview the Director concerned prior to their conclusion, which was prepared while he was being fired.
I have spent 7 years cultivating a relationship with my Guru. I married a Sangha member in 2015 whose best friend is intimately associated with the core of our Sangha's Administration, for instance in, among many other activities, hiring the Director's replacement after he was removed for, "...failing to resolve conflict between Staff". I am unable to attend the annual summer residential intensive programmes for fear of my life.
While I alone am responsible for my enlightenment, and having taken many vows including "The Bodhisattva Vow", I am curious how to act. I have seen much benefit in my own life and others' lives from these Teachings and wish to propogate them for the sake of sanity. However, to continue to practice in my Guru's Sangha is to face more slander, and my unresolved attempted murder and the threat of further violence.
I have had a rich experience here which I would like to see benefit others. Primarily, my concern here is for those Sangha members, indeed Centre Staff who felt that sabotaging a vehicle was a reasonable response to an investigation into the wilful serving of non potable water to hundreds of people, including the Sangha's leader and his pregnant wife. Further, there may yet be some benefit to the Administration in pursuing this discussion as they clearly feel that the two vehicular sabotages should not be reported to the Police even though they are aware of the overhelming possibility that they were conducted by Centre Staff. Indeed, the Assistant Director at the time advised me to cease my investigation due to the violence and to allow the continued illegal removal of the Boil Water Advisory Notices despite the Director's view that doing so compromised his personal liability.
The Director recognised that a threat to my life had occurred in this case and sent out an email to 14 of the most senior Administrators appealing for help in making the Centre "safe" for me, without response. In fact, since that email in December 2014 I have received no recognition of the disruption this has caused my life or assurance that this behaviour has been investigated by the Sangha's Administration. To my mind, this is what our leader's father and the Sangha's founder referred to as, Idiot Compassion.
I feel that my Guru's Lineage and its Teachings are being co-opted by charlatanism. Do I not have a responsibility to act? Is it as simple as pursuing the Police investigation by presenting more evidence in different ways? Or, as I have been informally advised by a senior Judge and friend, should I, "Leave those nasty people behind with the shame they must, at some level feel" ?
While I have approached my Guru on this directly, his response directed me to request the conflict resolution process which in turn shared my reports without my consent, contrary to its solemn undertakings and without explanation. That Panel's findings were found, on Appeal, to be remiss with respect to its Policies: it had failed to attempt to resolve the conflict which by then existed between myself and the Director. Both the Panel's and the Appeal's findings failed to make any mention of attempted murder (perhaps unsurprisingly), vehicular sabotage, physical assault or mob bullying. However, when I interviewed with the former President of the Organisation, he was very clear: I should NOT refer to these acts as "wilful or negligent sabotage" but distinctly as "attempted murder".
On the issue of the resulting uncompensated redundancy which I experienced, at one day's notice shortly after the final physical assault, the Appeal by the leader's Secretary found that no compensation is due. I had moved my entire life to serve three years at this Centre, bringing with me an 11 ton container of a 30 year collection of woodworking tools to set up a business in Joint Venture with the Centre. My moving costs were in excess of $10,000.
I am unable to revert to my Guru as he resides on another continent. His Secretary, through whom ALL requests for access to my Guru go has recently closed the file on this issue. While he emphatically stated that he is unable to make a "binding decision" on the issue of my compensation, after I presented evidence of the Director's slander against me he stated that his decision is in fact binding and the discussion, closed.
Any comments will be most appreciated. Many thanks in advance.