Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling: Center for Buddhist Studies and Meditation

Ethics and Nondiscrimination Policies

 Protocol to Maintain a Harmonious Environment for Spiritual Practice


I.Policy Statement

Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling Center for Buddhist Studies and Meditation (also known as the Minnesota Sakya Center) is a nonprofit Buddhist church incorporated in 1980. Our primary purpose is to engage in the teaching of the doctrine and practices of the Sakyapa Order of Tibetan Buddhism, providing the public with an opportunity for worship and meditation. In fulfilling this purpose and performing other charitable activities, we strive to make the Buddhist teachings and practices available to all who are interested, to maintain a harmonious environment conducive to spiritual practice, and to ultimately benefit all sentient beings.

Only upon a base of moral conduct can we properly engage in studying, contemplating, and meditating on the teachings. Thus, we must diligently strive to maintain a standard of conduct in accordance with the precepts we have taken. And all persons performing activities on behalf of Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling—including visiting or resident lamas, monks and nuns, directors, officers, committee members, or volunteers—must abide by their precepts as well as any legal or fiduciary duties. Misconduct can result in negative consequences, damaged reputations, and even civil or criminal liability—all of which can be avoided if we are vigilant in our behavior.

II. Practicing Virtue and Avoiding Nonvirtue

A. Following Core Precepts

Our core precepts include our refuge vows in the Triple Gem and refraining from the ten nonvirtues: 1) taking life, 2) stealing, 3) sexual misconduct, 4) lying, 5) sowing discord, 6) harsh speech, 7) idle gossip, 8) covetousness, 9) ill will, and 10) wrong views. For those who have taken monastic, bodhicitta, or mantrayana vows, they must hold themselves to additional precepts and even higher standards of conduct. As practitioners, both ourselves and others on the path make mistakes and grow from them. But flagrant or repeated violations of core precepts calls into question a person’s ability to perform activities on behalf of Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling and to work harmoniously in our community.

B. Serving as Honest Representatives and Putting Aside Personal Interests

Any director, officer, committee member, or other person performing activities on behalf of Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling must never abuse their power or position for personal gain and must serve as honest representatives of Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling.

Moreover, 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 for personal gain and to refrain from actions that could harm a student or the community.

C. Maintaining 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 or if the matter would legally or financially impact the center. 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.

D. Fiduciary Duty

It is incumbent upon anyone entrusted with handling funds or assets on behalf of Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling to act solely in the best interest of the community, to serve with accountable and transparent stewardship, and never to misuse funds or assets that belong to Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling. It is also incumbent upon the directors, officers, and others serving in fiduciary roles to understand that they serve in a position of trust and must maintain the highest standards when managing the affairs or assets of Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling.

E. Maintaining Proper Personal Relationships

Each of us strive to uphold the highest standards of integrity in all personal relationships. In teacher-student relationships, responsibility for maintaining appropriate and clear boundaries between teacher and student ultimately rests with the teacher. A sexual relationship between a teacher and student involved at Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling is prohibited unless they are committed life partners. Under Minnesota law, it is criminal misconduct for a clergy member to have sex with another person, who is unmarried to the clergy member, if the act occurs during a meeting or time period in which the person sought or received the clergy member’s religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort in private; consent is not a defense. Minnesota Statutes § 609.344(l).

F. Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse (including intoxication) on Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling property or at an event hosted by Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling is prohibited. Anyone suffering from a substance use disorder is encouraged to seek professional counseling and medical attention. Please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Their referral services are confidential and free of charge.

G. Treating Others with Mutual Kindness and Respect

Our community is built on mutual kindness and respect. We must be open to different people and different ideas, regardless of position, status, or background.

Harassment—including persistent or pervasive patterns of unkind, threatening, or intimidating conduct or speech towards any other person or group—is not tolerated in our community.

H. Antidiscrimination Policy

We strive to maintain an environment free of discrimination of any kind based on basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, or any other classification prohibited by law. Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.

With the advice of its spiritual director and resident lama, Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling reserves the right to determine the qualifications of those serving religious functions and whether a person satisfies the religious prerequisites required to attend or participate in religious services or practices.

III.  General Notice

A concern may be brought to the attention of an individual member of the board of directors or to the attention of the resident lama, Khenpo Thupten Gongphel. Alternatively, you may bring a concern to the attention of the entire board of directors by sending an email to Grievances and requests to resolve conflicts may be sent to this inbox as well. In all cases, the board will protect the identity of those harmed by misconduct and take proactive measures to ensure that those harmed do not face retaliation.

The board of directors takes all matters seriously. Upon receipt of a grievance, the board will promptly convene to decide on the appropriate course of action. If a director is implicated in misconduct, that director must be recused from board proceedings concerning the grievance, except that such director may be required to submit to an interview and must cooperate with any investigation by the board or any government authority.

Thank you for reading this ethics policy. It is our sincere hope that we can all work together and maintain a harmonious environment for spiritual practice.

Policy adopted on October 23, 2021, by Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling’s Board of Directors

His Holiness the Sakya Trichen, Spiritual Director
Silvia Yueh
Vicky Hui Tee
Sam Ryan
Ann Christine Kritta
Mary Elizabeth Johnston
Anthony Francis Bruno
Kalden Shrestha