I’ve studied Buddhism since the mid-1970s, training mainly in the Tibetan and Theravada traditions. From 1993 to 2007 I attended many retreats led by Ken McLeod, and in 2006-2009 participated in the Unfettered Mind teacher development program.
I’m not naive or cynical, neither apologist nor disgruntled student. I’m a long-time participant of several Buddhist communities who is concerned about the current conflict in which Ken is accused of boundary violations. No matter what the facts turn out to be, Unfettered Mind should agree to engage in mediation with the support of an organization qualified to deal with boundary issues and conflicts between spiritual teachers and students, such as An Olive Branch or FaithTrust Institute. This should be undertaken not as legal defense or to protect reputation, but as ethical action to prevent harm in the community.
For some time I’ve urged Ken and the Unfettered Mind board of directors to take this course. I'm now making a public statement because Unfettered Mind's silence and the growing Internet rumors are both fueling further confusion without resolving conflict or preventing harm. I don't advocate sweeping anything under the rug, but surely a mutual exploration with compassion for and by all concerned will be more effective than a scandal that feeds innuendo, rumor and confusion.
I'm grateful for Ken’s translations and teachings, which have been of genuine benefit to many people. At the core of those teachings is the capacity and willingness to meet and work directly with whatever arises. When imbalances arise in relationships, they need to be acknowledged and brought back into balance. Ken and the board of Unfettered Mind should make a public statement, sincerely engage in mediation to resolve conflict and restore trust, and do whatever is necessary to prevent further confusion and harm.
We each have an inherent, indestructible ability to know what is arising and to respond in ways that bring balance and peace. Whether we engage that ability makes all the difference.
August 29, 2012