To study the Buddha way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.
~Dogen Zenji

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by Bobby Werner

Indirect Communication

by Seisen Roshi

If you find yourself being drawn into indirect communication.

There are many different scenarios involving working with someone who we perceive to be out of integrity with the grievance procedure. The most common is probably that a friend in the community wants to talk to you about their grievance with another person. It is often times very difficult to do direct communication and it is also easy to fall into listening to indirect communication. The best way to deal with this situation is to keep in mind, if you are the third party, that your main job is to get the two people to talk to each other. This could involve:

  1. Acknowledge that you are engaging in indirect communication. Let the person know that you feel uncomfortable talking about someone who is not present and that you encourage them to work on their grievance directly. Let them know that you will not keep a confidence that involves someone who is not there.

  2. Role playing (pretend like I'm the one you are upset with--how would you tell me about it). The point of role playing would be helping the person with a grievance develop how they can talk about it directly.

  3. Offer to act as a mediator when they talk to the person they are upset about. Or offer to work with the Abbot or the Guardian Council to form a group to facilitate the conversation.

  4. In some cases you will be told about a violation such as abuse, sexual misconduct etc. I think that that kind of confidence cannot be kept. We need to stop any of this kind of activity immediately.

  5. Seek advice from me, your sponsor, your therapist or another spiritual teacher.

  6. Tell the person who is being talked about that it is happening. It is not fair to allow someone in the community to talk about someone behind their back and not let that person know what is going on.
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