As last reported in December 2019, FPMT Inc. has contracted with FaithTrust Institute (FTI) to undertake a fact-finding assessment with a review and report on findings in response to allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of Dagri Rinpoche at FPMT centers. FPMT Inc. takes this matter very seriously. Harm and abuse by a spiritual teacher is antithetical to our community. Further, FPMT Inc. will not tolerate any retaliation against anyone who comes forward.
Anyone who may have experienced or witnessed harm from Dagri Rinpoche in his role as a spiritual teacher at FPMT centers is invited to contact FTI via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. FTI will continue to receive information for the assessment through March 16, 2020. After that time, they will be working to summarize the findings and complete the assessment report for the FPMT Inc. Board of Directors. The confidential report will be delivered to the Board of Directors towards the end of March 2020. After that time the Board of Directors with the help of FTI will release a summary report on the findings and recommendations for next steps to the community. We strive to be transparent as we respond to these allegations.
During the months of January and February 2020, the staff and Board of Directors of FPMT Inc. has undergone a training program around boundaries and responding to misconduct in spiritual communities. Further, the Board of Directors will be receiving additional training as they prepare to receive the report.
The Board of Directors at its last meeting also received the Summary Review of the Safeguarding Audit that was commissioned from Thirtyone:eight. There will be more information in the coming months about the next steps associated with the Thirtyone:eight audit.
If you want to contact the FPMT Inc. Board of Directors, please email Andrew Haynes: email@example.com. If you have questions about the assessment process or want to speak with FaithTrust Institute, please contact Emily Cohen via the confidential mailbox listed above or call +1-206-634-1903.
Links to past updates can be found here.
As we last reported on November 14, FPMT Inc. has received a report from an individual representing three women who have outlined allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of Dagri Rinpoche. This report contains what we believe to be allegations of misconduct by a teacher at FPMT centers, in violation of FPMT policies. After receiving these allegations, we have hired FaithTrust Institute to assist us in taking appropriate steps to conduct a fact-finding assessment of these complaints.
FaithTrust Institute is a national, multifaith, training and education organization based in Seattle, Washington, USA. We invited FaithTrust to conduct this assessment as they are experienced in helping religious organizations, including Buddhist communities, respond to spiritual leader abuse and sexual boundary violations. Further we believe that using an independent organization to conduct the assessment will encourage people to speak more freely.
Anyone who may have experienced or witnessed harm from Dagri Rinpoche in his role as spiritual teacher at FPMT centers, is invited to contact FaithTrust Institute. You can report your experience via email and, if you choose, participate in a confidential phone/Skype interview. All information will be held in confidence by FaithTrust Institute in the course of the assessment and report.
To contact FaithTrust Institute send an email to their confidential email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FaithTrust Institute will promptly follow up with you via email. If you prefer to be called, please indicate a phone or Skype number.
At the conclusion of the fact-finding and interview phase, FaithTrust Institute will provide the Board of Directors of FPMT Inc. with a confidential review and assessment of the findings, along with recommendations for next steps that FPMT Inc. can take related to the findings.
FPMT Inc. takes this matter very seriously and will not tolerate any retaliation against anyone who comes forward. Harm and abuse by a spiritual teacher is antithetical to our community. We strive to be transparent as we respond to these allegations, and plan to keep the FPMT community updated during each phase of our process with FaithTrust Institute.
If you want to contact the FPMT Inc. board regarding this, please email Andrew Haynes: email@example.com.
If you have questions about the interview process or want to speak with FaithTrust Institute, please contact Emily Cohen via the confidential mailbox listed above or call +01 206-634-1903.
FPMT Inc. wishes to update the FPMT community on what actions are underway in response to allegations against Dagri Rinpoche and actions to improve safeguarding within the FPMT organization. Our previous updates on this are available here.
Dagri Rinpoche has not yet responded to inquiries from FPMT Inc. He remains suspended from the FPMT Tibetan Teachers List. His criminal case remains pending in the Indian Court system. We understand that the next scheduled Court proceeding will be held on December 2, 2019.
Since our last update posted on August 12, 2019, FPMT Inc. has received a report from an individual representing three women who have outlined allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of teacher Dagri Rinpoche. This report contains what we believe to be allegations of misconduct in violation of FPMT policies.
FPMT Inc. is committed to responding according to our policies and investigate possible misconduct by a trusted teacher within the FPMT organization. Therefore FPMT Inc. has contracted with FaithTrust Institute, a US, multifaith, training and education organization, to conduct an independent assessment regarding allegations against Dagri Rinpoche. FaithTrust was retained to conduct this assessment as they are experienced in helping religious organizations, including Buddhist communities, respond to allegations of abuse and sexual boundary violations. Further we believe that using an independent organization to conduct the assessment would enable people to speak more freely.
Women (or men) who may have experienced harm from Dagri Rinpoche will be able to report their experience to FaithTrust Institute. We will soon announce FaithTrust’s confidential mailbox, inviting those with concerns to come forward and take part in this assessment. Dagri Rinpoche will also be requested to participate and to respond to the allegations. When the assessment has been completed, FaithTrust will provide FPMT Inc. with their report and recommendations, which will form the basis for further action by us.
FaithTrust Institute will also conduct training for FPMT Inc. leaders on best practices for healthy boundaries in spiritual student/teacher relationships and best practice in responding to allegations of misconduct.
In addition a safeguarding audit is being undertaken for FPMT by the UK-based safeguarding charity Thirtyone:eight. Work began on this safeguarding audit in August, and we expect their report later this month. Our purpose in commissioning this audit is to invite this experienced safeguarding body to scrutinize the policy and guidelines related to protecting adults and children (safeguarding), which FPMT Inc. has provided for its affiliated centers, projects, and services. Any gaps and areas for improvement that the audit identifies will help us to improve the policies to better protect and support students and teachers.
FPMT Inc. is the international office responsible for providing policies and guidelines for implementation by its affiliated centers, projects, and services in 40 countries around the world. Each affiliate is an independent legal entity and is financed locally.
FPMT International Office and the FPMT Inc. Board of Directors continue in our commitment to help FPMT centers, projects, and services uphold a safe and respectful environment, where people’s minds and hearts can be transformed into their highest potential for the benefit of others. Our commitment to these values is reflected in the FPMT Ethical Policy.
Next Steps: Safeguarding Audit
FPMT Inc. has now commissioned Thirtyone:eight, an experienced UK safeguarding charity, to conduct an independent review of our safeguarding policies and guidelines. Thirtyone:eight calls this a Safeguarding Audit.
Our purpose in commissioning this audit is to identify gaps and areas for improvement in our policies and guidelines in order to enable centers to better protect and support students and teachers. This will include creating safer and more supportive environments for people making complaints of unethical behavior and improving the organization’s response to such complaints.
Thirtyone:eight’s remit is to look at safeguarding practices in the FPMT organization at the international, national, and local levels. At the international level, the audit will look at safeguarding practices at the level of FPMT, Inc. At the national level, the audit will look at safeguarding practices within different countries. Finally, the audit will look at safeguarding practices at a sample of specific FPMT centers.
Thirtyone:eight expects their audit to take two months to complete.
FPMT Inc. will share recommended improvements to our existing safeguarding policy and guidelines with FPMT regional and national coordinators, who will work with local directors and board members to establish how best to implement these within the framework of national laws and cultural appropriateness. We will then formally update FPMT policies and guidelines accordingly.
The Indian police investigation of the allegation against Dagri Rinpoche is moving through the Indian court system. We understand that the next court date is August 26.
We want to remain respectful and to not disregard Dagri Rinpoche’s many years of valued teaching in FPMT centers. However, due to the current court case and the allegations made to us, which are detailed in our update of May 24, we continue to believe that the appropriate response at this time is for Dagri Rinpoche to remain on suspension from the FPMT Tibetan teachers list.
We are aware that some individuals and organizations are taking advantage of the allegations against Dagri Rinpoche to disseminate misinformation and gossip, and to create disharmony. Therefore, please rely on our “Updates Regarding Dagri Rinpoche” page for FPMT Inc.’s responses. We are committed to being as transparent and forthcoming as possible in our communications and statements.
It is FPMT Inc.’s priority to continue to build the organization into a more compassionate and wise network, in accordance with both spiritual and worldly conventions.
FPMT International Office is continuing to follow the two approaches outlined below in terms of assessing and updating our safeguarding and grievance procedures, and responding to the concerns raised by the allegations regarding Dagri Rinpoche.
1. Approach of providing spiritual advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche to students of Dagri Rinpoche, based on the lamrim practice of guru devotion.
2. Approach of assessing and addressing any allegations in the context of worldly conventions.
This involves following normal procedures for investigating any allegations. FPMT International Office takes accusations of abuse very seriously, and are actively reviewing the existing procedures we have in place for managing allegations, grievances, and disputes, assessing any gaps that we may have, and improvements we can make.
Since our last update on May 24, 2019, we have followed these steps:
- We have continued to communicate with some of the alleged victims and also with numerous students and others, and are carefully reviewing all input and suggestions received.
- We have added some additional links and pathways to our Safeguarding and Problem Solving and our Ethical Policy pages on fpmt.org.
- We have become a member of a UK safeguarding charity called Thirtyone:eight and are reviewing their templates, audit tools, and resources on safeguarding to assess any gaps in our current procedures and to identify areas for improvement.
- We are exploring what options are available to commission a suitable professional body to conduct an independent review of our current polices and procedures, to identify any gaps or areas for improvement.
- We are assessing what options are available to allow us to increase awareness of, and ensure priority is given to, safeguarding and implementation of a clear grievance procedure in the FPMT network of centers, projects, and services around the world.
FPMT International Office remains committed to continue to improve our policies and procedures to ensure we have robust systems in place for protecting against abuse, and to provide a safe environment for teachers to teach and be supported. We continue to require and assist FPMT center, service, and project directors to stay up to date with, and implement, our policies and guidelines.
Earlier updates, and advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, concerning Dagri Rinpoche are available here.
FPMT International Office has received considerable correspondence regarding the alleged misconduct by Dagri Rinpoche and the decision to suspend Dagri Rinpoche from the FPMT Tibetan Teachers List. (See the timeline below for details.)
International Office acknowledges the very real suffering experienced by the women who have made allegations of misconduct by Dagri Rinpoche, and understand how difficult it is to speak out publically about this. We appreciate their courage in speaking out.
We also want to recognize Dagri Rinpoche’s service to the FPMT organization as a teacher for more than fifteen years. We have received no complaints about his actions over the past eight years.
International Office remains committed to helping local FPMT centers, projects, and services in creating a supportive and respectful environment for the students who study and practice there, and for the teachers who teach there. We continue to emphasize the FPMT Ethical Policy as a way to ensure these positive conditions.
The FPMT Ethical Policy is available for all to read on the FPMT website, and has been since it was first created in 2000. Allegations of misconduct are received with an open mind and a warm heart. In response to any complaint, the FPMT organization follows the guidelines described in Problem Solving within the FPMT Organization. We understand the importance of supporting and protecting teachers, and students, while any allegations are investigated.
Since 2011 (see our timeline below), International Office, relying on input from professionals and stakeholders, created and updated guidelines to support interactions between teachers, students, and staff, as a supplement to the FPMT Ethical Policy. Clauses within the Ethical Policy itself also have been updated on several occasions in order to capture and insist upon improved understanding of best practice.
In addition, the FPMT Ethical Policy and problem solving guidelines are regularly taken up and discussed at FPMT regional and national meetings, and at meetings of ordained FPMT Sangha. This is to keep the importance of abiding by the Ethical Policy in the minds of all in positions of authority within the FPMT organization.
There has been a lot of misunderstanding as to what the FPMT organization has done after becoming aware of Jakaira Perez Valdivia’s allegation. In order to clarify, and to prevent further misunderstanding, here is our timeline:
- International Office was alerted by the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama about an allegation of sexual assault made by a Western nun (Jakaira Perez Valdivia) against Dagri Rinpoche. The alleged assault did not take place at an FPMT center, and the communication from the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was the first we had heard about it. Therefore, FPMT International Office felt that the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was the appropriate body to investigate the allegation.
- The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama informed us that they had investigated the allegation and that it was resolved. They informed us that Dagri Rinpoche understood the seriousness of the allegations and committed to avoiding situations that could give rise to similar allegations in the future.
- Based on the outcome of the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s investigation, International Office decided that Dagri Rinpoche should remain on the list of FPMT Tibetan teachers. We talked directly with Dagri Rinpoche to ensure that he understood the seriousness of this allegation.
- We alerted FPMT regional and national coordinators, who organize teacher tours, of the allegation of misconduct and the outcome of the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s investigation. We asked the coordinators to alert centers that had invited or were planning to invite Dagri Rinpoche of this information.
- Jakaira Perez Valdivia emailed International Office, asking us to provide her with an apology from Dagri Rinpoche as she had heard that Dagri Rinpoche was defaming her in FPMT centers. We looked into the matter and were able to respond that we found no evidence that Dagri Rinpoche had spoken negatively about her and that he had considered the matter closed since the meeting with the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
- International Office was alerted of another student who had said she was inappropriately touched by Dagri Rinpoche in 2010. We contacted the student directly to learn more. The student—who wished, and continues to wish, to remain unnamed—decided to not make any public allegation nor take the matter further based on the outcome of the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s investigation in 2011.
- International Office reminded FPMT regional and national coordinators of the outcome of the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s investigation into Dagri Rinpoche in 2011, as part of our going safeguarding process.
- As of the beginning of May 2019, International Office had received no other complaints about the conduct of Dagri Rinpoche, nor heard any public allegations of misconduct by Dagri Rinpoche.
- On May 3, an American woman filed a police complaint in India, alleging that Dagri Rinpoche sexually harassed her during a flight from Delhi to Gaggal. The Indian police began an investigation. We verified this directly with the police station involved.
- In response to the May 3 allegation, International Office suspended Dagri Rinpoche from the FPMT Tibetan Teachers List.
- On May 14, International Office posted the public statement “Update Regarding Dagri Rinpoche.”
- On May 14, International Office posted “Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Advice to Students of Dagri Rinpoche.” (This letter is advice specifically for students of Dagri Rinpoche, to help them.)
- We were informed that a Korean woman had made an allegation against Dagri Rinpoche on Facebook. On May 15, that woman, Youngsun Shin, reached out to us directly to inform us of her allegation of inappropriate physical contact by Dagri Rinpoche in Dharamsala in 2008. We are in correspondence with Youngsun Shin.
- On May 24, International Office created the page “Updates Regarding Dagri Rinpoche,” where updates and links on this issue will be shared.
- On May 24, International Office posted “Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Additional Advice to Students of Dagri Rinpoche.” (This is a second letter of advice specifically for students of Dagri Rinpoche.)
While we await the results of the Indian police investigation, we are continuing a correspondence with Jakaira Perez Valdivia. We are also seeking professional assistance, and committed to continue to improve our current policies and procedures.
Dagri Rinpoche has for many years been one of the Tibetan teachers on FPMT’s Tibetan Teachers List.
The Indian police last week received a formal complaint from a woman who was on a commercial airline flight with Dagri Rinpoche in India, accusing Dagri Rinpoche of inappropriate behaviour during the flight. Furthermore, another woman recently made allegations about misconduct by Dagri Rinpoche 10 years ago, which she shared via a YouTube video.
FPMT International Office understands that best practice is to suspend a teacher from teaching while an investigation is ongoing, in order to protect students, and the teacher. The investigation into what happened on the flight is currently being conducted by the Indian police.
We have therefore temporarily suspended Dagri Rinpoche from the FPMT Tibetan Teachers List with immediate effect, pending the conclusion of the police investigation. This means that Dagri Rinpoche may not teach, or be invited to teach, in any FPMT center during this suspension. FPMT teacher suspension does not indicate an assumption of guilt.
Dagri Rinpoche sent International Office this personal statement regarding the allegations.
Regarding the allegations made on YouTube, we have reached out directly to the woman who posted the video. In 2011, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Private Office informed us that they had received an allegation by this woman against Dagri Rinpoche. The Private Office informed us that they had investigated the allegations, and that they had resolved the matter with the woman. They informed us that Dagri Rinpoche understood the seriousness of the allegations and committed to avoid situations which could give rise to similar allegations in the future.
Therefore, we maintained Dagri Rinpoche’s listing on the FPMT Tibetan Teachers List. However, we took our responsibility to students seriously, and alerted FPMT regional and national coordinators about the matter, asking them to inform any center which had invited or was planning to invite Dagri Rinpoche, so that they could consider their invitation in light of this information. We also took the opportunity to review FPMT policies and processes to see if any further amendments were needed to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and centers.
We sent a reminder about this to the coordinators last year, as we were told that talk was circulating about Dagri Rinpoche.
We have received no complaints about Dagri Rinpoche since 2011.
Our recent decision to suspend Dagri Rinpoche is consistent with the emphasis which the FPMT organization places on ethical behavior.
FPMT policies and guidelines are instituted to help individuals in positions of authority to uphold a safe, respectful environment in their local center, project, or service. These include:
- Abiding within the Law
- FPMT Ethical Policy
- Grievance procedure guideline
- Teacher Policy and guidelines, which help ensure that Dharma teachings are provided only by those who are qualified to teach Dharma (FPMT registered teachers)
Lama Zopa Rinpoche has given this advice for Dagri Rinpoche’s students on how to relate to this situation from a Dharma perspective.
Find new updates and advice here.
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When others insult, rebuke and speak unpleasant words to us, although an intolerable pain arises like a thorn at the heart, if we comprehend the teachings then we can recognize the essenceless nature of these words which resemble an echo. So just as when an inanimate object is scolded, we will experience not the slightest mental turmoil.