1. Examination of training certificates
Allow yourself to request and check the educational certificates and training documents.
1.1 Tibetan medicine
Because of repeated warnings by doctors of Tibetan medicine on charlatans, who in Europe pretend to be doctors of Tibetan medicine, in interviews since the year 2006, it is recommended to check their qualification at least by means of the corresponding training certificates bevore putting one's own health into the hands of someone.
Due to stunning statements such as "stabilization of diabetes within a few weeks without the need for medication lateron" (interview in Kathmandu/Nepal on 7.10.2018), it can only be recommended to thoroughly inquire into the knowledge of the corresponding diseases, including request for comparative studies on the treatment of the respective disease, and to compare it to current general knowledge to avoid complications as they would occur with diabetes.
There are two herbal formulations based on the pharmacological knowledge of Tibetan medicine produced in Europe, which are paid for by Swiss health insurance (conversation at 4.11.2018 at Kathmandu; confirmation by the Head of Regulatory and Medical Scientific Affairs of PADMA AG at 19.11.2018 ). These do not carry the risk of contamination with heavy metals.
1.2 Buddhist groups
Due to teachers without training or with training of for example two weekends only, both on Buddhist philosophy or on Buddhist meditation techniques, it is recommended to investigate on their training qualification and to demand their training certificates.
In terms of qualification it can´t be sufficient to merely define oneself a delegate or representative of anyone in Asia (in the sense of any intransparent teacher-student succesion).
Since in Tibetan Buddhism both feudal structures and centuries-old conflicts between groups have been copied unreflectively to the West, and since larger groups routinely operate according to Asian hierarchies, it is just as important to examine and define the qualifications of center managers, translators and all instructors for their activities and areas of responsibility. Because the self-overestimating motto to simply do what one can if only succeeds in asserting oneself, no matter at what costs for other group menbers and based on the lack of democratic procedures within the groups, can not be a sufficient qualification criterion if the health, dignity and well-being as well as the future of people are at stake
2. Implementation of a mandatory whistleblowing guideline for all group members
Due to recent incidents in various Buddhist groups, which have shown that situations have been evolving for years or decades without being limited or resolved, it is recommended that a whistleblowing guideline be established that is mandatory for and signed by all group members and to which they are committed with understandable consequences for non-compliance with these guidelines. Because of the often extreme Asian-stye hierarchization, extermal bodies are indispensable who can follow each and every whistleblowing process and transparently document it as well as assess the implemantation of proposed solutions and, if necessary, take further measures.
The imperative and unconditional protection of those concerned and any whistleblowers forms a basic premise for the emergence of social control within the group, which is presently often almost non-existent while at the same time being isolated from external control.
In particular, specify that each individual group member, including leadership, its spouses, translators and instructors, is required to abide by the respective national laws of the country in which they are currently located, and that abuse of power is to be reported and will be prosecuted according to these, rather than being covered up with the absurd concept of "karma-cleansing" targeted specifically at any single unwelcome person.
Due to the present suspect demands for identification and the concurrent command structures in Buddhist groups, the assignment of responsibility to each individual group member for his/ her verbal and physical actions is crucial. Establish consequences regarding failure to assume responsibility, damage through the passing on of orders or unreflected carrying out of any orders, mobbing or slander against group members or anyone outsides one's own group on the basis of national laws instead of continously attributing full power to the group leadership and their helpers.
As you begin to implement whistleblowing in your organisation, particularly ask those who have left the group over the years and develop the guidelines based on that information and on the analysis of recurring damaging issues in your group as well as on the introduction of democratic processes into the group.
Identify and analyse terms and concepts that have been used for creating damage of whatever extent. One example of this is the abusrd concept on "karma-cleansing". Although these terms are closely linked to neo-Buddhist terminology and interpretations at present in Europe and America, any further damage inflicted on such a basis con only be averted by making them explicit, putting tehm up for discussion, and rejecting them form the group's conceptual thinking and use of language. In your whistleblowing guidelines, explain the dangers inherent in such concepts in the hands of charlatans, narcissists, and people who abuse their power.
In this respect, and with the aim of preventing further harm, publication of deficiencies can serve as a legitimate means of establishing social control rather than the identification with individuals or any propagated ideals.
Establish group internal rules and consequences for the harassment of anyone (verbally or physically) as well as for abuse of authority or influence in any form, especially sexual or physical abuse of minors or adults who are not on the same hierarchical level or in mental crisis. Also establish group internal rules and consequences for any slander of group members or outsiders including handing over all such incidents to the appropriate national law enforcement authorities.
Set the procedure and the responsible instances for any criminal incidents, regardless of the hierarchy level. Since internal taboos merely will result in greater damage and further victims, it is necessary to define and adhere to a clear procedure of handing over to the state authorities for the prosecution of any criminal incidents and, in the case of internationally active groups, to all relevant state authorities at this point.
3. Monitoring the integrity of teachers, translators and managers and social control
Due to the lack of social control towards those who travel back and forth between Asia and Europe or America, it is necessary to find measures to reestablish this.
In particular, examine the lifestyles of any teachers and insist on transparency when, for example, people in monks' or nuns' clothing or monastery leaders secretly live their affair and do not even pay any alimony for their children.
Allow yourself to make grievances public rather than keep them taboo, because they will be harmful elsewhere in the organization. For shamelessly acting persons who demand tabooing and at the same time absolute obedience, the public is the only adequate means.
Allow yourself to check who benefits from your seminar contributions and donations, and whether these incomes are taxed and provide transparency in the documentation of cash flows, especially in international groups.
4. Assumption of responsibility and measures against indoctrination
Allow yourself to ask questions in order to understand direct and indirect indoctrination (by teachers or their translators) and take critical questions coming from your personal environment seriously. Also, allow yourself to ask questions that reveal "hidden agendas" rather than following a tabuising command culture aimed at financial gain of some individuals and further expansion only.
5. Human Rights and the treatment of women in Buddhist groups
Allow yourself to check on human rights, in particular the treatment of (all) women in your group and exploitation of their labor for the benefit of a few (such as group leaders, translators and their friends).
Introduce gender-specific wording and reflect on the purpose and updates of centuries-old passages denigrating women rather than reflectionlessly copying concepts in which women are severely denigrated and feudal structures into Buddhist centers in Europe or America.
© Anne Iris Miriam Anders, research project TransTibMed, October 2018