The mission of the Foundation for Active Compassion (FAC) includes the commitment to “help people find an unconditional power of care from within that is deeply healing and sustaining, and that helps them become more fully present to themselves and to others within their relationships, service and social action.” In this spirit, we seek to uphold the dignity and worth of each person and to refrain from harm to self or others. We aim to treat all with care and compassion.

To that end FAC meditation teachers agree to:

Honesty and Transparency

We recognize that secrecy is a destructive behavior in a community. We will refrain from gossip and cultivate the qualities of straightforwardness and loving-kindness as the basis of our communication.

We agree to hold in confidence that which is told in confidence in dharma interviews and other teacher-student communications except where we believe that imminent harm may be possible.

Avoidance of creating harm through sexuality, misuse of power/authority or financial resources

We agree to avoid creating harm through sexuality and to refrain from using our teaching role to exploit our authority and position. Those who have taken vows to a spouse/partner or to celibacy will honor those vows. Those who are not in a vowed relationship will take responsibility for creating interpersonal boundaries that honor a commitment to the avoidance of harm through sexuality and/or the misuse of power.

We will commit to examining the power structures within our community and strive for accountability and shared decision making. There will be an annual ethics committee review of our organization which will be made available to the board and the larger FAC community.

Any funds raised are to be used to forward the goals of FAC as stated in the mission. The misuse of funds for other purposes shall be considered an ethics violation.

FAC teachers accept responsibility to support each other in upholding these commitments. Accordingly, we will take appropriate action if we have knowledge of a teacher potentially acting in a manner contrary to these precepts. Anyone who discloses unethical activity on the part of an FAC teacher will be offered confidentiality as is appropriate.

The FAC Ethics Committee is available to discuss appropriate actions in particular situations, as needed. The committee consists of at least one member of the FAC Board, one FAC teacher and one FAC community member.

Grievance Process

Any member of the FAC community who has a concern/complaint regarding sexual or ethical misconduct by an FAC teacher is invited to approach any member(s) of the Ethics Committee. This consultation is held in confidence by committee members. The committee may, on request, serve as a sounding board for oneʼs concerns, as a source of further exploration of the concern or a source of advice as to how best to resolve the issue.

The Ethics Committee seeks to listen deeply to all concerned, respond to suffering with compassion, and offer a forum for dialogue and mediation within the FAC community. In looking for resolution, our practice values dialogue over silence, reconciliation over estrangement, forgiveness over resentment, confession over accusation, and reparation over punishment.

If a person with a complaint determines that a more formal process is necessary, a grievance letter may be submitted to the Ethics Committee, including:

  1. A clear statement that a formal grievance process is requested.
  2. The name of the teacher(s) whose behavior the complaint concerns.
  3. A description of the alleged behavior sufficient to allow the committee to decide whether the complaint is appropriate for initiating a formal grievance process.
  4. A history of the attempts, if any, to resolve the concern through other means.
  5. A general statement about the resolution desired.

If the Ethics Committee receives a request to initiate such a formal grievance process, the request letter is shared with the FAC Board and interviews are conducted to investigate the situation, as needed. Following its inquiry, the Ethics Committee will report its findings to the Board, the FAC community member who brought the complaint and the teacher(s) whose conduct precipitated the complaint. The findings will include, as appropriate, proposed consequences and steps towards resolution and healing.

The Ethics Committee will strive to complete its inquiry and report its findings within 45 days of the date of the request. Depending on the nature and complexity of the reported situation, additional time may be required and the matter may be reported to appropriate authorities if that is deemed necessary.

The recorded minutes of Ethics Committee meetings will be maintained confidentially by the committee chairperson for the life of the organization. There is no set time limit for a complainant to bring forward a grievance/allegation.

To contact the Ethics Committee, email Ilona OʼConnor at facbostonma@gmail.com.