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The following procedure can be adapted to address the concerns of individuals or groups of practitioners under the guidance of a teacher but without an Administrative Board or Board of Directors.
If a student brings forward a concern, it may be addressed directly with the teacher. It may also be wise to discuss this with another qualified SZBA or ASZB recognized teacher to assist in discernment and in resolution of the concern. Rev. Zuiko Redding (firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Cedar Rapids Zen Center and Rev. Tenku Ruff (email@example.com) can be contacted for this purpose, or, to find a list of SZBA teachers, see www.szba.org.
If a matter of importance concerning ethical guidelines or practices arises, it may be brought to the attention of the Teacher and/or another qualified teacher.
If matters of importance are not able to be informally resolved, a Hearing Panel may be convened to implement a Formal Process. The Panel may consist of another teacher selected by me, a teacher selected by the student and a third teacher selected by the two advising teachers, the Ethical Designee.
A Formal Process is initiated by communicating in writing with the Ethical Designee. This “letter of request” must include:
The name of the person(s) to whom the matter pertains.
A statement of the resolution sought.
Once the Ethical Designee has received a letter of request, the Ethical Designee, will, within 30 days convey to the requester the acceptance or non-acceptance of the matter for formal hearing. In the event the matter is accepted for formal hearing, the Ethical Designee will also notify persons named in the Letter of Request, as appropriate.
Once the parties have been notified, the Ethical Designee, in consultation with the Head Teacher, will convene the meeting. One panelist chairs the hearing and insures that a record of the hearing is maintained. Each member of the panel must be without actual or apparent bias or conflict of interest.
The chair schedules a private hearing for the persons involved to have a full and fair opportunity to present their understanding of the matter at hearing. The Panel may ask questions and request information. The panel will consult with the Head Teacher
Once the Hearing Panel determines that it is sufficiently informed of the matter(s) heard, it will close the hearing and deliberate. Deliberation will include consultation with the Head Teacher.
As soon as reasonably practicable, the panel will issue a written decision and distribute it as appropriate
Soto Zen Buddhist priests have a special responsibility to ensure a safe teaching environment for all Zen students, temple members and temple visitors. All priests registered with Soto Zen North America are bound by these principles:
Members shall take responsible action when they become aware that they themselves or another SZNA member is impaired or otherwise unable to maintain the SZNA Code of Ethics. Soto Zen North America members shall provide the Sokan’s office immediate notice of any complaint of unethical conduct made against them. If a priest has been found by their temple or Zen center to be in violation of the SZNA ethical guidelines, they must immediately report this to the Sokan’s office and to the appropriate authorities, in accordance with applicable laws. Should the priest not report, their temple or Zen center officers should do so. If the ethical violation is not otherwise reported, an SZNA member not affiliated with the temple may report the violation to the Sokan’s office. Priests found in violation of the SZBA Code of Ethics may be subject to suspension of membership.
Any SZNA member convicted of a felony will be subject to review of their membership by the director’s office. SZNA membership will be suspended during this period of review. When all legal obligations have been met as determined by the judicial system, the member may apply for reinstatement.