One way the Rigpa community can care for each other is by knowing how to raise a complaint or grievance about past or present behaviour in Rigpa. This includes informing friends who have left Rigpa and may have an unresolved ethical question or a complaint that impacts on their peace of mind. Rigpa has put in place a grievance process that operates at the local and national levels, but also includes an external independent council that can be contacted directly. The national councils and independent council are empowered to make recommendations to the Rigpa boards, including the Vision Board, which the boards commit to act on.
At this point in time, there are two members on the independent council. Both are senior Western Buddhist teachers with experience and qualifications in Western psychology and counselling and were nominated by Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche. They are introduced briefly below but you can read more details about them here.
Jann Jackson has been a Dharma student since 1975. She has a master’s degree in counselling psychology. She has worked in the human service field for forty-five years, with a focus on helping families, communities, and public systems to interrupt patterns that cause harm and to create cultures of respect and care.
Helen Berliner has served in sangha administrative and teaching roles for over forty years and is currently on staff at Mindrolling Lotus Garden in Virginia. With degrees in Fine Arts and Psychology, she has also served as a hospital chaplain and crisis counsellor. Her master’s degree is in Buddhist Studies, with a focus on environmental psychology. She is the author of the book 'Enlightened by Design', and editor of books by authors including Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, and Ane Pema Chödron.
The Independent Council can be contacted directly for confidential advice at firstname.lastname@example.org. For non-English speakers, an independent translation will be made available.
More details about Rigpa's grievance procedure and the Independent Council can be found on each national Rigpa website and here.