North American Buddhist communities have been and continue to be sites of sexual violations and power abuses. This series brings together practitioners and scholars to examine multiple dimensions of abuse in Buddhist contexts and articulate best practices for building safe and inclusive sanghas.

Buddhist Currents is pleased to host this series of conversations organized by Ann Gleig and Amy Paris Langenberg. The series is sponsored by the Religion & Sexual Abuse Project, funded in part by The Henry Luce Foundation. See Religion and Sexual Abuse Project for more details.

Please find individual registration links and info on organizers, speakers and moderators below.



“Community, Transparency, and Accountability”* 

Egyoku Nakao Roshi & Tenku Ruff Roshi

Ann Gleig (moderator) 

May 8, 3:30-5pm EST [See the recording here.]

*This conversation is for Buddhist teachers and leaders (people on boards of directors or holding other senior positions in a Buddhist organization). All subsequent conversations are open to everyone.


“Speaking As, With, and For Survivors”

Lama Willa Miller, Chozen Bays Roshi, Grace Schireson Roshi, Carol Merchasin

Amy Langenberg (moderator)

June 26, 3:30-5pm EST [[See the recording here.]


“Sexual Abuse, Whiteness, and Patriarchy” 

Lama Rod Owens, Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls, JoAnna Hardy,

Nalika Gajaweera (moderator)

August 8, 3:30-5pm EST [See the recording here.]


“Comparative Buddhist Sexual Ethics”

Sarah Jacoby, James Robson, Kali Cape, Sharon Suh, Jue Liang, Amy Langenberg

Lama Willa Miller (moderator)

September 19, 3:30-5pm EST [See the recording here.]


“Sexual Misconduct and Legal Liability Issues in Buddhist Sanghas”

Carol Merchasin

Ann Gleig (moderator)

October 2, 3:30-5pm EST [See the recording here.]

About the Organizers

Ann Gleig (she/her) is an associate professor of religion and cultural studies at the University of Central Florida. She is the author of American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity (Yale University Press, 2019)

Amy Paris Langenberg (she/her) is an associate professor of religious studies at Eckerd College who specializes in South Asian Buddhism with a focus on monasticism, gender, sexuality, and the body. She is the author of Birth in Buddhism: The Suffering Fetus and Female Freedom (Routledge, 2017). 

Ann and Amy are currently collaborating on a book-length study of sexual violation in Buddhist communities titled Abuse, Sex, and the Sangha (Yale University Press, forthcoming).

About the Speakers and Moderators (in order of appearance)

Wendy Egyoku Nakao Roshi (she/her) is the Abbot Emeritus and Head Teacher of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. She is the author of the Sangha Sutra, ZCLA’s document on creating Sangha culture.

Tenku Ruff Roshi (she/her) is the Head Priest of Beacon Zen Temple,  and the Director of Spiritual Services at Phelps Hospital. The former president of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, Tenku Roshi holds a Master of Divinity degree from Maitripa College, and she is a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC). Tenku Roshi has training and skills in ethics, the Right Use of Power, and in helping people meet life’s challenges with courage and integrity.

Lama Willa Blythe Miller (she/her) is an author, translator and teacher within the Buddhist tradition. She is the founder and co-director of Natural Dharma Fellowship. Her latest book is The Wakeful Body (Shambhala 2021).

Jan Chozen Bays Roshi (she/her) is a retired pediatrician and a Zen teacher in the White Plum lineage of Taizan Maezumi Roshi. She teaches in the course Healthy Boundaries for Buddhists through the FaithTrust Institute, and has written articles in Buddhist magazines on issues of sexual misconduct by teachers

Grace Schireson Rosh(she/her) is an ordained Zen teacher in Suzuki Roshi lineage. She is also the founder and President of Shogaku Zen Institute where Buddhist students can earn an MDiv degree through practice and classes.

Carol Merchasin (she/her) is a retired lawyer and former partner at Morgan, Lewis, one of the largest law firms in the US.  She investigates sexual misconduct in spiritual communities.

Lama Rod Owens (he/him) is a Buddhist minister (Harvard Divinity School), best selling author, activist, yoga instructor and authorized Lama, or Buddhist teacher, in the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. He is the co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation , author of Love & Rage: The Path to Liberation Through Anger, and co-founder of Bhumisparsha, a Buddhist tantric practice and study community..

Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls (they/them) is a teacher and student in Vajrayana/Tantric Buddhism and is a Teacher on theLiberate App and is a Lead Teacher on Weekly Dharma Gathering, which they co-founded and curate. See for more information.

JoAnna Hardy (she/they) is on faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) and on the teachers council of Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She is the cofounder of Meditation Coalition and co-author of Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents. JoAnna teaches Vipassana to teens and adults and prioritizes helping communities and individuals that don’t typically have access to the traditional dharma settings and building multicultural community.

Nalika Gajaweera (she/her)  is a research anthropologist at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. Her specializations are in the anthropology of religion, with a specific interest in the intersections of Buddhism, race, ethno-nationalism, and gender. She has studied these issues most in-depth in the context of Sri Lanka and the United States.

Sarah Jacoby (she/her) is an associate professor in the Religious Studies Department at Northwestern University. With research interests in Tibetan Buddhist studies, gender and sexuality, and Buddhist literature, she is the author of Love and Liberation: Autobiographical Writings of the Tibetan Buddhist Visionary Sera Khandro (Columbia UP, 2014).

James Robson (he/him) is the James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University and also the current Director of the Harvard University Asia Center. He is a specialist of the history of East Asian Buddhism and Daoism.

Kali Nyima Cape (Pema Khandro) is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Virginia and Ford Foundation Fellow specializing in Women, Gender and Sexuality in Tibetan and Chinese religions. Her current research focuses on consort culture in Tibetan Great Perfection (rdzog chen) literature.

Sharon A. Suh (she/her) is Professor of Buddhism at Seattle University and author of Being Buddhist in a Christian World: Gender and Community in a Korean American Temple (UW Press, 2004), Silver Screen Buddha: Buddhism in Asian and Western Film (Bloomsbury Press, 2015), and Occupy This Body: A Buddhist Memoir (Sumeru Press, 2019). She is a 200-hr RYT and trained in Trauma-Informed Yoga.

Jue Liang (she/her) is the ASIANetwork-Luce Foundation postdoctoral teaching fellow in the Department of Religion at Denison University. She is a scholar of Tibetan Buddhist literature, history, and culture, with a keen focus on women and gender.