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Dzongzar Khyentse Rinpoche and his letter

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran
edited December 2018 in Buddhism Today

I just came across this open letter which was written by Dzongzar Khyentse Rinpoche, a relatively well-known Bhutanese buddhist, to Aung San Suu Kyi. It seems very wide ranging and touches on a lot of subjects, not least Western colonialism in Asia, the retraction of various honours bestowed on Aung San Suu Kyi following the way the Rohingya have been treated, and his support for her despite continuing Western thought influence on the world stage.

It’s more than a little controversial and there are Buddhists on both sides of the discussion. What I found interesting is the very clear West-Asia split in the Rinpoche’s thinking, and the way that it is obvious that he thinks that the Western influence on Asia is harmful in a number of ways. Perhaps it might throw up some good discussion points...

The lion’s roar article is one of a number of good starting points if you want to do some reading. The original letter is on Facebook.


  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited December 2018

    Dzongsar Khyentse has come under considerable criticism for his callous attitude, and reprehensible jokes, about the sexual abuse crisis in Buddhism, which is especially severe in Rigpa, whom he's interim spiritual director of. He's really discredited himself in his responses to that, with a lot of people. The letter on Aung San Suu Kyi adds to the controversy swirling around him. DKR has shown himself to be ethically challenged, i.e. lacking an understanding of Buddhist ethics (or perhaps, not caring about ethics), and still very attached to sensory phenomena and his own gratification.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    It's a shame; I really quite like his book "what makes you not a Buddhist" but his stance on the atrocities in Myanmar, lead me to question his talk vs his walk....


  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited December 2018

    We all at times have a difference of opinion when it comes to certain things/events...we see the world and events differently (depending on which side of the fence one sits)...I guess he is just expressing his......taking a different angle/ not throwing the baby (in this case Aung San Suu Kyi) out with the bath water or should that be to the wolves...(for her silence on the matter)

    Personally I find him an excellent spiritual teacher......

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    It’s not so often that you see views strongly dissenting from the Western worldview so I read it with interest. I feel he makes some good points — the bombing of Laos, the dominance of western institutions, a lack of following Eastern wisdom, the structural imperialism of institutions in place when colonialist powers leave — although the core of the letter and not supporting the Rohingya minority is flawed.

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