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The Dalai Lama doing nothing about sexual abuse?

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran
edited October 3 in Buddhism Today

Today there was a pretty hard-hitting piece on national Dutch tv about the Dalai Lama. Apparently four years ago he met with survivors of sexual abuse by Tibetan buddhist teachers during his last visit to the Netherlands, he was asked to make the topic discussable in the hierarchy, said “of course, of course” and did nothing.

Some pretty dreadful stories about various cases. Donations seemed to be involved.

https://eenvandaag.avrotros.nl/item/dalai-lama-doet-nog-steeds-niets-tegen-seksueel-misbruik-hij-is-zijn-belofte-gewoon-niet-nagekomen/
https://www.rijnmond.nl/nieuws/1552093/de-dalai-lama-kwam-vier-jaar-geleden-naar-rotterdam-en-beloofde-seksueel-misbruik-aan-te-pakken-er-is-niets-gebeurd-alles-blijft-in-de-doofpot

Comments

  • KotishkaKotishka Veteran
    edited October 3

    There should be a "tear" option between the Hugs and the LOL because this is all I can think of right now. Corruption is something absolutely normal amongst humans. I have also found this kind of rhetoric -we will investigate, then nothing- in my first Buddhist school.

    All I can wish for is that the victims get the support they deserve; that the legal authorities investigate this thoroughly, and please, let us learn about the dangers of certain organisations and stay away from them.

    Terrible. I rather keep the wise teachings of HH even though it seems he does not practice them fully at the end of the day.

    I tell myself, "this is good to practice then with your own short-comings" even though I cannot compare my weaknesses with such scandals...still they serve as a lesson.

    Also....bit of tangent...but this is one of the reasons I really like the Thai Forest Tradition and their vigorous following of the vinaya. Not handling money directly, strict celibacy, no drugs.... you close the door to a lot of demons and pseudoexplanations of why he can do it while the rest cannot. Though I know they are not free from sin. While not from the Thai Forest Tradition, an ex-girlfriend would talk to me about "bad monks" in Thailand with sunglasses, cigarettes in their mouths and young girls by their side. She was Thai by the way.

    Yeshe2019rocalalobster
  • Yeshe2019Yeshe2019 Australia New

    I read action was taken by individual institutions, not H.H per se. The spiritual co-ordinator of Buddhist centres have disrobed several men who have acted inappropriately and consequently have been prosecuted by the legal system in their country. This has happened in America, hopefully it will happen in other countries also.

    Steve_B
  • Steve_BSteve_B Veteran

    When HH found out about Sogyal Rinpoche, who had been his friend, he publicly rebuked him, and advocated openness:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/dalai-lama-denounce-ethical-misconduct-by-buddhist-teachers/

    Here in northern Colorado USA there is a spectacularly beautiful Buddhist center part of the Shambhala organization. They had a sex scandal and did not adequately address it:

    https://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/local/fort-collins/2019/07/11/shambhala-mountain-center-west-fort-collins-issues-apology-after-newspaper-report/1707465001/

    This was part of a chain of events that ultimately led to the center's bankruptcy.

    Yeshe2019lobster
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    The Dutch group asked the DL to meet with lineage heads and other prominent lamas/teachers/Rinpoches, to discuss the abuse problem. But I'm not sure if people realize, that he's actually only the head of the Gelug sect. He can't tell the other sects what to do. And part of the problem is, that some of the authorities in the sects are abusive themselves. It's partly a matter of corruption in the system in general, which is something that goes back through Tibetan history.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited October 4

    @Yeshe2019 said:
    I read action was taken by individual institutions, not H.H per se. The spiritual co-ordinator of Buddhist centres have disrobed several men who have acted inappropriately and consequently have been prosecuted by the legal system in their country. This has happened in America, hopefully it will happen in other countries also.

    More survivors of abuse should file criminal charges, when appropriate. That would send a strong message back through the hierarchy in India and elsewhere, that they will be held accountable for criminal behavior. Many instances of abuse, though, are the result of highly manipulative behavior, not outright assault. Students are told they have to respect the teacher's demand the same way that Milarepa complied with every demand of his teacher, no matter how extreme. This is a false teaching. But students don't know that. Their teachers require them to take Samaya vows. Then the teachers hold that over them.
    But what students don't know is, that if the teacher makes a demand that's contrary to the Dharma, the Samaya is broken, so they're automatically released from their vow. Corrupt teachers take advantage of Western students' naivety about the finer points of the student-teacher relationship. They lock students into Samaya early on in the teaching process, when traditionally it's only relevant after years of study, if the student reaches the advanced stage of tantric study.

    I don't know if anyone here follows the young Kalu Rinpoche. On his first tour of his centers in the West, women in his main center in France told him about rampant abuse by the head lama there, and some Bhutanese monks on staff. A couple of the women filed criminal charges against the head lama for rape. I don't know how those cases turned out, only that the lama was in police custody for awhile.

    But it's very sad what happened to Kalu Rinpoche after he fired everyone. The monks went back to Sonada Monastery, which is Kalu Rinpoche's monastery where he was abbot, and told the board of directors, that Kalu had acted against the Dharma, slandered the Dharma, or some such false accusations. It was very dirty politics; they were striking back at him for firing them. Since he was still in the West when they rushed to Sonada to denounce him, he wasn't able to defend himself. The board of Sonada excommunicated Kalu, and cut him off completely.

    He had started out his career as a reformer. He had originally said during his first tour, that he wanted to reform the system that was under his control. He wanted to start schools for young monks, that would give them a modern Western education along with their religious training, so that they'd have marketable skills when they reached adulthood, in case they chose to follow a secular path and leave the religious life, which they have the right to do. But as a result of his bitter falling-out with his monastery, he's backed off from making major reforms.

    Kalu Rinpoche also made a video in which he stated that he had been sexually assaulted at age 12 by older monks in his monastery, and even survived a murder attempt by the monk in charge of his education. For this reason too, he's controversial. But this is the experience that motivated him to try to create an alternative to the monastic education as it has been traditionally practiced. But now, since he's no longer in charge of his monastery, he can't make reforms there. Sexual assaults of child monks is common throughout the Tibetan system, although the DL has cracked down on this to the extent possible, in the monasteries he can control. Of course, it was also his own sexual assault experience that motivated him to replace corrupt monks in his centers with ethical ones. The prior Kalu Rinpoche had appointed some very corrupt people to run his some of his centers in the West, including a couple in Canada and the US.

    So that's what happened to one bright light in the tulku system; he did his best to stop abuse in the centers under his control, but he was double-crossed by the people he fired. Now I notice, that on the Kalu Rinpoche wikipedia page, whoever wrote the page has cast doubts on Kalu's legitimacy. It says, the prior Kalu Rinpoche "supposedly" had left instructions on who was to be his successor. This is very sad, that there are elements trying to undermine his authority. All just because he had the compassion to try to do something about inherent abuse in his lineage.

    Corruption is very hard to root out. The DL would have an impossible job, if he were to try to introduce system-wide reforms. Even to ask the sect leaders to do that, when in some cases the abuse comes all the way from the top, is useless. How easy has it been to eliminate abuse in the Catholic Church? (or in any denomination? There's abuse in all of them.)

    person
  • 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
    edited October 6

    You're absolutely right. The Catholic Authorities insist that such 'transgressions' are dealt with "internally" and all they seem to do is to move the culprit to another post or parish. Talk about "We take care of our own"...

    And indeed, very often they find support among colleagues, who back them up or protect them, denouncing the accusers as vile liars, and upholding the innocence of the guilty party. You know, when 20 people file a complaint, they can't ALL be liars...

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited October 6

    @federica said:
    You're absolutely right. The Catholic Authorities insist that such 'transgressions' are dealt with "internally" and all they seem to do is to move the culprit to another post or parish. Talk about "We take care of our own"...

    And indeed, very often they find support among colleagues, who back them up or protect them, denouncing the accusers as vile liars, and upholding the innocence of the guilty party. You know, when 20 people file a complaint, they can't ALL be liars...

    I see these clergy networks, whether Buddhist, or Catholic, or Protestant, Jehovah's Witness, or whoever, as the ultimate Old Boys' Networks. Their members cover for each other.

    federicalobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    It is up to us to have integrity and demand accountability from our institutions and exemplars.

    By their actions, not their 'high' spiritual status they reveal their nature.

    I feel so fortunate that nobody, including me has ever found my behaviour virtuous … 😇

    https://yinyana.tumblr.com/archive

    Dakini
  • "It is right for you to doubt; doubt has arisen in you about dubious matters. Come, Kalamas, do not rely on oral tradition, or on the lineage of teachers, or on holy scriptures, or on abstract logic. Do not place blind trust in impressive personalities or in venerated gurus, but examine the issue for yourselves. When you know for yourselves that something is unwholesome and harmful, then you should reject it. And when you know for yourselves that something is wholesome and beneficial, then you should accept it and put it into practice."

    — AN 3.65

    JeroenlobsterShoshin1
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