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Why so much sexual misconduct?

QuidditchQuidditch Earth Explorer

I don't understand why there have been so many cases of misconduct in Buddhist circles. Especially with Buddhist tenets such as karma and suffering and the third precept.

I'm just looking to understand.

I came across this article today and it got me wondering. I like his teachings, but now I'm conflicted.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/tricycle.org/trikedaily/shambhala-investigation/amp/

opiumpoetry

Comments

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Do you think it is purely in Buddhist circles? If you look at all the trouble the Catholic Church has, I suspect other denominations have just as many issues. I suspect wherever you have celibate men in a position of power and trust you are going to get a certain number of these cases, and just because we hold Buddhists to a high standard because of the Third Precept doesn’t mean that they are immune.

    opiumpoetryrocala
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited June 13

    I'm sure there are many factors, but to me the meeting of more traditional patriarchal cultures with a more liberal western one explains a lot. A culture where men have more power and control over women also have more rigid social constructs around sexual contact between men and women. Take away the roles around sex but leave the attitude of dominance over women creates potentially harmful situations that those in power aren't experienced dealing with.

    I remember traveling in India 20 years ago and on a train I got the question, "In America sex is free?" Like they understood the concept of a liberated sexuality for women but didn't understand that women also had a liberated value as an individual equal to men. Like they could just go up to women and demand sex.

    That doesn't really explain Sakyong though, who grew up in the west. Maybe its not so much about the people involved but the institutions themselves that aren't properly installing rules around leadership and sex in mixed gender communities.

    I don't know, just some thoughts.

    Quidditch
  • 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

    Yes, what ^^he^^ said, in spades.
    Please don't get me started, I may say things I would regret.

    Even if they are totally true, accurate and absolutely on point.

  • QuidditchQuidditch Earth Explorer

    No, @Kerome, I wasn't even going to touch the Catholic priests. I was just surprised that it was there in Buddhist communities. I married into Christianity, I wasn't raised in it. The Buddhist people I was raised around always seemed so... Enlightened. 😆

    @person you brought up some things I hadn't considered.. culture meld may instigate some of it. Thank you for your perspective.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited June 13

    Why so much sexual misconduct?

    When it comes to sexual misconduct ...pick a label, Buddhist Hindu Sikh Muslim Jew Christian ...any label ...and the common denominator ...you guessed it "Humans being human"

    It's all down to humans being human warts and all ... For example, police are meant to uphold the law and yet are often caught corrupting the law, this also goes for lawyers and others in a position of authority.... and what they all have in common is their humanity ( they are homo sapiens) ...and in many cases, they lack the ability to control their urges AKA aversions and desires....

    We all have our flaws (it comes with being human)...some more flaws than others...

    QuidditchBunkspersonlobster
  • QuidditchQuidditch Earth Explorer

    Thanks @Shoshin. Human warts, nicely put. 😆

  • 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 June 13

    @Shoshin said:

    Why so much sexual misconduct?

    When it comes to sexual misconduct ...pick a label, Buddhist Hindu Sikh Muslim Jew Christian ...any label ...and the common denominator ...you guessed it "Humans being human"

    I disagree. To be human is a privilege, not an excuse.

    It's all down to humans being human warts and all ... For example, police are meant to uphold the law and yet are often caught corrupting the law, this also goes for lawyers and others in a position of authority....

    The difference being that this kind of professional misconduct is one thing. Sexual harassment, assault, rape or simple prejudice are absolutely nothing to do with a person's profession. They're all to do with being male.

    ...and what they all have in common is their humanity ( they are homo sapiens) ...and in many cases, they lack the ability to control their urges AKA aversions and desires....

    Again I disagree. They do not lack the ability to control their urges at all. They make a choice. And they choose not to.

    We all have our flaws (it comes with being human)...some more flaws than others...

    It's curious though isn't it, that a percentage of men have it in for 50% of society, regardless of colour, race, religion, ethnicity or social status?

    KundoKaydeekay
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    Why so much sexual misconduct?

    Bluntly? Because a lot of people in power are arsehats. There is no magic answer and most of what's been posted are just excuses (sorry, but they are). I find it interesting, and very disappointing to see people trotting out the same old excuses (clash of cultures, celibacy in some religious paths etc). I wonder if that would be the same if it were a woman in this case? Would the excuses be the same?

    @Linc is spot on, as is @federica

    lobsterVastmind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Why so much sexual misconduct?

    Oh do we get sexual misconduct now? My favourite sort. o:) I'll join. <3 Will there be an orgy? B)

    [lobster hangs head in shame] Did I go wrong again ... no orgy?

    Vastmindajhayes
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Linc said:

    @Kundo said:
    @Linc is spot on, as is @federica

    Few things pique your anxiety and curiosity like getting an email saying you were mentioned in a thread titled “Why so much sexual misconduct?”

    I believe you meant @Jason, in which case I’m flattered by the mixup.

    Sorry @Jason :blush:

    Just keeping you on your toes @Linc . Yeah, that's it :awesome:

    lobsterBunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    We all have our flaws (it comes with being human)...some more flaws than others...

    Exactly so.

    Time to call out the flawed, that is those who DO NOT CONCEDE WRONG-DOING. Oh did I shout? Yes!

    When a Buddhist is an example of abuser/alcoholic/white or male privilege/unskilful they should be shouted or screamed at. Too often they are facilitated by those who can know better.

    Sham-bhalla whose meditation classes and centres I have attended was set up by
    Chogyam TrumPa
    https://boulderbuddhistscam.wordpress.com/chogyam-trungpa/

    My experience is very simple. The combination of sitting and walking meditation at the centre was very helpful. It is functional. It works.
    I found the 'advanced teachings' deluded aristocratic 'dharma' twaddle.
    Trungpa books which some here have found useful, are superficially
    wise (In my understanding) ...

    For similar reasons I do not value the 'teachings'
    of Ohno Bog-won Raja-Niche (sorry my spelling is not what it could be)
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajneeshpuram

    As long as there is fish. I follow. I iz rubbish Buddhist but good lobster! :3
    https://wakeup-world.com/2013/12/09/9-ways-to-spot-a-fake-guru-or-spiritual-teacher/

    There must be some good ambrosia somewhere? Recommendations and better links/efforts welcome ...
    https://cundi.weebly.com/crazies.html

  • 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 June 14

    Sadly, in most cases, people are taken in, by the trappings, the prestige, the status... the higher they climb, the harder they fall. And yet, people still excuse, justify or rationalise behaviour...
    It pays to walk in to the welcome, but be prepared to keep a foot in the door...

    It's utterly deplorable, shameful and inexcusable that women - of all ages - the world over are still exploited, abused and defiled in this way, purely and simply because they are women..

    We have been the backbone and pioneers of society for millennia, yet we are still second-class citizens, and for some, it is quite normal, natural and acceptable that it is so. Such is the power of conditioning, even some women Kowtow in placid agreement...

    Yet the moment women take a stand, object, criticise and denounce such attitudes, men the world over, bleat their excuses, protest, and accuse those women of being strident feminists banging a jarring drum they're tired of.

    We wouldn't be banging it, if these men didn't provide us with reason.

    Would we?

    lobsterVastmindQuidditch
  • 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
    1. Hello, world... it's only taken 64 years...

    (The first advertisement to hit the tv airwaves in the UK was 1955... )

  • 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

    I DID warn you not to get me started...

    image

    federicalobsterVastmindKundo
  • QuidditchQuidditch Earth Explorer

    So it's the same old story. 😔 I thought Buddhist teachers were above it, but I guess they're not. I guess I was sort of looking for a magic answer, like @Kundo said.

  • ajhayesajhayes Northern Michigan Veteran

    @federica

    You are feisty. Keep on keepin' on.

    It is my understanding that in comparing institutions (Buddhism, Catholicism) to humanity at large, the misconduct rate is the same. So, as earlier stated, it's just humans being humans.

    That being said, I stand with women. Even though I have had to weather a false sexual harassment claim. There are too many instances of actual injustice and mistreatment of women to let my situation cloud my judgement.

    federicalobsterQuidditchShoshin
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    This isn't intended as an excuse but rather an attempt at explaining deeper causes and conditions that allow for such behavior, particularly by advanced spiritual practitioners. People need to be held accountable for their harmful actions, but by understanding the causes and conditions that maybe led them there we are better able to let go of our anger and judgement and hopefully find more effective solutions at preventing future occurrences. The fear of punishment isn't always a very good deterrent, especially for those with power.

    There is something called spiritual bypassing where someone develops qualities, maybe such as insight or blissful concentrations that permeate one's life, but in the process they ignored or pushed aside their shadow side. They didn't properly deal with their negative character traits. When our shadow side is repressed or denied when it does manifest itself the way it does so can often be worse than if we are aware of it because in our ignorance it can take greater control.

  • 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 June 14

    I get what you're saying; I remember reading a book by author Debbie Ford, titled "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming your power, creativity, brilliance, and dreams" (a bit new-agey, but extremely perceptive and a great read, if an explanation were needed, about why good people, for example, do bad things).

    While I accept that people's actions can be as a result of previous experiences and conditioning, I still believe fundamentally that people are faced with choices;
    I am reminded of an article I read in a UK Magazine titled 'She', which focused on a rehabilitation centre for men who physically abused their spouses, partners and children; not necessarily sexually, but certainly with degrees of force. It was run by a man, who was married with kids. He was once faced with a man who wept and described the abuse he had experienced from his own father as a child as a mitigating factor as to why he had abused his own children, and had molested them.
    The Founder of this organisation related his own horrific experiences at the hands of his father and uncles, (details of which I shall not go into here) but he ended up by stating "I have two wonderful children and a loving wife. I have never once laid a hand on any of them, and I love them protect them and care for them with all my heart, so I'm sorry, but what's your excuse again?"

    I read this article what must now have been a good 30 years ago. Maybe more. I have never forgotten its impact on me, and indeed, at the time, it was an extremely effective trigger for me to lay aside past issues that had played on my mind, and affected my Id.
    And it's as true today as it ever was then.

    "You may well have a Dark Side. In truth, we all have. But that's still no reason to succumb to the carnal impulses you know are at best, questionable, and at worst, positively criminal."

    First, face your dark side.
    Then, deal with it, in a healthy way, rather than succumb to it.

    (This is beginning to sound like Darth Vader's 'Ahaah' moment...!)

    image

    lobsterQuidditchKundo
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    That is something I've never felt I've been able to get to the bottom of, why some people succumb to their pain and others use it to do better.

    I once knew a Vietnam special forces vet, who was one of only 5 out of a company of over 100 that made it back and the only one of those who didn't kill themselves. Not only that but was a Catholic alter boy and suffered that sort of abuse as well. I knew him many years down the road from those experiences and while he still suffered from PTSD he was one of the kindest, gentlest people I've known.

    Seriously, what is it that causes some people to follow the dictates of their conditioning and pain and others to oppose it and rise above?

  • 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

    I wish there was a pat and easy answer to that one, @person ...

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 14

    I would suggest @person it is only partly choice, partly karma/circumstance. It is in a sense a temperament and we are trying to bottle it ... Buddha Nurture
    https://www.ancient.eu/article/972/cunda-the-beginnings-of-lay-buddhism/

    personShoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited June 14

    @federica said:

    @Quidditch said:
    So it's the same old story. 😔 I thought Buddhist teachers were above it, but I guess they're not. I guess I was sort of looking for a magic answer, like @Kundo said.

    I know you must be disappointed. Well, I know how you feel, I was too. I hoped that Buddhist Lamas teachers and those in some elevated position were literally above such behaviour, and it kinda dashes your dreams and expectations to see it ain't so.

    But you know what?
    We're not like that.

    I think it is a gap in how religious leaders are trained... it’s all very well to be a celibate monk, but once you have many admiring disciples it’s easy to let it go to your head, especially if you’re from a culture where sex and women are not as free as in America. They should really prepare the people who become teachers a bit better for these situations.

    In some ways it’s like being a rock star, except you’re a spiritual star. And rock stars are well known for a level of excess, drugs, hard partying and so on.

    I’m not excusing their behaviour, I think they should be held accountable for their actions. But I do think we should look deeply into what causes this behaviour, in order to see how it can be prevented.

    Shoshin
  • 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 June 14

    Ego and a sense of entitlement, sums it up I think. That, coupled with the 'elevated' belief that if they pronounce it as part of tantric and/or esoteric teachings, they can get away with anything.
    Sometimes they may even actually believe that that is exactly what it is.

    HHDL once said that if anything could be found to prove Buddhist teachings or proposals incorrect, Buddhism would have to modify its approach.

    Perhaps this is one area where definitely, those teachings need a good long hard review.
    You know; move with the times, get with the programme...?

    lobster
  • QuidditchQuidditch Earth Explorer
    edited June 14

    @Federica said
    And sometimes, the one thing better than having a Teacher who might be questionable, is having a bunch of learners walking with you as friends, who aren't.

    How true, this forum is a gem full of wonderful people. I'm glad to have stumbled across it. 💖

    federicaVastmindShoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Karma ( as @lobster had mentioned) is interesting, the things one does due to force of habit ( the karmic connection is often overlooked)...

    Simply put, karma ( cause condition effect ) involves one's "thoughts words & deeds"...

    I'm reminded of The Twin Verses

    ....when it comes to sexual misconduct ...it all starts with a thought...

    ....when it come to skillful means ...it all starts with a thought.....

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Quidditch

    It pays not to mistake the teacher (any teacher) for the teaching (AKA the finger pointing to the moon for the moon )

    Some of the discourses/teachings from some teachers who turn out to have somewhat unsavoury reputations are still helpful & beneficial...

    However if our minds become clouded by our own negative thoughts & emotions towards a certain teacher we might miss a precious gem in amongst the garbage....

    So when a teacher's reputation is tainted... it may well be a case of das Kind mit dem Bade ausschütten .....don't throw the baby out with the bath water

    lobsterpersonQuidditch
  • QuidditchQuidditch Earth Explorer

    @Shoshin
    Thank you for that. ❤️ I had gotten a lot out of his teachings.. but was feeling conflicted about that fact.

    Shoshin
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited June 16

    OP, the Dalai Lama recently said, after meeting with victims of abusive lamas, and reading pages of written testimony they gave him describing the experiences and trauma each of them suffered, that there are lamas out there who simply don't care about the Dharma. They don't care if they commit root downfalls and harm people right and left. In other words, there's a fair amount of corruption in the system.

    Tragically, this has been going on for decades, but has only come to light recently. There was a lot of denial, victim-blaming, and shunning of victims going on in these organizations, and among followers in general. Zen went through some very dicey times as well, but that community has handled the problem a bit better, and has showed genuine compassion to the people who have suffered.

    You could look at it this way; there will always be predators who seek out the priesthood for easy access to victims. That's true across cultures and spiritual traditions. Hopefully in the future, spiritual seekers will be more careful about choosing the groups they get involved in, and about leaving, when they see anything inappropriate going on, whether "mere" verbal abuse (which can be indicative of things to come), or other signs of a cultic group.

    ShoshinlobsterJeffreyQuidditch
  • KaydeekayKaydeekay Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Quidditch said:
    So it's the same old story. 😔 I thought Buddhist teachers were above it, but I guess they're not. I guess I was sort of looking for a magic answer, like @Kundo said.

    I know you must be disappointed. Well, I know how you feel, I was too. I hoped that Buddhist Lamas teachers and those in some elevated position were literally above such behaviour, and it kinda dashes your dreams and expectations to see it ain't so.

    But you know what?
    We're not like that.
    The majority of people interacting with you here, are men.
    And that's kinda cool, because these guys are really great.
    And so is the majority of the Buddhist community you'll come across.

    Sadly, those who get the bad news are prominent, but also not numerous, by any means.

    I've been on this forum for 15 years.
    I am the sole female Moderator.
    To be honest, I'm also the only Moderator that is on virtually permanently.
    In all my years here, I think I'm right in saying that I have only encountered blatant sexism twice, and both those times, the men concerned were amply dealt with by The Chief Administrator, @Linc.
    Both he and @Jason are more feminist than some feminists(!) and such contributions cut no ice and they'll have no truck with it.

    Those people have come and they've gone.
    Such attitudes, language and interaction aren't tolerated here at all.

    So yes, it's disappointing.
    But you're among friends here.

    And sometimes, the one thing better than having a Teacher who might be questionable, is having a bunch of learners walking with you as friends, who aren't.

    Thank you for saying this 💞. I really needed to hear it. ❤️

    federicalobster
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