Feedback and Constructive Suggestions from a Group of Concerned Students

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A small group of Australian students is attempting to get this letter, which expresses their concerns, requests, and constructive suggestions, to SL.  22 more student voices from the What Now? Facebook Group agree with the sentiments expressed in this letter.

This group of 13 Australian Dz and Ng mandala students had 2 weeks warning of the contents of the recent email from long term students on the issue of abuse in our sangha. We have met twice in this period to process our mutual pain and concerns, and to begin a dialogue on what this means for the sangha.

In the first meeting we shared feelings of shock, confusion, anger, betrayal of trust, bitter disappointment and sadness.  All stated vehemently their continuing faith in the teachings, love for R, and gratitude for all he has done for us, but made a clear distinction between the teacher and the behaviour. We feel strongly that no one is above the law.

What follows are notes from the second meeting of the points that we all agreed on. As a small group, we were able to mobilise quickly, and we hope that the results of our discussion will help in the process of healing for all concerned:

Reaction to email

  • No one doubted the truth of the testimonies. They recognised that these were all long term dedicated and respected students.
  • There was agreement that those who wrote the email and those who support their stand should not be seen as troublemakers. We greatly appreciate that they have the courage to break the silence and feel that the sangha needs this kind of openness.
  • Some feel that this is the purification we have to have, that it is a direct result of Vajrasattva practice, and that facing this and dealing with it will ultimately be beneficial for R’s health and the strength of the sangha.

Reaction to contents of the email

  • All students have zero tolerance of abuse, no matter who the perpetrator is. They believe that this level of abuse simply cannot be condoned or hidden away.
  • They were quite clear that damage has been done and that it must never happen again.
  • After 2 weeks consideration, 4 plan to leave R, others say their decision will depend on how R and the senior students handle the situation.
  • Students feel that if nothing substantial is done within R to address this issue their staying will make them complicit in the abuse (which would presumably continue), and their ethics will not allow them to stay under those circumstances.
  • They agreed that this behaviour is damaging for the dharma, as well as for the students abused and for every student in the sangha.
  • We feel that samaya goes both ways. We have the responsibility to help SR make a break from this negative pattern for both the sake of our samaya and his.

Feedback for national and international role holders and students close to Rinpoche.

  • Our trust in those who run the organization has been shattered. It is difficult to trust anything that comes from those closest to R because they have allowed the abuse to go on, their ethical standards to be compromised, and have not given support to those who felt abused. We don’t want to see those who have been terribly hurt by SRs actions further damaged by “victim blaming”.
  • We have seen, and in some cases experienced, verbal abuse by older students, and this concerns us greatly. This modelling of abusive behaviour also must stop.
  • Though some aspects of communication sent out as support for this challenging time do support an open approach, the attachments some of us received are either irrelevant or sound like a public relations exercise of damage control. (One student called it ‘circling the wagons’ as if against attack.) Advice from ‘spin doctors’ is not helpful.
  • We don’t want R’s behaviour explained away, we want it addressed. Teachings on Crazy Wisdom and Pure Perception do not help. We may be poor students with little capacity, but we will not compromise our ethical standards and we want an organisation that supports this.
  • We want those running the organisation to listen to us, not the other way around.
  • We want access to R in future. At present those around him keep him in a bubble where it is almost impossible to meet with him, ask questions or have our concerns heard.

What we want to see happen.

  • We want a code of ethical behaviour drawn up that applies to everyone in R, including R, and structures put in place for any future abuses of those ethical standards to be heard and addressed. We took heart from the story of how Lama Norlha Rinpoche’s sangha handled this same situation. We feel that this is the way to move on from this situation with dignity.
  • We want R to speak to us directly in a situation where any student can ask a question, but what he says must be based on his understanding that his behaviour is not acceptable in the Western world and cannot be excused with ideas of ‘seeing the master purely’ or following the crazy wisdom tradition.
    Specifically:

    • He should acknowledge that he has behaved wrongly and hurt us. We pray that he can genuinely state that he regrets this, and that he will not repeat such actions in future.
    • To complete the four powers of purification, we consider that a period of personal retreat without an entourage, but with support from his peers such as Mingyur Rinpoche and professionals who can help  him to manage his urges, would be beneficial for him and allow us all a fresh start on his return.

We offer our feedback along with our sincere gratitude for everything you, both R and the Senior students, have done for us over the many years of our devotion. We pray that you will hear the words of we simple and very concerned students and take the appropriate action to heal this situation with integrity for all our sakes and particularly for the sake of the future of the buddadharma in the West

Perhaps our modest contribution could help show the way.

What are your thoughts about these concerns and suggestions?  Please let us know in the comments. Please use initials rather than full names when referring to teachers and organizations.


More personal and private support can be found in the What Now? Facebook group. Please contact us via the contact page and ask for an invite. Include a link to your Facebook profile or the email address you use with Facebook.

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222 thoughts on “Feedback and Constructive Suggestions from a Group of Concerned Students

  1. Dear Friends, I very much appreciate everything you say above and support you. If I can also assist in some way let me know. I have seen some of the reactions on FB – the R page –
    and from some senior students and that saddens me as much as SR behaviour. I am strong in the dharma (well i try to be) and having seen a number of gurus come and go since the 1960s, I know the teachings remain. JA

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  2. I appreciate the thoughtful and constructive efforts of this group of students. I support the suggestions of what they would like to see happen. I am sad for all of us that so much energy has been expended to hide this for so long that could have been directed to expand the dharma.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does seem like a big misdirection if energy, doesn’t it! (All the hiding.)

      I really appreciate your comment of support for this student response.

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  3. Typical robust Aussie good sense. Thank you. I agree with and support your approach. Openness and confession is needed to bring about healing. Ian

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I left the Rigpa Sangha a little over 5 years ago after being a Distance Sangha member for about 10-15 years. I had heard of Sogyal Rinpoche’s abuse & was directed to discuss it with a Sangha ‘therapist’ via phone in California who basically listened to me & said she would communicate my concerns to those involved. I never heard anything back. Having been involved in group organizations for many years I suggested to this therapist that these issues should be openly discussed within the sangha since there were many others who had heard this information & were also concerned. One of the main reasons I left Rigpa was because of the lack of integrity in dealing with the abuse openly. I am currently happily involved in another sangha here in the U.S. I’m deeply saddened by the depth of Sogyal Rnipoche’s & others behavior & denial of this problem. My prayers are with all involved.

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    1. Linda, your support means a lot to all involved.
      The story you told of ineffectual counseling given by a group-sanctioned therapist is all too real to me. It’s something many of us went through. If only we’d been able to discuss things open.
      So nice to hear about your new sangha. Peace.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for all your comments.You do me good.The instructors, in France, have just sent a list of resource persons who are supposed to listen and or give help to the students, using “pure perception” to brainwash them into accepting abuse.We are treated as stupid people who need help.On the contrary, as you said, we do not need help, the lama needs help in order to” mend his manners” or leave.And the instructors also need help to open their eyes and be more courageous.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, Sandra. I’m not supported by people from my own country. Only this blog helps me. Love.Nicole

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    1. I fully agree with you. I went to a meeting with the sangha about the letter of the 8 students. There were also some people talking about pure perception. SL did nothing wrong. The problem was that we could not yet see the pure perception. We talked on different levels. I did not know about the way they use pure perception in Rigpa. But it motivated me very much to stop with Rigpa. On the other hand i don’t trust many sangha members anymore. It is a conspiracy of silence. Many were in LL and it was beautiful. So I feel betrayed by people who knew and said nothing but stayed. Then one has to lie to oneself and make a construct of pure perception. Very unhealthy for your mind. I think not only SL but also quite a few long term students need help against their brainwash, it is sektarian. Especially, at the very end of the first letter of the 8 students, the monk and the nun were exhausted and asked for help. They did not get it but were told that they should be more grateful to be so near to SL.
      I do not know if any professional can help SL. He has this behaviour for 3o years and never wanted to give up. He always got away with it. In fact in many European countries there are laws that could bring him to prison for his behaviour. He did a lot of damage to people.

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      1. Dear Tiny, it feels zo healthy your common sense, what I read. Every other refuge with this behaviour would be put in an airplane and flown back and since long. There must be connection with politically and/or financially influential persons and Rigpa in all this countries?
        Be careful with the longterm members of R. SR is a role model for a lot of them, inclusive his addicted lifestyle (sex, food, power) and that he is not able to deep intimate bounding with a human being, bounding disorder. Afraid for real love? The empathie level is low, it can be a sign of a very deep trauma? Anyway with his time schedule SR and mass of people around him, he has no time to practice really seriously in silence on compassion and wisdom, what you would aspect as a student from your teachers. His longterm students should be help him, instead of avoiding and denial everything, if there was love and compassion for his ‘master’. He is an old man now. And you are so right: 30 years of this behaviour will sit very deep in the energiesystem of a human being, in the mind and heart. He is closed to the end of this/his lifetime, to change this now…., still….. ??? only by love and a miracle perhaps?
        Trust your zelf, ecspeccially your heart, make time to listen to it and follow it, lots of love Hetha

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        1. Thanks Hertha for your warning.
          I experienced bad power behaviour from some long term students in the local management. I did a hell of a job very well but i asked for help from the management because it was too much. I did not get it and i became irritated. I was accused of being angry. I was told to do some practice. All the instructors were told I had been angry with the management. I got a talk with an instructor psychologist. That person told me I did not know how R. worked. I had to quit my volunteering work after i had cleaned up the mess. I have been long time with the gelugs but because of health problems i had to find a sangha near to my house. They told me at R. that what i had learned with the geluks was irrelevant because they followed a different master. They were quite arrogant and i did not go there for half a year. I thought it had to do with their individual personalities, but now i know they learned it from SL. I stopped with R.

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          1. Dear Tiny, Dear all

            In those national Rigpa groups that I knew, did I experience quite a lot of official Rigpa people with bad manners, pseudo-authoritarian acting, arrogance ( without any visible cause to be arrogant, like being very beautiful, educated or whatever ), lying and manipulating, playing “little crazy wisdom stories” and so on.

            Much more people, in terms of percentage, as in any other subculture I exposed myself to, except for hardcore hippie subculture, full with people with drugblown minds.

            But, as well many nice, gentle,kind,considerate and generous, hardworking and honest people, really.

            But the psychos are more then average, honest.

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      2. Dear Tiny;I’m sorry I’m late for answering your comments.I was away from home.I was in LLing watching what happened and trying to understand the situation.Of course I agree with everything you say. I’ve just read an article by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse entitled Guru and student in the Vajrayana.It’s available on Google.I suggest you read it, you will be interested. The article is quite long.The answers to our questions about SR are in the second part.The 1st part is very interesting, but it’s not enough to see the whole picture.Love

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear All,
    I have been a Vajrayana practitioner for over ten years with a different lineage and have followed the events of your sangha over that time. I have read the letter and many of the blogs connected with this site. I am very moved by your suffering and the searching to make sense of it all. It has also caused myself to reflect and have numerous conversations about it with my teachers. My thoughts are this…that all Buddhist methods have one thing in common, Kindness and Awareness. Regarding crazy wisdom as a method, even Trungpa adhered to Kindness and Awareness, and he was by all accounts a Mahasida. For me SKs actions are self evident if seen clearly and objectively. I do not believe he is a Mahasida. I do believe he has harmed the dharma. But regardless of my opinions the result of the letter will probably be criminal prosecution in many of the countries where assaults occured. If the Buddhist community can’t realistically deal with the situation, it appears that society and the legal system will. It’s already started in the Netherlands. It is also my opinion that while SK can have deep knowledge of the dharma, he also exhibits psychopathic behavior. As such, he should not be a teacher. And as such, he will completely resist any reform of his behavior. Again, in my opinion, I think it wise for members of his sangha to leave and find authentic dharma teaching elsewhere. Staying in the sangha now will be a very rough ride and those that do…well, everything is a learning experience.
    Much love
    Antonio

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear All,
      Dear Antonio, thank you very much! I see it rather similar… There is also the possibility, that the teacher retires or abdicates. This offcause seems to be quite utopian at this moment, but who knows? As i see it, this is a mutiny going on, and it seems to be well prepared. R could function just as well without SL, maybe even better… Didn’t he often say: “it’s not for me, it’s for you!”? That situation will occur some day, so why not now? These are just some thoughts which come to my mind, but there could be some reason…

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      1. I can’t see how he can appear in public and teach as usual during the summer retreats.What about the girls?Don’t they feel ashamed?

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        1. Let’s be clear. This is not the fault of the girls. They have nothing to be ashamed of.

          And be careful projecting things onto the girls. Some genuinely don’t see it as abuse. Their belief system sees it as a blessing, so for them it will be a blessing. They would not feel shame so long as they subscribe to that belief system, rather they would feel special to be so close to the master.

          Also some do say ‘no’. So don’t assume that all close to SR are involved in sex with him. It would do the many women who work in the upper escalons of Rigpa a great disservice to assume that.

          Also consider the whole environment within which this occurs: the male senior students are complicit to all this abuse. If anyone is to feel shame it is the perpetrator of the abuse and those who allowed it to go on, not those who have been abused.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. You think no female senior students were/are realizing what was/is going on for such a long
            time? You think so?

            …it should be love…

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            1. Thank you, Yamaintaka. The female “sangha leader” to whom I brought some of my concerns about Sogyal Lakar’s behavior around the time of the lawsuit in the 90’s, told basically to “shut up” and that I had no right to ask questions because I was obviously an ignorent “New student” who didn’t have a clue about SL’s teaching methods, and didn’t understand that his every drool and hiccup and punch was a teaching from the Buddha. I feel that the senior students who enabled and hid his behavior should either resign or go into mind-heart cleansing retreat or therapy from therapists outside of Rigpa. I left Rigpa at the time of the lawsuit Rigpa. I am now happily studying with another Tibetan teacher–one not of the so-called “crazy wisdom” variety.

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          2. Just to play the devil’s advocate: “Some genuinely don’t see it as abuse. Their belief system sees it as a blessing, so for them it will be a blessing. ”

            It seems implied here that their belief system is mistaken. Why is their belief system mistaken and yours not?
            “the male senior students are complicit to all this abuse.” Yes. But so are some of the female senior students, are they not. Finally, do individuals not have responsibility for their choices, even if they turned out to be bad ones?

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            1. Somebody might give you a coin and assure it is gold. You believe it but when you go to the goldsmith he denies it is gold. Which perception is right? It is easy to check whether it is gold or not and you have been cheated.
              One can see butching and kicking as a blessing, but when you cry out of pain and you have injuries, it cannot be a blessing. One has a lack of discernment.

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                1. Reply to Sengeinindia about perception:

                  People do not recognize that what they thought was gold, it not like that. because many emotions are involved. They idealize the lama, see him as a perfect father or as a Saviour, are glad that somebody else takes decisions so that they have no responsibility. They are for a long time in a group with the same wrong opinion. Anybody who thinks sane, is not welcome.
                  They may have psychic problems from childhood. When you are in a group that is a bit sectarian, you do not confront yourself with different opinions. The longer you stay, the harder it is to get out and go to a regular life again. Also see the letter from Bernie Schreck to DJKR 24th August or in Tricycle the article of psychotherapist Miles Neale.
                  In the beginning I really did not understand how these things work. But it is all psychology and a quite isolated group. The recent post from 2oth August: Prcoess and the Belief at the core of the problem, also tells a lot what psychologically happens in a cult-like organization.
                  In such an organization are oft uncritical people in the inner circle.

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    2. Thank you, Antonio.As for criminal prosecution, it can only happen if people lay complaints. So far, none of the girls has laid a complain. I don’t know exactly what the situation is like, I confess I am lost.May I ask you to, please, explain your idea. What exactly has started in the Netherlands?
      As for finding authentic dharma teaching elsewhere, I have no idea.Authentic masters are rare. Tru.. R. and Yan..R.who gave us empowerments, have passed away recently. Much love. Nicole

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        1. Thank you. I have also heard that, and he has been my second lama since I receieved Dzogchen teachings from him in 2008 (Thanks to SR) . Personally, I am wary of committing myself to another teacher ever again. I trusted SR, so I question not the integrity of other teachers, but whether or not I was a fool to give such trust to anyone. See the next post here for how I am approaching that.

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          1. I received teachings from Mingyur Rinpoche just a week ago on Guru Yoga. Former members of my own cults who abused Guru yoga to establish a slavish, obedient, unquestioning devotion were also there. We are still wounded or sensitive by the abuse of Dharma…
            A feedback of one of my friends was: as Mingyur Rinpoche taught Guru Yoga, there was nothing manipulative – not even the slightest bit, it made totally sense and it can be accepted as how it has been taught.
            Mingyur Rinpoche doesn’t expect you to devote to him or to follow him, nor does he beat you, have sex with you (or your children, siblings) nor does he bully anybody – the latter is totally unthinkable. He is the softness, clarity, compassion and peace in person according to how others and I experienced him. I had the good luck to be with him together for 12 days almost around the clock many years ago. That’s why I was able to see how he responded and dealt with daily life situations, from swimming to people who sought his help (for whom I often translated), from travelling with the train, visiting a sight up to a violent situation and how he dealt with that. Here is the latter story (abbreviated): When we wanted to go by the subway a young man wanted to hit him right into the face with his fist. When the man and his aggressive friends came nearer (I was paralysed knowing something violent will happen), Mingyur Rinpoche, who walked in front of me was totally calm. He just walked on as he uses to walk totally open, aware and relaxed. When the man put forward his fist and arm to hit Mingyur Rinpoche right into the face, at the almost last moment, Mingyur Rinpoche grabbed the arm of the man, moved the fist beside his face and joyfully smiled at him with a move of his own fist only softly suggesting to hit him too – like a friendly child game or children who only PLAY boxing. The man was utterly perplex, his aggression fell off of him, and due to the power of his move he fell almost down. Mingyur Rinpoche gave him a slight push so that he could continue to walk without falling down. Them Mingyur Rinpoche moves on in awareness or meditation, totally relaxed as IF NOTHING HAPPENED AT ALL. He didn’t say a word, his body didn’t shake. There was not the slightest excitement or nervous reaction, fear or arrogance or any word about the whole thing.
            ****
            Maybe I share an advice with you Ringu Tulku RInpoche once gave to me. Burned by two abusive teachers, he recommended: Go to all the genuine, great lamas there are and received Dharma teachings from them.

            I followed that advice (and there are still many genuine and incredible teachers!) and by this not only did I met incredible good teachings and lamas but also by listening to them or by observing their good example, I was able to gradually overcome all of the indoctrination instilled in my mind with twisted / manipulative Dharma teachings from my abusive teachers. I learned the differences between using Dharma as a means to control and bind students and dharma as a means to set your mind, your being, free and make you a mature person who takes care of him- or herself. There are so many things I could tell … maybe a tiny episode with the Dzogchen master H.E. Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche. After he gave Dzogchen teachings, I went to the river Elbe in Hamburg. When looking at the river I made a certain experience which for my mind was quite extra-ordinary. I went back to Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche and asked him: “Rinpoche, I experienced this and that… What was it?” He replied, “It was a mind state called … ” … Then I said: “Thank you. I was able to experience this due to your blessings.” He immediately, said: “No! This has nothing to do with me. It came from your faith in the teachings and the lineage.”

            This taught me a lot. May abusive teachers always claimed good experiences came due to do their blessings (or power) and because they are so special, bad experiences they claimed are due to my or our negative Karma (or weakness). This is not in line with reality, extremely simplistic and a means to make you dependent. (The teacher takes the victory over your good experiences and gives you the defeat …)
            Actual, if you have faith you can even have good experiences with a thing that has no qualities (as you know!) or a person like Shoko Asahara (read Robert Jay Lifton’s Destroying the World in Order to Save it)*, a psychopath or narcissist. So the blessings, the good experiences and insights might have by far more to do with your own openness and your own qualities and Buddha Nature than with the lama! It might be useful to get a better understanding about what faith and devotion is in Buddhism. I wrote a summery here and maybe you find it useful for sorting things out on your spiritual journey:
            https://buddhism-controversy-blog.com/2015/07/08/what-is-faith-or-devotion-in-buddhism-asangaabhidharmasammuccaya/

            * Interesting parallel, also Shoko Ashara abused guru yoga to demand a slavish, totally obedient type of devotion.

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            1. Hmmmm, firstly, why are you so confused as to not know that following a Guru is not about slavishly following someone who claims themselves to be special and so on in the first place? That is what baffles me about this whole thing. Also, why are you boasting about your experiences and spending so long posting know-it-all comments on these blogs ( which I admit I am also wasting my time by reading)?
              Don’t talk about your experiences. Don’t name-drop. Do tonglen for Sogyal and all his followers instead of wasting your time here.

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        1. To stop the abuse, legal actions might be the only means, Thalia. In general, the personality of a cult leader or the culture of a cult are often far too unhealthy or rotten to achieve a change without a legal punishment. Often only legal punishment (in general with tax issues) have shown to be successful for a change in other cults.

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          1. You are right, Tenpel.But nobody has recently laid complaints .So, there will be no legal punishment.I’ve just learnt that 300 people are attending the Ngondro retreat in LL and it’s wonderful! So, I’ll have to keep my mouth shut.

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      1. Actually to put the record straight, women have complained. There was a $100,000 law suit in 1993. SR never actually went to court because he settled out of court by paying off the victim with a large sum of money. I know about this because as a former Trustee I was asked to give testimony in support of the woman, (which I gave) . I read much of the legal documentation of this case. It was an extremely messy business involving sexual abuse and physical violence – the woman concerned had just suffered the bereavement of her father and SR told her that if she had sex with him this would help her father get enlightened. He beat her on the head telling her that it was a blessing. There was also an article in the Sunday Telegraph around that same time where other women who had been abused spoke out publicly about what was going on. Patrick Gafney responded in this article by denying any abuse

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you, Ruthie, for the first hand information.Do you know if other women have complained recently? Love.Nicole

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        2. Hello Ruthie, Thank you for this information. Very eye opening. It makes me cringe that someone who was grieving the death of a family member was treated this way. And it makes me angry.

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        3. Thank you for the first hand information. Here is a copy of teh Telegraph Magazine: https://info-buddhism.com/PDF/sogyal-rinpoche_mick-brown-1995-telegraph.pdf

          Here are also details but it speaks of a $10 million civil suit (which might not be a contradiction), staring with $10 million and settling out of court with a lower sum:
          https://www.well.com/conf/media/SF_Free_Press/nov11/guru.html

          Thank you for sharing what happened to her – very sad (and bad!).
          ***
          Can you something about the accuracy of both articles?

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      2. In June on television was the story of Oane Bijlsma who was with SL for a year in 2011. Her story is on the internet. Rob Hoogendoorn is a Dutch buddhist who is chasing SL for years. She and some other women want to go to court.

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    3. Well, that’s the thing Antonio. He does give authentic Dharma teachings. Like Trungpa did. I don’t think he’s a psychopath. Or a fraud as some claim. But I do think that many people have been hurt and wronged and that shouldn’t have been allowed to go on. It needs to change. And students need to be educated and empowered, so they will be able to stand up for themselves, even to their teacher.

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      1. Thank you, LK, for such profound views and clarifications. In fact, R’s behaviour teaches us how to be stonger, how to use our intelligence and not to take the teachings stupidly to the letter. Thank you, LK, for opening our minds so skilfully.
        He is not a psychotic, but, I would tend to say that he is becoming a megalomaniac, which he was not a few years ago.cf:His sybaritic way of life, and his recent statements:”I’m not an ordinary man…Do you know who I am?”

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  7. Dear Antonio,
    do not agree with Your opinion. Recently i spoke with a Greek about their Situation.
    Even if it was very hard, but still from that bad situation came many good things,
    a lot of compassionate help between people and many good ideas.
    Same can happen to Rigpa. Always give a chance and never forget Bodhicitta..
    And even Rinpoche still can use his time well, as Milarepa did. So what :
    we all can learn a lot from that : its not about getting a fantastic teaching but doing
    some good. We all have a lot of Dharma Theory in our minds, but what about the practice ?
    Never give up !

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  8. Australian sangha’s comments are very constructive. Did you send it to Lerab Ling?
    They should have it as guideline to communicate with SL during DZg. retreat.
    I really hoe that they will have opportunity to have honest dialog w/SL.
    I heard from my German sangha friend that their sangha members are shrinking very fast.
    I am feeling better now. I can think & see the reality somewhat clearly. I am receiving calls & emails w/ very warm caring supports.
    Thank you for your help my sangha-brothers and sisters.

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    1. I also feel the Australian sangha ‘s comments are very helpful.I am not sure the people in LL are ready to take their responsibilities. Where are you from? Are you French?Love.Nicole

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  9. And this is not only about SR. Male disciples-instructeurs of R on the higher mandalas followed his rolmodel. It is such a bigger problem. This behaviour is hurting and traumatising the Dharma herself, the sacred feminine and the sacred love.
    I wish to all those men, including. SR that their hearts break open, so that love can fall into and then there will be no other possibility to falling down on the knees and asking for forgiveness. I think this is the only way to heal this. To face the pain and to feel it. I wish SR and followers of him in this behaviour to get the chance still in this life to love another person fully and deeply. Than never they would hurt them, want it is love and compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The group has the highest privacy protection, so you cannot find it unless you are in the group. If you want to join, please fill in the form on the contact page here.

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        1. Nicole, Just click on “contact” in the menu on the top of the blog and it will take you to the contact page.

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      1. The Ngondro retreat is beginning.There is also a tsok to-day. I’m interested in what happens in LL. Will SR teach or not? If you have information, please, let me know. LOve.Nicole

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        1. Hi, there’s just no way to know. Fingers crossed that whatever he does he’ll start to rectify and address the abuse. But who knows?

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  10. I feel that part of the problem is that there is so much anxiety and rigidity and lack of knowledge of what ‘devotion’ and ‘seeing the teacher purely’ actually is. We/me tend to think that if we want to be good we must obey, and that pure perception includes denial and white washing. We Westerners take everything seriously and literally, because we don’t understand the true meaning of samaya/pure perception until after we’ve actually been able to already realize it a bit. And even then, conceptual mind stifles it.

    We need a folder/short teaching that explains on the most essential level What Guru Devotion Is Not. If he asks you to take your clothes off and then to have sex wit him, you are allowed to say no. If he asks you to kill someone or rob a bank, you can say no. It’s not pretending that something is something other than it is. Having a question or a doubt is not a violation. We are not Worshipping the Lama, and although as a Buddha he is flawless, that does not mean he makes no mistakes.

    To have that on paper from the start helps so much. Even when everybody seems to be pushing you to toe the company line, you’ll have that. Right. I can say no. I can ask why.

    Pure perception and Guru Devotion is a personal practice. What is asked is not to pretend that you see Buddhas and Buddhafields everywhere because you’re supposed to. That’s just make belief. Pure perception and Guru Devotion is an ongoing process, a practice that invites you to just go beyond the usual assumptions (including your assumptions about how Buddhas and Buddhafields would be) and break ‘the usual’ wide open.

    So you have time to look deeper. What would I see if that horrible person was a Buddha? What teaching could be in that uncomfortable remark? To just stop and take some more time, think from a different angle.

    Like: What if the Perfect Place, the Perfect Time, the Perfect Teaching, the Perfect Teacher, the Perfect Audience is not this heavenly celestial place, but actually right here in this painful, confusion, sad, angered and betrayed, afraid situation right here on these sights, at this moment. What is teaching would need the coming together of all these causes?

    We are a part of that. We are called upon to now invoke our own wisdom minds, and think. Is this the painful end, of maybe the excruciating pain of something new that needs to be born?

    I pray that this pain will inspire teachers to guide us: How can we work with doubt, sincere doubt, about our teacher, without being shamed and frightened and panicked, because we are terrified we’re doing something wrong? Is a bad thought about a teacher a break of samaya, or is explaining away something bad for something good because you’re supposed to not the greater break of samaya? How can we find the courage to dare to look around, eyes wide open, yet solidly secured in a confident ground of understanding of the teachings.

    Because is all this not the sign of separating Dharma from life itself? Creating an image here, but experiencing reality there and thinking you must suppress and deny that at all costs. We should not be afraid. We need to remember the basics: always have compassion. Motivation is that what gives rise to everything, even if the action is wrong or unskillful, it will still be okay. All things are multiple and interdependent and continuously changing so nothing is ever just ‘this’ or ‘that’. There is always forgiveness. We need to know how not to be afraid to look at things we think we are not allowed to think about, because everything that is pushed down will fester.

    And we need teachings in how to leave a teacher, even on a bad footing, without leaving the teachings. That should be the first priority for all people leaving, because it is our job to help or brothers and sisters to not loose their precious connection to the Dharma, regardless of how angry or hurt or pained, or powerless they make us feel. This is not about us, this is not about Rigpa, this is not about SR, this is simply compassion. Putting the needs of others above our own.

    People need to be helped to leave Rigpa. We should have courageous exit counselors who can help to make a clean cut, so the painful end does not in anger pollute all the true that came before. Who are willing and able to just hear everything. Hearing it, without explaining it away. Without wanting to defend. Just listen, en then ask them what they did find worthy and help them to sort of take Rinpoche out of that, so they can hold on to that.

    I think that is the true meaning of “Giving away the victory and take the loss upon yourself.” It is horrible that all these people felt that they could not be. I am sure the people who tried to helped were sincere as well. But somehow between the two the needs weren’t meeting. Maybe it was fear for samaya? Fear for doubt?

    Truth needs no defense, it can’t ever be harmed because it’s the truth. It can only be misunderstood and misperceived. And unfortunately removing all the obscurations is pretty tough and a long process. Words and arguments alone won’t cut through it. I say we need to take a page from the book of all the masters who had to flee Tibet: truth and compassion should simply be lived, even when the whole world around falls apart and everything becomes hopeless. Somehow, somewhere, when the dirts have settled, it will be seen, it will be heard again. The teachings stand.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your perceptive posting. As a 15 year distance R student who quietly left after 2-3 years of deliberation on this issue I think it would be extremely helpful to have exit counselors. Fortunately, I had a supportive sangha friend who was there to talk with. Leaving R was a definite interruption in my practice but currently I am integrating into my new Sangha where I feel the ethics are more positive. However, the entire experience with SR has certainly fueled my doubt in the purity of the lama system & I remain cautious. There is so much abuse of power, mainly by males over both women, children, other men, & animals that this unfortunately seems the norm in our world. As a female I try not to be complicit in these actions where ever I am able.

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      1. Thank you so much for your comment, Linda. I’m a Vipassana practitioner of 19 years and felt in love with a longterm male R practitioner and in DM. This was 3 years ago. I couldn’t understand wat me overcome. I didn’t know about this practises of ‘crazy wisdom’, ignorance when questions came up and this dubbel behaviour: at one side very devoted to the teacher and also male rolmodel and able to be very tender and the next moment humiliation? Very often I ask myself: ‘Wat about compassion here?’ I had very integer teachers in my 19 years, they live and teach with an international teachers codes and the 5 precepts. Inside R this one about Sexual misconduct is cancelled. Other western Tibetan Sangha’s live also with all of the 5 precepts. And my teachers stimulate very to be open to other traditions. After a combination retreat by 2 woman teachers, Vipassana and a Western Tibetan Lama, I was very open for this and was falling in love to this R man. And with the full trust in the Dharma I trust him. I’m usually not so open and quick with this, to be honestly, I had lived allone to this point for 19 years. It was so different wat I met by this man, the practice, the ethics…?
        After this Lovestory finished very hard without contact anymore, no really answers on my questions, I was broken. The same like you, I didn’t trust anymore Buddhism… I get help by therapy EMDR, and also by my own meditation practice. At one side I couldn’t believe anymore this kusson, but it calls me also back. And also female teachers brought me back. It deepens very my practice, but my heart is also very involved what is happening now inside R and all this people. Sinds 1993 this is openly discussed, also SR? How can this happens so long?
        I wish so heartily that this happening by R now will opens the hearts and that there will be a very deep sincerity and compassion to go through this, to respect all this story’s, to listen. And to stop to harm each other. And it can be nessecary to ask for professional independent help from outside, like you wrote.
        To make love is such a wonderful human experience between two people and can bring mindstates like in deep, deep meditation and nicer. Wat SR is doing is something really different and harming, also himself, I guess.

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      2. I don’t hold the answers, but I think the transition of Vajrayana just is not yet complete. It is such an intimate thing, this teacher-student relationship where you allow the teacher to attack your hidden faults. It could be that maybe there are just too many deep cultural misunderstandings and uncovered assumptions, also on the teacher’s site, for the dialogue to always be pure yet. I don’t know. But I think everybody would be wise to allow themselves to not be talked into anything that doesn’t feel good or yet truly understand. Maybe it means risking not being perceived as the good student, but what use is it to merely appear to truly understand and accept it, if in reality you don’t? I have no first-hand experience, but I think we need to know and love ourselves well. We are the primary witness. If our intention is genuine, sincere, we should always be able to stand up against a teacher’s demand, even if we end up being wrong. I hope the genuine teacher will be compassionate and patience enough to allow us the time to catch up, and arrive at a truly experienced understanding. But it’s not easy. It’s not perfect. But together we can conscientiously and respectfully help the Dharma find its roots to become the Western expression of the same ultimate truth. It’s a process that you can’t speed up by wishing or ploughing through. And sometimes it’s not the right place to be. You have the right and the obligation to keep yourself safe, and never be forced into anything! It’s great to hear that you managed to remain on the path and found support in a place that feels safer. Without feeling safe, nothing can ever truly open up.

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        1. Just a brief additional thought and relating back to our own experiences: a mother or father out of sheer love for your well being can be forceful or pointing out your secret faults. But even as a child it is possible to feel what the motivation was and therefore you cannot only take it, you KNOW it was meant and is only good for you. Your love for your parents in return and your faith in them then increases.
          I have worked in the pedagogic field for a while, the key point is that if you really act based on a loving / caring motivation and if the means you apply are really helpful, if that’s the case, even children or youth can take criticism or a forceful means without being hurt or felt abused.
          I would suggest to abide by our intuitions and our already acquired knowledge which empowers us to discriminate if an action was based on genuine love/compassion or not. The letter they’ve written to SL is good also in that sense because the authors distance themselves from the claim all of the abuses were based on love/compassion.

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          1. I don’t think we are in disagreement on this. I’m not sure if a child can always feel the motivation, sometimes parents are abusive yet perceived as loving, sometimes children cannot see the love behind what they find abusive. But that doesn’t matter.

            If something is perceived and experienced as abuse, it needs to be addressed in a compassionate way, sorted out, healed and mended, in whichever way is best for the abused.

            I think it is sad to find that maybe people were so worried about endangering their pure perception and samaya that they turned a blind eye to the pain and struggle of their sangha brothers and sisters. They were unwilling to truly dare to stand in the other person’s shoes. I am sure they wanted to help, yet they only offered one possible outcome, thus abandoning people in pain and confusion.

            I was not there, so I do not know, but as am hearing the accounts there seemed to be a bit of a pattern of blaming the hurting ones for lacking pure perception, rather than listening to their needs. You can’t force someone in to having pure perception, and using it to deny their pain or encouraging people to just pretend is such a violation of Boddhichitta I think Even if they were perhaps bad mouthing the precious teacher you so dearly love.

            Were they not confident enough in their own faith to help them in whichever way THEY was needed? Even if it meant turning away from SR and R? I really feel that a pure perception that can only be maintained by ignoring, avoiding, blaming and removing all that challenges it, is not a very reliable pure perception at all! It’s more like the yogi yelling at Patrul Rinpoche for disturbing his practice of patience.

            I love SR. I hold him forever so dear to my heart and am more grateful to his wisdom and generosity then words can express. But my love and devotion to him does not mean I will make myself blind. If we cannot hold the pain of our sangha members, how can we ever hope to become true Bodhisattvas? For me it seems like letting your sangha brothers and sisters suffer alone is itself a breach of samaya, because it’s a breach of bodhichitta. Which is supposed to always be the heart of our entire path!

            Of course it is very difficult and painful to have your perception of your teacher shaken, to make an understatement. Do I want to defend SR because I hold him so precious in my heart and want everybody to have that love too? Yes, I do! Do I want to believe these horrible things are truly happening? I sure don’t! Will I be able to look myself in the eye if I close my eyes just because I don’t want it to be true? No!

            We must be courageous! Dzogchen is to be courageous. If we truly have the refuge inside us, if we truly cherish and embody the truth of the teachings and are guided by genuine bodhichitta, we should not even shy from jumping in the fire to help someone who is suffering—even if that person happens to be quite disagreeable to us personally. I am not saying that I quite have that courage yet, far from it, but I think it is something that we should at least aspire to. Not to be afraid.

            If it’s genuine, it will hold. A wooden Buddhas cannot withstand fire, a clay Buddha cannot withstand water. The only true Buddha is within you. Nothing can destroy it.

            What is true will stand on itself. It may be hidden from or view for quite a while but when the dust settles it will still be there. If my heart is true, my mind is true, my motivation is true then I should not fear anything.

            Just like we should not use ‘it’s their karma’ as a justification for non-action, neither should we take ‘pure perception’ and ‘samaya’ as a justification for not-looking. Maybe it is our karma to help that unfortunate being. Maybe it is our pure perception/samaya task to look deeply into this frightening situation with all the love and openness and compassion we can muster.

            I have deep faith in SR, and therefore I trust he doesn’t need me to defend him. Rather I feel that it is my duty to not retreat in opposite trenches. Our task and destiny is hopefully to help the Dharma root deeply in today’s world. Dharma doesn’t mingle easy, it will create disruptions everywhere—including in our sangha and ourselves. By not withdrawing but turning towards, abiding in compassion, completely open and willing to hear and learn, we ourselves are actually translating the Dharma as we go.

            It’s not a thing that can be just ‘thought out’ with a neat strategy. Unless there is someone here who has a perfect insight in all things interdependent, multiple and continuously changing? The ‘Western’ Dharma will need to find a path by following the heart of compassion, love and great patience and endurance and much practice. And we need to be brave enough to acknowledge that skillful means are no longer skillful means if they do more damage than awakening. Not by throwing them out all together, but by wise and compassionate adjustments.

            Because these people who are in pain now are not ‘the other’, they are us! They devoted their lives to the Dharma genuinely, sincerely, to the best of their ability, with great efforts. Their deep pain is not a personal failure. I think it points to where the translation fails badly.

            Something is missing, something is going awry, something is very much lost in translation and we MUST remedy that. Rather than simply dismissing them as misguided, we should look and investigate. They are like the canaries in mines who’s pain warns us for an odorless deadly gas that may be sneaking into the pure Dharma.

            I know some of you feel that this danger is SR, or R, or Tibetan Buddhism in general. I myself don’t think so. I have deep faith actually. How the hell I am able to hold these two I don’t know, but I do. I do think that maybe this tragedy can make us stronger as long as we are open and loving and compassionate and patient and wise. There is a beauty to be found here. Let’s look.

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    2. Love your post, especially this part. I couldn’t have said it better.
      “People need to be helped to leave Rigpa. We should have courageous exit counselors who can help to make a clean cut, so the painful end does not in anger pollute all the true that came before. Who are willing and able to just hear everything. Hearing it, without explaining it away. Without wanting to defend. Just listen, en then ask them what they did find worthy and help them to sort of take Rinpoche out of that, so they can hold on to that.”

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  11. This is an amazing reflection, thank you so much for sharing. I wish that you could share it in the What Now? fb group.

    Thank You!

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  12. Dear All,
    my deepest respect and gratitude for your courage, clear words, for having the compassion and clarity to address these different types of abuses.

    I also appreciate that you took care for the pain in the Sangha who so far have either not known what’s going on or believed in the propaganda or damage control tactics of the past or just closed their eyes to the obvious.

    I wish for you that you achieve a change.

    However, I am rather pessimistic based on my own cult experiences with two abusive Tibetan Buddhist teachers. They both had a type of a narcissistic personality disorder and R seems to suffer from this too. To say it straightforwardly: the healing he needs would need his admitting of his wrongdoings and harm. For someone with a narcissistic personality disorder this is a step they can’t take – or if they do it, they don’t mean it honestly.

    At the end I am pessimistic about changing R – he might play or perform change – but it won’t be real change. His character – sorry to say it – appears far too rotten and spoiled. There are anti-social or mentally sick patterns that are far to deep and grave to achieve a real change in his personality traits.

    However, though I am pessimistic with respect to R and his organisation, I think some people who wake now up will benefit from these activities by finally leaving the organisation and by settling with genuine and healthy teachers – e.g. Mingyur Rinpoche.

    In any way, I wish you all the best.

    However, don’t underestimate the long term and hard way to find healing from all of these abuses and indoctrinations where the Dharma has been abused to manipulate your self-esteem, your intuition, hopes and fears and, ethical compass and understanding of the Dharma. To heal from all of this is not an easy task and not quickly to achieve. It needs a lot of qualified support, experiences with non-abusive teachers and genuine teachings that are not spoiled by the 8 worldly dharmas and and a wish to control and bind students – and abuse them for their personal gratifications (desires for sex, money, sense pleasures, attention, admiration, fame, power etc.)

    We New Kadampa Survivors are going through this too or have gone through it. I am happy to see that you start to support each other and I wish you all the best and the fulfilment of your spiritual wishes,
    Tenpel

    PS: R is covering the whole up (once again) by spilling Dharma language over it. He does not take responsibility or addresses the rightly pointed out concerns in the letter. I guess many will allow to be once again blinded by this approach. Here is his reply:
    http://mailchi.mp/2ce132b4b707/a-letter-from-rinpoche-to-the-sangha

    PS PS: I am a bit concerned to involve Mingyur Rinpoche in this. R has already successfully exploited the good name and qualities of the Dalai Lama for covering up or denying his harmful deeds. I fear the next person who is abused for this poor behaviour (to hide in the shadow of great and genuine masters) is Mingyur Rinpoche. I hope Mingyur Rinpoche won’t allow that. (Which doesn’t mean that its fine if he could help. Mingyur Rinpoche played an important part in my own healing process.)

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    1. Sorry, I wrote my reply too quickly. My thoughts are especially with those who have been seriously harmed and who experience trauma and other types of psychological problems, or a serious spiritual or a life crises because of these spiritual, sexual, power and psychological abuses. I think we all have to thank those women who were sexually abused but were courageous enough to speak up – like Mimi or Oane for instance.

      My deepest respect and appreciation also for the clarity expressed in the letter and above: “Students feel that if nothing substantial is done within R to address this issue their staying will make them complicit in the abuse (which would presumably continue), and their ethics will not allow them to stay under those circumstances.”

      A thing I missed so far from ex-Rigpa is an honest reflection in the role they played in this abusive system and their being a part of harming others. How could this happen and what were the key factors that they allowed to be part of a very unhealthy (sick) structure. This reflection is also important for the own healing and for understanding on what one must focus to avoid any such behaviour (and harm for others) in the future.

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  13. I met SR in the spring of 1988 in Kathmandu, Nepal. He is both Samantabhadra in the flesh and a pain in the ass with a twisty cruel streak. I recommend having many different Dharma teachers and taking the best from each of them and leaving the worst. Use your common sense and cultivate a porous, but functional ego.

    I feel tremendous compassion for those students that feel more burned than blessed by SR and his organization. For the rest of you: “please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” The purpose of the Lama is not to insult you, but to introduce you to the Nature of Mind (Rigpa). The rest is dross.

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  14. Dear All,
    I have just read SLs response to The Letter.
    He says, among other things, that he is going into retreat to reflect on the state of the sangha and because of expected obstacles and ill health, prepare for his eventual passing. And that all his great and valuable teachings will stand on their own and can now be utilized by all.
    My opinions about SL may seem uncompassionate to all of you, but I don’t view Buddhism as a passivist practice. It is a practice of integrity, courage, real devotion and the strength to face what ones dualistic concepts and conditioning don’t want to face. SL is not going into retreat, he is going into hiding. If he had real integrity and compassion he would face the music at full volume. Teachings are not ‘great’ unless the teacher lives it. SL does not. I will not view his teachings for they are no example of what the lived meaning should be. But I will learn from his bad example. I wish the best for the sangha to wade through the mess he has left them.
    Much love
    Antonio

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree with you Antonio. The going into retreat reply was also the standard means when the successors of Kelsang Gyatso (Neil E / Steve W) were found out to have had sex with nuns / NKT students. It didn’t change anything because the poisoned, deceptive system was created by the delusions of the “master” and his naive students who both worked to perpetuate it and were just too dependent on it. I also doubt – even when meant seriously – that a retreat can overcome these deep addictive, egoistic psychological / mentally ill traits which seem to be so present and so obviously at play. It would need a thorough therapy over years together with a deprivation from the objects of addiction… and there would be always the risk of falling back to these addictive patterns.
      I would like to suggest to look at the whole from the perspective of addiction. Drug addictions and its mechanisms can explain quite a lot in the context of so called “cults” and can give ideas in how it works and what means would help. Its a long road now for many. But its worth to go it because true spiritual growth can come from serious crisis and honesty and integrity to learn from it and to deal with it in a dharmic and healthy way.
      I wish everybody this growth and the insights growth needs, as well as healthy support. It might be useful to involve An Olive Branch: http://an-olive-branch.org/
      ****
      Sorry if my comments disturb anybody’s mind. After all those years, I wonder if a more straightforward way is better or maybe I just lack the patience with the gradual steps it takes to wake up from situations like these. In any way, let me know if you disagree or find my comments disturbing or rude.

      I think it would be good to reach out to Mimi and Oane and other people who were harmed and to apologise for having directly or indirectly contributed to the harm or victim blaming – if this didn’t happen yet.
      *****
      May you be save and free from danger,
      May you be peaceful and free from mental pain,
      May you be healthy and free from physical pain,
      May you take care of yourself and live happily.
      _()_

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        1. There might be two psychotherapists needed to be successful – no joke 😉
          In the case of a narcissistic personality disorder, this is even recommended by some because such people can even fool the psychotherapist. (According to the letter R was able to abuse psychotherapists to instil the wrong thought in the mind of those been harmed it was their own problem to feel harm – neglecting his own contributions to the harm. So the skills are there…)

          But in general a person with a narcissistic personality disorder doesn’t think s/he needs a therapy. So, it would not even start except the person suffers very severely which opens up to seek help or therapy.

          However, this doesn’t mean that he has a narcissistic personality disorder or that it can be judged from afar. In my case two psychologists made me aware that my own teacher might suffer from that and then I read a lot about it which was of extreme help to understand myself and my teachers who misguided me. Its rather a thesis which can help you to understand what’s going on.

          And of course, a good therapist needs love – the wish to heal the patient and to be achieve his (long term) well being.

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  15. Thank you gor all written here. I distanced myself years ago
    after having met lies, covering up and idealizing, even by intelligent people like P.! That shocked me most, how people around treat you when you doubt and question the obvious. Dear Tenpel, we have met only once in TH, you know my husband, and I am happy for your blog and yet found it sad that only the negative is displayed which allowed no process of forgiveness and neither of those who
    did not feel they get harmed ( Seeing it as blessing, as rushen, as purification of own neurotic patterns, and who also feel the blessing in forms of signs in their body and mind,)
    But I know, I was still hoping for a process of maturation within Sangha how we deal with those who feel harm and have questions. I do definitely have questions and ethical values that I was not ready to give up, even when attacked again recently by German management, and even they sent the special carer J for me to talk about my problem! I told him that he should treat them
    Since they are the ones who obviously have a problem to listen to the truth, to questions, to criticism and have even asked us to see s as pure and crazy wisdom.
    So that hope got shattered away beginning of spring this year. As a carer in my Sangha I had organized this meeting with other coordinates to hold a space of appreciation and listening where people can express themselves. Knowing the person who came I had full trust that this would happen. But that person bringing along a second displayed a political role which was angering most of us and left us with shaking heads. This is just four months ago.

    I myself decided to stay on distance, trying to solve my issues around it to then be able to address it less charged – actually how stupid of me to expect myself to deal with such harm in a rational way. These emotions of anger and disgust were important messengers of setting limits. I should have already left in the 3-year-Retreat when I critized Rinpoche openly in few occasions and received the anger face of many. And yet, afterwards, Rinpoche always kept encouraging me to just inform him, not openly, and being warm-hearted. I saw that as sign of insight and reflection. That gave me hope and the faith that talking to him would bring answers and support which was so often lacking in the Sangha.
    I saw my active role in the Sangha not to leave but to be there as one who says no, who supports those who
    Suffer and question, to listen to those who got attacked or silenced or just geht they were entering taboos. I received a lot of gratitude from those. I had experienced quite the opposite so had the strong wish to hold this sane space of listening non-judge mentally and setting limits to those who want to cross these sane lines by calling them “not devoted”, “troublemaker”, “impure”, “breaking Samaya”.
    Now, after the letter, the request to talk to Rinpoche might not be fulfilled anymore, I am grateful not to be alone in the wish to heal all this harm and insanity.
    I am still left with doubts about how to proceed now: leaving completely and then being afraid that all leave who question and only those stay who like to stay blind or actually perceive all as blessing. Will this bring healing? No.
    Or to stay and be part of the process like started here. It is the biggest obstacle ever met by me that lasts already 10 years (!) and revealed so many chances and opportunities.
    What is your advice? Especially, you Tenpel who has been with the New kadampas, might know advice. I do agree with you that there might be no change in R- I mean he would have changed already if that was on his mind.
    But how to heal the hurt that was effected by the Sangha? So difficult to
    Forgive this.

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    1. Dear Letse,
      sorry for my late reply and thank you for your honesty.
      My experience with the NKT is, to make a clear cut you need to contemplate the disadvantages to stay within the group and under the leader. If you too early contemplate the benefits, this might prevent you from a healthy way of finding the strength to go. I left two abusive teachers and groups, each needed their own contemplation to see the harm for me and others clearly. Only then I found the courage and clarity to go. Therefore, I am hesititant in general and also on my blog to stress the positive aspects. If you want to leave Samsara its in general not recommended to contemplate the benefits of cyclic exsitence but its disadvantages. However, if you get depressive it might be better to enjoy a movie or the nature than being carried away by a heavy mind … As usual, different means for different situations and individuals are required.

      “Especially, you Tenpel who has been with the New kadampas, might know advice. …
      But how to heal the hurt that was effected by the Sangha? So difficult to
      Forgive this.”

      There seem to be different ways to cope or deal with all of it.
      What worked for me the best was to look at the whole (including myself) from the pov of dependent arising and what my own main faults in all of this were. My main faults were (as I explained already in another comment): 1) naivety, 2) a lack of knowledge about Buddhism which is extreme complex and has many many subtleties or layers. Looking and understanding the whole from the pov of dependent arising was the antidote to my nativity. Reducing my naivity helped me to understand, once you understand a the arising of a situation, the actions of self and others, you cannot be angry at anyone – not even yourself. Its natural to forgive yourself and others. It doesn’t require special effort. Like if you understand how a earthquake arises based on complex causes and conditions you are not angry at the earthquake. Shantideva’s chapter on patience was especially helpful as well as profound teachings from genuine masters, study of history of Buddhism, Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism, cults, psychological things (narcissism, gaslighting etc.), sciences, using common sense and investigation and analysis in an open and unbiased manner – and meeting genuine extraordinary totally manipulative lamas as well as the writings of the Dalai Lama on the guru / teacher-student relationships and what the Buddha actual taught about it. This worked for me. My websites are the result of this very complex and long healing process. Speaking about it was also part of the healing process.

      I don’t know if this is helpful or not.

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      1. it should read “meeting genuine extraordinary totally UNmanipulative lamas” – lamas who are totally free from any trace of manipulating you in any direction – like Ringu Tulku Rinpoche or Mingyur Rinpoche for instance.

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  16. P.S.: The letter of SL is offending to me: it does not take responsibility. It does not explain this behavior. And on top he plays the card of death and retreat frightening all those who depend on him. Instead of retreat, I agree with you, Antonio, showing up is much more courageous like a bodhisattva warrior or/and getting advice from a Western psychologist (NOT involved in Buddhism). Addiction and Narcism are heavy patterns.
    Can it really be true that DKR and MR have given this advice? That discourages me, too, if that is true. Does somebody know?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Masters never justify themselves whan they have been accused.We all know the story of the master who was charged with having had a baby with a girl ans answered:”Is that so? “He was sent to prison, and, later, the child’s father was discovered, the lama was released from prison,.When he was told that he was innocent, he said:”Is that so? ” SR told us the story many times. He was very far seeing.:-) I don’t know if the lamas gave him this advice.All I know is that they are friends!

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      1. Ha ha ha, Ladybird. Yes, nice story to justify misdeeds. The difference is, that the monk who accepted the baby as his own (it was Geshe Langri Tangpa, when I remember correctly and he didn’t went to prison…) was indeed innocent – he didn’t contribute to the creation of the baby but understood the mother was in deep trouble.
        Look at the letter and think about the stories of those who have been harmed – the signers use even the term “crimes”. There is quite of a difference between Geshe Langri Tangpa and his deeds and those of SR.
        What you do is one of these (manipulative) attempts to justify misdeeds by using Dharma stories out of context.

        SR seems to have (ab)used the story of Geshe Langri Tangpa to justify his (wrong) behaviour before his followers. It seems he used a lot of Dharma stories and “crazy wisdom” to justify his (wrong) behaviour with Dharma while he and his followers seem to have largely ignored these stories’ contexts. Obviously followers still fall pray to such contextualised stories which serve as (wrong) justifications for bad modes of conduct because his students who buy these stories lack lacking discriminating awareness about these stories backgrounds and the differences when applied in the SR environment.

        (I forgot to mention the undermining of discriminating awareness when I wrote this sentence: “However, don’t underestimate the long term and hard way to find healing from all of these abuses and indoctrinations where the Dharma has been abused to manipulate your self-esteem, your intuition, hopes and fears and, ethical compass and understanding of the Dharma.” The good point is, the signers of the letter have overcome that lack of discriminating awareness. Well done!)

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        1. Thank you, I totally agree. You may have mâde s slip of the pen when you write:”What you do is one of these manipulative attempts….”It’s not what I do, it’s what SL does.
          Someone else has gone so far as to say that he manipulates dharma for the same reason.That’s still more dangerous because although I don’t think I am completely stupid, I am not able to discriminate between what is right and what is wrong in his teachings.So what shall I do with his book? Throw it into the dustbin?? Love.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you Ladybird for the clarification.

            You may have mâde s slip of the pen when you write:”What you do is one of these manipulative attempts….”It’s not what I do, it’s what SL does.«

            No, it was not a slip of the pen, I totally misunderstood or misjudged your intention for writing this – for which I ask your pardon! Yamaintaka got it right. (I am neither good in getting irony nor sarcasm and then I am not a native English speaker…)

            From all what I got, read and heard and also observed myself, I think it might be very much true “that he manipulates dharma for the same reason”. To untangle the Dharma from these manipulations will need quite a very long time, efforts and studies …

            BTW, I forgot to mention. A critical Buddhist friend of mine fell prey to the reply from R and found it to “be excellent” – he totally disagreed with me that he doesn’t take responsibility. I sent him a brief analysis of the reply together with some background and then he was impressed by the PR skills 😉

            Mary said that R has already played the retreat card in the US law case many years ago.

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            1. Please don’t apologise.We are all stressed and exhausted.I have been terribly sick to-day.

              Now, the retreat card, that’s more important.This time; I hope he will be made to go, whether he likes it or not!

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              1. Thank you for your understanding.

                With respect to the retreat card, what will be his entourage and the service he gets when going into retreat? Will he have playmates, cigars, top food, DVD etc or will he do seriously a meditation retreat? When I remember correctly close observers / close students described that he doesn’t meditate and when I remember correctly, when asked or so he replied he doesn’t need to meditate. If that’s true, so how can he do a retreat and how will that retreat be if he is not even used to mediation?

                Also, I doubt that a retreat can overcome the deeply addictive patterns and narcissism which seem to be very deeply ingrained in his mind and seem to prevail his own being. A therapy might be far better. As Letse wrote: “Addiction and Narcism are heavy patterns.”

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                1. Let’s have fun, Tenpel.He will watch TV all day long.He watches ???24 in English, I don’t remember the name. He will cook his own potatoes himself.

                  The problem is: What shall we do with his mother who costs a fortune in LL?He should pay for her to remain in LL;

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. He does not meditate because in Dzogchen you don’t meditate any more.You are in the nature of mind, just snapping your finger. That’s true. I’m not joking.

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                  1. Interestingly, my Mahamudra and Dzogchen masters still meditate and go into retreat. Obviously He must be far more advanced. Maybe I should also follow him – he seems to be greater than the great. I totally missed that. But now due to my very special good karma and his blessings my mind opens and I can see his greatness. Kindly he will also directly or indirectly let me know how great he is (like Donald Trump does it). These kind reminders will help me to sustain my faith and to become like him.
                    ***
                    BTW, then its also a contradiction, when he doesn’t need to mediate (=gom, getting familiar or used to), there is no point in going into retreat.

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                    1. Please don’t laugh at me, Tenpel!That’s what he teaches.Maybe it’s completely wrong.As for me, I don’t know.I’ve only been in the dzogchen mandala for 3 years.He says in Dzogchen you don’t have to meditate, It’s a relief for lazy people like me!Love.

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                    2. Abiding the nature of mind is meditation. Usually the discrimination is then between formal meditation practice and meditation in daily life. Without sustaining the realisation (or initial understanding) of the nature of mind in formal meditation sessions to abide in daily life in the nature of mind is wishful thinking and a delusion.
                      Of course, once you are a Buddha or fully awaken your mind is always in meditation. But who has achieved that state really? The Dalai Lama still meditates daily in formal meditation for about 5-6 hours. Look at the great lamas there are or were, do they go into retreat (=formal meditation under certain boundaries) or not? (Just check quickly what Dzongzar Khyentse Rinpoche or Mingyur Rinpoche do. Also my Dzogchen teachers goes into retreats. Has SL even ever done a sober retreat?)

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                    3. He must be very special. From the time of birth he must have abided in the nature of mind then. He is greater than the great. What a good luck we have – what special Karma we must have! – to have someone like him! (Poor others who are not so lucky!)

                      Not yet following him (poor me), I should now (after my very special karma has ripened) also follow him – far more because I am also lazy. Following SR will help me progressing without meditating while enjoying sex, cigars, indulging in the five sense objects and acting out my aggression on the faithful. I’ve always looked for a way to enjoy Samsara without changing my view, actions and habitual patterns. Following him will do the job – I will except the beatings and bullying, its better than true change. True change is scaring and needs honesty, bravery and time – who has that really?

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                    4. Isn’t this what we all looking for?
                      Kelsang Gyatso, the founder of the NKT (he and Sogyal and his Rigpa share some similarities, I think) used to proclaim that his very special and very pure tradition brings you “enlightenment in an armchair”. With his special path spiritual hardships like Milarepa had to experience (he had horny skin on his bottom from his long sitting in meditation) are not needed. So, he claimed! I guess SL issued similar propaganda. (And according to Mary’s blog his bottom got another type of treatment…)
                      It might be useful to ask ourselves, why we bought this propaganda without questioning it?
                      ***
                      I hope people wake up and find good support in their transition or working through these things.

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                3. CORRECTIONS

                  I want to add two corrections of things I got wrongly and also spread wrongly:

                  1) SL does have a regular meditation practice
                  2) The nun, Ani Ch., indeed said one year later that the hitting by SL was a blessing and only light and it helped her. The witness, however, commented that this is rewriting history. The nun also told that afterwards Sogyal Lakar hugged her warmly.

                  With respect to the latter, know the workings of these extremes of behaviour from my own abusive teacher with her nuns – women, who in general had a weak ego and couldn’t say No! easily. You can find these dynamics of humilating/violence and then giving love in the relationships between torturer and his victims (there is a nice description about these dynamics in 1984 by Orwell) too.

                  The abuser or perpetrator first puts the victim by means of bullying or physical violence or torture totally down until the person feels like the shit of this world and totally helpless. Then he comes like the god in heaven or the saviour Jesus Christ full of love and radiance to give you his hand and love, to raise you from the darkness and pain (he himself has thrown you in) to bring you to the light.

                  It’s a totally manipulative power trip: the lord gave it, the lord takes it. The victim starts to love the perpetrator or torturer because he experience salvation from the pain and from the feeling of being a totally worthless piece of shit only be him – the great saviour (the perpetrator), not recognizing who put him in pain beforehand.

                  In that context it might help to understand why witness and victim tell so different stories by analysing the dynamics between the torturer and the tortured or the abuser and the abused.

                  I heard there is a term or understanding of this under the name “traumatic bonding” or so.

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                  1. Thank you for your relevant comments.You are right.Traumatic bonding applies to the relationship between the nun and the lama.I have looked up at definitions in Wikipedia: “Traumatic bonding occurs as the result of ongoing cycles of abuse in which the intermittent reinforcement of reward and punishment creates powerful emotional bonds that are resistant to change….It’s the misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings and sexual physiology to entangle another person. Here we are, exactly. Traumatic bonding is very unhealthy indeed!

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                    1. Thank you for clarifying the term. I have witnessed this working over more than six years with my own abusive teachers to her nuns. Interestingly, she didn’t do it that way with the monks or male persons.

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                    2. You need an open feeling, trusting heart for this kind of bonding. A lot of male hearts are not so open in this way, especially not to a female teachers. That’s way it couldn’t also not work in this way, Tempel to your teacher. Bij Rigpa a lot of men are need or looking for a ‘fatherfigur’. And there was a lot with sex (but not with love en healthy bonding). That was attractive for a lot of men, apparently.

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  17. Excuse me, but i think what you’r saying here is just, what the Birdlady meant, that SL was far seeing in his justification system. If you look at her posts above, it doesn’t seem, that she is willing to defend him, but correct me please, when i’m wrong…

    …it should be love…

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    1. Interesting, thank you. Maybe I am wrong in my judgement. Let’s see what Ladybird replies.

      The last sentence made me think she meant it not as irony but seriously. The last sentence is “All I know is that they are friends!” which implies the subtext: ‘these are great masters … being his friends tells you that he must be also great and you (critics) should be careful.’ Also the smiley 🙂 instead of 😉 suggests that it was not meant as a type of irony but accepted literally.

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      1. I understand what you mean, meanwhile i saw, that the same icon is connected with several other names… Maybe you’re right, lets see…

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      2. What I mean and I am reluctant to write is that being friends, they unfortunately may be accomplices. I’m sorry to say so.

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        1. Hi Ladybird
          I am happy that you bring up this point that others might be thinking but will not say. I am one of the signers and while we all know each other from our time in rigpa, I’ve never socialized with any of the signers outside of rigpa. When we left the one unifying principle between us was gone.

          We are all actually quite amazed at the way we were magnetized to each other across many times zones. There was no apparent reason for why now, it was all completely organic. It started out as simply listening to each other and offering support, there are even people in the group that historically didn’t get along. I think that the turning point was when someone who didn’t sign the letter said, ‘how are we going to feel when the next person has a physical or emotional breakdown requiring hospitalization?’ That left us all feeling very uncomfortable. The letter was co-written over the space of over one month, it was very therapeutic for us. We didn’t experience the abuse in the same place or time but we found the commonality of our experience quite startling.

          Regarding our psychological profile, I guess we’d have to all be interviewed by a therapist to sort that out. I did find this very interesting.

          “It is a myth that members of an abusive community are mentally or emotionally troubled upon joining. Actually such individuals are usually rejected because their sensitivity would lead them to exhibit distress publicly from the maltreatment . What is wanted are individuals that are able to hide their suffering from themselves and others.”
          https://www.abuseandrelationships.org/Content/Communal%20Abuse/communal_abuse.html

          I welcome all questions, I’m not defensive at all.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thank you for sharing the process of how the letter was written. I love that it was organic and felt therapeutic for you. You and the other signers have done something necessary and courageous. I especially like the quote about abuse and relationships. I plan to read the article in full, so thanks for including the link.

            Liked by 1 person

      1. There seem’s to be still some misunderstanding, but doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about the book, he didn’t write it himself, he was offcause the driving force… I remember very well, at one retreat he said, the book might have been a little bit too tough, he was thinking about a little “smoother” version for future times. I find this very interesting, because it shows, that there was an intention to make it “rigid”. And this is also an identifable aspect of R-brainwashing, it’s always about: “you have to, you must, don’t think it’ easy, it requires enormes effort” etc… There is always this pressure, you’re tensed all the time, and this is a very important instrument within the manipulation itself… I could write a book on this, i’ve kind of studied these narcisstic and paranoid motivated supression-patterns for years. It’s all about sway, prevalence…. It’s so sad in the context of Dharma, so sad…
        Please excuse my bad englisch, i’m not a native english speaker…

        …it should be love…

        Liked by 1 person

  18. We also need to examine the biopsychosocial-spiritual temperaments of the students that followed SR too closely and feel burned. Some people I’ve met in other Dharma groups see long-term Rigpa students as “being of a certain breed.” That said, I’m sure that each Rigpa student is unique…but there are also some commonalities. Rigpa students tend to be sensitive introverts, largely female and humble to a fault. They’re often followers, not leaders and are less brainy or physically robust than practitioners in other Dharma groups. Loving and kind, they lack confidence, have weak personal boundaries, are ultra loyal…and, by definition gullible. They are more prone to depression than anxiety or mania? They need to be loved.

    I’m not making this list just to be a jerk…and I certainly don’t want to blame the victims. I’m trying to understand a community of individuals that put up with decades of emotional abuse. A therapist out there might help them get in touch with their anger through Gestalt therapy and then some work on assertiveness training to create a porous, high-functioning and aware ego. A feminist-based therapy would be appropriate for many as the majority of SR’s students were women.

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      1. Yes, that’s true.
        May I ask you how you feel about OT’s answer to the monk S.?Have you read the letter?

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        1. I feel that the Letter of OTR is as awful as SL’s is: calling those who wrote the letter “turning against” and in the end “samaya breakers”. If any abusive acts were really motivated by compassion like we learn with Marpa, Naropa and so on then how can abusing donations be motivated by compassion? I was told that he uses his private money (coming from the book) and am shocked that such fraud was committed!!!
          OTR does not refer to any of this. He himself is known for sex with others though married and spending lots of money on private housing. So maybe he was happy to be with someone who does this, too, or whatever. I cannot judge this. But I am shocked that some Rigps students posted it and others put “Like” on Facebook! It is the Sangha’s behavior that I find even worse and I keep asking myself how we can process and solve these issues and hurt. How do you guys do that?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I totally agree, Letse.OT has no compassion for the monk.No allusion whatever to what he has suffered.He looks down on his, he is disparaging.I am very sad.

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        2. I read OT’s letter this morning, like LETSE, i find it awful, ineffable, i got really angry! That reminds me very much of that circle of angry old man in the USA. Why have always angry old man to rule world? Yeah, it’s just in the nature of things, offcause, they don’t have to, they’re invited to retire, by the way, retire, that reminds me off something…
          No really, the arrogance in OT’s words is hard to beat, it’ almost unbearable to me…

          …it should be love…

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Matt

      I posted this to Ladybird so you might not see it so I will re-post.

      I am happy that you bring up these points that others might be thinking but will not say. You are not being a jerk at all, I see someone sincerely examining the situation from many angles, which is exactly what the teachings call us to do!

      I am one of the signers and while we all know each other from our time in rigpa, I’ve never socialized with any of the signers outside of rigpa. When we left the one unifying principle between us was gone.

      We are all actually quite amazed at the way we were magnetized to each other across many times zones. There was no apparent reason for why now, it was all completely organic. It started out as simply listening to each other and offering support, there are even people in the group that historically didn’t get along. I think that the turning point was when someone who didn’t sign the letter said, ‘how are we going to feel when the next person has a physical or emotional breakdown requiring hospitalization?’ That left us all feeling very uncomfortable. The letter was co-written over the space of over one month, it was very therapeutic for us. We didn’t experience the abuse in the same place or time but we found the commonality of our experience quite startling.

      Regarding our psychological profile, I guess we’d have to all be interviewed by a therapist to sort that out. I did find this very interesting.

      “It is a myth that members of an abusive community are mentally or emotionally troubled upon joining. Actually such individuals are usually rejected because their sensitivity would lead them to exhibit distress publicly from the maltreatment . What is wanted are individuals that are able to hide their suffering from themselves and others.”
      https://www.abuseandrelationships.org/Content/Communal%20Abuse/communal_abuse.html

      I welcome all questions, I’m not defensive at all.

      Like

    2. Interesting, yesterday a friend told me that a psychologist or so set up a training for nuns, girls and women in India to learn to say “No!” Part of the training are martial arts but also other skills. According to this friend Tenzin Palmo was offered that training for her nuns too and she said yes she would use it but only if the line “to learn to kick the gropers in their balls” is added to the description.

      The analysis that Rigpa (female) followers tend to “lack confidence, have weak personal boundaries, are ultra loyal” etc seems to be quite the case. It was a special criticism by a former Rigpa member that actual SL and Rigpa (ab)use especially such women for his sexual gratification, exploiting their insecurities and needs (for love, attention, recognition etc.) In general, this is the pattern of sexual perpetrators to get on the those who are insecure, lack self-esteem and who need affection, love, security, protection, attention etc… The harm he has done to them by exploiting their faith, openness, needs and spiritual longings is quite profound and especially cruel and mean.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you for the trauma bonding link!
            I remember a report about “lover boys” in the Netherlands who manipulate young girls (12-13) to fall in love with them. After the fell in love with them the “lover boys” make the youn girls obedient / subjugate them by using violence, rape, verbal, physical and emotional as well financially abuse, making them prostitutes etc … The journalists in the report spoke with a 26 year old woman who did the exit program for such victims. Her life was now totally boring (the years she spent with the abusing men were not filled with other experiences that enriched her life). When asked, she said: if the “lover boy” would appear today, she is not sure of she would not follow him again.
            This made me think. Think about it. Why would she do that on free will even?

            Cults – like drugs – offer extreme intensity (even violence can make you feel being alive), there are many short term benefits (like with the drugs) but in the long run you only will be harmed.

            Some people are so attached to the intensity or the pseudo-benefits of cults (giving away responsibility, the guru knows, I don’t know, if I follow him, I am save, if I leave him, the world is too complex etc.) that even a survivor of the Johnstown cult said, looking back to her experiences in the cult, “it was the best experience in my life”.

            There is a lot to think about these points as well as the Stockholm syndrome and other psychological mechanisms (see the Hearst case for instance.)

            Liked by 1 person

        1. Among other causes why some might not feel harm, there might be also re-interpretation of the abuse at hand.

          If you get to know how Triratna / Sangharakshita (Dennis Lingwood) set up a culture were sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of young men is declared and celebrated as a path to awakening (telling if you have aversion to same sex this will block your path to enlightenment, while heterosexual relationships are declared to be a threat for true spirituality (same sex is far better!) etc.) and reading some of the testimonies were abused men claim it helped them to have sex (against their initial will) with Dennis Lingwood and listening deeply to what and how they write or to those who say they were harmed, getting picture of the twisted and indoctrinated setup of Triratna etc. you will understand how people can tell that sex against their initial will with the group leader has “helped them”. If you look more deeply into their writings, background and defences of Dennis and Triratna, considering their position in the hierarchy in the group, you can easily estimate, that what they claim might not be the full picture.

          We have in both cases (or all three, NKT, Triratna; Rigpa) a very complicated complex and twisted systems with quite strange and twisted personalities at the top. To untangle this – in order to understand it better and to deal realistically with it – is quite of a huge task!

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    3. It’s also that most of the students had no idea what was going on. Sounds unbelievable, but it was that hidden.

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  19. I would agree with that. SR himself was a victim of abuse…his culture and homeland was shattered by political circumstances. We could say that he internalized the cruelties of the Chinese.

    Whew, that’s a lot of thinking.

    I think I’ll just rest in spacious awareness for a while………

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    1. Why not considering that the naive loyalty and uncritical devotion of Rigpa followers who allowed him and justified his behaviour has created a “super-narcissist”?

      The Dalai Lama:
      »Therefore, this teaching of “every action seen as perfect” can easily become poison for me in my relationship with my people and in my effective administration. I could think to myself, “They all see me as a buddha, and therefore will accept anything I tell them.” Too much faith and imputed purity of perception can quite easily turn things rotten. I always recommend that the teaching on seeing the guru’s actions as perfect should not be stressed in the lives of ordinary practitioners. It would be an unfortunate affair if the Buddhadharma, which is established by profound reasoning, were to have to take second place to it.« – https://info-buddhism.com/Questioning_Advice_of_Guru_Dalai_Lama.html

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      1. While we were all naive we also were incredibly committed, I studied & practiced quite a bit, I thought that I had irreversible faith. Once you go down that road it takes a lot to wake you up….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Tenpel-

        Apples to oranges. Just because the Dalai Lama is Tibetan doesn’t mean that he’s teaching Dzogchen, let alone using “crazy wisdom” button-pushing techniques. You need to compare SR to other Dzogchen and Mahamudra teachers: Namkhai Norbu, Tsoknyi R, Dudjom R, Trungpa R, Thinley Norbu etc.

        SR is perfect as he is. If you feel more burned than blessed by him then you either chose the wrong teacher or stayed long after you’d learned what you had to learn from him.

        The purpose of a Dzogchen teacher is to introduce you to the Nature of Mind. If your ordinary thinking mind isn’t blown through gentle and loving means then seemingly harsh methods might do the trick!?

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              1. Thank you, hopeful, you asked me to comment on the summary.
                I have read the summary, fishing for practical advice.I will comment on 2 sentences:
                1-“If it is necessary to criticize a guru to save the Buddhadharma or to benefit several hundreds of their disciples, do not hesitate.” So, you have done your duty, exposing SR’s unethical behaviour.
                But I’m sorry to say that few members of the French sangha seem to understand and follow your advice.They are psychologically fragile, some of our friends on Whatnow have clearly explained it, and they need a guru who ill treats them.
                They don’t answer my mails, the instructors don’t communicate and, yesterday, they had a wonderful tsok, as usual, with R. who looked concerned but was very happy to be with 300 people attending the Ngondro retreat in LL.Everything was perfect.
                So I feel I’ll have to shut my mouth.And, in september, I may follow Tenpel’s advice and study with M.R.in a Tergar centre.(except if MR teaches in LL, but I have doubts, I don’t think he will right now, maybe in the future!)
                2-HHDL also says:”If you findout about their misconduct…the Kalachakra Tantra advises us to maintain a neutral attitude and not pursue the relationship any further.”But, he is not very clear about the notion of “broken samaya” .The question is:”Does a teacher’s abusive behavior destroy the samaya and release the student?”He answers:”I don’t know”..Fortunately, some of our friends know.They say that if you follow the 4 Noble Truths, that’s all right, breaking samaya being a widespread practice!So, That’s reassuring.

                That’s all I can say to-day. Thank you for being such a special, helpful friend.Thanks to you, I am not lost.With all my love.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Yes, that’s how it is, it’s always the same, “they don’t answer your E-mails, they don’t communicate” means they abandon you, i know that. That’s how they do in all cults, if you don’t play the game, they make you feel like sh.. . It’s quite difficult with this samayas, you also have to see these things in cultural and historical context. It depends on what you’re doing, since SL claims to be a Dzogchen-master, the samaya should be somehow dzogchen, and there are also different ways to see it, but when you come to the core, there is only one samaya, and that is your responsibility towards your true beeing, your buddhanature, and there is the samaya with the teacher, because he is basicly in the same state, but what it means to you is, that you have to take on responsibility for yourself, beeing responsible for your development, and that means, if the teacher abuses you, your responsibility for your development requires to abandon the teacher, that is thought to the end, it’s actually simple, even if it’s not put completely perfect…

                  …it should be love…

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                    1. I would like to add something; when you see it in this way you come to understand, why so many people seemengly do not understand, what this is all about; why they do not seem to recognize any abuse, why they are not able at all to acknowledge the intense suffering of so many people. Because if they would, they had to take on the responsibility for their attitude towards all that, and that could be quite uncomfortable, so they prefer to leave the responsibility at the teachings, which can be layed out quite flexible, what some “lamas” frivolously do, and that again shows, how the teachings are misused in a broad sense… So this is just common sense, at least as i see it….

                      …it should be love…

                      Like

        1. I absolutely don’t agree with this, why has “crazy wisdom” always to be violent? This is a big misunderstanding, crazy wisdom means just an unconvential approach, this hasn’t to be necessarily violent! These are all concepts which come actually from SL at least partially…

          …it should be love…

          Liked by 1 person

        2. The real masters have not created long term harm to their students, trauma etc. In case they behaved uncommonly and raised criticism they were able to restore the faith of 1) the student, 2) the public. I have a Dzogchen and quite some reputable Mahamudra teachers myself. None of them behaves in any way like SL nor did they harm anybody!

          I also met one teacher and spoke with students who had teachers who practised “crazy wisdom”. What unites them is that their teachers’ actions REALLY benefited the students because of that there were no complaints but real insight arose (and not confusion, distrust, doubts or pain, trauma etc.) … If “crazy wisdom” harms a student it was not wisdom but ignorance. A qualified teacher is able to judge if his actions contribute to long term harm or long term benefit, if he is not able to do so or even misjudges his own and the student’s capacities or abilities he was seriously at fault. In that case; 1) it was not wise and he erred, 2) because harming others is totally alien to his Bodhisattva nature / Bodhicitta, he would seriously be shocked excuse and do anything to help the person, committed not to do such harm again.

          There is no need to abuse students physically, emotionally, sexually and spiritually to show them the Nature of Mind – especially not women or men who rather lack self-esteem. Only for extra-ordinary students like Naropa (who was able to discriminate Dharma from non-dharma, whose teacher was introduced to him by a Dakini who appeared in front of him, who was a great debater and knowledgable in so many ways) such means might work. Milarepa was also an exception and these Westerners misguided by SL can in no ways be compared with these heavy weight practitioners and they even have quite of a very very different background if you check their biographies carefully and understand the contexts properly.

          Its also wrong what you say about the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is a Dzogchen practitioner, he teaches Dzogchen and he can be also very forceful (as he admitted himself different times.) Namkhai Norbu became a refuge for abused SL students – obviously he behaves in far better ways otherwise harmed ex-SL students wouldn’t find him to be a good teacher.

          Either you mean what you write ironically – then why? – or you mean it as you write it here. In the latter case I would propose the claim: Well you are still very much indoctrinated!

          “SR is perfect as he is. If you feel more burned than blessed by him then you either chose the wrong teacher or stayed long after you’d learned what you had to learn from him.”

          He chose the wrong means and actions and the students were too naive, manipulated or indoctrinated, lacking proper discrimination or self-esteem to see him as what he is. Isn’t he announced and praised to be like Padmasanbhava? Such claims and myths, when believed in can thoroughly undermine student’s critical awareness …

          “The purpose of a Dzogchen teacher is to introduce you to the Nature of Mind. If your ordinary thinking mind isn’t blown through gentle and loving means then seemingly harsh methods might do the trick!?”

          Well when his students would have really realised their nature of mind as you suggest here, there shouldn’t be reports about having been harmed, experiencing trauma and severe crisis etc.

          Two quotes maybe useful in that context:

          “It is not healthy, of course, for disciples to deny serious ethical flaws in their guru, if they are in fact true, or his or her involvement in Buddhist power-politics, if this is the case. To do so would be a total loss of discriminating awareness.” 

– from HH Dalai Lama & Alex Berzin; The Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra; pp 209-210, 1987

          Marpa said to Mila in his parting advice: 

“To impose trials on a disciple, as Tilopa did on Naropa, or as I did on you, will be profitless for undeveloped minds.” 

– from “The life of Milarepa” transl. by Lobsang Lhalungpa Granada Books (1979 edition), p.91

          Liked by 1 person

          1. thanks for all the clarification and debating with such views. What do you think about the Sangha who are not weak and wish to change something? How can this be processed? Do you see a chance or is it naive to have hope that at least Sangha members can find ratio and solutions of forgiveness and stopping blame and idealizm?

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            1. Hi Letse, thank you for the opportunity. Actual, I am a bit insecure myself if I should debate these topics that way because the process of waking up and all the pain which will be there makes people very sensitive and easily hurt. People might need re-interpretations of truth because the truth might just be too painful to take or to accept. I respect that. Often I stress: to open up people’s eyes when they don’t want to see is too a type of violence. What do I know if they can take it? What do I know if this really helps them? Very difficult to do the right thing …

              “What do you think about the Sangha who are not weak and wish to change something? How can this be processed? Do you see a chance or is it naive to have hope that at least Sangha members can find ratio and solutions of forgiveness and stopping blame and idealizm?”

              I indeed think is a bit naive. To find ratio (again) needs quite a long time! I think we have here a case of a so called »cult« with quite an effective indoctrination and all of its marks… To recover from cults can take years, decades – in general it appears as long as you followed the cult – at least if you were a very committed member. These things cannot be underestimated in how much time, healthy support and hard work it needs to undo the indoctrination and the effects they had on the individual.

              Also, at this point, I think, the topic is not “forgiveness”, the topic is to built up the strength, courage, clarity and compassion to face the facts. Based on this, understanding about the complex causes and conditions that created this system, made oneself a part of it, drives SL etc. is needed in order to be (at a later time) able to forgive oneself, SL, his followers and to be free from anger, cynicism or sarcasm etc. If the complex causes and conditions are understood better (which needs quite some work and acquiring more knowledge about cults, dharma, abuse mechanisms etc, about oneself, psychological forces in play …) not only will be forgivingness a natural result of that understanding but also stopping blame and idealisation or being caught in anger again and again will cease. All things are dependent arisings, the better this teaching is applied and understood in this context, the less naivety or idealization, denial, blaming there will be.

              I think at the moment most might totally underestimate what a long journey is ahead of them. However, at the end, if you go through it and grow with going through the recovery process, there is only benefit – tremendous benefit.

              ***
              Just as a background or how I think and feel in that context:
              I don’t blame myself for the harm I allowed my teachers to bring on me. I don’t blame myself for my naivety and idealism. I learned to understand the function but also dangers of naivety and lack of knowledge and worked hard to reduce both. I took responsibility for myself and others (who might be harmed by my naivety and lack of knowledge too).
              I don’t blame my teachers – I understand them. I don’t blame their past, present or future followers. I am not angry at them, not at me. I can rest in peace because I understand what drove me, them and how this sick set up was the natural outcome of complex causes and conditions and what was my part in that. I learned to grow up and to take care of myself. That’s why for me there is peace with my past and what my teachers still do. However, understanding the potential harm for others, still I act to inform the public about my former abusive teachers and their groups to protect potentially new “victims”.

              I hope this doesn’t sound boastful. I just want to be honest and also share there are ways to recover from all of this BUT its a long and hard way to go, But – another but – its really worth to go it.

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              1. Thank you, Tenpel, for your heartfelt comment.According to you, is the idea of samaya part of the indoctrination?

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                1. Thank you for your feedback, Ladybird.
                  »According to you, is the idea of samaya part of the indoctrination?« – it depends. It can be easily abused but here I don’t know the context of its usage.

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              2. yes, I think so. I have just read though some FB posts by students and felt sick! The hopelessness is hard to bear. And such anger is there.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I’m amazed by the emotional maturity of most of the people in the FB group. It’s such a supportive and kind place. Yes, people are going through a personal process, but it doesn’t feel hopeless to me. And, of course, there’s some anger, but for me it’s not at all the overall tone of the group.

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                  1. Hi, the comments I relate to are not in the closed FB group. I am happy to hear that this is helpful there. The comments are of those who post it on their personal timelines e.g. OTR’s letter is so humble and helpful and his advice on Dzogchen is, or “fuck the egos” with ChTR extending his middle finger….

                    Liked by 1 person

                  2. We have some turbulent moments, which get worked out. We are all learning and going through uncharted water. There is a lot of respect and compassion as well as real questioning.
                    I don’t think the tone is overall negative at all. It’s pretty loving in a good way.

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                    1. Oh I see, yes, the FB posts in people’s personal timelines are quite challenging. It’s not that hard–this religion should be about kindness.

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          2. Delighted approval! Very good, very clear, seems you’re getting warm gradually…
            Because you mentioned him, when i enterd my first retreat with ChNN, the first three days i had the feeling i was missing something, i felt a little bit sad, i thought to myself: “yes, i’m missing SL!” But the fourth and the fifth day it changed totally and i realised: “No, i don’t miss anything, quite the opposite, here is something not present, that i don’t miss!” I realised, that it was this emotional R-retreat-full(brain)washing-programm that was lacking, and that felt so good, so easy, so freeing and liberating… And than what ChNN taught was so different and i perceived it as a quantum leap and i had a very special feeling of: “Yes, this is the REAL THING”… Ok, that is my personal experience, but since then, everything became better and better and particulary much easyier and lighter, i’m so grateful!

            …it should be love…

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thank you for sharing your experience.ChNN is getting old, he may not teach long.Other lamas reproach him with not teaching Ngondro as a compulsory preliminary practice.

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              1. See, this is also part of the angry old mans circle methods. Ngöndro is in fact an invention of the 13th or 14th century(not totaly sure about the time), before, there was no ngöndro, but there where mahasiddhas! How come? These people were practicing Dzogchen straight away and realized the natural state or the ja lü, the rainbow body etc…. ChNN always says, that it’s good to practice Ngöndro, when your circumstances allow it and you want to do, but you don’t have to. And also there exists something like a DZ-Ngöndro, but basicly it’s enough to practice Trekchö, and that is possible! I can not go here into detail, but you can find out by yourself : http://www.dzogchen.net ; if you like…. I was recently on a retreat with senior students of ChNN, because he could not come, he is ill. It was wonderfull, i feel totaly encouraged, i have total trust, that his students will do the job well, when they will have to…
                And they will have to, and the same situation will occur in R…. We are always fixated on the “best possibilitys” in the west, a bit our Luxury-problem, think about, in the past there were so many people which got maybe on single teaching and gained total realization, thats the truth! In R people are almost kept forever, and i think this is also because they are funding the whole thing….. There are also still other teachers, eventually not that easy to meet, there are still some small Dzogchen-lineages which have the same style, there still exists quite something, but when your mind is filled all the time with special concepts and you are constantly told what to do and what to think, that limits you, makes you dependent….

                …it should be love…

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                1. My Dzogchen teacher said, that Mahamudra and Dzogchen are basically the same.

                  Mingyur Rinpoche teaches now the Mahamudra without the path of Ngöndro being required. There are two tracks, the »Ngöndro Track« and an alternative path called the »Nectar of the Path Track«. I can only highly recommend to have a look into his teachings and program. Far more, as SL himself is said to have said that Mingyur Rinpoche should replace him in the future.

                  I am quite sure / convinced / confident that Minygur Rinpoche won’t create any trauma in anyone. He helped to heal me from the trauma of two abusive Buddhist teachers. His way of communicating with me (in discussions when he was not yet much known 2004/06) and also how he asked me about my past (painful) experiences and how he reacted on my reports (which I only hesitantly shared with him), were deeply healing – seriously.

                  My Dzogchen teacher helped my by teaching on Patrul Rinpoche’s Words of My Perfect Teachers. When he came to the point of the three types of wrong teachers, it was as if he commented or described my own past. At that time, I still had deep feelings of doubts about my decision of having left two of my tantric teachers who did everything to be my “root guru” (in a very manipulative ways). Though my intellect and analysis in forward (considering present and future) and backward (considering the past) mode were convincing for my intellectual frame of mind, my heart didn’t believe the analysis. My heart was not convinced that I did right. No matter how much I tried. I was just too much brainwashed and insecure. The Dzogchen teacher looked at me all of the time (my friends said later; I took notes and didn’t see that) when he gave the teaching about wrong teachers. When he finished and concluded his analysis and teaching with the words: “… such teachers who have to be abandoned because they lead their students onto wrong paths”, it was as if he had taken out of my heart all the heaviness, darkness and night, the doubts about my own decision to leave these abusive teachers. At that moment, I felt a deep sense of joy in having made the right decisions. Not any doubt has ever overcome me since that. I did the right thing.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. I am deeply moved by your hearfelt comment, Tempel.You are a special friend.I live in France.May I ask you where you live? Love.

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                2. Thank you, Yamaintaka.You are a special friend.I’ll follow your advice. I’ll listen to ChNN.Do you know some of those Dzogchen teachers?I live in France.May I ask you where you live. Love.Nicole

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                  1. Dear Nicole, i tried to answer your question 4 times, 4 times it was gone… i’m agog now to see if this comes through, when yes it could be a protectore’s work…

                    …it should be love…

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        3. Matt: The Dalai Lama has taught Dzogchen on several occasions. As to crazy wisdom, if you listen the his teachings at the 1992 Conference of Western Buddhist teachers, he clearly says it’s not appropriate for these times. And Mingyur Rinpoche speaks about crazy wisdom in detail in his recent article on ethics in response to the current controversy, saying it’s a last resort method that doesn’t create trauma in students: https://www.lionsroar.com/treat-everyone-as-the-buddha/

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    2. Yep, that’s what i’m saying, he’s traumatized since childhood, he probably was never a sane person… Sometimes modern western psychology can be very helpful. Once you try to see from a psychological point of view and in addition to it with a spiritual background, that can open new horizons…

      Liked by 1 person

  20. It’s true. Crazy Wisdom can be as harmless as a Lama wearing a women’s wig…or eating raw horse flesh for breakfast.

    No one has to be hurt.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. One day this witch hunt will be over and we will remember the blessing, teachings, transmissions, introductions, pointing outs and divine love that we have received from SR in this lifetime.

        Some of us figured all of this out decades ago. May SR remain in our thoughts and prayers and may we remain in his. Kuntuzangpo!!!

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        1. This is a killer argument, it’s calculated to silence criticism. It’s not factual at all, it’s not precise, it’s not Dzogchen, it’s just arrogant! You don’t receive divine love from your master, the so called divine love is your one true beeing, it’s the nature of your mind, it’s you! See how dependent, addicted and subordinate you have been made…
          I will remember for the rest of my life, how i have been abused, but fortunately i woke up, so thanks to the “master”, he brought me to real Dharma!

          …it should be love…

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Witch hunt… that’s a phrase I’ve seen used by others lately. It doesn’t inspire confidence, or make the claimer appear innocent.

          When I last visited Lerab Ling, Olivier was guiding meditations, and I thought, wow, if Rigpa can produce teachers of this calibre, it’s really something. He was very genuine and inspiring, and was clearly devoted to Sogyal.

          That’s Olivier Raurich, the now *former* Director of Rigpa France. I was shocked to read recently that even he has had enough.

          https://buddhism-controversy-blog.com/2016/03/09/sogyal-rinpoche-rigpa-an-interview-with-the-former-director-of-rigpa-france-olivier-raurich/

          Even recently I was defending Sogyal to my wife, using the same arguments you have.

          But now, after actually reading and thinking and dwelling on it – honestly, I’m shocked.
          And embarrassed and shamed.

          I can’t even imagine how the long-term students feel.

          Liked by 1 person

  21. Yikes. Well, I have to respect and acknowledge your experience. And, I hope you can also find it in your heart to respect and acknowledge my experience.

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    1. Yes sure i can, no problem, Kuntuzangpo! The thing is just, that it’s not the question of a “witch hunt”, it’s about the ongoing suffering of many people, which you do not acknowledge at all! Got it? Good night!

      …it should be love…

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    2. Hi Matt

      I think that it was the negative characterization of the very painful process of trying to bring transparency to a very challenging topic is what y was referring to. It would be great if once you lob a bomb like that you not then turn around and point fingers, be fair, if you can hand it out at least receive it back gracefully:)

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  22. Here is the official reply by Rigpa:
    https://www.lionsroar.com/rigpa-press-release-responds-to-allegations-of-abuses-by-sogyal-rinpoche/

    Among others they write: »During this time we will seek external professional and spiritual advice and look into whatever steps might be necessary. We have already initiated open discussion within our community about the letter and the issues it raises. We intend to bring clarity to this situation as soon as possible.«

    I would recommend to use this offer to insist to engage An Olive Branch or a similar professional organisation. I think, it can’t be dealt with in a healthy and healing way without external professional help.

    This was my last comment here.

    My thoughts are with those who have been harmed and had to experience physical, emotional, sexual, financial and spiritual abuse – whose faith has been heavily exploited and who were deeply harmed. My thoughts are also with those few women or men who were brave enough to speak up and to break the silence. My thoughts are also with the brave eight signers and those who open their eyes to see and who have to struggle now how to cope with all of this and still take responsibility and aim to achieve the best for all.

    I wish you and all Rigpas, ex-Rigpas as well as Sogyal Lakar well.
    May you all find healing, clarity, good spiritual friends and enlightenment.
    ****
    I apologise if anything I said disturbed your mind. My main idea was to provide some of my views or experiences in having gone through a similar crisis.
    (I have to focus on other things now…)

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    1. Thank you, Tenpel.Very interesting.I have not received this press release yet.Some sentences are ambiguous.”There is no place for abuse” for example.What does that mean? Does it mean that SR has not abused anybody? Or does that mean that they are shocked by his behaviour.As for “professional advisers” it all depends on their attitude.Will they be honest or will they brainwash us? Thank you for your help and your comments, tempel.I will see M.R in september and think of you. I wish you the best.Love

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  23. Hi There,
    here some – hopefully helpful – thoughts for those who may be in emotional trouble now.
    (sorry, i posted it in the wrong category beforehand – i hope i am right here ;-))

    Now to the issue: I have been with Rigpa for 24 Years and just declared my immediate termination. It took me 2 days to rid myself from any self doubts and shake off any unclearity.

    Do I feel bad with not having seen the stuff, that was going on? Not at all: the Teachings were absolutely wonderful, many great Lamas including H.H. Dalai Lama, H.H. Trizin, Garchen Rinpoche came by and expressed their gratitude, trust and admiration to S, his work and the Sangha. In addition, S. always showed greatest devotion and respect to his masters. The sometimes robust “teachings” of close students have been again and again explained to us with being in total accordance with their free will, and that tose students gave their explicit agreement and it was stated again and again that they had greatly profitized from it. Also i have witnessed individuals that have been adressed by S publicly and strongly (but not in a humiliating way), grew strongly an increased their potential. So there was for my perception no real chance to see the abyss behind the scenes. One could argue that the first incidence that was dicussed in Rigpa years ago, could have been investigated more thouroughly. Ok. Maybe. But it was presented in a way by Rigpa Seniors that a real judgement seemed impossible. Personally I didnt want to be part of speculations at that time, knowing that rumors in the web can roller-coaster very easily.
    Do I feel I cannot trust myself? Not at all! I am absolutely proud of having the openess and the interest in Knowledge, the Wisdom-Culture of Tibet that made me relate to Rigpa, stay through personal “risings” and also have the flexibilty to relate to strange situations and persons as long as there is something interessting to learn.
    Do I feel threatened by the Samay-Gun? Not at all. I personally think that, if you want to believe in that concept, the one who should worry about it is S, since he obvisouly used the concept to silence his consorts.
    In Brief: I think S. terribly lost track and has totally fallen prey to worldly temptations: greed, power, sex. This is in total opposite to what he stated so often ” it doesn’t go to my head”. Yes it did S! Do i feel responsible? Insofar that I immediately took consequences to detach from Rigpa completely, as things are revealed, out in the open and obviously true. I also want to state, that i dont want to share my spiritual path with those who cannot or don’t want to see the obvious, that the behaviour of S. – that has been desribed in the letter – which I believe to be true – is totally in opposition of dharma and cannot be explained away with pure awareness and other stuff. I regard the only reason for behaving like that, ist to avoid having to look into the nasty truth. And – very important – because of a lack of trust in the own intuition. Plus I clearly want to distance from those, who keep the abusive system going.
    Do i feel weakened by it? Not at all. Since I was on the brink of detaching anyway, since S. seemed to be increasingly frustrated to me in the last years (which, i think, does hint to some fault or a lack of practise), i think i can trust my intuition even more. For me the quintessence is, that my inuition (nature of mind, inner master or how you want to call it) had led me perfectly through the years and it will always. I also want to state, that no one should think to be immune against manipulative systems. If you look into samsara, there are lots of real intelligent people, falling prey to subtle manipulative concepts all over the place. I think we have a special opportunity here and can learn a lot from that scandal! To increase our trust in our intuition and sharpen our wisdom of discernment!

    Do i condemn S? Not at all! He contributed in such a magificient scale to the wellbeing of many people – I personally witnessed that. I simply think, “it went to his head” at some point and out of his afflicted emotions he also hurted people badly and disgraced himself terribly. I absolutely agree with H.H. Dalai Lama to make a clear distinction between the person and the action. The enemies are the negative emotions, not the person.

    Finally I want to express my gratitude and respect of those who went public, following their intuition. I also want to express my deep compassion to those who have been used and exploited and have not been helped by us, the sangha. I am very very sorry and feel it. Next time I do better!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Frank, for such a sincere courageous and clear-sighted testimony.Of course, I totally agree with you.It’s useless to say so, just look at my comments on the blog.
      Just one thing, however.As you were angry,it took you 2 days to take your decision, although you have been a student for 24 years.Are you sure it’s the right decision?
      As for me, I prefer to wait and see for a few weeks or a few months.Have you read Rigpa’s press release in The Lion’s Roar?It seems that they are willing to make strong, responsible decisions.So far, noone knows what’s happening in secret behind the thankas and what they are discussing about.So, I prefer to trust them, give them a chance and see what happens.
      I also experience sympathy for those who live and work in LL, in the offices, in the kitchen, and who are my friends.What will happen to them if many students leave and LL goes bankrupt? What will happen to LL and the different centres in they don’t have money to pay their heavy taxes?For all those reasons, I prefer to give them time and to see if they are able to make the right decisions.I may change my mind.My patience will be limited, I won’t wait for years.But, so far, I hopefully wait and see. Lots of love.Ladybird.

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    2. “No one should think to be immune againt manipulative systems.”How right you are!What strikes me most is that outstanding teachers and writers have been caught in the web. The reason may be that, 30 or 40 years ago, when they met SR, he was not a guru.He was a poor Tibetan trying to earn his living and to make his way into European society by teaching dharma.He only became a guru later and this went to his head.

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    3. Thank you for sharing that, Frank. It was worth wading through the trash to find your statement. I liked this part:

      “If you look into samsara, there are lots of real intelligent people, falling prey to subtle manipulative concepts all over the place. I think we have a special opportunity here and can learn a lot from that scandal! To increase our trust in our intuition and sharpen our wisdom of discernment!”

      I wish you all the very best.

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  24. Thank you ladybird for your response. To cut the story short: of course am i sure that this is the right decision. And of course have i read the rigpa press release, the letter of s, and the statement of otr. By the way: i would not even say that i am angry. I would more think it is simply dissapointing. Especially the otr-letter is such a poor document – as other stated here already: i see it exactly the other way round: it is not they “turned against s” but s turned against students. Concerning the letter of s: also a poor document in my opinion: nowhere he explained why it should be necessary to create collages of genitals or wether this is true or not. The only thing that maybe could change my mind, is when the whole thing turned out as total hoax. That would be an interesting twist, but i dont believe it. The documents of the so called masters also don’t bring light to this. It more seems to me, that these letters are a preview of the coming defense-line. But again: it has been my sole reponsibilty to relate to rigpa and there was very very good reason to believe to support a very very good thing. Usually i think very looong about decisions, trying to view it from all sides. This time the answer came quick, sharp and clear. In respond to your concerns regarding rigpa: of course i also feel great sympathy for many of these wonderful students. But the reason for rigpa to exist is not to provide a working place, but to bring upon a way to spiritual progress. If that is shattered at the core, if people are instead deluded, in fact: i think the organization SHOULD go bankrupt. But i dont have hard feelings about this either: we have limited time, the spiritual path is shaky, and maybe this desaster is necessary to remove obstacles, bring fresh energy and to open up new ways. btw: I would not abandon s either: but my way to relate to s and rigpa at the moment is to detach clearly because of the heavy anti-dharmic activities obviously going on in the headquarter. I would call that behaviour simpel basic sanity (in the words of chö tru). But i respect those who relate to the situation in any other way – for me personal, it is of foremost importance to not ignore reality but to look at it as it is. Why should i spent time with their lukewarm decisions and explanations that we have already seen? I did not create that situation, so i dont feel any responsibilty to clean it up. If rigpa gets a source of inspiriation and purity in the future we will meet again anyway. Certainly i would be happy to help others finding their personal way to deal with the situation, their emotional turmoil and fears and to grow with the process. But thats probably beyond my capabilities. I wish you very well in your process!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Frank.I have read your letter 3 times.I may be tired, There are things I don’t understand in your letter.So I apologise for asking 2 questions:
      1-What do you mean by “hoax”, here?
      2-The documents of the so-called masters…the letters that are a preview of the coming defense line”What do you mean?

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      1. Hello Ladybird, of course i will try to clear this up: with “hoax” i mean, that the whole thing, the letter and all the testiminoials are fake – impossible in my view from what i understood and read so far. With the defense-line i mean, that the essence of the letter of s is: death, retreat and great teachings (implying the samaya violation). The strategy here is deflection and fear. Similiar thing with otr: he also comes up with the samaya gun (btw: there has been a very similiar concept in the catholic church: it was called “ewige verdamnis”. People were scared to death by it for centuries.) On the other hands, in none of the letters the hard facts are addressed and by otr the responsibility is shifted subtly to the ones who had dared to lift the curtain.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you, Frank, for your patience. There is no hoax.Their defence line is blackmailing.There are no more letters from anybody else.All right!!!

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    2. Dear Frank, my deep respect to you, your decision and sincerity.
      The spiriritual path never will be shaky. ‘The Dharma protect those who protect the Dharma’, from a teacher were I was very often.
      The trust will be shaky now. But it can also deepen your personal spiritual path, after feeling the pain. I had this bemusement after falling in love with a longterm R male disciple, 3 years ago. SR must be a great rolmodel for him, want the behaviour had so much agreements. I couldn’t understand this acts of humilliation after so much love and tenderness. My biggest question always was after this moments: ‘What about compassion?’
      Still I wish for him that he could have the same courage like you and to leaf and to love.
      Hertha

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  25. I found this quote from Matteo Pistono, one of the 8 signatories on the web from 2012.

    “Dorje Dudjom may have changed bodies
    over successive incarnations up to the present, but the motivation and the vastness of his vision remains the same—to create the most generous and auspicious conditions for as many of us as possible to find the path to spiritual liberation and lasting happiness. And the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is unquestionably a manifestation of that vision. I bow down in gratitude to Sogyal Rinpoche for writing it.”

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    1. One can have gratitude for what is good while working to eliminate the bad. Seeing one aspect of a person should not blind you to the other.

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  26. From my experience after leaving R. : I slowly realized more and more how massiv the manipulations within R. had been, how much sl. and his senior staff had fabricated a public image of Sl that was completely different to what happened behind the curtains.

    While I kept studying and so read more and more teachings of tibetan masters did I realize how much SL just repeated and used their teachings, even literally, let the students believing its his own words.

    So more distance I brought between R. and my little personality so more did I discover how much Dharmapractice could end as expression of distortion.

    The picture became more and more clearer. I understood why so many good people had left R. overnight, year after year. New people came in attracted by well produced adverticing, promising happiness and joy, like a soap in tv.

    More and more stuff enveild, that I would give very inpleasant names.

    I reacted with anger, frustration and distrust towards other Lamas. I had not much confidence in Dharma officials and discovered any little mistake quite quick.

    I felt very uncomfortable within such a setting.

    Even I lost most of my social relationship I have had, since R. had been my familiy so far.

    Please be aware same or similar could happen.

    The good news: This is just temporarily. Its freeing. It can check how much Dharma one got already under the skin.
    It could teach how important it is to remain selfhonest again.

    Thats a little part of my experience, to cut it short.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wonderful comment adamandeve. I wish that a lot of R students, disciples, staff and exR could read it. Your distance now to it and to feel it in your clear words gives hope and gives normalising. Every of this stories brakes the heart.
      I like your statement that Dharma practise can go in two direction. We have to be mindful and with a lot of compassion to us, others and Dharma herself.
      Lots of love, Hertha

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  27. Bonjour, Hello,

    Thanks! Finally! Endlich …Thank you courageous 8, even if it’s a bit too late. Thanks Tenpel for this blog and all the work you have done.
    I’am an ex-R, who landed in L.L in a rather unusual way, didn’t follow the classic steps joining R. You could say, I came out of nowhere and used to work for years with a monk who left R years ago. So this status of being inside and outside in same time was a good thing, the dammage could have been worse otherwise …

    Fortunate that there where other teachers, i think in particullar at Trulshik Rinpoche !

    After having spending years in a Kagyu center in belgium and having worked afterwards again several years in a Taostic place in the Alps, landing in L.L was more than a cold shower. Anyway, I think the most here agree about the diagnostics. But how to cure ? Personally, i would suggest to cut deep and fast if S.L doesn’t show the right signs. Even then, be awake !
    Dear 8, let’s rebuild that temple of shame, the Dharma is in danger.

    It should indeed be love !

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    1. Wonderful statement Franz, thank you so much. What was the ‘cold’ what you experienced in LL.
      Lots of love Hertha

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    1. Very interesting! May I ask you something? Tu es Français. Midi Libre a publié des articles sur LL dans son édition du 31 juillet.Il s’agit d’articles réservés aux abonnés!As-tu l’article en entier?Merci.Ladybird!

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  28. Hi Ladybird,

    Have no acces to Midi libre on line anymore , but will buy it “cette aprem” and let you know. S.L was in thailand yesterday, having a talk ….( the seventh world Bouddhist youth symposium ). His mother ( and this huge black shadow wich acompagnies her …what is this actually ? ) well, no idea.

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  29. Hi Herta,

    The cold ….Well, to put it in an other way, almost everybody seemed obsessed with dzogchen, but couldn’t recognize a girl’s suffering ( she was going through a psychotic period ), no problem was said, this is just devotion. I do not want to generalise all R people, but comparing to other places it seemed as if there was a lack of the good old comon sense. I felt discomfortable in L.L all those years in a strange way, like something was missing or wrong. Couldn’t actually really put a finger on it ….but it felt cold, strange, ….and of course, when talked about it was me who should work more on this or that.

    Love to u 2

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    1. I feeled also a kind of very ‘cold’ during a short relationship and the uprupting end with a longterm Rigpa men, that’s wy I asked, its a kind of recognition. (empathie and compassion?) Thank you very much for your explanation.
      This last piece of the comment by Matthieu Ricard could be very helpful for members of R if they are in doubt.
      It is absolutly clear.
      Lets help.
      Xxx Hertha

      Matthieu Ricard

      *

      Extracts from a traditional description of the qualities of an authentic master and the defects of a false teacher, taken from the Treasury of Precious Qualities* by Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa (1729-1798), with the commentary of Kangyur Rinpoche (1898-1975), Shambhala Publications.

      “Genuine spiritual masters embody the wisdom and compassion of all the Buddhas. They are the roots of all spiritual accomplishments. They act exclusively for the good of everyone. They are like a beneficial rain that extinguishes the fires of karma and negative emotion. Like the sun and moon, they dissipate the darkness of ignorance and like the earth itself, they are the support of all without exception. Like loving parents, they cherish all beings impartially. Their compassion is like a river, immense and swift, aiming to free all beings from suffering and its causes. Spiritual masters are like Mount Meru, they are firm and unswayed by jealousy. They delight in the perfection of beings. Like a cloud of rain, they impartially extinguish the fires of negative emotion with an equanimity untroubled by hatred or attachment.”

      “In this present age of decadence, it is extremely difficult to come upon such masters. Nevertheless, it is essential to rely on spiritual friends whose minds are like excellent earth, well tilled in the knowledge of the precepts, moistened with the knowledge of the sacred texts and their commentaries, and saturated with great compassion and a loving concern for all that lives. True spiritual masters have few activities. They are exclusively preoccupied with the Dharma, fully committed to it in thought, word, and deed. They have a great weariness of samsara and have a powerful determination to depart from it. Their presence has a transforming effect on the perceptions of all who meet them, so that the latter are inspired to seek for liberation. By following such a master, it is possible to gain accomplishment swiftly in this very life.”

      “As for inauthentic masters, there are some who practice Dharma dishonestly and out of pride, merely in order to preserve a line of incarnate lamas or a family lineage, no different from what a Brahmin priest might do. They practice merely out of concern for the reputation of their monastery, fearing that their ecclesiastical residence or tradition may otherwise decline. Their loud and empty boasting of their qualities contributes nothing to the mind’s discipline, just as a wooden millstones are noisy but incapable of grinding barley and producing flour. Such teachers bring their disciples to ruin.”

      “Again, there are some so-called masters who, though their minds are filled with defilements, no different from ordinary beings, have, as the karmic residue of some trivial generosity in the past, obtained the position of a teacher in this life. They put on airs and persuade themselves that they are somebody after all, preening themselves and becoming puffed up with pride just because they receive offerings, honors, and service from their devotees who go bowing and scraping in front of them—fools who know nothing about the true characteristics of a genuine spiritual master! Such teachers are like frogs in the bottom of a well, who think that their well is as vast as the ocean.”

      “Then there are other imposters—those who have a smattering of the teachings. They have taken the vows and embraced the tantric commitments. But they are ignorant of the precepts, and their discipline is utterly distorted. They have no idea of the three trainings, and their minds, awash with defects, are base and degenerate. They pretend to teach and give instructions, but it is sheer guesswork, and they behave as though they were soaring in the skies of realization. Moreover, they do not actually care for their disciples, and the drawstrings of love and compassion have broken. Attendance on such “insane guides” inevitably leads to the precipice of negativity, to the abyss of the lower realms, and to ever-increasing evil.”

      “The teacher’s knowledge should be greater than that of the disciples. If this is not the case, and if people who are supposed to be teachers are lacking in bodhichitta, it is a great mistake to follow them, attracted perhaps by their fame and personal charisma. It is evident that the blind cannot be led by those who are themselves “blind guides”. Associating with such people and in such a way deprives disciples of any chance of understanding what behavior is to be adopted and what is to be rejected. The followers of such teachers will consequently wander in the darkness of the lower realms.”

      “Aspirants may well be devoted and sincerely interest in practicing the Dharma, but if they fail to check whether their teacher is truly qualified and commit themselves regardless, they will be throwing away their present qualities as well as those to come. Their very human existence, endowed with eight freedoms, which they have only just obtained after waiting to long, will be rendered meaningless. Their situation is someone going toward a dark mass of poisonous snakes thinking that it is the cool shadow of a tree.”

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    2. What is missing is true freedom, that’s how i experience it, i could compare very well when i went to Merigar for the first time(and even better of course, when i returned there…)…

      …it should be love…

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    3. Dear Franz,
      Yesterday I didn’t realized profound what you have written about this girl and her psychotic state and the form of ‘care’ or ‘non-care’ she get. I’m shocked. Again: empathie and compassion??? that’s my understanding of Buddism, were is it…. in practice? What is happen with her after this, somebody knows? And the advies that you have work on ‘this and that’ sounds very familiar.
      Please, …love….

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  30. Ladybird,

    Allors, le Midi Libre, voiçi quelque extraits que je juge d’intéret ( minimes certes ) … “les accusations détaillées, sur sept pages conforte l’enquête d’une anthropologue infiltrée …..Le 21 juillet, un communiqué de presse lapidaire émanant de Rigpa indique que S.R est entré dans une période de retraite et de réflextion ….” Mais la même journaliste estime quand même que : ” le changement de ton ( de Rigpa ) est radical.” Changement de ton aussi chez Matthieu R. L’article finit par : ” A minima, il semble désormais encombrant”. Aussi, l’intégralité de la lettre (8) est à lire sur le site Midilibre.fr.

    Sous l’article S.R, un autre concernant la plus grande pagode d’Europe qui a ètè inaugurée à Evry , 22 millions d’euros.

    Voila

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    1. Merci beaucoup. Ce que je ne comprends pas, c’est la raison pour laquelle le communiqué de presse diffusé par Rigpa au Canada, dans la revue Lion’s Roar n’a jamais été diffusé en France.Personne n’est au courant de son existence.Puis-je vous demander qui écrit: “Il semble encombrant”? Dernière question, une amie sera demain à Lodève.Comment peut-elle se procurer le journal Midi Libre Lodève? Merci encore.Amicalement.

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  31. Ladybird,

    encombrant: Sophie Guiraud, la journaliste. Pour le journal, l’édition béziers du 30-07. Otherwise i send it by mail, but don’t know how to do in a confidential way …

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    1. merci pour la proposition. Une amie va se débrouiler, demain, à Lodève.J’ai eu assez de renseignements, vous m’avez bien aidée.Très amicalement.

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  32. This is a really good question. Imagine a town where everyone around you is using fake gold but acts as if it is real, when you ask what is going on they say ‘but it is real, can’t you see that we are all using it’? What makes you think it isn’t real?

    I am one of the letter writers and met the sangha and connected with some really amazing people BEFORE I met the lama aside from video teachings and tapes. Then once I did meet the lama in person I was quickly sucked into the inner circle. I once described it to one of these wonderful sangha members as feeling like I’d fallen down the rabbit hole. Their reply was that I was so lucky and blessed to have been ‘chosen’ by the lama for special attention…When I was bruised and broken (literally) there was immense pressure to see it as a blessing, people would tell me that they wished they could be in my place. I would feel ungrateful when all I wanted to do was escape.

    That’s how it happened for me, there is something very sincere about the fellow students, and sl is teaching the noble dharma, so there is the fact that he was my access point to the teachings.

    Is this a sign of extreme ignorance on my part YES, am I responsible for my own ‘magical thinking’ YES, but was I also very sincere and willing to feel like shit literally for years because I thought that I had to work with my ego and clinging and attachment YES.

    Did I sacrifice my own happiness, health and well being because I thought that I was working for a ’cause’ YES.

    There is a massive system that supports the delusion, otherwise intelligent people have built a fortress of denial over four decades. The longer it goes on the more there is at stake to prop up the illusion, the harder it is to be open and honest and truthful.

    We wrote the letter because we felt an abundance of concern for our companions on the path who have also been subjected to this sick deluded way of thinking. We wrote the letter because we were all a part of this system, we supported it and fortified it, and are therefore responsible for creating transparency around it so that people can know what they are getting into.

    I find the most bizarre argument in all of this to be ‘why didn’t they come forward sooner’ as if as long as we were ignorant and colluded for years why didn’t we remain ignorant? Doesn’t ‘better late then never’ come into play here?

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    1. A deep bow to you, my heart is full of tears about your sincerity and they find very tender there way about my face… a orangegold light is shining…

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    2. Thanks very much for your openness and courage to write the letter. I think it will help other students, at least it helps me although I was shocked in the beginning.

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    3. Yep, Hopeful, your last para – who would have believed that Buddhist teachers could so unthinkingly engage in victim-blaming?

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  33. I just came to know this and troubled a bit.

    Once Ajahn Chah said to another “if you can show me you can eat salt without tasting salt . . . .” this is like that. It is very sad how some (so called teachers) get so misled; “Pure Awareness” can not be achieved by materialistic means, they should know that, if they had stated to remove defirelments from their own minds.

    I hope and wish all those who are affected can develop Metta and go beyond, leaving the past behind.

    If I may mention this from my tradition to help all you effected, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.131.than.html

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