A truly objective third-party investigation if done fully and with transparency by a respected agency should bring closure to the turbulent events in Rigpa and bring much healing to a great many shattered lives.
However, this will not happen, if it’s not begun soon and if it’s not undertaken as extensively and transparently as required.
Who does it, and how wide their terms of reference are will make a huge difference, but anyone doing the investigation, if they’re truly seeking something comprehensive, need to ask the tough questions.
The questions listed below are like doors off a corridor. How many doors will the investigators look into? How many will remain firmly closed? And if the questions are not being asked, then what does that say about the Rigpa of the future?
Questions the investigators need to consider:
- Why did misconduct continue even after a legal case was filed and resolved out of court, with a large financial payment, by Janice Doe in the USA, 1993?
- Who were, and are, the past and present members of Rigpa management that enabled physical, emotional and psychological mistreatment to continue over decades?
- Will the individuals revealed in question 2, who have been complicit in mistreatment or abuse, be removed from the organisation, or not permitted to remain in roles as instructors, managers or other influential positions?
- Why did Rigpa Management repeatedly deny mistreatment and abuse, indicating that they felt there was no problem with Sogyal Lakar’s behaviour, despite being approached by dozens of highly regarded senior instructors, directors and Buddhist practitioners over many decades?
- Why did Rigpa Management and directors hire management consultancy firms to provide training on how best to deny allegations of abuse and mistreatment by Sogyal Lakar?
- Why did Rigpa Management set-up training programmes for qualified therapists to deal with the excessive numbers of victims and the increasing recurrence of people having mental anxiety, depression or neurotic behaviour directly as a result of their relationship and contact with Sogyal Lakar?
- Did these therapists have a hidden agenda to try to encourage their clients to see that their discomfort around Sogyal Lakar’s behaviour lay with them and not with Sogyal Lakar?
- Why were physical assaults committed by Sogyal Lakar, which were witnessed by many people, neither investigated nor reported to the police by Rigpa managers?
- How will victims of abuse or mistreatment be vindicated by this investigation? How will they be able to receive compensation or redress?
- How will victims be given assurances that they will not receive further or additional harassment after the investigation reaches its conclusions?
- How will the investigations findings be permissible in legal cases filed in courts against individuals or Sogyal Lakar?
Perhaps these questions could be forwarded to the investigators, once we know who they are. Let’s face it, those culpable are not going to ask the investigators to ask these questions, are they? But aren’t they the questions that really need addressing here?
Be sure to check out the What Now? Reference Material page for links to a wealth of articles in the topics related to abuse in Buddhist communities. For links to places to assist in healing from abuse see the sangha care resources page.
More personal and private support for current and previous students of Rigpa can be found in the What Now? Facebook group. Please contact us via the contact page and ask for an invite. Please use the email address you use on Facebook.
For students who have left Rigpa and don’t want to talk about it anymore, but would like to stay in contact with other ex-Rigpa students, we have created the Dharma Companions Facebook Group. Click the link and ask to join. You will need to answer some questions before being admitted to the group.
Those interested in ‘keeping Tibetan Buddhism clean’ could ‘Like’ the Dharma Protectors Facebook page. Links to posts on this blog will be posted there as well as to other relevant information related to the wider issues involved.
71 thoughts on “Tough Questions for the Investigators”
So many words have been spoken, nothing works
The rigpa diehards consider themselves as the chosen.
Aigainst a narcissitic oranisation nothing will help, letbthem staynin their own shit and vote with your feet.
Is there any indication at all that these investigations will occur?
There is supposed to be some more information coming out about the investigation in the next couple of weeks. Other than that we only know that someone in upper management was looking for someone to do the investigation, so there will be some kind of investigation, but when it will start and how far it will go is presently unknown.
Correction ……let them stay in their own shit ..
Its for Facebook members only accessible ? Those 2 groups ?
Yes. To join either of those two Facebook groups, you need a Facebook account.
Moonfire, you made an excellent proposal for questions to be answered, among others. But it seems like firing a rocket into outer space – with some hope it will reach someone that will listen. Apart from all defensive comments from in or around RIGPA there is a deafening silence. This indicates that the people, the organization involved and surrounding connections still can not accept that something has gone terribly wrong. And it demonstrates the mechanisms of cults under public attention. Next to that it demonstrates the difficulty for individual people to allow doubt going back from the present to the very fisrt time of meeting a teacher with the aura of a supposedly enlightened being. We, as students have been looking for meaning, after the decay of the churches and other institutions. And in Tibetan Buddhims, and more specific within RIGPA we may have seen a promise for fulfillment. It is painfull to let that go. We may stand as if we are naked in public. The real question will now arise: who are we truly?
This does not release us from responsibility for others. In fact I see it as may be the best Buddhist practice: help the people that feel hurt, listen, do not judge. Just support. It answers the at the same time an insight that Buddhis is not a goal, but a way.
Indeed. And this is all part of the path. Expectation leads to disappointment, so we offer this with no attachment to outcome. Everything is interdependant.
Dzongsar Khyentse has posted something very silly on his fb. Someone needs to grow up. He doesn’t get it. Why go to all that trouble as to create a fake legal doc to ratify a consensual sexual agreement? He obviously knows a few lawyers with too much time on their hands.
Dear Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse,
Is it OK that Harvey Weinstein uses also your proposed “Deed of Agreement” as it would be also very handy for him. Sometimes, it seems that he gets also carried away by his own self-agendas and, from time to time, by his hormones. He also wishes to have a fulfilling sex life.
Motivated by the Sogyal scandal, DKR is making a mockery of sexually predatory behaviour and sexual abuse.
And he’s disregarding harm. Once again.
Humm, not so sure what DKR was mocking. Anyway, I can’t find anymore this post on his facebook page. Well, he has been quite mocked and criticized in the comments. Here is someone who is not afraid to lose all credibility…
French observer, when I encountered that piece of ridiculousness two days ago all the comments I read were supportive, many being downright sycophantic.
French observer, don’t you think he was mocking the women who’ve complained about Sogyal’s treatment of them? The drawing up of a jokey, pretend legal doc to be signed by both parties before engaging in intimacy implies that this is the only way to ensure there won’t be complaints or disagreements later on.
Really beginning to think he’s list the plot!
Who is his current teacher?
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@Rose, agree. ‘Bender & Boner’? That’s just puerile schoolboy talk. And yes i wonder if he has a living guru since Dilgo Khyentse died. Perhaps HH Sakya Trinzin? On OTR’s teaching page there’s a talk about Dzongsar which mentions a number of his core teachers. What i found interesting was that Dzongsar Khyentse wrote up a commemoration of Chatral Rinpoche following his death in which he mentioned that Chatral Rinpoche had refused to meet with him, despite several attempts on Dzongsar’s part.
And Chatral Rinpoche truly was sublime….
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@matilda7, I am going to abstain from any interpretation. If this is just a bad joke, I don’t feel like we should take it too literally.
Sometimes, you think you have made a great joke only to realize later that it is not funny but rather pathetic or offending. It is embarrassing when you are with a few friends, but when you have 84’000 followers and you are supposed to be a grown-up adult… Ouch!
All of this seems so much self-centered. I wonder how many years of solitary retreat DJKR has under his belt…
@French observer. Yes it’s a joke, a spoof, but the point is that sexual abuse is nothing to joke about. Justin Whitaker has written another sharp piece on this latest outrage. Given that sexual abuse and abuse of power is at the core of this entire expose i think it’s worth reproducing a quote he’s taken from the Olive Branch people concerning how the power imbalance negates claims of consensual relations in teacher-student relationships:
“The term ‘consenting adults’ also reflects a misunderstanding of sexual behavior between clergy and congregants. It is assumed that because two people are adults that there is consent. In reality, consent is far more complex. In order for two people to give authentic consent to sexual activity there must be equal power. Even if the congregant or student may initially be a willing participant in the faith leader’s misconduct. The fallacy is that he/she is a consenting participant because consent is not an option in a relationship where there is an imbalance of power.”
Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/americanbuddhist/2017/10/in-wake-of-metoo-a-tibetan-buddhist-lama-offers-a-teacher-student-sex-contract.html#MW0QCyEpbLYfEUS8.99
I didn’t see the original offending piece but after having known DJKR for some 20 plus years and with my own unfortunate story with him and his organisation, I am truly wondering…. is it possible he has become somewhat deluded/lost his way? This is why I ask about whose guidance and care he himself is under. It concerns me.
There is much I am deeply grateful to him for but his behaviour of late (2012 on) has really made me question things.
@matilda7, from my perspective there can be consent even if there is an imbalance of power. For instance, my cousin doctor has married his student 6 years younger.
I see more the problem when a teacher uses the Dharma to get laid. Easy to spot if the student would never sleep with him if he was not a dharma teacher. Then, the teacher is acting according to his self-interest and not in the best interest of his student. If I recall well it is a breach of his own samaya.
Conclusion, except a few cases where a true relation develops between a teacher and one of his student, dharma teachers should abstain to have sex with their students. In the case they can’t find sex in any other way, it is a proof that they would really be misusing their role and the dharma.
Yeah, meant to be and presenting himself more than just a grown up adult too!!
He’s mocking Western culture, imo.
I think he is mocking the legal red tape in Western culture, which often does go too far, but in the case of abuse, it’s nothing to joke about. But again, he loves to poke fun at the West in general and I think this is just another attempt to paint the West as a ridiculous culture (especially compared to his own, which he imagines should replace Western culture as soon as possible.
Yep. He and many other Tibetans and Bhutanese disdain westerners. Seems he likes to have a big following of sheep and cattle for his entertainment and ego and apparently sexual gratification, but the disdain is evident.
AlbumsMAKE LOVE NOT HEADLINES! SCREW WITHOUT GETTING SCREWED!
16 photos · Yesterday at 9:52pm
I thought this might come in handy for Rinpoches like myself who are not omniscient, not omnipotent, and not well trained; who don’t give enough preparatory training on the prerequisites to their students; and who get carried away by their own self-agendas and, from time to time, by their hormones. MAKE LOVE NOT HEADLINES! SCREW WITHOUT GETTING SCREWED! Bender and Boner Law has over 70 combined years’ experience in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. We are sensitive to the special needs of Gurus and Rinpoches who desire to save all sentient beings yet also wish to have fulfilling sex lives. Let one of our ironclad consent forms protect you from fears of future litigation. Our in-house psychologists are on call 24/7 to assess your potential partners for any unsuitable moral quirks and/or tendencies to play victim. If you’ve already made a few mistakes, (and who hasn’t?), don’t worry! We can still save your reputation, your assets, and your ass. Free initial consultation. Call us before it’s too late! See our website at http://www.theyconsented.com
This was the text that went along with the form. I’ve been trying to hold onto my respect for him but this killed it.
This is truly distasteful and classless.
Yes, the last straw for me too.
Inappropriate in the extreme – in fact I’m sure there would be no end to the critiques possible of DJK’s latest public offering on the subject however, crucially it reflects very poorly on Tibetan Buddhism and may even cause people to avoid or abandon the Dharma.
This issue with SR has really become the means to see clearly, through their responses, which of these Tibetan lamas really stand and actually practise the teachings – who among them actualise their Bodhisattva vows in meaningful ways to the benefit of all involved.
It seems there are now two camps and perhaps it has finally revealed some lamas true colours and where their actual loyalties lie…
The most disturbing thing is that often times people respond in this way (DJKR) because they have something to hide that they are afraid will come out. It’s a way of preparing people, doing proactive damage control. sl used to always do this, when the Dutch film came out he was in NY soon after, the US didn’t really know about it yet, he gave a ‘private’ teaching in which he said something about breaking samaya and hell. Perhaps someone reading this will have the actual wording?
The thin veneer of respectability has been stripped away, and when you’ve got left are a bunch of brutal feudal lords who seem to be joining forces to oppose His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
This is just another glimpse of Tibetan politics throughout history. Feudal lords opposing each other is nothing new, although now we get to see it in all of its full ugliness, rather than underneath a fake show of unity and respect.
That should probably read “allegedly consensual”
It would be nice if your demands get addressed, but this will probably never happen in full. It’s a painful rupture…an ambiguous loss. I find this interview on “The Myth of Closure” to be quite useful.
“Our aim with “How Did It Happen?” is to provide an open atmosphere in which to explore the conditions that lead to abuse or the perception of abuse in Buddhist communities and how both individuals and communities can heal. ”
— Bernie Schreck & Sandra Pawula
” … we are more interested in providing information and reflections that encourage deep reflection in students as they process the allegations of abuse in Rigpa and what it means for them.”
“Oh no, I’ve said too much, I haven’t said enough.”
— R.E.M, Losing My Religion
“When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot.”
The whistle is blown, the 8 have opened things up, now we are all faced with the questions posed in this blog (and other questions) to the degree we want to take them on.
As a group, there seems to be some reflection, but most of the focus is on Sogyal Rinpoche or the Rigpa organization. A similar focus was taken up over 30 years ago and still seems behind the thrust of communication. Back then we were positive toward the teacher and organization, now we are critical. I’m not suggesting individuals aren’t self-reflective, but as a group it seems we don’t turn toward one another and (unless we have a shared target) our attention stays on the teacher and organization.
Those offering different approaches are discounted or placated, “maybe you should start up a group somewhere?”, “of course what you say is important!”, “what more do you want?” but the bureaucracy and center still rules. Communication that fits within the current norm is enhanced, accepted and encouraged. Voices we don’t understand are discouraged. Isn’t this our complaint about the Rigpa organization?
What is it that dampens our genuine curiosity about other possibilities and stops us from responding to invitations for a deeper, face-to-face dialogue about ourselves?
What might it mean to take up “How Did It Happen?” and “What Now?” by making a turn, by looking at ourselves–all of us participating in this blog? Might we uncover the root of the problem in our relationships with one another?
By exploring the way we relate to each other, we remain in charge, we need not rely on others to change. We keep demanding the Rigpa organization make changes, but what are we asking of ourselves? Are we really “encouraging deep reflection?” Are we willing to let the unknown emerge or do we already know the answer, do we already know who is at fault?
Is keeping our focus turned outward the same approach that (in part) helped bring us to our current situation? Might this have something to do with “how it happened?” Could “what now?” be seen as an invitation for us to explore how we relate to each other and try something new?
We may find it isn’t so simple to make this kind of shift, perhaps we don’t even see it as a possibility. Seeing the great difficulty in taking up a new approach ourselves, might we come to an understanding that this situation isn’t “someone else’s fault?”
I’m not sure what you’re seeking Rick. The What Now? Facebook group allows people to go more deeply into the issues from a personal point of view, but the blog format is limited in what it can cover at any single post.
Perhaps if you look at the posts called Confessions of a Dedicated Student you might find the kind of reflection you’re seeking.
The moderators of the blog are well aware that this is a complex situation with many causes and conditions, so even if we were interested in blaming (which we aren’t) blame ultimately cannot be atributed to any single person or entity. There will eventually be posts on the culture we all contribited to, and the first post on Alexander Berzin has a link to the section in his book that looks at the Western attitudes that contribute to the development of a situation where abuse can occur and continue for decades.
Re-read your post as if it was a reply from the Rigpa organization:
I’m not sure what you’re seeking Moonfire. The Rigpa Facebook group allows people to go more deeply into the issues from a personal point of view.
Perhaps if you look at Rinpoche’s teaching you might find the kind of reflection you’re seeking?
The staff at Rigpa is well aware that this is a complex situation with many causes and conditions, we aren’t interested in blaming. Your concerns are being taken by the boards and management teams of Rigpa worldwide, in a true spirit of collaboration. Channels will be established so that any member of our community has the opportunity to express their wishes, views and concerns.
Sorry if I’m being dense but I don’t know what you are trying to say. I also have no idea how I can possibly respond in any way that you would find satisfactory.
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Rick, you wrote: “What is it that dampens our genuine curiosity about other possibilities and stops us from responding to invitations for a deeper, face-to-face dialogue about ourselves?”
Harm. The harm, and all its enablers, have to stop. It’s a triage, though of course in the meantime, many are processing this on many levels. But until there is assurance that the harm is stopped and will stop, then we can’t talk in fancy ways about “other possibilities.” Your suggestions just slow the momentum on what is in front to do– which is summed up well in Moonfire’s post.
OK. That is fair enough, thank you for your direct reply. If your view represents the accepted approach here, then I understand.
I encountered Buddhism at an early age in an attempt to extract myself from a lifelong abusive situation and its corresponding imprint into the body. The two primary questions I’ve lived with is “How Did It Happen?” and “What Now?”. I attended the 3 month retreat at Lerab Ling (’92) and more recently spent a few years in dialogue with Rigpa students (and others) in Seattle talking about these issues. I don’t consider what I’m bringing up to be fancy, or that “other possibilities” should be beyond discussion. In fact, the very definition of change seems like “another possibility.” Most likely a possibility we haven’t yet considered.
That said, thanks again for your reply. Onward with your work and may it truly bring benefit and healing for those that were, and are hurting.
What ‘other possibilities’ do you think are beyond discussion here? The comments are open so long as people don’t take an aggressive manner, go in for personal attacks or spread unbased rumours. If you’re referring to the posts themselves, you’re welcome to use the contact form to submit a guest post for consideration by the editors.
Joanne’s clarification was edifying re the purpose here when she wrote: “Your suggestions just slow the momentum on what is in front to do– which is summed up well in Moonfire’s post.”
I’ll take heed.
Thanks Rick– and I am sorry about my tone when I said “fancy ways.” And thank you for sharing your perspective a little more clearly. I guess I had started to believe you were on the blog to represent Rigpa management, and so my tone might have reflected that.
Radical action along agitprop lines is one possibility.
Well said Moonfire. These are very good questions to build on. The greater the number of people who ask them will surely bring results. Thank you for all your careful thoughts and actions. You have been so generous with your time when you need to be able to get on with your novel writing.
Haha. You’re assuming an author wrote this. Actually I just posted it. Someone else wrote it. Maybe we will get to a point where we feel we can stick our names on the posts but we aren’t there yet.
Have people seen the recent statement from OrgyenTobgyalR? He was addressing the Rigpa sangha in France and pretty much dismissing HHDL’s advice. It looks like Rigpa might be thinking of lowering their Rime flag. When he speaks of “DLama” it sadly smells of ancient, ugly sectarian attitudes to me. And he was on his way to visit DJKR. Perhaps they are the two spiritual advisors for Rigpa now? Perhaps DJKR will advise SL on how to write up a sexual consent contract? All very distressing.
This just keeps getting worse with these Bir lamas supporting SL , ignoring (and thus condoning?) sexual, physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial abuse. They don’t want to hear students stand up to them.
I need to close my eyes and just focus on HHDL.
And just for the record, OTR refers to the 50 verses being a Sutra text, but he’s wrong, it’s a Tantra text.
I also don’t know what statement by HHDL from 10 years ago he is referring to in his criticism of HH. However, HH has addressed samaya in a Tantra context on several occasions. So he is wrong about that as well.
I can’t believe that Khamtrul Rinpoche is planning to teach the 22nd of November at the same center Rigpa Levallois-Paris.
There is even a video from Tsoknyi Rinpoche in preparation of the events in Rigpa.
“Tsoknyi Rinpoche speaks about Khamtrul Rinpoche
Tsoknyi Rinpoche speaks about the outstanding qualities of the 9th Khamtrul Rinpoche, Shedrup Nyima, who will give teachings at our Rigpa centres again this year, as well as the tokdens who will be accompanying him”.
Moonfire, what do you think about a public letter or a petition informing Khamtrul Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche about the situation in Rigpa France: especially the latest teachings from OTR in the centre and that Rigpa France & Lerab Ling are not recognised anymore as Buddhist organizations in France.
We should request them that Khamtrul Rinpoche visits this center only under the condition that he teaches also the following subjects for the benefit of Rigpa students: role of ethics in the Vajrayana and whether a Vajra Master can beat his students.
I would strongly suggest writing to Ani Tenzin Palmo. Apart from her public profile as a noted teacher etc, she is one of the heart students of Khamtrul Rinpoche. In my experience, going back thirty years, she understands this stuff. People often come to her, as a Western female seasoned practitioner, with their ‘Lama problems’. So i’d be surprised if you didn’t get a sympathetic response.
Their is a mailing address and a general office email on the website. http://tenzinpalmo.com/contact-us/
Thanks matilda7, good idea. I truly admire Ani Tenzin Palmo.
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If you have some suggestions on how to best process this situation, please send a private mail to Vigilant.Ethics.Group@gmail.com
@French observer, i don’t think i’ve more to offer than my suggestion of yesterday. But if you want to ask me a specific question here, i can respond via email. Or maybe you were hoping that others would chip in with their “suggestions on how to best process this situation”.
Though i would suggest just sending an email to the office address, marking it to TP’s attention, referring briefly to the What Now letter and any other circumstantial details concerning your own involvement (if you were a Rigpa student, what this all means to you, whether you are representing a specific group of people or just stating your own perspective etc) and how you were disappointed to learn that Khamtrul R. will be teaching there.
You may want to point out that you understand that teachers just go to where they are invited to teach, but ask her to make Khamtrul R. aware of the situation and the impact of SR’s behaviour on some long-term students. It appears that Khamtrul R. is giving Sogyal a seal of approval and this could further exacerbate ppl’s crisis of faith.
I think it’s good to keep in mind that Buddhist teachers will teach if they are asked to teach. I think refusing to teach when asked is not considered right behavior. So it’s hard to judge these teachers who are still teaching at Rigpa imo.
I think that the big question is what will they teach? Will they line up with OT, KN and DJKR, OR will they ignore the scandal, teach about something unrelated and collect their hefty cash ‘offerings’ that rigpa is so well known for giving lamas? OR will they address the situation head on, perhaps even disagree with other lamas? I am sure they know exactly what it going on, a note to them stating that a lot of people are watching what will happen, highlighting the fact that the fate of Tibetan Buddhism in the west can either be shored up or further eroded by them depending on how they behave and what they say. They must remain neutral at the very least…
DKR has now posted an anti-Muslim talk from a British neo-conservative who decries the opening of European borders to Muslim refugees. I find this extremely disappointing from DKR as such provocative positions only invite religious and race-based intolerance and divisions. Surely the essence of Buddhism is accepting the views and faiths of others. Unlike Christianity, Buddhism has never felt threatened by other religions.
Whoops, how could i forget about the poor Rohingas?
It goes without saying that we all abhor terrorism (be it Islamic or any other) and all forms of violent, hateful pseudo-religious acts but I can’t fathom why DKR wants to fan the flames of religious intolerance. Particularly mystifying after he’d posted a link to an article on “Rohinga: The Myth of Buddhist Tolerance” last month. Yes we know he likes to jolt so-called ‘liberals’ out of their morally superior comfort zones but living in Bir he should be aware of that areas’ history at the time of Partition. It was, i believe, part of the Hindu-Muslim bloodbath.
One commenter made a good counterpoint – just because some are enacting violence in the name of Islam, doesn’t mean that the religion itself is inherently bad – but overall they are with DKR. So now as well as condoning abusive practices, we will have a strain of Tibetan Buddhism that is actively Islamaphobic.
So far no-one on Open Buddhism has picked this up and i wonder whether we’re primarily concerned with the behaviour of Lamas in relation to our own first world spiritual practices, to the extent of ignoring or dismissing such views held by Lamas that don’t directly impact on our personal faith.
In any case, I will join the chorus of those wondering about the psycho-emotional health of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Surely it’s time for the wisest of his close, long-term students and friends to engage him in conversation about his views on the above, on Sogyal and his (DKR’s) views on the treatment of women.
In my experience, it is those closest, long-term students who are the most sycophantic of all. They will never question Rinpoche as they are completely under his spell. Don’t necessarily expect to find moral, warm or wise human beings around him – or transparency and capacity and protocols for dealing with issues within his organisation either.
In regards to his view on Muslims, he has been vocally and unashamedly anti Islam for many years now. His facebook page seems to be merely a medium to sh*t stir about sport, politics or religion or indulge in reveling in music, film, actresses etc
As I have already stated, he was not always this way and seems to have gone perhaps astray?
I wonder if he’s trying to draw attention to himself in a negative way due to a guilty conscience…he seems quite unwell, om vajra sattva hum…
Like french observer above, i think it’s time to ask publicly all rinpoché’s and other precious ones to clarify their positions in the name of public health and global ethics or what’s left of it.
It’s a good idea to try to ask rinpoché’s publicly about this issue, but to our experience it doesn’t work.
they are not advised by serious communication professionals and are unable to even comprehend why they should have a public statement about it. ultimately, in too much cases, the direct circle of people around a rinpoche serve as a shield to outside real world reality more than real honest advisers that can brief them on the outter world diversity. So instead they get stuck between themselves and westerners or not that play shield to Rinpoché, as if they were charged with a ultimate mission to protect these enlightened beings from ever seeing reality around them with their own eyes.
result ? they stay infantiles & unable to react to anything, stoned in their own practice bubble, instead of breathing with the whole world and it’s harsh reality.
Rinpoché like to individually address these issues directly with the concerned people so they can better manipulate and control the output & how it plays out without endangering their personal interests (donations, offerings, invite, sponsoring) of course the higher goal of dharma is always invoked here but it would be childish to think in their situation of dependence they would be pro-active and transparent towards the different communities in the west or elsewhere, touched by the abuses.
I think what they are going to find, is the sponsorship money that was previously ear-marked for them, as donations to the three jewels, will instead be used for investigations and the establishment of transparency and basic ethical standards.
There are lamas who are calling themselves Mahasiddhas, telling their students that everything they do is literally the act of a Buddha, and must be seen as such, at the cost of hell.
Those who are watching events carefully will see that HHDL’s view of the future of Tibetan Buddhism in the West is being directly challenged, and tough decisions will need to be made.
I respectfully disagree with you on this point. One of sl’s tactics was to always play dumb when in fact he knew exactly what was going on at all times DJKR, is fully plugged in, so is Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, they are being ‘political’ that’s a Tibetan specialty.
I am one of the letter signers and I’m not waiting for anything, my aim was to warn my companions on the path of a road hazard, I trust you all to draw your own conclusions and make your own choices. I’m sad that this situation has shown the dark side of TB, we all need to remember that there is no black and white, only shades of grey….
@not so helpful anymore,
Speaking for myself, I can say that it wasn’t your letter that first showed me the dark side of Tibetan Buddhism. I have seen glimpses of it for a long time. It is almost impossible to be immersed in the Tibetan Buddhist world without becoming aware, at some point, that there are many shades of grey. Also, the situation with Rigpa has been going on for years, and I have known about Sogyal for a long time. This is nothing new for me, but I am starting to think about it differently than I did before. In my personal case, it wasn’t the letter, and its revelation of corruption, that put me off of TB. It’s just an accumulation of many, many glimpses of corruption within “sanghas” in general, and the way lamas in general respond to it, (or don’t respond to it). In fact, it is the response from lamas, (or lack thereof), that is the worst part for me. But please don’t blame yourself for people’s disillusionment in any way. Speaking for myself, you had nothing to do with my disillusionment with TB, which was already quite strong before the letter ever came out. Also, I want to say, thank you, (and the others who took part), for writing the letter. It’s about time that someone takes some firm, public, unambiguous action on the whole Rigpa mess. Hopefully the letter will lead to genuine reform of Dharma sanghas, and even if it doesn’t, at least the letter started a dialog, which has brought this whole thing out into the open.
@K, the request to Rinpoché can be public and his answer addressed directly with the concerned people. This is fine. At least, he will be aware officially of the situation within Rigpa and he needs to understand that this is a serious matter.
The lamas are certainly pondering now whether it is correct to visit Rigpa centres. Of course the potential reaction of their students and the risk for their reputation are major factors to consider. Never forget that it’s the students who make the teacher and not the opposite.
How can their direct students not be shocked if they visit Rigpa, pretending everything is OK and taking money on the way? If they don’t clarify their position, this is a form of endorsement about what is going on within Rigpa.
Here’s a list :
Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche
Pema Wangyal Rinpoche
Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche
Khenchen Pema Sherab
Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche
Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche
Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche
Ringu Tulku Rinpoche
Adzom Gyalse Rinpoche
Khenpo Gyurme Tsultrim
Khenpo Rigzin Samdrup
Taklung Matrul Rinpoche
Good luck having those people to react to either the RIGPA crisis or the OKC one.
We’re still waiting for this people to pro-actively and spontaneously take any formal decision to stop their image and name legitimizing OKC, since RIGPA is even bigger than OKC, I have serious doubts these people will avoid going there, also i’m not sure their reputation is so important to them, after all OKC use their names since 2 decades in total impunity. I know the OKC case is different, in the sense that most if not all victims never asked to have a guru, they where born inside the cult already and subjugated into it without any other exit. it’s not the same for Adults that joined RIGPA.
But in my view, as OKC survivor, trying to reach the non-existing formal informal Tibetan Clergy is just a loss of time, in the end these people are protecting their own reputation first, their financial interests second and the integrity of Dharma comes in the end, if at all. want it or not, it’s a business.
What we see since too long is compromising, using the excuse to go teach the innocent RIGPA Sangha to keep visiting RIGPA is something that will probably happen, like it is happening at OKC and this will only provoke one result : it will legitimize RIGPA as a safe place to study Buddhism beyond the abuse of Sogyal or Spatz and there would be nothing wrong with that as long as the RIGPA/OKC board resign, is never allowed to have responsibilities again, and both centers if they want to keep being centers should PUBLICLY take a strong stance against their own super-guru. and that’s the part that will never happen..in both cases. Unless they both are at the brinck of collapsing.
the reality is that in both cases, the proverbial equanimity of the Tibetan Clergy, their so called care and support for the OKC community only allowed them to stay where they where and to not question anything. I see no reason the RIGPA community will behave differently based on the amount of similarities between the two sangha’s and their common Tibetan Buddhism endoctrinent.
The problem in Buddhism is the passivity of the Sangha, this comes from the Tibetan culture itself, the community was not supposed to put the authority of the monasteries in question, quite the opposite, today in Europe, this same feudal mechanism is being used and it works remarkably well.
@K, well I was just talking for the time being about the visit of Khamtrul Rinpoche next month to Rigpa Paris… I see the same problem than you: to legitimize RIGPA as a safe place to study Buddhism. When in fact it has been delisted as a buddhist organization in France and it still spreads some teachings justifying the abuses.
Personally, I am not worried about the situation with Sogyal, because at 70 years old what harm can he make except pumping some money from Rigpa.
Is this a list of lamas who are visiting Rigpa, or OKC? I am not clear what the list is for. If it is a list of lamas who are endorsing either of these places, then what is Mingyur Rinpoche’s name doing on that list? I thought he stood against the corruption going on within these groups, so why would he be visiting? It makes it look like he is endorsing them, even if he might have some different motivation for visiting.
OKC also is delisted from Buddhist orgs all over Europe, in fact it was part of their own defense strategy : stay out of the buddhist unions as long as the trial is ongoing and appeal.
but under that play, they never stopped to invite TB teachers to the Brussels and France center. never in 20 years.
but it’s a great recipe for RIGPA board too : so in one hand you can claim that by respect to other centers and respect to Buddhism until there is a trial you’re out of “institutional buddhism” and on the other hand, when in court, you can say : look at all the legitimacy we have, even during the trial, all these teachers and these great masters visited our centers and went to teach.
ps: this is being used in court.
and for the general public it works. for anyone that does not dive into these blogs and the issues of abuse, this recipe will work…damn OKC secretary general even found a new girl friend lately while still being on the OKC board and also part of the “foundation” that was setup to safeguard OKC future; guess who owns the foundation ? that’s right : Spatz.
lots of things to take for the RIGPA 8 if they want to win some time. they could pro actively make some moves instead of waiting for RIGPA to make one.
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