Credit where credit is due

Folk wisdom is wisdom passed down through families sometimes from unknown sources; one such piece of wisdom I was brought up with was ‘Credit where credit is due’. This reminds us not to forget the good people have done or are trying to do, even if they have also behaved badly. So, with this bit of wisdom in mind, just in case those folk who are trying to forge ahead with Rigpa think that all we do on this blog is criticise, I thought it prudent to do a post that supports those people and initiatives that deserve it. While we wait for news on who is doing the investigation, what its scope, aims and jurisdiction are, let’s not forget that Rigpa has at least promised an investigation. It could have been worse. Only time will tell how meaningful the gesture will be. We also have a code of conduct being worked on and a new advisory body being chosen. Positive changes are happening inside the organisation. They aren’t moving fast enough or going deeply enough for some, but they are happening.

Expectation and disappointment

When our expectations are high, our disappointment and criticism can be correspondingly great, and in a situation with great potential for moving Tibetan Buddhism forward in a healthy way in the West, it’s no wonder that there is disappointment when those who really want to see that development feel that the change is not going deep enough. Criticism is helpful when it is constructive, and I hope the criticism of Rigpa management that we post here can be seen as constructive – sometimes it is hard to keep the tone moderate – but I can see that it may be quite disheartening if those doing their best to institute change, care for present students, and communicate with the wider community feel that their initiatives are being too rigorously criticised or disregarded. So in this blog I’d like to encourage them and honour them.

Keeping Communication Alive

I would like to personally acknowledge the few people within Rigpa who are actually communicating with me. Some I have emailed and they never responded, which I think is very sad, but I have a few people at national or international level who do still talk to me. We don’t talk much, but they do respond politely to my emails or messages, and if they ask questions, I answer. We respect each other’s views (and avoid going there) and I think we all understand that this situation is difficult for everyone. Their communication helps me to remember that there is no ‘they’, just ordinary people doing their best to help an organisation they believe in to survive a crisis. And I hope they understand that I am an ordinary person doing my best to care for those uncared for by Rigpa in the past and to provide a space where they and those outside the organisation can express their views and perhaps have an impact on the way events unfold. If you are reading this, thank you.

A previous post talked about the unskilful behaviour of some members of Rigpa, so I think it only prudent to remind everyone that those were generalisations and certainly did not apply to all members of Rigpa or Rigpa management. There really is no single thing that is Rigpa. It is made up of individuals. However, there is a team at the top that makes final decisions, so in the end, the buck does stop with them, and that’s why our critical pieces refer to Rigpa management, not Rigpa. Even within that group, however, we must remember that they may not be in agreement on certain things. Nouns are merely labels we must use in order to communicate.

Though still no one from Rigpa International management has approached any of the 8—not even just to see how they are—someone in the US management, entirely on his own behalf (not as part of any push from management), has communicated with four of the Eight letter signators in recent weeks. Never discount the actions of one person. Positive actions and kindness, no matter how small, can have enormously beneficial results. They spread like ripples in a pond.

Code of Conduct Workshops

Despite the workshops’ limited format, undoubtably there are some well-meaning and good hearted people doing their best to actually listen to people and collate their feedback into the code of conduct which is also supposed to bring in cultural change. These people are unpaid and giving huge amounts of their time to visit centres and give the sessions on what to keep and what to abandon in Rigpa. All credit to them and their commitment to the organisation.

One person working on the cultural change aspect of the code of conduct even agreed to take feedback from members of the What Now? Facebook group who had left Rigpa via Skype calls for small groups in Australia, USA and UK/Europe.  This person was open and caring enough to give her time to allow those who are most disenchanted with the whole situation to add their opinions to the process. Though not everyone was happy with the results, one member commented to me that if this person were running Rigpa, things really could change for the better. Unfortunately she is only one person, and she is not running Rigpa.

The point here, however, is that every Rigpa member who can show genuine openness and concern for others to the extent that they reach out with respect for others views (without trying to change them) changes the perception of those who might otherwise label ‘Rigpa’ in a poor light. Just as the poor behaviour of some reflects badly on ‘Rigpa’, so the positive behaviour of some reflects well and gives people hope that not all is lost.

Kudos to the German and Dutch sanghas

One initiative undertaken by both the German and Dutch sangha that merits a mention is the establishment of a drop box in which they placed articles and video’s and then sent a link to it to their whole sangha. Included in it are Mingyur Rinpoche’s article, two of HHDL video’s where he speaks of the Sogyal Rinpoche or Rigpa, as well as links to this blog and the How Did it Happen blog. DzKR’s Facebook post in response to the matter and the video in which Khenchen Namdrol speaks about samaya are also in it. Reports are that the included material is very balanced and not biased. Germany goes a step further in that they include letters and texts by individual Rigpa students who wanted their views and feelings shared with the whole sangha. These are indications that those running these sanghas are happy to allow students access to all relevant information and allow them to make up their own minds on the issues this scandal raises.

Unsurprisingly given these initiatives, feedback from students in these sanghas indicates that there is a more welcoming attitude to those with different views than in other countries, even to the extent of once providing a separate session for those who didn’t want to watch a teaching by SR. In other countries students wanting to return to Rigpa or even visit for a particular meeting have been turned away either abruptly or more subtly.

Ordinary students who keep asking the difficult questions

Though many students have left in disgust, leaving a greater percentage of people in Rigpa who apparently don’t care about ethical behaviour than those who do care, some students deeply concerned about all the issues shared in this blog do remain students so they can observe progress, continue to hold groups and care for others and to contribute to positive change. Each time one of them asks a question that those running groups would rather no one asked, or remind them that there has still been no acceptance of responsibility for the care of those harmed and so on, they break through the stupor of other students in the group who have been soothed (brainwashed?) into thinking everything is now fine. Everything is not fine, and I applaud those who remain in order to remind them of that. Don’t stop asking your questions. And please refer people to this blog, the categories on The Root of the Problem is particularly full of the sort of thing Rigpa students need to be aware of.

The man himself

I almost forgot the man at the core of this debacle. For me it’s important to give Sogyal Rinpoche or Lakar or whatever you want to call him credit for the great benefit he has brought to me personally and to many other people. That does not, of course, excuse his behaviour in any way, but I think it is something that we should not forget, for our sake. Despite his apparent limitations, he did introduce a lot of us to the noble dharma, and if we consider it was all a waste of time, we’re cutting ourself off from the benefit. Look for the benefit and you will find what’s worth holding onto.

You could compare denying the benefit gained to someone discarding everything they learned from a brilliant physics professor because they discovered he wasn’t a nice person. People can be brilliant in one area and really bad in another area, particularly in personal relationships. Credit where credit is due does not mean white-washing the bad, just recognising how things actually are.

Not in opposition

I regularly check my motivation and I find that the bottom line for me, as it is for any Mahayana Buddhist, is the desire to help bring beings to enlightenment. Those in Rigpa management are, I expect, aiming to do the same thing. They are just approaching it from a different perspective. In the end we are all just playing different roles in the same drama, a drama from which a great deal of good has already come, and I pray it may result in a renaissance for Tibetan Buddhism in the West, a renaissance that leaves the feudal structures and lama-centric dictates behind. That renaissance is unlikely to come from within Rigpa as I had initially hoped, but the ripples from this revelation will have an effect that goes beyond whatever Rigpa may do.

Keep up the good work everyone.

Post by Tahlia Newland.


Current and previous students of Rigpa wanting personal and private support in regards to the abuse issue can be found in the What Now? Facebook group. Please contact us via the contact page and ask for an invite using the email address you use on Facebook

If you would like to stay in contact with and support ex-Rigpa students, we have created the Dharma Companions Facebook Group.  The group files include lists of online courses with reputable teachers, and members can join monthly Skype meetings and retreats. If you’re interested, click the link and ask to join. You will need to answer some questions before being admitted to the group.

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.

Those of you who are interested in ‘keeping Buddhism clean’ in general could ‘Like’ the Dharma Protectors Facebook page. Links to posts on this blog will be posted there as well as links to other relevant information related to the wider issues.

And if you would like to make sure that this blog keeps running, please consider sponsoring our editor for the many hours of work involved.

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38 thoughts on “Credit where credit is due

  1. Thank you Tahlia, that was timely and very well written. I truly think there is great power in keeping our tone as positive as we can without, as you say, white-washing anything.

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  2. Well said Tahlia:

    Everything is not fine, and I applaud those who remain in order to remind them of that. Don’t stop asking your questions.

    Please stand-up and don’t compromise your own integrity. Facts are facts. And the visiting dharma teachers should have the same attitude.

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  3. I have not yet left Rigpa as I have been waiting to see what would happen and hoping that positive change would come… Sadly it is taking much longer than I had hoped. I currently find myself in the situation of struggling to register for the upcoming Australian retreat. Three times I have filled out the online application form but I cannot bring myself to submit the form or pay any money to register. I actually feel sick because starting the year with a retreat and reconnecting with the Dharma (and Sangha) has been such a positive thing in my life for many years. I am terrified that if I register and attend the retreat, it will be just ‘business and usual’ and I am so far from that point that it might be best for me to not attend. I wonder if there will be the opportunity for open dialogue on the retreat or whether it will be assumed that everyone attending will be remaining in Rigpa and are essentially giving their unspoken approval for things to stay the same?
    I find it extremely disappointing that the ‘independent investigation’ has yet to commence and that some of the more moderate sangha members do not seem to be in positions to be able to create meaningful change within the organisation. It is encouraging to hear that some are reaching out to those people who have been harmed but the executive seem to be the same and that doesn’t inspire me with confidence. I had really hoped that there would be more clear action that would have been taken so that sangha members could make a more informed choice about whether or not to attend the upcoming retreats. Should people like me attend though, so that our voices are also being heard and so that we continue to ask the hard questions?

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    1. @ Watching and Waiting
      I deeply sympathise with you, because myself I have experienced a simular situation within Rigpa, a conflict between two choices where non of them seemed really right or fitting. It’s a very painful place.
      The best thing for me was to go deep within my heart with the question, let go of all hope and fear concerning Rigpa or my place within it, become still, surrender deeply also to painful feelings, and then I listened for the answer from within, what was the right thing for me to do. It was still painful, but there was also a sense of peace, acceptance and trust. And later on, when I was half-way through with the process, completly new doors and perspectives opened for me and also I understood on a personal level, why all this had happened.

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  4. It’s to bad that the good people in Rigpa aren’t using their time and energy on more worthwhile causes. I’m sure they are wonderful people, who are really trying to make things better, but they are up against a rigid, political, corrupt establishment. They are too good for Rigpa,. imo.

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  5. Even if Rigpa writes a whole new “code of conduct” and draws up a new ethics charter, or whatever else they may do, the “crazy wisdom” stuff will still continue in secret, only instead of being out in the open, it will be business as usual under the table. That is what I think would happen, since that is what happens elsewhere. Humans are human, unfortunately.

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  6. Good post! May we all find together a way to improve Rigpa so that it makes it easier for us to relate to the teachings. Whether we left or are still Rigpa students, may we not loose hope and develop better understanding of each other.

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  7. Thank you Tahlia for this positive and helpful post.
    Empathy and an attitude of respect also for those we passionatly disagree with, is so important.
    As Martin Luther King said: “You have very little persuasive power with people who can feel your underlying contempt.”
    And also I always felt that Sogyal Rinpoche – besides the disturbant personality traits – on a deeper level also had a true genuine passion and love for the Dharma and for teaching it to his students and a desire to bring them to enlightenment. That’s what made him a good teacher. And I think, that’s why people felt attracted, stayed so long and were willing to even endure so much.
    And also I don’t believe for a second that he had a cool time doing things that were so contradictory to his deepest convictions. That’s also a form of suffering. That’s at least how I feel, from experiencing my own addictions and knowing how difficult it is to overcome them.
    And also it can very well be that subconsciously he appreciates the 8 writers of the letters, who out of a Bodhisattva-motivation and care had the courage to bring the whole thing to the surface with clearity and also love.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As Martin Luther King said: “You have very little persuasive power with people who can feel your underlying contempt.”

    So if that’s true, how come so many people are persuaded by Tibetan lamas, and teachers, (even some Western teachers who have been influenced), who feel nothing but contempt and superiority toward Westerners and our culture? I’m not saying they are ALL contemptuous, but so many of them are that I wonder why Westerners didn’t catch on before?

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    1. Sorry, I quoted the quote wrongly. The correct quote of Martin Luther King is:
      “You have very little CONVINCING power towards people who can feel your underlying contempt.”
      So that makes a difference.
      Thank you for questioning it 🙂

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  9. Really a good post, Tahlia, along with your others and those contributed by other writers to this blog.
    I think it’s good to take a moderate, patient view at times. I recently heard of a local sangha that had its first meeting after the summer break a couple of weeks ago. They discussed, but it sounds like it’s still really early in the process. For some people who hear about abuse, they can leave easily. Others may not believe it. Hopefully management will keep becoming more and more honest about what happened and help suffering students move forward.
    I’ve also talked to someone who didn’t know what to think and who remains in the group trying to figure out what they what to do, what they believe. The details shared by Rigpa management have been so slim.

    Just think how good Rigpa could still be if they became truly a safe organization, free of abuse or hiding!
    I can only have hope.

    Kudos to the Dutch and German sanghas for their dropbox communications, to the person willing to dialogue with those leaving and who’ve left, and to the person in US management who reached out to 4 letter signers.

    I’m not sure people realize how hard it was for the signers to write and share their feelings and experiences. They still deserve a lot more support than they’re getting. They went through hell and are just trying to protect other people. It’s a great personal sacrifice. I wish that management would reach out and listen without an agenda. I wish that more regular sangha members would listen to what they said.

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  10. I understand the people who have a hard time to believe in the abuses. But I find even more frightening the teachings diffused by Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoché in Rigpa 2 weeks ago. His interpretation of the dharma legitimates those abuses and apparently this is the dominant believe in the inner circle of Sogyal Rinpoche.

    For the students of Rigpa, the question is quite simple. Are you ready to accept or tolerate those teachings within your own organization? How can Rigpa pretend to adopt a code of ethics when it diffuses on the same time unethical teachings?

    Now with internet, you can access the information. The management of Rigpa and the inner circle is lying to you. The visiting Masters have the financial responsibility to sustain their own communities and they won’t denounce the situation. Rigpa is what of their main cash cow.

    Please for your own sake, don’t act like a blind follower transforming yourself potentially into a victim. Just boycott this organization and don’t put one more cent until it makes the decision you feel are right.
    It is not like there is no other alternative to receive the teachings and the blessings of a lineage…

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    1. @French Observer Actually in some countries there aren’t so many options. In Australia for instance, it is not easy to get visiting teachers. MR has not been there for example. In Europe you are spoilt. Rigpa does, I feel, have a role to play in bringing teachers to places they would otherwise not be able to go, and I would like to see a healthy organisation so that can happen. Rather than boycotting, I think it would be better to rock up and ask the teachers a few pertinent questions.

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      1. @Tahlia, I agree that the boycott by the masters would not be the best solution (as indicated in our letter to Khamtrul Rinpoche). But, I am not sure that the teachers would accept to give some public answers to those few pertinent questions.

        BTW, if MR was invited in Australia, he may well come… ; )

        About the boycott by Rigpa students, it seems to me the right solution. If Rigpa management doesn’t reform itself under such a pressure, there is no hope for the students anyway.

        My personal position is similar to Matthieu Ricard’s: in buddhism non-violence is not negotiable. If the inner circle want to follow teachings where violence is used as a way to increase wisdom: OK. But they should not pretend the opposite to the Rigpa students of the inner- and outer- circle. Then, the fully informed students could chose their own path. This is a change of culture for Rigpa organization because it requests an honest and transparent communication about what is really going on.

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      2. @Tahlia, speaking as an outsider I have long been troubled by Dzongsar & Orgyen Tobgyal holding teachings & ceremonies at Rigpa. They are Lamas I had a lot of respect for and their presence, to me, over many years signified approval of Sogyal’s controversial behaviour. Circling the wagons it is.

        While your concern for Rigpa students is understandable, there is some merit to the notion that they can pick up teachings at other centres and if Rigpa is deprived of teachers then the organising clique are more likely to implement serious reform, once they are compelled to focus on how the ‘Rigpa brand’ has been demeaned.

        Like other arms of Tibetan Buddhism, Rigpa seems driven by empire-building and probably need to maintain a mighty cash-flow. The Dharma and the students always lose out when money becomes the main game. Holding events featuring notable teachers shines up Rigpa’s image which may be a little tarnished right now and also helps to sustain a healthy revenue stream. But who stands to benefit from the ka-ching, ka-ching? It’s debatable whether it’s the students who receive the primary advantage.

        If teachers were to largely desert Rigpa that may create a vacuum that would be filled by other groups – perhaps ex-students will find sponsors to help or perhaps other Nyingma centres in France will get ‘first dibs’ for a change.

        You’ve suggested that students could “rock up and ask the teachers a few pertinent questions”. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to do that and as we’ve already seen, when at Rigpa, Lamas are simply not going to do anything other than praise SR and his organisation. It would be simply rude for them to do otherwise. So i do think that idea is unrealistic and wouldn’t produce any genuine breakthroughs.

        I’m not suggesting that the What Now crew should or would tell Lamas outright that they shouldn’t teach there. No doubt any correspondence would be suitably nuanced.

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        1. @matilda7,

          Yes, I agree that other Nyingma centers deserve a chance. If the lamas and teachers stopped supporting Rigpa and went elsewhere, the new centers would become the new centers for the Dharma, (and hopefully they would serve it better than Rigpa did). If Tibetan Buddhism is market-driven, (by whatever money is coming in), then why keep pouring money into a center that didn’t even apologize for the Sogyal debacle? Let Rigpa dry up and let people support other centers. The teachers can go there instead. If Rigpa wants to keep the cash flowing in, then they can reform and catch up to the other centers, (which hopefully would be a better example). If none of the centers can do a better job than Rigpa did, then Dharma meetings should just be held in people’s living rooms and all “Dharma” centers should be closed down, imo.

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          1. Just so people don’t jump on me or ban my comment, I’m not saying all Dharma centers should be closed down at this time. I am saying that IF they can’t do a better job than Rigpa did with Sogyal, they should be closed down.

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  11. Giving teachings in other centres is not the same thing as giving teachings in Rigpa. Because in Rigpa the teachings even of the other teachers were often somehow related to Rigpa. And I guess in other centres it’s simular. In terms of vocabulary, topics, etc. and so being more specific to the needs of the Rigpa sangha. And sometimes they were quite direct and personal.
    P.e. when Jetsun Khandro came to teach last time I attended she was saying things like: “You are holding on to the outer teacher way to long. It’s time now – on the basis of gratitude – to move from the outer teacher to the inner teacher.” I don’t think she would have said that in a public teaching at another centre. It would not have made sense.
    So I see also a chance in that other teachers teach in Rigpa. It depends on how they use this opportunity. They can p.e. teach people to trust themselves, their inner teacher so that they can create space and relax their dependency from S.R. and Rigpa. And so they can skillfully bring a message across without even openly criticize anyone. If the goal is to alleviate suffering and the Lamas have the motivation to support the Rigpa sangha in getting free from their dependency from SR, why not allow for a gradual way to transform? After all it’s not about revenge or destroying Rigpa, but about reducing harm. Would it be more helpful, if Rigpa students were left to just the “teachings” as those of OT and this other Khempo?

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    1. So well said Lola, thank you. It makes me sad when people get so polarized and angry and can’t seem to see that nothing is all good or all bad.

      This is not a commentary on anything anyone else has said, in real dialogue ALL opinions need to be aired without judgement.

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      1. Thank you as well for your understanding and care.
        And yes, it’s not all black or white. The universe is complex. And things do not always work out the way we think. We should leave room for the unknown. Then it is easier to stay open and not get cought up in polarisation, anger or despair.

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    2. My hope is that they will teach something helpful to the present situation. So long as they don’t ignore it, at least. Ignoring the abuse would be an an insult to those harmed and also to our intelligence. I want to see them address the issue and if they do so in the same way as OT, then at least everyone will know where they stand and what the religion according to that lama demands of them. Silence on the matter is what’s lethal. All these teachers need to be clear on whether they thing S’s behaviour was acceptable or not.

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  12. @Tahlia, I just wonder whether the Rigpa environment is the right venue where teachers will feel comfortable addressing the abuse, even obliquely. Of course, if they want to support Sogyal, then as we’ve seen already, there’s no problem.

    Past behaviour being a predictor of future behaviour, I do worry about young women who may be attending any of these prospective teachings. Will a few still be targetted to entertain SR?

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    1. @matilda7,

      I think that if Sogyal is really sick with cancer and undergoing treatment, his sexual, harem days are pretty much over. He would be too sick to be fooling around with women. Also, isn’t he “hiding” right now in the hopes that this scandal will all blow over?

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      1. Well that’s if you believe the spin. Yes, presumably SR has cancer, but as What Now pointed out, it is highly unlikely that it suddenly sprung up after the letter was received, it would have been gestating for quite some time. It doesn’t seem to be clear as to what form his treatment and recuperation are currently taking. So as i said, past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour.

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        1. I would agree that he would probably continue his behavior if he is not too ill now. We don’t really know how ill he is, or even IF he is. But IF he is really as sick as they claim, then he would be too sick to fool around.

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          1. Although he would probably demand that people massage him, nurse him, bring him things, etc. So he won’t stop being dictatorial. In fact, if he is bedridden, he might even get worse in that respect.

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  13. http://www.bodhipath.org/genuine-teacher/ is very helpfull.

    Quote:
    Unfortunately it is impossible to determine if someone is a great meditator, so looking for a meditation teacher is a different thing altogether. You can find information out about the person to see if he or she spent many years in retreat or not, if he or she lives in a way that embodies renunciation. One thing is for sure – if someone is claiming to be a great meditation teacher, or claiming to be enlightened, that person is not at all reliable. Anyone who consistently claims greatness, who tries to control his or her students strongly by claiming that is the nature of samaya, who tries to tell you that if you don’t obey their commands you will go to hell, who is clearly trying to collect money, should not be trusted. To learn dharma perfectly from the right teacher you must drop

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      1. ……….your ordinary concepts and learn to look with new eyes. You cannot search for a meditation teacher the same way you look for something like a good brand of toothpaste. Following the best advertising campaign will not lead to the right teacher. If you judge according to such things as status, wealth, or number of followers you will not find the right meditation teacher.

        end quote.

        Hi Joanne,
        The rest is also important,
        did you have a nice drop?

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  14. There is a great article on Tricycle entitled “How to Heal After Your Teacher Crosses the Line« By Miles Neale, PhD, with recommendations from contemplative psychotherapy for working with transgressions by or painful break with a spiritual teacher: https://tricycle.org/magaz…/after-your-teacher-crosses-line/

    It has restricted access only for subscribers, but a FB poster has posted the entire article– and Tenzin is working on freeing up the article so we can access it through Tricycle. Here is the cut-and-pasted article:

    “Here are some recommendations from contemplative psychotherapy for working with transgressions by or painful break with a spiritual teacher while avoiding overidealization, shame, or blame. Begin by establishing safety and inviting self-compassion; then cultivate discernment and insight; and finally embody realistic compassion for others. Getting the progression right avoids spiritual bypassing.

    1. Don’t abandon yourself.

    The Buddha recommended that we defer to our own experience after a full and critical evaluation of any teacher and teaching. If your intuition tells you something is off, is wrong, or is hurtful, acknowledge and trust that—even (and especially) when no one else will. Be your own advocate. Devotion or allegiance shouldn’t override common sense. The purpose of the student-teacher relationship is to empower the nascent guru within you, and this includes developing your ability to recognize contradictory and uncomfortable feelings. After a violation, it’s important to establish a safe distance, honor your pain with self-compassion, and then honestly and independently assess the factors and consequences with wise discernment. Finally, when you are ready, speak and embody your truth. If you can’t follow this process on your own, find someone who is neutral, impartial, and trustworthy, such as a counselor, who can help you find the requisite safe space to sort it all out.

    2. Recognize that it’s not your fault

    Trauma and breaches of trust blindside us. Our knee-jerk reaction is often to assume the burden of responsibility and blame as we try to gain control over an unexpectedly painful situation by attempting to improve or repair it or to vindicate ourselves. If we did our best to evaluate
    a teacher before committing to the relationship, we are not to blame for having been deceived or taken advantage of. Dependency is not the problem; the problem is human affliction, which is often unconscious and concealed. Self-blame is an internalized second aggressor that can victimize us long after the external damage is done. Self-compassion is like applying first aid to a wound and is the necessary first step to any process of healing.

    3. See through appearances

    Breaches of trust by a teacher can activate, aggravate, and compound similar past traumatic experiences latent in the psyche. It’s our responsibility to work through the tangle of associations, emotions, and memories by separating the residue of the past from our perceptions and experience in the present. Only after the ground of self-compassion has been established can the wisdom born of self-analysis and critical discernment deepen our process of healing. If analysis is applied too soon, we risk remaining intellectual and detached, thus reinforcing dissociation in a classic spiritual bypass. Compassion alone isn’t penetrating enough
    to cut through distortions, but compassion must precede wisdom if that wisdom is to be authentic and embodied. Once we connect with and validate our emotional experience sufficiently to regain a more balanced, open perspective, we are better able to see through our own projections. We can then learn from our part of the interaction while holding others accountable to theirs, and ultimately begin to let go of rigid victim-aggressor identifications that connect us in a prison of our own making. The pain of an emotional break with those we admire and love need not define us if we are prepared to experience that pain fully and let it dissipate naturally. We can also cultivate the deep insight that we will always be more than the rubber stamp of any single event, feeling, or belief.

    4. Invest your trust wisely

    What has been the cost of our determination to never love or trust again following a breach of trust? How have our short-term defense strategies that are designed to keep us safe in the moment actually become long-term automatic mandates that arrest our development and perpetuate worst-case scenarios? How much of our life is compromised because we are unable to heal and trust ourselves and become vulnerable to others once more? If we relied on someone who hurt us and our way of coping is never to let ourselves rely on someone again, we’re left to navigate the vast ocean of life alone—and we won’t make it very far. The answer is not to forgo trust but to learn from our mistakes so that we can trust more wisely.

    5. Find compassion

    When you’ve come to some deeper self-acceptance and insight, genuine—not forced—compassion for the limitations of spiritual teachers who have violated our trust may arise. This doesn’t negate or make excuses for their mistakes—we must hold people accountable both legally and morally for their harmful actions—but once we have established that it wasn’t our fault and take the appropriate steps, we need to go beyond accountability and try to look at the deeper story behind our teacher’s failure. Remember that we are all struggling with delusion and a fiction, and are all equally deserving of understanding; but don’t conflate the weakness of sympathy with the strength of wise compassion. As sad as they may be, breaches of trust with spiritual teachers can provide us with the necessary compost for healing and awakening. They bring with them an opportunity to find a middle way between immature overreliance, depending on others in the guise of devotion, and a reactionary withdrawal in the guise of bulletproof independence. Between these two extremes lies fertile ground for the development of a mature reliance on others and oneself—one based equally on care and discernment, which creates the kind of interdependence that will allow us to effectively navigate life in a highly social world.How to Heal After Your Teacher Crosses the Line
    Here are some recommendations from contemplative psychotherapy for working with transgressions by or painful break with a spiritual teacher.”

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  15. A few days ago, I read the article, and found it so great and helpful that I print it. Now I use it as guidelines for daily reflexion and contemplation.

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  16. This is really a great article, a real blueprint for the healing process to my opinion. Maybe it could receive a prominent place on this blog, so that as many people as possible get access to it.

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