Tsoknyi Rinpoche Responds

Email sent

Around a month ago, a group of 20 Rigpa and ex-Rigpa students sent an email to  teachers  listed as teaching in Lerab Ling in the coming year. Included was a copy of the letter by the 8 to make sure that they could read it for themselves, a summary of the issues that had arisen in the sangha as a result of the reveleations, and a request for them to teach on topics that would be helpful to students in processing the allegations. Our concern was that the issue of abuses of power were being swept under the carpet in the interests of business as usual, and that this was detrimental to the students. We felt that visiting teachers were in a good position to help students if they didn’t ignore the ‘elephant in the closet’ and actually addressed the issues that had come up.

The email was sent to Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche,  Dzigar Kontrul, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku, Jetsun Palmo, Kamdrul Rinpoche, Philippe Cornu, Alain Beauregard, Christine Longaker, and Pascale Tanant. We ony received replies from Jetsun Khandro, Dzigar Kontrul, Jetsun Palmo and Tsoknyi Rinpoche.  Jetsun Khandro and Dzigar Kontrul were decent enough to reply, but essentially only said that they were praying for the sangha. Jetsun Palmo was candid in her reply but did not want her comment made public.

It seems that even in Western teachers there is a desire not to become involved in the issue, even when a teacher’s misuse of power reflects badly on Tibetan Buddhism as a whole. All credit to those who have actually spoken up, like Matthieu Ricard and Venerable Thubten Chodron.

The silence from the majority of recipients is telling, especially in contrast to the reply from Tsoknyi Rinpoche, who not only gave a careful reply to our letter but also gave permission for us to publish it.

Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s reply

He said that he had read the letter from the 8 carefully and that:

“I am increasingly more aware of the situation and have informally talked to some students in Europe and the U.S. Also, I have read some of the letters by other Rinpoches and teachers.

“My commitment, to the best of my abilities, is to teach pure dharma, especially when there is a deep need.

“I do agree fully with what Mingyur Rinpoche wrote and the importance of ethics in dharma by teachers and students, including the need for teachers to practice ethical behavior. What he said is very important:

[Quote from Mingyur Rinpoche’s Lions Roar article] . . .  the violation of ethical norms needs to be addressed. If physical or sexual abuse has occurred, or there is financial impropriety or other breaches of ethics, it is in the best interest of the students, the community, and ultimately the teacher, to address the issues. Above all, if someone is being harmed, the safety of the victim comes first. This is not a Buddhist principle. This is a basic human value and should never be violated.

“I do value my long-term friendship with Sogyal Rinpoche and want to acknowledge that he has helped many people with teachings, books and the dharma to flourish in a good way around the world. At the same time and apart from my personal relationships with him as with many Rinpoches and lamas, the ethical core of dharma is what is most essential (again this is expressed really clearly by Mingyur Rinpoche.) ”

In reply to the part of the letter detailing the aftermath of the revelations for the sangha, he said:

 

“I am aware of this, and although I don’t know all the details of the situation personally, I am most concerned about how to help with the suffering and trauma for all the students. When there is conflict everyone feels pain and confusion. I do want to focus, when I have the time to teach, on how to work more and more with skillful ways of healing.  My online course on Fully Being also addresses how to heal in different ways.”

Relieved

We were all very grateful to have this reply from Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and relieved that here was another lama we could trust, someone who is firmly committed to ethical behaviour from teachers.

Healing

Some ex-Rigpa students from the Dharma Companions Facebook group are doing Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s online course Fully Being and are finding it very helpful.

One such student said, “Tsoknyi Rinpoche is very good at helping students to not fall into spiritual bypassing of feelings and issues. He helps you to deal with issues, not just sweep them under the carpet in the name of ‘letting go’.”


Current and previous students of Rigpa wanting private support are welcome to join the What Now? Facebook group. Please contact us via the contact page and ask for an invite.

Ex-Rigpa students and their dharma friends can stay in touch through the Dharma Companions Facebook Group.  

The What Now? Reference Material page has 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’ could ‘Like’ the Dharma Protectors Facebook page. 

Please consider sponsoring our editor for the many hours of work involved in keeping this blog running and the information up to date.

 

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110 thoughts on “Tsoknyi Rinpoche Responds

  1. Rigpa students need help. Someone who is friend with their abuser cannot truly help, and Tsokney Rinpoche is here trying to both eat and keep the cake. He says “I do value my long-term friendship with Sogyal Rinpoche.” On the other hand “I do agree fully with what Mingyur Rinpoche wrote and the importance of ethics in dharma by teachers and students.”

    I would not trust a teacher like this in teaching me essential things about my own mind, no matter how big their organization, how many followers and how good they sound on the surface. Good and bad have to be clearly distinguished and a neutral stand equals to bad.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tsoknyi R responds with pious pontifications which are not appropriate to the Rigpa situation. So. .he’s friends with Sogyal. So effing what? I wonder how many of us here would maintain a friendship with a violent rapist and charlatan cult leader whose sole motivation is to milk his followers for every penny/cent he can scrounge? Sorry but TR’s excuses cut no ice with me. The only way ahead is for ALL
    teachers to boycott Rigpa. Then we might see some authentic level of change. The highly dubious manipulators at Lewis Silkin are surely briefed by their paymasters at Rigpa to conduct a damage limitation exercise

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lewis Silkin highly dubious? They handled the Kevin Spacey case with complete confidence for the abused. There is significant suffering, but running around issuing libelous claims is not helping anyone and only serves you to sell your stories. Business as usual. Please don’t try to help if your aim is to hurt.

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  3. maybe SR is an alcoholic & cannot help himself . maybe he did not meet the right people at first in the west . but this is typical classical behavior of a male group leader . & some places expect demand the guru to have sex – maybe someone else started this . the real problem is harming or stopping some from their meditation & having favouritism .

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  4. This is depressing.

    I understand why people desperately need to cling to the idea that they still need a Tibetan lama to tell them what to do, what to think and how to live their lives, even how to be….but it’s not going to help.

    Tsoknyi Rinpoche shamelessly manages to plug his online course in ‘Fully Being’ (presumably for those who haven’t figured out how to ‘be’ by now)…..” My online course on Fully Being also addresses how to heal in different ways.”……not trying to profit from the situation there at all is he ?

    Yet another privileged arrogant man, conditioned, revered and cared for from cradle to grave who lives in a bubble, telling the rest of us how to …….’Be’…… Doesn’t this ring any alarm bells ?

    You can keep trying to find the acceptable face of Tibetan Buddhism, and react with fawning credulity when yet another lama throws you a few crumbs and makes a bland statement about ethics and healing: ‘Very grateful’…. ‘another lama we could trust’…… ‘firmly committed to ethical behaviour’……etc.,

    How do you know ? Why should you take it on trust ? Is it because you’re still operating under the very same naïve mind-set that kept you in Rigpa for so long ?

    Because to do this after everything that’s happened, you still need to suspend your critical judgement, and ignore the fact that Tibetan Buddhism is a male elitist hierarchy that has un-reformable structural problems, considerable ignorance of the modern world, and is based on superstition and unprovable theories from the middle ages.

    Where in all the considerable scripture of Tibetan Buddhism is there even a single reference to the subject of power imbalance and abuse ? Even Mingyur Rinpoche, that other ‘lama we can trust’ still believes ‘Crazy Wisdom’ exists and is acceptable if there is “a very mature spiritual relationship between the student and teacher.” Basically, abuse is ok, but only when I tell you it isn’t abuse…..

    He doesn’t explain exactly how a ‘mature spiritual relationship’ can co-exist with such a huge imbalance of power. Tibetan Lamas are trained and educated in this very imbalance of power from childhood, they owe everything they have to it and without it Tibetan Buddhism cannot exist.

    You also need to forget that it’s a product that you have to pay for, often in much more than just money, you also need to forget that a lama is selling you that product, you’re a customer and he needs you and many others like you to pay his bills.

    Of course he’s going to tell you what he thinks you want to hear, while remaining carefully silent about the real issues and not criticising Sogyal; keeping all his options open just in case. The stupid ones call you a samaya-breaker, the less stupid don’t, but you have no idea at all what they really think. It’s business after all, or as some people prefer to call it: “ religion.”

    All this talk of ‘healing’ is becoming very trite, it’s a long, unpredictable and subtle process that mostly occurs naturally over the course of an entire lifetime, if it happens at all, because in many cases victims learn to live with their suffering quite effectively, but that doesn’t mean the memories have gone or the trauma will never flare up again.

    In the present context it seems to be a codified way for people who are mostly witnesses rather than victims, saying: “The abuse makes me uncomfortable but I want to stay a Tibetan Buddhist at all costs, so I’m going to ignore the deep structural faults and hope that the same system that made the abuse possible can be used to resolve the harm it caused in the first place, so we can all get back to how it was before. “

    In respect of the considerable number of people who have been seriously harmed, this attitude is selfish, indulgent and dishonest.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are many ways to develop spiritually, Tibetan Buddhism and Buddha’s teachings in general are one alternative. Buddhism contains an incredible amount of goodness and wisdom and best lamas offer their realization without charge. They even refuse offerings. Let’s not forget that while being very clear what now needs to be abandoned.

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    1. You cannot expect people to set up websites and run their business without income. Why do people think that one should not pay for services rendered just because it is dharma? These teachers are professional dharma teachers. Like doctors they have trained for years. The issue is not them receiving money for their teaching, it’s what they do with it, whether they live like kings while expecting their followers to live like slaves, or whether they simply live a modest life. Everyone needs to pay their bills, but we don’t have to have dinners out that cost $100 for one.

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  6. I think, what Tsoknyi Rinpoche wrote is appropriate and very much in alignement with the first statements of the Dalai Lama (“S.R., my very good friend – but he disgraced”) as well as in the spirit of the letter of the 8 couragous disciples. https://www.lionsroar.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Letter-to-Sogyal-Lakar-14-06-2017-.pdf
    And beside this he makes it very clear, that apart from his personal relationship to S.R. as to other lamas “the ethical core of dharma is what is most essential”. So he sets the priority.
    To me he is trustworthy, and I share his point of view. It’s not all black or white. It’s about taking a stand against wrong actions, not about demonising a person.

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    1. I still don’t think anyone who claims to be helping the victims can simultaneously be friends with the abuser. There is a problem with the loyalty some Tibetan Buddhist lamas feel towards each other no matter what. Not befriending anymore does not mean demonizing Sogyal Lakar, The best way to help him is to be very clear about what is pure and what is impure.

      It seems to me Mingyur Rinpoche’s guru Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa recently addressed this topic remotely by saying that if we are not honest and sincere, everything is very dangerous: the more we trust and accept, the more detrimental things become. It is crucial to find a way through which the genuineness, pureness and sincerity will prevail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYIvVRiroQ4&feature=share

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @anisherab
        As far as I understood the letter of T.R. he
        1. wrote: “I am increasingly more aware of the situation…” That to me implies that he was not so much aware of it before. As many others (me included) as well. That’s how we are. It’s like with animal industry. Everybody knows about the tremendous suffering of the animals there, but only a very small percentage of the population really realizes on a gut level, what this means and takes a stand (as does Matthieu Richard) to at least stop supporting these atrocities financially by buying meat and diary.
        2. When he writes, “I do value my long-term friendship with Sogyal Rinpoche and want to acknowledge that he has helped many people with teachings, books and the dharma to flourish in a good way around the world.”, that to me does not automatically imply that he still entertains a friendship in the way he did before. It is not clear. It can also mean, that he refers to the past. Because in the next sentence he only speaks about his “relationship” to him. That is a bit simular to the statements of the Dalai Lama: In his first video on this topic he said “S.R., my very good friend” and in the second video he only said “I know him”. (I thought, that was interesting.) But this is just my interpretation and understanding. I may be wrong.
        3. Real friendship (as an attitude) means to want to really benefit the other being, is also different from co-dependency and can also imply to be “very clear about what is pure and what is unpure” as you said. And in this letter he made a start in this respect. The future will show.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. There are some well respected and popular lamas who have not reacted over the years to public accusations concerning Rigpa but continued co-operation and still try to do just that. Not being aware sounds not credible.

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      2. Spiritual friends help each other, that is also a possibility. Remind the boddhicitta vow which lama’s also make.
        With respect to this it would perhaps wise for Rigpa to open a site were everybody stayers, leavers etc could donate their practices, mantra’s , the ones the donater likes to give.
        This as a start to purify and heal and to open up the situation tomgetbat the point that wrong things can be abadoned

        Liked by 1 person

  7. @ anisherab

    You’re absolutely right, it’s morally inconsistent to maintain friendship with an abuser. ( Mary put it very clearly above.) But not if you’re a Tibetan lama evidently……

    Surely it’s obvious by now that whatever else it may claim to be, Tibetan Buddhism is primarily a business and a very lucrative one, and the reason Tibetan lamas try and maintain relationships at all costs is simply because their network is much more important to them than the well-being of their and other lama’s students, and when I say “students” I mean customers.

    If this seems harsh, then why, when Sogyal’s abuse has been common knowledge for decades, did not a single lama speak out ?

    It’s simple maths: there’s an endless supply of students but not many lamas who are as useful to them as Sogyal.

    Sogyal has invited Tsoknyi Rinpoche to Lerab Ling and other Rigpa centres 22 times since the first abuse scandal broke. How many other lamas have been through Rigpa centres worldwide in that period and how much cash does that represent in ‘offerings’ ? ( Or as they’re known in other contexts: “Envelopes stuffed with tax-free cash for money laundering purposes.”) A very large amount indeed.

    You’d have to be very naive indeed to deny the connection between that and their silence.

    All this talk of “ethics” and “taking a stand against wrongdoing” might have meant something 20 odd years ago, but now it’s just belated, insincere posturing, nothing other than damage limitation by lamas salivating over the prospect of how many of Sogyal’s dissaffected students they’re going to scoop up in the aftermath.

    Since “genuineness, pureness and sincerity” certainly haven’t prevailed in the last decades, what hope is there that they will now ?

    Confusing business and spirituality is very risky for westerners.

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    1. When my main teacher late Akong Rinpoche spoke about the problem concerning Sogyal Lakar decades ago, he was accused of jealousy. I was told this would be solved in the future and the time has come. Western people had to see for themselves it wasn’t working.

      It remains to be seen if people can preserve what is valuable, or if everything will be thrown away. I appreciate Pete Cowell’s clear stand but do have hope, as teachers like Akong Rinpoche have existed.

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        1. This is what Ken Holmes, the master of studies in Kagyu Samye Ling wrote in facebook when this discussion started;

          “No doubt already, or in days to come, you have or will come across the breaking story of Sogyal Lakar’s students denouncing his behaviour. I think there will be enough posts to save me elaborating the details on my own timeline and re-publishing the letters and replies. It comes soon after the revelations about Lama Norlha, in the USA, of a different order but still serious.
          My contribution, or advice, is to watch one’s own mind and comments during this time, if you aspire to the bodhisattva path. The advice is clear: not to rejoice in someone else’s fall or retribution and to have as much compassion for the victimiser as for the victims. Also not to spread gossip for gossip’s sake.
          Exactly 40 years ago, the XVIth Gyalwang Karmapa predicted this. It is why Akong Rinpoche, to whom the 16th had spoken directly about Sogyal and one or two other lamas, would never have connections with Sogyal or let Samye Ling make connections. People thought this extreme at the time and said it was personal jealousy.
          I think the letter expressing the Rigpa student’s grievances was very well written, without anger, very matter of fact and sharing their own, deep hurt. His response was, to my mind, totally inadequate.
          My own very sincere sympathy goes to all the thousands of ordinary people in the Rigpa organisation who were simply dharma brothers and sisters, seeking what seemed to be a valid path. Dharma organisations should be a part of Refuge, giving security and support and protection. It will be a tough time for many and a time for our compassion and prayers and oustretched hands of friendship.”

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          1. I went to Ken Holmes Facebook page and found a whole discussion there. Here are a few points I found. I have taken other people’s names off.

            Question What did the 16th say?

            Ken Holmes That his conduct would cause a lot of damage to dharma in the time to come … that bit is for sure (London, 1977) …. whether he actually told Akong Rinpoche that it xas good to avoid association with him or whether that was implicit, I don’t know.

            Question I would question why more wasn’t done about Sogyal then? Why is the only advice to ‘avoid’ him? Given to people who have good teachers already and have no need to look elsewhere? What about all the people who got ‘stuck’ with Sogyal? What view of this please Ken Holmes? Thanks. (I’ve been trying to get people to look at Sogyal properly for a good while…And the defensiveness around Nyingma and Rigpa people has been tremendous). Why not warn better? Or try to stop him? Confused.

            Ken Holmes But what to do? Before things happen, it is only a prediction and a prediction about another lineage, to boot. Then there’s hearsay. Again, what to do. Even in this thread I see allegations about Samye Ling that I know are copy and paste slanders, untrue and unverified, or lumping things together (like Shamarpa’s offshore money being Kagyu money). I have seen how quickly unverified gossip spreads. The only hope is for people in the organisation concerned, and of course the victims, to act. No one had (or has, as far as I know) any authority over Sogyal.
            This was our quandary in SL. A wish to protect people but the only thing possible (legally or ethically) was to warn people one on one.

            Comment Thanks for the support, Ken. It was not at all an easy step to take.

            Ken Holmes I am very moved by the courage it took, on so many levels. One cannot re-write the past but one can make the future safer and better. Thank you to all of you.

            Ken Holmes Even in those early days (I remember him then too), he was hypnotised by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s example and was wanting to imitate his outer lifestyle, for the girls, even though his “inner” state was not anything like the same. I was shocked by him. I don’t think this started with disciples idolizing him: started with him.

            You can see the whole discussion and Ken Holmes subsequent comments here.

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  8. I think Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s letter is very affirming for people who want to see change. It’s a support that I appreciate. Thanks for posting it. Without this blog, I wouldnt have any idea of what’s being communicated, other than what Rigpa sends out.
    Again, thank you.

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  9. Sooner or later, perhaps we will see the necessity for dialogue. As long as we cancel one another out, it seems we will be subject to authority of all kinds and we will set one another up for being vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

    “The collective dimension of the human being, where we have a considerable number of people, has a
    qualitatively new feature: it has great power – potentially, or even actually. And in dialogue we discuss how to bring that to some sort of coherence and order. The question is really: do you see the necessity of this process? That’s the key question. If you see that it is absolutely necessary, then you have to do something” D.B.

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  10. I am reading an excellent piece of historical fiction about the relationship between Tolstoy and Gandhi, and it reminded me how in the path of non-violence you must separate evil deeds from the evil doer, which is precisely what Tsoknyi Rinpoche and the Dalai Lama have done. How many of us have enough love in our hearts to do that, especially when someone close to us does something terribly wrong? I have never heard the Dalai Lama once condemn even the Chinese. That takes guts and of course is completely in line with the Buddha’s teachings — as those of Jesus, Gandhi and MLKing.
    Self-righteousness is ever so much easier and helps us stay up there on our high horse.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My first gut reaction reading the reply of Tsoknyi Rinpoche was that he’s trying to be very careful, undoubtedly has a long history of walking away from every Rigpa event with loads of cash so has a personal stake in it, and wants to promote himself and his own business/ online course. Another lama had told me Tsoknyi was advising him as long as the term ‘dzogchen’ is used in a book title, you will sell a lot of copies. These lamas are playing naive westerners! And now the term ‘healing’ is being used so that turns my stomach. Anytime anyone mentions healing with relation to buddhism …this is not in line with what the buddha taught. I am skeptical but also not willing to throw out the dharma and know there are actual lamas that DON’T market the dharma and don’t exploit westerners. Though the feudalistic system is a problem, the dharma itself is not the problem and there do exist authentic masters.

    I personally would never follow any lama who ‘values’ Sogyal Lakar and maintains a friendship while trying to sell ‘healing’ advice to the poor sods who want to pay for such things. Certainly Sogyal paved the way for certain lamas appetites and taught them how to be masters of business among other things. I would dare say the lamas who support Sogyal and continue to go to Rigpa have a stake… why not have them come for free? See if they still come? Why not offer their online courses and Rigpa courses for free for the public, not even accepting donations? See what happens.

    I don’t trust their intentions.

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    1. Apologies for spreading gossip and relaying what another lama shared. It was unnecessary. Sometimes I can be unnecessarily harsh on the matter, but I don’t like to see westerners falling prey to the agendas of lamas – especially when they use dharma as a very lucrative livelihood. I hope people become more discriminating after this. I wish you all well and may authentic masters surface who won’t charge you money, who won’t take advantage of you in any way, who truly want to see you progress. They are there.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I can understand that Sogyal Rinpoche became a main target of criticism. But I cannot understand all haterd and harsh words directed at other teachers, since they do not speak or behave as we wish… I think people learned close to nothing from dharma, and hatred is the only guiding principle. And that is rightous according to them? well, then I can not say anything more, but it seems that the fate of buddhism in the hands of haters is pretty much sealed.

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    1. @Motova
      What you say sounds logical, but luckily there seem to be only few or some haters or bullies around, most people on whatnow appear to be reasonable and rational – despite of the most horrible trauma that happened. Remember that after such deeply shattering abuse nobody would be able to react calm and mindful. Then meeting people who articulate very radical points of view might feel like an outlet for unbearable pain and anger. It might take some time before the radical fog settles down then.

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        1. Alright, chrillerX, no problem.
          Moreover it might not only be “radical”, but also “toxic” fog and anyone who stays longer in it or has to deal with it, risks the danger of being affected, impaired or compromised themselves – unless they are very strong-minded and have the ability to purify and keep a clear head.

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      1. Well, you may be right. What I simply do not comprehend is that all accusations concern grown up people. I may understand all aroung scandal if real criminal offences would be commited, like child sex etc. I guess it was not the case, Anyway any adult has chance to settle down the case in the court. Isn’t it?
        And why and for what reason other people attack teachers who did not do any wrong? What is wrong with them that they use abusive words, claim that there is something wong with teachers since they said something? It is real problem and those who do not refrain from abusive attacks are making themselves problem for themselves and for others.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hello Motova
          ,
          sorry for interfering.

          You write:”And why and for what reason other people attack teachers who did not do any wrong? What is wrong with them that they use abusive words, claim that there is something wong with teachers since they said something?”

          Maybe the following content could be one of the many possible options to answer this question:

          https://gendunblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/27/nature-of-the-narc/

          Best wishes!

          …”

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          1. why so complicated, gendun? the world is full of good people, bad people, honest, dishonest, lovers, haters, some are backstabbers, some are evil, some are naive, some don’t understand, some are passive, some are active, some are bystanders and some have the courage to stand up for their belief.

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        2. @ Motova

          What you seem to have overlooked here is that in playing out certain roles, with the intention of clearing out the space of the symbolic dimension, it is in some ways inevitable that the Guru will take on the appearance of an authority figure and that the student will have to revisit their childhood fantasies of seduction. This is why there are very strict rules concerning psychotherapeutic relationships where similar sexual relationships have occurred due to this power dynamic and which have been observed to put a halt to the process.

          Even though there may be a perception of a different goals between psychotherapy and Buddhism, there are similar dynamics at play, and it seems fairly clear to me that this behaviour from the Guru will have a similar effect in halting any progress towards enlightenment.

          While the claim of abuse is a personal matter, in the wider scheme of things it is difficult to avoid Sogyal’s behaviour as failing his students because he has failed to maintain the appropriate professional distance to the symbolic dimension per se, and so any claim of teaching the subject of Dharma is overshadowed by the position taken up here.

          In short, Sogyal has not maintained his role as the Guru, but rather he has broken the boundary by which the role of Guru would actually be effective as a means to the student’s attainment of realisation.

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    2. @Motova, I don’t see hatred here. People are using their powers of critical intelligence to appraise Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s response. Buddhism teaches us not to accept blindly. That’s how we develop Discriminating Wisdom. If this controversy has taught us anything, it is not to be naive about the behaviour of Lamas. Sure, trust and have faith but maintaining critical intelligence will help you to avoid becoming a neurotic basket case, should you be lured into the web of an abusive teacher.

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  13. It’s often a normal reaction when confronted with an understanding of a situation that threatens your own dearly held but fragile beliefs, to use emotive terms to label what makes you uncomfortable as being negative instead of trying to refute the argument logically.

    Call it ‘hatred’, ‘self-righteous,’ ‘ bullying,’ ‘ radical or toxic fog’ ( I really like the idea of radical fog, although I don’t know what it actually means ) or whatever other disparaging label comes to mind…..but emotive name-calling isn’t a substitute for rational argument because there are no counter-arguments presented and this often happens when there are none available.

    Strong revulsion and contempt is a normal, healthy reaction to a serial abuser like Sogyal and all the many people in the massively hypocritical establishment of Tibetan Buddhism that looked the other way and took his money for over two decades while he continued to sexually and physically abuse his victims.

    So if you feel you have to label that in a negative, emotive way as ‘hatred’ then you obviously don’t share the same reaction. Why would that be ?

    There are only a few possibilities that might result in someone not feeling revulsion and contempt in these circumstances: indifference, because they weren’t the ones being abused and so they just don’t care or the sanctimonious posturing of those who believe they are just too spiritually advanced to feel ordinary human emotions. Financial self-interest is another.

    These are precisely some of the attitudes in both students and lamas that allowed Sogyal to do so much damage for such a prolonged period, and pretending this is anything to do with Buddhism itself is dishonest.

    Luckily for all of us, our society and its system of justice doesn’t treat abusers and their victims equally and the downfall of violent abusers like Sogyal is certainly something to rejoice about and retribution is something to hope for, because it means they will have lost their power to cause suffering and is very important for the victims.

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    1. Just commenting your last paragraph: one should be happy that the process has started and the possible retribution will be in the hands of mundane law.

      At the same time it is the wrongdoers who need most compassion, because they have created bad karma for themselves, and not regretting causes that karma to fully ripen. Bodhisattva ideally prays to be able to carry everybody’s suffering and that their enemy would be free from it. Practising forgiveness and patience is said to lead to freedom from suffering ultimately. It is very difficult to practice and in the middle of turmoil it is quite understandable if one does not want to think that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. @ anisherab

    Tibetan Buddhism is a very poor model for society because it lacks so many things that are essential for a decent life, such as an understanding of science, social equality and especially because it has no secular laws nor any mechanism to administer justice. ( Of course if you do believe in karma and rebirth, that might be vaguely similar. )

    I’m no longer a buddhist and I don’t believe in karma because there’s no evidence for it and as the saying goes: “What is asserted without evidence can be ignored without consideration.”

    The other problem is that even if you believe it, the idea of karma certainly doesn’t seem to prevent even buddhist teachers from behaving like everyone else or worse. In any respect if that was the only kind of justice we had then society would be chaotic and very dangerous. No sane person would want to live in that kind of society would they ?

    Basically it was a primitive ancient Hindu concept to justify a cruel caste system and it still functions as a way of manipulating people by making them passive and superstitious. In Sogyal’s case this kind of deluded magical thinking helped him abuse his students.

    It’s also an excellent way of getting people to use their energy and money for the teachers benefit, neglect their own reality and waste their lives mumbling prayers and mantras without any tangible result because they believe they’ll benefit in the next life or the one after that….

    These days nobody would even buy a cheap printer or a toaster without a 2 year guarantee, but weirdly, some people will invest their entire lives on a vague promise where the only guarantee is your belief in something without any proof whatsoever.

    Like a lot of people, I wasted quite a few years of my life doing just that and so I really understand the cost of being naive.

    You can think of yourself as a ‘Buddhist practitioner’ and you might be quite sincere, but in the end you’re just some lama’s meal ticket, benefactor, slave or in the case of Sogyal and a few others, a sex-object to abuse.

    These things aren’t an aberration of Tibetan Buddhism but the way it actually functions. In our society at this time, it’s a business and a cult. Very dangerous and very damaging for a lot of people.

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    1. I respect your opinion and experience. I haven’t gone through what you have gone through. My experience of Buddhism has brought me joy and some tools to use when there are challenges. Karma is hard to understand but inspiring idea. Traleg Rinpoche analyses it in his new book bringing light to its Hindu connections too.

      Like

      1. @ anisherab

        I’m glad that Buddhism has been positive for you, and to be fair, some people keep a certain distance and manage not to encounter problems, but that can become difficult once you start to apply your critical intelligence to it across the board.

        Just one example: you find karma inspiring, but to me the idea that everyone creates the causes for their suffering would logically mean that every victim of every violent act in the entire history of every species of sentient being was merely receiving the results of their past actions…..apart from being absurd and impossible, that’s actually a very offensive form of victim-blaming. But that’s what it’s designed for.

        Is any lama going to say: ” Well the holocaust was terrible but they brought it on themselves.” ?

        That’s the clear implication, but following the Dharma means not thinking too much about the wider significance and inconsistency of ideas that are really very irrational and unpleasant.

        I don’t understand how anyone can keep doing that for their entire life.

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        1. Perhaps we could move philosophical debate to some other forum and involve someone more knowledgeable. Just briefly karma as a theory explains why beings are born in different seemingly unfair circumstances and dispositions. We all have much negative karma, but when it ripens, varies. Never think someone should keep suffering as it’s their karma. If a suffering being gets helped that bad karma is ended. Seeing others suffering is also one’s own karma.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. @ anisherab

            So, are you saying suffering isn’t always the direct result of our actions ? It varies, so sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t…….you’ve kind of lost me there…..

            Like

              1. Ok, thanks,

                I read the blurb for the book: ‘our thoughts and actions determine our future, and therefore we ourselves are largely responsible for the way our lives unfold.’ Well yes, sort of, but only to a very limited degree. Mostly it’s simply untrue and no, they don’t, it’s a narrow view that doesn’t really make sense.

                (Tell that to a child born in Sub-Saharan Africa suffering from Bilharzia for instance…..)

                There’s just so much else: Evolution, genetics, biology, chemistry, neurology, parenting, environment, climate, topography, geology, politics, history, random circumstances, other people, sheer bad luck, natural disasters….the list goes on and on…..we can’t control any of that can we?

                I’m afraid on principle I won’t spend money on any book written by a Tibetan lama, I think rebirth is a fantasy and without that belief the Buddhist concept of karma falls apart.

                I’ve heard quite enough about karma already, but thanks anyway. Good luck if it makes sense to you……

                Like

    2. Thanks, Pete.

      It seems like there are also ways to challenge all kinds of belief (even or especially Buddhist ones) without throwing everything out and toggling to the polar side.

      For examples, see Stephen Batchelor, Toni Packer, David Bohm, Tarthang Tulku (TSK), Stephen Butterfield, etc.

      Like

      1. @ Rick New

        Sorry, I didn’t see your reply until just now.

        Yes, I threw everything out, metaphorically and literally, shortly after I left Rigpa, but I’m not sure what you mean by “toggling to the polar side” anyway it sounds quite good, like Arctic exploration.
        If you mean going over to the dark side of the force, then yes, that too…..at least in the eyes of those who remain faithful to Sogyal, people like me are on the side of evil, like Darth Vader, but with sarcastic humour.

        In reality there’s nothing bleak about the experience at all, in fact the benefit of doing that has been so great that I’m at a loss to describe it adequately, but I’d recommend trying it at least for a while. It’s such a huge relief.

        Thanks for your suggested reading list: I used to live just up the road from the Batchelors, they’re good people with a lot of integrity. Never heard of Toni Parker but I’ll read up on her. David Bohm is out of my intellectual range as a quantum physicist and I started to read TSK while I was still a Buddhist, even then I found it incomprehensible, it read like the convoluted ravings of an acid casualty: the individual sentences might be readable in isolation but by the end of the paragraph it was near gibberish.
        I read ‘the double mirror’ but for me it didn’t reach the obvious conclusion: that Trungpa was a burned-out alcoholic who should have been institutionalized for his own good and others’.

        I’m always interested in what people have to say, out of curiosity, but long past the stage when I look to anyone else as an authority who can give me advice on how to live. Too many vague, one-size-fits-all generalizations, and they lost their appeal long ago.

        Like

          1. Hi Pete,

            By polar side I meant embracing then rejecting,a kind of a flip. This toggle seems to me what Butterfield explored in The Double Mirror, and though he left the dharma, he (as you said) left the question open.

            I know what you mean about feeling better when leaving something behind, but opposing something can also still be a way of maintaining a connection can’t it? I’m following the energy. That said, getting word out about how particular systems of power can be seen to function is important. Did you ever read The Guru Papers https://www.amazon.com/Guru-Papers-Masks-Authoritarian-Power/dp/1883319005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514652590&sr=8-1&keywords=the+guru+papers?

            Thanks for sharing that you lived near the S.B and his wife. I think some of what we are talking about here is also expressed in the exchange between Stephen and Alan Wallace. Looking closer to the source of the issues (perhaps not allowing doubt) and how that can play out down the road.

            It’s Toni Packer (not Parker) she left the Rochester Zen Center instead of taking over from Philip Kapleau and started up Springwater because she felt the forms of hierarchy within the Zen tradition led to the kind of situation we are seeing here. Exactly as you said about authority.

            TSK reads like a very balanced approach for me. No need for authority, just a way of challenging one’s own assumptions without getting stuck in the challenge. A reminder that we live in space and rhythm and our intelligence functions pretty well there. Sort of like reminding a fish they live in water.

            Bohm is out of my range in physics, too (not that I have a range in physics) but his work on dialogue and thought as system is pretty accessible.

            Anyway, I enjoy your posts and perspectives, would like to get a chance to talk with you in person. Just to hear a voice changes the way I read posts from that person.

            Thanks,

            Rick

            Like

            1. Hi Rick,

              You can get in touch via the facebook page: Michelle Desmoulins, it’s got a photo of a white wolf-like dog.

              I’ll check out the dialogue between SB and AW. Thanks.

              Pete

              Like

  15. Just a reminder to please not go into the realm of personal attacks or indulge too much in conjecture here. To suggest that someone does something just for the money is only your assumption. You’re welcome to make it, but it’s best that you acknowledge that it is an assumption and do not state it as fact. No one can know the motivation of another, and, as someone pointed out, the ability to separate a person from their behaviour, to see a perpetrator of harm with the same compassion as one gives to the victim is what Mahayana Buddhism teaches, and so a teacher who can do that is acting in accordance with the teachings. It may not be what you would like to see, especially if you’re wishing for a boycott, but it is walking the middle way, which is the essence of the Buddhist path.

    Like

  16. @ Moonfire

    I do appreciate that the idea of Tibetan Buddhism being a business is upsetting for those who want to cling to the notion of a spiritual purity unsullied by anything as sordid as money or self-interest.

    I cited the enormous sums of money involved and the total absence of censure for Sogyal’s appalling behaviour that went on for decades, these are facts not conjecture and my assumption is based on them, so it’s quite a reasonable one to make.

    ( Interestingly I know some of the actual sums involved, which are impressive, but only of relevance to the Charities Commission.)

    Yes, strictly speaking, no one can know the motivation of another, but to use that as an excuse for refusing to engage your critical intelligence about their motivation because you want to believe it to be positive despite evidence to the contrary, is disingenuous. This itself is conjecture, and it’s driven by wishful thinking.

    The principle that we should extend the same compassion to the perpetrator as the victim is a fantasy, it just isn’t the way human societies function, they never have and never will for the simple reason that it’s morally wrong and if actually put into practice ( rather than just talking about it airily as some buddhists are fond of doing) it would be a great injustice to the victims and a very effective encouragement to the perpetrators to carry on abusing.

    Is this simple but vitally essential concept of justice really so difficult to accept ?

    So, it may well be ‘Mahayana’ and ‘The middle way’ but it’s also a very stupid idea. Although I’m sure for some people it engenders a warm sanctimonious glow, which is so much more important to them than actually doing something practical to bring the perpetrator to justice and get redress for the victims.

    And how convenient that this wonderful ‘compassion’ has enabled the entire establishment of Tibetan Buddhism to spend decades ignoring the criminal activity of a serial abuser who also happens to be a huge source of revenue, while still ‘acting in accordance with the teachings.’

    How difficult is it to understand the real significance of that and how could any reasonable person not be sickened by it ?

    I’ve said previously that Tibetan Buddhism is structurally unreformable, and this kind of intellectual corruption, where individuals have a permanent but unjustifiable conviction of their moral innocence, is one of the main factors that make it unreformable.

    Like

    1. Marshall Rosenberg distinguishes between “protective power” and “punishing power”. While protective power is necessary to protect the society from abuse, the concept of “punishment” and “reward” is one of the most ineffective principles of education. And our society, that is totally build on that principle(of punishment and reward), which is already applied in schools, has brought itself at the edge of self-distruction by now. He has develloped much more effective models of education and dealing with conflicts with remarquable results.
      Unfortunable even some of his followers have not understood the depth of his method and see it only as a technique, what it is definitly not. It’s a complete and radical different approach and way of thinking than the one which is prevalent in our society.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @ Lola

        Thanks, Rosenberg’s ideas are interesting and seem very reasonablet, especially in terms of education, but whether they’re applicable to someone like Sogyal, who is unarguably mentally ill, most likely a sociopath with NPD, is another matter.

        Rosenberg himself said of criminals: “To create short-term safety, we will need to protect ourselves from further threat. This may include actions taken in, what I call, the “protective use of force.” We may need to capture and imprison the perpetrators so that they cannot attack us again. ”

        In this case that would be a good start, it’s what I’m advocating.

        I was also taking issue with the pretentious and unworkable Buddhist idea of viewing the perpetrator and victim equally, which they are not, particularly when the perpetrator is a deranged criminal.

        It all too often seems to be an avoidance and denial strategy for people whose preferred position is indifference masquerading as compassion. I encountered a great deal of this when I was a Buddhist.

        Like

        1. You have to remember too, Pete, that some of the people advocating against criminal action being taken, are doing so because they know the fallout will hit themselves or others who they consider to be less innocent.

          Hence a desire to resolve things without getting the police involved, and pushback against financial investigations, for example.

          You end up with a matrix of complicity. But still, there is disgust and the desire for something to be done. But those who know the most, also want to protect the most.

          Like

          1. You also need to consider that those who don’t advocate for legal action aren’t necessarily against it; they may privately think it is a good idea, but not want to push for it because they don’t want to add to victims’ trauma by making them feel pressured to take action which may lead to more trauma for them. Also, in certain countries there are innocent people involved in the misues of funds, those who did what their master told them to do in the niave belief that whatever he told them to do was right. Perhaps some don’t advocate for legal action because they see these people as victims themselves and don’t want them to pay for the ‘sins’ of the lama, something which could easily happen.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. I have found this blog as well, a time ago. I have mentioned it on one of those blogs that enables to discuss Sogyal misbehaviour.

      I really thought it fits perfectly my experiences with Rigpa.

      Someone replied and gave a name of another buddhist sectarian cult club, which I have forgotten.

      But even in case another “club” was targeted that way, its astonishing how and exactly parallely the inner life of Rigpa was described on this blog.

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    2. @ Marion

      Many thanks for posting that, it’s so accurate that it can only be about Sogyal and Rigpa, at least I hope so and there aren’t more out there as deranged as that.

      It’s obviously gotten much worse than it was when I left in ’94 but the patterns are completely familiar.

      Wow…..heavy but essential reading : the slide into collective insanity. I have a lot of respect for whoever it is that managed to document that kind of experience so thoroughly.

      Like

      1. From the blog:https://insidethecompany.wordpress.com/2013/06/

        The chairman has the “power” to make his followers think negatively about somebody. But he also has the power to make them think positively.

        So one day, somebody can be the biggest loser in the company and everybody hates him.

        But then the Chairman will say one good thing about that person and praise him, and then suddenly everybody loves him again.

        One day, we can be talking about how bad this person is – he is selfish, stubborn and angersome. Everybody also contributes their opinion about this person. Everyone has something to say about how they do not like this person and they all give examples and stories about their experience with this person.

        But after a few days, maybe this person does one thing that makes the chairman happy, then the chairman will change his tune and he will send out lots of messages to everyone saying how happy he is with this one person. Suddenly, the chairman will talk about how hardworking is this person. Chairman will say that he is sincere and very good at his work, and there is this and this and this in the company that would not be possible if he was not here.

        Wow! then everybody also starts saying how great is this person. Everyone will also say something about how they now like this person and they give examples to support what the chairman said that he is hardworking, sincere blah blah blah.

        So one day, you can be everybody’s enemy and everyone thinks you are a useless piece of shit. And the very next day you are the star and the hero of the day and everybody is saying that the chairman loves you so much and you are such an important and valuable part of the company.

        Double standards? Stupidity? Like blind sheep? Or just totally insane?

        Liked by 1 person

  17. @ Everyone

    For everyone who comments here, or reads What Now? and is trying to make sense of what has happened and what we’ve all experienced in our different ways: please click on the link Marion kindly posted above and read as much of the blog as you can stomach.

    It’s very unpleasant even to skim through, but it gives a vivid impression of the madness that Sogyal and Rigpa have descended into. It’s very important.

    This should be shared as much as possible and ideally sent to every lama who has or is considering visiting Rigpa. Difficult to say how much difference it’ll make but at least then no-one can feign ignorance of the real horror.

    I’m not sure why it’s taken so long for this link to appear here, but many thanks again Marion.

    Like

    1. I think it was posted, and some people were not certain if it referred to SR or not.

      But it refers to a Buddhist teacher who behaves very consistently with what we’ve heard about SR, so I think the probability is very high that “the company” is Rigpa.

      And it’s all completely fucking bonkers.

      Like

      1. “It’s all completely fucking bonkers”…..an excellent title for a ground-breaking book on Tibetan Buddhism there: Couldn’t have put it better myself.

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  18. It seems this blog is now being referred to as a cover up organization. It seems we are falling into extremes and further division when we need to come together the most. There aren’t any lamas here, just us.

    ***

    “The latest post from WHAT NOW a blog designed and controlled by the Dalai Lama’s fanatic cult members and fringe fans, has kept the institutionalized and religiously justified misogyny and abuse of Tibetan lamas, once again, from reaching the public’s ears and eyes.” — Christine A. Chandler

    https://extibetanbuddhist.com/mission-accomplished-sexual-assaults-and-violent-rages-of-lama-sogyal-covered-up/

    Like

    1. “The latest post from WHAT NOW a blog designed and controlled by the Dalai Lama’s fanatic cult members and fringe fans, has kept the institutionalized and religiously justified misogyny and abuse of Tibetan lamas, once again, from reaching the public’s ears and eyes.”

      WHAT ?! Who writes or even thinks such absurd, mad, wrong and stupid things ?! It’s like throwing stinking mud around you and hoping that someone will catch it, dear. kind of like a person from booby hatch, i could not take such person seriously, it’s childish provocation. sometimes i enjoy childish provocation, but not with crazy or paranoid roots in your mind. please try something more credible.

      Like

    2. The author of that blog, Christine Chandler, a member of Shambala for about 30 years, suddenly turned up on Dialogue Ireland discussing Sogyal and Rigpa about four or five years back. Truly a crackpot, she had converted all her bitterness into some conspiracy theory concerning the entire Tibetan people!

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    3. Thanks for letting us know about that. I left a comment there: “Good grief. Where do you get your information from? I can assure you that WHAT NOW is NOT a blog “designed and controlled by the Dalai Lama’s fanatic cult members and fringe fans”. It is merely the opinions of a few people who used to be students of Sogyal Lakar and Tibetan Buddhism and aren’t any more, and though it is aimed primarly at Rigpa students and ex-Rigpa students, it is not associated with the Dalai Lama or Rigpa, and certainly not controlled by them.”

      Like

  19. But what if “Inside the Company” doesn’t refer to Rigpa? What if there’s other Buddhist orgs led by pathological narcissists? I think we’ve all heard of one or two organisations that really push the boundaries of acceptability within a Buddhist framework, making excessive demands on students, focusing on maximising revenue opportunities in a shameless manner and so on.

    That possibility seems to me to be an even more disturbing one than if the blog is inspired by Rigpa. Remember, Machiavelli has many adherents. Some people are just naturally Machiavellian, they don’t even need to study the text!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well the two that come to mind are the New Kadampa tradition, founded by Kelsang Gyatso, and OKC.

      Tenpel keeps track of them over here:

      https://buddhism-controversy-blog.com

      Thinking more about the style of writing in that blog, I’m more inclined to think it’s from a particular NKT survivor, but that’s still speculation.

      Like

      1. Yes RH, i was on the same track re NK.

        So far, the Chairman seems to have resisted the allure of girlfriends. Or the writer sees no need to document the sleaze, only the intrigue!

        Like

    2. “What if there’s other Buddhist orgs led by pathological narcissists?” bingo ! especially in the west, and sometimes by “western” teachers (not originating from tibet) who adopted buddhist doctrine their way. it seems to be all about the person(s) mindset that are leading the buddhist org.

      Like

  20. Why is it that when the Dalai Lama says Sogyal is his friend, he gets a free pass? Either it’s right or wrong to befriend Sogyal, so if it’s wrong, then the Dalai Lama is just as wrong as any other lama who still remains Sogyal’s friend. I’m not writing this post to disparage the Dalai Lama as a person, but I am pointing out that he gets preferential treatment, even from people who criticize the same behavior in other lamas. People have been saying Tsoknyi R. is wrong to be Sogyal’s friend, yet when the Dalai Lama says the exact same thing he is just “practicing his bodhisattva vows” and it’s okay. So my point is to ask this question: Is it okay for a lama to remain Sogyal’s “good friend” despite years and years of hearing accounts of abuse that has gone on for generations? No one can tell me that ANY high lama hasn’t heard (and possibly witnesses) Sogyal’s behavior over the many, many years they have been insiders, so saying they didn’t know what was going on in Rigpa is not an excuse that can hold ANY water whatsoever. If it’s not okay to be Sogyal’s friend, then why is it okay for the Dalai Lama to be his friend? If it IS okay, and they are just being bodhisattvas, then why ISN’T it okay for Tsoknyi Rinpoche to be his friend?

    Like

    1. I find it sad to have posted something with a positive note and see so much denigation. So many of you are missing the point here, that this lama has actually stood up for ethical behaviour in lamas and has agreed for it to be published, when he is the only one out of those emailed to do so. Why are you not supporting his stand? And applauding his courage. Some of you are blinded by your desire to bring Rigpa down and your desire for lamas to boycott it in support of your aims and all you are seeing is that he has not done what you wanted. You are focusing on his statement that SR is his friend and ignoring the fact that that his friendship does NOT mean that he supports S’s behaviour, and you are ignoring the fact that he is concerned for ALL students. You are also ignoring the fact that the majority of TIbetan Buddhist teachers (Westerners included) are remaining silent on this issue. Surely this lama needs some support for breaking that silence.

      Also those inside need our help (many of them are victims of abuse and don’t know it), and they need his help to actually face this situation instead of sweeping it under the carpet. This is what we asked for and he is the ONLY one who has given any indication that he intends to do this. We don’t care if Rigpa stays or goes, but we DO care about the students. If you have taken teachings with TsR, you would realise that he is well-placed to actually help students to get in touch with the feelings they have likely suppressed over this. I see this as helpful and as compassionate action towards the students.

      And we don’t find it a problem that one can remain friends with someone while working with them to improve their behaviour. Like a family member with anger issues, you can still love them because they are your family, but you can make it clear that you do not support their behaviour and you can try to get them to anger management classes. Some may not be able to handle their family member at all, and may have to separate themselves from him, which is fine, but why look down on those who honor their connection with the person and try to help him and those he has affected with his behaviour. It is those who remain friends and do not denounce their behaviour that are due your scorn, not those who make their stand for ethical behaviour clear.

      Consider the effect your negative comments may have on a lama thinking of making a similar statement (and we will be asking); if they think that no matter what they say it will be seen as negative, then why should they bother to speak out? If you want them to speak out against unethical behaviour by lamas (as surely we all do) then they need our support, not our derision.

      If at a future date you find comments on this post deleted and the commenting function disabled, the reason is because we want to ENCOURAGE lamas to make a statement for this blog, and, in a letter we plan to send to many of them, this post will be used as an example of what one lama said. I hope you can see how some of the kind of comments we’ve seen here would not encourage any lama to open up. So if you see a future post with comments disabled, it is because the person writing the post needed a lot of encouragement to speak out and we don’t want them to face personal derision for doing so. This may occur on any kind of personal testimony or statement, be they from lamas or students with stories of abuse.

      Remember that “What Now? aims to educate, examine & inform from a balanced and reformist viewpoint, and our intended readership are people with a similar view. Though we are not blind to their shortfalls, we are not anti-Rigpa, anti-Tibetan Buddhism or anti-religion. Please respect this in your comments.”

      Like

      1. “Remember that “What Now? aims to educate, examine & inform from a balanced and reformist viewpoint, and our intended readership are people with a similar view. ”

        I do agree with your statements in general.

        But I disagree with the term “educate” you are using here. After discovering how much you are under the influence of traumatas would I suggest you express your point of view, your experiences, your statements, but stay away from educating others. The same goes to everybody writing on this blog.

        To me is not appropriate. Its a tendency that almost everybody on this blue planet believes he has the right to educate others.

        I considers this quite arrogant, and I know that I suffer as well from my believing I should educate others.

        Like

  21. @ Moonfire,

    Your response was indented and looked to be a direct reply to my comment, (and my comment was a response to all the people up thread who jumped all over Tsoknyi R. for being friends with Sogyal).

    Like

  22. As for what I think of Tsoknyi R’s statement, read what Pete Cowell said. I agree with him, so I don’t need to add any more. He summed it up perfectly, imo.

    Like

  23. Realistically speaking one needs money to live in the West. There’s a huge temple in France and a retreat place in Ireland. Should they all just get demolished because of some people’s extreme views on purity? Also the pure lamas have temples and retreat places for people.

    Like

  24. Moonfire, maybe this blog should drop this particular aim to educate. Do some of your members have any qualification or sufficient level of realization to educate others? If so, it should be mentioned in the about section. “To examine & inform from a balanced and reformist viewpoint” is sufficient.

    Like

    1. @Frenchobserver

      “To examine & inform from a balanced and reformist viewpoint” is sufficient.

      I would endorse that. Although “educating” could also mean “informing”, that would already be included in “examine & inform”, if one would want to avoid misunderstandings.

      Like

  25. @ French Observer

    Does anyone really need qualifications and realization to express an opinion here? I would have thought just some experience was enough.

    Like

    1. Michel DM, I was talking about the aims of the writers of this blog. Of course, to be able to educate others you need a minimum level of qualification and mastery. And it is true for any subject.

      The commenters like ourselves are just commenting…

      Like

  26. My recent comments as Pete have been blocked, presumably because they make the people running the blog uncomfortable, and I’m not interested in the same kind of authoritarianism that made me leave Rigpa.

    I wonder what the real agenda is here and for whose benefit it is. We’re told this is a space for victims, but apparently only if their experience conforms to pre-conceived criteria.

    Thanks to everyone, it’s been fun.

    Like

    1. @ Michel Dm

      “My recent comments….have been blocked…”

      This happened to some other people, too. They wanted to comment, but the comment did not show up. They were later notified, that the comment got stuck in the comment folder of wordpress website. It can happen without any action or intent from the website operators. It happened on my website too.

      It’s not necessary to jump to any conclusions. Keep calm. I think that a lively, intelligent, controversial discussion is useful,

      if everyone is able to make his or her point clear without necessarily attacking or offending the other commentators.

      I would consider that a common basic rule among people who want to discuss and as I see it, moonfire has made their position clear and worth to be respected.

      Like

      1. @ gendunblog

        Ok, many thanks, I didn’t know that, perhaps you’re right and I was jumping to conclusions. I hope so.

        I’ve never had a comment fail to post before so I tried several times over a period of time, then I tried posting the same comment as Michel DM but still no luck, but immediately after a short unrelated test comment as MDM went through, so I think the long comment was identified as linked to my previous ID.

        Odd coincidence coming immediately after Moonfire warning that comments would be blocked that a comment criticising this attitude should fail isn’t it?

        I’ll wait and see if my comment re-appears……..and I’ll try and post under Pete later just out of curiosity.

        Like

              1. @ RH

                It didn’t have any links at all, it was just blocked because it didn’t conform to the narrow agenda here.

                Like

  27. @catlover

    maybe the problem is, that you asking moonfire “why is tsokny friends with SR” which is a question that he cannot answer, as it should be answered by tsokny himself.

    sorry for being so clear about it, but i see no use or sense in it. as well as asking “why did HHDL say this and that and whose friend is he and so forth”. this could only be answered by HHDL.
    in general such conversations could be called “triangulation”, a kind of conversation that leads nowhere. ah, no it does not lead nowhere, but it leads to confusion and turmoil.

    let’s try to see it this way: you don’t want moonfire to have a neutral (or even supporting) position towards tsokny (because you “hate” (not to take literally) SR and want him to have no friends at all.
    now, moonfire has a different position about that and described it very detailed.
    then trying to “prove” that moonfire is wrong – again, leads nowhere.

    you are blaming moonfire for “educating” them, which is something that you don’t want and dislike.

    at the same time telling tsokny and HHDL how they “should” behave and react (against SL) can be viewed as “educating” as well. because you seem to be convinced that them being wrong (and you are right) is the only point of view that’s “correct”. how that? why that?
    and even if it were correct, do you think anyone would want to be “taught” that way ?

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    1. sorry, catlover, this comment was not addressed at you personally, but rather regarding some of the participants here, it’s nothing personal from my part.
      it should be rather

      @all !

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      1. @chrillerxxlounge

        “it should be rather”

        What is the point of that crack? Trying to start something?

        Moonfire “replied” to my comment. Whether it was intentional or not , I don’t know, but it looked to me like it was a direct response. If it wasn’t intentional, then hitting “reply” was an accident. But I can’t know tyhat since I am not psychic.

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      2. @chrillerxxlounge,

        Oh, I see what you said. Sorry, I thought you said the comment should have been directed at me. I see now that you were saying it should have said “@all” and I agree. I apologize for misunderstanding and taking offense.

        It is important that when we post something, we direct our comments either directly at the person we are responding to, and if it is directed at everyone, then we should say @all, or something similar, in order to make it clear who we are addressing. It would save a lot of misunderstandings that way. 🙂

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    2. @chrillerxxlounge,

      First of all, it’s ridiculous to say that if the lamas aren’t friends with Sogyal then they wouldn’t have any friends. So, they don’t have any choice and Sogyal is the only human being left on the planet that they could befriend? Ridiculous!

      In any case, I am not the one who said anything about “educating” so please don’t lecture me about that. Please address your comment on that to the person who said it. Also, I was not addressing my original question regarding friendship with Sogyal to HHDL, Tsoknyi, or even Moonfire. I was addressing the people (up thread) who criticized Tsoknyi for being friends with Sogyal. My question was, why the double standard? If it’s okay (in their book) for HHDL to be friends with Sogyal, then why isn’t it okay for Tsoknyi to be friends with him? Conversely, if it isn’t okay for Tsoknyi to be friends with him, then why is it okay for HHDL to be friends with him?

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      1. Sorry, I misunderstood your comment. I see that you were saying I don’t “want” Sogyal to have any friends. It’s not a question of “wanting” or not “wanting” him to have “friends.” That wasn’t the point of my comment.

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        1. okay, then I obviously did not understand the point of your comment.
          I thought that you had a concept of how and why other people (like moonfire, tsokny or HHDL) should behave and react in an acceptable and correct manner.

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          1. It must be an astrological influence, lol! It seems that people are misunderstanding a lot lately, including myself. I should stay away from here until the planets/stars shift. 😀

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  28. Does anyone like to share if the 8 students are doing alright? Do they get along and are they well under these circumstances and do they get support in their private environments?

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  29. I think that it’s hard for those of us who are not Tibetan to understand the enormity of what it takes for a lama like TR to sanction SL on any level…I think that it was incredibly brave and a very good sign that he’s attempting to live in the 21st century. TR once described what his first glimpse of SL was like, SL ‘invaded’ their village ‘it was like the president of the United States and Superman all wrapped into one had arrived’. He went on to describe SL being followed around by well-dressed westerners as if he were a god, throwing money around. Culturally these are all ‘signs’ of virtue and respect. Sure, it’s backward, sure it’s ignorant, but look how far he has come.

    He completely supports a nunnery and has stated multiple times that his wife is the true dharma practitioner in the family, that her kindness and generosity know no bounds, that he doesn’t deserve her. In other words, he’s not playing like he’s some god or even demigod, he’s admitted to be messed up but trying, he’s also said that he was privileged enough to get a very good dharma education. Why do we need these beings to be perfect to respect what they have learned?

    I have spent time with TR, in his normal living environment and I have never heard him raise his voice or use any form of violence. He’s actually a bit shy, refuses to be catered to in an opulent way and very appreciative of everything. He once was going to stay with sl for a few days in Longmont CO, he refused to let us go pick him up, he hitched a ride to a gas station nearby in old guys pick up truck.

    Please don’t let your judgment spill over onto him based on what sl has done.

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