Defamation Case News & Cult Checklist

We have just heard that the Lerab Ling community is going ahead with the lawsuit for defamation of the French Lawyer Jean-Baptiste Cesbron who was assembling testimonies from people harmed by their time in Rigpa for statements he said about Lerab Ling in the local newspaper, the Midi Libre, in December 2017.

According to those bringing the legal action, he made accusations that characterise Rigpa as a cult, namely:

– abuse of power, breach of trust and fraud
– cutting people off from their families
– rendering people incapable of integrating into society
– taking away people’s bearings.

Attestations needed

Both sides are now wanting attestations from people of their experience in Rigpa. Lerab Lings wants information to help prove that the above points are not true and Jean-Baptiste wants information to help prove that they are true.

If you want to support Lerab Ling’s case, you are presumably still a Rigpa student so check your emails for details of where you can send your attestation. They want them by the end of the month.

If you feel you have information on these points that might help the lawyer Jean-Baptiste Cesbron to fight this case from his side, please fill in this form and send by post to the following address: Maitre Jean-Baptiste Cesbron, 849 rue Favre de Saint Castor, 34080 Montpellier, France.  You can also contact him via email jean-baptiste.cesbron@avocat-conseil.fr You also need to attach a copy of your carte d’identity or passport to the form.

Though experiences at Lerab Ling are most relevant, any experiences with Rigpa anywhere will assist the court in getting a clear picture of the organisation.

English Translation of the Form

Name:
First Name:
D.O.B:
Place of Birth:
Profession:
Address/:
Postal code:
Town:

On the section reading : « lien de parenté …avec les parties » :
Family tie, close links with, subordinate relationship (submitted to an authority, dependency on somebody), in collaboration with or community of interests)

Bear in mind that the Attestation will be used in a court of justice, in taking into account the provision of the article 441-7 which carries the following penalties for making false or misleading statements:

“…is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 1 year and a fine of 15000 euros as a result of making a an attestation or a certificate containing inaccurate facts or incorrect information.”
(This phrase must be written out by hand below)

……………………………..
…………………………….
……………………………..
Please give details of events that you have been present for or witnessed personally:
………………
…………….
…………..
…………..
Your signature:

Place:

Date : day month year

Element to add :
– an original or a copy of an official document justifyng of your identity and your signature.

 

Are they or aren’t they?

I think it is terribly sad that it has come to this. To think that former sangha members are now taking sides to defend either their beloved Lerab Ling or the lawyer who spoke publically about what he had discovered from his investigations.

But that is how it is. So be it.

I suspect that those in Rigpa – both management and students – may not have a very good idea of just where they cross the line from genuine Vajrayana community into cult territory.  It’s certainly a question that is long overdue for discussion within Rigpa. Sogyal saying, “We aren’t a cult,” is not sufficient.

There is no precise legal definition of ‘cult’ that I am aware of and so there are bound to be arguments about what the word means, but the more Rigpa tries to argue it should not be considered a cult the more it might persuade people of the opposite.

In 2010 Rigpa was intending to organise a training for instructors to enable them to answer questions from students who might think Rigpa is a cult. One Senior Instructor at the time was asked to contribute some ideas. He looked up various cult checklists and based on those drew up a list of what he thought might be some of the most challenging questions for Rigpa to answer. The questions are below (with the name of the originator of the checklist in brackets).

The instructor didn’t hear if any action was taken on his suggestions, nor did he receive an acknowledgment until he wrote and asked if his contribution had been received.

I’m just posting these for your consideration, not making any judgement either way, but obviously, there are problems if the answer to any of these questions is judged to be ‘yes.’ This is not a complete list, just the ones the instructor felt Rigpa needed to look at.

The Challenging Questions

– Does SR claim divine authority for his deeds and for his orders to followers? (cf Eileen Barker)

– Is there any deception in the recruitment of new members? (cf Shirley Harrison)

– Are members used for fundraising or missionary activities for little or no pay to line the leader’s pockets? (cf Shirley Harrison)

– Does Rigpa have an authority figure that everyone seems to acknowledge as having some special skill or awareness? (cf Steve Eichel)

– Does SR set forth ethical guidelines members must follow but from which he is exempt? (cf James R. Lewis).

– Does SR make public assertions that he knows are false and/or does Rigpa have a policy of routinely deceiving outsiders? (cf James R. Lewis).

– Is there any sexual manipulation of members? (cf Isaac Bonewits)

– Is there a major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals? (cf Steven Hassan)

– Is there any deliberate holding back of information, distorting information to make it more acceptable, or outright lying? (cf Steven Hassan)

– Is there a buddy system to monitor and control, reporting deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership and individual behavior monitored by whole group? (cf Steven Hassan)

So what do you think? Do these apply to Rigpa?


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 who want to move on from the discussion of abuse in Rigpa 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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39 thoughts on “Defamation Case News & Cult Checklist

  1. Sad! I contributed $5K US to building LL plus donation of golden statues in memory of those I loved. I witnessed abuse. Is there any way for me to help further with this lawsuit?

    *Typed on mobile device. I blame all errors on auto-correct*

    >

    Like

  2. @ Pat Reed

    Hi Pat,

    Are you on Facebook ? if so, my wife’s in regular contact with the lawyer, she bilingual, so if you’d like to get in touch with him via her to begin with, you can leave a message on the FB page of Michelle Desmoulins, it’s got a photo of a white wolf-dog.

    Thanks

    Like

  3. This is a very important article from last September that I came across again.

    Rigpa would do well to take heed of this advice from a well respected Tibetan Buddhist who is a Research Scientist, Director of Behavioral Medicine Clinic and Program, Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA Semel Institute, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/tricycle.org/trikedaily/opinion-how-rigpa-can-redeem-itself-in-the-wake-of-sogyal-rinpoches-resignation/amp/

    Like

    1. boddhicitta ?? are you kidding !!?? if you want to find some boddhicitta avoid everyone who even talks about it in great length – other than HHDL, of course ;-). usually the lay people and students who make a fuss about boddhicitta or other great virtues turn out to be the folks who have none at all… and even worse, because they learn how to pretend to have some 😦

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      1. @chrillerloungexxx

        I think you have to discuss with the rigpa fanatics with their own “theory”.
        Along the path something went wrong, clearly.
        I ask for an explanation between theory and practice.
        Why is there no reflection about harm, if people say they are harmed then the fanactics say there is no harm done. why only because the fanatics say so, where is the empathy?
        Where is the ability for self-cleaning. Is it only about money?
        Why are they doing this, and why is SL behaving as he as is?
        I cannot understand it at all!
        Perhaps this is the wrong place for such questions.

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        1. I often wondered about this while I was a student. I think it’s because the foundational teachings are seen as something you have to get through as quickly as possible so that you can get the dzogchen teachings.

          What I never realized as a student, which I find frightening now, is the level of superstition and fear that permeates the true believers. They think it’s OK for a teacher to kill a student for their own good.

          That’s the kind of fanatic that is a danger to themselves and society at large. The rigpa community is bringing judgement on themselves through their behavior. Where is their understanding of basic cause and effect???

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          1. @not so hopefull any more.

            I agree with you on the dzogchen teachings.
            To day I started to read 7 habits of highly effective people, earlier mentioned on this blog.
            While walking with my dog this afternoon I realised that nobody ask the question were dzogchen is good for, is it also a tool? Is it part of a toolkit?
            Mahamudra is quite the same as dzogchen, but there the start is a direct pointing out instruction of the nature of mind.
            In the book 7 habits etc awareness is also explained as being able to be proactive or take responsibility.
            In mahamudra you see this earlier and can than apply this freedom for boddhicitta actions, you have a choise, where as in dzogchen you train first in boddhicitta actions and then find out you have had a choice, but here you are more used to boddhicitta. But if you forgett this training or do it improperly and think after the dzogchen training I dont have to do boddhicitta training anymore, then you are in trouble. You miss then a tool, and can become easily superstitious by relying alone on dzogchen.

            The above video by S R Covey and his book made me realise this.

            Dzogchen stands not alone as a single practice.

            .

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            1. It is the hook for SL’s devotees so it’s actually central to the discussion. They have been brainwashed to think it is the only worthwhile path. They believe that you have to accomplish the preliminaries, like Ngondro before you are a worthy of the DZ teachings. I don’t want to discuss whether this is in accordance with the actual dharma, it is what they believe. I know this for a fact as I helped run one of the teachings service divisions for years.

              It’s a way to make people pay for classes for years on end, always holding the carrot out for everyone but then always finding a reason to not give the full teachings.

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              1. @not so hopeful, yes, the Kagyu and Nyingmapa schools have traditionally stipulated the completion of Ngondro practice before being given yidam practices, mahamudra & dzogchen teachings. Of course you’re given a taste of all this but the logic is that you can only be successful in the higher practices when you’ve purified, cultivated guru devotion etc.

                Some Kagyu teachers were even stricter – apparently Khamtrul R. made some serious students do several Ngondros. Originally i had a Karma Kagyu teacher who made us all complete a great many nyungnyes after the Ngondro.

                I’ve noticed some Nyingma teachers kindof reverse the order these days, mainly due to Westerners need to work which leaves little time in which to practice, by giving students some yidam practices and so on, then insist on Ngondro completion later on.

                While i’m not quite sure how things work in the Sakya & Gelug schools, of course Lama Yeshe & Zopa massively emphasised Lamrim, which is another form of preliminary practice. And they’re also big on Vajrasattva.

                I can’t see anything wrong with this emphasis on the preliminaries. See my above reply to Marek. You only have to observe the many Tibetans prostrating at the Bodhgaya stupa every winter’s morning to realise how integral these simple tasks are to one’s spiritual development.

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              1. @Marek Czepiec,

                You’re not interested in Tibetan Buddhism or Dzogchen, but you have Dudjom Rinpoche as your guru? How does that work?

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                1. I wasn’t clear how one could have a Tibetan lama as a guru and yet not be part of Tibetan Buddhism as a religion. If you mean that you don’t want to be involved with the “sangha” aspect of it, or the politics involved, then I totally understand. No offense to Dudjom Rinpoche. I wasn’t criticizing him, or you. I just wondered.

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            2. @Marek Czepiec, I think you’re wholly mistaken to regard dzogchen as a ‘stand-alone’ practice. My teachers always taught that the practice of dzogchen and mahamudra relies on the foundation of bodhicitta. Through bodhicitta one opens one’s heart and mind so that you’ve already cultivated a more expansive, less ego-driven, mindset which is then more receptive to dzogchen and other teachings on non-duality.

              If Rigpa is promoting dzogchen teachings & practices without emphasising the importance of firstly cultivating a compassionate heart, then that could explain a lot about the culture that allowed abuse to occur. I’m prepared to say that dzogchen without bodhicitta is probably a recipe for nihilistic mindsets that don’t give a damn about people’s welfare.

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            3. @everyone,
              I’ve decided that I will post here once in a while, but I may cut down on how often. Just FYI, I don’t mind having a real conversation with people, and my conversation partner doesn’t have to agree with me on everything, but I won’t get into a long arguments which go around in circles and never end. That is tiring for me, as I’ve said before, so don’t take it personally if I withdraw from a conversation that is turning into a long debate.

              As for the Dzogchen issue, I am not sure what S R Covey knows about Tibetan Buddhism and Dzogchen, nor would I trust him as an authority. Regardless of S R Covey’s opinion on the subject, real lamas tend to say that Dzogchen is generally open only to those who are at least advancing through Ngondro. Some lamas are stricter than others about it, but finishing Ngondro, (or at least being half way through it), is often a requirement among traditional lamas. This is not just Sogyal’s policy. Heck, even the Dalai Lama is strict about it!

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            4. @Marek Czepiec,

              This is what you would call “cultural appropriation.” The Tibetans have a right to complain that their culture and traditions are being appropriated by all kinds of Western New Age groups, and other spiritual groups. Dzogchen seems to be everywhere because it sells. Most of the “stand-alone” Dzogchen is not traditional or authentic Dzogchen. It is the cultural appropriation of Dzogchen.

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              1. @catlover
                At the time buddhism was brought to Tibet and thereafter the Indians could also complain about a diffrences between Indian Vajrayana and Tibeten vajrayana. The way empowerements were given in India and Tibet are according to DKR in is 100000 words letter is different. Secret versus public.
                Perhaps not everthing is rock solid and variation is brought in wisely due to different local/cultural circumstances.
                I don’t know if the Indians made also cultural appropriate complaints in historical times towards the Tibetans.
                Whether Tibetans like it or not ,Buddhism is now brought to democratic countries instead of feudal ones.
                There is so much we don’t know and we as westerners have to rely on the lama’s inegrity, when they visiti the west. Most of don’t speak Tibetan.
                Is vajrayana practice able to trancend cultural differences or is it necessary to practice it in a specific cultural setting without it cannot flourish?
                What is intrinsic and what is cultural in Vajrayana? Was the devotion towards a guru the same in India and Tibet? Or is guru yoga a Tibetan invention serving the feudal system? I don’t know.
                Did ngondro excist in India before Buddhism was introduced in Tibet?
                I think these are important questions to keep in mind. Not that I know the answers, but they might be helpfull for shaping the future of Buddhism in the west.

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                1. @Jan de Vries,

                  I don’t want to get into an argument about what is ‘true” Buddhism. As for Dzogchen, there is no such thing as “stand-alone” Dzogchen, except maybe for Bon Dzogchen, which is different from Buddhist Dzogchen.

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                2. Buddhist Dzogchen is part of the Nyingma tradition, and its considered the highest Tantra in that tradition. You can only get to it by going through Nyingma in the proper steps. Sometimes “special” people are allowed to take shortcuts. Whether those people are truly “special” or not depends on who you ask. It is subjective. I think Sogyal was given so much license because he was believed to be one of those “special” people, who didn’t need so much training, etc. I think a lot of lamas believed Sogyal was one of the “special” ones, who just had “spontaneous wisdom” and they are too embarrassed to admit that now.

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  4. @Marek Czepiec

    Thanks Marek, your contribution is very important because of your personal experience and the period when it happened. There are so many myths about Sogyal, myths that he actually started himself and repeated over and over and then included in the book. Only a few people at the time actually knew about what you explain,he kept it very quiet like many other things.

    It was once explained to me that the significance of his association with Jamyang Khyentse was massively hyped too, he was only 10 years old when he died.

    I was also told that many of the practices we did in Rigpa, especially the Dzogchen protectors, required very long periods of teaching, empowerment and closely supervised retreat before they could be practised. Sogyal had never done these or any other retreats, so he had no authority to even give us the texts that we used to parrot in phonetic Tibetan or do them himself. He just read the pages, rung his bell and tried to look as stern as he could and we all wasted hours of our precious lives mumbling along with him for absolutely nothing.

    I think the difficulty for many people who came much later, was that they arrived in an impressive existing set-up, a situation where his credentials had already been boosted by the visits of so many important and learned lamas……and by association people thought he was one himself. Then there was the book, endorsed by the Dalai Lama, and by the time he’d also inaugurated Lerab Ling the illusion was complete.

    So it’s not hard to understand why so many people got taken in and stayed for quite a long time, despite their misgivings and difficulties. And why so many of them are now having a hard time processing what really happened.

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  5. “Religious interpretations invariably reduce complexity to uniformity while elevating matter-of-factness to holiness.” ― Stephen Batchelor, Buddhism without Beliefs

    Perhaps it feels like we’ve changed, we think there are those who don’t “see” or haven’t been able to “process” what we now so clearly understand.

    Do we think we are the ones who understand the situation and others are still deluded?

    Do we cynically mock those who “don’t get it?”

    Are we as convinced about our position now as much as we were then?

    Do we align with those that get it?

    Do we paint the situation as black and white?

    Do we see the situation in terms of those still in the group and those outside of the group?

    Do we make an extra effort listen and try and understand and include other points of view, other possibilities?

    Are we genuinely curious about other approaches?

    Are we encouraging other conversations by being attentive to differing points of view?

    Have we just replaced one set of (religious) beliefs with another?

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    1. Do we wander aimless in the non-dualism, with no means to distinguish right from wrong, if that distinction is even meaningful? Are we like nihilistic ghosts, who don’t know what to adopt, what to drop, unable to make decisions?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, RH.

        Yes. It seems to me that if we are aimless, have no means to distinguish right from wrong, or think that distinction isn’t meaningful, or we are nihilistic, without knowing what to adopt, what to drop or unable to make decisions, then that seems like a “place” which would be a condition of bewilderment and confusion. I agree that is a destructive place if that’s what you are asking.

        If we are unable to hear each other and listen deeply to one another in good faith how might that play out in our communities and sanghas? What is the attitude underneath thinking “we know”? Aren’t we critiquing those in charge of the Rigpa Organization because they think they know? Might we be able to find a balance between “not distinguishing right from wrong” and “knowing how things are”?

        Do we need to give up our discernment to deeply listen and make sure we hear one another?

        Thanks,

        Rick

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  6. While I think there is value in investigating the essence of Buddhism the fact is you can find an ‘authority’ to back up any position you might take so what’s the point in arguing? It would be so nice if people could say, ‘I learned this’, ‘Oh, that’s so interesting and very different than what I learned’. Where is our open mindedness, equanimity, recognition that it’s all empty (no I’m not a nihilist, for me this means nothing is inherently permanent, it’s always changing).

    I thought that this blog was about ethical conduct and identifying a teacher who may have lost his way? It was started because of the impact of a letter that asked sl to explain how the behavior listed in the letter is in accordance with the dharma. If it is not in accordance with the dharma then the request was to stop and seek advice from HHDL, if it is in accordance with the dharma then please explain how.

    No one, including sl, has denied his behavior, sl has apologized for the letter writers lack of understanding. The LL community, that still includes people that I care about, is crumbling before our eyes. Have they brought it upon themselves, yes, does it make it any less sad, no…

    The answer seems clear, rigpa is following a very superstition laden form of Buddhism that is bordering on cult like fundamentalism. They have made it clear that a teacher can do whatever they want in order to ‘train’ students. The BIG flaw in this is that only a qualified teacher may behave in this way and only with students of the highest caliber. The LL community should be demanding sl’s cv, not blindly defending a very sick man.

    We keep diverging away from the main point and get into squabbles like the one about what dzogchen really is. Or even worse, some are using this as a platform to attack an entire religion.

    I wonder if there is anything we could do to support the LL community to be deprogrammed and find a more healthy form of Buddhism?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @notsohopeful,

      I agree that we should all try to stick more to the subject, (Sogyal and Rigpa), and aspects of what this forum is about. But as Buddhism itself says, all things are interconnected. Sogyal and Rigpa fit into the much larger picture of Tibetan Buddhism, Vajrayana, Dzogchen, other teachers, how the other teachers relate to Sogyal, and how those students react to those teachers who relate to Sogyal, the student-teacher relationship, Buddhist/Vajrayana ethics, how the students relate to each other, and so on, and so on. It is possible that sometimes tangents in conversations will happen because talking about Sogyal leads to other semi-related topics regarding Vajrayana, students and teachers, etc.) and people may get into micro conversations about some point or another. I don’t have a problem with going a bit off-topic sometimes, as long as it doesn’t turn into a big, long debate. Did the last conversation tangent about Dzogchen turn into a debate? I would say it almost did, but not quite. 🙂 Now, let’s not get into a debate about whether it turned into a debate, lol! That would be to much! 😀

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  7. @ notsohopeful

    Thanks for your post.

    >> I wonder if there is anything we could do to support the LL community to be deprogrammed

    I wonder, do we think we are deprogrammed?

    It doesn’t seem to me that flipping a switch from positive to negative is being deprogrammed, rather this seems another form of programming. Questioning our programming meets with a very similar resistance as questioning the other programming. Doesn’t this similarity raise some questions?

    It seems to me if we are serious about understanding “what happened” and “what now” (in order to not repeat the same mistakes) we might want to understand this switch more clearly. Connect before and after, rather than drawing some hard line of those who get it and those who are still programmed. This is exactly what we may have felt like when we were in the Rigpa Organization!

    “I am saying society is based on shared meanings, which constitute the culture. If we don’t share coherent meaning, we do not make much of a society. And at present, the society at large has a very incoherent set of meanings. In fact, this set of ‘shared meanings’ is so incoherent that it is hard to say that they have any real meaning at all. There is a certain amount of significance, but it is very limited. The culture in general is incoherent.”

    “And we will thus bring with us into the group – or microcosm or microculture – a corresponding incoherence. If all the meanings can come in together, however, we may be able to work toward coherence.”

    — David Bohm

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    1. I think that there are degrees of awareness and despite not being very awake/aware myself I can make objective observations about certain behaviors and their consequences. That’s what I was intending to accomplish. It’s not as much about getting it or not, it’s

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    2. I didn’t intend to imply anything about flipping a switch, I wish that it was that simple:)
      I think that there are degrees of awareness that deep reflection and self honesty can help us reach.

      My idea of deprogramming is a long process of unwavering self reflection, not just hopping from one side of an issue to another. I am a very slow learner, it took me more than 4 years to be able to see sl clearly.

      I think that one of the many reasons why some people have a lot of empathy and compassion for sl and the loyal students and others are full of hate and seem to want Tibetan Buddhism to be destroyed is this wanting to skip the hard part. If we don’t go through the process, and can’t look at our own part in it, then it’s very tempting to engage in the blame game. It becomes a way to justify and disown responsibility for our own complicity. EVERYONE who sat in a shrine room or temple and watched sl publicly shame or abuse a student is complicit.

      This deep reflection is much more easily done in a safe non judgemental environment. My observation is that critical polarizing invective makes people feel attacked which makes them defensive, they shut down and solidify instead of opening up and exploring. My experience of real self reflection and honesty is that it can make us feel extremely vulnerable, unsafe and ashamed as all the incidents that we stuffed rise to the surface.

      When I investigated my own involvement with complete honesty I could see my own part in it all, no one did it to me, I was a willing ‘victim’ and I felt a deep sense of shame. I didn’t even realize that a sense of shame was what was blocking me until I watched Brene Browns TED talk The Power of Vulnerability. My healing started on that day, facing a fear that was so threatening I couldn’t even acknowledge it.

      Despite not being very awake/aware myself I think that I can make objective observations about certain behaviors and their consequences. I understand, probably better than most (due to 16 years of magical thinking on my part), the kind of thinking that is happening in the LL community, BUT,when you look at what has transpired you only have to apply a tiny bit of logic to see that the end that they are heading for is not pretty.

      1. There’s a religious group in the mountains in the south of France that only allows outsiders in on certain days

      2. Their spiritual director who is their teacher has been publicly accused of a variety of abuses over the course of many years

      3. 8 students wrote a letter outlining the abuse and it ended up being shared with the public.

      4. The community has responded by issuing statements made by senior lamas from the tradition saying that the accusers are possessed by demons and they are going to hell

      5. These very same lamas have been promoted to the roles of official advisors.

      There’s no conjecture in these 5 facts; the picture they are painting could be very frightening to outsiders. They are bringing this judgement upon themselves, just a little bit of that famous empathy and recognition of interdependence might allow them to be a bit more circumspect.

      It breaks my heart to see them feeling under attack and not being able to see that it is their own actions that are fueling the fire.

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  8. @ notsohopeful

    I’ll try to take you up on your challenge:

    > It would be so nice if people could say, ‘I learned this’

    I learned the importance of understanding the trouble isn’t “out there.”

    > ‘Oh, that’s so interesting and very different than what I learned’.

    I didn’t learn to question, and appreciate this blog and the folks here who are questioning.

    > Where is our open mindedness, equanimity, recognition that it’s all empty (no I’m not a nihilist, for me this means nothing is inherently permanent, it’s always changing).

    Yes, for me this means we can’t bottom out and think “we know”, we have to remain open, perhaps exceedingly so, and let ourselves be changed, let shifts occur, try to listen. For instance, I glossed over your questions in my previous post and had to make an effort to come back and open to them rather than just responding to one aspect of what you’d written.

    Thanks!

    Rick

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      1. @ Jan de Vries
        That’s certainly one perspective, I don’t find it useful to speak in absolutes about abstract concepts. I find the wholesale acceptance of belief systems to be a big part of the problem. I haven’t forgotten what I’ve been told to believe about karma, I simply don’t believe it. I also don’t believe that I’ve broken a sacred vow or that I’m going to hell for finally finding my voice in regards to 16 years of abuse, sometimes physical, always psychological and emotional.

        There is a case in the US news involving a doctor who treated young female athletes. He has been sentenced to 40 to 175 years in jail for molesting 3 girls and possession of child pornography. But that is just the tip of the iceberg, 156 young women spoke at his trial describing the ways he abused them. Girls started to make formal complaints 20 years ago, the police, the National Olympic Committee even the FBI were even involved and there were investigations but nothing stuck. In hindsight an investigative team realized that it was the wholesale acceptance of the authority of the University he worked for and the power structures that recognized his reputation as a world-renowned sports doctor that dismissed these reports for two decades. The prevailing attitude was, ‘you know how young girls are, they have over active imaginations’, Really? over 100 young women had the same over active imagination about the same person, what an amazing coincidence!

        One of the early complaints involved “a freshman softball player at MSU, Tiffany Lopez was referred to Nassar for an injury. As she told NBC News last year, she found intravaginal treatments uncomfortable and mentioned them to a trainer, Lianna Hadden, who expressed shock. Lopez then told another trainer, Destiny Teachnor-Hauk, who allegedly told her: “He’s a world-renowned doctor. He treats elite athletes.”

        “She made me feel like I was crazy,” Lopez said.

        Teachnor Hauk and Hadden, who still work at MSU, did not respond to requests for comment.

        This isn’t just about religion and spiritual beliefs, it’s about power structures and collective disassociation from whatever isn’t convenient to acknowledge. We’re seeing the awareness of the need to hold these power structures accountable in everything from politics, to the movie industry, to religion, universities, the medical field. That’s why I find it so very tiresome to get side tracked into things like ‘you don’t understand what dzogchen really is’, ‘you don’t understand karma’. Personally, I don’t give a FF…

        The questions are much bigger, the problem pervades most of society, we’ve created the mess together.

        Like

        1. “This isn’t just about religion and spiritual beliefs, it’s about power structures and collective disassociation from whatever isn’t convenient to acknowledge. We’re seeing the awareness of the need to hold these power structures accountable in everything from politics, to the movie industry, to religion, universities, the medical field. That’s why I find it so very tiresome to get side tracked into things like ‘you don’t understand what dzogchen really is’, ‘you don’t understand karma’. Personally, I don’t give a FF…

          The questions are much bigger, the problem pervades most of society, we’ve created the mess together.”

          @notsohopefull:
          Sorry, my like button doesnt work. Thank you, really like this.

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        2. @not so hopeful. Yes, women everywhere are naming and shaming prominent sleazebags and abusers. But the women of TB are still relatively quiet. What does this suggest – complicity, tolerance or mainly concerns about samaya?

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          1. @ Matilda
            I think that samaya is a very powerful force. It has taken a number of people I know a LONG time to even admit to themselves that they have doubts about sl. The single most shocking thing for me has been realizing the high level superstitious beliefs that pervades so many rigpa students who are otherwise seemingly logical people. I also think that the pervasive misogyny that is part and parcel of TB are a massive barrier to speaking out. There’s also a very strong repressive community reaction to anyone who speaks out.

            Like the rest of life there’s probably no simple answer.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. @ Jan de Vries

    Hi Jan,

    Thanks for your message.

    Help me out a bit here, I’m not sure where I brought up emptiness? Can you point it out to me?

    Rick

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  10. @ Jan de Vries

    Hi Jan,

    Ah, I see now, that was a quote from “notsohopeful”. My effort was to build off of that statement, not to deny what we know, but to not stop there and freeze everything. To remain open to other points of view, especially when we are with one another. Maybe that connects to your concern about karma, too?

    I watched a sexual harassment video today (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV7a-oetsB0) and it starts with little things.

    It pays attention to nuance, that’s my plea, for us to focus on the details, the small ways we communicate with one another that set the environment (the karma?) for the kind of situation we are in now to occur.

    Thanks,

    Rick

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