Many people are noticing that DZK avoids answering some very pertinent and important questions directly in his Rigpa talks, but one student noticed the question he is not asking, and sent me the following to post:
Listening to the way that Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche [DJKR] has been publicly answering the questions he’s been sent, I get the feeling that he has no idea of what lies BEHIND the questions, and that is the bit that interests me.
One would do well to ask WHY are so many people [in this case, longstanding dharma students many of whom have done years of intensive practice, study and/or Rigpa work] asking such questions all of a sudden?
If you traced them back I suspect that you will invariably find that the common root is the confusion that arises when doubt is thrown on the very heart of one’s view and relationship with one’s teacher.
From that confusion come all the questions about vajrayana, questions which in fact have nothing to do with the real issue. Because whichever way we look at it, at the heart of all this sorry situation is a dysfunctional dynamic that centres around Narcissistic Personality Disorder-like behaviours [NPD].
And anything and everything that radiates out from such a heart cannot help but create confusion. The fact that it is disseminated through the medium of dharma teachings might easily mask that underlying confusion but it does not negate it.
Reliable information about genuine NPD is relatively recent and judging from what I see about it on social media it is also quite poorly understood. It is nothing to do with people worrying about how they look, and everything to do with manipulating and controlling the behaviour of others to invest their attention in you, at any cost. Anyone who is aware of having been around that NPD-like dynamic will know just how devastating that can be.
So, I genuinely think DJKR [and not only DJKR] doesn’t yet have the knowledge or capacity to understand people when it comes to group dysfunctionality.
From the way he is responding, it seems he is only looking at the questions themselves, and not asking himself why they are suddenly being raised by people who had no such doubts previously. And he certainly doesn’t look as if he understands that this is not at all just about teacher/student relationships but it is the result of a very real, very deliberate, longstanding, manipulative, controlling, dysfunctional dynamic at inner-organisational level.
I can understand that completely, and really sympathise with him, and with anyone beginning to learn about the effects of being around NPD, because until you begin to question and to see through the lie/s yourself you just don’t, and can’t, consider that as a possibility. Yet it is crucial to address such painful questions in order to move through and forward and then begin to thrive again.
DJKR himself states that he has never received teachings from SR, and therefore can’t have the students’ perspective as he was never exposed to what was going on in teaching situations.
Nor has he really been around SR himself long enough to have seen what was going on at close quarters, or behind closed doors.
It’s even possible that he himself is being manipulated by that same NPD-like dynamic, but is blissfully unaware. That dynamic thrives on appearing as many things to many different people in order to maintain itself as being the centre of attention at all times.
Having been very adeptly manipulated by narcissists myself, I know just how expert and convincing they can be at painting a world they know you want to believe in in order to keep you hooked in to their attention-giving supply. It took decades to unravel what was going on.
I think that one way to educate lamas and teachers, as well as ourselves, about what has happened in Rigpa (and other organisations) would be to invite all of us to study in some depth about the kind of dangerous and damaging situations that can and do occur around people with potential NPD (or any other abusive personality), and to really learn about and understand the kind of manipulative distortions that arise and, in particular, how EASY it is for others to be sucked into it, how dangerous it can become, and how DIFFICULT it is to get out of it.
I do sincerely hope that someone will therefore get to discuss this with DJKR directly, because until he is really aware of the heart of the problem himself I don’t see how he can ever address the problem meaningfully.
Until that happens then a lot of the talk about Vajrayana etc just becomes another distraction away from the main issue, which is:
How to avoid Buddhist teachers, students and organisations developing NPD-like traits and behaviours?
What to look out for?
And what to do about it when it happens?
I would also like to appreciate all the efforts that DJKR and many many other people are making in being willing to be open to, and to discuss, these painful but necessary subjects.
May it be of great benefit to all beings.
Concerned dharma practitioner
In case you haven’t seen the Paris talks yet, here it is:
We’ll post something on the repercussions of his talks after people have had time to digest them.
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.
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