Beliefs We Need to Examine

A major part of healing from the cult experience is deconstructing your experience in the cult to see how you were manipulated and examining the beliefs you subscribed to that kept you under the control of the leader and the group.

Below is a list of some of the beliefs that I and other devoted students of Sogyal Rinpoche subscribed to to some degree. I never examined those beliefs at the time, but now it’s important to do so.

This short vlog tells you why.

So basically, not examing the beliefs you held while in a cult is not good for your psychological health as you move forward with your life. And this is not just me saying it, it’s in the recovering-from-a-cult literature you can find by searching the web.

Here’s a list of beliefs that I and others will be examining in the coming weeks. We’ll also be looking at key teachings and asking whether or not we understood them correctly.

  • A great master acting in an unconventional (abusive) manner that would be unacceptable in normal circumstances can bring enormous spiritual benefit to the student;
  • A true vajrayana master points out your hidden faults and that’s what Sogyal Rinpoche is doing when he gives public dressing downs;
  • Everything a mahasiddha does brings benefit;
  • What appears as abuse is actually highly sort-after training that the students experience as love and find transformative;
  • You need a master in order to recognise the nature of mind;
  • Devotion is the key to ‘getting’ the nature of mind;
  • The degree of your devotion is a mark of your realisation;
  • Sogyal Rinpoche is Guru Rinpoche in the flesh;
  • You must see your master as the Buddha if you want the blessings of the Buddha;
  • Sogyal Rinpoche is a great crazy-wisdom master;
  • Great merit is gained by serving your master with your body, speech and mind;
  • You should never criticise your teacher;
  • To criticise your teacher is a breakage of samaya;
  • Breaking samaya is the worst thing you can do for your spiritual life;
  • If you break samaya you will go to hell;
  • If I see something the master does as wrong, it’s proof that I don’t have pure perception;
  • If I speak up about anything in his behaviour that I feel uncomfortable about, I prove that I lack sufficient devotion and so are unworthy of receiving the highest teachings;
  • Not having ‘risings’ (thoughts and emotions) about what I see is proof that the practice is working.
  • The intention behind an action makes it good or bad.
  • Sogyal is a holder of the prestigious lineage of masters in the Nyingma tradition.

Can you think of any other beliefs held in Rigpa that contributed to a situation where abuse could flourish? If so, let me know and I’ll add them to the list for examination. I think we have some interesting conversations coming up!

Here’s some additions that came to me privately or in the comments below:

  • The teaching ‘Let it go’ concerning your risings. Did this become repression of emotions?
  • Did we misuse the Lojong teachings?
  • If the teacher has been recognized as a tulku, they are, therefore, enlightened, and such a teacher’s behavior can only be beneficial, no matter how it may appear.
  • Sex between teacher and student is part of our lineage. Such sex is good for the lama’s health and for the woman’s spiritual advancement.
  • There is no truth, there is only individual perception.
  • The guru is the “face” of your enlightenment, so that if you doubt the guru, you doubt your own enlightened nature. And the paradigm behind this is: “You cannot trust your own perception, because you are deluded, neurotic, etc. I know better what is right for you than you. I know the way to your happyness, and therefore you must obey and trust me.”
  • Teachings on Karma such as:
    • If you don´t follow the master´s instructions you and your loved ones will suffer physical torture or even die.
    • Everything you perceive materially or in your mind is the result of your karma, the result of ripening karma.
    • When the teacher treats you badly it´s because of your karma.
  • devotion and pure perception mean blind faith
  • you can tolerate and hide breaches of the ethical conduct of a master for the better good of the propagation of the Dharma
  • any contact with the guru is beneficial

Private discussion on this and other related topics can be had on our Secret Facebook Group. Is is only for current and previous students of Rigpa, however, and we do moderate it closely. If you’re interested in joining, please contact us via the contact page and ask for an invite.

Ex-Rigpa students and their Rigpa 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.

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165 thoughts on “Beliefs We Need to Examine

    1. Adamo, thanks for the posting. The article about zen describes a lot of similarities with the believes described by Tahlia.

      The inner circle functioning seems also similar to the one going on in Rigpa:
      “Sasaki’s loyal oshos were a group close to him, more committed than ordinary lay students. They held positions of importance, were dressed in robes, and interpreted and explained Sasaki’s teaching to lay practitioners. In the process, they made clear that if someone had a problem with Sasaki’s behavior, it was a sign of their own lack of understanding Zen. Sasaki’s students remained silent to protect their years of practice, along with their elevated positions in the hierarchy. This attitude is closely connected to the severity of Sasaki’s retreats and practice periods, which also functioned as rites of initiation. Everyone understood that Sasaki could, at his discretion, strip them of their positions and force them to leave.
      The claim that whatever Sasaki (or any other roshi) did was in fact Zen teaching even amounted to declaring that what for the women constituted sexual abuse was really a teaching method.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The bottom line about power imbalance: ““The root of the power disparity between teacher and student lies in the belief that the former is ‘enlightened’ in some sense, while the latter is not.”

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks for the article, Adamo. Replace the word Zen with Tibetan Buddhism and Roshi with Lama and it all fits. I found this quote particularly insightful and relevant for our situation:
      “The women who remained silent for such a long time became accomplices in their own abuse. They
      had bought into Zen’s ideology of the perfected Zen master.”

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  1. Yes. And not to forget: A lot of this Rigpa inner circle people hadnt been made victims.

    I remember a few people who considered those victims that complaint as ignorant sissies, but as soon they become targets disappeared as quick as they could, without saying goodbye.

    As soon they would made victims ( dailybeatings, humilitations, coerced to sex and so on) for a longer time they would have trouble too to understand what it is good for.

    They feel still on the winner side, with those victims unable to accept the victims role as not understanding where their place is.
    Those pressure based systems need always victims.

    And of course, how deep to fall when giving up the privileged place somewhere at the upper
    floor in that hierarchical building.
    And to admit decades of complicity, supposedly decades of avoiding authentic dharmapractice ?

    I would not dare to jump into such cloudy waters.

    Why: It means to give up all those sources of personal identification I want to stick to.

    To give up most of my personal relationships, and even worse hostilities to encounter ? From my companions till yesterday. Oooops.

    To find myself back in ordinary world, make my living with a ordinary job, starting somewhere
    down at McDonalds serving french fries ? No reason to feel superior to others anymore ?

    Would I like to admit to those friends and the familiy of my life before Rigpa that eventually I got lost on the track ?

    No, no, no and again NO. I would not. Thats why I understand that Rigpa is still alive and will not go down completely.

    I have a friend, with whom I discuss such topics sometimes when we meet.
    She has a Osho-past, and is till in Rigpa, not really engaged, but she doesnt want to hear about abuse, cultish tendencies and so on.
    When I “pressurized” her a little bit did she finally say: ” I dont want go again through this whole mess again ( mess= leaving Osho cult) and start again. No, thats to much. I stay wherever I am until I die. I give up. I dont want to hear any trouble anymore. “

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  2. Another is the notion that if the teacher has been recognized as a tulku, they are therefore enlightened, and that “whatever comes from enlightenment leads back to enlightenment.” According to this logic, such a teacher’s behavior can therefore only be beneficial, no matter how it may appear. This provides the perfect smokescreen for abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree with critically investigating the core beliefs of the cult and if proved to be wrong it too black and white or misleading or too fuzzy to lay these down. Otherwise the wrong or distorted or simplistic views continue to live and damage you.

    There are already some after-fallout believes issued by either Sogyal Lakar or Dsongzar Khyentse Rinpoche devotees. I don’t know if they existed before but I find the both alarming and incorrect. Here they are: 1) “Sex between teacher and student is the basis of our lineage,” 2) “there is no truth, there is only individual perception.”

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  4. Sorry for the mobile phone typos. Here again.

    I totally agree with critically investigating the core beliefs held within the cult and if they are proved to be wrong or too black and white or misleading or too fuzzy to lay these misleading or simplistic or less differentiated beliefs down. Otherwise the wrong or distorted or simplistic views continue to live and damage you and others!

    There are already some after-fallout believes issued by either Sogyal Lakar or Dsongzar Khyentse Rinpoche devotees. I don’t know if they existed before but I find them both alarming and incorrect. Here they are:

    1) “Sex between teacher and student is the basis of our lineage,”

    2) “there is no truth, there is only individual perception.”

    Ps: My login was also wrong. It’s me, Tenzin, the ex-NKT cult follower.

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    1. Hi Tenzin, I had a great idea: we really need a 5-10 pages “Vajrayana survival guide for Dummies” addressing the main issues which generate the potential abusive situations and with some stainless indisputable references quotes (like from HH Dalai Lama) and texts. This would be a great way to prevent beginners to fall into the grips of a sect and prevent some disastrous beliefs like you mention to proliferate. I would be also of great help as a reference for the people when they find themselves victims of this imbalance of power.

      Now, who is going to make it? It could be a collective work?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great idea. Collaboration would be the best. Most of the things were addressed already but are scattered all over the internet with bits here and there.

        I addressed some of the things related to Tivetan Buddhism during the annual ICSA conference (International Cultic Sudies Association) which was last year in Bordeaux. They wanted to upload the Buddhism panel. So far they have uploaded the video and just published the article with / by Stuart Lachs: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1l-Z_9Oo9j5hfpUDSscnIEm4szGi1sOQX/view

        You’ll find some similarities with Rigpa modus operandi when you read Stuart‘s paper.

        I hope the video about some of the roots of the problems in Tibetan Buddhism from the ICSA conference is uploaded soon and will be helpful.

        In general, I would recommend any of you (being curious, or with some knowledge or experiences – including those been harmed) to make a connection with ICSA and if you have something to share to speak at their conferences. This year it’s in the USA / Philadelphia, next year again in Europe. Do networking and exchange. Those people will understand and listen to you. The Bordeaux conference was a great event.

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        1. Uups, I see, Adamo posted already Stuart’s paper on Zen… sorry for the double content. I didn’t read the earlier comments.

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    2. Hi Tenzin. Number 2 is one of those unstated beliefs, in that it wasn’t said exactly like that, but it’s what people believe from the emphasis on perception and our responsibility to ‘purify’ it.

      Does number 1 relate to the relationship between Yeshe Tsogyal and Guru Rinpoche? I never thought of sex as the basis of our lineage, but it certainly has a role in it. And the idea of dakinis as good for the teacher’s long life and so on are definitely beliefs we need to examine.

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      1. Both statements were issued during the German Buddhist Union Member congregation at the end of April this year. The background of the persons who gave it are Rigpa and Siddhartas Intent – Nyingma.

        Sadly, there was no time to discuss these statements.

        If you check the effect of these statements, it’s clear what these want to achieve. If you check if they are reasonable it’s clear they are not. However, they are also not totally untrue.

        Welcome back to the realm of fuzziness. Fuzziness is the realm of cults, says Steven Hassan.

        Consider, these are statements which have been made long after the public discussions of abuse within Rigpa / by SR and both were made right after some issues with respect to Rigpa / SL were discussed at the congregation, trying to pinpoint the fact of abuse. So, basically it’s a response to the discussions and the response doesn’t appear to be based on insights into the mechanisms of abuse in Rigpa.

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        1. Ah, an attempt to justify the abuse by saying it’s the basis of the lineage, as if that makes it all okay! I think abuse IS part of the Ngyingna lineage. Chokyi Lodro was certainly into it.

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          1. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is certainly into Nyingma, even though he is considered Gelug. He is actually rime, and also a Nyingma practitioner. So if abuse is part of the Nyingma lineage, how do you explain HHDL’s involvement with it?

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            1. True, HHDL and Mingyur Rinpoche are both also Nyingma practitioners though both stand in either Gelug or Karma Kagyu school as lineage holders and are not “official lineage gurus” of the Nyingma school as far as I know – if being an “official lineage guru” has any meaning at all.

              Ringu Tulku Rinpoche is the EU representative of the 17th Karmapa Orgyen Thrinley Dorje but he stressed once he is far more a Nyingma than a Kagyu. His root gurus are Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche AND the 16th Karmapa.

              However, these three lamas are familiar with the Nyingma lineage in many regards.

              In general, as far as I have witnessed, in the Nyingma lineage, among many lamas (not all) to stress that the guru IS Buddha seems to be taken even more literally or extreme than you can find it among fanatical Shugden people who often have a similar approach to the guru that the guru must be right and must be regarded as unfailing.

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              1. @tenpel,

                The Karma Kagyu path also contains a similar kind of guru devotion as we see in the Nyingma.

                As for who is a lineage holder, when lamas are rime, I think they are the holders of more than one lineage. Contrary to what many people believe, HHDL is not the leader of the Gelug tradition, the Ganden Tripa is. HHDL was the king of Tibet, and Gelug was the dominate lineage of more recent times, but HHDL practices and holds all of the Tibetan lineages. Since he abdicated as king, he is now no longer in that political role. As for being a lineage holder, he holds the Nyimgma lineage as well as the Gelug, especially the special, esoteric, Nyingma/Dzogchen practices of the Fifth Dalai Lama. If you have read what Khadro-la (HHDL’s oracle) says in her 2009 interview in Mandala magazine, one of her dreams is to start a center that is dedicated to the Fifth Dalai Lama’s Nyingma/Dzogchen teachings, and she goes on to say that HHDL, Lama Zopa and Dagri Rinpoche all share a special connection related to this lineage. (She herself is part of that connection.) She didn’t go into a whole lot of detail, but I would have been interested to hear more. I hope she will say more about this in the near future.

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              2. Guru devotion is central to Dzogchen– more so than in any other tradition. Here’s a quote from HH: “As I have said before, in the general context of Vajrayana practice, the connection with the master is of crucial importance. This is especially so in Dzogchen, for devotion in the master plays a vital role if you are to be introduced directly to self-arising rigpa, and then to put that into practice. This is why the text pays homage to the master as embodying all sources of refuge.” (From Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection.)

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          2. Yes it does seem like some lamas freely abuse to assert their power, be it physical, sexual, psychological, financial. Some are very high level masters, others are just like car salesmen. Regardless of realization it needs to stop; I just wish all of the lamas would come forward with compassion and clarity to stop this rather than weakly pussy footing around the matter like DKR or outright supporting abusers like OT and KN. But in no way is it in line with the Nyingma tradition. This is just a universal problem across all religions when those in power abuse their power.

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            1. That should read ‘outright supporting abusers such as when OT and KN defended SL.’ That said OT has a history of abusing his monks, so I’m not surprised he doesn’t see a problem with berating others and/or harming them. There seems to be a certain culture of acceptance of these methods with some of these lamas! But it is not in the Nyingma tradition.

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  5. I just remembered another one: that the guru is the “face” of your enlightenment, so that if you doubt the guru, you doubt your own enlightened nature. In an authentic teaching situation, with a qualified teacher and qualified students, this can be a helpful instruction. But as a method of crowd control, as in groups like Rigpa, it’s spiritual and psychological poison.

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    1. At been there
      That’s it! And the paradigm behind this is: “You cannot trust your own perception, because you are deluded, neurotic, etc.” I know better what is right for you than you.” I know the way to your happyness, and therefore you must obey and trust me.”
      I personally want to give nobody that authority over me, although it still happens, when I am not aware.
      That does not exclude being open and listen what others have to say.
      Btw. in Vajrayana as far as I remember one priciple is to never consider the deity as superior to yourself.

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  6. What makes the situation so difficult in my mind is that too many of the things in Tahlia’s list are aspects of the Buddhist path that can be positive in the right situation. I think Tahlia eludes to that when she talks about how SL’s teachings are such a deep part of her psyche and that much of those are positive parts. I also still encounter quotes and perspectives from SL in my own psyche– even after twenty-eight years and even though I only was a Rigpa student for two years!

    The fact is that entering the Buddhist path is all about changing our perspectives in dramatic and profound ways. So there is this risk inherent from the start. At some point, the teacher is going to have to be trusted with the students wellbeing. Devotion is very powerful– this power is beautiful and positively transformative in the right situation, with a morally grounded, compassionate teacher. That same devotion can become a horrible disaster, leading to trauma on the student’s side and ethical violations on the teacher’s side.

    In exactly the same ways, samaya is a very profound– but dangerous– practice. Instructions on pure perception and not criticizing are positively helpful with an ethically grounded teacher– but with an unethical teacher, such instructions can become a tortuous prison. Viewing the teacher as the Buddha is a very powerful practice– but it too can lead to disastrous results in the wrong hands.

    Many of the beliefs on Tahlia’s list can be viewed in this way– so if new students are provided with a “warning list”, it could be a difficult list to create, unless a paragraph of explanation is provided with each point.

    Also, I’m not sure one could find a Tibetan Buddhist Dharma center anywhere that doesn’t have a powerful “inner circle.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also, I think that one of the reasons that so many teachers are holding on for dear life in defense of SL and the status quo is because they perceive that what they value as precious is being threatened. The way forward, without discarding precious practices, does not look so easy.

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      1. That’s right @Joanne, the beliefs are not necessarily wrong in terms of the full vajrayana picture when undertaken with a truly qualified and ethical lama, and this process of examination is not just to determine right or wrong, but to examine in what way and in what situation such beliefs can be benefical and how they became unhealthy in the Rigpa experience.

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    2. Well here is a belief that could be examined: because of devotion, students can let ethical violations on the teacher’s side happening. Personally I don’t agree, I have still not understood how you can shut off your discerning wisdom. I think there is a confusion between devotion/pure perception vs. blind faith. So the belief to examine would be devotion and pure perception mean blind faith.

      Another notion widespread is that you can tolerate and hide breaches of the ethical conduct of a master for the better good of the propagation of the Dharma (heard from a Rigpa member). For instance, Sogyal Rinpoche was such a good propagator of the Dharma that you could accept that in some minor ways he was using the dharma for his own interest and have some benefits and perks. I don’t agree because there is a difference between pure and impure Dharma.

      Another belief: you can explain any conduct of a master by the crazy wisdom argument even if he has shown no sign of realization proving that he is a mahasiddha (heard from a Rigpa member).

      Let’s not forget the best one from DJKR: offering sex to the guru brings benefits to the student and is a dharmic practice.

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      1. The reasons DKR gives that offering sex to the guru is appropriate is striking. He says because the tantric texts don’t say you can’t do that. Well, the tantric texts don’t say you can‘t offer the guru a pig for having sex either. Does it make it appropriate to offer a pig for having sex with it to the guru?

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        1. Ahah tenpel, I agree that this argument to say that you can do something because the tantric texts don’t say otherwise is really pretty ridiculous especially in a book!
          Still some women think that having sex with the guru is part of the Dharma and the fast way to get enlightened…

          Anyway, I find Tahlia approach so beneficial because this topic of how to relate with the guru is always a little bit taboo. I would be curious also to examine the belief that any contact with the guru is beneficial. As you said below, the proper conduct of the student is also crucial in this interaction.

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  7. Basically, the problem is not the dharma or the teachings on pure perception or training to see your Vajrayana teacher (after careful yearlong examination) as a Budfha. The problems are selfish motivations of the guru who abused the dharma for the gratification of his own desires, who uses it, to manipulate the students‘ hopes and fears, who abuses it to manipulate the students into blind foolish self-manipulative followers… AND students who allow him or her to do that. Also a lack of external authorities who correct such a teacher contributes to wrong developments. Moreover, quite a lack on the side of the students to have fully understood the teachings on faith, devotion, Vajrayana teacher-student reliance, who lack critical awareness of cross cultural confusion issues plays also into it.

    It’s a complex process with many bits and parts. Some are minor some more relevant.

    At the end, I think, it boils down to the integrity and knowledge of the teacher and the integrity and knowledge of the student. If both, teacher and students have integrity, knowledge, a good motivation and rely on honest self-introspection, there can’t be a real problem in the long run. But, if these partially or in full are missed on one or both sides big problems will arise sooner or later, I assume.

    I think we expect too much from the teachers. Let’s improve our side (which we do by critically examining concepts we’ve learned in the cult). According to Aryadeva, a student of the Mahayana must have three qualities otherwise he or she is not a proper vessel for receiving Mahayana teachings.

    The three are 1) not taking sides or not being partisan – if a student is partisan he will see faults where there are qualities or qualities where there are faults. This partisanship will misguide him or her 2) having intelligence to discriminate good from bad or correct from wrong explanations of the dharma – otherwise he or she will be misguided by wrong dharma teachings or don’t understand what are correct teachings 3) diligence towards the aim (buddhahood) – the latter will be the inner compass if your practice doesn’t work, your afflictions increase your compassion is partisan or reducing, the good motivation will alarm you.

    I think sometimes we get lost too much in the teacher‘s actions. It might be good to better understand what we’re our parts in the game. For sure, misconceptions or distorted / simplistic views we (might) have absorbed by manipulative teachers form an important part in that. To question those is much needed but it also needs expertise and a lot of time.

    Good experiences with or teachings by genuine teachers such as Mingyur Rinpoche or HH the Dalai Lama might also help.

    Sorry, a bit rambling…

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    1. I alway thought that there is still an elephant in the room with this training to see your Vajrayana teacher as a Buddha. Because in 99,999999999% of the cases, he is obviously not a Buddha!

      I think the correct practice is to see your Vajrayana teacher AS IF HE WAS a Buddha in order to get in contact with his Buddha nature. This is not about wishful thinking. When some fellows tell me that they are convinced that their guru is a Buddha, from my perspective they went astray with their practice. There is a infinite gap between having some realizations and being a Buddha.

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      1. The problem is indeed that this training is not to be taken literally but its a training.But in Rigpa or the NKT such training seems to be taken very literally. The Guru IS a Buddha, literally. SL is told to be Padmasambhabva in the literal sense or in person within Rigpa as far as I know, and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is told in NKT to be Tsongkhapa in person (once he was even referred to as the Third Buddha, and GKG didn’t have any problems with this attribution.)

        Here is a quote by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche:

        However, faith in one’s guru does not mean blind faith. It does not mean believing “My guru is perfect,” even though your guru is not perfect. It is not pretending that your guru’s defects are qualities. It is not rationalizing every foible of the guru into a superhuman virtue. After all, most gurus will have defects. You need to recognize them for what they are.

        THE ACTUAL GURU – STUDENT RELATIONSHIP

        Guru Yoga should be viewed as different from the actual guru/student relationship. We practice Guru Yoga as an ideal because it is a practice, an exercise.

        The guru/student relationship is something else.
        I don`t mean that you should not have faith in your guru. It is good to have faith in our guru, BUT with an open mind and open eyes!

        We cannot completely, blindly trust any person from whom we receive teachings. It is unnecessary and it is not good for the guru or for the student. Therefore, in the actual guru/student relationship, it is very important to gradually develop confidence and trust.

        Of course, ideally, the higher and purer perception we have of our guru, the better it is and the quicker we will progress. It is said, and it is true, that if we see our guru as a Buddha, as a completely enlightened being, we will become one ourselves. If we see our guru as a very learned and highly qualified person, that is the result we will achieve. But if we see our guru as very ordinary, just like us, we will remain as we are.

        I think it is the same thing with teachers or parents, If you think your teacher cannot teach you anything, you will not learn anything from him. How can you learn from a person you do not respect?
        The more we respect the teacher, the more we respect the teachings, and vice versa. The way we see our teacher and the teachings has a profound effect on the way we receive the teachings and the instructions.

        To find a guru that WE CONSIDER as highly qualified is very important because it will speed up our progress on the path. This is the core of the student/guru relationship. If we believe our guru is somebody we can trust, from whom we can learn something, then our own state of mind, our own reaction to the whole world changes.

        The same thing happens in the parent/child relationship. Those children who have parents whom they can trust, with whom they have a good relationship, those who have received unconditional love, become very healthy in their mind. Those who have not had that kind of relationship usually encounter many more problems.

        In the same way, if we can find somebody whom we can trust, to whom we can open up, it is a very important step in itself, because we learn how not to be completely shut off from the world, how not to feel completely lonely. If we close ourselves up, we cannot confide, we cannot improve and we cannot change. This is why it is so important.

        by Ringu Tulku
        (from The Ngöndro)

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        1. Tenzin, I agree with most of what you say, but not that we expect too much of our teachers! Recently, I had an experience that reminded me that this lama I was starting to trust was also a lama who told an ex-NKT that he had broken samaya. And this morning I was hit with the enormity of how far astray too many lamas have gone, combined with the abject and disgraceful silence of most of the others. I feel like I’m balancing two heavy balls, one white, representing my deep love and devotion for the Tibetan Buddhist tradition (and HH Dalai Lama), the other black, representing all these years of what I’ve seen of the corruption and deep silence in so many corners.

          And by the way, HH Dalai Lama spoke several times yesterday during an initiation about how he does not believe in the existence of evil spirits. Tahlia, I would add “belief in evil spirits” to your list– because I believe that HH is the only Tibetan lama who would discount this– too many lamas think of evil spirits before ever looking at where they might have gone astray.

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          1. No, I think we expect too much. Who has stand up against abuse except HHDL or YMR? Who speaks and listens compassionately with to the victims – demonstrating any sign of being touched or moved by their suffering – instead of only supporting the organisations in which abused happened? I heard Khandro Rinpoche announced in her Sangha, she is now open to receive reports on abuse. On my blog someone wrote, as soon as she sent details no further answer was given to her emails. Its totally discouraging. We have to manage and take actions ourselves.

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            1. Yes, Tenzin, I think we are in agreement, but only looking at it from different angles. I also am feeling very discouraged. In my perspective I believe that lamas SHOULD behave better, expecting them to behave as the Buddha laid out is what we need to do, even if that means only two lamas are actually capable of acting like proper lamas– and only two lamas meet our expectations. If we accept less, I think that the Dharma and sentient beings will suffer.

              The situation in Rigpa, the crimes committed, the pathetic cover-ups which followed, are such that any lama who attempts to justify the situation, who hesitates to speak out, doesn’t merit the title of lama anymore. That’s where I am these days.

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            2. Well, Tsoknyi Rinpoche has also authorized to make his answer public and he has expressed his concern about how to help with the suffering and trauma for all the students.

              About abuses, he underlined also the basic principle that “Above all, if someone is being harmed, the safety of the victim comes first.”

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          2. @Joanne,

            According to the bodhisattva ideal, there is no such thing as an inherently ‘evil’ being, so I am fairly certain that this is what HHDL means when he says he doesn’t believe in ‘evil’ spirits. He is probably saying that he doesn’t believe in INHERENTLY evil spirits. But this doesn’t mean we should take that out of context and believe that lamas don’t believe in spirits at all, even negative ones. (After all, HHDL believes that Shugden is a negative spirit, right?) The very foundation of Tibetan oracle practice, which HHDL does all the time, involves talking to spirits and even spirit possession of a human body during the consultation, etc. If HHDL didn’t believe in spirits, he would not have oracles, or consult them so often. I hope HHDL is not telling the public that he does not believe in spirits when it is obvious that he does. Regardless of what anyone in the West thinks about those beliefs, they are part of his culture.

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            1. Good points Catlover. It was an initiation to mainly sangha members and I think the context in which HH was speaking was the tendency amongst Tibetans to bring up wrathful means to subjugate evil beings as a way of getting rid of obstacles– and also to blame everything adverse on those. I would have to re-listen and get the quote– I do remember him making some negative comment about those prayers to destroy or harm evil beings/enemies.

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    2. “I think, it boils down to the integrity and knowledge of the teacher and the integrity and knowledge of the student. If both, teacher and students have integrity, knowledge, a good motivation and rely on honest self-introspection, there can’t be a real problem in the long run. But, if these partially or in full are missed on one or both sides big problems will arise sooner or later, I assume.”

      I agree with this. The issue is that people (teachers and students alike) tend to be motivated not by bodhicitta but by the 8 worldly concerns. We are driven by the desire for gain and the fear of loss, the desire for pleasure and fear of pain, desire for fame and fear of being ignored, and desire for approval and fear of criticism. Ruthless self-honesty and a constant examination of one’s motives is required if we’re not to lose our integrity.

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      1. Great comment, re the 8 worldly concerns. This is at the heart of all the problems in institutionalized spirituality, called religion. But if you don’t institutionalize, the teaching is not preserved very well over time. Seems as though the Buddha chose institutionalization from the start with his large and disciplined sangha organization.

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      2. It does beg the question of whether vajrayana and the guru concept should have been institutionalized in Tibet in the way that it was. It creates the situation where you can become a guru as a career or can be forced into it due to your birth. Maybe the guru concept worked better in old India? Modern times are a different situation again no matter which country.

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      3. What I am getting at is that in traditional India you had to completely exit society to become a wandering sadhu. And then if you were sufficiently realized or good at fooling people you could become a guru and attract desciples. The first part of this “career” – giving up all worldly supports and comforts has a way of discouraging people who are motivated by the 8 worldly concerns. However if the path to guruhood is institutionalized…

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  8. “The issue is that people (teachers and students alike) tend to be motivated not by bodhicitta but by the 8 worldly concerns. We are driven by the desire for gain and the fear of loss, the desire for pleasure and fear of pain, desire for fame and fear of being ignored, and desire for approval and fear of criticism.”

    Amen! I never saw a bunch of people more driven by the 8 Worldly Concerns than people in many so-called “Dharma” groups, and especially the teachers and their inner circles, lol!

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    1. I’m just talking about abusive teachers/students in unhealthy groups, not ALL teachers and Dharma groups, etc.

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      1. @tenpel,

        As I clarified, I was talking about abusive teachers/students in unhealthy groups, not everybody. See above for my comment.

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    2. Hey Catlover, with all due respect. Taking care of what others think of you (or even taking care of money, property) can be also based on a genuine good (or altruistic) motivation. It can also be based on a sense of “shame” or “embarrassment” (two of eleven wholesome mental factors) which are considered to be always positive and to form the basis of ethics.

      Its not black and white and to be sure you must see either the mind of the people or you must see convincing signs in their bodily or verbal actions from which you can safely conclude, that their motivation is based on attachment / greed or hostility / aversion / anger – the eight worldly concerns.

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      1. I have never met someone whose actions are not driven at least partially by the 8 Worldly Concerns! Welcome to samsara…
        I think it becomes unacceptable when there are excesses way above the social norms.

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    3. ” never saw a bunch of people more driven by the 8 Worldly Concerns than people in many so-called “Dharma” groups, and especially the teachers and their inner circles, lol!”

      Thats the way we all are up to a certain degree. I starts to become more troublesome as it is anyway as soon as a person starts to hide it and to sell it as enlightened activity.

      Hypocrisy and feigned innocence from the part of the long term supporters.

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  9. Getting back to the issue of the belief structures that are used to keep people trapped in abusive groups, here’s another one: “If you’re here, this is where you were meant to be.” Would one say this to someone sinking in quicksand and struggling to get free? Of course not. And yet I heard this line deployed once to keep a would-be defector in line. I don’t think it worked, as I believe that person eventually left.

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  10. Dzongsar Khyentse in his ‘Bender and boner law’ and ‘screw without getting screwed’ article justifies abuse by saying he is sensitive to Rinpoche’s who ‘desire to have fulfilling sex lives and save the world who are also run by hormones’…First of all which of these Rinpoches has had success with saving sentient beings and from what exactly? Themselves and their own unbridled lust obviously not. Sexual misconduct has been clearly emphasized in all schools, the fact that monkhood and even Vajrayana entails methods to channel lust and other feelings and emotions into proper channels and transmute that energy seems to be lost on these ‘masters’. But let us for a minute put that aside and look at blatant lack of respect for women here.

    No one is denying their right to have a fulfilling sex life. In fact Dzongsar Khyentse and Sogyal both have their multiple girlfriends/consorts to help them out in that department. What is clear is that this does not satisfy their carnal desires, so while most hard working men in the western world don’t even have time to indulge in multiple sexual encounters, these hard working lama’s who meditate all day have all the time to think about getting horny with other women.
    Let’s suppose, they are bored with sex with their girlfriends and consorts, they could have chosen one of the many willing and consensual women to help them in the hormone department, or they could have picked one of their more ‘awakened students’ of which surely they must have some with all their successful freeing of sentient beings! They could have chosen a sexually free and open partner, or one that mutually shares their passion or one that is ‘evolved’ and is in a more enlightened state. Sexual alchemy is a meeting of minds after all. They could have had their sexual fulfillment with one of their more adorizing mature students who has a stronger sense of self. How about that? These bodhisatva Rinpoches put their hormones and lust to good use and satisfy a women who may have lost her husband or hasn’t had a man in her life for awhile or is lonely and unwanted and bringing joy to another in a mutually consenting sexual encounter and offering that to the buddha’s and bodhisatva’s. Worst comes to worst they could have got some Kleenex and do what most busy men do in the western world go solo for a night. Or even if they were so desperate and no women in the sangha wanted to sleep with them (which we all know is untrue as DKJR would readily admit, women throw themselves at him) they could have paid for a prostitute or a tantric masseuse . (DKJR in Thailand said the young girls offering themselves were bodhisatva’s) (interesting from a man who is not aware of trafficking and yet has women’s protection vanity project going on being funded by his students with Penelope Tree as the CEO)…And this is after all of Buddha’s and the long history of how all the schools deal with lust and sexual energies has failed. Yet the hypocrites are okay with having young monks separated from girls and taking vows of chastity. That exclusion of girls and chastity vows has not helped them at all!

    Clearly the unsuspecting vulnerable victims were taken advantage of and manipulated. The misogyny is obvious. They chose their victims on their superficial characteristics, the women were completely objectified, the ‘blonde’ ‘the nymph with great legs’ or whatever physical attribute that all of their other options didn’t have, ‘they are 19 and young’. They chose the ones who ‘did not understand the Vajrayana vows’ ‘were not awakened’ ‘were not mature’ ‘were not eager’. They basically preyed on the new and vulnerable ‘good looking ‘fuckable’ ones’!!!

    maybe a Tibetan women who understood Vajrayana could have travelled with them. Or maybe Tibetan women do not respect these guys. Why are there no Tibetan or Bhutanese women around them. Either they see these two as charlatans or to the rinponche’s they are not desirable, only western bikini models are and are of course to blame for wearing those skimpy shorts. It is utterly despicable and sick behaviour.
    If western teenagers can better control themselves without crossing boundaries what does that say of the ‘Vajrayana masters’. This shows they have a complete lack of control over themselves as well as lack of Wisdom and Compassion and are adept at what?
    If ‘masters who are saving the world and sentient beings’ as Dzongsar Khyentse so arrogantly states can’t control themselves what does that say of their accomplishments? What is religion for? Why are they adepts? They function on base human instincts, sexuality is fine when properly channeled. Manipulating young women who have come to the dharma because of previous abuse they have suffered, having mind games played on them. Fake fatherly concern to get laid and then discarded. Lied to that this will move them forward on their spiritual path and also flattering and playing hard to get to mind fuck the victims and pretend their are secret teachings and special attention they will get is not spirituality but sociopathic!
    No Tibetan or Bhutanese women respect these guys. Tibetan Buddhism Romanticism in the west was influenced by Blavatsky. The only easterners they have following them are ones who are mesmerized by why the so called intelligent west are following these guru’s surely the west know something we don’t.
    Sogyal is down. Dzongsar Khyentse is not fit to teach. There is no wisdom he has, it’s all misdirection and cryptic remarks that can mean whatever the receiver wants it to mean. He will criticize western society but that’s all he catered to until the money went to the east in 2008.
    He is a two faced liar, manipulator and sexual degenerate.

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    1. Given the current Lama zeitgeist we’re dealing with, your comments are probably not over the top. Your views raise some questions for me: did Dzongsar really say that “he is sensitive to Rinpoche’s who ‘desire to have fulfilling sex lives and save the world who are also run by hormones’? So now hormones are used as a justification for the objectification and abuse of young women? As you’ve noted, these guys are supposed to be yogis who’ve mastered their physical and emotional impulses.

      It seems outrageous that we are now being asked to excuse exploitative behaviour on the basis that ‘boys will be boys’ whilst still expected to venerate them as spiritual teachers who are infallible and therefore deserving of our unswerving faith. What poppycock! They can’t have it both ways.

      Tenz/T, you state “No one is denying their right to have a fulfilling sex life”. They may engage in consensual sex, preferably in stable relationships based on love, but i’m not sure it goes as far as being a ‘right’. No doubt, it seems that is the view that Dzongsar is now trying to propagate, and one that i find both repulsive and alarming, having been primarily schooled in the Dharma in the seventies and eighties, before sex became the tool of engagement that it appears to be today in Vajrayana circles (though it was always clear that men, Western or Eastern, were free to engage in casual sex with impunity whilst we women were expected to be models of chastity, particularly once we’d exited a long-term relationship).

      Did Shantideva ever outline the ‘rights’ of aspiring Bodhisattvas? I thought it was more about our responsibilities!

      Someone should document all the supposedly Vajrayana-based justifications DKR has given for the promiscuous behaviour of Lamas, along with the sources – the occasions on which the remarks were made. That way, it will be clear as to what he actually said, rather than the rumour promulgation which tends to occur in these blogs, and then he can be held to account and possibly challenged on his beliefs.

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  11. If students are to emulate the guru in mind, can we imagine where society would end up if eastern lama’s deemed it okay to cheat on your girlfriends and boyfriends and ‘bend and bone’ women or men not ordinarily attracted to you that you don’t even respect their minds or boundaries but are simply to service your ‘hormones’.

    He denigrates western society, but western society is far less animalistic than these ‘master’s’ in the sense that most women and men here do not emulate their guru’s and ‘bend and bone’ whoever they want. when couples cheat in the west it is still consensual with their lover.
    At least they should clearly take away the religious symbolism when trying to court/(manipulate) a western girl by changing in ordinary clothes and being transparent with them, that they just find them physically attractive and that’s all!
    As Dzongsar Khyentse says ‘the guru can often seem crazy and insane and one cannot judge a guru if he seems crazy as many are’ clearly that’s a convenient way out that all of his followers love because it justifies their own narcissistic, crazy abuse in their own relationships. The blind are leading the blind. If your supposed to pick a sane guru but the guru can seem to be insane, how can a student really choose and once chosen the vow needs to be kept! Who does this serve??? None other than OT, Sogyal and Dzongsar Khyentse.
    Dzongsar Khyentse says the guru might manifest as a Gigolo in a brothel. Well we’ve already seen pictures of Dzongsar Khyentse prancing around in a male G String with wigs and eyeliner and lipstick on, we know what he thinks of women and Thai prostitutes. Those pictures were released by a member of one of the Bhutanese royal family. Gesar Mukpo, Trungpa’s son has even called out DKJR as a fraud. When will the west wake up! I’ve been calling out this behaviour for years. The west would rather listen to the charlatans themselves than what the east have to say.

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  12. They are master’s of what? They cannot master their own mind, perceptions, thoughts, feelings and emotions, they cannot foresee the karmic results of their own actions, they do not have compassion, they could not prevent this scandal after endless pages of writing and endless talks by DJKR, the 100,000 hours of practices they have done has had no affect on who they are, crazy is sane and sane is crazy according to them. Where there is No I, there is no abuse and thus no abuser according to them.
    They post trivialities on Facebook distracting via a cult based around personality. He sees himself as a savior of humanity but can not control himself which is where the Buddha said one starts with oneself and move outwards, and the vow was against sexual misconduct vow not a ‘bend and bone’ law.
    Mastery of self before teaching is needed, who is Dzongsar Khyentse to cure others if he can’t cure his own lecherous instincts.
    Dzongsar Khyentse who goes out of his way to criticize every western Buddhist scholar and new age writer but says ‘who am I to criticize Sogyal’ someone he knows, as opposed to those writers he don’t.
    Dzongsar Khyentse who believes he has sole authority over Buddha’s words and teachings because of his birth and corrupt lineage from the abuser Jamyang Chöki Lodro while at the same time saying he does not believe in tulku system, yet he seems to be the tulku system’s most ardent supporter of its vows. The ‘bend and bone her’ law is obviously influenced from the distortion of the distortion of some o teachings in India. One only needs to look at how that ideology made a DNA imprint into how india looks at women today. Yes DJKR likes to bend and bone the girls and likes to be bent and boned himself, if DKJR could just be honest that he just speaks for himself and a few rinponches and not for the whole of law of mankind..he could save Tibetan Buddhism a bad name.
    Dzongsar Khyentse has created a religion and a cult, he writes whatever he wants and if you cross reference all his books and lectures it’s a maze of contradiction but of course he will probably say ‘truth is beyond words’ next but he’s already been dealing with nothing but words his whole career. He’s a good entrepreneur. Snake oil!

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  13. A lot of circumstances seems to upspring from the believe that it is prolonging the lifespan and enhancing the lifeforce of elderly men if they ingest and absorp the vitality of young beautiful women by having sexual intercourse, especially coming in touch with the vaginal secretions.

    This is practiced since more 3000 years. Mainly powerful and rich men can avail of that.

    Tibetan rinpoches are obsessed with their lifespan and to prolong it, they are not so carefree as it might appears. A lot of efforts is put in trials to make such ideas come true.

    This believe is practiced widley in Asia, men of all kind try to do so, from communist leaders to priest and clergy of all kind all over the time.

    I quote from:http://factsanddetails.com/china/cat2/sub6/item71.html

    ” “As Mao got older,” Li wrote, “he became an adherent of Taoist sexual practices which gave him an excuse to pursue sex not only for pleasure but to extend his life. He claimed he needed the waters of yin—or vaginal secretions—to supplement his own declining yang—or male essence, the source of his strength, power and longevity.

    Many of the women that Mao slept with were daughters of poor peasants who Li said believed that sleeping with the chairman was the greatest experience of their life. Mao was happiest and most satisfied when he had several young women simultaneously sharing his bed, and he encouraged his sexual partners to introduce him to others. He often told the young women to read the Taoist sex manual The Plain Girl’s Secret Way, in preparation for their trysts.” [Source: “The Private Life of Chairman Mao” by Dr. Li Zhisui, excerpts reprinted U.S. News and World Report, October 10, 1994] ”

    This is only one example of many.

    I think there is a lot of stories created to hide such a superstitious behavior behind “higher reasoning” like tantric practices and so on. It needs only enough folks to believe and follow easily as many of young western naive women seems to be.

    Once established and – by establishing made into a “consent agreement for a subculture”, its hard to overcome then. It would rise so much more questioning.

    Who would easily accept that one was sold superstition for buddhist practice, especially when it came in a mixed package, quoting from real buddhist textes and so on.

    Its so seductive to start reasoning with buddhist theories and axioms to explain and justify whatever one likes as folks are so willing in believe everything they are told as long its “shangrila-envelopped”.

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    1. This reminds me of the old saying, ” Even the devil can quote scriptures for his own purposes.”

      I think that regardless of what is believed or accepted in the East, we need to make sure that we don’t import beliefs that set back the advances we have made in the West as regards abuse in general and the treatment of women in particular.

      In the West sex with one’s teacher is not considered acceptable and is illegal at the high school level and below, so if lamas respected that ethical value and had their sexual relationships with people who were not their students, the power imbalance and method of manipulation (promise of a fast track to enlightenmnet) and the issue would be removed. The problem is not that they have sex but that they have sex with their students.

      All they have to do is respect Western values and refuse any advances they get from students. Any Western university professor with any sense and any respect for professional ethics and public sensibilities would simply tell the woman that her advances are inappropriate, and if he wants a relationship with a particular woman he would wait until she had graduated before taking it to a sexual level.

      We need to hold the lamas to the same values and see all philosophizing aimed at justifying abuse and sexual relations with students for what it is – the mark of a patriarchal, misogynistic culture whose justifications for abuse have no place in the West.

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  14. Thank You Adamo, that is an interesting perspective. I wonder if that is true for why the DJKR and Sogyal behave as they do that may be what Lotus Outreach one of his charity projects is for, to introduce young girls from Indonesian villages to private romps with the Rinpoche’s. Many women’s and children protection charities in the east I know traffic girls to big time donors to the charity and elite members of society.

    On the other hand DKJR and Sogyal I believe are westernized enough not to believe it, although like you said the belief could be passed down. But according to Tibetan Buddhist ideology what is beauty is it physical? Is it in the inside? Someone conciousness? Beauty is often determined by society ideas and is therefore a concept, something these guru’s so readily accuse westerner’s of having. If the beauty was on the inside of who they chose to abuse, then they have no respect for beauty and it is simply for I believe their own lust, but let’s say even if it were for the young vaginal secretions that promise eternal life, shows a) they put themselves first ahead of others b) this polyamourous lifestyle spreads disease and causes psychological and in case of Sogyal physical harm and c) shows how outdated, backwards and medieval the rinpoche’s belief system are and as Thalia rightly says causes wonder on why they should be followed or considered wise and knowledgable learned people. It’s the blind following the blind…in all of DKR’s samsaric ego agrandizing Facebook posts, I see little teaching, just angsty posts centered around his personality = CULT

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    1. T, surely you’re not suggesting that the anti-trafficking project, Lotus Outreach, is actually a smokescreen for the procurement of young women for DKR’s pleasure?

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  15. Totally agree, @Tenz and @T that if certain “Rinpoches don’t know how to control themselves sexually, then why are they “teaching” anyone else? Keep on telling it like it is! 🙂

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  16. I wish I could “like” some of these great comments, but alas I am not able to make use of the “like” button.

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  17. Thank you very much @catlover…the London talk video where he has legs and knees together acting like a very chaste, pure monk afraid to mention the word ‘sex’ or any of what he boldly says in writing shows what a great actor he is. His most recent teachings at deer park were advertised as for all those practioners who are into S&M and drink booze and eat meat and are trump supporter’s. Of course this is all humour and I get that and I get the digs he likes to make at his liberal vegan following but he clearly is not afraid to be controversial. So his talk in London where he acts like he takes the issue seriously is followed by some funk, disco YouTube video. I’m wondering when the sangha will realize how little teachings they have been getting and how much more they admire his quirky personality more than anything else. The whole idea for DKR is to court attention and get followers by playing off his eastern Lama image. It’s like George W Bush rapping for black people in Harlem. It’s all just song and dance for DKR with some hints that some deeper wisdom is being subtly imparted or will be coming later once you start Vajrayana. The ideal Vajrayana community has not been established. Trungpa failed, Sogyal failed, DKR is failed. He writes recently he’s lost all respect for western culture again but continues to want to teach Vajrayana in the west and act like a westerner. This sort of cult following with a clowning Lama making movies and selling distribution rights for $1 Million to a HK student, that was not able to keep it the cinema a few days is not an eastern thing.
    Money out of religion please, OT, DKR Rinpoche does not need massive mansions to do their work. They own the town of Bir and chose Bir instead of Bhutan or Sikkim and away from Dharmsala so locals could not see what they are up to. They wanted a lawless town of their own.

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    1. T, speaking of the need to create authentic Vajrayana communities, i’m sure there are some in the USA & Europe, but i thought it was a real shame that DKR sold Vajradhara Gonpa, where AFAIK, it was a site that facilitated genuine practice. Nothing has replaced it, from him or any other Lama. I guess we Australians are just too much like heathens & can’t create the karma for such a retreat space! Unless you’re a Gelugpa, they have their centres.

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  18. You hit the nail on the head T with your observations. A cult of personality. It is DKR first and then his projects (which others carry out not him- he likes to direct remember) and lame films, and finally a light sprinkling of dharma which takes a back seat. I have yet to see any senior student with any realization, though there are certainly a lot of alcoholics. It is all very superficial from the outside on in.

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  19. Thank You @concerned! Yes, I did notice he has quite a few alcholics, and a lot of freewheeling people addicted to fun but did not seem to have any serious understanding or discipline around anything. Yes and the seniors who have been close to him for a very long time felt like needy desperate children always looking for approval and validation. and a crackpot convicted Paedophile who I won’t name from the Australia area, who was very informally chummy with DKR. It was interesting how he according to another student just got out of the can but was in the sangha many years before his arrest.

    I am open to any children and women charities being smokescreens for trafficking. I do not personally think so at the moment. Although there are many self interested reasons to keep earnings in tax deductible charity organizations and I can see how charity organizations would benefit by intellectually grooming a krishnamurti eastern guru and create a following. DKR I believe is a puppet for his benefactors who get a lot of donations from his popularity. (Hence his almost coerced and forced fake apology in London) and when he gets back home he opens Facebook and writes the opposite of what he had said, like a naughty schoolboy who did what his parents told him but then goes back to being his true self.
    I’m sure his benefactors are also affluential people looking for validation. So far the most reputable organizations Amnesty, Red Cross, UN, Haiti relief projects, have all had volunteers trafficking war torn children…recently a Canadian guy in Nepal who had charities set up to build schools was arrested for P. even planned parenthood were selling baby parts….I am suspicious around most charity organizations.
    The World Wild Fund works with Monsanto, and Parkinson’s and Cancer Foundations seem to do funded studies for pharma towing the standard chemo line rather than exploring other options.

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  20. I should emphasize that convicted Paedophile was a student of DKR for something like 15 yrs BEFORE his arrest. So what exactly was learnt during that time. Does the student find the teacher that enacts their shadow side and is ‘free and open’ where ‘anything goes and there is no I and therefore no abuser’ or does the guru desire to be like the students who are not held by the codes of religion like he is and are ‘free and open’. It’s seems a symbiotic relationship to me. The student secretly desiring to want to act out like the guru and the guru enjoying acting out on behalf of his students fantasies of equating ‘wildness’ and ‘insanity’ with being sane.

    This is why I am sensitive to each and every nihilistic wording DKR uses. ‘The women’s perceived abuse’. Pretending he didn’t know what ‘alleged’ meant but using it anyway.

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  21. Actually, there was one other male student in his 40s from UK who i was hearing things that he had some worrying attraction to children. Of course if he is getting healed in the sangha that is fine. But one continental Europeon guy in DKR sangha stuck his tongue in my girlfriend’s ear when he kissed her goodbye, she told me that two minutes after. He had been a student I think 15-20 yrs

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  22. “Actually, there was one other male student in his 40s from UK who i was hearing things that he had some worrying attraction to children. Of course if he is getting healed in the sangha that is fine. But one continental Europeon guy in DKR sangha stuck his tongue in my girlfriend’s ear when he kissed her goodbye, she told me that two minutes after. He had
    been a student I think 15-20 yrs”

    I think that there a natural limitations that “masters” can be hold responsible for everything the students of them are doing or not doing.

    But nevertheless; as I was for a couple of years at a Lamas center of whom I think he is qualified, but I consider a big deal of his students somehow building a “dysfunctional sick familiy”.

    Since he drops in once or twice the years he doesnt have any clue of whats going on.

    He wants to remain clueless, so some students who cant stay there leave then, those who are looking for a familylike club like this stay.

    I am not sure if that Lama can do anything for bringing Dharma to the west by ignoring all those ” appearances”, despite his good intentions.

    Lamas should slowly learn to leave those comfortable positions they hold and start engaging more wholeheartedly or better stay away.

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  23. @Adamo. I think if after a couple of years of guru yoga and a teacher/student Samaya and a student can not overcome antisocial behaviour which stems from unresolved stuff and does not abide by ethical, respectful, compassionate interaction with other humans and the guru also living that bad example then I believe the guru is responsible. As Trungpa said the Guru is supposed to be concerned with every aspect of the student’s life than even the student is him or herself. Obviously when you are teaching on a small scale in a Nepalese village this can more easily be done. But what we have with the Tibetan lama’s are expansionism, unmerited growth and publicity. They are not interested in dealing with individuals but more with mass followings.
    Vajrayana practice and the elite mystical teachings that they promote keep the followers always tagging along in the hope of getting something that is always held another few feet away for them. As long as students believe that there is secret knowledge or a fast track to enlightenment that can only be imparted by the Rinpoche is like holding a juicy bone in front of dogs. Yes the students will always feel a lack, that the master has the answer and the student will always feel on a ‘path’ as long as that student feels what it doesn’t have that can be gained. Unfortunately, the teachers’ themselves haven’t proved to me they have any higher insight about anything.
    I strongly believe the Chinese supported the early lama’s and rinpoche’s to keep teach the tibetan’s to heel. The lama’s being political puppets for Chinese and Mongol emperor’s.

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  24. “Vajrayana practice and the elite mystical teachings that they promote keep the followers always tagging along in the hope of getting something that is always held another few feet away for them. As long as students believe that there is secret knowledge or a fast track to enlightenment that can only be imparted by the Rinpoche is like holding a juicy bone in front of dogs. Yes the students will always feel a lack, that the master has the answer and the student will always feel on a ‘path’ as long as that student feels what it doesn’t have that can be gained. ”

    I think its true in so many cases. I thought for a long time its a skillful mean to keep students interested and keep them stick to practice.

    After 20 years or so I think different. I miss the positive results. From my point of view does it only create and bring forth followers even more confirmed in their neurotic behaviour and contorted views, and more sophisticated camouflage to hide behind it.

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  25. Regarding ” I think that there a natural limitations that “masters” can be hold responsible for everything the students of them are doing or not doing.”

    That is true, ultimately everyone is responsible for their own actions and behaviors.
    The problem is, grown adults, some with a very high education, many with years in the dharma, do anything in order to get the lama’s attention and please the lama. What is that about? Are they in it for the fun and to get a free pass to behave badly?

    This is supposed to be a path of inner transformation, a path to realize the nature of mind, not a path to run after a lama. I saw this pathetic behavior amongst DKR students and Rigpa students. The lamas not only don’t put an end to it, they seem to relish it, encourage it. I was told at various times that DKR has irresponsibly advised some students such as giving them advice to go to strip clubs and meditate on the nature of the body, to strip for a living as it makes a lot of $, to kiss and hit on as many women as possible, to have as many boyfriends as possible, to be an escort, to drink, on and on. I think he thinks it is funny and gets amused when they actually do it. But what is the result? I have not seen or heard of any positive transformation in his students and honestly if I met any of his students in the street I would not be inclined to ask ‘who is your teacher?’ based on their qualities. Rather than compassion, I always detected his students were very cultish and self serving. I think he is himself a sex addict who never got beyond adolescence. I probably don’t have merit to see beyond that right now.

    Granted there is a big difference between what SL did and what DKR does. SL outright and blatantly abused. I think he had brain damage from a brain infection, though that only made him worse. SL abused his power on every level. DKR is more slippery.

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  26. I truly don’t think vajrayana can work in these mass teachings as the lama cannot possibly carefully monitor the students and properly guide them. The appointed senior students don’t have the realization to guide. It is better to teach Hinayana and Mahayana en masse and do it for free like HHDL. DKR wants his students to feel special and elite by playing the Vajrayana card, just like SL played the Dzogchen card. It is not the way to go about it.

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  27. I think it’s the only selling point the rinpoche’s have these days.

    The best points of Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism is freely available information in countless numbers of rinponches have been writing the last 50 yrs branded under different titles and intetegrated into new age culture and western Buddhist scholars. The rinpoche’s recycle the same info. So the only thing they can sell is Vajrayana practice reliant on the guru.

    Most people in DKR’s sangha will find they are given very generic Vajrayana practices given to everyone else and that personal instruction or pesrsonalized practices are almost none. Questions are directed to senior student mostly western

    If there were very individualized instruction going on in the manner of for example Naropa/Tilopa/Marpa/Milarepa , where are these shining beacon’s of light guiding the way? Why do they keep silent from criticizing what is clearly wrong?
    DKR and the other Vajrayana guru’s can only sell that practice, everything else is available in books and YouTube. However if DKR did have gems to offer, why would he sidetrack us all with his meandering teachings and musings on art, politics, anecdotes, jokes and which movies he likes, which photographer he likes, which country is his personal favorite, what his favorite football team is, and bio about his ‘crockadile dundee’ stories of his life coming to the west for the first time. He is a master of diversion, illusion, misdirection, he can talk for hours and infer sacred Vajrayana practices if you follow him but really tells us nothing about them or what life is like once accomplished. He does not believe he is enlightened, does not believe in tulku tradition but adamantly believes the guru should not be questioned. Clearly he believes only in the aspects of Tibetan Buddhism that serve him. He has been creating his own ideology and religion. If he can’t believe in the tradition but expects everyone else to he is nothing more than a conman…as he ironically says ‘I can sell snow to eskimo’s’…

    The most messed up students love him because his behaviour and ideology basically says you can do and behave however you want and it’s all Vajrayana, anything goes, this is all very appealing teachings for liars, narcissists and sociopaths. His Vajrayana is the easy human path, human’s have done for millennia.

    The Dalai Lama on the other hand is the only one moving Tibetan Buddhism forward separating the wheat from the chaff. He does not encourage guru yoga practices but that TB should be coherent with science and the benefit of society as whole.
    Seems like the Rinpoche’s are competing with the DL and are jealous of him and reverting westerners to medieval devotion and practices when the king’s of England were once looked at as being appointed by God.

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  28. About criticizing the actions of a teacher, Mingyur Rinpoche had already affirmed that it was not a breach of samaya in his book “Turning Confusion into Clarity”:
    “Some Westerners have the idea that leaving a teacher is breaking samaya, but this is not necessarily true. If after a period of study, you conclude that the teacher is not suitable, then it’s best to cut the connection. There are no rules in Vajrayana that say you have to stick with a teacher no matter what. Definitely not. If you have 100 percent proof that the teacher is not qualified according to these four considerations, then you should cut the ties, and you can even discuss the situation with other people. This is completely legitimate. If the teacher does not have these four qualities, and we have proof of inappropriate activities, then we are not breaking samaya by telling others. If the teacher is affiliated with a monastery, the best option is to discuss these issues with that person’s superior.”

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  29. @ Frenchobserver, exactly, that’s why I say DKR is a charlatan and creating his own religion based on his lineage that he himself does not believe in.
    We have to admit that religion is invented by men.
    Mingyur is one of the better ones and again he is more of a Buddhist atheist as HHDL, I have no problem with Mingyur’s teachings or HHDL. Although all lineages had imperfect teacher’s as they are human. It’s interesting how DKR who always with humbleness infers he is a samsaric human but still arrogantly talks as if he is the authority on everything

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  30. @concerned, yes you are right even if Vajrayana is not taught en masse it becomes an elite thing, this arouses curiosity in students interested in learning it but even when they want to learn it, DKR will keep them tagging along as if he does not want to teach them slowly they get caught up in all the devotion around the guru, and become a sychophant, slowly a cult builds up without ever actually teaching Vajrayana in depth but leaving more to be desired and whetting people’s appetite.

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  31. That seems such a manipulate play on our tendencies and the psyche. If people are told this is the highest, this is the best, this is the fastest way, this is special, that those in this club are elite and superior but don’t tell the outside world that, that is our secret… it is of course going to attract people like flies. Time and time again he would say something off in a teaching and say ‘but don’t tell others that- they would probably have me arrested’ or ‘don’t write that down- someone may find it when you die’. But there is no substance.

    Then the band comes in or the local singers or a student sings- it is a bizarre production, but that is all it is. Then they all go out for drinks or drink right there in the shrine room.

    I don’t know though if DKR actually wants to teach. I think he’d rather be making films. That said, I don’t know that his followers really want the dharma or enlightenment. I think they want a show and a good time and a social scene, and that they will get. The teacher and the student are a reflection of one another, it is not one sided. As long as people want this superficial path, as long as their expectations are not there, then they can easily find a lama to provide.

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  32. @ concerned, yes he is a sex addict, and I’m aware of all the immature sexual stuff he’s asked his students to do. He thinks it’s funny, it’s just stupid and immature. It’s not on the scale of Sogyal but I know of one twisted sexual thing he asked one student to do and he filmed it, (I suspect blackmail)….he also thinks telling students to name their children names like George bush is part of his job…these rinpoche’s court attention and then play hard to get and allude to the secret magnificent ultimate Vajrayana…his students yes all feel DKR has given them Carte Blanche to behave however they want, that freedom and boundless irresponsibility is why they are attracted to DKR and DKR knows that. It is a very narcistic crowd and yes partly because DKR flatters their ego’s especially the ones who have affluence and power in the western world. And to the masochists he gives them what they ‘want’. He’s a very sick man. Westerner’s are all prudes he will say often! Strange considering the Buddha and early Buddhism, sexual restraint played a huge part, I know Vajrayana is different but we might have to accept there is no authority and no ‘pure’ Buddhism. And Tibetan Buddhism still has its monateseries where sexes are separated and monks vows enforced. I have heard shocking things about him from those very close.

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  33. Another point, the only two other works he notes in his books are ‘Words of My Perfect Teacher’ odd choice for someone who doesn’t believe in the tulku system and yet he admits he is not perfect nor will he vouch for any other Rinpoche , so it’s just pure Perception…the other book is shantideva’s ‘bodhisatva’s way of life’, well we may as throw that one out the window since it’s not practiced by DKR or any of his sangha or Rigpa. If people really committed themselves to shantideva’s teachings we would not see this uncompassionate way of dealing with abuse. So who does DKR look to as an authority?? Also interesting how Sogyal has always talked about Kubler-Ross and several of K-R’s works are cited in Sogyal’s bibliography. DKR’s most recent Facebook post is a put down of kubler-ross. So we have Tibetan lama’s who were willing to associate with new age writers in the 90s and now they throw their work under the bus once they gained popularity. Donald Lopez’s book on the Tibetan Book of the Dead is an excellent analysis of how western that work is being a product of the Theosophists beliefs and cherry picking of various world cultures and melding something quite different. Sogyal uses the same chapters that Evan Wentz had translated by Sikkimese …

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  34. @concerned, I attended a drupchen DKR asked me to and every evening at the guesthouse it was drinking whisky round a fire on the last day there was a fire pit and all circled round and DKJR asked each person to sing a song or tell a joke and of course the lead actor from traveller’s magicians stole the show doing hilarious impressions and jokes and clowning making everyone laugh. But one reflects exactly as you said @concerned do people just want to be part of a social scene and a group and belong? Of course nothing wrong with that but what is evident one way for religious charlatans to get people into religion is give them as much fun and entertainment as possible. Incidentally the lead actor from traveller and magicians spent almost the entire time trying to seduce every western women into bed with, blatantly using his position of a close Attendent to walk up to for example my female friend and try to have a ‘private conversation’ about some questions she was pondering. each day of the drubchen he would wear some attention grabbing clothing. One day in traditional very regal Bhutanese wear the next day wearing a big Lebowski t shirt with some shades as if he was in California the next day a t shirt with a joke on it written in English of course. DKJRs other attendent was his nephew, a tulku of course (keep it in the family as the mafia would say) who also takes all of the beautiful magnificent crisp black and white photos of DKR with him riding on a horse in a valley ahead of the troops and him driving a vintage Mercedes and him sitting in ancient Tibet ruins with rays of god light coming in from the window. Yes, his nephew, a Rinpoche is some skateboard kid with a camera who is basically his Joseph Goebels propaganda man. In fact he also tried to apply to do the most pretentious ted talks presentation around his photography dressed in Bhutanese wear and hair flowing down, talking about photography as if each photograph he took required a deep spiritual connection, the talk was nauseatingly pretentious and as much as they criticize western culture they seem to want validation from all these silly western institutions like ted talks and Cannes film festival. They are using dharma as launch pad for their own worldly desire’s, without dharma and all their western connections through it they would have to raise their own money and publicity..

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  35. The travellers and magicians actors actually came up to me and a few others at breakfast and told us that he slept with a woman the night before. This is during a drubchen and no it did not seem to be part of Vajrayana practice. One would think a drubchen would be a time of contemplation not to get into more karmic entanglements but to undo them. It was like the actor was there clowning to get attention from all the westerners and to sleep with some women. The whole DKR sangha was a sad pathetic joke.

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    1. That is sadly a misunderstanding of the purpose of a drupchen on the actor’s part. What a waste. Glad I wasn’t there.

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  36. I forgot some notable Tibetan/Sikkimese family were invited by one young guy but a 60 year old Canadian women refused to allow them to read the mantra because it was for dharma gar or Ngondro students only she said and snatched the sheets from them. It took some explaining to this close attendent of Rinpoche that this family had a line of rinpoche’s in their own. She was just asserting her authority and to her it seemed she wanted to be the school mistress of the sangha, she was so rude a Tibetan guy asked her to step out the room:))))

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  37. DKR delegating chief attendent roles to westerners who have such little sense of history and tradition but are madly devotional was a very suspicious site to see, the lack as well of prominent easterners was also telling sign DKR was a renegade trying to create a cult for the clueless

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  38. @T,

    I’m enjoying your posts, which are quite interesting and informative. It’s clear that you’ve really seen and heard stuff. Thanks for keeping it lively! 🙂

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  39. Thank You @catlover, I’ve also read and liked your posts as well, are you part of the Australian lot?

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    1. @T,

      Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

      No, I am not from Australia. I wasn’t part of Rigpa, but I have been part of other sanghas. Let’s just say I’ve been around long enough to have seen/heard some things.

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  40. I also spent time in DKR’s house or compound in Bir if you like, the living room next to the kitchen on the walls were the many vanity photo’s of his vintage Mercedes chugging through a sea of monks in glorious black and white, more pictures of him mounted on a horse with a Japanese rice farmer hat on his head. His kitchen had expensive juicers and blenders, I was waiting while he was having a student giving him a drawing class. Yes, he is so incredibly busy keeping his part of the Samaya vow and taking an interest in his students that he uses another western student to teach him a new hobby. I suspect next year he plans to have an exhibition of his drawings in Berlin or Paris and get a write up in vanity fair etc ‘the Tibetan Lama: Filmmaker, poet, painter, football fan’
    Incidentally I was told he sold the film distribution rights to the cup which was not making its returns to a wealthy Taiwanese or HK student the distribution rights who was assured by DKR and his team who assured the man it would play well. The guy bought it for $1 Million dollars, the cinemas in Taiwan or HK refused to play it more than 2 days and so was out of pocket a million!

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  41. It sounds like DKR is oh, so humble, LOL! (sarcastic) He is so critical of the West, but maybe he shouldn’t be so critical of a culture he is using to further his own aims and ambitions. Sort of a “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” kind of thing. he should be grateful to the West for helping further his “career” as a tulku.

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  42. His Facebook profile photo, if I were to sum up what the image means to me is that the guy like to portray himself as an out of focus God in the background directing us mortal humans as toys on a chessboard. The divination he has given people to do the most outrageous things were seen by the sangha as crazy wisdom from their puckish, wise fool, omniscient master. The picture he chooses to represent himself reveals exactly how he perceives his role as a God.
    https://www.facebook.com/djkhyentse/photos/a.2379277868764347.1073741828.158696727489150/2379277618764372/?type=3…his favorite photographer is Bresson and some Indian guy, his favorite filmmakers are Yamamoto and karagushi, his favorite writer is Isobel Allende who travelled to Bhutan and wrote the most unrealistic but Himalayan fantasy shangrila novel ever, his other favorite writer (the greatest western writer is Oscar Wilde (hmm Really? I think that says more about DKR wishing he was Dorian Gray)
    His favorite country is India where they have a massive enormous problem with women’s rights and rape, his other favorite countries are US perhaps the greatest human rights violator on the planet and condones capital punishment with his other favorite country Indonesia and UK, all his favorite men and women and writers are all Japanese, Indian or Bhutanese, names some obscure books he’s read probably the only few he has. I clearly see a man obsessed with showing off his taste and sensibilities to the world as a pretentious school boy trying to show off his culture. None of the books he has mentioned strike me as very profound and most of us do not watch black and white Japanese movies enough to see how pretentious his tastes are, such as his actors wearing avant garde masks silently moving around in his last movie to get around criticism for crappy dialogue and acting again and using pseudo-intellectual language of what the mask means for society and that we all wear societal masks. Ooooh the hairs are sticking up at the back of my neck such a profound insight, the symbolism went right be, not sure whether to throw myself down at his feet or reach for the bucket:)))))

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  43. “Ooooh the hairs are sticking up at the back of my neck such a profound insight, the symbolism went right be, not sure whether to throw myself down at his feet or reach for the bucket:)))))”

    Lololololol! 😀

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  44. Wow @T, concerned, cat lover, I’d forgotten how many twisted layers of screwed-up there are in these cultish “dharma” groups. I left the scene 13 years ago. It’s ironic that many of these lamas are further away from the truth than most normal people and accumulating more bad karma. Re DKR, one of his ex students wrote to American Buddha (now only on web archive) saying something like DKR told her he’d had enough with being a lama, but then he doubled down and decided he could make a career out of it. Exact quote is on another one my comments on this site. It reflects the observations in the comments above. Interesting how it is an example of being forced into the career by birth as I describe in my comment above.

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  45. To use the Christian concept of the Devil and the fallen human race, it is like the Devil just comes in and corrupts everything. Huston Smith said that for the spiritual aspirant, it is like living in occupied territory. Very much so.

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  46. @taxila, when I asked DKR about he said ‘we all have to do things we do not want to do, that’s why I recommend to artists to do plumbing, I do not want to teach, I want to make movies, but sometimes we have to do what we don’t want to so we can do what we want’ that is a direct quote as I remember it. Yes, I heard also from early sangha members he was rebellious and really did not believe in the teachings or even the divinations which he said were as silly as I Ching. Fast forward a few years and like Al Pacino (Michael Corrleone) in The Godfather he realized by following in his father’s footsteps he can step out of making a hard but earnest living, the mafia town of Bir where they rule onto themselves is like their sicicilan olive oil plantation. He does not believe in dharma otherwise their karmic actions would not have led to this mess. He has changed the dharma teachings to fit his own ideology like his predecessor. DKR is a cash cow for charity organizations, I believe he is also a puppet

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  47. I misspoke I didn’t mean what I said about him being a puppet..,I think he has taken a lot of liberties in interpreting the dharma and claiming himself an authority when he clearly had his doubts and leave it behind but instead he decided what he didn’t believe in would assure him power and authority if he could get other’s to. Machiavellian is the word I’m looking for or as @Taxila and @catlover accurately say slippery!

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