Orgyen Tobgyal promotes violence
In Paris last year at the Rigpa Centre, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche publicly said about spiritual teachers, “Such great beings, whether it coresponds to western ideas or not, if they kill somenone, no problem,” and “Beating hard increases wisdom.” Click here to see notes on the full talk. The quotes above are are in question 3.
His talk fostered beliefs that support Sogyal Lakar/Rinpoche abusing his students and details examples of other such behaviour from spiritual teachers that he holds up as something to emulate. He doesn’t believe Sogyal did anything wrong. In saying that he saw “nothing extraordinary” in the back scratcher, he was referring specifically to regular beatings Sogyal Lakar/Rinpoche gave students using his back scratcher. These assualts were verified by the Lewis Silkin Independent report into the abuse.
Is this a teacher you should be supporting, following, inviting to your centre or listening to? Are these ideas ones you want to believe? Are they healthy for society and individuals or harmful? Should you be part of an organisation that invites such a person to their centre?
The Buddha taught people to use their intelligence and not follow anyone who preached ideas that caused harm.
And yet Rigpa takes the advice of this man
Orgyen Topgyal is one of Rigpa’s “spiritual” advisors and he is about to undertake a major visit to Australia (details here: https://www.rigpa.org.au/orgyen-tobgyal-rinpoche/).
But I suspect that many in Rigpa in Australia and elsewhere are not aware of what he said in Paris and that he is a man who publically supports Sogyal’s abuse of his students. I think they need to know this, and they need to be encourged to really think about whether these are ideas they should be taking on board. So please share this information with your Rigpa friends and ask them if these are healthy ideas to be taking on board.
Of course his full talk to Rigpa Paris is indoctrination that supports the power structure that allowed Sogyal to abuse his students for decades, so by the time they read down to question 3 where he makes clear his view that abuse by teachers is perfectly acceptable, they may have lost their ability to see what he says clearly, so you’ll need to get them to read question 3 or quote it to them.
Dangerous beliefs are the core of the problem here and until we make it clear that such beliefs are not healthy and not acceptable in the West, abuse can still happen in Tibetan Buddhism.
Does this bother you?
Because of his support for Sogyal Lakar’s abuse, a lot of people are pretty outraged and offended by the idea of his presence in Australia, particularly since he is supported by an organisation that enabled abuse and still hasn’t denouned the behaviour of their teacher. Because of this some ex-Rigpa people have made official complaints to the authorities.
If you think he and his ideas are harmful and that he should not be allowed to spread such dangerous ideas in Australia, then report him to the Australian Border Watch. Not letting him into the country or having him under survellience would help get the message across that these lamas are not above the law.
The reporting page is here: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/For…/Pages/Border-Watch.aspx…
People should choose “Criminal/character concerns” on the drop-down menu
General information is here: https://www.abf.gov.au/abo…/what-we-do/borderwatch/reporting
Their definition of character concerns is here: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/…/what-is-the-character-requ…
Call out OTR on:
- vilify a segment of the Australian community
- incite discord in the Australian community or in a part of it
- be a danger to the Australian community or a part of it.
Reporting can be anonymous.
People can quote from the account of his Paris teaching, which is here (from FB): https://vdocuments.us/pdf75-open-buddhism-anuyoga-great-per…
Current and previous students of Rigpa can participate in private discussion on this and other abuse-related topics on our What Now? Facebook Group. If you’re interested in joining, please contact us via the contact page and ask for an invite.
People from any Vajrayana sangha can join the Survivors of Vajrayana Abuse and Allies Facebook group for support. Click the link to request to join.
Anyone who has left a Buddhist sangha that had an abusive teacher can join the Beyond the Temple Facebook Group. The focus in this group is not on the abuse, but on ourselves and our spiritual life as we recover from our experience and look to the future. Click here and request to join.
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, which posts links to related articles as they come to hand.