The Silence of the Lamas: Abuse in Buddhism –
Another one bites the dust: Rigdzin Namkha Gyatso ‘Rinpoche’
Translated from der Standard:
The Silence of the Lamas: Abuse in Buddhism
More and more students are alleging sexual abuse against Buddhist teachers
“Maybe it needs a sex contract?” Suggests Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in October 2017 on Facebook. The Tibetan Lama in the red robes is esteemed in the West for his provocations, his modern approach to Buddhism. He delivers the fictional contract with the same. He would serve all those gurus who “want to save all sentient beings but still strive for a fulfilling sex life,” he posts. Psychologists could also check if potential partners have “tendencies to play victims”. The Lama from Tibet wanted to make a joke. Catherine Guye did not think that was funny. She filed a complaint against a Lama in Switzerland in February. His Buddhist organization is internationally active. The Swiss accuses him of assault and: “to have performed sexual acts on a person who was not capable of judgment or resistance”.
Sakyong Mipproham publicly apologized for having sex with his students. She is not the only one to raise such allegations against Buddhist teachers in the West. In early July, the head of one of the world’s largest Buddhist organizations, Shambhala, Sakyong Mipham, resigned. He had previously publicly apologized for having sexual relations with schoolgirls. :
“Project Sunshine” had compiled reports of abuse at Shambhala. Guise of Lausanne, Guye, was 47 when she became interested in Buddhism, she told the STANDARD. She was freshly divorced and found a flyer of the Swiss Lama when in 2005 the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dalai Lama was in Zurich – nothing can be wrong about him? When Master offered her to do secret tantric exercises, she refused. She did not care.
His teachings about the end of suffering, however, she liked, so she stayed. She was supposed to organize a room for him, his wife kicked him out, Master told her on the phone one night in 2009. Overcharged she rented a room in a youth hostel. The lama asked her to eat with him there. After that he started to kiss her and pulled her down the skirt. “I was frozen,” Catherine remembers the hours afterwards. At that time, she told herself she would bring that state closer to enlightenment. Florine, too, was his student. She does not want her name to be public. She tells the STANDARD that he also sexually implicated her. The two women know of other women with whom her master had a sexual relationship within the leaning power structures.
Since the open letter to Superstar Sogyal more and more cases of abuse come to light. Airing the veil of silence that more and more Buddhist adepts with abuse allegations go public, is due to an open letter from the summer of 2017: “Our desire is At the time, eight long-time students of the Tibetan superstar Sogyal Lakar wrote: “to lift the veil of silence, deception and deception”:
“You use your role as a teacher to gain access to young women and force them into sexual favors.” The letter against the head of the millionaire organization Rigpa triggered shockwaves in the hitherto so harsh Buddhist world. Many Buddhists in the West are unsure. Abuse.
How does this fit with the image of the Guru, who has infinite compassion and knowledge – whether Sogyal in his omniscience had planned the scandal? Whether he intended these people to feel hurt to bring them to enlightenment?, a student calling himself Bernie asked the lama with the sex contract, Dzongsar Khyentse. Dzongsar’s public answer: “That’s fantastic!”
And: With such an attitude Bernie is a true “guardian of the Vajrayana”. Also known as Tantrism, this is the form of Buddhism where practitioners are promised the possibility of enlightenment in just one lifetime. The key to this is devotion to a guru, a lama. Everything the lama does is “pure” – that’s the exercise.
Many students realize that pupils are in danger of being abused. And that finally makes legal problems: The affected have indeed “consented”. The guru is not a therapist who would protect the law in some countries. There are clear legal prohibitions when it comes to sexual acts with minors. That is why a Belgian lama is on trial in Brussels. In the 1970s, after a trip to India, the Belgian dressed in Tibetan robes and founded a Buddhist organization. Today he is accused of abusing a number of minor girls under the name of a Buddhist ritual. A judgment in the case is expected for September. The Belgian continues to have many followers, including Sogyal, Sakyong Mipham or the Lama in Switzerland. The infallibility of the enlightened teacher puts many Buddhists in a dilemma: they discuss absolute wisdom and compassion – it has little to do with the sufferers’ traumas. Affected want a word of power of spiritual heavyweights.
Meditating with those affected Already in 2006, a letter was sent to the office of the Dalai Lama describing the events surrounding the Swiss Lama.
“If we do not feel comfortable with a teacher,” the answer says, “it’s best we leave.” It was also good not to speak harshly and divisively with the other students, but to “walk away in silence”.They asked the Lama in Switzerland, and he said he had no sexual relations with his students. Only if there was “solid evidence”, it should be communicated to the appropriate persons. Since the media reports, the Dalai Lama has taken a position on Sogyal, called him disfellowshipped (“disgraced”). The former director of the Shambhala emphasized in his apology that he had meditated with those concerned and conducted healing practices. The Swiss Lama did not answer requests. Meditation with the offender?
Jokes about sex contracts? The few reactions leave those affected frustrated. Dzongsar was the only guru to give public speaking in Europe. Title: “Vajrayana Buddhism in the Modern World: The Challenges and Misunderstandings of Our Time”.
But the sex contract has also overwhelmed his followers. After fierce criticism, he deleted the post after a few hours.
Rigdzin Namkha Gyatso Rinpoche is the name of the Tibetan lama in Lausanne sued by former student.
From SogyalTruth on Twitter:
- Now we can add Namkha Rinpoche to the list of ill-named “Rinpoches” after Sogyal and Sakyong Mipham. We can also celebrate a brave woman who has spoken out to denounce him. This recent article from the Austrian press refers to all three lamas.