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Welcome to Beyond the Temple, the blog for a community of people with a shared background of Buddhist spiritual abuse.

Our experience with abusive gurus has led us to re-evaluate everything we believed, reaffirm the need for us to trust our own wisdom and practice kindness above all, and move, in one way or another, beyond the temple that previously held us in thrall. For some going beyond the temple means leaving the religion, but for others, it simply means taking the religion on their own terms with their eyes wide open and discernment intact.

‘This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple; your philosophy is simple kindness.’

HH Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. How to Expand Love: Widening the Circle of Loving Relationships; Atria Books, 2005; p. 6.

Details of Sogyal Rinpoche’s abuse of students in the Rigpa organisation can be found here. Posts on Rigpa’s (mis)handling of the abuse and ongoing issues are here.

Our posts aim to foster questioning, reflection and critical evaluation of aspects of our ongoing spiritual path as well as keeping an eye on any updates in the unfolding saga of spiritual abuse by Tibetan Buddhist lamas.

“Dwell with yourself as your own island, with yourself as your own refuge, take no other refuge. Take the Dhamma as your island, take the Dhamma as your refuge, take no other refuge. ‘

The Buddha, Mahāparinibbāna Sutta.

‘Do not accept any of my words on faith,
Believing them just because I said them.
Be like an analyst buying gold, who cuts, burns,
And critically examines his product for authenticity.
Only accept what passes the test
By proving useful and beneficial in your life.’

– The Buddha, the Jnanasara-samuccaya

Blog

Why Some Tibetan Buddhist Practictioners Can’t See Abuse as Abuse

When eight of his students wrote a combined letter that exposed Sogyal Rinoche’s abuse, I was initially amazed at how some people simply couldn’t see what he did as abuse. I figured that once it was out in the open, everyone would see how his behaviour constituted abuse. I was wrong, and some today still …

Poison is Medicine: Has Dzongsar Khyentse Clarified or Muddied the Waters?

Today we have a post by Joanne Clark as a follow up to her last post on Dzongsar Khyentse and nihilism. “In our practice, we may view the guru’s behavior as that of a mahasiddha, but in the   conventional world we follow the general Buddhist approach, and if a certain behavior is harmful, we should …

Rigpa’s Renewed Apology & the Teaching on the Four Powers of Confession

Rigpa’s renewed apology, published in the middle of October 2021, for ‘mistakes that have been made and harm that has been caused’ is a step in the right direction, but in the video I explain why it still falls short of what is required even in terms of their own teachings. I refer to the …