Speaking out publically is tough. Why? Because you wear a target on your back, and people just love to take pot shots at you. I have recently been accused of being self-serving, of using other people’s suffering as a means to elevate myself and I figured that if people were seeing my vlogs that way, then I had probably best keep them private – hence the title of my last post, ‘Going Private’ At the end of that post, I was very happy to think that I was moving out of the public sphere, but a few things have happened to change my mind.
First, I have this weird should I/ should I not relationship with being so public about my opinions. On the one hand I am aware that I am no one special, just an ordinary person who likes to live a quiet life free of personal attacks – hence my happiness to return to the shadows where my ego feels safe. On the other hand I am very aware of how much still needs to be examined in order to make sense of what happened, and I am driven to assist people in that examination for the sake of their psychological and spiritual health, and if I can help more people by being public, then public it must be.
Being in the public firing line is not a happy place for my ego, who would rather stay out of sight, but though some find my opinions not worth listening to, many others have told me that my vlogs really help them, and that they need to be seen by as many people as possible. As someone dedicated to acting for the benefit of beings, it seemes that for so long as people find me sharing my processing helpful, then I must find the courage to overcome my personal reticence and keep sharing publically. It seems that for the moment, exposing myself to possible ridicule this way is my path, arrows and all. At least I am becoming more immune to them.
I also watched an interview I did via Skype with Menno on his Bodhi blog and what I said in answer to his questions made me rethink my stance to go private. The interview is also on You Tube and you can see it below. Menno is doing a series of interviews with Rigpa members so take a look at them and keep an eye out for more.
I originally planned to share publically a vlog on why I wasn’t shutting up, then I decided to shut up. Now I realise that not shutting up is more important than any arrows that might pierce that target on my back. The reason is given in this vlog.
If we don’t examine the beliefs that got us into the Rigpa bind, then we can’t move on with our lives without there always being an unhealed wound in our heart. This blog and the What Now? facebook group was set up to help people process the revelations of abuse, and though I would like to be out of the firing line, the processing is not finished. Not by a long shot. In some ways the What Now Facebook group is hotting up again as we evaluate the things that we previously accepted without question. My vlogs are designed so people (particularly those not able to join the Facebook group or pay a $1 a month to be a patron) can follow our journey and be stimulated to process in the same way, and I say ‘our’ because I speak not just for myself.
What do you think?
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.
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13 Replies to “An Interview & Why I'm Not Shutting Up After All”
I watched your interview last night and I thought you came across very well. You were calm and concise and focussed on the important part of all this which was exposure. Exposure of SR’s (and I still think of him like that too, not SL – because like you I feel he is ‘precious’ to me) behaviour is something that needs to be ‘out there’ to break the mould. Secrecy and Vajrayana don’t and shouldn’t need to go hand in hand and teachers behaving like despots in charge of minor kingdoms is not and should never be acceptable.
I fully share your sense of reticence paired with a desire to speak out and those who are criticising you as Buddhists have obviously never taken the Bodhisattva vow to heart.
I support your ‘not shutting up’ and salute your bravery. And just keep on keeping on!
Thank you. I appreciate your support.
You are a brave and feisty woman Tahlia. I salute your integrity. As you know my own experience is similar to yours..except that i have been a target for extreme vilification for a lot longer. One’s skin does thicken up after a while. I do not regard your instinct to get out of the firing line as ego driven. More like a healthy impulse to safeguard your psycho emotional wellbeing. But glad you are OK to truck on.
Much love to you.
Please, keep on blogging & vlogging, Thalia! Your writing helped me to keep confidence in my own way of thinking.
That’s good to hear. My aim is always to be of benefit, but despite what Sogyal would have us believe intention alone isn’t enough. We must be skilful as well. This whole debacle shows us that. Anyway, it’s alsways good to have confirmation that the results are positive.
Tahlia, you really rocked in that interview in my opinion. You presented a clear, balanced, non-aggressive presentation of the situation. There is a case to be made again and again– and you’ve become a clear spokesperson for many. As you said, these problems are not going to go away until things are faced by the Tibetan Buddhist establishment (even though they seem to think they can simply let things blow over). So in that way, thank you for not shutting up!
At the same time, you want to make sure there is enough self care? There’s ego, but there’s also caring for self. It’s always a balance in my mind….
Yes, self-care and balance is important, and occiasonally I do hit a brick wall and have to step back for a while, but that’s okay. I always get back up again – so far.
Thank you, Tahlia.
Throughout the months you have provided a great amount of help for the many who have felt lost and hurt. You have also helped maintain the purity of the Buddhadharma, as it makes its way into modernity.
Please keep on going. Even when people try to hurt you in order to prevent you from saying what you think.
Such obstacles just show you are on the right track.
Your forum is valuable, so please keep on doing it, as long as your heart is in it. 🙂
Hi Thalia, very good decision, to not shut up! This blog is amazing and you are helping so many people.
I think I remember you from the Australian retreats 13 years ago and longer ago before I left.
Very brave, brilliant and compassionate work.