Karma, Impermanence and suffering in Action

“The world is afflicted by death and decay. But the wise do not grieve, having realized the nature of the world.” The Buddha (From the Sutta Nipata)

The story of what has been built up

For roughly forty years Sogyal Rinpoche built his community and worldwide network of Rigpa centres with the help of a band of devoted students which grew considerably after the success of his book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Over the years many students worked up to 7 days a week with no or little pay to build this network. Believing that he could do no wrong and that serving him without question was important for their spiritual development, those closest to him rushed to attend to his every whim, and accepted behaviour that an ordinary Westerner would see as abusive as a method of transformation that would speed up their spiritual development and even bring them to enlightenment in this lifetime. It was a successful formula for gaining students and keeping those who experienced hitting, public humiliation, and sexual coercion from seeing it as harmful. Instead of abuse, they called it a blessing. Add the Vajrayana instructions on not criticising your teacher – especially not in public – for fear of going to hell and Sogyal was set up to be able to do whatever he liked with impunity. And he did exactly what he liked, with, he assures us, the very best of intentions.
Sogyal Lakar/Rinpoche did a great deal to help establish the Tibetan Buddhist tradition in the West, and from the outside, apart from his lack of concern with being on time, his growling at students in public, questions about his fondness for young attractive women, and his fussiness over the placement of objects around him, he seemed to be a genuine teacher who brought benefit to a great number of people. Certainly, he introduced thousands to Buddhism through his book, and his teachings were conversational and so easily accessible by people who might not have sat through a formal teaching by a traditional Tibetan teacher. The majority of his students, including those now disenchanted with him, acknowledge the benefit they gained from their years as a student of Sogyal. He taught genuine Tibetan Buddhism, had the patronage of the Tibetan Buddhist community, and brought in other teachers to teach what he did not have the qualifications to teach himself. The list of achievements includes things like the Rigpa Shedra and the Rigpa Wiki. It’s no wonder Tibetan Buddhist teachers respected him.
But all this had a shadow side. Negative karma was also accumulating and karma cannot be escaped.

Why it is collapsing

Over the years many students who had worked at high levels in Rigpa for decades left and were never mentioned within the organisation again. Often they spent months or even years regaining their health after suffering either emotional or physical breakdowns or both. With the advent of the internet, some people did speak up publically about their experience of abuse at the hands of Sogyal, one even brought a court case, but the organisation always managed to weather the storm and carry on as usual. Students were told that those who spoke up publically were people with ‘an agenda’ an ‘ax to grind’, ‘unbalanced’ and so on. Anything that would dismiss their claims as having any truth. And yet there was truth there. Regardless of whether or not people thought anyone was being harmed, clearly some were being harmed. Their physical and emotional break downs attested to it.
Some of these students before they’d left had brought the abuses to the notice of those in management, but management did nothing to support those who felt abused or to stop it from happening again. Teaching the dharma builds good karma, but harming people builds negative karma, and you can’t outfox karma.

“Even an evildoer may see benefit
As long as the evil has yet to mature.
But when evil has matured,
The evildoer will meet with misfortune.”
“Don’t disregard evil, thinking,
“It won’t come back to me!”
With dripping drops of water
Even a water jug is filled.
Little by little,
A fool is filled with evil.”
The Buddha, v 119 & 121 Dhammapada. Gil Frondsal translation

6 months ago, 8 students who had worked closely with Sogyal realised that they and others had been the victims of abuse and decided it was time to let the community know exactly what was going on behind the scenes. They wrote a letter that detailed the kind of behaviour they experienced out of sight of the main student body and sent it to the community and associated lamas. This act began the decline of Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa as a respected teacher and organisation, and threw a spotlight on unhealthy interpretations of feudal-orientated teachings. Sogyal’s cancer had already been eating away at him for years, of course – a direct result of him not looking after his health properly.

The cause of suffering

The events that then unfolded are now being referred to by some as the Rigpa soap opera, due to the anger, hatred, infighting, denial, lies, fundamentalism, defensiveness, personal attacks, and, from some, an almost fanatical commitment to either singing Sogyal’s praises or bringing about the destruction of Sogyal and Rigpa.
And yet all of these human reactions come from attachment, aversion or denial of what is (ignorance), the three things that according to the Buddha’s teachings cause our suffering. The clinging is to fame, to livelihood, to being ‘right’, to known structures and so on, and to emotions and beliefs, even though events indicate that those beliefs may not be correct interpretations of reality. Much of this clinging is also denying the truth of impermanence, an aversion to those who are agents of change and to change itself. For some the aversion is simply to the person and institution that committed and supported the abuse, and a denial that they brought any benefit. For others ignorance/ignoring takes the form of denying, despite evidence to the contrary, that any harm has been done.
We are all in this soap opera together. And we all have our roles to play. I think it would help if more of us could step outside the play and so gain some freedom from it.


“What is born will die,
What has been gathered will be dispersed,
What has been accumulated will be exhausted,
What has been built up will collapse,
And what has been high will be brought low.”
Sogyal Rinpoche. Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

Because impermanence is a fact of existence, trying to keep something the same, clinging to how things were or are now, or even to how you would like them to be, is a recipe for suffering – Sogyal himself made it quite clear in his book – and pretending to change is not the same as accepting real change and flowing with it. It’s not just a matter of instituting a code of conduct and setting up an investigation, it’s a matter of accepting that the truth has been exposed, that the West does not accept the behaviour as allowable, and that the beliefs that contributed to this gross misconduct by a teacher must give way to a deeper and healthier understanding of the teachings.
“The world is afflicted by death and decay. But the wise do not grieve, having realized the nature of the world.” The Buddha.
Post by Tahlia Newland

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138 Replies to “Karma, Impermanence and suffering in Action”

  1. “Using your butt, tear down what you have built up with your hands”
    Its an old saying. The meaning might be clear.
    Merit can be build up, but what kind of merit.
    What is merit, speaking about Sogyal Lakar ?
    Seeing the positive side: thousand of people came, attracted by “the Book” and by being tibetan Buddhism well fashioned.
    Thousand of people left, many have lost their sincere interest in practicing Dharma due to understanding Dharma as same as following a corrupted abusive guru.
    The consequencens of Lakars abuse will last for decades, a sustainable acting obstacle for the Buddhadharma to flourish.
    So at least for this very negative effect, so my opinion,would it be more then essential for Lakar and the Rigpa topshots to say sorry.

  2. 1. “It’s not just a matter of instituting a code of conduct and setting up an investigation, it’s a matter of accepting that the truth has been exposed, that the West does not accept the behaviour as allowable, and that the beliefs that contributed to this gross misconduct by a teacher must give way to a deeper and healthier understanding of the teachings.”
    This is a good statement. Though I would go further that that and say
    -such behavior and activity is not acceptable nor tolerable but potentially criminal. Has the government of each country where Rigpa centers are located performed extensive audits?
    -the situation needs to come to court to put an end to such activity.
    2. As far as I understand SL must share in the credit for the book. Had he written it entirely himself, meaning no students helped him, he would not have a successful book. Would you agree? Could he in fact read and write English at the time? What role did AH and PG have?
    3. “He taught genuine Tibetan Buddhism, had the patronage of the Tibetan Buddhist community…”
    Firstly what would you qualify as ‘genuine’ Tibetan Buddhism? I would challenge this statement – is he a lineage holder that can trace his transmissions to the Buddha? Did he have the qualifications, experience, training, practice to teach? And did he have the patronage of the ENTIRE Tibetan Buddhist community? No.

    1. @concerned,
      It doesn’t matter if the ENTIRE Tibetan Buddhist community supported Sogyal. Enough did that he can be considered a “mainstream” lama, and for me that is the most disturbing part of this whole thing. He is not some fringe cult leader that all the lamas disapproved of, (such as Geshe Michael Roach, who is not considered mainstream anymore). No matter what the lamas SAY now to cover their own shame over the support they gave Sogyal. The fact is that most of them either supported him, or looked the other way, knowing full well what he was doing. That is something I cannot forget.
      As for Sogyal’s book, students often help translate and compile teachings from their teachers. I do think the book can be considered Sogyal’s book, since the book is made of transcriptions from his actual teachings. I am not a fan of Sogyal, but I think it is counterproductive to try and discredit his actual work. Yes, his student helped him transcribe, translate, edit and compile it, etc. But the student, (being worshipful, like most Vajra students), probably wanted to give Sogyal all the credit, and he probably would have refused to take any credit for Sogyal’s book, even if Sogyal would have had the decency to try and give him some credit.
      It’s not just a matter of trying to have a healthier understanding of the teachings, but a healthier skepticism about what the teachings actually teach. I’m not saying there aren’t some good teachings, but I question whether it is ALL just a misunderstanding. Also, if the teachings are that easy to misunderstand, something is wrong there too, imo. So even if it is just a “misunderstanding” I think they need to find a better way to explain the teachings so that people can understand them better and not jump to such harmful ideas that lead to abuse, etc.

  3. catlover
    1. good point
    2. you probably know better than I. I have only read that AH and PG had a major role
    3. you missed my point entirely. what is the author meaning by ‘genuine’ Tibetan buddhism? I am not questioning the dharma AT ALL. I am questioning the teacher. If it is taught properly and carefully teacher to student then there should be no misunderstandings. These rock star lamas who teach en masse and now on the internet and through books cannot monitor students’ understandings and progress.

    1. @concerned,
      “If it is taught properly and carefully teacher to student then there should be no misunderstandings.”
      That was my whole point. This is the whole problem. If the teachings were taught properly, people wouldn’t misunderstand, so something needs to be fixed. Right now, it seems to me that the teachings are so complex that one literally has to go to (Buddhist) college to really gain much understanding at all.

    2. The basic teachings on meditation and compassion that he gave are true to Buddhism and the Tibetan tradition. Some would say the rest were as well and so the fault is with the tradition, but there were many lacks in the way the Vajrayana was ‘taught’ (barely) in Rigpa, and things like unquestioning devotion were insisted on whereas other lamas do not see that as necessary. So some teachings were ‘genuine’, some were an unhealthy interpretation and some were distorted by incorrect emphasis or omission. (Madyamika for instance was non existent)

  4. A very good historical summary.
    It’s important to do this because many people don’t have the complete picture, and I find that almost everyone’s experience expressed in this blog adds to that, irrespective of the conclusions they draw.
    It’s interesting to read what people have to say but also to try and understand why they say it. There’s a very significant comment from Laura at the end of the previous thread, in which she says:
    “I just have to say, this is a extraordinary discussion. If I’d been able to find things like this ten years ago it might have hastened my exit from Rigpa. It would have at least explained what I was seeing from my safe seats in the crowd. But I hope it will now help many people.”
    It’s a very encouraging comment and what resonated for me was the expression: “safe seats in the crowd” because that, perhaps more than any other factor, might explain differences in attitudes to the entire issue, and to Tibetan Buddhism itself.
    Of course there are a lot of students who’ve had a ring-side seat to abuse for many years and may have even been victims themselves, but whose attitude has remained completely unchanged no matter what they’ve witnessed. The psychological processes involved are well understood: what could be described as a cult version of Stockholm Syndrome mixed with plain self-interest and indifference to the suffering of others.
    The French have a succinct and useful word for the net of intellectual and emotional techniques deployed to trap and control victims in abusive situations, which is applicable to Rigpa : “emprise.” It means: “hold”, “grip”or “influence” .
    For people who have completely freed or are in the process of freeing themselves from the “emprise” of Rigpa, the picture is more nuanced, and their experiential distance from the actual abuse often determines the degree of clarity of their understanding of what happened to them and the firmness of their position on what should be done about it.
    There’s been a lot of discussion here about the balance between the benefit and harm that can be attributed to Sogyal over the years and his motivation, and opinions on this also seem to be conditioned by this distance from the abuse and understandably, the amount of Tibetan Buddhist doctrine people have accepted, retained and integrated into their world view or their rejection of it as structurally flawed.
    It’s perhaps at this point that attitudes appear to diverge the most. Loosely speaking, it seems that in some cases, the more Tibetan religious doctrine individuals retain and value, the more benevolent or lenient their overall view of Sogyal is, and the less importance and urgency they attach to secular values such as justice and formal redress for his victims.
    Of course this is not at all to say that any committed Buddhists would ever deny the value of these things, ( except possibly if they were a Vajrayana believer in ‘Crazy Wisdom.’)
    But often their emphasis and assessment is substantially different to those who take a purely secular view of how criminal abuse should be dealt with in society, rejecting any peripheral analysis of the spiritual merits and demerits of the abuser, or such religious concepts as positive and negative karma, which they see as having no real substance or relevance and only serving to add an obfuscatory layer of complexity to an already complex issue.
    If someone has a view of events that’s strongly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, and they think it’s possible for them to somehow rise above events and look at them with dispassionate equanimity from a Buddhist perspective, then of course it’s their prerogative to express that view and hopefully be able to apply to it to their own lives.
    But it’s not wise to lose sight of the fact that religious belief is strictly a matter of individual choice.
    When the events concern long term criminal abuse, violence, deception and exploitation such as Sogyal’s, which affect a very large number of people with widely differing outlooks, it becomes a collective issue and in a secular society such as ours, the strictly secular, collective principles of justice and morality should have absolute priority and be applied, because these, rather than religion, are the common denominators to all of us, and they’re designed to ensure that pragmatic rationality and equality prevail.
    Unlike theocracies, healthy democratic societies maintain a strict separation of religion and state. We all live in and benefit from such a society, so it’s hypocritical to suggest that religious considerations should be included in an evaluation of abuse and abusers. It’s taken centuries of strife to emancipate society from the imposition of religion, it no longer has any relevance to the administration of the Law nor any moral authority in modern western societies.
    It’s also a dangerous mistake for religious sensibilities to be used as a pretext for censoring other people’s views? just because they might not include or contradict religious attitudes, nor is it useful for mystical beliefs be super-imposed on the discussion of criminality in a secular society .
    Personally, I don’t see this as a “soap opera” because I don’t find it entertaining and for many of us it’s certainly not illusory.
    However, I can see “fanatical commitment” to Sogyal….. but none whatsoever to ‘ destroying’ him or Rigpa…..after all, as far as I know, no one is calling for the Death Penalty or a drone strike on Lerab Ling, so I think that kind of hyperbole isn’t helpful…..many of us are victims and simply want justice.

    1. The following quote from you is not my experience at all, but then I think perhaps you are not in contact with those who still wish to follow Tibetan Buddhism while completely rejecting everything Sogyal and his minions have done. You said: “Loosely speaking, it seems that in some cases, the more Tibetan religious doctrine individuals retain and value, the more benevolent or lenient their overall view of Sogyal is, and the less importance and urgency they attach to secular values such as justice and formal redress for his victims.”
      Yes, it is a personal choice to remain part of the religion, but remaining part of the religion DOES NOT mean that one has any acceptance for Sogyal’s behaviour at all. Rather people look for a lama who does not insist on complete obedience, who treats his or her students with respect and particularly those who make clear statements against abuse by lamas. Not all lamas are like S, just as not all Catholic priests are pedophiles.
      I say this as one who no longer considers themselves part of the tradition but who is in contact with many that do.

      1. @Moonfire
        It’s very encouraging to hear that you take such a firm and unambiguous stand. Incidentally, I’m in contact with a lot of people,
        The statement is qualified at the start with “loosely speaking” and I wasn’t talking about acceptance, but rather the degree of severity with which he is viewed.
        The obedience demanded doesn’t have to be complete ( although the vajrayana clearly says it does, but lamas are playing that down now for obvious reasons ) any degree of obedience or subservience is a potential problem.
        I don’t mean to be pedantic, but you may well find a lama who’ll make clear statements against abuse by lamas, but none that will make clear statements about abuse by Sogyal himself, and you’ll have even more trouble finding one that doesn’t, as Margie said so eloquently, implicitly endorse him.
        That implies a lack of respect for victims and students alike.
        The difficult question people need to ask themselves is not which lama but why do they need one in the first place.

  5. I’ve been following the situation very closely over the months, but this is the first comment that I’ve left on any blog related to it. What prompted me to write this is the shocking silence of the Tibetan teachers who have been closely connected to Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa over the years.
    When ‘the’ letter was published in July last year, some dharma friends and I immediately stopped going to our local Rigpa centre in London. Even though I still miss going there, I will never compromise my values as a mother of two daughters who are the same age as some of the young women that Sogyal Rinpoche had absued.
    Ever since His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke out against Sogyal Rinpoche, I honestly believed that all of the Tibetan teachers who have been connected to Rigpa over the years would have immediately followed suit, particularly as their Mahayana teachings state that being a passive onlooker when others are being abused is the antithesis of the bodhisattva’s path of compassion in action.
    Quite simply, if these influential Tibetan teachers remain silent while continuing to teach at Rigpa, they should know that they are implicitly endorsing Sogyal Rinpoche, as it is widely known that Rigpa is synonymous with his activities.
    Anybody who denies the power of implicit endorsement should just take a look at the world around them, and see the amount of people who blindly emulate anything that celebrities do. Throughout the years, myself and others at Rigpa used to hear of allegations about Sogyal Rinpoche’s behaviour, but we always dismissed them on the grounds of the numerous Tibetan teachers’ implicit endorsements when they taught at Rigpa while never speaking out. Looking back now, I feel so ashamed of myself for thinking like that, but that’s the way it was back then. And as long as there are Tibetan teachers who continue to implicity endorse in this way without speaking out, there will always be other innocent people at risk.
    On a positive note, Hollywood’s Golden Globe film awards were held last night, and it was dominated by the famous who spoke out against sexual abuse. I never thought I’d be saying this, but if you want to learn about how to combat sexual abuse with compassion in action, just take a look at this one minute video clip from the BBC – it gives me great hope that justice will always eventually prevail:

    1. @ Margie, thank you for speaking up. I think that there are still many people out there watching and waiting, struggling to understand what has happened and how they should respond. Just like the MeToo movement, the more people who speak out the easier it is for others to see more clearly what is and what isn’t the dharma.

    2. @ Margie
      Thanks, your comment really cheered me up this morning.
      I’ve been trying to point out the significance of moral complicity with Sogyal for a while, referring to every lama who has or will teach at a Rigpa centre anywhere in the world. But you’ve put it much better than I have. Your phrase “implicit endorsement “ sums it up perfectly. I hope more and more people will come to understand the implications with as much clarity as you.
      It can be difficult, but even if you do miss it, you’ve definitely done the right thing. My wife and I walked away abruptly after fifteen years and a lot of hard work and commitment, well over twenty years ago and we’ve never regretted it for a single moment since.
      Your comment about having daughters the same age as some of Sogyal’s victims and leaving the London Centre brought back a vivid memory of the when I was doing the refurbishment at Caledonian Road.
      I was supervising a delivery and the driver came in and looked round, then asked in a broad North London accent: “Wossis place then ?” Someone said rather piously, : “It’s a Buddhist meditation centre.” To which he replied: “Aaah…..right….it’s one of them places where they take yer money and shag yer daughter.”
      That was a long time ago, and now finally, what that guy articulated so accurately is slowly becoming part of our collective understanding, but as you said, there will always be innocent people at risk unless the entire establishment of Tibetan Buddhism, lamas and students alike, fully acknowledge the truth.
      Sadly I don’t think that’s a possibility, because going beyond some bland superficial statements about ‘ethics’ and ‘disgrace’ would entail an honest in-depth self-analysis of the way that the entire structure of Vajrayana is based on Guryoga, a relationship of power, dominance and submission, which, given human nature makes abuse and exploitation inevitable.
      Tibetan Buddhism is an organized and well-resourced religion that now covers the developed world and extends across Asia, basically a multi-billion dollar business network…..so that potentially damaging self-analysis is never going to happen.
      I think average western practitioners see only a very small part of the picture: they receive teachings from a lama and fondly imagine that after he leaves he’s going back to his beloved monastery in India or humble retreat hut in the mountains to continue his austere spiritual life of meditation and ritual.
      But it’s much more likely he’s en route in business class to his many centres in the US, Europe, Australia, Taiwan or Hong Kong as part of his regular round the world touring that nets him enormous amounts of tax-free money year after year. Then there are donations from wealthy patrons, all the international revenue from the regular retreats, books, videos, online teachings and so on.
      When I point out that there’s always been a long term collective policy of supporting Sogyal and that lamas might have less than pure motives for that, I get accused of unjustified speculation and even being a conspiracy theorist, but so far no other explanations, not even obscure spiritual ones, have been offered.
      A Tibetan lama I knew quite well, once asked me: ”Why are there no lamas in Africa?” I just looked blank and wondered if it was some sort of Tibetan koan, then he replied: “There’s no money there!”…..and he started giggling.

      1. @Pete,
        I am amazed that the lama you mentioned was honest enough to even joke about why there are no lamas in Africa. At least he didn’t deny it! 😀

    3. Margie, I kept my growing daughter away from Rigpa too. How sad. How split we all were inside, justifying the things we observed and hearing weird explanations for them. “Training”, hah! Take it all onto the path. Etc. etc.
      Wasn’t the Golden Globe show a fantastic experience to watch? Wow. Power of women. It made me think so much about Rigpa.
      All the best to you.

    4. @everybody
      I would like to clarify something that I wrote on January 8, 2018.
      I wrote, “If Tibetan teachers remain silent while continuing to teach at Rigpa, they should know that they are implicitly endorsing Sogyal Rinpoche, as it is widely known that Rigpa is synonymous with his activities.”
      Firstly, I was only referring to the regular Tibetan teachers who teach at Rigpa, and moreover, only to those who would have actually heard about the allegations.
      Secondly, I was only referring to the point that these Tibetan teachers should know about the fact that it is highly likely that Western culture will see their presence at Rigpa as an implicit endorsement of Sogyal Rinpoche, whether these Tibetan teachers are knowingly implicitly endorsing him or not.
      Many of these Tibetan teachers may not understand Western culture, and therefore they may not understand that Westerners will automatically presume that their presence at Rigpa is an implicit endorsement of Sogyal Rinpoche. If they don’t understand this, they should be informed.
      At the end of the day, I honestly believe that these Tibetan teachers that I refer to, do not condone abuse of any kind. They are simply unknowingly not meeting our Western cultural expectations of speaking out.
      To go on a witch hunt and condemn any Tibetan teacher who remains silent is not what I ever intend to do. I admit, I am a westerner, and I want them to speak out, but to expect them to is perhaps not thoroughly understanding the totality of our cultural differences and complexities. And I’m certainly not going to be blindly cynical and turn their silence into a conspiracy theory and use it to attack Tibetan Buddhism, which unfortunately some people might do.
      I am so grateful for what these Tibetan teachers have passed on to me, and I will continue to study and practice it everyday, as it is immensely beneficial. Moreover, even though I respect all traditions of Buddhism, I will continue with my practices with the Nyingma tradition, but simply no longer through Sogyal Rinpoche or Rigpa.
      I’m getting old now, and I just want to quietly get on with my practice and life.
      I wish you all the very best,

    1. Margie great comments. I watched the Golden Globes, too. We need an Oprah in the buddhist world! Sogyal would probably never come out of his hiding if she were involved.

  6. Isn’t it ironic that people from the land of fantasy and lies (Hollywood) are doing a better job of this than Tibetan Buddhist’s?
    I find Khandro R to be the worst of the lot, I expect more from a woman…such empathy and compassion (not) that she’s shown over the years publicly victim blaming those who went to her for advice…https://buddhism-controversy-blog.com/2013/05/21/use-common-sense-khandro-rinpoche-about-sexual-abuse-by-buddhist-teachers-in-the-tibetan-buddhist-tradition/
    This started out being about one man’s foibles, it’s becoming a very scathing expose of a backward culture that is ‘selling’ the dharma.
    I don’t include all Tibetan Buddhist teachers in this, but the number that fit the description is alarming.

    1. Thank you Not so Hopeful for bringing a more critical perspective to Khandro’s advice on Lamas who prey on young vulnerable women. I expressed my thoughts at the time on Tenpel’s blog post. Long story short, i think she is victim blaming as she doesn’t take into account the obligations built into us as Vajrayana students to obey our Gurus.
      However, there has recently been some discussion of these words of Khandro Rinpoche on the Sogyal thread on DharmaWheel. For my money, the dominant perspective expressed by one DW moderator is just mansplaining. For anyone interested, it’s mainly on page 42 & 43. The thread is closed now (not for the first time) but sometimes i think they open up closed threads when people want to add something. https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=26105&start=820

      1. When I first read KR’s response I was much more open to seeing it as practical, but then KR gave private advice to the people running rigpa london that was shared with all of the management teams, I think sl even had it played at retreats a few times. She basically pre-excuses him for anything he might do because of his greatness and in a complete asshole move says ‘if you don’t want him in the west give him back to the Tibetans’…I lost all respect for her when I heard her comments, even though I was still an sl devotee, the hypocrisy of pre-excusing someone of anything they might do is an abuse of power and shows a complete lack of respect for cause and effect.
        She’s an integral part of the corrupt power structure and a member the good old boys club.

        1. Seems that way, which is very disappointing. You know she wrote a guru yoga for Osel Tenzin, Trungpa’s utterly disgraced Vajra Regent? It’s on tenpel’s blog.

        2. Not so hopeful is there a place we can read her talk to the private audience in London? Would be good to read it to know what else she is saying. This is distressing to hear.

          1. Hi Concerned, I only have an audio snip, if you write to my email address notsohopeful@gmail.com I can send to you. She doesn’t say exactly what I remembered, but it’s very close, I think I remembered sl’s comments about it. Nevertheless, it’s clear she holds sl in very high esteem and imagines that he’s given up his life for his western students…

            1. Not so hopeful, can you transcribe it and post it here? Then all can read and make conclusions for themselves.
              Also, even though you label yourself not so hopeful, ironically I am finding this very hopeful for the sake of the future of western students around the globe- because of you and your fellow students’ courage to take a stand, many many people have been waking up. It is a painful process to learn about the abuses of students and to learn of the complicity of other lamas within Rigpa. Now we can know the the positions of these lamas and with this kind of knowledge people can make better decisions. I find it very good this has come to light. Thankyou thank you thank you. Time’s up Mr Lakar.

              1. @ concerned
                I’m really sorry but I had a rough time listening to it, transcribing would be torture. If you want to transcribe it I’d be happy to send it to you. If you don’t want your identity known, which I completely understand, make up a new email and write to me from there.

                1. not so hopeful I will decline. I have spent a lot of time around Khandro Rinpoche and have high regard for her. In thinking of your offer to listen to her audio, I decided I don’t want to taint that right now. The thing to keep in mind is she is very direct and sees both sides. If you don’t feel she sees your POV then I suggest you write her a letter directly and explain your POV and beseech her support. She is very diplomatic in fact and very reasonable in her dealings with people.

        3. The problem with “giving him back to the Tibetans” is that the Tibetans don’t seem much interested in him as a guru, or they would have been flocking to Rigpa long ago. 😀 The Tibetan lamas were more interested, (because Sogyal and his Rigpa centers generated a lot of revenue), but the lay Tibetan people….eh…..not so much. I think if the West gave him back to the Tibetans, they wouldn’t know what to do with him! They would send him back! 😀

    2. Thanks for that link. I was trying to find something to link her name with and this is the perfect thing. Out of the teachers teaching at Rigpa only Tsoknyi Rinpoche made a statement that made it clear that he does not condone abuse. The others, as someone said, are complicit by their silence.

  7. @not so Hopeful anymore…
    Yes, I totally agree that the number is too high to be able to dismiss it as just one misbehaving fringe teacher who is an exception. That is what makes it the most disturbing to me. It is an alarming number. It’s an even greater number of teachers who just stood by and let it happen, while they knew what was going on, but they didn’t have the courage, or the integrity to speak out.

  8. Does anyone know what’s happened to the Open Buddhism fb page? It’s coming up ‘page not found’. I’m not a member so they can’t have blocked me!

    1. Yes catlover, it’s come back now. In the meantime i’d checked it out on my phone & the most interesting post has now slipped down the page: the Dutch director of Rigpa & her partner have quit. Very interesting statement in which she refers to Rinpoche’s disease: i thought she meant his mental afflictions, i now realise it must be the cancer.

  9. This is a google translation but you can get the general idea of it.
    It’s quite sad that rigpa is allowing philp and patrick to destroy the organization with their deceitful tactics. They could have chosen truth, they could have said, we too have been abused, let’s support our teacher to get help. I guess I understand why in their delusion they think it will work. The fact is it worked for 4 decades but that was before the advent of the internet, it’s a lot harder to get away with such an egregious breach of trust in this day and age.
    WAKE UP faithful rigpa sangha, they are only two men, with very little legal clout, when are the rest of you going to apply the teachings and get some help for sl who has so thoroughly lost his way?
    Rigpa will be destroyed by them if someone doesn’t show some integrity and leadership very soon.
    Quite sad to see Vincianne in the mix, lie down with dogs and you will get fleas.
    From: Marlies Musch
    Date: January 7, 2018 at 19:59
    Subject: Message from Stephan and Marlies
    To: Stephan Peters
    Best sanghavriend (in)
    It is our incredibly hard to write this letter, we still want you, in the context of openness and transparency, notify our decision to cancel our membership at Rigpa and to distance themselves from the decisions Rigpa organization makes.
    We can no longer connect us with the way the (international) organization continues to draw in the alleged investigation Rinpoche’s behavior and internal culture that has made this possible.
    Despite our not express gratitude for everything we have received from Rinpoche and our intense grief over his illness, we believe that he should have come forward to explain his behavior in an open and transparent manner and to justify , if only because of the fact that people are damaged to indicate to feel by his hands.
    We had much trouble with the slow pace of the investigation into the conduct of Rinpoche got going but with the way Rigpa itself again and again seems to cover. Now recently, without awaiting the outcome of this study, the rate Rigpa Rinpoche and his sail become clear plan. This shows that international Rigpa again seems to choosing the same “solution” as to allegations in the past.
    Instead of actual disclosure Rinpoche will again teach the Sangha and will be prompted internal faithfulness and loyalty again. This causes an unsafe environment where eventually all criticism can be dismissed as a lack of understanding or devotion.
    This otherworldly persistent policy of divide and rule combined within the organization with the creation of a legal dispute outwardly marginalize the suffering of so many people involved, and that is the limit for us.
    Every day we reflect on our own role and share in this and that is not easy. Right now we need distance to get clear where our devotion and loyalty have caused a blind spot where the true value of education remains intact.
    Of course everyone wants to teaching at heart to protect it at any cost, but by the lack of empathy in the way it seems to happen is our opinion only more division and confusion encouraged.
    Very sad we are about all the suffering caused both by anyone herein in any way has also emerged, as in others, including ourselves.
    The love for you, our brothers and sisters inside and outside of the Sangha, will remain in our hearts. We are grateful for all that we have shared with you on the path, both in study and practice and in collaboration. We continue to pray fervently that compassion, wisdom, recognition and understanding will enable a real openness and that we will meet in the open again.
    with kind regards
    Marlies Musch and Stephan Peters

      1. @ Jan de Vries she was the Holland ND. She left just before the letter came out, apparently she’d been trying to quit for more than a year, working for rigpa destroyed her health😔
        Their note is very significant, it shows that people who know what it’s like behind the scenes in recent years are starting to come forward, it’s very encouraging.

  10. OMG! My facebook news feed greeted me this morning with a very confronting post from DKR. His text is #metoo, the image of a young woman in underwear in a ‘come hither’ pose. His image is juxtaposed to the front of the picture, heavily shaded.
    DKR specifically stated in his diatribe on Sogyal that his teachers hadn’t abused him. Are we to assume that the attention he receives from young women equates to real sexual harassment? Give me a break.
    Whatever unwelcome attention he may or may not be receiving, surely it’s a function of his own behaviour? He needs to deal with his personal issues – retreat would seem to be the best option.
    Some good comments on the thread, particularly Erik Jampa Andersson. A Lama had better have a very sound reason for playing around with such sexualised imagery which is pervasive in our modern world. He’s not Drukpa Kunley and we don’t need pictures of scantily clad women to jolt us out of some imagined prudishness.
    This is a guy who plans to open a Buddhist school for young children.

    1. @matilda7,
      Just more of the same, old b.s. from a teacher (DKR) who has long prided himself on using so-called “crazy wisdom” to justify his desire to fool around with young women, and use sexual imagery to tease and provoke people. He’s acting like an immature teenager in a middle aged man’s body. Maybe he is going through a mid life crisis, but you’d expect a spiritual teacher to be able to deal with his won issues in a more mature manner. It’s shameful that a spiritual teacher should act this way.

      1. So i guess the image comes from his personal collection 🙁 Personally i find it really concerning how young this woman appears – borderline underage. While none of his misogynistic posts are great references for someone planning to start a Buddhist school, this last post really should send out alarm bells concerning his suitability for such a venture.

        1. @ Rose. Yes, you’ve provided some valuable insights into the habits of a superstar lama. But who could have predicted that DKR would vent such sleazy misogynistic weirdness in public? Usually such foibles are confined to the inner sanctum. Even Sogyal calibrated his public persona more carefully.
          DKR seems to be hellbent on asserting patriarchal dominance over women using crazy wisdom – or just crazy – tactics. I’m pretty convinced he’s unwell.

          1. @Rose,
            The phrase “you have merit” is just a convenient form of flattery to make the student feel special and butter them up so that they will be willing and compliant. When the student does something “wrong” then of course the student becomes “ignorant” or “deluded” and any other derogatory phrase you care to name. 😀 It’s just a “carrot and stick” form of psychological manipulation, and the lamas know how to manipulate extremely well.

          2. @matilda7,
            Yes, it’s true that most of the lamas hide their misogynistic weirdness from the pubic, (although that doesn’t make it any better). I think that DKR just doesn’t care what people think of him, so he reveals himself without any fear or shame.

          3. @Rose, i think these recollections of yours (and also Catlover’s recent post about her friend) really do serve to uncover the extent of promiscuity amongst the contemporary crop of prominent Lamas. I’m somewhat surprised, i guess i haven’t really been exposed to much of this over the past 30 years.
            I’m glad i knew DKR before any of this. Of course non-gelong Lamas have always had affairs, some long-term and some that gave rise to children whom they may or may not have chosen to acknowledge and support financially.
            What i’m finding hard to stomach from an ethical Buddhist perspective is that sleeping around seems to have become the ‘new normal’. I can see that from the perspective of a young woman on the Buddhist path, being seduced by a Lama might seem exciting, inviting a sense of being chosen for her special qualities. As you’ve articulated Rose, such a prospect is presented as beneficial for the woman’s practice. Then when she’s abandoned, that’s a teaching on attachment, right?
            The aspect i wonder about is whether these women actually do possess some special spiritual qualities or whether they’re just chosen for their physical attractiveness. The latter would certainly be the case for Sogyal’s Lamacare ‘consorts’. But when a high Lama marries he generally chooses a yeshe khandro who’s properly trained (or has the capacity to be so) in tantric practices.
            So my question is Rose, in your experience, do you think the women who’ve had these dalliances are yeshe khandros, or just jigten khandros, or ordinary women. Of course we ordinary mortals can’t really determine such things but genuine wisdom dakinis do often convey a kind of sublime nature that is hard to ignore, in my experience. I’d appreciate your thoughts on this but in case you’d rather respond privately, here’s my email address hometruthz@fastmail,fm (I haven’t had any problems putting this address out on these Buddhist blogs). thanks.

            1. @matilda7,
              I realize you’re addressing Rose, but I might be able to add a bit of insight into your question.
              I knew a lama, (who has passed away now), who married a really beautiful consort, and she is considered to be an emanation of Tara. She was certainly more than just qualified to be a consort. (I would rather not say who they are, but they are famous, very high up, well respected lamas.) Despite the fact that he had married a true dakini, he STILL had other consorts and seemed to prey on women who were vulnerable. Why did he need them, is what I keep asking? Why wasn’t his beautiful wife-dakini enough for him? There seemed to be a pattern where he would rescue some poor, homeless woman, or some woman who was in some kind of desperate situation, and then she would be oh, so grateful! It seemed that these women would often become his consorts, (or sex toys?) His main consort, who wasn’t his wife, (but she was like his “unofficial” wife in practice), was very jealous of all of his other consorts, and often caused trouble for them, to the point where one of them even had to leave. I never let on that I knew all this stuff that was going on, but I could piece it together after a few years of associating with the sangha, (and a few people gossiped to me, even though I didn’t ask for gossip).
              Unfortunately, the lama who abused my friend was a Gelug lama, (and no, I don’t mean Geshe Michael Roach). He was a Tibetan lama, who was supposed to be a “monk” (ha ha) and his behavior caused many people to leave his center in disgust. From what she told me, he was cruel, not only to her, but to other women around him as well. He is an example of a typical sort of lama, who pretends to be a monk to the public, but who acts likean *ss hole in private. And in his case, it wasn’t even all that secret because he flaunted his behavior in front of people anyway.
              As for who is really a dakini, I realize one can’t always tell, but when lamas have MANY partners, it’s obvious that most of them wouldn’t be qualified to be actual dakinis. It seems the lamas often prey on women who are not beautiful, (by Western standards), but one has to realize that their standards of beauty are a bit different. Also, they aren’t too fussy. They often like older, slightly plump women, and while Westerners might believe that it’s a sign of the lama’s enlightenment to choose “plainer” partners, it really isn’t. They are just attracted to types of women who aren’t represented in the Western media. What people don’t realize is that the media often does not reflect reality at all. The reality is that men often prefer plumper women, and older women too. it’s a myth that they all have to be young. having said that, the lamas also love young women too, and often prey on them because they are innocent.
              Where am I going with this? I don’t know. Just some thoughts in response to your interesting question.

              1. Also, unfortunately, sleeping around has not become the “new” normal. It is very much the “old” normal and they have been behaving like this for centuries. I think they were thrilled to discover hippy culture in the 1960s and 1970s because it was very much in harmony with what they already practiced. “Free love” with no attachment is what they have been practicing for millennia. I’m not knocking hippy culture, for those who enjoyed it. I’m just saying that the lamas fit in very well with that culture and exploited it to the max. There is nothing “new” about their behavior, nor were they corrupted by the West. In fact, it might even be partially the other way around.

                1. I disagree that there is nothing ‘new’ about their behavior, as though they may have had more than one wife or consort in Tibet or Bhutan, coming to the west seemed to allow them to pursue their every whim and fantasy and play on the naivety of young women. Tibetan and Bhutanese women would NEVER do what these lamas dreamt about and carried out in the west. Do you see Tibetan and Bhutanese women dressing in short skirts and thongs and dancing for lamas, lining up to bathe the lamas and sleep with them? Having a lama like DKR tell them to sway their hips? It must be terribly boring for DKR to teach in Bhutan and SL certainly never spent much time in the east (except now he’s hiding out there right?).
                  I find it very unfortunate that TR set the stage as he did, as it very much seems DKR and SL wanted to follow suit. very unfortunate. It’s a bad recipe with repressed asian adolescent boys in a liberal western candy store. I really hope the days of naivety come to an end and people see through it. I’m so sick of these vajrayana gangs who misuse the teachings to gain power, sex, and money.
                  It’s time to reassess if some of these lamas have caused us to be better people with integrity and admirable qualities. Note: I say ‘some’. Not all. Good ones are there.

                2. @concerned,
                  While it’s true that many Asian women in Tibet and Bhutan behave differently than Western women, and they don’t wear short skirts, they are often slaves to men and will do anything the men tell them to do. Because they are raised to never complain, express jealousy, or assert themselves at all, men often treat them very badly, flaunt other partners around, and use them for sexual favors. The Asian women may not talk about it, but it is happening all the time, especially in Vajrayana circles. They are more likely to keep it secret and never say anything about it, no matter what. Complaining and asserting oneself is not considered a virtue in Asian society, and women are taught to behave like little obedient flowers with men.
                  You may think that this has nothing to do with it, but it has everything to do with it….a poll was conducted in Bhutan (that “utopian” society where they have “gross national happiness” instead of “gross national product”) and shockingly, the majority of the Bhutanese women honestly believed that they deserved to be beaten if they burned the dinner. And people in the West are surprised when the lamas treat Western women that way and try to make them subservient?

                3. I meant to say that the Bhutanese women believed they deserved to be beaten by their husbands if they burned the dinner.

                4. It’s true that the eager naivety of Western women is astounding, especially since many of these women are supposedly “liberal” and “liberated.” The lamas take full advantage of that situation. But that doesn’t mean Asian women are not also used and abused, nor does it mean the lamas weren’t promiscuous in Asia, as well as in the West. I think they have pretty much the same attitude anywhere, although I think the really enjoy laughing at how gullible Westerners are.

                5. Yes catlover, true true. Thanks for your points. I think of poor OT’s wife – boy can he yell at her and she jumps to attention. I was just thinking how lamas like TR, SL, DKR took it to new levels in the west. Indeed it is all astounding how the naivety has carried on. But maybe things will change as more and more people speak out and wake up from this nightmare.

              2. thankyou catlover, for your insights. There’s a few Tibetan cultural norms that are coming into play here. They’ve traditionally had a more fluid definition of marriage. Several brothers marry the one woman so that their plot of land doesn’t diminish in size from each brother getting a share of it. Or sometimes one woman can have a couple of unrelated husbands and that’s considered acceptable – while the Western Christian ethos may regard such arrangements as licentious. So these traditional customs seem to be carried over into the way non-celibate lamas conduct their relationships.
                Also of course tibetan society is heavily patriarchal, enabling men, including lamas, to have flings as they choose. As you’ve pointed out, such behaviours can lead to some very messy dynamics.
                It seems we’ve had different experiences of how captivated the current crop of lamas are by conventional western standards of beauty. I guess it’s hard to generalise. And yes, i would tend to regard it as “a sign of the lama’s enlightenment to choose “plainer” partners”. I guess the bottom line for me is when i see a Lama with a stunning western consort i tend to think she may have been largely chosen for her looks but in the past i would have assumed she was a genuine dakini.
                However, when the consort is Tibetan, i tend to assume she is indeed a dakini, regardless of physical appearance. That’s my cultural bias, based on experience.

              3. Also, you’ve raised that issue; why do they need a multitude of consorts? Is it just male bravado and an insatiable desire for sexual pleasure which is enhanced by fresh opportunities? Or would they try to justify it in terms of the tantras? Gotta get that shakti up!

                1. @matilda7,
                  I have come to the sad conclusion that many lamas are addicted to sex and that’s really all there is to it. Nothing more, nothing less. They like women, ALL types of women, and it doesn’t matter if she is plain or looks like a model. (Although they prefer the younger models, they will also go for the plain Janes as well.) It has nothing to do with enlightenment, but just men enjoying sex with as many women as possible. When it does have to do with a real dakini, I think that’s more rare.
                  I think the lamas who act this way even delude themselves into thinking the women they seek are dakinis in order to justify their own sexual desire. They have too much pride to admit they are just human men with ordinary sexual desires, so they have to make it into something “spiritual” because they can’t admit they are just human. The whole thing is just so pathetic, imo! I wouldn’t have so much problem with it if they would just admit they are human, and have normal, healthy, mundane relationships without having to “dress it up” in so-called “tantric” garb, lol!

                2. Catlover, concerning your most recent point on the seeming insatiability of some lamas for physical pleasure, i wonder why this aspect is never covered by female buddhist academics and author practitioners. So much has been written recently by women on the feminine in Vajrayana and the dakini aspect but no-one wants to discuss this particular elephant in the room. Whether it is as pervasive as you believe, it certainly merits open discussion notwithstanding the indelicate and controversial nature of the matter. This is one topic that male Buddhist authors will never touch!

                3. I’m lucky that I never personally got involved with lamas in an intimate way. But my friend heard and witnessed a lot of things. Using her teacher as an example, he was a “monk” but he acted more like DKR. As with DKR, he liked young, beautiful Western women, but when the most beautiful girls weren’t around, he was more than happy to play around with middle aged, plain Janes as well. As soon as a new pretty face showed up, he would dump the previous one in favor of the new one, especially if the new one was prettier. They just take what they can get, I’m afraid.
                  As for why women Buddhist academics won’t touch this issue….well, they are brainwashed too. They believe they are bound to secrecy, if they are involved with the Vajrayana. Many others are just too naive to believe that many lamas are predatory wolves. (I’m not saying ALL lamas are, but I think it’s more than just a small number.)

              4. Concerning the Gelugpas, here is an interesting post from Tibetan Feminist Collective. I read it a while back, think it’s from a westerner for memory. http://www.tibetanfeministcollective.org/2016/08/01/an-open-letter-about-a-monk-who-isnt/
                And here is a response that could be seen as judgemental/victim blaming although i do take her point that Tibetan society isn’t really responsible for the boyfriend’s behaviour: http://www.tibetanfeministcollective.org/2016/08/05/response-answer-to-an-open-letter-about-a-monk-who-isnt/

            2. Hi Matilda,
              I’m very tired just now but grateful for your insights and interest on this topic.
              I’m more than happy to share my observations and experiences privately but there is just a lot to say and clarify and put into context and rather than type it all out, would you be open to chatting via skype/phone to make it easier? It would help me to be able to talk about it with someone else and I would value your feedback. I understand if you would prefer not tho and I’ll try and put my thoughts down in bullet points perhaps tmrrw when not so tired.
              Let me know 😊

              1. Yes of course rose, it would be a privilege to chat with you. Please email me and we can set something up. Don’t worry about writing something unless you feel up to it. Cheers

              2. @ Rose and Matilda
                I would really love to talk to you, you can email me at notsohopeful@gmail.com, I can share my skype name. I am also tired of writing and get very discouraged when people get critical or find something discouraging to say about other people’s posts, it’s a real conversation stopper.
                One thing that I haven’t seen mentioned here (someone may have said it and I missed it) is that many Tibetan lamas use the excuse that having sex with beautiful young women prolongs their life. Even if there were some truth to this, based on higher testosterone levels, they are basically saying it’s OK to use young women like a drug to prolong their lives. This was the reason given by sl for Khandro, being ‘given’ to JKCL who was 36 years older than him…

                1. Sorry, he was 36 years older than her, dumped in a strange place with her sister’s 6-month-old baby (at least that’s one version of the story). Talk about messed up…be a sex slave for someone old enough in those days to be your grandfather and take care of another woman’s baby.

                2. Yep, that’s very common, I’m afraid. I have heard about this so often. They believe that a young “consort” can prolong the life of the lama, so it’s good “merit” for her to give him long life. In Asia, the women really believe it and feel honored to be of service to the lama. Western women get really confused and disturbed because their own values tell them something is wrong, but the brainwashing from lamas makes them start to believe they are special too. It’s really sad.

                3. I heard yesterday that JKCL was sleeping also with Khandro’s sister and mother! Think it may have been from his biography which I haven’t read and no longer wish to either.

                4. @not so hopeful, Rose and Matilda,
                  Is it okay if I email you as well? I’d like to talk to you. Also, Pete, if you’re there, I’d like to talk to you too. Let me know if any of you would like to exchange email with me.

                5. @ Catlover,
                  I’m happy to connect offline for constructive, exploratory and supportive reasons 🙂 and have just emailed the other two whose addresses are posted here.

        2. @Rose,
          “He used to appeal to women by saying he had been a woman himself for many life times.”
          Wow, what a line, lol! If DKR was a woman so often, then why doesn’t he have more understanding and empathy toward women, as well as knowing how to treat them? 😀 It seems like he has not been a woman recently, or he would know how women feel inside, and he would know better how to treat them. He also wouldn’t be posting such insensitive stuff online.

          1. Yes, and thankyou for all your comments – the secrecy and samaya thing is such a burden and it is such a relief to just be able to speak and to hear others’ experiences.
            Off topic happily – I’m hoping to get a couple of Maine Coon kittens soon! 😊

            1. Sadly you will probably feel and experience more compassion from raising those Coon kittens then serving these lamas and their nasty entourages.

        3. @rose
          these vajra masters have a ‘vow’ in the vajrayana to see all women as dakinis. so they will claim that is what they are doing. it’s truly a manipulation of what the word ‘dakini’ actually means and they have reduced it to suit their habits. though we would hope their motives are not as base as sex it would be fool to think otherwise with lamas who go through women like water. I would be very cautious to follow any such lama who have an inner circle of women! so rose I applaud you for turning DKR down- way to go. I bet his ego took a hit there.
          it would be good if someone could write a book on this topic and interview lamas who are surrounded by young western women in short skirts. actually I would want to know from the women’s viewpoint if the sex was any different than with a western guy (if there was any fluids, bliss etc)! apparently SL was just like a grunting animal and there was no pleasure or special tantric activity. maybe catlover can ask her friend about her experience?!
          regardless, any master who has tamed their minds would only need one consort.

          1. @concerned,
            At the time when I knew my friend, she had not accepted her lama’s offer, and she felt guilty about it and even thought she was “bad” for turning down a “Buddha.” He often ignored her after that and made her feel very small and he flaunted his new lovers in front of her, etc. His ego took a hit, I think.
            Since there are so many “tulkus” who are conveniently recognized, who are actually born from so-called “tantric” relationships, I would say that the fluid retention thing is not an exact science. It would be naive to think that most of the tantric lamas are truly interested in anything but sex.

            1. Also, judging from what women report who were assaulted and used by tantric lamas, (like June Campbell and a woman who accused Sakya Trizin of assaulting her), it was just ordinary sex. In fact, especially in the case of Sakya Trizin, it was worse than ordinary. It was totally pathetic and certainly not “tantric” in any way. Of course, some of these stories are accusations, but when so many of these stories crop up involving Tibetan lamas, it can’t all be lies and coincidence.

            2. @ concerned,
              Well, technically, Sakya Trizin didn’t exactly assault her. According to her, it was more like…he convinced her how “spiritually beneficial” it would be for her to have sex with him, and when she agreed, the sex was weird. It was too weird and pathetic to be fiction, lol! You might find it online if you look. I would rather not post all the details here. But if the story is true, it’s really pathetic that a “tantric master” would act like that – and the sex was really, really bad.

              1. (This was the former Sakya Trizin, not the current, younger one, (although who knows what the new one’s behavior is like?)

                1. @Catlover: uggh I do not want to imagine that right now. though I can’t believe senior ST is now in the club- he has such a nice and wonderful wife- why oh why. So you are referring to two different friends here- one who succumbed to ST and the other who refused her womanizing teacher? can you name that teacher just so women can be aware and stay clear?

                2. @concerned,
                  My friend’s teacher was a Gelug lama, and I don’t want to name him in case she might be lurking here. I don’t want to betray her confidence, so I don’t want to give too many details about her story, unless she gave me permission to do so. (I am not in touch with her now.)
                  The (former) Sakya Trizin story is something I found online in another forum about abusive Tibetan teachers, (and I don’t remember anymore exactly where I read it). This story was written by a woman I don’t know personally, and it has been circulating for quite some time and I have seen it referenced in other forums as well.

          2. @ concerned, yes, I’m sure they do manipulate women and perhaps deceive themselves somewhat with the dakini/yum concept to obtain sex.
            Btw, I read your comment on the diffi-cult blog re OT and DKR. Just thinking, would it may be useful to post here considering these Lamas involvement with Rigpa…?

          3. @concerned,
            yes I have wondered how it would have played out practically speaking had I agreed. I was 28 at the time.
            I asked a very high lama who is a 15th reincarnation of the gelug tradition and he said it the lama can stand on a tall building and piss and then draw it back up into his body then he could do tantric sex!

              1. Mmmm
                Just remembering back to how I saw Rinpoche and what I was thinking when considering his proposition,
                I wouldn’t have had the guts to ask him if and how he was qualified.
                I’m not sure if I would have even been able to insist on him using protection….
                This just illustrates the effect that the power imbalance combined with the pure perception teachings had on my ability to discern properly or even protect myself from potential pregnancy or STI’s.

                1. @Rose,
                  I don’t think the lamas use protection in Tantra at all. Since the practice (supposedly) involves drawing up fluids and so on, it wouldn’t work with protection. Of course, the fluid retention practice isn’t an exact science anyway, (and children are born). In any case, the lamas believe that tantric sex is magical and protects against disease.

              2. Yes,
                lot of magical thinking obviously involved – and I guess if the woman is unlucky enough (sorry, doesn’t have enough merit) not to have an expert master and does contract an STI it’s because of her lack of pure perception – sigh.

                1. Also, if the Lama says it’s both a spiritual practise yet purely for his pleasure, which is it? One requires using no protection and the other it’s an option?

                2. @Rose,
                  I don’t think there is a complete answer to that question. 😀 many lamas seem to have a hard time admitting to themselves that they are JUST human, so any sex they engage in has to be “dressed up” in some sort of “spiritual costume” so to speak. They say it’s “spiritual” but it’s really for his own pleasure, of course. Often, they don’t even try to practice Tantra with their women at all, but they think they are always doing Tantra, so they are hopelessly lost in their magical thinking.

                3. Btw, I don’t think they use protection, even when it’s not Tantra. I don’t really know for sure if they ever use protection or not, but I think they don’t really believe in protection. They think they are magical and their practices are magical, so they believe they don’t need it. (That’s why Trungpa told his regent to just do his practices and he wouldn’t spread AIDS to his partners. I am also pretty sure he also told him the practices would cure the regent’s AIDS too.)

                4. Where are the many stories of ugly fat old female asian STD carrying asian masters with young handsome men lined up telling them that sleeping with her will help their merit, will help lengthen her life, will help balance them? And definitely tells them not to wear a condom. What a joke.
                  A true vajra master does not need or have more than one consort IF ANY and has the ability to balance his/her elements through meditation and can lengthen his/her own life through meditation. They don’t need to physically sleep with a student to meet with their mind.

                5. @concerned,
                  Actually, there are some female lamas, who also behave in a similar manner to the men. Jetsunma is one example who comes to mind. She pretty much acts just as crazy as the men.
                  You’d think that a Vajra master (male or female) would be able to get by with one consort, but unfortunately, that’s just an ideal. Humans are often falling way short of that in real life.

                6. @concerned,
                  But you asked about Asian female lamas. I don’t know how their behavior is compared to the men. There is a lot of crazy stuff going on in secret, so there isn’t any way to evaluate how the Asian women lamas are acting. I can only judge by the behavior which becomes public. It does look like the men are usually in the more dominant position, and while there are SOME female lamas, they usually serve the men as consorts, or they marry a male lama, who has seniority. I have heard of a few female lamas who had male consorts.

            1. @concerned,
              That’s a reference to the Sixth Dalai Lama, who did just that in order to prove he was qualified for Tantra.

                1. @Rose,
                  Oops, I addressed my reply to concerned when I should have addressed it to you, in reply to your comment about the Gelug lama who told you about the Sixth DL. Sorry for the confusion. I guess I got confused because you were addressing concerned in your post. 🙂

              1. It’s amazing how many lamas say that tantric sex can only be done by a select few, and then they name all sorts of fancy magical tricks that are suppose to *prove* that one is qualified, etc. Yet these SAME lamas seem to believe they are qualified themselves, even when they can’t do those magical feats, and they engage in all sorts of secret sexual practices, yet they tell others they aren’t qualified. Talk about deluding themselves!

                1. @catlover: you’d mentioned a Gelug and this came to mind, but it got held up in moderation for some reason so i’m reposting it now. I’ve re-read some of it since. The most interesting account is the woman’s response to her critic.
                  Concerning the Gelugpas, here is an interesting post from Tibetan Feminist Collective. I read it a while back, think it’s from a westerner for memory. http://www.tibetanfeministcollective.org/2016/08/01/an-open-letter-about-a-monk-who-isnt/
                  And here is a response that could be seen as judgemental/victim blaming although i do take her point that Tibetan society isn’t really responsible for the boyfriend’s behaviour: http://www.tibetanfeministcollective.org/2016/08/05/response-answer-to-an-open-letter-about-a-monk-who-isnt/

    2. @matilda
      I just had a look at DKR’s Facebook page- just cements my realization that his maturity level is adolescent. Feel like he’s spiraling down?
      I also liked Erik Jampa Andersson’s comments, but I got a good laugh out of this comment by Ben P:
      ” “Rinpoche” is not being provocatively insightful he’s just being a dickhead. The only thing that he is perhaps showing is how his followers can blindly follow him with their cult like devotion of “I love you Rinpoche!” “

    3. @ matilda7
      Unfortunately he’s already got a kind of a school for young children……it’s just called “a monastery”.
      Whatever he might say about not having been abused, the monastic and tulku system is itself a kind of abuse: forcibly take very young boys away from their mothers to spend 24 hours a day trapped with celibate, adult men. This is obviously traumatic.
      Then tell some of them ( often the ones with high status or wealthy parents ) that they’re very special, treat them as if they’re divine beings who are superior to everyone else and dispatch them to the West where they’ll be constantly fawned over by adoring, uncritical followers.
      Plus their adolescent self-importance, petulance and craving for attention is now constantly super-charged by social media.
      It’s basically a factory production-line for narcissists.

      1. You can argue that yes, some tulkus may behave in a narcissistic manner. But to claim that the majority of monks are narcissistic is patently incorrect.

        1. @ matilda7
          You’re right, ( I posted a clearer explanation but my comment hasn’t gone through, so I’ll try later if it doesn’t appear.)

          1. @ matilda7
            If you look at the third paragraph, I specify “some” referring to the apparent narcissism of some tulkus as an additional product of the system, rather than monks as a whole, but I can see that it’s not clearly set out.
            I do think that the kind of monasticism that forms the basis of Tibetan Buddhism is very problematic and there are now a few young tulkus who have gone public about being raped and subject to violence. If high-status tulkus are treated like that, what hope do ordinary monks have of avoiding the same fate?
            My wife visited 4 large monasteries in ’94 in India and Sikkim, and was appalled at the primitive conditions that the monks lived in and heartbroken to see such small children abandoned to the mercies of adult men. Several younger adult monks talked to her about wanting to leave but not being allowed to by their teachers.
            Adults may choose religion and monasticism, but when it’s imposed on children it’s abuse. We wouldn’t tolerate it in the west, but most lamas who themselves are a product of it, and quite a lot of western Buddhists, if they consider it at all, don’t seem to have a problem with it.
            Current research indicates that the percentage of victims of abuse who go on to abuse may be as high as 40% and the younger they are when the abuse happens the greater their level of aggression. The lack of stable parental attachment is also a highly predictive factor. So, it’s not surprising that we’re now seeing problems that are generated by a system like that.

    4. Why would he post such a photo and say #me too with absolutely no follow up explanation? What kind of teacher would do that? It leaves me to think he’s just a perv trying to rattle people up for no reason. Any great emanation of Manjushri would rather make a direct statement that all can clearly understand.
      Does anyone have direct contact with DKR and can they ask point blank to please make a statement about that photo? He needs to explain himself.

        1. Strange.
          He’s fallen out of the ‘master’ ranks in my book and wonder of his intent which only he can speak to. I find it so disappointing.

        2. @RH: I notice in this Facebook posting of iced coffee DKR again tells people how to think. It seems a constant exercise of control and power. In response to sink to that level I would be tempted to post a photo of a dickhead on toast next to an iced coffee.

      1. @concerned. I think you answered your question in your own previous post on Jan 11 re this issue. But i think i get your point, it’s like a trainwreck one can’t turn away from.
        It is what it is. We are all entitled to draw our own conclusions, taking into account DKR’s previous posts regarding the abuse of women, idiosyncratic views about the West, etc.
        Controversy for controversy’s sake. Mischief-making. A calculated act of attention-seeking and then the pseudo-mystified follow-up telling people to chill.
        I just don’t see the incisive sword of Manjushri’s wisdom there, cutting through ignorance. I guess that’s my impure perception. Or maybe it’s due to my empathy with abuse victims.
        Sorry but i just see a guy with a sex problem.
        Nevertheless, DKR has put it out there and his sentiments invite analysis and deconstruction, using our faculties of critical intelligence and cultural awareness.
        It is a fairly typical attitude of men who are somewhat preoccupied with frequently bedding women yet conversely regard this type of woman unfavourably, as whores, to use an old-fashioned, value-laden term.
        This dichotomy was also evident in DKR’s film, Travellers & Magicians. The adulteress died (her partner didn’t) while the young woman at school exhibited saintly behaviour and was ultimately rewarded for her forbearance. It’s the dakini-whore paradigm. Women are regarded either as paragons of virtue or as fallen, with loose morals etc.
        This is also a familiar Western trope. Back in the seventies, an Australian writer Anne Summers wrote “Damned Whores and God’s Police in which she argues that the colonisation of Australia, “had created a patriarchal gender order that reduced 19th-century women to one of two narrow roles: virtuous wives and mothers, dubbed “God’s police”, and the transgressive “damned whores”.

  11. @ concerned
    What’s your motivation to write such a comment (like this last one) ? It looks like gossip, swearwords, provocation…Or just venting some anger ?

    1. @ gendungblog
      Perhaps you’ve forgotten that this is about misogyny: the systematic objectification, abuse, and denigration of women by men, and especially men who use their power and status to do it.
      Dzongsar Khyentse is doing precisely that and even being so dishonest and cowardly as to pretend he’s the victim.
      If that doesn’t make you angry, and if you don’t think he deserves ridicule for doing so, then with all due respect, perhaps you should check your own motivation and ask yourself exactly why you’re indifferent .

      1. @Pete Cowell,
        I think DKR’s post was a sad attempt at humor. I don’t think he really sees himself as a victim, but he is making fun of what he considers a “victim mentality” in the West. Obviously, he has a very low opinion of out culture, so why doesn’t he just go back to Bhutan? Or stay in India? He seems to have much contempt for the West and Western values as a whole. It would be best for him to simply keep his opinions to himself, so he doesn’t anger a lot of people and lose followers, but he can’t even do that. His diehard admirers will laugh and thinks it’s really funny though. But it’s really not funny. His humor leave a lot to be desired, imo.

    2. Just expressing my disgust. Are you not? Did you see DKR’s posting and did you also read his sex contract? Are you impressed and do you bow down and thank him profusely for such profundity?

      1. Thanks for your reply. As I read your previous comment it was something about somebody else being a “dickhead”. I could not make any sense of it.
        It’s untraceable to me how you jump to the conclusion that I would “thank DKR” or anybody else – after just asking you a simple question.
        Of course you are absolutely entitled to vent your anger and to speculate about all kinds of assumptions and of course you are entitled even to verbal abuse (just hypothetical ;-)) if the admins do not prevent that.
        Please just ignore my comment and my question above, it’s obviously a useless hint that won’t be understood, I will accept that, No problem.

        1. @gendunblog, for the second time, get with the program or get out of the way! The issue under discussion was initially pointed out by moi, 24 hours ago. Feigning ignorance, and also outrage @concerned, just makes you look like a prize dill! And an attention seeker, just like DKR.

          1. @matilda, again: my question was addressed at @concerned, because I did not get the meaning of his or her comment. I don’t understand why you feel challenged to give such an answer. I have nothing to do with the things that you are suggesting. Usually I would not answer to such irrational “accusations”, but I just want to let you know that you are quite far from any reality with your last comment. Again: I addressed my question to @concerned and see no reason to mingle with you and your strange conclusions about me. For some reason you feel invited to project “something” onto me, maybe you can try to give that up, but I don’t really expect your insight about that.

          2. @gendunblog
            c’mon silly bastard, just give in and admit that you are nothing but a silly attention whore, anyone can see that anyway 😀

  12. Gendunblog- my previous post was quoting someone who commented on DKR’s Facebook page. It was not my quote but it was so irreverent to such an irreverent posting by DKR that it made me laugh! No matter what irreverent or ridiculous statement DKR might make he has a mindless following that applauds it and thanks him. I want to make the point that people need to question the motivation of lamas, use critical thinking, common sense, and good judgement. This is a historically misogynistic tradition in which women are there to serve in all ways, support, and help to lengthen the life of lamas, and in my opinion (for what it’s worth) we are at an ideal time to change that since it is actively happening on a daily basis in the modern western world.

      1. No problem gendunblog. Misinterpretations and misunderstandings happen all the time and I am also responsible for that and can easily misunderstand others. It is human. I should work more on helping students ban together to stand up for change and be more productive in my comments. however for some reason the word ‘dickhead’ makes me laugh – ! So please excuse my juvenile display of appreciation of that commenter’s use of that word….
        I should add in the case of SL as we all read in the letter and in other reports that male students were also abused and this was not isolated to abuse of women. This would include physical and sexual (I would think a male student having to show SL his genitals could also be considered all out sexual abuse). Men finding out their partners or wives were sleeping with SL and told to lie about it is very damaging and emotionally distressing.
        Lamas who are in any position of power and have large followings are at risk for abusing power if they haven’t tamed their minds. So such postings by DKR give me pause.

        1. @ concerned,
          I can see why the “dickhead” about DKR comment struck you funny, especially about someone like DKR, who is generally treated with such reverence. Sometimes the irreverent is funny, so I get that.

    1. @Catlover
      I am open do answer any question that you have regarding any of my comments. If something has been unclear to you than there’s nothing wrong with questioning that. (via “reply”-button)
      Usually I try to make my point clear, trying not to offend anyone, but of course, as we all know, in online conversations there naturally arise misunderstandings or even “no understanding” at all.
      Just let me know about what you feel or think is unclear and I will do my best to answer.
      In general I would describe my attitude as oriented towards solutions. Of course that also means to identify the “problem”, but not to get stuck with it and move on to some problem solving steps that might be more productive.
      But I acknowledge that there are times in life, after devastating events, that no one would be able to keep a “constructive” attitude and mindset. I have to remind myself about that, too.

      1. I was honestly not clear what you were trying to say in your exchange with concerned and matilda7. But I guess it’s up to you to clear it up with them, not with me. It will become more clear to me as I read what you say to each other.
        (Btw, the “Reply” button doesn’t always work or put my posts in the right place.)

        1. @Catlover
          Thanks for your reply. Good to know that you are “watching” or observing me 😉
          Yes, just let me know what exactly was unclear about my exchange with @concerned.
          (As far as I can see, unfortunately there has been no “real exchange” with matilda7 – means: no exchange on a realistic basis, including mutual respect and at least “trying” to understand what the other person wants to express, therefore, before I could explain anything to you – about the conversation with her – I would have to refer to a “real” (online-)conversation or exchange with her, which is not given at the moment).
          Concerning the “reply button”, yes I know, the comment does not always end up in the right place, therefore the @@.

          1. @gendunblog,
            I’m not “watching or observing” you. But this is a public discussion, so I am a witness to all exchanges going on here in this forum. It sounds like there was some kind of misunderstanding between you, matilda7, and concerned. It isn’t your fault, or their fault. It’s just a human thing that happens on internet forums.
            I think I understand now what happened. You didn’t know where the “dickhead” comment came from or who it was about, so you thought someone was just venting senseless anger. Other people, (including myself), thought it sounded like you were defending DKR, which is why you got the responses from us that you did. It turns out you didn’t know, so you weren’t defending him. Now that you have made it clear that you didn’t know who the comment was about, there is no more misunderstanding. 🙂

              1. @ gendun
                Pheeeww, thank god you got away this time… Imagine, if you dared to “defend” the wrong person or chose the “wrong” argument in this discussion, you would have been ripped into pieces. What a snake pit.

  13. This book The struggle of modern Tibet gives a good picture and insight on the problems.
    I always find it stange that a large fraction of a population is so devoted to live in momastries.
    Perhaps the so called modern lamas are not so modern and see people in the west as they saw lay people in tibet. This book adresses and confirmes what the dalai lama said about feodalism.
    We are treated to a certain level in the same way. I find it very suspicious when lama’s hate democracy. The lack of democracy in Rigpa made me feel very uncomfortable.
    We see now the result of it, the so called vision board.
    This captivating autobiography by a Tibetan educator and former political prisoner is full of twists and turns. Born in 1929 in a Tibetan village, Tsering developed a strong dislike of his country’s theocratic ruling elite. As a 13-year-old member of the Dalai Lama’s personal dance troupe, he was frequently whipped or beaten by teachers for minor infractions. A heterosexual, he escaped by becoming a drombo, or homosexual passive partner and sex-toy, for a well-connected monk. After studying at the University of Washington, he returned to Chinese-occupied Tibet in 1964, convinced that Tibet could become a modernized society based on socialist, egalitarian principles only through cooperation with the Chinese. Denounced as a ‘counterrevolutionary’ during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, he was arrested in 1967 and spent six years in prison or doing forced labor in China. Officially exonerated in 1978, Tsering became a professor of English at Tibet University in Lhasa. He now raises funds to build schools in Tibet’s villages, emphasizing Tibetan language and culture.
    A fascinating account not only of his life’s journey, but of 20th-century Tibet’s troubled evolution .– The Wall Street Journal

    1. The attraction of monasteries is largely the lifting of the financial burden on families who, whether in Tibet or India, have few employment opportunities. So having one son fed and clothed by the monastery is a major relief for third world families who haven’t managed to get on board the thriving Asian middle class boat we’re always hearing about.

  14. @veggiegirl2016,
    I wouldn’t have “ripped gendunblog into pieces” if he had defended DKR, (but it would have probably turned into another exhausting debate). He wasn’t “defending” DKR anyway, so there is nothing to debate about. 😀

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