Latest News from Rigpa: How the future looks

Two pieces of news just came out.

Vision Board Announcement

Rigpa has announced it’s Vision Board: Valerie Baker, Mauro
de March, Seth Dye, Patrick Gaffney, Verena Pfeiffer, Philip Philippou and Vinciane Rycroft. These are all long term students, many of whom likely experienced and/or observed the kind of behaviour the 8 attested to in their letter, and some who have actively helped to cover up this kind of behaviour for decades. Instead of their resignation in acceptance of their role in faciliating a culture of abuse, they have been enshrined as leaders of the community.
This Vision Board will be guided by  Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, (who said that once a student had received the pointing out nature of mind instructions “from the Vajrayana point of view, there is nothing wrong with Sogyal Rinpoche’s subsequent actions”) as well as Mindrolling Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, and Khenchen Namdrol.  The latter is the lama who on the 17th sept 2017 at Lerab Ling suggested that the 8 students had been possessed by demons by saying their letter was “the magical play of non-human entities more than the humans that we are pinning it on” and started the lie that these entities were “Trying to destroy the doctrine. In general Buddhism, in particular Nyingmapa and especially the Rigpa sangha.”  Since that is not the motivation of the 8 letter writers, this man is the source of this lie and responsible for an increase in the malignment of those who had the courage to warn others about what was happening at the core of this organisation.
The communication also said that Sogyal “Rinpoche would continue to teach his students”, and “We all pray that once Rinpoche has recovered and regained his strength, he may continue to teach his students as much as possible.”
And so it appears that nothing has changed. In fact the communication makes it look as if no one ever spoke out about the unethical behaviour at the core of this organisation. This handing over to a team of students is, apparently, all part of SR’s plan and bears no relation to external events. It’s a fine example of gaslighting, of manupulating the devoted into believing that there is no problem. Did the Buddha teach denial of reality? Did he teach that we should cling to beliefs and resist change? Did he teach that honesty, integrity and ethical behaviour were not important? No, he did not.
He taught that impermanence is the nature of reality and that freedom from suffering comes from letting go of attachment, aversion and ignoring what is true. And he taught the importance of ethical behaviour as the basis of the spiritual path.
When Sogyal teaches again, how, I wonder, will he treat his students, these students who apparently see nothing wrong with abusive behaviour?

Legal action from Lerab Ling
125 Lerab Ling members have instructed their lawyer, Jean-Robert Phung, to take action against Jean-Baptiste Cesbron. M. Cesbron is a lawyer from Montpellier who has been collecting testimonies from Ripga and ex-Rigpa students. The 125 Rigpa Lerab Ling members have accused him of defamation for things he said in the the regional daily Midi Libre.
How is this the behaviour of Buddhists? How does it fit with the Mahayana lojong teachings we all learned? Is this right use of money? Spending on lawyers? Is this what ordinary sangha members want?

You might be able to help

If the idea of a man collecting testimonies of abuse being sued by a bunch of Buddhists for saying publically what he discovered appalls you and you saw or experienced abuse at Lerab Ling, especially if it was in the last 5 years, you might be able to help Jean-Baptiste Cesbron in defending the charge of slander.
He is also the one who will assemble the testimony for submission to the Procureur de Montpellier. The sooner he gets information the better.
His email address:
Please note: your email can be in English or French, that’s not a problem. Please share this information as widely as you can.
Also don’t forget that the UK Charity Commission is also collecting testimonies. For anyone who wants to send details of their personal experience, or any information they think might be useful, please use the following contact: FAO David Hughes-Jones / Rigpa Fellowship(279315). Email:

But let’s not forget

Before we respond with scorn to behaviour that we may see as not helpful to the long-term benefit of either the students or the dharma, let’s remember that these are just ordinary people struggling with a situation they find incredibly difficult to handle. We expect them to act in a more enlightened fashion because of their Buddhist study and practice, but they are not enlightened, rather they have been indoctrinated for decades to believe that whatever Sogyal does is perfect and that they must remain true to their beliefs about his being a mahaasiddha and silent about his behaviour or they will rot in the worst of hells. They are trapped by their beliefs. Just as we can be trapped by ours if we do not see them for what they are – mere beliefs about reality, not reality itself.
From their perspective they are protecting a way of life. If Lerab Ling and Rigpa fails they will have to find a new way to survive. They know the truth of the letter by the 8; they know that revealing that truth was not a ‘press campaign’ but a message to the sangha; they know their data base was not hacked, since several members of the 8 had legitimate access to it, and they know that they are lying to say it was hacked and to call speaking out a ‘press campaign’ – unless they have repeated the lies so often that they now bellieve them to be truth.  How sad that their path is so fragile that they can throw it out the window to protect a way of life.
Let’s not do the same thing. Let’s live as blameless a life as possible, with as much integrity as we can muster. The truth of the teachings about interdependence, compassion, and love are what brought many of us to the path and what will keep us on the path is to embrace those teachings with all our heart. Let’s show compassion, not scorn, for friends caught in delusion. They don’t want to be going through this any more than any of us do, and they are dealing with it the best they can, just as we are. Let’s send them our best wishes that the cloud of delusion lifts very soon for their sake.
“They who cover themselves with their own corrupt conduct,
Like a creeper covers a tree,
Do to themsleves
What an emeny wishes for them.
“It is easy to do what is not good
And things that harm oneself.
It is very difficult to do
Things beneficial and good.”
The Buddha. Dhammapada, v 162 – 163. Gil Fronsdal translation.


Current and previous students of Rigpa wanting private support are welcome to join the What Now? Facebook group. Please contact us via the contact page and ask for an invite.
Ex-Rigpa students and their 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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146 Replies to “Latest News from Rigpa: How the future looks”

  1. Hallo friends – I have jumped into this situation 4 days ago when all this news filtered through to me – having first taken teachings from Sogyal 30 years ago – I have not been seen at the London Centre since before my adult son was born but feel at the heart of it regardless – I am taking action in this affair and have just sent the boss-crew an ultimatum to give me a filmed interview or expect imminent non-violent direct action – I really think this entire situation is not only deeply tragic but deeply silly – I have my own angle on all this and it is the same as that of most good folks – Abuse Prevention goes to the top of the agenda and sits resplendent there as a fixture – Self-Defence is Right – Our duty is to protect the future-Sangha and the present one of course – I am sure most all of us agree that there can be no compromise whatsoever with crime and degeneracy – and I pledge to fight this body and rock-solid soul – I usually work alone but would love to cooperate as much as possible with anyone who wishes to join me – I don-t want to drown in the politics but I know some effective techniques for these kind of battles and am offering them to the Dharma and its future – In some ways my relative distance from the situation gives me a fresh view of it –
    If the great Visionary Board of Trade folks and Sogyal are really thinking they can simply scare us off with a couple of divorce-lawyers – some bullshit-demons and a coat of shiny paint on some new premises and carry on business without addressing this they are wrong –
    Our strength lies in this – as well as many other areas – Our strength is that we are right – Their weakness is that they are wrong – So that-s 99 per cent of the battle over already –
    When people are wrong – particularly when very very wrong – it affects their ability to move properly – Poor Sogyal – stuck at six months – a monstrous brat – it could have been any one of us – it-s amazing he taught so well with this vast burden of sin – I want him to get well and rehabilitate as soon as possible – by which I mean to atone – not to reinvent himself and come back in public – I believe that if he fails to address the matter at hand then nature will run – Only a very crazy criminal thinks no-one else sees his monstrosity – If their strategy is a Rome-like head-in-the-sand-approach – blindly conditioned to see only their own imagined virtue – then the World will come and tear them down soon enough – how long do you think any nation-State in the bourgeois west will tolerate a nest of vipers like that within their realm ~ Joe Public is not at all sympathetic to the sort of things that are at issue here and public opinion would force them to run – either by legal or spontaneous reactions to just whom their religious neighbours really are –
    I will fight this case using all the tricks of my trade as I know so many of you have already been fighting and witnessing for a long time now and I salute your courage for so-doing! To put it simply my friends there is absolutely no way Sogyal will continue to teach in the free world because his actions are becoming known to more and more people with every tick of the clock – If he and his pals defy the will of the Sangha and its democratic and ethical decision then we must start to apply pressure to the point where it becomes effective –
    There is absolutely no possibility of Sogyal or the Visionary Kids establishing a foothold if they carry on unpurified – the days of his influence are waning – HAVE NO FEAR – HAVE NO FEAR – HAVE NO FEAR – just love and a laugh

    1. With you all the way Jeremy. I assume you have seen if not click on the link to discover that I have been on the case with Sogyal for 30+ years. There are also several features from The Guardian archived under my name. I have tried hard since the publication of the 8 signatories letter to drum up interest in the UK media, but have been puzzlingly ignored except for Mick Brown in the Telegraph Magazine. `If there is anything you can do to to divvy up some media interest either in the UK or the USA it would be a bodhisattva brownie point. I am happy to share information, background etc: You can friend me on Facebook and I will send you my contact details in a private message.

  2. During my time in Rigpa, Sogyal Rinpoche discouraged involvement in lawsuits, saying on more than one occasion, they are not the Buddhist way. So I find it surprising that these students have chosen to file a lawsuit for defamation against the attorney who is collecting testimonies of alleged abuse or other wrong doings. Of course, they have a right to do so. However, it might appear to some, that they are simply attempting to obstruct justice by taking these measures.

    1. @ Sandra
      I don’t think it ever had anything to do with Lojong, more to do with Sogyal’s being terrified of the law, and with good reason. The lawsuit in the States frightened him and cost him a lot of money. I recall him even taking a train from Paris to London at the time because he was so paranoid about the press waiting for him at Heathrow airport. ( They weren’t )
      Those 125 people involved now wouldn’t dare to do this without his approval and probably couldn’t afford to without the financial support of Rigpa, so typically he’s just using them as proxies to hide behind.
      Obviously they see no that inconsistency in using one law firm to collect testimony and another to take action against a lawyer who is doing precisely the same thing, because they can’t control someone who they aren’t paying and as you say, they want to obstruct justice.
      A weird and counter-productive strategy that pretty much demolishes all the nonsense about Lewis Silken being employed for ‘Healing and reconciliation.

  3. Thank you, Tahlia.Reports can also be sent to the Charity Commission in London.I also recommend the Charity Commission for being trustworthy and competent.

    1. @ ladybird
      Yes, that’s definitely good advice. Incidentally the information about this latest development has already been forwarded to the UK Charity Commission.
      For anyone who wants to send details of their personal experience, or any information they think might be useful, please use the following contact:
      FAO David Hughes-Jones / Rigpa Fellowship(279315)

  4. Can’t say I’m surprised at the composition of this new vision board. It’s common “crisis response” type behavior to batten down the hatches and gather around the faithful!
    So where does Dominique Side fit into all of this?
    Fair play to Tsoknyi Rinpoche for trying to mediate, but HHDL, Matthieu Riccard and Mingyur Rinpoche shall be forever my superheros for speaking out so quickly and clearly right from the beginning and calling a spade a spade! SR will always be “disgraced” in my mind, and Matthieu “knows several of the writers personally” so had no reason to doubt the letter.
    Ethics are plain and simple for all to see and actions speak for themselves. Abuse is abuse no matter how many “dog’s tooth” stories you tell.
    I’ve now formally left R over this after about 16 years, and 6 months of processing this news. Sad but I’ve been in this kind of situation before with my family (which was even harder!), so it’s a matter of ethics and personal responsibility for me. I support and stand with the named and unnamed victims of SR. There is no “press campaign” to “bring down R”. Sure he’s a great teacher but he’s in denial about his own psychological problems, and that’s enough for me. So much for enlightenment or “enlightened activity”!
    I know several lovely people staying in R who are not at all in denial and who actually tried to change things over the years. They never took the crap parts to heart but used the practices out in their communities to effect change and bring people who need it such goodness and healing. I guess I am thinking of Spiritual Care.
    These days it’s Jack Kornfield that does it for me (ex-monk, psychologist, loving husband and father) and I’m reading “After the ecstasy, the laundry” for the 3rd or 4th time. There are so many wonderful passages and I don’t have it to hand at the moment. But seeing yourself as part of the “Mandala of the whole” neither too tight nor too loose is wonderful advice for a time like this.
    May all be well. May all be happy.

  5. I was very disheartened to receive the email from Rigpa today. My first response was that it was just back to ‘business as usual’… After much deliberation I decided to attend the upcoming Australian retreat (basically to see what the plan was, how the situation was discussed/addressed and because I had already pre-booked my accommodation) but I am now regretting my decision. This recent communication has pushed me closer to leaving for good. How sad that those in charge cannot see the damage that is being done by their actions and their lack of ability to accept responsibility and recognise the need for change. I had been so hopeful that this could be the catalyst for positive change in Rigpa but now my heart is simply broken…

    1. @ watching and waiting
      I sympathize with you, many of us went through exactly this years back, so we’ve never believed that there was any possibility of real change, because the recent defensive patterns of denial are much the same now as they were then, in fact they’re even worse and this threat of legal action is proof.
      The sooner you leave for good the sooner you’ll start to feel better and the sooner you’ll get over the sense of loss and deception.
      That’s not worth being heartbroken over, you’ll be getting your life back and you’ll be out of danger.

    2. I’m so sorry, Watching and Waiting, perhaps it will be a chance to re-connect with friends who might be feeling the same way as you? I do know that NONE of the national rigpas are legally obligated to do ANYTHING that international tells them, it’s entirely voluntary. I have been trying to encourage the national team in the US to manifest as the amazing beings I know them to be and shake loose of the insanity. I wonder if students like you could join together, and demand a different response from their own national team, if it could make a difference?
      At the very least it will be an opportunity to say goodbye:(

      1. @ Not so hopeful
        It’s a nice idea, but Sogyal is still in charge and neither him nor his ‘Vision Board’ recognise such civilized concepts as legality, democracy, consensus or even morality, and as a result the sangha, no matter how large or well-intentioned it may be, has absolutely no collective negotiating power or even a right of reply.
        Rigpa is basically like a little totalitarian state run by a narcissist dictator, ‘the people’ don’t have a vote.
        So, other than complete passivity, silent acceptance and de facto complicity with abuse, there is only one other option available to decent people: cancel your membership, stop your subscription and walk away.

  6. The good news is that all this finally counts as an answer, to the letter from July. Not the answer hoped for, but a final answer nonetheless.
    “Dear letter writers,
    The behavior you described as abuse, we agree happened, but it is acceptable to us that this happened. Necessary even.
    Those who wrote the letter be damned to hell.

    1. you put it very bluntly, but yes, rigpa’s answer looks a bit like “shit happens”, now can we please go on practising the dharma without being disturbed by you any further ?

      1. Hi Moonfire,
        thanks for your great work 🙂
        I so often want to click “Like”, but I don’t know, how to do it. It seems, that I have to create a website or a blog first, otherwise I can not register, as far as I understood. Is that correct? Or is there another way?
        Thank you for your advice.

        1. Moonfire did OT accept or reject the sex offer when SL offered him one of his female attendants? I have this feeling SL bragged to his buddies about all his women. There must have been other lamas who were offered as well.

          1. That is a good question, offering doesn’t mean also consumed.
            That needs clarification
            I hope he did not consume the offer.

          2. As far as I know, the woman in question did not want to go and initially refused, but then eventually she did go to him. As to what happened then, I don’t know. I have heard this only from one person though, so it has not been verified.

  7. A good article with a very perceptive and balanced reaction to this latest news about Rigpa’s threat to bring a defamation suit against the lawyer Maitre Cesbron and Midi Libre, the newspaper that interviewed him about his collecting testimony from the victims of Sogyal’s sexual abuse and violence.
    My wife has just been talking to the lawyer, he’s not worried about the lawsuit at all, for various reasons, but he said it would be very helpful for people who wish to contribute their experience of Rigpa to contact him directly ( rather than Commandant Carboneaux,) as he’s the one who will assemble the testimony for submission to the Procureur de Montpellier. The sooner he gets information the better.
    His email address:
    Please note: your email can be in English or French, that’s not a problem. Please share this information as widely as you can.

  8. Really disheartening update on how Rigpa has decided to proceed! I find a great deal to be disappointed in, not the least of which is their decision to allow SL to continue teaching! Unbelievable!
    I also find it extremely unfortunate that DKR has decided to become such an integral part of Rigpa’s ongoing stonewalling and gas lighting efforts by being the “guiding light” behind their “Vision Board.” Sorry, but that sounds like an oxymoron, unless we’re talking “legally blind?” I can’t imagine many of his students are going to be happy with this decision, but then again, he did make it quite clear that he believed there was nothing wrong with SL’s actions.

  9. Now, how did I know that somehow Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche would be involved with the so-called “reforms” at Rigpa and have a new big role in the organization? LOL! What a joke! (It’s a joke that’s not funny, it’s just stupid.) So, this is why he has written in such a strange way in response to the scandal! He has been pushing for a big role within Rigpa all along, and he probably would like to be the new head of Rigpa. He sounds so much like Sogyal, (with his double talk), that he is actually an appropriate choice, since Rigpa isn’t going to change anyway. So disgusted!

    1. I must confess to knowing little about DKR until last year when I became aware of how he seemed to hold Trungpa Rinpoche in high esteem with little to no mention of the very real damage he did as a teacher. That struck me as very odd and disturbing. Just as in the case with SL, many benefitted from the relationship and/or his teachings, but many were also damaged by his actions. It just seemed to me that DKR had a responsibility to give a full and balanced picture of Trungpa’s strengths AND faults.
      I eronder what his motivation is for being the guiding force behind Rigpa’s Vision Board? As it seems Rigpa is not interested in meaningful reform but rather how to carry on as before with SL as their teacher, DKR’s close involvement at this stage makes him complicit ing the ongoing stonewalling and gas lighting. To what end? Does he really think this is a wise move on Rigpa’s part? Apparently so. How can his collaboration with Rigpa be a good thing for Rigpa or for him? I just don’t see it.
      As for wanting a “new big role” in Rigpa, that seems implausible given his own very large organization which, it seems to mer, req

      1. ….it seems to me, already requires a great deal of his time and energy. How or why would he want to take over Rigpa as well?

        1. I didn’t say it was a good thing that DKR would want to take over Rigpa. It’s just what he wants. I was suspicious that he might want that, and now I am totally convinced. I don’t think it’s implausible at all. A lot of lamas run and control many, many centers and organizations. Of course, they put people under them to help them run it. But they love gathering more and more power and control. The more centers they can run, the better they like it. Also, through taking charge of Dharma centers, they have more influence and less competition. I am afraid that most of them are more interested in money and power than they are is actual Dharma. It’s sad.
          Why would anyone be surprised that he reveres Trungpa. Most of the lamas revere Trungpa, who is considered a modern-day saint and a legend. They consider all the crazy stuff he did “crazy wisdom” and of course, since he has passed away, they glorify his memory. (I wonder where his reincarnation is?)

          1. Well, I know there is a Trungpa reincarnation and there is some crazy reason why he is not yet acting in his role as the new Trungpa. But I wonder what is holding them up?

          2. I guess time will tell how things unfold, but if SL intends to continue teaching and presumably still intends to head up Rigpa, then they will have to negotiate some form of power-sharing, won’t they?
            As for “most of the lamas revere Trungpa” who are you talking about? I’m not sure how accurate that is? Maybe you have information I don’t? Can you give me some idea of how you know that? I personally know quite a few lamas who consider Trungpa’s legacy a disaster.

            1. Name the lamas who think Trungpa was a “disaster.” I have never heard a lama speak against Trungpa. They either praise him, or they keep silent, which doesn’t reveal what they really think.

        2. DKR has written several articles on issues of Tibetan Buddhism’s integration into the West and has even said that the tulku system is failing. In his book The Guru Drinks Bourbon, he virtually says it’s time to give it up, that it is not appropriate in the West. He also speaks openly there about abuse in monasteries and how that has to stop. He has also been active in instituting teacher training for Westerners and considering best practices in terms of curriculums, so he is aware that things need to change and is very aware of this situation and people’s opinions of it.
          From a fundamentalist perspective such as that shown in Rigpa, he is a ‘modern’ lama. The one good thing about his involvement is that he does know that things must change and is actually thinking about the matter. So that is better than having someone like OT who appears uninterested in change at all. It’s a small thing, but who knows what effect it might have down the track a bit just to have someone who sees the need for change. He is only one of 3, however, and we know he holds tight to the issue at the core of the problem, but I’m just trying to be a little positive here.
          One thing we can say about him is that he did, at least, make a statement. He didn’t just stay silent. We may not like what he said but at least we know where he stands, and for him to suggest, as he did, that S is not qualified as a vajra master was a pretty outrageous thing for a lama to say about another lama.
          As for his aims, really we cannot say. It’s all just assumptions and conjecture.

          1. @Moonfire, your appraisal of DKR really only tells half the story. Yes he’s savagely critiqued the tulku system but that plus his film-making and other western trappings aren’t enough to characterise him as a modern lama when his strange attitudes to women and aversion to ‘liberals’ are taken into account. I’m particularly referring to the the crude joke post and then the sarcastic one about ‘rape culture’ but his dissonance with women’s rights goes back a long way.
            I can remember being disheartened when i read a teaching of his which expressed an intolerance of feminism years ago. I’d known him in Nepal in the eighties and had a lot of respect for him and a deep connection to the incarnations of the Rime lamas.
            So it gives me no joy to say this but he seems very confused about how Buddhist values should align with the behaviour of Lamas. It seems valid to wonder about his own mental health, going by these social media outbursts. As others have noted, he’s presumably surrounded by an adoring, respectful throng who applaud his every move and has, hence, lost touch with reality to a degree.
            I would say that DKR’s involvement in sorting out this Rigpa problem would be motivated by a strong wish to preserve and promote the positive aspects of Sogyal’s legacy as the recent, unsavoury revelations blemish the entire Nyingmapa tradition and potentially compromise the further propagation of Tibetan Buddhism in the west – those articles in the mainstream press will forever be recycled thanks to our digital age.
            If lineage preservation and restoring the good name of Rigpa are DKR’s main goals, one wonders at what cost he will seek to achieve those ends? Possibly by looking for simplistic ways to paper over the dysfunctional aspects of the Rigpa culture.
            I think if the letter writers agree to co-operate with this Vision Board thingy, they will need to politely but firmly stand their ground and not capitulate, which they may be tempted to do given that the pressure will be on to bring down the emotional temperature and negotiate harmonious, anodyne resolutions.
            So however he plays it, it may be worth keeping front of mind DKR’s own testimony that he doesn’t have skin in the game. Responding to David Leser’s claim in the Good Weekend article that he seemed to be trying to have it ‘both ways’ DKR wrote to the Fairfax letters pages stating that “ I certainly was not trying to have it “both ways” and have no interest in Sogyal Rinpoche’s rise and fall, or in being “pro” or “anti” him or his victims. My sole concern in what I wrote was to correct serious misinterpretations of Vajrayana Buddhism being voiced at the time. My quotes can only be understood within that context.”
            Will this purported disinterest render DKR a genuinely neutral mediator? We’ll all have to tune in for the next episode. This is one soap opera that’s definitely playing for another season.

            1. @Matilda7, it’s hard to imagine DKR being able to play a genuinely “disinterested” (neutral?) role as meditator, despite his recent response to David Leser. I don’t know how he (or anyone else, for that matter) could, at least at this point anyway, have any success preserving and promoting the “positive aspects”of SL’s legacy? No doubt, with the passage of time, there will be a bright revisionist history pushed out by those with an agenda.
              I do think that the other half of the story you articulated is spot on.

            2. You are quite right. I assumed that everyone here knew that aspect of him, so I was trying to give the other angle. He does appear confused, certainly, but from confusion wisdom can dawn. As you say, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

              1. @Moonfire: sure, but for wisdom to dawn from confusion, we need to recognise our confused states of mind and work with them. DKR’s posts resonate certainty and hubris (the ones i’ve referred to above).
                Also, I am honestly struggling to understand the following. The Khyentses are supposed to be almost at the apex of the Bodhisattva path. So how could DKR write 10 thousand words when 2500 would have been more effective and then insist on publication in full and that we read the entire treatise in order to grasp his meaning?
                I guess it’s just my impure perception to regard that exercise as an ego-trip on his part. Some self-reflection and the capacity to detach from the fruits of one’s labors wouldn’t go astray, along with a fearless editor. What do other genuine practitioners think?
                I struggle with my own attachments but i’m not a Bodhisattva. I’m a weak sentient being.

                1. It appears the power of silencing is still at play regarding DJK Rinpoche.
                  I attempted once to raise awareness and was shut down and turned against.
                  It was due to a calculated and unethical mishandling of a Lyme Disease outbreak affecting quite a number of students at the Australian Gonpa (now sold on to new unsuspecting people) by DJK’s sangha in Siddhartha’s Intent and ultimately Rinpoche himself.
                  Also, has anyone else had the courage to speak on or question the appropriatness/ benefit of his sexual activities? In my experience they were presented confusingly as simultaneously a spiritual blessing and purely for mundane pleasure. I was naive and trusting but now it seems I almost became a victim of the typical behaviour of it seems numerous lamas. Reading his recent ‘sex contract’ was sickening and just confirmation that my decision to decline was right!
                  DJK really appears to have changed radically from his earlier teaching days in the west but most likely is it just all my polluted perception 😉
                  What is sad and confusing is that for many years I did benefit greatly from his teachings and an incredibly auspicious connection. I do remain grateful and respectful of that and to that manifestion of Rinpoche at the time. But it is like there are two completely different entities and his more recent public behaviour reveals that.
                  Unfortunately the effect his behaviour has had on my spiritual path (actually constituting a total abandonment despite his verbal promise to me and Bodhisattva vows) has been in the end incredibly detrimental – and I was very committed, devoted and sincere. Who woul have thought that my honesty would have been too much?!
                  So, apparently we will go to hell together then… and I’m not so easy to get rid of.
                  Isn’t it amazing that some of us are now wondering; maybe, just maybe it is not us who are infected/influenced by demons??

                  1. @Rose. Gosh Rose. I guess i have the same wish for you and everyone else who’s been deeply wounded on the spiritual path – that we find an authentic teacher whom we really connect with and who doesn’t let us down.
                    I hear your pain. It seems you made the right decision for you personally in extricating yourself from DKR, notwithstanding the lingering feelings of confusion and woundedness which are inevitable. I hope you have a practice that you can continue with in your own time – that helps to keep us grounded and on the path, though i’ve noticed here that so many people abandon the Dharma altogether once they’ve had negative experiences with a teacher.
                    As far as DKR’s personal behaviour goes, I guess you know more about that. My understanding was that he had a long-term partner (or maybe two!). We probably need to be a bit careful about publicly judging a Lama’s sexual behaviour unless we are aware that he/she is causing harm to his partners. Hence my challenging of those who claim with no evidence that Trungpa was an abuser of women.
                    At the same time, I hear your concerns that philandering is not a good look for a spiritual teacher and does raise concerns about their fitness to be guiding others. Of course in previous ages some mahasiddhas and tertons were reputedly massive womanisers. But those were different times – Drukpa Kunley’s behaviour was intended to shake Tibetans out of their prudish, judgemental mindsets. Today we live in a sex-crazed world so sleeping around is no longer a point of difference. It’s just a mundane activity that may reflect a level of insecurity and psychic emptiness.
                    I’m glad you bought up the Lyme disease issue again. Do you think that’s the actual reason why he sold Vajradhara Gonpa? While i never got to go there, i felt really sad that there was no longer a retreat space like that. I heard the sale was due to the cost of upkeep and that his students weren’t free to look after the space, which is fair enough i guess.

                    1. Thankyou for your heartfelt and considered words Matilda – I have resonated with your social media posts on these issues 🙂
                      It has been very difficult to ‘go public’ and I’ve posted and withdrawn comments before however no longer feel so guilty or afraid now after a sincere and costly attempt to meet with Rinpoche late last year (after years of no communication) to talk things over and try and move forward positively. He hooked me over to the teachings in Syney by responding to a message from me by asking me where I was. He knew it would engage me and draw me to him – believe me. So I travelled across the country and his response? He then never got in touch again and literally walked right past me then turned his back on me.
                      Why? I have done nothing wrong! I merely tried to bring something to light to help others get the medical care they may need and to suggest ways to improve the communication transparency and level of care the organisation could offer. It took me a long time to write that letter and I’ve no regrets about it.
                      Well, his arrogance is often joked about but it wasn’t effective or necessary (ie skillful) with me. In fact it has only given me the courage to write this! As you said – it appears the hubris has taken over and his students are blind to his faults and take themselves verrry seriously.
                      Strangely, I just heard he had said publicly that someone had threatened to sue him over contracting Lyme at the Gonpa. Well it wasn’t me – I just noted in my careful communication that the obfuscation and lying about the issue seemed to indicate more a concern to protect the imminent sale of the property and to avoid legal action for failing in duty of care perhaps. The sale was not due to the disease. I wonder who bought it and if they are now also ill?
                      Re the sexual stuff, I could say much more – but yes he has a primary relationship but as in my case, others are involved. In hindsight, the sex talk was gratuitous and pointless and the mixed messages of it being a spiritual practise but also just sex is very confusing.
                      The whole way things ended was very confusing Matilda as Rinpoche had always treated me respectfully and was always available to talk with. I guess you could say I was in an ‘inner circle’ of sorts and I maintained great loyalty to Rinpoche up until now. But his behaviour on many fronts is just not helping really and to be co-leading the Rigpa Vision Board smacks of hypocrisy considering the lack of care, honesty and leadership he has shown on our lifetime Lyme Disease legacy.
                      Tenpel said on his blog Diffi-cult Issues that there are two people who can call out the teacher’s behaviour
                      1) The teacher’s guru
                      2) The teacher’s students
                      Well, apart from me, which other students are speaking up to DJK Rinpoche?

                2. Yes! Thanks for sharing again Rose. I think these modern lamas need to be a lot more professional in their relationships with students. Spirituality is their career path and we all know mixing ‘business’ with pleasure can have unforeseen consequences. As you’ve articulated, there appear to be a lot of mixed messages regarding his dalliances with women – also evidenced by the disrespectful blog posts. If Lamas aren’t taking responsibility for the outcome of their behaviours then they’re not much different to ordinary men, one might argue?
                  You’ve been burnt but hopefully have become more resilient and wiser in the process.
                  The issue with the Lyme disease outbreak is another instance where a professional approach to student health and welfare must be adopted by Dharma centres. It’s their duty to provide a safe environment. From what you’ve written, it seems that DKR or Vajradhara Gonpa failed to demonstrate care and concern following the outbreak? Could they have done more to prevent such occurrences?
                  I lived in Mullumbimby for a year in the eighties and the main herbal remedy that we always had on hand was Ledum, to treat the proliferation of ticks and other insect bites. So it’s hardly unusual for North coasters to experience tick bites. The Gonpa could have provided warnings on how best to avoid such occurrences.
                  If it was an outbreak that they couldn’t have anticipated, it’s still their duty to conduct appropriate follow-up. It seems that’s your issue – that they just tried to sweep it under the carpet. I’m wondering how many were affected and what are the long term consequences?
                  I find it regrettable that the Buddhist path is all about courage and selflessness but when the shit hits the fan, the Lamas and their minders run for cover – OKC being another example. While I can imagine that DKR’s people may have a different take on the way this illness was handled, your account doesn’t amount to a great recommendation for DKR’s proposed role in resolving the Rigpa crisis.

                  1. Hi Matilda, just to clarify, there were a few concerns.
                    1) A woman on the 3yr retreat @ the Gonpa contracted Lyme and notified them. She wasn’t taken seriously at the time and not helped out much either. There are a number of other students with common Lyme symptoms who have spent much time there but who were unaware of the disease. One found that antibiotics helped relieve them temporarily of their mysterious symptoms.
                    2) The 2012 retreat I attended we were only told we might like to bring tea tree oil if we were allergic to ticks.
                    3) When I became very ill straight after pulling over 30 ticks off myself I was diagnosed clinically by a South African dr very experienced in tick borne diseases and subsequently tested positive in blood tests to Borrelia burgdorferei amongst other infections transmitted by the ticks at the time. Another woman bitten on the same retreat also became extremely ill and also tested positive. Upon informing SI in order to spread the word my concerns were brushed off, the possibility of Lyme was dismissed and the previous case denied. It was only through repeated attempts that the info was sent out to attendees so that they may seek help asap for as good a chance as poss to recover.
                    4) Upon reflecting upon the serious nature of the disease, my difficulty in getting the info to retreatants through SI officials plus the discovery that at least one person had contracted the disease some years prior and yet had been denied by SI, I wrote a letter with my concerns and views. The response was largely damage control and political in flavour.
                    Those of us who now are inflicted with a lifelong debilitating illness have been left with no form of acknowledgement or support from the organisation or Rinpoche…
                    My husband has supported me financially but not everyone is as fortunate.
                    Also, the new owners of the property will be suffering now too. Here is a link to the best website in Aus for info on Lyme Disease
                    So where is the morality, compassion or wisdom in this? Someone, please enlighten me??

                    1. Having put it all out there now, I will say that the only way I can process this and that feels valid and true is that there are two DJK Rinpoches; the one who treated me with love, respect and gave me teachings and the ultimate gift of the pointing out experience whom I shall always love and feel deeply inexpressibly grateful to. Then there is whatever he is manifesting now which I cannot connect to or understand at all. And perhaps that is how many former Rigpa students feel?
                      I am intending to pursue the mahamudra path with Mingyur Rinpoche – not wanting to lose the essence of the precious teachings available.
                      Thankyou so much to Matilda, Moonfire, Pete and all of you here who are sincerely trying to find a way through and and helping others along the way….

          2. @ Moonfire
            Do you actually think he’s sincere or serious about giving up anything? His status as a tulku for instance?
            The difference between him and Sogyal is that he’s more educated in the traditional sense and more intelligent, but this just makes his sophistry a little more sophisticated and his style of manipulation more intellectual.
            Of course he made a statement….. it was a tremendous opportunity, but presumably you read it and still found it acceptable? Why do you think a lama might venerate Trungpa, a degenerate alcoholic coke-head and control freak who gave his regent the go-ahead to risk infecting others with a fatal condition? ( to cite just one event)
            Frankly it’s naive to see this nonsense he spouts about crazy Wisdom as anything other than self-justification as an implicit licence to dominate, exploit and abuse credulous people. Just another narcissistic apologist for cruelty and destructive self-absorbed behaviour hiding behind spirituality.
            His veneration is a bad sign, eventually he may well drink too much Bourbon and turn into a Trungpa himself .

            1. @Pete Cowell re your jan 6 post on Trungpa (in case this ends up in the wrong place) i’m just wondering where you came across the evidence that Trungpa “gave his regent the go-ahead to risk infecting others with a fatal condition?”

          3. Maybe – maybe! – DKR says this to please Westerners, to appear modern?
            When asked in the Gesar Mukpo – the son of Trungpa Lama when I remember correctly – video TULKU, if he, DKR, really has signs that he is the rebirth of his predecessor, if he can remember his former life, DJR fiddled around avoiding yes and no and gave a long reply not coming to the point. Why?
            See the people by their actions and not by their words only.

      2. I try to take the middle ground when it comes to assessing Trungpa’s legacy. I don’t agree with DKR’s comment that Trungpa was a much better teacher than others operating in the west at that time (to paraphrase). While Trungpa was a stand-out, there were so many others successfully running centres in the west in the seventies and eighties who seemed to operate without controversy: Tarthang tulku, Karma Thinley, Gyatrul Rinpoche in the USA/Canada, Namkhai Norbu in Italy & Akong Rinpoche & Lama Chime in the UK for example.
        But i don’t agree with your assertion above that Trungpa did “very real damage”, apart from that inflicted on his own temporal body. This assertion seems to be spreading on social media and it seems people are just repeating hearsay. Trungpa was a visionary and we were all inspired by his books which interpreted TB using western concepts, eschewing classical descriptions steeped in religiosity.
        That one incident with the poets is recycled ad infinitum to prove that Trungpa was an abuser. But where is there any other evidence that would verify such an assertion? I knew many of his students in Nepal and India back in the day – they all seemed pretty grounded and were serious practitioners.
        While for me personally, from a distance, the emphasis on creating a kind of Shambala-inspired court seems over-the-top and elitist, Trungpa’s legacy is real, he inspired so many of us even though we never got to meet him. Dilgo Khyentse regarded him with reverence. Before opportunistically dismissing him as an abuser, Westerners should take the time to investigate his legacy.

        1. My above comment was a reply to jigje. It’s weird how sometimes you think you are replying directly to a specific comment but it doesn’t end up in the right place!
          Also, catlover has asked about Trungpa’s reincarnation. Yes, this is indeed a huge can of worms IMO. It was suggested that he’s not being brought out from Tibet as the Sakyong rather likes being le grande fromage and wouldn’t want to share the limelight. I don’t know whether that’s just malicious gossip but given the effort that’s usually put into re-installing a tulku at his former main residence, it seems highly unusual that the Karma Kagyu regents and Trungpa’s western students haven’t been clamouring for him to be brought out from Tibet.
          I guess the regents have been busy with other things – like navigating their schism – and they may claim it’s impossible, or he’s happy at Surmang yada yada. Though they managed it with Jamgon Kongtrul didn’t they? Yes, that didn’t work out as expected. I think this would be a very good question for Situ Rinpoche.
          It does seem curious that Trungpa’s old students aren’t more publicly vocal about his virtual internment.

        2. @matilda7, I am not discounting that many benefitted from Trungpa’s books and teachings; the same can be said about SL’s books and teachings. But to assert that the only damage done was to his own body is really stretching it. You don’t think his alcoholism and his sexual improprieties had any adverse effects on his students?
          I take my lead from HHDL on the ethics and responsibilities of a teacher in the teacher-student relationship.

          1. @jigje, to return to this convo about Trungpa from a week ago, i haven’t come across any evidence that Trungpa’s sleeping around created problems for his female students – his love interests or otherwise. So hence, i’m calling people out about assumptions made based on nothing more than conjecture.

        3. Here is a very good article by Katy Butler about Trungpa Rinpoche. It’s a timely piece still, written many years ago, which can add a lot good food for thought to our discussions.

          What she writes still counts – eg the misunderstandings of Westerners that if Asians show respect to lamas they do it from heart – not necessarily, it can be just protocol. But Westerns who see Sogyal or DKR being offered kathags might conclude wrongly they are hold in high esteem – not necessarily, it can be just formal protocol.

      3. @ jigje
        Important questions.
        Now, let me see, let’s think about what his his motivation could possibly be ….it’s a difficult one, but…..oh, I know, what about an insatiable craving for (even more) money, status, fame, power, sex, unpaid servants, free food, free travel, free accommodation, free holidays, free property, being constantly surrounded by a clique of adoring dharma groupies that fawn over you and lap up even your most banal utterances as if they were profound wisdom even though your contempt for them is barely disguised?
        No, it couldn’t be any of that surely?

        1. no way — never ever !!! thinking that way would probably be our own projections, desires or even… jealousy 🙂
          but, honestly, maybe what you describe are just a kind of “byproducts” and we cannot know their true motivation anyway, so why speculating… it’s their decision anyway.

          1. @ChrillerX
            Why would you be jealous? If you had qualified at school, university and chose a better profession, you could also have become a sophisticated, rich, happy person and would not have to be slaving away with temporary jobs. Your decision…

            1. what do you know about my past, dear ? not everyone has the same chances and circumstances to be born as a sweet little spoiled …. “child”, honey. some have to work hard to get through. not always and forever only “their” decision.

          2. @ chrillerloungeXX
            Actually yes, when someone sets themselves up as a teacher with such power over others we have an obligation to examine their conduct and question their motivation and then make reasonable assumptions about them.
            The refusal to do just that is what allowed Sogyal to abuse so many people for so long.
            It’s called using your critical intelligence and you ignore it at your own peril.

        2. @ .Pete Again, I don’t know all that much about DKR, but that’s quite a claim to impute onto DKR: “insatiable craving for (even more) money, status, fame, …., etc.” It just seems so extreme and I am no fan of his based on the little I know of him. How do we substantiate such claims? I’m assuming you drew these conclusions based on what you’ve observed?

          1. @ jigje
            It sounds extreme but it’s not.
            Please read Rose and Matilda’s disturbing dialogue above, it’s just a very small part of the story.
            I’ve heard quite a few very similar personal stories from other women who were involved with him, so to put it bluntly: he’s ( yet another ) vain, self-absorbed and emotionally immature man with no real respect for women who gets away with it so much because he shaves his head and wears a red skirt.
            He may hide behind his status and justify behaving badly as ‘Crazy Wisdom’, but only very credulous people buy that these days.
            If you’re really interested visit his facebook page…’s just embarrassing.

            1. Hi Pete, as having been seemingly a lone voice in this, by standing for certain principles and thus disengaging from Siddhartha’s Intent and DKR, I am interested to know (without identifying anyone, betraying confidences or getting too specific) how many women have you actually heard complain of suffering through their association with DKR?
              Also, what these other women’s issues generally were with Rinpoche/SI? For example, could they be grouped under having suffered sexual impropriety, betrayal, abandonment, deceit, hypocrisy, gaslighting etc ?
              Also, how confident are you that these claims are logically reasonable and valid? Difficult I know!
              My interest is not superficial, nor am I interested in spreading rumour or gossip just that I have felt quite alone in my experiences and that has fuelled doubt and fear somewhat.
              Moderators please edit if necessary and Pete I understand if you don’t feel comfortable answering and speaking on others’ behalf….

              1. @ Rose
                Perhaps you could ask that question directly of people on this blog or other sites. I’m not able to be specific obviously, but the women both my wife and myself spoke to were very credible and their experience sounds similar to yours: a relationship that ends abruptly when he starts brutally ignoring them. He’s a user.
                Put it this way: you’re definitely not the only one. And we’ve all been conned in different ways, no need for any fear or doubt, and above all don’t think you have any responsibility, the fault is with his cruelty.

                1. @Rose,
                  I’ve never been involved with DKR personally, but I knew someone who had heard from others that DKR “left a trail of broken hearts behind him,” (as she put it). I think that tells you that it isn’t just one woman, or even two or three women who have had trouble with him. You’re definitely not alone. If he “left a trail” behind him, then that means he treats a lot of women that way. Don’t feel bad about yourself because of one person, who has a reputation for treating people this way. it certainly isn’t *just* you.
                  In fact, this kind of behavior is (unfortunately) not only confined to a few lamas. It seems to be common behavior with a lot of them. (I’m not saying ALL of them because I don’t know how many exceptions there might be.) In fact, the teacher of the woman who told me about DKR also had a teacher who ignored her and broke her heart, as well as treating other women in a similar manner. I think it’s their way of punishing a woman for not giving them what they want. In the case of my friend, he didn’t get sex out of her, and he got angry and resentful because she didn’t give him what he wanted. He began to ignore her and make her feel guilty and doubt herself. It was heartbreaking to listen to her doubts and the way his treatment of her made her feel about herself. (I would rather not say who she was, or who the teacher was, but this is not at all uncommon behavior.) I don’t know if your situation was the same as hers or not, and I’m not saying it is. I’m just saying that the hot/cold attitude that you experienced from DKR is something that lamas often do in various situations with their students. They often see it as a kind of discipline, (or maybe their egos are just offended, as in the case of my friend’s teacher), but it is cruel, psychological abuse that is quite damaging.

                  1. Thanks Catlover. I don’t actually think that he went ‘cold’ after being turned down by me, although that may have been a factor, rather it was after I questioned the ethics around the way the Lyme Disease outbreak was handled by Siddharthas Intent Australia. He just didn’t want to know basically and refused communication on it which is the opposite of what he preaches publicly. I imagine it would have felt an even worse betrayal and abandonment had we been intimate so am thankful about that at least.
                    In my view, messing around with mundane sexual stuff is not helpful for the student and has the potential to de-rail a woman from her spiritual path even longterm… it is hard to reconcile the teacher as a Bodhisattva with his basic desire to fulfill his sexual fantasies with multiple usually young, attractive women.
                    Another question came to mind. If it is presented as a spiritual opportunity, one should ask him; ‘Who taught you this path and these mehods?’ Shame to have only thought of that now!

                    1. @Rose,
                      You’re right that in your case it was probably the Lyme Disease issue that caused him to act like a jerk with you. You are very lucky that you did not get more intimate with him.
                      My friend’s teacher seemed to try and hit on just about anything female that moved, younger and older women alike, (even though he was supposedly a “monk.”) She mistakenly believed that he saw her as a dakini, and I strongly suspect he may have told her she was a dakini. The “you’re a dakini” line is something that lamas like this give to any woman they want to con into sleeping with them. If he REALLY thought she was a dakini, he wouldn’t have toyed with her feelings and teased her the way he did. She even told me she noticed him laughing at her quite often. This is NOT the way lamas treat a woman when they really think she is a dakini. Lamas practically bow and revere dakinis, so when a lama is treating a woman with disrespect, you can bet that he is just using the “dakini” thing as an excuse to use her.
                      As for who teaches them those methods….well, I am afraid it’s what they learn them from their teachers and other people who serve as examples, (bad examples). Also, it comes from the way they twist the Tantra to justify behavior of that sort, as well as human behavior they witness and learn. (It’s ironic that Tantra was originally controlled by women, and somehow the men got hold of it and used it to enslave women instead.)

        3. We cannot know another’s motivations so any assumptions about them is just that, assumptions which are coloured by our own beliefs about the situation. The moderators would prefer that you do not make such assumptions here unless you can back up your assumptions with observable behaviour. We do not want this to be a place for the spreading of gossip. And this is not defending DZK, it is just because we want to keep the conversation based on facts not hearsay as much as we can.

  10. And Khenchen Namdrol is even worse, (with his demon possession beliefs!!! Not that I had much hope before, but after this announcement, I am 100% percent certain that there is no hope for this organization at all. The law needs to get involved, or there will never be any change. Leaving it up to them is like expecting Scientology to reform from within! It’s NOT gonna happen.

    1. Yes Catlover, who really is/are the ones posessed – a question I pose in my above comment re DJK Rinpoche and my experiences with him…

      1. Wow! I was reading the conversation above about the Lyme disease and the way DKR responded, or didn’t respond, etc. Just disgusting! And it confirms the gut feeling I’ve always had about him. I don’t think DKR will be much better for Rigpa than Sogyal. It will be just business as usual, with another lama to replace Sogyal, who isn’t much better, imo!

  11. If I were a lawyer I would sue the pants off of SL and his complicit ring of lamas who support abuse. But I guess their pants were down anyway…
    Think about it from the standpoint of an outside jury for the first time learning of this very disturbing, twisted, and bizarre cult. Anyone with half a heart would find them heartless and rotten. It must stop. Listen to HH.

    1. “If I were a lawyer I would sue the pants off of SL and his complicit ring of lamas who support abuse. But I guess their pants were down anyway…”
      But I guess their pants were down anyway! LOL! HA, HA! That’s really funny! 😀

  12. I’m trying to think of a polite, diplomatic way to express this, so here are some rhetorical questions :
    Is it really so difficult to understand that what some Tibetan lamas say publicly may not be an honest expression of what they really think ?
    Isn’t it obvious that they adopt entirely different positions according to who they’re addressing, in function of what they’re hoping to get ?
    Is there really no possibility that they’re working together to limit the damage to their collective reputation caused by Sogyal, while trying to preserve their lucrative links with him and his sangha, with a view to making more money and taking over when he dies?
    Why, after all that’s happened over the past thirty years, assume they have good motivation when they do this ?
    We’ve got a situation where a group of lamas are getting involved, and surprise, surprise, there’s now something on offer for everyone here :
    A few examples : for the die-hard fundamentalists : demonic possession, hellish rebirth and ‘liberating’ violence from Orgyen Topgyal and Kenchen Namdrol. (Invited by Sogyal to give teaching and guidance )
    For the more thoughtful and undecided : Dzongsar Khyentse and his convoluted, incomprehensible pseudo-intellectual excuses for abuse. (Invited by Sogyal to give teachings and guidance)
    For those who are appalled at the abuse : the brothers Mingyur and Tsoknyi and their soothing words about ethical behaviour. (Invited by Sogyal to give teachings and guidance)
    What do these seemingly different lamas have in common ?
    They all knew about the abuse but ignored it for décades, they are all still being invited to Rigpa, and stand to profit from that, none of them will criticize Sogyal directly in specific terms or talk about the abuse directly, and all of them believe in ‘Crazy Wisdom .’
    Is it really that difficult to join up the dots here ?

    1. As the dots have even been marked with numbers by you, now I can see it! Thank you.
      That’s not a nice picture in this “painting by numbers”. And you know what? I will not go there.
      But it’s obviously up to anybody else if they accept the invitation (of the lamas) or not, isn’t it?

    2. It’s really not, Pete.
      I realized something new this week, after watch Dave Chappelle’s new comedy special on Netflix.
      The “crazy wisdom” training we’ve seen described, is almost identical to the way a pimp breaks a woman.
      He had this manual written in the 30s, and one of the passages really just reminded me of the story of the nun who got punched, then was really grateful that Rinpoche hugged her afterwards.
      The pimp’s approach was to beat the woman with a coat hanger, then give her a bath and attention afterwards. She would be so grateful that he fixed her, that she’d forget he was the one who damaged her in the first place.

      1. @ EU Dawn
        That’s a horrible story and the parallel is obvious to me too, but what puzzles me is that despite everything that’s now understood about the dynamics of abuse, so many students and basically all lamas, still believe that if the abuse is carried out by a Tibetan lama who is generally respected, then it’s no longer abuse but some sort of spiritually beneficial violence…..when as you say, it’s actually intended to break people psychologically so they can be exploited.
        I suppose once a student has accepted all the traditional stories at face value then it’s not such a big step to think that lamas like Sogyal and Trungpa are doing the same thing.
        It’s unlikely that having acquired that mind-set, students would ever think to reverse the logic and ask themselves whether the traditional stories are also just a cover up of abusive, alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional individuals.
        As is so often the case, it’s not the victims who get to write history.
        If Sogyal had lived a few hundred years ago, he’d probably now be revered as a great mahasiddha who used violence to raise his students’ awareness, and the very real damage he did would have been erased from the record and replaced with revisionist myths.
        Apparently there are now stories of his having performed miracles circulating among his faithful students, so incredibly, the process of re-habilitating him as a buddhist saint may have already begun.
        Sometimes I suppose we have to accept that there are people who can’t be helped.

    3. @ .Pete This is a far more nuanced argument that strikes me as far more plausible. Even HHDL remained silent on SL’s abuse (he MUST have known about it for years?) until this collective letter by the eight was sent to him.
      Do we know for a fact that all of them still believe in “Crazy Wisdom?” That seems to be the crux of the problem here. It essentially gives any teacher cover for all sorts of unethical and immoral actions. Hard to imagine Mingyur Rinpoche still holding to this belief?

      1. @ jigje
        Yes, like most lamas, the Dalai lama knew decades ago, but I’m going to leave you to draw your own conclusions, because otherwise my comment will probably get blocked or I’ll upset a lot of people. The details are well-known anyway.
        And yes, Mingyur Rinpoche certainly does accept ‘Crazy Wisdom.’ Here are some excerpts from a related talk he gave, detailed in a previous ‘What Now? article:
        ‘Mingyur Rinpoche clarifies that the use of “Crazy Wisdom” is the rare exception not the norm. He says it also depends entirely on a very mature spiritual relationship between the student and the teacher…….Not only are these extreme teaching methods used only with very mature students and in the context of a relationship of stable trust and devotion, they are also a last resort……Thus we must distinguish teachers who are eccentric or provocative—but ultimately compassionate and skillful—from those who are actually harming students and causing trauma. These are two very different things, and it is important that we do not lump them together. There are plenty of teachers who push and provoke students to help them learn about their minds, but that is not abuse.”
        So he accepts it, but tries to obscure the real implications by adding all sorts of qualifications that are meant to reassure modern students. It’s pure sophistry.
        He doesn’t mention any checks and balances on what is a very suspect and dangerous practice, the teachers who use it or any kind of follow-up assessment of whether the student was traumatized… all rests on the supposed wisdom of the teacher. It’s an incredibly disingenuous description of an abusive process.
        Of course these kinds of brutal processes were formerly used in military training, educational systems, disciplining children in authoritarian families and so on. They may be partially and temporarily effective but their primitive psychology is now well understood to cause trauma.
        These days lamas try to justify such primitive behaviour, but it doesn’t magically change aggression and bullying once you call it enlightened activity.
        Basically he’s saying: “ it’s not abuse whenever we say it isn’t.”…..does this sound familiar at all?

    4. Pete, while I sympathise with much of what you wrote, I think to insinuate or claim a selfish, greedy or dubious motivations to the lamas engaging is by far too simplistic and doesn’t do justice to the complexity of what can motivate people.
      So, for instance, Mingyur Rinpoche or Khandro Rinpoche i cannot see to be driven by such motivations according to how my experiences and observations with them are.
      What drives DKR, I don’t know either. But for sure sex, power, money are really powerful forces. The most tempting power – a neuroscientist claimed – is power. He said neither money nor sex are as tempting as power. Therefore, the absolute power – without check and balances that exist in Asian and the Tibetan society (see Katy Butler on that point too) Tibetan lamas enjoy in the West – this absolute power, make corruption highly likely. But corruption must be proven and not just claimed.
      It smacks too much like conspiracy theory or simplistic thinking to suggest only bad motivations to a group of lamas with very different backgrounds and behaviour.
      So, I don’t agree with such speculations unless there is evidence or signs that prove this thesis or make it at least rather likely.

      1. @ Tenpel
        Ok, you don’t believe that Tibetan lamas ever act together out of self-interest, then perhaps you could answer these questions about my simplistic conspiracy theory.
        Why did they all look the other way for all those years ?
        Why do you think Sogyal would ever invite them to Rigpa centres and approve their teaching his students if he had even the slightest doubt about them still supporting him fully ? ( I assume you’ve met him )
        Why do they have no problem accepting money from Rigpa and effectively giving it their public approval by agreeing to go there ?
        You see my criticism of them and my apparently harsh conclusion about their motivation is because of their very long term and continuing support for a criminal abuser, a kind of spiritual rapist who spent decades bullying, and physically and emotionally torturing his vulnerable students.
        Certainly these lamas may be different but these factors unite every one of them. It’s self-interested indifference, and if not, then what would you call it ?
        Their previous long silence and continued complicity can’t prove my thesis but it certainly makes it more likely than attributing selfless motivation, because they have and still are acting contrary to the much vaunted ethical foundation of Buddhism itself.
        What do you think motivates people to go against the ethical foundation of their religion ?
        I appreciate that the generous attitude of giving them the benefit of the doubt is your default mode as a Buddhist practitioner but that also colours your perception, so you ignore their collective complicity and say it’s a conspiracy theory and mere speculation.
        I’m no longer a Buddhist, so I don’t have your vested interest in making excuses for complicity or willful ignorance in Tibetan lamas.

        1. Would be a good idea to directly approach each of these lamas on the new vision board and ask point blank what their take is on abuse of power and position, sexual, physical, and financial abuse, exploitation of students, the feudalistic and outdated system, their feeling on westerners, their relationship to SL, and why they are personally investing themselves in Rigpa. Not that they will tell you their truth. But still they need to be directly and repeatedly asked.
          Tibetans and Bhutanese have a terrible habit of saying one thing and then turning around and saying another thing to their pals, and respecting westerners is not one, but rather there is a history of taking every advantage of naive westerners for their own agendas- I am speaking of ordinary folk not realized practitioners. I lump those like SL in the first category.
          Khandro Rinpoche normally calls a spade a spade and is quite no nonsense, so not sure why she didn’t call this out one not sure why she’s agreeing to go forward in this mess. I should like to ask her! But anyway I think she will not be hitting anyone, deceiving people, living a life of gluttony, nor having sex with married men and telling them not to tell their partners, nor having her students take photos of their genitals and showing her. So having her on board might be helpful to wake folks up and telling the lamas to keep their pants on.
          HHDL openly stated SL has no experience or training which to me that says he is not qualified to have students and certainly not a crazy wisdom lama. He’s beyond the lama politics now.
          Still I would never set foot in a Rigpa center as I don’t want one penny going towards their organization which uses money to hire lawyers to cover up abuse. And even if it were free (not a chance in Rigpa) I would not go on ethical grounds alone. It is not a buddhist place in my mind, but a cult and a business.

          1. I found this helpful and sensical- maybe others might too. The last point about keeping dharma centers small I completely agree with.
            Khandro Rinpoche said in 2013 to use common sense:
            “Every teacher has at least taken the lay vows and the bodhisattva vows.” Khandro Rinpoche retorts. “Apart from the obvious misconduct of using force, taking advantage of your own position and the naivete of a student is abuse and very painful to see. Abuse is when there is pretense, conceit, or lying. Pretending someone has more realization than they actually have and thus misleading the student is very, very harmful. There is no shortcut to enlightenment,” she states, “and anyone who offers one should be treated with suspicion.”
            Yet, I probe once again, how can a student, especially a beginner, judge whether a teacher is truly realized or just bluffing with charisma?
            Khandro Rinpoche acknowledges that “the Buddhist teachings give a lot of freedom for each individual, so we cannot really enforce one statement for everybody, we have to look at the situation.” Again, sherefers to her father’s advice. Whenever she spoke with him [H.H. Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche, the former head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism] about the topic, “he always said, the solution is education. When you educate people well, you are giving them the tools to make their own decisions.” Khandro Rinpoche has adopted that credo for herself: “There is nothing that education cannot change.” Rinpoche’s father also suggested keeping dharma centers small in number in order to build relationships deeply rooted in mutual trust. “He said anytime you go into places where you don’t know everybody by name, then you are not able to train them properly.”

          2. @ concerned
            I’d be concerned that Rigpa will use her as a token woman to help promote their…..err….’feminist’ credentials.

            1. I don’t know- she wouldn’t take any bullshit.
              I’m more concerned about DKR, OT, and KN considering their takes. Has everyone read DKR’s sex contract? Totally tasteless and not that of a supposed Manjushri emanation.

              1. I read it. It’s more b.s. from him. I suppose it was meant to be funny, but it makes him come across as a jerk who doesn’t sympathize with victims of abuse.

          3. @concerned,
            My responses to your comments are inserted below. Some of the things you said caught my attention, and I wanted to respond.
            “Would be a good idea to directly approach each of these lamas on the new vision board and ask point blank what their take is on abuse of power and position, sexual, physical, and financial abuse, exploitation of students, the feudalistic and outdated system, their feeling on westerners, their relationship to SL, and why they are personally investing themselves in Rigpa. Not that they will tell you their truth. But still they need to be directly and repeatedly asked.”
            Then they will directly and repeatedly lie and play ring around the rosie with you, and never answer your questions directly. I personally don’t think there is any point to asking them anything because they will just fence with you. If you can’t trust the lama you are asking questions to, then why not just skip over those lamas and find one you can trust to tell you the truth? (Is it possible to find one? I don’t know.)
            “Tibetans and Bhutanese have a terrible habit of saying one thing and then turning around and saying another thing to their pals, and respecting westerners is not one, but rather there is a history of taking every advantage of naive westerners for their own agendas- I am speaking of ordinary folk not realized practitioners. I lump those like SL in the first category.”
            Which is the reason why asking these lamas to explain those things is useless. They don’t respect Westerners anyway, they think the questions from Westerners are stupid anyway, (and sometimes the questions really ARE stupid, which makes the lamas think ALL Westerners are stupid), they will sneer at you behind your back, and you will NOT get good answers from them.
            “Khandro Rinpoche normally calls a spade a spade and is quite no nonsense, so not sure why she didn’t call this out one not sure why she’s agreeing to go forward in this mess. I should like to ask her!”
            Because she is really cut from the same piece of cloth as the male lamas, except that she is a bit more diplomatic and careful of what she says to Westerners. But if she didn’t have the courage to speak out about it, and she is going along with the program now, you can bet that all of her pretty talk means nothing. You have to look at what the lamas/teachers, (both male and female), actually DO, not just what they say. Words are cheap, and their actions tell you what they REALLY think.
            “HHDL openly stated SL has no experience or training which to me that says he is not qualified to have students and certainly not a crazy wisdom lama. He’s beyond the lama politics now.”
            I don’t really know what to say about that. HHDL knew about Sogyal’s abuses for years and supported him anyway. This makes him look a bit less than squeaky clean, imo. I say this even though I have been a devotee of HHDL for years. It bothers me that he didn’t do more. At least he is taking a stand, (with his words), but I have to watch and see what his actions are. To me, what the lamas SAY (incl. HHDL) is much less important than what they DO.
            “Still I would never set foot in a Rigpa center as I don’t want one penny going towards their organization which uses money to hire lawyers to cover up abuse. And even if it were free (not a chance in Rigpa) I would not go on ethical grounds alone. It is not a buddhist place in my mind, but a cult and a business.”
            I am not sure I could say it’s not a “Buddhist” place anymore because it seems like the attitudes that shaped the abuse is very much alive and well in the whole Tibetan Buddhist institution. But I totally agree that I would not set foot in any Rigpa center after this. It would be almost as icky as entering a New Kadampa tradition (NKT) center, lol! 😀

            1. Hi Catlover,
              The reason I said to repeatedly ask some tough questions (and not to be afraid to ask) is for students to learn to have discrimination, use critical thinking, not follow the masses when they see others readily following like sheep, to judge and analyze and use their heads. Lamas need to show accountability. Systems and imbalances of power need to change and transparency with finances needs to happen. I wonder if Rigpa would report the massive ‘offerings’ these lamas would walk away with? But that’s a different matter. Honestly I don’t know any answers here- I would personally never go there but some will still be wanting to hang on for their own reasons, and for that I would hope they question- not just for a week but for years. I would also hope students stop needlessly spoiling these lamas. There are two sides here.
              I don’t agree with what you said about:
              “it seems like the attitudes that shaped the abuse is very much alive and well in the whole Tibetan Buddhist institution”
              There are excellent lamas out there who do not abuse, bully, harm students, nor support such abusive lamas (which to my mind is unforgivable).
              Regarding HHDL, please take the time to read Matthieu Ricard’s statement as he spells it out clearly.

                1. Don’t forget that SR fled France to a country with no extradition treaty, and has not met with, or given any statement to, the police or lawyers who are looking for him.

              1. @concerned,
                I realize that you mostly want to have the students keep quizzing the lamas mostly for their own benefit, but I just don’t happen to think that would be very effective in this case. If there are really some good lamas out there, then I would suggest that instead of students wasting their time trying to quiz lamas, they just go and find some good lamas. If students gave no time or energy to “bad” lamas at all, including asking them questions about how they feel about things, the “bad” lamas would go away because they wouldn’t have any students at all. That would be a good thing, imo, loll! 😀

                1. And I agree that it would really be good if Sogyal is brought to trial, but I guess some people are immune to the law or any kind of justice at all. It must be some kind of karma that protects them from ever having to face a judge, no matter what they did.

                2. true true cat lover. you’ve a point. but I don’t see the happening as people are drawn to rock stars even if they are less than savory. it’s a phenomenon that I cannot understand.

                  1. (cont to catlover) this last comment I was referring to your point of people not wasting time and just leaving to find a qualified and trustworthy lama.

                    1. @concerned,
                      Yes, you are probably right that people will continue to be drawn to those lamas (and rock stars) who don’t deserve it. In fact, lamas are often just the Buddhist replacement for rock stars for many students, imo. 😀 That’s just human nature, I’m afraid. But ideally, students would be better off just skipping the interviews with power-hungry, lying lamas and just seek out the good ones. (I hope there really are some good ones.) It would save a lot of time and trouble. But I guess as long as students are drawn to the “bad” lamas, I do see your point that it would be much better to confront them, rather than just be submissive and agree with everything they say. On the other hand, lamas are so good at “fencing” with people, and making people feel so stupid for asking a question, I wonder if it wouldn’t just make students doubt themselves and confuse them even more. It’s been my experience that many lamas are good at making students feel stupid and I sometimes think they get sadistic pleasure out of making people uncomfortable and pushing their “buttons” on purpose. I’ve seen it so often around lamas. They have done it with me sometimes, and they have done it to my friends, and other people. They seem to really enjoy it when people get uncomfortable and they love watching people squirm. I think that’s would happen if students tried to ask the lamas how they feel on those issues. Th type of lama we are talking about really doesn’t care about those issues at all. They see it as a Western concern and it doesn’t seem important to them at all. They just laugh and sneer at Westerners for thinking about these issues, which they see as just ego, etc. I have seen it so often, so I am not just assuming what they think. I have encountered it quite often, and witnessed other people getting hurt by it as well.

        2. Questions from Pete, in which answeres i’ m very interested in, cause as i mentioned in this blog before, the whole system of tibetan buddhism personally reminds me more and more of a classical system of structurell abuse like in familys most disfunctional family systems i get the same reactions like i have sadly to study bit by bit in the TB-internet-cosmos. No single Lama stands up and is brave enough to say: stop, not in my name, something goes terrible wrong. Why is this so? political constraints? Dependencies of sponsors? I’m sure every single lama has his/her superficial plausible reasons, but: where’s their human dignity, good grace, their whish and courage for ending silence, for doing some better change?
          i can’t comprehend their inactivity, their doubletalk, which is discussed by us all until it’s lost in the infinite internet. after so many years my trust in TB is gone. and by the way, to whome i should wholehearted take refuge anymore? To a criminal sexuell abuser or to the other tibetan lamas who don’t see any badly needed necessarity to stop criminal abusers and criminal tendencies to rescue tibetan buddhism until its totally rotten? Ground of looking away/ passivity isn’t really working as path to enlightment in the longterm, same as lies and manipulation.

          1. @yesnow
            Sl said it on many occasions if you have trouble in taken refuge in me take refuge in Padmasambhava.
            Read the book the white lotus about all the different meanings of the seven line prayer. Study it and then you will know your refuge
            Good luck

            1. @jan de fries. Thank you very very much for your kind advice, and yes, to switch to Guru Rinpoche was my first try when i quit with SL and left rigpa in 2013 after 14 years in R. , and yes, i read the most of the padmasambhava stuff, SL suggested us to study. but it never really worked for me anymore, because of too much ugly triggers maybe? , and meanwhile when i see a padmasambhava image or the statue hidden in my cupboard, then my first spontanous thought often is: ouh, no, there he is, the founder of this crazy imbalanced dangerous guruyogathing, he started the whole tibetan feudal tantrastuff together with his teeny consortiums, and i had to study his heroic vita, written by powerful rinpoches, maybe the same manipulative powerful gurus as in our modern time, like SL, OT, DK..
              Of course, my projections , but who really knows ? Reminds me a little bit on Jesus and the testament-Storys. Sorry, cant describe it better and my english is very limited. i dont want to hurt anybody with my writing, its only my personal thoughts and feelings and a response to Jan.

    5. It’s easy to see that, for sure, and these are undoubtably factors, even if they are unconscious ones, but why should we not also allow for the possibility that there is also some positive motivation there, still some genuine desire to be of benefit. I find it hard to believe that one could spend all those years studying Buddhism and not have some desire to be of benefit to students. But what we ‘believe’ is not the point, the point is not to hold so tight to our beliefs that we do not allow for something else to be true.
      Again I am not defending anyone here; I am just trying to keep a balanced perspective, one in keeping with the mission statement of this blog to “honor the ‘good’ while exposing the ‘bad'”

      1. @ Moonfire
        I agree that ‘balance’ is definitely an important issue.
        Our perception of others tends to be an assessment of the proportional balance between their good and bad qualities and it’s usually coloured by self-interest.
        In societal terms, it’s generally accepted that even a single very bad action carries much more weight than many good ones, especially if it causes long term damage and because it proves what an individual is capable of in future.
        For instance: once a doctor sexually assaults a patient, all his previous good work is completely overshadowed and he’s likely to be struck off, because once he has broken the essential ethical code of his profession, then he’s deemed no longer trustworthy. It’s an essential precautionary principle.
        So in terms of protecting future victims, exposing the bad is far more important than honoring the good and I don’t think they don’t merit equal effort or emphasis. In the case of Sogyal’s serial abuse and violence, carried out over decades, I’m not quite sure how ‘the good’ is even relevant.
        My concern is that it can be a subtle way of trying to minimize and qualify the severity and significance of the abuse.
        I don’t believe years studying Buddhism guarantees anything at all. The previous Kalu Rinpoche spent fifteen years in retreat but that didn’t stop him and his brother sexually abusing his translator and threatening her with premature death if she ever spoke about it to anyone.
        Maybe we could: ” allow for the possibility that there is also some positive motivation there, still some genuine desire to be of benefit.”….. but considering the context I don’t see why that matters.

        1. @Pete
          I’m going to say something horrible, but that is consistent with Tibetan Buddhism.
          Yes, Kalu Rinpoche was exposed by June Cambell, you can read about her testimony in the link below.
          And then, look at what happened to his reincarnation. The young Kalu Rinpoche was gang-raped by monks when he was 12, and his tutor tried to murder him.
          Is that karmic payback? It is, in the Tibetan Buddhist belief system. So it means that Tibetan Buddhists should, consistently, acknowledge the strong negative behavior of the previous KR.
          To go even further: why did Tibet fall? Why was it forsaken by the protectors? Again to be consistent with Tibetan Buddhism’s view of karma, it was because they had collectively lost their merit, had collectively, accumulated so much negative karma that it was necessary to destroy the nation, as it was.
          So they should know and admit that not everything was perfect, and accept external feedback. Because everything was no fucking perfect.

          1. It’s not terrible to say that at all (about Kalu Rinpoche). But who knows if the young Kalu R. is REALLY the reincarnation of the previous one anyway? I personally don’t trust the tulku system of so-called reincarnations. Tulkus are often chosen for the wrong reasons, or it’s political, or they just want to keep it “in the family” so to speak (children born from “tantric” relationships being recognized as tulkus) and so on. But I do get your point and what you are saying.

    6. I find your irreverance very refreshing after years of fear of speaking up – a good antidote to my brainwashing under DJK Rinpoche… it certainly is a slow process undoinv that 🙁

    7. @ Pete Cowell
      Your scenario crossed my mind also.
      Last night the movie spotlight was on television, I do hope the parallel is not true.
      The movie is about the newspaper the boston globe and the the way they discovered the child abuse by priests.
      Gives a lot food for thought.

  13. As long as HHDL actively disapproves of Rigpa, and as long as abuse is acceptable, I will never step foot in a Rigpa center again.
    Whatever good there was there, has been burned by this shit non-response.
    It’s a farce. Rigpa is not a Dharma center anymore.
    HHDL has already ready said it needs to be shut down, and Rigpa still has the fucking gall to say on their website, that they enjoy the gracious patronage of HHDL.

  14. Can we, for the sake of clarity, if we are responding to a particular person, put their name in at the beginning of our comments? It’s hard to determine at times who some of these comments are addressed to and what, specifically, they are referring to.

  15. 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.

  16. I think there is a suggestive bias towards DKR. Now my mind is more quiet, I red his comments on the matter several times.
    He clearly states that a student has to be warned for the consequences of entering the vajrayana path. In Rigpa I have never saw warning teachings with good explanations on this subject. The how and the why.
    He also states he never expected to be sexualy abuesed by his teachers who gave him vajrayana initiations and he states they never did.
    The following section of his 10000 words are puzzling quote:
    So if a student of Sogyal Rinpoche were to see him floundering in the middle of a lake and based on their impure perception, project onto him the idea that he seems to be drowning, it would probably not be a good idea for that student to think, “Rinpoche is an enlightened being and should be able to walk on water.” A much better thought would be, “This is my impure perception! Rinpoche is manifesting as a drowning man so that I can accumulate the merit of rescuing him.”
    As your practise improves, your perception of the guru will no longer be bound or limited by the causes, conditions and effects that once made you think he was drowning. This is the point in your spiritual development when you will truly see the outer guru as the Buddha and will also be able to see your own inner guru.
    Until then, when your guru chairs a board meeting and it becomes obvious that he has no clue about an issue, as a prudent member of that board you shouldn’t hesitate to supply him with the information he needs. At the same time, as a Vajrayana student, you must skilfully remind yourself the guru only looks clueless to you because of your own impure perception, and that by appearing to need your assistance the guru is actually giving you the chance to accumulate merit. End quote.
    The only thing I can make of it is that his close students should have helped him to address his problems and by doing so they could have accumulated merrit by correcting him. Now we all face the consequencies.
    If you don’t let you master drown, why let him do his abusive actions etc etc when it is based on a wrong idea.
    In both cases without interverance dharma teachings comes to an end, a drowned teacher cannot teach and the teaching of a disgraced teacher lose their impact or power or even prevent people entering or follow the dharma.

    1. @Jan de Vries,
      I’m sure not biased in DKR’s favor, lol! 😀 He sounds like he is lost in the Twilight Zone in that article he wrote. It is so confusing and convoluted that I feel one needs to go to college to study figure out the subtle nuances and hidden meanings in what he says. 😀 It would be better if teachers like him just stated clearly what ethical position they are taking, (with as few words as possible). It’s just too complicated, (and I think he does that on purpose).

  17. Ironically though we are taught we are the ones drowning and need the master to cross the ocean of samsara!
    Frankly, I don’t want a master that needs saving…

    1. @Rose,
      Amen! Yes, that is exactly what I keep saying. What is the point of having a spiritual teacher who needs saving, or who is more messed up than I am, lol?

      1. My understanding of the point being made there, was the student needed the merit of saving a drowning teacher.
        So applying the analogy with SR – his student need the merit of stopping an abuser and sending him to jail and rehabilitating him, so that they gain the merit, wisdom and compassion that doing such actions produce. But of course, as a wisdom master, SR has absolutely no problem going to jail.

        1. @RH,
          I get the point being made, but a lama would never apply this convoluted logic to themselves. Anything that happens is always the student’s fault (in their book). If something bad happens to the lama, it’s not the lama’s karma, it’s the student’s negative karma. If something bad happens to the student, even if it is caused by the lama, it’s the student’s karma, never the lama’s. Either that or the lama is just “manifesting something in order to teach the student a lesson. I’m not saying *I* believe this, but it’s what they believe. I have even heard reputable Dharma people say that if a lama gets sick, it’s the student’s lack of merit which causes the lama’s illness. That’s why when a lama gets sick, students are always requested to do practices that increase THEIR merit, not the lama’s merit. The students are blamed for the lama’s illness. That’s why the Rigpa students were blamed for Sogyal’s illness and why that one lama lectured them about their lack or merit, basically implying it was their fault he got sick, etc.

          1. Thank you all for your discussion. I had the intention after my reply to analyse the text of DKR, but after analysing his introduction I wandered why should I do this.
            He asks his reader for patience, read the whole stuff while in the meantime scloding them, because we are living in a democracy, critisises the press et.etc. By doing so you indirecty suggest you have something important to say.
            If you start your text in this way and as a writer you want to be taken serious, you have to take your readers also serious. The only way to take your readers serious is to make sure they get the messeage and you try to write your stuff as if you an unbiased reader. you want your readers to read your text from the beginning to the end. As a writer you should be aware of the question why should someone like to read my text.
            I started to wonder if you put this text in a magazine the way it is written as it is, it is certainly a page turner after reading the introduction you turn to the next article. I can hardly find anything in this text which suggests the writer makes any effort to to show his willingness to take the reader by hand on his discourse. There are some pleasing statements, but after such an introduction I started wonderring how honest the writer is. I really cannot see the words were weighted, but the intruduction suggest a promise this being the case.
            If you put this text in the context of a guru drinks bourbon and the sex contract of the writer it gives rise to more questions.
            Like if you finnsh your ngondro and go to the next level have you to sign this sex contract or are there other contracts involved.
            I don’t think this was a great contrubution to a very very sad event.
            So I turn the page

            1. I also don’t think the 10,000 words are worth analyzing. My feeling is that he was/is trying to cover his own behind. That sex contract was in such poor taste and truly shed light on his emotional maturity level. He lost my vote and I can no longer see him as a bodhisattva but rather just an emotionally immature and spoiled man. I have no expectations for reform within Rigpa at this point, but the good thing is students are waking up to what is truly happening and they are speaking out.

              1. @concerned,
                “I also don’t think the 10,000 words are worth analyzing. My feeling is that he was/is trying to cover his own behind.”
                Totally agree.

          2. @catlover, very good but you forget one aspect: all the student’s good times are due to the blessings of the Lama!
            This plus the Rigpa controversy & Lamas’ reaction to it makes me wonder – is the law of karma somehow ignored in Vajrayana? At least when it suits the myth-making.

            1. @matilda7,
              Yes, that’s true! 😀 According to Tibetan (Vajrayana) Buddhism, ALL the good things that happen to a student are not only the good karma of the student, but in the Vajrayana it’s the lama’s blessings. (It’s kind of like believing that everything good is a blessing from GOD, lol! The lama just replaces “GOD” in the mind of the devotee.)
              The law of karma is very much alive and well in Vajrayana, except that it is kind of turned on its head, and absolutely NO karma applies to the lama, because he is a liberated being. He/she doesn’t have any karma anymore. ONLY the student has karma, so we really have to go through some fancy mental gymnastics to explain ANYTHING that happens to the lama, and somehow, it always ends up being the responsibility of the student. 😀

          3. Yes it is not the students’ job to save the teacher! This man has a brain injury correct? Without the necessary training and experience required to teach and guide others that HHDL has indicated? So not only is he mentally unstable, but he is not qualified. This analogy by DKR is not appropriate or applicable here – it twists and manipulates and shifts the responsibility away from the perpetrator. RH had made the point that if SL were just manifesting drowning in order for the students to get merit then SL would also (take accountability) and go to jail! Instead he is hiding out, taking cover, and dodging personal responsibility like a child. What’s this I hear that he’s trying to find a wife in Nepal? Unbelievable.

              1. I guess he wants to marry a woman in Nepal so he can become a citizen there. But who would want to marry him, lol? 😀

              2. I’d feel sorry for any poor woman who is sucker enough to marry Sogyal! Imagine what that would be like and what she would have to out up with….his womanizing, being beaten for buring the dinner, getting assaulted, having her ear ripped, being told everything is her fault/karma, etc. It would be a classic tale of domestic abuse, only in Nepal, I don’t think they have any laws to protect women like they do in the West. So I guess he wants to hide out in a country where he can get away with treating women any way he likes, without any consequences. I guess he has decided that he can no longer get away with staying in the West. The laws have finally caught up with him, so he is seeking out some poor woman in order to get a Nepalese visa. How disgusting! It will probably be some young girl who doesn’t know any better.

            1. @ concerned: are you suggesting that SR has an Acquired Brain Injury? That would certainly help to account for the angry outbursts but it’s never been mentioned before.

                1. By way of full disclosure, it’s actually me, Matilda. I posted to concerned on my phone, not realising that it would come up as buddhagirl. I’m not a big fan of posters using different aliases on the one blog. It seems a bit duplicitous.

            2. It could be fake news, just to bring a bad name on this blog and on the people giving replies.
              Be cautious with these kind of rumours!!!
              Just as it is still unclear who leaked the letter of the 8, and why it was done.

              1. We really need to know if there were any cc’s not known to us in the letter of the 8.
                The nature of the motive for leaking the letter depends strongly on he/she being an insider or an outsider of Rigpa.
                I find it still strange that there was such a quick response of SL.
                A lot of turmoil has arisen due to the leakage, but the leakeage was not intended by the 8.
                I think it is very important to know the real motive behind the leakeage.
                Was it a sick mind, a naive mind, a greedy mind, a revengefull mind. We don’t know!!!
                The letter made Rigpa unintended vulnurable, I am not saying that the problems didn’t need to be addessed.
                But there is a real chance that the whole process is a big manipulation to create a lot of harm.
                If it was a naive mind , than the turmoil is stupid otherwise …..?it needs investigation!!
                The questions who did it and why it is done keep running in my mind for a better understanding of this scandal.

                1. @Jan de Vries,
                  Or maybe somebody just thought it was time to make it all public so that something would actually be done about it. I don’t see why the motive would have to be naive, bad, or vengeful in any way. I have a feeling that people have tried to resolve the abuse problems inside of Rigpa before – and it didn’t work. Even the Dalai Lama said to go public with abusive teachers, so maybe someone just thought they were acting on that advice. While one could say it was wrong to break the confidential nature of the letter, especially if the 8 didn’t want it to go public, perhaps the person who leaked it thought that the world should hear what the 8 had to say and that keeping it secret would just keep it “in the family” and nothing would really get done to change things.

                    1. @Jan de Vries,
                      I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to say here. If you are saying that I said politics couldn’t be the motive for leaking the letter, that’s not what I was saying. But there could be good motivations besides just bad or political ones. It might even be one of the 8 who leaked the letter. We don’t know who leaked it, so I’m not saying I know any better than anyone else. But I wanted to suggest a motivation that may not be a bad one, because I think it’s likely that whoever leaked it was not trying to cause trouble, but to go public. While it would be worth finding out the true reason it was leaked, as you say, it doesn’t change the seriousness of what the 8 had to say. I think finding out who leaked it isn’t as important as the issue of abuse that the 8 revealed in their letter.

                2. Also, Jan, I don’t think it’s strange at all that Sogyal responded right away. Why shouldn’t he? His reputation was at stake, and he had to do damage control asap.

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