Vision Board Announcement
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
Those of you who are interested in ‘keeping Buddhism clean’ could ‘Like’ the Dharma Protectors Facebook page.
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