Below is the update posted by the group of FPMT senior nuns who set up the petition asking for an investigation in the allegations of abuse by Dagri Rinpoche of the FPMT. Also see the article on this on the Buddhism Controversy blog .
The FPMT are managing this much better than Rigpa in that they admit what he has done and apologise. In the update of Nov 20th, they say, ‘We accept that, according to the standard applied by FaithTrust Institute, Dagri Rinpoche committed sexual misconduct, which also qualifies as spiritual abuse given his position as a spiritual teacher’, and at the end they say they ‘apologise again to the victims for the suffering experienced’. Rigpa couldn’t even manage that much.
In October, 2019 the FPMT Board hired FaithTrust Institute (FTI) to conduct an independent fact-finding assessment of allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of Dagri Rinpoche. A confidential mailbox was set up so anyone who experienced or witnessed harm by Dagri Rinpoche could make a report.
· On Sept. 19, 2020, FaithTrust delivered to the FPMT Board the final report of their almost year-long assessment, and the FPMT Board promised to publish the FaithTrust summary report within 30 days (i.e. by Oct. 19).
· That date came and went without any report being published. We learned that the FPMT Board planned to publish their report on Nov. 6, but that plan was reversed at the last minute, with no explanation given.
· On Nov. 9, the women who reported the allegations, with the help of an Advocacy Group, sent an email to many Dharma friends and centers, asking them to write to the FPMT Board and request them to release the report. This email included their own report on some of the allegations. You can read this report here: https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/8160341693?profile=original
· Between Nov. 6-12, the majority of the members of the FPMT Board resigned.
· On Nov. 13, the FPMT Board posted an update on their website about the findings of the assessment, and stating “we accept that, according to the standard applied by FaithTrust Institute, Dagri Rinpoche committed sexual misconduct, which also qualifies as spiritual abuse given his position as a spiritual teacher. We have unanimously determined that the temporary suspension of Dagri Rinpoche from the list of registered FPMT teachers (from which FPMT centers can choose to invite to provide Dharma teachings) is now permanent.”
· You can read the full FPMT update here: https://fpmt.org/fpmt-community-news/statement/nov-13-2020-update/
We wish to reiterate that our motivation for this petition and campaign was not to damage the reputation of Dagri Rinpoche or any other Lama, nor to interfere with the virtuous activities of the FPMT. On the contrary, we wish to create the causes and conditions for the Buddha-Dharma to flourish throughout the world and benefit as many people as possible. But in this degenerate age when people are losing faith in leaders and in social and religious institutions, it is of great importance to reaffirm personal and institutional integrity. Without this, trust disintegrates and ethical conduct drastically declines. In addition, the loss of trust in spiritual leaders will damage Buddhist followers for many lifetimes.
And just to be clear: the report of the women’s allegations mentioned above was not written by us, but by the women themselves, together with the Advocacy Group, whose names appear at the end of the letter.
We are pleased that the FPMT Board conducted an impartial independent investigation as we requested. We are also pleased that after this investigation, it has accepted the truth of the allegations, acknowledged that Dagri Rinpoche’s behavior towards these women constituted both sexual misconduct and spiritual abuse, and clearly stated that such behavior is unacceptable. We request the FPMT to now fulfill its commitment and publish the complete and unedited summary report prepared by Faith Trust.
Update from the FPMT Nov 21
In our last announcement on November 13, we stated we would publish “a summary report on the fact-finding assessment” into the claims of misconduct by Dagri Rinpoche “after we complete our remaining work with FaithTrust Institute.”
We received a DRAFT of the Summary Report last month (October 2020), and we had hoped and expected to have the opportunity to contribute to the draft with FaithTrust Institute (FTI). However, FTI has recently informed us that they consider their work for FPMT Inc. to be completed.
Therefore, as we had committed and in a spirit of complete and utter transparency, FPMT Inc. is releasing the complete, unedited draft of FTI’s Summary Report to you now.
It is essential to note that FPMT does not agree with some of the points included by FTI in their Draft Summary Report.
We will be providing a further update explaining and clarifying our main concerns about this Summary Report. These comments will in no way call into question all that we acknowledged in our previous statement. We will also update about the work we are already doing, and still need to do, to fulfil the recommendations.
We want to take this opportunity to apologise again to the victims for the suffering experienced.
One Reply to “Update on the Saga of Dagri Rinpoche’s Sexual Abuse”
‘Present-day Lamaism, the worship of deified Tibetan Buddhist teachers by Western converts, crashes into the rule of law this week. It is bad enough that the Charity Commission for England and Wales makes known that wilful British trustees of the Rigpa Fellowship in London put devotees of Sogyal Lakar (previously known as Sogyal Rinpoche) at risk of harm. They were found to be untruthful and unfit to serve. Hopefully, their dismissal provides a modicum of solace to those who were hurt by their actions. Worse, though, the inquiry proves that the ‘excuses’ and ‘justifications’ that explain away abusive behaviour by Tibetan Lamas—which have been peddled for decades—are a write-off: Democracies governed by the rule of law provide no room for the slavish, feudal respect accorded to abusive Tibetan Buddhist teachers by a pretence of “guru devotion.”’