Later on in this post I share a video interview I did with ex-monk Sangye Nawang in which he tells us just what it was like to be in the firing line of Sogyal Rinpoche’s temper, but first some introduction to help explain why students entered into a close relationship with their guru.
The fire analogy
One of the teachings that I remember on a student’s relationship to a lama is the fire analogy. It goes something like this: If you’re too far from the lama you won’t feel the heat; it you’re too close, you’ll get burned. I presumed that the aim of this teaching was to make the the student aware that they needed to find a distance that was neither too close nor too far away from the lama, but it was also a warning that if you did dedicate yourself to working closely with a lama, you might get burned, or maybe even will get burned.
Being burned, however, meant that your ego got burned, and that was seen as a good thing. Once again we see a word being used that means harm. If we’re burned, we’re harmed. The bit being harmed is supposed to be your ego (grasping at a false sense of self), but these ideas of burning, attacking, crushing, and destroying ego are problematic in a world where students may be lacking in a basic healthy self-esteem, and that problem is compounded one-hundred fold if the lama has narcissistic personality disorder. In these cases, as I’ve seen with Rigpa inner circle survivors, an aggressive approach is more likely to cause harm than benefit. Instead of having their ego dissolved, they tend to end up having physical and/or mental breakdowns, and their basic sense of self is crushed, so that they see themselves as worthless and useless, and so on. This is in fact strengthening ego, because now the student associates him or herself with negative attributes.
Why put yourself in the line of fire?
In Rigpa, the idea of being close to the fire meant that you had the guts to commit yourself fully to a relationship with a person that, though most of us didn’t know was abusive, we all knew was highly demanding, but the pay off for being close was a better shot at enlightenment, the opportunity to be fast tracked along the path. The route was dangerous, and it took guts to take it, but the potential benefit was huge – at least that’s what we were told. This romanticised ideal of a spiritual warrior willing to take the blows coupled with a genuine desire to help spread the dharma teachings in the West drew people close to the raging inferno of Sogyal Rinpoche/Lakar.
But being close to the fire meant that you put yourself directly in Sogyal’s firing line.
I doubt that those who entered the inner circle knew the degree of his ‘burn’ before they took up their roles – did they know they would be hit, asked for sexual favours and be always found lacking? – but we all knew that working closely with him would be highly challenging. That was the point. We believed it was a kind of ‘trial by fire’ that if survived would be a great purification, a furnace in which to burn away your obscurations, in reality, however, a large number of people simply got third degree burns.
I sometimes used to wonder how I would handle the intensity of that level of ‘Rigpa work’, and all I knew in that regard was that I never wanted to find out. When I was offered the role of National Director for Rigpa Australia a decade or so ago, I said, “No way, I don’t want to get that close to the fire.” I feel for those who did.
A personal testimony
In August 2017, I interviewed Sangye Nawang, and ex-Rigpa monk and a good friend of mine. We didn’t release the video at the time, feeling that the time wasn’t right. Now, however, we feel it is time for the world to see Sangye tell it as it was, and I challenge those who think this is somehow made up, or some plot or campaign to deny the truth that comes through this interview. This is just someone who has been burned telling us about the fire he fell into through no fault of his own.
May sharing his story, told openly and honestly, be of service to others.
What being in a narcistic relationship does to you
This next video is long, but it’s well worth watching if you want to get an idea of the true cost to those in Rigpa’s inner circle who were or still are close to Sogyal Rinpoche/Lakar. If you were one of those people then you’ll find it immensely helpful to realise that other people experience this kind of thing in domestic and work relationships; it’s not something restricted to the guru/student relationship, and, in fact, it has no place in that environment at all. In this video you’ll hear just how crushing being in a narcissistic relationship is.
Please note that I am not making a diagnosis on Sogyal’s personality, just sharing the experience of people who were in a similar relationship because fits with the results I’ve heard from and seen in Rigpa inner-circle survivors. You’ll see the correlations with Sangye’s experience. As Dana mentions in the video, survivors of cults and abusive relationships will also find it very helpful to find language they can use to describe their experience.
NB: CPTSD is Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In this video Dana of Narcissist Support says, “In a narcistic relationship it’s all smoke and mirrors. It’s all a lie.”
Which leaves me wondering: was the love I thought I experienced from Sogyal real or just my projection? Dana talks about how her narcissistic boyfriends fed off her need for love that came from a sense of lack of love in her life; how many of us saw in Sogyal what we wanted to see? Did our projections blind us to the red flags that screamed, “Fire. Fire. Danger. Do not enter!”?
Private discussion on this and other related topics can be had on our Secret Facebook Group. It is only for current and previous students of Rigpa, however, and we do moderate it closely. If you’re interested in joining, please contact us via the contact page and ask for an invite.
Ex-Rigpa students and their Rigpa dharma friends who want to move on from the discussion of abuse in Rigpa can stay in touch through the Dharma Companions Facebook Group.
The What Now? Reference Material page has links to a wealth of articles in the topics related to abuse in Buddhist communities. For links to places to assist in healing from abuse see the sangha care resources page.
Those of you who are interested in ‘keeping Buddhism clean’ could ‘Like’ the Dharma Protectors Facebook page.
67 Replies to “What it's like to be in the line of Sogyal's fire: a personal testimony.”
Thank you Sangye. What you say about your actions breaking the way for others to come forward is very hopeful. The same thing is happening with the MeToo movement. It looks small in the beginning but then a momentum gets started that can be very powerful. I am sure that this video will add to that.
I’ve noticed the MeToo movement often gets criticized by charismatic people doing speaking tours. The way people undermine others who are speaking out is the biggest validation of what kind of nasty malignant people they real are. Sogyal has been gaslighting me from the day I stopped following orders – talking about himself as the victim and saying “I tried to help him” – indicating I am mentally unwell. Interestingly Narcissists never question their own sanity – but healthy people often do. Another subtle but clear point to see once you get a handle on how this type of person is operating their circle of worshipers.
I must say I was horrified hearing of Sangye’s experiences here. It’s really shocking. And I’m grateful to him for summoning up the courage to speak. It very much helps others who are caught in that double bind which spiritual organizations can uniquely foster if they are not healthy.
I think the article says it well: “… an aggressive approach is more likely to cause harm than benefit. Instead of having their ego dissolved, they tend to end up having physical and/or mental breakdowns, and their basic sense of self is crushed, so that they see themselves as worthless and useless, and so on. This is in fact strengthening ego, because now the student associates him or herself with negative attributes.”
@polarsangye, Thanks Sangye,
It takes some great courage to make such a testimony public. Let’s hope it will help people in the same type of situation and others who may fall into this trap.
By the way, if you had a labor contract the facts you described are strictly prohibited by french labor laws. Any act of violence against an employee is severely punished and it is not allowed to work more than 40 hours per week. I am not sure about volunteers working in a non-profit organization. Maybe you had a “contrat de volontariat associatif”? It would then depends of its terms.
It would be interesting to examine the details of the contracts of Lerab Ling and Rigpa.
We should make those lamas understand that they have to respect local laws. Simply reporting directly to the police any illegal acts would solve most of those problems. They’d better understand that in developed countries we care about human rights and that the law applies to everyone.
@ French Observer, there also needs to be enforceable codes of conduct for religious teachers, much like psychologists have to observe in Western countries. This would also help to eliminate the shocking sexual abuse of Christian priests that has been revealed in recent times.
Matilda, what about consort practice? Many lamas believe that consort practice is part of the student’s training.
@ Catlover. They can find consorts outside their student body. But haven’t we learnt it’s more about having sex than genuine consort practice? In any case it’s their problem. They need to adjust to Western standards of ethical behaviour and understand that abuse has legal consequences just as it does for psychologists & other professionals.
The lamas don’t have much of a social life outside their student body, lol! I am not sure where they would actually find any consorts outside of the sangha. 😀 They would never agree to a code of ethics. A code of ethics would send them all back to India or Nepal. They would just say Westerners were not ‘ready” for Tantra and didn’t have the capability to “understand” the teachings. I can just hear DKR giving a lecture on it. 😀
As far as it being more about regular sex than real tantric practice, I agree. The problem is that THEY don’t agree. I think that many of these lamas think that they are so far advanced on the spiritual plain that NO sex with them is ordinary. I think they really do believe that since they have studied up to the Dzogchen level, that means ALL sex (with their “holy” selves) is Dzogchen/Vajrayana.
I meant to say that the misbehaving lamas think all sex that women have with them is Dzogchen/Vajrayana. They no longer make any distinction between “ordinary” sex and non-ordinary sex. It’s just a way of fooling themselves into thinking they are beyond lust. Maybe if some of them are a little more self aware, they might admit it’s just sex, but they might con their students into thinking it’s more than that. However, I think most of them really believe that they are beyond ordinary lust. If they see a woman they are attracted to, they tell themselves that she is a dakini and that this is the only reason they want to have sex with her. Of course, we know that’s really just b.s. but I wonder if they really are aware of that themselves.
Yep, agree – but all the more reason they should be bound by an enforceable code of conduct for religious teachers, priests, monks etc when managing or working in western Buddhist centres. I can’t see any other way of stopping the rot. Ditto for all religious traditions.
Matilda, I think they would just be more covert about it if there were rules. Or as I said before, they might just pack up and go back to India and Nepal. DKR would give a long lecture about how “the West wasn’t ready” before taking off for Bhutan.
Let them go back to Asia. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.
Matilda, you’re right there, lol! 😀 But we’ll still have to sit through DKR’s long-winded talk about it, lol!
I lived in Bhutan for 4 years in the mid=90’s and saw DKR there at a public session when he was much younger. I have been surprised lately to see that SR also has a large sangha there. This became obvious when he spoke publicly about his illness and many Bhutanese responded with prayers etc. I really wonder how this sangha worked compared with the Western model we know.
I remember being told, by SR, that the Prime Minister, King and Queen of Bhutan had all become his students, but we were not to talk about this. Does anyone else remember this? There was no explanation as to why this had to be a secret only those of us on the retreats where it was said were allowed to know. We were shown photos of SR with all of these, but I now wonder if it was true that the three top people in Bhutan were all SR’s students. Just because SR managed to get himself photographed with the King, Queen and Prime Minister several times doesn’t mean much. SR has a talent for making it look like he has many endorsements, which maybe he doesn’t have.
He certainly doesn’t have HHDL’s endorsement anymore.
I think they all want it to be a secret because they are ashamed to let it go public! 😀
Or, maybe SR wanted it to be “secret” because he was making up a lie about Bhutan’s royalty being his students and he didn’t want the royalty to ever contradict his story if anyone ever questioned them about it. Gotta keep all the stories straight you know! 😀
@matilda7, that’s your opinion not mine. For tibetan buddhism, there are thousands of pages already describing the codes of conduct written during centuries. For the Christian priests, the code of conduct is absolutely clear.
We are talking here about transgressions of the codes of conduct known as Ethics. The dharma students and certainly even some lamas are just ignorant. From my perspective, this situation comes from the lineages which don’t do their proper jobs of transmission.
@ French Observer, I don’t understand your objections to legally-binding codes of conduct for religious teachers. Of course they would be based on commonly-accepted standards of ethical behaviour – such as not having sex with your students and refraining from emotional & physical abuse. Such requirements would serve as a wake-up call to ‘teachers’ who think opening centres in the west gives them licence for widespread profligate behaviour. I think “transmission” has precious little to do with it.
@matilda7, Ok I didn’t understand you were talking about legally-binding codes of conduct. Would be good in theory but I don’t know whether it could be implemented in most western countries.
People are always talking about the West but in fact each country has its own culture and history.
In France (that I know the best), the separation of the catholic church has been quite bloody. There is a fundamental principle that the state doesn’t interfere in the church activity. So this would put a large part of the population in streets. And there is also now maybe 10 millions muslims in France. Do you really want to irritate the fundamentalists? We have already plenty of bombs and terrorists.
I am not even sure whether it would be legal to apply specific laws to religions and religious teachers. One basic principle is that the same law applies to all and being a priest is not a job as a doctor. My impression is this kind of law is still not possible in the latin countries but may be possible in the “northern” ones (I don’t know how to call them, but the anglo-saxon and nordic types).
Bottom line, I think the current laws are sufficient. If the victims don’t report the crimes to the police, why would they report for a code of conduct default?
About transmission, this is fundamental and would be the key if the lineages were playing properly their role.
“If the victims don’t report the crimes to the police, why would they report for a code of conduct default?”
You’re right about that. They wouldn’t report it.
Speaking as a victim, I don’t want this to go into the court system but I would definitely report it inter-organizationally to try and get it addressed. In fact, isn’t that what the letter is all about? Trying to get the sangha to take action trying to respect all the good things and not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Leaving the consequences to the wisdom of the Sangha.
Personally I would go straight to the police station to report the facts. Of course according to the law the lama would be summoned there to explain himself. No hard feeling, this is for his own good and also to protect other disciples.
By the way, I wouldn’t follow this teacher anymore. There are so many great lamas, why staying close to the wrong ones?
If everybody would take such action, there would be much less problem in the West.
By the way, when you report the facts to the police station you are not compelled to press charges against this lama. But the facts are known by the justice system and could be used in court later.
From my perspective, it means helping the future potential victims and helping the abuser to change his behavior. In fact, I am sure that when the lama will be in the police station he will understand the situation very well. Especially if he has only a temporary visa…
@Not so hopeful anymore,
The sangha can’t be wise if the people in it are brainwashed and confused themselves. If there are no legal consequences, then nothing is going to change for the long term. It will all be just talking and talking and then back to business as usual. Something new (and legal) has got to happen.
To a degree, a code of conduct would act as a preventative measure – a deterrent.
@matilda7, do you have some answers to the concerns have raised above concerning the implementation of a code of conduct for spiritual teachers?
I thought about another difficulty: even a large portion of the tantra practitioners will not agree with the principle that a teacher should absolutely not have sexual relations with his students. And this would be based on the tantras and the mahayana ethics which are not fixed rules for a bodhisattva.
As Shantideva says: “The Compassionate One, in his broad vision, gave permission even for what is prohibited.”
“I thought about another difficulty: even a large portion of the tantra practitioners will not agree with the principle that a teacher should absolutely not have sexual relations with his students. And this would be based on the tantras and the mahayana ethics which are not fixed rules for a bodhisattva.”
Totally agree. They would not agree.
That’s why they would all go packing up and going back to India and Nepal, saying the West was not “ready” for Tantra.
By the way, I have checked the code of conduct in France (code de déontologie medicale) and I don’t think it is legally-binding. There is just an Ordre des médecins who takes disciplinary actions (mainly excluding the bad doctors). I don’t see how that could work with different religions.
For instance, Lerab Ling doesn’t seem to care much that it has been excluded from the French Buddhist Union.
I have had transported this interview with Sangye to a few german ex-Rigpas, but the say its hard to understand for non-native speakers.
Is there eventually a script available ?
I add my voice in respect and admiration for Sangye’s courage. May his revelations be of benefit to individuals, Tibetan dharma and the wider community.
the whole idea that you have to crush the ego is nonsense and has no place in any real buddhist tradition. how did this foolishness get started?
and i have noticed that those protesting abuse are very abusive them selves. many who have been around sexual abusers all their lives need to work on not lashing out at others.
It got started (and ended, after being called out in London) by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.
dkr didn’t end it. he equivocated a lot and made a few concessions but he made it plain in private that he believes this bull. moreover his lecture in london was astonishingly bad. he managed to get through it saying the word victim once, and never the A word, abuse. his statements about samaya are are cultic nonsense as well and his misogynist posts about sex contracts and a few other things show where he is at now. all totally different than when i started to study with him nine years ago.back then samaya wasn’t a big deal, and we were taking a relationship not a bond and we were having a two way relationship not tests of obedience. dkr has done the classic cult bait and switch. that combined with abusive behavior from his instructors is why i left.
in one case an assigned instructor (with the samaya obligation to students–according to his own words) told me he would never talk to me again for asking if he was worried about the sex abuse of sogyal and trungpa and what it means for our organization. he called me a loser, a fanatic . great dharma teacher. another made overt racist remarks . one of his crowd in seattle made some disparaging remarks about me for discussing the dkr group, claiming i wasn’t in the group(i had been with that person face to face for seven years at big events) and the same person said i was fabricating that americans and british ever ethnically cleanses acadiens, so the instructors told me the problem was me attacking white people!!! pure racism,. i expect that from many americans and brits, but not from buddhists.
so anyone who thinks that they can find sucor and safety with dkr is fooling themselves. perhaps not with any tibetans.
imagine me in a sogyal group?? i wouldn’t last a week!!! hit me? i’d punch him on the nose!!
Thanks John, I think it’s very useful to share your experience.
I come from a culture that values transparency, discussion, argument and debate.
It’s clear that’s something many TB groups are positioned against (although not all of them – there’s a reason some schools had to split).
Which at best is shameful, and at worst, permits exploitation of vulnerable people. I saw it with the Catholic Church, how easily common decency can be sacrificed when an organization feels threatened.
six or seven years ago dkr used to talk about transparency, open debate etc. then it all changed. i am glad i was only on the edge of the inner group, or i might have wasted more time, i am just posting to say i do not think he is going to be any real help to anyone. i could give many more examples but many of his senior people, especially westerners act like spoiled children. that says it all. most are former trungpa students who have obviously never recovered from that abuse.
i have also been surprised by the lack of broad experience knowledge and education in the very trendy looking people around all these schools. if you aren’t very interested in the world, in art, in skills and education, are you really interested in enlightment?
It never ended. Also, DKR didn’t “call it out” in London. he made excuses for it.
He admitted it didn’t appear in any Buddhist texts but his own.
So unless you want to consider him to be a Buddha, I call that ended.
He also said the way to “crush” it is to realize the “empty nature” of ego.
Which isn’t “crushing”, regardless what your first language is. It’s just nonsense that panders to abusive behavior, but his own ego is so strong he couldn’t back down fully, and his wisdom is so weak he couldn’t see the full implications of that language.
Who cares about what DJKR say! He lacks some serious credibility…
RH, Dzongsar Khyentse didn’t “end” anything apart from the faith/respect some of us previously had in him. Please find another term to describe whatever subjective notion you’ve got in mind.
End is the opposite of start, objectively speaking.
“The whole idea” started, to use John’s words, as something to consider, when DJKR mentioned the phrase in a letter to Bernie in February.
I claim it ended, as something worth considering, after the London talk.
Nothing ended at all. The only thing DKR’s talks did was to stir up more controversy and confusion.
It is clear now SL was not a role model. The way SL discussed practical things before teachings started in Amsterdam made me wonder quite often, because I always thought that by the training you should let go your irritation of trivial problems and accept that nothing has to be perfect.
But now I understand from this blog, the 8 and this testimony that this was never the case. So SL teachings were only theoretical and became therefore a show, perhaps nice to see, but still hollow in nature. But now I understand my wonderings about the trivail problems of SL.
What I want to see is that the teachings work, therefore you want to see the teachings become effective in your teacher and from that you can also learn. This was certainly not the case with SL, stupid of me that I stayed so,long in Rigpa.
@Jan de Vries,
“…stupid of me that I stayed so,long in Rigpa.”
Please don’t feel stupid. Many people are duped. The lamas have such an artful, skillful, colorful PR campaign. A lot of otherwise sane, capable, intelligent, capable people are fooled.
Regarding whether these lama’s think they are practicing Vajrayana and that they believe they are having sex with Dakini’s and think themselves beyond lust.
In the case of Sogyal and DJKR, they are under no illusion that they are above ordinary lust. DKR in his post the ‘bend and bone’contract said that for lama’s who have their own agenda’s and hormones. They are aware how ordinary they are. They are so westernized, and brought up on Hollywood movies and are no different than teenagers at a college campus trying to get laid. Neither Sogyal nor DKR believe in anything they do or say. They say whatever sounds good to their flock. Keep it vague, keep them guessing. Their whole schtick was always about getting laid and travel. The con is so big that one cannot understate the charlatanism going on. It was perfectly orchestrated even his talk in London. I know for fact Dzongsar Khyentse was advised 30-40 times by a english woman that he needed to admit that Sogyal behaved atrociously and to acknowledge the victims. She went to see him before the talk to tell him just that. In fact the head of his charity told him the same and they told him at the beginning of his tour he would look bad if he did not show empathy and compassion to the victims. He was from his point of view ‘forced to’, in one ear by a close friend warning him of the disgruntled lot such as us on the web and in the other ear that donations to Deer Park, Siddhartas intent, 84000, Lotus Outreach etc may suffer. This is a big business enterprise, people are making a living and having a career off these ventures including him. For DKR even that tiny acknowledgement that wrong was done was not really from himself but from others twisting his arm. He is a willing puppet just as much as he is a charlatan.
Considering Sogyal, DKR and the other lama’s have their girlfriends and consorts, ‘hormones’ for them means just ordinary sex with whoever they like. What is unexcusuable is despite them feeling like they cannot have a fulfilling sex life with their girlfriend or consort or even their multiple affairs with their admirers, they had to prey on the vulnerable who came seeking help.
These lama’s need to be officially fired. In Tibet funding would stop from their patron’s which consisted usually of one family. It was the job of society to make sure the religious persons were behaving themselves. This pivot to the west and funding from westerners who do not even understand Tibetan Buddhism, History and Culture has led to widespread abuse. As soon as they step out of the natural restraints of their own culture the wild beast is released. The lama’s were always tools for social order and cohesion for the patron’s governance.
Good to see you back! I wondered where you went.
I think you were addressing what I said earlier up thread about lamas thinking they are doing Tantra or Dzogchen when they are having ordinary sex. I think you are right about DKR and Sogyal knowing it’s ordinary. They probably do. A lot of others probably know too, although they sure con their admirers into thinking it’s not ordinary. Some of the lamas may actually delude themselves into thinking they are above lust. I would say it’s a combination of all of the above.
I can’t help but agree with @notsohopeful about the lamas behaving badly in their own society too. They were getting women pregnant all the time…and they still are. A lot of the “discovered” tulkus are really children born to consorts of lamas. They like to keep it “all in the family” so to speak. Sometimes, (who knows how often this happens, but I suspect it happens a lot), a lama will have a consort, get her pregnant (this tells me that the sex isn’t really Tantric sex, lol) and then they declare her child as the reincarnation of an important lama connected to them and the lineage. (I’ve actually seen this happen, although I didn’t experience it directly. Fortunately, I was spared from ever being a consort, although I knew a few actual consorts personally. They had sons. The sons were suddenly “recognized” as “tulkus.” Yeah right, lol!)
By the way, I heard that Sogyal Rinpoche has a son. Can someone confirm this information for sure? Is he also a tulku?
Sogyal has at least one son.Yeshe Lakar Jurgaitis whose mother is Marianne Jurgaitis, a beautiful American woman.Yeshe is about 19 years old.He is not a tulku.He is not interested in teaching.
I didn’t say that ALL the children of lamas become tulkus. I’m just saying it happens often. Also, sometimes the kids don’t want to be tulkus and they refuse. That has happened too.
But they usually object when they are older.
Come on @Catlover, relax. I was just asking an info about Sogyal Rinpoche. I was not questioning what you were saying.
I was just replying to let everyone know in general. Relax, I was addressing everyone to avoid a misunderstanding, lol! 😀
My understanding is that these Lamas we’re dogs in their own Society. Young women who would receive teachings from them in private would end up pregnant and their families would consider it a great blessing. It’s a feudalistic misogynistic paternalistic culture who’s time is long past and we’re idiots as westerners to perpetuate it.
@Catlover, thanks for driving the discussion forward, I pretty much agree entirely with what you’ve been posting.
@johnlavers thanks for sharing your story, that is much needed, we really need people to recount their own experiences
I’m just wondering since the blog has started, I was wondering if there has been any changes in the way readers are looking at the lama’s or are we just confirming what we know, preaching to the converted.
I hope there is a way to get our messages across to the people in the sangha’s themselves to think more critically and broader but I suspect they might not visit this page.
I was thinking it could be a good idea to interview people who have either had close contact with the lama’s or the sangha’s or feel like talking about this on camera. Basically anyone on this blog, who feels they would like to speak up.
I think if we can get videos that relate to anything Sogyal, DKR and other lama’s post more followers are likely to click on a suggested video in a YouTube/Facebook feed. If only I could interview everyone on here via Skype.
I understand the attraction to anonymity but I feel sangha members who are brainwashed will relate better to a face (harder to lie)and a simple video interview, as reading can be a chore for some, especially if they have been told by their Lama not to read as discursive thought and intellectualizing hinders spiritual progress as they often say ..
It sounds like a good idea to interview people, but I would be afraid to be seen on video. I think a lot of my Dharma friends (who are still my friends) would be mad at me if they knew all the stuff I’ve been saying on this forum, lol! 😀
Here’s HH Dalai Lama’s latest statement on Sogyal:
“So… I think that faith, single pointed blind faith is one way to exploit people. So, lama institution and feudal system can go together. So now that must change. Feudal system past. You see, everybody equal. Lama something very special—wrong! We already notice in Ladakh and some other places high lama, lama who have position of high, sometimes, you see, manipulate. So, like that. So therefore I think we should be, Buddhist tradition should be based on sound– [Tibetan]
Translator: We should follow a tradition which actually could stand the test of reason.
HH: Like that. OK. So some of those Westerners, you see traditionally not Buddhist but some individual you see really showing interest about the Buddhadharma, then please pay more attention. Like that. Otherwise… Of course, Sogyal Rinpoche one of my sort of friends, but he too much exploitation among his followers. So later you see some sort of problems you see happen. So, self discipline. Lama on throne self-discipline. In order to teach other people—before that—you yourself must have these sort of knowledge and discipline. Without that, how can you teach other people?
Translator: So the lama must actually practice what he or she teaches and accordingly teach others.
HH: So like that. So Buddha himself, our supreme sort of teacher, his life is just ordinary monk, carrying the begging bowl, very often without shoe, go like that. In Vinaya, no mention of Buddha’s own kitchen. So very good.
Now we Tibetans, I think combined with feudal system, you see some lama take advantage. And not only in Tibetan case, but in Arab world…. The feudal system and religious sort of belief combined.”
These comments by the Dalai Lama are very welcome and should be spread widely. But isn’t all of this a little bit “too little, and too late”?
Been there, he has been commenting on this situation for months. This is just the latest. Welcome because he is keeping the conversation going.
@Catlover, thanks for driving the discussion forward, I pretty much agree entirely with what you’ve been posting.
@johnlavers thanks for sharing your story, that is much needed, we really need people to recount their own experiences
I was just wondering if there has been any changes in the way readers or respective sangha’s are looking at the lama’s now or are we just confirming what we know, preaching to the converted. I hope the message of really scrutinizing the guru gets out there now so there is no more of all this and people start questioning more.
Sorry copy and pasted an old post by accident, please ignore:)
@catlover that shows the limits of their spirituality, unwilling to listen to other views, perceptions, feelings and holding on to a solid, permanent, rigid point of view as if they have already arrived or have unwavering faith that they will based on the questionable promises of a man in maroon.