Posted on February 24, 2013 by dialogueireland
The following essay was written by Alexander Duncan on the website Pali Meditations. It is reproduced here with permission of the author, who we are extremely grateful to for bringing another perspective on Buddhist groups (himself a Buddhist). We include it to as supplemental information to the coverage we have given towards Buddhist groups. The original essay is hosted here.
It is sad to see: Buddhist cults, both in Asia and the West. The Controversial Buddhist Teachers and Groups website lists almost 40 such groups, and the list is not exhaustive. Nor is Tibetan Buddhism immune, despite the liberal views of its leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (more…)
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Posted on July 31, 2012 by dialogueireland
Joanne Clarke wrote the introduction for Dialogue Ireland:
The stories that follow are a call to Buddhist practitioners to deepen their understanding of the dharma and avoid the pitfalls of reactivity and blind faith. The reality of the tulku system practiced in Tibet for many centuries is not a kooky cult practice. Rather, it is strongly grounded in an understanding of the principles of karma and rebirth. Within this understanding, sentient beings are not born with a clean slate. They are born with propensities and inclinations from their previous lives. In fact, this may be observed by anyone. Powerful examples are young children who can play complicated piano pieces or young children with strong inclinations towards aggression. In the Buddhist view, these inclinations are the result of karma, the result of actions done in a previous life.
In a similar way, a lama who has reached a high level of wisdom and realization on the Buddhist path will bring strong propensities for reaching the same level quickly in his/her next life. The tulku system in Tibet was structured so that these lamas could be recognized early and nurtured carefully. The original intention behind this was not to create a feudal hierarchy but to facilitate the early development of these lamas so that they could quickly continue their work from previous lives and benefit their students. This was the intention. Discussions on how this intention has gone astray—and how far it has gone astray—are numerous. The following is another such discussion.
I encourage readers to view the life stories of these tulkus in the light of this view of karma and rebirth. Indeed, they are a call to Tibetan Buddhist leaders to clean up their monasteries, social structures and educational systems. They are also poignant tales of individuals with high levels of sensitivity and human decency. These young men are born to a culture scrambling to recreate itself in the midst of continuing atrocities at the hands of the Chinese. I encourage readers to be well informed of the fact that Tibetans in China continue to be tortured and brutally repressed, even today. In this way, these situations are markedly different from the Catholic hierarchy and its abuses and cover-ups. This is a culture in a desperate struggle to retain its dignity and decency in the face of cultural genocide from one side and western pop culture from the other. No easy task.
The article itself is published in Conde Nast’s Details magazine on sale in the USA. The item has now also been published on the Details web site. It has also appeared on Tenzin Peljor’s web site.
Filed under: Buddhist Origin | Tagged: Tibetan Buddhist leaders to clean up their monasteries | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 15, 2012 by dialogueireland
June 5, 2012
The New York Times
BOWIE, Ariz. — The rescuers had rappelled from a helicopter, swaying in the brisk April winds as they bore down on a cave 7,000 feet up in a rugged desert mountain on the edge of this rural hamlet. There had been a call for help. Inside, they found a jug with about an inch of water, browned by floating leaves and twigs. They found a woman, Christie McNally, thirsty and delirious. And they found her husband, Ian Thorson, dead. (more…)
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Posted on June 12, 2012 by dialogueireland
Violation of the Sacred
Western Psychological Perspectives on Sexual Misconduct in the Clergy and their Implications for Western Dharma Centers by Joanne Clark
“The pig and the chicken were on their way to breakfast,
trying to decide what to have. When chicken said, “Let’s
have ham and eggs,” the pig then replied, “That’s fine
for you. It’s a small donation on your part, but it’s a
total sacrifice for me.”
Filed under: Abuse, Buddhist Origin, Religion, RIGPA | Tagged: human-rights, mahayana buddhism, religion | 77 Comments »
Posted on May 31, 2012 by dialogueireland
What Is A Rigpa Student To Think? BY Joanne Clark
Sorting Out the Blogs and Posts on the Dialogue Ireland site ……………………………..
I begin with a story which I believe to be from a Zen center:
“Our Saturday morning meditation group usually starts with hugs, smiles, and jokes. But today it begins with Sarah’s tears.
Sarah is group’s matriarch. She speaks four languages, has lived in four countries, and survived multiple wars. The rest of us often ask her spiritual questions, and she often gives wonderfully clear, yet deeply mystical answers. She laughs easily, often at her own mistakes.
“Yet as we take our seats on this gorgeous spring morning, Sarah suddenly begins to weep.
“I touch her arm and offer her a tissue. “What’s wrong?”
“She dabs at her eyes for some time before she is able to talk. Eventually she mentions the name of a well-known spiritual teacher. “I was his student; he was my guru, my rebbe. For years I felt a special connection with him. He was always so wise, so mesmerizing, so inspiring. When I was in the room with him, I felt something shift and deepen inside me. Wherever he went, he packed the house.” She takes a long, sobbing breath. “Yesterday, I found out he sexually abused women. Dozens of women, many of them his students. Some of them young girls. For over twenty-five years. Twenty-five years. He just admitted all of it.” She shakes her head and blows her nose noisily.
I start to speak, but she touches my hand and shakes her head. She needs to say more.
“I don’t understand how he could be so wise and inspiring, yet so abusive.”
(Edelstein, Scott, Sex and the Spiritual Teacher, Introduction) (more…)
Filed under: Abuse, Buddhist Origin, Religion, RIGPA | 131 Comments »
Posted on May 16, 2012 by dialogueireland
In all our discussions on Dialogue Ireland and other blog sites, there is a need to revisit over and over the line which divides healthy religious endeavors and unhealthy religious endeavors. Until we can draw that line definitively, it is uncertain that we can ensure safety for any religious practitioner, whatever the tradition.
Filed under: Abuse, Buddhist Origin | 39 Comments »