Behind The Thangkas ~ Sogyal Rimpoche ~ The imbalance of power and abuse of spiritual authority

Behind The Thangkas

Dialogue Ireland has hosted a dossier which points to issues of sexual and inappropriate cultist behaviour involving women.

 We have also become aware of extreme teaching methods which are applied in seminars. We publish this in the knowledge that some may hold different views. We always allow contrary views as our comment section shows. However, we go beyond and will allow an official response from Rigpa to be published without censorship. Also if any individual in the body of this text feels a need to respond we will publish this in full following editorial scrutiny.  Sexual assault, abuse, an imbalance of power and abuse of spiritual authority concerning Sogyal Rimpoche are all features of this article. Mike Garde Director Dialogue Ireland.

                    (Thangka – Tibetan sacred art)

It is a cloudy day in August 2008 in the Languedoc-Rousillon region of southern France. Hundreds of people dressed in their best party clothes line both sides of a narrow country road. Most of them hold a khata — a long white scarf, presented as a ceremonial offering to Tibetan dignitaries. A rainbow array of prayer flags flutter, and the breeze catches plumes of fragrant juniper smoke rising from pot-bellied stoves placed at intervals along the route.

A ripple of excitement runs through the crowd as a procession comes into view. As it approaches some people wave, others bow with hands clasped in the prayer gesture, others offer their khatas, holding them at arm’s length towards a small, elderly man wearing maroon monastic robes and a huge smile. Even at a distance he radiates charisma. He has acquired unique status on the world stage as the man who loves everyone  — and many people nowadays accept that the joy on his face originates from a genuinely open heart. As he passes, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, reaches out to touch members of his adoring fan club. The Dalai Lama strides alongside Carla Bruni Sarkozy at the head of a cluster of monks, security men and journalists, towards a multi-coloured, ornate portico. A monastic band strikes up. Monks in their red and yellow robes and ceremonial hats play shawms – oboe-like instruments that wail like the wind in a Himalayan storm. They lead the proceedings that set in motion the inauguration of the largest, most grandiose Tibetan temple in the developed world. Sheltered by the portico, Carla Sarkozy  stands apart from the crowd – tall and elegant in a dark couture dress. She too holds a khata. Another figure sidles up beside her. He is short, balding, obese and clothed in a floor-length mustard yellow robe – a chuba  — lay rather than monastic Tibetan attire. His manner is obsequious, he is bowed in deference but his face tells the phalanx of TV cameras, forest of microphones and those present in person that this is his finest hour. Here he is, Sogyal Lakar from a remote region of Tibet, introducing the Dalai Lama to the First Lady of France.

Sogyal is recognised as a tulku (re-incarnate lama)  and is known as Rinpoche, which means precious one in Tibetan. He is the second best known lama on the Tibetan landscape and he too is idolised by thousands of followers who belong to Rigpa, his organisation active in France with six centres and six study groups and in 24 countries around the world. Carla Sarkozy appears somewhat awe-struck. With a shy smile she offers her khata to the Dalai Lama. His big smile broadens even further as, according to Tibetan custom, he accepts the scarf and then returns it to the donor —  draping it tastefully around Carla’s neck. A day of elaborate ritual follows, with the Dalai Lama tasting salt, tossing flower petals and cutting multi coloured ribbons draped across the temple doors, before entering to perform the consecration ceremony. Once inside, more celebrities step out to meet the world’s A list holy man – French Foreign Minister Bernard  Kouchner, Rama Yade, Secretary of State for Human Rights and former Prime Minister Alain Juppe. As the Dalai Lama moves inside the enormous building decorated with extreme oriental flamboyance, other public figures are on tenterhooks for their brief moment of eye contact with His Holiness. A famous actress here, an author there, more politicians – and a cluster of clerics, including Claude Azema, the auxilliary Bishop of Montpelier. The name of the place is Lerab Ling, which means Sanctuary of Enlightened  Action.  Sogyal Rinpoche  chose this name in honour of Lerab Lingpa, a 19th century Tibetan Buddhist master Sogyal claims as his predecessor. So how did a 63 year old man in poor health, who left his native Tibet when he was a young child, and had only a basic education in India, come to be the head of a multi-national organisation with tentacles in five continents? How did he manage to raise 10 million Euros to build a huge temple in southern France? And then persuade the wife of the President to provide the media focus for the opening day?

Charisma, luck, chutzpah and a lawsuit

If you ask a selection of Sogyal’s many admirers about the qualities as a Buddhist teacher that have contributed to his success, two answers stand out: his charisma and his humour. Sogyal is an accomplished public performer– that is one factor. Another is that he is credited as the author of the all-time best selling Buddhist book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, which has sold a million copies and been translated into 24 languages. More astringent observers of Sogyal’s trajectory into guru super stardom point in other directions: to his lucky streak, his timing, his chutzpah and his astute exploitation of zeitgeist. For example, thousands of people in the developed world were ready to embrace the exotic path to enlightenment offered by exiled Tibetan lamas and ready to address the taboos surrounding death and dying. But beneath the surface of Sogyal’s success story there are darker strands. His status as a Buddhist lama requires him to be an exemplar of two fundamental articles of faith: wisdom and compassion. Yet in 1994 an American woman known as Janice Doe sued Sogyal for sexual assault and battery. Ever since then, allegations around his private life, financial  affairs and credentials as a lama have surfaced from disillusioned former disciples – to the extent that they cast serious doubt on his status as a pre-eminent Buddhist teacher. Those in the know about the history of Rigpa make one firm assertion: that Sogyal could not have scaled the giddy heights without the help of his long-term right-hand man Patrick Gaffney.  Some former insiders, like the journalist Mary Finnigan, go further: “Patrick is the real brains behind Rigpa,” she says, “Sogyal is merely the public persona.” Patrick played an equal role with Sogyal during the Lerab Ling temple ceremony – highlighting his dominant position in the Rigpa hierarchy.

Career launch in London

Sogyal left India in the early 1970s.The official biography claims he studied comparative religion at Cambridge University, but when Mary Finnigan met him shortly after he first arrived in England, she recalls that he was resident at a sanatorium in Cambridge: “He was accompanying a member of the Sikkimese royal family while both of them were recovering from tuberculosis.” Sogyal’s Lakar family were well-connected, but impoverished since their flight into exile. According to several  former members of Rigpa, Sogyal’s mother sent her elder son to the west with specific instructions to make money. In the winter of 1973 Sogyal turned up in London, announcing that he wanted to set up a centre where teachings could be given by some of the great Tibetan meditating yogis. Around this time he met Patrick Gaffney and another faithful acolyte, Dominique Side. The latter was introduced to him by Mary Finnigan and a group of squatters occupying a house in the Kentish Town district of north London. In the early 1970s hippies were settling down back home after their oriental adventures and experiments with psychedelic drugs. Most of them acknowledged their interest in altered states of consciousness, but realised it was time to stop using powerful chemicals. They had encountered exiled Tibetan lamas in India and Nepal and were eager to pursue their fascination with Tibet’s Tantric Buddhism known as the Vajrayana – a contemplative schema that offers the promise of authentic spiritual experience, leading to profound insights and even enlightenment in one lifetime. At the time there was only one Tibetan lama, Chime Youngdon Rinpoche, giving teachings in London. Apart from the dauntingly orthodox Buddhist Society, there was no place anywhere in London where an ambitious young lama could set up his stall, in order to meet the demand for Tibetan Buddhism. That is until the squatters heard about a large empty house in Chatsworth Road, Kilburn, owned by The London Borough of Brent. Mary Finnigan was a member of a group of about 10 squatters who broke into the house and claimed it in the name of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.   According to Mary Finnigan, Sogyal already had a reputation as a playboy with a penchant for pretty girls when he arrived in London. It soon became clear to his core group of squatters, hippies and young professional people that their new-found guru had a voracious sexual appetite. Mary recalls that he lived for a while with Dominique Side – “she was devastated when she found out he was not monogamous” – but soon moved into his own room in Chatsworth Road. “At this point” says Mary, “he switched into top gear and persuaded several  senior lamas to perform ceremonies and give teachings in what they probably did not know was an illegally occupied building.” The response exceeded all expectations, with crowds turning up to events that were publicised at short notice by word of mouth. During the early days in London, Sogyal acted mostly as a translator for the older generation of yogi-lamas who fled from Tibet following the Chinese takeover in 1959. These included the head of the Nyingma order, the late Dudjom Rinpoche – a lama of legendary repute held in the highest regard by Tibetans and westerners alike. Sogyal dedicated his new centre to Dudjom, who named it Orgyen Choling.

Trungpa Rinpoche and the rock star lifestyle

The squat lasted only a few months. At first Sogyal was “one of the boys”, but took off for a while to visit Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who pioneered Tibetan Buddhism in the USA. Trungpa was a formidably intelligent iconoclast who acquired a nationwide following, with a formula that shook Buddhist America to the core and generated enthusiasm wherever he alighted. In contrast to the more familiar austerities of Zen Buddhism, Trungpa offered authentic Tibetan theory and practice in tandem with a sybaritic lifestyle.  An early American seeker, Victoria Barlow, recalls meeting Sogyal in Boulder, Colorado in 1976: “Sogyal was enthralled by Trungpa’s sexual conquests,” she says, “he told me outright that he wanted what Trungpa had and aimed to achieve a rock star lifestyle.” Sogyal returned to London in a radically altered state of mind – berating his students for their lack of worldly ambition and demanding to be treated like a “precious one”. Around this time Sogyal met up with Ngakpa Chogyam, a Englishman who later became a Buddhist teacher. “At first he was quite friendly”, says Chogyam, “but later he let me know that he was a distinctly superior being and that I was no longer to address him as Sogyal.” Around this time Sogyal launched into his habit of publicly humiliating his close followers – berating for them for even minor errors in front of a roomful of people. Patrick Gaffney is the only one to be spared these ordeals. He was still doing it in 2011. A woman (Lalatee) who attended a retreat at  Dzogchen Beara, the Rigpa centre in Ireland, was profoundly shocked by Sogyal’s behaviour: “I experienced what at best could be termed disrespect, at worst abuse of his colleagues and disciples. He was regularly late and often over-ran the sessions by several hours. He was insulting to the Irish people, about his assistants and to individual course participants. The last straw for me was when he called a senior assistant to come to the dais. She’s a respected professional in her 60s doing amazing work with the bereaved and the dying. She was forced to kneel beside Sogyal, while he embraced her closely and put his hand on her chest. I could see that she was embarrassed and uncomfortable. Sogyal proceeded to stroke her face, looking deeply into her eyes. When she pulled back slightly, he turned to the 250 people present and said ‘this is none of your business, turn away’. So 250 people twisted round in their seats and looked away. If that is not crowd manipulation and abuse, I don’t know what is. At the very least it shows complete disregard for western social mores and ethical behaviour.”

Also in 2011 another woman (Myra) attended a Rigpa retreat at Myall Lakes in Australia. “Sogyal seemed arrogant and uncaring. He was habitually an hour or more late and after he turned up would spend another hour and half criticising his older students. Meanwhile, several hundred people who had already waited a long time had to witness this, not understanding what was going on. Many of them were new to Rigpa. Sogyal then gave his senior students orders about how he wanted the presentation to be prepared for the next day. I know they sometimes stayed up all night working on a new version, but next day when Sogyal arrived everything would be all wrong again and there would be another diatribe.” Myra asked older students about Sogyal’s behaviour: “One explanation given to justify it was that he aims to shock people out of their habitual thinking – that he’s a Vajra Master and doesn’t conform to the same samsaric standards as we do. I couldn’t help thinking that if he’s really a Vajra Master why does he need to follow a precise order of events? Why are the prepared readings and video excerpts so important? I really think there’s something else going on.” Back in the 1970s, the man who now insisted on being called Rinpoche exhorted his flock to focus their attention on attracting money and on improving the style, content and comfort levels of the Chatsworth Road house.  “He was a slave driver”, says one squatter, Jack, “he had us working flat out, restoring the house, building a shrine, putting up shelves and so on – while he sat around directing operations.”   People like businessman Jean Lanoe involved in the construction of the Lerab Ling temple would affirm that in this respect also, Sogyal has not changed.

Sex conquests and doubts  

Neither it seems, has his insatiable appetite for sexual conquests. From  Chatsworth Road, Orgyen Choling moved into short life premises in Princess Road, Kilburn. Sogyal occupied the top floor, members of his band of wannabe Buddhist yogis lived in other rooms, while the ground floor was transformed into a shrine room.  One resident  recalled the steady stream of young women summoned  to the guru’s abode for “private teachings.” “Some of them would stay for a while and leave quietly, but others would flounce out shouting loud protests and slamming doors.”

People who have now left Sogyal’s entourage speak about a “sense of pollution” — how the succession of females in and out of the guru’s bedroom made them feel ill at ease. No-one at this time identified Sogyal’s behaviour as a personality disorder, but more recently health professionals have stated that he is a sex addict – an obsession as powerful as drugs, alcohol and gambling. There was also a dawning awareness within Sogyal’s community that he was not up to scratch as a Buddhist teacher. A very reticent Englishman was an early Buddhist scholar who visited the Himalayan regions in the 1950s, searching for texts on an arcane aspect of Tibetan teachings known as Dzogchen. Sogyal proclaims himself as a Dzogchen master – but his followers noticed he played “carrot and donkey” with them – holding out the promise of genuine instructions, but never actually delivering. The reticent Englishman confirmed their suspicions:

“Apart from some stuff he picked up from his uncle Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, he knows very little and what he does know is not Dzogchen.” Ngakpa Chogyam also became aware of gaps in Sogyal’s knowledge: “He asked me a lot of questions about Dzogchen”, he says, “and I was surprised by the way he’d enquire – almost, I thought at the time, as if he didn’t know the answers. I ended up talking a lot when we were alone together – but it occurred to me later that he never asked questions like this when anyone else was around.” Later in his career, when Sogyal was an established lama, he was sitting with several Rinpoches listening to teachings by the Dalai Lama. One of the Rinpoches wrote a note in Tibetan and passed it round the group. According to a Tibetan Buddhist scholar who heard about this from one of the lamas involved “It was obvious to all of them that Sogyal could not read it.”  In 1979 the Dzogchen master Choegyal Namkhai Norbu taught for the first time in London and members of Sogyal’s group who attended realised they were experiencing the genuine article. There was a mass exodus from Orgyen Choling, but within weeks the defectors were replaced by a new intake. The devotees who remained faithful include Patrick Gaffney and Dominique Side.

Breaking the bond and the birth of Rigpa

Around this time Sogyal made his first sortie into France – a move which set in motion a chain of events that led to the establishment of Rigpa as a multi-national organisation. Disciples of the late Dudjom Rinpoche had coalesced into a small group in Paris. Sogyal pitched up there and was invited to teach. However, it transpired that the Dudjom people were considerably less tolerant of his playboy lifestyle than his followers in London. Before long they asked Sogyal to leave, but by the time they did this he had acquired a taste for the pleasures of life in France. It must have been tedious for him to return to hippiedom in a dilapidated house in an unfashionable area of London, after spending time with the Parisian bourgeoisie. It seems likely that reports on Sogyal’s womanising and expensive eating habits reached Dudjom Rinpoche’s ears from France – because shortly after he was kicked out of the Paris centre, Dudjom wrote to Sogyal requesting him to stop teaching for a while and return to India “to ripen his practice”. Residents at Orgyen Choling recall little hesitation on the part of their teacher: “He refused point blank to obey the head of his order”, says one of them (Mark)  “ quite the opposite in fact. He removed his group from the Dudjom mandala and changed its name to Rigpa, with him in charge and accountable to no-one.” The surge of enthusiasm for Tibetan Buddhism continued to accelerate, but in the late 1970s and early 80s there were still very few lamas actively at work in the big cities of the western world. News of Sogyal’s activities — and that he attracted some of the legendary elders like Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche — spread like wildfire. It soon became apparent that the room at Princess Road was too small to accommodate the ever increasing numbers turning up for teachings.  A cash donation from a famous actor enabled Rigpa to obtain a lease on premises in Camden Town. They stayed there for several years until they outgrew this space too. Their final move in London was to their present home on Caledonian Road, in Islington. This is an extensive property with a very large, if somewhat claustrophobic basement shrine room.

Conquering America

The 1980s was a period of phenomenal expansion in the number of people seeking instruction in Tibetan Buddhism – especially in America. As news of the lush lifestyles enjoyed by lamas in the developed world spread to the austere monastic institutions in India and Nepal, more and more of them packed their bags and flew off to fulfil the demand.    It soon became clear that not only would they live in luxury, but also that teaching Vajrayana Buddhism represented a major source of income for the Tibetan diaspora.  Sogyal set his sights on California.

Victoria Barlow encountered Sogyal on his first visit to the West Coast.  According to Victoria, he aired views which are diametrically opposed to his present role as a champion of the Dalai Lama, who belongs to the monastic Gelug school. Sogyal is a Nyingmapa– an older, largely non-celibate tradition.  “Sogyal loathed the Gelugpas and the DL,“ she says, “ I heard him in Berkeley being a staggering sectarian hater — he expressed real rage to all who would listen, trashing the Dalai Lama.”  Despite his politically incorrect outbursts, Sogyal’s style went down well with Californian audiences. This probably had something to do with the fact that Tibetan Buddhism was virgin territory for most Americans, so the lack of substance in his teachings was not immediately apparent.

His appeal lay in the  Shangri-la myths and legends surrounding all things Tibetan. Sogyal’s American audiences had few points of reference to give focus to their enthusiasm, and like many people in many countries, they were hungry for what seemed to them to be authentic access to an ancient esoteric tradition.  One of the Californians impressed by Sogyal was Christine Longaker, who at that time was director of the Hospice of Santa Cruz County in the San Francisco Bay area. This smart woman made a connection between Tibetan texts dealing with death and the after-death state – and her work in palliative care for the dying.  She shared her insights with Sogyal – who swiftly realised that this could turn out to be his passport to fame and fortune.  He was right. From the mid 1980s onwards Sogyal set his acolytes the task of researching information on western attitudes to death and dying – and linking these with The Tibetan Book of the Dead. This text is attributed to Padmasambhava, an 8th century yogi credited as the founding father of Buddhism in Tibet. Originally translated into English in 1927,  it was essential reading for hippies and well-thumbed copies were passed around the  traveller communities in India. Some found their way into San Francisco bookshops.

Once he had his research data, Sogyal started lecturing on Spiritual Care for the Dying — challenging deeply entrenched taboos and attracting large audiences, including many people experiencing various stages of terminal illness and grieving. It is beyond doubt that within a western cultural context, Sogyal was delivering a seismic shift. It was pioneered by the psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler Ross, but the addition of Sogyal’s Tibetan Buddhist perspective was a radical new formula – which suggested that rather than a source of fear, death can be treated as source of inspiration.

The book that made a million

The theories and practices expounded in Sogyal’s lectures were collated into his version of the Padmasambhava treatise, but with a contemporary twist – living in tandem with dying – highlighting the two states as mirror images of each other. When The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying was published in 1992, it ticked every box on Sogyal’s wish list. Almost overnight he became an international celebrity and to top it all, accepted an invitation from Bernardo Bertolucci to star in his movie Little Buddha. Some time later, worldwide sales turned him into a personal millionaire.  But there are questions around the authorship of the TBOLD. Rumours that Sogyal did not write the book have been circulating on the internet for years. When approached for comment, the author, academic and mystic Andrew Harvey gave an inconclusive response: “Sogyal participated totally in every level of the creation of the book and as the representative of his tradition was the indispensable transmitter of its wisdom. The process was a totally mutual collaboration in which Sogyal gave everything and had the final word on every word. It is a very hard process to describe. Any suggestion that Sogyal did not write this book is -I think, absurd and dishonouring of his genius and passion. Both Patrick and I worked tirelessly and I hope, selflessly to honour Sogyal’s brilliance and the wisdom of the tradition. And the book could not exist without the transcripts of Sogyal’s talks that were it’s foundation.” The ubiquitous Patrick Gaffney and Andrew Harvey are credited as editors – but Harvey’s words do not confirm Sogyal as the author. Grant, a former Rigpa member, recalls spending time with Harvey “when he was writing the book”. Grant adds: “Could anyone who knows Sogyal imagine him being able to quote the German mystical poet Rainer Maria Rilke? Or the Sufi sage Jalaluddin Rumi? He simply doesn’t have that level of education.” Andrew Harvey does – and comparisons between The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and Harvey’s own books reveal striking similarities in tone, structure and language. According to a well known American Buddhist teacher: “Andrew Harvey was very upset at not being credited as co-author.”  The journalist Mary Finnigan is also sceptical: “When Sogyal was living in London it became obvious that he is barely literate,” she says, “he never read anything except comic books, never wrote letters and spent most of his free time watching television.”

Buddhist teacher Ngakpa Chogyam also has doubts:

“The book was cobbled together from more than a decade of Sogyal’s teachings,” he says, “I worked for a while on transcribing the tapes. There were a fair few mistakes which I corrected as I went along – particularly about  Dzogchen and precise definitions of Buddhist doctrine.”

Enter Dierdre Smith

In June 1993, less than a year after the publication of the TBOLD, a young and beautiful woman in a state of acute distress over the death of her father went to a Rigpa retreat in Connecticut, USA.  After one of Sogyal’s lectures she sent him a written question: “How can I help my father now that he’s dead?”

Sogyal’s response was to invite her to his room. The woman, Dierdre Smith, says she was ‘completely vulnerable’.” I might as well have had a notice round my neck saying Abuse Me!” She wept as she recounted the circumstances of her father’s death from a drug overdose. “He asked me to massage him — I was in awe of him as the important guru, so I did as he wished. Then he told me he was my personal teacher and was going to help me. I was very excited about this and called my husband to tell him that everything was going to be OK. “Sogyal asked me to come back the following day, with a picture of myself and of my father. It was all very paternal and he kept saying I should trust him.” “It was about 10.30 at night when I arrived. He took his clothes off and got into bed. I was embarrassed and didn’t know where to look – but he said I should feel safe because we were in a shrine. The room was lit with candles and there were pictures of Buddhas all around.”

A long seduction followed, that lasted into the small hours. The reluctant, grief-stricken Dierdre protested that she did not want to cheat on her husband — but Sogyal persisted, insisting that having sex with him would benefit her father’s karma: “He ground me down”, she says, “it was the same thing over and over – Do you love me? Do you trust me? It must have gone on for about six hours. Eventually I was exhausted and gave up resisting. The whole thing revolved around surrender to him and I was scared of losing the opportunity to heal my family.” P11.  Dierdre was told by Rigpa devotees that if you have negative feelings, you destroy your relationship with the guru. With hindsight, she sees this as a cultist manoeuvre designed to smother dissent, but at the time she did not question this and other injunctions – including one from Sogyal swearing her to secrecy about the seduction. Sogyal insisted that he loved her, wanted to take care of her and that she should see him as her family. He phoned her every day until they met again six months later. Dierdre flew to France at her own expense, expecting to be a normal student. Instead, she was isolated in a separate house and told not to talk to anyone: “I only left the house to go to the teachings, where I saw 500 people prostrating themselves to the lama. The rest of the time I listened to him on tape, saying things like ‘pray to me, see me as the Buddha, love me, trust me, be obedient to me’ “ For several months Dierdre put her everyday life on hold and travelled with Sogyal as his servant, sex partner and arm candy. She recounts how the smile on Sogyal’s face and the unctuous charm of his of his public presentation vanished the moment they were hidden from view: “There must have been about 10 women in his inner circle,” she says, and it was our job to attend to his every need. We bathed him, dressed him, cooked for him, carried his suitcases, ironed his clothes and were available for sex. He was a tyrant. Nothing we did was ever good enough. He went into screaming rages and beat us. If I tried to question the way he treated us, he became angry. The only way to avoid this was to stay silent and submissive.” According to former Rigpa insiders, Sogyal’s team of regular sex partner-attendants were the core group of a sub-sect of Rigpa known as Lama Care. This was set up specifically to make sure that women were available for sex with Sogyal wherever he travelled. In common with other women who have spoken about their experiences with Sogyal, Dierdre recounts how she hardly ever slept, had no time to eat properly and lost 15 pounds during the first two weeks of her time with him. “I looked pretty sickly”, she recalls. Yet despite the brainwashing and  the abuse, the women in Sogyal’s harem regarded themselves as highly privileged: “They kept on saying how lucky we were to be close to the guru, how we had special teachings and how much he loved us.” Indoctrination into the inner circle is designed as a life sentence. A young, vulnerable woman is programmed to accept Sogyal’s god-like status and to be compliant with his wishes and whims, slave-like in her willingness to accept a punishing workload and available for sex on demand. She is separated from her family and friends, discouraged from contact with the outside world and persuaded to see Rigpa as her family, with Sogyal (confusingly as father-lover)  in absolute power and control. In the majority of cases, it works. By the time these women realise they are being abused and exploited and are deeply embedded in a coercive cult, it is too late for them to extricate themselves. Their investment is total and their chances of making lives for themselves beyond Rigpa have dwindled into non-existence. But in some instances, Sogyal’s choices backfired on him. Back in 1994, it slowly dawned on Dierdre that she was being exploited. “At first”, she says, “I was willing to give up everything for the promise of healing my family, saving the world and being useful, but as these illusions started to melt away I realised I had caused a lot of harm – I’d made myself sick and I’d hurt my husband.” During her last retreat with Sogyal, Dierdre found out about the scandals surrounding Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and his regent Osel Tendzin (Thomas Rich), who infected several people with HIV. “I was terrified I’d given my husband HIV” she says, “so I told Sogyal I wanted to leave.” He was very angry, probably because I knew too much about his promiscuity and his lies. I remember sitting on his bed with him and he shouted at me ‘get these crazy ideas out of your head’ and at the same time he was hitting me hard on the head, one side and then the other.” So what finally drove Dierdre away? “Mostly it was the beatings and because Sogyal kept on telling me I was a burden to him. It was bewildering, because at the same time he tried to persuade me to stay – saying that by serving him I was serving the world. But there he was with all these people attending to everything he demanded and there was my husband who was alone and ill at the time, begging me not to leave him.”

Regardless of Sogyal’s threats (including aeons in the hell realms), protestations and persuasions Dierdre left. But after returning to her long-suffering husband, she discovered that leaving was not as easy as physically walking out. Like many others who detach themselves from abusive relationships and coercive cults, she found herself dealing with a psycho-emotional hangover. By this time a lot less naïve than she was when she first encountered Sogyal, Dierdre sought help from several counsellors, including a strong-minded Californian Zen teacher who had herself been a victim of a sexually abusive guru. “It is harmful to both student and teacher”, the teacher says, “because they end up slipping into a fantasy realm, rather than cultivating awareness of the Buddhist path. Americans are more sophisticated now — we know about the long term damage inherent in relationships where there is a power imbalance.”

The lawsuit

Around the same time, one of Sogyal’s victims who became known as Janice Doe, consulted a San Francisco lawyer and on 2 November 1994 a suit was filed in The Superior Court of California seeking reparations from Sogyal Rinpoche aka Sogyal Lakar and The Spiritual Care for Living and Dying Network for assault and battery, infliction of emotional distress and breach of fiduciary duty. The suit also charged that Sogyal had seduced many other female students for his own sexual gratification by preying on their vulnerability. Three days later the story broke in several west coast newspapers, following a report by an agency journalist, Don Lattin, which included comment by Victoria Barlow: “I went to an apartment to see a highly esteemed lama to discuss religion”, she said, “he opened the door without a shirt on and with a can of beer in his hand.” Once they were on the sofa, Barlow continued, “Sogyal lunged at me with sloppy kisses and groping. I thought I should take it as a compliment so I surrendered to him – but it had a horrible effect on me and caused a lot of depression.”  News of the lawsuit spread like wildfire across the Tibetan Buddhist grapevine. At first the Rigpa hierarchy appeared to be caught like rabbits in headlights – frozen and incapable of anything other than whimpers of denial. Later, when the shock waves had subsided, a letter was despatched to some students, acknowledging the existence of the lawsuit and containing a feeble attempt at damage limitation: “….allegations are only allegations. As far as we know they have no foundation”. Journalists who requested interviews with Sogyal were told he was “in retreat”. In January 1995 a feature about the lawsuit by Mary Finnigan appeared in the British national daily newspaper The Guardian. A few weeks later a broadcast version of the story, also by Mary Finnigan, ran on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme. Sogyal was scheduled to lead Rigpa’s annual UK Easter retreat, booked to happen at Harrow School, but someone at Harrow heard the BBC item and promptly cancelled the booking. “Rigpa was stuck with more than a hundred people and nowhere to go” says one of Sogyal’s organisers at the time. “All we could do was cram them into the shrine room in London.” In February 1995 the UK’s Telegraph Magazine featured a cover story on the Sogyal lawsuit by the journalist and author Mick Brown. In it, two English women spoke about their sexual encounters with Sogyal: P14 “Its a relationship that you haven’t chosen, agreed to or discussed”, said one woman, “Because he was my spiritual teacher I trusted that whatever he asked was in my best interests….by sleeping with the teacher you get a closeness to him which everyone is hankering after….but in fact it caused me a lot of pain that I wasn’t able to dissolve.” Another spoke about her distress at discovering that Sogyal was having sex with three other students, shortly after he initiated a relationship with her: “I came to the conclusion that Sogyal Rinpoche has used the teachings to attempt to keep me in a sexual relationship with him –one that I did not want to be in.” In common with other former Sogyal consorts, this woman “recognised that I was emotionally wounded and that my self-esteem was low, and that I no longer trusted myself or the spiritual path I had chosen.”   According to one former Rigpa insider, “An unsavoury witch hunt was launched to find out the identity of the women who spoke to Mick Brown.”  In a unique manifestation of his disapproval, The Dalai Lama withdrew from participation in a Living and Dying Conference scheduled by Rigpa to take place in California. The conference was cancelled. Sogyal also had to cancel an appearance at a prestigious event in New York, the Art of Dying conference. This time his excuse was “severe flu”. The glorification of Sogyal suffered a serious setback and in order to silence Janice Doe, Rigpa was forced to part with a large sum of money.          Just how much money was involved in the out-of-court settlement is a closely guarded secret, but it is alleged to run into millions of dollars.

After the lawsuit

It took about two years – and a huge workload for Patrick Gaffney and other members of the Rigpa inner circle — to re-establish Sogyal as a globe trotting guru. “People left in droves” says one former Rigpa devotee. “I remember noticing there was no-one around who had been there when I first got involved, except for Patrick and Dominique Side.” Around this time Mary Finnigan interviewed the Dalai Lama about the Sogyal lawsuit. “He was very clear about the issue of sexual relations between teachers and disciples”, she says “he condemned it as unacceptable and told me he had advised Sogyal to settle down and ‘take a lawful wife’. “ P15  Sogyal’s response to this was to have an affair with an American woman called Mary-Anne, who became pregnant and gave birth to Sogyal’s son Yeshe.  Asked if he would marry Mary-Anne he is said to have replied “that would be a step too far.” Even though by this time Sogyal had been placing the Dalai Lama at the top of his totem for many years, clearly he was not impressed by advice from the boss on his private life. “It was window dressing” says one former Sogyal dakini, “the Dalai Lama blessed the relationship, but Sogyal was never monogamous. One of his other women – Alison — saw herself as the ‘wife’ and she would not have allowed him to stop having sex with her.”

There is no doubt that the lawsuit made the Tibetan Buddhist community in the developed world take stock of its situation. Even in 1993, before the lawsuit, a group of western Buddhist teachers held a conference with the Dalai Lama. The statement the emerged from it included these words “… each student must be encouraged to take responsible measures to confront teachers with unethical aspects of their conduct. If the teacher shows no sign of reform, students should not hesitate to publicise any unethical behaviour of which there is irrefutable evidence. This should be done irrespective of other beneficial aspects of his or her work and of one’s spiritual commitment to that teacher. It should also be made clear in any publicity that such conduct is not in conformity with Buddhist teachings. No matter what level of spiritual attainment a teacher has, or claims to have reached, no person can stand above the norms of ethical conduct.” Although the Dalai Lama told the meeting that sexual misbehaviour should be publicised and errant teachers made to feel “regretful and embarrassed”, significantly in the light of subsequent developments, he declined to endorse the statement. As the reinvention of Sogyal’s credibility gathered momentum, leaks from within Rigpa indicated that he had no intention of changing his ways. Quite the contrary in fact, because in 1996 western Buddhist teachers met for the third time with the Dalai Lama and to the dismay of most of them, Sogyal was a high profile presence at the conference, holding forth vehemently about the perils of teaching Vajrayana without ‘authenticity, credentials and training’. “His chutzpah was breathtaking” says the American teacher Yvonne Rand. “We could hardly believe what we were experiencing. It was only our respect for the Dalai Lama that stopped several of us from walking out.”  When asked why Sogyal was allowed to take part, the Dalai Lama’s private office came up with the lame excuse that they had to let all lamas know about the conference so they could attend if they wished. ble standards perpetrated by the Tibetan diaspora headquarters in Dharamsala are becoming increasingly obvious to observers of Tibet, its religion and culture. At the turn of the 21st century the Dalai Lama had probably received hundreds of letters complaining about sexual and financial misbehaviour by Sogyal and other exiled lamas. While some letters are acknowledged with anodyne expressions of regret, to date there has been no action on the part of the exiled Tibetan authorities to deal effectively with the alleged offenders. Apart from withdrawing from the Living and Dying Conference, the Dalai Lama has never publicly criticised individual lamas.  When asked by Mary Finnigan why Sogyal is usually a guest speaker at events with the Dalai Lama like the Kalachakra Initiation,Chhimed Rigdzin, an official in the Dalai Lama’s private office, responded “we don’t invite him”. Mary Finnigan pointed out that they don’t refuse him either.

Fast forward to 2006

Air France pilot Gerard Dubois was coming to the end of his career as a 747 captain. Since the year 2000 Gerard ran his professional and spiritual lives in tandem – off duty he spent his time as a serious, bordering-on-fanatical student with Sogyal Rinpoche. The extent of his commitment is illustrated by the fact that it spilled over into air time — he accomplished the gruelling Tibetan Buddhist preliminary practice known as the ngondro by using his rest periods during long distance flights to complete 108 thousand full body prostrations in the crew space behind the flight deck. Gerard worked his way through the Rigpa hierarchy to the point where he became a dharma teacher himself, alongside other members of the French elite, including Olivier Raurich, Phillipe Cornu and the late Francois Calmes. “I was looking for answers”, he says, “trying to find a way to make my mind free and open. I have to admit that I was hypnotised by Sogyal for six years. As I became more involved, I distanced myself from my family and friends and devoted myself totally to Rigpa – with my time, energy and money. As a result, I became completely anti-social, turned in on myself and one-track minded” Gerard points out that following the Rigpa path is extremely expensive: “You have to buy ritual objects and constantly update study material. You pay for courses, study days, statues, food offerings for the temple – the list is endless. You have to sponsor people who can’t afford retreats and for those who can, the price is exorbitant. They never stop asking for money – and its done with subtle persuasion – pretty speeches scripted specifically to make you put your hand in your pocket.” Other former Rigpa insiders confirm that there is relentless pressure to donate money. According to one of them: “I even heard Sogyal say to one man ‘just shut up and give me your money’ “.

Dakini Janine

The person who was probably most affected by Gerard’s obsession with Rigpa is his daughter Janine. Aged 22 in 2000 and outstandingly beautiful, she was already feeling parentally deprived because of Gerard’s professional absences. Determined to take every opportunity to be close to him, Janine started attending Sogyal’s teachings with her father – usually falling asleep against his back. Inevitably Sogyal’s lasciviously roving eye alighted on Janine and in due course she was lured into the brainwashing process that leads to his bedroom. In 2009 Janine spoke at length about her experiences with Sogyal in a series of recorded interviews. The way she was treated is identical in most respects to what happened to Dierdre Smith. “We were at a retreat in Germany. He sent for me during his rest period and asked me to massage his hands and feet,” she says.” Afterwards he gave me his   schedule and his phone numbers – and almost immediately I was invited to join him for a holiday in Australia. This seemed like a nice thing to do so I said yes. “I was met in Sydney by a wealthy family who were obviously under orders to look after me – and I was treated like a princess. They have a fabulous house where I was given a room and they arranged everything I wanted – yoga classes, shopping etc”.

Did Janine query this – and wonder why it was happening? “Not really”, she says, “I assumed Sogyal was being paternal in an Asian way. But I still hadn’t seen him. Then suddenly, in the middle of the night, he decided it was time to go to the beach.” A convoy of cars set off. Janine found herself crammed into one of them with five other people, including Sogyal: “I didn’t get a good impression” she says, “he virtually ignored me, which was not at all the Asian papa way – I think this was the moment when he started to manipulate my feelings.” The time at the beach coincided with St Valentine’s day. Janine was ordered to wear a best dress and turn up at Sogyal’s house for dinner. At this moment she realised the whole set up was somewhat bizarre:

“There was Sogyal surrounded by five or six young pretty girls and there were no other men,” she says. “it was quite fun actually, we had nice drinks and we danced for him. Then at a certain point he asked me to go upstairs with him and massage his head. I made some sort of smart reply and he became angry. He said I was too proud and he would have to break my pride.” A few months later Janine got a phone call asking her if she would like to take part in a special training. “I accepted because it seemed to clarify my relationship with him. It turned out that the people involved were all women. We were put to work in the “lama kitchen.”  We called it hell, because it was an underground bunker – a horrible place. A Swiss woman (Renata) was in charge of us and the first three weeks were pure slavery – we worked non-stop doing the cleaning. “We never saw Sogyal, but they gave us documents listing all the instructions he has given about caring for him around the world. There was nothing about Buddhism, but we were told the whole process was a teaching.

“They made us work so hard we didn’t have time for proper meals. We had to grab food  and eat standing up. We were constantly being told to run here or fetch this in a haphazard way – because basically Sogyal is not very organised. He says he wants something and you have 50 people panicking to get it in five minutes.” As Janine’s induction into the inner circle unfolded, she was assigned work inside Sogyal’s compound at Lerab Ling – two chalets and a garden surrounded by a high fence. The next stage involved being Sogyal’s personal servant – bringing his food and looking after him in minute detail – in the same manner described by Dierdre Smith.

“He made me the only person to interact with the other people. By this time I was sleeping on the floor in his room…every time he had a thought, I would write it down and communicate it. I had control of the phones and the walkie talkies.” Sogyal is pampered like a medieval monarch – with a clique of women trained to respond to his slightest whim – day and night, 24/7. He is never alone and never lifts a finger to do anything for himself. After grooming her at record speed (other girls complained she had been fast tracked out of ‘hell’s kitchen’), Sogyal pounced on Janine for the first time at a high stress moment: “We had arranged to go to dinner at a restaurant to celebrate one of the other girls’ (Minou) birthday. Whenever Sogyal does something like this it is a major operation, involving anything up to 20 people. We have to send an advance party to the restaurant to make sure everything is exactly how he wants it, we have to polish up the big cars, pack his bags, wash him, dress him, collect his pillows, tissues and so on.

I was at the centre of the storm, co-ordinating the various strands and at that time I had had only about three hours sleep a night for the past month.” When everything was ready and the people were waiting to leave, Sogyal and   Janine were alone in his chalet: “He ordered me to take my clothes off. I thought it was another test, so I did as I was told. He told me to get onto the bed and we had sex. As this was happening he said ‘look into my eyes, this is the moment you connect with your master.’  There were no preliminaries, he did not use a condom, my pleasure was not in the picture and it was all over in about three minutes. Afterwards he made me swear to keep it a secret, even from the other girls, and said if I did not keep the samaya it would be very bad for my karma and for the karma of my family.

“It happened again of course, especially at times of stress – before a teaching for example he has to have his fix. Sometimes it was every day, sometimes less often depending on how many girls he was into, or what was happening. He is very selfish —  he never asks what you would like, it’s always him giving  orders. Sometimes there is some petting afterwards and he reminds you how lucky you are. Its not comfortable being in the same bed with Sogyal because he’s an anxious character and he doesn’t sleep well. He keeps waking up and wanting things, medicines or food and so on. “I blanked out my feelings for a while, but then I became very troubled, which was extremely difficult because I’d been sworn to secrecy and couldn’t talk about it with anyone. Things started to go wrong with my body. My periods stopped. I was in shock. I had to sneak out of Lerab Ling to do the test because I was scared I was pregnant.

“A young lama married to an American woman came to teach at Lerab Ling. He was by himself in the courtyard and I really needed to talk to someone because I knew something was really wrong. So I decided to talk to this lama, hoping he would explain it for me. I asked him ‘what’s a consort?’ He looked at me and he knew exactly what I was talking about. I burst into tears and that bastard said ‘if you are the consort of a master you are very lucky’ and that was it. That’s all he said.”

Dakinis who were in the harem (Alison, Anna, Minou, Nee, Lillie, Jackie, Renata, Lorraine) before Janine’s arrival gradually came to accept her as a team member. Eventually they announced that she should join them in an orgy. Janine was not keen. The other women pressurised her, insisting that they had to do whatever ‘Rinpoche’ wanted: “They were terrified of being beaten” says Janine. “During the time I was with him continuously, one of us would be beaten every day – because you forgot something or did something wrong. For one girl it was because the way she walked was too proud. I got a little less than the others – some would get a serious, really bad beating. He got irritated with me because when I did something wrong I would hand him something to hit me with and that would  spoil the fun.”

 Behind the thangkas

Janine recalls that setting up the space for an orgy involved taking down the thangkas from the chalet walls to reveal girlie pictures concealed behind them. A meeting took place during the summer of 2009, between Janine and a former Sogyal girlfriend Flora Sinclair — who was with him for a while during the 1980s. During this encounter, both of them recalled their problems with Sexually Transmitted Infections:

“He gave me a yellow bottle of disinfectant and told me to wash with it after we had sex”, says Flora. “I knew of four other women who were sleeping with him at the time – then one day I saw a different woman coming out of his room carrying a yellow bottle” Janine said that all the girls during her sojourn in the harem were constantly having to deal with STIs: “He never uses condoms”, she says, “my gynaecological record during that time was a disaster zone.” Ask Janine how she dealt with her situation and she says the only way she could cope was to close down into denial: “I didn’t think about it – I have a capacity to leave my body – I’m just not there”, she says, “but I felt so ashamed because I allowed it to happen. We were constantly humiliated. I was the only one who did not have to ask him for money and was not obliged to wear Barbie Doll clothes that he paid for.  “One of the most humiliating things happened to Anna. Sogyal always has diarrhoea – his diabetes and his diarrhoea make him extremely irritable. We had to wipe his arse each time he took a crap. He also has haemorrhoids. Someone wiped his arse, then he asked her to stick a finger in and it hurt — so he went into a total fit and called in all the girls. He asked each of us to wipe him to see who was the best. That was the only time I heard him say something nice about Anna – he announced that it was one thing she could do well.”

Janine’s epiphany….

…..occurred when she was travelling alone on Eurostar:

“I’d been distancing myself from Sogyal for some time. I could do this because I was not dependent on him like the other girls. I’d always kept up my singing lessons and had friends outside Rigpa. There I was in the tunnel and the defences I’d built up started to collapse. I remembered things.  I realised I’d been raped and from that point onwards the more I remembered, the sicker I got.”

Janine went into counselling and after initially keeping her experiences with Sogyal to herself, she eventually opened up with her therapist, who advised her to devise a closure ritual so that she could clear the psycho-emotional decks and move on:

“I was really ill – I kept getting infections and I had a fever for about three weeks. I had nightmares every night – I was an empty carcass and I thought I was going crazy. Realising I’d reached my limit, I took my counsellor’s advice and created a monstrous drawing and collage. I put myself in it and the other girls and I did a caricature of Sogyal like a Tibetan deity with lots of arms – but they were holding things like cash and the beating stick. Instead of clouds I put speech bubbles with the phrases in them that he used to intimidate and manipulate us.”

Janine took her artwork to Sogyal when he was leading the Rigpa UK Easter retreat. She also took two friends to ride shotgun – one of them a very big man. “We went into his formal reception room and I handed him the drawing and burst into floods of tears. There was a long silence – then he asked me what I wanted. I tried to say that I wanted him to stop what he’s doing, but he started to talk about money. I thought well, why not – I would like my expenses for the trip. I told him the ticket cost 450 Euros, so he got up and came back with an envelope. I left with my friends and when I opened the envelope I had a moment of pleasure – he’d given me 350, rather than the full amount so I knew I’d made him angry. “After this a lot of important Rigpa people called me. There were all sorts of threats and I heard that men were claiming I’d slept with them and were calling me a whore. But they should know that Sogyal is very possessive about the women he likes – he only lets the ones he wants to get rid off sleep with other men. I know now that many of the things he does are punishable by law. I am not afraid of him”.

The three year retreat

While the Sogyal-Janine saga played out, Gerard was participating in Rigpa’s first three years, three months and three days retreat.

This is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist training programme, designed to bring about deep contemplative realisation and yogic insight. The retreat, involving intensive practice and seclusion from the outside world, began on August 9 2006 and ended on 21 November 2009.

However, true to form, Sogyal adapted the retreat to dovetail with his version of Tibetan Buddhism as a marketable commodity. One of Rigpa’s web sites described it thus:

“…the purpose of such a break is to re-emerge into the world refreshed and re-inspired, having further developed the mind’s innate qualities of peacefulness and clarity, and deepened the heart’s innate capacity for empathy and compassion.”

It does not mention any of the profound aspects of Buddhist meditation– ‘primordial emptiness’ for example, or ‘integration beyond duality’. In comparison with the way other lamas present Tibetan Buddhism, Sogyal’s programme could be equated with studying for primary school exams. Gerard Dubois – retired from flight duty and free from family obligations – sorted his external affairs and settled into Lerab Ling with every intention of staying the retreat distance, in the expectation that it would move his spiritual practice into a fresh dimension. Instead he found himself in a situation where the emphasis on group rather than solitary practice was wholly unproductive:

“I had no experiences” he says, “at the start I went along with what was happening, but eventually I gave up and instead of doing Tibetan meditation, I concealed a Zen text in my prayer books and read that when I was supposed to be meditating.”

The coup de grace on Gerard’s involvement with Rigpa came when he read a letter from Janine – three weeks after it had arrived. In it she confessed to her father that she had been in a sexual relationship with Sogyal. “I was very angry” he says.

Gerard demanded an interview with Sogyal, who was initially wary but then admitted he had had sex with Janine.  He tried to shift the blame onto her – claiming that she had seduced him and that he was at first resistant, but later gave in to her demands.

Gerard was inclined to believe his daughter’s version of what happened and this, coupled with his disillusionment with Tibetan spiritual practice, made him decide to leave the retreat – but not before he had shared his feelings with other retreatants: “We were not allowed to talk” he says, “but we found ways to communicate.” As a result some of the 200 people present also left the retreat – some shocked at the revelation, others realising that their pre-existing doubts were well founded.


During the time that Sogyal has been active as a lama in the developed world, the deep split between his public persona and his private life has been observed by several people who were not involved with him sexually. These include former assistants, a former member of Rigpa UK, an anonymous witness who was the manager of a Rigpa centre and Louella – who cooked for Sogyal while he was teaching in Montreal.

“I was in his apartment all day. Most of the time Sogyal was with his two dakinis Janine and Anna. I saw him furious and yelling  insults at Janine, saying things like ‘she’s such a stupid woman’. He ran after her trying to hit her as she ran away, crying. When he noticed me there, he became very uneasy and tried to explain that he had to act like this because she had made a mistake

“When he was taking a bath he used to shout for Janine. I asked Anna what was wrong with him. She replied that he needed Janine to wash him. I was astonished at this – coming from a lama who claims to be as powerful as Padmasambhava. I left Rigpa because in my view the way Sogyal acts is autocratic and abusive and Rigpa was becoming increasingly like a cult. Sogyal orders people around without any respect for their personal needs. Although I am still interested in Buddhism, I do not have confidence in Sogyal.”

The abuse witnessed by Louella and experienced by Dierdre and Janine begs the question – why do Sogyal’s Dakinis tolerate his behaviour? There is a core group who have been in this role for a long time, as well as a steady input of new recruits. Considering that beatings and other forms of abuse have been happening for many years, why have so few women felt motivated to speak out?

In answer to the first question – members of Sogyal’s harem have very high status within Rigpa. They are the closest to the guru and the propaganda line is that they are chosen for their spiritual qualities. On the second question, most of them are indoctrinated into keeping silent in order to ‘protect the dharma’. Some are embarrassed by the fact that they allowed themselves to be duped by a con man – and after extricating themselves from his clutches want to move on from the experience, rather than re-live it (painfully) in interviews. Also there is an element of sado-masochism in the relationship between Sogyal and his harem. Janine maintains that one woman in particular welcomes the beatings. In 2011 a woman who wishes to remain anonymous wrote about her experiences with Sogyal:

“It’s all so subtle and manipulative you just don’t realise what’s happening and you get ensnared in the dogma web. Fear and suspicion play a big part in controlling you. I remember I seriously started to have doubts about 5 years ago. I was ordered to give Alison a massage and she confided in me that she was SR’s main consort and that he had a harem. She said after he made love to her he just rolled over with no tenderness and she confessed how hard she found it and how jealous all the girls were of each other – that they are very competitive. She said she had been told to make a vow with 2 other main girls in the harem so that they couldn’t have sexual relations with anyone else but were kind of married exclusively to him.

“The following Easter retreat I had lost a lot of weight (he likes them skinny) and had just come out of a long relationship. As soon as SR knew this he started on me. He started to grab me and kiss me, but I would push him away. The worst time was when he’d eaten some Tibetan cheese and kissed me and poured the contents in my mouth — horrific. He also started to court another young girl who is married.  She’s his consort now.

“The following summer I was called into his chalet with Alison and Lorraine when he took Alison’s breasts out and kissed them and took mine out but thankfully didn’t do anything to me, I think it was to see how I would react. He kissed Lorraine (who is Patrick’s partner) and then ordered me to give Alison a massage. That same summer he called me on my own into his chalet and said he wanted to open me up a little. I felt very trapped and frozen. I just stood there. He kissed me than told me to lift my skirt because he wanted to look at my bottom. Then he asked me if I thought he was a good kisser – how pathetic is that? I eventually said I didn’t want anything and I left. After that I was ignored by Sogyal and his entourage were horrible to me.”

Marie Lefevre had a salaried job with Rigpa Paris, working for 8 to 12 hours a day. She witnessed a number of circumstances and events which aroused grave doubts and caused her to leave.

“I noticed that people are brainwashed and that Rigpa is run more like a business mafia than a spiritual organisation. They are obsessed with appearances —  Sogyal urges his people to buy expensive clothes and products and to look smart. Money given by devout students is used to buy luxuries for Sogyal – and people who have outlived their usefulness are discarded in a very cruel manner.”

After 36 years of high profile activity as a spiritual mentor, it was inevitable that the dichotomy between the man and his message would become known. In 2009 internet blogs in French and English (Les Trois Mondes and Dialogue Ireland) attracted testimonies from a wide spectrum of people disillusioned with Rigpa and distressed by sexual encounters with Sogyal. A Google search tag lined ‘Sogyal Rinpoche abuse’ reveals a range of internet chatter along the same lines.  It has to be said that some postings defend the man with obvious sincerity, whilst others are emotional outpourings from people who have invested their hopes and aspirations in a charismatic leader whose shortcomings are being revealed through the lens of public scrutiny.

In 2011 Sogyal’s sex life came under mainstream media scrutiny again. The Canadian production company Cogent Benger made a half hour investigative television documentary called In the Name of Enlightenment. It was broadcast on Vision TV in Canada on 27 May as an item in a four part series on sexual abuse in religions. It featured among others, Victoria Barlow, Mary Finnigan, a Canadian former Rigpa student Denise and the Buddhist teachers Stephen and Martine Batchelor. Reports based on this documentary appeared in The Irish Sunday Times and The Guardian newspapers.

In October 2011 the French news magazine Marianne carried a six page feature on one of Sogyal’s teaching retreats at Lerab Ling. It was compiled from material gathered by an undercover journalist, Elodie Emery. The tone of the reportage alternates from coy to sarcastic to ‘shock horror’ and contains allegations which would not get past legal scrutiny at mainstream British media. It does, however, vividly illustrate the dysfunctional ambiance of a Rigpa event and it highlights Sogyal’s bully boy tactics, the pleasure he derives from making people squirm and his ruthlessly cruel treatment of one participant, who was stumbling towards an agonised confession in front of 500 retreatants. Emery also reported that Sogyal’s display of self-importance included claims that people has been cured of cancer and blindness as a result of their devotion to him.

Most of the thousands of spiritual seekers worldwide who still revere Sogyal choose to remain in denial. They have probably been advised against doing internet searches, on the basis that awareness of his hidden agenda would adversely affect their Buddhist practice. There are two taboos in Buddhist organisations – both of which have merit and both of which can be used as manipulative tools. One of them is an injunction against gossip – useful when trying to establish a calm mental state, but also useful to prevent the circulation of critical comment. The second is samaya – the indestructible bond of loyalty that is one of the key tenets of Tibetan Buddhism. It supports the relationship between teacher and neophyte – but it can be deployed unscrupulously as a threat – break your samaya and attract dire consequences to yourself and your loved ones. Tibetan lamas who have taken empowerments from the same guru regard themselves as vajra brothers, bound by samaya. This is probably one explanation for the fact that the majority of lamas teaching in the developed world have closed ranks around Sogyal – regardless of their misgivings about his modus operandi. A more cynical view hinges on the fact that Sogyal   pulls in a great deal of money – some of which is channelled into Tibetan worthy causes. There is a Tibetan prophecy attributed to Padmasambhava which goes like this:

When the Iron Bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the world and the dharma will come to the land of the red man. If it really was uttered in the 8th century, it is a potent illustration of the qualities of Tibetan Buddhism that have attracted a huge worldwide following and made the predication come true. Sogyal and his cohorts have built an empire on the basis of that tradition, but they have turned their version of it into a cult around a celebrity guru – losing sight of core principles in their quest for ever-expanding power, influence and cash flow.

Pseudonyms are used to protect some individuals. Their words are on record and their identities are known.

1,249 Responses

  1. wildy
    This author I guess has some sort of influence from Dorji Shugden followers or may be some chinese.

    My friend you might be looking in the wrong direction from where you are standing Lamaism, which is not Buddhism at all has sold out to the Chinese and brainwashed the westerners to think the problem is the Chinese


  2. This author I guess has some sort of influence from Dorji Shugden followers or may be some chinese.
    That is all I can say.


  3. bla-bla-bla…..
    How can ANYONE pretend to KNOW a Vajra Master?
    Since HE IS REALIZED, whatever He does has meaning and is golden!


  4. DI Moderation:
    Again this thread which is dedicated to addressing the abuse of women by Sogyal Rimpoche is being diverted into a discussion of Buddhism itself. We have no problem with this discussion but only as it related to the thread. We will not delete comments up to this point but warn all concerned, that you have allowed your selves to be diverted to discussing the Religion of Buddhism rather than the issue of abuse.
    From here on in we will at worst delete any off thread comment and at best return to use the spillover thread.
    Please from now on that use that forum for Buddhist internal argument and let the women be heard. Also any attempts to try to use transcendental trickery to avoid this will be slammed.


  5. This post presents clear idea for the new people
    of blogging, that really how to do blogging.


  6. Thank you for this horrendous expose. Sogyal should be jailed, tis’ as simple as that.

    What amazes me is the laxity of the Tibetan hierarchy which tolerates and sometimes encourages such pseudo-Tibetan cults.


  7. Sheila, I think the Catholic church is a colossal supercult. It is exactly that. Catholicism and Islam are probably the two most evil and socially destructive ideologies on earth today, precisely because of their size. Not a devaluation of the term at all. They are exactly that!


  8. aaagghhhh, it’s so scary reading about how the incredibly ignorant and superstitious hippies and fringe groups in Western countries have allowed the defilement of Dharma to continue.


  9. But Drolma, you have suggested for example that spiritual teachers and students should not have sex. I simply disagree with this theory, and strongly–for not the least of which reasons is both my parents having been, at one time or another, at the podium while the other was a student!

    Specifics are what is needed, on all sides of the issues you raise.

    Who, exactly, are the teachers you are warning against? Generalities are ineffective at best, and harmful at worst.

    There are, for example, 38 articles at Dialogue Ireland now under the heading “Rigpa” – and absolutely no information given as to which teachers in Rigpa to avoid, save one.

    Yet the impression created is that at any given moment in Rigpa facilities around the world, Sogyal Rinpoche and nameless Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu and Christian accomplices are poised to swoop in and hypnotize you into robotic subservience. I say that because at any given moment, at Rigpa facilities around the world, teachers from these faiths are to be found, and it is these teachers being condemned by Dialogue Ireland as well.

    This kind of carelessness, intended or not, serves to muddle–and harm–not clarify.

    Further, by posing a cult experts and then classifying Rigpa as a cult, Dialogue Ireland really throws into question the definition of “cult” altogether. I was raised in a cult, and Rigpa does not function at all like one–not even close, not even within striking distance. Put another way, if you are going to convince people Rigpa is a cult, they will quickly determine the Catholic church to be a colossal supercult. A sort of devaluation of the term “cult,” in other words. Not, I think, Dialogue Ireland’s intended objective.

    Again, muddling and carelessness does not prevent harm, but contributes to it. There’s nothing at all wrong in pointing out danger, but one simply must show what on earth, exactly, one is talking about. And if strategies are suggested that include preventing my parents from marrying, it would be illogical for me not to object. It’s really not fair to say that means I’m “supporting abuse.”

    As you say, this is not the Middle Ages — many Buddhist teachers and students today are happily married, and found their partners within their spiritual community.


  10. Alexander, I agree with you– and if you read Tibetan Buddhist texts on ethics, there is little to discourage promiscuity– I think there’s reference to having sex no more than five times a night and not with someone else’s prostitute– but no reference to lamas and students etc. Certainly these are not guidelines that would sit well in the West. The Buddha himself taught very little in the Vinaya on sexual behavior except in reference to adultery and other clear instances of harm. It is interesting to note that the Buddha never clearly proscribed homosexuality, but Tibetan Buddhist texts (and therefore HH Dalai Lama) have. So it seems that Buddhist ethics in regard to sexuality is clearly culture-bound. I believe that as Buddhism spreads to the west, there needs to be more conversation on cultural considerations and what constitutes harm in sexual behaviors. These troubles should not be pushed under the table, (Sheila!!!) but aired and aired until clarity is attained. Harm is harm, Sheila, let’s not return to the middle ages!


  11. We can not link to it. It is a violation of copyright


  12. We should have the link to Debbi Goodwin´s film about Sogyal here:


  13. Humans are designed to mate. The only unnatural thing is here is some humans trying to tell others not to.


  14. The issue of sex and spirituality seems to be a subset of an even larger issue: the relationship between sex and success. It does seem to be true that success, in the largest sense, i.e., living “larger than life,” is directly related to sexual appetite. Perhaps this is due to a combination of stress and ego inflation. Perhaps there is also a natural element to it: i.e., the one who has 100x the energy of the ordinary or average human being, such as is required to become successful at anything, will also have 100x the vitality and therefore 100x the sex drive, which is, after all, a natural appetite. One sees this phenomenon everywhere, from rock stars to actors to politicians to poets and artists. So why should we not see it amongst gurus too? Muhammed, Aleister Crowley, the late Chogyam Trungpa, Adi Da, and numerous others come to mind, some of whom are sensationalized in the online book, Stripping the Gurus. Even chaste Krishnamurti had an adulterous affair with a married woman for 12 years that he concealed whilst claiming to be chaste and desireless. In some religions, sex and spriituality are not considered to be antithetical. The Old Testament prophets appear to have been quite active in their day. The early Gnostic Christians practised graphic sex rites in underground caverns. Sexual symbolism pervades the Cabala and many other traditions. And the Great Rite of Vajrayana Buddhism appears to allude quite openly to actual sexual teachings that have become covered over by the prudery of later generations. The great Padmasambhava was clearly sexually active. I am not saying that these considerations excuse unethical or hypocritical behaviour on the part of anyone. I merely offer them to provide context, and perhaps an indication of a possible way forward.


  15. from Rick Ross website about Sogyal and the film-now available online in it’s entirety. Apparently, Debi Goodwin who made the film wrote this:

    It is not just fear that stops women. Many question their own part in the affairs or know others will. The victims are often vulnerable women who have lost parents or been sexually abused before. They are confused young disciples who sometimes find the only comfort they have known in years in a Buddhist centre or in a master, women who have grown up without figures they could trust in their lives. When relationships became sexual they feel unsure of what to do. Two women who wanted to confront the master who had used them sexually were told by a leading Buddhist thinker to “get over it.” One woman told me that if any other “guy” had jumped her, she would have known what to do. But when a Tibetan, supposed to be a reincarnation of a lama, did, she found herself questioning whether accepting this was part of her path to enlightenment. Another woman describes herself as being so worn out from all the work she had to do in service to the master she was unable to reflect on the sexual relationship once it started.
    When I spoke to women on the telephone they seemed relieved that they were finally talking. For all of them, the events had happened years ago and they wanted to see them as something that was behind them. But doing an interview to be televised was another matter. One woman, who was eager to get her story out, took days to respond to my specific request to interview her on a certain day. She told me later that the reality of it hit her very hard and she really had to rethink if she wanted this out there. Another woman, once she finished her interview was filled with doubt and the realization that it was hard to open wounds she believed were healing.

    The women I have encountered have lost so much and have fought so hard for their equilibrium. Trying to recover from pasts by following a spiritual path, they were betrayed by the very masters who pretended to offer them hope.

    Debi Goodwin


  16. i gave up reading your blog post….there are way too many unnamed sources. If you cant revile the source, then leave out the “fact”.
    Statements like “A very reticent Englishman” sounds to me like “Sources close to the…”
    All it does is muddy the water for the truth, which is a pity.


    The link above highlights some of the difficulties women face in reporting it says in this article, they face disbelief a lot of the time. I think this is relevant on this thread as Shiela has repeatedly said words along the line of ” all women need to do is go to the police”


  18. Enough prooves have been accumulating for years which show that SR is sexually abusing students and sadistically emotionally damaging others.
    Enough pseudo Tibetan Tantra bullshit to justify his conduct.
    This is not about Buddhism, but about a very perverse man who acts under the covert of spirituality and whose crimes are covered up by the circle of old timers of Rigpa who are in total dissociation and have too much to lose.
    As far as I am concerned, the right answer is not to retrieve cowardly into another well known pseudo excuse such as
    “as a practicing Buddhist, one should look for face to face dialogue with SR”
    there is no dialogue possible with perpetrators,any therapist will tell you that..
    Or” my Bodhissatva vows tell me to forgive”
    Again, compassion dictates that we undanger ourselves if needed to break the denial and end all this abuse which, undenounced, creeps on in other teachers who mimick SR.
    I am a French woman ,have been a Buddhist practitioner since 1970, have seen it all, been on three year retreat.I have the same teacher from the beginning, genuine one,The one person who gets it on this thread is Anonymous.Time to come forward;read testimonies, open your eyes, go and see a SR show for yourself;Step out of the hypnosis.


  19. Moderator Note
    Out of all the posts that have sparked debate, our Rigpa postings have attracted far and away the largest number of comments. However, not all of these comments have been pertinent to the topic at hand.

    We at Dialogue Ireland have been hesitant to moderate with a heavy hand as we feel it can stifle the free flow of discussion. Unfortunately this ideal has lead to the threads in question being dragged far beyond their original intentions. We had hoped that our forums would help alleviate this problem by providing a platform where such discussions could be continued. Despite our hopes this option has not been fully engaged, and it appears that our commenters prefer to leave comments on this site.

    With this in mind we are creating a ‘Rigpa Spillover Thread’. It does seem as if there are a collection of commenters who wish to engage with each other on topics not directly related our threads. By creating a thread specifically for such comments we hope that our Rigpa threads can remain more fully on topic.

    You can find The Rigpa Spillover Thread here and comment away there to your heart’s content. Any further off-topic comments will either be deleted or copied&pasted to that thread.

    Please note that The Rigpa Spillover Thread here is a special thread that will be exempt from the usual moderation (bar anything that could get us in trouble legally).
    End Moderator Note


  20. Alternative Comments, I didn’t mind the length of your posts, and thought it was good to have a fresh voice in the discussion. Thank you for your thoughts.


  21. DI, I did not understand you recommendation regarding the opening of a new discussion on your forum.

    DI Moderation: Here it is Regardless of your intention it is not part of this thread.

    And also, the deleted part of my message was not, at least in my intention, a virulent debate, but a courtesy answer to Bella, explaining myself that it was not in my interest particularly a debate regarding the relationship between Buddhism and Christianity, that other was my intention. In order to assure myself that she got that intention, I highlighted in it the same main points from my previous messages that, in my opinion, were in direct relationship with SR and the way some of his students have the necessary prerequisites to assess his spiritual authority, and the proved ability to have a balanced judgment in that respect, using her case as an illustration for those points. In the same time, I expressed my willingness to answer her questions in the limits of my understanding and to recommend her literature recommendations for that purpose in another context than in the current thread (through mail, for example), if she is really curious and willing to find alternative answers than those she already has in mind.

    Anyway, I do not have any more directly relevant ideas to add to this thread, so, thank you for the opportunity to share the ones I had, and I hope to read fruitful news in the future on this topic. Also, tank you for all that read my long posts, and for all the received comments.


  22. DI Moderation: We are not a Christian Site but one dedicated to the protection of Human rights. We warned you to not debate this off topic issue here. Any further comments will be removed that do not address ~ Sogyal Rimpoche ~ The imbalance of power and abuse of spiritual authority. It has nothing to do with any issue other issue.
    We have provided a forum where people can go to address these other concerns
    You should not play the victim card we have facilitated youin both your identity security and providing you a platform to respond to this thread

    Di, Why do you allow Alternative perspective to post long distracting messages, but if I do the same, respond to his post, you remove mine, not his?

    Dialogue? What was it again?

    Because I question the Christian explanation of Jesus, and that seems insulting. Jesus was also an angry person, throwing around tables and doing many things that could be really weird from present day view. That cannot be reminded! He was not a saintly figure who tapped people on the head, but an anarchist, radical person.

    That cannot be pointed out, because if SR is an ‘angry’ (wrathful) he is not entitled to it, even though his motivation could be the same: remove obstacles, deception, and in some way ‘wrong’ behavior or motivation from his closest students?


  23. DI, I just wrote a very long post saying the focus should be Sogyal Rinpoche, based on the title of this thread.

    I bring the conversation back on track and you accuse me of diverting? Please explain.


  24. Bella,
    I do not want to be again off topic and entering here this time for real in a debate about Christianity and Buddhism, and which one is more truthful. It will be a very log debate for which there is not the place here…….
    DI Moderation having made that point you proceed to go into a virulent debate. Please open this discussion on our forum

    DI Moderation: You have allowed Sheila to divert you from the main them of Sogyal Rimpoche ~ The imbalance of power and abuse of spiritual authority, but because we have left Sheila’s comment as a warning to people to ignore her attempts to divert.

    My previous post was not about Rigpa as a cult, I did not discuss that in detail with arguments and counterarguments, and I do not see the point here. For me, the Rigpa problem is defined in the terms of the fact that there are some former Rigpa students unsatisfied with it or SR, or making more or less truthful allegations about him and his abuses (verbal ones, or sexual ones). I simply made a statement about the level of SR’s knowledge about Christianity as it is shown in his writings, and that, in my opinion, that level does not allow him the right to state something about Jesus or devotion to Jesus, or about Trinity, inducing in a dishonest way the idea for some of his students that they can remain Christians by practicing in Rigpa. As regards the invited Christians … there are Christians and Christians, as there are Buddhists and Buddhists … Is the central point the China-Tibet problem, who is pro- and who is against, and everything should be read through that lenses? I am neither Chinese, nor Tibetan, and I do not have a particular interest in one of them, apart from the general human one for a final peace between them.


  25. Alternate Perspective, I am very fond of the truth, I assure you.

    I think people who don’t have any personal experience with Rigpa pick up the “cult” ball and run with it, not actually knowing whether Rigpa is organized as a cult, and whether it functions as a cult.

    Cult’s don’t generally invite speakers from other traditions than their very own (and some cults don’t even go that far, lol). Rigpa, from what I can see, invites speakers from various schools of Buddhism, and from various Christians denominations, for example.

    There isn’t, from what I can see, a “Rigpa textbook series,” as there is in the New Kadampa Tradition; people are not encouraged to read “only Sogyal Rinpoche’s books,” as they are in NKT to read Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s.

    All organizations, at the office level, end up with very devoted people whose lives get sucked into the effort (usually by there own choice, unless it’s an actual cult). Whether it’s a karate studio, the Air Cadets, a music group, we all can get very devoted to our pursuits.

    Devotion alone, however, doesn’t equate to cultish paralyzation: is the person free to come and go? The answer seems in Rigpa to be “yes.”

    I think it’s a mistake to write your accusations against this man off as a “Rigpa problem,” because I haven’t yet seen evidence of a “Rigpa problem.” I think it’s a mistake to write it off as a Tibetan problem, a Buddhist problem, or a Vajrayana problem.

    If in fact you are speaking of this one man – which the title of this thread would indicate we are – then isn’t the alleged problem, in fact, about this man?

    I think that’s why the allegations get no traction – too many people want to use a “bad Buddhist man” story for their own purposes, and since they do not seem, in most cases, to share purposes, it’s just a lot of different people tugging in different directions, in some cases destroying each other’s efforts outright.

    It may also be that the story itself doesn’t hold up; however, because of all the noisy fracas–including tabloidy, poorly-researched scream pieces–it’s nearly impossible to have any real conversation on that central point.


  26. more smokescreen irrelevancies from the openly biased and the purportedly neutral Close the comments DI-the genuine stuff is being deliberately buried


  27. DI Moderation: Bella we removed your material earlier We are sorry too but we warned you earlier and you persist in continuing with this off topic material which has nothing whatsoever to do with this thread. We suggest you use our Forum to have this debate. We offered this service but people persist in bombing this site with off topic meanderings. The End

    There has to be discussions between religions. Why do you want to prevent SR to co-operate with Christians? What are you afraid of? ………………………………

    ……………The idea of Karma. Listen to what SR teaches about it. It’s not that you have to live 30 years with something because you caused suffering for some other being for 30 years. The deeper understanding of karma is that karma are the lenses through which we see the world. Therefore, if we chance our view we change our karmic vision. It requires deep understanding and self awareness to change those lenses.


  28. DI Moderation: We are sorry too but we warned you yesterday and you persist today it has nothing whatsoever to do with this thread. We suggest you use our Forum to have this debate. We offered this service but people persist in bombing this site with off topic meanderings. The End

    I am sorry that I got off topic by trying to depict the big picture of the issue of the abuse made in the name of a spiritual authority, as perceived by me. My point was to show that the imbalance of power has little to do with sex, and more with an apparent imbalance of religious culture, as I wanted to show taking Bella’s particular case and her simplistic views regarding the religion of her own culture (limited, as it seems, from her answers, to her short encounters with some priests, her revolt against the killing of animals in her culture, and the lecture of the Gnostic gospels, which are supposed to be actually written under the influence of the Buddhism ideas that reached Alexandria in those times) and even in what respects Buddhist religion…………………………….

    …………………..So, my previous message was to show evidence that SR and some of his defenders are not particular fond of truth, as a spiritual leader or disciple should be, that SR is being capable of dishonesty in his statements, and false pretense, inducing the idea that he is something he is not: a man who has the authority to pronounce himself regarding Jesus, and inducing the idea that a Christian remains a Christian by practicing in Rigpa.


  29. One more thing: women can pack their bags and leave. I haven’t heard SR to EVER throw somebody out of the door. He doesn’t abandon people.


  30. Alternative,

    “it makes one think that he has never read thoroughly Christian literature to check his ideas. Only if he considers himself to be omniscient and to have an unsurpassed experience it would be understandable that he does not need to read such literature.”

    Do you think that we can guess by reading Christian literature that Guru Rinpoche is higher or lower path for Salvation than Jesus was?

    Jesus can himself say whatever and Christians can say that Christ is the only way, but there is no proof of any kind of that.

    You rather believe your Christian books, so you may believe.

    I have read books about Guru Rinpoche’s direct teachings and they are many – many more than what is testified in the Bible that Jesus have ever said on this Earth.

    One should compare those words carefully. What makes more sense.

    Just because Jesus said “I am the Way” doesn’t mean he is the way. What did he mean by that anyway? That his way is the way or he is the direct link? Also Buddhists consider Guru Rinpoche as a special link – almost in the same way. Maybe SR understands your Christian faith deeper than what you can, because he also has the deeper, esoteric teachings of Buddhism available.

    What is sin?

    “Will matter then be destroyed or not?

    22) The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots.

    23) For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone.

    24) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

    25) Peter said to him, Since you have explained everything to us, tell us this also: What is the sin of the world?

    26) The Savior said There is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called sin.

    27) That is why the Good came into your midst, to the essence of every nature in order to restore it to its root.”

    It is very interesting when you as a Buddhist read these Gnostic texts, even the words are so similar to Buddhist teaxts and ideas.
    Roots, nature…

    DI This is a diversion from the theme of this thread ~ Sogyal Rimpoche ~ The imbalance of power and abuse of spiritual authority.
    We had a Christian diversion now Bella has a comment-craze to take us off the subject. Stay focussed. We have removed all those off topic comments


  31. Did you ever hear that one can either follow a teacher or not follow?

    There is the freedom of choice.

    Buddhist rulers are also the kind of rulers that I really wouldn’t mind if the whole world would be ruled by those people!

    Just think this loving face and compare it to the maniacs like Bush or Putin!

    If all men were like him, I wouldn’t have any problem with male gender.


  32. What about the fact that only some part of the Tibetan nation lives in cities, like in Lhasa. Most lived in the rural areas and did shepherd work. How much were they connected to any kind of feudal or military machinery that you try to picture here?

    Chinese communism doesn’t practice compassion of any kind. Don’t bring your propaganda here. We don’t believe your Chinese stories.

    How happy people were under Christian rule? I believe that is the reason why the time of the enlightenment tried to bring individuals freedom of thought.

    Buddhist religion is really very different from Christianity. All the aspects like submission in Islam are absent in Buddhism.


  33. Matte-Micaela, it has occurred to me that you may be an innocent victim of this “translation.” I would urge you to find a way to ask your Taiwanese friend for a photocopy of the page (Chapter 13, p. 376) which your friend says contains the reference to 12 year old girls. I can check the translation, or of course you can ask someone else to check the translation as well.


  34. I agree strongly that devotion to the truth is paramount. The truth can be exceedingly difficult to determine; however, I do think it has a tendency to rise to the surface as the result of taking action to seek it. One way of taking action is by discussing and debating the points of a particular issue; over time, I believe truths emerge.

    For example, I’ve heard the “Tibetan tantras require underage girls” nonsense over the past four years or so now, and it wasn’t until this very thread here that it finally came to the surface–in conjunction with some other digging–that this reference is from a single (alleged) book published in China in 1986. The author is said to be Fazun; however, Fazun passed away in 1980.

    The book is not a tantra. It’s not even a commentary on a tantra. It is said by those (exceptionally few) referring to it, that it is Fazun’s translation of a work by Tsongkhapa. I can’t find any actual copy of the book so far, nor any proof of existence of “Wondrous Favor Publishing Company.” However, things can be hard to find in China, so I’m not saying yet that the book doesn’t exist: simply, that it’s not a Tibetan tantra, and that to date I can find zero references in Tibetan tantra to 12 year old girls.

    A chief problem with the “translation,” is that it seems to contain material (case in point, the underage girl references) not existing in Tsongkhapa’s original.

    Current theory: Some anonymous sicko inserted references to underage girls into a “translation” of a Tibetan book, after which a pro-PRC Taiwanese and German woman convinced online Buddhists that Tibetans molest children as part of their religion.

    Not having access to the book, for that matter, we have only the word of the aforementioned people that the underage references actually exist in the Chinese book. I’d feel more comfortable continuing to lambast the book if I could see proof the references are there at all.

    I stand to be corrected if any information turns up to shed more light.

    However, one thing is clear: the specific reference currently being used to accuse Tibetan Buddhism of promoting child abuse does not, as claimed, come from a Tibetan tantra, nor from a Tibetan commentary on a tantra.


  35. Who can know for sure if SR abused or not female students? SR, those potential victims and, maybe, some silent or confused witnesses … As it was said before, the discussion on this forum may go round and round, without a definitive conclusion. But it seems to me that at the root at this problem is, as it is said to be always in Buddhism and also in this forum, the ignorance. For an outsider, SR’s character and credibility could be judged by reading his most representative book: “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”, as a public evidence. There are some traces that indicate that he may be deceitful, as I said before.

    One such trace is that he claims to know better than Christians what devotion to Jesus is and means, what Trinity is for them (being the same, in his opinion with the Trikaya), and, implicitly, proclaims unilaterally that both views are compatible, and can be followed interchangeable. In the same time, claiming such things, he does not make reference to any important and widely recognized Christian authors or biblical texts. It makes one think that he has never read thoroughly Christian literature to check his ideas. Only if he considers himself to be omniscient and to have an unsurpassed experience it would be understandable that he does not need to read such literature.

    His ideas were presented in a similar manner by Bella, who said that he respects Jesus. But, in my opinion, if someone respects a person, respects her/his words and opinions, too. This respect should not mean mere tolerance of the existence of a different opinion of this other person (each person living as in a parallel world, with a worldview in accordance only with her/his particular needs), in contradiction with one’s own, but agreeing with her/his views, or actually listening to what another one says and trying to understand and answer in a way to all her/his ideas, by adopting them or even contradict them by counterarguments, but not simply ignoring them. And, from what is generally known about SR and from undisputed facts about him, and about Jesus’ words, this is not the case. For example, Jesus said that a man should have only one woman … SR does not hold dear such a view, on the contrary … Furthermore, not taking sexual relationships seriously means not taking human relationships seriously, and lack of respect for a human being. Another person is not only a body representing only a source of pleasure (even if it is for both of them), replaceable anytime with another one. The mutual consent of two adults is not enough for a sexual relationship to be OK from a spiritual point of view. It has to be also a commitment for a long time, the entire life, in order to be sure that no part would get finally hurt in a way or another. It counts also the reasons behind the consent for a sexual relationship. It is not only an exchange of sensual pleasure, or an exchange of favors of one kind of another. It is not even a spiritual bargain. Spiritual and psychological maturity should not be confounded with the biological maturity.

    Jesus considered His sacrifice to have a meaning, other than to be mere a lesson for His followers, saving other people through His death and resurrection … If He is considered to be only a Buddha or bodhisattva in disguise, it is unclear to me what meaning his death and resurrection could have from a Buddhist point of view (if body and person are in a way an illusion, even Ego sacrifice is not properly a sacrifice, and the same goes, even more, for the body sacrifice)… It seems to me that Jesus’s death has no meaning in Buddhism, as Bella said, that it is important only the Ego sacrifice. Speaking of the Ego sacrifice, in Christianity, too, there is no animal or bodily sacrifice, and there are biblical texts and prayers showing that the only sacrifice God wants from people is a humble soul (For example, Jesus said: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”). The fact that in Christian countries animals are killed for food or otherwise does not prove anything about Christianity, as the same happens in Buddhist countries. At most, such facts show only that people from those countries are not true followers of the religion of their culture, or that they are needy or greedy. If people read Old Testament they would found out that animals are protected and not to be killed because they are too God’s creatures. Animals were given to man in order to protect them, to take care of them, not to kill them. And Heaven is conceived to be a state in which animals will not eat other animals. It is said that saints were not attacked by animals. A Christian saint of the Eastern Orthodoxy even punished his leg for years (not wearing shoes on it), because he destroyed the nest of a bird with it.

    A proof for me that from a Buddhist point of view the life and death of Jesus has no meaning and that SR has no respect for his potential so called Christian students is that he organizes retreats simultaneously with major Christian fests. I suspect that at those retreats not many words about Jesus are heard.

    What respect such Buddhist masters or their students could have for Jesus as an enlightened person if they believe that He was not able to transmit His message in an uncorrupted manner until recently, when the apocryphal gospels were discovered? Why someone would believe more those Gnostic gospels than the canonical ones? It is maybe a question similar with the question regarding the Pali Canon and tantras … If those late teachings are supposedly for people more evolved spiritually, as a higher step, than one should prove that people from our times merit such higher teachings in comparison with the Buddha’s or Jesus’s initial followers. But as even SR says, it may be quite the opposite, that we all live in a global society fallen in a spiritual regression. In my opinion, an esoteric teaching should not contradict the public teachings, as it is the case with the Gnostic gospels. The attraction for esoteric may hide an Ego desire to be special, to have access to something that is not available to everyone, as a sign of personal value. Saying that a message is from the same source, but that it is adapted in order to fit a particular audience ( without specifying what was adapted and for what purpose, for what characteristics of the audience) is an open gate to abuse. One person may consciously or unconsciously lie that her/his own teachings were actually transmitted to her/him by Buddha or other important Buddhist figure or by Jesus, for example, in order to gain credibility or authority through such an association. Maybe that is one of the reasons for which both in Buddhism and Christianity, initially, the teachings of the initial founder were supposed to be certified by a council of important figures from that religion, in a consensual manner. A beginner is in no place to judge such things. It is more likely that the true interpretation of a religious text or teaching to be found by an agreement among many experienced persons, recognized as having spiritual authority. It is true that groups of persons may have interests other than finding and transmitting the truth (especially when it has a hierarchical organization with only one leader and a lot of ignorant members), but it is even more likely that a single person to have such hidden interests. Bella, you have asked yourself what reasons would have SR to lie to you or other persons. It is likely that his reasons are the same as the ones you believe that the Christian priests have.

    As regards the SR’s idea that it does not matter if one is devoted to Jesus or to Guru Rinpoche or SR, that all masters are the Sons of God in a very large meaning, as we all are, it makes little sense and it is not in accordance with the Jesus’s words, a master for whom SR supposedly has respect. If it is not only one true Son of God, than what is the point to devote ourselves to anyone, to a so called personal emanation, whatever it may mean, and not directly to God or the Absolute Reality? If devotion is viewed only as a skillful means, than it is emptied of its meaning, being only like a simulation, a theater play, and not true devotion. Furthermore, such skilful means is not without perils, because it may favor the attachment to a particular person (as it is the case in hand with the girls who feel they were abused by their gurus) or to a very concrete material reality, contrary to what is expected. Moreover, if devotion means serving the person for whom one has devotion, then it is hard to serve more persons in the same time. One cannot have several masters. Devotion does not mean only to be served by a master, but also to be his servant (even if that service is a symbolic one).

    Bella, your statements that “Priests who wanted power, decided there will be only one life from now on. And people should pay us money. “ and “I think it’s wrong that a God will judge people to eternal hell or heaven just for one life. I think this concept os one of those things that make me want to scream: there is no JUSTICE!” suggest that you believe that someone should choose her/his religion only guiding herself/himself on what she/he thinks to be more convenient or tolerable for her/him in accordance with her/his present experience, or what she/he considers to be just. For example, another one could consider that God would be cruel to let a person suffer for an uncountable number of lifetimes until He is able to decide. Why should a person suffer for so long, and not only a lifetime, if the decision is actually simple and it does not require time? Bella, if you were to choose a boyfriend, which one would be your choice, which one loves you more: one who says that he needs several years to figure out whether he likes you or not, or the one who says that anytime he is unconditionally yours, that he is certain that he likes you from the first meeting? God, as an omniscient and merciful person, if one’s believes to be so, surely judges otherwise than we are able to judge, from our limited point of view, not as an accountant balancing good deeds with sins (as it is in karma idea). The robber who was crucified together with Jesus needed only a single moment of mercy for Jesus, only a single decision in order to be considered worthy of Heaven, in spite of a life of sin. And in the Jesus’ parable with the master and workers, the master paid the same amount to all of them, no matter for how long they worked for him. As I said before, it is said that actually not God will judge us, but we will judge ourselves by the mere desire to love and to be connected with God or not to love and be connected with God. As regards the way the persons who were not aware of Jesus, I gave an answer in the previous message. Suffice to say here in addition of that that, for example, Jesus said that it will be easier for Sodom at the final judgment than for Capernaum, the town in which He lived. As respects the justice issue, given that in the Buddhist religion there is no explanation for the origin of a person, or in what way the person from a lifetime is different or the same with the one form another lifetime (other than the example with the candle lightening another candle or the stream metaphor), the justice notion is almost irrelevant. It may seem unjust (from our limited point of view) that a child is born with a handicap or dies, but if, from a Buddhist point of view, there is actually no beginning of a person in what way should one explain that persons got so different, that some got to have unwholesome deeds, paid in accordance with Karma maybe in another lifetime. Why is more just or educative to suffer for a deed one does not even remember and recognize? And if samsara and nirvana are considered as inseparable, why the idea of a creator God should be rejected on account that there is sufferance in the world created by Him?

    The point of the above remarks was to show that more important than devotion to a person should be devotion for the truth, devotion at least to searching the truth by reading or asking about the things that challenged one in her/his life (for example, interrogating oneself why a priest said something, and not judging only at face value, by hearsay and unsupported supposition, and condemning him from the start as having a personal material interest, while, in the same time, another person is considered benevolent only because he says what only one wants to hear, because it is more convenient to believe in those words). Treating the desire and the necessity to inform oneself as academism, and hiding superficiality, self-sufficiency and ignorance under the guise of one’s trust in her/his own limited experience (or the experience of the friends sharing the same opinion), and of a supposedly mysterious superior intuition, sometimes confounded with a so-called inner master … does not mean necessarily love for truth, but despise for truth, only to prove oneself to be right in one’s previous choices. Treating superficially and simplistic other religions, as in the straw man strategy, does not mean love for the truth and justice.

    DI Moderation: This very well crafted argument concerning the relationship of Christianity to Buddhism has no connection to the theme of this thread namely” ~ The imbalance of power and abuse of spiritual authority.” Please take this debate to a forum which addresses the truth claims of the two world religions.


  36. I should add that if the stifling of social progress is an indication of feudalism, then Tibet wasn’t a good candidate for that accusation, either; girls in Tibet were receiving a literary education in the twelfth century in Lhasa.


  37. Wealthy foreigners lol. I understand the tendency to assume white people are rich, but that’s not the case here. They lived in cold little room with no heat and had to pad their shoes and clothes with whatever they could find to get through the first bitter winter nights until they rounded up a wood stove. On the way to the clinic to give birth to my uncle, my grandma walked the last 20 miles or so on foot because she was afraid her water would break from all the jolts on the donkey she was riding. Lanchow is a long way from Shanghai. Not too many wealthy foreigners (or many foreigners at all) to be had in those days.

    It’s hard to hide things in Tibet. The land is very open. Stockades full of indentured servents and serfs and slaves–all that (invented) nonsense could have been seen from miles away. Not to mention that news travels like lightning in border regions–there’s lots of coming and going, lots of trade. All this “violent feudalism” would have been known about, because in those days, you had to know about such dangers in order to survive. The only violent feudalism in those regions was between warring gangs of Chinese bandits, two bands of which fought over my grandparents’ clinic supplies on the last and final raid. There weren’t any personal belongings to speak of, other than a few clothing items, but the bandits were very impressed with the medical supplies and tried to make off with them until the second band appeared on the scene and, ironically, stopped them and returned most of the medical goods.

    I didn’t say Bhutan was perfect–I said it had a low crime rate.

    I’m not in servitude to anyone, so I’m afraid your concern is misdirected in that regard.

    Religion is not the cause of abuse. Whatever your feelings for or against religion are, the cause of abuse is the abuser.


  38. Ever heard the old line about live and let live? Or are you only happy if everyone agrees with your perspective? Looks to me like:
    a) you have too much time on your hands
    b) you or someone close to you has been abused within a religion and youou have a resulting axe to grind.

    Maybe get a job?Or start a religion: ‘Harbingerism’-the only truth. has a nice ring to it, dontcha think?


  39. Well, certainly a defence of sorts there.

    But two people’s experience in the 40’s isn’t much is it?, as wealthy foreigners, I doubt very much if they experienced life from the perspective of the general population.

    Remember: this is about ‘An imbalance of power’. By definition there can be no such thing as a benign feudal system whether it’s theocratic or secular, Buddhist feudalism or Communist feudalism.

    This is simply because the only way to maintain it is by brutality of some kind, both physical and / or through the sort of superstitious fear that religion or other organized dogma creates when it legitimizes an elite as divine or otherwise beyond reproach.

    It’s incredible that you really don’t have a problem with feudalism and you can’t understand it in terms of the politics of class structure, what that actually means for ordinary people and how it deliberately stifles any kind of social progress.

    I’m beginning to suspect that perhaps it’s because you quite like the idea of being told what to do and maybe why you support Lamas like Sogyal who are trying to re-establish feudalism in their fashion. Good luck.

    And Bhutan? ‘Proof that the “old ways” are a completely valid and positive societal model’……strewth! until recently, totally controlled by an absolute monarchy that gave itself the right to dictate much of daily life, and still deems itself largely above criticism. Its treatment of the Nepalese minority criticized by Amnesty International. It’s now being forced to change by outside influence and despite religion, not because of it. No Shangri-La either, I’m afraid, but I’m sure it’s a wonderful place if you’re an undemanding simple-minded, devout, monarchy-loving Buddhist.

    Yes, of course abuse is human and will exist without religion. Yes the modern secular world is rife with it. But the important thing to realize in the context of this thread is that such freedoms as we enjoy, and whatever progress has been made has always been, and still is being resisted by religion in all its forms, and these things have been gained at great cost, in defiance of religion. To ignore that while enjoying these benefits, while idealizing backward religion-dominated societies is naive new-age hypocrisy.

    And yes, absolutely, everyone has the right to practice their faith, or believe whatever wacky dogma they wish, but no-one should ever use it to gain power and justify oppression or cruelty of any kind. And it’s not a good idea to defend that either.

    Sadly, religion is custom-made by humans mostly for this, the proof being that it is impossible to cite any major religions that hasn’t teamed up with the rich and powerful in society. Buddhism is certainly no exception to this.

    To many people religion seems benign and beneficial, and indeed for them it may be, in the same way that some people thrive under all kinds of regimes. But its dark side is only possible to ignore by indulging in the kind of intellectual contortions and moral selectivity that religion itself encourages, sophistry is built in to the structure. Karma is a very good example of this smug passivity in the face of inconvenient reality.

    As the saying goes;’Religion cannot make you free because it is itself a form of slavery.’ To put it another way: it’s a kind of psychological feudalism.

    So if you’re happy to be a spiritual serf and perfectly content with your servility, and you have no difficulty living your life according to the dominance/submission model of guru yoga, then I have nothing to add other than to wish that you may eventually find out what it really entails before you’ve wasted too much more of what is after all, your only life.


  40. It is of this thread. !!


  41. “If Tibetan Bhuddism is so wonderful why was Tibet such a barbaric feudal theocracy, or to put it another way: why wasn’t their society a shining example of all these supposedly enlightened principles?”

    But it is. If people travel to said ‘poor country’ and found happy people there, doesn’t it say something?

    “How can something supposedly wise and compassionate produce oppression and inequality?”

    Are you talking about inequality between sexes? Women had better chances than the Chinese and Indian or Muslim women. (Anybody has better chances than the Muslim women.) There is more respect toward different things, like nature, animals, living beings and so on than you can find in the West, which with it’s materialistic world view doesn’t respect anything but abuses openly anything it dares and secretly everything else. Western culture is really an abusive culture, deeply.

    “Why do so many lamas like Sogyal, behave like despots?”

    Somebody has to be the boss?


  42. Also please keep in mind that Bhutan, with an extremely low crime rate, is the closest example of what Tibetan society would have been without a Chinese invasion. Bhutanese practice this “violent feudal theocracy” you speak of, and are ethnically, linguistically, socially, religiously and politically extremely similar–in may cases, identical–to “Old Tibet.” Television was only introduced to Bhutan in 1999 (after which, sadly, the crime rate rose).

    Bhutan is proof that the “old ways” are a completely valid and positive societal model–that neither abuse nor other forms of crime stem from Vajrayana Buddhism, Buddhist theocracy, a high percentage of children attending religious education institutions, nor from Himalayan social structures.


  43. What I mean by that is that it’s a mistake to look at abuse, and say, “It’s because of tantra.” “It’s because of Buddhism.” Or, “It’s because of Tibet.”

    Abuse is about abuse–the abusive mindset, how to be on guard for it, and how to prosecute it when it’s encountered.


  44. My grandparents lived in Dartsendo, Tibet throughout the 1940s (I believe they were also there for part of the ’30s). They encountered no such “barbaric feudal theocracy” in Tibet. They did, however, encounter quite a few Chinese girls back in Lanzhou, China, whose feet had been cruelly bound from childhood.

    They were robbed by bandits three times when traveling through China, yet not once in Tibet.

    The Anti-Shangrila Myth is no more valid than the Shangrila Myth.

    Rome has been Catholic for eons; amongst the cities of Europe, is/was it a shining example of the Golden Rule? Or could it simply be that humans are human, they try their best, and have a right to follow any religion they choose?


  45. Ok, let’s try something a little simpler, and see if any of you apologists for primitive superstition can come up with an answer:

    If Tibetan Bhuddism is so wonderful why was Tibet such a barbaric feudal theocracy, or to put it another way: why wasn’t their society a shining example of all these supposedly enlightened principles?

    How can something supposedly wise and compassionate produce oppression and inequality?

    Why do so many lamas like Sogyal, behave like despots?

    And please: no feeble sophistry about rotten apples, babies and bathwater, individuals not the doctrine…etc., etc.,

    Come on, don’t pretend this question doesn’t exist , surely you can think of something……..


  46. “BTT has implicated all of Tibetan Buddhism. With such a broad indictment, no one man can possibly be the focus.”

    Rubbish and a clear indication of your overly paranoid interpretation of anything that you perceive as an ‘attack’ on Tibetan Buddhism. BTT is very obviously about Sogyal Rinpoche. However, because it simply mentions his name, you immediately fly into defense mode. because of his association with HH the Dalai Lama.(who can do no wrong, period) You really cant see the wood for the trees can you Sheila/Saulaan. EIt seems impossible to you that someone can consider one single Tibetans behaviour as appaling without them leaping to the ridiculous conclusion that they therefore hate Tibetans, \Tibetan Buddhism, and work for the Chinese. Forget the sauce, its the green stuff you need to lay off-Paranoia reigns supreme


  47. Actually, the first Tibetan mentioned by name in this article is Tenzin Gyatso, and the message clearly indicts Tibetan Buddhism in the west as a whole.

    The thrust of the article is not that Sogyal Rinpoche is an exception to the rule, but that he is nothing less than a perfect, shining example of what Tibetan Buddhism is in the west: a money-grubbing S&M factory.

    In its eagerness to overstate the Sogyal Rinpoche issue, BTT has implicated all of Tibetan Buddhism. With such a broad indictment, no one man can possibly be the focus.


  48. BTW, it is also worth noting that in earlier ‘cultures’ than our own was determined, not by a legal limit but by sexual ‘maturity’, or when menstruation began.
    I suggest people take a look here
    at some contemporary ages of consent around the globe (Japan 12, Mexico 13) before using such a statistic to launch their attacks. The world hasnt always been politically correct, nor has it any obligation to confrom to our Western mores, no matter how civilised we might consider ourselves.
    Having said that, we need also ask ourselves why we are discussing this here: Has Sogyal Lhakar been accused of having sex with 12 year old girls? The answer is no.
    The fact is we are discussing this because there is now a concerted effort to bury testimony and relevant dialogue on this page by posting irrelevancies, here in the form of some persons personal crusade against tantra.
    I repeat, tantra in itself is a valid spiritual path (or it is according to its practitioners over the last 2-3000 years) that, like any other medium, religious or otherwise, can be used to facilitate abuse. The assertion that abuse did not exist before religion or that it will not do so if we destroy religion is a bigotted nonsense. People will use their power over others to control them in any situation if they should choose to do so-A TV host offering someone a place on a game show in return for sex is abuse-and the quiz doesnt have to be about religion.



  49. Here is the whole story, currently taking place in Taiwan. It directly relates to our discussion here, in that the “underage girls” accusation is leveled over and over again at Tibetan Buddhism; yet it appears to have its genesis in a disgruntled Taiwanese Buddhist, whose organization is itself (according to people living in Taiwan) suspicious:


  50. I can find no translation of this particular text, nor, indeed, any reference to it whatsoever other than what you and your friend have posted.

    So the entire “underage sex” bit comes from a Zhengjue Buddhism evangelist who works daily to discredit Tibetan Buddhism, and who’s Buddhist center carries a massive sign in Taiwan, visible from the freeway, that reads “Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism; Lamas are not Buddhist.”

    And that is a case in point as to why we should never, ever believe anything without checking into it. You two have been responsible for several people losing their connection with friends and colleagues, based on this very dubious story you have spread around the world.


  51. No Sheila, I don´t read Chinese, but a have an orthodox-buddhist friend, she is from Taiwan. And the qoute is probely from a translation of Fazun`s text. This group is working on a profund basis.


  52. Btw Fazun passed away in 1980. Do you know when he wrote the translation which wasn’t published until 1986?!jiats=/02/tuttle/b2/


  53. Marte-Micaela, is this book available in English? Do you read Chinese?


  54. I really don’t care who he is or isn’t; I only care whether the translation is correct, and for that matter, whether it’s actually a translation of *anything* Tsongkhapa actually wrote.


  55. Is the dharma master Fazun a chinese spy? Your favorit topic!


  56. Marte, I wasn’t yelling at you, by the way – I didn’t see your latest message come in until I hit “post comment.”


  57. Alright, this is completely ridiculous. The ENTIRE discussion about “12 year old girls” and all that rot, best I can tell, comes from ONE CHINESE BOOK, published in 1986. Sorry for the shout-caps, but really, people.

    Tsongkhapa did not, it appears, write anything entitled “Extended Treatise on the Progression of the Esoteric Path,” in fact; however, a Chinese man wrote a book with this title in 1986, which claimed to be a translation of some of Tsongkhapa’s earlier work. Mysteriously, these “selections” from Tsongkhapa contain all kinds of references to underage girls.

    We are not the first victims of the Chinese propaganda machine, nor will we be the last. Sad as it is, I’m glad this discussion came up one more time – it was this time that pushed me to finally dig in and find out what this was about. I stand to be corrected if any additional info overturns what I’ve found, but so far this is what I’ve got.


  58. And what is in the tibetan original of Tsonghkapas text?


  59. Nor is there any mention of “girl.”

    You are referring to a version translated into Chinese by dharma-master Fazun, Wondrous Favor Publishing Co., 1986. Very interesting differences between the Tibetan original, and the (very recent) Chinese translation.


  60. Marte, you are quoting from the English translation of the Chinese translation, correct? Because in the original, there is no result when searching for “sex” or “offer.”

    Click to access great_special_insight_tande.pdf


  61. And certainly not in the Kalachakra tantra.


  62. Marte-Micaela, who is the comment made by? This is very sad, because the rumors that have circulated definitely imply that this sick information is found within a tantra, and I’ve read some people say they even left their teacher over hearing about this rumor, when in fact it seems there is no such information in any tantra.


  63. Sheila, it´s not in a Tantra, but in a comment to tantric practises. Here one quote from Tsongkhapa, he said in the Extended Treatise on the Progression of the Esoteric Path, Vol. 13

    “Someone who ask the teacher for empowerment should make offerings first. A curtain is used as a screen. The disciple understands very well that the teacher is vajrasattva. Wisdom mothers with complete samaya, whose genitals are healthy and who are virgins over the age of 12 etc., are offered to the teacher”. Just like the statement in the second chapter of Sutra on Great-Seals: “One should choose females who are most wise, virtuous, with slender eyes, having a wondrous dignified face, and aged from 12 to 16, or 20 if difficult to obtain. Females over 20 are used in other seals (mudra) because it will make all the stages of practice impossible to attain. One’s sisters, daughters, or wife are offered to the teacher.”

    Tsongkhapa, Extended Treatise on the Progression of the Esoteric Path

    The tantric texts talk about “Wisdom Mothers” etc., the comments describe the reality behind the euphemistc words.


  64. But the “girl” part did jump out at me – if that exists anywhere, I am betting it’s an Indian source, not Tibetan.

    The most common summary I hear is that “The Dalai Lama uses the Kalachakra to teach people to molest children as part of religious practice.” It’s really high time this allegation was met head-on and cleared up. What tantra? What text? Who has taught this?


  65. I’ve heard several people invoking this “12 year old girl” thing, relating it specifically to tantric texts and implying that the Dalai Lama teaches people to fondle children. Harbinger, Thao, etc., could you please give a reference to which tantra(s) this appears in?


  66. Harbinger isnt just against tantra; the whole of religion sucks!!!

    “In Tibet, as in ancient India ( there are so many examples) an entire society was permeated by abuse,”

    Your damned right there are so many examples-problem with your argument is that nowadays there are plenty if societies NOT dominated by religious principles that are also riddled with abuse (or perhaps you think it doesnt happen in Russia or the US?)

    Your references to twelve year old girls may or may not be locateable in tantric texts. Just bear in mind that such texts emante from ancient india, where mortality occured in ones early thirties and marriage occured at ten years old. Times change, religion changes, society changes. The constant is abuse.


  67. I have never heard of anyone doing this, and have never even heard anyone allege that anyone is doing this.

    The Bible refers multiple times to killing children, and God himself is quoted as saying he will kill children; however this has literally nothing to do with how Christians believe religion should be practiced, even though such statements are in their most holy text.


  68. Harbinger, could you give a reference to where in a tantra it refers to 12 year old girls?


  69. I read Miranda Shaw’s book “Passionate enlightenment”.

    She studied the originis of tantric teachings. There were lineages that went from mother to daughter. All ancient religions regarded sex as sacred and also positive, because the survival of human race depended on fertility of the earth, fertility of the women and so on.

    It was only through Christianity and other Middle Eastern religious systems that emphasize One Male God that everything feminine and female became rejected. Such a loss.

    I wish Tibetan Buddhism would change into a more feminine one, to it’s feminine origins.


  70. One additional note for s puppet: : having re-read your posting above and its vicious personal attack on Marte. She’s obviously suffered, she’s speaking a foreign language, and she’s not defending abuse.

    So, whatever your opinion about the value of her contribution, you might try and read between the lines and practice some of your profound tantric wisdom and compassion before being so gratuitously nasty. Have some humanity for goodness’ sake.

    What sort of advert for Tantra is that? ( probably an accurate one)


  71. In reply to s puppet:

    The problem with Sogyal is that he’s hiding behind a tantric mask.
    But remember,Tantra provides him with it in the first place.

    So, actually yes, sadly,abuse is inherent in all religions, and the only difference between Tantric and let’s say Anglican teachings would be that the more complicated and ‘mystical’ a doctrine is, the more dense and obfuscatory the type of sophistry available to justify the abuse.

    The reason abuse is inherent is very simple: Religion cannot function without a pyramidal power structure, this by definition is an imbalance of power, and as we know power corrupts. So yes, you’re right, abuse is a human problem and it would exist anyway, but without religion to hide behind, it appears for what it is and can be identified as such and dealt with in secular terms.

    These religious structures are created to bolster class systems, I suggest your read Jared Diamond’s ‘Guns Germs and Steel’ which provides an excellent brief anthropological explanation of their evolution, if you’re interested.

    In Tibet, as in ancient India ( there are so many examples) an entire society was permeated by abuse, a brutal theocratic feudalism existed because tantric explanations were invoked to justify it.

    The obvious question is: would Sogyal have opportunity and such license to abuse without Tantra to legitimize him in the eyes of those who follow it? If for example he was a social worker or therapist.

    Before modern secular societies evolved, abuse as a concept was unknown. Tantra originated in India, and with it the caste system, one of the most repugnant and enduring examples of apartheid the world has ever known.

    As mentioned earlier, there are detailed tantric descriptions of using girls as young as 12 for sexual practices, and this among so much other weird dysfunctional shit, If you’re going to be very selective and ignore this, yes of course you can claim it’s not inherently problematic, but that’s no different from the ‘Yes but they got the trains to run on time’ argument.

    It’s morally dishonest to ignore an underlying peversion that an ideology contains anywhere within it. Because it will inevitably will corrupt the whole.

    Would you really prefer to live in a society founded on tantric principles? I hope not.


  72. Ditto my comment above-nothing to do with the issue of Sogyal’s abuse, just a collection of pseudo academic clap trap to support one persons war on tantra.

    I am beginning to wonder if Marte doesnt work for Sogyal-Think about it: she (if it is a she) plays the part of someone manifesting signs of mental illness (to which she has freely admitted) and makes statements concerning abuse that leave the reader in no doubt that, far from being a vicitim of abuse, she is simply a deluded acid casualty who is the prime player in her own,self created abuse fantasy-its all in her own mind.

    So how does that look from the outside?As if those who claim abuse at the hands of Sogyal are thoroughly deluded, mentally ill fantasists.

    Throw in a bit of anti Dalai Lama stuff and the result? Anyone who posts here is is an anti Dalai Lama, loonie.

    Convenient isnt it?

    Either way, the poster posing as Marte is unreliable-‘She’ is either mad or a liar. She certainly does nothing to assist the debate, indeed she devalues it with every post


  73. Annother reference to the topic above of Andrej Znamenski, author of the book: “Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia””

    “It might be shocking for many readers, but let me start by saying that Kalachakra-tantra has nothing to do with peace, compassions, and freedom. In so-called Tantric Buddhism it was a misogynistic power quest performed by male initiates to accumulate sacred power of particular Buddhist deities (lower seven initiations open for all) and, through blending male and female fluids (top secret initiations that involved sexuality), to eventually turn themselves into superhuman androgynous beings. Moreover, part of the Kalachakra teaching was a militant Shambhala prophecy, a call for a Buddhist holy war against enemies of Buddhism, which might sound equally shocking to hear. Before the present Dalai Lama borrowed from Gandhi’s teaching, none of his predecessors talked about non-violence as a virtue. All this might be useful to know before coming to the Dalai Lama event in Washington DC. For more details on Kalachakra check my recently published book “Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia” and especially on-line “Critical Forum Kalachakra” hosted by Trimondi. This is not to offend His Holiness or his numerous American associates. Moreover, we need to commend the Dalai Lama for taking steps to adjust his religion to modern humanistic values such as world peace, ecumenism, feminism, environmentalism; why not to take a next step and openly explain to people what Kalachakra is? We have to be crystal clear: like any religion, Tibetan Buddhism has negative and positive sides.
    Andrei Znamenski, Associate Professor of History, Alabama State University”

    And now it is enough for the moment.


  74. DI moderator-greetings! Can we do something about this posting-quite apart from the fact that it is entirely irrelevant (and bonkers!) it devalues the genuine contributions of those posters who have come here to open their hearts to others. Moreover, the Trimondis whose opinions are revered here are well know for their hatred of the Dalai Lama and their support for the worship of the demonic cult of Dorje Shugden. They profess views which are about as neutral as those of the Chinese government, indeed they are known to be linked to contemporary Tibetan charlatan ‘lamas’ (eg Gangchen) who have thrown in their lot with the Chinese for power and personal gain.

    Marte, you need to look for help from doctors, not lamas-you are far too cosmic and need to return to earth for treatment-maybe get a job?
    Beleve me, the saying ‘Its all in the mind’ may seem cliched but, in your case, it really is-Clearly you did not heed the warnings about the brown acid

    If there is any value in your posting it is that it demonstrates that,far from employing tantra to abuse you, your ‘abuse’ occured as a result of your own madness,Self inflicted psychological abuse doesnt really count IMO


  75. Sorry, DI, it is as complicated as it appears here. Without such elucidations and coherences the motivation and the techniques of the perpetrators are left in the dark. And: It is all about Sogyal!

    Extrinsic Energy in my Heart

    Preminilary comment:

    When I had read this letter and the comments by Trimondi in June 2005, I understood for the first time, that I had been abused as a “women sacrifice” since January 2005. The knowledge about the coherences to all what I was faced to saved my life, saved my sanity and the health of mind. I deeply owe the woman, who shared her experiences and the Trimondis to be able to write about my own story. I never was successful to get in contact with her, but I hope she could get rid of the tantric bondages like I did

    I reflected my experiences in the lecture “Creation of a Multiple Personality through the Misuse of Trance- and Hypnosis Techniques in Tantric-Tibetan Buddhism.”

    This letter is for sure much more directly in his testimony as my analysis. But the content, the phenomena which are described are entirely identical.


    Dear MrsTrimondi,
    dear Mr Trimondi,

    first I would like to express my very sincere thanks to you and my appreciation for your great and profound work.

    Only due to your book “The Shadow of the Dalai Lama “I know now, with pleasure, what is going on with the “energy ball”

    While a one-week course of Sogyal Ringpoche in the summer of 1997 in Italy, whom I knew since autumn of 95, at the second evening there while a “Fire Puja” an energy-ball rolled in my crown chakra.

    Sogyal appeared as a shaman with a free upper body, a bone chain and a large crown with skull and crossbones.

    My internal question: “What is it?” was replied: “Protection.”

    On the last night there we heard a lecture by a Tibetan doctor, and Sogyal was sitting on a throne.

    Suddenly my heart-chakra was opened inside and I felt light. Then the speech abruptly ended. Something important had happened. Since then, I experience the constant presence of the yogi in me. The inner space has been split and now it is threatening!

    I’m apathetic, lethargic and have a buzzing in my ear as well as a strong heart- and parietal vibrations. In 1998, I could only work half a year, now I have to reduce my work. After I had read in your book, four days later my heart galloped and I heard “Now I’m totally in you!” I feel threatened by this strange energy that is alienating me from my life. What can I do about it?

    Is it possible that this strange energy in my heart is a sign of magical connections?

    Is my essence threatened?

    Can this strange power brace itself?

    In this emergency I am now, my strongest question is: How can I get rid of the massive impacts of this extrinsic energy?

    In October 1993 I met Sogyal Rinpoche in Garmisch-Partenkirchen at the conference “Humanistic Medicine”. Then my crown-chakra opened like a fountain. I had never experienced it before.

    In a retreat in Kirchheim 93/94 I asked him for a personal appointment to discuss this event. But I was not given.

    (I have the same experience with Nydahl and Trinley Thaye. They never talk about the secret transferences they give and they leave you alone in your desperation and fear.)

    Here in Kirchheim I encountered Buddhism as an active participant and intensified my interest, so I took part in courses. In the summer 1996 while a meditation course I was in a heartbreaking state due to a cascade of light into my crown-chakra.

    Again I met Sogyal Rinpoche in September 1996 at a conference. Something “wet” ran into the top of my head. At least June 1997 the ball of energy came while a “Fire Puja” inside.

    Three weeks later there was again a retreat, where Sogyal telepathically announced “I AM SECRETLY YOUR GURU!” And I felt something flowed out of me, my legs were shaking and it was as if the earth opens.

    What happened next is so improbable, shocking, scary. In the morning when I woke up I was totally exhausted, my period was to be absented. In December 1997 I went with a friend (she’s a doctor, a Buddhist, psychotherapist, and now in a psychotherapy clinic as a patient) to a 17 day retreat on the Borodbudur Stupa with a healer. There I was someone completely different. He used me as an intermediary to other areas.

    (That is what Nydahl did with me. He said: I was flying together with a strong and beautiful women through the space. Therefore “Dakinis” are called” Space Travellers”)

    They abuse my energy that I am now, only through your book, become aware.

    In 1998 I met him three times against my will. This is possible only by the energy ball that occupies my will, my ego, my entire being. In the summer in Italy, he sat down, with two Indians present, and put me in a trance. I acted on other levels, which was very scary for me (even on the graveyard!).
    At the end of September 98 an initiation with Rinpoche (annotherone than Sogyal) began. I knew him from Phowa course in 1996, where he carried out a huge Fire Puja for the dead, and my alarm clock stopped for one hour! He was very loving to me by the way.

    This course was on 30 September and on the 7th October my crown-chakra was nearly to be cooking, so I had to apply a cold cloth.
    while working.
    Late in the afternoon on 07.10., here at home, I was up to the 10.10. out of my body and mind. I have no reminiscence about the time.

    When I came back to awareness I heard: “Phowa” and my heart and sternum tremendously ached. I made an EKG and they found an inflammation of the sternum.

    The Lamas have a great power through their “Tantric rituals” and the relationship between those rituals practiced by the teachers who teaching in the west and the manipulations and their effects are still to be researched.

    If you know what to do, I am grateful.

    A warm greeting. ……………

    Our comment of the above letter:

    This letter is a very useful document that describes the impact of the Tantric rites to the energy-body of women. It shows that the inflammation of the candali (Kundalini), or “inner woman” by Tantric masters has quite a parallel in the outside world, in the ignition of a real woman and thus confirming one of the fundamental tenets we discuss in our book. For example, we write about the “Fire Sacrifyce of the Dakini” on page 102 of our book:

    … “Almost every Tantra is familiar with the symbolic burning of sacrificial goddesses “These represent all possible properties, ranging from the human senses to various forms of consciousness and also elements (fire, water, etc) and individual body aggregates are imaginated in the form of “offering goddesses” . By pronouncing a powerful incantation they al will find the “Fire Death”. In the so-called Vajrayogini ritual sacrifices the students several Inana mudras [imaginary woman] to a red god of fire, riding on a goat. The main goddess ( Vajrayogini ) appears there with “a red-colored body, which burns with the brightness of the ‘doomsday fire.'” (Gyatso, 443)

    In Guhyasamaya Tantra the goddesses melt even together in a fiery ball of light in order to serve as a sacrifice to the Supreme Buddha and where the adept also makes malignant women harmless through a fire: “Within a triangle you perform the Fire Sacrifice … If you have done it for three days, aimed at malignant women as target, then they are banned, even up to three infinite aeons. “(* Gaeng, 225)

    A “burning woman” named candal i(the opened Kundalini) plays at the Kalachakra initiations such an important role that we will devote an entire chapter to her yet. In this context we also describe the “Inflammation of the female energy”, the central event in the sexual magic of initiation of Tantrism ………. …….

    What intention is hidden now behind a fiery Dakini Sacrifice? The same intention as in all the other Tantric rituals, namely the absorption of Gynergie to establish the omnipotence of the yogi. The coveted elixir of female is to bear a specific name: The adept is calling it the “Lifehood of the Dakini”, the “Heart- Essence of the Dakini,” “life heart of the Dakini.” (* Herrmann-Pfand, 342)

    “The Dakinis were converted to Dharma protecters, after they have given they heart-life to the conqueror.”- said a tantric text (* Herrmann-Pfand, 204).”


  76. Ha Ha, he is just my type! :)


  77. No wonder if you were impressed by such a guy, that you became disappointed! :)


  78. “bellaB, on April 21, 2012 at 11:24 am said:
    When is a woman abused?
    – If she accepts a position where she has sex with her teacher?

    No genuine Buddhist teacher would expect his students to enter into such a relationsnip-its about the power imbalance bella-why cant you listen for a change-Oh I forgot-you never listen, your only raison d’etre is denial”

    If you want to help women become more self aware, so that they know what they are doing (without regrets) then that is a good plan.

    I really don’t judge a woman who chooses that position as a consort of SR, if there are those? I bet most, if not all, are aware that he hasn’t proposed them marriage or ‘courted them like ordinarily men do’. I’m 100% sure he has not mislead any woman to believe that there was more to it and that he would fulfill their conventional expectations of a man. Conventional expectations also mislead women to live the idea of a ‘special’, a chosen, a dakini and so forth. When she isn’t able to identify with the spiritual ideal, there is disappointment. Those ideals are also self-deluding concepts. The reasons why he does what ever he is doing is not in my knowledge. I never asked him and nobody else have asked him either. It’s only about guessing, conventional expectations and trying to diagnose a person they don’t really know.

    The woman he had a relationship and a son with wanted to end their relationship herself.


  79. This thread is about Sogyal abusing others. Like others, you may have been abused by those who may or may not, bearing in mind your obvious psychiatric condition, have used the excuse of tantra to facilitate that abuse.

    The issue however is not ‘how’, the issue is the fact that such occurred. I feel that you need to direct your energies towards preventing abuse. As it is, you are directing your energies to preventing tantra, despite the fact that, when practiced correctly, tantra is a valid spiritual path.

    Abuse is not ‘inherent’ in tantra any more than abuse is inherent in any world religion. On the other hand, every world religion can be distorted to facilitate abuse, be it between guru/chela, priest/disciple, imam, haaji’ Your attentions are therefore misplaced. Your solution to abuse is to ban religion. Ask yourself, ‘If I ban religion, will abuse cease’ There is only one answer.f You need to reframe Marte; at the moment you are driven by hatred and delusion and have misguidedly indetified the wrong cause of your suffering. Rethink and have the humility to know when you are wrong about something


  80. S Puppet, with the same vehemence and logic Bellab could demand, we should stop discussing Sogyal´s abusing behavier, otherwise her freedom of choice of religion would be injured.

    I am victim of ritual abuse, victim of secret tantric practises and if those practises are components of your belief you have to sustain I make them open and explain, in which inherent structure Sogayal´s abusive behavier belongs to.


  81. bellaB, on April 21, 2012 at 11:24 am said:
    When is a woman abused?
    – If she accepts a position where she has sex with her teacher?

    No genuine Buddhist teacher would expect his students to enter into such a relationsnip-its about the power imbalance bella-why cant you listen for a change-Oh I forgot-you never listen, your only raison d’etre is denial


  82. And respect for the religious beliefs of others starts where? I love your attempt to impose your ‘liberal democratic’ values (here that means ‘anti religious bogtry’) by claiming I am bullying you.And you say you have human rights on your side? What about freedom of religious belief? Is that not a basic human right? Or have the formulators of the human rights charter got it wrong, ‘expert’?

    The secrecy required by tantric Buddhism may or may not be the pretext under which Sogyal abused others but that doesnt mean you can use this page as a pretext for launching into your personal war on tantra. I hate to agree with Sheila but the problem is not tantra, the problem is abuse, Your comments are irrelevant and I request that they be removed since they offend my religious sensibilities and have nothing to do with the Sogyal problem . I dont see Irish Catholics calling for the destruction of Catholicism as a result of its abuse scandals so why should you be allowed to hijack these pages for your personal crusade against tantra.

    I am simply asking you to respect my faith and not use these pages to further your irrelevant personal agenda. If you think Im aggressive, why not start attacking the Prophet Mohammed?-they would soon find you-now THATS bullying.


  83. “the ‘Guhya’ means ‘secret’-thats how and why it works; so stop talking garbage about something you obviously dont even understasnd the first thing about-BTW this blog is about Sogyal and abuse, not your opinions about unrelated topics.”

    I will openly talk about secret structure in tantric-tibetan Buddhism, also a bit here in the context of Sogyal, who is practising it as well Nydahl did in my case.

    Don´t read my texts, if you don´t like them! But who do you think you are to order me to keep silence? In the west it does not work like in other cultures. We have a really culterclash here. On our side Democracy, Human Rights and Enlightenment, on your side secrecy, taboos,threats and the attempt to undermine my expertise. That are the methods of people like you. It´s not the first time I faced that kind of behavier.


  84. When is a woman abused?
    – If she accepts a position where she has sex with her teacher?
    – She knows that he has other sexual partners and they have NEVER discussed equal status or monogamy in their relationship?

    If she steps into such scene – and later regrets and feels abused?

    I know I wouldn’t like to be in the scene in the first place so I do not take a step into that direction.

    I only understand women who are very young and do not understand what they involve themselves with (and complain afterwards), but older women: they can have their own choices and carry the weight of their choices.

    Victoria Barlow was his girlfriend and didn’t like his non-monogamous attitude. Then she hit the road. Right choice for her, but this never ending whining and lies about it?


  85. Blah, blah blah, distract, distract, distract,smokescreen, smokescreen, smokescreen. PS Sogyal sexually abuses disciples and his position as a teacher ‘My ego’???? Think about it.


  86. My ego is the victim of Buddhist teachings. It was not ready to succumb.

    I should contiunue my therapy and leave Buddhism as a feel good method behind.


  87. And what secret means in Buddhist terminology? It doesn’t mean secret in English.


  88. Marte
    In the term ‘Guhyamantra’, the proper name for Buddhist tantra, the ‘Guhya’ means ‘secret’-thats how and why it works; so stop talking garbage about something you obviously dont even understasnd the first thing about-BTW this blog is about Sogyal and abuse, not your opinions about unrelated topics


  89. Whatever it is, Im sure you will deny it! On a related issue, has anyone googled ‘Sogyal Rinpoche Anonymous’-seems from this Youtube video that the French are taking things seriously, as Sanlkappa suggests. I await a reliable translation


  90. Victims of what exactly?


  91. Just my stream of thought at the moment, but it would seem that if UNADFI receives many accounts of abuse from victims, the sheer weight of testimonies could compel them to act. They could also maybe bare much of the burden in terms of cost, do a lot of the heavy hitting required for any action.There would also be the element of safety in numbers

    Or am I just getting ahead of myself here??


  92. Thanks DI for your offer to translate!

    Drolma, I have posted the above on Tenpel’s blog also, it’s awaiting moderation.

    Maybe the UNADFI organisation could be helpful, particularly in regards to this comment:

    “…very concerned by what happens to Rigpa and particularly by the occurrence of abuse mentioned by all the testimonies and articles she has read. It suggeste to all those who have suffered all forms of abuse at the hands of SR and Rigpa, to send without delay their testimony. It guarantees to protect your anonimité, and the advantage will be that there will not be justified, nor be judged like this blog, where we lose a lot of time having to argue with that / those who use it site for their tendencies indulger narcicistiques! The time has come for action and a single state organization can support this battle is its role, its mission. Unadfi is equipped to fight against SR and Rigpa, this organization needs therefore to make it your testimony and, therefore, consider this as a call for them somehow.”


  93. DI, real translations would be very useful if that’s doable? As Tiger Lily has been saying, networking is a very important step right now. This is spread over several continents.


  94. This may also be of Interest, again from Les 3 Mondes. It seems that the french are now starting to take things very seroiusly and appears they have a legal avenue, described in the post below:

    Contact Unadfi

    The best to get things done is to contact Unadfi. Catherine Picard, and their president responsible for the About Picard is very concerned by what happens to Rigpa and particularly by the occurrence of abuse mentioned by all the testimonies and articles she has read. It suggeste to all those who have suffered all forms of abuse at the hands of SR and Rigpa, to send without delay their testimony. It guarantees to protect your anonimité, and the advantage will be that there will not be justified, nor be judged like this blog, where we lose a lot of time having to argue with that / those who use it site for their tendencies indulger narcicistiques! The time has come for action and a single state organization can support this battle is its role, its mission. Unadfi is equipped to fight against SR and Rigpa, this organization needs therefore to make it your testimony and, therefore, consider this as a call for them somehow. To give you an example of work done Unadfi read Subsequently, better still go to their site where you can enjoy for yourself the extent of their commitment to the fight against cults and gurus like SR: “After a week of trial court to make history the jurors of the assize court of Ariège sentenced Robert Le Dinh, said Tang, 15 years’ imprisonment for acts of rape and sexual assault. Unusually, the verdict was harsher than the prosecution’s submissions. For the plaintiffs, which UNADFI, the sectarian nature of the group of Tang’s no doubt. The strength of the argument of the parties was to prove the civil sectarian concrete and not limitation. ” “Characteristics of sects according UNADFI: Indoctrination. control of thought. Turning dependence Pressures destruction Triple A destruction of the person, on the plans: Physical: poor diet, lack of sleep, hard work, dangerous medical treatments … Psychic: personality change, behavior and critical thinking, intellectual: narrowing of fields of knowledge outside the sect, Relational : Regression of communication skills, with close cuts, Social: break with society, this manipulation techniques using three registers: the cognitive technique: a message from seductive but simplistic, the follower is subjected to a real jam Skull, (multiple meetings, lectures, courses, seminars, studies, readings, auditions tapes, prayer) that will gradually make him lose his critical with respect to the theories, methods and practices of the sect. the behavioral technique, well known to psychologists or psychiatrists, who is to perform acts harmless at first, but increasingly time-consuming, causing a submission and dependence, resulting in loss of free will. emotional technique: the followers go through three phases – the seduction by the message, the leader, the group – the psychological destruction, – the reconstruction according to group norms. “Text from the site Unadfi If you acknowledge that you have lived some, or all three areas, please to contact them in writing to the address below and quickly show your experience, do not wait. They can help you with your speech, stop all these abuses. UNADFI: 130 rue de Clignancourt, 75018 Paris 01 44 92 35 92 Office hours: Tuesday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

    This maybe of interest to Drolma et al, as they are gathering testimonies also, to make contact with UNADFI. It could be an important way to share information and see what the state of play is with the French. Just some suggestions that maybe well worth following-up on.

    Also there are some very recent posts at Les 3 Mondes. They are hard to interpet (google translate), but it appears it may involve minors and complaints to police. There is certainly a lot of distress apparent. If some one can clarify the translation, and post here that could be helpful??


  95. WE do have French translators who could translate this blog for our readers. Could I ask them to do so and we will start a new thread to bring these relevant posts to an English speaking audience.


  96. I’m not sure if people are aware but there is a whole other discussion on Sogyal’s depraved behaviour going on in French, on a site called “Les 3 Mondes.” Very similar types of issues and experiences as raised on the DI site, but (no surprise) with a lot more decorum, and most definitely a lot less denial and troll activity.

    One post that caught my eye in particular is this (please excuse the rudimentary Google translation):

    “Disturbing facts

    I want to tell a troubling that occurred several years ago when I was meditating retirement Lerab Ling.
    I had befriended a charming young lady, full of devotion, who came from Taiwan. It was his [her] first retirement (the last?).
    I was still sitting next to her and it became clear to me that it was SR very close attention: attention, attention and compliments … Particularly, SR told him that [s]he was so cute because it was the same size as him [her]. Comment that, despite my darkening of the time, I found it very inappropriate in the open during meditation.
    The morning of the last day, we were alone in a part of the site. I was a few feet from her when a man dressed in a monk, she came to say that SR wanted to see her and he was going to lead her up … She ran down the hill running.
    Since that day I can not forget and I’ve always wondered what had happened to her, once alone with him.
    Do not you find surprising that SR drive is done girls discreetly to his apartments? Where is the spirituality in there?
    Does anyone has seen this girl or have news of her? Thank you in advance.
    Ludivine (ex-Rigpa)

    Posted by Ludivine, January 23, 2012 at 21:02”

    If it’s true, and it seems consistent with many of the claims made, it is a clear example of the procuring process in action. It also blows a hole in Bella’s claim that one can ever get an audience with the great master.

    Here is the link:

    If you wish to read more and don’t speak French you can translate to English using the “Google Translate” function.


  97. S Puppet, I am glad we can read something of the secret teachings of Naropa on Wikipedia today. That means a process of demystification and this is the price the tibetan Siddhas have to pay when they arrive the west. No secret wordly transferences anymore, things become transparent and are looked from a rational view.
    No fear, no voodoo, no black magic works any longer!

    And what means a cuckoo? What about brown acid? I read it twice now and want to know, what you mean.


  98. Whe you return from cloud cuckoo land perhaps? Didnt anyone warn you about the brown acid?

    “You can find a lot about the secret teachings of Naropa, one of the Great Siddhas, on Wikipedia.” LOL “Secret”, wikipedia!


  99. Thank you, DI, I will think about.

    I know, how difficult it is to find western rational terms for secret and magical rituals. It is hard to explain, what the special reality behind this Thangkas is. One of the old tibetan masters, Tsongkhkapa, wrote a book: “The Extended Treatise on the Progression of the Esoteric Path”. The titel shows how they describe their own practises. It is all about old India yogi-practises like living without eating, invading into dreams of people and other so called “siddhis”, special powers which exists in altered states of mind and which can be controlled by the masters. You can find a lot about the secret teachings of Naropa, one of the Great Siddhas, on Wikipedia.

    I brought it here because I know viictims of Sogyal who violently opened their Kundalini or better he brought them into an altered state of mind where they desperatly don´t know, what´s going on.

    The person who falls a victim of such abuse stays paralyzed in many ways for years. It is impossible to find psychological resources to handle this trauma, it is impossible to find a language to describe experiences one is going through. One has to build up a knowledge to understand the variety of aspects of one own situation.

    I went through and I am happy to be alive and found obviously the language in abstract, dry and rational terms which made me understandable for my Therapists and other helpers as well as for the Police and the prosecution.

    I am looking forward to open a thread about Ole Nydahl and my experiences with him on DI!


  100. Lucy Sky is Victoria Barlow Duhh


  101. As someone who has been involved with Tibetan Buddhist tantra for decades, I can honestly say the above comment is the biggest load of hocus pocus, non-Buddhist mumbo jumbo I have ever read since the poems of Edward Lear. As for Sheila’s comments, these are some of the finest examples of distracting techniques I have ever perceived emanating from the mind of a troll for a long time.

    Whether or not it is tantra that Sogyal uses to facilitate abuse is irrelevant..I am quite sure for instance that Catholic priests have perverted Catholicism to facilitate abuse, but this does not mean Catholicism is abusive, only that it is possible to pervert it and use it as a tool to facilitate abuse. The same applies to tantra.

    The issue here is not how the abuse was facilitated, but rather who abused who; how pales into insignificance in relation to this.The whole issue of tantra may seem relevant but it actually serves to distract from the issue under discussion.

    Remember the man who refused to have the arrow extracted until he knew which bird the tail feathers came from and bled to death before he found out. Trying to establish the way the abuse was facilitated is like this

    You are all feeding the trolls


  102. What we cannot see, are the secret samayas he did, the secret rituals he practises just in mind and how those could be described. I don´t want to be too detailed, only so far: In the left-handed tantric-tibetan Buddhism he represents you have to give samayas which obligates you to have sex every day. And according to the deep influence of magical thinking this behaviour brings not only the nicest girls but also money under your control. All those aims are powered by a very strong will enlightened normally have. This is the source of power and abuse and not a misconduct by a single person.

    As you know this blog is not a Buddhist site, but defends human rights. Could you or Lucy in non technical terms explain what you have written above. You may have noticed that the comments are becoming increasingly esoteric in form, and as a result taking us away from focusing on SR. If you would like to write a post about your own Lama we would publish it here as a separate thread.


  103. Finnigan adopted stories from Barlow.
    Anon and Lucy from Finnigan.
    Fools follow Lucy.

    Go and meet him.


  104. “Lucys description of his daily life is notable. He acts like a normal human and for sure not a good one. That is the reality”

    Lucys description follow the words and ways laid down by xxxxxxx.
    DI Moderation: No evidence removed
    Those are exact copies – and neither of them has a clue! It’s a slander machinery held by MF – and now Lucy, unless she is extension of M.F.’s being.


  105. As far as we discuss power and abuse in Rigpa or better by Sogyal it is important to know, which practises he uses, which traditions he represents and in wich context those are to be set. And to understand that his behaviour is not an unethical violation of the otherwise terrific Vajrajana- or better tantric-tibetan Buddhism by a single one.

    MF and others, which are Vajrayana-Buddhists, came very quickly to the result, he is not a real realised on. That´s not true by far. Of course he is enlightened on the base of Tibetan Buddhism. We should ask: What does it mean? What are the characteristics of an enlightened one, is he so great and adorable as Tibetan Buddhism wants to tell us?And how does our projection works? Does this projection is identified by the delusion, enlightened are “good people” as we would expect according to our Christian based values?

    Lucys description of his daily life is notable. He acts like a normal human and for sure not a good one. That is the reality .

    What we cannot see, are the secret samayas he did, the secret rituals he practises just in mind and how those could be described. I don´t want to be too detailed, only so far: In the left-handed tantric-tibetan Buddhism he represents you have to give samayas which obligates you to have sex every day. And according to the deep influence of magical thinking this behaviour brings not only the nicest girls but also money under your control. All those aims are powered by a very strong will enlightened normally have. This is the source of power and abuse and not a misconduct by a single person.


  106. We know exactly what you are doing it is called diversion


  107. The subject is this:~ The imbalance of power and abuse of spiritual authority. The claim is that SR involves himself in this activity not just at one of his centres but at all. Those who have approached me mention that normally he does not try it on with locals but where they are out of their comfort zone, but we can get others to comment. Rigpa is an expression of SR, so asking whether others are doing this is really not the point. Here it is SR we are looking at. We are happy to bring other cases to light but not on this thread. Also we do not wish to have this abuse relativised by saying it happens elsewhere, that is not relevant.


  108. I’m becoming less and less convinced that the point here is to warn people about Rigpa, but rather to accomplish something else. You’re not behaving as people would who are genuinely interested in dissecting an issue.


  109. DI, the subject is Rigpa, is it not? Don’t we need to establish whether the danger being alleged in Rigpa is systematic, or confined mostly to one teacher?


  110. DI Sorry you don’t see the strategy of deflection as you keep telling us about it! Tantra is relevant to this thread but not in the way Sheila is using it!


  111. I work for public radio; we also encourage people, on the last day of a fund drive for example, to ‘spend big.” We also mention children often, “Share with your children the beauty of classical music,” etc. But it’s not because we are crass, we simply believe in what we’re doing, and love classical music ourselves, and are largely funded by public donation. Someone who was mad at us could call us “shameless,” but that wouldn’t be accurate. It’s not illegal or immoral to do something you believe in.

    I’m curious about the “Rigpa way” – do you feel there’s a Rigpa way, in the way that there’s an “NKT way,” for example? I hadn’t gotten the impression that Rigpa was that codified. Going back again to the concept that Sogyal Rinpoche is not at any given Rigpa center most of the time, do the teachers in residence use materials from a scripted Rigpa lesson plan, for example? Someone else mentioned earlier, I believe, that Rigpa members are encouraged not to study at other centers or with other teachers, but I have never gotten that impression, either–practically speaking, SR is not usually present at most Rigpa centers so that seems like a misconception to me.

    I thought Rigpa was more a network of individual Dharma centers which offer teachings from multiple teachings and traditions…are you saying you feel it’s more akin to NKT?


  112. Bella, wake-up! It’s not too late. Rigpa is a sophisticated con job. This is not dharma (it’s drama). Dharma is truth. This is a lie.


  113. Lucy, your description sounds exactly like a retreat I attended in 2010. Perhaps it was the same one, although it’s more likely that it’s the same stage-managed rubbish trotted out in every venue. I would also add to your description, Sogyal’s shameless hard-sell to spend up big at the Rigpa shop on the last day and the condescending advice to all parents on how to bring-up their children in the Rigpa way (indoctrinate while still young) but most disturbingly for me, was the seeming lack of any critical awareness from fellow students to the whole charade and the bullying and disgraceful verbal abuse towards other students. This loss of any critical/discerning faculty seems to be a common trait among Rigpa students, and the more senior they were, the more desensitised they appeared to be.


  114. Lucy,

    or maybe it’s just your and xxxxx minds that are polluted with that stuff and you can think outside of that scene. I’m sorry for you two.
    DI Moderation: You are making assertions without evidence.Please do not make personal attacks.


  115. Yes, Sogyal practices for many hours a day, and this is how:. He watches trash tv, lots of it, does what every one (except you) knows in the privacy of his home, makes a lot of demands on his staff, eats, watches xxxxx, phones people , has xxx with vulnerable girls, maybe chases some of them around his flat to hit them with something, maybe his back scratcher…..eats some more, to get a little fatter and work on his diabetes, possibly gets his hair dyed, more depraved xxx, eats again , more random abuse, travels to get to some other places where he does the same all over again, goes to a Rigpa center to make some cash, goes through the motions, humiliates a few students, makes the same unfunny jokes he’s made for the past 35 years or so and delivers some easy pre-digested sort of “teachings”, just the stuff you can get out of most self-help books, but at a very inflated price, because he has made himself a commodity, and people like you lot are helping his stock go higher.

    DI Moderation: You are making assertions without evidence. We will have to edit them out unless you can give evidence. Coarse discourse weakens your argument

    But the commodity is rotten because he’s a fraud.

    What you think is an introduction to the nature of the mind has nothing to do with it. It is, as people interested in researching this subject, have understood : a massive endorphin rush, that leaves you feeling high and kind of thoughtless for a while and that’s where the danger lies. You’re vulnerable , naive and want very much to believe it’s special and that it makes you special. That’s all.

    He puts pressure on the audience, Puffs himself up and says: “look into my eyes” He may shout “phat” loudly, but it’s all just a routine, it’s theatre. Staged tricks, that work on your expectations, your craving for spiritual experience, basically, your very desperate emotional needs.,

    He’s a kind of “spiritual” vampire. He builds up the expectation of the experience that everyone craves, they’ve paid good money to get it after all. There is no introduction to the nature of mind it’s just your projection.

    The real work, the ‘know thyself’ of the great philosophers of ancient times, has to be done by yourself I’m afraid, no magic tricks, no dramatic entrance, no charlatan whose bogus intervention isn’t going to help you in reality.

    Of course the instructor is going to confirm whatever experience you think you had, she’s paid for that, they are part and parcel of the Rigpa circus. They have nowhere else to go, they are totally part of the group mind-set, they have been absorbed into the machine that they helped create years ago. Rigpa is all they have.

    Do you think they’d ever say anything else?


  116. Melong my comment is directly relevant to this thread. Tantric sex is one of the dodgy ploys used by the faux guru, Sogyal Rinpoche, to seduce the unsuspecting.You know, it’s the old, “this is tantric sex and you gonna get enlightened quicker” routine.

    Sorry you don’t see the relevance.


  117. DI is now going to try to assist you to keep on the subject. You responded to Sheila thereby handing her the advantage to not deal with the topic here Abuse. It is literally a distraction. Resist temptation and it will flee. don’t engage and Sheila is talking to herself.


  118. Sankappas attitude towards tantra is irrelevant here. The issue under discussion is Sogyal and sex abuse. Stop burying the issue in sidetracks and smokescreens. if its not about Sogyal and Sex, it doesnt belog here and only helps conceal the truth from view. Stay on topic or keep quiet


  119. The problem here is straightforward ignorance and a serious lack of information. If you’re going to spout nonsense about Tibetan Buddhism and tantra, at least have the decency to do your research.
    There are detailed instructions in the tantras about having sex with girls as young as 12. It’s institutionalised paedophilia.

    So yes, the personality of the abuser is crucial but what we are dealing with here is a constructed, deliberately misogynist attitude to women as objects to be used. Whether this is tantra or disguised as tantra is completely irrelevant. Both are disgusting and should be repugnant to normal people.

    For goodness sake do some reading instead of wallowing in your own trippy, uninformed half-baked fantasies.

    It’s precisely this attitude that supports abuse.


  120. “What you occupy your mind with, it becomes that.”
    – SR

    Thanks for the quote.

    Considering Sogyal occupies his mind with Sex, violence, massive amount of food, obsession with money and power, , and also mostly trash tv, porn; that is given us a good idea of what his mind has become.


  121. Sankappa, where do you get your experience about tantra? How do you know it’s not effective as a practice? I was doing TANTRIC visualization practice intensively during that time when I got my experience about limitless love. My practice didn’t involve sex at all. Most of the tantric practice doesn’t involve sex.

    You can call my experience a hallucinogenic, but science doesn’t yet have an explanation for Buddhist practices, so I don’t pay attention to your view. On the other hand SR does hours of practice everyday. He has shown the nature of the mind to many people. I discussed my experience with a senior instructor and she said after my dream that she thinks that that dream indicates that I’m might be going to have an experience of the nature of my mind. She was a psychologist in her own profession. She said it before I had my experience, which was totally unexpexted at the time it happened, since I had been angry most of the day.


  122. Sheila, I could say “black and you would say “white” that’s why I would not contemplate for 1 second getting into a discussion with you. I’ve studied the mode of your arguing and it is mostly bereft of logic.

    You are a troll of the worst kind.


  123. Is tantra central to Catholic clergy’s sexual abuse of children? Is tantra central to the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints’ abuse of women and girls? Is tantra central to alcoholics’ abuse of others (as well as themselves)?

    Abuse is abuse. Foisting it off onto anything other than the abuser, and the abuser’s nature, is a mistake.


  124. Tantra, smantra…who cares, the Buddha never actually taught tantra anyway. People seem to forget this point. It was an import into Tibetan Buddhism from Hinduism. More importantly it’s not required for realisation, and it’s no more effective then any other route (I would strongly say less so, actually) as Tibetan Buddhists would have us believe. In fact it is central to most of the problems of abuse we are witnessing in Tibetan Buddhism at the moment, and hence the problem it seems to be having integrating in the West.


  125. It’s absolutely true – tantra is not about sex. Anyone with a true and educated understanding of tantra knows this.

    As is always the case, abuse is primarily the result of an abusive nature. Physical abuse is not about “baseball bats,” verbal abuse is not about “lips” and sexual abuse is not about “tantra.”

    One of the chief mistakes in problem-solving is similar to a chief mistake in western medicine: mistaking a symptom for a cause.

    It is profitable, though – in fact, the larger part of the western medical industry derives its profits from flogging this misconception.

    Who derives profit from flogging the misconception that symptoms of abuse are a “cause?” If you could answer that question (granted, a difficult one), this conversation would be over, or at least have graduated to the next phase.


  126. Remember folks resist the temptation to comment:

    Tantra is not about sex any more than psychiatry is about baseball.

    This comment has nothing to do with the theme of this thread namely The imbalance of power and abuse of spiritual authority.
    We will move it along with other tantric distractions to the DI forum in due course


  127. Tantra is so very misunderstood. It is not about sex, nor is it particularly Buddhist or even religious, although religions, including Buddhism, employ aspects of it.

    In one explanation given by the Dalai Lama, as interpreted by Christopher B., the author of “Tantric Christianity,” tantra is “a means by which we actively change how we see ourselves, our world, and our relationship with the divine.”

    A simple, secular example of tantra is the type of visualization used in sports training: imagining oneself standing at the free-throw line, successfully making the shot (without actually shooting), is tantra.

    I suppose you could say the above is example of “directing” the mind, through visualization. A second aspect of tantra is “redirecting” energy, often called “transforming.”

    To use a sports example again, this would be akin to a baseball coach who is helping a kid on the team who has anger issues — “When you feel yourself getting angry, use it! Put it into the bat!”

    Buddhism is very like psychiatry: both teach that there is a time and place to try and calm yourself down, dilute the anger and let it dissipate; at other times, it’s therapeutic to redirect the anger into something non-harmful (hitting a ball out of the park, chopping some wood, etc.)

    I think it’s safe to say that Tibetan Buddhist tantra would have us redirect that anger (or passion, or other strong emotions) in an even more specific way, for the purpose of deepening our meditation.

    You don’t have to use tantra for meditation or for anything spiritual at all, but when Buddhism refers to tantra, that’s generally the specific use of tantra it is referring to. Tantra is not about sex any more than psychiatry is about baseball.


  128. Well, I guess ‘the altered state’ can have many forms. Probably the balanced one, the one they search for is not scary, but a deep recognition or what ever. But I do agree that in yogic practices that include physical things (like sex, could be?) there might be danger if people don’t know what they are doing and what is going on. Also unusual breathing or holding breath can cause sudden reactions.

    I would recommend slow advancement and a teacher who knows about energy. SR has never advertised himself to be someone who works with yogic methods. Grounding is his first priority that comes up all the time.


  129. Sorry, yes I do, as far as the transformation is just a phrase and not the result of a constantly altered conciousness like DL said and this would require Tantra, Baby, you can sit as long as you want and worship your holy holy, you never will reach it as a never ending state. And even then it depends on special ethics and personalities of human to realize it.


  130. So, how is it somehow inferior when you transform anger into compassion?


  131. Well said, Luzy and Harbinger!

    Bellab, it´s a real cruelty to read such stupid things about Tantra. This is only told to inferior developed people, the other one listen and experience the “real thing”.

    Like DL said in Harvard:

    “When we experience subtler level of minds, this level of consciousness can then be transformed into wisdom that understand is emptiness, selflessness.In order to do this, first the practitioner has to stop the grosser levels of consciousness,and to do this, it is necessary to bring about the change of the movement of the white and red basic constituents. This is where sex becomes involved. The strongest change in the level of consciousness that can be utilized by a practitioner occurs during sex. Because of this fact, sex is used as a technique of tantric path.”

    Read more:


  132. Tantric teachings and practices are about transforming the mind. Do you remember from your basic Buddhist teachings?

    Antidote to jealousy? – Joy.
    Hatred and fear? – Loving kindness.
    Attachment? – Equanimity.

    Tantric practices include visualization of deities. Padmasambhava has taught that.

    “The wrathful heruka Vajrakilaya is the yidam deity who embodies the enlightened activity of all the buddhas and whose practice is famous for being the most powerful for removing obstacles, destroying the forces hostile to compassion and purifying the spiritual pollution so prevelant in this age.”

    “Tara – ‘She who Liberates’ — a female deity associated with compassion and enlightened activity. There are different forms of Tara, such as the Eight Taras who Protect from Fear and the Twenty-One Taras, but the most popular are Green Tara, who is associated mainly with protection, and White Tara, who is associated with longevity.”

    “What you occupy your mind with, it becomes that.”
    – SR


  133. Sheila,

    You really haven’t been paying attention have you? Perhaps you might try to think logically about this:

    If the advanced practice of tantra is to control the mind, it doesn’t seem to work, does it? Otherwise why exactly would so many lamas, who are supposed to be so good at it, be so greedy for sex, food, money, power, prestige and adulation?
    Why do they get so angry and petulant about trifles?

    And don’t bother with all the usual crap about this being skilful means, crazy wisdom and that in reality they’ve transcended all that.

    Crazy wisdom was dreamed up by Trungpa to justify his gross behaviour, Sogyal is so obese he obviously couldn’t even transcend his lunch and let’s not even bother mentioning the rest of his gross behaviour.

    Intelligent people usually understand that what people actually do is a better guide to who they are than what they say.

    If you read the description of the results of certain practices, they are indistinguishable from the effects of psychedelic drugs, temporal lobe epilepsy, the manic phase of bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia.

    If you’ve never had any weird experiences, it obviously means you haven’t practised long or hard enough.

    Control the mind indeed, what utter boxxxxxx!


  134. Sheila,

    Let me explain this for you. Read carefully and do your best to understand:
    It means do not speak about something you’ve never experienced. That just demonstrates your arrogance and stupidity. She is more than justified in telling you to shut up because you’re just being insensitive and what you’re doing is far worse than rudeness. Talking confidently about something you’re so obviously ignorant of is a sure sign of childish, immature and self-absorption. If children misbehave it’s certainly not rude to tell them to be quiet. It’s educational and you should be grateful.


  135. And,Sheila, to overwrite your classlessness about the issue Lucy and I brought in you open a new topic about no one wants to argue about.


    Moderation, on annother blog you removed all posts without any reference to the subject. Could you please go on with this tradition?

    Sheila may be funny by night, but while the day she is unbearable.
    DI We will remove you if you continue to use abusive language like this


  136. Marte-Micaela, you shouldn’t tell other women (or anyone) to “keep their mouth shut.” Isn’t that the same thing you accuse these men of doing (telling people to keep their mouth shut)? It’s just plain rude, and doesn’t help anything at all.


  137. I mean, she can if she wants to – but it would be a significant act, and telling.


  138. Yes, keep your mouth xxxx instead of talking about topics you don´t have any experiences with.DI Of that which I do not know I cannot speak-L Wittengstein!


  139. From Alexander Nevsky:

    “What worries me however in Mary Finnigan’s writing is that she criticizes everybody but Ole Nydahl and Karmapa Thaye Dorje. No word of criticism about these two. And The Guardian clearly promoting Ole Nydahl’s book…. What’s going on here?????”

    Does anyone know whether this is accurate?

    Mary Finnigan does criticize Orgyen Trinley; does this mean she has officially and publicly taken sides in the Karmapa issue?


  140. Keep my mouth shut?



  141. Dear Lucy,

    yes, I am back on earth now, but it was a hard work.

    The consequences for nydahl, as I explained on Rickrossforum a few days ago:

    I am accusing Nydahl of gravious bodily harm. And the prosecution is still investigating because of this accusation according to the different reports I have got. No word about sexual abuse. When you suffered by a violently opened Kundalini – Bardo is an an equivalent for “open Kundalini” with some special forms- your cerebral metabolism is affected and for ever changed. That´s the fact and you can prove it. And nothing else but this fact is the basis of my accusation.

    What I did, and it is the first time ever, is to make this hidden Tantra-techniques actionable. And it is a miracle, that the prosecution followed me until yet.

    So many victims who are abused by the so called “golden child”!
    If you read in German, look at this post on my blog:

    The title is: Strange Energies in my Heart and it is commented by the Trimondis. Could someone translate it into English, so that more people understand, what´s going on?

    And Sheila, whenever you would be target of those transferences you for sure would vanish behind the walls of psychiatry according to your obsessive and paranoid mind. So keep your xxx xxxx (Please avoid abuse and take Lucy’s advice and just ignore irrelevant comments. You are again within 12 hours of being asked to be cool hot again-DI) and don´t speak about things you only know by hearsay.


  142. David Eastman has an interesting explanation of kundalini: “Kundalini Demystified”, Yoga Journal, September 1985, p.39, California Yoga Teachers Association.


  143. When one meditates one can feel energy moving in the (subtle?) body. I know a person who never did any yoga or meditation and experienced kundalini rising. That energy is there weather you are part of Rigpa or not, Buddhidt or not.

    I did ask once about my feelings of that energy from SR. He responded (like I was told that he always does) that we should ask from people who are experienced on that field. End of discussion. He never emphasize on those experiences. He always repeats that we should be grounded.

    Body like the mountain.

    Mind like the sky.

    Heart like the ocean.

    – That is what he teaches.


  144. I have to disagree strongly – tantric practices are not designed to disrupt the mind. The point of tantra, and many Buddhist mind practice, ultimately, is to gain mastery over the mind, so that instead of being at the mercy of things that disturb it, you are skillful at bringing it to its natural calm state, over and over again.

    It’s like working with muscles – when watching someone exercise or weightlift, it may look as if the person is trying to “disturb” their muscles, and certainly, when practicing, it’s true that muscles experience pain. However, causing pain to the muscles isn’t the point – the point is to gain strength, flexibility, and control over the muscles, which eventually leads to less pain.

    Or think of working through a sore spot on your back or spine – the stretching and yoga may hurt in the moment, but ultimately it prevents greater pain later in the day which you would experience if you hadn’t worked with your back. Instead of hiding from pain, ignoring it and letting it get worse, you purposely cause your back small, controlled amounts of pain (during stretching) because, unfortunately, this is necessary to prevent greater pain later.

    The nature of this human life includes pain – unfortunately we can’t escape all of it. But we can tame our minds to be less afraid of it, as we tame our bodies to be more skillful at handling it.


  145. Dear Marte,

    It’s true that some practices can disturb. But, you shouldn’t worry because like every thing else, the effect will eventually wear off, providing you try and resume a normal life and as you know, distancing yourself from that nonsense is crucial. I’m sure you’ve experienced that yourself, you sound fairly down-to-earth.

    I know because that happened to me and many others too. We experienced various degrees of distress and in my case a massive panic attack which lasted several days following a retreat with Sogyal. Over the years a lot of people experienced this and if they also were mentally fragile to begin with, they always got worse, there were suicides.
    I will explain more later about why and how this happened.

    Tibetan tantric meditation practices as you posted so appropriately recently, were developed in Ancient India purposely to disrupt the mind. It’s closely related to drug-taking which was prevalent all over Asia.

    The risks are real. Not so long ago, the Tibetans believed mentally ill people were possessed by demons. Most of them still do. The DL and all the Dorje Shugden nonsense shows how medieval and superstitious they really are, hidden behind all that ‘science of the mind’ crap.

    Their understanding is that primitive, and therefore dangerous. Lamas are simply not equipped to deal with the consequences of their actions and how they affect others. They are incapable of assuming their responsibilities and are mostly indifferent. This is narcissism in action.

    This is the reason that they never condemn one another, no matter how unqualified and abusive Sogyal may be, the other lamas will always support him because they get good ‘offerings’ and this includes the DL. Show me the money…..

    Sogyal is particularly inept at dealing with serious distress, in fact, it’s worse than that and again more on this later.

    I’m sure this will upset the trolls, but I think we can simply ignore them from now on.


  146. “Also if you have made the point before why repeat it.”

    You mean, like 32 separate entries on “RIGPA”?


  147. “DI Moderation: This is not a dumping ground for your scrap book. Please just give the
    link and make your own comments, otherwise we will delete pages of text. Use a link to make a point not to show your lack of ability to
    argue your own case.”

    This is an important piece of evidence to the HH Sakya Trizin case that has been discussed here along with SR case.

    Do I have to repeat my opinion about it? Or about Barlow or her reliability as a witness to anything?

    That statement says it all. I also think it’s good to have it all copied here, so that it can and will be read by all – and also by future generations, so that they can think twice which comment to take seriously and which not. Internet gossip is not reliable as a source. We neither need to discuss VB case further. She can be dismissed as a source of information both in BTT and the documentary.

    DI: Yes where the evidence is there as as a link with your comment that is fine but not a long rambling piece just left there not referenced on its own is not. Also if you have made the point before why repeat it.


  148. Not for you, bellab, but for Harbinger and others here again the preliminary comment of the lecture I hold in front of Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists:

    “The Emergence of a Multiple Personality by Abuse of Trance- and Hypnosistechniques in Tantric-Tibetan Buddhism”

    I wrote this lecture in 2008 under extremly bad conditions at the time, for example I did not recall me as the person I had been, a major damage, if not a total one of my short-term memory had entered, an experience of what many people have, who where most exposed to repeated traumatic stress. The ability to abstract thinking was severely restricted, most of what I wanted to say had to be written off the “Quellen” (sources) in order to be able to make sense of what I wanted to communicate.

    The objective of the female sacrify was exactly that: to become a depersonalizsed zombie as a pure receptabel of the transferences I should represent, in my specific case the transferences of the Vajrayogini, due to this my Bodhisattva-name was “Highest Wisdom”. During an inauguration of the new opened buddhistic center in Berlin Ole Nydahl named me or better the empty shell I was “Dorje Phagmo” too, the Tibetan name of the Varayogini.

    Today I know the state I was pushed in is the Bardo-state – its phenomena have not gone away until yet- which means one of the secret transferences of Naropa, I quote from Wikipedia: The praxis of the six Yogas implies, caused by its extremly powerful and energetic emanations, thus its specific development of effects and especially its far-reaching consequences, a very high degree of meditative ability and spiritual knowledge.

    (I did not have that at all. I liked to meditate but was much too lazy for the Nöndro-practise and all the other excercises like mantra-counting and so on. Why should someone tantalise herselves that much?)

    The experiment to perform wholly or partly the six Yogas of Naropa, without any suitable basics as well as instructions and support may be possible but hence there can emerge fatal complications as an irreversible damage of ones physical and psychic systems.”

    Leaving aside that I am not a devotee of any secret teachings at all, it was irresponsible, inhumane and criminal for Ole Nydahl and the so called Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje to involve me into such a transference, without my consent.

    As I said in other places: They abuse people, above all the women, as material for their own so called way of enlightenment.

    Hit the road, Nydahl, you never come back!


  149. DI Moderation: This is not a dumping ground for your scrap book. Please just give the
    link and make your own comments, otherwise we will delete pages of text. Use a link to make a point not to show your lack of ability to
    argue your own case.

    October 25, 1999, 10:00

    This is a reply and clarification to all the people who have read and
    contributed to the discussion thread that has been going on for the last
    few months on this message board. It was very perturbing for me to come
    to know and to read such fabricated and malicious stories about His
    Holiness Sakya Trizin …..
    If any more clarification is needed do
    email me. I am at wangy…

    Tsering Wangyal

    25th October, 99


  150. And here’s another post from Finnigan where she doesn’t approve of VB to post her story about HH Sakya Trizin. Still VB can be a source for ‘information’ both in the documentary and BTT blog. Weird.

    Mary Finnigan

    > > *Information about the encounter were requested by Henry Chia. Nicky
    >> > replied to him in detail via e-mail. She cc’d it to me. Details of
    >> > Nicky’s encounter with ST have not been made public in this or
    >> > any other forum.

    >To reduce speculation, perhaps the info can be made public.

    I am not in a position to do this — and even If I were, I do not think
    it a good idea to plaster intimate details of a lama’s sex life all over
    the internet. This thread was triggered by Henry Chia passing on a
    private e-mail to ST’s secretary, probably without making it clear that
    the material in it was confidential and had not been made public. Henry
    is the source of the confusion. Also NS, did not consult me before she
    wrote about her experience to Henry. If she had, I would have advised
    strongly against doing this. I am cc’ing this message to ST’s sec.


  151. January 13, 2004

    Dear Tiger Lily,

    I didn’t find comment that was signed by her. I have still all the reason to believe she is Victoria Barlow.


  152. Sheila: “That means asking hard questions, as I’m sure Mary felt she was doing when she questioned the genuineness of that woman’s post.”

    Mary has asked hard questions. To prove it she invited Victoria Barlow to show up in the documentary. (This is sarcasm.)

    DI: “According to a witness at the Inform Conference I attended in 1997 it occurs at them all. The Irish not in Ireland and so on according to her testimony.”

    It was about mental abuse. As you can also see, people are different and some consider something as mental abuse which others consider ‘training’. And since you obviously do not understand the concept of emptiness and do not probably accept it, you couldn’t have a clue what Buddhists talk about when they are watching their thoughts – also in action.

    Rigpa people are really very nice people. They would never act in the way it is described in the BTT blog. There is no systemic abuse of anybody. The organization doesn’t support any abuse. They teach kindness.

    DI took the BTT blog as certainty. He was not the one who accepted to publish my response. No way! Actually if I was an abused person he would be the last one to talk to. But you know it from your own experience Sheila too.


  153. The spiritual roots of the Irish are in the soil, and have nothing to do with the church.


  154. Yes you do not get it. SR has an Empire Rigpa and one of his outposts is in Ireland. Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and Dr Tony Bates are well known for their mindfulness but not for mindfulness in checking out who they are having a relationship with. In general the Irish are currently on a massive retreat from their spiritual roots aided and abetted by the climate of abuse which is still at the early stages of grief. There is a market for this form of mindlessness, as Bhagwan Rajneesh use to say

    “Leave your mind at the door.”

    No I was not at it for 22 hours, rather I have unlike you being hard at work and have squeezed every inch of out my time and have found the mindlessness of the escape from reason hard to observe, in other words have been reading this from top to bottom. I like Tiresias have been observing all this stuff.
    My advice is from us to those leaving comments here as moderators as following:
    If Sheila or Bellab leave a relevant comment here on the subject of abuse by Buddhist leaders with their students, or issues to do with the imbalance of power and the abuse of spiritual authority then respond. Many have claimed that they would never come back for more, but were tempted beyond their capacity. Commenting is a spiritual discipline and some of you need a diet. Count to ten and refuse to say a word. Let us see who can be the most disciplined? I am going to sleep but this is usually the time Sheila goes out at night to meet Bram!


  155. Dude, it took you 22 hours to find the advert. o_0

    And I rue the day I brought it up, for now it is I who have risked interfering with someone’s healing experience. Shame on you, Mike Garde, for making your own work that of ruining others’.


  156. The Healing Power of Presence
    — with Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and Dr Tony Bates
    Many writers and practitioners have proposed that the root of all
    psychological problems is our difficulty in letting be, what is already there.
    We struggle with our experience, trying to push away or deny whatever we
    find painful of threatening. This retreat will enable us to explore difficulties
    and befriend what is broken in us. We will practise letting go stories and
    explanations for the way we feel, and choose instead to be present with our
    experience, as it is, with an open heart. Fee: €210 Conc €160 | please note this 2-day
    retreat begins at 10am on Friday 18th and ends at 4pm on Saturday

    Click to access DB_programme_2012_screen.pdf

    Yes Sheila it is interesting that dzogchen beara event was not on the rigpa site.
    Will now contact the two speakers as I did the former President.
    We will now get on with sleep, why did you not just make it simple send me the link.
    show me the money.
    Now no sneaky posts while I am asleep


  157. Elodie=MaryCorboySqaured [sic]?


  158. “E=MCsqaured!”

    Case in point.


  159. I also think “We see into your complexity via Denmark” ought to be on a T-shirt, as well as featured in the next Dr. Who script.


  160. E=MCsqaured!


  161. “We see into your complexity via Denmark.”

    I believe I did say something was rotten there, earlier.

    This conversation has taken a distinctly Irish and unBuddhist turn, lol.


  162. However you were not one of them… Fade away dissolve and quite forget—you do not get it
    You need mindfulness and remember the Mission to Buddhists from your youth. We see into your complexity via Denmark


  163. But it’s 7:30 here and god knows how late there, so it’s likely yourself quaffing the altar wine, and not me ;)


  164. DI, in the time it took you to question the “assertion” 10 people likely Googled and found it.

    I don’t understand your last bit.


  165. For example, Sister Stanislaus Kennedy and Tony Bates will be leading a weekend retreat at Dzogchen in May; surely you’re not saying these teachers are abusive?

    Omg DI, you’re the “watchdog group,” do your own work. I’m not handing the poor woman to you on a platter if you’re too lazy to spend 10 seconds looking it up. I feel bad enough hooking her up to you at this point.

    Perhaps you have built a web of deceit and when asked to give evidence of your assertion you change the subject!
    Were you mixing up this so called situation in Rigpa with this

    too much orange juice? The orange Order or was it a monk I saw confused with a person incredibly contested by desire? Hiding behind the safety of celibacy but wanton as a Chinese soup!


  166. Tho I did laugh at your “more than orange squash” dig.


  167. DI, you’re obviously oblivious (try typing that 3x fast, eh!) to how your own blog works. If a long-ish post comes in, the person was likely typing it up for some time, and another post may have come in the meantime.

    On a technical sidebar, it would help if there were a “reply” function so we could follow threads a bit easier. Is this possible?


  168. Omg DI, you’re the “watchdog group,” do your own work. I’m not handing the poor woman to you on a platter if you’re too lazy to spend 10 seconds looking it up. I feel bad enough hooking her up to you at this point. And what is w/the orange references…are you on some kind of Loyalist/Republican tangent?


  169. What has this to do with Bates and Stan? Are you on some form of stream of unconscious!


  170. This is the post I’m referring to:

    “Survivor, on July 6, 2009 at 8:13 pm said:

    Dear friends,

    I wouldn’t normally respond to posts on the internet and certainly not tell my personal story, as I’m about to. But this time there seems to be a need for that, even though it’s painful for me to tell it…I was especially on guard, because I had been badly traumatized. As a child – actually I had been brutally gang-raped at age 8. Needless to say that I had grown extra sensitive antennas to any sexual vibes coming towards me and always erring on the side of feeling threatened.”

    To which Mary’s response was:

    “Mary Finnigan, on July 6, 2009 at 8:46 pm said:
    Apologies if this seems cynical — but I doubt the truth of Survivor’s story.”

    That’s what gets my goat about this place. Some are allowed utter impunity in disbelieving others’ stories, saying threatening things toward them, implying they can find them thru their IP, telling them to “shut up,” etc., and yet those of use who remain at least somewhat decently behaved are censored and/or told ickily to “shut up.”

    This place is such a farce, yet I’m drawn to it like moth to flame, partly because the misinformation is so infuriating and partly because, even tho she can take care of herself, I’m loathe to leave BellaB here alone suffering your hideous treament. I honestly don’t know how she’s put up with it – a better Buddhist than I, I guess. I’m sorry, but this place brings out the worst in me.


  171. You wrote Sheila:
    Submitted on 2012/04/18 at 3:15 am

    For example, Sister Stanislaus Kennedy and Tony Bates will be leading a weekend retreat at Dzogchen in May; surely you’re not saying these teachers are abusive? They are both well known for their work in helping people of all ages find peace and healing through mindfulness and meditation.

    Could you show us where Tony Bates has a retreat with Sister Stan at Rigpa West Cork in May there is no evidence for this on the Rigpa web site?
    Stop the nonsense about slander you were on more than orange squash last night which retreat are you referring to? Give us the link
    conference =retreat or gathering or retreat Shall I walk on the beach shall I eat a peach. April is the cruellest month I know!


  172. DI, they are not speakers at the Rigpa event, they are the Rigpa event. Sr Stan is Irish Catholic and Sogyal Rinpoche won’t even be on the same continent. You lot are jeopardizing people’s livelihood with your slander.


  173. I met Ole Nydahl at a Conference in Aarhus Denmark in the early 90’s he was already well on his way to living outside the Buddhist ethical circle.
    He had his secretary with him, female you would have to say. Fade away dissolve and quite forget …….


  174. “People who have a role in reconciliation tend to be too open to those that abuse the rights of others. ”

    I don’t know…that would mean that since psychiatrists play a role in people’s reconciliation that psychiatrists are too open to those that abuse the rights of others; I find that theory iffy.


  175. Finally; so you are saying abuse happens at multiple Rigpa centers? At the hands of the same person, or multiple teachers? That’s the main question: are multiple teachers abusive, or only one (in your opinion)?


  176. What the hell is an orange flute? Is that some kind of drug reference? What conference are you asking about?


  177. According to a witness at the Inform Conference I attended in 1997 it occurs at them all. The Irish not in Ireland and so on according to her testimony.
    I talked to her a few months ago and she is now clearly over the abuse but it does seem to go on in more than one of the franchise outlets of SR!


  178. DI, what on earth are you on about.


  179. Anyone can be duped even the DL was conned by the founder of Aum in Japan. Our former president opened the centre before realising she had a problem. People who have a role in reconciliation tend to be too open to those that abuse the rights of others. Mandela was used by Scientologists and John Paul 2 was taken in By Maciel!
    It is not a commentary on the people taken in, that could be anyone of us but rather the deviousness of those that take them in!


  180. Drolma, Victoria Barlow entered here, as did another woman (trying to remember her name…back on one of the first threads)…Mary’s was the first response, and that response was that she didn’t find the woman’s story of childhood abuse “believable.”

    The main heading for all these topics is “RIGPA,” and as such is a place for (among other things) discussions about what is and isn’t taking place there. It is fair–and in fact, justice demands–that we examine the issue and try to understand what is happening. That means asking hard questions, as I’m sure Mary felt she was doing when she questioned the genuineness of that woman’s post.


  181. Could someone in Madison not effect a citizen’s arrest and get Sheila to play the old orange flute at Rigpa centre for six months. The auld triangle goes jingle jangle!


  182. Conference?


  183. Yes you call her and when you give us the information as to whether they are speakers at the Rigpa event we will send them the same briefing document we sent to President McAleese in 2009


  184. DI Moderation: Perhaps Sheila you could give us the link to the Conference you are referring to? There is no mention of it on the Rigpa site.


  185. Would they allow people to enter the shelter who would denigrate her claims of abuse? There us no other concern here, so you can both calm down.


  186. Sheila and Bella, just a thought for you both. When a woman enters a shelter, would those who work there ask her to prove she has been abused before giving her shelter?


  187. “Sogyal Rinpoche threatens people!” [Sheila, I can see your IP, you know]
    “Sogyal Rinpoche silences women!” [DI Moderation: Selectively Removed]
    “Sogyal Rinpoche is verbally abusive!” [Buddhist expert: “Shut up ;)”]

    Gross, and creepy. And you say women aren’t safe here? I think on that we finally agree.


  188. “DI Moderation: We added it to put the record straight after your rant”

    And yet, hosted on Dialogue Ireland at this very moment, are multiple posts by Victoria Barlow accusing HH Sakya Trizin of committing criminal abuse.

    Yet I refer to her accusations, you strike my references.

    You refer often to Sogyal Rinpoche “silencing women,” yet the only time I as a woman have been “silenced” (as apparently Bella is now silenced elsewhere) is here on Dialogue Ireland!

    Between the subtle icky threatening tone and the censorship, the pot is looking an awful lot like the kettle.


  189. Thank you Drolma for your kind good bye words….?

    I asked you also to clarify, because I don’t like generalizations and empty labels. There are plenty of those surrounding this issue, also in your future page and group. Just don’t always take everything at face value. Also your host takes the documentary as the truth without consideration.

    But anyway, I also said in my unpublished post there that I don’t want to bother too much with my view, so you can have that therapeutic environment. I still can’t stand lies, so I wouldn’t be able to keep quiet. Hopefully yoour host doesn’t allow extreme views from the Finnigan direction either. There’s no light there.


  190. Bella, your posts were blocked on Tenpel’s webpage for the simple reason that your perspectives work against the purpose of that blog– which is to provide a safe space for individuals to speak of abuse and psychological pain. The purpose of that blog is not to argue with individuals like yourselves about whether or not the abuse has occurred in the first place, whether or not SR is perfect or not. If you look at the other entries on that website, you will find that it’s purpose is not for your endless arguments such as yours.

    We’ve gone down that road with you, both patiently and inpatiently, for months. You’ve dominated this thread– and will continue to do so, I am sure. But now it’s time to move on with other concerns, such as the healing of abuse and the creation of safer Dharma Centers. These are both dialogues that you and Sheila have blocked at every opportunity on this thread, while also disparaging women’s claims of abuse at every turn. Allowing you to post on Tenpel’s webpage would be a little like allowing an advocate for a woman’s abuser to visit a woman’s shelter. It’s simply not done.


  191. I don’t have a PC. I guess you didn’t follow this page carefully, since you don’t know how often or unoften I’ve been here?

    I’m sorry if I care about SR and if I care about people I KNOW personally.

    If you like liars, then join Victoria Barlow and Mary Finnigan! I detest the kind of ‘journalists’ like her: some circus clowns on this Earth pulling the strings like gods. I really fight against BS in this realm.

    And yes: I don’t worry what SR thinks, if he needs my ‘help’ or wishes me to keep silent. But I know he also knows me – and how he knows me, you don’t know, because you were not there. So, I’m sorry but you are not getting under my skin.

    Have a nice walk!


  192. Dear Bella,

    I think your the speed and quality of your immediate and largely incoherent response actually demonstrates my analysis precisely; Y

    You now seem perilously close to becoming deranged. Your obsession, denial and paranoia about protecting an abuser doesn’t bode well for your mental health and I really think you should seek professional help very soon.

    I’m not trying to score points here, you must understand that this is not a game that you can play without consequence. You sometimes post up to ten times a day: this is a complete obsession for you and not anything that can ever bring you any kind of resolution to your obvious suffering. You’re now talking mostly to yourself.

    You obviously have a desperate need to control others and the environment you’ve projected yourself into. This may explain why you identify with Sogyal.

    You make confident statements about who has been abused without even the slightest hesitation, perhaps you think you’re clairvoyant. That’s worrying. You ask your own odd questions and then answer them yourself in a curiously fragmented way.

    I now doubt that you’re a Rigpa troll as such, simply because you can’t maintain a relevant or coherent argument. It looks more like increasing mental confusion and distress.

    Please consider this, you need help. Continuing here is not going to help you at all. I say this, not because I want to make a point, but because I find it rather sad.

    I think Buddhism or something else has damaged you, as it has many people. Please try and take care of yourself rather than trying to constantly trying to defend Sogyal, he doesn’t know about you and wouldn’t care if he did, so think about yourself first.

    It’s spring, so take a holiday, turn off your PC and go for a walk in the fresh air. Make some new friends. Take up a hobby, get a dog, eat more and have a normal life, you’ll feel much better in the long run.

    If you haven’t been abused this needn’t concern you, you’re just torturing yourself for something that isn’t your problem, or if it is, then you can’t bring yourself to admit it and it’s driving you. You need to step back from this. The internet really isn’t the best place to work out your personal issues by using and trying to manipulate other people’s experiences. This is emotional vampirism, it’s making you worse.

    By the way, I’m out for the evening now, you’re obviously overwrought, so please don’t exhaust yourself pointlessly replying. Take a break….have some fun, watch something funny on TV, above all, try and stop taking yourself so seriously……..go on I dare you, try it just this once, you may enjoy it. Please.


  193. Marte-Micaela Riepe,

    why don’t you just try to figure out what happened to you with Ole Nydahl? What made you succumb to him?

    Give advice to young women how to avoid pitfalls with any men.

    You haven’t even met SR, so you cannot say anything substantial about him. I know people who have met both of those people – SR and Ole Nydahl – there is a huge difference between two men.

    You cannot even begin to compare that Nydahl to SR. They are not comparable, in any sense.


  194. I guess the main problem with victim hood is that where lies the adult person’s own responsibility?

    I know young people can be stupid and make moves they should not, but…

    In Rigpa no one is recruiting young or old women for SR to have sex with. Rigpa people are really very DECENT, maybe more than people in general in ordinary society. They are kind too.

    If somebody stays for 3 years working and offering sexual services to the lama, I cannot see when did the victim hood start? In early childhood, when her daddy left for retreats? Abandonment?

    SR never raped anybody. What would make any woman stay there unwillingly for many years?

    These questions are difficult, but they are equally valid as any other questions.


  195. To Harbinger:
    Thank you for your post, it is very engaged and on a high intellectual level. Only with a few here you can hold it. Look, what Bella does, it is so miserable!


  196. In the other blog these comments were too much for the holder of the blog, because they contradicts their agenda there. The person must be also convinced that in Rigpa there are systematic methods for recruiting young women to work in Rigpa. When questioned, those messages are blocked.

    tenpel, April 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    “For instance, an attractive young lady in Germany attending the teachings, being interested in the Dharma might be ‘skilfully’ led closer to Sogyal by his devotees, being encouraged to follow him to a retreat in another country or in the same country cooking for him, working as his assistant, finally ending up in a situation which she didn’t intended to be in, as it is evident from seeing the documentary »In the Name of Enlightenment«.”

    My second post unapproved:

    “I was about 30 when I first went to Rigpa. When I was 21 a woman from model agency asked me to come to their office. I thought modeling was so superficial and I wanted to do something serious in my life, so I didn’t go. (Just to say that maybe I had a bit of ‘looks’ when I was young. I don’t care about the looks, but it seems to play a part in this whole story.) I attended many retreats in many countries, spent weeks in LL working. I was never approached by any man or woman asking if I wanted to work or do some weird tasks – except at the beginning of any retreat you sign up for work that suits you for 1 hour each day. Once I also worked in the Lama kitchen and the work was simple kitchen work.

    There is no system of recruiting people into anything, except ordinary retreat work of cleaning the toilets and so on. I believe it happens in other centers too.

    In general workers DO NOT approach people – people approach workers, if they have questions.”

    My first post unapproved:

    “I have never read anywhere that Rigpa confirms that SR has sexual relationships with students or not. Could be that he has and I don’t know with whom. It’s not public information.

    Ex-dakini said she guesses he could have sexual relationships to 15 people. I could also go guessing. If he has sexual relationships with students, then he has. I was talking about newcomers or someone simply being there and suddenly being sucked into some system where she is exploited. That kind of system or danger doesn’t exist.

    Also I would like to note that only Victoria Barlow has claimed that SR raped her, which was a false claim. In the Documentary she finally admits that she was his girlfriend and not the unsuspecting student seeking advice from a lama for her troubles, which was the story in the internet written by herself. There has been her writings about her being raped by SR and that she was abused by HH Sakya Trizin, which is also a false claim.

    I have seen Rigpa posting ordinary messages that they are searching somebody to work in the finance department and so on. If that means recruiting women to SR, then one can see it in that way. But then one should see all job adds in the same way. There are equal number of men working in Rigpa.

    I know some younger people are enthusiastic about Dharma and they want to spend the whole summer working in Rigpa doing what ever work is available, like in the kitchen or garden. It’s called work-study. Older people have jobs and families outside, so they can’t usually do that. If there is a woman or man that wants to involve themselves full time working in Rigpa, they can contact a person who is responsible for that specific field and see if there’s work available. There are places at times open because Rigpa as an organization is changing or people don’t want to work too long with such a low payment, I guess. Some have dedicated themselves for their lives and that is the way it is for them.

    The person who traveled with SR told me she was also alarmed when she heard the gossip but afterwards she was relieved when she never saw him in those scenarios described by the psychologist. She has traveled with him for years. I went to talk with SR – and she was present all the time. At the time I was around 30 years old, so I was not “too old”.

    I don’t want to occupy too much space here, so you can have the therapeutic atmosphere what Drolma is wishing for. I just hope there isn’t anymore lies or exaggerations that are not based on reality.”

    Are my posts dangerous? For the false cause – I guess they are.

    Good luck with that!


  197. Who can you identify here as victims of sexual abuse?

    Lucy? No.

    Drolma? No.

    Chinapuppet? No.

    Tiger Lily? In case she is not VB. NO.

    Ex-dakini? Maybe if her story is real also in the real world.

    bellaB? NO! I’ve never been treated badly in Rigpa, in anyway.

    If you have any personal experience with SR, you are welcome to join, but I didn’t get that impression.

    SR is compared to Hitler. Did you read Hitler’s followers testimonies? Did they love him? Even a little bit? Did he open people’s hearts? You can laugh. Did anybody_ever_ open your heart?


  198. In response to Marta-Micaela’s post on the 17th :

    Thanks Marta, an excellent contribution, the texts that you posted contain some of the best analyses of Tibetan Buddhism I’ve read in a long time. This is exactly the kind of crucial information that needs to be widely disseminated and what this site should really be about after all.

    Apologies for a long post, but I think this is a little overdue.

    I’ve followed this thread for a while and it seems to have been somewhat hijacked
    and monopolised by a few rather quaintly dim-witted Rigpa trolls who demonstrate such touchingly blind obedience to their Dear Leader ( yes, Sogyal does look like the late and unlamented Kim Il Jong, so perhaps he’ll follow his example soon.) Perhaps they’re being paid, I do hope so, because they post with such extraordinary frequency that it’s difficult to imagine they have any time left to earn a living. Perhaps that’s unfair, and they just want to accumulate merit. Good luck with that……

    Of course there’s always the possibility that they’re retired: one of them (appropriately called ’Bella’, after the poisonous plant,) recently said: “I’ve never heard anyone say that they were deeply touched by Hitler.” This is a statement of such profound, uneducated stupidity that it made me laugh out loud. Even Holocaust deniers, who are arguably insane, wouldn’t deny that the Fuhrer could whip up a crowd with the best (or worst) of them.

    But it’s said with such conviction and authority that we must be charitable and assume that the lady was actually alive at the time of say, the Nuremberg Rally of 1933 and is therefore quite elderly. This would explain all the free time and also the mild dementia.

    Unfortunately, it’s a typical example of what genuine posters here, with authentic experience and valid understanding, are having to cope with.

    I notice that some commentators (who obviously have more restraint and politeness than I could ever muster) generously attempt to engage in a reasoned discussion with these individuals. Recently one even kindly tried to explain to them what a ‘straw man’ argument is and why it’s intellectually dishonest. This is a demonstration of extreme patience in the face of dishonesty.

    Sadly, I think such kindness is wasted and to prove my point it’s only necessary to peruse the thread and count how many times convincing arguments and valuable information ( Marta’s and Lucy’s postings being a perfect examples) have been blithely ignored if they were too demanding, or otherwise irrefutably troll-proof, and how many times the subject has been deliberately changed to the point of some spectacular non-sequiturs, plus enough straw men to thatch a house with, off-topic banalities, ad hominem attacks and so on…..

    On the subject of ad hominem attacks, it also speaks volumes about the difference between the people who post here: those who have been abused and are trying to share their experiences in order to warn and prevent others from suffering are generally much more thoughtful and kind in their responses than the Rigpa trolls, who in a subtler way, show the same propensity for bullying as their Guru. But of course a fanatic is a fanatic……show me your friends etc, etc.,

    Reassuringly, genuine commentators have wisely ignored the trolls salivating, prurient encouragements to give more personal details…and for obvious reasons.

    If someone has personal experience of abuse, then their understanding, obtained at a very high cost in most cases, is enough in itself and you should respect it.
    (The large letters may be the only sure way to get their attention in such a long and for them, intellectually tiring post.)

    If you’re a Rigpa troll and you’re into some sort of weird abuse-porn, then this is most definitely not the place to find it, so why not have some decency and dignity, and leave this thread to those who can benefit from it…..and why not get qualified psychiatric help instead, because you’re presenting some very troubling symptoms here.

    It’s always the case that uncomfortable truths about abuse provoke angry denial and the psychology of deniers can mean that they’re the ones who shout louder and longer. This is certainly the case here, with the added complication that those who have been abused have had an experience that has probably increased their humanity and made them reluctant to retaliate in kind. I appreciate that some commentators here are still Buddhists and that can be a hindrance when it comes to defending themselves against Rigpa trolls as effectively as they otherwise might.

    I find this thread very interesting and useful, and it’s such a pity that so much space is taken up by people who have nothing to contribute except their ignorance and misogyny. They aim to dissuade genuine contributors and in some cases I’m sure they succeed. That’s a shame.

    In the face of so much useless drivel clogging up the thread, it’s only fair to give notice, that unlike most here, I’m no longer a Buddhist, I have no patience whatsoever for sexual abuse or misogyny, however well hidden, or people who support it, nor do I have any problem with making ad hominem attacks if required.

    There are problems with being passive. Religious leaders like to instil ‘acceptance’ into their followers because it helps them to ‘accept’ abuse. I saw an interesting take on this from a guy who was being interviewed during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, who said: “You must understand that I am not a Christian, if a man hits me first, I will not turn the other cheek, I will hit him back, twice, very hard.”

    So, if you’re a Rigpa troll: please be aware that I have no respect for your opinions, nor do I care in the slightest about your opinion of me, your feelings or your sensitivities. I won’t play your ridiculous ‘I’m-more-compassionate than-you’ game, and from my point of view, as long as you continue attempting to undermine the victims of abuse by supporting an obese, woman-hating pervert like Sogyal, you have no valid reason to comment here, and if you do, then you forfeit your right to treated with any normal deference.

    I appreciate some commentators here are sincerely trying to address abuse, and in some ways I respect those of you who can ignore Rigpa trolls, because if it could be a constant blanket attitude to them, perhaps, like the petulant, attention-seeking children they are, they might eventually get bored, although they do seem to thrive on the merest hint of acknowledgement, so it probably won’t to work, but it may be worth a try.

    Let’s work together to make this a troll-free zone and so a better environment for victims of abuse and their supporters to express themselves and exchange information.

    This site is important, so let’s not be discouraged by trolls, and keep up the good work!


  199. Sheila, on April 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm said:
    Despite what many here think, I have not actually formed a final opinion on whether abuse has taken place in Rigpa.



  200. And so the trolling goes on. Sister Stanislaus has never been accused of abuse-Sheila raises her name, asks if there are allegations of abuse against her and then ridicules those who make such an allegation and threatens to contact her to inform her how those here are endangering her livelihood. The only problem NOBODY here except Sheila ever connected the person concerned with abuse allegations.

    Where ‘Rigpa’ HAVE been condemned as abusive is where Sogyals followers have stood by and watched as the abuse happened and said nothing. Even in common law, inaction in such a situation constitutes a moral misdemeanour.

    Sheila, you are a troll of the worst kind, trying to bury this story in seemingly rational lies and lunacy. You clearly have far too much time on your hands-try spending some time away from your work station-get a life.Or is this crusade the only way you can make yourself feel valued and important?


  201. Despite what many here think, I have not actually formed a final opinion on whether abuse has taken place in Rigpa. Intelligent people should be very relieved when others don’t swallow anonymous internet posts hook, line and sinker. Trying to get to the truth is not “abuse promotion,” it is abuse prevention. I have always believe that, and I will always believe that, with all my heart.


  202. Does systematic abuse take place in all Rigpa centers? Or most?


  203. You are right, sankappa.


  204. How am I desperate? Other than TBOLD, everything I learned about Rigpa, I learned via coming to DI.

    For example, I had never heard of Tenzin Gyatso Institute (or if I did, in passing, I didn’t know Rigpa founded it).

    Googling the Sr Stan issue let me to it, and I find that TGI runs a “Scholars Program for Nuns, “promoting East/West exchange by bringing monastic scholars from Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries in India and the Himalayas to study the humanities, sciences and other western disciplines at U.S. universities.” [Taken from their site.]

    Do you want to tear this town? If so, why?

    I think you ought to separate, very clearly, who you’re after from who you’re not after. This business of swinging a large scythe round your head and not caring who it cuts, is destructive. Focus on what you want, and stop bringing damage to innocent people in the process.

    You know, Tibetans may not be litigious, but I really and sincerely hope that at some point, someone who is litigious takes issue with the slander you people are spreading about good initiatives.

    Be specific. Be exacting. This serves two purposes: it makes genuine abuse cases more likely to succeed, and it reduces the damage done to good people. If Rigpa does not abuse people systematically, then you have zero leg to stand on trying to bring it down. Very odd how no one will answer this question. My guess is that this is all about Sogyal Rinpoche, and probably not about Rigpa as a whole. If so, you ought seriously consider ceasing the slander of Rigpa, and switching the title to something more appropriate and accurate.


  205. Marte, best not to respond. Their desparation speaks volumes of what they are about


  206. Marte, this is Sister Stanislaus:

    Sister Stanislaus Kennedy is an Irish member of the Sisters of Charity. She is best known for having co-founded, in 1985, the homelessness charity Focus Ireland and is Life President of the organisation. In 2001, she also set up The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) as a response to the social needs of new immigrants living in Ireland. In 1997 she was appointed to the Council of State by President Mary McAleese and served until 2004. She has published books about spirituality and other topics.

    Shame on you, Marte, for working to harm good people.


  207. Well done, Bella. I am completely unimpressed that she published it anonymously. These guys scream at us to take them seriously and then keep doing things my high school writing teachers would have lowered my grade for.

    If any/many of the women’s stories are true, they are not in good hands, because the shoddy journalism just puts them all in question. Why no one can see this is beyond me.

    My advice to any woman who as experienced abuse: skip Mary Finnigan, skip Dialogue Ireland, and go straight to authorities/lawyer or at least a support group of your peers who can work together to find a trusted representative–basically, go to ANYone who is not profiting in some way, monetarily or status-wise, from your story. Finnigan may have all the best plans in the world for her dossier, but because she keeps hanging on to things waiting for the right “publishing moment,” and writing flimsy tabloidy blogs in the meanwhile, the issue of addressing the women’s needs is, in my observation, placed secondary to her personal journalistic quest. Granted, a lawyer will also be looking for money; however, at least the lawyer works directly for you and wants to get things taken care of relatively swiftly.


  208. “having potentially reduced the audience size for Sister Stanislaus by hosting a blog that spews nothing but negativity toward the place she will be teaching in a few weeks? Do you folks take any responsibility for your actions whatsoever?”

    Sheila, I would be very happy about such a result!


  209. Here it is: proof that BTT is by Finnigan! I also took a print screen shot from this message!

    “Drolma — ALL: the evidence in BTT is true, accurate and comes from at least two sources. If some of it is not true, why has Sogyal never sued for libel? Either against me or many publications and media organisations which have aired the same evidence for more than 20 years? And en passant — i don’t care a hoot if the Tib Budh establishment is shocked by BTT. The private office of HDL has been on the receiving end of letters and emails highlighting Sogyal’s abuses for many years. HHDL himself does not see these communications. He receives sanitised summaries prepared by the arisocrats who control the Central Tibetan Administration. Above all other considerations, they do their utmost to ensure that the cash flow from donors to the Tibetan cause is not affected. I had several email exchanges with one apartchik in the HHDL’s office who, to put it mildly, was anodyne and disingenuous. To his credit HHDL has publicly admitted that “some tulkus” have gone off the rails — but the cultural mores of Tibetan society prohibit him from naming names. To do that would cause loss of face — a heinous crime which would discredit HHDL with all Tibetans.”

    Mary Finnigan

    April 18, 2012 at 10:25 am


  210. I have half a mind to call Sr Stan and Bates up personally and let them know how you are endangering their livelihood (and more importantly, the good they are doing in this world).

    Surely in your frenzy to do whatever it is you do, you can act more professionally and do it in a manner that doesn’t harm innocent people in the process.


  211. Will you slander Sister Stanislaus Kennedy along with your tirade? Will Dialogue Ireland be happy to live with itself, having potentially reduced the audience size for Sister Stanislaus by hosting a blog that spews nothing but negativity toward the place she will be teaching in a few weeks? Do you folks take any responsibility for your actions whatsoever?


  212. The May teaching on mindfulness at Dzogchen Beara is coming up in only several weeks. Are you saying people shouldn’t go to this teaching?

    My guess is you have no clue. You are very happy to sling words around which can affect people’s lives, but you have no intention of taking responsibility for those words in any professional or ethical manner.


  213. S Puppet, you say the allegations are against Rigpa – are they?

    I’ve been looking through all the threads, and I can’t find other teachers names as problematic (though I’m not done reading everything yet).

    The main heading of all these entries, on DI’s blogroll, is RIGPA, so I’m asking (for the third time) whether those reporting abuse there feel it is systematic or not. That’s about the most valid question anyone could ask on a forum which lists “problem religions.” Is this about one teacher, or is this about an organization?

    At any given time, Sogyal Rinpoche is not present at most Rigpa centers. It’s very important to know the answer to this question, because Rigpa does wonderful work.


  214. Check this tactic

    First Sheila writes, on April 17, 2012 at 8:35 pm:
    For those of you who feel there has been abuse, is this an issue of one teacher, or in your opinion, is it a system-wide problem? If the latter, what percentage of Rigpa teachers do you feel are abusive?

    Then Sheila writes, on April 18, 2012 at 3:15 am:
    For example, Sister Stanislaus Kennedy and Tony Bates will be leading a weekend retreat at Dzogchen in May; surely you’re not saying these teachers are abusive? They are both well known for their work in helping people of all ages find peace and healing through mindfulness

    So first ask a question of critics, asking if they consider abuse to be widespread. Then, use the suggestion that she herself has made as a basis to show how ridiculous such a claim might be. A total absence of an allegation is here used to discredit all allegations against Rigpa.
    Its akin to the straw man strategy-look it up. Highly disingenuous and yet another attempt by Sheila, the resident troll, to distract from the main issue of Sogyal using his status to procure women for sex


  215. Spam, spam, spam, spam…..etc etc ad infinitum DNFTT


  216. And the female instructors are also using the young men who arrive in Rigpa, on regular basis…

    – from the collected fantacys of BsTT


  217. “Odd how, for a site dedicated to exposing Rigpa, no one can answer the question as to whether there is systematic abuse in Rigpa involving multiple teachers, or whether the allegations are limited to one teacher.”

    There are visiting Tibetan teachers, but I don’t know if they are considered Rigpa teachers.

    There are senior students who have been there for decades and are considered as instructors. Many of those are married to the claimed ‘harem women’. According to BTT the instructors call women whores, but are not using multiple women themselves. The sole right of ‘abuse’ is reserved for SR. The senior male students are just licking their lips according to the BTT.

    It’s ridiculous. I wonder why people refer to BTT blog as “information”?

    Or did Drolma notice senior male students talking in any way negatively about women?


  218. For example, Sister Stanislaus Kennedy and Tony Bates will be leading a weekend retreat at Dzogchen in May; surely you’re not saying these teachers are abusive? They are both well known for their work in helping people of all ages find peace and healing through mindfulness and meditation.


  219. Note: I did not write “DI gave the right of reply…”

    That was added to my post by someone else.

    Odd how, for a site dedicated to exposing Rigpa, no one can answer the question as to whether there is systematic abuse in Rigpa involving multiple teachers, or whether the allegations are limited to one teacher.

    DI Moderation: We added it to put the record straight after your rant


  220. sounds like positive moves are afoot…all without giving oxygen to the trolls!


  221. These are the hypocrisies I see, and wonder about:

    1. Sogyal Rinpoche can be defamed by name here, repeatedly, but HHST cannot (I’m not okay with either of them being defamed; I don’t have any problem, however, with open discussion on either matter).

    2. Some women can be asked politely to explain aspects of their story, and the person asking the question will be called an “abuse supporter,” whereas other women reporting abuse can be called liars–and called so, rudely and crudely, by Mary Finnigan, the “Buddhist Expert,” and Mike Garde (writing as dialogueireland).

    3. If I refer to accusations against HHST, my posts are censored; when Victoria Barlow came here and unleashed pages of sordid accusations, her comments were not even touched.

    4. There is great hue and cry about the evils of abuse, and yet several men posting here are allowed to be quite filthy and creepy (and I must say, you lot in general have treated BellaB despicably–do you not think that posting entire articles using her name in the post title, borders on the same verbal nastiness you are accusing SR of? Because I certainly see it as nasty and borderline abusive towards an individual woman).

    DI gave the right of reply to Bellab here it is!


  222. I have very different view to my experiences in Rigpa than Drolma. I am entitled to express those views. I’m definitely not alone with my views either.

    She had hard time and I wonder what was the fundamental reason? Her own life choices or Rigpa? Is divorce making you feel bitter and you’d rather blame SR for it than yourself or your husband? This is how I see what you are talking about. I’m not sure if you were the one who worked with psychotic patients? There might be multiple issues in your life that has absolutely nothing to do with SR.

    If it helps you to blame someone else, then of course you may do that. It will not help fundamentally though and also not for a long time. At the moment I think some of you may hold on to superstitious views and – like Sheila has said – it sounds like witch hunt.


  223. And S Puppet, since you are so passionately devoted to these women, why on earth don’t you call the police on their behalf?? If I lived in Ireland, and heard first-hand HALF of what is being told to you here, I would report it in 60 seconds, if I strongly believed it, as you claim to.

    It really irks me that you and Mike sit on the sidelines, taking the occasional crude swipe at some women here, but have done nothing to bring this to the authorities, as I cannot do given I am not a citizen of Ireland.

    You people are completely wrong when you suggest that someone trying to get to the bottom of this is an “abuse denier.” You are completely wrong to say I am a Rigpa troll. You go on and on about what terrible people myself and Bella are, yet when creepy abusive garbage from S Puppet and Mike Garde issues forth , it’s as if you don’t notice. I really don’t get your position at all.


  224. For those of you who feel there has been abuse, is this an issue of one teacher, or in your opinion, is it a system-wide problem? If the latter, what percentage of Rigpa teachers do you feel are abusive?

    It’s important to define which type of abuse, I believe. Drolma, I’m curious why you haven’t brought up verbal abuse–it’s my understanding that the incident which you felt caused great damage in your life was not physical or sexual? Does that mean it was verbal? It seems so much of the problem you people are ascribing to Sogyal Rinpoche is a verbal communication issue; yet your focus is on teachers and students never having sex.

    I do have to ask again why it’s okay for Mary to disbelieve someone (and say so to them, right here), and why no one is insisting that HHDL pursue the graphic accusations against HHST.

    One of my greatest problem with this whole thing is the selectivism…Mary can distort facts, but those of us in the pubic commenting on it have to have everything to an exact T. The”Buddhist scholar” can crudely call one woman a liar, not even bothering to say why, yet if I have questions about this or that detail in a testimony, I’m an “abuse supporter.”

    Another troubling thing occurred to me: some (one? Who knows) of you immediately declared me a “Rigpa troll” and have held onto that belief. Since I personally know that’s not true, I realize that no matter how deep a conviction you express on other issues, I have no way of telling if your conviction is based in reality. I.e. you hastily and without any evidence whatsoever subscribed to a (false) theory about my identity; how do I know you didn’t use the same haste arriving at other, equally-passionate positions on other issues? You may well believe I’m a “Rigpa troll,” I mean genuinely believe it–but all that tells me is that you form strong opinions quickly without evidence. Wouldn’t a discerning mind have said to itself, “I can’t possibly know who this person is,” and wait to analyze before coming to such a strong conclusion?


  225. “Testimony can be posted here, but there are two problems with that– first, our insensitive friends who are so quick to quibble and second, the sheer volume of comments here which make it hard for newcomers to find the testimonies”

    which is exactly why bella and Sheila post here. Repeated denials, contradictions smokesceeens and ridicule of others perspectives buries the truth-thats their job-bella because she cant understand how the sun cant shine out of Sogyals butt and Sheila because shes on a mission to fight the spread of Chinese propaganda (which she believes any criticism of anyone associated with the DL to be) Funny how such groovy Western Buddhists hold a perspective which is as fluid as granite



  226. Marte and Lucy– Of course, no one should tell their story if they aren’t ready and they don’t have lots of support. Of course, that is important and I’m sorry I left it out. Tell your story only if you feel ready and it will not bring up too much pain.
    Otherwise, in response to your question about why? You could do it so that more women aren’t abused.


  227. Lucy,

    thank-you very much for your post. .

    much sanity – )

    I completely understand where people are coming from, regarding speaking up + I agree. Personally I could never speak about anything online. . just too much room for all kinds of problems (like opening a can of worms) if a group of people do get together, would maybe feel encouraged.
    with best wishes to all of you. .


  228. Drolma, I’m with you on this. I’ve been following Tenpel’s posts which are thoughtful and wise as well as your own. It looks from your last post that you have been in touch with Tenpel privately. This is a positive step forward. I think we should try to link up (possibly via Tenpel) with the German group that has formed to address these problems, and develop an International network where we shall know one another by our real identities.
    It’s true, we need to collate a volume of testimony. I agree with you that betrayal of trust (even outside a sexual relationship) is deeply harmful and damaging to a student, and it sounds as though this is what you may have experienced. I completely understand your pain and why you are reluctant to speak of it here.
    I do think Western women have to make the first move and not rely upon Lamas to do so.
    I hate the way SR has formed a degenerate cult of Guru Rinpoche and his consorts at Rigpa and am just so astonished that other Lamas can’t see it and are equally appalled. Pump up the volume!


  229. Lucy, don`t let any of the subtil pressure here motivate you to tell your story. Why should you?


  230. You still didn’t tell how you were abused?

    Isn’t it fair to describe in detail what you consider abuse instead of just throwing labels?


  231. Those of you who have experienced abuse, like Lucy, NOW IS THE TIME TO START TELLING YOUR STORY. I think this is where things need to go; there needs to be a volume of testimony, so that BTT is not simply discounted as a problem with one women, MF’s problem, which is what Rigpa is saying. They are saying that it is all Mary’s trouble.

    Testimony can be posted here, but there are two problems with that– first, our insensitive friends who are so quick to quibble and second, the sheer volume of comments here which make it hard for newcomers to find the testimonies. For example, ex-Dakini’s testimony was very succinct and sound but the conversation now has moved on as if it never happened. Also, there was a wonderful testimony given by an X-Rigpa insider on a previous thread that I imagine few of you have read. So if you post here on DI, I suggest that you also post on
    That website is making a difference, finally adding support for the conversations here. Tenpel will post completely anonymously and will post your stories on separate pages so that they don’t get lost in commentary. I myself will consider posting if I believe that I can get my story across in a productive way.
    So let’s stop talking and write the stories!!!!!!


  232. To Anon,
    It’s encouraging to hear another positive comment. Those of us who have had the experience of abuse and have understood it as such, are more likely to support each other in trying to recover our lives.

    When people defend and justify abuse it’s a sure sign that they have either never experienced it themselves or if they have, they can’t admit it to themselves or simply aren’t experienced or mature enough to recognize abuse (although this certainly doesn’t seem to stop them having opinions about it!)

    Yes life is precious, I’m with you on that and we should enjoy it while we can. I think the best use of this thread is to inform and explain.
    There’s nothing much to be gained from arguing with people who seem to have deep psychological problems of some kind, being trapped in denial and are more than a little obsessive.


  233. My heart has been opened by SR. He has done it to countless others. Why else people would have remained there?

    Did Hitler have an open heart or did he just justify people’s jealousy and anger – and directed it toward the Jews?

    I’ve never heard anyone say that they were deeply touched by Hitler, their hearts have been opened by Hitler or anything else like that. Fighting against shadows.


  234. Lucy, an interesting articel by Barbara Rogers as a complement to your post:

    The dubious roots of meditation and the negation of human emotional needs in Tibetan Buddhism

    When Tibetan Buddhism is celebrated today as the peaceful and calming practice of meditation, people overlook the reality of a brutal religion with bizarre traditions that has used meditation as a tyrannizing tool to quash the power of feelings and free, critical thinking. Not only one hell as in Christianity, but sixteen hells doom the believer in Tibetan Buddhism with terrifying horror scenarios. It is a tradition of this controlling religion to force children into becoming monks, remove them from their families, cut them off from contact with women and brainwash them with religious studies that must be learned and recited by heart. In the context of this inhuman religion, the word “compassion,” no matter how often it is conjured, has no real meaning because compassion is not extended to these abused and neglected children. In order to become “spiritually enlightened,” they are betrayed of their human right to a healthy, dignified development, their freedom and their lives.

    Colin Goldner writes in “The Myth of Tibet:”

    “Tibetan Buddhism systematically raises people with crippled minds and souls.”

    ”Who will not obey the divine laws of the Lamas will find himself inevitably in one of the sixteen hells. One of these consists of a being immersed to the neck in a ‘stinking swamp of excrements,’ while, at the same time, being ‘picked at and gnawed to the bone by the razor sharp beaks of the huge insects that live there.’ In other hells one is burnt, smashed, squashed, and crushed by boulders or cut into a thousand pieces by huge razor knives. And that is constantly repeated over eons. What this kind of pathological Karma craze causes in the heads of simple structured, uneducated people – not to speak of the heads of three or four year old children who are saturated with this – one can only guess with a shudder.”

    Why are fear and control of our feelings so popular and widely spread? Why are we not encouraged to welcome all our feelings, to communicate with them with an open mind in order to find out why we feel what we feel? Is the old childhood fear of threatening parental rebukes, retributions and attacks so strong and prevalent?

    When we look at why we feel angry, our anger might be justified in the presence and lead us to empowering and important actions that protect our lives, health and interests and our loved ones too. Maybe our anger leads us to actions where we become activists engaged to work for social changes, for the benefit of other people, for the environment. Why should we want to meditate this strengthening anger away, turn it into fussy confusion, thus deny it and take away its power?

    But our anger can also stem from the pain and powerlessness that we suffered as children when we had to bear the unjust attacks of angry, cruel parents and could not defend ourselves and when any protest would only have meant more, even life-threatening danger. When this dormant anger emerges years later, it is directed against weaker, less powerful and innocent people, above all children. As powerful authorities, adults can now vent their old, unconscious anger on those where they don’t feel afraid anymore but in control, where they experience themselves as powerful and can induce fear. How infinitely more difficult and frightening is it to speak up to power, to question and see through one’s parents, to acknowledge the consequences of their hurtful actions and attitudes and to realize how they programmed us emotionally. Because in order to do so, we must confront the terror of the attacked, blamed, condemned and punished child.

    When anger becomes a problem in adulthood where it appears clearly out of context and is taken out on innocent others – then we must question it and work in therapy to understand its roots and resolve its destructiveness. Daily hours and years of meditation can never resolve this kind of anger and hatred but only reinforce the tradition of suppressing undesired feelings, which pursues the interests of the powerful – that we remain unconscious, controllable, devoted children/followers.

    The practice of meditation, which e.g. the Tibetan Buddhist monks propagate, starts early in their lives. It consists mainly of reciting mantras, religious demands and dogmas, over and over again, 100 000 times on certain steps of ritualistic scales, which are part of their meditation practice. Above all, they are meant to lead to complete submission and guru-devotion. Even if people in the west meditate in less brainwashing ways, the origins of this practice show that the purpose of meditation in the Tibetan context was and is not to get in touch with oneself but to suppress one’s self-awareness, feelings, critical thinking, justified needs and human rights in order to become a loyal subject of the elite monks.

    So many in the Western World choose not to recognize this misogynist, authoritarian, brainwashing religion for what it is. They allow its unexamined defraud to extend their childhood blindness. But a good look at history would awaken us to the danger of raising and wanting people who blindly follow their adored leaders.

    Children who were forced into a specific way of life that controls them for the rest of their lives do not know choice, themselves, and what freedom and authenticity are all about. Michael Parenti, the historian and author of the essay “Friendly Feudalism–The Tibet Myth” makes the following statement in a radio interview:

    “One of the things that the theocratic class did was go around and pick up 9-year-old boys from the peasant families and bring them into the monasteries to be used as sexual objects and recruited into the monk hood, or used as soldiers or domestic servants or whatever else. And a lot of those monks left, when the Chinese gave the option to the monasteries and said: Anybody who wants to leave can leave.” And thousands of them left; never wanted to be there. The older monks stayed and continued on a modest government stipend plus whatever money they could make by presiding over weddings and funerals and the likes. So I think there is freedom for Buddhism in Tibet under the Chinese communists but very little encouragement of it, and of course a lot of the monasteries and monastery lands were taken away.”

    Radio Talk with Michael Parenti – Tibet: Friendly Fuedalism?

    We live authentic lives if we engage in a life-long process of being in touch with ourselves, our questions and exploration of reality. Based on our experiences and observations, we react with feelings, passions, changing needs and goals to our environment, to life’s problems and an ever-changing world. That makes us who we are – not complying with the beliefs and practices of others that stem from centuries of denial, blind adoration, manipulation, repression and hunger for power. During childhood, we have no choice but to accept the beliefs of others, above all those of our parents. No matter what they believe and even if the child at times may notice discrepancies, contradictions and even lies – children need their parents to survive and will internalize many of those parental beliefs. Later, they will follow authorities that either remind them of their parents’ beliefs or seem to promise more humane views. To this day, neither the Ten Commandments nor other religious or spiritual practices have created non-violent humans or societies that have stopped to hate and to kill. The Old Tibet – contrary to wide-spread myths – was a place full of violence and cruelty.

    “The ruling elite of monks exploited land and people without pity with the help of a wide spread network of monasteries and strongholds. Bitter poverty and hunger dominated everyday life in Tibet; there were no educational or health facilities. Similar to the Hindu society of India, Tibet maintained a strict caste hierarchy, including a caste of “untouchables.” Privileged and, respectively, underprivileged living conditions were pronounced and justified via the Buddhist Karma dogma which postulates that the present life is always a result of accumulated merits, and, respectively, faults in an earlier life.

    “The Tibetan penal code was marked by extreme cruelty. Some of the usual punitive measures that lasted far into the 20th century consisted of public floggings, amputation of limbs, gouging of eyes, pulling skin off the flesh of living convicts, and the like. Because Buddhist principles prohibits the killing of living beings, delinquents were often tortured close to death and then left to their own fate. If they died as a result of the tortures, it was considered to have been caused by their own Karma.”

    Colin Goldner, The Myth of Tibet:

    And now in our time, in the 90ties, a violent fight erupted within the exile Tibetan Buddhist monk community when the Dalai Lama publicly declared one of their many gods, revered since ancient times, as dangerous and no longer worthy of adoration and prayer. To study how he made this decision (as well as countless others) by means of asking an “oracle;” in what a crazy, repugnant and inhuman way that process transpires; and to watch with how much irritation, visible in a video, he harshly denies the violence, which his intolerant decision has created among his loyal and faithful monks, provides an intriguing and enlightening awakening from the idealization that this man is met with.

    Swiss TV on the Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden; watch video at youtube: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3

    Salman Rushdie has said:

    “The word spiritual should be banned from the English language for at least 50 years… Talk about a word that has lost its meaning! You can’t walk your dog without doing it in a ‘spiritual ‘manner, you can’t cook without talking about spirituality!”

    Spiegel Interview with Salman Rushdie,1518,433969,00.html

    Traditional and untrue beliefs, developed by ancient religions to gain and retain power, inspire and influence spiritual movements. What “spirituality” actually means is unclear because these movements are fed by nebulous notions of various invisible and unproven higher powers. The idea of “spirituality” unites movements that do not feel bound to a religion but certainly to a “God,” a “higher being” or “higher entity” whom they trust in a childlike manner to know what’s best for them and to mean well. They have in common that one has to bow to the will of God or a higher purpose or meaning; that all actions should be done “out of love” – without that one may clearly recognize reality for what it is – that above all anger and rage, protest and hatred are worthless feelings that must be condemned; and that one may not judge others. People with spiritual beliefs see themselves as free from dogmatic religious beliefs, but upon closer examination, it is obvious that their spiritual concepts are also formed by rigid, dogmatic belief-systems that do not encourage their followers to get in touch with who they really are. Fed by vague ideas about “higher powers,” “the universe,” “karma,” “rebirth and reincarnation,” among others, they teach that meditation and forgiveness bring us “serenity” and “inner peace” – and turn useless psychological labels into pop psychology delusions that allege e.g. that the “ego” hosts “bad things” – like being “judgmental” and “opinionated” – which must be overcome.

    A closer look at such beliefs, like the concept of karma, and how they were used in the past by the religious and often also political systems that they kept in place, reveals how they served to force their subjects under their control. In Old Tibet, the karma belief kept the serfs and slaves gratefully, subserviently and willingly in check because their miserable lives were cynically blamed on them. The tyrannical and cruel theocracy of Old Tibet was ruled with an iron fist by the elite, upper class of monks who had no empathy and took no responsibility for the plight of their subjects. Neither respect and compassion, nor societal changes for the bitterly poor, oppressed and exploited masses ever came about through all their hours and years of meditation.

    Christopher Hitchens describes in his book “god is not Great” how “Japanese Buddhism became a loyal servant — even an advocate — of imperialism and mass murder.” “By the end of the dreadful conflict that Japan had started, it was Buddhist and Shinto priests who were recruiting and training the suicide bombers, or Kamikaze (“Divine Wind”), fanatics, assuring them the emperor was a “Golden Wheel-Turning Sacred King,” one indeed of the four manifestations of the ideal Buddhist monarch and a Tathagata, or “fully enlightened being,” of the material world.”

    Hitchens sums up the workings of Buddhist thinking: ” A faith that despises the mind and the free individual, that preaches submission and resignation, and that regards life as a poor and transient thing, is ill-equipped for self-criticism. Those who become bored by conventional “Bible” religions, and seek “enlightenment” by way of the dissolution of their own critical faculties into nirvana in any form, had better take a warning. They may think they are leaving the realm of despised materialism, but they are still being asked to put their reason to sleep, and to discard their minds along with their sandals.” (read more here)



  235. I would hazard a guess, that it is you are not so aware of heart! anyone who spends their time, years and years demeaning, putting down, invalidating other people’s experiences.. obviously doesn’t have much it’s extraordinary ironic, that you pull lucy up on her posts, when yours are full of words such as stupid, low, ugly minded, bs etc etc

    yes, I am still here occasionally, but don’t have the energy to respond or get involved – just from the sidelines. as sankappa says, I have a precious life to carry on with, no matter how damaged by my experience at Rigpa, and being here is not really how I wish to spend it

    Sheila, anyone who reads through these threads will make their own minds up


  236. Perhaps you don’t know what heart is?

    People who never experienced anything but manipulation do not recognize anything else, do not trust anything else.


  237. “Opening people’s hearts” is just a romantic way of saying: influencing people on an emotional level, there’s nothing special about that, Hitler was very good at it. It’s straightforward manipulation in order to control, exploit and profit from people. To think otherwise is to be naïve and credulous. You have to understand who you’re dealing with, exactly what they’re trying to do to you and why.

    For example, this could be a description of Sogyal, taken from the shorter Oxford textbook on Psychiatry:

    ‘People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, have a grandiose sense of self-importance and are boastful and pretentious. They are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, beauty or intellectual brilliance. They think themselves special and expect others to admire them and offer special services and favours. They feel entitled to the best and seek to associate with people of high status. They exploit people and do not empathize with or show concern for their feelings. They envy them in the same way. They appear arrogant, disdainful and haughty and behave in a patronizing or condescending way.’

    Does any of that sound familiar?

    What you’re really dealing with is a system that isolates young male children from maternal affection, and distorts their personalities very early on. By example, it teaches them the skills of manipulating others. This makes them more dangerous when they have access to people with strong emotional needs who are disillusioned with their own culture but have no understanding of the surrogate culture they try to adopt. The tulku system is an efficient process for creating narcissism, producing children who are spoilt brats, but in a very particular way indeed, they really don’t have much chance of developing into normal well-balanced adults.

    The usual pattern of abuse is that an individual like Sogyal, like all narcissists, will seduce, cajole, flatter and promise a lot ….then when he’s fairly certain you’re hooked, make increasing demands that are backed-up by a complex mixture of inducements, emotional blackmail in the form of manipulation, threats, bullying, deliberate humiliation and so on, (in Sogyal’s case, all well documented). It’s all about control.

    The outcome will eventually depend on personality, self-image and accumulated experience: some people don’t tolerate this for long, but others will tolerate it almost indefinitely, if they feel they have no choice, or if they can get some perceived benefit even though their experience is one of subservience and humiliation. Many of Sogyal’s older students manage to distance themselves in some way, but even if they can escape his tantrums, at least in public, the process of witnessing others being humiliated is always corrosive to their integrity, and certainly not conducive to happiness, unless of course they are the kind of individuals who secretly enjoy watching suffering, and can rationalise it by saying: “It’s for their own good.”

    Manipulative people who sense that they’re losing control will simply move on to another easier victim. This happens systematically with Sogyal.

    In terms of mental health and any kind of resolution, for everyone who has been through this particular experience there is one essential point to understand: there is absolutely no middle ground whatsoever here and no other option but to leave, sever all ties with the abuser and try to analyse, take it in one’s stride, grow up and move on. The good news is that there is life after Buddhism and a much better one at that, free from brainwashing, manipulation, mumbling gibberish, futile commitment and delusional magical beliefs; no one to torment us and tell us what to do and when.

    A simpler, less complicated life that’s healthier, more human and a more achievable freedom than the emotionally destructive, fantasy kind offered by predatory, dysfunctional men like Sogyal.


  238. I was reading back through some of the previous threads…at one point a new person reported horrific childhood abuse, and Mary’s immediate response was that she “doubted” the person’s story.

    Heavy pressure for HHDL to somehow nebulously “respond” to individuals’ allegations against SR, but absolutely zero pressure for him to respond to the lengthy and horrific allegations against HHST.

    Hypocrisy runs thick.

    It occurs to me that there’s no money in the HHST thing, since a book on that subject is not being prepared for launch, and there is no “Sakya” organizations on DI’s bad-boy list.

    Interesting how, when money’s in sight, women reporting abuse are courted and cajoled; when money’s not in sight, they’re sent packing.

    I highly recommend everyone read through the threads, if you’re interested in getting a bigger picture…as we’ve been discussing lately, it’s hard to keep informations straight with all the sock puppetry, but it does become a bit clearer as you take more and more in.


  239. Maybe its time for people to shut up and grow up?


  240. Maybe you should wipe you tongue first?


  241. If you adore him so much why aren’t you there wiping his xxxx?!
    That way you could give us all a break.


  242. I guess SR opened your heart too?

    Then there comes the pain, because we have pain from many life times. It’s a common story. It’s not only you Drolma, who is cracked open by SR. He is not just an ordinary charismatic fellow who manipulates people. It goes deeper than that. I’ve never heard of a narciccist who opens people’s hearts.

    Why the trust was gone? It was not only pink and fluffy feeling love stuff? I guess Dzogchen master has another work to be done. How to make people really change? Purification process also makes the dirt, the pain, come to surface. I guess you’ve heard him saying many times: When you start applying the soap, you should not stop in the middle.


  243. I guess you’re saying DI is worthless for maintaining this blog?


  244. “Inherent” ???


  245. sankappa, your level of personal boredom does not determine the inherent worth for others of discussing a topic.

    If you read this thread from beginning to end, as I have today, you’ll see there’s entrenchment obvious in some posters, and surprising flexibility from others. I’m sorry you find the fact that a topic is under heavy discussion to be off-putting; I find it encouraging.


  246. There is very heavy pressure here for HHDL to address the allegations levied against Sogyal Rinpoche.

    Why is there no pressure for HHDL to address the allegations levied against HHST?


  247. Post Number 1000 for this thread alone. Just more grist for the mill, more drama for people to become attached to, points of view to be defended and further entrench self-view. And on and on it goes, with nothing really being achieved here…


  248. Drolma, I’ve been reading back through this whole thread (not advisable unless you have a glass of wine handy, which I don’t!)

    It’s interesting, though, and deeper than I had given it credit for; I’m afraid I’m a bit reactionary, think in the moment, and would do well to reread and reread.

    I think you guys should come to Wisconsin sometime, seriously. I don’t understand all this furor you folks are finding everywhere in the Buddhist world, I really don’t. We have teachings, we share tea, and we go home and think about what we learned that day. This has been happening at Deer Park, just like that, for 25 years. No excitement. When I’ve gone to teachings at other centers, the same thing has happened. The only thing that changes is who’s making tea. I’m not kidding.

    There just isn’t anything in my experience that even comes close to relating what you people are talking about. It’s like we’re from different planets.

    I do agree with something you said earlier – that it can be very wonderful to read from HHDL’s books, and take teachings that way. I think it’s exceptionally wonderful to take teachings in the same physical space as the teacher, but there’s no doubt that HHDL’s writings, for example, are gold. I turn to them over and over again.

    I’m going to continue rereading through these threads to try and understand who on earth everyone is(n’t). But I’m curious no one has had an opinion yet on other teachers in Rigpa. Maybe I’m not understanding Rigpa’s organizational structure–but there are multiple centers, with multiple teachers, correct?


  249. And certainly someone here has an opinion on Rigpa – are other teachers abusive? The subject, as addressed on Dialogue Ireland at least, is Rigpa the institution (if I understand correctly). Since Rigpa has multiple centers, Sogyal Rinpoche is most often not the teacher at any particular center.


  250. Drolma, I’m confused–I thought you were a long-time student of Sogyal Rinpoche’s?


  251. Yes indeed, Bella, you’ve asked me personal questions. Tenpel too on the anti-shugden website I’ve been commenting on has asked me to tell my story. But how can I? In your mind, Bella and Sheila, probably you’re thinking I had some sort of spat with SR, something he did that made me mad and go off in a huff, something like that. Or he did something to offend me, hurt me. Or I had a mental breakdown and blamed it all on him. Sheila thinks I just didn’t like the way he dressed or something, got turned off by him because he was Tibetan.

    The reality is, the connection resulting from strong devotion is very deep and personal, isn’t it? When it breaks down, when trust is lost, it’s a big deal. I sat here on my computer, unable to write, and realized that there’s no way that I can answer your questions, Bella. No way that you could ever understand the depth of what I have experienced. My own daughters don’t understand and they’re my best friends.

    That’s what makes this such a messy business. Only SR himself can ever address it properly. If I can’t disclose my experiences, subject them to your insensitive rebuttals, how on earth are women who have been sexually abused to subject them to the rough and tumble of a courtroom? For myself personally, the place of pain inside is so sensitive still, after all these years, that even one rebuttal, one question that hints at doubting the validity of my experience, makes me want to run away and hide. What you guys don’t realize in your insensitivity is that these experiences make us doubt ourselves in a deep way.

    So that’s how it feels. And it’s probably time for me to take Sock Man/Woman’s advice and give this circus a rest.


  252. “both are here with a particular agenda and are totally closed to any change or to considering others opinions.”

    If they are baseless opinions, then who cares! I was asking on what Sankappa bases his view?

    I have asked Droma personal questions, explanations for her experiences about SR or Rigpa, because I don’t understand them, really.


  253. In the beginning of my Buddhist life I did go to other teachers as well. I did talk with them. They have never rejected me. One took me as his student, but later I noticed SR is far better teacher: I feel he understands.

    I have attended at times another group too. I asked the head lama if it’s okay, since I’m a student of SR. He smiled and said: No problem! You can come.

    I don’t know what is the obstacle. Maybe if you approach a new lama telling I have this huge problem with SR and criticize him a lot, then maybe some other lama might be a bit reserved after that. Usually they don’t criticize other lamas or talk bad. It could be too that they are embarrassed about your directness. It could be that there are cultural differences and it depends if the lama has stayed in the West long enough if he knows our habits.


  254. Certainly, SPuppet, the prospects of reaching an intelligent and open conversation with both Sheila and Bella look dismal. But so do the prospects of His Holiness ever returning to China– but he keeps working at it! So I’m a little stubborn too. And it’s a great practice of patience– Sheila’s found some buttons in me I thought I didn’t have anymore.


  255. Well said Drolma. I would only advise one thing to you and noble Sankappa-stop wasting time on Bella and Sheila. both are here with a particular agenda and are totally closed to any change or to considering others opinions. They are classic cult apologists and NOTHING will cause them to change their closed minded opinions. Their closed mindedness has ALWAYS been evident and I promise you, you waste a valuable life bothering with them. They have already decided not to listen and to deny anything so whats the point? Far better to relax and enjoy………and get closer to enlightenment. Openness and closed mindedness: which is best???


  256. No, I am not overreacting. I attended teachings in New York, PA and travelled to France for a two week retreat in Lerab Ling.

    And I want to say very strongly– for every being out there who has experienced suffering at the hands of a spiritual teacher– that no one who hasn’t walked the walk can understand how damaging the Tibetan code of silence can be for a student. I travelled from lama to lama to lama, simply seeking closure, understanding and healing from my experiences at Rigpa. With every lama, it was the same silence, the same closed look, the same cryptic responses. I just wanted answers and a chance to move on with my spiritual practice and I just received silence, again and again.

    On top of that, my trouble with SR was an obstacle to every relationship I then tried to form with a lama– it was a barrier because that’s another code with Tibetan lamas: Don’t intervere with another lama’s business. So I could never start again with a new lama, I could never get really close. I have a friend who is experiencing just that– her relationship with her current lama is always going to have that obstacle, the obstacle not of her own negative actions, but the negative actions of her first lama, her retreat lama.

    Sheila and Bella and all you others who sit in your ivory towers, passing judgment on those who have had trouble with their spiritual teachers– you really need to start listening and listening and listening. Abuse is one thing– being silenced is much worse and very easy to do. The Catholic Church has demonstrated the horror of silencing victims– let’s not follow.


  257. I realize that topic is not covered in the memo. There will be some scrambling now to figure out how to deal with it.

    However, the entry on this website is not called “Sogyal Rinpoche,” it is called “RIGPA” (in caps, no less).


  258. Let me put my previous question more bluntly: Are other teachers in Rigpa abusive?


  259. Why are you Sankappa so certain that any abuse has taken place? Maybe pain has taken place (it’s everywhere), but is the purpose of any of it abuse?


  260. sankappa, you apparently want to live in a world where people can be hung based on anonymous internet postings; I do not.

    I am not a Sogyal Rinpoche apologist, I am a person who believes firmly in the strength of a society which abides by innocent until proven guilty.


  261. Sheila, on April 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm said:

    “Genuine help for victims does not come in this form(lessness) and never will.”

    As much as I have witnessed Sheila’s dishonesty, disingenuousness and distortion in her posting here on DI, the one point she continually advocates that does have merit and currency, is that all the talk on this and other forums can only take things so far. This is the point at which it is as now, or in reality where it has been for some time.

    As has been noted by many I’m sure, is the circular nature of the discussion (claim and counter-claim) that have been raging on and on for literally years now; and while this has been a necessary part of the process, it cannot progress from here. For Sogyal Rinpoche to be brought to task (and he will never go quietly, or be counselled as some suggest – ego and denial factors) victims of his abuse will ultimately have to bring this before the legal system in some form, preferably a class action. I understand that the predictable responses to this will be along the lines of “it’s easy for you to say, you don’t have to go through the pain and trauma of it,” but it is the unpalatable reality of the situation, and sacrifices for the greater good (and there is much at stake here! – physical, verbal spiritual and financial abuse as well as sexual) will need to be made. Otherwise this same debate will be raging on, on this forum in another 3 years from now, with Bella and Sheila and most likely a few more Sogyal apologists and deniers, but more tragically no doubt, more Sogyal victims as well.


  262. Drolma, you’re overreacting. I’m asking whether abusive teachings happen in all Rigpa centers, given that you may not have received yours in a European one (which, to my understanding, is where Sogyal Rinpoche has been for the past couple decades or so).


  263. Bella and Sheila, you make one salient point– that MF published anonymously and thus was free from libel risks– and then you drown it in a sea of drivel and accusations.

    Sheila, what are those “facts” that you know? Have you attended Rigpa teachings? Have you been a Rigpa student? Do you know me and my experiences that you can discount and disparage my suffering? And what is this business about my spelling? Are you the CIA? Because I don’t spell with British English, I am lying? I never lived in Australia?

    I disclosed to you a little about my own pain, a little about my own experience because you seemed open and more kind in your earlier comment. I thought we could move the conversation to one that was more open and humane and one that considered all angles– as His Holiness advises. And what is your response? Sympathy? Kindness? Openness? Willingness to take people at their word?

    No suddenly you swoop down like a secret agent who has finally discovered a key piece of evidence in her guest to root out a spy– Aha, I don’t spell like a Brit. Maybe that’s because I’m an American who lived in Australia for 16 years. Can you just give it a break?


  264. I’ve already given evidence of some of the fact-checking. The BTT author said Sogyal Rinpoche left Tibet when he was two years old; this is untrue, and calls into (slanderous) question many teachings, initiations and transmissions given by, and from, prominent teachers in the Tibetan world. Lies always snowball.

    Sheila did you not read the edit from months ago? Sogyal Rinpoche chose this name in honour of Lerab Lingpa, a 19th century Tibetan Buddhist master Sogyal claims as his predecessor. So how did a 63 year old man in poor health, who left his native Tibet when he was a young child, and had only a basic education in India, come to be the head of a multi-national organisation with tentacles in five continents? How did he manage to raise 10 million Euros to build a huge temple in southern France? And then persuade the wife of the President to provide the media focus for the opening day?


  265. S Puppet, anonymous internet posts, “supported” by other anonymous users (who could be the original poster, for all we know), are worse than unconvincing: they actually push many people in the opposite direction.

    Did Mary Finnigan write BTT? Perhaps we’ll never know.


  266. PS your both clutching at straws now-everybody knows. What is this ‘The emperors new clothes’?


  267. You are asking me to believe something that contradicts my own personal observations(Ur you mean ‘prejudices’),

    and to do so based on an anonymous internet claim (Ur, and newspaper articles, a television program,a lawsuit settled out of court, multiple personal testimonies etc)
    that an anonymous, error-laden internet post (plus all of the above) is factual, as testified to by anonymous others (I thought you were a ‘researcher’??? Thats how you portrayed yourself-I have contact with various Rigpa people and ex of and have managed to ascertain the identity of all the individuals in the document-and Im just an amateur).

    It literally wouldnt matter if everything you’re saying is true (your damned right-Sheila has already decided she knows the truth, her only difficulty now is convincing the rest of the world that only she is right)

    –and I know it’s not, because I’ve checked many of the “facts” myself and found them to be easily-proven fallacy (Nice blanket denial, without any evidence. I have seen no proof that it isnt true and lots of evidence that points to the opposite. However in your case, if its not true simply because you dont see the ‘evidence’, lets see your ‘evidence’ that it is in fact untrue-surely your comments should stand up to the same logic as those of those you accuse of being liars. Evidence please.


  268. “I entered my first Rigpa teaching a happily married mother of five– within a year, my marriage was in tatters and I had sent my two youngest daughters back to Australia to live with their father. I was a mess.”

    Why you were a mess? Because you had been on a retreat where SR ranted…? I think that there are other reasons. You explain very little – and often I feel that you project things. I don’t understand what you learnt in Rigpa that your marriage collapsed? You became overly reigious? That does brake marriages. It has nothing to do with SR. Care to explain in detail, because I don’t understand your experience. Sounds like blaming SR for your life change.

    “How can you be sure that any person who can humiliate others on a regular basis is kind, compassionate and trustworthy?”

    Perhaps because I don’t see it as public humiliation! I don’t think that is the purpose of anything!

    I have experienced stricktness and arrogance from another ‘Dzogchen’ lama. I percieved it in that way. I have no devotion toward that guy at all. I don’t like him, therefore my heart is not opened – and that treatment doesn’t work at all. I’m just wondering why he has any followers. I’m not impressed.

    I was boiling once because SR said that somebody else had told him something. He didn’t say he himself thinks in that way, but it was enough that he presented somebody else’s thought. That thought hit my childhood issue and also some later bad experiences that may have sprung from childhood. Anyway: it really hit the nerve. I guess Dzogchen masters might bring the student on the edge of something. I did a lot of practice at the time too and saw those strong dreams that I woke to at night. There were many things coming to crossroads and the result was that I had that experience of limitless love.

    I understand that in tantrism negative and extreme emotions can be also used as a path. Therefore I do not judge what SR said at the time. Maybe it was necessary so that I make some leap.

    I have suffered since childhood about the suffering in the world and life. I feel terrible, if I see dead animals by the road. I feel terrible about many things. At somepoint I couldn’t read news at all. In fact HHDL is the only person and world leader that I felt that sheds light and gives hope. Mostly I think people are destructive and selfish. Maybe Buddhism has helped me to cope with things.

    My sensitivity towards things has made me vulnerable when I was young (I’m not that vulnerable anymore). I also suffer from this issue. It does cause me emotional pain too. Not so much anymore, since I have been able to consider Finnigan and her falsity. I do not take refuge in her.

    Anyway ONCE I saw SR treating one woman in a way where I felt the woman behaved calm, but I thought she was in pain. I heard that SR had behaved like her irrational parent, purposefully. Hard to say, what happened next, since I don’t know that woman.

    Usually if he pushes people around, it’s not on a personal level. The only time I saw that personal thing happening was on a small retreat and there wasn’t too many people around. I think that woman “survived”. Do you know as a therapist know what unknotting the most painful knots inside mean? How that happens in therapy?

    It’s a private issue. But many people have those experiences. What about group therapy? Could somebody else’s pain open other people’s hearts too? What happens in group therapy? Could Rigpa be “group therapy”? People at times share deep things there.


  269. Drolma, your spelling is neither Australian nor British nor Irish…how were you exposed to Sogyal Rinpoche for multiple years? Or are you saying Rigpa in general is abusive, regardless of who’s teaching, and regardless of which center?

    I sorry, but the nature of the allegations requires such thoroughness.


  270. Drolma, Mary’s understanding of libel is such that she (or whoever wrote BTT) chose not to claim responsibility. Real magazines wouldn’t publish it, out of fear of libel, and it unnerved her to the point of not even taking credit for the blog version. However, we still don’t really know if she wrote. it. Anyone could have.

    You are asking me to believe something that contradicts my own personal observations, and to do so based on an anonymous internet claim that an anonymous, error-laden internet post is factual, as testified to by anonymous others.

    It literally wouldnt matter if everything you’re saying is true–and I know it’s not, because I’ve checked many of the “facts” myself and found them to be easily-proven fallacy.

    Genuine help for victims does not come in this form(lessness) and never will.


  271. “along with my confidence in Mary’s professional understanding of libel…”

    Because of her awareness of libel suit, the BTT blog was published anonymously.


  272. This is absolutely no different from a parent (or teacher) who says, Do as I say, not as I do. We know that this approach does not work in parents or regular teachers– how can it work in a spiritual teacher?????


  273. And Bella, you claim that SR’s rough techniques help you. I say, how can it help anyone become more compassionate, open, trusting and kind to watch public humiliation without protest? And this is a regular occurrence! How can you be sure that any person who can humiliate others on a regular basis is kind, compassionate and trustworthy?????


  274. Also, Sheila, I happen to know with complete certainty that at least one of the women involved in the allegations in BTT is a real person. Also, the reputation of Cogent Benger is very high. You and Bella both forget that you are dismissing their journalism as well as Mary’s.


  275. Again,Sheila, if you read my comments, you would notice that there was a period of time when I doubted everything about BTT because of the sordid tone of most of the people posting here. There was also a period of time when I called some of Mary’s reporting into question because of a few questionable opinion pieces she wrote for the Guardian.

    However, while I continue to wish that Mary had been more careful and conservative with BTT– and it was written by her, you don’t have to worry about that– there is simply too much smoke here to ignore. The sound and coherent entries by people such as ex-Dakini, Vera and Tiger Lily, along with several other testimonies I have read in my almost two years posting on DI, along with my own experiences, along with my confidence in Mary’s professional understanding of libel, lead me to the conclusion that there is something here that must be investigated. The truth simply must come out.

    You see, Sheila, Rigpa does not look anything like how you describe your Dharma Center. It’s not a calm, quiet, courteous place. SR does publicly humiliate his students regularly– this is known by anyone who attends his teachings. He also rants and raves, though Bella says these are not tantrums. These damaged me psychologically because in order to accommodate his behavior I gave up the best part of myself– I didn’t find my best self, Bella. I then became very vulnerable to other trouble. I entered my first Rigpa teaching a happily married mother of five– within a year, my marriage was in tatters and I had sent my two youngest daughters back to Australia to live with their father. I was a mess.

    Bella’s response? My psychological troubles cannot be blamed on SR. I had a few “(sexual”) dreams about SR and starting drinking. Your response? I could have left Rigpa at any time, I was free to come and go.

    Nobody should judge others’ suffering in that way, Sheila. That’s what I don’t want to happen here. For me, I had discovered the sanest religion on earth only to become insane. It shouldn’t work that way. And I didn’t use therapy or meds to become sane again– I simply studied and practiced with HHDL. The difference is as stark as if I had found a different religion.

    So because of my own experiences, it is not at all difficult for me to believe that at least a portion of the allegations made by women on this thread and in BTT is true. And if even a fraction of them are true, they must be addressed.

    I don’t know if you read ex-Dakini’s testimony, given on January 9, but here is Bella’s response: “Thank you for your story, Ex-dakini.

    It’s a touching one.

    I would rather believe this kind of story than any of those in BTT.

    If this has really happened, then I’m very sorry for you.”

    But then the thread just descended into more circuitous drivel. If we just started with ex-Dakini’s testimony and Bella’s response, just talked about that alone, it would be enough to decide that there was trouble at Rigpa.

    One of the most poignant lines in ex-Dakini’s testimony, given on this thread in January, is when she declares to Rigpa, “I am quite sane I assure you.” I could so well picture the Rigpa establishment silencing her through the label of insanity. It’s very effective and cruel.

    So Sheila, my line on this thread is not one of blind faith or blind condemnation– but simply that I could NEVER turn away from this and say ho hum, no one has suffered. I could never silence the women who have come forward honestly like ex-Dakini and yes, women from the stories in BTT as well I believe– and there are women who have come forward, this is not a fabricated thread– never leave them in the ditch. Amnesty International estimates that “one in three women will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in their lives.” I don’t want to be part of that insidious silent majority which supports this. So I’m not giving up on this. That’s why,, from my heart, I don’t give up on this thread.

    I watched a live webcast of His Holinness in Hawaii last night. He spoke of how we need to address problems realistically and broadly, from many different angles. He said that our tendency is to look very closely and tenaciously from one angle only (e.g. with anger and hatred). However, if we look realistically, wholistically, and from from all six sides, then problems become easier to resolve. I myself find this approach of his very useful and try to apply it here. There certainly is no one angle on this trouble, no one simple answer– but we have to keep trying, in all the ways that we can.


  276. Drolma, your house sounds lovely, honestly. One drawback to the multiple pseudonyms in this discussion is that it’s very hard to get a “picture” of who you’re speaking with from day to day. At least BellaB is BellaB, you know? She’s consistently herself.

    I have to ask you a serious question, as you seem like a serious person (in a good way). Why is it that you approve of something like Behind the Thangkas? Can’t you see, instantly, what harm it does by making this subject come off as some kind of–I don’t know, porn comic? I mean, that’s the level, and tone, of the writing style. Why don’t you folk(s) write, or encourage the mystery writers to write, pieces that stand up to scrutiny? I mean that in all sincerity.

    I just do not, and will not ever, buy the theory that Mary doesn’t know what she’s doing. She absolutely has to know that this kind of splash piece does not make for a convincing argument. That does not mean I don’t think there’s an argument to be made – but if there is, no one here is making it. That may be frustrating, but please consider these thoughts from an outsider who is suspending disbelief long enough to shed some perspective on your group’s approach.


  277. Sheila, I had to smile just now, picturing you visiting me. I live in a large house decorated mostly by my mother, except for my room, which looks like, well….Tibet. Five thangkas, a shrine built and decorated by a well known Tibetan craftsman (now deceased), many pictures of HHDL, a large picture of Amithaba, a statue of the Buddha, a pecha, mandalas, and lots of books, all of them about Tibetan Buddhism.

    So you’re not doing so well figuring people out on this thread. Maybe we should just all focus on the topic!


  278. I’m not actually defending Sogyal Rinpoche. You could insert the name of any human, and if the approach to incriminating that person consisted of spewing unprofessional, gossipy, anonymous diatribes, I would (and do) stand against that approach.

    The Behind the Thankgas genre does not help victims. It makes people less likely to believe abuse claims, not more.

    Can you imagine someone who is genuinely researching abuse, stumbling onto BTT as the first source of information in this matter? For one thing, HHDL is highly-respected, and BTT’s decision to cloud the Sogyal Rinpoche issue by opening the article with pot-shots at HHDL is likely to set the reader in a skeptical mood right off the bat, even if only subconsciously. For another, a serious researcher will quickly discover some of the factual errors and move BTT (and likely, the whole Sogyal Rinpoche story) down another notch in credibility.

    Is BTT purposely trying to turn people away with its snipey tone and poor fact-checking, or does achieve reader turn-off through simple clumsiness and haste? Either way, this writer is a liability to the cause of addressing abuse.

    If the writer is indeed Mary Finnigan, she has been in the profession more than long enough to know what constitutes effective journalism, and what does not. Which leads me back to the question I always seem to return to in this matter: what is the real point?


  279. Good grief, Sheila, the use of cushions for meditating, thangkas for practice, and whether or not to use the Tibetan language for practice and teaching have nothing whatsoever to do with Tibetan vs Western culture! You use a cushion because it keeps the back straight, the winds and channels open– Indians and Japanese and Chinese all use cushions to meditate. If your knees trouble you, you sit in a chair. If you use thangkas to decorate your house in a Tibetan style, that is totally wrong– whereas thangkas to inspire practice is fine. Milarepa of course had no thangkas and he practiced quite effectively and he was Tibetan. Use of the Tibetan language is not a cultural choice, for goodness sake– Tibetan is a superior language for study and practice of Buddhism, because it has vocabulary that best expresses Buddhist concepts, but it is inferior if you don’t speak it! It is inferior if your translator is a poor one! These are not cultural preferences, Sheila; they’re tools for practice. I imagine that if you use them with a cultural motivation, then your practice could become very superficial.

    I wonder now if much of your motivation defending SR here might have to do with the fact that you believe we are in some way threatening Tibetan culture– and you will defend Tibetans against our slander, just as you might defend Tibetans against Chinese propaganda. Is that true? If so, it’s very silly and very off topic. And I already have strayed too far off topic addressing your comments!


  280. Also, there is no such thing as Buddhism without cultural aspects. If you decide to replace the cushion with a chair, you’re just replacing one culture’s trapping with another culture’s trapping.

    I personally treasure the Tibetan aspects, because, since my teachers are Tibetan, and their teachers were Tibetan, I appreciate the feeling of being closer to their experience by sharing in the sights and sounds and particulars that characterized their practice long ago. If my teacher’s teacher’s teacher sat on a hard floor to meditate, then I appreciate the opportunity to take that same path. Soon enough, much of it may be extinct. But for now, it is not, and I have no desire to hasten it’s extinction.

    Those who do not like this experience, or who don’t care about it either way, are free to suggest reforms such as sitting in a more western-friendly position when meditating (many Tibetan teachers in fact suggest this), not using thangkas and mandalas, not using the Tibetan language, etc. etc. My point is that the approach of those who don’t want these things should not be to try and take them away from those who do benefit from them.


  281. Lol, I officially give up on the sign-in process. Anyone is now obviously free to contact me by email.


  282. I am not judging anyone’s practice. I do sense a strong feeling, from some of those trying to establish a western Buddhism, that they are very bothered by the Tibetan cultural aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. I’m saying that focusing on stripping Tibetan Buddhist organizations of their Tibetan-ness might be the wrong approach; many people (myself included) treasure those aspects and find a deep resonance. We definitely feel that our way of practice is being ridiculed and attacked when we see people constantly posting the message that “Tibetan culture drives teachers to sexually molest their students, so we must remove a lot of the Tibetan cultural elements from Buddhism.”

    I see a group of people (or one person? Who knows…) who seem to be genuinely, deeply disturbed by the Tibetan cultural aspects. It’s true, I feel that if they are deeply, negatively affected by these sights and sounds, yet continually expose themselves to those sights and sounds, this might not be a healthy approach. If the student’s/practioner’s approach is basically, “I will benefit from Buddhism once it is shorn of these trappings,” then they are in danger of suspending the benefit of their practice until some imaginary, future point in time when Buddhism is “reformed” to their liking, as opposed to participating right now in a practice or group which doesn’t include as many Asian cultural aspects. It’s a genuine suggestion, and not an attack on anyone. You may not be in this situation at all, but there are very clearly some people who are, or at least who have strongly projected that image.

    I do not judge your choice. It is simply that it occurred to me the other day to wonder why on earth people who seem really turned off by Tibetan-ness are choosing Tibetan Buddhism.


  283. Sheila, that last post was me on a strange computer.


  284. As regards to your previous comments to me, Sheila, I really must respond. First, I am practicing Buddhism, not Tibetanism. This is not a cultural decision. I think Westerners sometimes miss that fact. And I am in it for the long run, with vows and deep committments. In my mind, Tibetan Buddhism, as transmitted by HHDL, is the purest form of Buddhism on earth. But this has absolutely nothing to do with Tibetan culture. Nothing to do with how one bows or dresses.
    Second, you might want to be more wary before you advise people on how and where they should practice. Unless you’re clairvoyant, you have no idea on what level I am as a Buddhist or what practices I am engaged in. You want to give that negative karma of judging my choice of practice a wide berth I believe. It’s quite dangerous.


  285. A few points of order:

    “One could claim that all the postings on DI are false”

    I’ve never claimed this. In fact when I asked about Barlow’s accusations against HHST, it was you folks who eventually muttered in a roundabout way that those postings were false.

    “postings from women with sinister agendas who lie”

    I have no idea if any of the people posting here are women, or even represent more than one person, let alone more than one woman.

    “One could also then claim that MF, who is a reporter for a respected UK newspaper, has filled an entire document with wild fabrications and posted it on the internet under her own name.”

    She hasn’t posted it under her own name. To my knowledge, Mary Finnigan has never claimed authorship, other than coming close on RickRoss when posting a link under the pseudonym “Blue Dakini.” BTT refers to Mary Finnigan in the third person.

    Several (one? Who knows?) poster(s) here, along with DI, accused Bella of “attacking” Mary Finnigan by suggesting Mary was the author. DI says it has “no relationship” with Mary Finnigan.

    BTT in a nutshell: Write a long, snide article filled with factual errors (which could have easily been checked); accuse multiple people, by name, of impropriety and criminal activity, don’t have the professional courtesy to sign your own name, and conclude by yelling, “Believe it all, or you’re an abuser, too.”

    Are victims of abuse more likely, or less likely, to be believed after this article’s publication by DI? That should be the salient point for all of you.


  286. Do you know the difference between Wrath that you suggested that I use against my neighbors and between ordinary Anger?

    I have not realized the nature of my mind and would never think that when I’m angry, I’m using wrath. If I would use wrath I would need to be in the state of complete non attachment. My Wrath would be then just a display of anger, but not true anger, because I have no attachment to the scene that is going on.

    I’m not on that level with my neighbors. SR might well be far advanced in his realization (at least he has shown the nature of the mind to MANY people), so it’s hard to judge if he is truly angry or if he is doing something else. I think he is doing something else.


  287. I have received empowerments from SR.

    I also want to remind you Drolma, that if he at times is wrathful, it’s like once on a retreat. Most of the time he is not giving anybody hard time. We also do not always know what is going on at the background, the reasons why he is strict to the students.

    I have also heard HHDL is strict with his close students.

    I would lose my nerve with some fairy gentle lama. I’m sorry, but I think we wouldn’t like similar teachers.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea for a teacher to have sexual relationships to students. I’ve never met one that he would have had a relationship with – or I don’t even know any woman gossiped about being his consort. But I don’t know if he has ever been monogamous – and I don’t know if someone expects him to be. I actually wouldn’t expect it from any lama. It might sound a bit weird, but for some reason I can’t remember ever having had that expectation about any lama I have met. Can’t explain it. I have felt attachment to some lamas, but at the same time I just inwardly or automatically know I cannot have them or posses them.


  288. HHDL tells us to investigate and make sure that the lama has at least the minimum qualitfications listed in the scriptures as required by a spiritual teacher. One of those key qualifications is having a tamed and calmed mind. To say that SR has that quality of a tamed and calm mind, even if he doesn’t demonstrate, it is not a strong argument to my way of thinking.

    Also, when one looks at SR’s behaviors during teachings, it is not a great leap of imagination to imagine him behaving the same way in a bedroom with a woman. The allegations in BTT don’t actually sound that strange in the context of SR’s behavior overall, the behavior we can all see.


  289. Yes, Bella, I know that that’s the general claim at Rigpa. SR shouts abuse at his students publicly to show us our greater selves. I will tell you that this approach was very damaging to me. And yes, I did leave, yes, I was free to leave– but not before I was damaged. With so many students in the room, on so many different levels of need, so many different emotional vulnerabilities, I mantain that this public approach is very very dangerous. He cannot possibly account for all the responses that will occur to his verbal tirades.

    It is much safer to my mind for the spiritual teacher to behave in a way consonant with the teachings of the Buddha, that is in a way that demonstrates a tamed and calmed mind, one free of anger or harm. In this way, he leads his students instead of confusing them.

    I also repeat: How can a sexual relationship between a woman and her “master” be anything other than abusive?

    And if anyone starts talking about tantra (e.g. it is appropriate in tantra for a woman to have sexual relations with her spiritual “master”), I will remind readers that SR does not give initiations. He and his students are not bound by tantric vows and committments. Thus, it is inappropriate for such practices of highest tantra to occur between SR and his students.


  290. If you think about: what purpose would it serve if he asked contradictory things from a student?

    He makes the student look at one direction, then to the other way, the student gets confused, looks for answers in her/his mind, they are not there. At the end the student finds the inner voice or the wisdom of their own minds and abandons the confusion.


  291. At least I believe that SR needed her and didn’t want to let go of her, when she felt bad. I see the story so, that SR wanted to show her their connection in a wrong moment. She couldn’t take it.

    I think I have never seen him bark at ANY SENIOR students. I meant seniors as those who have been there for decades and are really close to him.

    He educates those newer workers.

    I haven’t seen him shouting or throwing tantrums. My mother has thrown tantrums or some kids in the day care, but him: no.

    I have never seen him out of order or out of charge.

    I have seen him asking the same question from a student many times until he gets what he wanted to hear. Clarity in the expression. it’s not only the words but also the way the response is given that seem to matter to him. Mind training in action.

    Of course, if those newish workers didn’t feel any devotion toward him, meaning trust, that may seem like harsh. But I have always seen it as somekind of theatre. One should not be so attached to one’s ways. But of course I know it’s not easy, like I said that even I have gotten my sore spots touched a few times. I even thought that in the early days every retreat was so emotional and I was faced with all kinds of issues, pain and love. Over the time it has changed – or I have changed: those same things don’t hurt anymore, I guess. Or I’m not that open anymore.

    After every retreat I have felt that I was cracked open and at the end sown back or healed. I also think that is one of the purpose of those retreats. SR asks people to stay until the end, because he is ‘doing something’ and has a plan.


  292. For goodness sake, Bella, how can a sexual relationship between a woman and her “master” be anything other than abusive?


  293. Bella, SR uses the word “master” when he refers to spiritual teachers. This is not a term of equality. During teachings, those senior students you refer to run around like wild, confused chickens as he barks out his(often conflicting) orders to them. They sit in subdued silence as he subjects them to public tirades of verbal abuse. He shouts and throws tantrums at these students– in public. These are not wild allegations, are they? All of us who have attended Rigpa teachings have witnessed them firsthand.

    So for you to claim that a sexual relationship with SR, with this type of power inbalance as a grounding, is no different than one with between an ordinary boyfriend or girlfriend is absolutely absurd.


  294. I can’t remember that ex-dakini would have posted about harem. MF talked about orgies.

    I said her story is the kind of personal story with details that one would believe if one heard a story about abuse. The other stories do not sound real, but fantacy. Her story is the only one that sounds real.

    What was SR’s purpose with her? I don’t think he wanted to hurt her or abuse her. I really and absolutely don’t believe that was his intention.

    I have been in relationships and I know how deep feelings people can go through in them, so I don’t assume SR’s relationships to be just fluffy pink fantacy from the princess stories.

    If so many women are suffering in his hands, why they don’t just leave? Those women mentioned in the BTT don’t look like suffering to me.

    Senior students do not circulate women among themselves or accept scraps after their master has abused them. They don’t call women whores or in any demeaning fashion as MF has written.

    People live in their own relationships, some of those women mentioned are wives or girlfriends of senior students.

    I must also say that the deceast Ian Maxwell was no cult member and it was not required of him. He did what he pleased, even if SR didn’t like it. SR even said about it publicly while he was dying that they didn’t always see things in the same way. So there was and is space for your own personality and views in Rigpa.

    Maybe those senior students just know him a lot better than most of the people posting here, including me?


  295. And as regards truth, let’s use a little analysis. There is significant evidence that something sexual is going on between women and SR. Isn’t that true? There are numerous testimonies both in BTT and on this thread and previous DI threads that SR has been having multiple sexual relations with students.

    OK. I agree, Bella and Sheila: One could claim that all the postings on DI are false, imaginary postings or postings from women with sinister agendas who lie. One could also then claim that MF, who is a reporter for a respected UK newspaper, has filled an entire document with wild fabrications and posted it on the internet under her own name. In order to take Bella and Sheila’s position, in fact, one needs to claim all of those things– all of them. That is a little like being a Holocaust denier, as Sock Man/Woman mentioned earlier.

    On the other hand, it does seem dangerous to jump on the bandwagon and claim that ALL of the allegations are true– e.g. without a trial or further investigation. What is totally reasonable to my mind is acknowledging that where there is smoke there is fire. Something is going on with SR that is causing women to need therapy. This something has to do with sex. That is the common thread, is it not? Sex and subsequent suffering. To claim that either are not occurring at all is simply ludicrous– as the circuitous methods of reasoning which both Bella and Sheila use indicate.

    Just one example of this circuitous reasoning: When ex-Dakini came on this thread with her story of sexual abuse at SR’s hands, Bella accepted her testimony as sounding genuine. In this testimony, ex-Dakini also said that she is needing therapy and is on a slow journey of recovery. E.G. she has been suffering badly. She also said that she could count, just off the top of her head, 15 women who had sexual relations with SR. She spoke of a harem.

    Yet now, the discussion with Bella proceeds as if ex-Dakini never posted. As if there’s no basis for any of the testimonies at all. Round and round we go. What is going on?


  296. If I had started to shout at my neighbors like they do, do you think their shouting would have gone down or they would have thought they had even more reason to shout? I was fearing the latter, so I avoided them.


  297. And everybody else, except SR are suffering from this, but not him?


  298. I don’t see anywhere in the Buddha’s teachings where behaving in a way that is “above others” is a good approach. Silence sometimes is a good approach, speaking out forcefully is also recommended in many circumstances. In many instances, speaking out forcefully is actually required of a bodhisattva in order to prevent further accumulation of negative karma. It is also required in this case to clear the air, alleviate the confusion in students’ minds. There are a lot of people suffering in this affair– MF, the women who have made allegations, SR’s x-students and SR’s current students. (Yes, SR is even responsible for MF’s suffering in the context of Buddhism). The fact that emotions run so raw and high on this thread is an indication that there is a need for resolution. I don’t think the present course of action– silence and hoping things will blow over– is proving effective.

    People need truth. They need definitive truth for healing and resolution.


  299. Chinapuppet, maybe you should visit Rigpa, then you would hear him saying all kinds of things. He is not silent.

    Or do you think that for the Tibetan cause it’s a good idea to ask VB and MF, her dear friend, talk in the public about their views? They can say what ever. It is very difficult to prove that you are innocent.

    China Puppet, if your ex girlfriend wanted to revenge against you – and she wouldn’t give a damn about anything else, like some seem not to care, what would you do?

    What I did with my idiot neighbors was that I just avoided them. Tried to behave in a way that I was above them – and didn’t succumb to their tactics and behavior. Because I burnt incence in my yard to get rid of their constant smell of smoking, they told all our neighbors that I’m smoking marihuana there. Took a year before my neighbors noticed that those people are not exactly okay in the head.


  300. Thank you guru Sheila for your advice of how to live life. A few years in Dharma, a fixed perspective and a closed mind-Yup, all the qualifications necessary to tell others how to live their lives.



  301. “As for the court case, he lost because he was guilty, he had to pay to silence the American woman, he was so desperate at the time very frightened indeed, he went into hiding for a while, sent Patrick to clean up his mess, asked lamas to do magic, hoping it would disappear, the practices didn’t work of course and he had to pay up, some death threats where involved, that’s not innocence in my book.”

    Lucy, you are listing these things as if you have learnt your lessons by heart, but it doesn’t sound like you have personally any clue.

    What is YOUR source? Do you know someone?

    My friend also knows those those people who MF wrote about in a nasty and stupid way. Her stories are not the truth.


  302. However, if you look at many of my earlier comments, you will see that I have a very deep appreciation for Tibetans and their achievements and current struggles. Personally, it’s one of my causes. You are very quick to judge me from one or two comments taken out of context.


  303. Sheila, it’s time for us to agree to disagree. I truly cannot find a place of enough accord between our perspectives to continue dialogue. I am very glad you are so happy at your Dharma Center. That is a good thing. We’ll leave it there.


  304. I want to restate what I said about Tibetan Buddhism working for you, because I think it came off too harshly. What I mean is that it sounds like you are extremely uncomfortable with (most of) the Tibetan part. If you constantly have those worries, or even distasteful feelings, nagging at you when you try to practice, it won’t be a peaceful experience for you. You might consider (maybe you are doing this already) establishing a general Buddhism group, and rather than having one specific teacher, invitate a rotating roster of teachers to come in. Eventually if one teacher meets your new group’s needs, you could see if they would teach permanently. Some excellent new “lay sanghas,” for lack of a better word, have been started that way.


  305. How are Tibetan teachers imposing values on you? Are you trapped in some room with bars? These centers are built by them, not us. We are under zero obligation to attend. The centers are generally established in response to local interest; the teachings are (at least in my sangha) give completely for free. If I don’t like the teaching style of the Sunday teacher, I can go to the Thursday teacher; if that sangha doesn’t end up being to my taste, I can go to the Cambodians, or the Zen group, or several other general Buddhism centers.

    None of these groups–Tibetan or otherwise–are under any obligation to launch a flurry of changes and modifications simply because I show up to teachings they are offering for free.

    To be very honest, it sounds to me as if Tibetan Buddhism doesn’t work for you. If you listen honestly to the words you use when describing it, if I didn’t know for example that you were studying from HHDL, I would suggest you try another form of Buddhism, simply because it seems that very little of Tibetan Buddhism appeals to you. That may be a misconception on my part, but listen honestly to the way you talk about your experiences–it doesn’t sound as if they bring you peace. Again, I may be completely wrong here. But that’s how it sounds.

    If Tibetan Buddhism doesn’t appeal to you, if it constantly bothers you, then isn’t the answer to find another approach that does appeal to you? I love my Tibetan Buddhist center. It is mostly male, mostly Tibetan, and very traditional. Teaching is in the Tibetan language with a translator. We bow to the teacher when he enters, in the traditional style. No one finds it humiliating; no students are yelled at, and there is definitely no sexual component. The sangha has been in place for over 20 years. We have countless teachers coming through, and in all cases it has been a source of peace, learning, and joy.

    Our sangha does not need radical reform, modification, lists of spiritual prenuptials, harsh pre-judgement of crimes that have never taken place. It is a fact, however, that over the years the teachers have worked very hard to make our center work well for Western students. They go out of their way to find great translators–not just for us, but for Chinese and Taiwanese students as well, and sometimes Mongolian. These people bend over backwards to make our experience positive.

    What specific center are you talking about which is fostering abuse? Who are the guilty parties, or those suspected of being guilty? What are they suspected of being guilty of? And I don’t mean suspicions raised by French tabloids: who are the people making the allegations of crimes or abuse they personally have experienced? Why on earth have they not gone to the police?

    I find it less and less convincing that you folks know anyone personally who has experienced genuine abuse. If you do, you should go to the police, encourage them to go to the police, or for God’s sake find someone willing to go to the police. You simply will not help anyone by taking no real-world action, difficult as real-world action is to take (I know, I’ve taken it).


  306. Drolma, it’s up to HHST whether he wants to file suit for slander. No one is compelled to file against their slanderer if they don’t feel like it. Many people who are subject to this type of thing don’t feel it’s a good use of time.


  307. Lucy uses exactly as ugly language as Finnigan, so that is the cause of my ‘paranoia’.

    I’m just asking where does she gets her stories from? The source?


  308. bellaB, your paranoia regarding Mary is so boring! MF is a brave woman.

    Lucy, well said. Tantric-Tibetan Buddhism strongly influences the west since about 35 years and it needs time to look behind the holy facades and the special kind of violence and abuse.You told us the truth by saying that “he SR was so desperate at the time very frightened indeed, he went into hiding for a while, sent Patrick to clean up his mess, asked lamas to do magic, hoping it would disappear, the practices didn’t work of course and he had to pay up, some death threats where involved.” They use black-magic-rituals in moments of stress, through those they even try to kill people. Of course it doesn´t work. The court-case did not vanish by curses .

    Here a funny killing-ritual teached by a so called friend of the DL, scroll a bit and you´ll find the text in English, “How to kill people”.


  309. As to your comments above, Sheila, you have it backwards. Westerners are not coming into Tibet imposing Western values. Tibetan lama(s) is/ are coming into the West imposing Tibetan values. It is clear that if a Tibetan lama were open about the fact that he believed he could freely have sex with his students, this would cause many Westerners to turn away from studying with him. They would go somewhere else. That is a possible solution, in fact. However, there is no transparency here in this situation at all and that makes things all the more dangerous for women.

    And I don’t give a damn that Tibetans don’t like to file libel suits. Compassion and decency demand it if the allegations are false.


  310. Lucy, you guys keep accusing me of somehow promoting abuse against women.

    Look at the facts: if a woman comes to you folks with a story of abuse, apparently you will blog about it using a fake name. If they come to me, I will go to the police and sign my own name.

    My opinion on abuse is clear; it may even be clearer than your own.

    My opinion on frivolous accusations is also clear: they hurt women. Having now encountered your group’s efforts, I believe I am vastly less likely to believe any future online accusations against male, Tibetan teachers. Having read pages and pages of horrifying, frightening, detailed, genuine-sounding accusations against the Teacher-who-shall-not-be-named, only to find out it’s a complete and utter pile of garbage, I know for a fact there is foul play at work here.

    You have no idea the harm you’re doing to real women, by playing fast and loose with the facts on a subject like this.

    You have cried “fire” in so many situations where this is no fire, that it may no longer be possible for you to be heard should a real fire arise.


  311. Lucy, where did you get your private knowledge? Did Finnigan send you an email?


  312. Present day Tibetan women:

    In general Tibetan are freer than Indian, Chinese or Muslim women even though they live under men.

    Nomad woman is more independent than a farmer woman. Nomad woman can have her own cattle and even if she marries, it’s still hers. If her family doesn’t have a son, she can be the head of her family. She can fairly easily divorce. Possessions are divided into two between her and husband. She can also remain unmarried and just have children with different men. The Children are accepted to the family without hesitation. The farmer woman is not that free, since her husband owns the land. Husbands are most of the time away from home doing business or hanging around.

    Woman is considered a lower rebirth than man. Sadly not many know what was the view of Padmasambhava about this issue:

    Padmasambhava said to her, “The basis for realizing enlightenment is a human body. Male or female, there is no great difference. But if she develops the mind bent on enlightenment, the woman’s body is better.”

    Women are also considered more emotional and imbalanced than men. So familiar! Just think about the hysteria episode in our cultures.

    Then the sex:


  313. Well, like we’re saying, SR is a compulsive narcissist, a sadist who enjoys abusing and torturing his closest students, while pretending to care for the audience. He seems to have managed to fool quite a few of you…….but the truth is out there, in the media, in the blogs, in private and in public, the word is everywhere.

    As for the court case, he lost because he was guilty, he had to pay to silence the American woman, he was so desperate at the time very frightened indeed, he went into hiding for a while, sent Patrick to clean up his mess, asked lamas to do magic, hoping it would disappear, the practices didn’t work of course and he had to pay up, some death threats where involved, that’s not innocence in my book.

    The fraudster belongs to jail and the reason he has not been sent there yet is because it is still hard to prove sexual abuse unless and until the legal system gives itself the means to understand the mechanism of mental and emotional manipulation. Also, he is a clever predator who generally targets his victims very carefully: they are very vulnerable, young and impressionable, the dynamics are similar to family abuse, with threats, intimidation, emotional blackmail, forced complicity and bribes.

    Things are changing though, especially in France or Belgian where special police units are being trained to investigate this type of crime. It’s a matter of time…

    But as usual some of those blogging here haven’t got a clue as to what went down and is still happening in the privacy of his home, oh,…..wait…. it’s been published by several sources, but they don’t like it because it threatens their comfortable little belief system.

    Thanks Marte for the info on Tibetan feminist Tsering Kyi and for the link to her blog, she’s got her work cut out. Feminism is on the rise again, and that’s a good thing! With cases like SR’s and other gurus’, plus DSK and many more, there is a lot of work to be done. But times are changing, the tables are slowly turning.

    Whether people want to help that process or hinder it by denial, is their choice.


  314. Tibetan culture, like the Native American nation I worked for, does not (or didn’t originally) have a Catholic, Anglican, Puritan or Methodist history. Missionaries from these groups did eventually impose their culture on Native Americans, including trying to enforce European ideas about marriage, and it wreaked havoc (along with other edicts) on Native society. It’s not really even fair to call the strictures European, since before organized (and enforced) Christianity came in, many European societies resembled traditional Tibetan and Native society. Romance between individuls was not limited, regulated, or enforced by social organizations, nor by religious organizations. Unions were a private matter, as well they should be. Being intimate with more than one person in ones lifetime was not considered “bad.”

    Who is a spiritual teacher? I know a young man who was in robes, taught us some mornings, and eventually chose the life of a lay practitioner. He married someone who had been at the Sunday teachings, and they have a happy marriage with two great kids.

    You guys are talking about “spiritual teachers” as if this is old Tibet, and we are in robes ourselves, studying and living with a spiritual master day in and day out–that kind of “spiritual teacher.” Who does that in the west? The kind of heavy trip you are laying on the “student-teacher relationship” does not apply most of the time in the West (or even in the East anymore).

    In the west we have multiple teachers, multiple speakers at our sanghas, some teach some classes, others teach others–some are young, some old, some men, some women, some in, robes, some not, some from Asia, some from Europe, some from the UK or the States, etc.

    If you truly believe that abusive sex is a systemic chracteristic of this religious tradition, why on earth are you attracted to it? The obvious reality is that abuse–sexual, physical or otherwise–is not an outstanding characteristic of Buddhism, Tibetan or otherwise.

    Abuse, wherever it’s happening, is a personal issue, a personal crime.

    When you say “these allegations” which allegations do you mean? By whom and against whom? As for slander, you can see by HHST’s silence on that matter, slander suits aren’t really the route most (any?) Buddhist teachers take.

    One dichotomy I notice here over and over–specific teachers are accused by name, over and over, but those making the accusations–or, in our case here, perpetuating rumors of accusations–don’t use a name. As if it’s completely fair to hang someone else’s name out there and say all manner of horrible things, but th en recoil at the thought of exposing ones own name to the same scrutiny. I find that incongruous and hypocritical.


  315. And I read on Facebook that there are 28 attendees at SR’s UK retreat. That sounds a small number for SR– perhaps his students are begging for clarity as well?


  316. A feminist tibetan woman´s voice against gender studies full of romantizism:

    On January 7th, Jamyang Kyi’s blogpost defended Tsering Kyi and saw the erasing of her blog as the silencing of women’s voice. Jamyang Kyi wrote: “the truth is that our culture fosters the physical and mental abuse of women. Women are expected to be obedient housewives. Women are expected to remain silent and when they speak their mind, it is seen as a bad omen. Women spend their lives near the stove in a house that belongs to the brutal and egotistical man”. She wrote that women of Tibet needed to proclaim their voice in the society. Jamyang Kyi applauded Tsering Kyi for breaking the shackles of tradition. In one of her recent blogposts she wrote critically about the failure of Tibetans to modernise and reform during the first half of the 20th century, which generated interesting comments from her readers. Through her blog, books and music, she has become an influential figure amongst a younger generation of Tibetans, particularly amongst college-educated women for whom she has given a voice to their concerns and struggles.

    Quote from:


  317. In fact, if the allegations are false, SR is COMPELLED to act strongly and quell them. He is compelled to stop Mary and others from accumulating further negative karma. That is, if he is concerned about behaving as a bodhisattva. Is that not true, Bella? Sheila?


  318. ““I have the idea that even cheating in a marriage is not that heavy a crime”

    You are free to hold such ideas.”

    I’ts not my idea, but in Tibet that is the way it is. It’s different from our Christian based culture. You can study gender studies and cultural studies about Tibetan culture, so you don’t need to believe ‘gossip’ that I say.


  319. Sheila

    “Sex between adults does not constitute abuse.”

    According to US law, where a teacher has a sexual repationship with a student, this a breach of fiduciary care and is an offence-why do you write such nonsense-you have said this before and have received the answer-troll


    “I have the idea that even cheating in a marriage is not that heavy a crime”

    You are free to hold such ideas. However, those with even a basic knowledge of lay precepts know that to have sexual relations with anothers partner constitutes sexual misconduct-according to ther Buddha

    Sheila. You ask: if these allegations are true, why are there no criminal/civil charges being filed? I ask: if these allegations are slander, why is SR not filing for libel? The libel laws are pretty strict in UK.

    Please answer


  320. Yes, Bella, you’ve brought up another important angle to this, which is the importation of Tibetan culture into the west. It doesn’t work and these problems are definitely a call for centers in the west to set their own cultural boundaries.

    It’s really quite simple, isn’t it? Either the allegations are false, in which case SR files for libel and publicly declares them to be slanderous– or they are true and SR does the right thing by (publicly) expressing true remorse for the sufferings of women. Why is he doing neither of these things? What’s going on?


  321. I have the idea that even cheating in a marriage is not that heavy a crime. Marriage could be seen to some extent a financial affair. I know a Tibetan couple and they are very much in love, so I don’t really know how much it’s a question of love and how much about finacial issues. Usually Tibetans are very family oriented people.


  322. In Tibet sexual relations are not that strict as in our culture (traditionally). Present day west seems a bit contradictory: on the other hand there’s a lot of freedom in sexual affairs and on the other hand not.

    In Tibet women can divorse and marry 2 brothers if she pleases. She is not sanctioned about those things as women have been sanctioned heavily in our cultures in the past. I don’t know about marrriage and the rules about that. Anyway people can quite easily divorse and remarry somebody else, both women and men. Women can be singles and that is not a problem.


  323. And of course, one can flip your argument, Sheila. You ask: if these allegations are true, why are there no criminal/civil charges being filed? I ask: if these allegations are slander, why is SR not filing for libel? The libel laws are pretty strict in UK.


  324. And I don’t know, but I suspect that sex with multiple partners is also an offense in Buddhist ethics– does anyone know?


  325. And there are several allegations of adulterous affairs, which of course is an offense in Buddhist ethics, as is cohersion.


  326. No, Bella, I gave up on the idea that women would feel safe to disclose here a long time ago. Sheila, it is common knowledge now among therapists that sex between spiritual teacher and student is harmful in almost all cases, even when it is loving and consensual. These are facts, you can research them. There is consensus that sex between spiritual teacher and student should definitely be made an offense– ex Dakini brought this topic up on this thread some months ago and it is very relevant. Because of the power differential, sex between spritual teacher and student is on par with sex between therapist and client, doctor and patient– and in some places, sex between teacher and student– where it is all an offense in most places. Germany has already made moves to have it made an offense in Buddhist centers there. So this is not a silly discussion– and where have you been because we’ve been discussing it for some time?


  327. Then what are doing to Victoria Barlow when, as seems to be the consensus here (spoken or unspoken), we say to her “We don’t believe you?

    You guys have a very odd view of “teachers” and “students” in this whole thing. You act as if the students of Buddhism are three-year-olds and teachers of Buddhism are the only adults in the relationship. This is bizarre. Many students in my sangha are in fact older than the teacher.

    Sanghas are not preschools. Sex between adults does not constitute abuse. Sure, if someone is teaching a class on anything, and a “student” and he/she decide to see each other romantically, things could result from that–anything from good-natured teasing to worries about favoritism if it’s, say, a college course. Each situation is different; however, sex is not by definition abuse, and drawing up rules which convey that damaging misconception is not a path I would ever support.


  328. It also doesn’t feel nice when someone is lying on your face and you can anytime see it and prove it.

    If some women have been abused, they shouldn’t exaggerate their experience, creating stories of thanka pictures and orgies. This story telling just makes me think the person is a liar and creates crazy stories in her mind. I do consider this person imbalanced and that prevents me from taking the person’s story seriously. (It just turns against her: I start to think SR is the victim of strange people.)

    Because of the lies already told here (which are clearly provable) I wonder if this surrounding is the best place for confessions. Even though you Drolma are very open to believe the stories and want to create such therapeutic atmosphere for victims (?), do you – as a therapist – think it will honestly work_here?


  329. I’m not making this up, Sheila. It does great harm to victims of abuse to say, I don’t believe you.


  330. The first time I heard of the group of psychotherapists who presented cases of lama abuse to HHDL in the 90s was from a therapist I went to, seeking help for the nightmare that SR did/did not instigate in my life. My therapist said that after the psychotherapists finished reporting on the many cases of students who were suffering psychiatrically from their experiences with lamas, His Holiness put his head in his hands and wept.

    Sheila, Do you see? He didn’t say, impossible, Tibetan lamas would never do such things. He felt the suffering of human beings.

    The cost of saying, ho hum, everything is fine in my part of the woods and so it must be fine in everyone elses, is neither a Buddhist approach nor a humane one.

    Most important, it is vital that women who have been sexually abused are not silenced or ignored. Do you see? That’s the way it was done hundreds of years ago. A woman called rape and everyone said, you asked for it. Perhaps in SR’s case, there are no criminal charges because he stayed within the bounds of the law in his seductions. In which case, we need to review the law, because sex between spiritual teacher and student is abusive and does cause psychiatric damage just as it would between a doctor and his patient, therapist and his client, where it is illegal, full stop.

    While I totally agree with you that boundaries need to be placed on the witch hunt/lynching tendencies that prevail, I also insist that women must be heard. Whatever opinions you might have of this woman or that woman, if she is able to garner enough courage to speak up about sexual abuse, she must be heard. For you to say that all these women are fictitious or liers is very cruel in my mind. Believe me, it is no easy deal to speak of sexual abuse; it feels like hell; it brings up tough stuff. This is why we must do as His Holiness does and feel for the suffering, weep for it, acknowledge it and then try to change our Dharma Centers so that every woman is safe.


  331. S Puppet, Victoria Barlow has given testimony against Sogyal Rinpoche, as well as against many other teachers. Why do you accept her testimony against Sogyal Rinpoche?


  332. What mental illness did VB say she had? She went to therapy, which is not a mental illness.


  333. Round it goes, with someone saying “I heard someone say that someone told them Sogyal Rinpoche teaches harshly,” and a second person responding, “He doesn’t teach harshly,” to which the first person responds, “You’re a supporter of violence against women.”

    S Puppet, why do you blindly defend HHST after Victoria Barlow’s detailed, personal testimony – and she, at least, having the courage to use her own name? Where is your respect for the victim? Are you against victims of abuse?

    Check these two juxtaposed comments bearing in mind that the first instance of ridicule is the extreme response of ‘you support violence against women’ to someone who defends Sogyal while the second, ‘you are against victims of abuse’ is made to someone who refuses to accept the testimony of a well known fantasist with a history of mental illness (to which she freely admits)

    By your own ‘logic’, you are worthy of ridicule troll


  334. troll


  335. Well Drolma, I’m sorry if I’ve unfairly lumped you in with the Corboy types.

    I don’t feel particularly attacked; I suppose because I’m not a student of Sogyal Rinpoche’s, nor a member of Rigpa, and also because while you folks are attacking both those entities, I am not defending them. Rather, I am defending the democratic law of the land, which holds that no person shall be deemed a criminal without evidence. I would consider that stance to be the proper ethical and moral one as well.

    If you have an ounce of respect for justice, you should not in fact want me nor anyone to join in this group-incrimination of someone based solely on internet rumors and hearsay. That’s a ridiculous and destructive goal.

    If I suddenly become convinced Sogyal Rinpoche is guilty of something, what have you won? The ungrounded, blind-faith acceptance of a man’s alleged guilt based on no proof? That, in fact, would be the very blind faith which you spend a good deal of time saying is a danger to society.

    I have noticed that there is no consensus on what, exactly, Sogyal Rinpoche is allegedly guilty of. Pointed remarks? Uncomfortable advice? Rape? No one seems clear on this, so round it goes, with someone saying “I heard someone say that someone told them Sogyal Rinpoche teaches harshly,” and a second person responding, “He doesn’t teach harshly,” to which the first person responds, “You’re a supporter of violence against women.”

    S Puppet, why do you blindly defend HHST after Victoria Barlow’s detailed, personal testimony – and she, at least, having the courage to use her own name? Where is your respect for the victim? Are you against victims of abuse?


  336. I have to say that I am greatful for Sheila on this blog. It’s not personally important for her weather SR is innocent or not, but still she can see through lies and deception that – I think you, Drolma, are quite blind to (not completely though). I didn’t get the impression that Drolma is against HHDL, but has find his teachings ‘safe’ for her.

    Chinapuppet is completely certain that rumours are true. Based on what? Rumours. Very academic indeed. Then he resites some library books that he has gathered from somewhere thinking it’s the final and only Buddhist doctrine, because he has read it. If Sheila and him were students at the University, guess who would have a career and who not?


  337. No, Sheila, what happened is that you didn’t read very many of my comments and those that you did read, you didn’t read properly and then you simply felt attacked from all sides and lumped me in with the rest. Certainly, I cannot blame you for not reading my comments– because I do write too many of them! However, if you’re going to make a judgment about someone, you really do need to properly inform yourself.


  338. Drolma, in nearly every “accusation” you (ironically) accuse me of making, I’ve added qualifiers like “I may be wrong,” “You may be right,” etc. I gone out of my way to say that I know internet communication is tough.

    You say you are convinced I’m an ardent and blind supporter of this or that, and I’m not. I am, however, an ardent supporter of the law of the land, and of innocent until proven guilty. If Sogyal Rinpoche were found guilty of any crime, I would accept it. I’m not a student of his.

    I point out the flaws and theories for possible motives in the anti-Sogyal roast because it bears the hallmark of a witch hunt and smear campaign.

    Do you realize that not one police report has ever been filed against this person, at least not to my knowledge?

    You people go on and on about a civil court case from 1994 in which Sogyal Rinpoche was found innocent of any crimes; yet today he has a small (two?) child and you have expressed absolutely no concern for the fact that you believe this child is being raised by someone you consider a rapist.

    There are simply too many inconsistencies like this throughout the online anti-TB campaign. Of course it raises red flags; how could it not? You’re saying all these are accidental, coincidences; I’m saying Occam’s Razor applies.


  339. S Puppet, as I’ve made clear, Saulaan is my real Chinese name. It appears on my school documents and under my school photos. I try to use Sheila whenever possible, but in the case of Gravatar for instance, that name is already taken. I’ve explained here from day one that Saulaan/Sheila are both me, and why it’s happened. This honesty stands in sharp contrast to your own approach.


  340. E.G. Sheila, I have NEVER heard His Holiness say anything close to what you say, which is that we don’t have to worry about lamas abusing their students because Tibetan lamas don’t abuse students. I have never heard him say that, have you?


  341. For Westerners unfamiliar with Tibetan Buddhism, this approach of His Holiness might not seem very significant. However, it is a radical shift from past approaches to lama devotion in Tibet. In the past, the emphasis was very much on this teaching: “The faults we see in the lama are a projection of our own faults.” Now, His Holiness is making a different emphasis, saying that we should look for the faults in the lama, trust our own judgment and allow ourselves to be critical.

    This is a new, very cautious approach and underlying it is the need to be very cautious with introducing the vajrayana to students.


  342. And His Holiness never mentions names, never accuses anyone by name. Never. This is something Tibetans don’t do. This does not mean that those names they don’t mention are cleared of wrongdoing. It just means that the culture of not naming names is strong amongst Tibetans. It’s a good culture too because the other extreme can be pretty nasty.

    However, Sheila, your great leaps of faith, e.g. A equals Z, just don’t hold up. If you wish to truly honor His Holiness, you will try to see past your black and white views, try to introduce greater openness and objectivity, all qualities that he greatly admires. Your accusations against me demonstrate that you are blinded by your loyalty to the Tibetan Buddhist cause. You seem unable to see any other reality than one completely for or against your views. This is blind faith. This is a very solid view of reality, one quite opposed to the Buddha’s own view of interdependence and objectivity.

    His Holiness once again, in a short teaching to Indians in Delhi several weeks ago, has spoken out on the need to be cautious in our approach to finding a teacher. He spoke once again about the need to take months, years– 12 years if needed– of “spying” on the teacher before committing. He spoke of the need to be educated about the necessary qualifications a teacher must have. He spoke of the texts being our real teachers. He spoke of how frequently students are very needy when they first encounter teachers and thus are vulnerable to abuse and manipulation. He concluded by quoting the Buddha: “You are your own master.”

    He is paving a new and safer approach to lama devotion, I believe.


  343. I told you=shes a troll of the worst kind, Now shes raking up stuff that DI had to remove from the page last time she posted it. Count the posts, count the flat denials, its a troll!

    I LOLd at the post lecturing about using our real names being vital, you know, the one which Sheila signed as Saulaan.

    Get it in your head-this woman sees any attack on any Tibetan Buddhist as a Chinese attack and those who post them as puppets of the Chinese. Despite evidence to the contrary, she completely and flatly denies all allegations of abuse against SR and WILL NOT CONSIDER YOUR PERSPECTIVE-SHE HAS ALREADY DECIDED WHAT IS THE TRUTH!

    PS Saulaan/Sheila

    the ‘extremely serious’ allegations against ST you spoke of came from one person, alleging one instance of sexual contact (with a non-celibate Buddhist) by a woman with a clear history of mental illness (and yes I know she made comments about SR but she was one of many in that instance) Perhaps the reason HH hasnt commented is because he, unlike you, doesnt have time to waste on nonsense


  344. Lol MF BTT HHDL SR HHST; soon no one will be able to understand us.


  345. What has HHDL said about the allegations against HHST? It’s never occurred to me to ask that. They were extremely serious allegations–were they ever addressed?


  346. Bella, I was refering to the meeting described by MF in BTT. When MF went to HHDL with her allegations years ago, apparently he had invited SR to be there as well.


  347. You know, it’s just incongruous that several (one? Two? Who knows?!) of you here talk of having sexual experiences with practically every teacher you meet, or at nearly every dharma center you’ve ever attended.

    Yet I’ve studied with multiple teachers (probably some of the same ones as you), and at multiple dharma centers, and never once has sexual activity been suggested, hinted at, demonstrated or even brought up. And I’ve had plenty of pleasant personal experiences outside the dharma groups, so please resist the obvious urge to suggest it has to do with me.

    Your wild descriptions of rampant sex and pressure to have sex everywhere you turn in the Buddhist world is absolutely unrecognizable to me as reality. I strongly feel it is a load of bunk. I know plenty of Tibetan men in robes, young and old, and they have always behaved as gentlemen. Always. Without fail.

    I know women who have experienced real abuse from real abusers; I am no stranger to calls to the police–I am not in “abuse denial.” I am in fact a strong advocate for women’s proactive defense. I have made many a phone call and given several police reports in my time.

    Something about this Sogyal Rinpoche story is very, very wrong, and I detect a strong odor from the state of Denmark.


  348. United States courts, at a complainant’s request, put Sogyal Rinpoche under a microscope for years and declared that he was not a criminal. The Dalai Lama, who you say is demonstrably willing to speak out against wrongdoing, apparently does not feel Sogyal Rinpoche is a criminal. Something like 99.99% of Sogyal Rinpoche’s students do not think Sogyal Rinpoche is a criminal.

    Have you honestly considered the possibility that Sogyal Rinpoche is not a criminal?


  349. Could you please tell if any meeting between SR and Finnigan took place and if so: when?

    Where did you get the news about it?


  350. Sheila, I wrote this on March 29 in dialogue with Tenpel: ”

    Very good points, Tenpel. It seems we expect His Holiness to be quite the superman. We expect him (to use American termonology) to be president, congress, supreme court, judicial court, and police department all at the same time. We want hime to be both judge and jury. This in addition to his tireless schedule of travelling the world, teaching his messages of universal love and compassion– in addition to his frequent audiences with Tibetan exiles and meetings with Western Scientists. It’s a little unfair I think– and quite impossible.

    Even the action of inviting Sogyal Rinpoche to his interview with Mary Finnigan, when she came with her complaints to Dharamsala, had merits and is consistent with his approach to all difficulties (e.g. dialogue, dialogue, dialogue)– surely, face to face dialogue between SR and Mary Finnigan was a valid approach towards getting to the bottom of these troubles.

    Yet His Holiness has not been silent either. He has taken on the role of supreme court in a way, to use the analogy above, the role of interpreting the Buddha’s instructions in strong and definitive terms for modern ears. For decades, he has been strongly speaking out against the system which supports lama abuse. We can’t expect him then to be the enforcer of the Buddha’s instructions, nor can we ask him to judge every transgression. It’s unfair.”

    Sheila, This statement is probably closest to my own feelings. In the interests of promoting human to human trust between us, I wanted to share it with you. I have presented other perspectives in my comments as well, because seeing many perspectives is an important approach to difficulties, one that His Holiness strongly advocates and that I very much respect.


  351. Sheila, you have clearly not read what I’ve written and I find your accusations deeply offensive and disturbing. I have said that HHDL is silent about the allegations against SR. That is true– how is that in any way an incrimination? It’s a fact. HHDL has been silent about the allegations against SR. Fact, no big deal. What else have I written that you can interpret as having sinister intentions?

    Sheila: “When you say “maybe that’s why there is silence from HHDL,” that carries a negative, judgmental connotation. One doesn’t suggest a crime is taking place, point to another’s “silence,” and expect it not to look like an accusation, however subtle.”

    Give me a break. Because he’s my teacher, I want to better understand his actions. This is an honorable approach, not slimy or underhanded. It is an approach that His Holiness himself would endorse. I also want to defend him against the plethora of comments incriminating him because of his silence. So I acknowledge it.

    And I then proceeded to explore all the possibilities for his silence, which included the fact that nothing is proven, that it would be an infinite regress for him to start refusing invitations to teach from lamas whose reputations are in question, that he was probably turned off by Mary’s combative approach when she calls SR a fat so and so, that he might have been worried about stirring up sectarian trouble. I even talk about how he did the right thing by inviting SR to his meeting with Mary, that this was a straightforward way to address the trouble. I transcribed a big section of comments he made during his teaching at the Kalachakra Initiation, comments that are highly critical of lamas who teach for money and sex, comments that also criticize the Tibetan Tulku system. This all can be seen in my comments.

    If you go to
    you will find pages and pages of my writings and there is rarely a comment that doesn’t contain some quote from His Holiness or extol his virtues. It was I– me!– who exposed the very dangerous and slanderous inaccuracy on that website about His Holiness– the inaccuracy which said that the Office of His Holiness had sanitized his speech when they wrote up a transcript of it. I have written on that website several times that there is a silence among the Tibetan Buddhist community about abuses with lamas and there is the LONE voice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I came forth quite strongly on that website, advocating for His Holiness, because I objected to the heading which reads “Sogyal Rinpoche and the Silence of the Tibetan Buddhist Community and the Dalai Lama.”

    And that is the only other website I have written on. Where else have I written these comments with secret, sinister intent that you refer to? I’d like to know.

    On that website, in fact, Tenpel and I have had quite a calm, considered, intelligent conversation and respect for His Holiness can be found to exude from all of it– respect for all teachers can be seen evident there. I don’t know who Tenpel really is, though I probably could find out, and he doesn’t know who I am, but we respond to each other at face value as human beings and everything stays very civilized between us. Wouldn’t you prefer to respond to me that way? Just take what I say as if it were what I mean and didn’t contain sinister intentions? Do you want to let this sordid affair make you twisted?

    Can you find one statement from me anywhere that actually is demeaning, slanderous, snide or disrepectful of His Holiness? The fact that you are so skewed and paranoid in your perceptions that you haven’t seen pure devotion and respect for my teacher in every comment I have ever made, that you can see in those comments a secret and sinister strategy to undermine His Holiness, is deeply disturbing to me.


  352. Just one more thing–I take a risk when I post. I post as myself. My phone number and address can be found in a heartbeat. My place of work, everything.

    You take very little risk. I understand the desire for anonymity, I truly do; however, for people who claim to be so passionately devoted to a cause, you take no risk for it.

    DI Moderation: We are not in the business of making people feel guilty for using the anonymity of the site to express themselves. If you find it difficult to communicate and have found that you do not like people using it as way of communicating why do you not arrange to talk to them off line where you have a greater level of communication. That is if the person feels comfortable about it. Arguing that you are superior by virtue of your putting up your name is a pretty weak and is threat to peoples anonymity


  353. Drolma, unless we use our real names–which I do, for this exact reason–all we have to go on, in establishing where we are each coming from, is what we have written.

    When you say “maybe that’s why there is silence from HHDL,” that carries a negative, judgemental connotation. One doesn’t suggest a crime is taking place, point to another’s “silence,” and expect it not to look like an accusation, however subtle.

    You are saying that you don’t mean it negatively; that may be true, but on the other hand, you may have said it purposely.

    Mary, too, when pushed, cries loudly that she is in “complete support” of the Dalai Lama, but then writes subtle, slimy things.

    All we have to go on is the words–I’m just saying your words could just as easily be coming from someone who is making a point to continually, very subtly, cast the Dalai Lama in a negative light.

    If that’s not who they’re coming from, then you might ask yourself why it is that the distinction hasn’t been made clear. Again–I do realize the online world is shorn of most linguistic cues that help us understand one another. I also realize that the number of posts from you which contain negative statements about the Dalai Lama is very high (especially if one includes your statements on other forums).

    It’s only logical to ask the question. It doesn’t mean I’m right; however it does mean that, just as I have to constantly reiterate that I’m not “against” anyone personally, you might need to make your own positions clearer.

    When you guys tear into something like the Kalu Rinpoche video like a pack of wolves at the kill, eagerly and gleefully spreading the story as far and wide as you can, almost crowing over it, it has an effect. What am I supposed to think? Honestly, how can you be surprised at my suspicions?


  354. Sheila: “Drolma, while not addressing the Victoria Barlow problem, you have at least tried to appear moderate; however you use it as an excuse to slip in jabs against the Dalai Lama and the implied guilt of Sogyal Rinpoche.”

    You really really really have to be careful with your wild accusations. If you look back at EVERY SINGLE comment I have made, they have one constant, which is my complete respect for His Holiness. Where on earth have I slipped in a jab against him? He’s my teacher, for goodness sakes. I study videos of his teachings and read his books daily. He saved my life. I have several long quotes from him here, all geared towards proving that he is not silent on the topic of lama misconduct. It is I who questioned Mary’s slant against him. It is true that I work very hard at grounding my devotion towards His Holiness with reason and fair handedness–but this is mainly so that I can stay true to myself while still REFUTING the slights being made against him.

    If I have any agenda, it is only that one, and also to move this conversation towards a more intelligent and balanced approach, not a desire to appear moderate or be any special, cool type of Buddhist– and you listed quite a few types of Buddhists in your attempts not to call people names above. So please, everyone, let’s stop wild accusing!


  355. And Drolma, just because it’s worth overstating it, I bear you no ill-will whatsoever. If my tone is ever too sharp, I do apologize–I enjoy vigorous debate, and believe we can all make points strongly without taking it personally. That said, it never hurts to reiterate that the object of the debate is (or certainly should be) the issue itself, and not cheap shots at individual debaters. Much nuance is lost in the electronic world…just another reason that world can’t be used as any proof whatsoever. However, it is interesting to see if and how logic can (hopefully) be exposed, even through mere words.


  356. I haven never said Mary’s “all evil,” and I am generally pretty careful in my writing to make clear that it’s a person’s actions I have a problem with, not the person themselves.

    Mary presents herself to us as a journalist, and it is her journalism I have a problem with.

    Likewise when speaking of the Chinese writers, I acknowledge frequently that they do what they do out of a (however misguided) sense of patriotism, or sometimes because we can all use extra grocery money. It doesn’t make attacking other people for money honorable, but even so, I generally acknowledge (and believe I have so here at least a couple of times) that they have their reasons–that they’re real people, and not “all evil.”

    Speaking of conflation, I do not believe we can make any such solid statement as “SR is probably guilty” based on “testimony” given here. People here don’t even use their real names, so for all I know I’m speaking to only one person besides Bella.

    The overarching problem, for anyone here who actually genuinely is worried about abuse (which I have to say, I genuinely doubt), is a sense of suspicious flimsiness. Flimsy journalism, shaky characters wielding pseudonyms, shadow people flitting in and out–and when you follow those shadows, you find even more darkness.

    Is there really anyone who genuinely believes anything stated here? It’s hard to believe, because if you exist, you don’t do what it takes to make any of this seem believable. Drolma, while not addressing the Victoria Barlow problem, you have at least tried to appear moderate; however you use it as an excuse to slip in jabs against the Dalai Lama and the implied guilt of Sogyal Rinpoche.

    I don’t have ill feelings toward any person (well, if there are any here) individual, but please don’t think I don’t see your new approach for what it is.

    If you are a genuine person, you will have to distance yourselves from the Mary Finnigan-Victoria Barlow cloud (and Rick Ross cloudbursts) if you want to have any hope of convincing newcomers that there is a problem. If there really is a problem, we will be so turned off by all the garbage that we won’t really care to read further.

    Which leaves me with the question: what’s the real goal? Is it just that society has really sunk so low that all we have left of “journalism” and “investigation” is the the splash-and-stick approach? Doesn’t matter how ridiculous it looks, as long as some poor Fox-watching redneck mutters, “Them Rigpa people must be the Devil” ?


  357. So Sheila, still waitng for a response to the question as to how much Janice Doe’s Lawyers were “fined”??


  358. And I just want to make a comment for all on this thread who are practicing Buddhists– or for all who are sincere about the truth. The primary goal of the Buddhist teachings in general and on emptiness in particular is to loosen our grip on a belief in an independent, solid, absolute reality, because that has been identified by the Buddha as the source of our suffering. This is particularly the case when strong emotions such as anger or hatred arise, isn’t it? When we are angry, we conflate the reality of our object, don’t we? We see SR as ALL bad, solidly bad. We see Sheila and Bella as ALL ignorant, solidly deluded. Or Bella and Sheila see Mary as ALL evil, solidly evil. They see BTT as ALL trash, solidly trash. And so on and so on the circus goes.

    These are all exaggerations. All of them are exaggerations, but everyone is holding onto them fiercely, holding onto their territory and shooting rockets at the other side. True dialogue only happens when we stop doing that, when we stop exaggerating and allow ourselves to see things from many angles, many possibilities.

    For example, SR is probably involved in the sexual abuse of women, as women on this thread and elsewhere have testified. All these women are unlikely to be liers. However, there is no conviction of him, no decisive court case and so we cannot say that he is “clearly” an abuser of women, can we? We cannot call it solid fact, can we? And also, he might be an abuser of women by reason that spiritual teachers should not have sex with students but not by reason of actual criminal abuse. E.G. he might not need an ankle bracelet. Mary also is prone to exaggeration– that can actually be demonstrated.

    And SR is also likely even helping women and men alike, as Sheila and Bella have testified. Bella and Sheila are also unlikely to be complete liers. Isn’t it possible that these two realities– the reality of the abuser and the reality of the kind helper– can both be true? Is there only black and white?

    If we can’t accommodate all angles and realities, then our way forward is only going to be warfare. In fact, there is no way forward in the present “my way or the high way” approach– there is only lots and lots of wheel spinning.


  359. Sheila, I agree about the circus. Perhaps this is why there is silence from HHDL.


  360. Oh and BTW “We the public” I am not with that “we” you claim the support of and I am “the public”=safety in numbers??

    Please Sheila, instead of listing just the crazies who have made claims, why not check out the numerous others you fail to mention in the interest of open mindedness of course. Or do you perhaps have pre-established agenda (Theyre all crazy, Chinese spies and Sogyal has never actually been charged etc etc etc)

    Once a troll, always a troll


  361. Saulaan/Sheila

    “I think that several different groups have converged on this particular Chinese whisper”
    Thats it! Anyone who claims abuse is a Chinese spy! Why didnt I think of that??

    “There is no criminal case against Sogyal Rinpoche, and there never has been.”
    As I said, until there is a case (with a guilty verdict) Sheila will not accpet that abuse may have occurred-period

    “Everything you anti-Sogyal Rinpoche people have provided so far has lead to a dead end.”

    And several newspaper articles, television coverage, web pages, further allegations of abuse-all of which remain unchallenged. “Dead end”?

    “On Feb. 21, 1996, the courts ordered the case dismissed and promptly fined Carroll and Phillips, Janice Doe’s lawyers.”
    So Sheila how much were they “fined” as you put it?”

    Gosh, how infuriating. You get evidence of something and then people start quibbling over the amount. Almost as absurd as refusing to accept that Sogyal/Rigpa settled out of court because no one knows the exact amount, isnt it Sheila?

    “OH for the love of Pete. I give up for real”

    Sounds promising but I doubt it.


  362. I ask, because you are making a claim that Janice Doe’s Lawyers were fined, so I’m assuming you know the amount.


  363. OH for the love of Pete. I give up for real.


  364. Well hell’s bells, there’s my proper name again. I give up. It must be random.


  365. Why do you ask?


  366. saulaan, on April 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm said:

    “On Feb. 21, 1996, the courts ordered the case dismissed and promptly fined Carroll and Phillips, Janice Doe’s lawyers.”

    So Sheila how much were they “fined” as you put it?


  367. I do not accept people as innocent or guilty, victim or perpetrator–I accept then as people.

    There is no criminal case against Sogyal Rinpoche, and there never has been.

    Everything you anti-Sogyal Rinpoche people have provided so far has lead to a dead end.

    Mary Finnigan publishes from other people’s magazines without permission, said Sogyal Rinpoche left Tibet when he was two, that the Dalai Lama “strides” (if he ever had such a gait, it certainly wasn’t in 2008), that Richard Gere puts gerbils where the sun don’t shine, and that he-who-shall-not-be-named (another Tibetan teacher) is a sexual criminal. I believe she’s silently changed her tune on that last bit. Not owning up to her mistake drives her journalistic stock down further, though the Gerbil Incident was quite enough on its own.

    Victoria Barlow, one of the key figures in the 1994 “lawsuit” which was dismissed and ended with the Janice Doe’s lawyers being fined by the California courts, has published (and continues to publish) pages of slander against Tibetan teachers, including he-who-shall-not-be-named, a well loved and respected head of one Tibetan school.

    The American Buddha couple, if not genuinely round the bend, spend an inordinate amount of time making it look that way.

    Our German and Dutch compatriots here would have us believe they were each sexually violated–via out-of-body travel–by one or the other of the Karmapa’s, and one of those incidents when the Karmapa was twelve and the “victim” was 30+.

    This is quite the circus. It is utterly unconvincing of being anything other than a colorful show designed to keep Tibetan Buddhism under attack.

    By the way, I found another piece of misinformation in BTT, which states that Janice Doe named her legal opponent as “Sogyal Lakar.” That is untrue. The lawsuit names Rigpa Fellowship and Sogyal Rinpoche.

    On Feb. 21, 1996, the courts ordered the case dismissed and promptly fined Carroll and Phillips, Janice Doe’s lawyers.

    When we the public found out and wrote here about the case being dismissed, and the complainant’s lawyers fined, both Finnigan and Barlow disappeared from our discussion here.


  368. And, Drolma, better to trammell convictions and sensitivities of blind complicities than to blame victims.


  369. Yes, of course I did.


  370. I think that several different groups have converged on this particular Chinese whisper, and get lured into thinking combined force will somehow support their individual causes.

    The odd thing is that instead of combining to make a bigger effort, the groups seem to sabotage each other. E.g. the fervent anti-Buddhism of the Catholic and fundamentalist folks works against the (sometimes posing as) moderate Buddhists’ efforts; the (sometimes posing as) liberal women’s-rights advocates are sabotaged by the testosterone level of the Corboy types and the racism of the anti-Asian types, etc. etc.

    And in this fray, which they no doubt joke about after hours, a few mainlanders work very diligently on their “modern Western Buddhist” personas, but slip up every now and then.


  371. Helen and Marte-Micaela, have either of you filed charges? That would be constructive.

    Trammeling the religious convictions and sensitivities of others is not at all constructive.


  372. Gee Bella
    It really does seem that you are into hero worship. Dont you remember the saying “Dont rely on personality, rely on the meaning of words”? its from the Buddha yknow. Now he was one hell of a charismatic guy……ooops!


  373. bellaB, some paranoia is hurting you, isn´t it?


  374. Helen, were you sent by Finnigan here?

    The more BS you talk, the more I believe SR is completely innocent and you are a bunch of old nasty hags (and I don’t mean wisdom goddesses).


  375. This man:

    Ian Maxwell met Sogyal Rinpoche in 1977. He began to work for Rigpa in London shortly afterwards, and met all the great teachers who passed through the centre in those early years. He received teachings and empowerments from Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche and Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche on many occasions, and was one of the first western students to complete a traditional three-year retreat. He went on to establish a long-term retreat centre at Dzogchen Beara, in the south west of Ireland, where so far more than 100 people have successfully completed retreats. He also worked hard to establish the Rigpa Shedra, which is now in its sixth year and has attracted many of the most eminent teachers of Tibetan Buddhism and numerous students from all parts of the world. In the 1990s he travelled extensively throughout America, Australia and all over Europe, giving talks, guiding countless students and clarifying their practice. He even gave a series of talks to western students in Kathmandu in 1998. He was particularly knowledgeable about the Vajrayana teachings and sadhana practice, and had an extraordinary talent for communicating the meaning of these teachings and making them accessible to everyone. Towards the end of his life he placed great emphasis on the practice of loving kindness.

    In 1992, at the inauguration of Dzogchen Monastery in South India, he caught the eye of no less than His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself, when he made a speech in his presence. His Holiness was impressed and was later heard to remark, “He seems a very capable person.”

    Ian Maxwell passed away in Paris on 4 December 2005 at 9.27am with several of his closest Dharma friends by his side. Phowa practice was performed on his behalf by many great lamas, including Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche who was in Lerab Ling at the time. A guided loving kindness meditation was performed at his funeral.


  376. Helen, tell more:

    “Sogyal’s personal attitude to the dying that some of his older students witnessed was something else and contributed to their becoming former students. In this, as in much else hypocrisy predominated. Personal grief and the resulting vulnerability is a state that he has used to sexually abuse, and generally exploit in any way he can.”

    I happened to be there when a senior student was dying and SR spoke on the phone to him, publicly, so that we would also get to hear what advice he would give to us, if we were facing death. Trulshik Rinpoche was giving empowerments and spoke to the dying student too. A Tibetan monk who resides in LL saw a huge rainbow above LL on the special day of the dying process of that student. I can’t remember the name of that special day. The monk said he must have been a great practitioner. The person who died had been a student of Dudjom Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche too. He was really a special guy and I was really sad to see him go, since he had taught me important practices. He just knew the practices through and through, the innermost meaning of it all.

    I really see no point in your story Helen.


  377. How did SR abuse Helen? I have missed that personal story, obviously.


  378. Well, I and my family got psychological support, therapy and help from Tibetan Buddhism, and it cost 12 dollars.

    We are a widely-read family with many, many books in our libraries; none of them provided what this particular book provided–help for the dying.

    To each their own.


  379. Those who are selective in their reading may not realise that Sogyal’s book is basically plagiarism, he saw a market and tapped into it by cleverly compiling something that combined traditional Buddhism
    interspersed with self-promoting anecdotes and some modern techniques of palliative care, some of which had been developed in western hospices before he started teaching.

    So: if someone collates information from others, and that information is useful to someone else under particular circumstances, then they automatically gain the right to sexually abuse, humiliate and exploit without criticism because it might cause disillusionment?

    Yet more mis-direction here, with added emotional blackmail: it reeks of that superstitious fear common to the religious mind-set. Whatever it believes to be sacred is also held to be so fragile that anyone who even speaks out against it is accused of being ‘evil’. This is a characteristic of the patriarchal fundamentalist: trying to distract from abuse and protect the abuser by denigrating the victims.

    Sogyal’s personal attitude to the dying that some of his older students witnessed was something else and contributed to their becoming former students. In this, as in much else hypocrisy predominated. Personal grief and the resulting vulnerability is a state that he has used to sexually abuse, and generally exploit in any way he can.

    Nothing is given without an ulterior motive, because he is incapable of functioning otherwise. He lures and predates, this is what many religious leaders do, otherwise they would have to work for a living.

    If people are in need of comfort they do not need Tibetan Buddhism, they can get psychological support, therapy, help from family, friends, palliative care, pastoral care, anything but a Guru, because they come at a very high price indeed. More than the price of a book.


  380. No, Saulan, not that way. Helen´s position is honest and a lot of serious researchers as well as journalists and others share this position.
    You can´t regarding you are a cult member.

    Helen, I am victim of abuse by Nydahl and Trinley Thaye Dorje,
    more of my story on my blog. And I have a lot of posts here too.


  381. Helen, you are citing as “clarity of mind” the kind of razor-sharp investigative techniques which include relying on The Onion as a news source. Honestly, woman.


  382. In response to Marte-Micaela:
    It’s very encouraging to read something here that expresses clarity of mind and the moral courage to understand that the only response to abuse is to leave and expose it for what it is without ambivalence. There is no middle way or compromise that doesn’t become complicity.


  383. Helen, I would add that 12 dollars is a small price to pay for a book whose ecumenical advice and emotional coping strategies were of immeasurable help to myself and my family as our Dad dealt with cancer and eventually, death.

    It is precious advice, for those with whom it resonates; one of my greatest sadnesses in this whole debate is to think that someone else’s experience with these teachings may be ruined, and any benefit they could have received, destroyed.

    I have no doubt, in fact, that that is the goal of at least some here. For me, as someone who has seen firsthand the comfort these teachings can bring, I find the acts of those seeking to destroy that comfort, nothing short of evil.


  384. Obviously the Dalai Lama has no judiciary authority, this is even more mis-direction which avoids the issue that he has a moral obligation not to actively endorse a sexual abuser.
    Similarly, the argument has long since gone beyond whether or not Sogyal is an abuser, especially to those of us who have had personal experience. If you do not have the decency to respect someone who has the courage to speak up about something painful you should ask yourself why? Who or what are you so desperately trying to protect?


  385. You are right, Helen. That Old-Boy-Network is always going on and does never ask for the suffering of women.
    The only way is to leave, now and utterly. Otherwise our compicity with the abusers is also going on.


  386. Or, Sock Man/Woman, maybe I’m being idealistic. Perhaps the sectarian divisions and jealousies and rivalries are still there, though more underground. Perhaps they’re even stronger because of the precarious state of affairs in Tibet. Perhaps the Kagyus have, in fact, taken over the Monlam Prayer Festival and that is why HHDL has stopped giving his spring Monlam teachings. Maybe HHDL doesn’t dare speak out against a Nyingma lama for fear of stirring up serious sectarian trouble.

    Just another angle, another possibility.


  387. ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder,’ is a psychological term first used in 1971 by Dr. Heinz Kohut (1913-1981). It was recognised as the name for a form of pathological narcissism in ‘The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 1980.’ Narcissistic traits (where a person talks highly of himself/herself to eliminate feelings of worthlessness) are common in, and considered ‘normal’ to, human psychological development. When these traits become accentuated by a failure of the social environment and persist into adulthood, they can intensify to the level of a severe mental disorder.

    Severe and inflexible NPD is thought to effect less than 1% of the general adult population. It occurs more frequently in men than women. In simple terms, NPD is reality-denying, total self-worship born of its sufferers’ unconscious belief that they are flawed in a way that makes them fundamentally unacceptable to others.

    In order to shield themselves from the intolerable rejection and isolation which they unconsciously believe would follow if others recognised their defective nature, NPD sufferers go to almost any lengths to control others’ view of, and behaviour towards, them. NPD sufferers often choose partners, and raise children, who exhibit ‘co-narcissism’ (a co-dependent personality disorder like co-alcoholism).

    Co-narcissists organize themselves around the needs of others (to whom they feel responsible), they accept blame easily, are eager to please, defer to others’ opinions and fear being seen as selfish if they act assertively. NPD was observed, and apparently well-understood, in ancient times. Self-evidently, the term, ‘narcissism,’ comes from the allegorical myth of Narcissus, the beautiful Greek youth who falls in love with his own reflection.

    Currently, NPD has nine recognised diagnostic criteria (five of which are required for a diagnosis):

    • has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
    • is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, ideal love, etc.
    • believes that he/she is special and unique and can only be understood by other special people.
    • requires excessive admiration.
    • strong sense of self-entitlement.
    • takes advantage of others to achieve his/her own ends.
    • lacks empathy.
    • is often envious or believes that others are envious of him/her.
    • arrogant disposition.

    Sogyal ticks most of these boxes and his devoted students behave according to the description of co-narcissists.


  388. Regardless of which particular Buddhist leader you each feel should “go after Sogyal Rinpoche,” monks are not police. They are not lawyers, and they are not private investigators. The Dalai Lama has no work permit for France that I’m aware of; no legal ability to set up shop on French soil and somehow conduct a genuine investigation into anyone or anything.

    You have all swallowed whole the concept that Sogyal Rinpoche is “guilty of something” but if you want that dream to manifest as real-world consequence, there has to be a real-world investigation. Neither the Dalai Lama, nor any other member of civilized society, can (thank God) simply claim self-declared “spiritual authority” and declare another person guilty of something.


  389. By the time the Tibetan Book of Making a Living Out of Dying was first published, containing the Dalai Lama’s foreword in 1992, the issue of Sogyal’s abusive behaviour had already been going on for several years and was well known in Buddhist circles, the Dalai Lama had by this time already received letters from women who had been abused by Sogyal and so was quite well aware of it.

    The first conference in Dharamasala on the subject that he hosted was held at the request of Western teachers in 1993, the court case in the States: 1994, and so on.

    Despite this, in 2008, following no less than 15 years of the matter being firmly and increasingly in the public domain, the Dalai Lama inaugurated Lerab Ling, thus giving Sogyal his personal endorsement in the most forceful, public way available to him.

    How could this overt encouragement possibly act as any kind of brake on Sogyal’s abusive behaviour? The only possible result is completely the reverse in fact.

    And how many vulnerable women have and will be abused and how many people suffered humiliation or wasted their lives venerating a


    because any doubts or reservations they might have had about Sogyal will have been put aside directly because he has been endorsed by the Dalai Lama?

    DI moderator: *an alleged sexual assault perpetrator

    This can’t be interpreted as indifference, diplomatic silence, passive or tacit approval it is active, explicit, public, unconditional endorsement of Sogyal and therefore active complicity in his serial abuse of women.


  390. Yes, in the modern world, there is no further use for the sectarian division of lineage teachings. HHDL speaks rarely of Gelug, always of Tibetan Buddhism. HH Karmap is doing the same. The Great Monlama Prayer Festival, once fought over between Kagyu and Gelug, is now being shared between the two. Etc. etc. Lineages with clear sectarian divisions had some use in old Tibet, but no more. Now it is simply important that those important lineage teachings be upheld. That is what the leaders of all the lineages are busy doing.


  391. Sheila “The structural hierarchy being invoked does not exist.”
    No, thats ‘did not’. Ever since Sogyal started parking himself onstage whenever HH is in town, and giving lectures to fringe groups at his teachings, and putting photos of HH at the fore in his ever increasingly costly Rigpa calendars,(fpmt do a free calendar online BTW) he forfeited the right to that defence. He has bought into the illusion of the DL as the overall head of TB 100%-cant pull out now.
    Situ also did the same when he asked fpr his Karmapa to be vetted-HH has NO authority in the Kagyu but, followers of Situ et al will now have the pleasure of the Gelug telling them how to run their tradition-not so long since they tried to destroy it!.


  392. Seems like the best approach to this trouble lies somewhere inbetween Sheila and Helen, a sort of middle way between Helen’s nihilism and Sheila’s absolutism. If we look at all the angles, over and over, more possibilities appear and things look less stark, less frustrating. Isn’t that true?


  393. That is, Sheila, His Holiness and other lamas are the ones with best access to SR’s conscience.


  394. Sheila, “You’re suggesting the equivalent of asking an Anglican lay minister to “answer to” a Catholic archbishop. It just doesn’t work that way. The structural hierarchy being invoked does not exist.”

    That’s not true. Even from a Sectarian viewpoint, it isn’t true anymore. For goodness sake, SR has built an entire retreat center in His HOliness’s name. He doesn’t “answer to” His HOliness as to an employer or a Pope– he answers to him and other lamas in the sense that he cares about their opinions.


  395. Well, now there’s the “Sheila” again. I wish I could make that consistent.


  396. You’re suggesting the equivalent of asking an Anglican lay minister to “answer to” a Catholic archbishop. It just doesn’t work that way. The structural hierarchy being invoked does not exist.

    As for Bardo Thodol, I read Tibetan Book of Living & Dying first, and Bardo Thodol much later. Both–and especially, for me, that sequence especially–made for one of the most important spiritual experiences of my life. Incredibly moving, incredibly helpful in dealing with death in a profound and positive way.


  397. Mis-direction? No, I was simply pointing out errors in your wild accusations. Along those lines, I would point out that SR’s book was published in 1994, not “many years” after HHDL was “being made clearly aware that the man is a spiritual rapist.”

    And yet, as I have said before, there is a stain on every Tibetan lama in this mess. Of course there is and that includes His Holiness.

    However, it is possible that this fact could even be helpful in the long run. If SR has His Holiness and other lamas to answer to, this might make it more difficult for him to keep up the facade and ignore the allegations. I do think SR cares a lot about his standing with other lamas.

    You see, Helen, I find it helpful to look at things from lots of different angles instead of flying off the handle about one idea. It gives a more balanced, sane view.


  398. Indeed Helen, no matter which way you slice it, the Dalia Lama is not practicing what he preaches.


  399. Sadly, even more weak, disingenuous comments here, springing from the very sort of feeble, sycophantic reverence and projection that has perpetuated religious oppression for centuries.

    There’s really no point in trying to refute an argument if you don’t have the honesty to address the most telling illustration used. The DL has written the foreword to Sogyal’s book and inaugurated Lerab Ling and this after many years of being made clearly aware that the man is a spiritual rapist. Of course it is possible to skirt around that as much as you like, citing all sorts of other things that you deem positive while deliberately ignoring the most important point that you have no response to, because none exists to bolster your fantasies.

    This is a very good illustration of mis-direction indeed. Ultimately you become an apologist for something that decent people find repugnant. This is because of a type of intellectual corruption that makes you believe in a permanent state of moral innocence and clarity that obtains both in yourself and also those with whom you identify.

    Of course, we’re all free to do this if it makes us feel better even it means refusing to accept the truth and ignoring other people’s suffering through abuse.


  400. And Bella, Christianity is a faith based, theistic religion– Buddhism is neither faith-based nor theistic. Big differences there.

    Helen, I do want to add that if you are going to criticize Buddhist practitioners on the grounds that they are ignorant, you need to be very careful that you are also not ignorant in your criticisms.

    E.G. you claim that there is no evidence that Buddhist practices obtain the results they claim and that is actually quite false. That is, in fact, much of what scientists are doing with His Holiness these days. Far from being a novelty to scientists, His Holiness is a friend and colleague in their work. They have been meeting for decades and when they meet, they listen to each other– mainly, His Holiness listens to the scientists who bring him the results of their most recent findings. Then he asks questions. They laugh a lot together. It’s wonderful to watch. The most recent conference was with leading environmental scientists, presenting the latest findings on global warming and other issues. This was a very serious meeting. His Holiness has supported environmental activism for decades.

    The goal of these meetings? Improving people’s lives. In the Environmental Science conference, they spoke of the difficulty of changing people’s minds. In conferences on psychology, they speak of the power of altruism. Richie Davidson, a very prominent neuroscientist, is testing brain activity in those who meditate on love and compassion. These scientists are determing that altruism improves mental and physical health. They are building a case for introducing moral education in our schools.

    These meetings bridge the gap between science and contemplative practice. They are paving a new type of relationship between humans and ethical conduct, one that is grounded in reason. It is very inspiring work, which is why I gave you the link.

    Before you jump on a ‘Let’s beat up HHDL” bandwagon, you need to know the person you’re beating up. He does not propigate Buddhism, did you know that? He is very clear that his main business in the world these days is to 1. Promote human values and 2. To promote religious harmony. He is tireless in this effort.

    He also speaks out against the misconduct of lamas, frequently and strongly. He is the only lama who does that. He does not name names. He does not have the power to hire or fire lamas. Those are the facts and boundaries you need to place on your criticisms.


  401. I think Christians, hard core Christians have much more devotion than Buddhists. Buddhism has that academic side to it.

    How to explain devotion so that it doesn’t sound too tacky? At least I’m
    not crying my eyes out, screaming and singing around… I don’t think one could see it in me in any way if I felt devotion or not. It is somehow feeling deeply that something just is there, it is like it is – it’s not empty, fantacy. I don’t know if it is even too emotional thing.


  402. Without a conceptual mind and conceptualizations he would not be able to write a word in his book.

    – True. But the mind is energy and SR’s mind has lots of it. One can feel it. While meditating I also feel energies in my body, subtle channels, I guess… that are nowhere described in our cultures.

    “There is also imagination and intuition in science, because without them there would be no ideas to be checked against the reality. Great scientists recognize that their theories were born after they had moments of so called inspiration, i.e. imaginative exploration.”

    I have read that too and agree. I’m not against all science. Playful animal torture I can’t stand. Swapping the head of animal to another body… One knows that scientific discoveries are used in a wrong way.

    If LOVE, limitless love is a hallusinogenic created without substance abuse, then it may be that.

    SR talks highly of Jesus and compares him with his own devotion to Guru Rinpoche. If Jesus and Guru Rinpoche were both very advanced spiritual beings, is there anything to blame for? I don’t care if they were both “sons of God”.

    I think SR means that enlightenment is about uniting with the collective energy. It’s like union with god.

    How the collective, the all pervasive energy, is described is the same as decription of God: love, all knowing wisdom, transcends all, is everywhere.

    Christians just put there the name tag God to make a distiction between us and that God. In Tibetan Buddhism the understanding is that there is no separation and never has been, but we just don’t see it, in our ordinary mind’s eye.


  403. Christianity denies Gnostic texts, Gospel of Thomas, Pistis Sophia and the rest. Those could be Christianity’s esoteric teachings, but they are denied.

    Priests who wanted power, decided there will be only one life from now on. And people should pay us money.

    I think it’s wrong that a God will judge people to eternal hell or heaven just for one life. I think this concept os one of those things that make me want to scream: there is no JUSTICE! hat about people who never even heard about Jesus? They are millions. Are they all in hell now?

    I always felt there is more than one life. As a child I really though I don’t want to be born anymore. My parents never talked to me like that. It was as if I just knew there were a past tragic life behind me.


  404. I read Bardo Thodrol and bought in English in Rigpa.

    The priests just make it so obvious to me that it’s not the way.

    I don’t know if I’m manipulated or not by SR. I haven’t spent enough time with him closely. I just wonder what reason he would have to manipulate – especially me. I don’t give him anything.

    There is more to SR than a plain scholar would see. It’s an old joke about scholars and true realized beings.

    I don’t think SR cares about his fortune. He got h
    ospitalized a few years ago, almost died. There is always the awareness that he could die any moment. Grasping to fortunes? I don’t think so.

    Would I die for Buddhism? No. I’m too coward at the moment. Even though my death would rescue all future sentient beings? Maybe I should die for them. I guess I would, if it was a real deal.

    Shoko Ashara. SR has also said jokingly that Rigpa is not a cult. “If I ask you to die, DO NOT!” He said it completely joking, so don’t double thinking.


  405. Alternative,

    I only read Zen poems and Roshi’s book before Sogyal Rinpoche’s (from Buddhism). I was very interested in religions already in high school (or earlier) so I did think about things from early on.

    My world view is too different from Christian. It’s not based on certain persons. I already decided against it in high school and it hasn’t changed. My view has only gotten stronger.

    I don’t agree:
    1. man was given dominion over animals…

    I really at times prefer animals to humans. I don’t idealize humanity. Human is a stupid, arrogant monkey that makes experiments on other monkeys and animals. My view is not a Buddhist one, noticed that? But Buddhists do consider or respect animals and nature more than Christians.

    2. Sacrifice. I have been feeling closeness to nature, more than awerage. I have been interested in Shamanism, but never met any of those people, except some Tibetan Buddhist lamas could be considered as such. I don’t like animal sacrifice, so there goes my limit again. Buddhism doesn’t support any other sacrifice than our ego. I think it’s far deeper that Jesus being sacrificed for our sins. The interpretation of Jesus as a sacrife to God is unsustainable. Why would God need sacrifice? The killing of Jesus was just an example of our species cruelty, hunger for power and stupidity.

    3. I am drawn to esoteric stuff, hence my interest in Shamanism, Tibetan Buddhism and Gnosticism. I just think Tibetan Buddhism is a walkable path, Gnosticism is a dead religion, Shamanism is more limited.

    4. I don’t believe in Satan. I don’t believe in 2 forces: good and evil. Buddhism is beyond the extremes, so it’s more intelligent approach.

    5. I only studied very little about Hindu gods and goddesses. I was told that in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in India Hinduism is also studied and a monk told me that Hinduism and highest Buddhist doctrines have a lot in common. I don’t like animal sacrifice to Kali.

    6. I’m drawn to Shintoism too. I get it.

    7. Tibetan Buddhism has a path layed infront of you that you can walk spiritually and psychologically, directions are given. Then I also found a teacher I felt a connection to.


  406. Helen, I agree that SR’s actions have been harmful to all Tibetan lamas. How can any of us ever totally trust a lama again? How can we approach him/her without wondering if he/she is an abuser? You are singing to the choir about that. It is something of a family joke among my daughters that Mum is afraid of lamas. They think it’s funny to be afraid of a Tibetan lama! The truth is, I haven’t set foot in a Dharma center or spoken to a lama in 7 years. I was invited back to the monastery last year and refused—out of distrust. And yes, you are right, I cannot prove that HH Dalai Lama is not an abuser of women or isn’t complicit with SR—because I have never been that close to him.

    However, I made a decision 7 years ago not to go to that dark place where you speak from. I guess I’m stubborn, but it seemed like if I became bitter, dark, cold and pessimistic because of the abuse I had suffered, then I would be letting my children and myself down in a big way. My suffering would have been worth nothing. I came to Buddhism because of its message of hope and decency. The fact that its messengers from Tibet weren’t delivering their message straight wasn’t going to defeat me. So His Holiness has helped me a lot with this determination. His teachings and approach to life have helped me carve a positive, strong, decent practice of Dharma out of all this mess—he’s very consistent and his approach is grounded and it works. So I judge him on that basis and have faith in his decency and compassion. In that way, I’m a little like Bella, because I can’t prove these things for someone else—so we’ll have to agree to disagree about His Holiness.


  407. Thank you, Saulan and S-puppet, I didn´t know that! But it is a funny story, isn´t it?


  408. Bella, I do not know what kind of books have you read prior of reading “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”. I specifically made reference to the fundamental religious texts (Pali Canon, Bible, Koran, Bhagavad-Gita etc.) and philosophical and psychological works. I was wondering, for example, if you read Bardo Thodol prior of reading “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”or afterwards, if at all.

    In what follows, in the comparison I will make, I will make reference particularly to the Christian religion (as it is presented generally by the works of the Saint Fathers, the most recognized authority in that respect, and accordance to my understanding), because it is still the dominant religion in our Western culture, and it is also, I suppose, more familiar to you.

    It is my impression that you tend to judge the truthfulness of a religion primarily based on the impression made to you by the words and character of a particular teacher or preacher of that religion (SR or the priests you have met until now). But your judgement of their words or character is dependent on your prior frame of mind or prejudices, built by reading or not reading some books, meeting or not meeting some other people, and on some of your affective needs.

    My remark was that books like “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” tend to replace the basic religious texts, being treated, to my impression, for example, in Rigpa as some kind of a fundamental bible for disciples. I remember that SR recommended to his students to read it repeatedly in order to discover its profound levels, but in that book it is never strongly recommended (as I remember) to read the original Bardo Thodol or the Pali Cannon. For me that was not a sign of too much humbleness. An autobiographical commentary to the Bardo Thodol is still not Bardo Thodol. It may that other religious texts are read and commented in Rigpa, but, to my impression, they still are not considered to be by the most students their fundamental source of inspiration, at the same level as “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” or as the SR’s audio conferences. I have asked myself how many of the Rigpa students have ever read integrally the commented texts referred in those conferences, prior of hearing them or afterwards.

    You also seem to believe that the truthfulness of a person is so obvious, that only by reading his words or meeting her/him would be enough to judge it for sure. Furthermore, you seem to believe that you are immune to any manipulation, that you have sufficient knowledge and experience to detect it. I wish that it would be that simple. The trick is that no person would be manipulated if she/he knew that she/he had been manipulated. It is in the definition of the manipulation that a manipulated person does not think that she/he is manipulated. For example, many people fall prey to some manipulating strategies of marketing from advertisements. One of them is the presentation of an advertisement as a person’s story, telling her/his experience with a product and showing a lot of “convinced” enthusiasm regarding the miracles made in his life by using it. So, as a manipulation strategy, it is known that a personal story is more convincing than presenting the bare facts or religious principles and their interpretation. There are unconscious mechanisms that make us to respond in that way, and even when we know that it may be a strategy, we still can have a hard time to control its automatic activation.

    It may be that “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” is a story, but even more of a story is the Old Testament, or the Gospels, for example. They also do not have too much conceptualizations, intellectualizations etc., proof being the fact that they were understood by people with not too much knowledge and education from the time when they were written (and then there was not also too much knowledge of how to manipulate people), and they died, sacrifice themselves for what they understood from them. I wonder if SR would die in order to defend his belief in Buddhas if someone would ask him to choose between his life and his faith, or even to choose between his fortune and his faith.

    I do not say that someone’s level of faith is the single criterion of truthfulness, because there are a lot of fundamentalists able to sacrifice themselves in the name of their faith. But it seemed to me that you may take it as the most important criterion, given your words that the faith with which SR preys and speaks about his believe in Buddhas convinces you also, quieting your doubts. But I am sure that the followers of the Shoko Ashara also believed in the truthfulness of their master and in his sincerity, otherwise they would not have committed the gas attacks, knowing that they are harmful. I think the motives of one’s faith are more important than the level of her/his faith.

    Your comment that first I should met SR and then judge may be somewhat similar with a recommendation to first drink a drug or take a medicine prior of informing myself in what respects its potential dangers, or, respectively, its known side effects. There are a lot of young people curios to experience the state created by psychedelic drugs. But they ignore the easiness with which a person can become dependent on them, maybe only after the first sniff, based on their prior genetic vulnerability. If a master is a doctor who gives medicines, as in the Buddha’s metaphor, then one has to trust that person in order to pay a visit to him, particularly when the fee is rather high. If we are so careful with our physical health, I think we should be also careful with our spiritual health. And there are also doctors who give their treatment totally for free to all students … not only for a few of them, for which others pay. I wonder if you would go to a doctor if you heard that some of her/his patients (only a few) were worse after visiting her/him.

    Furthermore, taking your way of judging Christianity based on your superficial meeting with a priest, I then too should judge the entire Buddhism based on the words of a particular lama (SR’s words in this case) who may not be very inspiring or even truthful. You seemed to revolt yourself against that priest and Christianity because you understood that salvation is only for the people from the church (the unilateral way in which you interpreted his words). But what best method can be to challenge the ego of the audience or your ego (in an abusive manner, in the SR’s style) than the statement of that priest, in the hypothesis that you felt rejected and excluded because you had felt that you are not part of that church? And you also believed that the words of that priest must be the words of God, and that your interpretation of them is correct, without checking before. If you were revolted that other people were in that way rejected, from what I know, also, in Buddhism, people who commit wrongful deeds or have false religious views (not the Buddhist ones) are born in lower realms and not in heaven. It is their choice in this case as much as in the Christian case. The Church is rejecting no one, people reject the Church. In fact, an alternative way to interpret the words of that priest would be that the Church is the community that believes in God, that Jesus is the son of the God, and believe in His sacrifice in order to free them from the power of sin. Everyone who is willing to believe that is chosen. As it is suggested in Gospels, Jesus sacrificed Himself to save all people, especially the sinners. But saved are only those who accept his sacrifice, out of respect for their freedom. They are free to reject it in the same way people are free to reject a treatment. Otherwise, a constrained salvation, against one’s will, is not really a salvation. If a man is in prison and someone says that he is willing to go through a tunnel into that prison, risking his life in that way, in order to free him, his salvation depends on weather he is willing to accept that person and follow it on the path to the way out, and believe in him that is not a tempter, being sent by his parents to free him, and that he has the power to escape them both. But if he is proud and do not want to be salvaged by another person and thinks that he is able to do it herself/himself, that only depends on her/him … No one can constrain her/him and free him against her/his will.

    I noted that it may be an ego thing the revolt against God, because a proud person may not like the idea to be at the mercy of someone else, even God. But what is the problem and why should one be afraid if that person believes that the God is a compassionate and just person, that if that person does nothing wrong she/should not be afraid, and that even if she/he does something wrong, it may be salvaged out of mercy, even if she/he does not deserve it, the only condition being to admit that it was a wrong thing to do and to accept God’s mercy?

    Besides that, the official position, at least in the orthodox Christian churches, it is stated that it is not known how the people outside the church will be judged by God, but it is supposed that there are not doomed, and their judgement will be based on how much they observed the natural law instilled in their heart and mind by God. In other words, the judgement of the Christians or those who heard about Jesus will be more severe than the judgement of the other people.

    As I know it, Middle Eastern religions “do not emphasize” that all good comes from an outside source. As I said it above, it depends also on the will of the person. Even to prey is an act of will, in which you collaborate in obtaining your own salvation.

    Furthermore, in Christian religion too is said that there is a fundamental good nature of every person, as every man is an image of God. It is a kind of given potential to become perfect, like God. But it is the choice and freedom of a person to attain also the perfect likeness with God, through her/his own efforts and will, not only through grace. She/he participates to her/his birth as a divine being, by her/his free will, because it would not be an act of love from the part of God to constrain that being into becoming what she/he does not want to be. In comparison, as it seems to me, the Buddha nature is a given from nowhere and the effort of a person should be simply to recognize that she/is perfect from eternity. It seems that nothing is added, only the illusion of the Samsara (evil) is discarded through personal efforts. But, it may seem for some persons that, as they have the Buddha nature, it is as if they are already perfect in the present and they may be very proud of that, that they are potentially autonomous and their well being is totally dependent on them. But in Buddhism, to my knowledge, also, there is no explanation for the origin of the fall into ignorance of the mind, for the Samsara. It seems to me that in the expression that mind creates Nirvana and Samsara the idea of creation is not properly used, and it is different than the notion of creation from Christianity. If the mind and the Buddha nature exist from eternity, then nothing is created by mind, properly. And if Samsara is an illusion, then, an illusion is nothing real, so nothing is in fact created.

    You were also revolted against the word of the priest who said that “there is true evil out there”. But in Buddhism too, there are recognized evil spirits and purification rituals, or empowerment ceremonials in order to overcome not only the internal, but also the external obstacles (internal and external, relatively speaking). In the lower realms, it is supposed to be demonic beings that may interfere with our realm. Buddha was tempted by Mara. You may say that they are not outside, but inside us, that they are maybe only projections. But, in fact, they are outside of the nature of Buddha, otherwise it would mean that the nature of Buddha has the evilness inside. If you think that there is no evil, then why bother with any spiritual path, if anything done is good from the start, if there is no right view and action, and no wrong view and action, as Buddha said that there is still such a distinction. Otherwise, what would be the point of Karma? Embracing everything I think that it does not mean embracing evilness, or evil doing. In Christianity also it is said that even the enemy should be loved, but not evil actions.

    In fact, in orthodox Christian theology it is recognized that evilness has not the same level of reality as the good. The evilness is simply the absence of good, as the shadow, or darkness, is the absence of light. Therefore, evilness is dependent on good, as a parasite of the good, nurturing from it, a kind of secondary reality, more like an illusion. Evilness has no true creative power, only the ability to mimic or to falsify the reality of the good, the only thing that is real and eternal.

    In Christianity, according to the monks from Eastern Orthodoxy, there is also a method to progress spiritually, i.e. this progress is not purely an issue of mercy. In fact, there are three main steps: purification (not having any more harmful thoughts and feelings), illumination (when one sees the nature of things) and deification (when one becomes god, i.e. united with God, through the power of His uncreated grace). But no matter how virtuous a monk becomes, he recognizes that becoming a god (saint) is an act of mercy, because one does not totally deserves it after all and because a creature is not above her/his creator God.

    I wonder also: if SR’s book is sincere and there are presented in it his fundamental beliefs, what else would add a personal encounter with him for me, especially in the condition that there is now hope to know his private or intimate life? The most I could obtain would be a short meeting with a few exchanged words. Is there a hope that I may be convinced by a kind of magical power or charisma? But, in my opinion, someone’s charisma or magical powers are not a way to guide oneself in the spiritual path. Hitler had also charisma.

    Speaking of truthfulness and manipulation in SR’s book, reading quite a lot from the Christian religious tradition, I could say that his idea that devotion to a guru and to Jesus is the same process, betrays his little knowledge about the Christian religion. And it is a proof of stated ignorance and even deception of his (former) Christian students. You said that I had judged him before I met him. But he judged Christianity before he really got to know it (at least at the same level as he knows Buddhism) or before meeting Jesus as a person, as if he would be some higher authority able to judge that (because he cites no one stating his opinion). It would have been more humble and truthful to keep silence before emitting such a sweeping opinion. Only someone who thinks he has arrived to the highest level of the spiritual realization may be entitled to pretend that there is no difference in devoting to him or to Jesus. But even Buddha, in his supposed omniscience, said nothing about Jesus. Christians may interpret his statement as an offence, belittling Jesus. Christians may be offended also that in the book is suggested that only Tibetan Buddhism has a way or the best way to help dying people, when it is a generally known fact that there are Christian prayers and rituals for dying people, and spiritual assistance is given in those moments. The fact that Christian spirituality has eroded (being too formal) in the West does not say anything about its truthfulness, as the fact that Buddhism has eroded in Orient (being also formal there, with a lot of former Buddhist embracing other religions) says nothing about his truthfulness. A religion is more alive when encounters hardships or is developed in a new culture.

    By the way, mixing religions, as Christianity and Buddhism as if they are all about the same message, as it happens in the SR’s book, is also a New Age characteristic …

    As regards the conceptualizations from the “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying“ Bardo is a concept, nature of mind is a concept, energy is a concept, karma is a concept, rebirth is a concept etc. Psychologically speaking, without a conceptual mind and conceptualizations he would not be able to write a word in his book.

    I am not saying that there is nothing beyond the conceptual mind, or reason. But discarding them prematurely in order to arrive to a higher state may be counterproductive, because they are part of the staircase that leads to the sky. You need to step on the steps of the concept and reason in order to surpass them, not to refuse them from the start. Not stepping on them or throwing away their staircase means that one believes that in that way she/he is already arrived to the sky, when she/he is still on the earth (victim of the censorial and affective illusions). I have read an interview with SR who said a similar thing, accepting the usefulness of the conceptual mind in order to surpass it. Fools also give up the reason and conceptual mind, but they are not wise because of that. In fact, reason is a way to ignore your personal ego, to make abstraction of your personal desires. It is a way of thinking in general, not exclusively from a strictly particular perspective. A rational person subjects herself/himself to the same criteria of assessment that are used by her/him in order to assess other persons. A rational person tries to ignore her/his feelings and personal temporary interests and act in accordance with general and long-term interests.

    I admit that choosing a religion is not fully based on a rational choice. But rationality should play a part, not letting affectivity and imagination going astray. It is like a bird that has to have two wings in order to fly. Our mind can play so many tricks too us, as in the case of so many schizophrenics or drug intoxicated, that I think only personal experience should be not enough in order to make important spiritual choices. Furthermore, it is a known fact that hallucinations may occur now and then in the life of otherwise perfectly mentally stable people. In fact, reason asks only to check personal experiences with the personal experiences of others, both similar and dissimilar with the personal one. Rationality is not about the current level of knowledge of a culture (the Western one in our case) and what it recognizes or not, but a method to obtain knowledge and to check the one obtained through other means, as Buddha said that everything should be checked based on experience and reasoning, and not to believe in something on account on of some kind of authority or tradition. I have noted the several Buddhist masters praise the Tibetan Buddhism for how similar is with the most recent results of the science (from quantum physics, neuroscience and psychology etc.). But the same science is rejected when it is no more convenient to gain prestige in the eyes of the Westerners, and some of its parts that are not in sink with the same science (as it is the cosmology case, for example) are not mentioned. Rationality and science are not automatically linked with calculations and money, as you seem to believe. There is also imagination and intuition in science, because without them there would be no ideas to be checked against the reality. Great scientists recognize that their theories were born after they had moments of so called inspiration, i.e. imaginative exploration. But there is a kind of educated, worked and controlled inspiration, not the one coming from the day dreaming in which unfulfilled desires are manifested in a more or less covered manner.
    Recognizing the ghosts, for example, or other paranormal phenomena or not is not directly linked with the limits of rationality, but with the limits of the present means of investigation. The same was true when the electromagnetic field was only a hypothesis and predominantly a matter of belief.
    The limits of the rationality are recognized by scientists (there are even theorems proving that, as Gödel’s incompleteness theorems are), but that does not mean that rationality is to be discarded contextually, based on how convenient the results of the reasoning processes are for a person, for her/his particular present needs.

    My impression reading some sutras from Pali Cannon was that they were extremely analytic and logical, presenting all the possible alternatives and disputing every one of them based on their logical consequences, and refuting them in a reductio ad absurdum manner. Furthermore, to my knowledge, a Buddhist monk is supposed to be able to have polemics (logical debates) to his teacher or fellow disciples in order to receive a higher rank.

    There is another misconception, the one about mind and heart in Christianity. You generalize from some deviations or branches of the Christianity in the Western society to the entire Christianity. If you had read the Bible or the Saint Fathers, you would have seen there is no place in which mind is totally separated from heart. Jesus said, for example, that “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander”. Also, the purpose of the practice of the monks from the Eastern Orthodoxy when saying incessantly the Jesus prayer (Jesus, Son of the God, have mercy on me, the sinner!) was to bring the rational mind into the heart, reuniting them, as it was originally. Heart in Orthodox Christianity means the center of a being, the part of his being with which is in connection with God. Also, Christianity is all about devotion, so, by your criterion, it should believe in the Mind + Heart idea, also. But if devotion is so important in the Tibetan Buddhism, more important than you seem to believe it is in Christianity, why Tibetan Buddhism is praised to be a “science of mind”, resulting from its study (i.e. observation, and experience, as in every science), as you said. Study means something rational, objective. Furthermore, devotion means to me to base your progress and knowledge on exterior, on the outside forces of a guru, of a Buddha, on their mercy (named it compassion), because we do not properly deserve their help.

    Finally, it seems to me that it is hard to think and to speak of mind or love as separated of a person or, respectively, of the relation between persons. For example, you said that mind is “the creator”, personifying the mind. Mind is, for me at least, particularly about will (not knowledge or affect, because it transcends them both), and love about a relationship between free wills. But will is what separates a person from a material thing. Without a link with a person, mind or love can be treated as or linked with, as it seems to be the tendency, some kind of unknown energies that through the science of mind of the Tibetan Buddhism could be accessed, transmitted, controlled and manipulated. It may be viewed as a purely technical issue. Once one learns and masters the technique, she/he achieves a higher status, with the risk of becoming proud of herself/himself and her/his acquired self-sufficiency, because she/he may think ultimately that only through her/his merit conquered that status. Devotion to the master may be viewed as a payment or merit in order to gain his teachings of the technique. Imaginary giving up to the accumulated merits may be only a subterfuge to fight with this potential and hidden risk of the spiritual pride.

    I did not imply that your dreams about SR were inspired by angels or fairytales. My impression from your words was that you think that they were inspired by him or that they have a spiritual relevance for you, no matter if they are projections or not. And, after all, what difference is between angels and Buddhist deities? You may say that deities are personifications, or symbols of some aspects of the Absolute, but the same was thought to be by the Greek antique philosophers about their deities. Why the need to symbolize those aspects as persons and not as concepts of aspects, if they are only symbols and nothing more? Why to reject the notion of God as a person or creator, and, in the same time, symbolize impersonal and abstract attributes as persons? I heard or read the SR’s words who said that in Tibetan Buddhism the nature of God is not rejected, only the concept of God. For me it was hard to understand that distinction, and especially why he thinks that Tibetan Buddhism is so special in that respect. On the one hand, Buddha spoke explicitly against a God as creator, and the belief in any God was considered to hinder the spiritual progress, as a false view. On the other hand, in the apophatic Christianity theology (, it is recognized that God cannot be defined in any way, that what is spoken about Him in a cataphatic manner, using concepts, have only a relative value, as a way in which people are able at some particular time to perceive Him and define Him in relationship with the man (Creator, Judge, Savior). In Christianity, God is primarily “Who He is”, as it is told in the Old Testament, and as the Creator.

    You had an email connected to your comments which we as moderators can see. I tried to send you a private mail but it was returned as being non existent. Could you contact us at


  409. Tell that to all those who have been ruthlessly exploited and abused! Tell those who have been sexually abused, violated and are being systematically humiliated that it is done from a place of compassion.

    The main purpose of this blog is to inform, warn and if possible disclose the various types of abuse committed by Sogyal, not to try to turn this space into a PR exercise for that sociopathic grotesque little shit.
    There has been and still is so much wrong with him, the list is here to stay, just learn to read it!


  410. Marta-Micaela, The Onion is a farcical newspaper. It makes up funny stories which are not true, for humor. The Onion newspaper was started in my hometown of Madison, WI. Es ist keine echte Zeitung, sondern eine komödiantische Veröffentlichung.


  411. There HASN’t been any problem!

    SR has compassion, unlike you.


  412. Newsflash

    Sogyal bans food from tsok offerings in case any potentially obese people attend!

    (Seriously B, its obvious that alcohol was banned because there had been problems, not because they might happen-why not just ban all people in case any negative karma occurs?) No problems with alcohol at Rigpa? Yeah sure-and no problems with spiritual ego in dharma centres eh?


  413. I would NEVER try and upstage you Bella. So no booze because ‘former alcoholics’ might turn up. What next: cover up women in burkas in case any former heterosexuals turn up??


  414. I haven’t been faced with a problem of alcohol in Rigpa.

    Alcohol was removed because there might be former alcoholics who could be tempted.

    SR has never asked to drink, supported drinking – and drinking is a phenomena I’ve never seen practiced in Rigpa. If there are former alcoholics in the audience, it’s another matter.

    Rigpa is not a cause for anybody’s drinking, except for Drolma. I’ve only met one former alcoholic who didn’t drink in Rigpa – and I believe he had stopped it alltogether.

    Are you playing stupid again?


  415. ER Marte. thats from the Onion, a famous satirical site in the US.

    Trungpa would regularly teach while drunk-to great effect.

    “When my teacher drinks alcohol, it is transcendental wisdom nectar. When I drink alcohol, it opens the gates to the animal realm”

    Alcohol is no demon-self hatred and addictive behavior are the cause of suffering in this instance

    Bella, “there has never been a problem at Rigpa with alcohol but it was necessary to ban its use during tsok to protect alcoholics from themselves”???You dont make sense woman


  416. No, saulaan? Then have a look at the violent and drunken Dalai Lama!,1093/

    Until now every one of you avoided any comment about this story.
    Also a elephant in the room.


  417. Ah! the elephant in the room………………


  418. I’ve never seen anyone drink/drunk at a Buddhist function.

    S Puppet, you said something above about me telling people to “keep quiet” about abuse or something to that effect; what I’ve actually said, repeatedly, is to go to the authorities.

    I am not “attacking” Mary Finnigan. I am pointing out various elements in her writing, both formal and casual, which are at odds with one another and strike me–and certainly, therefore, others–as hypocritical (whether purposely or accidentally).


  419. ER you didnt address the question bella. What about the contradiiction?


  420. Alcoholics whom seek help from Buddhism do not show in retreats drunk.

    I have never seen a person, alcoholic or not, drunk in any Rigpa retreat. There is no contradiction.

    Buddhism doesn’t support being drunk. I guess you already knew that.

    I have met that one man who told me he had been alcoholic in the past (I guess they always call themselves alcoholic, weather they have stopped or not) on one retreat 10 years ago. I’m sorry I had almost forgotten about him! He was such a nice man and also intelligent. Had that brain storm stopped through meditation.


  421. Hey!
    bellaB, on April 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm said:

    “I have seen the same people all through the decade I’ve been there. I know people who have been there for 20-30 years. Besides you, I have never seen anyone drunk or heard anybody becoming drunk. Alcohol is not part of the Rigpa scene,”

    But then……………….

    bellaB, on April 9, 2012 at 6:46 am said:

    “SR removed alcohol from the Tsoks in order to protect alcoholics”

    Ur isnt there a slight contradiction here? Is this what Buddhists mean by the unity of the two levels of truth; the one on April 5th, and the other April 9th?

    Come on bella, if there are no drunks in Rigpa, what would be the point of banning it? Do you have truth to fit every occasion?


  422. It’s a fair comment that religion has helped people to endure suffering and no-one could dispute that belief has enabled the accomplishment of things that would have been impossible or even unthinkable in its absence.

    The overwhelming power of focused, single-minded belief, and self-sacrificing devotion to a common goal, cultivated over a prolonged period, helped the Wermacht operate industrialised genocide, slaughter their way across Europe and subsequently endure the suffering and disintegration of all they had built and held dear.

    Those other phenomena more commonly thought of as religion expand the sum total of atrocities considerably.

    The point here is that these qualities are not automatically good or beneficial to humanity per se. Far from it. For every undoubted plus there are many more minuses.

    The more intense and effective (in its own terms) belief is, the more dangerous it becomes and the more it needs a tightly regulated and pervasive imposition of safeguards in terms of morality and humanity.

    Whatever their professed intentions, religions, including Buddhism in all its forms, always try to prevent this because, they derive their authority and very existence from belief and being hierarchical structures, by definition they contain relationships where an imbalance of power creates the ideal conditions for abuse of all kinds. This is why they always protect themselves by aligning with social, political, or even military elites in a mutually beneficial way. Anyone who thinks Buddhism has ever excluded itself from this, needs to read their Asian history.

    Whether or not Buddhist philosophy and techniques actually do result in the promised goals has to be evaluated by results and in that respect most of the more grandiose promises are obviously total nonsense. Even the seemingly more attainable results such as happiness, peace of mind, mental clarity, and compassion are not any more in evidence in Buddhist practitioners than the rest of us and curiously, a cross-section of revered Buddhist teachers seems to throw up a wide spectrum of undesirable qualities that ought to be absent if Buddhist practice was effective, even by its own terms of reference.

    The Dalai Lama may indeed be fascinating for a few neurologists; we’re all on the look out for novelty after all. But the knowledge that his continuing endorsement of Sogyal makes him complicit in the abuse of women might dampen their enthusiasm if their own daughters had been involved.

    What exactly are the benefits of all his daily hours of meditation if they don’t even give him the clarity of mind or moral honesty to understand something as simple as that and what, other than smug hypocrisy are all his teachings on compassion if he remains indifferent to suffering in his own sphere that he could and should address?

    Basically: single-minded belief without the moral courage for honest analysis.

    Sogyal and the Dalai Lama….two among many contemporary, popular, shining examples of the flowering of 2,500 years of Buddhist thought and practice.


  423. A relevant and interesting posting.


  424. Part 2

    5). Pseudo-scientific mystification. The instigators of destructive cults seek to overwhelm their adherents emotionally and intellectually by pretending that progressive initiation into their own superior or superhuman knowledge (coupled with total belief in its authenticity and unconditional deference to the authority of its higher initiates) will defeat a negative or adversarial force of impurity and absolute evil, and lead to future, exclusive redemption in some form of secure Utopian existence. By making total belief a prerequisite of redemption, adherents are drawn into a closed-logic trap (i.e. failure to achieve redemption is solely the fault of the individual who didn’t believe totally). Cultic pseudo-science is always essentially the same hypnotic hocus-pocus, but it can be peddled in an infinite variety of forms and combinations (‘spiritual’, ‘medical’, ‘philosophical’, ‘cosmological’,‘extraterrestrial’,‘political’,‘racial’, ‘mathematical’,‘economic’, ‘New-Age,’ etc. etc.), often with impressive, made-up, technical-sounding names. It is tailored to fit the spirit of the times and to attract a broad range of persons, but especially those open to an exclusive offer of salvation (i.e. the sick, the dissatisfied, the bereaved, the vanquished, the disillusioned, the oppressed, the lonely, the insecure, the aimless, etc. etc.). However, at a moment of vulnerability, anyone (no matter what their age, sex, nationality, state of mental/physical health, level of education, etc.) can need to believe in cultic pseudo-science. Typically, obedient adherents are granted ego-inflating names, and/or ranks, and/or titles, whilst non-initiates are referred to using derogatory terms. Although initiation can at first appear to be reasonable and benefits achievable, cultic pseudo-science gradually becomes evermore costly and mystifying. Ultimately, it is completely incomprehensible and its claimed benefits are never quantifiable. The self-righteous euphoria and relentless enthusiasm of cult proselytizers can be highly infectious and deeply misleading. They are invariably convinced that their own salvation also depends on saving others.

    * dualistic adjective describing the theological/philosophical concept first recorded in the 6th. century BC in the ‘Zend-Avesta’ (the founding text of ‘Zoroastrianism’, a traditional ritual belief system named after the Iranian/Afghan Prophet, Zoroaster, or Zarathustra), that the forces of good and evil are equally balanced in the universe.

    6). Monopoly of information. The leaders of destructive cults seek to control all information entering not only their adherents’ minds, but also that entering the minds of casual observers. This is achieved by constantly denigrating all external sources of information whilst constantly repeating the group’s reality-inverting key words and images, and/or by the physical isolation of adherents. Cults leaders systematically categorize, condemn and exclude as unenlightened,negative, impure and absolutely evil all free-thinking individuals and any quantifiable evidence challenging the authenticity of their imaginary scenarios of control. In this way, the minds of cult adherents can become converted to accept only what their leadership arbitrarily sanctions as enlightened, positive, pure and absolutely righteous. Consequently, adherents habitually communicate amongst themselves using their group’s reality-inverting jargon, and they find it difficult, if not impossible, to communicate with negative persons outside of their group whom they falsely believe to be not only doomed, but also a threat to redemption.

    7). False justification. In destructive cults, a core-group of adherents can be gradually dissociated from external reality and reformed into deployable agents, and/or de facto slaves, and/or expendable combatants, etc, furthering the hidden criminal objectives of their leaders, completely dependent on a collective paranoid delusion of absolute moral and intellectual supremacy fundamental to the maintenance of their individual self-esteem and related psychological function. It becomes impossible for such fanatics to empathise with non-adherents. Their minds are programmed to see the manipulation, and/or cheating, and/or dispossession, and/or destruction, of inferior outsiders (particularly, those who challenge their group’s controlling scenario) as perfectly justifiable.

    8). Structural mystification. The instigators of destructive cults can continue to organize the creation, and/or dissolution, and/or subversion, of further (apparently independent) corporate structures pursuing lawful, and/or unlawful, activities in order to prevent, and/or divert, investigation and isolate themselves from liability. In this way, some cults survive all low-level challenges and spread like cancers destroying the lives of countless individuals in the process. At the same time, their leaders acquire absolute control over capital sums which place them alongside the most notorious racketeers in history. They operate behind ever-expanding, and changing, fronts of ‘privately-controlled, limited-liability, commercial companies’, and/or ‘non-profit-making associations’, etc. etc. Other than ‘religious/philosophical’ and ‘political’ movements and ‘secret societies’, typical reality-inverting disguises for cultic crime are:‘charity/philanthropy’; ’fund-raising’; ‘lobbying’ on topical issues (‘freedom’, ‘ethics’, ‘environment’, ‘human rights’, ‘women’s rights’, ‘child protection’, ‘law enforcement’, ‘social justice’, etc.); ‘publishing and media’; ‘education’; ‘academia’; ‘celebrity’; ‘patriotism’; ‘information technology’; ‘public relations’; ‘advertising’; ‘medicine’; ‘alternative medicine’; ‘nutrition’; ‘rehabilitation’; ‘manufacturing’; ‘retailing’; ‘direct marketing’; ‘multilevel marketing’; ‘network marketing’; ‘regulation’; ‘personal development’; ‘self-betterment’; ‘positive thinking’; ‘self-motivation’; ‘leadership training’; ‘life coaching’; ‘research and development’; ‘investment’; ‘real estate’; ‘sponsorship’; ‘bereavement/trauma counselling’; ‘addiction counselling’; ‘legal counselling’; ‘cult exit-counselling’; ’financial consulting’; ‘management consulting’; ‘clubs’; etc. etc.

    9). Chronic psychological deterioration symptoms. The long-term core-adherents of destructive cults are psychotic (i.e. suffering from psychosis, a severe mental derangement, especially when resulting in delusions and loss of contact with external reality). Core-adherents who manage to break with their group and confront the ego-destroying reality that they’ve been systematically deceived and exploited, are invariably destitute and dissociated from all their previous social contacts. For many years afterwards, recovering former core-adherents can suffer one, or more, of the following psychological problems (which are also generally indicative of the victims of abuse): depression; overwhelming feelings (guilt, grief, shame, fear, anger, embarrassment, etc.); dependency/inability to make decisions; retarded psychological/intellectual development; suicidal thoughts; panic/anxiety attacks; extreme identity confusion; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; insomnia/nightmares; eating disorders; psychosomatic illness (asthma, skin disorders, headaches, fatigue, etc.); sexual problems/fear of forming intimate relationships; inability to trust; etc. etc.

    10). Repression of all dissent. The leaders of the most-dangerous destructive cults are megalomaniacal psychopaths (i.e. suffering from a chronic mental disorder, especially when resulting in paranoid delusions of grandeur and self-righteousness, and the compulsion to pursue grandiose objectives). The unconditional deference of their deluded adherents only serves to confirm, and magnify, the leaders’ own delusions. This type of destructive cult leader maintains an absolute monopoly of information whilst perpetrating, and/or directing, evermore heinous crimes. They sustain their activities by the imposition of arbitrary codes (secrecy, justice, punishment, etc.) within their groups, and by the use of humiliation, and/or intimidation, and/or calumny, and/or malicious prosecution (where they pose as victims), and/or sophism, and/or the infiltration of traditional culture, and/or corruption, and/or intelligence gathering and blackmail, and/or extortion, and/or physical isolation, and/or violence, and/or assassination, etc. etc., to repress any internal or external dissent.

    Copyright David Brear 2006-09-18


  425. Sounds like the US Republican party.


  426. For those of you who haven’t already disappeared up your own rhetoric, here’s some very interesting and extremely relevant material written by David Brears and published by FECRIS :

    Part 1
    Apart from its use in the sense of ‘a popular fashion especially followed by a specific section of society’’ or ‘a person or thing popularised in this way’, the traditional definition of the English noun, cult (Latin cultus worship), has been ‘a system of religious worship (Latin religiosus obligation, bondage) especially as expressed in ritual’, or ‘devotion or homage to a person or thing’. However, the word is now also used as shorthand for what is more accurately described as a destructive or criminogenic* cult. This phenomenon can be briefly defined as: any self-perpetuating, esoteric** ritual belief system established or perverted for the clandestine purpose of human exploitation.

    Such groups are identified by the following, essential characteristics:

    1). Deception. Destructive cults are presented externally as traditional associations. These can be arbitrarily defined by their instigators as almost any banalgroup (‘religious’, ‘cultural’, ‘political’, ‘commercial’, etc. etc.). However, internally, they are always totalitarian (i.e. they are centrally-controlled and require of their adherents an absolute subservience to the group and its patriarchal, and/or matriarchal, leadership above all other persons). By their very nature, destructive cults never present themselves in their true colours. Consequently, no one ever becomes involved with one as a result of their fully-informed consent.

    2). Self-appointed sovereign leadership. Destructive cults are instigated and ruled by psychologically dominant individuals, and/or bodies of psychologically dominant individuals, often with impressive, made-up names, and/or ranks, and/or titles. They steadfastly pretend moral and intellectual authority whilst pursuing various, hidden, criminal objectives (fraudulent, and/or sexual, and/or violent, etc.). The leaders of destructive cults hold themselves accountable to no one.

    3). Manipulation. Destructive cults employ coordinated techniques of social and psychological persuasion (variously described as: ‘mental manipulation’, ‘coercive behaviour modification’, ‘group pressure’, ‘thought reform’, ‘ego destruction’, ‘mind control’, ‘brainwashing’, etc.). These are designed to fulfil the hidden criminal objectives of the leaders by provoking in the adherents an infantile total dependence on the group, to the detriment of themselves and of their existing family, and/or other, relationships. Destructive cults manipulate their adherents’ existing beliefs and instinctual desires, creating the illusion that they are exercising free will. In this way, adherents can also be surreptitiously coerced into following potentially harmful, physical procedures (sleep deprivation, protein restriction, repetitive chanting/moving, etc. etc.) which are similarly designed to facilitate the shutting down of an individual’s critical and evaluative faculties without his/her fully-informed consent.

    * criminogenic adjective (1) crime-producing. (2) produced by crime.

    ** esoteric adjective (1) intelligible only to those with a special knowledge. (2) (of a belief etc.) intended only for the initiated.

    4). Radical changes of personality and behaviour. Destructive cults can be of any size, duration and level of criminality. They comprise groups, and/or sub-groups, of previously diverse individuals bonded by their unconscious acceptance of the self-gratifying, but wholly imaginary, scenario that they alone represent a positive or protective force of purity and absolute righteousness derived from their leadership’s exclusive access to a superior or superhuman knowledge, and that they alone oppose a negative or adversarial force of impurity and absolute evil. Whilst this two-dimensional, or dualistic*, narrative remains the adherents’ model of reality, they are, in effect, constrained to modify their individual personalities and behaviour accordingly.


  427. I guess you don’t know Anonymous a lot about alcoholism: it’s both mental and physical addiction. One drop can cause a collapse in a person who is trying to get rid of it.

    Trying to practice tantrism with a substance when you are addicted to it doesn’t work. One can try to practice on a mental level (like younger monks practice practices involving sex), but not to risk the physical addiction.

    Like giving heroin to someone trying to get rid of it.


  428. Which brings me back to my favorite topic– the early introduction of the vajrayana in our Dharma centers. When that is done, then there is no choice but to remove the alcohol for the sake of alcoholics who are not properly prepared for vajrayana practice.

    DI will say that we are off topic, but I still maintain that the early practice of vajrayana, so rampant in our Dharma centers, is a big contributor to abuse.

    P.S. Bella, I was never an alcoholic. Alcohol was a small part of my journey– smoking cigarettes was bigger.


  429. (13) Not relying properly on the substances that bond us closely to tantric practice (dam-rdzas)

    The practice of anuttarayoga tantra includes participating in periodic offering ceremonies known as tsog pujas. They involve tasting specially consecrated alcohol and meat. These substances symbolize the aggregates, bodily elements and, in Kalachakra, the energy-winds – ordinarily disturbing factors that have a nature of being able to confer deep awareness when dissociated from confusion and used for the path. The root downfall is to consider such substances nauseating, to refuse them on the grounds of being a teetotaler or a vegetarian, or alternatively, to take them in large quantities with gusto and attachment.


  430. “SR said that the honey moon period lasts for 5 years” Actually, in my experience it lasts much longer and I wonder why he would say such a thing=perhaps to convince the naive of their lack of naivety

    “SR removed alcohol from the Tsoks in order to protect alcoholics”
    If you knew your tantric vows you would know that this is actually a serious infringement of the precepts

    Drolma has not stated the extent of her abuse so stop pigeon holing her


  431. Those external guru and salvation fantasies are your own. I am mostly working and studying – and do not practice, nor think about Buddhism much at all.

    I have had some deep experiences on retreats. That is all.

    SR said that the honey moon period lasts for 5 years. Well, somebody was ‘kind’ enough to destroy my honey moon period at the beginning of my 2nd year. So I have had unhoneymoon period for 8-9 years.

    If I see slanderous talk here that I have a completely different experience about, I will tell it. That is to bring into the discussion the other side.

    SR removed alcohol from the Tsoks in order to protect alcoholics, if there were any. I haven’t heard about such an act in any other group. It may look like a small act to people who are not alcoholics, but it means a great deal to alcoholics.

    In the early days I met on a retreat a man who said he could finally through the meditation stop the endless circle of thoughts he had been fighting against through alcohol. So SR or Buddhism has helped him.

    Then there is Drolma who come to say she believes the abuse because she begun drinking when she met SR. It might be possible (but I doubt it). I just think the fault is not SR’s but lies in the karma or something. Extensive karma purification began, but she turned it so that she interprets it as something that SR has caused.

    Maybe SR hit her nerve a few times. The point was probably
    a) not directed at her
    b) if it was directed at her, something in what he said hit the childhood or some other karmicly painful point. She as a therapist makes her own interpretations that I believe her own colleges wouldn’t agree. At least I wouldn’t.

    Isn’t it ALWAYS so that alcoholics do not start healing before they admit their own responsibility for their drinking…?! I’m sorry I’m again a bit strict but I think this needs to be said.


  432. Dont you get it Bella, I am saying Sogyal may welll have some qualities but that doesnt mean he is incapable of abuse? Cant you see the that?

    Or is it just that, having projected saviour onto him after one period of abuse in your life, you are completely incapable/unwilling to accept that he too could also be capable of inflicting the terrible harm you suffered on other women?

    I think you have invested far too much in the external guru, who appears to be some sort of external form of salvation for you. Remember “The guru is an ordinary man who has accomplished extraordinary things” The form of guru worship you exhibit is so naive it is quite sickening, indeed it is in part the reason that abuse occurs in the first place. Who could resist a harem of adoring young women who have suspended all judgement (or even male benfactors?) Anyone with even a trace of ego would clearly take full advantage


  433. Yeah obviously, thats why I alluded to the possibility of his having qualities..Duuuuuuuuh!


  434. S Puppet, I thought about your comments that you are extremely black and white. SR is all evil, in your eyes. If anyone says one good thing about him, it can’t possibly be true. I don’t have any need to invent stories.


  435. “Do you think that if he didn’t have good qualities, people would be his students?”

    Does everything have to be so black and white for you bella? Can you possibly imagine that someone can either posess or convey qualities while at the same time having a dark side> Or do all the bad people in your world wear dark cloaks, have big black moustaches and top hats? Must someone have horns and a tail befor you can possibly conceive of their character.?

    Think ‘Hitler loved his dogs’ ‘Murderers love their children’ is that not possible?

    Think ‘Mother Theresa was a tyrant’ ‘A pope ignored the holocaust’ Are you waking up yet?


  436. If you look on the Rigpa website, you will see that SR is going to be very busy teaching over the next half year. I was thinking about that and wondering about it and then I thought, of course, when you sit in a teaching, you feel a lot of love and compassion coming from the lama, you often feel strong devotion. That whitewashes a lot of the skepticism. At least that has been my experience.

    I remember an interview I had once with a lama like this. It was during a very dark time in my life and I needed help with redirecting my practice etc. So I had an interview, seeking Rinpoche’s help. Afterwards, I felt a very strong rush of devotion and gratitude towards Rinpoche– I remember telling a friend immediately after, “I don’t know why I didn’t go to him earlier for help. It was soooo helpful.”

    It took me many more months of dark stumbling to come to the realization that he never answered any of my questions; it just felt good to be with him, as usual. So it might be sort of like that at Rigpa, SR giving out the whitewash of devotion, instead of real answers.


  437. And Helen, I feel very strongly, as a Buddhist, that we not throw out the baby with the bath water in this discussion. I have very strong opinions, which I will only mention briefly here in fear of being off topic, about the value of religion in people’s lives. Examples of how religion has given people courage, hope and calmness of mind in the most extreme and dire of circumstances abound in history– quick examples are the Tibetans in Chinese prisons or African Americans during their dark periods of slavery and even up to the current time. These stories are inspiring.

    I am also quite convinced, based on my own experiences, that Buddhist practices can be very helpful for women who must face the difficult journey of healing from abuse. It is only one small part of Buddhism, the vajrayana, which grants lamas the power that they can then use to abuse students. The vast cannon remaining is all about students being skeptical and discerning. In this cannon, there are many instructions about viewing the teacher from different angles before committing to him/her, before ever embarking on the vajrayana approach where submission to authority is involved.


  438. Helen, if you are objectively interested in the subject of where Buddhism and science converge in a spirit of respect, you might want to view some of the conferences being held between HH Dalai Lama and top scientists. This is not “soft science” but discussions between Buddhists and leading. respected scientists in the fields of neuroscience, physics and psychology. These scientists seem to think that Buddhists, who have been contemplating and debating and analyzing the world of mind and emotions for 2500 years, have something to offer other than abuse.

    Heres one link to a conference:—contemplative-science

    I repeat: Buddhism and abuse are not compatible.


  439. Do you think that if he didn’t have good qualities, people would be his students? If I have spent about 1 year in his presence during the past decade, I may have seen a bit more than you. At least it seems that way. All you have is internet gossips… from MF.


  440. Thank you for that wonderful appraisal of Sogyals good qualities-you are clearly deeply involved with the Rigpa publicty machine, Small communities, little direct contact with Sogyal and the Rigpa juggernaut
    “SR has said about the accusations publicly in Rigpa. He has said that he is not harming anybody”
    What a relief to realise that all the allegations are lies and all the so-called victims are liars and fantasists. Thank you for putting the record straight. By the way, did you know, the Holocaust never happened. I know this because the Nazis denied it..


  441. SR has said about the accusations publicly in Rigpa. He has said that he is not harming anybody..

    With the three year retreatants or in some other retreat where I wasn’t that subject was talked extensively.

    You said you were there 10 years ago. How could you know?

    Also lamas do practice this:

    “Give all victory and gain to others,
    Take all defeat and loss upon yourself”

    If those lamas didn’t talk about the suicide just before the empowerments, it could be that they were shocked about it – and in the Tibetan tradition those people try to create auspicious conditions, especially during the empowerments – and of course it was not auspicious at all. Maybe they wanted the atmosphere not to change completely. I do not know. Sometimes those people can be as we would call them superstitious, even though I hardly believe lamas are like that.

    SR talks often about suffering, gives live examples – also from the retreats. Constantly. He has also talked about depression that he felt when he was young and new in the West. He uses real life examples, also from the present day (and from people he knows in Rigpa) and teaches from there. He does combine Buddhist teachings practically to the real suffering of the world. I guess because he has lived and seen a lot, the students can also relate to what he is teaching.

    I just think Drolma, that you didn’t really pay attention to what SR said while you were there.

    He is very westernized and is really talking sometimes too openly about things. Also in Bhutan and when he is teaching in the East, he doesn’t change his style, even though that would be the general expectation.

    Once there was an event in Ireland (I heard) where a speaker fell down on someone’s head during the teachings. What a fuss he had made taking care of that person. Luckily the person wasn’t seriously harmed and she was given a protection scarf.

    He takes care of people, but somehow – or for some reason you didn’t notice that side of him at all?


  442. That story happened a long time ago, but I doubt that things have changed. It’s a corporation. What I saw of the inner workings of that monastery was very distasteful to me; it was dishonest and secretive and all about power. And Bella, you cannot tell me that the inner workings of Rigpa are any different.


  443. The monastery was KTD, HH Karmapa’s North American seat. And I must qualify that not all the members of the administration were concerned with public image, I certainly don’t want to be naming names, people I care about. I did have a conversation with the wife of the president about how such things would never happen in Tibet. She was open and caring as always (mother of Ponlop Rinpoche). The president did come to Mahakala puja that evening and did talk to me and the other woman who was there (only three that day!) about how surprised he was because “she seemed so normal.” And then at Chenrezig puja, I think there was only a couple of people.

    But not a word from either of the two rinpoches and no follow-up, no coming together as a community and talking about it and how people might be feeling. I personally didn’t know the woman but still felt very emotional that it had happened. It was odd because after 9/11, the pujas were packed and the sangha did come together, but I guess this was too problematic.

    I was liaiison for the affiliate centers at the time and I emailed the centers about the event, but it continued to be hush hush. I think there was general disapproval over my mass emailing (by then, I was generally disapproved of.)

    I am writing of this not to vere off topic, but because it is a demonstration of the cultural divide, where it seems as if the habit is not to speak of things that are difficult. There isn’t really a culture in Tibetan monastic communities to handle difficult issues– and there’s so little transparency. So thus we have SR’s silence– and the silence of the TB community generally.


  444. intellectual dishonesty…

    yes. Say that to Mary and Victoria Barlow.

    I have not enough proof of any abuse, sorry. So I will not join your condemnation gang.


  445. If that suicide event had occurred in Rigpa, SR wouldn’t have wiped away the suicide. He would have spoken about it and felt sad about it. I think he would have spoken about it during many days, maybe even shown it as an example in his teachings for many days or in many retreats.

    You have a completely false view about Rigpa, Drolma. SR has heart, but you seem to not know it.

    I said those things about you Drolma, because all you know are the internet gossip and you have expressed these 2 things that you have suffered as a proof of the sexual abuse SR has been accused of. I’d like you to question your own objectivity here. Especially if you are a shrink… (?)

    SR was ‘nasty’ toward the Dean in a jokingly fashion. If you don’t like joking, then stay away from the Tibetans.


  446. Mis-direction is a common tactic, often used in situations where attention needs to be directed away from one thing in order to achieve another. ( In itself the technique is neutral, what makes it creative or destructive is the aim.) There’s a great deal of this here and it isn’t particularly constructive..

    On a fairly innocuous level, many commentators mis-direct, perhaps for a mixture of reasons: maybe even unconsciously when they can’t refute something, the direction of the discussion isn’t to their liking or not within their experience. For example: a direct observation that Buddhism is, like all religions, based on a lie about the transcendence of suffering old age and death, prompts the well-worn mis-direction: ‘Science-of the-mind / not a religion…’ ( Ignoring that 2,500 years with no mention whatsoever of the physical functioning of the brain itself would invalidate that statement somewhat, and just trying to shift the focus away)

    Similarly a discussion about whether Sogyal, his behaviour and Rigpa are traditional Buddhist or a Buddhist-like cult, diverts attention from the rather glaring fact that the very structure of any authoritarian dominant/submissive relationship such as the pivotal guru-disciple structure of Buddhism, contains the raw material for abuse, meaning that it is inevitable that Sogyal and Rigpa are traditionally Buddhist and cult-like at the same time because these two things are inseparable.. The structure itself creates ideal conditions for cult-abuse, in much the same way that a group of men who decide to reject any sexual relationship with women or other men, and opt for compulsory celibacy while wearing frocks are probably not really going to be ideal child-carers. There are very obvious clues there…..

    The problem is that the purpose of discussing cult abuse is hijacked by the spiritual equivalent of slightly drunken bickering in a bar about who killed Kennedy.

    Abuse, unlike the second shooter on the grassy knoll, isn’t a detail of history, it’s something that humans have always done and are continuing to do and probably always will.

    Life, including ours, exists by virtue of predation. As the Romans would say:’ Lupus est homo homini.’ Although, unlike wolves we can and must exercise our highly evolved intellects to resist the collateral suffering and cruelty of our biological but destructive impulses and imperatives. It really is as simple as that, or rather it should be, because medieval obscurantism and obfuscation, splitting hairs, whether about angels on the head of a pin or so-called ‘crazy wisdom’ is the same slippery slope slithered down by all the apologists for just about every horror our species has ever inflicted on itself.

    Abuse is the mis-use of power, the corruption of any imbalanced relationship, from families through groups to states. And mis-direction is one of its most important tools, because it distracts, conceals and always seeks to draw attention away from what is actually happening.

    In the case of this blog of course, there’s no abuse as such, but with some commentators, sadly, there is the de facto complicity with abuse of self-interested, indulgent moral and intellectual dishonesty.

    Perhaps before adding a comment, it might be better to ask yourself: ‘Do I have any real personal first-hand experience of the subject?’ (Or did you just sit at the back during a few teachings, or read some books or online comments.)

    ‘ Have I really tried to honestly analyse what all this is really about?’ ( Or are you just trying to preserve your cherished dreams of spiritual progress)

    ‘Am I according sufficient respect to those women who have had the courage to relate their experiences?’ (And if not, why?)

    ‘Have I really tried to study this in a much wider psychological, social and historical context or read extensively about cults, abuse, mind-control and so on ?’

    ‘Am I contributing or just trivialising something very serious indeed just to amuse myself or satisfy an obsession?’


  447. “Now the ‘evil minister’ talks again:

    Oh bella, if you read it, youd see what a nasty piece of work Sogyal is. Even in opening the speech, he belittles the dean and then undermines him to his students-just as he always has done. nasty little man

    Dolma, which monastery was this?


  448. During the time that I worked in the front office of a big monastery, a woman committed suicide by the lovely pond where Rinpoche would feed the fish. She shot herself. I found this deeply disturbing and lit candles for her and sat by the pond thinking about her. But the administration was mainly concerned about the public perception of what occurred and making statements about how Buddhism doesn’t support suicide etc. No one talked about it much after that. There were no extra people doing puja that day. You see, the main thing was the survival of the corporation– that was how the despair of a woman, who once worked at the monastery, was viewed.

    It’s this cold, unfeeling attitude that I see running rampant at Rigpa, Bellla. Cold and calculating.


  449. E.G. That’s how I define cult– a situation where the needs of the organization trump basic human decency, honesty and dignity.


  450. I still would like to know: Why is SR busy traveling the world teaching when he needs to be addressing these issues????? What an incredible denigration of every student he has had or still has!

    Almost everytime HHDalai Lama teaches, he will address the Shugden/NKT issue. This is because there are frequently protestors outside his teachings when he travels– or because he is giving an initiation and wants the samaya to be pure.

    When you are a public figure at the level of HHDL or SR, you are responsible on a public level. You MUST address public allegations. Bella, in my mind, the very fact that SR will not speak out on these issues is in itself culpable. I can understand that you have devotion, and that devotion can be very blinding, but reading your blogs can be really sickening (e.g. Drolma draws her conclusions that SR is abusive because she had (sexual) dreams about him and she ended up drinking because SR was nasty to her…). And very sad– do you ever take stock of yourself? Do you ever wonder about defending an empire and losing yourself?

    However true the allegations in BTT are is not the only issue, but why SR will not treat his students and the public with the respect, decency and courtesy that they all deserve. And why the Rigpa seniors will not do the same.


  451. Now the ‘evil minister’ talks again:


  452. “are now resorting to attacks against Mary Finnegan.”

    Now? Where have you been during the past years? Her comments made me write my first time ever comment here.


    I was told many times from various writers here in the early days – also from the owner of this blog – that Rigpa is a cult and my writings proves that I have cultist thinking. You told me to read your views on cultism many times on some generalized page when I asked you to explain your view about me as a cultist. I wanted to know what sentence written by me shows exactly to you that I’m a cultist. You always told me to go to the general cultism page without answering me. I’m avoiding you because you pretend not to know. Wasted arguing. These days I don’t have interest nor time to spend searching through the million posts here.

    Drolma draws her conclusions that SR is abusive because she had (sexual) dreams about him and she ended up drinking because SR was nasty to her…


  453. So there we are, I’m actually pretty much in agreement with Sock Man. Wonders never cease.

    I do wonder about that arrow, how one ever extracts it? Do we storm LerabLing? That’s a tough one, so I’ll continue assessing the arrow.


  454. I note both Sheila/Saureen and bella, both of whom have claimed the allegations against Sogyal are untrue, fabrications, are now resorting to attacks against Mary Finnegan.

    Do they really think that people dont see through this obvious tactic to draw people away from the truth> Are we really that stupid-Its all untrue because the person who says it wears a false nose?


  455. Well, if you ask Sheila/Saureen, I suspect her solution will keep your mouth shut until someone is actually charged and convicted. If she had children and someone told her her babysitter had a reputation for having sex with minors, following her thinking, she should be happy to leave her children in the babysitters care-at least until theyre convicted.
    Asking why it happened in the first place is OK (if people were clever enough to listen-which usually theyre not) but it does smack of the Buddhist story about the man with the arrow-who wont have it extracted until he knows who fired it and therefore subsequently dies.
    Asking if it continues? It might drive it underground but in what way does it help the victims of the past? SO they can say ‘I told you so’??
    Do we say it sucks FULL STOP???
    Well, following HHs advice, and using our own judgement to decide whether we believe the allegations to be true or not, we should protest as much as we can without becoming obsessed (Mary;)) and let the public know via the press, the web and so on.NO FULL STOP in other words-keep the pressure up while maintaining ones sanity(ish)


  456. So do we wait until after the court’s decision to ask how this can be prevented in future? To ask why it happened in the first place? (e.g. power has a lot to do with how tantra is practiced in the west) Or should we be asking questions now, knowing that the abuses in Rigpa, and in other Dharma centers as well, are continuing? Or do we just say it sucks, full stop?


  457. Could you answer that question where I called Rigpa a cult and you a cultist please, are you avoiding me? Also where is that stuff about drink I missed it you are going on a tangent again, what has this to do with inappropriate relations between religious leaders and their disciples what this blog is about.
    This not about TB, or whether TB is right or wrong, whether the DL is arrested in NY. Whether religion causes abuse. This is not a first year student debate about witness statements to the police. You are not allowed to use your spiritual authority to get layed. This has nothing to do with Tantric stuff. It is getting layed under the influence of power. It sucks


  458. So you can’t generalize your own choices.


  459. I meant I never saw Rigpa people drunk, not in the retreat of course but not outside retreat either. And I did eat outside everyday after the teachings and in places I saw Rigpa people too.

    I have heard that in one of Finnigan’s favourite groups in Russia they are drunk and eat lots of meat in tsoks. That sounds really weird and we have never had such scenes in Rigpa. I’ve never seen any drunk or drunken person in Rigpa. Alcohol is not seen in the retreats. If you go outside to eat, then it’s your own choice, but even then I’ve never seen anybody drunk – and there are hundreds or sometimes thousands of people in the retreats or events.

    So you can generalize your own choices.


  460. Never saw me passing out bottles before a teaching???!!!


  461. Bella, are you saying you never saw me staggering in the aisles????


  462. Sheila, A is not therefore D, without a little rational work on your side. Leaps of faith are exactly what is wrong and what we have to watch out for.


  463. Look at me I can try to change the subject, I am a realised deflector fox or more politically correct vixen!


  464. I have seen the same people all through the decade I’ve been there. I know people who have been there for 20-30 years. Besides you, I have never seen anyone drunk or heard anybody becoming drunk. Alcohol is not part of the Rigpa scene, so maybe you should look for reasons for your drinking elsewhere. I’m sorry that this sounds a bit strict, but I think it’s also wrong that you are making your life or experience a generalization.


  465. MF starts the entire piece with a salvo of deliberate sarcasm as to the Dalai Lama’s character and intentions. Its the same, snide tone Fox News announcers adopt when preaching to their converted. Yet to friends and supporters she claims to think highly of him.

    Whether due to inner conflict or the effects of a paycheck (real or imagined), the cynical tone and evident hypocrisy turn me off immediately.

    I really don’t care what she thinks of Sogyal Rinpoche; her attacks on the Dalai Lama and multiple other well-respected, hard-working teachers tell me all I need to know.


  466. No current Rigpa people. The rest have exited, running.


  467. Isn’t it amazing that no Rigpa student has any idea what MF is writing about?

    I think at least some should know about activities that are so strange happening… It just looks really bizarre – and mad to Rigpa people.


  468. Sheila, you might want to read a little more before you make statements about the non-existence of sexual abuse by spiritual teachers. As Stephen Edelstein writes, “A list of spiritual teachers who have committed sexual transgressions during the past few decades reads almost like a Who’s Who of modern spiritual figures and includes priests, ministers, rabbis, gurus, yogis, rochis, senseis, swamis, lamas, maggids and imams.”(“Sex and the Spiritual Teacher, p. 4, Ch 1 in my Kindle).

    I have been critical of Mary Finnigan on this thread because I wish she had been more careful and conservative with her allegations, but this is not to say that I discredit her work in exposing abuses. As Sock Man says, the head-in-the-sand approach must go. It’s not working to protect students in our Dharma Centers. It’s that simple.


  469. “Treating it as merely “inappropriate,” or something that can be regulated by some kind of code of conduct, really downplays it.”

    Yeah, in fact, whats the point in any small minded ‘laws’?Lets not bother-then there would be no abuse because the word wouldnt exist


  470. Sexist comments sheila-women get drunk and hit men and children too
    Drolma NB abuse “is an issue for the law of the land” is Sheilas long term argument ie unless it has been the subject of litigation, it is not abuse. So all the untold stories of abuse are necessarily lies-this is her trollogic and the best she can offer

    “Abuse within religion, quite frankly, pales in comparison, and in proportion.”

    Get that? abuse in religion doesnt happen much and is insignicant. Also,religion does into facilitate abuse??? Sheila, you need to get out more

    Maybe you HAVE lived with Tibetans-But, as thousands of examples prove, that doesnt make you immune to shangri la syndrome


  471. Would you say, then, Sheila, that every sexual relationship between a spiritual teacher and his/her student is abuse? By your terminology, I guess not.

    That’s why I use such words as inappropriate and speak of a code of conduct. There are drunks beating their wives and there are unmarried therapists gently seducing their clients. In the allegations against SR, there are both types of abuse. There are those that would be identified as abuse even if they were committed by a common drunk and there are those that psychologists call abuse simply based on the fact that there is a power inbalance in the relationship between spiritual teacher and student. Harm occurs there even though it might appear to be a very innocuous looking affair.

    I am not downplaying the abuse of the drunk because I discuss the abuse of the therapist.


  472. Which is not to say it doesn’t matter–abuse is abuse.

    Treating it as merely “inappropriate,” or something that can be regulated by some kind of code of conduct, really downplays it.


  473. No blog frees anyone from abuse. And no religion dooms anyone to it.

    Abuse is a human crime; it is independent of blogs and religions. It is a matter for the law of the land.

    There is more abuse taking place right now in houses on my block, secular, atheist houses which have nothing to do with religion, than in any church or temple I am associated with. Abuse is a human flaw.

    Sorry to be man-focused here for a second, but, basically–guys get drunk and hit women and children. That single fact is at the root of the vast majority of abuse in my culture, and very likely, in yours.

    Abuse within religion, quite frankly, pales in comparison, and in proportion.


  474. Helen, If you were at all objective and investigated, you might see that most of the teachings of the Buddha can actually be viewed as science and as philosophy. The religion of Buddhism is only a part of those ancient teachings. I’m not quite sure why the fact that they’re 2,500 years old makes them less relevant or valid. We know how to blow up the world now and we’ve found some cures for diseases, but modern science hasn’t taken us very far on understanding the brain or human emotions or why we still kill each other– why we abuse each other.

    Yes, we suffer, but why do some people suffer so much more than others? And can our mental states lessen how much we experience suffering? Can our mental states improve our physical health and extend our life? Can our experiences of love and compassion be cultivated infinitely so that they not only improve our lives but improve the lives of others as well? Are there methods to help us become more goodhearted human beings? Methods to help us be less angry and destructive?????

    These are all important questions and Buddhism has a lot to say about them all and many more. So the Buddha’s teachings are very useful even if you have no use for religion. You don’t have to be religious to make use of Buddhism is my understanding.

    At any rate, my main purpose, as a Buddhist practitioner, a religious person, is not to achieve anything for myself but to become better able to serve others.

    And this is the profound sadness for me of these discussions we’re having. The very first words of the Buddha were: Commit not a single unwholesome act. To conclude that abuse is caused by Buddhism itself is a little like saying that getting lost is caused by a map.


  475. These arguments go round in circles, and they can go on for ever, nothing much seems to emerge. But the most important issue that very few commentators here want to face is that the very nature of religion itself is abuse, and the most fundamental and damaging abuse of all concerns the truth.

    Buddhism says that by following the teachings you will be able to transcend suffering, old age and death.

    No you won’t, no one ever has, and no one ever will, simply because we’re not basically different from all the other life-forms living out our very finite existence under extremely restricted conditions, on the surface of one planet in a vast, inherently meaningless universe. Do you seriously believe you could transcend that? We’re just not that special, So it’s impossible, It’s a lie, a fantasy that naive people dedicate their whole lives to on absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

    Does anyone actually even know someone who managed it? Or someone who knew someone else somewhere at some stage who did? Of course not. Absolutely everybody suffers, ages and then dies.
    Even Buddhists.

    The whole edifice rests on nothing more substantial than wishful thinking about hearsay from two and a half thousand years ago. Just think about that for a moment: would anyone in their right mind do anything else of even the slightest importance on that basis?

    So why be surprised about all the various kinds of abuse carried out under the cover of religion, or the lies and evasion used to conceal them, when the religion itself is founded on one very big lie indeed.

    Yes, life is precious, but to really appreciate it, you need to grow up before it’s over.


  476. In the interests of demonstrating once more that HH Dalai Lama has not been silent about where we need to be going with lama misconduct, I have transcribed two exerpts from his introductory teaching to the Kalachakra given July, 2011 in Washington, DC, shortly after the documentary had been aired in Canada.

    The link is The exerpts are taken from Day 2, one at 27 minutes, the other at 2:24. I have transcribed them directly, in His Holiness’s broken English.
    With the first quote, he began by discussing historical work by HG Wells.
    Regarding HG Wells’ historical account written in 1930, His Holiness says, “In his book he praised Buddha… but then later… he mentioned Tibetan Buddhism is something different. [He mentioned] If Buddha appears in Tibet today, he may [be] shocked. I think [HG Wells] information [is] based on those ignorant people writing about Tibetan Lamaism. And then also Tibetans ourselves– of course there are good Buddhists, good practitioners, knowledgeable Buddhists there, but overall, [in Tibet] Buddhism [has] become like fashion…[with] too much ritual, without knowing the meaning and not much serious.
    Then also the tulku lama institution, unfortunately eventually it [has] become something like social status. Totally wrong! I think it is worthwhile [to be] criticized by Dalai Lama, who [is] also [part of this institution]…since 6th century, [there has been the] high lama institution. So that is self criticism. Really, we must be careful, we must be realistic, [we] should not follow our traditional way of– something like blind faith. That [is] out of date. So therefore, I cannot blame those people who describe Tibetan Buddhism as Lamaism. Because you see in this society, so much importance [is] about lama.
    That [is] also due to lack of knowledge. Buddha made very clear: in order to be lama, what qualifications [are needed]. Tibetans usually, generally, [say] high seat, high throne, that’s big lama. Silly! (Translator: So in Kham, people say the way to judge the highness of the lama is by judging the size of the caravan, the number of horses and the more horses in the caravan, that’s the higher lama.
    [Then two hours later in the teaching, His Holiness returns to the subject.]
    Thubten Jingpa (translating for His Holiness)…The Buddha himself spoke extensively about the qualifications that are necessary on the part of the spiritual teacher—in different contexts, for example in the context of monastic discipline practice, he spoke specifically of the qualities that are necessary for someone to act as a spiritual mentor and teacher in those kind of contexts. With relation to Mahayana teachings, particularly the sutra level teachings, the Buddha spoke of ten primary qualities, the ten key qualities that are necessarily required on the part of the spiritual teacher and in the context of vajrayana, he spoke of different kind of qualities that are essential for someone to serve and act as a spiritual teacher. And this is to really underline the importance of insuring that the person who’s going to be your teacher is a qualified one.
    His Holiness in English: Many years ago, I think 15 years ago, one day, one Chinese from mainland China came to see me, a Buddhist, very serious. He told me [that] nowadays some false lamas from Tibet [have come] to mainland China and claimed themselves to be Dharma-raja (translator- Dharma Kings). Then a number of Chinese devotees very much… respected [them] and were devoted. Then eventually, those [who] claimed [to be] Dharma-rajas, their main purpose was: seeking money, seeking sex.
    Then he asked me, I should do something. Then I told him, I cannot do anything. The important [thing] is those devotees must learn the qualities of lama which [are] mentioned in Buddha’s teaching. Then when you meet someone who claims [to be a] Dharma-raja, then test, examine; you must spy on such person. Then, not one day, one week, but months months [you must examine]. Then eventually you find something, all those at least minimum qualification [are] there and [he/she is a] reliable person, then you consider [him/her] as your teacher and receive teaching.
    So that’s the only way. I told him, like that. So therefore, in the West—and in Mongolia, also, sometimes it happens. The person who claims something very special, sort of teacher, but actually, as I mentioned earlier, seeking wealth, and seeking sex. So, [you] must be careful—and examine, or spying, including myself; you must spy on me. That’s important. And also, you should judge, my today’s talk, what differences [between that and] ten years ago, [between that and] fifteen, twenty years ago. And whether it’s consistent. And my talks, whether go well with Nagarjuna’s text or Shantideva’s text and Buddha’s own text. That way you must examine. That’s important.


  477. Abuse is not “inappropriate sexual contact,” and neither is “inappropriate sexual contact” abuse.

    Abuse is abuse, and has legal definitions and attending laws.

    “Inappropriate sexual contact” between adults is determined differently by different people and varies according to race, creed, culture, and individual preference.

    The law may not decree what a culture deems “inappropriate,” and neither may a culture break the law of the land.


  478. Lucy, you believe Victoria Barlow?

    I’d rather believe Patrick.


  479. Believe me, talking to Patrick would not ” be a place of reality check” for anyone.
    He is on the payroll, he’s Sogyal’s representative on earth after all. When the American court case was brought to our attention and some of us left in total disgust, having had to face the hard evidence, being made to look harder and closer as to what had really been happening in Sogyal ‘s private world, Patrick’s behavior became very interesting indeed, acting like an agent of SR’s secret police wanting to find out if more trouble was brewing for Sogyal; not giving a rat’s arse about the abuses that the women who had fallen pray to S had to endure.

    The guy is incapable of empathy, real compassion and independent thinking. He has become “part of the crew, part of the ship”, a prisoner of the Rigpa “groupthink” in modern parlance. I sincerely believe it’s too late for him to change now, don’t know what it would take, maybe a video of what Sogyal is up to secretly in private, in a court room… in front of a jury?!…and even then, I’m not sure he would be capable of a normal decent response.

    That goes for most of the oldies that have stayed on board and some of the people who blog here. Not much hope then for this site, sadly. Just the same recycled crap, nonsense, pro Buddhist, pro anything not rational, to keep the delusion alive at all costs.

    So much narcissism and delusional scripts that seem to keep you all happy, give you a sense of purpose I guess, not doing much against abuse though, just a waste of time and energy.

    Sogyal would probably thank you all profusely for keeping his flag flying, and who cares if people are abused as long as it keeps you high!?
    Because that’s what Tibetan Buddhism is all about after all, keeping Lamaism in business and keeping the cult alive and well. So yes, people in this blog are addicted to cults, and as such, are unable to think for themselves, always referring to this teaching, that lama blah blah………

    Just to remind you all that this blog was designed to help people freeing themselves from cultish abuses, by denouncing them, not praising them and denying the reality of abuse at the hands of men like Sogyal. I guess that’s the problem with this blog, it has been taken over by people with too much time on their hands and too many vested interests in seeing their cults and beliefs carry on, no matter what the damages to others or themselves may be even . So much selfishness, but that’s human nature for you. Very disappointing indeed.


  480. Please indicate when we called Rigpa a cult or you a cultist?
    I have no need to discuss anything with Patrick, we are not a site about Buddhism but about cultist abuse in the form of inappropriate sexual contact between disciples and leaders. So what would I want to discuss with him? This whether it occurs in the Catholic Church or Scientology or any group!


  481. DI, you have also called me cultist and Rigpa a cult. Patrick is one of those who lead ‘the cult’, so it would be a place of reality check for you.


  482. Just for fun!

    Even the photos are nice, look at:,1093/

    Dalai Lama Decks Photographer In Disco Melee

    September 25, 1996 | ISSUE 30•07

    NEW YORK—An angry and visibly intoxicated Dalai Lama was arrested early this morning after assaulting a photographer outside the newly revamped Studio 54 discotheque in Manhattan.

    Enlarge ImageThe Dalai Lama was arrested on assault and battery charges after punching and kicking a New York Post photographer outside Studio 54. Shouted the enraged Buddhist: “You want to eat camera, picture boy?”

    Charged with assault and battery, the Buddhist leader, whose real name is Gejong Tenzin Gyatso, was released on $1,500 bail. The incident marked his third brush with the law in as many weeks.

    According to witnesses, the Precious Sovereign, 61, who had been drinking heavily all evening, punched and kicked New York Post photographer Mike Pallas several times after Pallas attempted to take his picture exiting the famed disco.

    “As soon as he saw that camera, he just went off,” said bouncer Todd Gehr, who was guarding the exit at the time. “I grabbed him by his saffron prayer robe and pulled him off [Pallas]. He tried chanting for a minute, but then more flashbulbs started popping, and he completely lost it again.”

    Witnesses say that instead of backing down, Pallas made the mistake of ridiculing the central belief of Lamaist Buddhism—namely that, through reincarnation, the same soul has occupied the bodies of 14 successive rulers.

    “That did it,” Studio 54 patron Larry Hoffman said. According to Hoffman, the Dalai Lama then yanked Pallas’ camera away and wielded it threateningly at him, shouting, “You like picture? You want to eat camera, picture boy?”

    Enlarge ImageThe Dalai Lama spent seven hours in a Queens, NY, jail cell before being released on $1,500 bail.

    Signs of trouble came hours earlier, when the 14th religious and temporal ruler of Tibet shouted repeated requests for “Bush! I want to hear plenty more Bush!” When the club DJ responded by playing KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Shake Your Booty,” the monk threw a shotglass through the control booth and invited the DJ to “step outside and kiss the five fingers of enlightenment.”

    In addition to the charges against him, the Dalai Lama was cited for resisting arrest. At first, he refused to give his real name, claiming to be “the protector, the emanation and the presence on earth of Chen-re-zi,” the Buddhist personification of divine compassion. “And if you not believe,” he added, “you let me out of these cuffs and you get one-way ticket to Nirvana plenty quick.”

    When asked where he was born, he responded, “In 1936 in Chhija Nangso, Tibet… and also in 1876 in Lhasa, Tibet… and also in Nai-tung, Tibet—” before being gagged and taken away.

    Two weeks ago, the Tibetan leader was arrested for driving while intoxicated, though his lawyer maintained his client’s high spirits were due solely to a “very satisfying night of meditation.” Last Friday, he was stopped in his 1994 Lexus by a New Jersey state trooper for “making gestures to a police official that had no connection with the Noble Eightfold Path.” Both times he was released on bail.


  483. It has been reported to the police, the focus of this blog is not police work but a discussion of abuse, which you spend your time trying to distract!


  484. What may I ask would I be doing in seeing Patrick please tell. I already have had direct evidence from a victim, I do not need to talk to him about it period!


  485. I have a question: Aside from HH Dalai Lama and DKR, are there any other lamas, high or low, who have spoken out against lama misconduct? And has DKR spoken out recently? Does anyone know of any?


  486. I bet they, DI, didn’t go to talk with Patrick when he was in Ireland.

    Are you too scared? Patrick is not scary, at all.

    It’s easy to spread rumors in the internet. That BTT blog is total crap and you are involved. You don’t care at all if it is crap or not.

    Patrick would have been one real place for a reality check, but no…


  487. Garde, if you are concerned, why haven’t you gone to the authorities?

    Do you know what I would do if a person came to me and told me they were being abused by someone? I would go straight to the cops and get myself on record.

    You’re saying you have first-hand testimony of abuse and have not gone to the authorities?

    Then shame on you. I’m sorry, you talk a fine game about being concerned about abuse, yet in all these years have not gone to the authorities? I don’t buy it. In every civilised nation–certainly in yours and mine–citizens are encouraged to report abuse.

    Have you reported it?

    I cannot report abuse, because I have never experienced any, nor had anyone report abuse to me.

    Yet you, who claim to have first-hand testimony, have not gone to the police? If you fail to report a first-hand abuse story to the authorities, don’t go yelling at others to report things they haven’t even experienced and therefore have no legal nor moral right to testify to.


  488. Yes Sheila is back to relativise the problem. If it does not happen in her area, it does not happen anywhere. It is simple go to the cops, yeah give us a break.
    This section is about abuse and though Drolma and Put a sock in it disagree they fundamentally are addressing the only show in town here.The imbalance of power and abuse of spiritual authority The terrible self immolations in Tibet are terrible, Chinese whispers or undercurrents are issues to be fought over, but not on this thread. Sheila fiddle while Rome burns. Please don’t dance a céilí on my grave. Stick to the day job. I have had enough of beating around the bush. Get real women have been abused by your man. They have told me and Bella I do not need you to give me permission or for you to interview them to allow their stories to be true.
    Get it! It happened and it is still happening.


  489. Oh if it were just that simple.


  490. Drolma, part of the problem is that I simply haven’t seen anything of what you are describing in any sangha, including my own, which has been here for nearly 40 years. I have never in my time here picked up on even a single whisper of some kind of past or present “sex trouble.” To quote a dearly departed friend, “It’s just not what happens.”

    For that matter, having met countless people from other sanghas, neither has it even once arisen in conversation with them. It’s just not part of my experience, nor apparently the experience of other Buddhists I have met.

    My advice to fellow Buddhists is exactly the same as my advice to any adult, in any ituation: If someone’s behavior disturbs you, don’t hang out with them. If someone hits you, go to the police.

    If you, in your own sangha, feel there is a serious problem with your particular teacher, and no one is reporting it, ask them why. You can’t assume they’re wrong, and they can’t assume you’re wrong. There are no “Buddhism police” with any authority whatsoever to override the laws of any land.

    Abuse issues are between you, an alleged perpetrator, and the police. “I find your teaching style icky” issues are between you, the teacher, and the rest of the sangha–democracy matters. If almost no one has a problem with a teacher, it’s not up to one or two students to get the teacher fired. It’s a free country, and if people want to attend someone’s teachings, that’s their business–even if you personally can’t stand the teacher. Some of the most beloved teachers at my university were guys I personally couldn’t stand.

    However, I have attended a lot of Tibetan teachings and never once have I felt any sense of unease or threat. Exactly the contrary–they have been warm, positive experience, without a single exception.


  491. I agree, saulaan, up to a point. Absolutely, that expectation some have that His Holiness or any other TB leader can police this situation or judge guilt is unreasonable and an infinite regress as I have said on earlier posts.

    However, I believe that western students cannot move forward on the issue of sexual abuse without in some way including TB lamas. Boundaries need to be placed in order to create safe spiritual communities, which entails a consensus between teachers and students both. It seems we need to break out of a situation in which either the students or the teachers are demanding a situation unacceptable to the other. His Holiness might or might not have a role in such a dialogue, but definitely such a dialogue needs to happen. As things stand now, most TB lamas believe strongly that sexual relations between teachers and students can occur freely at the discretion of the teacher (e.g. teacher knows best.). That is the culture that needs to be addressed– which is where we might the help of higher leaders.


  492. Drolma, I agree that the world looks to the Dalai Lama to answer questions, and address issues, in Buddhism.

    The Dalai Lama has been clear on Shugden – he’s given his advice. He’s also been clear on abuse – he’s given his advice. Repeatedly.

    In neither of these two cases has he–nor should he–suspended his colossal teaching schedule to play policeman or arbitrator on a case-by-case basis.

    Everyone with strong feelings on a particular issue, myself included, looks for someone “up high” to swoop in and save the day, but the real answer is that the day can only be saved, in the end, by taking individual responsibility.

    He said “go to the press.” BTT is not the press, and very few will mistake it for such.

    Buddhism has always (in my experience) stressed personal responsibility more so than other religions, i.e. the answer is in ourselves. In some ways waiting for the Dalai Lama to ensure a solution to our “Western Buddhist” issues is like waiting for a teacher to ensure our progress on the path. The teacher can give advice, but in the end, every major step is up to us.


  493. S Puppet, I’ve never been banned from any forum. Unless you’re suggesting RickRoll banned me, in which case I would ask, with software that antiquated how could one possibly tell if one has been banned?

    I’ve said repeatedly I am Sheila/saulaan (I have no idea at this moment which name the Avatar ‘service’ will choose for me in this post).

    But you know that, because we’ve had this discussion before.

    I’d ask that you keep the RR testosterone overload out of this forum. You have more than enough opportunity to dump it, completely unopposed, there.

    Point of order: a troll, by internet definition, is not someone using a real name.

    Interesting that you’d mis-connect the “tripe” comment to Chinese “feudalism” issues, when I was referring to the writing style used in BTT.


  494. This is totally wrong. Think Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro and Kandro Tsering Chodron; think Marpa and Dakmema. Think HH Sakya Trizin and Dagmo Tashi Lhakee


  495. And Saulaan, isn’t it true that there is a practice amongst Tibetans that when a woman marries a lama, her own lama is someone other than her husband? I remember hearing that– perhaps some indication that Tibetans themselves believe that the two relationship are best kept separate.


  496. Danger Danger Saulaan is Sheila is a confirmed troll, banned from other forumsDanger Danger

    Dear Sheila If HH is not the supreme being of Tibetan Buddhism, how come he stuck his nose into the Karmapa issue? Never has been his business How come his supporters scream for blood when anyone dares allude to this?


    “Neither “Shangrila” nor “Anti-Shangrila” misconceptions are useful when dealing with Tibetan issues–religious or otherwise”


    “I believe the point is clearly to splash aversive images across peoples minds, so that while intellectually one discards them as tripe, when one next hears about the Dalai Lama, or Tibetans, or even Buddhism some trace of aversion remains”

    are contradictory, On the one hand, you claim neither Shangri la nor feudal Tibet existed. Then, on the other, you attempt to undermine anything that points to a feudalistic set up to be “tripe”

    Usually you took at least a fe days to start contradicting yourself-this is a new record even by your (double) standards


  497. Saulaan, I wasn’t advocating no sex– and certainly sex between consenting adults is fine for any human being, including spiritual teachers. The trouble arises when the sex occurs between a spiritual teacher and his/her student becaise the power imbalance is too great. There’s a general consensus amongst psychologist that harm in these instances is the result. There is evidence that even when this occurs as part of a consensual, loving relationship, harm results in most instances.

    And absolutely, you’re correct about the limits on what His Holiness can and can’t do– and I do think most of the unfounded criticism of him comes form people expecting that he can act as the pope or something. However, he is a foremost authority in Tibetan Buddhism– the Shugden affair attests to that. I do actually think there’s a lot he can and is doing about these troubles. I also think he needs our confidence in him to keep acting on our behalf. The fact is, he really is the only Tibetan lama speaking out consistently and strongly against misconduct by lamas. Even HH Karmapa doesn’t appear to be taking on that leadership role (though I haven’t listened closely to his teachings or statements for some months now). It’s almost as if HH Dalai Lama is the only Tibetan lama who is consistantlyeven interested in this trouble. The rest look like they just wish it would go away.


  498. The DL already spoke out at the infamous conference of Western Buddhist teachers (Kulananda of the FWBO, well known for systematic sexual avuse in attendance) The conference was called in part, in response to Sogyals antics becoming public. His advice? “Name names in newspapers” So MF is asctually following HHs instruction in that respect


  499. With all due respect, the Dalai Lama is not the head of Tibetan Buddhism. He doesn’t have any responsibility to act this way or that way in response to the actions of another Buddhist; he’s not even the head of his own sect, the Gelug school. While he would definitely be more likely to weigh in on a Gelug point of order, he’s not even in a position, ultimately, to judge that.

    What he does do is speak out, daily, against humans harming humans (and in fact, against harming any being), and that more than covers any and all abusive situations.

    It’s really not the Dalai Lama’s bailiwick, nor ever has been, to act as the supreme judge of Buddhism.

    If any person is abusing another person, that is a matter for the law of the land, whatever land it happens to be.

    This will probably sound wrong, too, but I don’t believe in any “no sex” regulations. There are many, many Buddhist traditions in the world, including in the US, and to try and come up with a pan-sect ban on sex is just not constructive. There are plenty of teachers (of Buddhism and many other things) who end up in a healthy, and often permanent, relationship with a fellow adult, and to suggest that is “dirty” in some way is illogical and kind of sad.

    I respect where you’re coming from–when you’re suggesting such things, you’re likely picturing abuse, and genuinely want to prevent it–however, that image doesn’t describe the vast majority of Buddhist experience. It’s a mistake to assume all relationships constitute abuse.