Open letter to Sogyal Rinpoche from Joanne Clark

Dear Sogyal Rinpoche….
www-home-llbuddha

Wikipedia SR
I think it is time to revisit this trouble about the allegations against you. I know that I risk repeating myself and sounding foolish, but what are we to do in the face of your aloof silence? So I will write you a letter and see what can be done. At best, I don’t want those courageous women to feel abandoned, don’t want my own silence to be added to yours. So I’ll keep writing, keep repeating myself, until things start moving forward in this awful business.

There is no rancor or ill will in me as I write. I only want to end the suffering. I include “Rinpoche” in your title because you were the one who first introduced me to the Buddha’s teachings and I would like to honor that fact. However, I would also like to speak to you as simply one human being to another. I would like the power of your title and fame to be laid aside for a few moments in hopes that you can hear me better.

I also include “Rinpoche”, meaning “precious one”, to remind you that this is not about you. This is not about Sogyal the man, but about Sogyal Rinpoche who has taken upon himself the heavy burden of bringing the Buddha’s teachings to the West. That is a deep, frightening responsibility, isn’t it? Not a place for pride or power or wealth to accumulate.

This is why you sit above others, why sometimes they prostrate to you. This is why you have a title. It’s on loan, not about you, not permanent.

There has been much discussion on this website and others about why HH Dalai Lama has not spoken out regarding the allegations of sexual abuse against you. One conclusion I thought of recently, which has never been proposed, is the simple fact that you are an adult. You are not a child who requires chastising by an elder. Perhaps His Holiness is simply expecting you to step forward, as any adult would, and do the responsible thing, whatever that might be, in order to bring resolve and an end to needless suffering.

Surely one possible start to solving this trouble would be for you to address the allegations publicly? You are a public figure after all. Fame has brought you much wealth, power and comfort. However, fame also brings with it that responsibility. You are a public representative of our lord Buddha. Surely that is a mandate for public action?

I was deeply disturbed to read a comment on this website from a Rigpa youth some months ago. This youth was censored on the Rigpa youth Facebook page for questioning the allegations in Behind the Thangkas and In the Name of Enlightenment. He/she was told to come privately to Rigpa officials who would explain the situation. I have heard that apparently there is a “re-education” program existent in Rigpa (not unlike the re-education programs used by the communist Chinese in Tibet). I have heard that this is one approach being taken by Rigpa to counter the allegations. Is this really true or is it just a wild rumor?

Of course, these allegations are well beyond what can be comprehended by youth. I can understand why there would be a need to protect young ears from them and remove the discussion from the youth FB page. Indeed, many of us adults feel that same need for protection when we hear of the allegations!

However, this is a difficult approach. Controlling the fresh minds of Rigpa youth away from their natural and rightful inquisitiveness seems very dangerous. Because your actions as described in the allegations are so bizarre and distasteful, parents and educators are stuck, Rinpoche. They can’t explain them to their children in the healthy ways that they might otherwise explain sex. They can’t be transparent without traumatizing Rigpa youth and causing them to lose respect for you. The situation then becomes one where the natural and wonderful inclination of our youth to question their elders becomes circumscribed. How can this be a healthy first step on the Buddhist path? Is it not a step towards blind faith?

If this “re-education” program does in fact exist, then aren’t you digging a prison of treachery and fear for yourself? Aren’t you turning away from the Buddha’s words of freedom?

The Buddha said:

“Oh monks and wise ones

Like gold that is heated, cut and rubbed,

Examine well my words

And accept them, but not out of your reverence.”

HH Dalai Lama said:

“It is with an objective mind, endowed with a curious skepticism that we should engage in careful analysis and seek the reasons. Then on the basis of seeing the reasons, we engender a faith that is accompanied by reason.”

Is there room for inquisitiveness and questioning in your re-education program and silence, Rinpoche? I believe that students—all of them, past and present—need a clear, decent, transparent and rational path out of this trouble, not silence, not re-education and certainly not blind loyalties.

And believe me, people are looking at this trouble, people are wondering. I heard recently that in the three weeks during which In the Name of Enlightenment was up for open viewing on the internet, the site received 3000 hits. I wonder why it was taken down—perhaps your lawyers did that, Rinpoche? Do you think you can really stem people’s right to know the truth?

https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/sex-scandals-in-religion-sogyal-rinpoche/

So instead of asking why HH Dalai Lama has been silent regarding this trouble, I am asking you why you are silent? Certainly, if you weren’t a representative of Buddha, your silence could be easily explained. It would be exactly what your lawyers would advise. It would be part of a sound corporate strategy, a component of maintaining your power and control. Let it all blow over. Many of us are quite familiar in the West with this approach to difficulties!

However, this is Buddha’s world you are in, not a corporate world. The huge temples you have built at Lerab Ling and Dzogchen Beara are not your temples, Rinpoche. They are owned by the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, precious jewels of Buddhism. As such, they belong to all beings and can only be protected by decency, honesty, moral integrity, compassion, wisdom, love, generosity and complete transparency. Those are the trademarks of Buddha, not legal strategies.

The former President of Ireland opened the Centre in 2007

I myself have suffered terribly since walking into that first teaching of yours 13 years ago. As I have written previously, from a happily married, sane woman, I became psychotic and deeply disturbed, my marriage in tatters. It is many years later and I still suffer from the consequences of that horrible year as your student. From the standpoint of your lawyers, you have no culpability whatsoever for my suffering. From the standpoint of your position as a servant of the Buddha, however, you have failed to provide for the needs of at least one student who has come to you in faith, looking for a Buddhist practice and spiritual path. You have failed to provide a safe place.

You stand behind your aloof mask of fame and power and if people stumble away from your teaching to get drunk and smoke cigarettes, as I did, you are immune. You are not accountable. However, I didn’t stumble and get drunk before I first attended your teachings. I wasn’t even remotely psychotic before I first attended your teachings. You are immune because of course you cannot be responsible for someone you have never spoken with, someone you don’t know. However, I am asking: Do you have any right to be so famous that you can’t be accountable to every blessed person who walks into your teachings?

But this is not about me. I have a path of healing now and I can get through the day without a drink or a cigarette. However, there are women out there still who are struggling to put together enough courage to get out of bed in the morning. There are students of yours whose practices are in crises. There are students who have turned away from the dharma, turned away from the benefit of religion entirely, based on your actions.

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Most of all, you must know that it was an act of enormous courage for those few women to step forward and speak of their experiences of sexual abuse at your hands. They have exposed themselves and their pain publicly and that runs very deep. You must know that your silence, your refusal to publicly acknowledge their pain and suffering, could be harmful to them. You are silent and the women who have come forward are silenced. Is that right, Rinpoche?

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And on the other hand, this is about me as well because until your actions reach even me, even the person no one knew who stumbled away from your teachings in despair on her way to getting drunk all those years ago, then they haven’t reached far enough. There will be no resolve. This is what I firmly believe. Do you want resolve, Rinpoche?

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Perhaps you only feel really responsible now for those close students whom you know and speak with. Your inner circle. Perhaps you’ve explained things to them to their satisfaction and you don’t feel responsible for others who have attended your teachings or read your book or watched the documentary, except in that vague, habitual manner which an insincere Buddhist might take on when he/she says the words “all sentient beings, without exception.”

Indeed, your inner circle is terribly important isn’t it? I remember occasions when I was made to sit outside of that inner circle during a teaching. Once, you drew the “old students” close to you. You rearranged the setting of the teaching, so that we who were “not close” could truly know that we were outsiders, sitting outside of some intimate moment you were creating with the others.

The second time you did that, I had come to the teaching quite desperate for help. All the insiders were called backstage to see you and I was left completely alone in the front ten rows. This was in Harlem and I left in trauma, wandering the streets and grasping onto the buildings for grounding before finally finding a bar. Do you do that still? Separate out your students, bring some close and cast some off?

Either the recent allegations in Behind the Thangkas are true or they are not true. If they are not true, why don’t you deny them and then try to help us understand where they came from? If they are true, then why don’t you address them, why don’t you demonstrate to your students how to own up, express appropriate remorse and purify wrongdoing? Or perhaps they are partly true and partly false—in which case, that could be explained fully, denying what is not true and owning up to what is true.

Or perhaps the allegations are mostly true and you’re a little embarrassed, but you believe there is nothing wrong in your behavior. While celibacy is considered the best condition for dharma practice and sexual desire is seen as a potentially dangerous affliction, Buddha himself laid out very few restrictions on sexual conduct for non-celibate practitioners. I have looked and cannot find specific scriptural references in the Tibetan commentaries prohibiting promiscuity, as long as it doesn’t involve a married woman, a member of the same sex or someone else’s prostitute or isn’t more than five times in a night. There’s nothing in the Buddhist canon specifically prohibiting non-celibate lamas from using their powers of fiduciary care to seduce women.

As long as it doesn’t cause harm.

And women have stepped forward, under great duress, claiming harm, Rinpoche. Is your silence another form of public humiliation? Are you working on their egos perhaps?

Why don’t you speak? Or write? HH Dalai Lama teaches frequently about the relationship between compassion and honesty. He describes a compassionate mind as one that is completely transparent, with nothing to hide. He says that this is a source of great self-confidence and wellbeing. Wouldn’t you like to follow that advice, Rinpoche? Wouldn’t you like to pave a new, transparent, honest, open and healing path for Rigpa and its students? Most of all, wouldn’t you like the suffering to stop?

Yours in the Dharma,

Joanne Clark

654 Responses

  1. Linda Ciardiello and Carol Mcquire, you are examples for the rest of us to follow. Your work and words are like a beacon in the darkness, giving us hope in these dark times of Tibetan Buddhism where wanton sexcapades, orgies and money laundering are now acceptable and even de rigueur, the result of these ‘monks’ pulling the wool over our eyes for decades.

    http://insidethekompany.wordpress.com

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  2. I had heard of the Book of the Living and the Dying, read it, don’t know who wrote it. ! Fantastic! I don’t know much about Sogyal ji, I wont say lama cause he is not a Lama and I wont say Rinpoche because I don’t see him as a Rinpoche, well the point is I don’t have anything against Sogyal ji but recently I saw a video of him dancing in a monastery with a bunch of women, I am a woman also in twenties from India, but we do not dance with our guruji’s here in India like that in our temples and monasteries. His actions caused pain to our community here. Maybe he will have his own reasons as to why he did that, supposedly crazy wisdom… In our culture in India we respect holy places and monasteries and we don’t hold rock concerts in holy places, or dance to western numbers in a place where there are images or our Gods and deities There is a place and time for everything. I would have no problem if he danced in a club , bathroom or bedroom with any number of women, who am I to question. It’s none of my business. But to dance in a place which is being built on solid amount of our ancient history and tradition and to have utterly no respect for it deeply saddens us. I don’t know if he will read this thread but if he does… please dance anywhere , maybe a tube station ;) but have respect for our holy places….. Maya Ray (India)
    And P.S. common Tom ….. leave Charlie Brown aside ( Dalai Lama) , he will in no way take advantage of any followers, be is male, female or any.. He is one true genuine Lama.. Respect . Respect… Love and Peace :)

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  3. Thanks Tom keep reading the material. You are in a safe place

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  4. In ’79 i attended a seminar put on by Sogyal . In brief , he wanted me not to follow the group , he needed me in the back during meditation , claiming to straighten out my spine which i doubt was out of line. I had the feeling he wanted the women in the room for himself , Yes, even tho i didn’t stand much of chance of getting to know any of the other seminar goers , he felt i was too inquisitive perhaps and good looking ( then , i am 57 now ) . Yet until finding this video about his scandals on youtube ,today , that i put the pieces together about this mad man !. PS> Dali Lama might not say a word if he too also took avantage of the female followers.

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  5. I have put most of my posts up again for now, including a new post on the institutionalized sexual abuse in Tibetan Lamaism and another on the Dharma Brats:

    http://www.extibetanbuddhist.com

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  6. Alice as far as we know Chris has vacated this site and was going to address the issues found here on her own blog. She was going to look at the issues from a wider perspective than we have here. We would see that she made us aware that you can’t look at the issue Sogyal’s sexual behaviour without realising that TB was in fact Lamaism which is in fact Tantric Hinduism. She has not changed her mind on the issues but has decided to suspend her blog and has just left some sample posts. I see it as a temporary stance, but you can be sure she is very clear that it is not Buddhism we are dealing with in regard to Sogyal Rinpoche but unreformed Hindu Tantric Deity worship. Here it is not the Shiva Lingum that represents the female male principle, but rather the serpent power of hierarchical, feudal Tibet.

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  7. Dear Chris Chandler, I followed the link in your post above and found that all mention of Sogyal Rinpoche has disappeared from your Ex-Tibetan Buddhist site. I would like to know the reason for this, if you are able to share it?
    Alice

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  8. Can someone give me the citation template for this? Thanks.

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  9. Sorry to disappoint them.

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  10. Chris having watched this guy JOHN go over the Pier, I think they put the most extreme position on our blog hoping you had gone missing

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  11. And the Vajrayana John is NOT complex, it is a system of sexual abuse set up by Tibetan ‘Buddhism’ to use females as sexual objects for their ‘higher bliss practices, girls of 10 years old were considered best in Old Tibet.

    In one Tibetan Lamaist ‘sangha’ Shambhala, a PHd and professor at Columbia U slept with a 10 year old. This was covered up and the case was settled for 1/2 a million . He continued to teach in this group for many years, and got a slap on the hand. He was not a pedophile, just a sexual predator himself and a sexual addict, but he was just experimenting more than likely with the ‘teachings of Tibetan Lamaism.’

    THIS is what everyone in the U.S. and the west is excusing and blaming the victims and ignoring, a Sexually abusive cult of thought control, Tibetan ‘Buddhism’ set up for the Lamas and all their indulgences , free labor, free sex, free money from the ignorant west, who has been so ‘dumbed down’ now , each generation and so massively confused by these Hindu-Tantra Tibetan Buddhist influences and the chaos they bring into society.

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  12. There was a woman I knew that was a long time Tibetan Lamaist , this was in 2004, and Trangu Rinpoche told her after being raped, that year, to visual the rapist and have compassion for him, and that she was burning off negative karma and so this person was really ‘helping her ‘ to do it. And that they had a connection in a previous life, This is the 9th century bullshit these Lamas soak their devotees in, so that they no longer can discern right from wrong anymore.

    Because if they woke up started using their western intelligence again, someof these Lamas would be jailed or at least the civil suits would be legion, concerning all the secrets and abuses these women hav experienced in Tibetan Buddhism.

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  13. This is the ‘Blame the Victim’ excuses, Pier has been conditioned by one of the ‘memes’ deeply implanted within Tibetan Buddhism by the Lamas , to blame the victim.
    Pier is probably a ‘damage control’ troll, of the Dalai Lama cartel to come on all sites and minimize , with the same hackneyed excuses such as the ‘women ‘ are at fault.

    This is what Khandro rinpoche promotes. I discuss this more fully the propaganda machinery on my site and even the “limited hangout operations’ that the Dalai Lama sets up such as the ‘buddhist-controversy site of ‘Tenpel’ who was on here, until he was ‘outed’ him as a Gelugpa monk and former ‘stasi worker’

    This Pier is either a troll for the Dalai , or has been in Tibetan Lamaism long enough to be thought -controlled by all the excuses.

    Can you imagine saying these things to excuse these authority figures in postions of trust, if it was a physician, or a psychotherapist, or a priest, that the women are to blame for these men using their authority and positions to sexually exploit them? It would happen, only in Tibetan ‘Buddhism’ are the Lamas , thanks to their multimillion dollar , seamless propaganda campaigns to put a lid on this pandora’s box of their sexual abuse cult and its abuses.

    see my discussion on the propaganda machine and the ‘Limited Hang-out operations of the Dalai Lama, :

    http://www.extibetanbuddhist.com/2014/03/26/dalai-lama-damage-control-limited-hang-out-operations-of-the-dalai-lama-corporation/

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  14. “John Says: “Recently after three years in total solitude I practised one million guru rinpoche mantras, along with Heruka practices to erase negative karma. It nearly killed me.

    I finally received visions of Guru Rinpoche and Sogyal Rinpoche both in the same vision at the end of the three years. Just after that empowerment a medicine Buddha manifested just after the visions of Guru and Sogyal rinpoche. I could die happy today.”

    So John, what is the outcome now that you have acquired three mind stalkers who disconnect you from your life’s purpose?

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  15. Munichmisfit

    You comment: “Remember: The Dharma is, unlike some people tend to believe, not a resolution for more serious mental and emotonal problems. That’s your projection and expectation and if it’s not met by the real world Dharma, then that’s not a problem of the Dharma or a teacher, but that of a student and the fact that the Asian traditions are from their traditional approach not designed to deal with the typical western projections and neurotic patterns and expectations which that person didn’t know.”

    From what I gather Joanne Clark did not have mental or emotional problems before she went to Sogyal. What I see is Sogyal shirking responsibility for the effects of his ‘crazy’ methods. From reading her post it is obvious to me that she is unable to fully explain what she went through as she has still not fully understood or willing to admit that she has undergone a process of mind manipulation that affects her emotional and mental processes. Sogyal’s techniques caused her breakdown.

    Munichmisfit, it is so typical of practitioners of eastern religions like you to ‘blame the victim’ and focus on the sufferers projections and unreal expectations. First of all, the teacher, in this case Sogyal, is projecting his expectations by subtle and not so subtle behaviors and suggestions. HE influences by projecting HIS belief system and expectations. His ‘crazy’ techniques are extremely manipulative and risk causing mental health problems where they did not exist previously.

    You further comment: “And even IF SR is having a sexual relationship with a student, it’s not like the student is not an adult woman with a western education. There is the word `no` that every responsible woman can use to every man she doesn’t want to do it with. And the idea that SR is preying emotionally imbalanced and weak women for quick sex, by scaring them with samaya or something ,now that’s really ridiculous.”

    Just because you think it “really ridiculous” that he would manipulate through fear does not mean he has not. It clearly points to ignorance on your part when you consistently ignore the effects of mind manipulative methods used by guru/lamas to influence and indoctrinate.

    He says: “I am also not a stanger to spiritual crisis and emotional problems, I even had a psychotic episode myself and I am retired because of a chronic mental illness of the post traumatic kind.”

    Have you yet been able to acknowledge the link between mental illness, in your case “chronic mental illness” and the teachings and practices of eastern belief systems?

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  16. I am as a man extremely uncomfortable around your discourse and to make sure we get what Angie said am publishing it below as follows.

    You suggest they visualise their rapist frequently, for what? You then go on to suggest that it is their karma, to what?

    Let me get this straight. Are you suggesting that all women who are raped, that it is their karma? Are you suggesting that this is some kind of test for “compassion”?

    You seem to have lost your moral compass. what is it you are trying to say? Are you under the influence of Lamaism?
    https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/about/cultism/

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  17. Yes I will do that, thank you for pointing there.

    But too bad you didn’t have an answer to my questions..

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  18. May I suggest you look at our Cultism section under our mission statement

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  19. I can be quite funny, but here I was very serious. Everybody is responsible for his or her role. The role Sogyal Rinpoche played with vulnarable girls was probably rather dirty. But “Angie” wrote about “rapist” (March 18, 2014 at 8:40 pm). Why didn’t you write about women’s studies to her?

    I’m very curious about this kind of abuse, because I have a natural mistrust to people with autority. Sogyal Rinpoche opens old wounds with his behaviour. Unfortunately not everything that women say in this case is 100% true. Too much is left out, too much is blown-up, too much blaming other, too little looking at one self. And that’s dirty too.

    You write that I need a course in women studies. It might be true that you know more in this matter. May I ask you therefor a question? Wat is the percentage of women who volunteered in an abusive situation? That is, in my eyes, a sexual relationship with an ‘abuser’ who didn’t have any intention for a serious relationship.

    Men follow the direction where their dick points at.
    Women follow (sometimes) the smell of power, and the bigger their dreams are with those powermen, the bigger their frustration will be when the dicks of the powermen suddenly points in an other direction.

    Life is a struggle in samsara.

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  20. Pier: You are a real joker. Perhaps a course in women’s studies might help. “She brought it on herself routine.” I find your comment quite worrying and it seems you are at the edge of rationalising abuse.

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  21. Historicaly, women look for powerful men to have sexual relationships with. That was probably one of the big reasons we survived as a sort.

    Women dream and search for popstars, moviestars, sportheroes, teachers, etc. etc. (even when Holland was occupied by Germany, it didn’t take long before the first sexual relationships between Dutch girls and powerful German officers took place. There is no reason to suppose that it was different centuries before when French and Spanish troops invaded Holland or in pre-historical times.)

    When abuse by Guru’s is not good, which category of powerful men is preferable for women to have sexual relationship with.

    Maybe popstars or dictators? Is it doctors or the boss at work?

    When we know which category is best we can tell young girl so they don’t have to be traumatized by the wrong powerful men.

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  22. I’m interested in the role (from very small to very big) that women played who were involved in sexual relationships with guru’s? What were they thinking? What were their hopes? What made them go so far? What were their feelings during those personal meetings? Did they had special strategies to come in an one on one situation with a guru? What do they remember, and how and by what are their remembrance formed? Do they make some points bigger and leave out other points? It’s terrible that women are left behind with trauma’s. If it was possible to create an ideal situation that answers completely to the wishes of that traumatised women, how would their relationships with the guru’s look like? Many more questions come to mind, but where can I find honesty?

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  23. John

    “Tantric sex is a not fully understood in in the west.”

    If you care to look John, there is plenty of information explaining the outcome of “vajrayana practice” by western and eastern women. You will see that vile practices were hidden from westerners so the version of practices they received initially was deliberately made “very complex” to hide the truth. They have the evidence of “its entirety”.

    “If one isn’t fully empowered and initiated at very high levels, then distortions arise.”

    Pull the other one! Making excuses for a totally distorted belief system that atrophies the cognitive faculties and makes slaves of people cannot be excused. Using sexual rituals as a path to ‘enlightenment’ is being lied to and condoning what they do is abhorrent.

    He says: “griping won’t fix anything” and “one could reconfigure their experience by remembering all the wonderful teachings they had whilst being so close to a powerful lama?
    Think of the millions who have woken due to the teachings?”

    Warning and informing people is what they do. You ask yet again that they distort “negative” experiences “by remembering all the wonderful teachings”? The only “wonderful” experience they have is being out of their minds which is necessary for the ‘godmen’ to reinforce their belief system and the outcome can only exacerbate mental health problems. I doubt you are using your cognitive mind, rather the undue influence. The foundation you ask them to build on, to return to mental health, is rotten and you are mad to suggest such a thought process.

    “If you are so mad at SR then put him in front of your Ngondro practices as an enemy and keep prostrating until enlightenment. Maybe this is the lesson, not sure.
    your karma?”

    You suggest they visualise their rapist frequently, for what? You then go on to suggest that it is their karma, to what?

    Let me get this straight. Are you suggesting that all women who are raped, that it is their karma? Are you suggesting that this is some kind of test for “compassion”?

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  24. I will say with respect,
    Tantric sex is a very complex vajrayana practice not fully understood in its entirety in the west. I’m not justifying what happened or didn’t happen.

    Many practitioners today mistakenly think they understand Vajrayana practises which are ancient. If one isn’t fully empowered and initiated at very high levels, then distortions arise.

    There are historical and cultural hurdles within the western patriarchal systems to consider, it’s not a cut and dry arguement.

    The women that I knew that slept with lamas are of a consenting age and fully consenting in act. Sometimes common sense is negated and this is individual on an augmented scale of individuality.

    It’s hard if any negative has occurred, yes, but griping won’t fix anything.
    Perhaps instead of tearing down lamas and rinpoches, one could reconfigure their “negative” experience by remembering all the wonderful teachings they had whilst being so close to a powerful lama?
    Think of the millions who have woken due to the teachings?

    Ian Maxwell rainbow bodied, maybe there is a cross learning going on for Tibetans?
    reality is stranger than fiction.

    If you are so mad at SR then put him in front of your Ngondro practices as an enemy and keep prostrating until enlightenment. Maybe this is the lesson, not sure.
    your karma?

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  25. This is not gossip but at the very heart of TB=Lamaism- tantric sex

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  26. I knew Ian Maxwell, not personally, but he taught me nongdro and introduced me to the Dharma a long time ago.

    Recently after three years in total solitude I practised one million guru rinpoche mantras, along with Heruka practices to erase negative karma. It nearly killed me.

    I finally received visions of Guru Rinpoche and Sogyal Rinpoche both in the same vision at the end of the three years.
    Just after that empowerment a medicine Buddha manifested just after the visions of Guru and Sogyal rinpoche. I could die happy today.

    I’ve done far worse things than steal girlfriends. I screwed other people’s wives, stole, lied, you name it. I did so many bad things way worse than any lama or Rinpoche stealing someone’s girlfriend.

    I took on the Dharma to find enlightenment, it worked for me and can work for anyone as I was one of worst practitioners ever. I was lazy but persisted with my practises.

    Gossip is one of the main poisons and can negate all previous practice irrespective of one’s dharma or lineage.

    Try and love one another, it’s your Dharma, karma.
    peace.
    j

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  27. less gossip, more practice.

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  28. Maybe a bad teacher in Lamaism is the “better” teacher , because this way the Dakinis have the chance to realize the misogynie of this practices, to get it in their concioussnes…..and the Tantricer will do everything that the pupil doesn’t criticise and leave the ” true Dharma”!

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  29. Anyone who suffered at the hands of Tony Quinn, the self proclaimed guru and messiah, should read the above links. Many of the systems are familiar to me. Quinn is a dangerous man. Stay away from Aideen Cowman and anyone who works for him.

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  30. An other Link you may be interested in:
    http://www.brittaleiajaccard.com/english/

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  31. “Herstory” – Sides of abuse cases
    An other Blog from and for victims of abuse in Tibetan Buddhism
    The abuse of the female principe for spiritual and wordly male power is the basic of the sexualmagic pracis – the female tantric sacrifice….
    of the Lamaism
    http://buddhismandcriticism.blogspot.co.at/2012/10/freedakini-die-stimme-einer-betroffenen.html

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  32. I was wondering if what happened to you Joanne was a spiritual emergence that turned into a spiritual emergency because it wasn’t dealt with by a community that doesn’t understand that especially if its a woman. It seems its ok for men to be psychotic. Putting my head on the block a bit with that last sentence. But was thinking of Milarepa. .” Have you read Spiritual emergence” by Stanislov.

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  33. For me it’s rediculous what you write about SR, Joanne. I think it’s a very destorted perception. My opinion is that SR is one of the greatest masters of this century with extremly high developed compassion torwards other beings. In my case he was the one who brought me to the buddhas teaching. He was the one who saved my life. Sometimes it’s difficult not confuse a hurt ego with putting the blame on others.

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  34. Plus I know a little bit about trauma and psychological issues myself from my own experience.

    Perhaps you could illuminate us about these experiences, as you should be the first to be able to understand the nature of abuse. The tone of your reply which is by the way not a reply to anything that was written is a Minister for Defence.
    Nord Bayern Danke=munichmisfit

    Of course never say never. I would never guarantee that it can’t be possible. But so far I have not seen any substantial evidence on much less any proof in the case of SR or Rigpa.

    Could you in fact reference the cases you have studied and tell us why they are not evidence.
    Surely you are not naive to suggest that you need proof before you accept evidence. That comes when someone gets the strength to take a case and unlike Janice Doe are not sworn to silence by a big cash settlement.

    So unless one can proof in front of a court that these accusations are true, and here it doesn’t matter who the supposed culprit is, I personally would be careful to blame anyone in public. Because too easily it looks like pure slander.
    On the other hand, if there is something that you can proof, by all means bring it to court!

    Try telling all the women who approach me with their stories. They are still afraid to come out of the closet. Just like in the Catholic Church it will take time. Also until the DL, and people like Bruni and our former President start listening to the cries of the victims we will not get to a court room.

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  35. Oh and by the way, Ireland is a very catholic country, isn’t it?

    Good try to divert, as the nature of Ireland at present is very much not a catholic country as you call it. It is in serious decline. However, that is irrelevant to this thread as it was written by a Buddhist living in the USA. It is not about religion but cultism. The inappropriate abuse of spiritual power. We have had this charge before and as this is not a religious site but one dedicated to understanding cultism it is totally irrelevant! Further diversions of this type will be placed in the Spillover Thread.

    It COULD of course also just be smear campaign of more fundamental and fanatic catholics/christians against other religions in general, in this case Tibetan buddhism.

    It could be you are trying to use a smokescreen to deflect from Sogyal’s activities.

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  36. Oh and by the way, Ireland is a very catholic country, isn’t it?

    It COULD of course also just be smear campaign of more fundamental and fanatic catholics/christians against other religions in general, in this case Tibetan buddhism.

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  37. Sorry, dialogueireland, it is a fact that I have been inside Rigpa and in 20 years never witnessed any case of inappropriate behaviour nor heard about it from either reliable or unreliable people in there. (I have not been inside Rigpa Youth though, because neither am I of that age nor do I have children. The daughter of a friend is though but I never heard any complaints from that side either)

    Plus I know a little bit about trauma and psychological issues myself from my own experience.

    Of course never say never. I would never guarantee that it can’t be possible. But so far I have not seen any substantial evidence on much less any proof in the case of SR or Rigpa.

    So unless one can proof in front of a court that these accusations are true, and here it doesn’t matter who the supposed culprit is, I personally would be careful to blame anyone in public. Because too easily it looks like pure slander.
    On the other hand, if there is something that you can proof, by all means bring it to court!

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  38. munichmisfit we have moved your comment to The Rigpa Spillover Thread ………………and another thing, if you really WANT to contact and meet SR on that for you obviously so important issue there should be a way to arrange that………..
    as it has no relevance to the questions asked, but is about Buddhist teachings which are not relevant to that thread.
    DI Moderation.

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  39. Sorry, I have no idea what that “Bardo-state” you are talking about is…………….
    This comment has been moved to the:
    The Rigpa Spillover Thread as it bears no relationship to the comment we made to your original comment but is about internal Buddhist teaching which is not the subject of this thread.

    DI Moderation

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  40. Could you please reread the post and address it properly?
    You have totally undermined your position by trying to build your case
    on this minor detail:

    Sorry, but I don’t see any abuse. And blaming a case of psychotic decompensation on a buddhist teacher who, as I understood it, has NOT raped or molested or bullied or exploited you or something, just based on the fact that you were not allowed to sit in the first row, now that’s REALLY neurotic.

    It is interesting that your argumentation mirrors that of Bella B?
    Now that we do not allow her toxic commentary to undermine what women have experienced, you are perhaps her proxy. But if you continue to just repeat denials but even worse misquote the post we will not give you a long life on this site.
    It is not about rape the extreme case, but the the misrepresentation of spiritual authority and grooming for mundane and ego-centric purposes that this open letter was written.
    Here in Ireland we are preparing for Sogyal’s visit in July. Whether we can get our act together is hard to say. But the days where this centre will remain hidden are numbered.
    It only takes one person to stand outside that centre for the world media to get it. Also hopefully the DL will not grace this disgrace with his presence. He has been warned and if he colludes with Sogyal he has to himself come face to face with reality. He did with Aum in Japan, he can’t claim he knows nothing now.

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  41. Oh and by the way, I’ve been taking teachings with several Tibetan buddhist teachers for almost 20 years, among them fairly regularly Sogyal Rinpoche although I would not consider him my root guru. Also I am one of the more critical people there, I do NOT tend to usually swallow people’s BS and I am very capable of thinking for myself.

    I am also not a stanger to spiritual crisis and emotional problems, I even had a psychotic episode myself and I am retired because of a chronic mental illness of the post traumatic kind.

    I know really a lot of people in that sangha and there are many things going on there that I don’t really agree with (hey, it’s humans, remember!) but I have NEVER EVER encountered any female sangha member there who has claimed she had been approached by SR in an inappropriate manner. NEVER IN 20 YEARS. I have never witessed anything of that kind and never heard either from reliable or unreliable sources in the sangha personally about it. Plus I know one or two lamas who are very strict monks who would never associate with a lama who commits such deeds who are personally close with him.

    By the way, yeah, among some people of the staff of large events there was some time ago the habit to dress up in a rather inappropriately revealing manner. I always found that rather disgusting in a religious environment, but to conclude that because there are a few individuals with bad taste and no manners there is sexual stuff going on is really far fetched. Also this completely stopped since there are monks and nuns around.

    And even IF SR is having a sexual relationship with a student, it’s not like the student is not an adult woman with a western education. There is the word `no` that every responsible woman can use to every man she doesn’t want to do it with. And the idea that SR is preying emotionally imbalanced and weak women for quick sex, by scaring them with samaya or something ,now that’s really ridiculous.

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  42. That kind of comments should inspire victims of any abuse within tantric-tibetan Lamaism publishing their stories here. Don´t feed those people who are unwilling to learn something new.

    munichmisfit, try to reach Bardo-state and come again later. Otherwise we don´t have any basis to debate.

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  43. WOW! What a pile of neurosis and projections.

    Sorry, but I don’t see any abuse. And blaming a case of psychotic decompensation on a buddhist teacher who, as I understood it, has NOT raped or molested or bullied or exploited you or something, just based on the fact that you were not allowed to sit in the first row, now that’s REALLY neurotic.

    Remember: The Dharma is, unlike some people tend to believe, not a resolution for more serious mental and emotonal problems. That’s your projection and expectation and if it’s not met by the real world Dharma, then that’s not a problem of the Dharma or a teacher, but that of a student and the fact that the Asian traditions are from their traditional approach not designed to deal with thethe typical western projections and neurotic patterns and expectations which that person didn’t know.

    So if you have a psychological problem of some sort, or even develop one in the course of your contact with any spiritual path, and the applications of the methods of the dharma/religion don’t help, you HAVE to seek psychological help/counseling or other appropriate help in our culture. You absolutely can’t blame it on a teacher.

    By the way, what you went through is not a full blown psychosis but psychotic decompensation, which in most passes by itself.

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  44. Thanks for your support of Joanne. I will leave this particular comment here but if you are not dealing with the central thread of the abuse of women, rather than different aspects of mind control could you please have that discussion on the spillover thread. as a result bellaB has replied back on this thread where she is in fact no longer welcome unless it is totally focused on the thread. In future I will delete her comments here and leave them on the spillover thread. This time I will leave it here to retain the sequence of the argumentation.

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  45. What do you know about SR’s techniques? Read Tenpei’s blog about hypnosis? It doesn’t mean a thing.

    Just study mirror neurons, and how the nature of mind is shown to students in Tibetan Buddhism. It’s no hypnosis. Don’t drive yourself to some panic mode, but really: FIND OUT.

    There is research done about meditation. It may have dangers, but it also has a lot of benefits. There are also international seminars about it in Lerab Ling every year.

    SR is not a self-proclaimed guru. He was told who he is by one of the most known Rimé lamas of the last century: Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro. If you know anything about Tibetan Buddhism, you should know who that man was.

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  46. Bella:

    Merely pointing out the fact that you don’t know anything about mental illness so why bring it into your comments? You are not informed about the negative effects of prolonged meditation and the dangerous effects of Soygal’s techniques. Anyone who practices meditation, particularly when given by self-proclaimed gurus who prey on women, should have access to this information.

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  47. Angie, you have visited Tony Quinn and now you feel comfortable to say something about distress in Rigpa? Do you hear growling sounds at Tony Quinn’s, or why do you ask about such hallucinations? I have never heard any sounds, so I can’t even begin to figure out what’s it like, except that I believe it is very scary.

    “In an earlier post I enquired about the symptoms of distress suffered by women in Rigpa. You have limited knowledge and it does not qualify you to comment on genuine acknowledgements of distress suffered in Rigpa and also, due to your limited knowledge you would not know if proper care is being taken to alleviate these symptoms.”

    You have yourself no idea about Rigpa, yet you are demanding expertship.

    About apologies: you could also consider asking other people to apologize to me. But of course you wouldn’t.

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  48. Joanna

    Thank you for posting on Dialogue Ireland and informing us of your experience in Rigpa. Taking into account all of the information made public I think it should be close down and Soygal banned from teaching. His practices are highly abusive. The centre I attended, Tony Quinn’s Educo cult, used abusive methods to undermine a person’s sense of identity and ability to think and so gain control over their lives while destroying their integrity. Build them up to keep them hooked on hypnotic suggestions that create a false identity and then break them down to submit to bullying that destroys their confidence.

    Neurological effects need to be studied and taken very seriously in any religion and particularly in cults that advocate long periods of meditation. When anyone suffers a breakdown I am inclined to think they should leave the environment they are in and cease all practices until they return to a healthy state of mind.

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  49. BellaB

    You are in denial when it comes to Sogyal’s sexual escapades since the early 70’s. No-one reading this blog can take you seriously because the facts are documented and cannot be denied by you or anyone else without coming across as being overly protective of Soygal and Rigpa. Your agenda is crystal clear and we don’t agree with your tactics to discredit Joanne’s and other people’s accounts of what they experienced. Your inclination to get important details so badly wrong and push this version is abhorrent and, considering how long you have been doing this, is inexcusable. Since there are so many untruths in what you say an apology to Joanne is in order. In an earlier post I enquired about the symptoms of distress suffered by women in Rigpa. You have limited knowledge and it does not qualify you to comment on genuine acknowledgements of distress suffered in Rigpa and also, due to your limited knowledge you would not know if proper care is being taken to alleviate these symptoms. The blind lead the blind and get nowhere.

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  50. BellaB, I wish you well, also. I also mean that seriously. I’m bowing out now.

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  51. My DELETED posts from the other thread:

    • bellaB, on March 2, 2013 at 5:16 am said:
    You both are just gullible. You see little and make a drama out of it. You didn’t bother to look hard enough to see different sides of SR. If he was too wrathful to you, just look up another lama. There are peaceful ones. Just because you got panic, doesn’t mean that all the BS is written about him, is true. It’s just easy for you to believe all of it because of your own negative expectation. Keep that in mind when you read stuff.
    And this was to Joanne. “I’m sorry for all of this in relation to you and I wish you well.”

    • bellaB, on March 2, 2013 at 5:21 am said:
    I was not lying, I simply remembered two facts wrong: dreams and Europe. Sorry that I didn’t remember the story in detail, but it doesn’t change the over all context.
    Dzogchen is not necessarily safe and how ever much you want Rigpa to become another place, suited just for you, it will not become. There is enough care there both in Rigpa and elsewhere.

    • bellaB, on March 2, 2013 at 6:49 am said:
    “So now we know that your commitment to the truth is very subjective and partial.”
    I could say the same to you.
    Did you EVER bother to read google groups and all those stories about V.B.?
    “SR raped me. ST abused me… ” Attention seeking was also a characteristic of my friend who was abused as a child.

    • bellaB, on March 2, 2013 at 6:55 am said:
    “Another woman allegedly abused by Sogyal Rinpoche was quoted in Lattin’s piece. Victoria Barlow, 40, said she met Sogyal when she was 21 and that he sexually exploited her during meditation retreats in New York and Berkeley. Barlow, a resident of New York City, told Lattin that she went to an apartment ‘to see a highly esteemed lama and discuss religion. He opened the door without a shirt on and with a beer in his hand. Once they were on the sofa, Barlow said in the Free Press article, Sogyal Rinpoche lunged at her with “sloppy kisses and groping.” ”
    Then Barlow went on testifying with her pseudonym Nicky Skye in different forums about how SR raped her. Now in the documentary she is honored to testify how SHE was his girlfriend. That must be the accomplishment of her life time.

    GOOGLE GROUPS: Reply to Nicky Skye and CO.

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  52. I’ve spent time (and recently) in Rigpa and I do NOT think the BTT account is BS. But we are not going to change each others minds on that, so let’s not go there bella.

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  53. Bella you are back at your old games. sorry this going back to the spillover. You are not house trained yet. You are still pissing on the carpet. Joanne, didn’t you write “One Year in Rigpa”? I can find it in this DI blog and Tenpei’s too.

    My recollections did a few factual mistakes:
    dreams – psychic visions (?)
    Europe – Australia
    ………………………..
    ………….I wish you well.

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  54. Sheila, perhaps you just thought you would have a little bit of (harmless) fun by posing as Zephanthros. Perhaps you don’t take this very seriously, think that human beings who claim that they suffer aren’t very important (perhaps you can say that to the Tibetans inside Tibet, who claim suffering but are discredited by the Chinese, called liars in fact). Unfortunately, many of us on this thread take this situation very seriously– this is why we take your little bit of fun seriously as well.

    Unfortunately (and strangely), you and Bella both claim that the allegations of sexual abuse are wild fabrications. You seem to take the truth very seriously in that regard, in your accusations against Mary and Victoria.

    So now we know that your commitment to the truth is very subjective and partial.

    Indeed, Bella’s commitment to the truth is very subjective. Early in February, (I can provide the date if needed), she wrote:

    “Joanne, were you not the one who explained in Dialogue Ireland that she was thinking that she will marry SR, because of her dreams, but begun drinking & smoking in the evenings in the retreat, left her husband and children for the sake of those dreams, didn’t talk to anyone about the issues she was dealing with – and later was going to talk to SR, who just shook his head to her, when he saw her coming to talk to him for the first (and only) time?

    “If you are not that person, then who was she?

    “If I have mixed up two people here, then I’m sorry. Could you please remind me of the person who had these particular sufferings?

    “If I have not mixed up two people, then what kind of game is being played here? The Story Inventors of Finnigan’s Disneyland? Retirement Home next address?”

    Unfortunately for Bella, not only am I not that person, but I can find no such person at all– she doesn’t exist except in Bella’s head. I did not have a dream, did not begin drinking and smoking in the evenings in the retreat, and did in fact reach out to people for help. Her allegations are mostly fabrications– is she lying or just having a bit of fun, like inventing Zephanthros?

    How can Bella talk about “story inventors of Finnigan’s Disneyland” in the same breath as she takes to invent stories herself?

    Bella also writes: (Feb. 17)

    “You didn’t bother to clarify my issues regarding your personal stories from many threads.
    You said you lost your family. You sent your own daughters to Europe with their father. (Correct?)”

    Incorrect. Australia.

    “You use a passive terms as if you yourself had nothing to do with it.
    You divorced your husband? (Incorrect?)”

    Incorrect. We divorced years later over a different matter.

    “I think you said so in another thread. Or maybe your husband divorced you. It doesn’t matter.”

    Inaccurate.

    “I wrote: you saw dreams about SR. (Incorrect?)”

    Incorrect. I never had dreams, never said that I had dreams to do with this.

    “Did you see psychic visions in plain day light? (Sorry if I missed the correct time of the day.)”

    Incorrect, no psychic visions. None at all.

    “I have to say that I wouldn’t part with my children EVER because of religion or because of a man… or anything. NEVER.”

    They went back to live with their father, something they had been asking to do. Still it was painful for us all, the way it was done. Is that a kind statement, Bella? It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

    “I think it’s also a bit too much if you blame Rigpa for your decisions. Nobody in Rigpa is supporting getting rid of your family, but supports using the teachings to help your family.
    Why don’t you blame your psychosis for losing your family? I know facing mental sickness is the hardest thing on earth, but it’s the only way (also karmically) to proceed.”

    When did I “blame” Rigpa? I spoke of psychologically unsafe conditions.

    “Sorry for being direct, but it’s my way.”

    Sorry, but you are wrong. Is lying and promoting inaccuracies “direct”?

    Bella and Sheila, when a person is clearly deceptive in one situation, this increases the possibility that they will be deceptive in the next situation. Particularly when neither of you are willing to own up to your deceit. Bella, you have little credence in your claims that BTT is all lies. Sheila, you have little credence as well.

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  55. You are just being evasive Sheila. Now how about having some decency and address the claims of sock puppetry, which amount to deception, and stop trying to milk sympathy with this latest bullshit attempt at making out you have always been up-front. You have rarely been up front, but diverted discussion and attempted to couch all the accounts of abuse by Sogyal Rinpoche as conspiracy theories. You mistake using your real name as someone being “open” but what you say and do is the real measure of being open, and on this account, it is all there for people to read.

    As I have siad on the “spillover thread” I see no evidence of your posts being deleted. I will also repeat what I just posted there, here:

    “So Sheila, would you now show some integrity by acknowledging you did engage in deception, instead of carrying on here as if nothing untoward has occurred, or set the record straight, if you did not?”

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  56. Anyone here is welcome to call me, or visit. My number is 608-469-7573, and I live in Madison, WI as I’ve said many times. I’ve been more open than any person in the history of Dialogue Ireland, to the best of my knowledge.

    But DI is just deleting everything I post now, and then Sankappa pretends to not know this and says I’m “hiding” and everyone says I’m “Kate.”

    Ah well, if I’m to be kicked around like a rodeo clown at least maybe I can save Bella from a few bruises.

    DI Moderation:
    we will leave this comment, but anything which continues the nonsense about China and her parents meeting as ministers will be deleted. When she addresses her deception she will be allowed back on to this thread, she is permanently off the abuse thread. Snkappa puts it:

    You maybe willing to accept deception on a public forum, but I’m not. It’s not about whether I write her off or not, but more about Sheila being responsible for her action,s and at least acknowledging that she has engaged in deceptive behavior.

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  57. Hi Joanne, I was just doing some reading, ……transferred to Spillover.

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  58. Evidence coming your way. From the servant of the servants of the blog

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  59. And valiant defender of HH Dalai Lama.

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  60. You posted as Sheila, proud member of a good and decent Dharma center, possessor of good and decent habits.

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  61. Mike, are you talking to Sheila? Or perhaps Kate? Or Zephyranthos? Where on earth has Kate gone? And Sheila, I am surprised, truly– because you were the one who once stood proudly, transparently and openly (I thought) as yourself, as Sheila with a telephone number and email. Is this deception possible?

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  62. With due respect I will allow this last one but if you wish to pursue that issue please do it on the other thread. We do not wish to have any other discourse here. I do not wish to have any further Bellab Sheila stuff unrelated to the abuse issue here. That also applies to Marte-Micaela Riepe.
    Yes everything is related but not on this thread. I am not going to move it all. However, any further comments other than directly related to this specific thread will be deleted.
    Best Wishes
    M
    If it is helpful to you write up a new post, but leave this one free.
    If it is general psychological or mental issues use the Spillover, if it is about Buddhist beliefs and practices use the many forums for that
    PS
    Submitted on 2013/02/25 at 9:16 pm

    If someone is spoofing me…

    That made me chuckle a little.

    You were posing as a separate poster under the username ‘zephyranthos’. You were using a proxy server and fake device string to try disguising that fact. But you screwed up and forgot to activate your proxy server for one of the comments you made, leaving you caught red-handed.

    I will say though that, out of all the sockpuppetry we have had on this site, yours was up with the very best until you screwed up.

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  63. Exactly that is why you tried to latch onto them, as you had failed with your sock puppetry.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_%28Internet%29
    Sockpuppet (Internet)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    For Wikipedia policy on sockpuppets, see Wikipedia:Sock puppetry

    A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term—a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock—originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an internet community who spoke to, or about himself while pretending to be another person.[1] The term now includes other uses of misleading online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a third party or organization,[2] or to circumvent a suspension or ban from a website. A significant difference between the use of a pseudonym[3] and the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer. Many online communities have a policy of blocking sockpuppets.

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  64. It was sankappa and Joanne who brought up the dark night of the soul.

    Funny, DI how you practically beg women to pour out their souls and experience here, and then when they do, you shut them down after you’ve mined the information.

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  65. Thankyou to Marte-Micaela Riepe, Sankappa, Joanne & BellaB for your posts regarding meditation & the dark night of the soul. Wow this has helped to explain the intense experiences I have had and what was really happening to me. I appreciate the discussion and its implications and how dangerous it can be if in the hands of someone who doesn’t understand this.

    DI I appreciate that this comment would have been better in the spillover thread but as the main discussion was here I decided to post here.

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  66. DI

    “That clears the way for the men and the women who are victims of abuse, whether mental, physical or emotional.”

    By publishing the “Open Letter” and the experiences of Joanne on another thread you opened the discussion about mental and emotional abuse in TB settings especially within Rigpa.

    This kind of abuse has specific characteristics in TB due to the hidden practises which are used and we are not aquainted with. Those practises of mental and emotional abuse fundamentally differ from all what we know about cult practises in the West, even though the results may be comperable. So, if we want to work one´s way out of the consequences of that kind of abuse it´s important among other things to impart knowledge about methods and motivation of the abuser.

    On the other hand a stable and affactionate relationship to persons or a spiritual practise may help as well as creativity and a lot of other things which are good for us. Love yourself! The abusers don´t. He only takes advantage of your skills, beauty, youth, wisdom, energy and so on.

    Wether you take the sophisticated way out or the more emotional and creative is depending on your character, your talents, your belief.

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  67. But it is a subtle way to rearrange the narrative. I am going to be absolutely clear on this. Have your dark night of the soul on the spillover thread.
    This thread is about the abuse of women by SR of Rigpa

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  68. With reflection you have persisted in posting on this thread and when your confrontative method led you to be excluded from the thread you were not happy. Your colleague Sheila also tried to talk to herself on this site, pretending she was another person. When she tried to flag me for attack on helpless women she was in fact trying to cover her tracks. When that did not work she then tried like yourself a new approach which others have bought into namely going off on a tangent about various aspects of Buddhism. You are being so nice to them they let their guard down and the result is you are again dominating this thread. I do not have the time to be moving your stuff across. Go there yourself………………! In future all off thread comments will be deleted. In other words I will not move it, but if you wish to discuss about Buddhism in general use the Spillover. Also just denying that abuse took place, and that you were not in SR’s bed room will result in an immediate deletion. We are now very familiar with that argument of yours. so also if you impugn the veracity of of the women who use our site, will be a red card offence.
    DI Moderation
    What I am interested is to hear from those affected as to whether moving from just using the blog to actually taking on the abuse, by picketing RIGPA centres would be of interest to me. I did mention that last week.

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  69. If you remove messages, is it too much to ask to move them in time order, so that it’s still possible for people to follow the conversation?

    Is it also ok if you removed the messages dealing the same issue from everybody, and not just one, me?

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  70. “dialogueireland, on February 24, 2013 at 11:56 pm said:

    you will have noted that we have outed sheila for sockpuppetry. Also you are allowing yourselves to be diverted on the thread dedicated to discussing the abuse of women by SR of Rigpa. Again the usual suspects are discussing Buddhism and these comments will not be deleted but relocated to the spillover thread. I have not had accessto do that Sunday.”

    We are talking about life situations and healing. That is not Buddhism, if you bothered to read the messages.

    If you have trouble seeing that these issues are not black & white. There are many factors involved. Is it the goal to look for the truth, which is usually many sided, or is the goal to look for scapegoats?

    I am thinking that the discussion is at the moment quite healthy and beneficial to all involved. Is the fighting scene better? I don’t understand your problem with these writings here. They are part of this thread, and not a side track. Or do you think it’s better people are stuck in their problems? Isn’t this site for dealing with problems too? Does it annoy you that we are not fighting at the moment?

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  71. you will have noted that we have outed sheila for sockpuppetry. Also you are allowing yourselves to be diverted on the thread dedicated to discussing the abuse of women by SR of Rigpa. Again the usual suspects are discussing Buddhism and these comments will not be deleted but relocated to the spillover thread. I have not had accessto do that Sunday.
    DI Moderation

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  72. Marte Micaela-Riepe

    Thanks again for very helpful information. My life experience tells me there may be more than one dark night episode during a life time although the last one I went through was, by far, the worst. I felt it was forced on me through manipulation of energy and the greed of a cult. The information would have been very helpful at the time but I do appreciate reading it now.

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  73. “Joanne, on February 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm said:

    Bella, I did write SR by the way– remember the title of this thread? He’s welcome to reply.”

    I don’t think he will reply publicly.

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  74. Whereas the Adventist pastor would’ve just declared me possessed, lol. At any rate I could never tell the well-meaning SDA pastor I’d started to doubt God; the Lutheran pastor, to his credit, was unphased by such a startling admission.

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  75. Maybe it’s the language differences. In my culture a crisis is a deep, fundamental change in a person’s life. Many things can pass, people die, work is lost, one has to re-evaluate everything in life. The process may last for years or is never resolved, so the person feels lost.

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  76. I would have to agree with the vital role of patience in the dark night, though I’d say it is perhaps better called endurance. In my experience, when in the dark night, it’s all you can do to hang in and make it through a day at a time. Being reminded that “this, too, shall pass,” as you say, thinking of it as a passage not only in the sense that it will pass, but that it is an evolutionary passage upward, I agree is immensely helpful. I’ll never forget the Lutheran pastor telling my dad to tell me, “maybe this is for a reason,” and it gave me one, brief little feeling that there could be something good about it, instead of all bad.

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  77. Also, fyi, I did work in mental health crisis. The entire definition of crisis is focused on the urgency of the moment. It is usually defined as a point in a person’s life where action one way or the other is mandated, a critical juncture etc. Crisis is often a call to action for the person in it.

    On the other hand, dark night of the soul requires patience, acceptance and no sense of urgency because it could take years to pass. It is not a call to action, but a call to patience. That was my deep deep learning certainly.

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  78. Bella, I did write SR by the way– remember the title of this thread? He’s welcome to reply.

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  79. I don’t know if the book could be of any use. Maybe there are other ones too. I’ve read this 8-9 years ago. I mentioned this in the spillover thread, but wanted share it here too.

    Laurie Brands Gagné: The Uses of Darkness, Women’s Underworld Journeys, Ancient and Modern

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  80. I agree bellaB, we are short on tools for darkness.

    Indigenous cultures, in my personal experience, often still have the tools; by indigenous I mean non-pop culture, perhaps rural culture as much as anything. I always recommend people watch the series opener of “6 Feet Under,” if only for the scene with the Italian women showing their grief. It affected me profoundly, and they discuss that contrast–the modern, educated man, so removed from any earthy tradition, witnessing for the first time how grief can be expressed instead of held in.

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  81. Sorry – “ideal.”

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  82. Main problem with our culture is that we don’t know how to deal with dark periods in people’s lives, what ever they are called. Darkness is part of life. People are fixed into ‘some condition’ (which also medication could bring about). Believe it or not, but I have always seen the issue differently, since I know many people who have suffered, I have suffered… and still suffering.

    SR said last summer that Ngondro is a good way to heal one’s traumas. I should finish that.

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  83. I would have to agree that a dark night of the soul feels like a crisis; it would hardly be intense enough to be called a dark night of the soul, if it didn’t. I do agree that trying to recognize it as a passage, while in the depths of it, is incredibly beneficial; in this way it is exceptionally like the intermediate state. If you can recognize all the sounds and images and phenomena as a projection of your mind, yet at the same time feel the preciousness of the passage and its opportunity, that’s idea.

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  84. It does feel like a crisis. It doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t bring positive changes in the person.

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  85. Bella, dark night of the soul is not a crisis. It’s a passage. That’s the whole point. Treating it as a crisis is harmful.

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  86. Joanne, I agree that the Tibetan tradition has no tools in dealing with crises.

    SR anyway has worked through with many people individually when they were in a crisis during the three year retreat. I have no idea what kind of crises they had, but I don’t think psychosis. There were also the therapists.

    When people are in serious difficulties, SR wants to know about it. Even though people are not close students or workers, he still wants to know. He has told us a few examples where people have contacted him, when they have fallen ill with cancer or other things. Too bad you were not taken care of in Rigpa. I’m sure there would have been more help available than with some random lamas, who one meets occasionally.

    I have no idea, if it would help you, if you wrote a personal letter to him. He is fundamentally kind. Maybe the workers have told about your story here. I don’t know. But maybe you could also receive a personal response. SR is anyway more familiar with Westerners than many other Tibetan lamas. I guess you will not be able to trust enough to write him, even though many people have really received help from him. I’m not thinking that he would help you in any magical way, but if it would ease your own suffering letting him know, how you are. He cares about people and I believe he would be thankful of your courage if you wrote to him. It’s your decision. I do understand if you don’t want to, but this is just a suggestion, if you could consider it.

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  87. Thank´s Sankappa, for the link!

    “Dark Night of the Soul” is a term used by Johannes von Kreuz”, a christian mystik and a friend of Teresa of Avila.

    May be that is interesting for you too, it comes out of a buddhistic context:

    Stages of Meditation

    Stage 1. Knowledge of the distinction between mental and physical states and

    stage 2. (Knowledge of the cause-effect relationship between mental and physical states) involve deepening concentration and increasing mindfulness. Hallucinations, feelings of disturbance, and involuntary movements can occur. Many mental images may arise and disappear slowly and one can feel confused and distracted.

    In Stage 3 (Knowledge of mental and physical processes as impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self) as samadhi is achieved, pseudo-nirvana phenomena may occur. These can induce attachment of the experience of a particular phase and include different experiences of light and color and feelings of rapture, tranquility, and bliss. Frightening images may also occur. Tears and body sensations, such as stiffness, heaviness, heat or energy pulsations, and twitching or itching, can arise. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea as well as body movements can accompany some forms of rapture. Tranquility can be signified by clarity and feelings of lightness and smoothness. Bliss may involve desire to meditate a long time, gratitude, and pride. Confidence and zeal can occur with bliss and lead to over-exertion. With strong mindfulness, one may notice phenomena melted into the past and become concerned with the past and able to recall past lives. One may falsely believe hat insight-wisdom is attained and think excessively. Then equanimity can arise. When too strong, it can lead to absent-mindedness and inattention to bodily needs. Finally, one can be delighted and satisfied with the various signs of progress. After overcoming these imperfections of insight, genuine insight practice can begin. Concentration and mindfulness are balanced rather than fluctuating, and mindfulness is precise and constant.

    Stage 4 (Knowledge of arising and passing away) is entered. Mental images disappear quickly with acknowledgement and a non-hallucinatory clear bright light may appear. Abdominal movements may cease and one may feel as though falling into an abyss.
    Stage 5 (Knowledge of dissolution of formations) is entered. Sadness and irritability may occur when the passing away of phenomena is seen clearly. In addition to form disappearing, the mind of the knower seems to disappear and then acknowledges its disappearance. At times, only the rising and passing away of phenomena occurs while the self seems to disappear. Then both form and consciousness disappear. These may cease briefly or for several days until boredom occurs. One may also see object vibrating.

    Stage 6 (Knowledge of the fearful nature of mental and physical states) involves fear, and one can be afraid of everything, even harmless objects. This is related to losing ones self. Pain in the body can be experience. One may feel utterly alone and weep at the thought of loved ones. One cannot find enjoyment in anything.

    Stage 7 (Knowledge of mental and physical states as unsatisfactory) involves further misery and disgust. Life seems bad and tiresome, and one can feel bored and uneasy. A deep sense of the insipid nature of life prevails.

    Stage 8 (Knowledge of disenchantment) involves intensification of the sense of unsatisfactoriness. One realizes the interdependence of events (dependent origination) and their dissolution. One only wishes to escape from the world, realizing that nothing is lasting.

    Stage 9 (Knowledge of the desire for deliverance) is the rolling the mat phase as one may desire to leave practice as restlessness increases and mindfulness is low. The body may itch as though being bitten by ants.

    Stage 10 (Knowledge which investigates the path to deliverance and instills a decision to practice to completion) may involve the sensation of being slashed with a knife and other distracting disturbances. Drowsiness, stiffness, heaviness, and heat may occur.

    Stage 11 (Knowledge which regards mental and physical states with dispassion) involves equanimity. Mindfulness and clarity are present and natural. Practice is smooth, and one may lose track of time and sit for hours. Certain psychosomatic diseases may be cured.

    Stage 12-16, insight knowledge occurs. Nirvana is approached by way of one of the three marks of existence: impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), or emptiness of self (anatta), and everything drops away (cessation).

    The path is entered and the fruit of the path attained. One experiences deep peace and stillness, the supreme silence. Defilements are abandoned and destroyed. When first experienced, this moment of realization does not last for even a second. Then comes contemplation of the basis for deliverance, the path, and the fruit and review of defilements remaining.

    http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,59830,page=94

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  88. Oh my. I just read this thread from top to bottom.

    I’m not ashamed to be confused with Kate–far from it–but as it serves little purpose to add more confusion to the situation, I’m not Kate. But DI already knows that.

    Why is this thread not called “An Open Letter to Rigpa?”

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  89. What’s interesting to me about the article by Nikolai is that so many of the experiences of the “dark night of the soul” that he talked about were familiar to me– the “dangerous prayer” right before its onset, the constant feelings of deep fear and dread, the hours of crying, the suicidal thinking, the complete loss of self, the point of no return etc. etc. Of course, he didn’t address the role that my lamas played in my experiences. However, he did speak of how damaging it could be for an individual going through a dark night to be under the care of someone who didn’t understand and he also spoke of how the west is poorly equipped to deal with these experiences:

    “Many cultures throughout history have had rituals and initiations for those who enter such a passage– western society does not.” In fact, my eldest daughter, who is doing doctoral work within African cultures, has been remarkably understanding and accepting of my experiences.

    However, looking back, I think my lamas were poorly equipped. I think they simply believed that I was mentally ill and addressed all my questions and requests in that light. I will never forget the first two interviews I had with my 2nd lama, whom I still hold dear because he has such a kind manner. During the first interview, I told him about my wild experiences in Rigpa. He said nothing about the experiences themselves, but simply said very kindly that SR was a great lama, and if I wanted to practice at KTD, I could.

    During the second interview I tried to get better clarification and asked him directly about what I then called my “clairvoyant” experiences. He simply asked me if I could tell him how much money was in an offering envelope in front of him. Of course I couldn’t, whereupon he smiled and said that I wasn’t clairvoyant then. I tried to probe deeper because I really wanted to understand my experiences, but he merely smiled and said nothing more. That was the limit of help I received from lamas– my fourth lama, after treating me very harshly during an interview, concluded by saying, “Maybe you need therapy.”

    It is possible that while Tibetan culture might have rituals and initiations for those entering such a passage, TB lamas might have difficulty recognizing these experiences in a Westerner. I think that when one is in a powerful passage, such as a dark night, one looks and behaves quite weird– I certainly did. Nikolai, in the article, speaks of how important it is for a therapist to recognize when a client is in such a state– I would say the same of a TB lama. I think many of us simply look strange to lamas as we go through all our powerful spiritual changes and they don’t know how to help us, they really don’t– and then misunderstandings develop.

    Of course, I am not discussing this by way of excusing sexual abuse! Nor do I believe that it’s safe for lamas to have sex with students. Just trying to put another angle on our troubles.

    Enough. Mike will definitely pass us both over to the spillover at the end of the day (Sunday, day for him to take a rest from our tirades).

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  90. Awesome article, Sankappa– spoke volumes to me about my own experiences. Thank you!

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  91. This is a very good article for some of the more unsettling aspects. Scroll down to the third post by Nikolai:

    http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2812081

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  92. Joanne and Marte you raise some very important points in relation to the spiritual path and progress, though we don’t often see it as such. I would just like add that this “emergence” as I’m sure you’re aware, is a lot more widespread than people realise, and as you say Joanne, can happen on other spiritual paths, as in the case with your relative. It can also occur to people not even on a spiritual path, brought on by other life events, which can be more unsettling when there appears to be no apparent reason behind it.

    Here is a link to a site which deals with much of what we have been discussing, and mostly from a Buddhist perspective:

    http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1509672

    This site has been very helpful for me to get some perspective and overcome some difficulties, and I post this link now, in case it can be of help to, and clarify for others, some of the common experiences that manifest. I personally think people should be made more fully aware of some of the unsettling experiences that spiritual practice can have, most particularly those involving meditation. In fact, one of the primary goals of this site is to help raise this level of awareness, demystify the awakening process and open up for discussion peoples’ many and varied but also common experiences.

    So a just a brief background on some of the terminology used , which will hopefully help for quicker understanding, if you are still interested at this point.

    There is a particular stage in “The Progress of Insight” known as Arising and Passing Away (A&P). It is at this stage that many peak spiritual experiences occur. Some of these experiences can be profound and quite rapturous and joyful, but are inevitably followed by a phase of “dissolution” – several stages where unsettling events causing anxiety, stress, suffering and yes, no doubt in some cases, even psychotic episodes can occur. I would like to stress that the variability between individuals can be huge in terms of magnitude, as can the time frame they occur over. The important point about both these stages though, is not to buy into, or be distracted from the main game. For A&P, it is important not to be distracted by, or become attached to the “peak” experiences, but see the important insight that all phenomena “arise and pass away” (are impermanent) in real time. For the dissolution stages (aka the Dark Night – some Christian terminology) is to not have aversion to and see the emptiness of suffering, and that it is not-self (not to be identified with) and develop equanimity towards it.

    The stages and maps have been well developed over centuries and the literature alludes quite clearly to these stages, but they somehow seem to down-play particular “events” during this progression. This may indeed be for the very reason that we don’t become distracted from what is important, and not give these distractions and the more unsettling events too much oxygen. But the other side is, that perhaps people should be warned, that once a certain threshold is crossed there CAN be anxious times that will follow – forewarned is forearmed, and for some it can be too overwhelming.

    I apologise for this post being way off topic, and will understand any relegation to the “Spillover”, but I hope this information can be of help. Perhaps you will recognise some of these experiences.

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  93. TBLD mentions kundalini twice:

    “They are surely beginning to see what the bardo teachings tell us: that life and death are in the mind itself. And the confidence that many of them seem to have after this experience reflects this deeper understanding of mind.

    There are also certain, fascinating similarities between the near-death experience and its results, and mystical states and altered states of consciousness. For example, a number of paranormal phenomena have been reported by the near-death experiencers. Some have precognitive or prophetic planetary visions, or “life previews,” that turn out to be uncannily accurate; after the near-death experience, some report experiences of what appears to be the energy of kundalini,37 others find they have real and amazing powers of clairvoyance, or psychic or physical healing.

    Many of those who have come near death speak in a personal, undeniably eloquent way of the beauty, love, peace and bliss and wisdom of what they have experienced. To me this sounds like they have had certain glimpses of the radiance of the nature of mind, and it is hardly surprising that such glimpses should have resulted in true spiritual transformation, again and again. Yet as Margot Grey points out, “We do not need nearly to die in order to experience a higher spiritual reality.”38 That higher spiritual reality is here and now, in life, if only we can discover and enter it.” (page 337)

    In the Notes (page 412):

    “Tibétain (Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1989).
    37. In the Hindu tradition, kundalini refers to the awakening of
    the subtle energy that can bring about a psycho-physiological trans- formation and union with the divine.”

    Other than these I don’t remember him mentioning and I never heard him teaching on kundalini.

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  94. So, my kundalini story was also deleted here. Why?

    I have experienced kundalini risings too.

    Sometimes during extensive periods of meditation, I feel streams of energy rising along my spine.

    Once I also felt kundalini rising, very much stronger, during a close interaction with a man. There was an extreme sexual desire in between us, more than in my usual experience. We didn’t even have sex. We were just lying close and burning.

    Once I asked SR publicly about my energy risings in meditation. SR didn’t say anything, except: “We have to ask other lamas about those.” I don’t think he said so, because he didn’t know, but I think he said so in order not to emphasize that. (Another older student had encouraged me to ask about it, because she was curious too.)

    I was never psychotic after these experiences. When those begun to happen, I even wanted mentally to try to achieve that energy to rise. At the same time I was a bit scared too, because I didn’t know what was happening. Later I learned from other traditions about energy issues. In yoga that is quite common and well known topic.

    SR doesn’t emphasize that kind of meditation. That is not the goal here. He always talks about grounding and resting in the nature of mind. In his examples you don’t hear energy stuff at all. He says:

    “Body like the mountain, heart like the ocean, mind like the sky.”

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  95. Marte did Joanne had a kundalini rising at some point? Can you compare your experiences directly with hers?

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  96. Sheila, I don’t turn. It’s pretty clear that comments that don’t support his negative ideas, are removed. Also, you are too intelligent for him to handle, so he has to use low tactics. Male weakness sometimes. He is really “the best critic” of SR.

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  97. “Joanne, on February 23, 2013 at 2:40 pm said:

    Thank you, Kate. And Bella, I would like to add that in my small experience working in psychotherapy, when I worked with psychotic clients who were messing with their meds, it was only a matter of time before I would end up having to hospitalize them– because they became either a threat to themselves or to others. I believe that this is often the case– very rare are those cases with psychotic individuals regaining their clarity of mind without medication. I have taken no medication, not even that oil you suggested.”

    There are risks in medication. I don’t know if both of my psychotic friends have ever taken medication. The other one left the hospital and started making art and handicraft. Kept her sane in that way. She also notices when she begins to get a psychotic state, so she thinks other things – and doesn’t go there.

    The other one was in the hospital for 2 months after her child was born. She was danger to her child too, because she was paranoid, drove around with the baby in the car. I have no idea if she takes medicine. She is young, retired from work, mother of two children and goes to therapy once a week.

    DI deleted, he didn’t only remove my posts, but I have become clever enough to copy paste them for myself.

    I did mention fish oils that may help all kinds of brain dysfunctions: autism, schizophrenia and others. Somebody mention an article, where a woman’s brain was in fire. Some natural medicine providers say that those brain dysfunctions could be inflammatory states, and fish oils help somehow (omega-3).

    http://www.schizophrenia.com/sznews/archives/005788.html

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  98. Absolutely unbelievable that you guys will turn a blind eye to Mike Garde’s (and the “Buddhist expert’s”) multiple, creepy threats to me even as you are stressing the importance of protecting women from such things.

    As long as the man engaging in this abuse is someone you side with on other issues, it’s okay? Utterly hypocritical, I’m sorry to say.

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  99. Joanne,

    you made phantastic points here and you directly hit the mark. I know a lot of women who made similar experiences as a few of us and they normally suffer incredibly, here´s why:

    1. They arrive that state of mind wich I call “Open Kundalini” without any knowledge about the phenomena of it and without a caring female or male teacher , who would lead them through the path. No one of the TB gurus would ever do that in opposite to the hinduistc gurus. That depends on ther different motivations.
    2. The women or men are also undergoing terriblly wrong diagnoses and treatments by the modern psychiatry. You have to find a sensitive buddy and that is as rare as to find a needle in a haystack. I was lucky when I did.
    3. In the setting you are making those experiences people don´t recognoze the phenomena, only the teacher and he does not speak about because of the secrecy.

    And you are right, Joanne, the path to enlightment leads through those phenomena. Nydahl once said: You can´t go there without going there. Correct.

    From your Buddist view you ask:

    “Is the experience beneficial? Is it useful and wholesome?”

    Just two remarks:

    Yes, it is possible, when you went through and your soul is healthy at the result and all pain and fright are incorporated.

    And I adopted and decided to use my experiences to support people in that state of mind.

    I am far from beeing buddhistic.

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  100. Thank you, Kate. And Bella, I would like to add that in my small experience working in psychotherapy, when I worked with psychotic clients who were messing with their meds, it was only a matter of time before I would end up having to hospitalize them– because they became either a threat to themselves or to others. I believe that this is often the case– very rare are those cases with psychotic individuals regaining their clarity of mind without medication. I have taken no medication, not even that oil you suggested.

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  101. Thank you for sharing that Joanne. I tend to disagree with the division between psychosis and religion as my dharma practice has taught me not to compartmentalise in the way the a psychiatrist may have learned to.

    For me, this is much more revealing and relevant, and I would tend to put more trust in your intuitions than in any attempt to rationalise. I suspect you have had far greater insight into SR’s situation than you may even realise yourself.

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  102. Yes, Sankappa and Marte, the line between spiritual and psychotic is impossible to draw definitively. For example, a family member tells me that he asked God for help and God answered and told him such and such. Is he psychotic? He also talks frequently about his wild first born again experience (experiences very similar to my “Driving Around the Block in a Trance Disorder”). Are they psychotic?

    In fact, it was a psychiatrist who drew the line very definitively once for me while we were discussing a case. I said to her that I thought my client was psychotic because of some references he had made to the devil etc. She said, no that’s religious, not psychotic. And as I have said several times, there are leading psychologists very interested in this line between psychotic and paranormal.

    In my own case, I use a very simple criteria. I ask: is the experience beneficial? Is it useful and wholesome? Of course, in the beginning, I couldn’t determine that because I was so delusional and couldn’t think clearly. Now I am much better able to assess my states of mind. And isn’t that the point of the Buddhist path? Aren’t we all delusional, trying to see ourselves more clearly? Where do you draw the line?

    Actually, Bella is right– I still experience voices and other strange paranormal phenomena. But as I have said before, I put little stock in them because they have little to do with the main point, which is my practice and study of the dharma. I also think that I do have some clarity of mind these days, sometimes more than those who don’t have these experiences. So the important difference is that I am no longer delusional or suicidal– those were the important measures for me. If I were either of those things, (or mentally unstable as Bella is saying) then this thread would be sending me right over the edge of the abyss instead of just giving me a headache– people would see me ranting and raving.

    I will also comment, Bella, that I worked frequently with psychotic clients during my short time working in psychotherapy. My own experiences are markedly different than those described by my clients– I have long ago stopped trying to understand these differences.

    And now Mike can move me to that auspiciously entitled thread (Joanne Clark Spillover)– because this has absolutely NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TOPIC AT HAND…..

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  103. Sankappa,

    yes, we only have quite vague terms and definitions about what I call an open Kundalini or mystic experiences, but a lot of scientists are still researching on that topic, I could post an enormous numbers of links here.

    The only one I would like to present is:

    http://www.religionnewsblog.com/638/warning-meditating-may-be-hazardous-to-your-health

    I translated the article into German for my blog:

    http://marte-micaela-riepe.blogspot.tw/2012/07/bad-vibes-risiken-der-meditation.html

    That´s for information!

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  104. Strange things can happen. (Specially when you persist in trying to spam bomb this site.)

    Moved to Spillover thread.

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  105. I agree 100% with Marte here. Strange stuff happens during spiritual emergence, kundalini, whatever you like to call it. My own experiences and research back this up.

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  106. “I think we all know she is no longer psychotic, because she has told us so, so we don’t need to worry for her being unstable.”

    For all except Bella, who is unteachable:

    Joanne was never psychotic, even if she was told to be that. She only went through the phenomena of an opening kundalini. It is a big difference without wanting to blame people with a diagnosis “psychosis”.

    Balla should not be allowed to write about Joanne`´s experiences anymore. I don´t know how that could be managed: She is a person who analyses human suffering from a discriminating point of view in that cases when Sog. is involved.

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  107. Well, if she is a trained psychotherapist, she should also know about the pitfalls. I don’t think any of her colleges would say anything different than what I said, to anybody.
    Moved to The Rigpa Spillover Thread

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  108. bellaB, on February 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm said:

    “With strange psychological issues it’s interesting to look for mystical explanations in order to reduce the threat they pose, but it’s not good in the long run.”

    See the dig you make at Joanne here again bella? There is this implication that you have been continually making that Joanne is somehow unstable. You start with a conciliatory point at the beginning of your comment, but then you end with a barb.

    Your comments over time bellaB, have become increasingly malicious. Are you aware of this?

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  109. I see what you are saying now Joanne. The introductions are more than just introductions, and I gather people at different stages in the Dharma, will glean different things from HHDL’s “introductory” talks.

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  110. Joanne, if we had met in person, I wouldn’t have said things so directly. Because this is a public site, and I think what is written here might affect some other people, I speak directly. With strange psychological issues it’s interesting to look for mystical explanations in order to reduce the threat they pose, but it’s not good in the long run.

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  111. Calm down, calm down, calm down, Bella. And I think you need to acknowledge that this has not been about opinions. Too much of your comment line has been quite vicious, with frequent personal attacks. I found my sleep quite disturbed after you cut and pasted my story, exposing and commenting on painful details totally out of context and ignoring my assessments of them completely. It was quite a malicious thing to do, Bella, not at all kind. It reminds me of how Fischer cats take down porcupines– they attack the vulnerable parts, the face and stomach. I would never personally attack you like that, Bella. You are a long way from calmly stating opinions. You appear to be out of control, which is why we are advising you to take a break and meet with a friend.

    Sankappa, I agree about the FNT being the entirety of the path. In the same light, I would also like to quickly comment that HH Dalai Lama’s “introductions” can be heard again and again and again and new things will be learned. So it is also about that too. Westerners love to hear a few teachiings and then claim expertise.

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  112. No you were trying to drag people off topic. You are good at it, but we are going to not let you divert us from the facts not the fiction of abuse. This comment will stay, and by the way I am not up all night I am not God and can observe stuff in the middle of your night.

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  113. Every comment off the topic will be removed, and if Joanne does it will go to the Spillover thread where you are welcome to do a room 101!
    https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/the-rigpa-spillover-thread/#comment-24411

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  114. Unfortunately, unless it has direct relevance to the thread I will ask you have the discussion but on that other thread. That clears the way for the men and the women who are victims of abuse, whether mental, physical or emotional.
    Best
    DI Moderation

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  115. People can have opinions. The problem is that people here don’t seem to accept another experiences, especially from someone who has been around for longer than Sankappa or Joanne, and who has friends, who know SR better today than Finnigan or Barlow.

    Different opinions is not the problem. We are trying to discuss them, but that is a difficult task. Conversation should have some kind of purpose. For me it is to clarify things and find new information and angles. That is the difficult part for some of the critics, who seem to want to dwell in the security of their present views. Challenging them is a problem, because people seem form their identities based on their present day views.

    Questioning is also denied. If there are difficult questions, they cannot be discussed. One just wants to hold on to the one or two experiences they have had in Rigpa. If one spends longer time there (or anywhere) one sees a lot more. Also in short time one is able to just scratch the surface. One can be overwhelmed as a newbie. As the path progresses one is able to have more experiences and put them into their place.

    I just sense fear that prevents from thinking. Paranoia and fear seem somehow more comforting. Good luck with that attitude!

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  116. This is addressed to Bella’s friends at Rigpa, who know who she is. Bella needs your help. Please take care of her, and help her come to terms with the fact people have opinions that don’t co-incide with her own about your teacher. Help her to get over it. Bella needs help.

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  117. “sankappa, on February 22, 2013 at 6:22 am said:

    Do you really believe that was my intention?”

    From the way you always talk to me, or not-talk-to-me, I have no false hopes of good will.

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  118. Do you really believe that was my intention?

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  119. I let go when I want, so are you unhappy, that I don’t obey you? Who do you think you are?

    You can also let go, and why are you hanging around here anyway? These issues, I think, have very little or nothing to do with you.

    You are not in Rigpa, so move on. Or didn’t you find a better lama after all? How disappointing.

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  120. That lasted all of 1hr 24min. You are gong to need to apply more effort/energy with your resolutions bella. But think, just how liberating it could all be if you do let go.

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  121. sankappa, on February 22, 2013 at 6:03 am said:

    bellaB, on February 17, 2013 at 6:51 pm said:

    Opening these web pages makes one feel pain and anger. Almost every time. At least recently. Since I don’t enjoy dwelling in that state, and have more important issues to take care of, I like to spend time elsewhere.”

    That is Sankappa your goal: to make me feel bad by being nasty, and then you can rest in your comfortable lies and surround yourself with your black and white rigid world?

    Am I causing YOU pain? Is that it? Because you can’t put me down and control me, since I tell things about Rigpa, which you don’t know. I challenge you, so I have to be bullied silent?

    You are such an advanced Buddhist after all those books you’ve read…

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  122. bellaB, on February 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm said:

    “I wanted stay away, but noticed this:

    “That Ex-dakini’s story sounds like it’s from the 70′s. Could be even V. Barlow, like I have been thinking occasionally”

    It sounds like from the 70′s, since it sounds like those stories that Finnigan likes to ….”

    Like

  123. bellaB, on February 17, 2013 at 6:51 pm said:

    I guess I’m just having enough of you (almost) all here. Since we all feel the same about each other, then I can leave this site for a while at least.

    Like

  124. He deleted them, because I am right about voices, hallucinations and that they can simply be prevented by medication.

    No need for paranoia, unless you want to live in the world of fears.

    He also deleted the messages, because I was offending his Christian based views.

    Like

  125. bellaB, on February 17, 2013 at 6:51 pm said:

    Opening these web pages makes one feel pain and anger. Almost every time. At least recently. Since I don’t enjoy dwelling in that state, and have more important issues to take care of, I like to spend time elsewhere.

    Like

  126. I haven’t been in pain. Can’t you see I was conversating with OTHER people? Moved not deleted to
    https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/the-rigpa-spillover-thread/#comment-24416

    Like

  127. bella, honestly I can see you are losing sleep over this.Moved to:
    https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/the-rigpa-spillover-thread/#comment-24411

    Like

  128. DI, can you also notice, that I didn’t get people to discuss something? They discuss what ever they want.

    Oh, because you think I control the minds of people? Yeah: right. Time to visit the doctor? I can’t believe the paranoia.

    Like

  129. bella you really meed to get some sleep. I staring to get concerned about you

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  130. “sankappa, on February 22, 2013 at 3:06 am said:

    Thanks Mike for your moderation. I believe I need to put my hand-up and say that I have been instrumental in swaying the discussion around to Buddhism somewhat. But this is to point out that I believe, that not only is Sogyal Rinpoche an abuser of woman (and others) but his teaching of the Dharma is dodgy, often by glaring omission of important and fundamental teachings. I am trying to make the point that he craftily focuses the teaching on the importance of Lama at expense of proper Dharma. Instead of the refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, we have the refuge in the Lama, Lama, Lama. Very dangerous, and I think you would agree, a cultic ploy.

    I’m glad you are getting a sense of Buddhism through these discussions, although I imagine it must be hard work at times too. So, thanks Mike for taking an interest and hosting these important threads

    Regards,
    sankappa”

    And you were there for ONE full retreat to say this? Such authority?!

    I hope you had been there during the three year retreat. We got more teachings about everything that you could imagine receiving anywhere in the West in such a short time.

    Sankappa, don’t spread your own lack of awareness to people. I think it’s also good if you understood what lama means in Nyingma. What refuge means?

    Because you attended so little, you missed the teachings. We take ultimately refuge in our own nature. We are taught that. In some other centers where monks teach, that might come a bit later, because in most monasteries that view is not taught to young kids, but to older ones. I’ve noticed that some monks teaching in the West will not say a word about the ultimate refuge, until very much later.

    You can read books, but that will take you just there…

    Like

  131. This is BUDDHISM. Why don’t you remove it?!

    “sankappa, on February 22, 2013 at 2:31 am said:

    Joanne, on February 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm said:

    “And Sankappa, regarding the Four Noble Truths, I personally finished Ngondro before I had any clarity about these– and before I had even heard of the 12 links etc.! I don’t blame my lamas for this particularly, nor do I completely blame myself. I think it is a problem in the West that needs to be addressed however– at least, students should know certain basics before receiving their first initiation.”

    I originally missed this post from you Joanne. You most certainly should not blame yourself in any way. In fact none of this should be about blame at all, but about how we can have Dharma effectively and responsibly transmitted in the West – a point on which I know you already strongly agree on.”

    Like

  132. bellaB is to blame for everything?

    ” DI: So now that we have got back on message remember she did succeed in getting you to discuss Buddhism rather than abuse.”

    It was actually OTHER people that discussed Buddhism, like Sankappa, KateS , Joanne and so on. Sankappa had questions about it.

    I was talking about mental sicknesses mostly, which is part of this issue. Is there real abuse or is it down to mental problems and projections?

    How can you be such a lynch mob? It’s stupidity. Try to read the posts at least. Too bad if you don’t understand what you read.

    Like

  133. DI,

    I responded to Joanne’s comment. Why don’t you remove Joanne’s comment too? I know you are taking sides, but does it have to be this obvious and – I think – wrong?

    “Joanne, on February 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm said:

    It is funny to watch:

    1. Bella asks if anyone has heard of instances where people can control other people’s minds.

    2. I respond that there are tantric feats which speak of this.

    3. Bella comments that I can’t claim that my experiences are the result of SR controlling my mind.

    4. And now Bella is discussing whether or not schizophrenia can be attributed to this mind control.

    A little like the game of telephone.”

    Like

  134. Thanks Mike for your moderation. I believe I need to put my hand-up and say that I have been instrumental in swaying the discussion around to Buddhism somewhat. But this is to point out that I believe, that not only is Sogyal Rinpoche an abuser of woman (and others) but his teaching of the Dharma is dodgy, often by glaring omission of important and fundamental teachings. I am trying to make the point that he craftily focuses the teaching on the importance of Lama at expense of proper Dharma. Instead of the refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, we have the refuge in the Lama, Lama, Lama. Very dangerous, and I think you would agree, a cultic ploy.

    I’m glad you are getting a sense of Buddhism through these discussions, although I imagine it must be hard work at times too. So, thanks Mike for taking an interest and hosting these important threads

    Regards,
    sankappa

    Like

  135. Joanne, on February 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm said:

    “And Sankappa, regarding the Four Noble Truths, I personally finished Ngondro before I had any clarity about these– and before I had even heard of the 12 links etc.! I don’t blame my lamas for this particularly, nor do I completely blame myself. I think it is a problem in the West that needs to be addressed however– at least, students should know certain basics before receiving their first initiation.”

    This discourse moved to https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/the-rigpa-spillover-thread/#comment-24411 as it is off topic.

    Like

  136. So now that we have got back on message remember she did succeed in getting you to discuss Buddhism rather than abuse. From now on we just focus on this thread on the issue of the abuse by Sogyal Rimpoche of women. When a particular aspect of Buddhism is needed to explain that process or as I said, if you become aware it is going astray send me the piece and it will go into the Spillover. You are very welcome to continue debates there as well.
    Best
    M
    I am getting a sense of Buddhism myself though I am out of my depths. I note that influence is no respecter of Religion.

    Like

  137. Yes, Bella went too far. But you’re right, Sankappa, we did hold our own. Here’s to the sane and rational voices. That’s the point of doing this after all. Thank you.

    Like

  138. Yes, I can see why Joanne. That was quite a marathon, but with some excellent posts and links added, and with the sane and rational voices clearly being heard over the more neurotic and malicious din.

    Thank you DI for applying some moderation. This is well overdue, particularly in bellaB’s case.

    Like

  139. Time to go nurse my headache.

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  140. With due respect it is clear you find bellaB’s commenting a problem, but as long as she keeps on the thread she will be fine. when not it will be moved over to 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.

    https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/the-rigpa-spillover-thread/

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  141. “Joanne, on February 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm said:

    It is funny to watch:
    MOVED TO SPILLOVER di

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  142. Kate you obviously did not see our policy due to the time you left your comment.
    In future this can only go onto this thread:
    https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/the-rigpa-spillover-thread/

    Like

  143. Angie,

    That fills me with joy.

    I think, it is important for us to speak about our experiences, to reflect them and to put them into a rational context as far as it is possible. And it is also important to leave unexperienced people behind us who have no idea what we are speaking about.

    When I met for example Sharmapa and his Karmapa I had very strange experiences but I was asked not to talk about because it would weaken the connection to the teachers. Later when I desperately asked Karmapa for help, he refused to talk about it. On the other hand he was worshipping me by special mudras and glances. So I found it at least very interesting to find out their methods and motivations.

    I came to very clear conclisions.

    Like

  144. Marte-Michaela Riepe:

    I am so excited. I have finally read material that makes a lot of sense and which I have been saying myself because of my experiences.

    Like

  145. Felicity: Thank you. Excellent article. This amazing breakthrough in neurology will have huge consequences when it comes to diagnosing mental distress and related illnesses.

    Like

  146. Tiger Lily, on February 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm said:

    “@ Kate S. HHDL is speaking about Vajrayana in general. The kind of Vajrayana subscribed to in Rigpa. The group dynamic which is controlled by senior students is most certainly a mistaken view.
    Hence HHDL provides the correct information which would enable them to take more responsibility in correcting the situation.
    Exactly. But they don’t. And the ones who try to, end up having to leave.
    HH really spells it out in the last paragraph.”

    Yes I agree. I have found this to be a danger with the outer tantras in general.

    Like

  147. Marte and Kate, I personally believe that this work being done to better understand paranormal phenomena is very exciting. There are a group of psychologists in the UK working on better understanding schizophrenia and the line dividing the spiritual and the psychotic. I think I mentioned that book earlier. And most of us who are practicing Buddhists have witnessed or experienced strange phenomena. I personally have seen an enormous rainbow on a perfectly sunny day, stretching above prayer flags which the sangha had just put up. So, yes, paranormal phenomena do occur.

    However, there is still a huge gap between the paranormal experiences of, say, advanced yogis and the empirical understandings of scientists, both neuroscientists and physicists. If either of you are interested in this work, the discussions that HH Dalai Lama has been having with top scientists for the past 30 years are very interesting. For example, he has scientists with machines testing advanced yogis who die and remain in meditative equipoise, with their bodies fresh, for weeks after they are clinically pronounced dead. He also has biologists interested in such phenomena as the ability of an advanced yogis to hold his/her breath for hours.

    In turn, physicists are presenting His Holiness and other Buddhists with evidence of their own form of emptiness. Those discussions have added much to my own understanding of reality.

    Of course, this is straying from the purpose of our discussion– but we do need a break!

    Like

  148. Bablabla

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  149. Consenting or not is hairsplitting to you?

    Like

  150. Kate S said:
    “This tells us about people who consented to it before, it doesn’t say much about those who don’t consent.”

    Hairsplitting as usual. We talk about the phenomena, not about consent.

    ” .. who find themselves influenced some time and distance away from the lama.”

    That is only annother result of trance the researches did not ask for, because they did not know how to ask.

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  151. @ Kate S. HHDL is speaking about Vajrayana in general. The kind of Vajrayana subscribed to in Rigpa. The group dynamic which is controlled by senior students is most certainly a mistaken view.
    Hence HHDL provides the correct information which would enable them to take more responsibility in correcting the situation.
    Exactly. But they don’t. And the ones who try to, end up having to leave.
    HH really spells it out in the last paragraph.

    Like

  152. Marte-Micaela Riepe, on February 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm said: “They found 470 people who wanted to be engaged in the trial. Thereof only 17 percent were able to reach the deep trance which was demanded.”

    This tells us about people who consented to it before, it doesn’t say much about those who don’t consent or who find themselves influenced some time and distance away from the lama.

    Like

  153. Angie, you said:
    “We do not know exactly what causes these phenomena …”

    We already know something about genesis and character of the phenomena, as we discussed on RickRoss. I wrote:

    http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,59830,page=171

    “As pointed out by Yasmin people are very suggestable in this altered state of consciousness and can be manipulated.”

    The ability to be manipulated is only one side of the altered state of mind which we call trance, and hereafter I talk about a deep somnambulistic trance which I experienced.

    Researcher from an university in Finland put the question to themselves if a multiple personality could be artificially created. Please don´t ask for an ethical standard here.

    They found 470 people who wanted to be engaged in the trial. Thereof only 17 percent were able to reach the deep trance which was demanded. After the trance induction the experimental person was given the order to write and she/he wrote in an automatic manner. When the person was ask to read the text, she or he actually couldn´t unless the trance was not lifted. So a person in that kind of trance is not awake to the result or sense of her/his behavier, for example writing. It could have been speaking or anything else. A person in trance switches between different “personalities” and these are not able to communicate with each other, a characteristic of a multiple personality.

    They also found out that in this state of mind an autonomous personality part arrised as well as a regression of age, automatic behavier and positive and negative hallucinations, which all came out of the person´s unconsciousness.

    The results of the research may be a basic to understand the state of mind of the so called psychics as well as the trance psychics of which for example the Dalai Lama takes advantage of.

    I have been one for Nydahl and others. It is definable in its entirety.”

    That research casts a light on the wide and unknown field of altered states of mind wich are usually known as psychosis, schizophrenia and other so called mental disorders.

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  154. It is funny to watch:

    1. Bella asks if anyone has heard of instances where people can control other people’s minds.

    2. I respond that there are tantric feats which speak of this.

    3. Bella comments that I can’t claim that my experiences are the result of SR controlling my mind.

    4. And now Bella is discussing whether or not schizophrenia can be attributed to this mind control.

    A little like the game of telephone.

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  155. BellaB: You ask “In relation to what?”

    In refer to the danger of breaking down the protection barrier of a person who has opened themselves up or been forced open. I also am disturbed about how Sogyal teaches because what is felt as cruel can break the protection barrier and cause terrible distress. A person in this state is very vulnerable and should be treated, if not with understanding, at least with gentle care regardless of where they are.

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  156. Angie, this might interest you:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jan/13/susannah-cahalan-brain-fire-interview

    Very good article, of a mystery illness hugely under diagnosed, Cahalan, has bought it to our attention. One neurologist is quoted.

    “Najjar, associate professor of neurology at NYU medical centre, estimates that 90% of people suffering from the disease in 2009 went undiagnosed. Hardly anyone, after all, has access to $1m worth of medical investigation, though it is beginning to be more recognised now, with the number of people diagnosed “in the thousands”. In Najjar’s opinion, some forms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, OCD and depression are actually inflammatory conditions of the brain. And he is now looking at the brains of schizophrenia sufferers from postmortems to see if he can establish evidence of physical disease.”

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  157. Thanks, Tiger Lily, for the wonderful piece from His Holiness. I have read and heard much from him regarding this subject, but never read anything so thorough, touching as it does on all the levels of student-teacher relationship in Buddhism. So thank you for that contribution!

    Like

  158. “Angie, on February 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm said:

    BellaB: Thank you for sharing what you have found re schizophrenia, growling noises etc., I too find it interesting and it is a shame it is not explained in your learning. We do not know exactly what causes these phenomena and yet the blame is put squarely at the foot of the sufferer as if they brought it on themselves. We know it exists yet we flounder with it. Ignoring it does not make it go away. This is reason enough for compassion when anyone experiences it, rather than dismissing it as lies or not believing because you have not been experienced by.”

    I have heard that people who are on medication, do not necessarily hear the voices anymore. Therefore I don’t think that someone puts those thoughts or controls other peoples minds, if it can be simply stopped by medication.

    I don’t think anyone understands those things too well. There are just theories. I would never blame anyone for their mental suffering. I have two friends who have been psychotic. I have a friend whose brother has schizophrenia, and she was herself a bit imbalanced at some point, but I wouldn’t say she was even close to schizophrenia. It seemed like a crisis (she wasn’t even psychotic, but a bit paranoid about people’s motives in regard to her – and now it’s gone).

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  159. Well, if you don’t know or understand the context where a Buddhist lama is training or teaching the students, then you can misunderstand.

    Emotions are seen as non solid, changing states in Buddhism.

    In reality I think that is an accurate description. I see no difference between my views and reality – at least not in this context.

    Emotions are not the refuge, one should not identify oneself with all the emotions, but see them passing.

    Some practitioner has said: “I used to have some views, ideas and responses, but now that I try to find the same attitudes in me, they are no longer there.” The person has changed. It is possible. We are all little different from what we were in our youth. The lamas motivation is to quicken the process: no to identification with all these emotions and solidified ideas of who we are, but to be a bit freer. The goal is to recognize the nature of our mind as our true nature, not to cling to the passing emotions and habits.

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  160. BellaB: Thank you for sharing what you have found re schizophrenia, growling noises etc., I too find it interesting and it is a shame it is not explained in your learning. We do not know exactly what causes these phenomena and yet the blame is put squarely at the foot of the sufferer as if they brought it on themselves. We know it exists yet we flounder with it. Ignoring it does not make it go away. This is reason enough for compassion when anyone experiences it, rather than dismissing it as lies or not believing because you have not been experienced by.

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  161. Angie, in relation to what?

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  162. BellaB: This is another obvious problem. You hid behind your views rather than seeing what is happening. If you don’t have the view ergo it must not be happening.

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  163. “Angie, on February 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm said:

    Exactly, this is the danger of opening yourself. The pride, arrogance, anger, hatred becomes yours as if they belong to you. What is the purpose of infecting others? Sogyal could do with psychotherapy.”

    Do you really think that is motivation? You can think so, if you want. It’s not a Buddhist view, at all.

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  164. Felicity, it’s only me, because I asked for clarification to her comment, but she didn’t bother to answer. Would have been easy to write just two sentences. So after being criticized for the question (why? is there something to hide?) and all this undermining tactics for other people’s (like Sheila’s and KateS’s) relevant questions, I just lost my nerve with most of you.

    Now the situation has moved on, but you are stuck in there. What ever I write, you see nasty things and a bad motivation.

    Maybe I would also like things to heal. Also for Joanne, but she doesn’t see that, but it’s her issue. I think I’ve hit some nerve in that direction. Next she will write that she doesn’t need my wishes. I know she doesn’t, but I can still wish. Free world. I’m quite sure she doesn’t wish anything bad for me either.

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  165. Angie,

    “BellaB. Your reply is interesting in the sense that you say
    Moved to spillover thread. DI

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  166. DI, I would like to request that if you have the facility to moderate Bellab’s post so that she isn’t able to post so much and so fast, it would help her. It is clear she is wildly out of control, and has been for some years. If you could slow her down, I think it would be beneficial to all. Thanks.

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  167. DI wants to support this comment by Joanne. Any further attempts to undermine this testimony will be treated as enemy fire and will be shot down. At 3:30 PM GMT

    Good. About time.
    Scrolling down through 2 days postings of Bellab’s endless invasive probings of Joanne, made me want to womit. It was rather like a spoilt child endlessly nipping and pinching someone, with a blameless smile on her face. Quite sadistic.
    Fortunately, Joanne is clear and strong.

    Like

  168. “There is a tremendous potential for abuse in this idea— Moved to spillover thread DI

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  169. BellaB. Your reply is interesting in the sense that you say “in the old days” when you commented:

    “I guess the Christian schizophrenic or his/her “friends” would say the growling sounds come from hell and he/she is possessed. That is in the old days. What do you think? Do you want to give an explanation?”

    Is it interpreted differently by lamas? Or are you telling me they have no understanding of such phenomena? Do you think it is dangerous not to understand this phenomena considering they work with the mind?

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  170. The above comment was a reply to BellaB and her interpretation of the work Sogyal does to rid his followers of ego.

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  171. DI wants to support this comment by Joanne. Any further attempts to undermine this testimony will be treated as enemy fire and will be shot down. At 3:30 PM GMT

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  172. Exactly, this is the danger of opening yourself. The pride, arrogance, anger, hatred becomes yours as if they belong to you. What is the purpose of infecting others? Sogyal could do with psychotherapy.

    Like

  173. Tiger Lily, on February 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm said: “Kate S I agree with you on one point, that students are partly to blame with their unquestioning naivete.”

    Thanks, but I wouldn’t put it so simply as this, what seems to happen in many cases is that the group dynamic reinforces a mistaken view, so it’s not so much a case of blame, more a need for correct information which would enable them to take more responsibility in correcting that situation.

    Another point is that Higest Yoga Tantra is not practiced in the Nyingma lineage, but is seen as an equivalent to Maha Yoga, which is the 7th out of 9 yanas (the 9th being Ati yoga, or Dzogchen).

    I really don’t buy the argument that supernatural powers counterbalance unethical behaviour. In the case of Marpa, he simply did what was needed. Maybe his “power” was to have insight into what was needed to correct Milarepa’s view, but this looks like a dualistic interpretation of what must’ve have been for Marpa a non-dual act.

    In other words, Milarepa accepted it and stuck with it because he knew it was right. He also had the choice to say no and wallk away. What he didn’t do was stick with it and then whine about it later.

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  174. Yes send me a private email and I will give you the code, as if I use it here it does not display

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  175. Thanks Bella, but the lines, “He will severely criticize and berate them in front of all attendees”, “SR’s public harsh treatment of a student” and, “subjected to public humiliation at a teaching” is not really what I meant. What did he actually do for someone to find it harsh and humiliating? If the argument is that he was “working with ego” then how was he doing that, and if he failed then how?
    There is no detail here, just opinion.
    I already know the opinions held by various people, so no new information is gleaned from simply re-stating the same opinion without disclosing the reasoning behind it.

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  176. A warning from HHDL about Guru Yoga in Highest Yoga Tantra; as clear as a bell.
    In contradiction to the fashionable Lama trend these days as expounded by several Lamas (often connected to Rigpa in some way), that once you practice Vajrayana you must see the Guru as the Buddha… Everything he/she does is a blessing… A beating is a blessing etc etc. Here HHDL categorically states that even if you are receiving Teachings on this level you still use your common sense. “If the guru gives instructions which contradict the Dharma, you reject them.”
    This is what many Ex-Rigpa people have done.
    Kate S I agree with you on one point, that students are partly to blame with their unquestioning naivete.
    However in the case of Rigpa I have no doubt that students did begin to question but were inveigled into the group think by senior students or Rigpa Care counsellors.
    Those senior students and counsellors who realized the dangers in this approach and have had the guts to either speak up or have left because what they did say has made no impression, are the genuine Dharma practitioners and the people SR should be listening to.

    HH Dalai Lama

    September 13th 1993 Arizona USA

    In “Healing Anger – The power of patience from a Buddhist perspective,” pub. Snow Lion, USA 1997, pp 83-85 (whole answer quoted below)

    Q: What do you think about Dharma teachers who speak and write about Dharma beautifully, but do not live it?

    A: Because Buddha knew of this potential consequence, he was very strict in prescribing the qualities that are necessary for a person to be qualified as a teacher. Nowadays, it seems, this is a serious issue. First on the teacher’s side: the person who gives some teaching, or gives talks on Dharma must have really trained, learned, and studied. Then, since the subject is not history or literature, but rather a spiritual one, the teacher must gain some experience. Then when that person talks about a religious subject with some experience, it carries some weight. Otherwise, it is not so effective. Therefore, the person who begins to talk to others about the Dharma must realize the responsibility, must be prepared. That is very important. Because of this importance, Lama Tsongkhapa, when he describes the qualifications that are necessary for an individual to become a teacher, quotes from Maitreya’s Ornament of Scriptures, in which Maitreya lists most of the key qualifications that are necessary on the part of the teacher, such as that the teacher must be disciplined, at peace with himself, compassionate, and so on. At the conclusion, Lama Tsongkhapa sums up by stating that those who wish to seek a spiritual teacher must first of all be aware of what the qualifications are that one should look for in a teacher. Then, with that knowledge, seek a teacher. Similarly, those who wish to seek students and become teachers must not only be aware of these conditions, but also judge themselves to see whether they possess these qualities, and if not, work towards possessing them. Therefore, from the teachers’ side, they also must realize the great responsibility involved. If some individual, deep down, is really seeking money, then I think it is much better to seek money through other means. So if the deep intention is a different purpose, I think this is very unfortunate. Such an act is actually giving proof to the Communist accusation that religion is an instrument for exploitation. This is very sad.

    Buddha himself was aware of this potential for abuse. He therefore categorically stated that one should not live a way of life which is acquired through five wrong means of livelihood. One of them is being deceptive and flattering toward one’s benefactor in order to get maximal benefit.

    Now, on the students’ side, they also have responsibility. First, you should not accept the teacher blindly. This is very important. You see, you can learn Dharma from someone you accept not necessarily as a guru, but rather as a spiritual friend. Consider that person until you know him or her very well, until you gain full confidence and can say, “Now, he or she can be my guru.” Until that confidence develops, treat that person as a spiritual friend. Then study and learn from him or her. You also can learn through books, and as time goes by, there are more books available. So I think this is better.

    Here I would like to mention a point which I raised as early as thirty years ago about a particular aspect of the guru-disciple relationship. As we have seen with Shantideva’s text Guide to the Bodhisatva’s Way of Life, we find that in a particular context certain lines of thought are very much emphasized, and unless you see the argument in its proper context there is a great potential for misunderstanding. Similarly, in the guru-disciple relationship, because your guru plays such an important role in serving as the source of inspiration, blessing, transmission, and so on, tremendous emphasis is placed on maintaining proper reliance upon and a proper relationship with one’s guru. In the texts describing these practices we find a particular expression, which is, “May I be able to develop respect for the guru, devotion to the guru, which would allow me to see his or her every action as pure.”

    I stated as early as thirty years ago that this is a dangerous concept. There is a tremendous potential for abuse in this idea of trying to see all the behaviours of the guru as pure, of seeing everything the guru does as enlightened. I have stated that this is like a poison. To some Tibetans, that sentence may seem a little bit extreme. However, it seems now, as time goes by, that my warning has become something quite relevant. Anyway, that is my own conviction and attitude, but I base the observation that this is a potentially poisonous idea on Buddha’s own words. For instance, in the Vinaya teachings, which are the scriptures that outline Buddha’s ethics and monastic discipline, where a relationship toward one’s guru is very important, Buddha states that although you will have to accord respect to your guru, if the guru happens to give you instructions which contradict the Dharma, then you must reject them.

    There are also very explicit statements in the sutras, in which Buddha states that any instructions given by the guru that accord with the general Dharma path should be followed, and any instructions given by the guru that do not accord with the general approach of the Dharma should be discarded.

    It is in the practice of Highest Yoga Tantra of Vajrayana Buddhism where the guru-disciple relationship assumes great importance. For instance, in Highest Yoga Tantra we have practices like guru yoga, a whole yoga dedicated toward one’s relation to the guru. However, even in Highest Yoga Tantra we find statements which tell us that any instructions given by the guru which do not accord with Dharma cannot be followed. You should explain to the guru the reasons why you can’t comply with them, but you should not follow the instructions just because the guru said so. What we find here is that we are not instructed to say, “Okay, whatever you say, I will do it,” but rather we are instructed to use our intelligence and judgment and reject instructions which are not in accord with Dharma.

    However we do find, if we read the history of Buddhism, that there were examples of single-pointed guru devotion by masters such as Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, and Milarepa which may seem a little extreme. But we find that while these masters, on the surface, may look like outcasts or beggars, or they may have strange behaviours which sometimes lead other people to lose faith, nevertheless when the necessity came for them to reinforce other people’s faith in the Dharma and in themselves as spiritual teachers, these masters had a counterbalancing factor – a very high level of spiritual realization. This was so much so that they could display supernatural powers to outweigh whatever excesses people may have found in them, conventionally speaking. However, in the case of some of the modern-day teachers, they have all the excesses in their unethical behaviours but are lacking in this counterbalancing factor, which is the capacity to display supernatural powers. Because of this, it can lead to a lot of problems.

    Therefore, as students, you should first watch and investigate thoroughly. Do not consider someone as a teacher or guru until you have certain confidence in the person’s integrity. This is very important. Then, second, even after that, if some unhealthy things happen, you have the liberty to reject them. Students should make sure that they don’t spoil the guru. This is very important.

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  177. KateS, Joanne’s story:

    “My mental state was not aided by life in Rigpa teachings. As any Rigpa student knows, SR makes a common practice of publicly humiliating students. He will rant and rave at them during teachings and have them running like wild chickens trying to fulfill his many impossible demands. He will severely criticize and berate them in front of all attendees. Rigpa devotees say that this is a practice to diminish ego. On one blog, a Rigpa student wrote that it shows students their “better selves.”

    The effect that these displays had on me as an observer is that I lost my better self—at a time when I needed it most. On one occasion, I brought my 16 year old daughter to a teaching. Afterwards, she objected quite strongly to SR’s public harsh treatment of a student. To my shame, I defended him. I said that he had a higher purpose that we could not fully understand. I had raised my daughters to be respectful, caring individuals and suddenly I was defending the public humiliation of a human being—I was calling it the behavior of a higher being! How could I expect to practice the Buddha’s Dharma with such an outlook? How could devotion make me so debased? It was no wonder that I could entertain delusions—such blind devotion was fertile ground for confusion and madness.

    It is possible that in a private setting, such rough techniques could function to benefit a close student, could function something like a Zen koen at diminishing ego clinging. However, to display them publicly is shameful at best, psychologically damaging at worst. I remember passing a senior student in the restroom shortly after she had been subjected to public humiliation at a teaching. She had a cold, dark, closed expression as she passed me. There was no warmth or greeting, nothing that would resemble the Buddha’s teachings on warm heartedness. From my current perspective, these public humiliations look more like hazing—an initiation rite into the inner circle of Rigpa.”

    If moving the tables or chairs around is too much for somebody, then I don’t necessarily recommend Dzogchen path.

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  178. Joanne:

    ” Though understanding my mental experiences is proving to be a (many) life’s work for me, I have no intention of discussing my conclusions with you.”

    It’s fine. I wouldn’t actually expect you to. But I think it is quite important for me to say that Buddhist retreat is not a place to heal psychosis or any other severe issue. Those issues are part of humanity, but I think first there needs to be other treatments in order to be enough stable to learn what Buddhist path is about. SR has said multiple times that first there has to be strong enough ego, or “self”, so one is able to loosen the grip in order to realize the nature of mind. That self must be built in psychotherapy, if there isn’t enough tools from the childhood.

    Tibetan Buddhism attacks the poisons, like arrogance, pride, hatred… SR has his methods of ridding people from those. It’s not always pretty. The poisons are not pretty in the first place, and we all have them.

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  179. I guess I must have some kind of deficiency then, I read it through five times at least and still can’t see where you’ve answered those questions. Would anyone else care to point them out to the undiscerning reader such as myself?

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  180. I answered that question in my post, Kate. You did not read it with any care– which is why I have great trouble discussing anything with you.

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  181. And Sankappa, regarding the Four Noble Truths, I personally finished Ngondro before I had any clarity about these– and before I had even heard of the 12 links etc.! I don’t blame my lamas for this particularly, nor do I completely blame myself. I think it is a problem in the West that needs to be addressed however– at least, students should know certain basics before receiving their first initiation.

    I know that HH Dalai Lama has a habit of giving what he calls an “introduction to Buddhism” every time he teaches. I think he is acknowledging this danger. I think there are always going to be beginners present at a Western teaching and somehow lamas need to work out ways of accounting for their ignorance of dharma. This is a bigger problem than SR I believe.

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  182. Joanne, this is not the environment to discuss our understandings of Buddhism.
    I asked two important questions – what did you see of SR humiliating his students, and from where did you get the idea of SR’s mystical powers?

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  183. Kate, as long as you disagree with the main assumption that underlies everything that I write– the fact that Buddhism is a religion which can and does provide refuge– that refuge is the basis of Buddhist practice, then you and I have no chance of ever reaching a point of common understanding.

    Bella and Kate, I do not need either of you to assess my mental health. It’s not necessary to this discussion. Bella, your quick research on psychosis is not needed either. You can save yourself the effort. There are books written on this subject. Though understanding my mental experiences is proving to be a (many) life’s work for me, I have no intention of discussing my conclusions with you.

    Also, I mentioned the tantric feat of “controlling another person’s mind” not to say that SR does or does not control other people’s minds. I was just answering Bella’s question because it’s important to be knowledgeable, if we are to be open to all possibilities.

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  184. Angie: “BellaB; I never said Joanne heard a growling voice. From reading your description of distressful reactions that MAY arise, or should I say, HAVE arisen in Rigpa, it stands to reason that there needs to be changes made in Sogyal’s approach. Western or eastern, certain practices open people up to phenomena they are not familiar with. I would say eastern women have also suffered distress from dubious lama practices.”

    I have no idea what rises in schizophrenic’s minds, weather they have been in Rigpa, in train station or wherever. It’s usually not audible to others… :) I was referring to an article written to schizophrenics, not for Rigpa people… :)

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  185. Joanna, you also raised another significant point when the lama’s personality becomes an influence in the behaviour and thought process of followers. I understand your point as one of the disturbing aspects I observed in T. Quinn followers. They not only took on his beliefs but, repeated them verbatim. His mind-bending and, what I can only consider, abusive techniques brought about a loss of their personality, one of his desired aims. Those closest to him, particularly if they were part of the group for a number of years, took on his mannerisms and pattern of speech. Whether they were aware of this or not, they had no control over what they said and understood it came from the ‘self’. Their ‘truth’ was induced by hypnosis. Unbelievable as it seems this is a very real outcome when one opens themselves to another who seeks power to increase the number of followers and income. It may happen that some under his influence have a need for power over others also, however, they are never acknowledged as more powerful than the Irish ‘messiah’ as he is quick to put them in their place when any sign of working/competing with him is apparent. The lama/guru’s ego is the problem here. From what I have read and experienced it takes a very wise lama/guru to examine these pitfalls and to avoid them.

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  186. Joanne, firstly, I personally disagree with your view of the role of religion and of Buddhism serving that purpose. I certainly would never call Rigpa a “religious institution”, but it’s a bit of a side issue here.

    Then, you say that you were “happily married” but write about your going into a daze as if that was straightforward, but it raises a question for me to really understand what was going on with you there – not to undermine you.

    You speak about SR’s public humiliation of students, but at no point in your story did you claim to have witnessed this yourself. If you did, then I would be interested to hear your perspective on this.

    You also say that there was, “too much encouragement to believe in his mystical powers” but again I have re-read your story and found no examples of this. The same with Sankappa’s posts, if it is true that there is this encouragement to see SR in this way, then I think it would be useful to bring that to light. I see Bella write about her ideas of this, and I have heard other practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism do the same, but this does not necessarily mean it is encouraged by the Lama. In many cases it seems like this is part of the student’s understanding of things, and may be spread through the sangha without necessarily being encouraged by the lama. If SR is encouraging this then why has no one has specifically pointed to an example of this occurring?

    Your perception of the difference between the Gelug Vajrayana approach and the Dzogchen one does not hold true in my perception, in fact I would say the opposite. Dzogchen teaches to take inner refuge and that the visualizations are symbolic ways of working with ourselves rather than anything to do with externally existing entities. Dzogchen also teaches an understanding of the essence of the teachings rather than focus all the ritualistic trappings that proliferate in Vajrayana. Having said that, as far as I can tell, SR tends towards the Vajrayana approach rather than Dzogchen.

    I agree with your comments about safety and the possible issues with the size and scale of places such as Rigpa, but I suspect that at least some of these issues that we are discussing here are actually coming from the group as a whole rather than from the Lama.

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  187. BellaB; I never said Joanne heard a growling voice. From reading your description of distressful reactions that MAY arise, or should I say, HAVE arisen in Rigpa, it stands to reason that there needs to be changes made in Sogyal’s approach. Western or eastern, certain practices open people up to phenomena they are not familiar with. I would say eastern women have also suffered distress from dubious lama practices.

    Joanne, you point to a very significant problem with how Sogyal operates and it is an excellent observation:

    “One of the main arguments that I raised in the post on my life story was that Rigpa has serious gaps in the psychological safety it provides. One example I used was SR’s public humiliation of students. I did not say that these methods weren’t useful in some instances between teachers and students. I said that they shouldn’t be publicly displayed. How can SR be sure there isn’t someone watching with a trauma background, who will have feelings triggered?”

    You wrote this a number of years ago, as I understand it, and quite possibly have changed your view on the use of humiliating another, whether in public or private, is not the way to enlightenment. I certainly am of this view. It gives the unscrupulous lama/guru far too much opportunity to manipulate their followers.

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  188. I have this feeling, Joanne, that you like to be very self sufficient. Who wouldn’t? I just think that you really want to avoid looking for help in the right place – and hope to achieve peace on your own and ask Rigpa to be your kind of place. I have similar issues with natural medicine. I’d like to use them instead of hard core medication, even though with cancer patients cytostatics are probably better than natural treatments. (I don’t have a cancer.)

    I think it has something to do with not yet facing up with what has happened to you. If you admitted that you had quite severe psychological problems at the time and the only right place to treat that was in a hospital or with a doctor/therapist, you wouldn’t maybe feel like accusing Rigpa (for everything).

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  189. “Bella mentions dreams and other mystical experiences frequently when talking of her lama’s work with students. I believe that this is a dangerous focus for new students.”

    SR is famous for neglecting and not emphasizing this type of thinking. For many it would be interesting to dwell on these issues, but they are actually not on the Rigpa menu. The opposite in fact. You can visit many other Buddhist centers and see how curious people are about mystical Tibetan issues. It’s quite normal.

    All I wanted to confirm by commenting Joanne’s story was that I have been dealing with the same person. Maybe that is not your point in writing, but those were the parts that I felt like dealing with. My personal choice.

    I think we all have different traumas. I don’t know how they heal, usually? By ignoring or facing with them? Buddhist teachings will touch our soft pots, eventually. Some with post traumatic stress have used extacy to be able to deal with the problems. I don’t think that psychotic state can be the starting point for anything, like Buddhist teachings. One should demand then the whole society to be soft and safe also for psychotic people. It doesn’t work, even though it might be heaven for us all. Psychotic people often have a world of their own going on inside their minds. That is why they are taken to hospitals. I hope they get better treatment nowadays.

    Safety in Dharma Centers… Does it mean that SR should be a different character? He is what he is, and so far I have liked to listen to his teachings compared to others. I have also turbulent emotions, had them more in the past, but have calmed down. For me it worked. I like him being a Big Teddy Bear that is not going to faint if I am angry or what ever emotions I have. He is stronger and bigger than my anger. That is safety too, for me.

    I understand your disappointment, but are you saying that because SR behaved badly with some students that it somehow changed things for you dramatically?

    I hope Joanne would have opened up to someone, so maybe her traumatic experiences would have been eased. I know there are kind and soft people whom would have loved to help you.

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  190. Joanna, you raised the point of the guru’s personality being an influence in the behaviour and thought process of followers. I understand your point as one of the disturbing aspects I observed in T. Quinn followers is how they not only took on his beliefs but, repeated them verbatim. His mind-bending and, what I can only consider, abusive techniques brought about a loss of their personality, one of his desired aims. Those closest to him, particularly if they were part of the group for a number of years, took on his mannerisms and pattern of speech. Whether they were aware of this or not, they had no control over what they said and understood it came from the ‘self’. Their ‘truth’ was induced by hypnosis. Unbelievable as it seems this is a very real outcome when one opens themselves to another who seeks power to increase the number of followers and income. It may happen that some under his influence have a need for power over others also, however, they are never acknowledged as more powerful than the Irish ‘messiah’ as he is quick to put them in their place when any sign of competing with him is apparent.

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  191. by bringing up hearing voices, Bella is just trying to imply that ‘critics’ of Sogyal Rinpoche are not ok, perhaps mentally ill. It’s as simple as that and appears to most outsiders such as myself, as a cynical ploy which reveals more about Bella motivations for being here, than anything-else ever possible could

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  192. Angie,

    Joanne didn’t hear a growling sound. It was mentioned in the web page for schizophrenics about hallucinations. That growling sound had nothing to do with Rigpa, but it is something that some schizophrenics have heard. I don’t know who. I’m neither saying that Joanne is schizophrenic. How should I have the answers on psychological illnesses? I can only refer to web pages or books, but I never read any book about hallucinations. I have a friend who was psychotic during our studies. She would often answer: “Oh really? Do you think so?” even though I said nothing.

    I’m not a doctor.

    I’m not a researcher.

    I’m not omniscient.

    I’m not a shaman.

    Nor a clairvoyant.

    I guess the Christian schizophrenic or his/her “friends” would say the growling sounds come from hell and he/she is possessed. That is in the old days. What do you think? Do you want to give an explanation?

    If you want a Tibetan (Buddhist) explanation for hallucinations, you have to ask from a Tibetan doctor.

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  193. I haven’t read or responded to this morning’s comments, because I want to respond first to Bella’s rather sordid attempts yesterday to undermine my veracity, I would like to clarify my purpose in writing about the personal experiences of myself and my family. I did not do this in order to say publicly, “boohoo, poor me.” Kate—I do not need Bella’s (or anyone else’s) sympathy—OK? I stand on my own two feet.

    Also, I would like to observe that I am posting in my own name. I am not sniping at others from an anonymous window, as Bella and Kate are doing. OK?

    By cutting and pasting my story, Bella was able to comment on personal details of my life and avoid commenting on the essential points raised in my writing. I would like to say only that I have never lied about those personal details—Bella is the one who is confused. Then I would like to reiterate my main purpose in disclosing personal details of my life:

    Both Bella and Kate comment on this thread with the assumption that if someone enters a religious community during a vulnerable time in his/her life, then he/she can neither expect help nor object if they are led astray. Bella speaks of SR’s methods of working with students’ egos etc. as if Rigpa is some sort of military training camp—instead of first and foremost a place of refuge. As if tough love is central to Buddhism.

    I say, why do Buddhists take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha as the first step on the Buddhist path? Why do we Mahayanists repeat the refuge prayer three times by day and three times by night, for the entirety of our life? Why is refuge the first practice in Ngondro? Because sentient come to the dharma in need—they need protection and safety, they need guidance, they need help and healing. That is fact, Kate. Fact.

    Further, I say that all our religious institutions must be places of safety and refuge. This is not a legal matter. It is a moral imperative. For example, there are countless instances of alcoholics who recover with the support of God and a religious community. If religion is not for the purpose of healing and safety, if the loving kindness found in a religious institution isn’t one that provides strength, greater sanity and stability, then what is the point of religion?

    One of the main arguments that I raised in the post on my life story was that Rigpa has serious gaps in the psychological safety it provides. One example I used was SR’s public humiliation of students. I did not say that these methods weren’t useful in some instances between teachers and students. I said that they shouldn’t be publicly displayed. How can SR be sure there isn’t someone watching with a trauma background, who will have feelings triggered?

    I also observed that out of the two styles of teaching—one geared for a general audience and one geared for specific students—that SR appeared to use the second, but perhaps it would be safer if he used the first. I commented in my post that HH Dalai Lama, who, like SR, is famous and teaches to large groups of strangers, uses the first technique himself. He teaches mainstream, safe dharma. If he does interact with a close student during a teaching, it is always done kindly—even his humor is kind.

    Another point I raised was that there was too much emphasis on the lama at Rigpa—too much encouragement to believe in his mystical powers. Bella mentions dreams and other mystical experiences frequently when talking of her lama’s work with students. I believe that this is a dangerous focus for new students. In fact, HH Dalai Lama begins many teachings and public talks himself by denouncing that he has any healing powers etc. He encourages students to study, study, study—to see the texts themselves as their teachers.

    Now, I am fully aware that this is seen as a particularly Gelug approach to Dharma and that Dzogchen teachers are famous for their more unorthodox methods of working with students and that they frequently work one on one with students. I am sure that these approaches have been effective in the past and are not harmful in themselves.

    However, in this precarious time for the Dharma, with Tibetans in exile and Westerners so new to Buddhism, I suggest that every approach imported from (ancient) Tibet needs to be investigated. Safety needs to be the first priority. Perhaps these unorthodox, individualized approaches need to be used more sparingly and with greater care.

    Bella loves to applaud her lama’s approaches and disparage those individuals who feel that they have been harmed by them. I say to Bella that the Buddha’s first words were “Commit no harm.” In fact, I first heard those words from SR himself. I say that our Dharma centers first and foremost need to be places of safety and refuge. I say, either SR significantly downsize his empire so he can be accountable to everyone he teaches—or he teaches in such a way that even the most troubled individual will know safety at Rigpa retreats.

    This was my purpose in disclosing personal details of my life—details that Bella has decided to forage through, much like a dog foraging for scraps of food.

    Bella, you’re on the wrong track.

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  194. BellaB, I am disappointed with your answer. It is crucial that when any type of phenomena takes place in places such as Rigpa there needs to be an answer as to the cause. It is very wrong to assume the medical or even mental health carers have the answers when they have no understanding of what a person opens themselves up to. Your comment is the first I have come across that makes any reference to the growling voice. In this case the blame is most certainly not on the person who experienced it. It seems the “quick and easy” way is dangerous. It reminds me too much of how a self-proclaimed ‘guru’ in Ireland has operated for years,

    God xxxxxxxxxxx!

    Personal attack moderated by DI

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  195. It is Dependent Origination. A more thorough explanation of the 2nd Noble truth (if you didn’t know)

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  196. Finnigan’s former friend, long term student of SR, Dominique Side on Meditation and Health

    http://whatmeditationreallyis.com/index.php/lang-en/home-blog/item/94-meditation-and-health-with-dominique-side.html

    She has also written a book with HHDL:

    A Simple Path : Basic Buddhist Teachings
    The text, based on lectures on the four noble truths given in London, lays out the fundamentals of the Buddhist path, showing us how we can develop our compassion and find happiness in any situation.

    I have been in other centers, also non Tibetan. That sleep meditation what they teach in some places, is not meditation what SR teaches.

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  197. I don’t know what is DO. I was referring to the Four Noble Truths.

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  198. I have no idea what growling voice is. In the same post there was a link to the page where I copied that part. Maybe some doctors can explain that.

    There are question and answer sessions, and each retreatant has their personal care person, whom they can discuss difficulties on many levels. There are country groups who meet during the retreats. Sometimes I have discussed these issues, sometimes study issues or practice issues, sometimes ordinary health issues, once I received a massage from a woman, which was excellent. If the carer can’t help you, she/he will help you to find the correct person and help.

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  199. BellaB, I am particularly interested in what you include in your comment about auditory hallucinations:

    “What’s It Like Hearing Voices?

    The compelling aura of reality about these experiences often produces distress and disrupts thought and behavior. The sound of the voice is sometimes that of a family member or someone from one’s past, or is like that of no known person but has distinct and immediately recognizable features (say, a deep, growling voice). Often certain actual external sounds, such as fans or running water, become transformed into perceived speech.”
    Can you explain the ‘growling voice?’ If you don’t have the answer could you refer me to reading material that explains it?

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  200. And bella if you think that DO is basic, you don’t understand it.

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  201. There lies the danger. When there is no discussion about impressions received between student and teacher, there is too much room for conjecture. Is he clairvoyant or not? When there is no opportunity to ask questions and have them answered it is easy to see how confusion reigns and you cannot lay all of the blame at Joanne’s door. If he teaches a ‘quick and easy path’ he, at the very least, needs to clarify, particularly to the beginners, the effects, or side effects, of what transpires between them.
    BellaB, you say “I have never heard Dzogchen described as an easy path, but as a dangerous path, because the teacher is going to rip you off from the reference points, from the safety of the ego. SR is not that extreme that he would do that to the unprepared people.”
    Everything I have read about Sogyal points to him doing exactly this. He seems hell bent on destroying ‘ego’. There is nothing ‘quick’ or ‘easy’ about what he does so why advertise it as such?

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  202. bellaB said: “What is personally so important to you in those 4 truths?” Do you seriously need me to explain that?

    “…and he is excellent in that. Better than most.” You need to get out more bella

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  203. “I doubt that very much KateS regarding DO. If so, how can you talk about it without mentioning the 4NT. Indeed if the teachings on DO were there and they are not, why wouldn’t you just mention the 4NT? That’s just poor teaching ability. After all Ignorance, the 1st link of DO is Ignorance of the 4NT.”

    Maybe those are so basic knowledge that they are not thought by SR constantly.

    I have known them ever since I stumbled upon Buddhism. I think they were already thought in high school.

    What is personally so important to you in those 4 truths? I was convinced from my experiences that life is suffering. Buddhism and meditation are the ways to cessation. SR teaches all the time about meditation, and he is excellent in that. Better than most.

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  204. As Mary Finnigan said, the guys just a mouthpiece. A salesman, a performer. Anybody can memorise stuff. There is no realisation there, or if so, very little. We know that manipulating, exploiting and abusing beings is not carried-out by people who are awakened.

    I saw the colour and movement, the drama and abuse, the staged and scripted theatrics that was a Rigpa retreat. The “oohing” and “aahing” from the undiscerning about how profound the teachings were, when they were not – really the emperor just had no clothes…

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  205. Sankappa you are so negative. I believe you have never talked to any of the care people, of which some are wonderful people. I have never spoken to the people who are not for the retreatants, but for the workers, so I can’t say how would they react in the event of abuse.

    When I expressed concerns about the accusations, I was treated very kindly. I spoke with two very warm people. I also have spoken to other people over the years. I have had a few close personal talks that I found nurturing and supporting. We shared things as individuals: the responses were not just distant, automatic responses.

    TBLD has wider audience than the Buddhists alone.

    The four noble truths are:

    The truth of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, dissatisfaction)
    The truth of the origin of dukkha
    The truth of the cessation of dukkha
    The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha

    Why we say the long life prayer at the end is that we all belong to Rigpa Mandala and so that prayer is directed also to all of us. We also pray that he would be able to benefit beings as long as possible.

    These are not the 4 Noble truths, but this is the prayer what we say in the beginning of any practice. Rigpa people are so “evil” that they practice for the benefit of all sentient beings, not just for themselves or for SR.

    By the power and the truth of this practice:
    May all beings have happiness, and the causes of happiness;
    May all be free from sorrow, and the causes of sorrow;
    May all never be separated from the sacred happiness which is sorrowless;
    And may all live in equanimity, without too much attachment and too much aversion,
    And live believing in the equality of all that lives.

    The Dedication of merit

    Through this merit, may all beings attain the moniscient state of enlightenment,

    And conquer the enemy of faults and delusion.

    May they all be liberated from this ocean of samsara.

    And from its pounding waves of birth, old age, sickness and death!

    It might be useful to establish the motivation every time one opens these pages. Might be a bit friendlier.

    Studies for Sankappa:

    http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Category:Prayers_and_Practices

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  206. I doubt that very much KateS regarding DO. If so, how can you talk about it without mentioning the 4NT. Indeed if the teachings on DO were there and they are not, why wouldn’t you just mention the 4NT? That’s just poor teaching ability. After all Ignorance, the 1st link of DO is Ignorance of the 4NT.

    But please give me the details of the page numbers in TBLD of the 16 characteristics that you say are mentioned. Still also waiting on your examples of books on “Buddhism” that don’t mention the 4NT.

    But anyway, that side, it does not explain the the lack of poor teaching by not mentioning the 4NT in the “Treasury of Dharma”. (Treasury of Dharma without mentioning the crown Jewels). And also the introductory meditation text has no reference to the 4NT. This is a poor effort for a so called master in his two foundational texts and 30-odd hours of talks. His ability must be questioned.

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  207. bellaB, on February 21, 2013 at 9:31 am said:

    “I guess Rigpa has improved their care with people with difficulties. There are many psychologists, permanently working but also going in retreats and being able to do their rota work as a Care person. I think there is quite a lot of caring these days in Rigpa. I’ve seen it close by. Only thing is that one has to ask for help, unless someone else notices something.”

    Ah yes, those wonderful caring physiologists and counselors of Rigpa. The ones that step in to help those abused by Sogyal. Not. I would say they are as much part of the problem, giving Sogyal Rinpoche an air of credibility that he does not deserve. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were part of the vanguard in the “re-education” programmes that vajrakilaya and Yeshe Drolma describe.

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  208. sankappa, on February 21, 2013 at 4:52 am said: “And just to point out that it is not greatly important which version of the 4NT is presented, just that it is important that they be included, particularly, I would have thought, for foundational teachings.”

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths#Sixteen_characteristics

    This is what I said to you. TBLD is not a foundational teaching but it is written from the perspective of dependent origination etc., the 16 are woven throughout the book.

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  209. Yes but TBLD is not just about death and dying. It is referred to by Rigpa as a text “where to Start” (in their words not mine):

    http://www.zamstore.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=683_988 and is also

    It can hardly be a “new spiritual classic from on of the foremost interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism to the West” without mention of the 4NT which is, you know, about suffering and it’s causes and solutions, in essence the Buddhist Path in a nutshell.

    But more importantly there is only ONE mention of the 4NT in “Treasury of Dharma.” Now this is an introductory text without doubt. So in 252 pages of text and 33 hours of audio talks, the 4NT gets ONE mention (P.32) and no embellishment or explanation in regards to the importance of, and their relationship to the Path, or more correctly that they are the Path.

    I also have an introductory meditation manual, and I can’t find any mention of the 4NT.

    So out of three introductory Rigpa texts from Sogyal Rinpoche we get one mention of the 4NT.

    It really makes me wonder about the calibre and soundness of his his teaching; but given his other character traits, perhaps this is not surprising.

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  210. Joanne, why would you think SR would try to control your mind in the negative way as you described? Pushing you to leave your family and move with him, and then ignore you? You also wrote in your text that you experienced turbulence when SR’s real intentions (of not planning a life with you?) became evident – and the lama talk inside became more stronger and strange. I think it’s a stress reaction and the voices becoming more stressful and bizarre would fit that.

    Real SR and the inner lama talk don’t match up. If they did, I might wonder if he would be able to feed people thoughts, which is a new idea to me. I might believe that there is a possibility of communication on some other level of consciousness or awareness (Jung calls it collective unconsciousness, but it’s not a good definition, but points towards the direction of us humans and animals as having a collective mind or memory), but I don’t believe that it was the case with you.

    Auditory Hallucinations: What’s It Like Hearing Voices?

    “The compelling aura of reality about these experiences often produces distress and disrupts thought and behavior. The sound of the voice is sometimes that of a family member or someone from one’s past, or is like that of no known person but has distinct and immediately recognizable features (say, a deep, growling voice). Often certain actual external sounds, such as fans or running water, become transformed into perceived speech.

    One patient described the recurrence of voices as akin to being “in a constant state of mental rape.” In the worst cases, voices command the listener to undertake destructive acts such as *suicide* or assault. But hearing voices is not necessarily a sign of mental illness, so understanding the mechanics of auditory hallucinations is crucial to understanding schizophrenia and related disorders.

    Verbal messages expressed by voices often are highly emotional. Moreover, when schizophrenia begins, these persons are often in states of extreme fear or *elation*. It could be that these powerful emotional states increase the propensity of the brain to produce corresponding verbal “messages.””

    http://www.healthyplace.com/thought-disorders/schizophrenia-articles/auditory-hallucinations-whats-it-like-hearing-voices/

    I’m not here saying you were schizophrenic, but there was a phase in you life where you had some kind of crisis. In other non-Western cultures people might become schizophrenic for a while and heal.

    I guess Rigpa has improved their care with people with difficulties. There are many psychologists, permanently working but also going in retreats and being able to do their rota work as a Care person. I think there is quite a lot of caring these days in Rigpa. I’ve seen it close by. Only thing is that one has to ask for help, unless someone else notices something.

    Unfortunately there was a woman a few years back who had declared that she will not pay the retreat fees, because she was invited by HHDL and SR to France. She was supposed to be recognized as some Dakini or important reincarnation. HHDL wasn’t even there. These things sometimes happen. In Christian context the role might be something else than an important reincarnation. After a few hours of trying to converse with her (she was pushing through the doors) the Care people called the local police who took her to the hotel. I don’t know what happened to her afterwards. it’s difficult, but Rigpa is not able to provide hospital kind of care. I doubt any other Dharma center would either.

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  211. Sankappa, may I repeat myself: I have heard SR teach and mention time and again about the Four Noble Truths.

    TBLD is not a Buddhist doctrinal book. It doesn’t feed people Buddhism, but also accepts if the dying person is praying to Jesus and supports that.

    TBLD was written at the time when death was very much ignored in our superficial Western culture. If you can’t understand that there is diversity in the books, then that is your problem. Inflexibility of the mind is not necessarily the best thing if one trains in the Buddhist tradition. SR is not a bureaucrat, but the opposite.

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  212. Joanne, you wrote:
    Bella, in answer to your question earlier, “controlling another person’s mind” is listed as a doable tantric feat. I read about it several years ago in HH Dalai Lama’s commentary on Tantra– and reread it several times, because I was so amazed.

    That is as maybe, but I don’t think Sogyal has any such power. If he did, am damn sure that this website wouldn’t exist! Also, I don’t think he has power of hypnotising people. Maybe that’s because I my mind is the sort that isn’t easily swayed. However, I think basic psychology is at work. In a group of people there will always be some who are easy to suggest things to. People want to believe in someone else’s authority. Then when we give them that power, we are putty in their hands.You can see it in any religious /new age group. Group consciousness also very effective. Sure you know all this, but I stress it, as really think Sogyal’s powers are more of the manipulative sort than anything mystical.

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  213. Dear DI, can you point me to the directions getting text into the quotation format. I.E. with the “salmon” coloured background.

    Many thanks,
    sankappa

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  214. And just to point out that it is not greatly important which version of the 4NT is presented, just that it is important that they be included, particularly, I would have thought, for foundational teachings.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths#Sixteen_characteristics

    “Tibetan tradition

    Within the Tibetan tradition, the four noble truths are traditionally studied from Mahayana commentaries such as the Abhisamayalamkara, rather than from reading the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. In this context, the truth of the path (the fourth truth) is traditionally presented according to a progressive formula of five paths, rather than than as the eightfold path presented in other traditions.[t] The Tibetan tradition also emphasizes the study of the sixteen characteristics of the four noble truths, as described in the Abhisamayalamkara.

    Note however, that some contemporary Tibetan Buddhist teachers have provided commentary on the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta and the noble eightfold path when presenting the dharma to Western students. For example, Geshe Tashi Tsering’s commentary on the four noble truths emphasizes the Pali version of the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta,[78] and contemporary texts by Ringu Tulku[79] and Lama Surya Das[80] present the noble eightfold path.

    From the Tibetan Buddhist point of view, these alternative methods of presentation are not considered to be contradictory, but rather as different ways to present the Buddhist path.[77]”

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  215. “Mahayana tradition

    In the Mahayana tradition, the four noble truths are considered central to the teachings of Buddhism, but are traditionally studied and practiced in conjunction with teachings on bodhisattva path.[51] For example, the Dalai Lama states:[76]
    …although I recite mantras and visualize certain deities, even so, the main emphasis of my daily practice is the Four Noble Truths and bodhichitta. These two practices I feel are of real practical benefit.”

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths#Mahayana_tradition

    HHDL = Dharma

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  216. This is the first paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for the Four Noble Truths:

    “The Four Noble Truths (Sanskrit: catvāri āryasatyāni; Pali: cattāri ariyasaccāni) are regarded as the central doctrine of the Buddhist tradition, and are said to provide a conceptual framework for all of Buddhist thought. These four truths explain the nature of dukkha (Pali; commonly translated as “suffering”, “anxiety”, “stress”, “dissatisfaction”), its causes, and how it can be overcome.”

    According to the Buddhist tradition, the Buddha first taught the four noble truths in the very first teaching he gave after he attained enlightenment, as recorded in the discourse Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dharma (Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta), and he further clarified their meaning in many subsequent teachings.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths#Mahayana_tradition

    If you are a Dharma teacher you cannot be taken seriously, particularly if the 4NT is left out of foundational texts for new students. As is the case for Rigpa.

    Rigpa ≠ Dharma

    Rigpa = Lamaism = cult of personality of Sogyal Rinpoche = Sogyalism

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  217. KateS, on February 21, 2013 at 2:44 am said:

    “As they are from a lot of Buddhist literature.”

    Hahaha, yeah sure. Well it’s not really Buddhist then.

    KateS, I’m sure you get it, at least I think you do. It was the 4NT that the Buddha Awakened to.

    Could you please provide some examples to back up your above claim, though.

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  218. sankappa, on February 21, 2013 at 2:17 am said: “They are conspicuous (as I have learned) by their absence.”

    As they are from a lot of Buddhist literature. I think you will find similarly with books about Christianity, that very few actually list and discuss the ten commandments.

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  219. KateS, it wouldn’t matter if they are seen in terms of the 16 characteristics or not. The fact is, this is what the Buddha Awakened to. But go ahead question the whole foundation of the Dharma if you like. You can’t play-down the importance of this and the fact they are not mentioned in the given literature and the teachings at Rigpa. They are conspicuous (as I have learned) by their absence.

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  220. KateS, on February 21, 2013 at 12:43 am said:

    “My copy of TBLD didn’t seem to have the power to induce trance, so either your copy must’ve had special powers, or you had a past life connection, or maybe it was just your state of mind?”

    I would question whether it had the power to induce Dharma

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  221. Sankappa, you seem to be confusing different approaches, in Mahayana the 4 noble truths are seen in terms of the 16 characteristics, and TBLD does address these, although it isn’t really intended as a presentation of the path as such. I’m sure the Dalai Lama would not agree to write its foreword if it was that wide of the mark.

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  222. bellaB, on February 20, 2013 at 11:38 pm said:

    “They are not there as you saw it?”

    Yes, and that is my point. In three foundational Rigpa texts (two others including The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying – TBLD) that I have, there is not even a mention that I can find of the Four Noble Truths. This is the absolute foundational teaching for all other teachings, the foundation of the entire Dharma, and in Sogyal Rinpoche’s book(s), it doesn’t rate a mention.

    Here’s what the Buddha said in his very first discourse to his spiritual friends, the five aesthetics, in Varanasi after his awakening. I am quoting a section from the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion) to illustrate the importance of the Four Nobble Truths to the entire Dharma:

    [quote]“ ‘As long as my knowing and seeing how things are, was not quite purified in these twelve aspects, in these three phases of each of the four noble truths, I did not claim in the world with its gods, its Maras and high divinities, in this generation with its monks and brahmans, with its princes and men to have discovered the full Awakening that is supreme. But as soon as my knowing and seeing how things are, was quite purified in these twelve aspects, in these three phases of each of the four noble truths, then I claimed in the world with its gods, its Maras and high divinities, in this generation with its monks and brahmans, its princes and men to have discovered the full Awakening that is supreme. Knowing and seeing arose in me thus: ‘My heart’s deliverance is unassailable. This is the last birth. Now there is no renewal of being.’ ”

    Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.nymo.html [/quote]

    In other words, the Buddha could not have attained Awakening without complete comprehension of these four Truths.

    The whole of the Buddhist Path is contained within the Four Noble Truths. I was at Rigpa for 8-9 months and not only was there no reference to them in the literature, but there was barely a mention in teachings at my Rigpa Sangha. So it was quite a shock and a revelation, when I had the good sense to leave Rigpa, of the importance of, or the understanding that they are in fact THE PATH. I know Joanne has alluded to this before as well.

    This is no obscure point, and it directly relates to a deficiency in Dharma transmission at Rigpa, where there is more importance placed on the person (Sogyal Rinpoche) then the Truth(s)/Dharma. I would question if this is Buddhism, or in truth, closer to Sogyalism.

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  223. …or something else entirely?

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  224. My copy of TBLD didn’t seem to have the power to induce trance, so either your copy must’ve had special powers, or you had a past life connection, or maybe it was just your state of mind?

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  225. P.S. My comment to Bella is serious, to Kate facetious.

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  226. Bella, in answer to your question earlier, “controlling another person’s mind” is listed as a doable tantric feat. I read about it several years ago in HH Dalai Lama’s commentary on Tantra– and reread it several times, because I was so amazed.

    Kate, absolutely, they are adding DITD (Driving in a Trance Disorder) to the DSMV. But damn, I still haven’t made that therapy appointment. Is it too late or should I make it tomorrow?

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  227. “Quite simply, you try to represent it as DI unwilling to meet with Sogyal Rinpoche, when in fact it was he who refused to meet with DI when DI proposed a meeting.”

    I asked them to go there for a long time before they tried. In the beginning they were not interested in. You have this paranoid attitude that I try to make something look like something else. People can see their attempt in the first Rigpa page: it’s pretty visible. I simply commented Felicity’s complaint about me asking people to go to Rigpa. We need to make a fuss about this too? (Sidetrack to me.)

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  228. Sankappa, should I answer any of your questions, when you don’t answer mine?

    “Where are the Four Noble Truths in TBLD?”

    They are not there as you saw it?

    “Also bellaB, can you direct me to the teachings on vipashyana in Rigpa literature?”

    We study many other books, not just Rigpa literature.

    I’ve heard him orally teach about it since the beginning.

    That text is in a study book for Rigpa Sangha. It includes CD’s.
    First book. Part 3, Chapter 5: The Path

    (And that chapter begins with a definition of Delusion, Self-Image, Conceptual Mind.)

    I have received teachings on the Four Noble Truths, Bodhicitta, Prajnaparamita, Ngöndro, The Three Roots.

    I have also received teachings on Kyerim and Dzogrim, practices from different classes. We have a study book about that too where different phases of the practices are explained. They are quite well done: about 300 pages.

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  229. bellaB, on February 20, 2013 at 10:58 pm said:

    “And how?”

    Quite simply, you try to represent it as DI unwilling to meet with Sogyal Rinpoche, when in fact it was he who refused to meet with DI when DI proposed a meeting.

    I am still waiting for an answer to those questions bellaB

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  230. “bellaB, on February 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm said

    “I have asked DI to meet with SR, so they would have clue who they are dealing with. I don’t think it makes sense to have a huge mass of articles about a person (and an attitude) they have never even met.”

    This is dishonesty plain and simple, bellaB.”

    And how?

    I just read quickly what you wrote after your attempt. I have to confess that I can’t remember it anymore too clearly. I just remember you wanted to show them some papers about ethical behavior or abusive behavior in the West. I’m sure all Rigpa people and SR too are aware of the Western standards. It just sounds like talking to a child. He is over sixty and he has been here for 40 years. He is not extremely stupid person either. He has learned English already in India and he worked as a translator in the early days.

    You can call any Tibetan Buddhist organization a cult. There is always the leader.

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  231. Too bad they didn’t receive you, but I think it’s better to go without an agenda, or some list of behavior patterns that you want him to conform to. It’s just not very intelligent approach in meeting someone for the first time.

    Too bad they misrepresented my approach to them. I had not even got to the agenda. In order to state they had addressed me they made up a cock and bull story that I was abusive when I called. I reported I had a delightful talk with a German woman.Sorry give us a break, the agenda was whatever you do keep the cult consultant away from Beara. Note you are back to it again………………………………….FinniganFinniganFinniganFinniganFinniganFinniganFinniganFinnigan
    You are really talking nonsense,some list of behavior patterns that you want him to conform to. Woman I did not get beyond reception stop rewriting the story. Also, It’s just not very intelligent approach in meeting someone for the first time. In order to write this you must have had knowledge of my attempt?

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  232. bellaB, on February 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm said

    “I have asked DI to meet with SR, so they would have clue who they are dealing with. I don’t think it makes sense to have a huge mass of articles about a person (and an attitude) they have never even met.”

    This is dishonesty plain and simple, bellaB.

    So, I’m still waiting for some answers here:

    Where are the Four Noble Truths in TBLD?

    Also bellaB, can you direct me to the teachings on vipashyana in Rigpa literature?

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  233. “I still remain appalled at their complete lack of compassion for another persons suffering and their continual denial of any wrong doing on the part of SR.”

    Didn’t I just write I understand Joanne’s pain?

    Yes: I don’t understand how somebody’s mind can be controlled by somebody else. I also wonder why SR would have ever done something like that to Joanne (even if he could)? After he had lured her away from her family, he would simply shake his head to her? It doesn’t make any sense.

    Can you tell me how someone controls someone else’s mind? I’d be interested to read something that wouldn’t be from some paranormal activity pages, but more reasonable.

    I think schizophrenics think that some other people send thoughts into their minds. I don’t know if there is some other explanation.

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  234. I thought Bella’s reading of the story was quite sympathetic. As soon as I read that Joanne bought 2 books and drove around in a daze, my immediate thought was that she needed therapy right from the start.

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  235. It is interesting how little BellaB understands anything regarding cultish tendencies and how a person’s mind can be controlled by another. She/he still had to get a dig in about Joanne being a liar. She/he just can’t help themselves. If Bella B is how the buddishts in Rigpa behave I would want no part in it. I still remain appalled at their complete lack of compassion for another persons suffering and their continual denial of any wrong doing on the part of SR. They just can’t seem to understand that just because you have never been invited to SR’s abode doesn’t mean that others haven’t.

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  236. “dialogueireland, on February 20, 2013 at 10:12 pm said:

    Don’t give us that one again. We tried and they did not want to know.You know that. Also they tried to totally misrepreent my call. You did a runner as we say in Ireland around taht time. You kept calling for it and when we acted you skulked…. I am an elephant……!”

    Misreading me? I just mentioned that as an example where I have asked someone to meet with SR. I also asked Finnigan to go meet him but without the camera crew. Today I think that would be just waste of time.

    Too bad they didn’t receive you, but I think it’s better to go without an agenda, or some list of behavior patterns that you want him to conform to. It’s just not very intelligent approach in meeting someone for the first time.

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  237. “Felicity, on February 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm said:

    I read they tried and were refused. Bella, stop taunting and bullying Joanne and sort your own life out. Control freak.”

    I wanted to clarify that she is the same person whose stories I’ve read before. That was one question that came up in this thread. If you don’t like clarifications, but enjoy gossip style, non-factual stuff, then that is your problem. Bullying was not my intention, but I was getting tired.

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  238. I have asked DI to meet with SR, so they would have clue who they are dealing with. I don’t think it makes sense to have a huge mass of articles about a person (and an attitude) they have never even met.

    Don’t give us that one again. We tried and they did not want to know.You know that. Also they tried to totally misrepresent my call. You did a runner as we say in Ireland around that time. You kept calling for it and when we acted you skulked…. I am an elephant……!

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  239. Felicity, on February 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm said:

    “I’ve scrolled through these long posts from Bella, and say I thought “what a bitch, what a head-F***.”

    You must super-sensitive. I didn’t even write in a nasty attitude. Better that you skip anything from me. No communication.

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  240. I read they tried and were refused. Bella, stop taunting and bullying Joanne and sort your own life out. Control freak.

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  241. My intention is not to convert Joanne. She is already Tibetan Buddhist. And I never discuss Buddhism with any strangers. With my friends I accept them as Christians or non-religious. I’m not a fanatic.

    I was hoping that Joanne would meet SR now in order that SHE will get over her past experiences. That is all.

    I have asked DI to meet with SR, so they would have clue who they are dealing with. I don’t think it makes sense to have a huge mass of articles about a person (and an attitude) they have never even met.

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  242. I’ve scrolled through these long posts from Bella, and say I thought “what a bitch, what a head-F***. One thing that interests me is how she is always trying to get people to go to Rigpa or to meet Sogyal. It’s like she wants to convert people.
    Bella, you cannot control what people think, no matter how many posts you spew out here. Get over it.

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  243. I have received a chord from HHDL. Well, I didn’t think to recommend collecting them as a souvenir.

    I wanted to pin point those issues about your story that you said you never did in things that I wrote about you. Clarification was the main point. Then when I read the story again, I just wanted to compare it with my experiences. I had the impression that you didn’t discuss matters with anyone in Rigpa, so now I did share thoughts. Maybe in person I would have been more quiet, but I hope one day things could make sense (if they can). But I do understand your fear and also pain.

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  244. Correction: I didn’t “pop” the blessing pill a friend gave me from HH Dalai Lama. Nor the black pill from HH Karmapa. I took them with great reverence. Buddhism is a religion after all.

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  245. Bella, you must have worked very hard, cutting and pasting my story so that you could comment finally on accurate details. I’m not quite sure what your purpose is, though, because I don’t consider my story to be one that adds much at all to the strength of the case against SR. I wrote it for those Rigpa students, who are not suffering abuse, but are not satisfied with the workings of Rigpa– and I’ve heard that they exist and read the posts– who are seeking to find answers about their own experiences. I wrote it so that discussions about safe dharma centers could progress.

    And just one aside: You advised me to go and find lamas who could give me protection cords. That was funny because I can’t count the number of protection cords I received in the years following my departure from Rigpa. At one point, they grew into a huge tangle around my neck– but I was still confused and tormented. I used to pop blessing pills as well– as if they were opiates and I was a drug addict.

    Then, some strange things happened with the last three protection cords I received– from three different lamas. Two of the cords mysteriously vanished from around my neck shortly after I received them. I never saw them again. The other one slid off my neck in the car. That had never happened before. I think it was a sign from the Buddhas.

    So now, I study with HH Dalai Lama, who has never given me a protection cord. I can tell you with complete confidence that the dharma he gives is quite protection enough.

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  246. bellaB = xxxx right?

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  247. Here’s a long one about Joanne:

    Joanne/Drolma: One year in Rigpa

    “Thirteen years ago, I left a bookshop with two books under my arm. One was The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche (SR). The other was a commentary on lamrim by HH Dalai Lama. In a daze, I got in the car and drove several times around the block. The next few nights I had very lucid sleep, as if I were aware of myself sleeping. There was no doubt in my mind that I was heading in some spiritual direction that would be significant for me.”

    It is significant. You probably have a karmic connection from past lives.

    “Certainly I have learned much from my experiences of what I call “lama madness”—but I believe that the damage has far out-surpassed this. Definitely, the damage to others, particularly my family, has far outweighed any benefit.”

    “lama madness”. I’m glad I never experienced that, even though I’m quite sensitive.

    “My husband and I had made a good job of combining our two families and I believe that our marriage had a good chance at survival.”

    Maybe it’s my English, but for me it sounds like the marriage was a bit collapsing at that point already.

    “our children grew up and moved away. Our two oldest had already left home to start university and the third was applying that year for schools.” (One year in Rigpa, DI)

    Here they move out. Later in the same text you send them away.

    “SR was to enter my life like an atomic bomb.
    I only attended teachings at Rigpa for a year. By the end of that year, I was smoking cigarettes, drinking heavily and planning suicides. But in the beginning, I was enthusiastic. There was a great air of mystique and secrecy surrounding SR that drew me in very quickly. Very quickly, my enthusiasm for Buddhism became an enthusiasm for SR. “

    I always had the attitude that it is my path. I had been looking for a path for a long time before I found him. He is the teacher, but it is MY path, so I guess for that reason I was never too swept away. I also recognize the limitations of my own practical life in the Western society (work, money, responsibility).

    Why were you suicidal? Because the material world or physical reality didn’t support the psychic stuff? Did you plan suicide at any other time in your life? Despite my own difficulties in life, I was never suicidal. In Rigpa retreats I always find peace and strength. I wonder what changed your mind? Fantasy/reality conflict? How would a Western psychotherapist deal with such a situation? What would be the explanation for the fantasies according to Western psychological view? I guess at least Freud had many thoughts on that. Frustration when you don’t get what you want, and so on?

    “There were no interviews and no question and answer sessions in the teachings. We were told to “hold our questions in our hearts,” told that we might be surprised to find them (magically) answered during the teaching.”

    That is true, but there ARE also question/answer sessions. At times many people might have similar questions, and since SR’s way of teaching is many sided and down to our experiences in the Western society, many might find the answers in the teachings. Although I also believe that he is psychic to some extent. I don’t know how it works. One clairvoyant (the only one I met) said he sees events like small filmstrips from people’s lives. I guess if one really thought strongly about their questions, then he might pick it up. Who knows?

    “He frequently spoke of his past teachers not as teachers, but as “masters.” With this theme was the theme of instant enlightenment. This was how he taught Dzogchen, as a very quick and easy path to enlightenment, a path of devotion.”

    Misunderstanding from your part. I have never heard Dzogchen described as an easy path, but as a dangerous path, because the teacher is going to rip you off from the reference points, from the safety of the ego. SR is not that extreme that he would do that to the unprepared people. I have not wanted to rush there, because I recognized my needs for clarifying issues in my life before entering any turbulent path, even though with Ngondro things just start to happen. On my 4th year I had pretty important spiritual experiences.

    “Very early, I was experiencing strong paranormal experiences to do with SR. I believed that I could communicate with him psychically. “

    How and where? In his presence? On the way home, the next day?

    “Because I never had a single opportunity to speak with SR, because I could never check in with him about any of my experiences, they became my entire relationship with him. I expected, because of the strength of these experiences, and because of SR’s teachings, to become enlightened at any moment.”

    I have seen strong dreams about him. They were dreams, not psychic phenomena. Still I think I could put those issues in their place in my life at the moment: treat them as significant dreams. One night I did see strong dreams and the next day I had the experience of limitless love, that I had never known before. I took it as a good experience, a gift, but I knew the love was limitless, and I didn’t feel ANY dependency toward him, but free from everything.

    “As it was, I started to believe that SR wanted me to become his spiritual wife and live with him in France. This delusion was so strong and convincing that I acted on it. I told my husband I was leaving him to go to France.”

    Okay: so you didn’t divorce him, but you left him. Or at least you told him that you are going to do that. I think that what ever you “saw” or thought you saw was pretty strong. I understand you. I also read Machig Labdron’s life story, and it had some predictions about Machig’s future life and partner. They are fascinating stories, but unfortunately or fortunately we don’t live in Tibet 1000 years ago and we are not on her level spiritually. Or how could I know on what level you are?

    “I sent my two youngest daughters back overseas to live with their father. My family not only had to deal with my actions, but they had to deal with losing the woman I had been, with having a crazy woman in place of me. In my mind, however, I was not harming anyone. I was involved with the greater picture. “

    Feeling that there was a greater purpose? Maybe there was – or is. Sometimes it’s not just easy to understand spiritual stuff, dreams and so on. We also have to live in the materialistic world with limitations. We can’t just fly. You wanted to run, but now you have to walk slower to gain understanding.

    “I was going to become enlightened really fast and then I would send for my children, I would repair my relationship with my husband. I really believed that I was in the midst of a greater purpose.”

    It would be good to read Chogyam Trungpa’s wife’s story. They also left Trungpa’s son in UK in order to fetch him later to the States. They were poor and had many ordeals, but somehow it worked out.
    SR has himself a very strong sense of purpose. It doesn’t mean that he is always happy. He has told us that he had been depressed sometimes when he was younger. He is here to teach about the nature of mind, to as many people as possible. I guess family relations are not too important for a person with that kind of task. Chogyam Trungpa was, according to his wife, similar in that regard.
    I also felt that an important change had happened in my life. I’m still vaguely hanging there, even though at some point there appeared obstacles on my path. SR would advice to have a daily practice, and see how the obstacles would dissolve. It’s a good advice.

    Joanne, why are you so afraid about being sucked in by me? I’m only a human. In your profession you should be able to deal with people. Or is that you reject them, completely? Deny humanity from someone who has been nasty to you at some point? I don’t think I have lied to you, so what is my crime? (With liars one really doesn’t know where to stand and discussion is pointless.)

    “However, to display them publicly is shameful at best, psychologically damaging at worst. I remember passing a senior student in the restroom shortly after she had been subjected to public humiliation at a teaching. She had a cold, dark, closed expression as she passed me. There was no warmth or greeting, nothing that would resemble the Buddha’s teachings on warm heartedness. From my current perspective, these public humiliations look more like hazing—an initiation rite into the inner circle of Rigpa.”

    No. I’m afraid those are not initiation rites. My friend has also gotten difficult times from SR. He clearly tested him, and played his ego – very well, I thought. At times I might want to do the same to him, but it wouldn’t be as successful. SR pushed him a bit to make choices and commitment. He wouldn’t freely give teachings, unless he can trust him.

    Maybe that woman was very cold, dark, closed and angry at that moment. Maybe SR was trying to break that hard cover. I’d like to know if that woman slowly changed. At least people in Rigpa are not like that, and becoming like that is not the goal.

    “As the time for my children’s departure neared and the reality of SR’s intentions started to become clearer, I had much mental torment. In fact, the voice of the lama inside my head had become very brutal and cruel, placing impossible demands on me.”

    I’m sorry for your torments. I’m glad it’s now behind you. Maybe the voice of the lama wasn’t SR, but a hallucination. It is scary. But you don’t go *there* again. I also understand that it is difficult to even think of going to Rigpa again in fear that that voice would begin again. What I would do if I were you is that I would ask some lama to pray for you and give you a special protection chord or scarf. Maybe it sounds ridiculous to you (or any other reader), but I believe it would help. I don’t know if those items help, but maybe your own mind would think that it would help (placebo effect at least), and you would be safe, if you would one day met SR again. It’s understandable that you are fearful about your experiences. I just believe there is nothing to fear.

    “At that same retreat, I met SR once walking along a path. I was filled with a sense that this was to be our moment, he would talk to me finally and resolve all the mess, tell me what I was to do. I looked up at him with a face full of expectation ready to speak with him. However, he merely shook his head and walked past. That was about the closest I came to the great master.”

    It wasn’t the right moment. Like I have tried to point out in many posts, it’s not easy to get to talk to him, but almost impossible for non-workers. I think one should approach a worker, send your letter to him. Even though he would not talk with you in person, he would know what is on your mind. It’s just too big organization these days for people to just start talking to him.

    “Rigpa will say—and I have had Rigpa insiders say this to me on blogs—that SR cannot be held accountable for my suffering. These same students say that women can simply say no about having sex with him.”

    I don’t think he is accountable for the hallucinations. I wish that there had been other circumstances for you to present your questions.

    I think women can say no to him. I have heard about various events among the inside students, where a student has said NO (I’m not talking about sex) very strongly to SR. I’ve witnessed an argument or disagreement between the main students and him on one occasion. It was also dealt with both publicly and later elsewhere. We were all told how the story evolved afterwards.

    “Certainly, for myself, if SR had just taken notice that I was in trouble, if he had been available for interviews, if he had taken a little time to work with me, to speak with me and steer me clear of my confusions, much suffering for myself and my family could have been avoided. Of this, I am quite certain.”

    I’m certain too. Too bad you didn’t know how the system works. One has to go to talk to somebody first, or send a letter.

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  248. I think it is the teachings that touch our pain that cracks us open. At least I was crying a lot during my first retreats. Then there’s the nature of mind kind of love, limitless love, that has no boundaries, no objects, and which is completely free from pain and attachments.

    I didn’t feel seduction.

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  249. BellaB, in an earlier comment, asks Joanne to remember the love she felt when she opened herself to Sogyal. Now you say it was her love she experienced. It reminded me of my observation when I attended the Tony Quinn centres in Ireland. He is a self-proclaimed guru. He did not boast a lineage but he had his followers believing he was Jesus. I believe I experienced the love coming from myself. Many of them opened themselves to the ‘love’ he put out; however, it was sensuously seductive rather than spiritual, more to do with manipulation of energy to get what he desired rather than teaching a balanced spiritual message. I sensed the wrongness in what he was doing. Is it the case that Joanne felt the same way towards Sogyal? How do we distinguish the difference between spiritual love and sensual love when under a lama/guru’s control? Or is it, as they may have us believe, the same essence? Very interested to hear opinions.

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  250. ““And if Joanne can’t herself keep up with all the versions of her life stories, then what am I to think?”

    I would laugh, because it really is very witty– but it doesn’t match Bella’s persona of confused, silly loyalist. And the weird thing is that this sort of humour is very much what I remember from Sogyal Rinpoche himself.”

    At times I have nasty sense of humor, but that comment didn’t contain humor, not even faintly.

    “Without a strong study program, then those powerful, not-to-be-trusted feelings I just talked about become more important than they actually are.”

    I just wished you had stayed there longer. During the three year retreat it was very well programmed. I have been to the other centers shortly, and what stroke me was that I missed Rigpa program, because you would know what practice will come after you have finished Ngondro and how that will proceed. In other centers I have been more lost.

    Joanne, can you understand that the love you experienced in Rigpa, was love coming from you? It’s not planted to you from elsewhere. That love you have. It will never be a wrong path. Just the program after the experience of love, the attachment and the projections, are the difficult ones. It’s all in basic Buddhist teachings. I’m sure we have all heard those quite a few times.

    I wonder if HH Dalai Lama has offered you a study program or you just listen what you can?

    Sankappa, I have been on many retreats about the Four Thoughts. That was quite a long part during the three year retreat for all of us, even though we didn’t participate in the retreat fully.

    I try too look up Joanne’s life story. I think I have read parts of it at least in three threads or sites. Drolma = Joanne, right?

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  251. Joanne, on February 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm said: “Without a strong study program”

    So what you seem to be saying is that she cannot be expected to look into it herself, nor that there should generally be more public information about it, but that it is the resonsibility of the specific group. This strikes me as unusual in any walk of life. If I ask a lawyer about the nature of lawyers in general, I personally would not take such information as 100% trustworthy.

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  252. And just to extrapolate on Sankappa’s comment, if a woman doesn’t have a strong, foundational understanding of what the dharma is really about– as taught by our teacher, Buddha Shakyamuni– then how can she make any judgment at all about whether or not sex with the lama has anything to do with her Buddhist practice?

    Without a strong study program, then those powerful, not-to-be-trusted feelings I just talked about become more important than they actually are. The lama becomes more important than the Buddha and Dharma. So it’s all inter-related.

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  253. Bella said

    “Just remember the initial love. It was real, possibly more real than any of this stuff here.”

    I say, Baloney.

    If I have learned only one thing out of my years of mental torment, it is that those early experiences of strong emotions with a lama are NOT TO BE TRUSTED.

    True devotion, like any good, solid friendship, is built over time. It is built on a strong foundation of trust, transparency and conviction in the worth of the Dharma.

    So you can tell your lama from me that I put no worth at all in those early, strong feelings of (abject) love that I once felt in his presence. They led me astray.

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  254. KateS, on February 19, 2013 at 4:54 am said:

    “The thing with Ole Nydahl is that you can go to his lectures and see for yourself that his “dharma” is mixed with racism, sexism, and the sort of understanding of global politics that you might get from a 10 year old who hadn’t even spent 30 minutes looking at wikipedia. I also think that in his case, the “fan club” is not the result of vajrayana but more because of the type of people his policial stance attracts. So it’s much more visible in that case and I have heard stories of people walking out after 30 minutes out of disgust.”

    Yes, I have heard this also KateS. It is quite disturbing though, given such overt bigotry that Ole Nydhal still continues to attract such a large following, and with the cult of Ole very much alive and well, from my understanding. I guess his obviousness weeds out the critical and those with greater tolerance and ethical standards.

    Things are never quite as overt at Rigpa, which I feel can make it more insidious for the unwary. Particularly those new to the Dharma that don’t have any other standard to judge it by.

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  255. bellaB, on February 19, 2013 at 6:02 am said:

    “We don’t study SR’s life story and so forth”

    No, just have to listen to his long-life song over and over on retreat!
    I mean, what a joke. There is not a humble bone in this man’s body. This is an example of the cult of the personality and the perverted guru devotion stuff that we allude to, in the extreme. It’s as blatant as those communist dictators plastering massive billboards of themselves, smiling benignly and carrying a baby lamb or some such. Really, anyone who has not drunk the Rigpa cool-aid could not take this seriously.

    Where are the Four Noble Truths in TBLD?

    Also bellaB, can you direct me to the teachings on vipashyana in Rigpa literature?

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  256. oh I see! sorry, the word “antics” made me wonder just what you meant there.

    I wonder if this is a Western fascination with celebrity. I heard a similar story of a Lama in Tibet teaching with a section of the audience not really interested in the teachings either. They came just to get charms and protection amulets, and the Lama was quite bemused that they seemed to miss the essential point of learning and understanding. In both cases, this opens a gap which an unscrupulous Lama could take advantage of, while at the same time leaving a genuine Lama fairly exasperated.

    On the other hand, the teacher/student relationship seems to suffer from such abuses outside of the phenomenon of Lamaism, so I’m not entirely sure it is so easily reducible just to that.

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  257. Yes, Anonymous, it’s clever– and also the Gurdjief story is relevant as well. We have to sort of carry them both along in order to be true to ourselves.

    Kate, I don’t think the geshe was her boyfriend, but maybe he was. Either way, that fact had nothing whatsoever to do with what I was talking about. I was talking about the spread of Lamaism in the West.

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  258. Let me see if I’ve understood this? You think that I am connecting the ideas to try to say something like – if all the Geshe’s have girlfriends then this is normal and accepted behaviour.

    I can’t see what the threat is there. Many people have partners and it is considered “normal”, but if they are violent and abusive then this is criminal, so it might be the case that these Geshe’s are considered no differently from everyone else, but the issue of abuse is still an issue.

    I actually believe you have developed this habit due to the nature of these threads, but really, as I see it, I asked a straightforward question and you used the tactic of questioning my motives to avoid answering honestly.
    If the honest answer paints a certain picture that you don’t like the look of, then this is not something I have created, but something which is out there for all to make their own judgements about.

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  259. Bella you wrote: “He also knows people who knew Mimi, but I will not say more here. She can tell her story, if she wants.”

    She did, didn’t you know? To a Canadian film maker.

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  260. I like the Gurdjieff story, though Trungpa re-told it, about a spiritual community where there was a really annoying man who got on everyone’s nerves. They all thought the community would work better without him. One day he left, and when Gurdjieff heard he’d gone, he went right after him, and paid him to stay. The point being that that one irritating person may help us more by being there than not. Equanimity and tolerance and all that.

    But having said that, my own belief, Joanne, is that Bella is a fictional persona. Too many discrepancies. Probably has a ball doing it too. Especially well noted: “And Bella has been sending out these silly fabrications of my own life history for months now– only to remark casually in a previous comment “And if Joanne can’t herself keep up with all the versions of her life stories, then what am I to think?”

    Clever isn’t it?

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  261. What I’m saying is, there’s something fishy going on here.

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  262. Of course, we all know about how Bella has sabatoged these discussions for years now, but even so, we get sucked in to thinking that she’s some poor, confused woman defending her lama, defending her sangha. The same with Kate, the same with Sheila.

    However, if you look, you see that the trademark of all of these commenters is their provocativeness– what Mike calls bait. And I, for one, get sucked in over and over. It frequently happens just when the thread is gaining ground in some intelligent discussion. Then a few land mines will drop. Then, suddenly, Bella really isn’t so silly and confused because she’s just sucked me (and others) in again and the tone of the thread has degenerated, intelligent conversation is undermined. And now, Kate has done the same with her mild comment– “Are you suggesting they are all ‘at it?'”

    And Bella has been sending out these silly fabrications of my own life history for months now– only to remark casually in a previous comment “And if Joanne can’t herself keep up with all the versions of her life stories, then what am I to think?”

    I would laugh, because it really is very witty– but it doesn’t match Bella’s persona of confused, silly loyalist. And the weird thing is that this sort of humour is very much what I remember from Sogyal Rinpoche himself.

    Bella’s approach may appear silly, but it works– given that her goal is to provoke and undermine intelligent conversation. I notice that we are vulnerable to her because we are not used to ignoring people who are in the room, or giving them a brutal cold shoulder. We like to include people and we like to believe in their good will; we like to think that everyone is redeemable– in fact, I believe in that. At least that’s where I have the most trouble, why I keep getting baited.

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  263. Joanne,

    maybe SR feels very much devotion towards his masters, and he knows what is the meaning behind “the blessings of the lineage”. I think that is common knowledge among the Tibetan Buddhists.

    He also asked many masters to pray when Ian Maxwell died. There was a huge rainbow on some meaningful day after Ian had died.

    Try to understand what devotion means, don’t mix it with dependency stuff.

    I don’t think you feeling devotion to him had anything to do with the onset of your condition. I guess he can reach people and people feel their hearts opened no matter what else is happening.

    Then starts the personal program in the mind: what does it mean? I have this connection to him, so I may be special… or what ever else.

    SR just said recently that even with those people he has difficulties with currently (not meaning victims, but people who have doubts currently), there was love in the beginning. With the ones there was strong love, there’s most difficulties. (Those people who didn’t care too much in the beginning, are not too touched these days either.) To have the connection or emotional opening up is quite life changing for many of us, also to you Joanne. Just remember the initial love. It was real, possibly more real than any of this stuff here.

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  264. Just asking for clarification Joanne. I’m not sure I fully understood the gist of what you wrote.

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  265. Sheila asked: “Are you suggesting they are all ‘at it’?”

    At what? Are we now back to the question of sexual abuse? I thought you wanted to discuss the bigger picture? Are you trying to win a round or join in a discussion?

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  266. “Can you tell us what you are alluding to, Bella? who are ‘those women’?”

    Women who have had a sexual relationship with him over the decades. I don’t know who they are or how many they are. It’s not advertised anywhere except in Finnigan’s stories, and those women mentioned are not any harem material. I don’t wonder if there are some who are happy and some who aren’t happy. I think it would happen in all human relationships.

    “Also, want to point out that despite your protestations about not representing Rigpa, infact you do. You are the mouthpiece of Rigpa on this site. Whether chosen or self-appointed. Does your good friend follow your postings? I am suprised that he hasn’t cared for you more, and tried to help you so that you don’t keep upsetting yourself.”

    My good friend has taken care of me, quite a lot.. Strong character and wisdom are his qualities. He is not interested in the subject, because he is not a “yellow paper”, gossiping type of person, and I’m neither, usually, but he has read some of these discussions, but gets bored and just shakes his head. Since he has been so much involved with Rigpa (and he has no dependency on them), he has more knowledge about issues than me. He sees pretty clearly how difficult the subject is for some people (including me), but on the other hand he also sees the difficulties in any public talk about it. There’s always a great risk at misunderstanding.

    He has verified to me that those harem talks are pure slander. At times we wonder how someone can be so sick to write the BTT blog. He also knows people who knew Mimi, but I will not say more here. She can tell her story, if she wants. I hope it’s not through Finnigan, though.

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  267. Bella B would you consider making a donation for this advert and for hosting your comments for nearly four years?

    Like

  268. Bella, you wrote: “It’s also so easy to misunderstand things, if you start discussing really personal issues of somebody else in public. It would just lead to so much chaos, I think. It would be juicy for some to get all the details, but I don’t think it will EVER happen. I don’t think those women would want it. One really has to respect the privacy of those people involved. Different thing is of course if they want to start telling their stories, which will be so difficult, because everybody will have their own response about the issue.”

    Can you tell us what you are alluding to, Bella? who are ‘those women’?

    Also, want to point out that despite your protestations about not representing Rigpa, infact you do. You are the mouthpiece of Rigpa on this site. Whether chosen or self-appointed. Does your good friend follow your postings? I am suprised that he hasn’t cared for you more, and tried to help you so that you don’t keep upsetting yourself.

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  269. Joanne, on February 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm said: “When I attend big Dalai Lama teachings, I am always struck by how many conversations about lamas I overhear. I never hear anyone discussing the teachings, but I hear lots of stories about the antics of this Rinpoche or that. During one teaching in NYC, the woman next to me could scarcely contain herself every time her geshe, who was sitting on the stage, appeared on the big screen.”

    Are you suggesting they are all “at it”?

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  270. Bella, I have read the book– I think I read it several times. I agree that it’s a good book. I have also read Words of My Perfect Teacher several times, also a good book– and Sogyal quotes from it frequently. However, that book stresses guru devotion quite a lot, which is perhaps not a good early diet for Westerners. I wish now that I had not read it in those early days.

    And FYI, Bella, I also travelled the 90 miles to New York City once a week to attend a Rigpa study group. Looking back, I realize now that the senior student running the group knew very little about dharma– but she knew a lot about the lama! I also bought tapes of every teaching by Sogyal that was available and listened to them constantly, every chance I had. I also transcribed NYC teachings for the sangha. I also reached out frequently to Rigpa sangha members for help and friendship– they weren’t particularly friendly. They were so busy running after all the needs of the great master, so preoccupied with the tasks of running teachings that they weren’t really present for each other.

    Have things changed much? Like Sankappa, I don’t think they will until the core issues are addressed.

    When I attend big Dalai Lama teachings, I am always struck by how many conversations about lamas I overhear. I never hear anyone discussing the teachings, but I hear lots of stories about the antics of this Rinpoche or that. During one teaching in NYC, the woman next to me could scarcely contain herself every time her geshe, who was sitting on the stage, appeared on the big screen.

    So thank you, Sankappa and Tiger Lily, for you very succinct summations of the troubles afflicting dharma centers in the West. I agree! And, Sankappa, as to your encouragement to Kate to continue to question and even disagree, I wonder why the wonderful Tibetan tradition of debate hasn’t been brought to the West?

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  271. “However, if you go to the website and look at the study program, the first several beginners’ levels are all about Sogyal Rinpoche– all about studying his book and tapes of his teachings. Efforts within Rigpa to get Shedras going in order to study classic Buddhist literature were not too successful last time I looked. For me as a vulnerable beginner, this setup was quite disastrous because the focus is all about the lama, all about Sogyal, all about devotion– this is not a good entrance to Buddhism, not healthy psychologically. It’s what some call Lamaism.”

    Maybe you were just looking for a savior, or someone to look up to, so you missed many other things? I hope you read the book. It has the basic teachings that SR likes to teach. They are common, and not too advanced, but they do have his view (Dzogchen) at the background, even if it’s very basic.

    Divided into two main sections, the book explores:
    Living (Part One)

    the message of impermanence (1. In the Mirror of Death, 2. Impermanence, 3. Reflection and Change);
    the mind and its true nature (4. The Nature of Mind);
    how to transform the mind through the practice of meditation (5. Bringing the Mind Home);
    karma (cause & effect) and re-incarnation (6. Evolution, Karma and Rebirth);
    the vision of life and death explained according to what are known as the bardos (7. Bardos and Other Realities);
    what is most important in this life along with how to work with our mind and its perceptions/projections as well as our ego (8. This Life: The Natural Bardo);
    how to follow a spiritual path and devotion (9. The Spiritual Path );
    the nature of mind according to the teachings of Dzogchen (10. The Innermost Essence)

    Dying (Parts Two-Three)

    how to help someone who is dying, both practically and emotionally (11. Heart Advice on Helping the Dying)
    the practice of compassion (12. Compassion: The Wish Fulfilling Jewel);
    how to help someone who is dying, spiritually (13. Spiritual Help for the Dying, 14. The Practices for the Dying)
    the process of dying (15. The Process of Dying)
    the profound experiences that can occur at the moment of death (16. The Ground, 17. Intrinsic Radiance)
    what happens in the intermediate state after death (18. The Bardo of Becoming)
    how to help someone who has already died and the process of bereavement (19. Helping After Death)
    near-death research & scientific proof (20. The Near-Death Experience: A Staircase to Heaven)

    Conclusion

    summary and interfaith comparisons (21. The Universal Process)
    a dedication and prayer (22. Servants of Peace)

    We don’t study SR’s life story and so forth.

    In basic meditation we study (if you have lost all your memory of the teachings) shamatha, vipashyana. I’ve heard those taught in many other Buddhist centers. It’s very common.

    http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Vipashyana

    SR’s book is VERY popular. Why wouldn’t he use it in the beginning? I know many people who have never met SR, but have become Buddhists after reading his book. I also thought that it’s a very honest and direct book. It didn’t sound like “new age” which I would never follow up.

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  272. sankappa, on February 19, 2013 at 12:39 am said: “Here we see in organisations like Rigpa and Diamond Way Buddhism, all the emphasis being put on Faith (guru devotion) which just becomes blind faith. This is the opposite of what the Buddha intended.”

    The thing with Ole Nydahl is that you can go to his lectures and see for yourself that his “dharma” is mixed with racism, sexism, and the sort of understanding of global politics that you might get from a 10 year old who hadn’t even spent 30 minutes looking at wikipedia. I also think that in his case, the “fan club” is not the result of vajrayana but more because of the type of people his policial stance attracts. So it’s much more visible in that case and I have heard stories of people walking out after 30 minutes out of disgust.

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  273. Tiger Lily, on February 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm said:

    “And the third question is, why does Rigpa resort to a pathetic policy of coverup?
    To my mind what we are seeing in this Sangha in particular and a number of others, is not true Vajrayana. It is a display of the cult of the degenerate Lama, corrupted by money, sex or power. Even genuine Lamas who do not behave disgracefully, are tainted by their association with Sogyal and Rigpa.
    The very precious nature of the self-secrecy of the Vajrayana Path is vilely distorted into secrecy about the Lama’s behaviour.
    Disappointed Educoist, Joanne, Sankappa, Angie, Felicity, you give me hope for the future of Tibetan Buddhism in the West.”

    The debate of whether testimonies are true or not, is not even a debate anymore, as I’m sure those who have direct experience with Rigpa would agree. The post of Tiger Lily’s above, and what Joanne and I just alluded to, is very much what needs to be countered now. It is this degenerative element that is corrupting Dharma for personal gain, that is really behind what is driving abuse on all levels. It really is an issue about seeing Dharma manifest in the West in an uncorrupted form as possible, so that exploitation and abuse do not follow.

    No easy task, and much of the damage is already done, but if not resisted, it can only get worse.

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  274. Yes, very good analysis, Joanne. This aspect of guru devotion is being distorted, and this distortion becomes, as you say, Lamaism.

    Guru devotion is in essence the spiritual faculty of Faith, which then needs to be balanced with the spiritual faculty of discernment (Wisdom). Here we see in organisations like Rigpa and Diamond Way Buddhism, all the emphasis being put on Faith (guru devotion) which just becomes blind faith. This is the opposite of what the Buddha intended.

    When seen through a historical context, the Buddha placed a great deal of emphasis on the discernment aspect, in direct opposition to the dominant Brahmin religion of the time, where blind faith and ritual were dominant facotrs, and as the Buddha found experientially, did not lead to liberation. Another aspect of Brahmanism, was that religious practice was largely mediated through Brahmin priests. I see this current manifestation of Lamaism as a degenerate from of Buddhism, very much harking back to Brahministic ethics and values.

    KateS, on February 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm said:

    “…and very rarely agree totally with any living Lama, so I don’t have the same level of dependency on any one Lama in the way that seems to happen in certain cases.”

    This is a a very positive aspect I believe Kate. If you feel you are becoming more dependent on a teacher and not more independent in cultivating your own Path, then I seriously believe that something is amiss.

    Keep cultivating your Path and independence!

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  275. And Kate, as Tenzin has pointed out on a number of occasions, Rigpa does invite outside teachers regularly, which is something that most cults are loathe to do. So there is that difference.

    However, if you go to the website and look at the study program, the first several beginners’ levels are all about Sogyal Rinpoche– all about studying his book and tapes of his teachings. Efforts within Rigpa to get Shedras going in order to study classic Buddhist literature were not too successful last time I looked. For me as a vulnerable beginner, this setup was quite disastrous because the focus is all about the lama, all about Sogyal, all about devotion– this is not a good entrance to Buddhism, not healthy psychologically. It’s what some call Lamaism.

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  276. And Bella, no I definitely cannot keep up with all your versions of my life story. And Kate, I am glad you have been able to get some answers.

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  277. BellaB Minister for Man- Power People’s Republic of Rigpa.

    I had to return. I shouldn’t read any of this stuff,

    Can you see her in the operations room, with the cards she has developed over the years.
    1. Argument unless you are in the bedroom you can’t comment. I have never been in the bedroom -THEREFORE
    it never happened.
    I am only a humble disciple, do not listen me, he must increase and I decrease.
    Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. This immediately brings on DI is a Christian organisation they do not under stand abuse and they are trying to convert all these people commenting here to some HP sauce variety of Christianity.

    I haven’t been around, but my very good friend has.

    Hearsay evidence or third part testimony. How do we know YOUR friend is not under influence and s/he has not conned you.

    Why do you not ask your friend as you call him or her to send us the official version from the Horse’s mouth, not a good idea at present with the HAM Beef burgers problem. Have you ever thought of becoming a Jain BB?
    Then you are totally unable to cope with this word.

    Finnigan
    Finnigan
    Finnigan
    Finnigan
    Finnigan

    Say after me I must mention her name in every comment. I get brownie points.
    Seeing and Believing

    24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”

    So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

    26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

    28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

    29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas,[d] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    Blessed are those who believe the testimony of those who are afraid but have told us of their pain here. Blessed are those that believe their testimony. Not faith in faith, but faith in the evidence brought to me by many. Some too afraid to even call me so strong is the influence and brainwashing they have experienced.
    Those that reject this testimony may they get their just reward.

    I use this part of your history BB to touch a nerve before that wooden conformity that has dulled your conscience and made you like those guys in the little Mao suits with the little red book.

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  278. “My experience has been that these centre leaders and “masters” can be quite dictatorial, and often report back to the head of the organisation, but not necessarily in an entirely honest way. I get the impression that such large organisations can easily have a lot of “yes” men (and women) who see themselves in competition with each other to get closer to the top, which is also the centre, i.e. SR.”

    I had to return. I shouldn’t read any of this stuff, because I feel compelled to answer.

    SR is the boss, but he asks advice and opinions from people. It’s constant discussion. I’ve seen it so often, it’s his style. Communication is the key.

    A few years ago there were organizational changes. People begun changing work areas. Work is important to all people, and quite many identify with their work to some extent, because they spend so much time doing it. Some also saw their work as their way towards Rinpoche. Because the work defines quite much for people, so they made those changes, so that work areas rotate.

    “It is corporate buddhism, but there is no democracy there, and if you don’t like what goes on, you can’t articulate it. You have to leave, ultimately.”

    Who are you to say that? It’s actually the opposite: SR asks FEEDBACK all the time. He asks feedback from retreatants, he asks feedback from workers. If there is a problem, he discusses the matter through and through, until he understands the problem… then there is a solution. He also asks if the other person sees the problem in the same way. They discuss until it’s cleared.

    These public discussions with workers are so common, like we should all know by now. It’s not so, that he just tells people to do things, he also wants to clarify issues until they are clear. I’ve seen this kind of communication much more than the bossy type. With small, almost non-important issues he can play around with people, like lifting a table. But always if there are bigger concerns they are discussed properly.

    The sexual abuse accusations are also talked occasionally in Rigpa. I think someone has already told what kind of conversations there have been. I haven’t been around, but my very good friend has. There has been various teachers, lamas whom we all know, addressing the issues. They all take his side, weather they are female Western lamas or Tibetan monks. SR has said it twice in those retreats where I’ve been: “I do not harm anybody!” I believe sincerely that harming is not his intention. I think the official Rigpa response is also similar: they don’t discuss the matters in public, because who knows everything behind those stories? They simply state that they have seen him helping a lot of people completely selflessly and tirelessly.

    It’s also so easy to misunderstand things, if you start discussing really personal issues of somebody else in public. It would just lead to so much chaos, I think. It would be juicy for some to get all the details, but I don’t think it will EVER happen. I don’t think those women would want it. One really has to respect the privacy of those people involved. Different thing is of course if they want to start telling their stories, which will be so difficult, because everybody will have their own response about the issue. Some might try to see things from the lama’s point of view, whose work is to liberate beings. In the case of June Campbell (Traveller in Space) even Finnigan didn’t believe or didn’t think badly about Kalu Rinpoche, even though June took up University studies in order to better research her experience and be able to write about it.

    Like

  279. “It is quite hard to reconcile the image of a man who cannot make a cup of tea with this dictator. I guess he must use people very effectively to run around for him.”

    Maybe he can, but doesn’t need to make tea for himself. He is served.
    Perhaps, vajrayana isn’t the main core now..though it was when I was there. Sogyal is a larger than life character and attracts people who like his outspokeness, humour, and being told what to do and how to behave. You must remember that without the book TBLD, he would never have been able to grow so big, both personally, and in terms of the organization. Many people from the corporate world were attracted to Rigpa, and those people have been able to sell buddhism back to the corporate world. It is corporate buddhism, but there is no democracy there, and if you don’t like what goes on, you can’t articulate it. You have to leave, ultimately. They say a fish rots from the top.

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  280. Thanks Felicity, I would definitely agree that, “for those who are unstable, then vajrayana practice would be unsuitable.” In fact, one needs a great deal of stability in the sutrayana as well as a stable mental and emotional state.
    Is the vajrayana the main core of the teachings at Rigpa?

    It is quite hard to reconcile the image of a man who cannot make a cup of tea with this dictator. I guess he must use people very effectively to run around for him.

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  281. Ok, thanks for that, Kate. The way Rigpa works is that Sogyal is the only master there. Older students become facilitators or instructors, and they will use video clips and so on of Sogyal teaching. All the dharma in centres is transmitted from Sogyal, so he is the only master in Rigpa. In that sense, and I don’t mean this pejoratively, it is a dictatorship. He works directly with his main students and those who are instructors are carefully monitored and instructed in and on what to facilitate. The initiations are given by visiting masters, and very, very rarely Sogyal may give one, but it is informal usually. Centre leaders all do Sogyal’s bidding. They tend to all be centralized, even the shrines are the exact same at each centre.
    In a huge gathering it would be easy to get lost, but Rigpa students have study groups where they all check in. Definitely, I would say, for those who are unstable, then vajrayana practice would be unsuitable.
    The style of Sogyal is full on, very personal with his older students, and very demanding. I have known people faint through fatigue in a teaching. A wkend teaching may start at 2pm when students may have been waiting for several hours and take no account of students needs, like trains to catch on a Sunday evening. He is in command. No question. Hope this helps.f

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  282. I think I’ve mentioned this already, but the impression I get is that there are various “leaders”, teachers, called “masters” in Rigpa who are the ones promoting certain teachings that have been mentioned. I imagine that every Rigpa centre has a leader.

    So there is often a hierarchy, and it may well be that this concentration on the idea of guru devotion has been decided by a group of fairly high up students with the intention of protecting their guru, rather than the guru himself dictating what is taught. This may also account for distortions in the teachings as they get passed down, so it may well be that SR has taught correctly, but as the teaching gets passed along it becomes distorted. I’m thinking here of what ex-Dakini said about trying to efface her “self”, which really is a misunderstanding, but one which can easily be perpetuated among students – whether it is also taught this way by the “masters” or by SR himself is quite revealing, and can show at what level certain ways of thinking originate.

    My experience has been that these centre leaders and “masters” can be quite dictatorial, and often report back to the head of the organisation, but not necessarily in an entirely honest way. I get the impression that such large organisations can easily have a lot of “yes” men (and women) who see themselves in competition with each other to get closer to the top, which is also the centre, i.e. SR.

    So for example in some of the testimonies, it seemed that there was this idea that other women were suggesting that it was an “honour to serve” SR, thereby creating a group pressure to act and be a certain way – in other words there is a “knot” of misleading ideas surrounding the whole thing, and some of the accusations against SR merely serve to tighten this “knot” rather than unravel it.

    That is one of reason I asked such questions such as, who is giving the initiations of it isn’t SR. In Joanne’s testimony she mentions the issues with SR, but I am also very interested in her interactions with other members – if there was a cliquey atmosphere which added to her isolation, who was giving certain teachings, and who gave the basic instructions about what practices to do.

    I have experience a situation where one of the centres I attended was very cult-like, but the others were not, so it is not always the case that this is an organised or intended phenomenon which permeates the whole organisation. It may well be the case, for example, that Bella’s group is entirely free of these things, while the group in the next city has serious problems.

    For myself, I have had teachings from many different Lamas, mainly in the Nyingma lineage, but also some Kagyu. I do an awful lot of reading from past masters, and very rarely agree totally with any living Lama, so I don’t have the same level of dependency on any one Lama in the way that seems to happen in certain cases.

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  283. Kate, please tell us more about your own experiences within cults. That would be interesting. You seem to have experience you could share with us, from what you say. What check list would you give us to look out for?
    Also, you say you are a buddhist student, would you care to share whose student you are? Thanks.

    Like

  284. … so when I read things like, when I looked into his eyes all I saw was pure dark lust, or when non-existent studies are referenced, it raises big questions for which I have no answers. I am in no position to state with any certainty which parts of these testimonies are either true, false, personal opinion, or verifiable fact.

    I have tried to focus on what I know of cults myself, the hierarchical structures and nature of the teachings which run through such organisations and upon which one single person’s reputation is not put entirely at stake by unconformable reports, but rather to focus on the organisation as a whole with facts that can be checked by anyone, and which give the unsuspecting members clues as to the warning signs to look out for (and which have little to do with dharma specifically).

    I have also read through the articles and discussion on Tenpel’s blog and I tend to disagree on quite a fundamental level about the essence of dharma, which I think would not make for an easy interaction there.

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  285. Joanne, on February 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm said: “you have to realize that the discussions there begin with the premise that sexual abuses have occurred and that cult-like activities are occurring at Rigpa”

    This is exactly my issue with Tenpel’s blog. As I said before, he does bring a balanced view, but really the whole project is an excercise in speculation where Rigpa is concerned, and which simply does not conform to my view of “right speech”.

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  286. Kate, do you think those other issues haven’t been discussed, and discussed at great length? However, it is difficult to do so outside of the context of discussing dharma, which is discouraged on DI. Go to Tenzin’s site if you want those sorts of discussions. But you have to realize that the discussions there begin with the premise that sexual abuses have occurred and that cult-like activities are occurring at Rigpa– then we discuss how they can be avoided, how harmful they are, what mistakes Western students are making etc. If you want to discuss questions about whether or not these abuses are occurring, then you have to stay here and join Bella’s fun.

    Also, you would find it interesting perhaps to join in some of the conversations being had between ex-NKT students.

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  287. This is where I came in 2 weeks ago, another pointless argument about whether the testimonies are true or not – something that is never going to be resolved on an internet thread – which just descends into sniping at each other.

    Really, there are so many other important issues raised here that could benefit from discussion.

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  288. “That Ex-dakini’s story sounds like it’s from the 70′s. Could be even V. Barlow, like I have been thinking occasionally”

    Again, Bella? What did I say? Neurotic, paranoid and gossiping comment!

    Will you repeat it once more? I am waiting for.

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  289. I wanted stay away, but noticed this:

    “That Ex-dakini’s story sounds like it’s from the 70′s. Could be even V. Barlow, like I have been thinking occasionally”

    It sounds like from the 70’s, since it sounds like those stories that Finnigan likes to circulate around. They are not from present day Rigpa, nor 10 years back. Nobody can go close to SR easily.

    I was thinking about Barlow when I read it. I even asked about it, but she denied. Since I don’t know any of you in person, it’s hard to trust someone 100%. I also met someone who has been there for over 30 years. I asked her about the abuse. She said she has known SR’s girlfriends over the decades. They haven’t complaint about him. No bruises seen. He never made advances on her, even though she was a close student for decades, and still is.

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  290. Bella, you say: “Opening these web pages makes one feel pain and anger. Almost every time. At least recently. Since I don’t enjoy dwelling in that state, and have more important issues to take care of, I like to spend time elsewhere.”
    I may be cruel, but I have also experienced cruelty, and not only here.”

    Isn’t it time you looked after yourself, and go and see a good counsellor, who you can talk through things with. Surely there is a counsellor or therapist in Rigpa, sympathetic to your issues here, who can provide you with support? Possibly there are better ways of dealing with this than coming here and upsetting yourself. Please think about it.

    Like

  291. Opening these web pages makes one feel pain and anger. Almost every time. At least recently. Since I don’t enjoy dwelling in that state, and have more important issues to take care of, I like to spend time elsewhere.

    I may be cruel, but I have also experienced cruelty, and not only here. Sometimes too much honesty and directness is seen as cruelty.

    I think telling people lies is one extreme way of cruelty, but nobody else seems to be bothered by it. Telling someone lies, and manipulating them, directing their lives into wrong direction, is cruelty, but also stupidity. One can never win.

    I think telling one’s own story rises pain in people, since we can all feel. In stead of blaming someone, I think falsely, I think for example Joanne should take responsibility of her own story. In her case I felt first sorry for her (even though I never felt her stuff is caused by SR), but as she continued to cast responsibility where it doesn’t belong to, I begun to feel pretty angry at her, or let’s say irritated. I think falling ill is falling ill. That is life, pain of our existence. She can’t blame herself for it, but neither someone else, unless there was something terrible in the childhood. You can also ask yourself, if she had stumbled into a Christian church, and become convinced that Christ and the priest are the answer, would she been equally swept away from her feet? I think one can find similar people in many religious groups.

    If a doctor would tell the patient lies about their condition – making the condition not look so severe as it was, would it be seen as an act of kindness – or cruelty? What disappointment in humanity would rise in the sick person, when she/he would discover the truth?

    I prefer to be direct. I think it’s less cruel.

    Sankappa on the other hand could choose to be more intelligent. I just point out that not answering questions, leaving things open, calling other people trolls (even though this issue here is probably more important to me than to him, who spent only 1 retreat in Rigpa…! What is he doing here anyway?) and ignoring difficult questions shows a) intellectual dishonesty b) stupidity or c) group/lynch mentality, that is not far from his own accusations against Rigpa people. That kind of people can be seen in all kinds of groups. They have nothing useful to give, but just trying to use power to direct issues, and wiping things under the carpet.

    I guess I’m just having enough of you (almost) all here. Since we all feel the same about each other, then I can leave this site for a while at least.

    Just don’t do these things:

    a) lie
    b) believe in Finnigan’s crazy stories
    c) ignore people who point to you the errors of your thinking

    but:
    a) ask more questions!
    b) don’t be lazy and think you know it all: most of you don’t know anything, nor understand anything (especially if you spent short time in Rigpa, or haven’t ever even met SR)

    Like

  292. “In Buddhism, you are supposed to LOOK how your mind works. You should SEE your projections, and laugh at them. ”

    Bella B, in Buddhism you represent you work with the mind of others instead of working with yours. Otherwise you never would show that aggression against people who see the world from annother viewpoint than you do,
    Instead of fighting for a psychotic model of handling projections, which protect the criminal Guru from his responsibility and turns his students into “cold fishes” for human suffering, you should really go into your pain and face it.

    “Behind the gossiping, neurotic, paranoid mind is the nature of the mind, the space.”

    Hopefully you will be there soon and we will be liberated from your gossiping, neurotic and paranoid comments.

    “That Ex-dakini’s story sounds like it’s from the 70′s. Could be even V. Barlow, like I have been thinking occasionally”

    BellaB, this comment destroyed at least my rest of sympathy for you. I remember your reaction on Ex-dakinis story, it was quite empathic.

    In the end there is only regression and denying.

    Like

  293. Some issues raised for me by ex-Dakini’s posts,

    1. She makes SR sound like he needs therapy, which is in stark contrast to the idea that he is just a perpetrator.

    – Instead of just asking why the other Lamas don’t speak out, it might be useful to also ask about the possibility of other Lamas offering assistance on a psychological/spiritual level.

    2. The inappropriateness of sexual relations between teacher and student.

    – Problems that I see here are that there is no law currently, and no deontology such as exists for therapists.
    Also, as Tiger Lily said she saw herself as a girlfriend, and Mary Finnegan described him as being just a businessman, even if we campaign for such laws, would they even apply in this case?

    3. The issue of secrecy, paranoia, and isolation, which her posts indicate is not simply engineered by SR, but by the whole “inner” group where she herself experienced shame even afterwards. She also mentions the complicity of certain people involved, but regardless of their degree of complicity there seems to be this factor which she said was made worse by people telling her that she had been abused.

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  294. Bella, I feel very sad for you, as much as for the likes of ex-dakini. Your pain is manifesting as abuse of others, and your callousness is truly terrible to witness. May you be well, may you be happy.

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  295. And if Joanne can’t herself keep up with all the versions of her life stories, then what am I to think?

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  296. Anonymous, just read Finnigan’s posts. You’ll see where the tone of these discussions come from.

    Read also the whole blog here, so you’ll see how much attacks I’ve been enduring. At times, without outsider’s help (= common sense, Sheila & KateS, who do behave much better than me), I have been on this side totally alone, even though they are not on my side. Also I’ve received nasty comments (almost constantly) from the blog keepers, but also given them some.

    I have discussed matters with Ex-dakini in person here. Look up.

    At the moment I feel this discussion is going nowhere, but as soon as there are new people, they will also attacked, if they don’t look at things in a black & white manner. I’m glad both Sheila and KateS are able to defend themselves and see the pattern very quickly. Their views are undermined. Their questioning shut down.

    I told Joanne a long ago how I felt about her story. Now she denies parts of her story and asks me for reference. I have asked her explanations, but – as always – have been ignored. Google: One year in Rigpa -> there’s her story. She is a shrink by education, but has never been to therapy. I think therapists do need to go to therapy too: should be part of their education.

    KateS asks questions, like Sheila did, like I’ve done. Instead of rising any curiosity and willingness to discuss those questions, Sankappa and others easily instead rise a lynch mob. Trying to make those questions look invalid. For me this is very low, and shows plain stupidity. I guess I’m impolite enough to spit it out now after 3 years hanging around here. And I’m not a Rigpa representative. I don’t represent anyone except my own confusion.

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  297. Blimey, if Bella has been a dharma student within Rigpa for 10 years, I’d hate to meet his students after 20 years. So sad, I could cry. Ex-Dakini, if you are reading, I applaud your bravery in speaking out here. I hope this horrible trauma is now far away and that you received good help and support. Same for all those affected in this way.

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  298. That Ex-dakini’s story sounds like it’s from the 70’s. Could be even V. Barlow, like I have been thinking occasionally.

    Like

  299. Lalalateeäs story:

    I have never seen him touching ANYONE in any manner publicly.

    “He insulted the Irish… Oh, no! He has also insulted the French, The British, the Germans and so on.”

    If one lacks any sense of humor, SR is not suitable for them.

    “He kept us from lunch…!” Is this some school kid?

    I’m sorry, but people on real Tibetan Buddhist retreats have eaten nettles to stay alive.

    Honestly, i didn’t think much about Lalalatee’s post. It’s the only one from Irish retreatants… in this Irish blog.

    Like

  300. And here’s another gem, this time from Tiger Lily, who has been commenting here for some time. I assure readers that she is a real person as I am in contact with her under her real name.

    She writes in Jan. 2012 of a meeting that she had with Mimi prior to the publication of BTT:

    “Suffice to say she echoes ex-d’s testimony in that during the time she was Sogyal’s attendant she received so little sleep that she couldn’t think straight. Sex with Sogyal “went with the job of being a female attendant.” It was not about love. When she began to have doubts, she was faced with the answer that whatever Sogyal did would be a teaching for her good. She was encouraged by him to see herself as a consort and when she went in tears to Dzigar Kongtrul to ask him what it meant to be a consort he replied that it was very good.

    “She also told me that she was regularly struck by Sogyal with his backscratcher as were his other female attendants.”

    Tiger Lily was also involved with Sogyal as a girlfriend and writes of her own experiences:

    “You asked me if Sogyal had ever treated me in the way Mimi has claimed he did her. First of all I was never encouraged to see myself as a consort. It never entered my head. I was a girl-friend. Neither did he ever hit me. I would have hit him back. Sogyal didn’t claim to be a great Master…that came after I’d left. He was usually called Sogyal Tulku by the Tibetans. The whole dynamic at Rigpa was more normal then. Much more low key, not the empire it’s become. He could be a pain in the arse though and we let him get away with it too much.
    I did try to work with unpleasant emotions by letting my relationship with Sogyal and Rigpa be a catalyst for my practice. Perhaps not a waste of time after all as I have learned by default. I just gave up with being deceived by his philanderings and by being kept in the dark and the general deterioration of a friendship which I had once valued. I never saw him as my Guru but rather someone I wanted to be close to because Tibetan Buddhism was the most important part of my life.”

    “I did notice a difference in his behaviour though and judging from other women’s comments it became more intense with each successive decade as Rigpa grew and grew and grew and the best of Sogyal (and there could be a sweet side to him) seemed to become swallowed up by Terton Sogyal. I am shocked and saddened by Mimi’s and Ex-d’s experiences but not surprised.”

    Like

  301. Comments

    Mary Finnigan says:
    April 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

    My sympathy for another victim of the cult of Rigpa and the abusive charlatan Sogyal Lakar. I have read many similar stories during the 20+ years I have been assembling evidence on Sogyal. I have all of them on file. They are included in an extensive dossier which comprises documents, video and audio recordings. One aspect i would like to highlight is that Sogyal has no capacity for psychic power (siddhi) or paranormal activity. He was never trained as a lama. He is simply a front man — and also a hard nosed businessman whose primary aim in life is to make money. Sogyal could have had a career as a stand up comic — it would have fed his insatiable egomania to much the same extent. Sogyal suffers from mental illness which infects people around him.

    Reply
    Joanne says:
    April 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I would just like to say that statements about whether SR does or doesn’t possess psychic powers undermines the point of my testimony– I would like it if the discussion could avoid that pitfall. I also doubt that any of us can claim that SR has no worth at all as a teacher as we cannot see into his mind and conclude decisively on his motivations– and we also cannot know his relations with all of his students, particularly those who have not experienced abuse.

    http://thedorjeshugdengroup.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/one-year-with-rigpa-a-testimony/

    Now the other one says he does have psychic powers, he is somehow able to feed them ideas (Joanne) and then the other one says he doesn’t have any siddhis.

    Both seem to think they know him, both have opposite views. Simple example of how the mind works.

    In Buddhism, you are supposed to LOOK how your mind works. You should SEE your projections, and laugh at them. Behind the gossiping, neurotic, paranoid mind is the nature of the mind, the space.

    Like

  302. And here’s another gem:

    lalatee, on July 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm said:
    http://www.dzogchenbeara.org

    “I recently attended the recent 10 day retreat at Dzogchen Beara in County Cork, Ireland. I knew nothing about Sogyal Rinpoche when I arrived, beyond the fact that he was the author of the wonderful book: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. SR arrived at the retreat he was supposed to be leading 4 days late. As soon as he came into the tent where 250 attendees were gathered, I knew I had made a mistake. His personality was egocentric and his manner imperious. It did not fit in with my idea of a holy or ascetic monk at all. During the course of the next few days 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, on one occasion keeping us from lunch. He was insulting about the Irish people, about his assistants and to individual course participants. He refused to let one woman leave who had just heard that her house had been burgled, but made her sit down on the floor in front of him for 2 hours, saying it was too late to do anything about it now, she should have gone home before it was burgled not afterwards!

    “The last straw for me, and which made me leave the retreat 2 days early, was when he called one of the senior assistants from the Centre for the sick and dying to come up to the podium. This lady is a very respected professional in her 60s doing amazing caring work with the bereaved and dying. She was forced to kneel down beside SR while he embraced her closely and put his hand on her chest. I could see her face and she was clearly deeply embarrassed and uncomfortable. SR proceeded to stroke her face, looking deeply into her eyes. When she pulled back slightly he turned to the 250 people in the audience and said: ‘This is none of your business, turn away.’ So 250 people (except me) twisted around in their seats and looked the other way. If that is not crowd manipulation and audience abuse, I don’t know what is. At the very least it shows complete ignorance or disregard for Western social mores ethical behaviour.

    “I will not go back and I will not have anything further to do with Rigpa. I am very very sad that the wonderful people amongst the instructors and pupils that I met are being seriously duped. They do not deserve this sort of treatment. I wish them all well.”

    Joanne: This comment is also unique because it is about something that can be verified. I personally was not at the retreat the commenter is referring to, but hundreds of people were. No refutation of that story has appeared.

    In fact, in the Response to the Blog on Behind the Thangkas, Bella’s only comment about this story is quite cynical and misses the point completely. She writes coldly,
    “It’s a new line in the story, because the old stories repeat that he is only after young women.”

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  303. Joanne, I sent the link about your story already before from Tenpei’s site.

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  304. Here’s the quote from the therapist with my own comment:

    Joanne: Another convincing case supporting the credibility of BTT can be made from further testimonies in the comment line. In 2009, DI presented a briefing document in which Mary Finnigan presents a testimony from a former close personal assistant to Sogya., who describes the situation within Rigpa while he was there:

    “In the mid 80′s, during my seven years with Rigpa and 4 years as founding director of a national Rigpa branch, I had slowly discovered that Sogyal Rinpoche had sex with very many disciples. Even though I was very close to SR, it took me some time to notice the obvious. Even though I am a professional counsellor, it took me quite some time to notice it at all, and then it took me even more time to take action. First, at the same time I was shocked and kind of amused, I had mixed feelings about it, because in the beginning I saw that some women tried to get him. First I thought, they are mature woman, they know what they are doing, and I simply am too inexperienced in the exotic ways of Tibetan Lamas to be able to judge. It was much later that I heard stories and saw things which were not based on consent, and saw that he was cheating all the time on the women. Also I noticed that he had sex with young students who just had come to Rigpa retreats for the first time…”

    “I confronted Sogyal first jokingly, then half-heartedly, with my concerns about his behaviour, and I said to him that as a therapist I knew about the transference phenomenon: students see the teacher as kind of a father figure, so sex with the student is psychologically seen as incest. Also, that in the West, the relationship between teacher and student, or priest and the parishioner, must be kept pure, and does not allow for intimate relationships involving sex in any way. He was not amused, and tried to avoid the subject, but he first tried to justify his sexual behaviour spiritually…

    “I could no longer ignore what was happening. On one occasion Sogyal wanted me to lie on the phone to a woman, who wanted to contact him after having had sex with him but had found that he was in bed with another woman. I refused to be a party to his affairs. He became very angry and yelled at me, but I was not impressed…

    “One of the worst things I experienced was at a winter retreat in Germany. A long term student of his was in emotional distress and asked in obvious pain, vulnerability and confusion for his help, and he forced her to speak louder and then to come forward to the stage where he put her down completely. In my view, he was totally afraid of her, and could not deal with the situation at all. But instead of putting her into safe hands, he tried to save himself by putting her down and ridiculing her, and then played the strong teacher who can deal with everything. That same night, we had to rush her to the emergency ward of the nearest psychiatric hospital with a nervous breakdown and a psychotic seizure.
    As a therapist and as a student, I was horrified by his behaviour and his complete lack of compassion and skill. Before I left Rigpa, an American woman told me confidentially and in great distress that she had just lost her husband and had come from US to France to SR to get help, and that SR, during a private audience, had tried to violently force her to have sex with him. Fortunately, she managed to escape being raped. She left the retreat in even greater despair and completely shocked. This was the worst incident which I heard at first hand.

    SR did not respect any limits: he had sex with most of the wives of the leading students at Rigpa. I tried to keep myself and my private life out of his. I tried not to get mixed up with his affairs. Sogyal had a classical harem, and he knew all the tricks to make the obvious invisible, or if that did not work, to change the context of the students’ values, giving the whole thing a spiritual excuse, and abuse fears and naivety, or the good belief of his students to get what he wanted. It’s 12 years ago since I quit Rigpa, so I have no first-hand information of SR’s activities now, but I must say I have little doubt that everything is the same today, because I consider him an addict. He is hooked on sex and power.

    “There was the harem, and the women seemed to be able and ok with their role in the game. At least I wanted to believe this, still trying to see SR as a holy man. On the other hand, I always found obstacles to consider SR as my guru. I considered myself at that time more like a Buddhist manager and some kind of assistant to SR, rather than as a disciple of his. I could see Dilgo Khyentse or the Dalai Lama as true masters, but SR appeared to me to be just a teacher who teaches Buddhism, or more likely a salesman who sells Buddhism. When I was in charge of my national Rigpa branch, I always exaggerated his qualities in the flyers I produced. I said to SR: either you are true and good and people will find out themselves, or if not they will also find out. So don’t tell them what they should think or how good they should think about you. True quality will speak for itself. With me, he accepted such words, but I heard my successors had to write up his qualities.
    First he said that because he is one of the incarnations of Padmasambhava, and that Padmasambhava had many ‘spiritual consorts’, he would be somehow entitled to do so. Then he played the cultural card: in Tibetan culture women are seen as Dakinis, and they would happily serve the Lamas for enhancing their spiritual power and so on. I am ashamed, but first I wanted to believe all this. I was brought up in a prudish, bourgeois Catholic environment. I was used to playing roughshod with the truth, and to idealize and respect people of position even more than supposedly “holy” men. My spiritual and emotional hunger made be blind to my own values and my professional standards – at least where the standards of the Lama were concerned, however, fortunately not in my own work.
    For some years I was blinded by my position of power. I felt that I was establishing a very well-run organisation together with other dear friends which was benefiting many people. I was happy. I was in a very special position. I honestly tried to use my position to the best of my ability. I felt I was chosen, and because of karmic connections with Sogyal, I was finally realising my full potential.”

    “The bitter irony is that because other students saw me as a rather independent, seemingly critical, and reasonable person and because of my professional status as a psychotherapist, some people viewed me as endorsing Sogyal. In fact they envied my special access to SR. Basically, he always treated me very well. He seemingly respected me, but now I think he was clever enough not to treat me badly like some of the other students so I would remain loyal. He gave me the feeling that he appreciated my views at least as long I helped him to please the audience and the students. But he never was open to criticism concerning his personal behaviour. Also, he never answered any of my personal spiritual questions. I got more and more the impression that he simply could not answer them. Also, when I attended sessions where he should answer questions from his students, he often gave very stupid answers, and showed that he had not much understanding of what people were really asking. Sometimes he ridiculed people to cover this up.

    “When I have more time I will write more professionally on the psychology of the guru-student relationship and of abuse. What interests me most is why people “allow themselves” to be abused and what hinders them to see the truth. And how to help others to discover their own truth, and how to stop people like SR from going on.”

    Joanne: Mary says that she has more testimonies like this one. Of course, it is totally possible that this story is fabricated and a complete lie, but it is hard for me to conclude that anyone would fabricate such a story as this one. It is just plain too lucid and introspective. In addition, Mary has allowed her own name to be used in citing this source, so this adds veracity to the testimony.
    Of course, we cannot know for certain that this is from a real person. Indeed, Mary could have written it herself. However, in that case, surely there would have been a strong refutation from Rigpa officials? Surely, they could have stated that no such person has existed that they know of? Again, it is clear that refuting the existence of multiple affairs and Sogyal’s harsh, sometimes harmful techniques during teachings is not something that Rigpa is capable of doing.

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  305. By god, Bella is offensive. If this is what Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa teach, I want none of it.

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  306. Ex-dakini: “My handful of years in Rigpa led me to witness first hand that Sogyal Rinpoche was a compulsive seducer of women. I knew more than several women who were seduced after their first teaching or at their first retreat. I knew women who were seduced when they were in distress. Others like myself had been involved in the organization for a while before he communicated his desire for sex. I am not including in this summary by the way anything that has been published by DI, these are things individuals told me personally some years ago. ”

    I don’t know anybody who has had a chance to see him during their first or their second, third, or fourth retreat. I haven’t seen people having access to him, if they are not working in Rigpa. You don’t start working in Rigpa on your first retreat. There are many other people working together in different fields. You would meet lots of people both in his house or in your work in Rigpa. No much isolation there for workers.

    I have great doubts about these stories about newbies… It’s just not the scene.

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  307. Ex-dakini: “The gap between these two versions – on one hand the crazy wisdom master awakening the devoted student to enlightenment, on the other the addicted egomaniac manipulating his victim for sex – is so huge it almost swallowed up my sanity. To ask a woman – or any Rigpa student – to move from one version to the other is to ask them to give up a part of themselves. ”

    Yes: there is a gap, created by words of Mary Finnigan.

    You just choose not to believe in Finnigan, but in your own knowledge. Finnigan uses disgusting words, to stir the soup over the edges. She is a journalist, over 70 years old, who has used this “skill” for too long.

    Truth hits everybody and reality keeps one sane. Fortunately.

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  308. Bella said:
    “Your lack of interest in factual information tells me all about dishonesty, eagerness to blind faith and so on.”

    Where are your sources, Bella? Your quotes?

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  309. Also, Sankhappa, Robb and Anonymous, thanks for bringing up Ex-Dakini’s comment again–the fact that gems such as hers get lost is exactly why Bella and Sheila’s comments are so very damaging. Bringing those gems to the surface was one of my motivations in writing this post: https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/is-sex-between-a-spiritual-teacher-and-students-harmful/

    In this I not only reference Ex-Dakini but also a male former Rigpa student, who is a psychotherapist, and observed the many antics both in and out of the bedroom– his observations are very wise.

    Probably that post of mine was so long and full of my own surmising that it missed serving the need to get those gems out. It would perhaps be a good idea for someone to go through all the comments and write a post entitled– Gems of the Thread or something like that. Just a thought. I did spend many hours going through the comments and probably mislaid all my notes! (I will look and see if that’s the case).

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  310. “To study Kate´s behaviour like the one of a nacisstic and unsatisfied child is not full-lenghts in any way. On RickRoss she would never get the stage and she knows that. She would have been thrown out long ago concerning her intolerable lack of repect and endless repetitions.”

    In RickRoss Sankappa sends an email to the forum keeper, so that the person who do not agree with him or Finnigan, are thrown away. Then he can cosy up again in his fairytale land. It’s no nice to be among the gossiping narrow minded groupies. I’ve always been too individualistic to fit those people.

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  311. “sankappa, on February 16, 2013 at 8:53 am said:

    “I just want the reference.” …wanting is just craving after all, and craving is the origination of dissatisfaction. Craving needs to be let go of, so just liberally apply some Dzogchen. After all, either getting or not getting the reference is just setting yourself up ultimately to be unhappy. It can’t really make you satisfied either way, and any satisfaction will be short-lived, until you then…… want something else. Whereas if you apply Dzogchen like a real Dzogpa Chenpo practitioner, you can temporarily break that cycle. And it’s good practice to extend those modes of direct-perception, until they get longer and longer and….”

    Sankappa is just a male, who is not too intelligent to give answers to KateS and Sheila types. He doesn’t even have balls to admit he doesn’t have answers. He has only one weapon: troll bella, troll bella…

    All your responses tells just how little you all know. And you are NOT willing to know about anything except negativity (weather invented or true), because YOU yourselves do not ASK questions. Your lack of interest in factual information tells me all about dishonesty, eagerness to blind faith and so on. But it’s not my problem. Just accept the criticism you are given by KateS and Sheila, and try to have more ambition and an open mind about research.

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  312. Bella, I think, just to make things very very clear, that you need to start backing up your silly, wild allegations– e.g. find the quotes where I say I had dreams or hallucinations, where I divorced my husband over the events at Rigpa, where I sent my children, along with their father, to Europe etc etc. etc. If you allow yourself this liberty of making any wild, unsubstantiated allegation you please, then how on earth can you accuse Mary or anyone else of doing the same???????

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  313. “DI wrote:

    I can tell you in the last month I have received a personal testimony of a woman who was abused as well as been aware of this type of behaviour since 1997.”

    He didn’t write if the abuse was done in Rigpa or elsewhere, did he?

    What kind of abuse? The mental abuse story again?

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  314. OMG…have only just realized, that Robb read that whole post and all that he took from it, was that, the therapists were telling her she had been abused. This means he is like the Rigpa people who encourage women have been co-erced into sex with Sogyal, to stay in it. Even when they it has got so bad the only way they can deal with it is by dissociating:
    Ex-D says:” At that point I pretty much leave my body and watch myself from above while he does to me what he will. It was at that point something in me broke.”

    That is just incredible, yet it’s taken me all morning to see that! How much worse for the woman in the abusive r/ship????

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  315. KateS: “The point here is that you seem to see it in terms of, either the man is 100% to blame, or the woman is 100% to blame. The problem with this is that even if we say that the man is 100% to blame, it reinforces the idea that the woman is powerless, and even though these victims actually feel some degree of guilt here, in fact we are contradicting their feelings and trying to tell them that they are in fact completely passive.

    The problem with this is that focusing entirely on blame gives neither party a way out of this and does not contribute to understanding the mechanism at work for either party. it is entirely backward looking and ignores any way forward for either the abuser or the person suffering the abuse.”

    Exactly. The ones who enjoy remaining in their present state of mind and circumstances, do not go to therapy, where they themselves could be transformed from victim mentality to the one, who is taking responsibility of their lives. Still, at the age of 47, one wants to be pampered, either by some lama or by people who want to feel sorry for them. The healing begins at the very moment, the woman accepts the responsibility of their own choices… and doesn’t blame their own projections and wishes that were not founded in reality.

    One can be excused because one had a mental disturbance. But if one really would get over the psychotic issue and would be able to deal with EVERYTHING involved, then one should be able to look at reality and stop the blaming.

    KateS was right in saying that SR did as would any honest therapist in her case. I think the right way is to stop her believing in her stories.

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  316. Joanne:

    “Answer: Because Mary Finnigan is a seasoned journalist and took care with her facts in BTT– she claims to have taken extra care that the stories were well backed up. I believe her. If you don’t, then perhaps you can ask Rigpa why no litigation.”‘

    You BELIEVE Mary Finnigan? Good to know. Now I can see how irrational you can be. Your 1 year in Rigpa showed you nothing, and now you believe Finnigan?

    Are you happy with her slanderous style? Did you leave your family, daughters and husband, and decided to move to France permanently, because SR seemed like an attractive slimeball, you saw him frequently drinking and smoking, like Finnigan claims, and then decided that is the form of Buddhism that suits you too? Just: let everything collapse… Unfortunately those things only happen in the fantasy world.

    When the level of lack of knowledge and real information is this, then no doubt wild rumors spread… among the unquestioning. I’m glad there is some intelligence in the Universe that can be seen in KateS and Sheila.

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  317. Grateful too, to Robb for reminding me.

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  318. Yes, it is important to cite references. However, am grateful to you for putting Robb’s post in context. Bellab seems to have dominated this site for long with the bulk of her posts, that it is easy to lose sight of the reason this has come onto the internet in the first place.

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  319. Glad to help Anonymous. I think it’s important to provide sources when quoting, as often people need to follow-up to get the full context.

    And yes, you are correct, these posts do speak for themselves and also volumes, in my opinion, as a clear summary of the abuse situation there.

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  320. Thank you, Sankappa, for finding the original posts and links. I think they speak for themselves, and thanks too, to Robb, for drawing our attention to what ex-dakini says.

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  321. Perhaps Bellab, you should be rereading these posts. As I remember from last year you thought ex-Dakini’s posts were credible. You now seemed to have slipped back into denial again. So here is another one directed specifically to you:

    ex-Dakini, on January 10, 2012 at 10:12 am said:

    My dear Bella,

    Well, I’m glad we agree that a teacher ought not to sleep with students. That is a start. As to your other points, lets leave them for now.

    So you say:

    I do not believe this to happen. People can’t even talk to him privately, if they are not working in Rigpa – and even then quite rarely. People can see him addressing questions to working people in public and we may wonder why he doesn’t ask them in some other room. Why is he asking them here in the beginning of a teaching? Probably, because he hasn’t talked to them nor seen them the whole day.

    SR is constantly giving instructions to people, and much of it is during his teaching time. When he’s not teaching he’s in his private quarters wherever they are. What does he do when he’s not teaching? He’s eating, talking on the phone, watching TV and interacting with the women who take care of him and a few of his senior students. Yes, the vast majority of people he only sees when he’s walking into the teaching podium or when he’s leaving it. But there is a constant flow of people in and out of his private room who see him for different reasons. Outside of his room most people are in the kitchen cooking or waiting to be seen – they go in and out. And it is not unusual for someone to turn up and say “Rinpoche told me to come and visit him.” They are welcomed in like everyone else and have their tea and are announced and then are called in for their turn.

    Now people can’t necessarily talk to him privately if they want, but if he wants I saw him invite all kinds of people to talk with him. Of course not all are women who he wants to have sex with. But some might be. And years ago he would invite people to visit him after a public talk, some of them people he had just met. At a retreat you might get that invitation as well – “come and see me after the teaching.” In my case I was doing prostrations and later that morning at breakfast a woman who was one of SR’s attendants came to me and said “Rinpoche saw you practicing and was so impressed with your dedication. He wants you to come by and say hello some time.” But Bella, even before this happened I had experienced a few very short times with SR privately in that after a public talk or during a retreat he would ask me to see him – I thought he had a fatherly interest in me, – and I would show up at his quarters, get invited into the kitchen, be announced and go in like everyone else. It seems ridiculous to explain all this here and publicly at that so I apologize for boring everyone else but Bella seems to need everything spelled out.

    Now Bella, your reaction to what I wrote does not incline me to tell you much about my story, especially when you write about how women are hunters…. but I can put that aside for a moment. But I am even more loath to disclose details about other women’s stories which could in any way compromise them. But a woman I knew simply was invited back after a public talk. As I said, this wasn’t all that unusual. She showed up, she was shown into SR’s apartment, the door closed and they were alone together. It was the first night they had met, and the sexual relationship began there. Another woman was at her first retreat. Same thing, she gets invited to his quarters, etc.

    You ask me to explain my point

    “I knew women who were seduced when they were in distress.”

    OK I can talk about my own story here. So I am on the point of a nervous breakdown. I had been in a sexual relationship with SR for some time and knew that it wasn’t right for me. It caused me a tremendous amount of confusion. I did more and more practice, but it didn’t help. I had confided in senior students and their advice – which was to stop seeing the teacher with my judgmental mind and use pure perception – wasn’t helping. I had told SR about this several times, and finally told him that I couldn’t be with him anymore.

    He left me alone for a while, but then after an absence, called me in and presented me with a divination from a senior lama that being with him would help him and his teachings. He gave me gifts and was actually a little bit tender (which was quite unusual.) I slept with him and regretted it immediately, but also was confused about this hint of some kind of special role I was supposed to play in his destiny. I told him again that I couldn’t be with him, that it caused me too many risings, and I tried to stay away from him physically. But I kept getting scheduled for “lama care” and that means dressing him and undressing him and running him baths and giving him massages. He kept trying to touch me, and I would push him away in a gentle way and try to joke, he kept at it and I would move away physically.

    Imagine please, he was my root lama and I saw him as the source of great benefit and this way he was behaving was making me sick, but I kept up my practice and just prayed that one day I would understand all of this, but almost every time I would see him he would harass me. And please factor in the lack of sleep that happens when you care for a man who is up at all hours and who doesn’t know how to make a cup of tea or butter a piece of toast. Now other things start to heat up in my life because I’m starting to act out with addictions because I just can’t contain this stress. I had dedicated my life to SR and I couldn’t understand what I was supposed to do.

    I reach a very low point, a very low point. I decide that the problem is me. That if I wasn’t who I was, that SR wouldn’t be attracted to me and that I need to go away from everyone. We are on retreat. There is a break for lunch. I go to find him where I knew he would be eating. I knock on the door and go in, by chance no one else is there. I come to him and I start to cry and I kneel in front of him and I say “Rinpoche, I feel so terrible, I think something is wrong with me, can you please send me into retreat somewhere.” and he stands up, walks to the door and locks it. He comes back to me pulls me to him and starts to kiss me and take my clothes off and fondle me. At that point I pretty much leave my body and watch myself from above while he does to me what he will. It was at that point something in me broke.

    Does that qualify Bella? I’m not going to tell you other women’s stories. But some I heard were just as bad as mine. And I might not post much more because I have said plenty- though I’ve only told you a little bit of my experience, I can tell you all about the harem part – but if you can’t see that there is a problem here, then you have a problem. Yes, there are people running around with all kinds of agendas. But you would have to be crazy to deny that SR has slept with many many of his students. And please everyone else I apologize for the length of this post. I hope that in some way this has been helpful, though I do question whether or not it was right for me to disclose so much, so if there was wrong in it I apologize.

    Source: https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/behind-the-thangkas-sogyal-rimpoche-the-imbalance-of-power-and-abuse-of-spiritual-authority/

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  322. This ex-Dakini’s first post from The Behind The Thangkas thread, and I feel this should be reposted too. In fact people should read all her posts from this thread, if they would like to get a very succinct summary of the issues at Rigpa.

    ex-Dakini, on January 9, 2012 at 8:09 am said:

    For BellaB – though have a feeling there is not point in talking to you – I will respond. I did post on DI once before when the briefing document first came up. I have a hard time reading your drivel.

    My handful of years in Rigpa led me to witness first hand that Sogyal Rinpoche was a compulsive seducer of women. I knew more than several women who were seduced after their first teaching or at their first retreat. I knew women who were seduced when they were in distress. Others like myself had been involved in the organization for a while before he communicated his desire for sex. I am not including in this summary by the way anything that has been published by DI, these are things individuals told me personally some years ago.

    I can count the names of 15 women who I knew that SR was sexually involved with. And I wasn’t around for all that long. I suggest that those of you still involved in Rigpa who care about this to simply ask your lama how many of his students he has had sex with. I think its a fair question to ask a spiritual leader. These women – myself included – were his students. Not women who he met in other circumstances.

    Now to address your points specifically, my experience was that not all women who attend to SR sleep with him. But quite a few do. And many more who care for him had previously been a sexual partner of his. And yes, my experience was harem-like in that it was clear to me and other women that we were among a certain number that attended to his sexual needs. We discussed it among ourselves though not always explicitly. And many of those women had husbands and boyfriends.

    I don’t think that it is appropriate in this time and place for a spiritual leader to have sex with his students. Others agree with me for many reasons. I especially don’t think it is appropriate when it happens frequently and for many years. It was not a positive experience for me. Other women would not say this, and I am happy that they do not experience the suffering I did. But the fact that all women do not complain does not make his actions correct.

    Now there is also a lot to say about the actual experience of those of us who ended up in SR’s bed. And there are things to say about the validity of his education and teachings. If pressed I can add thoughts on both of those topics. But as important as those are, I think that the basic issue here is the inappropriateness of sexual relations between teacher and student. The risk of the abuse of power is too great. So while shocking, it should be no surprise that the women’s voices in these pages recount abusive experiences. Abuse is what is most likely to happen when there is such a power differential. I learned that the hard way.

    Now BellaB, if people from Rigpa could identify me, which I’m sure they are frantically trying to do, they would tell you many things about how unbalanced I am. I know that they did so when I left Rigpa, and I know that many prayers were recited for me in Penor Rinpoche’s monastery. But I am quite sane, I assure you.

    My years in Rigpa and leaving it taught me that people will do amazing things in order to protect their own belief system. Good people will lie to themselves and others rather than question their own spiritual beliefs. To do so is too threatening to themselves. I am truly sorry for you that your attachment to your own teacher cannot allow you to see things that are truthful. I am so grateful that I am free from that one particular limitation.

    Source: https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/behind-the-thangkas-sogyal-rimpoche-the-imbalance-of-power-and-abuse-of-spiritual-authority/

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  323. “Now I’m not saying that bellaB or any other troll for that matter, should be immediately banned from posting at DI, but it should be made clear to them when their comments are being directly inflammatory and offensive (E.G. casting doubt over people who have shared their personal accounts of Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa) or straight out calling them liars or “fantasists” where they have no evidence of this, or simply because they do not agree with their opinions.”

    I call Victoria Barlow a liar, because she claimed for decades that both SR has raped her and Sakya Trizin has abused her. Now we find out that she was his girlfriend, sexually abused as a child, severely traumatized as her own mother made the abuse possible, so there was no trustworthy adult present. You can just imagine the trauma and confusion.

    I know one woman who was abused sexually by her step father. The mother knew this, but ignored it, because she wanted his money after he died. Too bad for the mother the three other children of his own, and whom he had also abused, took most of the money. Those three children called him in their thirties crying that he had destroyed their lives. My friend, the step daughter became manic depressive, and she has had loads of men and abusive relationships. I doubt she can protect her own daughter from abuse. Slowly our friendship became very untrustworthy, because she became totally unreliable. She did crazy things, and I was the only one she could tell how crazy those things were. I listened until I couldn’t anymore, because I felt so sick.

    So, don’t think that I don’t have any experience with people who have been abused. I’ve seem one of the worst cases. I doubt Barlow is any better, because of the lies she has propagated. It all seems like attention seeking and revengeful.

    Just read google groups, where you can find her stories and also the response written by HH Sakya Trizin’s assistant. Luce family gossip is also available if you google.

    BTT blog is a complete crap. You don’t need to be genius to get it. Average reasonable thinking is only required, but I wonder, if you have any of that?

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  324. Robb, I understand that there maybe some with this viewpoint, that actually prevents them reading further, and therefore miss these very revealing and important posts. I think you make a good point (although I don’t necessarily agree with assessment of Mary Finnegan) that this does in fact happen, and as it is such an important post, I believe it deserves to be reposted in it’s entirety. I think ex-Dakini’s post, made with such clarity and courage, encapsulates and highlights the real issues of abuse occurring with Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa, and is a pertinent reminder, of the reasons that I, and I believe many others persist here and on other forums, highlighting this abuse, for the benefit of others.

    So thank you Robb for bringing this important point to our attention.

    ex-Dakini, on January 12, 2012 at 9:16 am said:

    Hello all,

    Thank you all for your warm and supportive comments. And yes, don’t worry Marte I am OK. I have and continue to receive support and though it would be exaggerating to say that I have “worked through” this experience completely, I have processed things enough so that recounting a part of it doesn’t trigger me anymore. That doesn’t mean that writing here didn’t bring a few things up for me – but watching the documentary and reading this articles provoked many more feelings for me.

    I am outraged that Tibetan Buddhists will not stand up and be clear that sexual involvement between a teacher and his students is unacceptable. You may argue that details are exaggerated about stories that are recounted (I won’t) you may argue about people’s motives- but no one can possibly deny that Sogyal Rinpoche has had sex with many of his students in the past and that he continues to do so.

    Then there is the level of abuse, which I think comes from a few different places. One is the set up of the teachings where the women around him, like I was, are striving to efface themselves completely. I was trying to get rid of my “self,” and as such I ignored any messages from my unconscious that told me that the situation was wrong. I gladly accepted being ordered around, being yelled at, being treated like an object, the constant useless work, the lack of any of my needs even being considered. Bella, you ask why I wasn’t comfortable in the relationship with SR. That is because even though I practiced and practiced letting go of my feelings at the end of the day part of me cried out against having sex with a man who treated me like an object – who said only “take off your clothes” or “go have a shower” or who told me to move this way or that, even if he was my teacher. SR literally only gave me orders for the first six months that I was having sex with him. Maybe he was “testing” my devotion.

    The other tragic thing I sense from Mimi and other stories is that Sogyal Rinpoche’s addiction to sex, which is in opposition to a lawsuit and people speaking out and common sense has created a situation ruled by secrecy, paranoia, and isolation. I think he has become so isolated and it has been so long since he has experienced women as equals that his behavior has become even more twisted and sick. I saw him becoming more paranoid and reactive the longer I was with him, and when I left his rage at me was so intense that I was not surprised to hear about things that Janice Doe was subjected to. He had started to do a few of them to me too. And now it seems that it has become even worse.

    Just one last point – I’m not sure people can appreciate how difficult speaking out about this for women can be. I have many advantages – a loving family who supported me though this, many years to have processed this, and though Rigpa was my life for some time I never lost my base of support outside. But although you may think that what I recounted previously was shattering, what is more shattering is to hear and begin to suspect that something that you have considered to be sacred and beautiful is actually abusive and ugly. Serving Sogyal Rinpoche thought I was sacrificing myself to a sacred task. I thought that I was getting rid of my ego to be a better person. I thought I was devoting my life to a man who was helping many people and who was compassionate and wise. What I did was largely fed by a great love before the pain and confusion that always lurked in the background broke through and took over.

    When I left Rigpa and people from the therapeutic community told me that I had been abused, for years it felt like they were the ones abusing me. Although I knew that my teacher had done things that weren’t right, I could not talk to people who I felt labeled my experience and made me a victim. Me? A victim? Abused? How could my feelings and experiences be reduced to something so ugly? Can you imagine the confusion? And then the shame? The gap between these two versions – on one hand the crazy wisdom master awakening the devoted student to enlightenment, on the other the addicted egomaniac manipulating his victim for sex – is so huge it almost swallowed up my sanity. To ask a woman – or any Rigpa student – to move from one version to the other is to ask them to give up a part of themselves.

    So as much as I appreciate DI’s article here, and as much as I think Sogyal Rinpoche’s own behavior creates this situation entirely, it makes me very sad. There are so many good people involved. And many who will never be able to understand something they label – as Bella has – lurid and attacking. Yet at this point there seem to be no other way to get the truth across. There’s more to say but I’ve said enough.

    Thank you again for your support, it is meaningful to me, and I hope that again what I have said can be useful in some way –

    Ex D

    Source: https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/behind-the-thangkas-sogyal-rimpoche-the-imbalance-of-power-and-abuse-of-spiritual-authority/

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  325. “Joanne, on February 15, 2013 at 12:10 am said:

    Yes, Sankappa. What I see is that her content is mostly nonsense, but her strategical impact is quite skillful. Even if we ignore her, the thread becomes clogged up and the discussion is hampered.”

    My content?

    You didn’t bother to clarify my issues regarding your personal stories from many threads.

    You said you lost your family. You sent your own daughters to Europe with their father. (Correct?) You use a passive terms as if you yourself had nothing to do with it.

    You divorced your husband? (Incorrect?) I think you said so in another thread. Or maybe your husband divorced you. It doesn’t matter.

    I wrote: you saw dreams about SR. (Incorrect?) Did you see psychic visions in plain day light? (Sorry if I missed the correct time of the day.) Doesn’t anyway change my view about the overall events.

    I have to say that I wouldn’t part with my children EVER because of religion or because of a man… or anything. NEVER.

    I think it’s also a bit too much if you blame Rigpa for your decisions. Nobody in Rigpa is supporting getting rid of your family, but supports using the teachings to help your family.

    Why don’t you blame your psychosis for losing your family? I know facing mental sickness is the hardest thing on earth, but it’s the only way (also karmically) to proceed. Sorry for being direct, but it’s my way.

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  326. Robb and Kate, for the reader’s sake please can you link us to where you got the quotes from. I hope you will understand there is a copious amount of unorganized material here, and to try and find the sections you’ve quoted from, is rather like trying to find a needle in a haystack. So, please just say which thread or article it comes from and thread header or article link will do. Thank you.

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  327. Sankappa, I didn’t read your post till now. I don’t enjoy spending time every day here. That is why I respond mostly in one instance, or in one day. Other life, you know?

    I think you sound a bit paranoid, if you think I am representing Rigpa. Why would they send a fool like me? Someone with poor English skills? Rigpa would try to look adult and reasonable.

    Damage control… that I am willing to do on my own. Why would I want some lies to destroy a good thing? So far it is still a good thing for me. It’s also the place where I look for strength when facing death. It’s just natural for me. Praying to Guru Rinpoche, when I’m facing difficulties.

    I may have a strong motivation. I probably had strong personal things provoked by SR just like Joanne was (not romantic), but I’m a bit more down to earth. I have also spent longer time watching and listening, so of course I have a more extensive view in many matters.

    I don’t lack empathy toward suffering individuals, but what I hate most, are liars. I have strong personal issues with lying men… I can’t rest in piece with such people. Many people like white lies, but I can hardly bare with those either. I prefer directness.

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  328. I couldn’t help but pick up on this comment from ex-Dakini in the responses to the behind the thangkas thread, she said,
    “When I left Rigpa and people from the therapeutic community told me that I had been abused, for years it felt like they were the ones abusing me. Although I knew that my teacher had done things that weren’t right, I could not talk to people who I felt labeled my experience and made me a victim. Me? A victim? Abused? How could my feelings and experiences be reduced to something so ugly? Can you imagine the confusion? And then the shame?”

    I also noticed the general vibe on here. It seems that many are so outraged at SR that anyone who dares to question that gets the “ad hom” treatment.
    It seems pretty clear that Mary Finnegan’s aim is to discredit SR, and it seems that she has a lot of support in that. Unfortunately this has resulted in an environment where the comment from ex-Dakini about her feelings seems to have got overlooked.

    If it your intention to merely target SR and join forces with Mary Finnegan in this at the expense of encouraging the feelings of confusion, victimhood, and shame described by ex-Dakini, and quite possibly true for any others caught in the same position as she was, then bravo, you’re doing a great job.

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  329. An another quote, which I think explains my own position in this debate perfectly,

    “It seems to me that the discussions on this topic (e.g. Dialogue Ireland) fall into two, polarized camps– the Rigpa/Sogyal Rinpoche supporters who deny any wrongdoing at all and those that believe the totality, or most of the totality, of the allegations put forward in the documentary and Mary’s piece. It seems we need a third, more objective camp, one that accepts that Sogyal Rinpoche has positive qualities as a teacher despite the abuses and maybe Mary has gone too far in her allegations by trying to dismiss him completely. This camp also would take the line you have stated so well above, which is that it is Never OK for a teacher to have sex with students. Full stop.
    It is possible that from this stance we would stand a better chance of breaking the silence of Tibetan Buddhist leaders.”

    To anyone still wondering, I place myself in the third camp, although I wouldn’t go quite as far to say that I see SR as having positive qualities as a teacher as this would be like imputing an existent personality onto the aggregates.

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  330. Interestingly, in my research I found this, “I want to express my concerns over the fact that Mary Finnigan, author of “Behind the Thangkas” has not always been completely credible in her reporting of situations within the Tibetan Buddhist community.”

    That was written in March of last year, am I to understand that you (Joanne) have revised this view?

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  331. 5 post mentalism

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  332. Joanne, on February 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm said: “Mary and others have worked towards insuring that INFORM has all the information needed to help people find out the truth”

    I looked through their site and list of publications and can’t seem to find much. Could you give me more details of this please Joanne?

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  333. Joanne, on February 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm said:
    “And now, before you go on about my own particular case, you might want to read my story (which I don’t believe you’ve ever done)– I wrote it under the name Drolma. Contrary to Bella’s claims, I didn’t write it with the claim that I was abused by SR– I wrote it with the proposition that Rigpa was not a safe place psychologically, that the focus is all about the lama and not enough about the dharma, which is a dangerous mix for new, questing students. So I personally object to your claims that somehow we are not addressing the totality of this situation, that we are simply stupid reactionaries etc.
    You yourself are far too ignorant of the situation to be making any assessments about abuse or not-abuse.”

    I agree that it may well be the case that Rigpa is not a safe place psychologically and that I am ignorant of the specifics, that is why I enquired about this, only to be told twice, and very firmly by you that I should focus soley on the issue of sexual abuse.

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  334. Joanne, on February 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm said:
    “I think the reason this discussion has become so rough around the edges is because of your comments about the abused being responsible for the abuse– it has a sour taste for most of us– it tastes of the dark ages when women had no regress whatsoever– it tastes of places in the world where this is still the case, places where a woman’s mere presence is considered cause for abuse. So we are a little sensitive to that particular issue. I’ve had this conversation with Sheila many times– if you ask her, she has articles to show how those poor school teachers can’t even touch students to comfort them because of the risk of being charged with abuse.”

    Then you will be glad to read that I disagree with this position entirely, again you seem to be seeing something which isn’t there. As far as i am concerned, if there was abuse then the guilty party should be prosecuted, simple as that.

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  335. Joanne, on February 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm said:
    “2. Kate, why don’t you call Rigpa and tell them you see a case for libel in BTT? That seems to be what you are implying. We don’t see that, but if you feel so passionately, why don’t you contact your friends and tell them that there’s money to be made exposing this horrible plot?”

    – The basic reason for this is because I see no case for libel. Maybe you see it as an implication of what I wrote, but basically if I didn’t write it then it isn’t there, simple.

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  336. Joanne, on February 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm said:
    “1. Kate you obviously haven’t read the site on Tenpel’s blog that you quote– most of us commented on it for some time. Read it first before you simply use its title as some complete fact to argue your obscure point.”

    – Not sure what you are talking about here, some one asked about the silence of the Tibetan Buddhist community so I referred them to that article, entitled “Sogyal Rinpoche and the Silence of the Tibetan Buddhist Community and the Dalai Lama”. Sorry if i mislead anyone.

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  337. And also, I have to point out that Mary herself spent years, not hours, researching the stories, talking to women, double, triple checking their stories etc. And also, since I know you’re not a very avid reader, I suggest you start by reading the post by Tenpel that you quoted above. I think he summarizes the issues better than I have been able and he is a monk and very capable of bringing the Buddhist perspective in.

    Perhaps you can agree to not make anymore wild allegations yourself without doing some research first????

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  338. Also, Kate, I do strongly object to your accusations that we have not fully explored this situation. I personally have spent many hours writing in order to see the situation from as many perspectives as possible. In addition to writing my story as both a student of dharma and a trained psychotherapist in which I explored the lack of psychological safety in Rigpa, I also wrote an overview of all the comments and allegations, with a view towards making a rational and unbiased assessment of their veracity. I wrote a scholarly investigation of Western psychological perspectives on the risks posed by sexual relations between spiritual teachers and their students. I wrote about a few ways that we in Western Dharma Centers could move forward towards safer Dharma Center by using the advice given by HH Dalai Lama (not published on DI, but published on Tenzin’s site).

    I did not write these things to show that I knew anything more than anyone else– I wrote because I wanted the discussions to be addressing multiple angles of the trouble.

    Now that’s just my little efforts. There are others who have been working harder than me to move this situation forward. Mary and others have worked towards insuring that INFORM has all the information needed to help people find out the truth– INFORM fact-checks both Mary and the allegations. Others have also worked tirelessly to communicate and support students who have left Rigpa. They have also made comments on the threads that are far more intelligent and informed than anything I have written. They have written posts themselves, told their stories on posts and on comments and had the courage to view this trouble from many angles.

    You should know also that there are groups of Buddhists concerned about the consequences of these abuses in our Dharma center and about ways that dharma can move forward in the West. They are speaking together in groups and online.

    I think that we are not the reactionary ones here. If you stopped reacting yourself, you would find that there are a lot of us addressing this trouble from as many different angles as we can in order to move forward towards viable dharma communities in the West. This is what we’re doing.

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  339. 1. Kate you obviously haven’t read the site on Tenpel’s blog that you quote– most of us commented on it for some time. Read it first before you simply use its title as some complete fact to argue your obscure point.

    2. Kate, why don’t you call Rigpa and tell them you see a case for libel in BTT? That seems to be what you are implying. We don’t see that, but if you feel so passionately, why don’t you contact your friends and tell them that there’s money to be made exposing this horrible plot?

    I think the reason this discussion has become so rough around the edges is because of your comments about the abused being responsible for the abuse– it has a sour taste for most of us– it tastes of the dark ages when women had no regress whatsoever– it tastes of places in the world where this is still the case, places where a woman’s mere presence is considered cause for abuse. So we are a little sensitive to that particular issue. I’ve had this conversation with Sheila many times– if you ask her, she has articles to show how those poor school teachers can’t even touch students to comfort them because of the risk of being charged with abuse.

    And now, before you go on about my own particular case, you might want to read my story (which I don’t believe you’ve ever done)– I wrote it under the name Drolma. Contrary to Bella’s claims, I didn’t write it with the claim that I was abused by SR– I wrote it with the proposition that Rigpa was not a safe place psychologically, that the focus is all about the lama and not enough about the dharma, which is a dangerous mix for new, questing students. So I personally object to your claims that somehow we are not addressing the totality of this situation, that we are simply stupid reactionaries etc.

    You yourself are far too ignorant of the situation to be making any assessments about abuse or not-abuse.

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  340. oh, and before the paranoid theories kick in, it wasn’t me that posted that oh tenpel’s blog.

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  341. Excellent points Marte-Micaela

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  342. It is abhorrent to read the last posts on this blog. Once we respectfully began with human suffering and we arrived at a bottomless derision of victims and survivers as well as at a meaningless clash between only a few.

    To study Kate´s behaviour like the one of a nacisstic and unsatisfied child is not full-lenghts in any way. On RickRoss she would never get the stage and she knows that. She would have been thrown out long ago concerning her intolerable lack of repect and endless repetitions.

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  343. and much appreciative joy on your weekend, Felicity

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  344. oh i’m a softie, you got me. damn

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  345. Kate is what can only be described in new age parlance as a psychic vampire, like Bellab. They have a lot of grasping and want to control aspects of their reality they don’t like, or that doesn’t fit in with their rigid little view. Have a great wkend, Sankappa. Kate, just release your grasping.You’ll feel better for it. Lots of love, Mwah Mwah.

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  346. yes it is, quite a fun dream, would be better if you weren’t such a easy target though sankappa. :p

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  347. yes that’s it, it’s all a dream. Now your getting it, just let gggoooo…..

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  348. yes, the non-existent reference to the non-existent study about the non-existent evidence. Dream on.

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  349. Ah yes the reference. Everything will hinge on the reference…until it doesn’t; and then everything will hinge on something else – yes that will satisfy me, I’m sure it will

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  350. sankappa, on February 16, 2013 at 8:53 am said: “or not getting the reference is just setting yourself up ultimately to be unhappy.”

    So is blaming other people for your own suffering.

    We both know full well there is no study and that this is just made up.

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  351. “I just want the reference.” …wanting is just craving after all, and craving is the origination of dissatisfaction. Craving needs to be let go of, so just liberally apply some Dzogchen. After all, either getting or not getting the reference is just setting yourself up ultimately to be unhappy. It can’t really make you satisfied either way, and any satisfaction will be short-lived, until you then…… want something else. Whereas if you apply Dzogchen like a real Dzogpa Chenpo practitioner, you can temporarily break that cycle. And it’s good practice to extend those modes of direct-perception, until they get longer and longer and….

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  352. Felicity., on February 16, 2013 at 8:36 am said: “The evidence is out there, but there is nothing anyone can say or do to change someone whose mind is inflexible and rigid.”

    On the contrary Felicity, all of these clowning antics do have an impact on credibility. The fact that any examination of this “evidence” you speak of is just “chatter” to you speaks volumes, and I have raised a serious question many times now, only to get childish responses. How can anyone take you seriously when you can’t even take yourselves seriously?

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  353. DI wrote:

    I can tell you in the last month I have received a personal testimony of a woman who was abused as well as been aware of this type of behaviour since 1997.

    It is easy to miss this. There are so many personal testimonies now. It would be easy to lose sight of the personal suffering that people go through, and be distracted by the chatter or KateS and Bellabs.

    The evidence is out there, but there is nothing anyone can say or do to change someone whose mind is inflexible and rigid.

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  354. Look Sankappa, you don’t even need to do the thinking yourself (phew!)as there is a report by professionals. I just want the reference.

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  355. HALF-YEARLY REPORT – KateS

    Dear Mr and Mrs KateS,

    Unfortunately, I have to report to you that KateS will not do as she is asked. She is clearly a bright young lady, but I can see that she is not really trying very hard. She will continue to ask the same questions over and over when she should already know the answers. The reason she does not know the answers is that she refuses to read what she has been asked to. There are many places these answers can be found but she still refuses to find them. Perhaps she is just lazy. On other occasions she has been told answers from the other students, but seems to pretend that she still does not know the answer and will then ask the same questions again. She appears to be not paying attention or maybe she is just seeking attention, I am not sure, but it seems she is only really happy when distracting and causing trouble for others.

    I feel this behaviour will only continue until she gets more discipline and or attention at home.

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  356. FelicityM, on February 15, 2013 at 9:53 pm said: “I’ll ask you again, Kate. Where’s your evidence?

    I don’t appreciate what I wrote being twisted. At no point did I say I see it in terms of 100% blame.”

    Not only you, but the general discussion seems to be based upon the idea that it is the 100% the abusers fault, and any suggestion that it is not entirely the abusers fault leads to the outcry that it cannot possibly be the fault of the abused. These terms are used in a black and white way, either it is the totally the fault of the abuser or people are accused of being in denial. Maybe I am reading too much into that, but it does seem to me that any attempt to actually comprehend what is really going on gets sidetracked in favour of words like “blame”, “guillt”, and “fault”, with all the third parties truly believing they are somehow supporting the innocent party by doing this.

    My evidence for the general consensus of the Buddhist world can be found by searching for “Sogyal” on any Buddhist website. Even Tenpel’s blog has a piece entitled, “Sogyal Rinpoche and the Silence of the Tibetan Buddhist Community and the Dalai Lama” to which the link is,
    http://thedorjeshugdengroup.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/sogyal-rinpoche-and-the-silence-of-the-tibetan-buddhist-community-and-the-dalai-lama/

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  357. I’ll ask you again, Kate. Where’s your evidence?

    I don’t appreciate what I wrote being twisted. At no point did I say I see it in terms of 100% blame. Read back and don’t obfuscate.

    (Putting in long hours of service for Rigpa are we? Is Bellab catching up on her sleep?)

    Enjoy your time.

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  358. FelicityM, on February 15, 2013 at 7:27 pm said: ““Well she must have done something wrong”. This is the default position of many people if a man violates a woman, they look at the victim and say she must have asked for it.”

    The point here is that you seem to see it in terms of, either the man is 100% to blame, or the woman is 100% to blame. The problem with this is that even if we say that the man is 100% to blame, it reinforces the idea that the woman is powerless, and even though these victims actually feel some degree of guilt here, in fact we are contradicting their feelings and trying to tell them that they are in fact completely passive.

    The problem with this is that focusing entirely on blame gives neither party a way out of this and does not contribute to understanding the mechanism at work for either party. it is entirely backward looking and ignores any way forward for either the abuser or the person suffering the abuse.

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  359. And a question, Kate, that has been asked before on this blog– if the allegations are false, why is there no litigation in progress? UK has very strict libel laws– a recent book on Scientology has been denied publication in the UK because the publishers fear those laws and the big team of lawyers owned by Scientology. So why no litigation from Rigpa (also with its lawyer)?

    Answer: Because Mary Finnigan is a seasoned journalist and took care with her facts in BTT– she claims to have taken extra care that the stories were well backed up. I believe her. If you don’t, then perhaps you can ask Rigpa why no litigation.

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  360. Felicity, can you see no difference between the idea of being undecided and the idea of disbelieving?

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  361. Kate wrote:

    You are joking right? If I said that, ‘the buddhist world doesn’t believe this stuff’ then you have a fair point. Maybe you should take a closer look at what I actually wrote?

    Here is what she actually wrote:

    Feb 12th 7.36 Kate S:

    I can tell you very clearly that within the Tibetan Buddhist community, many do not take these claims at face value, to put it coloquially, the jury is still out

    Where’s the evidence for this sweeping statement?

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  362. Actually Felicity, I learned through experience, having felt like I was abused, and having been accused of it too, that there are always two sides to every story, and the idea that one side can just be a victim is very rarely the whole story – that is unless we are talking about child abuse here, which seems to get lumped in to general claims concerning women in their 20’s.

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  363. Joanne, yes, like I said up thread in response to Sankappa, who was requesting moderation, that non-moderation had ups and downs.

    Changing the subject slightly, a woman to whom I commented on about the Oscar Pistorius murder of his girlfriend-said, “Well she must have done something wrong”. This is the default position of many people if a man violates a woman, they look at the victim and say she must have asked for it.

    Someone else up thread, Disappointed Ed, pondered why women were often much harder in there judgements of women in trouble with men. The reason is women are bought up to view the world through men’s eyes, and have never learnt to adjust their vision to view through their own eyes. They can’t make that ontolgical shift.

    DI, thanks for your explanation, it was helpful

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  364. Joanne, on February 15, 2013 at 6:04 pm said: “Kate’s stall/diversion tactics”

    Joanne, you said we should focus on the two issues, does SR have sex with students, and is this harmful. Read the last 20 posts and then tell me who is focused on this issue and who is stalling and diverting.

    “For example, I misread the previous comment to be one from you, Felicity, and I sincerely wanted to answer the question being posed in the comment– but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the question was about! I struggled for a while and then realized that the comment was from Kate– then I could relax and write this response.”

    1. There was no “question being posed”. I gave up asking after 4 or 5 times. Clearly the lack of response tells me everything I need to know.

    2. This is not a response, it is more rumination which stalls and diverts from the two issues you said we should focus on.

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  365. Felicity, just an observation: in an imperfect world, where few blogsites can offer 24/7 coverage of moderation– particularly when the comments are coming from several different time zones– it is my observation that strictly moderated sites such as Tenzin’s and loosely moderated sites such as DI can each serve different purposes.

    Because he censors Bella and her kind, Tenzin provides a safe place for sensitive testimony and also very intelligent conversation and discussion. However, there is often a long wait for comments to pass through moderation and sometimes they appear out of order– so this can stall discussions a little, diminishing their momentum.

    Di on the other hand is not seen as a safe place for sensitive testimony– indeed, Bella and Kate/Sheila’s comments can be very traumatizing for those who have been abused or feel betrayed and are just gaining the courage to speak out about their experiences. On the other hand, the quickness by which comments can appear here gives the thread more of the energy of a real conversation– that is, if we can get past Bella and Sheila and Kate’s stall/diversion tactics! And that brings us full circle, doesn’t it? The catch 22– we aren’t stalled by moderation, we are stalled by the other commentators!

    I believe that Bella has reached over 1000 comments recently– that fact alone attests to much!

    But as I say, it is an imperfect world.

    For example, I misread the previous comment to be one from you, Felicity, and I sincerely wanted to answer the question being posed in the comment– but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the question was about! I struggled for a while and then realized that the comment was from Kate– then I could relax and write this response.

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  366. dialogueireland, on February 15, 2013 at 4:29 pm said: “If she is not willing to accept the testimony of the people that is her right.”

    I am totally accepting of the testimonies, that does not mean they all make perfect sense to me. The fact that any questions I asked have been ignored in favour of idle speculation tells me nothing about the testimonies themselves, it is however very revealing about the nature of others’ views on the matter.

    I for one would welcome some clarity on this matter and hope that some is provided by any new testimonies that come to light.

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  367. re-edited post:Felicity It’s cryptic comments like that, and the threat of outing posters which is quite disturbing and not very encouraging of attracting new and apprehensive posters who may have something to contribute too! The sabotage their own forum. Odd behaviour.

    DI is usually dealing with about 10 groups referenced on our site at the same time. We just can’t look at every post all the time and though I stay up late can’t always get to to see what is happening in real time.
    We have addressed the fact that Sheila was not KateS, by the IP address. It was to alert you who were equating them.
    sankappa makes the point that,”It is very easy these days change your IP address by using a proxy setup.”
    The times of day may suggest that is happening. Hopefully the Madhair who is not on line permanently and in fact less than he used to be will look into this in due course.
    Felicity seems to have picked up that we observe IP’s but we do not out people unless they are abusing the site. Where she picked up we would out her I do not know. In fact we made the opposite claim. We protect anonymous posters here. I was just clarifying who was not Sheila.
    Kate S can only gain traction if you engage. If she is not willing to accept the testimony of the people that is her right. None of you need to give her any time. Silence is the best response to those that refuse to accept the testimony of those whose stories are told here or referenced here. These denials should be treated with the contempt they deserve. I can tell you in the last month I have received a personal testimony of a woman who was abused as well as been aware of this type of behaviour since 1997.
    Issues to do with Buddhism in general as Kate S is developing them are not for this forum. My problem is that I am not competent to see what is not connected to the abuse thread and what is not. My suggestion is that if you find such a section do not give it prominence by engaging with it. Rather write me a private email and outline the reasons why it should be deleted or what element of that comment and it will be deleted.

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  368. All I’m saying Angie is that when people make stupid accusations based upon their gut reactions, it does nothing to get at the truth, it just confuses the issue.

    Accusing SR of criminal acts in the absence of any charges, and claiming there is a study of SR’s sex addiction by professionals without any visible proof of this study just looks dishonest, irrespective of anything SR is supposed to have done or not done.

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  369. KateS, you are some operator. All or no-one deserves your compassion and whether they deserve it or not depends on just cause. While you make up your mind the rest of us get on with ours, and believe me, we do not depend on your compassion. God save us from your calculating agenda!

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  370. sankappa, on February 15, 2013 at 11:19 am said: “Yes but no clear motive, but a very suspect presence. When you look at KateS’ profile you have to ask, why are you here?”

    You seem to be labouring under the assumption that I must have some kind of personal self-centred reason. As you were the one to bring up the idea of sila (behavioral discipline, virtue, or ethics) then you should be the first to realise the importance of right view, right speech, and right conduct.

    Equally with the appeal to compassion. You seem unaware that compassion without equanimity is unbalanced. Your appeal for “compassion for the abused” is based solely on an appeal to an emotional reaction which ignores reason, evidence, and balance. Why would I ignore compassion for all beings equally and jump straight in to this condemnation of Bella and of Sogyal without just cause?

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  371. Yellow journalism has nothing to do with China http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism

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  372. Yes, all very good questions, Felicity. Motive! With the old Sheila it was all a PRC (it’s the commies!) conspiracy she had to educate us on (that was to start with) and then she shifted ground to whatever, I think research, then back to the PRC several times.I did notice there was a mention of “yellow journalism” in her last post perhaps deliberately ambiguous, to suggest the “yellow” peril again. Yes but no clear motive, but a very suspect presence. When you look at KateS’ profile you have to ask, why are you here?

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  373. Felicity, on February 15, 2013 at 10:26 am said: “Talk to the hand, KateShiela!”

    I suspect the Jerry Springer show is about right for this subject, and for this level of debate.

    Joanne, on February 15, 2013 at 12:10 am said: “What I see is that her content is mostly nonsense, but her strategical impact is quite skillful. Even if we ignore her, the thread becomes clogged up and the discussion is hampered.”

    Exactly right Joanne, I see that too. Would anyone care to return to the subject of SR and answer my question? – where can I find this study done by healthcare professionals cited in Behind the Thangkas?

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  374. re-edited post:
    It’s cryptic comments like that, and the threat of outing posters which is quite disturbing and not very encouraging of attracting new and apprehensive posters who may have something to contribute too! The sabotage their own forum. Odd behaviour.

    Also, ask yourself why would someone who doesn’t even go to Rigpa, waste so much time online, defending an instiutution they know nothing about. Is it a game? Is it a troll? Is it someone with too much time on their hands, or someone with a vested interest in protecting the reputation of Rigpa, and given the backing to do so. (ie in terms of time) Professional, in other words.

    Enough nonsense for today, enjoy!

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  375. Talk to the hand, KateShiela!

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  376. Yes, very true, Sankappa re trollish behaviour and also DI’s looking people up. Though they get only the wheareabouts of a person. It’s cryptic comments like that, and the threat of outing posters which is quite disturbing and not very encouraging of attracting new posters who may have something to contribute too! (not). The sabotage their own forum. Odd behaviour.

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  377. felicity M, on February 15, 2013 at 8:58 am said:

    “…the Kate S and Shiela type…they may be different people, but the script is the same. Intellectual female, buddhist, rational, outsider -of Rigpa- therefore objective, and diametrically opposed to the student of Rigpa…need I go on.”

    Thank you much, I think this is correct. My whole point is that the opposing “type” is counter to this – non-intellectual, non-buddhist, non-rational, non-objective…

    So when you read in Behind the Thangkas that there has been a study by health professionals which confirms your view, you accept it without question. The fact that no study can be produced seriously undermines the credibility of the claims. Sogyal could not ask for better support than this transparently misleading yellow journalism.

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  378. felicity M, on February 15, 2013 at 8:58 am said:

    “…the Kate S and Shiela type…they may be different people, but the script is the same. Intellectual female, buddhist, rational, outsider -of Rigpa- therefore objective, and diametrically opposed to the student of Rigpa…need I go on.”

    Your assessment is spot on Felicity in regards to the KateS and Sheila profile. I noticed these similarities as well. I haven’t discounted they could be the same person yet though. It is very easy these days change your IP address by using a proxy setup. I did this during the Olympics so I could access the BBC website to watch the certain events live that were only available for UK residents. I’m not in the UK.

    I have absolutely no desire to get into a discussion with KateS though Felicity, although it would be easy to nail her down on much. I have learnt by Sheila’s pattern of engagement in the past – you pin them down on one thing, they then move onto creating another distraction by making other claims, you chase them on that, then a month later they are asking the original question again as if it hasn’t been addressed. Just Typical troll behaviour, really. If KateS is around long enough, odds-on this will be her modus operandi. Best not to even go there to start with. They will always make it attractive and tempting to engage I have found – see her last posts!

    You might be right about the stretched DI resources, although they do seem to have time to look-up our IP addresses to see who is who, etc

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  379. No words to say.

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  380. felicity M, on February 15, 2013 at 8:58 am said: “…read back through KateS posts, you will find a number of sweeping statements that she should be asked to prove. Things like ‘the buddhist world doesn’t believe this stuff’ etc. Aske her for the evidence.”

    You are joking right? If I said that, ‘the buddhist world doesn’t believe this stuff’ then you have a fair point. Maybe you should take a closer look at what I actually wrote?

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  381. p.s Sankappa, I believe DI don’t have the resources to moderate at all. I also think the unmoderated forum has pro’s and con’s. But the Rigpa scandal has been dominated by endless posts in quick succession by Bellab. Usually after someone has made a good point. I guess it is a good tactic. It literally hides it under the carpet.Something Rigpa has been particularly keen on doing. The script of Kate and Shiela is also ingenious bit of PR spin.

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  382. Sankappa, I think if you have the time to read back through KateS posts, you will find a number of sweeping statements that she should be asked to prove. Things like ‘the buddhist world doesn’t believe this stuff’ etc. Aske her for the evidence.

    Also, as much as Bellab is probably a PR stooge…sweet, cuddly, genuine???? so is the Kate S and Shiela type…they may be different people, but the script is the same. Intellectual female, buddhist, rational, outsider -of Rigpa- therefore objective, and diametrically opposed to the student of Rigpa…need I go on.

    I think the genuine student probably doesn’t come here, and if they do, leaves quickly, in fear, of being infected.Also, cos Bellab bores everybody. Also wholeheartedly agree that the lack of moderation and also the sometimes inflammatory comments of DI, or at the very least, cryptic and confused comments don’t aid a healthy forum.

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  383. Sankappa, I think you will find that the onus of proof is already tending far more towards the defence than normal. It also does look very likely that certain people are relying on exaggerations which through repetition become mistaken for the truth.

    As I said earlier. If there has been a study of SR’s sex-addict personality disorder by heathcare professionals as is the claim, then that would silence the detractors. Where can I find this study?

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  384. I have just reread my post above, and would like to clarify that it should read SOME Americans. In fact I am sure the majority of Americans believe there should be change to gun laws. It is just the scary bogey-man of the arms industry funded NRA that is the big hurdle for the Republican controlled House of Reps. Most thinking Americans can see this already. So no offence intended if any was taken.

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  385. It’s not just clogging up the threads, as I’m sure you’ll agree Joanne, but it’s the abuse directed towards others who are trying to highlight cultic abuse, that is the more serious issue. This has been something I’ve been pondering for a while now and I am beginning to think that by DI arguing the right to “free speech” in this case, is by way of an analogy, akin to how Americans are currently protecting their right to bear arms, and in so doing, placing the right of the individual above the greater societal good – a misguided principle getting in the way of common sense and greater human safety.

    Now I’m not saying that bellaB or any other troll for that matter, should be immediately banned from posting at DI, but it should be made clear to them when their comments are being directly inflammatory and offensive (E.G. casting doubt over people who have shared their personal accounts of Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa) or straight out calling them liars or “fantasists” where they have no evidence of this, or simply because they do not agree with their opinions. In fact, as this is a cult forum, the onus should be placed on the deniers of such accounts and claims, to refute such claims with evidence, and in a civil manner. Now, what I am advocating is by no means revolutionary policy, on the contrary it is the normal policy of many internet forums to apply a modicum of moderation, not just cult forums, where potential for trolling is greater.

    It would be good to hear the views and in particular, ideas and approaches t how this forum could be better moderated, by the regular posters here.

    So what say you DI (Mike Garde and themadhair) would you be amenable to modifying your current forum moderation policy?

    Regards,
    sankappa

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  386. They way I see it, it wouldn’t really matter if Bella was a “damage control agent for Rigpa” – it would probably improve the credibility of your argument if you did have a decent response to some of the issues raised which instead get repeatedly sidestepped.
    Any issues raised that fail to reinforce your point of view get ignored in favour of just trying to undermine that person’s credibility. We see posts referring to cases where abuse has been proven in a criminal court and the term “compassion for the abused” used in a totally uncritical manner. Yet even though there have been claims of assault and battery against SR there has been no criminal prosecution brought by the authorities.

    I read sentences like, “…relationship between guru and disciple is one of power and submission. People who seek guidance from a spiritual master want to believe what he or she tells them.”

    I would not describe my relationship with any of my Lamas in this way, in fact if I did, I would seriously question what I was doing there. Sankappa also speaks of this from the other side, having perceived a potentially controlling situation, he simply left. Joanne experienced something I can only describe as transference phenomenon, and apparently received exactly the same response from SR as she would from any ethical therapist.

    So Joanne writes, There are only two questions of any relevance here:
    1. Is SR engaging in multiple sexual relations with students?
    2. Are these relations damaging to students?
    There’s nothing more to discuss.

    My honest answer is that I really don’t know for sure. You were both in Rigpa for some months, yet cannot confirm this first hand. We’ve both looked at the allegations, clearly you have been swayed more than I have by these. Maybe I have missed something, but the image painted of this harem of sex slaves does not seem to match up to anything but a fantasy. I would imagine that if the problem were as rife as some seem to imagine, then we would be seeing a lot more evidence of it.

    How many women have actually come forward with claims to have had sex with SR?

    I also read, “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.”

    This would add a lot more credence to the argument, a number of health professionals who had direct experience openly giving their professional opinion. Who are they? Why can I not find anything from them about this? Do they even exist?

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  387. Yes, Sankappa. What I see is that her content is mostly nonsense, but her strategical impact is quite skillful. Even if we ignore her, the thread becomes clogged up and the discussion is hampered.

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  388. Yes, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” also, Felicity. And here is another good example of this, below:

    bellaB, on February 11, 2013 at 8:51 am said:

    ““while I got the idea that there is actually something hinky going on at Rigpa because of something BellaB wrote!”

    So, what did I write? I am not representing Rigpa. I’m just a student. A student of one decade that has done her own search on the matter within Rigpa.”

    It is interesting that KateS was in no way implying that bellaB was a “damage control agent for Rigpa” by her comment. But notice bellaB’s very defensive response to this by way of a denial of representing Rigpa. Suspicious? I think so.

    Of course this is extremely hard to prove, but it’s crossed my mind more than a dozen times over the years, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be the only one. I have a very strong gut feeling on this, and I think we should definitely not discount this as being the case.

    Let’s consider a few more things: We now know through vajrakilaya’s and Yeshe Drolma’s accounts that Rigpa is using “re-education” to shape and curb opinion within Rigpa in regards to the mounting claims around Sogyal Rinpoche’s behaviour, so it’s no great stretch that they wouldn’t try to shape public opinion via a forum. It’s also very hard to believe, that someone who has been around these claims for so long could not show at least a hint of empathy or compassion for the abused, particularly one claiming to be on a serious spiritual path. It’s just not credible.

    Also, notice the spamming-like quality of bellaB’s posts. You will often see paragraphs of rather incoherent waffle, shunted out within a very short space of time, one after another, like they have been written beforehand. Often the content will relate to matters that were brought up some time ago and not be part of the current discussion. It’s like there has been a directive to bellaB to just get “volume” out there to counter the accusers.

    All very suspect, is my intuition; and to use one of Sheila’s terms, just a little bit “hinky.” Incidentally, “hinky” is a not too common term in my experience, and one that I’ve heard used by only one other person; that is, you guessed it, KateS (but that’s another potentially ugly can of worms).

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  389. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/13/michael-brewer-rncm-teachers-story-martin-roscoe

    Relevant in so far as it shows what can happen to the person who stands up and protests against sexualising a relationship with a student. This man is particularly worthy of praise, he gave up his job in protest, and on behalf of females who had been sexually compromised by lascivious and powerful men.

    May there be more men like him who speak out.

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  390. ‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks’.

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  391. I’m not pressured at all. Why would I be? I have been alone and in worse places than this web page. I’m not that weak. I also have like minded friends, so I don’t feel alone, if that is what you are worried about or want me to deel? I have said before that if I see BS, I will correct it.

    If some woman has sex with SR voluntarily, why is it away from you? Rigpa insiders accept… You don’t know if any or many women have sex with SR these days.

    Stop believing these wild rumors that Finnigan spreads. SHE hasn’t been in Rigpa for 35-40 years. Just because she repeats the same for decades and in many web pages (victims could fill the Royal Albert Hall) doesn’t mean that it is true. (I bet V. Barlow in her disappointment has talked so much BS to Finnigan, that that BS would fill the RAH.) MF wants to believe in all her crazy stories, but are you stupid enough to believe her too?

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  392. r u on skype bella? so we can help you see them?

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  393. Feeling the pressure Bella, no one engaging with your game. Everything goes back to the great satan Mary Finnigan. She made sr do it.

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  394. “And Kate, years ago, a therapist told me the story of the time that that group of Western psychotherapists went to India to see HH Dalai Lama. (it’s a well known story). They told His Holiness about the many cases of sexual abuse (and other abuses) committed by Western TB lamas. When they had finished with their report, His Holiness put his head down and wept.”

    Did this therapist tell you that story in person? I have read it long before I met you online in the internet. Maybe you just met the same person? I have no doubt HHDL would have wept though.

    “His Holiness talks frequently about the problems with false lamas in the West and in China– he says some lamas are only seeking money and sex. He advises students to be more careful in choosing their lama and avoid those lamas.”

    Yes: one should. You should visit Taiwan, where the lama (monks) business flourishes, because they do make a lot of money there, because of Taiwanese families want them to pray for the dead. On the other hand lamas in Indian refugee settlements are poor as hell, so I really don’t mind.

    SR cannot be compared with these lamas seeking ways to survive as refugees. Lamas in this contexts can also mean all common monks.

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  395. Joanne, on February 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm said:

    “Great article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/world/asia/zen-buddhists-roiled-by-accusations-against-teacher.html?pagewanted=all&_r=4&amp&”

    I agree it is a good article, it takes into account the relationship rather than just obsessing about the individuals,
    “in the United States many proponents have a “devotion to the guru or the teacher in a way that could repress our common sense and emotional intelligence.””

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  396. “On the other hand, those commenters who come forth with their stories– and there are more and more coming forth– write in ways that exude authenticity and pain.”

    Could you please SHOW these women?

    I haven’t seen any, except maybe one. But that was a brief story. I’m not convinced in her case either that SR wanted to abuse her. He has great faith in the nature of mind and it’s healing powers. I think that he was trying to communicate that to her, but the attempt was not successful.

    In your case Joanne, I really see no point in feeding your need for empathy here… it will be endless journey. I think therapy is the answer and the bond you will create with the therapist. I just want to keep you real, since at least a decade has passed, so in my opinion you are hopefully not in sore state now. I just think you need realism too. I have thought all the time that you missed a lot of content of teachings and now blame Rigpa for not giving you the kind of support you would have needed. It’s just not the right address, if one is psychotic.

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  397. “As for the first, Rigpa and most Rigpa loyalists don’t deny that SR is sexually very active. His group of so called “dakinis”, those beautiful women in their twenties who attend to his every need and stay very close to him, are seen by many. The fact that they are sexually involved with SR is accepted by Rigpa insiders. There’s no official denial of that fact coming from Riga.”

    Congrats for clarifying your faith in Finnigan’s mad blog. Easy comes, easy goes… seems like you are VERY gullible for a woman of 47 years old. Still.

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  398. “The main claim is that he is using his spiritual authority and responsibility of fiduciary care to satisfy his (huge) sexual appetite. That’s the claim.”

    That is the claim by Finnigan! Alert now.

    You should see REALLY how much he works, daily, just like any lama.

    It’s all in your heads. Maybe you have some serious issues with your own sexuality. I begin to think that way.

    Like Joanne is thinking as if she knew ANYTHING about him. Joanne, you know nothing: it’s just your own feelings. You spent zero hours alone with him.

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  399. “that SR is teaching false dharma.” This is pretty much my assessment also, and relates directly to my initial anger with being involved with Rigpa and upon learning the whole organisation was predicated on deception. So it is the spiritual deception that I was hurt and angered by with my very first contact with the Dharma – much confusion and a sense of betrayal on my initial spiritual quest. This sense of spiritual betrayal and confusion is now coming to the fore as a big issue with many who have left and are currently leaving Rigpa, and a great deal more painful for those who were enmeshed there for much longer than I was.”

    That I must say I really don’t understand at all. I have very little doubts that other lamas consider Dharma taught by him in any way false.

    Sounds like you, Sankappa, have your own Dharma, or serious misconceptions or narrow view which is not very useful at the end.

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  400. Elephants perhaps in regard to memory

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  401. Have you all read Tenzin’s latest post? I think it’s helpful to see others struggling with the same issues we struggle with– and for longer! Sometimes we can see things clearer from a distance perhaps. Great article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/world/asia/zen-buddhists-roiled-by-accusations-against-teacher.html?pagewanted=all&_r=4&amp&

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  402. LOL at DI, haven’t you heard of aeroplanes :)

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  403. Just a clarification whoever Kate is she is not Sheila unless there has been a major geographical shift.
    Also note your comment cycles. I am enjoying the IP’s and get to look you up but it says behind a closed door
    Bye

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  404. Joanne, on February 12, 2013 at 10:26 pm said:

    “Nope, Kate/Sheila, I’m not going back around that bush. No more. Enough said. Done.”

    +1

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  405. Nope, Kate/Sheila, I’m not going back around that bush. No more. Enough said. Done.

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  406. Also, less than a month ago on this thread https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/rigpa-cult-practice-testimonies/

    we find – Joanne, on January 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm said:

    “My concern is that in the testimonies that are coming forward, there is no clarity about samaya. Both women spoke of a fear of vajra hell. They spoke of an increase in teachings on samaya and devotion in Rigpa. There is a lack of confidence. At the moment, if people can’t find that initial courage to question and doubt, in fear of breaking samaya, they won’t discover any alternatives. This is where help is most needed from mainstream Tibetan Buddhists I believe.”

    and in the piece to which that comment was addressed, I’m not sure who the author was, it says,

    “It is no longer about one man’s sex life, nor is it just about the women who are in these affairs, some of whom feel abused and some of whom don’t. It is a situation where secondary abuse is occurring, probably on a large scale”

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  407. I understand totally what you are saying here Joanne. It raises quite a few issues.

    First – Your own account of events does not address these two issues, in fact, if we discount all the testimony that does not address these two issues, then why is Rigpa on a cult forum? If the only issue is SR having sex with his students, then does that mean that his “elite group of enablers” are in no way implicated?

    If one of the mechanisms enabling this abuse is the misinformation about enlightenment through sex, broken samaya, and vajra hells viewed on the totally non-dharmic level of selves, then who is promoting this garbage? Would it not also be wise to redress this with the correct information?

    Second – there seems to be quite a large gap between some claims and others. The Janice Doe case included accusations about infliction of emotional distress, breach of fiduciary duty, as well as assault and battery.
    Equally you wrote earlier about sex in regard to power imbalance as if there already existed clearly defined boundaries about what is and isn’t appropriate. In the real world there is almost always a power imbalance in sexual relationships, and in fact many women seek out politicians and famous, powerful men prescisely for this reason.
    You also seem to be grouping all spiritual leaders together as if that was unproblematic. Should the Pope be considered equal to a lay preacher? Should a teacher of meditation be considered equal to the Dalai Lama?
    What if I only teach my partner, can we still have sex? or if I teach ten people, or 50, or 100, at what point do we draw the line?

    No doubt it sounds silly to you, but do you, or our society as a whole have clear answers to these questions?

    As regards SR. Rigpa is a Dzogchen term, does SR wear a crown or robes to indicate he is special in this way? Apparently SR doesn’t even give initiations anyway – two reasons to think that he cannot really be included in the bracket you see him in.
    If he just happens to be the head of a large organisation who is also famous, then is this good reason?
    If the women who seem to want to have sex with him are being mislead, then who is misleading them?

    I personally feel that these issues need to be clarified and discussed, both for the sake of clarity, and for the sake of those at risk.

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  408. Thank you, Tiger Lily– let us hope there really is a shift in this upcoming year, the shift we are all sensing.

    And thank you, Sankappa for your sane words about ethics and dharma.

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  409. And the third question is, why does Rigpa resort to a pathetic policy of coverup?
    To my mind what we are seeing in this Sangha in particular and a number of others, is not true Vajrayana. It is a display of the cult of the degenerate Lama, corrupted by money, sex or power. Even genuine Lamas who do not behave disgracefully, are tainted by their association with Sogyal and Rigpa.
    The very precious nature of the self-secrecy of the Vajrayana Path is vilely distorted into secrecy about the Lama’s behaviour.
    Disappointed Educoist, Joanne, Sankappa, Angie, Felicity, you give me hope for the future of Tibetan Buddhism in the West.

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  410. And Kate, years ago, a therapist told me the story of the time that that group of Western psychotherapists went to India to see HH Dalai Lama. (it’s a well known story). They told His Holiness about the many cases of sexual abuse (and other abuses) committed by Western TB lamas. When they had finished with their report, His Holiness put his head down and wept.

    His Holiness talks frequently about the problems with false lamas in the West and in China– he says some lamas are only seeking money and sex. He advises students to be more careful in choosing their lama and avoid those lamas.

    Kate, he does not advise them to practice nonduality or nonattachment while having sex with their lamas! He does not advise them to turn the other way! He does not promote promiscuity in our dharma centers! He does not talk about accepting unethical behaviors in our lamas.

    He says to be careful.

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  411. Excellent post Joanne. you have hit the nail squarely on the head. What you a posting on this thread is not only relevant to those in Rigpa but in other groups as well.

    It is easy to say after the fact about Jimmy Saville KateS. Why did no one come forward in his lifetime then?

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  412. Do you hear, Kate–? There are only two questions of any relevance here:
    1. Is SR engaging in multiple sexual relations with students?

    2. Are these relations damaging to students?

    There’s nothing more to discuss. Nothing.

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  413. Kate, you are obviously very new to this trouble and have some serious gaps in your knowledge.

    One of the difficulties here, and it is a difficulty common to all instances of clergy abuse as well, is that there are no clear crimes evident– as there were in the instance of Jimmy Saville. There are no stories of SR having sex with minors for example– and only a few instances of assault being involved. The main claim is that he is using his spiritual authority and responsibility of fiduciary care to satisfy his (huge) sexual appetite. That’s the claim.

    So the discussion has 2 dimensions: 1. Is SR engaging in multiple sexual relations with students?; and 2. Are these relations damaging to students?

    As for the first, Rigpa and most Rigpa loyalists don’t deny that SR is sexually very active. His group of so called “dakinis”, those beautiful women in their twenties who attend to his every need and stay very close to him, are seen by many. The fact that they are sexually involved with SR is accepted by Rigpa insiders. There’s no official denial of that fact coming from Riga.

    In fact, there’s no statement coming from Rigpa about this situation at all– except for that brief claim on the Canadian documentary website that SR cares about his students and would never do anything to harm them. Do you hear? There’s NO statement. Yet Bella goes on and on about liars. Which are the lies?

    Perhaps Bella is saying that women are lying about the harm that having sex with SR has caused them. In that case, she needs to be having her discussion with Western psychologists. They are the ones who have the most to say about whether these relations cause harm or not. THE JURY IS NOT OUT FOR THEM, Kate– the risk for abuse is simply too high for sexual relations between a spiritual teacher and his/her student to be condoned. The power imbalance is too great– women don’t have a clear right of refusal– and the risk of betrayal is simply too high. This is an accepted fact, the main gist of Scott Edelstein’s book in fact– and I’ve researched it in peer reviewed articles myself.

    It is also an accepted fact that churches will go through years and years of silly denial before an instance of clergy sexual abuse comes fully to light and is properly dealt with. Reading these stories of those troubled churches is the same as reading these threads on Rigpa. Rigpa supporters on these threads are simply doing exactly what churches do when their pastor crosses boundaries– deny deny deny.

    If your read the comments with any care and diligence, Kate, you will see one consistent fact. Comments by the Rigpa insiders such as Bella are long, convoluted, nonsensical and they always miss the main points. They are also frequently mean spirited and cruel to those who have come forth exposing emotional pain.

    On the other hand, those commenters who come forth with their stories– and there are more and more coming forth– write in ways that exude authenticity and pain.

    This is so very typical of what women had to endure in the past with stories of rape. I think it is vital, because of the seriousness of sexual abuse to the victim, to give these testimonies the benefit of a doubt. I think it is imperative that these women’s voices be heard.

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  414. Ok Sankappa, I found it. It’s interesting that you mention some wonderful people, but what you describe as an “elite inner circle of enablers, typical to cult organisations”.

    I do wonder why there is not more focus on these people, it seems that no “successful” cult can function without such individuals.

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  415. I’m not doubting your time at Rigpa, and I must’ve missed your previous posts. I am interested in specifics, like when you say false dharma, what in particular are you talking about? I’m not asking for my benefit alone, nor to try to prove or disprove anything, simply for information so people know just what warning signs to look for.

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  416. The funny thing is, Disappointed Educoist, that I find the Jimmy Saville story totally believable, unsurprising in fact.

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  417. I see you are doubting my time at Rigpa KateS. I’m not surprised; you are doubting far greater and more important aspects relating to Sogyal and the abuse at Rigpa. Anyway it’s all there amongst the threads of my experience of Rigpa. If you take the time to go and find them, you may by default learn more of other accounts of abuse. But will it make any difference if and when you do find my accounts and commentary? Will it change your mind on anything? I think we both know the answer to that question. KateS you came in on day one with an agenda, and now that you have made it clear where you stand, I don’t see any point really trying to convince you further. I do appreciate though that you were eventually up front in doing this and also that we agree on one significant point, that you believe ” … that SR is teaching false dharma.” This is pretty much my assessment also, and relates directly to my initial anger with being involved with Rigpa and upon learning the whole organisation was predicated on deception. So it is the spiritual deception that I was hurt and angered by with my very first contact with the Dharma – much confusion and a sense of betrayal on my initial spiritual quest. This sense of spiritual betrayal and confusion is now coming to the fore as a big issue with many who have left and are currently leaving Rigpa, and a great deal more painful for those who were enmeshed there for much longer than I was.

    So KateS I don’t really see the point of engaging much further with you here, particularly as the accounts are mounting as we speak of people leaving Rigpa and making it clearly known why they are doing so, and you want to ignore this because you have a predetermined agenda.

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  418. “sankappa, on February 12, 2013 at 10:35 am said:

    Does that mean because you “sticked around in Rigpa for more than 1 or 2 retreats” that you are not including yourself in the most intelligent group?”

    Hehe. Even though you all think that I’m narcissist, I have to tell you that I’m not THAT narcissist. I can also see what arguments people make. One sided view is never too intelligent.

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  419. I always find it most interesting that it is hardest to convince other women when sexual abuse or grooming has been happening. If you didn’t see it doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening.

    If you couldn’t get an audience don’t assume that others didn’t get an audience.

    I was shocked when I heard about the sexual abuse of women in a group I was involved in. I hadn’t witnessed it initially but I became very aware over the years just how much had been taking place. The same techniques were used against women who were being groomed they were informed it was good for their spiritual development.

    This kind of behavior does happen and the minders of these abusers have a hand in protecting them from the consequences.

    Felicity’s comments about it is easier for the complainent to walk away are true. Unless you have the stomach and money for a long hard fight to get justice and the case into the public arena where more times than not many others start to come forward. Just take a look at the Jimmy Saville case. How many people would have believed this if he was still alive? Not many I would have thought. His public persona was perceived to be a large supporter of charity and had a bit of a god like aura surrounding him. It is so easy to dismiss the claims of women who have been abused as being deluded or having psychiatric problems. It is the oldest trick in the book to get these women to go away.

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  420. If it were really so easy to get close to SR so soon, it would seem just as easy to gather evidence on a mobile phone or hidden recording device.
    My experience of cults is that they don’t really work that way and given the accusations I would imagine a degree of paranoia that would make it really difficult to achieve this. On the other hand, if there is this wall of protection and paranoia from the inner circle, then that is also a cause for concern.
    I am hearing the suggestion that both of these could be true, but very little to back that up.
    I am having trouble imagining that while it is easy for newcomers to gain that level of access, they are so well vetted as to make the organisation so completely watertight. Again, if that is the case then there must be an extremely effective but quite blatant group controlling this security.
    Experience tells me that both of these two aspects cannot both be true, and certainly not without being so obvious as to provide a lot more evidence for these claims.

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  421. Angie, on February 12, 2013 at 10:38 am said:

    “I will simplfy it for you KateS. Women guided by their intuition are walking away from Rigpa. This is the reality! Women are speaking out about it because there is need for change. No argument from you or insults from BellaB will make any difference.”

    I accept this totally Angie, but I think the question of what changes need to be made requires a bit more focus than I currently see from certain (although not all) people posting here.

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  422. Sankappa, what is funny is, even though you claim to have first hand experience, and I have made it very clear where the holes in your argument lie, which would seem to put you in a perfect position to address those issues, instead you try to undermine our credibility.

    Instead of the smoke/fire metaphor, I prefer the cliche that if you throw enough mud then some of it will stick. Unfortunately this results in both parties covered in mud. In other words, your reluctance to disclose what you know, and to address the issues I make me question why that is.

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  423. I will simplfy it for you KateS. Women guided by their intuition are walking away from Rigpa. This is the reality! Women are speaking out about it because there is need for change. No argument from you or insults from BellaB will make any difference.

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  424. Does that mean because you “sticked around in Rigpa for more than 1 or 2 retreats” that you are not including yourself in the most intelligent group?

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  425. The bellaB comedy hour. I bet your not even aware of just how funny you are bella. You are seroiusly cracking me up… hahaha

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  426. There are 4 types of people here:

    a) the lynch mob, of whom hardly anybody has any valid own experiences, just pure faith in the gossip.

    b) victims of their own circumstances. They view the world through a trauma, which colors things they see and their ability to see.

    c) Sheila, KateS, who have no experience in Rigpa, but who have had teachings on Dharma and they have broader perspective

    d) I seem to be the only one at present who has sticked around in Rigpa for more than 1 or 2 retreats. I don’t take gossip at a face value, especially when testimonies are what they are.

    Then when people don’t belong to the lynch mob or the victim mentality group, they are told to be quiet.

    If there is an investigation going on, then all kinds of views should be included. If different views are not studied and investigated, then it’s a cult like lynch mob, of which the lynch mob is accusing Rigpa about.

    I find the most stupid group to be the group A. The most intelligent group is the C.

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  427. Joanne, you can testify from your OWN experience that you were not allowed near SR. How do you think that some other would have been allowed?

    “newcomers–some women have reported being seduced after being with Rigpa only a short time. Women also reported being “groomed” and reported being told that sex with SR would help them achieve enlightenment.”

    The above is Finnigan and Barlow BS, written again and again all over internet. I ask you to stop taking this junk at a face value.

    Mimi/Janine was most likely a special case. His father knew SR in advance so that is the only reason she was able to start working in Rigpa. She went on working for 3 years… without telling her father what went on. I find it a bit strange. I wouldn’t be able to hold any secret that long. I am quite sure her father had a clue, if he was not completely blind, but only got angry after his daughter didn’t like to be in her position anymore.

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  428. About new comers…

    “If we are only talking about newcomers to the group, how is it possible that they would get sucked in so easily?”

    That is the problem. I have no idea what the scene has been 35-40 years ago, when Finnigan had anything to do with SR.

    The time I’ve spent in Rigpa, like Joanne can confirm it too, it’s not easy, but almost impossible to get an audience with him. The organization has a structure. Once I had a question (not terribly personal, but important anyway), so I got to meet him for 2 minutes in the presence of his attendant, a nun and my friend. One other time I asked him about my practice. Firstly I talked with a close worker and then she helped me to ask that question in person in front of the retreat audience. Both of these events were not even close to a scene where anykind of intimacy would have been possible.

    I don’t believe any of these stories of new comers and a structure that lures people in. In my experience it is the opposite and feels like his privacy is very well protected: people are not allowed very close before they have already worked there for a long time, and have been known by other workers too.

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  429. Sankappa, don’t waste your time. K came here with a fixed agenda, though she tried to hide it, with waffle and mind games. There should be an ignore function on this site. However, for entertainment value, she scores higher than Bellab. A welcome change, but a bit too similiar to a previous poster -same old, same old.

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  430. I did no such thing. Just because your argument has more holes than swiss cheese has no bearing whatsoever on my opinion of SR.

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  431. How did I know your were going to say that KateS. Your like a Sheila MKII version. I pretty much saw this on day one, as did others.

    I’d say you have bought the line lock, stock and barrel of a particular Tibetan Buddhist clique, that has put the wagons in a circle around Sogyal Rinpoche. Just like good ole boys do

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  432. If your idea of justice is based soley upon the cliche that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” then I hope you can see the problem here.

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  433. I hear you Felicity. It’s more a the law than justice!

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  434. The fact that she was paid off does not speak well for either party, and as I repeat, this does not expose the truth of the matter.

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  435. Sankappa, most cases of allegations of abuse in any walk of life, are usually met with disbelief. None more so, than in the case of a powerful man who the finger points at. There again, if a minor points the finger at an adult, there is still a tendency to disbelieve the minor. I came across a court case (in the 80’s) where a Judge summed up the case (a man had sexually abused a 5 yr old) saying he believed the child had flirted and led the man on, and therefore was not at fault.

    Less dramatic cases still have the power to shock me. There is still a huge tendency to believe the person who holds the rein of power. Evidence of this is hitting our newspapers all the time. Claims of liars and fantasists will not go away easily. It is much easier for a complainant to walk away and close the door on the abuse than to stand up to it.

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  436. Perhaps you should go and have a word with Tenzin Peljor. He has know doubts about the veracity of the claims. He is very cautious with this stuff before allowing claims to be posted. You can see this in the case of a recent poster called Casimir, whereby he could not verify his claims and as a result would not allow names of Lamas to be used.

    Of course I’m sure you are aware of the Jane Doe case that was settled out of court in the US, but perhaps like Sheila, you also believe this was all a beat-up. I find it amazing that even when the smokes so thick and people are choking that they are willing to believe there is still no fire.

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  437. Yes, but there would seem to have to be countless other factors involved. As I said in my response to BellaB above, for me it does seem that something is amiss in Rigpa to the extent that I would personally avoid becoming a member there. But this is not because of the claims and counter claims of abuse about which I am unsure where exactly the truth lies.
    Joanne’s testimony does not rely on claims of sexual abuse, however in discussion with Joanne I am having trouble understanding exactly what went on there. It seems that due to the nature of her experience being traumatic for her, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what the issues were for her. One example of this is that she does not seem to have a clear idea about what was being taught, what she learnt, who gives the empowerments, etc. but whether this is down to Rigpa, or down to her state of mind, or down to the individuals in her specific group, or whether it was deliberately disorienting or just a general confusion on the part of the whole sangha, I can’t quite work out yet.

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  438. Exactly as I thought she thought. Thanks Kate, I’ll give you this you play a long game. You must have a lot of spare time on your hands.

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  439. But as the Dalia Lama made very clear, if abuse is occurring, make it known. And as a practitioner of the Dharma I don’t want to see others come to grief in the name of Dharma. I guess too, that this gets down to whether you see this as gossip or Appropriate Speech.

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  440. That is why I am saying that focusing exclusively on the issue of abuse here may not necessarily be the best indicator. Of course this would change were any legal charges to be proven.

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  441. ok, but I’m not in the business of making a case. I am in the same position of the majority of people hearing about this second-hand. As you bring up the ethical aspect of Buddhism, the paramitas instruct us to avoid indulging in gossip, which may well explain the current response from many Tibetan Buddhists on this matter.

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  442. Thanks KateS for stating clearly your position. I guess that not having any direct experience with Rigpa though, you are at a real disadvantage in making your case.

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  443. sankappa, on February 12, 2013 at 7:10 am said: “it is very well established that abuse is occurring”

    A lot of people including you say this, but isn’t it being contested, both on the discussions here and in the organisation itself?
    From the point of view of someone who has no idea, when I hear the idea that these are false claims, with no actual legal conviction I have no other way of knowing for sure short of bursting in SR’s bedroom door.

    I can tell you very clearly that within the Tibetan Buddhist community, many do not take these claims at face value, to put it coloquially, the jury is still out.
    I have tried to outline why I think that is, and suggest alternative areas of enquiry. As I said, I believe that the idea that SR is teaching false dharma which leads to neurosis would actually impact more than unsubstantiated accusations.

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  444. That’s OK, but really no thanks necessary.

    I am not really sure about Guardian readers,not being one myself. But I do understand that they have fairly high journalistic standards, in as sea of shoddy journalism, which is a good thing.

    But KateS, how does all of what you are saying relate to abuse of students by Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa, which these threads pertain to?

    From my understanding and direct experience with Rigpa and the many accounts (and counting) from ex-Rigpa students, it is very well established that abuse is occurring. So are you trying to make the highly improbable claim that the many of us have misunderstood what’s actually happening, and this is all down to our ignorance of what is and isn’t Realised Lama behaviour, and that we have got it all wrong?

    I think you need to state clearly now your position on this matter.

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  445. Thanks Sankappa for the evaluative assessment, I was simply pointing out that a Lama’s credibility may be based upon different criteria according to the levels of realisation and values of those observing.

    I wonder if claims of rule breaking, which might be more important to, for example Guardian readers, may be having less impact on those with a different set of values.

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  446. KateS, you are correct in what you say that “Firstly there is the underlying aim of dharma practice which could be described as moving away from obsessiveness.” Yes agreed, and as dispassion arises to sensual desire/aversion there is a natural momentum and tendency to move away from our habitual and obsessive patterns of thought, speech and action. However, to suggest that “This is reflected in the progression of the paths, so what might appear as strict rules at one level become more relaxed guidelines at another” is an incorrect view. Ethical conduct is never “relaxed.” Perhaps what you misapprehend is the realisation that ethical conduct alone is not sufficient to progress and this then requires modification of View and Intention (Wisdom) in conjunction with Samadhi, as a necessary evolution. Ethical conduct though (relaxation of strict rules as you say) remains as an unaltered foundation. I see how this particular aspect is exploited by certain “gurus” to justify their “crazy wisdom” when in reality it is just them behaving badly, or as Joanne correctly alludes to “where one is instructed to see the teacher as a perfect Buddha…”

    Also, “This is an idea that we in the west might have difficulty with, again coming back to the idea of the clash of cultures between the West and Tibet.” You seem to imply by this comment that this is somehow a failure on the West’s part. On the contrary this is a healthy and positive aspect that will enable us have some control of how we would like the Dharma to integrate here. In fact, anything that has a cultural attachment or contingency, in my view is not actually Dharma. Put another way, there should be no pressure or incumbency on us to have to adopt unacceptable cultural mores to go with our dharma.

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  447. To put it another way, when you say, “one is instructed to see the teacher as a perfect Buddha, to see all his actions as flawless.” I think the idea of “crazy wisdom” that can result from this needs to be put in context.

    When we see rules being broken, we tend to ask if there is a loophole, which is effectively another rule which allows the first to be broken. This is very black and white, legal style, obsessing about absolute rules.

    So people object to the idea of crazy wisdom because it seems like a free pass to do anything. We get the standard line that we cannot judge enlightened activity if we are not enlightened ourselves.

    But although this looks like a catch 22, in fact we just provided a way of assessing what constiutes enlightened activity – it is exactly the opposite of black and white obsessing about rules. In other words, enlightened activity is shown to be free from neurosis.

    That is why in my opinion it is missing the point to say that a crazy wisdom lama is breaking the rules, because his loyal followers will always use the get out line. What is really needed is to examine the degree of neurosis.

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  448. Joanne, on February 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm said:

    “Also, Kate, if you want to talk about the vajrayana, which is the only area of Buddhism where sexual relations between a spiritual teacher and student play any significant part, this is also the area of Buddhism where one is instructed to see the teacher as a perfect Buddha, to see all his actions as flawless. Is that what you would advise?”

    As the claims about SR’s sexual activity is not about this then no.

    Firstly there is the underlying aim of dharma practice which could be described as moving away from obsessiveness. This is reflected in the progression of the paths, so what might appear as strict rules at one level become more relaxed guidelines at another. This is an idea that we in the west might have difficulty with, again coming back to the idea of the clash of cultures between the West and Tibet.

    Really what I was thinking about was the rationale behind such behaviour revealed in the structure of the organisation and the teachings, and which is usually far more tangible as evidence of cult activity than the specific behaviour itself.

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  449. You’ll have to ask someone else for info on how Rigpa works. I was never in a Dzogchen group. I don’t even think they existed back then. I never practiced Dzogchen, but did my Ngondro in the Kagyu tradition and then have been studying with HH Dalai Lama for the past 7 years. Studying has given me insight into how very very little I know of the dharma and how very very much there is to know.

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  450. Thanks Joanne, that does clarify several things for me.

    One thing I’m unclear about though, maybe I misread, but I thought you said you chose to be in the Dzogchen group. Am I being mislead by the name or did you actually practice Dzogchen?

    Also, how does Rigpa work if SR rarely gives initiations?

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  451. Also, Kate, if you want to talk about the vajrayana, which is the only area of Buddhism where sexual relations between a spiritual teacher and student play any significant part, this is also the area of Buddhism where one is instructed to see the teacher as a perfect Buddha, to see all his actions as flawless. Is that what you would advise?

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  452. First Kate, I never mentioned the three mandalas.

    Next, of course, we are not only talking about newcomers, but about some newcomers–some women have reported being seduced after being with Rigpa only a short time. Women also reported being “groomed” and reported being told that sex with SR would help them achieve enlightenment. Women also reported being surprised by SR’s advances– e.g. few of these women came to Rigpa looking for sex, a boyfriend, a husband, a lover, a father or a mother. Certainly, contrary to Bella’s nonsense, I was not looking for any of those things– they never crossed my mind (e.g. he doesn’t inspire those particular emotions!)

    How is it possible that these women would get sucked in so easily? I tell you, I don’t know that answer, but I know that these women are not stupid or naive or silly or liers. They might be vulnerable, they might be searching– but aren’t all of us who come to the dharma searching and vulnerable? The first of the Four Noble Truths is recognition of suffering– recognizing that one is suffering and needs help.

    So then there’s SR, distant and famous and somewhat mysterious and unorthodox, presenting himself as the one with the answers, a high tulku– and some of us then make the mistake of believing he can be trusted to know how we should proceed. Yes, it’s a mistake– but so is walking out alone before being raped. It does not excuse the rapist!

    And I tell you that I only found my answers when I left Rigpa and sought them in pure dharma, as taught by HH Dalai Lama. And I tell you that Dharma is helpful if one is vulnerable and searching, very helpful.

    Because there’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable and searching!

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  453. Thanks Joanne, I’m not entirely sure of the structure, you mentioned the three mandalas, which I took to be teaching sutra, tantra, and Dzogchen respectively.

    One question this does raise for me is whether these are newcomers, or whether there is as Angie suggests, the possibility of what she calls “grooming” – although my own experiences of this sort of group would suggest it is as much about peer pressure and the group dynamic, as I suggested in my response to Bella, the reports do seem to suggest that a lot of people want to ingratiate themselves by serving their Lama.

    If we are only talking about newcomers to the group, how is it possible that they would get sucked in so easily?

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  454. Kate, if you’re talking about the vajrayana, then surely this doesn’t apply to those women who have only been in Rigpa for a short time, are very new to the dharma and might not even have received initiation (e.g. SR rarely, if ever, gives initiation).

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  455. Sankappa, you’re old-fashioned, but I take your point.
    I think there is a tendency to take a baseline of misconduct on the Buddhist path to be defined by a sutrayana view. That is one viewpoint, and you may well have a case to argue for that.
    In Tibetan Buddhism there are other paths which variously attempt to transform or simply let go of the poisons, rather than follow the rules about renunciation found in the sutrayana.
    As we are dealing here with those other paths, although you may have a valid point about the rules on misconduct, it is made more complex and more easily understood when seen in terms of those other paths. This does however make it a lot harder to make those same baseline judgements about it.

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  456. Felicity, on February 11, 2013 at 8:51 am said: “Kate, you haven’t answered my question: But what of the sexual predator, is he exempt from responsibility?”

    The term “sexual predator” conjures up images somewhere between Cassanova and Jack the Ripper. If a crime has been committed then I think the responsibility for that is on the shoulders of the justice system. What I mean is that we can’t expect such an individual to take responsibility for themselves in such cases, so we have to resort to blame instead.

    I try to not hold onto any sympathies, nor any sentiment, or take any side, as I said in regard to Edelstiens comments, I see that as unproductive.

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  457. bellaB, on February 11, 2013 at 8:51 am said: “So, what did I write? I am not representing Rigpa. I’m just a student. A student of one decade that has done her own search on the matter within Rigpa.”

    It’s just a general overall impression I got when reading through the comments. I think you mentioned the way that women used to throw themselves at him like he was a movie star.
    Sogyal seems to attract people with boundary issues, and seems to have his own boundary issues. These relationships do not seem comparable to something like the ones between Tilopa, Marpa, and Milarepa, which themselves would be problematic in our modern times.

    I have difficulty seeing the people that frantically run around for him, or put his socks on for him as gaining any realisation or as having a pure motivation, and he does not challenge them on that. Some of the descriptions of his behaviour tells me that he is quite unhappy and a bit frustrated at having so many sycophants clamouring for his attention, and he doesn’t seem to know just how to deal with that.
    I also get the impression that the people that make the best progress in Rigpa are those not so close to the centre of the mandala, people such as yourself.

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  458. “Most of what I have read about him points to a man who is a sexual opportunist.”

    Aren’t most men? I don’t think that HE is like that though. Don’t believe the crap Madam Finnigan has written all over the internet.

    “a sexual predator” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_predator

    It’s best if you get to know SR instead believing all kinds of BS you read on line. I can’t believe this stuff.

    What are those thousands of men in bars looking for company? All predators? I find SR to be quite different from them (actually completely different). Hunting grounds are words from Finnigan. Don’t believe all what you read, even if you read it a hundred times.

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  459. I wish Tiger Lily and Vera success with their venture.

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  460. Kate and Sankhappa, you need to read Scott Edelstein’s book. I have read most of it and was left in no doubt that he views sexual relations between spiritual teachers and their students as potentially very harmful– he even goes so far as to question the merit of (chaste) marriages between student and teacher, citing some examples of how that has gone sour. His perspective is broad and deep, however, and he does address those ambiguities which students find themselves in when they discover that their (kind, compassionate) teacher is having sex with students. He refuses to take a black and white approach to this problem. I recommend the book highly. It’s excellent and he has added much to the discussion.

    Disappointed Educoist, I believe most will agree that Buddhism is definitely a religion, one of the world’s major religions. HH Dalai Lama often talks of the three approaches of Buddhism, however– the science, the philosophy and the religion of Buddhism– this might be what you’re referring to.

    Angie, definitely women are needing to talk together about all of these issues and they are needing to do it in a very safe, private space. This is why Tiger Lily and Vera have been working very hard to investigate ways that this can be achieved. Those two tireless workers and compassionate women have my deepest respect and admiration!

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  461. At the risk of stating the obvious and upsetting some people, a sexual predator is exactly that regardless of what role he has in life. I would have thought the crux of the matter has a solution, however, there seems to be no law to protect women and prohibit Sogyal from practicing. How can there be a solution when his behaviour is being excused? Most of what I have read about him points to a man who is a sexual opportunist.

    Is it the practice that women, before they choose to enter or on entering Rigpa, are informed that his behaviour is acceptable? I know they explain it in terms of progression but I see this as part of grooming.

    Joanne, women leaving Rigpa presents an opportunity for them to get together and talk openly about and listen to other women’s experiences; a straightforward dialogue that gives insight into how women are groomed etc., is it possible to focus on this and not get wrapped up in belief systems? The information would be invaluable and a means to protect women who are attracted to spiritual development without prior knowledge of the extreme measures practiced in some eastern religions.

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  462. I just read the Scott Edelstein article you referred to KateS. Well, call me old-fashioned but on the whole, I generally think his opinion sucks. As he says:

    “… including those teachers raised in other cultures—understood that the prevailing social norms prohibited such sexual relationships. Many of these teachers were married, and thus had vows of fidelity to uphold, as well as (presumably) willing sexual partners.”

    This is basically known as sexual misconduct on the Buddhist path (in relation to Wholesome Action, the third Path factor) and I’m with the Buddha on this one, not Mr. Edelstein. I wonder if this is the “… avoiding harm and reducing karma…” he is referring to? Or like you, is Edelstein only seeing it from the transgressor’s point of view?

    It seems KateS, in the scramble to find points of view to support your own, you a willing to overlook some fairly fundamental Dharmic principles.

    I thought perswtompepperons’ comment in response was well informed and much more in line with Dharma than Scott Edelstein’s:

    “Mr. Edelstein,

    I think an important distinction needs to be made between a Buddhist teacher and spiritual leaders in other traditions. In your book, you say that “It is entirely possible for a spiritual teacher to be wise, compassionate, empathetic, and inspiring, and at the same time sexually exploitive.” This is not the case for a Buddhist teacher; clearly, for any Buddhist, being sexually exploitive demonstrates an absence of wisdom and compassion. What you seem to mean is that it is possible for the teacher to know what wise and compassionate actions are, but be unable to consistently carry them out–he may know he is “sinning,” and feel repentant, but be a flawed human being.”

    Perhaps a closer look at underlying Dharmic principles might be more important right now KateS, rather than adopting dubious views without applying some discernment.

    Source: http://www.tricycle.com/community/sex-and-spiritual-teacher

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  463. Kate, you haven’t answered my question: But what of the sexual predator, is he exempt from responsibility?

    Secondly, if you came here to start commenting on the bun-fight or mud-slinging you have referred to, and then start siding with Bellab, your role as mediator or observer, becomes tainted/soiled.I am not sure of your motive and you make some good points but it is plain where your sympathies lie. I don’t think anyone went into a buddhist centre, expecting to meet the problems that are encountered within Rigpa.

    @ Dissappointed E. I am well aware of the arguments against Sogyal having sex etc etc with students, and utterly agree, but it is important to be aware of the arguments that Rigpa put up in his defence. The main one being ‘but he’s not celibate’.

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  464. “while I got the idea that there is actually something hinky going on at Rigpa because of something BellaB wrote!”

    So, what did I write? I am not representing Rigpa. I’m just a student. A student of one decade that has done her own search on the matter within Rigpa.

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  465. I think that is a bit judgemental on your part sankappa, of course Bella is likely to react in that way considering what is going on here.

    Following Joanne’s recommendation of the book by Scott Edelstein, I found a discussion with him in Tricycle magazine. Two things he says in the comments section seem very relevant here,

    “one of the central points of my book is that we would do well to place practical concerns such as safety, sanity, and spiritual intimacy above moral codes.”

    “I agree that we’re too stuck on sex. That’s why in my book I urge folks to think in terms of safety instead of taboos, and in terms of avoiding harm and reducing karma rather than pointing fingers.”

    Too much finger pointing, whether at the accused, his defenders, the victim, or the accusers, all too easily decends into a bunfight that benefits no one.

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  466. KateS, on February 11, 2013 at 4:25 am said:

    “The irony for me here is that the lynch mob mentality of some of the anti-Rigpa camp make the claims against Sogyal look like pure hysteria, while I got the idea that there is actually something hinky going on at Rigpa because of something BellaB wrote!”

    Well I guess it doesn’t matter how you get there KateS, but it’s good that you have arrived at this conclusion.

    I have been saying for some time, as well as others, that bellaB inadvertently is one of the worst advertisements for Rigpa that they could have.

    Also, you make some good points in regards to not-self and I agree that there maybe some initial confusion and possible disillusionment for those new to the Dharma, perhaps thinking that there is a “self” to make whole as the ultimate solution. However, form my assessment this does not apply to any of the ex-Rigpa posters here, who would be under no illusion that there is a “self” to be found anywhere in the aggregates. The only disillusionment I believe, has more to do with the shock of finding that Sogyal Rinpoche is abusing people and therefore the Dharma by his actions. And this is no small thing.

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  467. Joanne,
    As you say, this is not the purpose of this thread, so I will just mention briefly that I was only really referring to the fundamental idea of non-self (rather than emptiness per se.) and how that seemed to be clashing with western ideas of personhood.
    I wasn’t really aiming this specifically at dharma teachers, but more at the way we ourselves could make sense of certain issues that you highlighted in your analysis of the situation.

    It is good to hear that you are making progress and helping others in a very real sense. I’m not sure anyone would contest that there are certain problems in certain dharma centres.

    I also realise that it is not the point of these threads to “wrangle with Bella and Sheila” or “convince those who can never be convinced”.

    The irony for me here is that the lynch mob mentality of some of the anti-Rigpa camp make the claims against Sogyal look like pure hysteria, while I got the idea that there is actually something hinky going on at Rigpa because of something BellaB wrote!

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  468. Thanks Joanne the Gettysburg address for Buddhists

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  469. Felicity My point is about the culture of religious tutors having sex with there students is unacceptable in a westernised culture. SR is acting as a Guru holding lectures and lessons of a philosphy which could be classed under religious instruction although I know that buddhism is a philosophy. Whether he is celibate or not is of no consequence to me. There is a line between the pupil and the Guru and that should not be crossed in the same way a therapist and client or a Dr or patient don’t cross those lines. If SR wants to have sex than he would be well advised t keep his sexual relations away from the women who come for instruction from him. Its is an abuse of his position to take advantage of women who come to him for instruction.

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  470. KateS, you write “Clearly there is a time during recovery when things are so painful that this is a no-go, but in the long run, the idea of learning how to take responsibility can be very helpful in the process of healing and growth, and I think it is just as much about developing mental and emotional stability.”

    I agree. But what of the sexual predator, is he exempt from responsibility?

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  471. No it isn’t. He is not a celibate. No one objects to his having sex, as far as I know, but more to the point, is the number of students he has it with.

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  472. Felicity M I meant Guru. It is still the same principal whether they are a guru or monk.

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  473. Felicity M said, “seeing those who have come a-cropper within Rigpa, to be a bit dim and wearing rose-tinted specs. Possibly, you seem to say, there expectations were too high”

    Not really, I think there is a general misperception of the true nature of Buddhism, so it was more about the direction that people think Buddhism will take them in. To group Buddhism with, for example, new-age stuff seems awfully misleading as I see them as aiming in totally opposite directions.

    “Sexual predators -often seem to be hiding their intentions very well.”

    Yes, very true, which is undoubtedly aided by the secrecy created by the issues of shame and guilt surrounding abuses.

    “There is too often, this tendency to blame the victim. Whilst, it is true we must be responsible for our own safety and not look to others to do so”

    True, but sometimes in the aftermath discussing responsibility can be confused with blame. Clearly there is a time during recovery when things are so painful that this is a no-go, but in the long run, the idea of learning how to take responsibility can be very helpful in the process of healing and growth, and I think it is just as much about developing mental and emotional stability. I think this is where the quote from Jacqueline Rose hits home. Thank you for that quote, I am actually very familiar with the work of her sister Gillian.

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  474. If you didn’t notice, my posts were not about myself, but about these testimonies. Sheila did very good job in revealing V. Barlow. She was excellent in research. Shed another light into the “victims”. There might be real victims, but so far the Mimi case is blurry because of the BTT blog. My point is not to slap victims in their face, but this slapping now is about requesting honesty in making a testimony, which is the only way to proceed in search for sympathy or empathy. I think it’s the fundamentally first issue. If honesty is not required then this whole campaign (as it seems to be) has no point at all, but wasting people’s time.

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  475. The big I am. 27 times you say I. Forget about yourself.

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  476. “Anonymous, on February 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm said:

    Frankly, Bellab, am 100% positive that no one gives a monkey what you think. You are the only one who thinks your opinion matters. I see reduction of the ego hasn’t happened in your case.”

    You are welcome to live your life in lies. Be my guest. We don’t share the same view on this.

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  477. I read Joanne’s story again.

    I have to say that I have never seen devotion like she did. She was in love. That is okay as such if she was aware of it. But I don’t share her views about the teachings or SR as a teacher, nor about devotion. I guess I was boringly reflecting the teachings into my own life, taking them as advice.

    I was taught during one of my first retreats about Ground, Path and Fruition. Those teachings were about the empty essence, cognizant nature and so on. They were about EMPTINESS and about the PATH that leads one there. It was not saying anywhere it’s an instant thing.

    I also begun practicing Ngondro during my first year and anyone involved with that knows that it is WORK. I never took enlightenment as a quick path. I always knew it will take life times, even with Dzogchen. I really have no idea how Joanne got completely different picture. Dzogchen is a quick path compared to Hinayana path which means that you might have millions of lives ahead purifying your karma. Compared to that it is quick, but I have never seen it as a one life time thing.

    Maybe I’m boring, maybe I have feet on the ground or in the mud, maybe I have self criticism too, so I’m not completely swept away by delusions about my position in some Tibetan man’s life. Maybe I see my own hopes and dreams as my own hopes and dreams: I don’t expect anyone fulfilling them for me. I guess I am boring since I, even if I’m in love, I have many doubts and do not expect anything to go my way. Even if I’m in love, I try to see the other person as who he is, in order not to get disappointed, like I was in my youth, as 13-20 years old, when I was blinded by my own needs. Life never goes exactly as one wishes.

    Are we all ready to grow up, finally?

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  478. Frankly, Bellab, am 100% positive that no one gives a monkey what you think. You are the only one who thinks your opinion matters. I see reduction of the ego hasn’t happened in your case.

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  479. Joanne,

    I read again your testimony about the one year in Rigpa.

    http://thedorjeshugdengroup.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/one-year-with-rigpa-a-testimony/

    I think we have discussed these issues already so many times, that I don’t think I have mistaken you for someone else who also had drinking problems, a collapsing marriage and just 1 year in Rigpa. I think you told us earlier that you left your marriage because of “falling in love” with SR, because you had had this idea (from dreams?) that you and SR will be married (even though you didn’t even know him in person). I can’t believe that there had been a similar story to yours without that relationship fantasy.

    I’m sorry, but even though you seem quite intelligent on the other hand, (although a bit imbalanced in the past), but I have to say as a whole that I don’t give much credit to your stories anymore.

    I have never thought that you were abused in Rigpa. You had problems that became more severe at the time you spent in Rigpa. I find there slight dishonesty in the stories. Hiding things under the carpet might have worked elsewhere but not with me. It wouldn’t work well neither in a therapeutic scene, which you’ve been avoiding in life.

    I’m still sorry that I have to be this direct, but I’m _again_ disappointed in one of these critics. I don’t know if I have higher expectations on people, which makes me not so forgiving, when I see twisting the truth.

    I actually have heard SR saying “I may have faults” and I respect that more than this theater here. I’m sorry if someone has suffered in Rigpa, but it seems more and more to me that for the greater part these stories are creations of imagination.

    1. Finnigan: story teller, “owns a dossier of testimonies from friends like Barlow”, never was personally abused

    2. Victoria Barlow: liar, disappointed ex, who falsely blamed SR for raping her for DECADES

    3. Joanne Clarkle: never abused, but had wild imagination and faith in her own projections, now explaining things away…

    4. Mimi/Janine: claimed to have experienced abuse, who knows????
    Her BTT and harem stories + orgies + porn pictures behind the thankas… if those are Mimi’s stories, then she is equally imbalanced in my opinion. But I, at this stage, still believe they were Finnigan’s Scripts of Haunted House that failed to be published in the Fantasy genre. If I find out that Mimi/Janine wrote herself that part of the BTT blog, I give up believing any amount of this stuff. You will all be filed under certain title in my personal dossier about abuse in Rigpa.

    So, Janine/Mimi, could you confirm us that you are behind the BTT blog stories? Or did you friend Finnigan stir the soup alone? If someone finds Mimi, I’d like this question to passed on to her. I just want to know which part of the story is true and which isn’t.

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  480. Felicity…

    you don’t need to respond to my question. I asked it from Joanne.

    You don’t know the answer, so concentrate on other parts of this communication. I need the answer, and I hope Joanne understands my need for it, if she is telling the truth.

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  481. “You also totally misunderstand the goal of many of us on this thread and others. Our goal is not to wrangle with Bella and Sheila, but to provide those who are suffering in cult-like or otherwise intolerable situations in their dharma centers to regain their own basic wisdom and clear sightedness– to regain their freedom.”

    Is lying freedom?

    I really also like freedom, but i consider it completely different kind of freedom. I don’t care about you or anyone tapping me in the head. I don’t care about false comfort and self-pity. All I need is the truth to be free from the net of lies.

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  482. And: in real life, with serious business like all this is, I would sent liars to hell without blinking an eye. I wouldn’t care at all about their ‘sensitivities’, since they have shown already exactly how much they care about other people with their lies. They don’t have any self respect, no back bone and no respect towards others.

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  483. Kate, I could quote numerous Buddhist scriptures and commentaries to show you how very very wrong you are about the dharma. However, that is not the purpose of this thread. What I can say is that expecting qualities of ethical discipline, kindness, compassion, love, tolerance and patience to be present in our Buddhist teachers and guides is legitimate, valid, and Buddhist– and it has nothing whatsoever to do with Western or Eastern perspectives. In many scriptures by great masters of the past, such as Maitreya Tsongkhapa, Jamgon Kontrol, Patrul Rinpoche (and many others), there are lists of the qualities necessary in a spiritual teacher. Typically, they are listed as ten. Have you read any of those authors? Do you know the ten?

    You seem to be coming from a perspective on emptiness that is nihilistic and ignores the vital role of the method side of the path. It ignores the fact that Buddhism is about two wings of the bird, compassion and interdependence/emptiness– or non-harming and view. It is indeed about a whole, sane, healthy approach towards happiness. It is about finding happiness, not suffering. It is not Western nor Eastern– as such, it is not unrealistic for us to expect our dharma teachers to adhere to practices of non-harming themselves as they work with students.

    You also totally misunderstand the goal of many of us on this thread and others. Our goal is not to wrangle with Bella and Sheila, but to provide those who are suffering in cult-like or otherwise intolerable situations in their dharma centers to regain their own basic wisdom and clear sightedness– to regain their freedom. In fact, this goal has been moderately successful of late and we are now moving towards setting up private forums and emails for those of us who are on the long journey of recovery from abuse. I speak with some measure of pride, due to the fact that recently more and more members of Rigpa are coming forward and regaining their perspective and sanity.

    So that is my only concern, (and I think I speak for others)– not that we are trying to convince those who can never be convinced that there’s any problem in our dharma centers.

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  484. Bellab, get a life.

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  485. “Felicity M., on February 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm said:

    Bellab, you are a bully and a bore. If you behaved like this in real life, you would be told to sling your hook.”

    Maybe you enjoy the company of liars. I’m completely FED UP with them for this life time. I happily bully liars out of their lies. Joanne could still be different person from (the what I consider to be) the earlier version of her (in another threat). I don’t think it’s too much to ask to get clarification on the issue.

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  486. “KateS, what is the 18 months of mud slinging you refer to? Perhaps it would be beneficial to give us some background about yourself. Do you have any personal accounts of abuse within a spiritual setting, what is your interest in engaging here, be it personal, proffesional, etc? This may go along way in helping understand where you are coming from and aid in some sort of dialogue, if that’s what your are interested in doing.

    sankappa”

    And what about YOUR story? You feel really abused in Rigpa. Is it only your ego, or did a real abuse happen?

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  487. Bellab, you are a bully and a bore. If you behaved like this in real life, you would be told to sling your hook.

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  488. Marte-… I used Riepe because it is shorter.

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  489. The scholar Jacqueline Rose wrote: ” Victimhood is something that happens but when you turn it into an identity you’re psychically and politically finished”

    As far as I know this hasn’t been quote before here or on T’s site.
    Whilst you say you are refraining from judgement, you come across as very knowledgeable and wise, whilst seeing those who have come a-cropper within Rigpa, to be a bit dim and wearing rose-tinted specs. Possibly, you seem to say, there expectations were too high. When the guru gropes you, do you say yes or no? Do you give him a lecture? Do you run? Do you freeze in fear. Some of these women were groomed for months beforehand.

    My own theory which I will share with you is this. Sexual predators -often seem to be hiding their intentions very well. In UK there was Jimmy Saville, high profile charity fund raiser. Great cover for his sex addiction. Also, in Uk this wk we learnt of a talented violinist who gave testimony against her teacher for sexual abuse and rape when she was 18yrs. This 40 odd year old woman, killed herself having felt she had been raped again by the defence team of the man.

    There is too often, this tendency to blame the victim. Whilst, it is true we must be responsible for our own safety and not look to others to do so, there is always a case of placing trust in someone we go to-be it a teacher, dr, guru etc etc. We have to open ourselves up. Often people attracted to spiritual teachings let go of their boundaries and are encouraged to do so. If a teacher takes advantage of that and jumps the woman, then I believe the consequences will be very negative, for both teacher and student alike. I think this is self-evident. Denial, as they say, ain’t a river in Egypt.

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  490. “dialogueireland, on February 9, 2013 at 4:30 pm said:

    Operation ignore. See the bait?

    Joanne, were you not the one who explained in Dialogue Ireland that she was thinking that she will marry SR, because of her dreams, but begun drinking & smoking in the evenings in the retreat, left her husband and children for the sake of those dreams, didn’t talk to anyone about the issues she was dealing with – and later was going to talk to SR, who just shook his head to her, when he saw her coming to talk to him for the first (and only) time?”

    Are you trying to block or sensor this in order not to look at the truth? Are all liars and story tellers here? Are you trying to prevent people from seeing that? Or what is your motivation?

    I want to know the answer. If the answer is that she is the same person, then I have to say that I find already 3 out of 4 critics (for sure) liars. Your case is getting really smaller… just something to be ignored completely.

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  491. KateS; Having ethical standards is basic to human interaction. When ‘freedom’ of religion overrides basic rights to human safety I wonder how important the question of ‘what is the self?’ is on this blog. Some library books may get your brain matter pondering on this rather than manipulating a commenter to give you something to argue about.

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  492. Thanks Felicity, I see what you are saying. I still would find it useful to seperate the misconceptions of westerners from the central issue of abuse here, but I guess it is small steps towards a longer term goal.

    Disappointed Educoist, I was actually trying to avoid making any judgements about what is acceptable, or justified, or blame the victim, or debase them.
    I wonder if the lack of such judgements in my approach is being misinterpreted as a tacit approval of abuse?

    Just as it is important to place the responsibility squarely on the side of the abuser for any past abuses, I think it is also important to enable any victim to become empowered and be able to take control of the situation in any potentially abusive future situation.

    (I can’t remember where I read this idea, voiced either by Tenpel on his blog, or by Joanne, about the problematic overemphasis of identification with “victim” status, I will keep searching)

    As it stands right now, it seems quite difficult to seperate out which traumas are caused by actual abuse, and which are the result of unrealistic expectations. Hopefully we are heading towards a scenario in which the latter are absent, in which case cases of real abuse will become easier to expose.

    If I enter into something with the idea that everything sacred and holy is all about angels and rainbows, and that sexuality is somehow shameful and dirty, then this is a recipe for disillusionment, shame, and guilt just waiting to happen. Better to change that and not have to blame anyone for exploiting it.

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  493. SR isn’t a monk, Disappointed Ed…sorry.

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  494. Kate S I find it interesting that you seem to think it is acceptable for a Tibetan Buddhist to behave as they would in Tibet in our culture. If you live in another culture it is up to you to understand the social norms of that culture. If I live in Tibet than I abide by the cultural norms in that country if I live in a westernised country than I live by the social norms of there. If I don’t agree with the cultural norms then I either don’t live there or I don’t engage with the culture. If you have ever lived in another culture you would understand this.

    To justify the sexual abuse of women by Monks stating that in Tibet they live a certain way is not acceptable. In our culture is not acceptable for a religious teacher to have sexual relations with a student whether in is 1 time or 100 times. In fact if it is only 1 time it would be no wonder that these women feel used and abused.

    It is up to the Monk to learn and practise the culture he is living in. If they don’t agree then go somewhere where they can practice what they believe in.

    To continually blame these women is ludicrous and not expect the monk to take any responsibility for their actions. These men are teachers and should take their role seriously. If they don’t want to do that then they should leave the life of a monk and live a normal life.

    No matter what you say in your posts it is the responsibility of the monk to understand the social norms. If they don’t then they will suffer the consequences. Women do not spend years fighting an injustice if one hasn’t happened. If you have not experienced sexual abuse then you have no idea what you are talking about and to continually try to debase the women who have is sickening.

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  495. I think the reason there is talk on internet forums, is because the problem is not acknowledged within Rigpa. Rigpa have decided the solution is to write all criticism off as gossip mongering and some rotten people behind it. So far, this hasn’t worked and more and more people within Rigpa, are leaving. In part, ironically, because they find the solution unpalatable and unreal. So long as Rigpa continues to deny that Sogyal seems to have a problem with expressing his sexuality without causing harm within the sangha, then I think you and I will continue to see the fall out from on internet forums like this and Tenpels. The mud slinging here which you refer to, is in the main, because this is an unmoderated forum.

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  496. To put it another way, at the risk of sounding selfish, as a Dzogchen practitioner, I don’t want people coming to my sangha seeking a religion of healing and wholeness and then becoming disillusioned and going away badmouthing my Lama. It’s not good for them, nor for the Lama, nor for the reputation of Dzogchen.

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  497. “KateS, what is the 18 months of mud slinging you refer to?”

    A lot of the arguments I’ve been reading just go in circles because they seem to miss each other. An example would be Mary Finnegan’s articles in the Guardian, where concerned readers learn about the failure of Rigpa to meet certain ethical standards. These standards are predicated on western liberal ideals which are then threatened by Rigpa and reinforced by the article. At no point does there seem to be any questioning of our own stance on the matter.

    We all know that Rigpa is failing to measure up to our expectations, but the arguments against Rigpa insist that our expectations are correct and Rigpa is failing in this regard, and so is actually reinforcing an incorrect view.
    Buddhist books are found in the religion or self-help sections of bookshops when they are in fact neither. To repeatedly hear that they are failing to meet our expectations of either our religious or self-help needs is just stating the obvious.

    “Perhaps it would be beneficial to give us some background about yourself. Do you have any personal accounts of abuse within a spiritual setting, what is your interest in engaging here, be it personal, proffesional, etc?”

    I do have some personal experience with a Buddhist “cult”, but nothing even comparable to what is being discussed here. It wasn’t really an issue for me because I was well informed prior to this involvement – when you know more about the subject than the “lama” then he really ceases to be a psychological threat, nevertheless I did have some unpleasantness with the sangha as a whole, and some experience of a cult-like group dynamic. I suspect there is something similar at work in Rigpa, where those in positions of relative power within the organisation are actually playing the roles of enablers to Sogyal’s petulance.

    My personal interest here is really as a Buddhist. I do have both personal and professional experience in these matters, but it’s primarily because I have certain insights on this matter which seem to have been overlooked.

    I believe you were asked a similar question about your experiences with Rigpa, feel free to share or not if they aid in developing insight here.

    “This may go along way in helping understand where you are coming from and aid in some sort of dialogue, if that’s what your are interested in doing”

    Well, I think there are two major areas that seem to be lacking.
    1. There is very little information about what Buddhism is really about, as I said before, a lot of the viewpoints seem to assume that Buddhism should conform to western ideals about healing and wholeness, and then when people find out the hard way that it is not, they come back down to earth with a bump.
    This no doubt accounts for some of the issues, but only upon separating them out can we really see what lies beneath our own expectations and disappointments.

    2. Because we (western liberals) don’t really have an adequate answer to some of the issues this raises there seems to be a focus on the problem rather than the solution. I don’t claim to have an answer to this, but it might be beneficial if people who have gained great insight from first hand experience actually start to consider viable answers to this situation.

    For example, where do people seeking refuge actually go? It seems that there is always a risk from those in power, with the result that we create even more powerful institutions to protect the vulnerable. This then reproduces a power differential between the strong and the weak. The only answer we seem to have at the moment is the idea of the trustworthiness of some powers over others (the message of DI in respect to these cults is that they are not to be trusted, but is there any real change in the power imbalance?). Do we actually have a solution which aims to empower those who are currently disenfranchised and restore some kind of balance there? (If not, as it seems, then this explains why there are just claims and counter-claims (“mud-slinging”) while there seems to be no actual strategy to redress the power imbalance, and people like Sogyal simply continue to sit unaffected by all this in their palaces with their harem of serving dakinis).

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  498. KateS, what is the 18 months of mud slinging you refer to? Perhaps it would be beneficial to give us some background about yourself. Do you have any personal accounts of abuse within a spiritual setting, what is your interest in engaging here, be it personal, proffesional, etc? This may go along way in helping understand where you are coming from and aid in some sort of dialogue, if that’s what your are interested in doing.

    sankappa

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  499. There is no me Angie, I’m just dust in the wind.

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  500. God help you!

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  501. Exactly Angie, you have no viable alternative, that’s why I’ve just waded through 18 months of mud slinging with no end of it in sight.

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  502. Blah, blah, blah, blah.

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  503. Angie,
    “I found it quite disturbing that KateS thinks the above is sufficient to explain away sexual abuse in Rigpa.”

    Where did you get the idea I wanted to “explain away sexual abuse”?

    “Are we to accept that the HH Dalai Lama accepts Sogyal Rinpoche’s promiscuous abusive behaviour and the fault lies with western women because of their Christian background?”

    I think I specifically made it clear that my intention was towards a future solution, not to blaming or finding fault with the past. I certainly made no reference to the Dalai Lama’s view of this.

    “Correct me if I’m wrong but this seems to be the reasoning they use to defend Sogyal Rinpoche.”

    The quote from Joanne made it crystal clear that the was a serious miscommunication going on from both sides. It highlighted the idea that within the Christian framework there already existed issues of guilt and self-loathing, which were due to the idea of a seperation between sexuality and the sacred. It considered the idea that it may be because Tibetans see no such distinction that they were unaware of the suffering this was causing.

    It also touched upon the issue of a self-concept. The idea of self-hatred could perhaps be viewed as a result of the humanist ideal of the person becoming a whole and complete self, and self-hatred from their failure to acheive this (which the Buddha’s reasoning shows to be an impossible goal anyway).
    Many westerners turn to religion and spirituality thinking that they can fulfil this ideal that way, not realising that in Buddhism the solution to this problem is completely the opposite, and the highest realisation from the Buddhist point of view is in fact the total absence of any sense of self.

    I understand that the issue of who is really at fault is a very important stage in the healing process, but at the same time it does not seem healthy to remain stuck at that stage without developing a better understanding of what is really happening and maybe even finding ways to address the issue for the benefit of those who may still be vulnerable.

    In conclusion, it seems that the criticism of this from the point of view of humanism is a bit like trying to knock a wall down by flicking peas at it. The concept of self has been shown to be a failure both from within the humanist tradition and from external criticism. In fact it is the very reason why people are turning to Buddhism in the first place. Therefore it seems important that they should be better informed exactly what they are undertaking here, which is not a formula to make them whole, it is a formula to remove any fantasy of ever becoming whole.

    Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the issue of self-loathing and the pre-existing abuse which is creating vulnerable people is already woven very deeply into our culture, and in very few cases are they adequately addressed by us. If we have no viable alternative other than a sort of band-aid therapy to patch them up and send them back out into a culture of seeking for wholeness, then they are really just going round in circles. That is why I believe that a humanist approach is inadequate here.

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  504. KateS, I think you are the one who is amusing yourself. If you think the issues you raised by adding a post in an earlier comment on sexual abuse is irrelevant to you what exactly are you hoping to achieve by commenting at all. This site was set up for people who need to address Sogyl Rinpoche’s sexual abusive behaviour in Rigpa and not for the divil of confusion. I will ignore your comments in future.

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  505. B,

    should I take it as a honour just to be named Riepe like you named MF only Finnigan, when she – or me – touch on your raw nerve?

    Again I say my audience are not Buddhists, especially not Tibetan Buddhists who ignore the backwardness of Tibetan society and culture to safe their own illusions. That´s on the same level like to ignore the inherent sexual abuse of women in tantric-tibetan Lamaism.

    “and still at the age of 60+ he is very playful and funny.”

    Yes of course, the so called enlightened Lamas behave like that, because the are in a state of mind which includes regression of age.

    Some like it, some call it childish. It depends on your view.

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  506. Operation ignore. See the bait?

    Joanne, were you not the one who explained in Dialogue Ireland that she was thinking that she will marry SR, because of her dreams, but begun drinking & smoking in the evenings in the retreat, left her husband and children for the sake of those dreams, didn’t talk to anyone about the issues she was dealing with – and later was going to talk to SR, who just shook his head to her, when he saw her coming to talk to him for the first (and only) time?

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  507. Riepe,

    “Yes of course, the Tibetan lamas are not familiar with this emotions, with any emotions. Due to their education in monasteries, where they are cultivated to be a program, not a human beeing with all its qualities like love, shame, passion, compassion, guilt, conscience and so on.”

    I happen to know personally a few monks and nuns too, from the Tibetan monasteries. Those people have emotions just like anybody else. Those monasteries and people in them have social lives, they grow up in the monasteries, but still many have contacts to their families and relatives. It can happen that one nun or monk has many relatives also as monks and nuns in the same monastery or near by. They usually belong to the same lineage too. That is karmic. Monks and nuns also usually have mobile phones and they call each other. I have seen and have heard from people, who have spent time in monasteries, stories where monks and nuns either fall in love with each other or they have fallen in love with outsiders or Westerners. I happen to know two women who are currently married to former Tibetan monks.

    The isolation part is pretty much crap, although it may happen (Kalu Rinpoche seems to have had a hard time). Tibetans just have very different attitude towards family, love, sex and the rest of it, than we do. Sogyal Rinpoche has lived near Tibetan monastery and has been treated as a son of a great master, but I don’t think he was EVER isolated. He has told stories that he was quite naughty as a child – and still at the age of 60+ he is very playful and funny.

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  508. Joanne, were you not the one who explained in Dialogue Ireland that she was thinking that she will marry SR, because of her dreams, but begun drinking & smoking in the evenings in the retreat, left her husband and children for the sake of those dreams, didn’t talk to anyone about the issues she was dealing with – and later was going to talk to SR, who just shook his head to her, when he saw her coming to talk to him for the first (and only) time?

    If you are not that person, then who was she?

    If I have mixed up two people here, then I’m sorry. Could you please remind me of the person who had these particular sufferings?

    If I have not mixed up two people, then what kind of game is being played here? The Story Inventors of Finnigan’s Disneyland? Retirement Home next address?

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  509. …explaining away…who is at fault…what the Dalai Lama accepts…what Western Psychologists agree on…reasoning used to defend Sogyal…

    All of these ideas mentioned are quite irrelevant to me, but you all seem to be having such fun trying to second-guess.
    Really the meaning is right there on the page, as Marte-Micaela points out, the clash between humanism and dharma is my focus.

    Thanks for the recommendation Joanne, I just grabbed a copy.
    I’m sorry you feel that way about your own writing, Forgive me if I focus on the insights and leave the judgements behind.

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  510. “This is extremely frustrating for those who have direct experience with Rigpa and Sogyal Rinpoche and have been discussing and following the evolution of events for some years now. But of course it is you who has no direct experience with this organisation and has been here five minutes, that needs to set us straight in really understanding what’s going on.”

    Sankappa, I’m still waiting in vain for your vast explanations about the abuse YOU experienced in Rigpa on your ONE retreat.

    I’m really curious.

    To me it sounds like you were disappointed in somehow. Maybe you were lost in the crowd and didn’t find your place in 1 week?

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  511. Yes, Angie, I agree– and as the author of the said piece, I object to having my words taken out of context like that, to having one angle on my point of view taken up as the totality of my thesis.

    As promiscuity itself is not specifically banned in Buddhist scriptures (though Buddha himself speaks of lust being a very dangerous affliction) and as TB teachers in particular don’t see any problem with sexual relations between spiritual teachers and students, I did need to address the issue from its very basic angle, Western Psychology 101.

    However, Kate misses the thesis of my post, which is that Western psychologists are in agreement that these relations are seriously damaging. She would do well to read Scott Edelstein’s book Sex and the Spiritual Teacher– and also some of the articles that I cited.

    However, I am convinced that she has absolutely no interest in the truth of the matter and I am only making my comment here for other readers on this thread who might be misled by her silly comment.

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  512. I found it quite disturbing that KateS thinks the above is sufficient to explain away sexual abuse in Rigpa. Are we to accept that the HH Dalai Lama accepts Sogyal Rinpoche’s promiscuous abusive behaviour and the fault lies with western women because of their Christian background? Correct me if I’m wrong but this seems to be the reasoning they use to defend Sogyal Rinpoche.

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  513. “These are not emotions with which Tibetan Buddhist lamas are at all familiar. In fact,”

    Yes of course, the Tibetan lamas are not familiar with this emotions, with any emotions. Due to their education in monasteries, where they are cultivated to be a program, not a human beeing with all its qualities like love, shame, passion, compassion, guilt, conscience and so on.

    “Dalai Lama responded with shock years ago when he first learned of the western phenomena of self-hatred.”

    As fare our culture has learnt to reflect itself and developed the ability to introspection, grounded on humanist values, as little the Tibetan culture has ever created an equivalent.

    DL is in the slightest able to reflect the richness of our culture and in addition to it to reflect his own one which is based on fear porn and superstition.

    I am speaking about Tibetan Buddhism, not about Buddhism.

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  514. Like

  515. I found exactly what I was looking for here, https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/violation-of-the-sacredwestern-psychological-perspectives-on-sexual-misconduct-in-the-clergy-and/

    “For example, women within a Judeo-Christian culture frequently have strong associations of guilt around issues of sexuality and frequently respond with self-loathing when their sexual boundaries are crossed. These are not emotions with which Tibetan Buddhist lamas are at all familiar. In fact, HH Dalai Lama responded with shock years ago when he first learned of the western phenomena of self-hatred. This is not a situation which occurs amongst Tibetans. As a result, lamas are in unchartered territory in terms of fully understanding the damage that can occur when sexual boundaries are crossed with western women, when the sacred becomes tainted in a woman’s perspective.”

    How marvellous! Thanks a lot to everyone for all your help, especially DI, keep up the great work, and take good care of yourselves, xoxoxo

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  516. Sorry if I’m making it complicated, let me make it really straightforward for you Joanne. You spoke about dharma being the cure for a sickness. so which perspective would be the best to take on this matter, that of the cure or of the sickness?

    I’m just taking what you said seriously, and sorry to say, from where I’m looking you seem to have a foot in either camp.

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  517. Yes, Sankappa, the pattern is all too familiar isn’t it? First we are drawn in by Kate/Sheila’s persona of innocent curiosity, her supposed interest in getting to the truth of the matter. Then suddenly we discover we’ve gone around the mulberry bush three times already and our heads are spinning.

    Sometimes I fear that underneath all the nonsense, there is a mastermind at work.

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  518. I was thinking more about dependent origination and how isolating a single entity as if it existed independently was a mistaken view.

    As I said before, I am reasonably convinced that Sogyal has sex, maybe has a beer and a smoke, and can come off as quite abrasive towards certain students. I know a lot of other people like that too, so to me it seems normal.
    What I’m trying to discover is the specific relationship between this and the circumstances which make this into a serious problem.

    Issues such as; why there seem to be people seeking a father figure in a teacher of Buddhism, whether this is a correct perception of a Lama, whether the Lama is even aware of this, or perhaps even exploiting it?

    If people are going to seriously make the claim the he is exploiting them but “they don’t even know it” then by what criteria are we invalidating their freedom of choice, or even making the claim that they are unfit to exercise this freedom due to emotional or mental damage from the wider society? It would seem pretty pointless to just point the finger at cults if at the same time we were unwittingly creating the very conditions for them to flourish.

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  519. KateS, “The issues I raised, which I made clear were not directly about Rigpa.”

    Hence they are not pertinent to this site, hence the old Buddhist virtue of non retaliation and silence is the best response.

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  520. my, you are a fast learner, and you actually listened to what I said, I’m well impressed, maybe third time lucky – you will actually have something to contribute?

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  521. Calm down, dear, it’s only a talkboard.

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  522. truly unbelievable, again you sidestep any engagement with the issues I raised, which I made clear were not directly about Rigpa, but about the perspective from which we could make sense of what we were hearing about, yet you refuse to make your own assumptions explicit (assumptions about how to view Rigpa in terms of the wider social issues, not about me, which you seem locked onto), then you have the nerve to make out that I have a rigid position on this matter.
    I have only been here five minutes, but I am starting to see very clearly just what is going on here.

    lol @ anonymous with the troll alert – just troll, you’ll be right at home here, you don’t need to annouce your intentions in that way.

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  523. KateS, I read your post thoroughly the first time. I’ve seen all the red herring arguments thrown-up trying to look like valid points, but in the end your pseudo-intellectual positions just miss the main thrust.

    As with Sheila who posted in a very similar vein to you, you have come into this debate with preformed ideas and are trying as hard as possible to make them fit and be somehow relevant. These ideas skirt round and round the perimeter of the main issues, without actually (as yet) coming close to touching upon the guts of them.

    This is extremely frustrating for those who have direct experience with Rigpa and Sogyal Rinpoche and have been discussing and following the evolution of events for some years now. But of course it is you who has no direct experience with this organisation and has been here five minutes, that needs to set us straight in really understanding what’s going on.

    It is quite obvious that you need to do some careful reading, but alas I know from past experience that you will not be diverted from your agenda. As I mentioned earlier you are here for an argument, and this time I will be adhering to not indulging you in it.

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  524. TROLL ALERT

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  525. sankappa, on February 8, 2013 at 6:09 am said: “Rubbish”

    oooh, an intellectual challenge!

    It was Joanne that wrote that people are seeking an alternative and that was why they turned to the dharma.

    Are you suggesting they just make do with what they have? That the western liberal culture that produced their abuse in the first place is alright really?

    I might actually be insulted by your reply if for one moment I thought you understood what I wrote. Maybe try reading it slowly, or get a grown up to do it for you?

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  526. Rubbish

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  527. I may well know Sheila from another site, which is dedicated to Buddhism, but I can only think that what you are seeing here is what results from people who stop living in the fantasy world manufactured by the media.

    This idea that the abuser is somehow a freely acting individual who is fully aware and responsible, and that the victim is unfree, unaware, and incapable of taking responsibility looks pretty good on paper and seems to be an unchallenged point of view.

    But, if we look at staggeringly high statistics for sexual abuse in America, the fact is that any man who has slept with 3 or more American women is more than likely to be in exactly this position, and potentially be accused of taking unfair advantage of a woman suffering from abuse.

    This would seem to seriously call into question the idea that somehow these women are safe until they go to a place like Rigpa. It also suggests that the focus of the media is in sensational stories rather than presenting an accurate picture.

    This is neither to confirm nor deny Sogyal’s responsibility to his students, nor whether there was abuse or not, nor whether he is deliberately selecting vulnerable women, etc.

    What is does show is that the focus on Sogyal misses the bigger issue, which incidentally receives considerably less media coverage.

    And it means that our basic grasp of the situation, that somehow our point of view is right, safe, and non-threatening, that we can make any kind of accurate judgement about abuse from such a viewpoint, and that these women are being exploited by this exotic form of guru devotion from Tibet, is in fact shifting the focus from the real issue here.

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  528. Joanne, on February 7, 2013 at 8:55 pm said:

    “You do remind me of an old friend called Sheila.”

    Yes that was my assessment also Joanne

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  529. Kate, you’ve lost me. I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. I think we should bow out.
    You do remind me of an old friend called Sheila.

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  530. Bella “It just comes to my mind again and again that why you do not look for help, if you are feeling difficulties in your need to defend the indefensible? You didn’t ask for help from people on our blog or after your training sessions in pr at rigpa why you didn’t go to therapy. Are you taking pride in that you are surviving on your own? There could be an important key. We the anonymous people in the internet or thinking things on your own… is it really enough?
    You are suffering from multiple posting syndrome where one lemming like wakes up very early in the morning
    Down with anti SR and up with the ideology of the group.
    I am a compulsive commenter, and need to get help by not going into SR’s bedroom. If I do I would have to write nothing is happening. How do I know because I do!

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  531. Joanne, you write that those attracted to the dharma, “are disenfranchised or troubled in some way” but I can’t seem to work out who these people are. Did you meet a lot of people you would describe in this way? Is this the reason you felt unable to share with them, because they were all just as lost?

    Again you’ve written, “we’re all a very long way from that realization!” It sounds like you just imagined there to be a huge distance where none exists. Who is this “we” you are speaking for?

    I am very unsure if you are actually speaking from experience here or whether you are making an abstraction. When I read, “it would be very difficult to wait for that nondual view before experiencing devotion” all I can see is you have created a difficulty for yourself out of nowhere. Is this talk of other people actually code for how you really feel, or your actual experience of other people, or just how you imagine the world to be?

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  532. Felicity, I only shared my story because there were purposes in doing so, not because I needed to confess or gave a damn about Bella’s replies.. I have been reading her drivel for years now. I do it with one eye closed. Now and then I put in a retort. That’s all.

    For example, I would just like to correct Bella for the tenth time and state that I never had a dream, I never divorced my husband over my miserable experiences at Rigpa, I sought help from several sources while at Rigpa, and I never claimed that I was “suddenly” not psychotic upon leaving Rigpa. It has been a long journey to wellness for me.

    My main purpose in writing of my experiences is to talk about unsafe practices in our dharma centers and to bring the discussion again and again and again back to the issue of simple human suffering. These are not subjects Bella wants to discuss. As for Rigpa, they are more concerned about protecting against culpability than with looking at risks in the way the place is run.

    And Kate, as for a view of non duality and devotion– it would be very difficult to wait for that nondual view before experiencing devotion– we’re all a very long way from that realization! However, I do believe that strong experiences of devotion can act to diminish self-grasping and self-cherishing attitudes, and so they can be useful.

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  533. Joanne, ignore all bellabs attempts to draw you into this. The questions she asks of you, would be better asked of herself. I thought buddhism taught non-attachment..yet, this woman is so attached to the reputation of Sogyal she has spent years campaigning here to defend him. I wonder, is that a good ad for Rigpa. Join Rigpa and you too, can find yourself attached to the internet fighting his corner for years.
    Joanne, I think you made a mistake in writing up your personal story..you gave bella the ammunition to fire. Bella can’t stop firing it, disingenuously disguised as caring and compassionate.
    Bella b is a first class troll. End of. Do not engage with her.

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  534. Joanne, I read in Tenpei’s blog and maybe you have mentioned here also that you have healed without therapy and that you have never been psychotic before nor after.

    It just comes to my mind again and again that why you do not look for help, if you are feeling difficulties in your life? You didn’t ask for help from people in Rigpa or after Rigpa you didn’t go to therapy. Are you taking pride in that you are surviving on your own? There could be an important key. We the anonymous people in the internet or thinking things on your own… is it really enough?

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  535. Kate S, one more thing. If you listen to the video about the Bachelor couple and try to hear if they mention Sogyal Rinpoche once in their speech. Try to listen if they show any sign of knowing Sogyal Rinpoche at all and if they have ever even met him. Ask yourself: do they talk about Sogyal Rinpoche or do they talk about abuse in general? We can all agree about abuse in general, so there is no discussion there. Is their interview edited in between the talk of other people, and does it have anything to do with Rigpa?

    That couple supports Zen Buddhism and doesn’t care about lama stuff at all. They want to form new Buddhism that is free from some basic Buddhist things, like religion and the lamas. Devotion, the blessings of the lineage and what ever benefit that may bring, would be somewhat lost. I wonder what they think about karma which is pretty important issue in Buddhism.

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  536. thanks for the links, it does seem on looking closer that there is a fog of misinformation surrounding these issues, hard to tell where the gossip stops and the truth begins.

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  537. I can see that Joanne has gone through some really fearful times. I believe sincerely that it would help if you went back to that place that rises fear in your mind. You would see that you are no longer the same person as back then. You have changed, your vision might change too. I think it would be a healing experience. Letting go of the past.

    Maybe you think I’m too pushy to you but I really think it would help. Just taking another look. Go with a friend you trust and talk with Rigpa people. Try to look with an open mind. Maybe you’ll find some open minded and friendly people there too.

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  538. “Beginners and the curious stay away– otherwise, you will become confused and possibly abused.”

    This is again really stupid way to see things. Thousands of people have been or are in Rigpa. We have all been beginners at some point. If people would have been treated in a bad way or differently than in some other organization, I would have known it. I have visited other centers too. Rigpa just happens to be bigger with many more people than many other places. Therefore there are of course all kinds of people.

    I have been always treated kindly.

    If you had looked for help in Rigpa, I think people with good hearts would have tried to support you, even though therapy is not offered.

    Did you ever talk to your therapist what prevented you from looking for help from other people? It can also reveal something about you: mistrust towards other people that comes from something.

    I have ever since my first contact with Rigpa asked questions and talked with other people. I was never isolated and by myself.

    I think it’s quite unfair of you to accuse Rigpa of something when you yourself NEVER even tried to ask for help, so you do not know what would have happened, if you had asked. How anyone could have known what was going on inside you, if you didn’t open up? Communication is a two way road.

    I really don’t see any of this stuff that you write here in the internet helping you in any way. I hope you find it somehow helpful or comforting, but dealing with real people would be more beneficial. Reality check and real healing through understanding. Now you are stuck in one way blaming, in my opinion. Reading crazy stories by Finnigan may help you feeling better and supports “victimhood”. But to grow out of that state needs a reality check, seriously.

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  539. Basic Lerab Ling Rules

    Lerab Ling is a centre for the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. To maintain an environment of prayer and study for all participants, we request that everyone adhere to the following few rules:

    Certain areas are reserved for people who have come for a retreat. We request that those coming to visit the temple remain on designated pathways.
    Pets are not allowed on site.
    Smoking is forbidden on the site, along with the use of alcohol or other drugs. However, a smoking area is provided near the car park.

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  540. 1) Rigpa seems to be attracting people who seem entirely inappropriate, is this because Rigpa deliberately misrepresents itself as a self-help group for people as an alternative to counselling or therapy, or because Rigpa is indiscriminating, or because the people attracted to it have entirely mistaken views gained from elsewhere?

    When one is registering for a retreat in Rigpa, one is told that one should not stop their medication and that Rigpa doesn’t offer therapy.

    2) There seems to be a repetition of this idea that devotion to one’s guru should be applied to mundane, dualistic vision, as if devotion is to the actual person of the guru rather than non-dual. Again, the same question – where is this idea coming from? Is it a deliberate ploy to ensnare the unsuspecting? Is there any evidence that Sogyal is teaching this false dharma or is it a misunderstanding produced by the sangha or by something else?

    I have been taught many times that in Ngondro text it says quite clearly that one prostrates ultimately to the nature of mind which is one’s own nature. It’s important to understand the context the Tibetan Buddhist teachings are given.

    http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Longchen_Nyingtik_Ng%C3%B6ndro

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  541. Here you can see that he has never cut ties to Dudjom Rinpoche. I hope it’s not the singular slander machine that has invented these strange stories over the decades.

    http://usa.rigpa.org/index.php/about-rigpa/about-sogyal-rinpoche/sogyal-rinpoches-teachers/dudjom-rinpoche

    Sogyal Rinpoche’s teachers

    Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
    Dudjom Rinpoche
    Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

    He has other teachers as well, for example Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche.

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  542. The way I see it Joanne, we aren’t discusssing Buddhism at all here, what we are actually seeing are ongoing issues with Liberal Humanism. Thanks for your reply, I may well see you Tenzin’s site one day.

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  543. Two points, Kate, and then I think this conversation needs to be had on Tenzin’s site as DI does not accommodate discussions on Buddhism.

    First, Buddhist scriptures frequently speak of the student being a sick person coming to the doctor (Buddha) for treatment (Dharma) administered by nurses etc. (spiritual teachers and community). So the idea that we are vulnerable and sick and ignorant is central to our need for Buddhism and a primary motivation for Buddhist practice.

    Second, I think part of our problem is that much of traditional Buddhist practices are directed towards Buddhist cultures. People are born into Buddhism, some are more troubled than others. In the West, people are born into Christianity etc. and only seek out Buddhism when they are disenfranchised or troubled in some way– so there’s a greater percentage of troubled people in Western Dharma centers, making for greater risk of trouble.

    At least that’s how I see it. The responsibility is still in the hands of the teachers to proceed with care in the West! In Rigpa, SR practices a very nonconventional approach to working students. He chastises and humiliates them in public for example. This might be an approach that s effective for some students, but it is not a safe approach for someone who is famous and teaches to people he doesn’t even know. There are people in his audiences who might be traumatized by his approaches. My argument has always been that either he use more safe and traditional approaches to Buddhism, such as the approaches used by HH Dalai Lama– or he step out of the limelight and work privately with those few students he can guarantee won’t be harmed. Of course, this doesn’t speak to his promiscuity, which is another matter altogether!

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  544. Thanks Joanne, what I was really trying to get at was to discover where this perception was coming from. It seems fair enough to go to a therapist for therapy, but seems rather more questionable to view the dharma in that way, and in fact I have seen comments suggesting how difficult and challenging it really is, such as remarks made by Jack Kornfield and one quite recently from Dzongsar Khyentse.
    I’m curious whether this idea of dharma as somehow therapeutic might be more prevalent in certain areas that I am personally less aware of, maybe in the States for example, and also why there apparently seems to be an increased prevalence of this surrounding Rigpa?
    A sign on the website, or maybe an initial interview for new students is a great idea.

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  545. And I would add that many victims of rape will admit that they were foolish to be walking alone at night etc. Many victims of domestic abuse will admit that they were foolish to have stayed married with the abuser. However, we know that this fact doesn’t even come close to justifying rape or abuse. Your reasoning, Kate, reminds me of the reasoning once used towards rape victims in our dark past– e.g. the woman “asked for it.”

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  546. Absolutely, KateS, you can attribute all of the troubles people are experiencing in Rigpa to ignorance of the dharma and of themselves. Perhaps there should be a sign outside of these teachings: Rigpa is for highly realized beings only. Beginners and the curious stay away– otherwise, you will become confused and possibly abused.

    HH Dalai Lama once observed that people in the West often come to the dharma at vulnerable times in their lives and this makes them more susceptible to abuse from lamas. In the same way, people come to therapists at vulnerable times– does this justify the therapist abusing their trust and vulnerability? I believe that this fact– the vulnerability of Westerners who are new to the dharma and searching for help– makes it all the more important that TB teachers behave with the utmost care and ethical restraint.

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  547. Reading the various articles, I seem to keep finding two recurring ideas, and I quite unsure how to interpret them.

    1) Rigpa seems to be attracting people who seem entirely inappropriate, is this because Rigpa deliberately misrepresents itself as a self-help group for people as an alternative to counselling or therapy, or because Rigpa is indiscriminating, or because the people attracted to it have entirely mistaken views gained from elsewhere?

    2) There seems to be a repetition of this idea that devotion to one’s guru should be applied to mundane, dualistic vision, as if devotion is to the actual person of the guru rather than non-dual. Again, the same question – where is this idea coming from? Is it a deliberate ploy to ensnare the unsuspecting? Is there any evidence that Sogyal is teaching this false dharma or is it a misunderstanding produced by the sangha or by something else?

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  548. Hi Joanne,

    I just read your testimony you had linked here and what a suprise: These are exactly the experiences I made.

    Just one quote:

    “I was experiencing strong paranormal experiences to do with SR. I believed that I could communicate with him psychically.”

    Yes, totally normal, your wild paranormal adventures.It is a pity that you don´t like to go further into these questions, what it is all about.
    It´s really cool stuff.

    The teariest of it all is the loneliness we fall in by making such experiences. What I try working for is to tear down the walls of what it is mystical in TB and how it is abused.

    I wish you all my best!

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  549. Something I can’t quite work out here. There is the reference to the “Rigpa machinery”, but also the claim that some women are “abused” after only one lesson. In the world I live in, if any woman walked in off the street, had only one lesson in Buddhism, and was then asked to be a “dakini” for Sogyal, she would be out of there immediately and reporting it to the police, or worse. I cannot imagine what part of the world is host to these utterly docile women who can be so easily seduced after only one lesson.

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  550. BellaB,
    Are you saying that Rigpa is still part of the Dudjom mandala? I read in many places that Sogyal removed Dudjom’s name from his centres, it is plastered all over the net, and as I can’t seem to find any reference to Dudjom Rinponche on the current Rigpa site, and have no other explanation, the story that Sogyal cut ties with Dudjom seemed uncontested.

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  551. “I believe again you are avoiding the issue.”

    I think you are avoiding. I asked you if someone hadn’t even given the opportunity to influence things, then can that person be blamed for?

    If a woman dreamed about you, but you were not interested in and the woman never discussed matters with you, but just made her decisions (like an adult?) by herself, then can you be blamed there? If you were a University professor? The same applies. You are not guilty, but the mob thinks SR is, obviously.

    Is this question intellectually too challenging? I doubt that.

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  552. DI, I receive the impression you would have had to create bellaB if she wouldn´t exist yet!

    What is your pleasure of that game?

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  553. I believe again you are avoiding the issue. This is a most fanciful reinterpretation of what Joanne wrote.
    It is bizarre but what I expect….. rather
    Dear Sogyal,

    I just wanted to ask you whether you feel it is ok to use the power vested in your role as a teacher….etc.
    Bella does that help you to get started. Do it as an exercise in empathy not sympathy for the devil!

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  554. DI, I still challenge you to answer to this:

    “If some woman would think that you fancied her, but she never bothered to check facts with you and divorced the father of her children, then were you to be blamed for her choices? You didn’t have any chance in influencing the scene. I know your answer is: No, I had nothing to do with it. But when one puts SR in your place, his is guilty. Illogical.”

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  555. Sankappa: “Quite often they are young and trusting students that have the whole Rigpa machine manipulating them into the cult of Sogyal Rinpoche.”

    And you spent how long time in Rigpa to figure out there was a machine to support this kind of activity? Was it one full retreat? Or did you believe M. Finnigan’s ‘revelations’ about it?

    I think you are a fool to believe BTT blog. Simply a real fool – > sorry.

    Sankappa, could you please tell me how YOU were abused in Rigpa?

    Could you also tell me, how Joanne was abused? What was the abuse Rigpa did to her? Somebody supported her drinking? I’ve never seen that happening. Not once.

    Do you think that there was a possibility that she hadn’t been “abused” if she had relied on somebody in Rigpa? I have to say that I KNOW the care system in Rigpa and I am sure she would have been helped, if she had opened her mouth. I have seen real doctors working their a** off in helping people.

    Sankappa and many here wish to achieve the cozy one view atmosphere what they had in the other forum. It’s very easy.

    I went away from here, since – believe it or not – I still have life outside these pages. Did you notice that we all had a few months brake here? What happened? You hooked up somewhere else? I didn’t spend a moment thinking about these issues during that brake. Enjoyable holiday.

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  556. KateS, I am glad that you have retracted this statement because nothing could be further from the truth about Tenzin:

    “Having waged a media campaign against the Dalai Lama he then switched sides and started his media campaign against other groups. This is a guy who has made a career out of propaganda campaigns promoting infighting between various Tibetan Buddhist groups.”

    If you look at Tenzin’s comments on his site, he is grounded in his commitment to his vows, to “right speech” and is very wise and balanced. I am convinced that people such as Tenzin, who have been harmed by cultish environments themselves, are the ones most capable of helping others see the situation more clearly.

    I have often said to Bella that I understand where she’s coming from because she speaks a language I have spoken myself in the past. I too justified every action of my lamas and found my own logic to do that. In fact, devotion is a topic we don’t discuss much on these blogs, but I personally believe that it has great relevance. I also believe these situations are very complicated and I am happy that some of the conversations are finally acknowledging that.

    I don’t know how far this needs to go in order for healing to begin. You are on topic by mentioning your professor– this is one angle on the trouble that many of us in the West are hoping can be taken up. In the West, sexual relations are unacceptable between teachers and students– they are unacceptable between therapists and clients– they are unacceptable between doctors and patients. They are in fact illegal in many of those cases. This has to do with fiduciary care and the imbalance of power in those relationships. If you are interested in a somewhat erudite post that I wrote on this subject, this is the link: https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/violation-of-the-sacredwestern-psychological-perspectives-on-sexual-misconduct-in-the-clergy-and/
    Also, as regards your comments on my experiences, I also wrote a more explicit post on these: https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/one-year-with-rigpa-a-testimony/
    I only direct you towards that because in that post, I talk about my wild, paranormal experiences (which Bella refers to frequently and inaccurately) in the context of Rigpa’s unhealthy and unsafe environment and practices. Bella’s response to that and my other posts is often to miss the main points entirely and then tie up the airways with pages and pages and pages of diversions. This is what frustrates those of us trying to have an intelligent conversation.

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  557. Thanks Sankappa, you don’t often post here, but when you do you can be counted on for clear, well-balanced argument and information.
    I’ve always appreciated your good sense in the past.

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  558. Kate S, thanks for pointing things out here. I would like to ask where you got this information?

    “I think he made a big mistake burning his bridges with Dudjom Rinpoche”

    I have spoken with someone who has been in Rigpa for over 25 years. He told me that Sogyal Rinpoche never burnt bridges with Dudjom Rinpoche. There are rumors about some vague advice that Dudjom Rinpoche would have given him, the Tulku Sogyal. It’s very doubtful that Dudjom Rinpoche would EVER discus Sogyal Rinpoche’s personal practice or his advice on that PUBLICLY. I believe it’s one of those rumors that some friendly critic has spread around but which has no basis in reality.

    Sogyal Rinpoche has a huge image of Dudjom Rinpoche right in front of him in the temple. He prays always to Guru Rinpoche and the masters of his lineage.

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  559. That was meant to read “NOT BellaB” Whoops

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  560. I think this is mild compared to the “good” old-days DI. Back when Sheila was tag-teaming with BellaB. That was troll-tandem if you remember. In fact come to think of it, it was not that long ago!

    Felix, thank you for your post also. While I am pretty sure KateS is BellaB, it is interesting how she is AWOL at this time. Although I am sure she will reappear any moment soon.

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  561. sankappa thank you and KateS for their wonderful five round boxing match with wonderful Buddhist non violence. It is great to observe such comments in a sea of trolls. sankappa has been around long enough to know how to respond to BellaB as a troll. We are still waiting to receive her letter to SR.
    Also our commentators are learning to avoid her like the plague. We have her here as she is our resident party official and we try not to censure her. she has been very successful in getting a lot of people to leave, but some still stay like you lot.
    Just as a clarification this not a Religious or Buddhist site but about cultism. Hence it is clear that Joanne posts here and on other Buddhist sites. This is not a site to debate Buddhism, hence when Joanne posts here it is to explore some aspect of cultism with a Buddhist flavour. That the comments vary in quality is not surprising, that you KateS find the posts good is good to know.
    Hopefully that helps to clarify things
    DI Moderation

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  562. KateS, I’m glad to see that you have taken the time to familiarise yourself with tenpel’s blog, and that you have also changed your mind about him by doing this. However, I would like to point out that the post you quote was actually written by Joanne Clark, the same author as the above piece. Now hopefully this does not change your opinion on tenpel, as I believe you have reached the right conclusion in a roundabout fashion. I think the important point here is that tenpel is hosting this work by Joanne, which is a constructive summary of the abuse most particularly relating to Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa, and he would therefore in the main, endorse the content.

    I would also like to comment on some points you raise in your earlier post. I think it is unfair to reach such a harsh assessment that those who succumb to Sogyal Rinpoche need their “head examined” or are “fools.” Quite often they are young and trusting students that have the whole Rigpa machine manipulating them into the cult of Sogyal Rinpoche. This is a very formidable force for the unsuspecting. For those suspecting and better educated in the Dharma this would not be a problem. Unfortunately this is not always the case, as there a many who are first introduced to Dharma through Rigpa and have no other reference point. Much of what is written here and on tenpel’s blog is to inform and educate people about abusive “gurus” and spiritual organisations.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the Batchelors’ videos. It is indeed great analysis of the situation. Tenpel has these posted on his blog also; however, I was aware of them when they were released with “In the Name of Enlightenment” back in May 2011. If you are interested and have not seen that yet KateS, the full episode is now available on YouTube somewhere. I think there is a link to it here or on tenpel’s site.

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  563. Maybe instead of using my own words, I quote from http://thedorjeshugdengroup.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/what-is-a-rigpa-student-to-think/ then it might raise less resistance, “…such black and white thinking is not helpful… It is therefore not my intention here to dispute Sogyal’s worth as a spiritual mentor for many. Nor is it my intention to hold him high as an exemplary spiritual teacher either. My intention is to ask readers to hold both possibilities in their hearts, to neither revert to blind faith, nor succumb to blind reactive emotions as you sort through the allegations and your own experience and analysis.”

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  564. Actually Sankappa, I retract my original statement about Tenpel’s blog. Having read some of his posts in response he actually has a far more balanced view himself than the sort of crusade mentality that blog as a whole initially appears to have.

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  565. Kate S At no time did I say that sisters should unite against Buddhism. Sisters should unite against abuse by any spiritual leader who takes advantage of those who come for spiritual guidance. You clearly haven’t read my posts so I have no intention of getting into any kind of dialogue with you.

    Sankappa Thank you for your posts I suspect that Kate S is really BellaB as she has all of a sudden disappeared.

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  566. My personal view, for what its worth, which really counts for nothing. I find Sogyal to be a bit creepy and unattractive. I think he made a big mistake burning his bridges with Dudjom Rinpoche, and I wouldn’t go to Rigpa because I’ve heard the atmosphere isn’t great due to all the bad publicity they have received regardless of whether it is true or not. I have no doubt that Sogyal has had sex with some of his students, and it is quite possible he has tried to coerce them, but on the other hand if anyone believes that they can get closer to enlightenment that way, then maybe they need their head examined, or they could just read one of the many books and come to some kind of understanding about how consort practice actually works rather than seeing it as a short cut.

    If I told you I could make you enlightened by beating you with a stick and you agreed, who is the fool, you or me? Or maybe it’s just a case of two fools?

    I refer you to the videos of Stephen and Martine Batchelor posted here which both give a more balanced and informed view https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/sex-scandals-in-religion-sogyal-rinpoche/

    Re: Tenpel’s blog – I did not say it was, “some twisted motivation as part of a career move.” You really do seem to have a serious problem with comprehension. I have no doubt he thinks he is doing the right thing now. I also have no doubt he thought he was doing the right thing before when he supported the NKT against the Dalai Lama. The purity of his motivation is not in question here.

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  567. KateS, on February 5, 2013 at 5:53 am said:

    “It is left hanging on his own blog, being the bottom line.”

    You are still pursuing this line without really investigating what is going on. If you have been investigating it, I am not sure how you are coming to this conclusion. It is simply not Tenpel’s motivation.

    Much or all of your misunderstanding would not have arisen, if you read and absorbed the information here and on Tenpel’s blog, as I originally suggested. Instead you have continued your commenting without deeper consideration and proper perspective, painting yourself further into a corner by continuing wild and uninformed accusations about tenpel.

    So again I will strongly urge you to go and read more carefully to understand the wider perspective.

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  568. Wow, I must admit I didn’t read this last sentence and missed this quite revealing point in your post KateS:

    “This is a guy who has made a career out of propaganda campaigns promoting infighting between various Tibetan Buddhist groups.”

    Perhaps you are revealing your agenda sooner than I thought. Not only is this statement factually incorrect and shows that you are just slinging any kind of rubbish around in a uniformed manner, but what it really shows is your lack of understanding of what motivates the people who post here and on Tenpel’s blog. That is, we have given our accounts of abuse in spiritual organisations as way of warning others not to get involved, or as support for and to encourage others to extricate themselves if they are already enmeshed in these organisations. In Tenpel’s case it was waking-up to the machinations of the NKT and then exposing them through his blog and other efforts. He has recently allowed his blog to be used for exposing abuse within Rigpa. It’s a pretty pure motivation – to try to prevent and alleviate harm occurring to others – not as you portray it, as some twisted motivation as part of a career move.

    It seems KateS you have completely misinterpreted the real motivation here, or more likely that it is your own motivation does not allow you to see this.

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  569. It is left hanging on his own blog, being the bottom line.

    I will explain my agenda here. Firstly I clicked a link from another site which was divided on the veracity of the Trimondi’s wild conspiracy theory regarding the Dalai Lama and all Tibetan Buddhism, hence my first post.
    Then I started reading this and several other articles on Sogyal and Rigpa. I noticed that the articles themselves put quite a balanced view, for which I must commend DI and in this case Joanne, but scrolling down to the comments section I found that same balance to be lacking, instead replaced by emotive and distorted posts from people who themselves made no claim to first-hand experience of the matter.
    The actual issues raised by Joanne seem to have gotten lost, and the one person who has actually tried to engage with them and who does have first-hand experience of Rigpa has repeatedly been dismissed by misrepresenting what she has actually written.

    Then I find when I try to join in, exactly the same thing seems to be happening to me too, and I get caught up in strawman arguments which in no way reflect what I actually wrote. It seems that there is a mentality of side-taking and blame which prevents any serious discussion of the issues raised.

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  570. KateS, on February 5, 2013 at 4:31 am said:

    “This says exactly what I wrote..”

    Yes and without the clarification of Tenpel’s role now being ex NKT and directly and actively critical of them, that was left hanging with the innuendo, in your original post.

    The fact that you even mention this in your post, something that is common knowledge (ie his NKT involvement) to all that frequent Tenpel’s blog, strikes me as odd and you having some sort of agenda here.

    Time will bare this out, is my prediction.

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  571. This says exactly what I wrote, “I was an active member of the past Media Campaign of NKT (1996-1998) against the Dalai Lama.” If you click on the link on that page you can read his bio. He was a member of NKT from 1995-2000, and then in 2002 distanced himself from Dechen and any Shugden Lamas.
    Having waged a media campaign against the Dalai Lama he then switched sides and started his media campaign against other groups. This is a guy who has made a career out of propaganda campaigns promoting infighting between various Tibetan Buddhist groups.

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  572. Below is the Mission Statement and personal information from Tenzin Peljor’s (tenpel’s) blog, the Dorje Shugden Group. As everyone is aware, except KateS and/or those with certain agendas it seems, that Tenpel works tirelessly to expose the machinations of the NKT cult (and others), not work with the NKT, to oppose the Dalai Lama, as KateS has asserted above. This is a very extreme and serious claim and I believe she should retract this in the face of the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence to the contrary. When a search is conducted I am not sure how anyone could come to this conclusion, but just in case his post is aimed at anyone reading KateS’ post above, might come to the wrong conclusion regarding Tenzin Peljor aka tenpel.

    “Impressum

    The http://thedorjeshugdengroup.wordpress.com blog is operated by Tenzin Peljor.

    Disclaimer

    About the Blog

    This blog aims to correct and balance the misinformation campaign of the Western Shugden Society (WSS), a front group of the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT). The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT-IKBU) is described by researchers as a “controversial Tibetan Buddhist New Religious Movement (NRM)”[1] or a “breakaway order of the Gelukpa”.[2]

    Because the activities of the Western Shugden Society have slowed down recent posts are focusing more on the NKT and the blog was renamed from ‘Western Shugden Society – unlocked’ to ‘New Kadampa Tradition / Kadampa Buddhism & Western Shugden Society’ on June 22, 2011.

    About me

    tenzinMy name is Tenzin Peljor (Michael Jäckel).

    I am a fully ordained Buddhist monk and a former teacher of the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) in Germany.

    For more than six years (1995-2002) I was a follower of different Dorje Shugden Lamas, including Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Lama Dechen Losang Chöma, Dagom Rinpoche, Kundeling Rinpoche (Lobsang Yeshe) aka “Nga-Lama” and Lama Gangchen Rinpoche. One time I met also Gonsar Rinpoche and Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche.

    I was an active member of the past Media Campaign of NKT (1996-1998) against the Dalai Lama. For more about my personal background one can read my personal site.”

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  573. Sankappa,
    Felix made it clear that his experience was with a Drikung Kagyu tulku and not Rigpa. As for you, I have seen nothing to suggest you have any specific knowledge either.
    BellaB clearly states, “I have NEVER said those things didn’t happen. If you had the energy or nerve to read all my posts since the beginning, you would have known that.” for example https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/sex-scandals-in-religion-sogyal-rinpoche/
    entry for June 21, 2011 at 8:02 pm, but you seem to have convinced yourself otherwise. I asked you to refer me to something which refutes this, you have not, nor will you be able to, because it exists only in your own imagination.
    Maybe neither you nor Felix can see the irony of misrepresenting what Bella wrote and then telling people to ignore her, on a thread that is primarily about abuse of male power against women? Unfortunately I can.

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  574. Well KateS, you prove again (there are so many examples in this last post, it’s hard to no where to begin) that you clearly have not done any further reading on this matter, and as Felix pointed out your knowledge of the specific issues in regards to Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa, remains at zero.

    You are welcome to remain in ignorance, and it seems that you have already made up your mind to (as you are yet to do any analysis as advised) and instead are really here just spoiling for a blue. I for one will not be indulging you in this, or responding until there is some evidence that you have just a basic grasp, at the least, of the issues pertaining to Rigpa and Sogyal Rinpoche.

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  575. Sankappa,
    I can assure you that I have been reading about such issues for well over 20 years now, and what I have seen is that exactly the same abuses are occurring in Western religious and secular institutions as well. That is why I question the view that this is a phenomenon exclusive to Tibetan Buddhism. It seems all to easy to point the finger on the basis that they neither share our repressive “Victorian” approach to sexuality, nor the ideal of religious purity and ethics that does not even hold up in our own institutions. It is a lot easier to simply point the finger while ignoring the exact same issues right under our noses. Are we looking to blame others or are we actually trying to find a solution here?

    The idea that Sogyal and Tenzin Pelijor can be grouped together on the basis that they both practice Tibetan Buddhism is just the kind of ignorant generalisation that I am talking about. Tenzin Peljor was an active member of the past media campaign of NKT against the Dalai Lama. You can research the Dorje Shugden controversy quite easily yourself using a serch engine.

    Again in your final paragraph, you think that I am enabling abuse simply because I refute certain blanket suppositions that do not stand up, and which contradict your view. This kind of absolutist thinking, “either you are for us or against us”, simply reinforces what I said before, you are simply jumping on the bandwagon.

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  576. Firstly KateS, by your response above, It appears that you are very new to this whole controversy and it would seem that you have really only read this thread. As I suggested, it would be wise to read more widely and carefully the other 41 threads on Rigpa and Sogyal Rinpoche on DI as well as the others that I linked to, to get a much clearer and broader picture of the issues and personal accounts, and certainly before you take any kind of position on this.

    Secondly, to claim that a forum (“shugden site”) created and run by a Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Tenzin Peljor (aka tenpel) is going to be biased AGAINST Sogyal Rinpoche does not make sense, and shows your naiveté surrounding the whole controversy and that you don’t as yet have a grasp of the issues or the breadth of people involved.

    Also KateS, that you want to put-up your Professor’s unprofessional actions as an example of “fairly normal behaviour” and then use this as some sort of justification for Sogyal Rinpoche’s behaviour, worries me somewhat. It is unfortunately this attitude that enables abuse (no matter in which institution it is) to continue.

    Again KateS I would advise, please read a lot more before taking a position.

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  577. Sankappa,
    Maybe you could direct me to the claim that, “it couldn’t possibly be happening”, I can’t seem to find her drawing such a conclusion. What she did say was that she hadn’t witnessed it herself and that, “If real abuse has happened, I’m sorry, but the messengers have been too messy for me to believe the story 100%. I really can’t say I would believe much of it with all the exaggerations over the decades.”

    She hasn’t discounted the possibilty that it may have happened, but there does seem to be a lot of gossip, exaggeration, and some seriously distorted generalisations being made.

    I have read what Joanne wrote several times now, and I cannot really see the link being made by others. Joanne herself seems to be very clear on the matter, she never met or spoke with Sogyal, but she did feel her needs were not provided for.

    This raises some important questions that require discussion and clarification…

    I also believe that the shugden site is not particularly trustworthy nor impartial in this matter. What I will refer you to is, https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/briefing-document-on-sogyal-rinpoche/

    which says, “DI has found the same adult ritualised sexual abuse in Yogic, New Age, Christian and Hindu groups. “This (abuse) is in large part a result of the naiveté of westerners when it comes to visiting Asian gurus.””

    I myself experienced something very similar to Joanne at university where a professor lecturing in Western philosophy had more time for the student he was sleeping with than he did for the rest of us who were curtly sent away and told to study harder. This was generally accepted as fairly normal behaviour. What is it in our perception that means we treat a teacher of Buddhist philosophy so differently?

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  578. KateS,

    You state that you have read though several threads and this is your conclusion:

    “… I must say that I find BellaB to be one of the few people who both knows what she is talking about and has her feet on the ground.”

    Not a conclusion that BellaB’s response lacks any decent, humane or empathetic qualities (bordering on the narcissistic as DI puts it) but that BellaB “…knows what she is talking about and has her feet on the ground.”

    This is an interesting conclusion. Perhaps you also share her view that as you personally haven’t witnessed any abuse occurring, that therefore it couldn’t possibly be happening?

    Now, whether you actually think this, is not abundantly clear at this stage, but by making comments such as the above you are endorsing BellaB’s extreme point of view. Maybe you would care to reconsider your position, with some further and careful reading of the many threads and accounts of abuse by Sogyal Rinpoche posted by mostly now ex-Rigpa students (the count is rapidly increasing). Try also here if you haven’t