comment by RH in Contemporary Buddhism Group :
It is encouraging that the Dalai Lama, at long last, spoke out openly about Sogyal Lakar and Rigpa. We should not forget, however, that he did so only after survivors’ stories and questions by reporters worldwide made it inevitable.
Likewise, we should not forget that for decades survivors and witnesses have repeatedly warned the Dalai Lama in vain about the sexual abuse by Sogyal Lakar, Namkha Rinpoche, and other Tibetan lamas. So far, Sogyal is the sole Tibetan abuser who the Dalai Lama has mentioned by name, while many others like him remain unnamed.
Finally, I am not aware of any effort by the Dalai Lama to invite survivors to share their experiences directly with him. His comments, at best, pay lip service to their plight—nothing more. Instead, the Dalai Lama focusses on the abuser, his entourage and institution. Clearly, he has not risen above the classic reflexes of religious figureheads of all denominations.
The Dalai Lama would do better to give the victims of sexual abuse by Tibetan clergy the recognition that is due, openly. He could do this by inviting a delegation of survivors to a meeting in his residence in India.
I would also suggest that the Dalai Lama hosts a Mind & Life meeting with (mostly) Western scientists about sexuality, sexual abuse and its treatments. The past decades, experts in the West, in part thanks to efforts of the Roman-Catholic church, have gathered a wealth of experience in these fields.
By and large, the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan lamas have remained oblivious of this expertise. As far as human sexuality and its derailments are concerned, a further training course is long overdue.
Le procès OKC
Le jugement particulièrement bien motivé prononcé le 15/09/2016 par le Tribunal Correctionnel de Bruxelles dans le cadre du procès dit « de l’OKC » dénonce des comportements contraires à nos règles les plus élémentaires de vie en société dont le sieur Robert SPATZ (alias « Lama KUNZANG ») et d’autres personnes de son entourage se sont rendues coupables. Ces comportements sont évidemment aussi en totale contradiction avec les valeurs véhiculées depuis 2500 ans au sein de la tradition bouddhiste.
En conséquence, l’Union Bouddhique Belge salue le travail accompli par le pouvoir judiciaire pour clarifier les faits reprochés aux différentes personnes condamnées et elle exprime envers les victimes de leurs agissements sa plus profonde compassion.
Le chemin que le Bouddha a proposé à quiconque d’expérimenter a pour objectif ultime de libérer les êtres sensibles de toute souffrance physique ou morale. Ce cheminement implique une démarche de clarification de nos intentions individuelles et collectives, mais aussi un réel engagement sociétal visant à épauler tous ceux qui souffrent.
Dans cet esprit, les centres reconnus par l’Union Bouddhique Belge accueilleront évidemment avec une particulière bienveillance toute personne ayant été blessée au travers des actes dénoncés par le tribunal et qui souhaiterait y trouver un soutien spirituel.
In Nyima Dzong, people were indoctrinated to see everything in a positive light. Negative thoughts were said to be signs of a clouded mind. Only Robert S. allegedly had access to ‘true reality’. He quoted Tibetan teachers with whom he had supposedly studied in India. And various Tibetan teachers made him seem legitimate by visiting the OKC over the years, for example the Dalai Lama in 1990. By that time, many instances of sexual abuse had apparently already occurred.
Read more at http://
www.patheos.com/ blogs/ americanbuddhist/ 2017/ 11/ a-storm-is-coming-tibetan-buddhism-in-the-west...
Buddhist scholar Bernard Faure recounts several of the scandals of Western Buddhism in his book on Buddhist sexuality, The Red Thread, but then warns us, “The problem is by no means limited to Western interpretations of Mahāyāna: it is also found in Asian forms of Mahāyāna and Theravāda… [F]ar from being mere accidents due to individual personalities, [the scandals] may also be seen as structural problems, having deeper social, psychological, and cultural roots. These behaviors found some doctrinal justification in the teachings of Mahāyāna or Great Vehicle— particularly in its most radical versions,Vajrayāna and Chan/Zen.”
I am troubled by the premise that the members of OKC should be protected because they have “nothing to do” with the wrongs perpetrated by Spatz. This is a fiction that lives on in part because, contrary to accusations, the OKC children are absurdly compassionate and forgiving. Most of the OKC disciples were complicit in one way or another in the abuse and neglect of the community’s children. Those that were not complicit are at the very least guilty of turning a blind eye in a situation where a compassionate human would ordinarily be expected to lend a hand. We (the OKC children) know that the adults were deceived and indoctrinated by Spatz and we know that he had a terrible way of twisting the truth and the religion, making acts of kindness seem like crimes, and crimes like acts of kindness. So we forgive the people who beat, neglected and mistreated us, or led us to his bedroom in the dead of night, choosing instead to focus on Spatz as the ultimate cause of the harm.
"Once you enter into the hermetic world of Tibetan Buddhism, you somehow burn your bridges to Western rationality."
Tibetan culture is such that it will never criticise another lama, especially one within your own group
So here is a few things OKC should do:
Update 2017 :
Point 4 and 5 are not being put in practice. OKC should revoke the current board administration for life, change its name, ban Spatz for life, retake ownership and control of the Spatz Foundation, all these steps are not put in practice and therefore anyone can reach the conclusion that Spatz is still pretty much controling OKC.
3 - The page of Robert Spatz aka Lama Kunzang was removed from OKC website : http:/
2 - This article was changed and reflects now the OKC decision to appeal the court decision and the Spatz sentence
but the argument of point number is still valid.
1 - the page was removed, but all the masters are still displayed in their project page : http:/
By now everybody has heard of the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. But Buddhism still enjoys a reputation of being non-violent, open-minded, and pro-women.
By the time he finished, the main point—that a Tibetan, Vajrayana lama, who had been given asylum in a law-abiding, Western country, could break the laws of that country, could rape and beat women, and if his students spoke out, they would go to hell—was lost.
And I fear that while, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche might act very hip, he is clearly coming from an ancient, misogynistic view point and students need to not lose sight of that. Women have worked too hard to get where we are now. Rape is rape and it is not the victim’s fault. This stand has taken millennia to sort out and as a woman, I appeal to students: Don’t let yourself be duped!
Part of the necessary arguments to make against Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche post are being developped here and they are worth reading, even more for cultist buddhists of all sort in swoon regarding Dzongsar text without much critical thinking, again taking him for an enlightened being instead of a human being first, teacher second. Westerners and everyone of us should stop putting these people's opinion in a sacred altar and instead use critical thinking to think by themselves.
Une partie des arguments nécessaires à prendre contre l'opinion de Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoché sont développés ici et ils valent la peine d'être lu, encore plus pour les cultistes bouddhistes de tout genres en pâmoison devant le texte Dzongsar sans la moindre réflexion critique, le prenant à nouveau pour un être sublime au lieu d'un Être Humain en premier, Professeur.
les Occidentaux feraient bien d'arrêter de mettre l'opinion de ces "maîtres" sur un autel sacré et utiliser leur discernement et penser par eux même
It's interesting to see how the word allegations is being used all across the world when it's about Men sexual abuse, usually rich, priviledged, powerful men using their positions to try at all cost to appear innocent, "using the justice system" or a third-party independent body to look into these "allegations" while maintaning a narrative to appear like innocent. the denial is still KING, either for Sogyal or for RIGPA board, the tone of the letters sound as if the allegations will be proven false and his reputation soon restored.
Letter to Sogyal from brave 8 : https://
#Sogyal letter to his students : https://
#RIGPA board letter to their Sangha : : https://
Presse release from RIGPA : https://
It's probably the last time we have to LINK the #RIGPA case to the #OKC case, both bearing very similar behaviour, not only from the "board" but also from the accused "master" himself, both using narratives, words and excuses to appear innocent that cannot be taken seriously.
Any independent third-party looking into these matters should be the French Justice System, the Police, but for this to happen, survivors NEED to make a formal complaint, need to use the Human Law Justice system to make sure these so called "masters" are judged not only from a spiritugal point of view but most certainly from a Human Law point of view. Buddhism cannot exclude itself or put himsel on top of Human Laws as if sexual abuses conducted by a so called "master" can only be judged by spiritual laws or worst : stay for ever managed like a personal, internal dispute that an independent third-party could solve.
Survivors from #Sogyal sexual abuse MUST go to Justice, must make a formal complaints, that is the only way to force not only Sogyal to face his actions but also #RIGPA to take this very very seriously and make sure this never ever happens again. of course adopting a code of conduct (the irony that a code of conduct needs to be crafted for a spiritual philosophy will not escape to anyone that Knows just even a fraction of what Buddhism stand for)
To #RIGPA survivors we say :
- Go to Justice, Buddhism is not a Law on top of Human Laws and Human Justice System.
- If we really want to Clean Buddhism from these serial abusers, keeping this scandal an internal affair will never solve the problem, it will only push for later the possibility of a real, lasting solutions that can be put in place all across Dharma centers all around the World.
- Do not think for one second that, as a survivor, Speaking up is Equal to "Harming Buddhism or Dharma or RIGPA" this is an excuse, used both in the case of OKC or other scandals that is a construct to minimise the importance of the abuse with the intent to preserve, turn off the light, the public eye from these abusers that use Buddhist Sangha & Dharma as a shield.
Let's finish the work : let's speak up, let's make sure this never happens to anyone ever again.
This is what ALL the Lama's listed in the OKC official site couldn't do, much less read, much less contemplate about sexual abuse in Buddhism, hopefully, some people are talking, showing the road ahead, proving that everything is possible when one is able to get out of the veil of confusion and ignorance and actually look at problems honestly, instead of burrying their head in the sand, hoping for the storm to pass.
Don't call yourself a Buddhist if you are unable to acknowledge this truth.
Some of OKC/Spatz victim replies to this article with more context :
Wangdrag, thank you for posting this information. I was one of the children raised in this community and involved in the lawsuit. Speaking out against the community was a harrowing experience. People were in deep denial and continued to turn their heads as the cult leader engaged in relationships with teenage girls even after public complaints had been made, under the delusion that a Tibetan Buddhist lama is incapable of doing wrong. The most frustrating part was that Tibetan Buddhist leaders made no investigation and continued to frequent and endorse Spatz, which revived people’s confidence in him. This was a big factor in maintaining denial among the members of the community and allowing Spatz to continue to abuse and defraud his followers. I hope others will pay attention to this cautionary tale (and the many others that sadly exist) and will think twice before following anyone so blindly or relying on the actions of Tibetan Buddhist leaders as a measure of a person’s integrity.
Soteria is vastly misinformed, to put it kindly. Spatz kept his followers in a state of financial, spiritual and emotional dependence. Many of them cut ties with their families at a young age and worked unpaid in the community for decades, which means that they had no property of their own, no savings, no accumulated social security benefits, no cognizable work experience to put down on a resume, plus they had no family support outside the community. The 1997 investigation caused a big panic. Where would everyone go if Spatz was convicted and his properties were seized? On top of these financial concerns, the members were heavily indoctrinated and we’re afraid of losing Spatz and the spiritual salvation that he promised them. And no one wanted to accumulate bad karma by speaking badly of their spiritual savior, or even thinking of him critically. So of course they mobilized and responded to the investigation with flowery stories praising the community and its leader, and cleaned up the community and the school, at least on the surface, to please the authorities. The witnesses who were who were children in the community in 1997 testified at trial that the community was given a three – day warning before each government visit, and the children spent the three days cleaning up the place and memorizing the scripts they were supposed to tell the investigators about their supposedly happy lives. Kids who had any issues or who were in France illegally were hidden during these visits to ensure that the investigators saw nothing but a row of shining faces when they came to visit. In fact, these kids were suffering from abuse and neglect and physical hardships. But many of these children were born into the community and didn’t know any other way of life. They believed they would lose everything if they didn’t lie convincingly, and they were afraid, so naturally they did as they were told. As far as education, regardless of the quality, it ended in middle school. Kids were expected to quit school and take on adult jobs when they turned 14. To say there was a “choice” is nothing more than fiction. In my case, for example, I was summoned by Spatz when I was 14 and told I would be quitting school. I actually tried to protest and received a firm “no” which was followed by a proud announcement to my mother that I had chosen to quit school and start working. Basically, I was ordered to choose to end my education. This is how most people’s “choices” were made in the community, like the young mothers who “chose” to send their toddlers to be raised on a kid farm in a different country, leaving them free to work 7 long days a week for the community. This unreasonable work schedule was forced upon them, making them unable to properly care for their children. They they were told that they were mentally and spiritually deficient, and were poisoning their kids with their bad personalities. They were promised that their kids would reach enlightenment by the time they were 20 if they sent them off to live a “pure” life on the kid farm. In some cases, they were given the “choice” to pack their bags and leave the community on the next bus if they didn’t wish to send their kids away. One way or another, they were forced to give in, and this surrender was depicted as a choice. It is also a lie to say that the members of the community were willingly donating their money to support the community. The truth is that they were cornered or pressured or tricked into doing so, and Spatz was making a huge profit off of their work and donations and living in luxury while they lived in poverty,. These are just a few examples that barely scratch the surface of the story about this community, but I hope they help to answer some of your questions about this community and any contradictions with Soteria’s post. I assume that Soteria’s goal is a good one, but in truth they do the world a lot of harm by posting such stories without a thorough investigation. They met with the leaders of the cult and heard the party line and..what else? As far as I can tell, they didn’t dig any deeper. The result is that they’re obscuring the reality of the dangers of this group and the harm it does to its members. I was one of the first people to press charges against the community, in 1997, and I did this hoping to open people’s eyes so that they would save themselves and their children. But I didn’t manage to open enough eyes and as a result, another whole generation of children had to suffer through abuse such as I did, and worse, before the case finally came to a tipping point and the truth exploded.