Sunday, July 31, 2011

The abuse of women in Buddhism. Does Anyone Care?

Would someone check this out? Not Death and Dying, but the abuse of women?

Posted on by dialogueireland 

Since 1997 Dialogue Ireland has been concerned about the abuse of women within the context of Buddhism. We had questions but now we have produced a briefing document produced by a Tibetan Buddhist scholar. This document has been on our site since April of this year.

However, we now have a number of witnesses who can corroborate the testimony we have in our document. For confidential reasons we did not distribute this information till now. We also brought this to the attention of the Dalai Lama who has been aware of the charges against Sogyal Rimpoche for over a decade. He had as our document outlined suggested that women who had been sexually abused should go to the media. We are suggesting they take it a step further and take it to the police. However, not only has the Dalai Lama’s representative in London for Europe not answered our enquiry, but the Dalai Lama  held meetings in Amsterdam this month with Sogyal. This seems to raise serious questions for the Dalai Lama about his association with Sogyal.

Or another comment, “An excellent piece, DI. Thanks for that. You have raised many important points. I think there is a huge amount of denial within Rigpa concerning Rinpoche’s alleged behaviour. Sadly, I think it is in part a way of thinking common in society..that generally it is the woman’s fault. Also, I think people think that if he did do something his motivation was pure at the time. Because there is a lot of rumour and little fact, and because he tells people it is none of their business what he does in his private life, people let it go.

To my mind the whole thing rests on the matter of fiduciary duty and trust. If this is betrayed, then something is very, very wrong. I doubt anyone objects to sexual liaisons, but when it is with many women and the power imbalance is as great as it is between a student and master/teacher, then it seems to me to be an abuse of power, and benefits no one. Even is some of the women are desiring a sexual relationship with such a teacher, surely it is up to the teacher to maintain boundaries that are in the best interest of the student? When those boundaries don’t exist it all gets very messy.

For the most part, I think a lot of Rigpa students don’t feel it concerns them, and those who do know about it and remain, will not look on the web to see even what the Janice Doe case was about. Students have invested so much and it doesn’t touch them. It hasn’t happened to them. I find it ironic that sexual misconduct is one of the five basic tenets of non-harming, yet when it arises within the Sangha by the teacher then students turn away or dismiss it. If women are being damaged by this then it does matter.” Earlier this month we raised the question knowing that Sogyal was coming to give a retreat and providing persons the opportunity to make a statement to the Gardai:

Can this go on?

This is a comment left on our site: “I don’t know why this continues as I know one person involved who is giving money every month and is totally obsessed with Sogyal Rinpoche and no-one can talk to her.” Or these responses to our earlier document:

“Congratulations Dialogue Ireland. You must have spent many hours on research and writing to produce this item. I have a great deal more hard, corroborated evidence of Sogyal’s sexual depravity, self-indulgence and financial preoccupation.

There are now more than 30 people willing to join forces to make sure that Sogyal is taken out of circulation as a teacher effectively and permanently. I would be grateful if you could email me any further information that comes your way. I am especially interested in women who are willing to testify about their sexual encounters with Sogyal. Their anonymity is guaranteed.”

Then on Saturday the Irish Times a very supportive article on Rigpa’s “Death and Dying,” perspective and its centre in West Cork appeared. We will in due course address this aspect of spirituality and how Rigpa is gaining a stranglehold in this field by its very successful penetration of Irish hospice care, religious society, and professionals involved in this country in end of life issues.

First things first- Now a much more important issue must be addressed the elephant in the room.

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