Last year, I met with the number of noted Buddhist teachers here in Crestone Colorado, including Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Thrangu Rinpoche about the future of our Dharma practice after some of the concerns of the #metoo movement and many scandals were exposed. We had heartfelt, forthright discussions concerning misconduct, abuse, authoritarian power, cults and cult-think and how, if at all possible, to move forward as a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner. Here is my recollection of their personal advice to me and us all, musings from retreat.

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3 replies
  1. Dawn Lhamo
    Dawn Lhamo says:

    And, I wanted to share with you all, some feedback regarding this retreat video. I tend to be a moderate, centrist and I believe in the goodness of people and the willingness for people to change, learn and grow- however naïve I believe that even criminals have within them, the core of conscience. It must come from my work in the prisons, I believe that there are causes and conditions that make people harm each other, hurt women and children and commit crimes. I believe that with help, transparency, trauma work, accountability cultural updates and culpability we can change the dark underbelly of human society.

    Here is some feedback but the author wanted to remain anonymous: “I’d suggest that you’d do better not to let Tibetan teachers frame the problem of abuse. I think you tend to put too much responsibility on the students, and too little responsibility on the teachers. Most Tibetan lamas are just not educated enough for that. Sexual abuse is a criminal offence. To say that that’s just samsara being samsara is a form of laughable ignorance. Almost every Tibetan teacher I know enables criminal abuse by acts of commission (endorsements, accepting invitations, all expenses paid, et cetera) and omission (looking the other way, et cetera). So, if I were you, I would ask them: 1. how have you yourself enabled the abusive behaviour of Tibetan lamas in the past decades, and why did you do that? When and how will you acknowledge this publicly; and 2. What are you yourself going to do to stop them from abusing others? When will you do that? How will you do that? How will we know you’ve done that? What are you yourself going to do to reach out to the victims/survivors? How are you yourself going to demonstrate accountability for your own enabling behaviour? Et cetera, et cetera. Enabling lamas should realise that they too are subjects under the law—not above.”

    And a few days before that, I had a whole spiritual mafia threat from a close dharma friend, suggesting I would go to hell or somesuch punishment. So, being a centrist with the hopes that we can change what is no longer sound I get insulted, hurt, threatened and flack from both polarities. I guess one has to be true to one’s heart.


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  1. […] are sketchy at best. Everything that I know about it is secondhand and hearsay. I was told by an ex-monk that the children are systematically abused in many of the monasteries every day and everyone turns a blind eye, and there’s an actual […]

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