“Lock the door.” – I was devoted to a great Buddhist master, and then I quit.

by Mimi, former Dakini

Sogyal Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist master supported by the Dalai Lama. He is the author of the best-selling “Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.” He heads the Rigpa Association, a network of centres spreading the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism throughout the world. Mimi’s experience at his side has been partly retold in the anthropologist Marion Dapsance’s investigative book, “The Devout Buddhists” (Max Milot). In this article, Mimi complements the description contained in the book with a more personal account.

Buddhism, as it is taught in Europe, conveys the teaching that we are all able to create an ideal society, perfectly just and compassionate. That we must free ourselves from the capitalist machinery that has separated us from our true nature, which is fundamentally good. Adolescence can nourish the desire to deeply live such an ideal. At least that was the case for me.

When I was 14 years old, my father became a disciple of the great Buddhist master Sogyal Rinpoche. I accompanied my father to retreats to spend time with him. That made him happy. After a few years, during a retreat in Germany, Sogyal Rinpoche noticed me and asked me to come see him. He declared that I had good karma and that I could get intimate access to him directly.

Every night for a week, he invited me into his room to massage his hands while he watched TV. I didn’t refuse; his inner entourage let it be known that his speaking to me was a privilege, an opportunity to touch this incarnation of the divine.

My father was proud, and I knew that I was making him extremely happy. The image that I had of the master was heightened by his own. At the end of the retreat, as the master was getting into his sedan, he gave me his schedule for the coming year and said to me:

You can come find me wherever you want. I would like to see you. I will be teaching in Australia for a while.

I was 22 years old at the time.

Girls followed him everywhere

I met up with him and was received like a princess. Sogyal Rinpoche had rented some vacation houses by the ocean. The place was deserted; I spent my days at the beach. I participated in the prayers without being too eager. I saw the master only for a few hours a day during the meals. He was accompanied by two men, his chauffeurs, and maybe eight women whom we called dakinis. These women are supposed to help the master have revelations. They followed him everywhere. It was at this time that I also discovered his first fits of rage. I was sharing a house a little distance away with one of the girls. She had a child. I thought the master was the father.

During this retreat, my boyfriend sent me flowers for Valentine’s Day. The girls jumped on me, saying

Whatever you do, don’t say that a boy sent you these flowers! Offer them to the master, he will think they were for him.

That night, he organised a Valentine’s Day dinner. The two chauffeurs were not invited. He was alone with us, the girls. I thought that was strange, but I felt relatively free. There was nothing at stake: my father had paid for my airfare and so I had maintained my financial independence from him. I could leave whenever I wanted.

mimi

Mimi. Screenshot from the documentary »In the Name of Enlightenment – Sex Scandal in Religion«

24-hour devotion

Everything changed a few months later, when I lost my grandmother. Her death came as a shock and I fell ill. Sogyal Rinpoche came to visit me at my mother’s, accompanied by three girls. I had just caught rubella for the second time and had been bedridden for three weeks. He invited me to spend the whole summer at his side at the centre in Lérab Ling, in l’Herault, to receive his teachings in person. I accepted.

As soon as I arrived, everything went very quickly. It usually took other dakinis several years to reach the position that I was given that summer. After a few weeks, I found myself supervising the entire team of girls. He assigned me the walkie-talkies and mobile phones, and I ended up being at his side 24 hours a day.

I accompanied him everywhere, except when he was teaching. At those times, I had to organise the cleaning of his rooms, get his clothes washed, arrange his papers and his cabinets, order his meals and reserve his transportation, prepare his bags, fulfill his lists of demands …

I was exhausted but I was passing the tests. His demands became more and more excessive, but I didn’t say anything. The rule was that one had to be devoted in order to achieve enlightenment. Most of all, I think the fact that I didn’t have time to reflect gave me emotional relief. I was in mourning, and I thought that these responsibilities were helping me keep my mind on more important things. But in fact I was extinguishing myself.

“Lock the door!”

The first time we touched sexually, I was cut off from a certain consciousness of myself. He told me to  lock the door. There was a whole delegation waiting in the cars. The only ones missing were him and me.

I had been sleeping very little for two months. I had gotten used to being abused by demands and words. We accepted everything. I no longer listened. I did what I had to do, no longer asking any questions. I was running on the adrenaline of constant desperation and fatigue. After the first sexual relations, he made very explicit threats, prohibiting me from talking about it to anyone.

All the dakinis knew about it, but we were not allowed to bring it up. And yet we covered for each other in monitoring the house when one of us entered the master’s room. Nobody was allowed to approach. The older the girls got, the more they sensed that the end was near. They got anxious.

Loyalty to the group

At the end of the summer, I had a period of amenorrhea and feared I might be pregnant. I talked about it to a disciple who was a doctor. Since I was the girl closest to Sogyal Rinpoche, it was impossible for me to have had any other relations. This doctor ordered a blood sample without asking a single question. In the Rigpa centres, loyalty to the group trumped everything else.

And yet, the community consisted of people who were often educated: doctors, magistrates, lawyers, businessmen or pilots … Buddhist masters don’t go looking for Tibetans living in India on three dollars, but rather for white people with money, in the West.

The adults submerged in this environment have to readapt reality in order to survive. They talk of compassion all day long while witnessing public humiliations. They question and repress every form of instinct or feeling. They share a common resentment and anger at living a life of unresolved deceptions. In order to ease this frustration, the master encourages them to eliminate their empathy for their families and immediate friends. And he then fills that void with a different form of compassion, for a state of humanity reduced to a concept: abstract and distant.

I thought I would die

I distanced myself very progressively from the group, by making excuses. I think that the rupturing process was confirmed to me once I started taking singing lessons. A singer had heard me and decided to give me free lessons once a month. She called me and insisted that I come. I thus started to relive my emotions.

For several years I had been incapable of admitting what had happened. It took the fact that my dreams and my health were being taken over for me to react. I was having nightmares every night, and I started getting asthma and fevers. I thought I would die if I kept all of this to myself.

On a whim, I went to London at the master’s invitation. One of his chauffeurs came to pick me up, and I asked him,

You know very well that all the girls sleep with him. Do you think that’s normal?

He replied,

You would all be prostitutes and drug addicts if you hadn’t found this master. Consider yourself lucky, you have nothing to be angry at him for.

This reaction reassured me that I was making the right decision. When I arrived, I offered the master a drawing that I had made the night before. I had drawn him in the centre, with me on top of him in the lotus position. All around us, in a circle, I had written the names of each of the dakinis. He understood right away and asked me if I wanted money. I left.

The real rage behind the false compassion

My departure started a panic. The power is in the group, not the master. Sogyal Rinpoche is neither cultured nor particularly intelligent. What he does have is hundreds of thousands of people who allow him to assert his sovereignty. I am not even sure that he himself believes what he says. He repeats what the people need to hear.

All of sudden the group was afraid of being called into question, of revealing itself. That the world might realise that these disciples spend all day prostrating themselves and kissing the feet of a master who never went to school, and who strolls around with a bunch of glamour girls that he humiliates. That people might notice all the rage that actually drives this community – behind a front of compassion.

For a long time, I thought that I was alone in being crazy. How was it possible that so many people around the world so adored Sogyal Rinpoche, and that I was the only one disgusted by his presence?

The threats that I received after leaving reassured me: I was doing the right thing.

Public humiliation

It is possible that, in a somewhat twisted way, Sogyal Rinpoche might have been in love; I don’t know. Even if he trapped me, even if only his pleasure mattered. I don’t know how he felt – or still feels – in such situations. I think he can get attached, because he is extremely isolated emotionally.

In any case, he was able to establish a form of confidence and emotional rapport with us, which enabled him to constantly abuse us, both physically and psychologically.

Sogyal Rinpoche beats the dakinis and proudly shows off their scars. The humiliations always occurred in public. I remember one time when we were grouped around him in his private garden. One of the girls was raking leaves. She was moving slowly, a bit like a Brazilian girl. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her along the ground, before throwing her against the wall to punish her for having “too much ego”.

An incestuous relationship

In my case, and certainly that of the other dakinis, our relationships to our fathers were difficult. They handed us over to a man with the idea that we could do everything for him, and that we should do everything for him. My father was happy that I had a privileged relationship to this older and more authoritarian master. He knew that I was isolated, that we slept in the same room, but he didn’t ask any questions. He didn’t warn me: “be careful …”

Today I have severed the ties to my father. I think he takes me for a fool, someone who is too emotional. He thinks that the master’s only mistake was to not have sufficiently taught me about “crazy wisdom” (the idea that the master’s very craziness makes him a sage, freed from social constraints). 

I have no faith in justice

I didn’t want to attack Sogyal Rinpoche through the courts. One of his dakinis did so in California several years ago. She still regrets it to this day. It destroyed her marriage and her family; she had to restart from scratch. I also have no faith in the justice system. My testimony never sparked any legal proceedings. As for Marion Dapsance, author of Buddhist Devotees,* she sent a file several times to the governmental anti-cult agency Mission interministérielle de vigilance et de lutte contre les dérives sectaires (Miviludes). They never responded.

If Sogyal Rinpoche no longer existed, someone else would take his place. This face of Buddhism seems really difficult for some people to accept. Many will continue not to believe it. They will think that it was I who betrayed the master, that I can be bought. On the other hand, if one of them does start to doubt, she might realise that she is not alone: that other information is available and circulating.

A former centre director (who also, like many other top Rigpa officials and stars, benefitted from numerous privileges during his tenure, including, for some, rights to sex) has, this year, unexpectedly turned against Sogyal Rinpoche,** and explicitly admitted the effects of the psychological control and violence that the latter subjected his entourage to, most notably the women. He also denounced the sexual favours and a type of domination that uses infantilisation.

Cruel, bad, torturous

The most important thing for me, today, is not having betrayed myself. These events have left me with the feeling that the inner balance within each of us is fragile. That we have to always be vigilant, to leave no place for doubts, and to especially avoid delegating the responsibility for dispelling them to other people.

It is a very real feeling for me. In every person I meet, I now see someone capable of becoming cruel, bad, even torturous, depending on his capacity to accept who he is emotionally and his need to be accepted by a group.

I see the best and the worst, in the choices to resign or love oneself.

Interview by Julia Mourri

line-gothic

Originally published on le Plus de l’Obs “Ferme la porte à clés.” J’ai été dévouée à un grand maître bouddhiste, avant de m’enfuir, 06.11.2016. English translation by Christopher Hamacher.

* English translation here.
** English translation here.

Comments

  1. A powerful and insightful account. Thank you Mimi for having the courage to speak out – may your words protect others from the abuse of this disgusting, abusive, narcissistic total fraud. Personally I have no interest left in following or studyingTibetan Buddhism as a supposed “spiritual path”. The fact that the Dalai Lama continues to allow his name to be associated with this creep, continues to allow Rigpa to lay claim to his guidance and patronage, to refuse to condemn his behaviour and the spiritual corruption at the centre of his organisation, supposedly to protect the reputation of Tibetan Buddhism(?) beggars belief for me and has had the opposite effect. Nowadays I have turned instead to the teachings of Advaita Vedanta and non-dualism. For me the Advaita teachings, as expounded by modern teachers like Rupert Spira, are a form of secular spirituality which offers real insight and is quite devoid of all the mumbo-jumbo, devotional religiosity, guru-worshiping, “crazy wisdom” claptrap, so prevalent in the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.

    • Hi Laughing Daquini. Thank you for your comment. I agree with your bravo for Mimi and also I share your feelings of disgust.

      I think the Dalai Lama has not so much power to prevent that his name is being abused. It has been abused so often without that he intervened, also when people wrongly claimed they had met him and had sex with him like the confused lady from VICE: http://shanghaiist.com/2015/10/17/broadly_vice_dalai_lama_fail.php

      There is a post here on the blog that might help to understand his restrain or to get a broader perspective on it: The Dalai Lama and Sogyal Rinpoche: A Roaring Silence?

      The Dalai Lama is often misconceived as the pope of Buddhism or the pope of Tibetan Buddhism, but he is not. He is not even the head of any particular Tibetan Buddhist school – though on the other hand he is the highest spiritual authority of the Tibetan people. He can’t intervene with the affairs that relate to other traditions. He intervened in his own school the Gelugpas after he was asked for advise about Shugden worship and his recommendations and subsequent actions by others have stirred a great turmoil …

      Moreover, that Sogyal became so prominent in the West, riding in the shadow of the Dalai Lama, has more to do with the skills of Rigpa or SR. According to a source I trust, The Office of the Dalai Lama, has never ever asked SR to teach when HH the Dalai Lama taught in the West. SR and Rigpa managed over years to make Sogyal part of events where HH the Dalai Lama taught in the West. But the Office of HHDL never ever invited Sogyal to do that! So they skilfully used the good reputation of HHDL to brand SR in his shadow.

      That HH the Dalai Lama went to the inauguration of Lerab Ling might have to do more with his role as a representative of the Tibetan people and Tibetan Buddhism than seeing it as siding with SR. However, if you ask me, I would have preferred he had denied to go there. In general HHDL is the most outspoken critic among the Tibetan religious establishment when it comes to degeneration within Tibetan Buddhism. But he rarely mentions any individual whom he criticises. He has not done this even with Kelsang Gyatso of the NKT who run profilic and highly effective international character assassination campaigns against him. For years I’ve looked for any critic by the Dalai Lama against KG which I could quote but there was none – ZERO! So, it looks like, its not very much the style of the Dalai Lama to criticise individuals (in public) but rather to give general statements about signs of degenerations and this he does usually very strongly. So I think, its rather a matter of style / dharma practice / diplomacy that HH the Dalai Lama seems to have a general restrain to criticise others in public and that he rather focuses in others qualities – you can see this also with George Bush or Shoko Ashara and others. While the world is furious with wrong behaviour and tends to condemn people the Dalai Lama has a strong tendency to says something good about such people. He did this recently even with Trump: Dalai Lama has ‘no worries’ about President-elect Donald Trump.

      I am a fan of trying to understand the other side before I make judgements. I think to claim, that HH the Dalai Lama doesn’t condemn SR’s behaviour in public is based on a wish to protect the reputation of Tibetan Buddhism is not a very good judgment or understanding because it has been always the character of HHDL to restrain from publicly criticising people. Then there is also the difference between the Western way and the Asian way of dealing with scandals, one being more focused on the well being of the individual and the other being more focused on the well being of the group/majority. There are more factors that play a role here.

      I don’t want to defend HH the Dalai Lama but I think a fair judgment must start from understanding his background and possible motives and values as good as possible.

      BTW, is Rigpa under the guidance and patronage of HH the Dalai Lama? I think not. If yes, this would be indeed a problem.

      I think the article gives the impression that it is standard in Tibetan Buddhism that tertons (treasury finders) need “female energy” to find termas (treasures) but I think this is an invention by Rigpa/SR, a narrative they set up to justify the widespread abuse. The ladies are no real dakinis, and SR just consumes them for sex. In the past this narrative was nonexistent, e.g. a lady who was SR consort for years wrote me that it was ALWAYS about plain sex, nothing spiritual at all.

      I know a lama who has a dakini. This dakini was pointed out to him by Dujom Rinpoche. The yogi (who meditated 17 years in caves with 2 hours sleep at night and 1 meal a day) didn’t chose just young and pretty girls as his desires told him. Nor did he create a harem. Moreover, the lady and he married. The yogi speaks also of highest respect of her and would not abuse her as a servant or shout, ridicule or humiliate her in any way. This dakini has (as he himself too) healing power and extraordinary siddhis (realisations). He never spoke of her in any other way other than deepest respect. Interestingly, when the yogi made some grave faults, the Dakini scolded him and left him. He was so shocked that again he went into retreat.

      I am happy that you’ve found something very deep and profound outside of Tibetan Buddhism!

      Guru devotion and faith make a lot of sense when properly understood and applied. The same is true for “crazy wisdom”. But both are very dangerous when applied to an unsuitable object of devotion or when there is no real qualification that makes the use of it really beneficial.

      With respect to “crazy wisdom”: if a teacher is really free of the coarsest aspects of the ego and has attained a high degree of mental freedom going along with great compassion, if he has skill in means and profund realisations as well as the capacity / ability to understand thoroughly the mind of his or her student, an unconventional means, well intended, well performed might shock initially the student to the core but very quickly there is a deeper understanding and learning process within the student which really feels as a deep ease and clarity / insight. Having got clear of some deeper mental blockages or patterns the student might even attain profound realisations (see the case of Patrul Rinpoche for instance). This sane and compassionate “crazy wisdom” exists and I met and I know people who have benefited from it (Chime Rigzin Rinpoche was the master who performed it). There has never ever been a slightest irritation or harm in the long run when he performed “crazy wisdom” according to all the stories I heard (the same is true for the late Geshe Jampa Gyatso in Italy). All those people I spoke with had only benefit from it. (I can tell you many stories but keep it brief here.)

      This is very very dissimilar to the rude, bullying and harmful, exploitative and abusive behaviour of SR which has created trauma, deepest pain and putting people off from Buddhism and religion or undermined their faith in even genuine masters or Buddhism at all. This abusive and harmful behaviour is justified by SR and Rigpa as “crazy wisdom” but it is not. The effects show its not “crazy wisdom” because so many men and women have been harmed in the long run.

    • dharmaanarchist says:

      Mmh, and Catholic church is to be condemned because there are some priests who sexually exploit young boys, and Islam is to be condemned because some extremists use their religion to justifie killing people?

      But you think that in Advaita Vedanta every member of the clergy behaves saintly????????

      Ah, I see a severe case of wishful thinking…..

      I could without problem name ten Tibetan buddhist teachers who teach in the west who do not exploit anyone and teach genuine buddhist teachings. The one I got attached to after phasing out Rigpa spent 20 years in a Chinese labour camp and nearly died there because he shared the little food he got with the other inmates. So much so your claim that Tibetan buddhism as a whole is oh so horrible…

      • Hi Dharmaanarchist. It feels a bit that you are somewhat frustrated with this comment/ respond.

        Personally, I would leave it to laughing daquini how s/he deals with that. Everyone has his own way to deal with disappointment. I think, the response is rather natural and many seem to think and act that way.

        I am rather noticing it, feeling sad but I can also understand it. I remember a highly intelligent person, a writer, who gave up religion altogether after the NKT and Shugden experiences. He reported for BBC about it.

        I agree there are still many genuine Tibetan Buddhist teachers. This is the reason why I am still following the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

      • It’s not just the abuse prevalent among certain Catholic priests and so-called Buddhist “masters” that turns me off both – it’s their hierarchichal religiosity, period. It was funny when my ex-Catholic mother came to visit me at Madhyamaka Centre, she was quite shocked by all the “idolatry” and deity-worship aspects of Buddhism. She, like me, had thought of Buddhism as more of a philosophy than a religion. But with regard to Tibetan Buddhism, at least, this is not so. It is very much a religion – an organised religion, and like any other organised religion it has so many problems and aspects to it that I find intolerable to the point of revulsion, that I don’t think I want nothing more to do with studying or practising it. Sorry if that offends anyone. Each to their own.

        • dharmaanarchist says:

          Erm, also not true. It’s pretty much individual. I could name you enough Tibetan buddhist teachers who are not into any hierarchical games at all.

          No, Tibetan buddhism is not an organised religion. It’s not centralised, every teacher can pass the teachings on in the style he or she prefers. There is no pope-like figure as a highest authority in content or way of transmission of the teachings.

          So what is intolerable up to revulsion about how Garchen Rinpoche, Alak Zenkar Rinpoche, Tulku Pema Wangyal or Tsoknyi Rinpoche run their organisations/teach dharma. Please tell me what exactly about these teachers, their behaviour or teachings you find offensive or revulsive!

          • What is it with you that you have to make this about me being wrong? I’m not trying to prove anything. I am entitled to an opinion, an impression based on my own experience and observation. You, on the other hand, have no right to declare my experience and opinion invalid or “not true” just because you disagree with me.

            The Pope and the Dalai Lama are indeed comparable in status in their brands of organised religion – both are revered as ultimate authorities by followers of the religions for whom they serve as figureheads. The fact that their powers and functions are not EXACTLY the same, makes no difference to their symbolic similarity. Furthermore, the very premiss in Tibetan Buddhism laid down as necessary in the progress of the spiritual seeker to devote themselces to a spiritual guide,
            as per the doctrine of samaya, makes it very easy indeed for the unscrupulous “guru” to abuse the vulnerable and the naive within the framwwork of Buddhism as taught in the Tibetan traditions.

            • very briefly, though I agree with you with that’s totally up to you how you judge and organise your own spiritual path, its in my view totally misleading to compare the DL with the pope. The DL has not the authority as the pope BUT he is highly revered and hold in esteem and formally he is the spiritual head of all Tibetans BUT the real heads are the heads of the respective Tibetan Buddhist traditions. The DL cannot interfere with their business. With respect to his own school, the Gelugpas, he has more power because he approves the Ganden Tripa – the head of the Gelug school. But the Ganden Tripa is suggested by the Gelug monasteries themselves.
              With respect to the Samaya-absue, this can only happen with people who are not well educated. It cannot happen that easily (if at all?) with Tibetans. They don’t buy in because they know the Dharma. Do you remember what Kelsang Gyatso got as a reply when he wanted to manipulate the Tibetan translator Tenzing Wangdak?

              Anyhow, I kept cool and retaliated with the following answer, “If a disciple can not comply with the words of his lama, he can tell this politely to his teacher.” I cited the 24th stanza from the text of Ashavagosha, Fifty stanzas of Guru yoga”.

              “Intelligent disciple, with joyful mind,
              Listen the lama’s words with enthusiasm.
              Explain to him in words
              If you can´t comply with it.”

              For a moment, silence reigned in the room and I took the opportunity to end the conversation with the following comforting words…

              • Thank you Tenpel for explaining the difference between the Pope and DL’s roles and powers. I know that the Pope and the DL have very different formal power roles in their respective religions, but my point remains that SYMBOLICALLY they are not so different: the average Tibetan Buddhist reveres the leadership, words and authority of the Dalai Lama in much the same way as the average Catholic reveres their Pope.

                • They revere him. That’s true. But rarely they heed his advice. Tibetans and western observers stressed this contradiction. Don’t know how it is with the pope. However, the fundamental key difference matters very very much in this case. The pope can name or send / approve cardinals or priests and he can excommunicate them or withdraw his approval or remove them from their positions or jobs (I don’t know the exact Catholic Church terminology for these actions/governing powers), so the pope has tremendous real power in church matters!!! The Dalai Lama can’t do that at all. He can deny to approve a suggested head of his own school (only his school!!!), he has the power to approve a head (Ganden Tripa) he feels he is right. But he can’t kick him out later, when he is misbehaving. So in fact, his power regarding (misbehaving) clergy is totally different to that of the pope. As far as I can see and understand it, any comparison pope-Dalai Lama in the context of power abuse of Tibetan lamas invokes misleading concepts and will lead to poor or misleading judgements that don’t empower to understand but lead one away from a sober understanding which is a basis for good criticism or good judgements.

                  • dharmaanarchist says:

                    Plus the lineages and sub lineages have very little business with each other. Karma Kagyu and Drikung Kagyu operate totally independent from one another, the Nyingma lineages of the various terma traditions intermingle a bit more, the head of the Nyingmapa is chosen by the main lineage holders when the previous one has died or resigned the position.

                    HHDL is holding a lot of Nyingma teachings and is transmitting them, as he is holding techings from all 4 lineages, but he has no doctrinal authority over the various lineage holders.

                    The fact that he is unable to interfere with “bad apple” teachers in the various Tib. buddhist traditions is proof that he does not have any central authority over doctrin, individual teacher’s behaviour or personnel decisions in groups.

                    That people revere him, that’s a very much individual decision of all the individual people who do so. I live in a free country, I can choose to revere whoever I want.

                • Having spent my life in the four traditions at various periods, I can assure you that there are plenty of Tibetan Buddhists in the west who DONT consider HHDL as head man, indeed some consider him to be simply a senior monk in another sect ( or worse!) while I personally hold him in the highest esteem, I respect the right of others to hold their views regarding him. He is certainly no pope and even though I respect him, I consider his opinion on what represents tibets highest philosophical teaching for instance to be wrong!,! Please stop characterising ALL TBs as glassy eyed Dalai robots. That’s just as brainwashed as the imaginary people you criticise.

                  • It might be a residue of the NKT influence… The NKT – as some conspiracists or ill informed left wing anti-religious people – ascribe omnipresent power to the Dalai Lama which he never had! Tibetologist Sobisch estimates that all of the Dalai Lamas together had about 45 years of unrestricted government power.

                    Q: How strong is the power of the Dalai Lama in the exile community, is he an autocrat who can do as he likes; does he order and Tibetans obey?

                    Tibetologist Dodin:

                    Thierry Dodin: The allegation that the Dalai Lama controls every aspect of Tibetan society has no reflection in tangible reality. There is no doubt that his moral influence on the very large majority of Tibetans in exile and in certainly equally high number of Tibetans within Tibet is indeed enormous and historically, it is likely that no Dalai Lama before has ever had so much direct influence on his people. However, the nature of this influence and the nature of his power have to be qualified. The Dalai Lama is not a potentate with fanaticised followers as it is sometimes depicted in particular in Chinese propaganda as well as by some of his opponents, for instance among the Shugden cult followers. This type of leader is in fact widely absent in Tibetan history and hardly matches with Tibetan mentality as we know it. Although the Dalai Lama on occasions correctively intervened in current matters, he has kept himself away from day-to-day government business. In fact, most observers of the Tibetan exile society agree that the Dalai Lama is a more convinced democrat than the average Tibetan. The Dalai Lama is regarded by most Tibetans as a guarantor for the existence of Tibet as a distinct cultural entity. Historically, the Dalai Lama was widely segregated from the population. Even when he was carried through Lhasa for some ceremonies, for instance during the new year festivities, his face would remain veiled from the populace. Only few very high dignitaries had ever seen the face of the Dalai Lama at audiences held in his palace. This traditionally distant, almost other-worldly presence stand in stark contrast to his almost permanent omni-presence of today on portraits in each and every Tibetan home and his strong media presence. That any Tibetan can attend his teachings and speeches is completely new in Tibetan history and will widely explain the one-time influence which he has upon Tibetans in comparison with his predecessors. However, even for Tibetans, there is a large field of interpretation between the words of the Dalai Lama and the way they will be implemented in society or by individuals. When a decision or a statement of the Dalai Lama appears inacceptable, the typical pattern will be that those who consider it so will insist on this decision or this statement as having been made under the influence of ›wrong advisors‹. This pattern by the way is not new in the exile society, it also existed in old Tibet.

                    • Hi laughingdaquini; I know the quote above does not really clarify the difference between the pope and the Dalai Lama. However, it gives some background. I am on the way to get something more reliable from a scientist or an known author who are experts in this. This pope-Dalai-comparission is often made but its totally misleading. I couldn’t find any online source that explains it well. So, I use this part of the discussion to try to provide sth. well thought out in the future. Nevertheless, I hope you can see why I am stressing this point?

                • jigmeyeshe says:

                  Laughing Dakini….It’s easy to make wide generalisations about ‘revering leadership, words and authority’ but having lived in a highly Catholic society for several decades and also seen some of the reactions by Tibetans to the Dalai Lama, I think one major aspect of difference is that His Holiness the Dalai Lama also represents the Tibetan people as a people in exile, deeply betrayed by their oppressors. This aspect is missing for the Pope. He only represents his church.

                  I have also never seen that aspect of ‘punishment’ from Tibetan religious authorities that is in any way similar to that utter power and control of Catholic clerics. Excommunication. Torture in the name of the church. Economic privilege. Just look at the Vatican, it’s own city, packed with both political, economic and religious power. That kind of power simply does not exist in the Tibetan world. Catholic authorities exert much more control over their peoples.

                  And have you actually tried studying with a proper master, Tibetan, live? Or is it your ‘idea’ of what that would be like – because of the messes people make of Buddhist groups – that causes you to reject going any closer to a real Tibetan teacher?

                  There is far more respect for the capacities of any individual to ‘make up their own mind’ about things in Tibetan Buddhism too. The Catholic church, however, even if people don’t actually agree or follow what is said, does tell its followers exactly what to think and do.

                • Dear LD,
                  thank you very much for the discussion because this pushed me to do something about it to enable more clarity about the differences between the Dalai Lama and the pope in Catholic church. I think this article by Alexander Norman The Dalai Lama from a Catholic perspective, could help to have a more nuanced view on it.

                  There is only one direct sentence touching this topic in the article but the whole article explores the background of Catholic and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, their differences, similarities and the role of the Dalai Lama. The sentence touching our discussion is:

                  So far as their own position within the Tibetan spiritual tradition is concerned, the Dalai Lamas are members of the dGe lugs (pronounced gelug) school. This is one of four principle schools or sects within Tibet (the others being the Nyingma, the Sakya and the Kagyu). Perhaps surprisingly, however, he is technically just an ordinary member of a monastery of which he is not abbot. Nor does he appoint other lamas, as the Holy Father appoints all bishops.

            • dharmaanarchist says:

              “as per the doctrine of samaya, makes it very easy indeed for the unscrupulous “guru” to abuse the vulnerable and the naive within the framwwork of Buddhism as taught in the Tibetan traditions.”

              So what?

              As per the inherent dangers of motorized road traffic it’s very easy to kill another person with a car or, as a pedestrian get killed by a car. That’s the reason why we have driving schools, people who want to drive have to pass tests and we educate our children from small onwards how to behave in traffic. We also have strict regulations about driving under the influence. Sure, accidents still happen. But nobody would consider it so dangerous as to not leaving the house because of the dangers of traffic.

              If something has the potential to be dangerous what is needed is education and rules for responsible handling. Check if the guy who will drive the car is sober and has a driving license. Use the traffic lights to cross the street. That kind of thing.

              Same is true for vajrayana. Check the person who is driving, get educated yourself.

  2. The Dalai Lama IS the Patron of Rigpa, Tenpel. There is this at the end of the Rigpa press release which you can see here. https://lerabling.org/images/PDFs/2016/RIGPA-Press-Release-September-2016.pdf

    “Rigpa is a network of centres and Buddhist groups open to the wisdom of all Buddhist schools and traditions. Under the gracious patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Rigpa offers a complete path of Buddhist study and practice–in an environment that allows one to experience these teachings fully–to all those who are interested in Buddhism. Likewise Rigpa examines how the wisdom and compassion of Buddha’s teachings can be used in the many areas of contemporary life. Rigpa has more than 130 centres and groups in 41 countries around the world.”

    As was explained by Olivier Raurich, who was one of the top Rigpa people in France, Rigpa trains its spokespeople to refer to the Dalai Lama as much as possible if they are asked questions about sexual abuse. It was my experience that it is a big deal in Rigpa that the Dalai Lama is a Patron and visited Lerab Ling twice. There is even a whole glossy Rigpa magazine about the Dalai Lama’s last visit to Lerab Ling.

  3. note this says:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Advaita

    Advaita Vedanta, and it’s offshoot neo-Advaita are just as vulnerable to these issues of abuse as Buddhism or any other spiritual tradition.

    Master Poonja’s most famous Western disciple was Andrew Cohen of ‘evolutionary Enlightenment “. This organization was responsible for terrible abuse, there is a documentary about it.Poonja was just as unable to stop Cohen as the Dalai Lama was unable to stop Sogyal.

    Changing spiritual paths is every person’s right but doinG so because one believes the new tradition to be free of dangerous history seems naive.

    Rather, one must evaluate a teacher of any spiritual traditions carefully before investing time or money in them

    • I think we knew that

    • I’m sure any tradition will have its charlatan “masters”. I’m not even changing traditions as I haven’t really been following Tibetan Buddhism at all since I left NKT more than 20 years ago. I am attracted to the Advaita Vedanta teachings, particularly as expounded by western teachers, because from what I have learnt hitherto, there is no religiosity about the teachings whatsoever. After all, I got involved with NKT all those years ago because I bought the lie that they continue to peddle about the teachings offered being “scientific” – only to find, of course, that if I wanted to progress on the supposedly “scientific” Buddhist path, I’d have to spend the rest of my life reciting prayers and prostrating to gurus and deities, just like a proper Catholic. Pffff.

  4. Tsultim Namdak says:

    I was surprised to see the very prominent position that Sogyal had during HH Karmapa’s visit to Berlin a couple of years back. I might be wrong but I think that Karmapa even stayed some of the time at the local Rigpa centre. I am aware that Karmapa has to tread very carefully but some of his handlers ought to have kept a bit more space between him and Sogyal IMHO.

    • True. Rigpa Berlin helped our center and without Rigpa we wouldn’t have made it. So we are grateful and in debt to Rigpa people and their kindness. (Which brings me in a very complicated position too …) Very complicated… I think I can’t say more about that.

      • jigmeyeshe says:

        In this podcast Mary Finnigan explains why Sogyal’s behaviour is ‘nothing to to with the Dalai Lama’. The NKT also say that they ‘teach the same Dharma as the Dalai Lama’ to newcomers. Hopefully this nasty mess can be cleaned up with the transparency and clarity the discussions on this blog generally bring. Thank you for keeping this a safe and open space, Tenzin.

        http://www.mythicistmilwaukee.com/mythicistmilwaukeeblog/2016/11/12/jqxrww2sh7z8pfgowiorn65v3wr5s6

      • Yes. It makes Rigpa fellowship more powerful in terms of “relationships”, that protect Rigpa very well.

        And it gives very enjoyable feelings if one can help other Dharmacenters and therefore enjoys gratitude and special treatment and so on.

        Thats a effective way of making Dharmapolitics.

  5. “Buddhism, as it is taught in Europe, conveys the teaching that we are all able to create an ideal society, perfectly just and compassionate. That we must free ourselves from the capitalist machinery that has separated us from our true nature, which is fundamentally good. Adolescence can nourish the desire to deeply live such an ideal. At least that was the case for me.”

    Already, alarm bells are ringing when I read this – is it trying to say that she was completely deluded from the beginning?

    It seems very poorly translated – perhaps by google? – and this really does the account no favours. I am of the opinion that Sogyal Rinpoche is a very self-centred and abusive person who seems to possess neither any learning nor wisdom associated with Buddhist teachings… but to me, this account comes across as a disjointed list of unconnected phrases with many hints and no real direction.

    What is really meant by phrases such as, “The first time we touched sexually…” and “I had a period of amenorrhea and feared I might be pregnant….” – are we supposed to infer that they had sex and she became pregnant? – was it consensual sex or was she raped? – was she actually pregnant and if so, was she forced to have a termination?

    Maybe this is the French way of phrasing and the meaning is lost in translation, or it may be the case that she is still in the middle of coming to terms with her traumatic experience and is not yet able to fully express her meaning – I simply cannot tell from this article, it raises more questions than it answers and speaks in half-hidden truths.

    • It might help to watch the documentary here which reports also about Mimi and her father:

      Mimi was 14 years old when she entered Rigpa, in the documentary she says she wanted to be closer to her father. However, Sogyal and Rigpa managed that she got into bed with Sogyal. At one point Sogyal commanded her: »Undress!«, the father asked Sogyal if its true that he used/abused her. He confirmed it. The father asked him then if he used condoms. I think this is quite explicit. In general, I think, its hard to speak about this in public with all the details.

      —-

      … “is it trying to say that she was completely deluded from the beginning?”, first of all, she was 14 years old when she entered Rigpa. What do youngsters or teens usually think or imagine? They have idealistic imaginations, a good feeling for justice, and many want to make the world a better, a juster place. Very very often they fall pray to organisations that ride on these good intended wishes, increase them and abuse them to make them free working slaves. (Christian organisations do this too…) So what do you expect and how should this question help? Aren’t we all “completely deluded from the beginning?”

      • Yeah… I have seen that video on “Soygal” (sic.) before and read many different versions of “Mimi’s” story and others’ besides – this doesn’t really address the main points I was highlighting, which are;

        1. the phrase we use in English would be something like, “the first time we had sexual contact” but when translated as, “the first time we touched sexually” it reads more like a romantic novel or pop song by Serge Gainsbourg, which I am sure is not the most appropriate tone for this article.
        This is just one example of many where the sense seems a little distorted by the translation. Feel free to email me a copy of the original.

        2. Maybe because of the translation, it still seems as if “Mimi” has some rather strange ideas about Tibetan Buddhism and these come across as disinformation in the article. I think it would be useful to check the translation and possible give some kind of clarification here.

        • The translation was made by a professional, state proven (“staatlich geprüfter”) translator. The original French article is linked at the end. So you can check for yourself by reading it.

          • IT strikes me that the author of the critical post is attempting to discredit the author and undermine the veracity of her statement by attacking the translation. I found the piece clear in its content and intent. I.smell a rat. The claim to neutrality may not be all that it appears to be

            • I wondered also if his or her motivation and how explicit content he needs to understand.

              • paranoid much?

                as I explained clearly, I believe Sogyal to be a serial abuser and find it frustrating to read a piece that is requiring me to read so much between the lines – there are several possible interpretations of this article, clearly the role played by preconceived ideas and even prejudice will influence the reader to give more weight to one of those readings over the others.

                The fact that this translator gets paid for the work is really no guarantee of professionalism, thank you for referring me to the link for the original.

                Concerning the second point, for example, I read in the comments section such like, “I know a lama who has a dakini.” – I don’t think so. He may well call his girlfriend or consort a dakini, just as someone else might call theirs “angel” but there is no way he “has a dakini” – this is just sloppy use of language which encourages a disrespectful form of cultural appropriation and which leads to such idealistic nonsense believed by teenagers who are then disillusioned to discover that Tibetan Lamas make great capitalists and even serial abusers. What is the point in this site if not to try to dispel such myths? Yet it seems that you are highly resistant and question my motives for bringing this to awareness. Regardless of your becoming distracted by imaginary attributions to an imaginary self, the point remains unaddressed.

                • No not “paranoid much” but you need to be open for all options why people post comments and what their agenda might be. We have our experiences with people who pretend to be open or supporting people being harmed but turned out to be just group members or representatives or teachers of criticised groups or followers of criticised teachers. So I would call it realistic scepticism going along with a kind of radar for contradictions or possible agendas in a comment.

                  Interesting though how easy you apply denigrating psychic categories like paranoia. I know this from the adherents of groups with abusive behaviour, like the NKT, they have a strong tendency to portray their critics as mentally unstable of mentally ill … guess, why?

                  Thank you however, for clarifying your hardship. For me as an East German, I am used to read between the lines, it was our culture, we are experts in this. However, for a court case it must be more explicit but here is not a courtroom.

                  For me it is already enough what the documentary showed. A girl who wanted to be closer to the father and was pushed by the organisation and by Sogyal himself (as this article shows) closer to Sogyal, ending up that he commanded her to »Undress!« Just this is the abuse of power, it might be harder for others like you to see that, but that’s not my problem. The interview could have been clearer and better structured said two scientists I asked but all scientists I asked found it still good because it reveals very well the dynamics and how these things of power abuse unfold. If you cannot make use of it, so be it.

                  I wonder, why you are riding so much on “the role played by preconceived ideas and even prejudice”, the whole interview reveals mainly the abuse of power and how this happens. Why do you care so much about Mimi’s supposed “preconceived ideas and even prejudice” and not of “the preconceived ideas and even prejudice” that Rigpa sets up to make Sogyal an untainted master who can do as he pleases and needs all the young girls for his “welfare”?

                  Your comments intends to sow doubts in the report of the victim. After having done this, you again – without ANY sober reason – sow doubt in the translator by saying:

                  The fact that this translator gets paid for the work is really no guarantee of professionalism, thank you for referring me to the link for the original.

                  So, what is your intention to write this? What is your reason to sow doubts without any prove of a fault in the translation by a professional?

                  Now, you also sow doubts in my judgements, when you write: »Concerning the second point, for example, I read in the comments section such like, “I know a lama who has a dakini.” – I don’t think so.« Sorry,Soenam, you have no clue. I know what I am writing about but you seem not to know what you are writing about. In general a dakini refers to a women who has tantric realisations and is able to manifest the most subtle mind through completion stage practice (however, there are different levels of realisations so its not too fixed). A sign of such dakinis is that they have tantric realisations (which can manifest in visible aspects of certain qualities). They are also extremely humble and don’t make in general a big fuss of themselves. (of course one should not generalise too much, there might be exceptions.)

                  Now, you behave like a teenager, not having understood what a real dakini is, having no experiences you claim others who have some clue or experiences about it are teenagers. Well, what a wonderful projection, and of course you want to denigrate with that my person as a stupid, naive teenager. But I am not.

                  Of course, the term dakini can be abused like the term “medical doctor” can be abused; or like any label like “Buddhism” can be abused too. But this doesn’t make women who have deeper tantric realisations and who (might) form a relation with a man who has also deeper tantric realisations and both practicing together and also using sexual activity (if qualified) as a means to reach higher levels of spiritual realisations non-existent.

                  BTW, the yogi I mentioned had two wives. He is married with both of them and they lived together having kids together, but only one of these two wives was the tantric consort pointed out by Dujom Rinpoche to him. And as I said she had (among others) healing powers and the yogi spoke of her with highest respect as if she would be HIS object of faith – not the other way around!

                  Therefore, the concepts of “dakini” is not a myth. However, the concept can be abused. “Crazy wisdom” is not a myth but the concept of crazy wisdom can be abused. “Medical doctor” or a “PhD” is not a myth but the concept of Medical doctor or PhD can be abused.

                  Yet it seems that you are highly resistant and question my motives for bringing this to awareness.

                  Who is highly resistant? Who is denigrating others with negative coined labels? Who misses to understand to what basis the concept of a (true) dakini is referring to?

                  Regardless of your becoming distracted by imaginary attributions to an imaginary self, the point remains unaddressed.

                  For whom?

                  • thank you for your in depth reply Tenpel.

                    As you yourself say that, “The ladies are no real dakinis” and highlight how the, “concept can be abused.” and then you reinforce the exact point I was making about the yogi being the possessor of the dakini by writing, “she would be HIS object of faith – not the other way around.”

                    This is however, just one example of how critical thinking, which I take to be wholly in line with Buddhism, seems all too often to evaporate when emotions run high in a case such as this.

                    It was certainly not my intention to suggest some kind of mental illness such as paranoid schizophrenia, but rather to question the partisan idea that critical thinking necessarily meant that I was, “attempting to discredit the author and undermine the veracity of her statement.”

                    I have twice stated very publicly and clearly my view concerning Sogyal and my concerns regarding this article, yet you argue for your realistic scepticism on the basis that I dare to question something that is unclear to me.

                    I did not claim neutrality, but neither do I wish to uncritically accept the veracity of any statement – I said nothing about Mimi’s supposed “preconceived ideas and even prejudice” and not of “the preconceived ideas and even prejudice” that Rigpa sets up, rather, when I wrote about the possible interpretations of what I consider ambiguities in the article, I was including those readers whose minds are already made up, both for and against, and also the perspective of someone without prior knowledge or expectation coming across this issue for the first time.

                    As the article is translated into English, presumably for speakers of English, I fail to see how your East German ability to read between the lines is particularly relevant except maybe for the fact that a German speaker has translated this from French into English.

                    Having read the original I have now seen the clarity in that version, which seems to have been somewhat lost by the above translation. As an English speaker who wishes to gain a clear picture I believe that it correct for me to point that out to you for the benefit of any other English speaker who may also read this article.

                    You are right that this is clearly not a courtroom, however it does not therefore follow that it should lack all rigour and descend into binary thinking – I do not see how it would benefit the case against Rigpa, nor promote Buddhist thinking in general, to turn this into some kind of tabloid-style cause célèbre.

                    It comes as no surprise then to read that the translator, Christopher Hammacher, has previously been critiqued for claiming that all Zen meditation necessarily leads to the formations of cults, and Buddhist thinkers have claimed that his work takes a materialistic and biased view based upon false premises.

                    That seems quite sobering to me, but it’s your site and your choice if you wish to create the atmosphere of supporters at a football match in the style of Dialogue Ireland.

  6. Soenam, your comment made me aware of possible subtle downplays in the translation that çould undermine Mimi’s credibility and the serieusness of it all. Maybe Tenpel is aware that cult rethoric can take a lot of subtle forms. Maybe you can understand his concern that in his experience some of your concerns can subtly sow doubt also. I can see that though i read you you express a genuine concern to do credit to the truth especialy seen your words ”I am of the opinion that Sogyal Rinpoche is a very self-centred and abusive person who seems to possess neither any learning nor wisdom associated with Buddhist teachings…”

    • Thank you dakini & Soenam. I have no time currently to read comments or to engage in discussions. Will take me a week or so to read new comments and if needed to write a reply… I hope other people find time or can engage…

    • Thank you Dakini,

      I would refute the concept of her credibility being based upon veracity as it would seem impossible for consciousness to accurately apprehend it’s object independently of the interrelationship between the two.

      That Mimi’s story changes every time she tells it suggests to me that she is still in the process of working through her experience, and the attempts to use her story as leverage against Sogyal would seem to detract from considering the truth of her experience.

      It seems to me that the nature of these publications tends towards the atmosphere of a public trial in a way that is potentially unhelpful and seems to encourage this idea of a weighing of the truth by the readership.

      Not only does quibbling over the facts lead us into subjectively compromised, biased positions, which are ultimately unverifiable, but also, due to a subject-object model tending towards a static and unchanging view, it may have the unintended consequence of slowing the process and prolonging her feelings of disempowerment.

      It also seems to play into the hands of those who would question the veracity of her story, which is an undesirable situation not only because it uses her as a pawn in dharma politics, but also because it promotes a view of objectivity that Buddhism refutes and which therefore poses no real threat to the very institution it aims at debunking.

      The fact that this is all done in public also seems to make it up for grabs, for example, we see Stephen Batchelor commenting in the above video, and his agenda is very clearly to paint Tibetan Buddhism as an outdated remnant of feudal society and promote his own secular-humanist viewpoint.

      It seems to me that there is a gamble in taking such a viewpoint, so while it may appeal to the majority of the non-Buddhist readership, simplifying things into good and bad, victim and perpetrator, ascribing inherently static properties to people and taking a rigid moralistic stance, by abandoning a Buddhist view it tends to focus on the symptoms, and on blame and retribution, instead of gaining insight into the causes and methods of prevention.

      This not only fails to help Mimi and provides a rationalisation for the Sogyal faithful, but perhaps more importantly, it places us in the position of squabbling children who are all disempowered and who therefore require the intervention of an adult who will step in, administer punishments, and restore a good moral order from above (i.e. in this case the Dalai Lama as some kind of authoritative father figure enforcing a universally accepted morality), in other words, the very social structure that we are criticising Rigpa for, and which as Buddhists, we are trying to move beyond.

      • And what is your proposal towards a better way of handling such a matter?

      • Profesor Soenam
        Rather dry, highly intellectual and patronizing advice-perhaps a little more empathy might not go amiss. It comes with age and experience
        It might be easy to rationalize away other peoples suffering but the reality is Mimi is not alone in feeling she was abused. A good starting point is to listen to allegations and see if they are recurrent, widespread and manifold. In Sogyals case, there is no doubt that they are

        • I do not mean to suggest that any single approach is better than any other, simply that certain approaches are more appropriate and consistent with the perspective taken. Certainly there is a place for investigative journalism, however it would seem that a multifaceted approach could also be useful.

          Clearly, whichever approach is taken will also depend on the intention and desired outcomes.

          In the above piece of writing, they are not entirely clear to me, and I think that much as we might like to claim that the members of Ripga who are invested in perpetuating this situation are somehow at fault, possibly deluded, or at least buying into a problematic ideology, I think there is a problem with simply trying to dictate our own morality and disrespecting their personal choices.
          If the ideology is suspect then I think it would be useful to be explicit about this – but that would mean engaging with the ideas rather than the individuals.

          I think it may also be useful to see it terms of karma, where both Sogyal and his followers seem to be playing out their own father issues, perhaps not in a particularly progressive or healthy way – but I have seen something similar to a lesser extreme in many sanghas where the position of the lama/father/”god” has become somewhat sacred and unquestionable, and I have no easy answers to this. It would however seem that the more such a group is attacked and blamed, the tighter and more insular they become.

          One curious thing I am perceiving in the kind of journalistic style of writing, which as I said before, may simply be down to the technique or may be an indication of Mimi’s processing of the past, is the apparent absence of her subjective voice.

          I do see a role for objectivity and for facts, and it is good to read from Rob about the lawsuits being brought in the Netherlands, (I’m not entirely sure what the comment, “Let’s hope for your sake your motives are pure.” is supposed to mean. I hope you are being inappropriately over-familiar, because otherwise it’s a bit creepy – and quite telling that you freely question others motives and yet complain about feeling patronised at the same time – is it possible that you too have swallowed the Vajrayana hierarchical social structure?).

          I also know full well that, “the reality is Mimi is not alone in feeling she was abused” however it would also seem to be the case that some people who are possibly being abused do not feel it as such – as I say, I believe there is a place for both objective and subjective approaches, and I would like to hear about the perceptions of those involved as well as a factual account. My issue here is not against anecdotal evidence, but rather the attempt to dress it up in journalistic neutrality.

          • Empathy is core to compassionate, equanimous journalismrather than current hard faced pseudo neutral journalism

            • I will read Soenam’s comments later (in the next 5 or 7 days). The angle he seems to come from seems a bit more complicated so it needs more time and thinking from my side to read and to reply to it. I want to be just to him as well as to the topic of discussion.

              In general – from the first impressions of his comments – he denigrated almost every party who wants to shine some light on this painful issue. My stance is, that if a person being harmed by sexual abuse or the abuse of power speaks up, you applaud and encourage that person because silence is the response that contributes to the space that abuse can continue. To think about journalistic “neutrality” or how to phrase things more clearly or explicit is of secondary rank for me – though not unimportant.

              In general, siding with the person being harmed by giving him or her a voice is perfectly fine for me, because, as I said, the perpetrators have not only a loud voice and a lot of power but they have also an army of defenders and an army of people who are silent. Therefore, it is right to give the person who has been harmed or who observed abuse a megaphone – in the metaphorical sense. The silence seems to be the worst option in such cases. Therefore, non-silence is highly appreciated and should be welcomed. If someone cannot understand this I wonder what he/she can understand in such a context?

              • Studies of abuse have shown very clearly that there is very often a cycle of abuse – that the abusers were themselves abused.

                They have demonstrated how a simplified view of the guilty perpetrator deserving of anger and the poor innocent victim deserving only sympathy, is unhelpful, judgemental, lacking insight, and only serves to perpetuate this continued cycle.

                – not only does the anger reflect the perceived abuse straight back at the abuser, but sympathy for the victim can also unwittingly maintain that person in a position of childlike impotence.

                – in focusing purely on the level of the individual, the patterns of behaviour are obscured and therefore are allowed to continue, both for the abuser and the abused.

                It does seem particularly abhorrent that someone calling themselves a Buddhist master would uncritically perpetuate this cycle of abuse.

                What I am finding equally incredible though, is that despite these above ideas – the cyclical nature of negative karma, equanimity, compassion for all sentient beings, looking beyond individual selves to see the wider inter-relatedness, and the cultivation of insight over the venting of anger – being entirely Buddhist concepts, they seem to be entirely absent from the whole debate.

                It is not that I fail to understand your concept of a metaphorical megaphone which has been protesting to the closed doors of Rigpa for over 20 years with very little effect, it is simply that I disagree.

                • You are right on one level Soenam but the point is that in Rigpa, the dharma you perceive as absent is actually used to justify abuse ( tantra/. Dakini etc) So this space here isn’t ignoring the dharma side of things. Rather it’s providing the relative world response to counteract this abuse of dharma
                  You also seem to equate compassion with not speaking out about abuse. This shows inadequate, narrow understanding of how compassion should be applied
                  Ditto your application of karma and interdependence- should we remain silent about people abusing others because it’s their karma? Or because the abuser and the abused are interdependent? I think not. Your intellectualism makes me think there is room for more practical altruism in your path which currently verges on some kind of nihilism, where suffering is ignored because it’s a dependent arising
                  That it may be and, in the relative though illusory world, the proper response is to expose it

                  • dharmaanarchist says:

                    Since SR as far as I know has not revealed any termas the idea that he needs a dakini for inspiration is a bit of a no brainer to me.

                    Most of the terma revealing lamas were married by the way.

                    The Tibetan buddhist tradition has prominent historical lamas who were famous for their promiscuous lifestyle, for example Drukpa Kunleg. It sounds like some of his female disciples attained realisation as meditators. No idea if any of those relationships had an abusive component.

                    What I don’t really get together is that the content of the dharma teachings he is giving is not flawed and he is capable to transmit vajrayana and dzogchen. It seems that the man has two different personalities that operate quite independently of each other. Like some guy who during the day is a nice family man that everybody in the neighbourhood likes and at night he goes robbing banks.

                    • Since SR as far as I know has not revealed any termas the idea that he needs a dakini for inspiration is a bit of a no brainer to me.
                      Most of the terma revealing lamas were married by the way.

                      Thank you dharmaanarchist. These were thoughts that also came to my mind.

                      —-

                      If the young, pretty ladies who were lured into a intimate relationship with Sogyal attained realisations surely they wouldn’t complain afterwards ;-)

                      —-

                      Sogyal – though some of the impact he makes on others go back to cheap psychological tricks, manipulation or a type of hypnotisation – seems to have helped others deeply. But this you can find also with Shoko Asahra or other so called “cult leaders” – including the former abbot of the Pagode Path Hue, Thich Thien Son in Frankfurt. (I met people who said: “he saved my life, he healed me.” I also saw a lot of documentaries, read newspaper articles, books, research etc where people describe extraordinary good experiences within deeply destructive, manipulative and damaging systems and cult leaders). I think this goes back to two things: 1) those leaders have qualities but sooner or later their shadow sides take over – especially when they have unquestioned power, 2) the mental factor faith in itself – even faith in a placebo – has strong healing effects and can bring you to deep experiences even if the faith has no basis in reality – i.e., even if the object of your faith doesn’t exist or you just imagine qualities though they do not exist in the object. So, people who follow types of “cult leaders” (or manipulative / power abusing teachers) have it extremely hard to understand the causes and conditions for their good and bad experiences and to put these into the right context. Moreover, manipulative, power abusing systems and their followers tend to increase their own confusion by ascribing the good experiences to the leader and the bad experiences to the individual. The bad experiences you made, they claim or believe, is your own bad karma (or the devil, demonic influences etc. – so your own fault any way) or your lack of faith in the guru etc.…

                      On top of that, it is also possible, that a person can have the experience of the nature of mind but is a total asocial person. (The latter was said btw by Khandro Rinpoche herself – in another context, not in the context of SR.)

                      I don’t know about the qualities of his teachings, so I cannot commend on that in any way.

                    • dharmaanarchist – “What I don’t really get together is that the content of the dharma teachings he is giving is not flawed and he is capable to transmit vajrayana and dzogchen.”

                      I found the opposite, for example, on a talk about the nature of mind, his only focus was only on self-centred spiritual materialism – which is totally in keeping with his pathological narcissism.

                    • Thank you. Very interesting to read these different views, experiences and judgements.

                    • “Most of the terma revealing lamas were married by the way”
                      While the majority, though not all, terms revealers were Nyingmapas, it is incorrect to suggest they were “married”..Certainly, the Tibetan people had the custom of marriage. However, there is no traditional Buddhist marriage ceremony; lamas or monks may.bless a marriage but marriage itself is seen as a secular contract.
                      It is more correct perhaps to say “Many of the terms revealing lamas had female companions”.
                      On a related issue, for those who condemn the terma tradition as a Nyingma accretion, the account of Nagarjunas recovery of the Perfection of Wisdom scriptures from the nagas under the sea after they were placed in their care by the Buddha himself deserves scrutiny
                      Again “The Tibetan buddhist tradition has prominent historical lamas who were famous for their promiscuous lifestyle, for example Drukpa Kunleg. ”
                      The reason such lamas are famed is because they were extremely rare, highly realised beings who were able to lead others to realisation through unusual methods and to perform miracles beyond normal human comprehension Their stories are told, not because they were the norm but rather because they were the exception to the rule.
                      As far as I am aware, none of Sogyals ‘dakinis” have demonstrated high attainments as a result of their encounters nor has Sogyal parted the Red Sea or invoked earthquakes. Rigpa use these stories to justify Sogyals aberrant behaviour, claiming it was quite acceptable in Tibet and considered the norm for Nyingmapas. This is incorrect; it is a twisting of historical facts to justify impropriety and is disingenuous.

                    • Thank you.

                • Interesting. I think I come closer to from where you come (I have still to read your former comments).

                  For me its a matter of fact that the perpetrator is a victim. Yes, and there is a high possibility that the abuser was abused too as a child. Therefore, indeed the abuser deserves compassion – as does the victim.

                  But while the abuser, when still in power and on the way to continue the abuse, needs forceful means to be stopped, the abused person needs support, encouragement and people who listen and show compassion and understanding. Part of the healing process of the abused person is to really understand what injustice has been done to him or her. When this clarity comes to mind, they feel naturally angry and psychologists see this anger as a good sign in the process of healing because abused persons tend to blame themselves for the abuse and are stuck in feelings of guilt and shame. Therefore, its important to understand who was the wrongdoer, not the abused person but the abuser.

                  Your comment is not differentiating the stages and steps, the situations and what is needed at the different stages and steps for both sides. Therefore, I think, it comes with an unrealistic or black-and-white judgement of the whole process. There seems not to be a good understanding of the dynamics of abuse, when I read your comment.

                  The abuser is stuck in his own dynamics which are very powerful and deep, he is stuck by an environment that ignores or supports the continuation of abuse.

                  So, foremost, what needs to be understood is what the situation for both sides is, where they are at the moment and what they need at the stages where they are. As part of the healing process it can be very helpful to go to public and to speak about what happened and as part of stopping the powerful abuser it can be the right means to make his name known in public if there is no other way.

                  As an outsider, for understanding this process you need an understanding of dependent arising and looking onto the situation with compassion for all sides (if possible). However, for most it will be hard to have compassion with the abuser. This is the special challenge you can take but can’t force others to take.

                  In the context of abuse, most find it counterproductive to speak about karma because abused persons have a very strong tendency to feel guilty and to blame themselves. A misunderstood concept of karma might keep the victim in the trap of self-destructive self-blaming that prevents healing. So it needs the right time when to address karma. The perpetrator creates a lot of negative karma but what does it help to tell this to the perpetrator as long as he is stuck in his (or her) own inner dynamics and he and his environment justify the deeds as good or acceptable?

                  I think, most of the people have compassion for the victim here and this is very good! Though it might be a partial compassion that does not extend to the perpetrator, its better than having no compassion for the victim which is the thing which those being abused experience the most! Therefore, compassion for the victim is of paramount importance. I wonder how you can say people don’t show compassion for Mimi? They might not show compassion for Sogyal, and you can criticise that if you wish so (I wouldn’t do that because I can understand how hard it is to feel compassion for a perpetrator). Then people might have compassion for Sogyal but don’t express it because it is not suitable to be expressed at this stage or context.

                  However, I deeply sympathise with an approach that is compassionate to both sides and this is also what the Conference of Western Buddhist Teachers concluded:

                  5. Particular concern was expressed about unethical conduct among teachers. In recent years both Asian and Western teachers have been involved in scandals concerning sexual misconduct with their students, abuse of alcohol and drugs, misappropriations of funds, and misuse of power. This has resulted in widespread damage both to the Buddhist community and the individuals involved. Each student must be encouraged to take responsible measures to confront teachers with unethical aspects of their conduct. If the teacher shows no sign of reform, students should not hesitate to publicize any unethical behavior of which there is irrefutable evidence.

                  This should be done irrespective of other beneficial aspects of his or her work and of one’s spiritual commitment to that teacher. It should also be made clear in any publicity that such conduct is not in conformity with Buddhist teachings. No matter what level of spiritual attainment a teacher has, or claims to have reached, no person can stand above the norms of ethical conduct. In order for the Buddhadharma not to be brought into disrepute and to avoid harm to students and teachers, it is necessary that all teachers at least live by the five lay precepts. In cases where ethical standards have been infringed, compassion and care should be shown towards both teacher and student.

                  Now you insinuate or charge that the whole debate seems to be “entirely” lacking from “compassion for all beings,” or “looking beyond individual selves to see the wider inter-relatedness, and the cultivation of insight over the venting of anger”. I can’t see that. The entire debate is lacking official acknowledgement by Rigpa that these allegations are true, that women such as Mimi but also many others as well as men have been harmed, and compassion and insight that this is the wrong way, damaging and must be stopped NOW! Instead of entering another cycle of denial and continuation of abuse. The wider inter-relatedness is that the majority of Buddhists are silent and by their very silence support the continuation of this very damaging and sick cycle of abuse. The compassion for all should include the women and men, the couples or families who have been harmed by Sogyal. The compassion should also include Sogyal (if possible), who is a victim of his own desires and power. Based on strong compassion and understanding of karma it is best to stop him immediately, isn’t it? So, are those who don’t do anything about it not those who lack “compassion for all beings” because it does not include the victims and the abuser – creating an environment of silence and denial instead that enables the perpetuation of the cycle of abuse?

                  Interesting though, so far, I have never seen you expressing here a word of compassion for those been harmed. But you used a lot of your writing to either criticise the victim or those who stand with her / or with them. Why? Why are you doing this?

                  —-

                  BTW, just to understand my background. Since 2000 I go regular to prisons and give courses there, sometimes I give also individual support. I did this with others or alone. Among the participants of my courses (or the individuals I tried to support) are bank robbers, murderers, rapists, sexual offenders and pedophiles. So I know that side. However, I also have an ear for victims and act to help them in all ways possible. I think I am rather used to see abuse from both sides, and I am capable to think from both sides and to get a clue about the complex dynamics in such processes. Therefore, I know why – as long as the abuser is not stopped – it is more important to side with the victim and to do all things possible to stop the abusing person. The latter can be done also out of compassion or just based on “the wider inter-relatedness, and the cultivation of insight”.

                  —-

                  HTH

                  • Thank you Tenpel, it would seem that you are very clear on the stages of progression of the healing process, and so you know better than most what is required to move beyond the stage of anger.

                    My focus is not on any of the victims at all here, but on the community as a whole which seems rather stuck at that stage and which, in making progress conditional on Sogyal’s behaviour, has thereby placed him again in a position of power.

                    I sincerely hope that the victim’s themselves have managed to complete the healing process, and yet, seeing the community as a whole become somewhat stuck at that stage, I do wonder whether using the victims’ stories to promote this cause is really encouraging that progress.

                    It is completely understandable to have promoted these stories to try to motivate the entire community to put a stop to this abuse, however it also appears to me that this has had limited success – the general perception seems to be that Sogyal has not stopped – and so the determined anger risks becoming stagnant frustration.

                    To that end, the big issue for me here is whether such a strategy has the effect of opening up the debate in order to develop insight and understanding into the issues and offer any alternatives as to what might be required to put an end to the abuse.

                    In comparison to the healing process of the victim, there would seem to be a stage at which the person abused is able to take back power for themselves and move beyond the stages of blame and anger, guilt and recrimination. This is not to say that their regaining of their own equanimity is in any way to condone the actions of the abuser, but rather that their regaining of that equanimity is no longer dependent on those external factors, and in this way, the question of addressing the issue of abuse may be approached more effectively.

                    • Thank you Soenam. I share your doubts about the outcome.

                      Before I posted both articles I asked some scientists whom I trust for feedback. All of them saw Mimi’s report as helpful though one commented that it could have had a better structure and that it could be clearer. One also said that the interview with her might help Rigpa people to wake up, at least for some.

                      Now, not posting Mimis’s report and to support silence in the context of Rigpa’s strong denials, claiming that these are “unjust and totally false claims”, “false accusations”, that “Rigpa and Sogyal Rinpoche have been the victims of a malicious media campaign” etc etc. – attacking now Marion Dapsance and denigrating all those who spoke up based on truth, like Mimi – would it have been better not to post this interview?

                      I think not.

                      Would it open up any debate to be silent? Or, do you think you can achieve anything behind the curtain with kind words?

                      I don’t think so because the structures that enable the abuse of power were formed and work now for many many years and they and the underlying indoctrination and justifications are very strong. For most people from Rigpa there is more to be lost than won by being open for questioning the whole system and these matters. The system is rigid not flexible which is demonstrated also by the strong denials of their recent press release though Rigpa officials can openly agree with you when asked that all of this with the young ladies is true!

                      With respect to the healing process for a person being harmed by the abuse of power or sexual abuse – this is in general a very very long process. As part of it, to write about it (maybe with the wish to protect others from similar damage or just to give the experience a way out of the mind or with other motives) can be very much part of the healing process, and a stepping stone in it. To move beyond the stage of anger is even harder.

                      Some take years just to arrive at the stage of anger which comes, when you realise that it was not you who has done wrong but the perpetrator. It might take you years to deeply realise / feel / get clarity about that there is no need to blame yourself and to feel guilty or ashamed, to realise deep within your heart: “He was wrong, not I!” I spoke with a women who was in the fourth year of therapy and still blamed herself… She said, this is the step she has to learn first: “He was wrong, not I!” This is what she is working on for four years now with her therapist …

                      I think I would not expect too much. What you write about the process of healing for a “victim” sounds like wishful thinking or unrealistic to me. It can take decades(!) to heal. And being angry, though its not a virtuous mind, should be understood as a natural response that should invite compassion from an observer. That someone is angry (I don’t know if Mimi is angry, I didn’t think about it so far) should be no basis to put the person being harmed down or portraying the person as uncontrolled or backwards or accusing him or her directly or indirectly (indirectly by demanding too much!) of not having have finished the process of healing.

                      However, I am no therapist. I am not a psychologist. Maybe I am totally wrong. So I am open to be corrected.
                      However, I listened to people who have been harmed by sexual abuse or the abuse of power, I try to understand them. And I do the same with those who created such harm. This is where I come from.

                    • To understand these dynamics better, maybe this speech by MP Michelle Thomson can help:
                      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-38253461

                    • as I have said several times, the focus on individuals can sometimes obscure the wider issues – the people traumatised by this abuse of power may be working through their experience, the community as a whole is not limited in its view or response.

                      it is interesting that you say you don’t know about the qualities of Sogyal’s teachings – I do not suggest that the voices of the abused should be silent, rather, that there are many perspectives that can be explored.

                      my own viewpoint has been influenced by several “dakinis” who have experienced abuse and who have attained what I consider to be a degree of realisation. the consensus is generally that a lawsuit is the best way to aim at some concept of justice, but that failing that, the campaigning can become vengeful and it is one persons word against another – this is not beneficial for anyone, not only because it can lead to a stalemate, but also because it addresses the surface phenomena rather than the underlying structure.

                    • Abuse can be only stopped by someone who is more powerful or if people withdraw their support.

                      For that those people need some clarity … therefore, testimonies are as important as to listen to those being harmed by the abuse of power. If nobody listens to them, its still good to have testimonies easily accessible, isn’t it? Aren’t there good reasons for having testimonies easily accessible?

                      The problem with a law suit is that he spiritual leaders or teachers are operating in a legal gray zone. While it is against the law (in some countries like Germany) if a state licensed therapist has a sexual relationship with his or her client, self-appointed therapists or therapists who do not owe a state license for therapy are not legally chargeable, even if the abuser (ab)used promises of healing, religious or other concepts to manipulate a person or to lure a person into a sexual relationship. This legal gray zone hinders legal punishment in these cases. But this legal gray zone doesn’t make the actions morally ok or can deny the damage been done… Its just not legally covered.

                      —-
                      My opinion is influenced by “dakinis” who have been harmed. None of them told or claimed nor did I observe that they “attained a degree of realisation”.
                      —-

                      it is interesting that you say you don’t know about the qualities of Sogyal’s teachings

                      When I was in India for the first Global Buddhist Congregation, Rigpa organised an event there (which was not part of the official schedule/panels) where SR gave a speech. I was there at that time and I was rather shocked about what appeared to me as cheap psychological tricks to get people’s attention and to posit himself as powerful guru. This had nothing to do with Buddhism. It was so disgusting to watch and to experience that I and others left.

                      I am happy about all different types of perspective, and to explore them.

                      However, I will be oppose all types of relativism that undermine reasonable ethical judgements or that deny the pain and harm people have experienced or that humiliates or puts down those who have been harmed.

                      campaigning can become vengeful and it is one persons word against another – this is not beneficial for anyone,

                      Yes, campaigning can become vengeful and its everybody responsibility to not contribute to that.

                      BUT, only when there is a single case of abuse “it is one persons word against another”. Please note, here we speak and observe a repeated pattern of abuse. “No name” has made that already very clear and I agree in that with him. You see, I see this statement by you “it is one persons word against another” as relativism. Its not true. It are many voices that say quite the same and report about the same patterns. Moreover, some Rigpa officials have approved these accusations. So please don’t tell me or us, its “one persons word against another”.

                      Now, while you focussed so much on the possible damage of people speaking up or about the dangers of anger or “campaigning” (btw there is no campaign – at least not from my side nor do I think Mimi or Marion are campaigning) etc. please tell us about your insights about “the underlying structure”. I like to know more about that perspective.

                    • I have a similar issue with listening to Sogyal’s talks, they are very difficult to sit through, and as you say, they have nothing to do with Buddhism and are disgusting to watch, also for me very boring.

                      Everything I’ve written has been pointing to the underlying structure, and it would seem to indicate a wider problem for me, that even in this thread it is difficult to be clear – questions are asked the details of the story itself at the expense of the wider purpose and position the story occupies within consciousness.

                      So when I ask about the aims, you say that it is to give a voice and to bear witness to testimonies – but there is something unsaid here, and there seems to be some confusion.

                      In looking at the summary of Marion Dapsance’s book on the MaxMilo website, one writer sees it as unravelling the myths projected onto Buddhism by the tired and spiritually poor West, but in the very next paragraph, there is a quote from a Rigpa lecture by Sogyal grabbing a woman’s hair and shaking her head, saying, “I am your master, you are my slave. Oh, it may not be politically correct as you Westerners say, but in Tibet it’s like this, you have to submit totally.”

                      It seems either the West is at fault, naive and idealistic, or the Tibetans are feudal and medieval – consciousness has difficulty transcending binary oppositions.

                      The Rigpa press release exploits this confusion by claiming that the book unfairly targets Buddhism in general and Tibetan Buddhism, as well as Rigpa and Sogyal, and so they portray this as Rigpa defending Tibetan Buddhism in general as well as the reputation of the Dalai Lama.

                      The earlier comments on this page also reflect this confusion with some posters dismissing the entire edifice of Vajrayana, while others view it as a problem only with specific organisations.

                      This confusion also seems to be reflected in the interview between Marion Dapsance and Julia Mourri which you posted recently. There are a number of statements which are slightly true, but also myths, which when taken as a whole show up the kind of gaps that abusive Lamas are able to exploit.

                      We read that,
                      “In the minds of Westerners, Buddhism is… something perfectly rational.

                      …we Westerners think of Buddhism, as practiced for the purposes of personal development. The Asian masters propose rituals that are very complex and also in Tibetan. They summon deities and demand absolute devotion to the master.

                      I had to learn about Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan culture, but also about the Western religions that had made it possible to reclaim Buddhism and raise it to the rank of a “secular religion”.

                      Rather surprising for a spirituality that rejects materialism.”

                      Now, I do not agree with any of these statements, they are a distortion of partial truths both from the Western and the Tibetan viewpoints, and I see them as directly supporting the same confusion found in the quotation by Mimi in the initial sentence at the top of this page. This is why I started posting by questioning why this view went unchallenged, and which you agreed was idealistic. As I said, I see these gaps in the perception of Tibetan Buddhism as structural blind spots within which abuse is allowed to go unchallenged.

                      The issue of my focus is neither about the specific details of either the Western or Tibetan consciousness, but rather the position of the relationship between the two and the symbolic roles which lead to the misapprehended expectations from both sides.

  7. Mary Finnigan wrote on Facebook about this article:

    Translated item from Le Novel Obs. Mimi (below) was one of Sogyal’s sex slaves for several years. She managed to extricate herself and has spoken about her experiences to me and to Marion Dapsance. There are errors in this item: Sogyal did not write The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Mimi’s father is misrepresented. He was horrified when she told him about her sexual relations with Sogyal. He left a 3 year retreat as a result and challenged Sogyal in a state of fury. Sogyal insisted that Mimi had demanded to have sex with him.

  8. Yesterday, ‘Dagblad Trouw’, a Dutch national newspaper that focusses on religion and philosophy, ran a background article on sexual abuse by Buddhists by religious reporter Koert van der Velde:

    http://www.trouw.nl/tr/nl/4464/Religie-filosofie/article/detail/4428096/2016/12/05/Door-de-meesters-van-de-zwijgzaamheid-wordt-misbruik-niet-gemeld.dhtml

    ‘Trouw’ is one of our biggest national newspapers, some 120.000 copies in print. It is well read by readers with a specific interest in religious matters and other journalists. The article presents much information on the sexual abuse by Thai Vipassana teacher Mettavihari, and also on Sogyal and Rigpa. The piece has two references to the recent ‘silent protest’ against Sogyal during his visit to Amsterdam (November 16th, 2016).

    Van der Velde also referred to my own investigative reporting on sexual abuse by Buddhists teachers, and quoted Dutch Buddhologist Henk Blezer.

    • Making quite a name for oneself eh Rob? Let’s hope for your sake your motives are pure. Otherwise, things could all go horribly wrong. Bon chance ;)

      • I asked him to share his this here, no name!

        • Rob no doubt leapt at the opportunity.

          • You speak as if you know who I am, No Name, whereas in fact we are complete strangers. So, first of all, who are you, really? Are your motives self-evidently pure?

            Do you read Dutch? Besides innuendos, do you have any specific questions or responses to the content of the article in Trouw?

            • Dearest. Rob
              In fact I know who you are and what you do. I also read what you’ve written and know about the harm you have caused to others, as well as the good. I know you are very fond of reading your own name and are driven by an ambition to be recognised as a Buddhist cult buster.
              My advice to you is to be careful about your motives and don’t harm others who disagree with you.
              Also, if you really want to do good, work anonymously; the desire for recognition poisons even the most seemingly pure actions
              Love to you
              Van Helsing

              • Mhm.

                I am not happy with these types of comments. I would prefer to stick what people say in their comments and just to comment that instead of judging their personality – even if you have background information. (Though to know about the background is valuable.)

                It’s especially unfair – I feel – if someone posts under his real name to attack or question his personality as an anonymous contributor.

                Another thing, being anonymous or not – I don’t trust much anonymous people. To increase the credibility of my own work I decided to not to hide my identity- who is running the blog. Though this brought me under attack. So not being anonymous can be as good or bad as contributing anonymously.

                At the end it’s a matter of motivation & discrimination what is best in the long run.

                I would like to ask you, no name, to stick to the topic and to restrain to judge or to attack the character of people contributing here.

                What matters for the reader is the content related to the topic.

                Thank you.

                • Well, I think you know how I work Tenzin and whether or not I’ve been successful
                  It’s a bit like when your quarry is sitting round a campfire- if they get shot at from the dark,they don’t know where the enemy is, how many of them there are etc etc. If they know who and where you are, it limits your portential in several ways Otoh, I understand your approach and respect. For me, anonymity stops me seeking reputation or fame, something which can be a very powerful drug which feeds ego. That’s why I advise others to do the same
                  As to your request, I agree

                • dharmaanarchist says:

                  Then ban comments under a real name, as some internet forums do.

                  • Thank you for this suggestion. But in a way, I feel its the person’s responsibility to decide not mine. What I ban is if one person uses different names to manipulate a discussion. I think for using real name or pseudonym – for both cases there are good reasons and both cases can be abused. Therefore, I think its better to leave the decision in the hand of the contributor.

                    • dharmaanarchist says:

                      The problem with people using real names on the internet is also, a not so very wellmeaning human could usurp the identity of someone else.

                    • Thank you. True. There is opportunity for abuse in both ways. The tendency is to force people rather to use their real name. Some US media force you to use a Facebook account for comments. Facebook forces people to use real names. The tendency is clearly away from anonymous posting due to such and similar policies, isn’t it?

              • There is no such thing as anonymous journalism, as I’m sure you know No Name. Also, there’s no transparency in anonymous innuendo, nor sincerity. I gather you’re not at all interested in discussing the content of the Trouw article, so let’s leave it at that.

                • Anonymous are one of the most powerful lobbying groups on the planet
                  While the world enters into a new era of ‘cyber war’ the overwhelming number of cyber warriors remain anonymous
                  Some of the worlds greatest authors employ pseudonyms
                  Some of the worlds worst crimes and criminals have been exposed by anonymous whistleblowers
                  Never underestimate the power of anonymity

  9. This is a link to a video of the ‘silent protest’ against Sogyal before his lecture at RAI Amsterdam, November 16th, 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQ55RVzCf6U&t=44s

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