Sexual and physical abuse in religious institutions

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Sexual and physical abuse in religious institutions

Postby Indrajala » Fri May 09, 2014 7:07 am

Discussion split from this thread.

One other issue that makes me wonder if TB is "churning out" as many realized beings as they would suggest is the matter of sexual abuse in Tibetan institutions.

As is well known, Kalu Rinpoche admitted to having been sexually abused in his monastery as a youth:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... u-rinpoche" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

He relates how he was moved to a different monastery and at the age of 12 was sexually abused by older monks. He goes on to reveal that when he refused to obey instructions, his tutor tried to kill him.

"It was all about money, power and control," he says.


Sexual abuse in Tibetan monasteries, as I have come to understand, is common and there doesn't appear to be the greatest efforts exerted to halt it and punish the offenders. In Bhutan the abuse has resulted in youths being infected with HIV and condoms being issue:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/2 ... 76401.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


NEW DELHI (RNS) Health officials in the tiny Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan are making condoms available at all monastic schools in a bid to stem the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV among young monks who are supposed to be celibate.


So, where are the realized clairvoyant bodhisattvas who can foresee such unspeakable acts and halt them? Tibetan Buddhism actively claims to be able to produce realized individuals in a single lifetime, yet if this was so common and there are so many highly attained Lamas around, why does preventable sexual abuse continue? Are many perpetrators being punished and condemned for such acts? Where are the realized heroes?

For the record, I do think there are a few gems in Tibetan Buddhism, and I know plenty of monks, Lamas, Geshes and Khenpos whom I respect. I learn from several of them, too. I'm not a Tibetan Buddhist. I just take what I want from it and leave the rest (like the swan who separates the cream from the water). When I was first getting into Buddhism my first studies into Madhyamaka were through Tibetan sources in translation, and my first Buddhist teacher is Tibetan.

That being said, I'm skeptical about all the claims of there being so many "realized" beings being produced either at present or historically. That doesn't negate the value of practice. Claiming people are realized is usually a way of elevating past masters for institutional purposes. Nevertheless, if you're critical and look at past and present circumstances there's a lot of ugly history to account for when some would claim there were "realized beings" at the helm of governments or religious institutions.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby rory » Fri May 09, 2014 8:05 am

What's scary here is Ven. Indrajala and the young Kalu RInpoche and the news have all talked about the reality of child sex abuse in Tibetan monasteries, and no one of importance has done anything about it. That's not enlightened. It isn't enlightened when Zen priests have sex with their female students either - it opportunistic, predatory and just plain wrong.

It's no secret that Saicho the founder of the Tendai school in Japan brougth back esoteric rituals as the Heian court was interested in them, he, Saicho, wasn't. It doesn't damage my esteem of this great man or my admiration of Tendai, knowing that and the corruptions and the soldier-monks. I have an informed, educated, faith that is at the same time quite devout.

If every Western Tibetan Buddhist withheld their dharma dollars and screamed and tweeted and texted the media, their, groups, their teachers about monastic child abuse : it would stop.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Adi » Fri May 09, 2014 8:32 am

rory wrote:What's scary here is Ven. Indrajala and the young Kalu RInpoche and the news have all talked about the reality of child sex abuse in Tibetan monasteries, and no one of importance has done anything about it….


You obviously do not know much about Tibetan Buddhism or the current situation with many of its institutions. So it might be wiser to stop speculating and blindly reproaching (if not outright gossiping and slandering) and do a little research with credible sources. For instance, Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche is completely reforming the Shangpa Kagyu (his) monasteries and centers, instituted sweeping changes in their educational programs, and other lamas and heads of lineages are doing similar things where such reform is necessary.

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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby rory » Sat May 10, 2014 4:42 am

Adi wrote:
rory wrote:What's scary here is Ven. Indrajala and the young Kalu RInpoche and the news have all talked about the reality of child sex abuse in Tibetan monasteries, and no one of importance has done anything about it….


You obviously do not know much about Tibetan Buddhism or the current situation with many of its institutions. So it might be wiser to stop speculating and blindly reproaching (if not outright gossiping and slandering) and do a little research with credible sources. For instance, Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche is completely reforming the Shangpa Kagyu (his) monasteries and centers, instituted sweeping changes in their educational programs, and other lamas and heads of lineages are doing similar things where such reform is necessary.

Adi



Adi: the young Kalu rinpoche is in his 20's, and I knew very well from a doctor friend in the 1970's who told me about child sex abuse in the TIbetan monasteries in India when she'd visited there, I didn't even mention this as it was a report from a friend, not an insider like the young Kalu rinpoche or the sad fact that AIDS is rampant in Bhutan. So meanwhile all the enlightened lamas the present Dalai Lama, the various enlightened lamas and RInpoches past and present knew all about it and did nothing. As we all know this is nothing new. And I'm sure this happened in China, Japan, Korea etc wherever there were child monks.

It's sickening and disgusting and Ven. Indrajala tells me that if you don't believe in the entire mythos of 'enlightened' masters you as a TB practitioner go to Avici hell. You know what; I willing go to Avici Hell to call out the abusers and the silent bystanders of child abuse. I know that when I'm there Kannan -sama and Jizo (Ksitigharbha) will come for me.


I was living in Ireland during 2000 - when all the RC child abuse scandals came out. The hierarchy knew - they did nothing to help these children preferring to protect the institution...to avoid 'scandal.' It's exactly the same here.

No institution is worth it.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Dan74 » Sat May 10, 2014 5:16 am

Rory, you didn't even seem to acknowledge the content of Adi's reply just above.

Are you interested in these changes that you call for or just in indignation at the injustices?

Sorry if I appear to pick on you - I see so much criticism on this board and so little that is positive, the gratitude for the Dharma, for our teachers, for this community, for the fruits of practice... Sad, isn't it?
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby rory » Sat May 10, 2014 7:47 am

Dan74 wrote:Rory, you didn't even seem to acknowledge the content of Adi's reply just above.

Are you interested in these changes that you call for or just in indignation at the injustices?

Sorry if I appear to pick on you - I see so much criticism on this board and so little that is positive, the gratitude for the Dharma, for our teachers, for this community, for the fruits of practice... Sad, isn't it?


Dan; first this is the Open Dharma forum and this is a critical threat. I saw what Adi wrote, that something is being done now finally but the point is it had been going on for a long long time. Zen teachers slept with their students and got away with it for a long time, that doesn't make it right nor the climate of revering and not speaking up.. I speak about it as even now there are teachers in TB and East Asian traditions who try to get credulous women to sleep with them by promising they're consorts or will get enlightened.

I can take a critical look at my tradition and be a believing devout practitioner, I would never look away or not speak up even if it cost me something. That's what scares me; the uncritical devotion and silence over 'scandal'....Been there seen that and the lives it wrecked in Ireland.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Malcolm » Sat May 10, 2014 2:31 pm

rory wrote:...the sad fact that AIDS is rampant in Bhutan.


AIDS is "rampant in Bhutan"? Reality check:


In 2011, there were 246 reported cases of HIV in Bhutan, representing just over 0.3% of the population.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Bhutan

Bhutan and Ireland have the same percentage of people infected with AIDS. About three in every 1000 people. So I guess AIDS is "rampant" in Ireland too. The percentage of people infested with AIDS in Bhutan is the same as in all South Asia, 0.3%.

So meanwhile all the enlightened lamas the present Dalai Lama, the various enlightened lamas and RInpoches past and present knew all about it and did nothing.


Are you quite sure? Or do you just enjoy engaging in the baseless slander of bodhisattvas?

...if you don't believe in the entire mythos of 'enlightened' masters you as a TB practitioner go to Avici hell.


There is no such teaching.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat May 10, 2014 2:40 pm

rory wrote:I speak about it as even now there are teachers in TB and East Asian traditions who try to get credulous women to sleep with them by promising they're consorts or will get enlightened.

Would you care to name some?
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Malcolm » Sat May 10, 2014 2:46 pm

JKhedrup wrote:There is something very disturbing to me about the current climate of Tibet bashing.


Especially since we never observe China bashing, Japan bashing, etc., on these boards. It's pretty sad, actually. We have the PRC, literally raping Tibet and sterilizing Tibetan women after forcing them to have late term abortions, resettling Tibetan nomad in concrete villages and restricting the number of cattle they can own, fencing off their traditional grazing lands, but no, we don't really hear about this.

What we here about instead are unfocused accusations against real bodhisattvas like HHDL to the effect that they, like the Catholics, are knowingly complicit in covering up sexual abuse of children in monasteries -- and this goes unremarked and uncorrected by the staff.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby JKhedrup » Sat May 10, 2014 3:00 pm

Yes it is very upsetting.

Also that people say child abuse is "rampant" in monasteries under the patronage of HHDL. I would never state child abuse didn't happen, it happens is all places where children are in the care of adults. However, people are ill informed- Sera Jey School (http://serajeschool.net/home" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) for example, is affiliated to the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary education) in New Delhi, which sends inspectors regularly. Part of the protocol is to check for child abuse, so there are some protections for the students in place. But yet from a few incidents HH DL and HH Karmapa are slandered and all monasteries written off as places of child abuse. Do we accuse Boy Scouts of America as being promoters of Child Abuse? Or stepfathers?

More importantly, we criticize the feudal Tibetan society and rubbish their culture without even thinking about what the Tibetans want. What if they want to preserve some aspects of that culture? But they don't have the chance, because their culture is slowly being decimated, piece by piece, very methodically, by the Chinese authorities. Don,t take my word for it, ask the European parliament: http://tibet.net/2012/06/13/eu-concerne ... an-nomads/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;"

Prior to the debate, Lady Ashton, Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy made a statement where she expressed EU’s growing concern on the deterioration of the situation in Tibet illustrated by the wave of self-immolations and by the clashes between police and local people since the beginning of the year. “The EU is particularly concerned by news of mass arrests and detentions taking place in TAR following self-immolations in Lhasa as well as reports of the area which has been closed to foreigners”, said Lady Ashton.

She further said, over the last three years an increasing number of Tibetan intellectuals and cultural figures have faced criminal charges or have been imprisoned. We are worried by restrictions on expression of Tibetan identity and freedom of expression in Tibet.

“We are most concerned about the impact of the resettlement policy of Tibetan nomads. Tibetan culture and traditional life styles are based on a nomadic way of life. We do question whether the objective of environmental protection can only be reached by eliminating the traditional way of life of Tibetans who have lived for centuries in harmony with nature. We are concerned by the compulsory resettlement of all nomads which has the potential to destroy the distinctive Tibetan culture and identity”

“We are also worried by the impact of the policy to make Mandarin Chinese as the primary language of instruction in Tibetan schools as in schools in other minority populated areas”, said Lady Ashton.


But so called liberals and intellectuals, rather than speaking out about these atrocities, prefer to pick apart at the feudal aspects of an ancient culture. Guess what? White people were feudal too. As I mentioned, Blacks were not allowed to be served at the same counter as white people just 50 years ago in the US. Canada sent Native People to residential schools. Britain supported apartheid regimes.

We have a chance to make sure that Tibetans do not face the same fate as other indigenous cultures such as the Native Americans, Aboriginees and Maori. But rather than take the politically incorrect decision to speak out against China due to fear of losing financial resources or university grants, we choose to rubbish the cultural according to Western cultural mores. Which helps China and its campaign to literally stomp out Tibetan culture, aspirations, and the faith the have in their teachers.

The Western, Industrial and "democratic" way of life is has produced the capitalism, automation, globalization and mass production that has brought the world to the brink of environmental, financial and social collapse.

We are hardly in a position to tout "Western values" as somehow superior to what the Tibetans had.

The courage with which the Tibetans stand against Chinese oppression is very moving. They are quite a remarkable people:http://www.depauliaonline.com/opinions/the-forgotten-oppression-of-china-occupied-tibet-1.3077581#.U24x-pXNvIU

Driru County in rural Tibet has refused to comply with the Chinese mandate that a Chinese flag must fly in every Tibetan home, which has led to a crackdown by the Chinese, who have sent thousands of paramilitary troops into Driru to restore “order” to the county, according to the Washington Post. Where are all of these Chinese soldiers staying while occupying Driru?

The homes of every Tibetan who lives in Driru have been victimized as seven soldiers have been stationed per house in order to monitor the villages and squash any attempts at protest or disobedience. Since the arrival of the troops, 40 Tibetans have disappeared after refusing to comply with the martial law the troops have implemented.

The restrictions enacted under martial law include not allowing villagers to tend their farms or animals and a restriction from loitering anywhere in the town. Despite all of the crackdown and violence that has ensued in the county, the Tibetans have remained strong in their refusal to fly the Chinese flag as evidenced by what occurred on Oct. 1, which is equivalent to America’s 4th of July.

This year, despite being occupied by thousands of soldiers, not one Chinese flag flew in the villages of Driru.
For this brave disobedience the Tibetans are paying the price. On Oct. 6, peaceful protestors gathered in the town of Driru to protest the detaining of the Tibetans who refused to fly the flag.

In response, Chinese troops opened fire on them, which injured about 60 people according to Amnesty International. In addition to the initial act of violence, the people who were injured were refused care for their injuries for several days after the incident. This mistreatment of peaceful protestors is just another event in a long list of disgraceful transgressions by the Chinese against Tibet.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat May 10, 2014 3:41 pm

Malcolm wrote:What we here about instead are unfocused accusations against real bodhisattvas like HHDL to the effect that they, like the Catholics, are knowingly complicit in covering up sexual abuse of children in monasteries -- and this goes unremarked and uncorrected by the staff.
As a staff member I know that I am incapable of reading every single post made on this forum, so if nobody reports the posts... At the same time as a staff member, it is not my duty to dictate opinions on issues, just to moderate discussion/debate so that it remains civil.

Child abuse does happen in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries but, as Venerable Khedrup pointed out, child abuse is an issue in every single human society where adults are put in charge of children. Having worked with institutionalised minors I have seen (and personally dealt with the punishment of) abuse and abusers from all sexual angles, from all genders, from all professions, from all educational backgrounds, from religious people and atheists, from all races, ad nauseum...

So to say that it is a documented problem in Tibetan monastic institutions (where minors cohabit with teenagers and adults) comes as no surprise at all, to me. Of course it has nothing to do with the fact that the perpetrators and victims are Tibetan, or Buddhist, but it obviously has to do with the structures of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. And, on the basis of research on abusers: it is the abused that become abusers. Unfortunately the very structure of these institutions (and other similar institutions) perpetuates the cycle of abuse.

Now is the HH Dalai Lama complicit in covering up abuse? I don't know. Instead of blaming the staff, why not ask those making the claims to substantiate them? And if they refuse to substantiate them, then please feel free to report them for trolling.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Indrajala » Sat May 10, 2014 4:33 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:People failed to recognise the legitimacy and validity of the Buddha himself, what makes you think they will listen to Bodhisattvas?


If their own institutions recognize them as tulkus, then why are they with their celebrated wisdom and possible clairvoyance not able to halt child abuse in their institutions?
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat May 10, 2014 4:34 pm

Indrajala wrote:If their own institutions recognize them as tulkus, then why are they with their celebrated wisdom and possible clairvoyance not able to halt child abuse in their institutions?
For the same reason that the Buddhas cannot stop the negative actions of sentient beings.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Indrajala » Sat May 10, 2014 4:35 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Indrajala wrote:If their own institutions recognize them as tulkus, then why are they with their celebrated wisdom and possible clairvoyance not able to halt child abuse in their institutions?
For the same reason that the Buddhas cannot stop the negative actions of sentient beings.


The Buddhas are not flesh and blood administrators of Buddhist monasteries.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat May 10, 2014 4:37 pm

Indrajala wrote:The Buddhas are not flesh and blood administrators of Buddhist monasteries.
Yeah, imagine that, even though they are pure compassion and wisdom and not limited by time and space STILL they cannot override individual karma. Bummer, huh?!
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Indrajala » Sat May 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Indrajala wrote:The Buddhas are not flesh and blood administrators of Buddhist monasteries.
Yeah, imagine that, even though they are pure compassion and wisdom and not limited by time and space STILL they cannot override individual karma. Bummer, huh?!


So, a purportedly realized tulku is not expected to foresee and halt child abuse in monasteries under their supervision simply because it is a matter of individual karma?
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat May 10, 2014 4:50 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:
Indrajala wrote:The Buddhas are not flesh and blood administrators of Buddhist monasteries.
Yeah, imagine that, even though they are pure compassion and wisdom and not limited by time and space STILL they cannot override individual karma. Bummer, huh?!


So, a purportedly realized tulku is not expected to foresee and halt child abuse in monasteries under their supervision simply because it is a matter of individual karma?
Of course. Just because somebody is a tulku doesn't mean they can somehow magically affect the actions of another sentient being. Is there something about karma that you do not understand? That makes it difficult for you to comprehend what I am saying?
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Indrajala » Sat May 10, 2014 5:04 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:Of course. Just because somebody is a tulku doesn't mean they can somehow magically affect the actions of another sentient being. Is there something about karma that you do not understand? That makes it difficult for you to comprehend what I am saying?


I said if they're realized and/or as clairvoyant as some would claim, they should be able to foresee and halt actions before they occur, especially if done under the roof of their own monastery.

If you concede that there are no such clairvoyant individuals in TB, then the claims of the special efficacy of Tibetan practices might be called into question.

It is akin to the theodicy. If there really are realized beings being churned out of TB, why don't they halt evil in their own institutions before it happens?
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Malcolm » Sun May 11, 2014 4:01 am

Indrajala wrote: yet boys in monasteries of that same tradition are regularly raped...


You haven't established this, this is mere hearsay.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religous violence

Postby Indrajala » Sun May 11, 2014 4:05 am

Malcolm wrote:
Indrajala wrote: yet boys in monasteries of that same tradition are regularly raped...


You haven't established this, this is mere hearsay.


Kalu rinpoche? Bhutanese kids in monasteries getting HIV?
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