Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communities

A place for videos, pictures, and any other sort of Buddhist or non-Buddhist media.

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shaunc » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:20 am

JKhedrup wrote:Shaunc,

In case you hadn't noticed, Buddhism is on the decline in Japan.

As for positing celibacy as the main cause of misconduct, this is ridiculous. As for it going against nature, Lord Buddha was not a tyrant, he had very good reasons for asking celibacy of his followers which are all available to you in the scriptures.

In Boy Scouts,Hare Krishna and the Anglican Church, there is extensive history of abuse. In Boy Scouts most of the perpetrators were married. The Anglican Church has married clergy. In hare krishna, most of the abuse was perpetrated by grihastas-people in the married section of the community. When Shambhala has a crisis regarding misconduct in the 1980s, it was perpetrated by a lay regent.

The big sex scandals of the moment in Buddhism in the US involve married, Japanese lay Zen teachers.

So your hasty conclusions do not hold water when you look at the broader history of abuse outside the Catholic church. Getting rid of celibacy will not get rid of abuse. The problem is the dynamics of power.

Advocating dismantling celibacy is advocating dismantling the Sangha. The great teachers of Buddhism at the moment include monks like HHDL, Ajahn Brahm, HH Karmapa, Ven. Heng Sure. Your generalizations dishonour the sacrifice and precepts of such teachers.

I will not let such generalizations go unchallenged as they erode the already tiny amount of support for many monks and nuns in the West, who are very sincere and deserve better.


I'm sorry if I upset you. In my original post, I mentioned that I have a great respect for all ordained members of the sangha. I do not believe that all practitioners of celibacy are sexual abusers or have the potential to become that way. My personal belief is that a very small minority of monks have been engaged in this activity unfortunately they tarnish the whole image of buddhism, the same as some catholic priests have tarnished the image of the catholic church I could most probably add boy scout masters & junior sporting coaches & school teachers to that list.
shaunc
 
Posts: 307
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:10 am

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Yudron » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:34 am

When I took refuge from the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche he advised us all not to be naive about other Buddhists. He said we should all spend time in a Buddhist country, where both the cops and the robbers are Buddhists.

Personally, It think there should be a little class for young, thin, beautiful women when they take refuge, telling them the facts of life about the gender dynamics in the culture their lineage comes from. They should be advised how to respectfully decline attention they don't want from clergy, and how to handle things if that doesn't work.

Western women aren't used to patriarchy as heavy as is present in many of the Asian cultures we co-exist with in traditional Buddhist paths. Even if sexual issues don't come up, then there are dozens of ways male dominance comes up all the time in our centers. You know, I am in seventh heaven receiving the series of empowerments I am currently receiving, but it demands of me that I face squarely that all of the lamas passing out the empowerment substances are male, that the nuns are sitting in the back and the monks in the front, that most of the monks are men, and none of the nuns are. In most of the empowerments the lineage tree has no women named in it. That is the state of affairs in most of Tibetan Buddhism. I accept that that is the case at this point in history... me getting upset about it is not going to make a difference. It is my choice to engage or not. Since I have decided to engage, I might as well have a positive attitude, and maintain a vow to myself to change things for the better for women if and when I have the power to do so.
Yudron
 
Posts: 1054
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:55 pm
Location: Sunny California

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby muni » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:39 am

Yudron wrote:...for women if and when I have the power to do so.



There is a reason why men started in debates to stamp their feet, clap their hands and yell, Yudron. That is because they couldn't win from the women, so they had to make a lot of noise. :smile:
Why the qualities or wisdom skills are mostly as male appearances, I don't know, many causes and conditions. But it is not worldly powerful appearances which liberates, therefore I don't mind.

"It is not so that basic for buddhahood is abundant in men and deficient in women. There is neither superior nor inferior birth, neither higher nor lower activities, neither sharper nor weaker intellect...." Guru Rinpoche
Therefore women should not be conditioned by intimidation or be overwhelmed by men, or opposite.
Others are the means for buddhahood. Thanks for concern.
muni
 
Posts: 2974
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Nemo » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:10 pm

Yudron wrote:When I took refuge from the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche he advised us all not to be naive about other Buddhists. He said we should all spend time in a Buddhist country, where both the cops and the robbers are Buddhists.

Personally, It think there should be a little class for young, thin, beautiful women when they take refuge, telling them the facts of life about the gender dynamics in the culture their lineage comes from. They should be advised how to respectfully decline attention they don't want from clergy, and how to handle things if that doesn't work.


I often saw pleasing women chasing monastics trying to keep their vows. How is this not abuse? In my own very short time with vows I noticed a robe turned me into forbidden fruit and increased my desirability. One day at a public wang I was,.... on second though let's leave it at that.
User avatar
Nemo
 
Posts: 656
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:15 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If more women become Buddhists, maybe this problem will be solved
but if this problem isn't solved, will more women become buddhists?
that's the paradox.


That's not a paradox because the problem is *obviously* not women. If more women became Buddhist, and there was no other significant change, the result would only be more potential sex partners for Zen (or whatever tradition) teachers.

There are many potential solutions to the problem, but none are practical. The only practical solution is to practice without a teacher.
shel
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:27 pm

shel wrote:The only practical solution is to practice without a teacher.
This is not a solution. Practice without a teacher is just not an option. Choosing ones teacher more carefully and leaving at the first sign of abusive behaviour is a more practical solution. Yes, I know, the onus falls on the woman again, but this is not an optimal solution it is a practical solution. An optimal solution would be to abolish patriarchy, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen for a while.

Another practical solution is for women to choose women as teachers.

And, as the author of the article brings up: another solution is to blow the whistle on abusive teachers. Make it obvious to all involved that this sort of behaviour is just not going to be allowed under any circumstances!
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 9978
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:35 pm

shel wrote:If more women became Buddhist, and there was no other significant change, the result would only be more potential sex partners for Zen (or whatever tradition) teachers.

blink blink

That's an odd statement. You mean, kind of like alley cats?

I have a vague suspicion that they can do other things too, you know.

@muni: "mostly as male appearances"? Really? There are a lot of female wisdom beings, wrathful and otherwise. You could make an argument that the whole siddha tradition is based on reverence for the female. Lotus-born, etc.

@greg - I also think Yudron's suggestion of a class for women is a really good idea, in fact is badly needed, especially in tantric environment.
Karma Dondrup Tashi
 
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 pm

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:43 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:@greg - I also think Yudron's suggestion of a class for women is a really good idea, in fact is badly needed, especially in tantric environment.
Yes and no. Mainly because it treats women like eyelash batting morons, since I am sure that most women will be quite aware of the sexually predatory nature of us males, I mean, I imagine they will have had experience with it way before ending up at a practice centre. The second problem is that it would basically be like saying: okay, all men ARE creeps and should be treated as such (which again, is kind of true, but only to an extent) and generate a type of paranoia. I think that instead there should be classes for men in order to teach them how NOT to treat women in the specific environment (and in general). In this instance you will be striking at the cause of the problem instead of dealing with the symptom. The onus should really be on the men to change their attitude.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 9978
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:06 pm

shel wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:If more women become Buddhists, maybe this problem will be solved
but if this problem isn't solved, will more women become buddhists? that's the paradox.

That's not a paradox because the problem is *obviously* not women. If more women became Buddhist, and there was no other significant change, the result would only be more potential sex partners for Zen (or whatever tradition) teachers. There are many potential solutions to the problem, but none are practical. The only practical solution is to practice without a teacher.


I didn't say that women were the problem.
But if you change the dynamics of a historically male-dominated system,
that will have an impact, just as it has in the workplace.
By your logic,
inappropriate sexual activity would still continue regardless of the dynamics
and therefore
the only thing that practicing without a teacher would accomplish
is that, practicing alone, all by yourself,
...you'd just have to wash your hands more often.:shock:

:rolling:
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:12 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Choosing ones teacher more carefully and leaving at the first sign of abusive behaviour is a more practical solution.

I agree 108%.
ཨོཾ་ཏཱ་རེ་ཏུཏྟ་རེ་ཏུ་རེ་སྭཱཧཱ༔
User avatar
dzogchungpa
 
Posts: 2188
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:17 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
shel wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:If more women become Buddhists, maybe this problem will be solved
but if this problem isn't solved, will more women become buddhists? that's the paradox.

That's not a paradox because the problem is *obviously* not women. If more women became Buddhist, and there was no other significant change, the result would only be more potential sex partners for Zen (or whatever tradition) teachers. There are many potential solutions to the problem, but none are practical. The only practical solution is to practice without a teacher.


I didn't say that women were the problem.
But if you change the dynamics of a historically male-dominated system,
that will have an impact, just as it has in the workplace.
By your logic,
inappropriate sexual activity would still continue regardless of the dynamics
and therefore
the only thing that practicing without a teacher would accomplish
is that, practicing alone, all by yourself,
...you'd just have to wash your hands more often.:shock:

:rolling:
.
.
.


Practicing without a teacher changes the dynamics. :smile:

The problem is the influential power that a religious authority position holds. Think Jonestown.
shel
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:20 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
shel wrote:If more women became Buddhist, and there was no other significant change, the result would only be more potential sex partners for Zen (or whatever tradition) teachers.

blink blink

That's an odd statement. You mean, kind of like alley cats?

I have a vague suspicion that they can do other things too, you know.


It might make more sense if you tried to interpret the statement in context. :smile:
shel
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:33 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
shel wrote:The only practical solution is to practice without a teacher.
This is not a solution. Practice without a teacher is just not an option.

No, it is a solution and a very viable option.

Indeed, the view of total dependence on religious authorities is symptomatic of the problem. If we did not have this view we would not fall victim to it's influence.

Choosing ones teacher more carefully and leaving at the first sign of abusive behaviour is a more practical solution.

History suggests this is not a practical solution. Think Jonestown. Uuuuhhhhhhhh... why didn't everyone just simply not drink the Kool-Aid???????

Yes, I know, the onus falls on the woman again

Not only on women, but anyone who may be influenced by religious authorities to do, and ignore, what they should not.

An optimal solution would be to abolish patriarchy, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen for a while.

And women never abuse power? :tongue:

The optimal solution would be to not be so dependent on religious authorities. In other words, we just need to grow-up.

And, as the author of the article brings up: another solution is to blow the whistle on abusive teachers. Make it obvious to all involved that this sort of behaviour is just not going to be allowed under any circumstances!

History shows that abuses of this kind go on for decades, in plain sight of sangha members. Try reading the Shimano archive, for example.
shel
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:35 pm

Jonestown!
Well, if that is the standard by which you measure things,
then any teacher-student relationship is potentially deadly, isn't it?
There are plenty of crazy cults out there.
Abuse isn't an exclusively buddhist issue.
It happens more often outside of Buddhism.

There are plenty of very reputable Buddhist teachers available
representing the teachings of schools that go back many centuries.
Most, in fact, are legit,
and in the United States, it is not hard to find a great teacher at all.
Are you looking for a teacher,
or just spending time imagining worst-case scenarios?
Jim Jones did not represent a lineage.
He was not authorized by anyone except himself.
Even Jesus was baptized by someone else.
So, there are things a person should look for,
and look out for.
It would be better to discuss that.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:47 pm

shel wrote: And, as the author of the article brings up: another solution is to blow the whistle on abusive teachers. Make it obvious to all involved that this sort of behaviour is just not going to be allowed under any circumstances!
History shows that abuses of this kind go on for decades, in plain sight of sangha members. Try reading the Shimano archive, for example.

Well, yes, that's the whole point, isn't it?
This issue is coming up, and people need to talk about it.
Many years ago, some people took over Jet planes
because they were able to threatened people with box cutters.
This did not mean that flying in a jet was
therefore an intrinsically unsafe thing to do
even though there have been many hijackings
and even more accidents.
But it meant that you couldn't being knives onto airplanes.
it hasn't made flying 100% safe.
There is no such thing as 100% safe.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:05 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
shel wrote: And, as the author of the article brings up: another solution is to blow the whistle on abusive teachers. Make it obvious to all involved that this sort of behaviour is just not going to be allowed under any circumstances!

History shows that abuses of this kind go on for decades, in plain sight of sangha members. Try reading the Shimano archive, for example.

Well, yes, that's the whole point, isn't it?
This issue is coming up, and people need to talk about it.
Many years ago, some people took over Jet planes
because they were able to threatened people with box cutters.
This did not mean that flying in a jet was
therefore an intrinsically unsafe thing to do
even though there have been many hijackings
and even more accidents.
But it meant that you couldn't being knives onto airplanes.
it hasn't made flying 100% safe.
There is no such thing as 100% safe.
.
.
.


I'm not talking about safety. I'm talking about taking off the training wheels, because they were never needed in the first place. Did you learn how to ride a bicycle with training wheels? I didn't.

Dependence on something that isn't actually necessary is... what?
shel
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:10 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Jonestown!
Well, if that is the standard by which you measure things...


A standard, seriously? It's what some people refer to as an extreme case or an iconic example. Do you understand that, PadmaVonSamba?
shel
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:50 am

shel wrote: I'm not talking about safety. I'm talking about taking off the training wheels, because they were never needed in the first place.

.
.
.

What are you talking about?
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:59 am

shel wrote:No, it is a solution and a very viable option.
I disagree.
Indeed, the view of total dependence on religious authorities is symptomatic of the problem. If we did not have this view we would not fall victim to it's influence.
Authority, whether religious or otherwise, is not the problem. As long as differences in capacity/ability/knowledge exist there will be authority. The problem is with how authority is abused.
History suggests this is not a practical solution. Think Jonestown. Uuuuhhhhhhhh... why didn't everyone just simply not drink the Kool-Aid???????
Jonestown is an extreme and isolated incident and hardly a standard by which to measure all instances of religious authority.
And women never abuse power? :tongue:
Of course they do, but the abuse occurs within the conditions/confines of a patriarchal system.
The optimal solution would be to not be so dependent on religious authorities. In other words, we just need to grow-up.
I agree; the problem is with extreme dependence on religious authorities, not the authorities themselves.
History shows that abuses of this kind go on for decades, in plain sight of sangha members.
I agree, and the reason that it has been going on for decades, is because we have allowed it to go on for decades.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 9978
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:18 am

shel wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Jonestown!
Well, if that is the standard by which you measure things...

A standard, seriously? It's what some people refer to as an extreme case or an iconic example. Do you understand that, PadmaVonSamba?

What you said was,
shel wrote:The problem is the influential power that a religious authority position holds.

And then you cited Jonestown,
meaning that the example of Jonestown somehow proves that
the problem of abuse is the direct result of
the influential power that a religious authority position holds.
However, the influential power that a religious authority position holds
may not be the main reason that the Jonestown tragedy occurred.
Although it was certainly a factor.

What is Jonestown an extreme case...an iconic example of?
Only that people often blindly believe in the rantings of an insane person.

That also happened in Germany during the middle of the last century.
That's the other extreme example.
But we can also cite abuse as the occurrence in thousands of family situations,
more than in churches.
So, it may not just be about "religious authority".
I think, and I mentioned this before,
people hold religious institutions up to a higher level of expectation.
if the neighbors abuse their kids, its a tragedy.
if the priest does it, it's a scandal.

And that very tendency to elevate authority figures to some strange level
is what allows people to go into denial mode when violations occur.
I don't think this is due to the teacher-student arrangement per se,
as much as it is due to the teacher not being honest with the student,
the student not being honest with the teacher,
and neither of them being honest with themselves.

I am not denying that abuse of power occurs,
I am just asking you to demonstrate,
in light of the fact that it mostly doesn't happen in Buddhist Sanghas
(unless maybe there is some giant cover-up)
exactly how the teacher-student arrangement itself is the problem.

I would agree that a somewhat mathematical statement can be made:
In any situation
the conditions for the betrayal of trust
always increase in direct proportion
to the amount of trust established.


The specifics, whether political, religious, marital, or whatever,
are secondary.

As the saying goes,
Nobody can betray you except those you trust.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

PreviousNext

Return to Media

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

>