Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communities

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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:27 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:And the "other part", meaning trust and the betrayal of trust, is not an exclusively Buddhist issue.
.
.
.
Nor exclusively a religious issue.
"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
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:42 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:And the "other part", meaning trust and the betrayal of trust, is not an exclusively Buddhist issue.
Nor exclusively a religious issue.

Are you suggesting that auto repair isn't a religion?
:rolling:
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Jikan » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:05 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:And the "other part", meaning trust and the betrayal of trust, is not an exclusively Buddhist issue.
Nor exclusively a religious issue.

Are you suggesting that auto repair isn't a religion?
:rolling:


I was going to make a wisecrack about marriage.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:19 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:And the "other part", meaning trust and the betrayal of trust, is not an exclusively Buddhist issue.
.
.
.
Nor exclusively a religious issue.


Indeed... so what is exclusively a religious issue? :smile:
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:40 pm

Jikan wrote: I was going to make a wisecrack about marriage.

Actually, more wise than crack.
Trust & betrayal of trust is something we find in all kinds of relationships,
especially very close ones, such as marriage.
I think what shel might argue is that
in marriage, one partner generally doesn't elevate the other to a 'superior' status,
but that this is often the case in a Buddhist teacher-student relationship,
thus the issue is particularly problematic in Buddhism.

However, this might also be said of any teacher-student relationship,
if you go off to study with an expert to study music or art, for example.
That kind of violation happens.
So, can we apply the buddhist method of
dissecting causes and results
and find what the cause is?
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Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:46 pm

Well, I have to admit that both yours and Jikans wisecracks went straight over my head, but I am feeling a bit dim today! :?
"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
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:16 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:I think what shel might argue is that
in marriage, one partner generally doesn't elevate the other to a 'superior' status,
but that this is often the case in a Buddhist teacher-student relationship,
thus the issue is particularly problematic in Buddhism.


To say "often the case" may be putting it a bit mildly. Don't we really want to believe that they are somehow special?
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:18 am

shel wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:I think what shel might argue is that
in marriage, one partner generally doesn't elevate the other to a 'superior' status,
but that this is often the case in a Buddhist teacher-student relationship,
thus the issue is particularly problematic in Buddhism.


To say "often the case" may be putting it a bit mildly. Don't we really want to believe that they are somehow special?

Well, it the course of Vajrayana practice, one regards one's teacher (lama) very highly indeed.
But there are good reasons and bad reasons for why anyone regards any teacher this way.
It depends on the criteria.
if you regard a lifetime (from childhood) of practice and study, the fulfillment of mastering various texts and practices, learning from great teachers themselves, passing tests, running monasteries, and being recognized by higher-ups, and who insist that every bit of it must be grounded in ethical conduct, then I do consider my own teachers as very special, and superior in that way. On the other hand, I met one of my teachers in the function of being his English language teacher, and in this he was my student, and he served me tea (a sign of respect to one's teacher) at the beginning of our lessons. Teacher-student isn't about fixed roles. And a good teacher always learns from his students.

But if one merely follows a teacher because he is famous or has a lot of other followers or a lot of money behind him, or has some magnetizing, charismatic personality, this is not a good reason.
What I posted before was that what allows violations to occur is the teacher not being honest with the student, the student not being honest with the teacher, and neither of them being honest with themselves.
If a teacher told you to do something and you thought it was wrong, or crazy,
but you did it anyway, you would be lying to yourself and also not being honest with your teacher.

If the student is not being honest with himself or herself, and in denial, makes excuses for what he or she knows is not right,
this opens the door for abuse. I'm not blaming the victim, I am just saying that is how the door gets open.
But it is also that the teacher thinks he can get away with something when he knows he really can't, and he chooses to be an abuser. It's a pretty sad situation all the way around. What the teacher should be giving students is the wisdom to trust their own instincts. And the problem is, as with any con artist, the victim doesn't know he's being victimized.

But, this is the time in history when this issue is coming to light, and I think that's a good sign.
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.
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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.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:00 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If the student is not being honest with himself or herself, and in denial, makes excuses for what he or she knows is not right, this opens the door for abuse. I'm not blaming the victim, I am just saying that is how the door gets open.

The door is opened by ALL the conditions of the situation, of course, not just the condition of the student. In truth, teachers or masters contribute significantly to opening the doors of potential abuse. How? By perpetuating the myth of the Zen "master," or any kind of "spiritual authority," or "transmission," etc etc. These are myths that have lived far beyond their stale date and have grown toxic.

But it is also that the teacher thinks he can get away with something when he knows he really can't, and he chooses to be an abuser.

Maybe they can't help themselves. There have been alcoholic Zen masters, for example. I don't think anyone chooses to be an addict.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:04 am

shel wrote:By perpetuating the myth of the Zen "master," or any kind of "spiritual authority," or "transmission," etc etc. These are myths that have lived far beyond their stale date and have grown toxic.
If somebody has been engaged in serious spiritual practice all their life would that not put them in the position of being an authority on the subject? If through their practice their have control over aspects of, or ability in, practices contained in the path does that not entail mastery? If they can pass on their knowedge, wisdom and capacity is this not transmission? I fail to see why these designations are purely mythical. I have had the karma to come into contact with teachers that possess these (apparently) mythical properties.

None of them have tried to rip me off, take advantage of me, pull the wool over my eyes, etc... They have been honest, forthright, humble and generous.

I have also come across teachers that do not have these "mythical" properties and I left them at the first sign that something was not quite right.

You see, for abuse to occur, you need an abuser AND an abused party.
"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
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:56 pm

shel wrote: There have been alcoholic Zen masters, for example. I don't think anyone chooses to be an addict.

I myself was quite addicted to Alcohol for many years, unable to get myself to quit. AA didn't help. There was always an excuse, and I could never shake the craving. So, I took the 5 precept vows from my teacher, and after that, never felt the craving again. I have had a little, to be honest, in toasting a friend, but I found that I no longer cared for it, and haven't had any since.
"Glory be and Halley-loo-ya!" ...you are probably thinking.
And who can say that I really didn't do it all by myself?
Only one person can say that (and it isn't my teacher).
So, you see, I am quite partial to the teacher-student thing.
Those Zen masters should have gone and met my lama.
.
.
.
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.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:15 pm

For the sake of moving this conversation forward a little, I am going to make a wild guess here,
that what shel is addressing is the issue of devotion,
specifically what is the nature of student devotion to a teacher, what does it actually mean,
and what sort of dangers exist within that context.

Since the actual topic of this thread is a request for comments on an article on
Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communities,
I suggest that a new thread be opened, by anyone who really wants to discuss
"Devotion To a Teacher - Potential Benefits and Dangers"
.
.
.
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.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:23 pm

shel wrote: ...the myth of the Zen "master," or any kind of "spiritual authority," or "transmission," etc etc. These are myths that have lived far beyond their stale date and have grown toxic.


This is an interesting opinion.
But it ignores the fact (?) that by and large,
devoted student-teacher relationships do not end up in abusive situations.
We agree that such a deep level of trust certainly creates an good environment for betrayal and violation.
But from this you draw the conclusion that
"master,","spiritual authority," or "transmission," and so on
are meaningless definitions. Myths.
So, I am now curious as to how you picture or define these things,
and whether it is in fact how most Buddhists who are devoted to their teachers
regard these terms and their meanings.
One would assume that you do not have that kind of connection to a teacher
(although in the past you might have had)
and so, I want to ask whether your opinions are based on first-hand experience
or just something that you imagine happens with other people.
.
.
.
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.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:27 pm

I believe that it is related, since shel seems to be proposing that devotion is required for abuse to take place. Without the (mindless) devotion promoted by religious authorities, or with presence of discrimination on the side of the pupil, abuse and harassment would not exist.

Unfortunately I feel they are throwing out the baby with the bathwater because one can have devtion based on discrimination and thus not fall a prey to (serious) abuse or at least be able to spot it and avoid it when it occurs, regardless of the religious (or other) structures one is engaging.
"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
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:29 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I believe that it is related, since shel seems to be proposing that devotion is required for abuse to take place. Without the (mindless) devotion promoted by religious authorities, or with presence of discrimination on the side of the pupil, abuse and harassment would not exist.

Unfortunately I feel they are throwing out the baby with the bathwater because one can have devtion based on discrimination and thus not fall a prey to (serious) abuse or at least be able to spot it and avoid it when it occurs, regardless of the religious (or other) structures one is engaging.


Perhaps what shel suggests is that devotion is inherently mindless,
or that it strips away critical thinking automatically.
I prefer to think of devotion to a teacher
the way opponents regard each other in a chess game.
I don't mean that one is trying to compete,
but that one has the highest respect for,
and only wants that interaction
from which is challenged, and becomes better.
One's wits are not dulled. One doesn't become a robot,
but thinking becomes sharper. And then. beyond that.
Chess opponents are often the best of friends.
.
.
.
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.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Jikan » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:46 pm

Please continue this interesting discussion on devotion at the link below:

viewtopic.php?f=66&t=12232#p158759

Let's stay on topic here vis a vis abuse and harassment. Thanks
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:51 pm

Jikan wrote:Please continue this interesting discussion on devotion at the link below:

viewtopic.php?f=66&t=12232#p158759

Let's stay on topic here vis a vis abuse and harassment. Thanks


General Devotion Thread...didn't he lead an army once?
:rolling:
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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.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:02 pm

An army of lovers! :tongue:
"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
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:05 pm

Jikan wrote:[color=#FF0000] Let's stay on topic here vis a vis abuse and harassment. Thanks

I think what shel is saying is that there is a difference between
a sort of causal student-teacher relationship,
perhaps where one attends public teachings, asks questions,
and comes away from it a little wiser,
and something more personal, which I think defines the word 'devotion'
and that this level of personal interaction
is both archaic, and actually encourages abuse (sexual harassment)
and what I want to know is,
since most of the time, sexual abuse is not the outcome,
(or at least no evidence supports this)
and in fact is very rare, and abuse is much more common in other relational situations,
is the aspect of student devotion in Buddhism really the source of the problem
or is that just a distraction from finding the real sources?
Ultimately, of course, we can just chalk it all up to samsara
but that doesn't solve anything.
.
.
.
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.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby greentara » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:35 am

Padma, "Perhaps what shel suggests is that devotion is inherently mindless,
or that it strips away critical thinking automatically.
I prefer to think of devotion to a teacher
the way opponents regard each other in a chess game"
What if you meet a teacher that's effulgent? Few of us have been that lucky.
We can all get trapped with the intellectual chatter going on in our head; a chess game is based on strategy.....so are you trying to outsmart the teacher? If you're more articulate and studied more sutras maybe you can, but thats got nothing to do with awakening.
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