The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

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The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby plwk » Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:10 am

'The Dalai Lama has warned against being seduced into Tibetan Buddhism by its exotic tantric aura...

So if you are attracted to Tibetan Buddhism, have read some books and learned some meditation techniques and now want to delve in deeper – how do you guard against being fooled by a charismatic charlatan? What criteria do you apply to your search for an authentic teacher?

Lama Jampa Thaye's advice reflects a commonsense approach:
"Although one may come across examples of authentic Buddhist masters who dress or speak unconventionally, there is no licence in Buddhism for unethical behaviour. Thus oriental or occidental masters who claim their selfish and abusive behaviour is a display of 'skilful means' or 'crazy wisdom' are to be given a wide berth – unless we want to jump over a cliff hand in hand with them."

More here
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby muni » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:48 am

"Samsara is the tendency to find fault with others". But we must be careful.
Wise ones 'see' fundamentally (not sure this is good word) all Buddhas and discern by wisdom. :buddha1:

One thing maybe, even already said, the wisdom emanation, clear genuinely speaking from the heart aren't recognized/experienced when consciousness is holding on imaginations.
Then we need protection for charlatans. , pretending to be Wisdom but action is not in accordance with Dharma. Consciousness able to open, :heart: to widening can easier clearly recognize and help us. Kind of consciousness determine own space we live in.

I think the words that charcoal aren't turning into gold is about our own mind. Or whether consciousness is frozen or a bit melting in its nature.

To disrespect the wisdom emanations, here the Tibetan Buddhism method holders like His Holiness The Dalai Lama, but just all, is same as enjoying ones suffering and rejecting the protection and liberation of all beings.

Which qualifications Wisdom must have to please my delusion, which ones to awaken "me"? I am going to make my list.

:anjali:
Falling down into thoughts' stream, identification arises.
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby Namgyal » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:45 am

Plwk, what is your motivation behind these posts? You have put up two on the subject of 'faults in teachers that othersrespect'.

You won't get any comments from the sane, peaceful folks on this forum because attacking things that other people hold sacred is wrong, even if it is all true. Even the insane, aggressive members, like myself ;) will think twice about answering your question. Suppose I listed the very worst false teachers, most of us here know who they are, I would rightly get shot down in flames for unskillful and divisive speech, even though most Buddhists would agree with the facts. This is the situation in Buddhism, we know, but do not speak, and although this method has serious flaws it is definitely preferable to name-calling which has little or no effect on the miscreants themselves, but certainly does taint the person doing the name-calling.

Then there is the second list of teachers who are merely human, not great criminals in any sense, but definitely liars, mainly about their own qualifications, but also about the 'usual suspects', sex and money. Such teachers typically sexually abuse their inner circle of followers and have huge Swiss bank accounts, but in the scale of such things they are not really that harmful. The point is that many of the teachers on this second list have global Buddhist organisations and countless devoted followers. So if were to hurl accusations at them, even though they are true, it would create a thermonuclear shitstorm, with weeping devotees, violent defenders etc. etc. I would reply with even more aggressive speech, which is a personal weakness, and the entire thing would explode like a bomb. Perhaps that is want you want, a bit of tasty violence? You claim that you merely wish to study the 'socio-political context' or some other overly-academic nonsense, but this is completely wrong when you try to apply it things that people hold dear in their hearts. So please take your microscope elsewhere where you can't do any harm.
:namaste: R.
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby muni » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:02 am

Raksha wrote:Plwk, what is your motivation behind these posts? You have put up two on the subject of 'faults in teachers that othersrespect'.

You won't get any comments from the sane, peaceful folks on this forum because attacking things that other people hold sacred is wrong, even if it is all true. Even the insane, aggressive members, like myself ;) will think twice about answering your question. Suppose I listed the very worst false teachers, most of us here know who they are, I would rightly get shot down in flames for unskillful and divisive speech, even though most Buddhists would agree with the facts. This is the situation in Buddhism, we know, but do not speak, and although this method has serious flaws it is definitely preferable to name-calling which has little or no effect on the miscreants themselves, but certainly does taint the person doing the name-calling.

Then there is the second list of teachers who are merely human, not great criminals in any sense, but definitely liars, mainly about their own qualifications, but also about the 'usual suspects', sex and money. Such teachers typically sexually abuse their inner circle of followers and have huge Swiss bank accounts, but in the scale of such things they are not really that harmful. The point is that many of the teachers on this second list have global Buddhist organisations and countless devoted followers. So if were to hurl accusations at them, even though they are true, it would create a thermonuclear shitstorm, with weeping devotees, violent defenders etc. etc. I would reply with even more aggressive speech, which is a personal weakness, and the entire thing would explode like a bomb. Perhaps that is want you want, a bit of tasty violence? You claim that you merely wish to study the 'socio-political context' or some other overly-academic nonsense, but this is completely wrong when you try to apply it things that people hold dear in their hearts. So please take your microscope elsewhere where you can't do any harm.
:namaste: R.

I guess, we know own motivation, whether protection and genuine care for all beings or spreading suspiciousness.

:namaste:
Falling down into thoughts' stream, identification arises.
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby dharmagoat » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:10 am

Charlatans need to be recognised for what they are. Thanks for posting this, plwk.
May all beings be happy
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby plwk » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:50 am

Thank you muni & dg.
raksha: is there anything on the topic as per the article per se that is forthcoming? thank you.

:focus:
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby mutsuk » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:13 pm

dharmagoat wrote:Charlatans need to be recognised for what they are. Thanks for posting this, plwk.


It's way time to name things and people clearly. Some of these stuffs have been plaguing Buddhism in the West for decades. I remember some here trying to defend no matter what the behavior of people like Sogyal and co. Thanks for posting this.

The mistake would be to imagine that this is happening all around in Tibetan Buddhism, generalizing from a wrong base does not lead elsewhere than into further delusion.
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:25 pm

We have to call out abuse, especially where children are concerned. Abusers should be confronted and punished according to the law.

What I don't like is Ms. Finnegan's campaign against Tibetan Buddhism. Those familiar with her articles in the Guardian will know what I mean.

If we should target one group for abuse then let's get rid of stepfathers- highest abuse rate of children under their care in the population, or boy scout volunteers, or school teachers. My point is that this problem infects many sectors within the population and to label is as a "problem of Buddhism" seems political.

One third of children in America are molested. A staggering, disappointing statistic that shows this problems lies way beyond any one sect of Buddhism.

The bottom line is to check check check check check your teacher.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby muni » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:41 pm

When we look through veils of suspiciousness to every teacher, we can harm, that is the other side of the extreme.
Whether too much trust (blind) in appaerances, whether suspiciousness which is poluted state of mind.

Therefore yes, ones own clarity is important. Practice.

Thanks for care for all beings.

:namaste:
Falling down into thoughts' stream, identification arises.
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby Namgyal » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:06 pm

JKhedrup wrote: What I don't like is Ms. Finnegan's campaign against Tibetan Buddhism. Those familiar with her articles in the Guardian will know what I mean.


Bhante, Ms. Finnegan was deeply shocked and permanently affected by material she was sent concerning a former star teacher in your own sect. This is why she now has it in for Tibetan Buddhism. So when it comes to 'putting the house in order'...perhaps we should start with your house?
:namaste: R.
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:40 pm

I do not remember appointing myself, or anyone else to clean house. All I recommend was to check check check one's teacher- the same advice I would give to anyone in any religious tradition. In terms of my own sect, my main teacher is Gelugpa but I also have several Karma Kamtsang and Theravada teachers.

AFAIK Ms. Finnegan's papers against Tibetan Buddhism did not start with Gelugpa masters. But if they did, it hardly matters because the premise is faulty no matter what sect you want to talk about.

It just doesn't make sense. Because I have Gelugpa teachers I become responsible for the conduct of every Gelug teacher on earth? Are all Nyingmas responsible for all of the conduct of every Nyingma lama? All Theravada monks responsible for every bhikkhu who breaks the precepts?

We can see that there have been scandals in all of the major lineages of Tibetan, Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism. But to say that I as a junior monk am responsible for putting my house in order seems pretty strange. If a lama I am connected with were to do something terrible for which there was irrevocable evidence enough for him to be imprisoned for example, I would have to speak out according to the advice of HHDL. Otherwise, I am not sure how you would recommend "we" go about this house cleaning.

The only point I made was that abusers should be confronted so they cannot abuse children again. I didn't even name the sect of the lama concerned, or the dharma centre. Why didn't I? Because his sect is irrelevant as abuse can happen anywhere. I named Ms. Finnegan because I feel she has an axe to grind and her articles are unbalanced.

My hope is that in Buddhism we can establish an Office of Child protection like they have in the Hare Krishna ISKCON organization to oversee child welfare. This will have to come from people with clout in the lineages- not from a Western monk of 7 years like myself. I am hoping it doesn't take countless lawsuits and serious abuse scandals like it did with ISKCON for that to come about.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby dzoki » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:12 pm

Raksha wrote:
JKhedrup wrote: What I don't like is Ms. Finnegan's campaign against Tibetan Buddhism. Those familiar with her articles in the Guardian will know what I mean.


Bhante, Ms. Finnegan was deeply shocked and permanently affected by material she was sent concerning a former star teacher in your own sect. This is why she now has it in for Tibetan Buddhism. So when it comes to 'putting the house in order'...perhaps we should start with your house?
:namaste: R.


naah, she´s had a beef with TB since long time and she wrote on various internet forums. The first contributions I saw from her were about Sogyal Rinpoche, this was some four years ago. She has a long history with TB going all the way back to late 70´s. She had some disagreements with Rigpa sangha and Sogyal Rinpoche, that is why she started to criticise them. Later she added Trungpa into her critique and even did some bashing on Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. She is an author of the newspaper piece on Mingyur Rinpoche, where though she portrays him in a favourable light, still the tone of the article is overall disrespectful. I don´t know maybe some of her criticism is justified, but sometimes she seems to just vent her grudges. I wish her to find peace.
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby dzoki » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:22 pm

JKhedrup wrote:My hope is that in Buddhism we can establish an Office of Child protection like they have in the Hare Krishna ISKCON organization to oversee child welfare. This will have to come from people with clout in the lineages- not from a Western monk of 7 years like myself. I am hoping it doesn't take countless lawsuits and serious abuse scandals like it did with ISKCON for that to come about.


In the collected songs of Milarepa there is a story of how two monks come to argue with the Master, one of them gradually starts to see the qualities of Milarepa and becomes his disciple, while the other comes back later outraged that his former colleague is now one of Milarepa´s students. He wants to belittle Milarepa, but Milarepa through his wisdom eye reveals that this monk is sleeping with a 12 years old girl and gives her some jewelery for sex. I don´t know whether the story is true but it seems that this problem has been around since at least middle ages so it is long overdue to fix it.
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby Sheila » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:00 am

As with cosmetic ingredients it's not a question of danger, but a question of risk. Danger is everywhere; what is the risk to oneself at any given moment?

The risk of being attacked and/or molested in the home, on the way to dharma classes, or on the way home from dharma classes is greater than being hurt in a dharma class.

The risk of being sexually harassed by one's boss, colleague, or male relative is higher than being sexually harassed in a dharma class.

Etc., etc.

One thing I always find a giveaway about these "You're going to get hurt in a dharma class!!" claxons is that the posts completely ignore the far greater statistical likelihood of being hurt by a fellow student in class, rather than a teacher. But even that risk is lower than being hurt by one's own husband, dog, or shower mat.

But those risks don't make the headlines that "bad Asian men preying on our innocent Western girls" do.

Sorry for popping a cynicism-leak; I've patched it, and now back to some (hopefully) interesting analysis - this is a great read on hazard vs. risk:

http://mysweetsationtherapy.blogspot.co ... chive.html
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby Sheila » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:33 am

dzoki wrote:
Raksha wrote:
JKhedrup wrote: What I don't like is Ms. Finnegan's campaign against Tibetan Buddhism. Those familiar with her articles in the Guardian will know what I mean.


Bhante, Ms. Finnegan was deeply shocked and permanently affected by material she was sent concerning a former star teacher in your own sect. This is why she now has it in for Tibetan Buddhism. So when it comes to 'putting the house in order'...perhaps we should start with your house?
:namaste: R.


naah, she´s had a beef with TB since long time and she wrote on various internet forums. The first contributions I saw from her were about Sogyal Rinpoche, this was some four years ago. She has a long history with TB going all the way back to late 70´s. She had some disagreements with Rigpa sangha and Sogyal Rinpoche, that is why she started to criticise them. Later she added Trungpa into her critique and even did some bashing on Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. She is an author of the newspaper piece on Mingyur Rinpoche, where though she portrays him in a favourable light, still the tone of the article is overall disrespectful. I don´t know maybe some of her criticism is justified, but sometimes she seems to just vent her grudges. I wish her to find peace.


This author had an intense period of time bashing HH Sakya Trizin as well; now seems to have silently recanted that, for reasons not explained.

Take away all the labels of all the schools roasted to date, and what is left is: Tibetan.

I wish her peace, too, honestly, and truly. That is a separate issue, completely, from the need to address toxic disinformation spread by any particular author and associates. If the instructions this cabal so often cites are to taken to heart--to publicize the names of questionable teachers--then we are to publicize the names of questionable students and journalists as well. Personally I'm not interested in individual names, except as they are necessary for following trails of disingenuous propaganda; I rather suspect some of these are aliases, for that matter.

By the by, did anyone note that this author's Guardian article, "YouTube confessional sending shockwaves through the Buddhist world," was published March 9th (yes, for real), 2011? Was The Guardian a willing stooge, or were they naively had? I guess it's a unique-visitor spike either way, but hubris is practically a watermark of the regime.

These folks' digital emanations are an exercise in bardo hopping; if logic-fail forces retreat on one forum, without so much as a kyema-kyehu there's rebirth on another. Sadly, nothing of what's posted serves to shine the light of awareness on either worthy or unworthy teachers--but of course, that's not the intent--or if it is, they have confused personal grudges with light.
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:00 am

Dear Sheila,
I agree with you that there is a racial element here -"Asian men preying on Western girls." There was the same type of fear during the opium epidemic about the (I apologize but this was the term used) "Yellow peril to European women".

My points and yours are similar. 1 in 3 girls in the United States of America is sexually molested. 1 in 3. Most of the time this is within the family unit, so this is a massive problem across the board.

I am not so naieve to believe that this does not occur to some extent within Tibetan Buddhism- logically it must. This abuse pervades the human experience and its various institutions.

What I question is Ms. Finnegan's motivation. She seems to be on some sort of crusade to discredit every major Vajrayana teacher possible. It would be interesting to know if she herself was previously involved in Buddhism and had a bad experience.

While these things should be reported and brought to justice, as I stated before, Ms.Finnegan's articles often seem to have an edge of the crusade element. The Guardian markets her as an expert on Tibetan Buddhism but I do not see any academic or practice credentials to back that up.
Last edited by JKhedrup on Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby muni » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:09 am

Sheila: "being hurt by ones shower mat" Exactly! :smile:

My concern is not the sensation which is perfect food for greedy minds' fishmarket, but the need to understand the dharma a bit when we look for a teacher. All what we can learn ourselves, what we can study, read, we should do... analysis, investigation whatever you call it.
But as far as I understand people are often starting in a center without having understood anything and expect that all outer given teaching will directly give understanding like in a faculty on the university. I think so Buddhism doesn't work.
We should know that all experiences and everyone we meet is not disconnected with own state of mind. That mind turns already on mistakenly perception and when something happens the "other" is always wrong and we are always right. Like Dalai Lama said: when we are seeing all what happens to us as the fault of another we are going to suffer a lot.

Then I think we must help to see clear, not bring doubts.

It is extremely important to have a good guidance, a master is completely without any selfconcern ( which is only dual perception ), and always act through great compassion. It is an importance of suffering or not.

With profound gratitude to all the Masters. :namaste:
Falling down into thoughts' stream, identification arises.
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby dzoki » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:28 pm

JKhedrup wrote:What I question is Ms. Finnegan's motivation. She seems to be on some sort of crusade to discredit every major Vajrayana teacher possible. It would be interesting to know if she herself was previously involved in Buddhism and had a bad experience.

While these things should be reported and brought to justice, as I stated before, Ms.Finnegan's articles often seem to have an edge of the crusade element. The Guardian markets her as an expert on Tibetan Buddhism but I do not see any academic or practice credentials to back that up.


AFAIK she hung around for some time, she received some teachings and empowerments. Of course that makes her by no means expert or anything of that sort. Her Guardian profile just bluntly states she is a "writer" on Tibetan Buddhism, yes we can admit she is a writer, wheter a good one is another question. The collection of her articles on Guardian definitely shows that she has a media-crusade going on.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/mary-finnigan
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby Namgyal » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:38 pm

dzoki wrote: she seems to just vent her grudges. I wish her to find peace.

JKhedrup wrote: She seems to be on some sort of crusade to discredit every major Vajrayana teacher possible

Miss Finnegan, awake!
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Re: The lamas who give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name

Postby PorkChop » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:35 pm

Raksha wrote:Miss Finnegan, awake!

Tim Finnegan lived in Walkin' Street A gentleman, Irish, mighty odd...
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