Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communities

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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby purestsoul » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:31 am

jeeprs wrote:Reminds me why I'm a solitary practitioner.


It amazes me how people can create so many problems. Give them a glass of water, they'll find a way to drown in it.


Wise man.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby purestsoul » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:43 am

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. 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!


Funny Shakyamuni Buddha and The Buddha Boy both obtain instructions on meditation from teachers and left their own teachers to go practice on their own.

Nowadays, there are some realized teachers who give initiations through the net, some even give such initiations for free and the only thing which a sincere seeker needs to do is just to practice on his own.

What everyone needs to do is stop finding excuses for their failure to meditate and practice on a consistent basis.

Nobody needs a human teacher in order to meditate and cultivate! There are plenty, too many schools actually, of meditation and instruction on the internet right now.

If you meditate and cultivate on your own enough, the gods and buddhas will send a non-human teacher in order to initiate you and pass the power of transmissions into your body if it needs be.

There are thousands of spiritual seekers in the US alone who do not reveal themselves openly as teachers. They may not be famous teachers as lama this or rinpoche that but these practitioners are just as realized if not even more realized than many mainstream lamas and rinpoches.

The highest spiritual practitioners on this planet do not announce themselves.

With that said, a very reliable female spiritual teacher would be Master Ching Hai who teaches the Quan Yin Meditation based on sound from the Shurangama Sutra and who also advocates vegetarianism. You can't find too many teachers teaching openly on the internet than Master Ching Hai and she gives initiation and meditation instructions for FREE!

So don't go around saying you can't find a good teacher or a temple to meditate in or this and that excuse! The student only needs to be ready for teachings and the master will appear!
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Yudron » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:13 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
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.


I don't think too many Tibetan lamas are going to sign up for your class, and it does sound like the Japanese Roshis are going to be lining up at the door, either. But, go for it!

My idea of a women's class may not be perfect. But, the point for me was not to say that men are creeps, or preditory. The point is that some women do not know that Asian values around sexuality and clergy are not the same as western views. While you cannot generalize about a group, in general women need to know about Tibetan lamas:
1) Not all men in red robes are monks.
2) Many Tibetan clergy seem to be attracted to young thin, especially blond, white women.
3) The role of wife to a Tibetan lama is a life of service, often being alone while he travels, doing house chores, arranging his schedule, looking after his health, and managing the money.
4) It is often socially acceptable for lamas to have young lovers in addition to his wife, and the wife is expected to be okay with that.
5) The relationships with the young lovers are usually short term and not serious to the lama, and are expected to be temporary fun.
6) Therefore, if you get attention like this, know that you are not special, and it will probably be short-lived.
7) It is never appropriate to flirt with or initiate a sexual relationship with a monk.
8) There are unscrupulous clergy who use pick up lines implying a mystical reason why the woman should have sex with them, such as an auspicious dream, and so forth.
8) In Tibetan culture a woman is supposed to always say no when approached for sex, and she is supposed to look shy, even when she wants to say yes. Therefore no quite often really does mean yes. So, if you want to say no, you will need to make clear that no really does mean no.

This kind of thing.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby purestsoul » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:06 am

I have not heard of any Tibetan Lamas who seem to be attracted to thin, young blond white women.

Also most Tibetan Lamas are not supposed to have wives or lovers. Sex and even physical contact with members of the opposite sex is prohibited.

Most Tibetan men and most Asian men I know, lamas or otherwise, are not attracted towards western women. Most Tibetan and other Asian men I know prefer their own Asian women over western women.

Since there are some western female practitioners who seem to be fearful of sexual attacks by Tibetan Lamas and monks of asian origins, I would advise that Tibetan Lamas and other spiritual teachers of asian origins stop teaching to western female practitioners and let these western female practitioners find their own paths instead.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:40 am

I have to agree, the slang terms to describe 'yellowheads' and what I noticed with my younger Tibetan monk friends (who I lived with) indicate to me that tney do not find blondes attractive, indeed the opposite-but of course there are exceptions to every rule. From the blushing and giggles I noticed from my friends it is the petite, Viet Namese and Chinese women that they find attractive.

Still, there is a problem. How to remedy it? It is a hard one, especially if the lama is a layperson,especially an unmarried layperson. This is why if a woman is particularly worried about these dynamics, a monk teacher might be good-the lines of behaviour are very clear and you know any sexual interaction is totally prohibited. There are good guidelines to prevent monks from falldowns with female students.

1. If there is no attendant or translator present, personal interviews should be conducted in a room with a window on the corridor or door slightly open.

2. As a rule there should be limited physical contact with female students (of course handshakes, and during times of distress I wouls say a quick American style hug might be appropriate, though others could disagree)

3. Modest clothing should be worn by women at the temple.

4. If marriage advice is requested, both partners should be present. Many problems can happen because of perceived interference. Also, it confuses the dynamics if the student-teacher relayionship.

5. Women should not initiate physical contact with the monks, especially younger ones, apart from a handshake. I know people might think me cruel for saying this but several young monks in India told me they became confused because of hugs and touching from foreign women. It may seem friendly but it can be distressing.

The other thing is, of course we need to develop more qualified female teachers, ans shift thepower dynamic. I do already see this happening, albeit slowly.
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: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Yudron » Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:13 am

JKhedrup wrote:I have to agree, the slang terms to describe 'yellowheads' and what I noticed with my younger Tibetan monk friends (who I lived with) indicate to me that tney do not find blondes attractive, indeed the opposite-but of course there are exceptions to every rule. From the blushing and giggles I noticed from my friends it is the petite, Viet Namese and Chinese women that they find attractive.

Still, there is a problem. How to remedy it? It is a hard one, especially if the lama is a layperson,especially an unmarried layperson. This is why if a woman is particularly worried about these dynamics, a monk teacher might be good-the lines of behaviour are very clear and you know any sexual interaction is totally prohibited. There are good guidelines to prevent monks from falldowns with female students.

1. If there is no attendant or translator present, personal interviews should be conducted in a room with a window on the corridor or door slightly open.

2. As a rule there should be limited physical contact with female students (of course handshakes, and during times of distress I wouls say a quick American style hug might be appropriate, though others could disagree)

3. Modest clothing should be worn by women at the temple.

4. If marriage advice is requested, both partners should be present. Many problems can happen because of perceived interference. Also, it confuses the dynamics if the student-teacher relayionship.

5. Women should not initiate physical contact with the monks, especially younger ones, apart from a handshake. I know people might think me cruel for saying this but several young monks in India told me they became confused because of hugs and touching from foreign women. It may seem friendly but it can be distressing.

The other thing is, of course we need to develop more qualified female teachers, ans shift thepower dynamic. I do already see this happening, albeit slowly.


Those would be great things for people to know. As far as blondes go, perhaps tastes have changed. I know some Tibetan men prefer women who are more submissive since they have discovered what western women are like.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby muni » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:10 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
@muni: "mostly as male appearances"? Really? There are a lot of female wisdom beings, wrathful and otherwise.


Right.
Also the investigation in appearances / grasping or...A nangpa investigates in mind, care is included.
Falling down into thoughts' stream, identification arises.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:52 am

purestsoul wrote:Funny Shakyamuni Buddha and The Buddha Boy both obtain instructions on meditation from teachers and left their own teachers to go practice on their own.
Yes, but they received instructions from their teachers first.
Nowadays, there are some realized teachers who give initiations through the net, some even give such initiations for free and the only thing which a sincere seeker needs to do is just to practice on his own.
After they have received instruction/initiation from the teacher.
What everyone needs to do is stop finding excuses for their failure to meditate and practice on a consistent basis.
Obviously you are referring to yourself because you have no idea what my (or others here) meditational practice consists of.
Nobody needs a human teacher in order to meditate and cultivate! There are plenty, too many schools actually, of meditation and instruction on the internet right now.
And these instructions are not from "human teachers" but from aliens?
If you meditate and cultivate on your own enough, the gods and buddhas will send a non-human teacher in order to initiate you and pass the power of transmissions into your body if it needs be.
Uhhhh... yeah, right... :shrug:
There are thousands of spiritual seekers in the US alone who do not reveal themselves openly as teachers. They may not be famous teachers as lama this or rinpoche that but these practitioners are just as realized if not even more realized than many mainstream lamas and rinpoches.
I can agree that this may be the case, but how does this fit into the discussion? Because these spiritual sekers may well be abusers too.
The highest spiritual practitioners on this planet do not announce themselves.
Well that puts you out of the running for the "highest spiritual practitioner" award then. :tongue:
With that said, a very reliable female spiritual teacher would be Master Ching Hai who teaches the Quan Yin Meditation based on sound from the Shurangama Sutra and who also advocates vegetarianism. You can't find too many teachers teaching openly on the internet than Master Ching Hai and she gives initiation and meditation instructions for FREE!
Okay, that explains everything. Now I understand.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ching_Hai
So don't go around saying you can't find a good teacher or a temple to meditate in or this and that excuse! The student only needs to be ready for teachings and the master will appear!
And now you just directly contradicted EVERYTHING you said above.
"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 Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:17 pm

purestsoul wrote:
jeeprs wrote:Reminds me why I'm a solitary practitioner.

It amazes me how people can create so many problems. Give them a glass of water, they'll find a way to drown in it.


Wise man.

True but sangha is one of the three jewels. Even a hermit on a mountaintop has buddha, dharma, sangha. Those dang dakinis just keep on showing up for dinner unexpectedly ... And when they do we have to be polite eat our vegetables and keep our hands to ourselves.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:13 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
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?
.
.
.


Sorry for speaking over your head again, PadmaVonSamba. This is what's call a metaphor. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. Metaphors are commonly used as a device to bridge gaps in understanding between people.

You were saying something to the effect that nothing is 100% safe, which apparently assumes that safety is the primary concern.

Later you write...
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.

You haven't been listening. There's *obviously* nothing wrong with a student-teacher relationship.

Do you actually believe that the relationships being discussed are only about teaching and learning?
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:01 pm

shel wrote: You haven't been listening. There's *obviously* nothing wrong with a student-teacher relationship.
Do you actually believe that the relationships being discussed are only about teaching and learning?

.
.
.
A great thinker once said...
"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."

"The only practical solution is to practice without a teacher."

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


Hmmmm....who was it that said those things?
Oh yeah... it was you!
.
.
.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Yudron » Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:48 pm

:popcorn:
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:36 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
shel wrote: You haven't been listening. There's *obviously* nothing wrong with a student-teacher relationship.
Do you actually believe that the relationships being discussed are only about teaching and learning?

.
.
.
A great thinker once said...
"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."

"The only practical solution is to practice without a teacher."

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


Hmmmm....who was it that said those things?
Oh yeah... it was you!
.
.
.


Do you actually believe that the relationships being discussed are only about teaching and learning? :popcorn:
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:14 am

shel wrote: Do you actually believe that the relationships being discussed are only about teaching and learning?

No, and I never suggested that.
Read what I did say.
And then, read what you said.
.
.
.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Namgyal » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:02 am

'...The relationship students have to their Buddhist teachers is like the relationship PhD candidates have to their advisors combined with the relationship clients have with their psychotherapists, mixed in with the relationship super fans have to their favorite rock stars.'

Once I asked an old monk about this subject and he told me, 'Never trust anyone 100%'.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby muni » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:19 am

Namgyal wrote:
'...The relationship students have to their Buddhist teachers is like the relationship PhD candidates have to their advisors combined with the relationship clients have with their psychotherapists, mixed in with the relationship super fans have to their favorite rock stars.'

Once I asked an old monk about this subject and he told me, 'Never trust anyone 100%'.


This must have been the advice needed at that moment, I suppose.
Also it depends what own mind defines as the teacher, or how own mind defines relationship teacher-student.

As long as we don't forget it is own mind what is deluding us, and this can become visible by the shining lamp of an awaken teacher.

:namaste:
Falling down into thoughts' stream, identification arises.
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby Namgyal » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:45 pm

muni wrote:...don't forget it is own mind what is deluding us, and this can become visible by the shining lamp of an awaken teacher...

'...so come up and see my tantric etchings'. I disagree that the advice I received was conditional and simply 'needed at that moment'. It is possible, and indeed advisable, to have a guru-chela relationship with only 99% trust. Even the greatest teachers can make mistakes.
:namaste:
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby muni » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:49 pm

Namgyal wrote:'...so come up and see my tantric etchings'. I disagree that the advice I received was conditional and simply 'needed at that moment'. It is possible, and indeed advisable, to have a guru-chela relationship with only 99% trust. Even the greatest teachers can make mistakes.
:namaste:


Okay.
Maybe I can say it so: all advices, guidance are at the very moment needful/useful for me.
All is dependent on mind.

:namaste:
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby shel » Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:57 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
shel wrote: Do you actually believe that the relationships being discussed are only about teaching and learning?

No, and I never suggested that.


Right, and it's the other part that can lead to places like Jonestown. :twisted:
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Re: Article on Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Buddhist Communi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:59 pm

shel wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
shel wrote: Do you actually believe that the relationships being discussed are only about teaching and learning?

No, and I never suggested that.

Right, and it's the other part that can lead to places like Jonestown. :twisted:


And the "other part", meaning trust and the betrayal of trust, manipulation of the vulnerable, etc.
is not an exclusively Buddhist issue, as you have pointed out.
You don't need Jonestown for the example. Auto mechanics and home repair contractors are notorious!!!

Anytime one becomes totally dependent on someone else and they completely stop thinking for themselves,
regardless of the setting, there is always danger...and a better chance...of violation.
So, if you are saying, "well, let's take that danger out of the (Buddhist) formula"
I don't think there is any disagreement.
Pinpointing the exact cause is probably where we disagree.

I don't think that having to trust a teacher is the issue.
To me, it's like saying that if you hire someone to do repairs,
but they don't repair anything, and they rip you off,
the problem isn't that they were crooks,
but the problem is that you trusted them,
that you must trust them.
I am not so sure that is exactly where the problem lies.
Maybe the issue is that it is hard to check the teacher's references.
Maybe, like the Better Business Bureau
there needs to be a Better Buddhist Bureau.
.
.
.
Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:36 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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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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