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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:15 pm 
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KATHMANDU: From one of the most disadvantaged Adivasi communities of Nepal, a 21-year-old Buddhist nun who was gang-raped by five men last month in a public bus, now faces the additional ordeal of being stripped of her religious habit and turned out of the nunnery where she had been apprenticed for almost 10 years.

The young woman's family told TNN that she was still in a state of shock after having wavered between life and death in a hospital in India's border town of Siliguri. But she could no longer be considered a bhikshuni (Buddhist nun) after the rape, Nepal's Buddhist organisations said.

While condemning the attack and deploring the communist government's ignorance of a "rarest of rare" crime in Nepal, the birthplace of the Buddha, 15 Buddhist organisations said that as a result, she had lost "her religion" and could be no longer regarded as fit to be a nun.

"Such a thing never happened in the Buddha's lifetime," said Norbu Sherpa, an official of Nepal Buddhist Federation. "So he did not leave instructions about how to deal with the situation. Buddhists all over the world adhere to what he had laid down: that a person can no longer be considered ordained in case of having a physical relationship. It's applicable to both men and women."

Now the victim, whose family is already reeling under the burden of paying the Indian hospital nearly Rs 3 lakh for her treatment, can no longer go back to the nunnery in Pharping, the little town in central Nepal with a concentration of Buddhist monasteries, where she had been admitted when she was about 12 years old.

Asked if it was not a gross injustice to the woman who was a victim, Sherpa was regretful but firm. "A vessel that is damaged once can no longer be used to keep water," he said. "Buddhism all over the world says this. Even the Dalai Lama says you can't be a monk or nun after marriage."

Regarded as one of the most progressive religions in the world, this is a little-known face of Buddhism that is more a matter of interpretation by the followers of the Buddha than probably the teachings of the compassionate one himself. Compared to the interpretation, the church, still vilified in Nepal despite the former Hindu kingdom becoming secular five years ago, supports its wronged nuns and monks with compassion.

Pastor Robin Rai of the Catholic church in Nepal said the church would not throw out a raped nun. "She is the victim," he told TNN. "To us, she is still a virgin. She remains a nun as long as she belongs to Christ."

The Nepal Tamang Lama Gedung added a sympathetic note, saying it would provide care for the victim.

The 21-year-old was raped on June 24 in a bus while travelling in eastern Nepal. Due to the rains, the bus arrived at the destination very late and she was forced to spend the night inside it. Her attackers are the driver of the bus, his two helpers, and the driver and helper of another bus. They also looted the money she was carrying with her.

The woman belongs to the Tamang community, one of the worst victims of human traffickers and suffering from a high degree of illiteracy and abject poverty.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/worl ... 183371.cms



Ugh.

Is this a standard interpretation of the rules in Vajrayana or just reflective of local custom? How would other traditions approach such a situation?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:20 pm 
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That is horrible. I hope some senior leadership steps in on her behalf.

She did not willingly have sexual intercourse, so she cannot be said to have broken her celibacy vows. There was no intent, so there was no violation of precepts.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:49 pm 
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Yeah, this interpretation of the Vinaya by these Nepalis seems very ignorant, short-sighted and uneducated to me. IN my mind, going by what the Vinaya says and doesn't say, and based on the Abidharma teachings about the creation of karmas, there is no way in hell her ordination is now invalid as a result of being raped. And that bit about the Dalai Lama saying one cannot be a monastic after marriage is horse shit. HH would not say that because it's not what the Vinaya says. One cannot of course become a monastic DURING marriage, or get married while a monastic, but just having been married and then dissolving the marriage later does not disqualify one from becoming a monk or a nun. And in any case, this has nothing to do with this young woman's situation. To me, the handling of this profoundly unfortunate case sounds like some sort of cultural ideas about women and "purity" that has nothing to do with the Dharma at all.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:54 pm 
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"Buddhism all over the world says this. Even the Dalai Lama says you can't be a monk or nun after marriage.


How does being raped mean you're suddenly married?

Bunch of fools. I imagine there is more to this. There might be some political issue that is pressing for her ejection from the order for whatever reason.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:39 pm 
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Times of India can be very sensationalistic and sometimes distorts the facts. So, probably more needs to be known about this. But if it is true then it reveals a lot about the condition that Buddhism is in.
It may be possible for her to find another nunnery.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:43 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
That is horrible. I hope some senior leadership steps in on her behalf.

She did not willingly have sexual intercourse, so she cannot be said to have broken her celibacy vows. There was no intent, so there was no violation of precepts.


My thoughts exactly.

Huseng, I know you have some experience with 人間佛教 and other East Asian traditions. Any guesses on how they might approach a situation like this?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:27 pm 
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What is a position of a bhikkhuni being raped?

"The Vinaya, a voluminous collection of rules for the monks and nuns first written down in the fifth or sixth century CE, says she [Uppalavanna] was raped, completely disregarding the foregoing poem and her power of iddhi. (31) This story is told to make the point that if a nun is not willing to have sex and is raped, there is no fault on her part, and she has not broken the rule of celibacy. The same story is told in the commentary on the Dhammapada, which says she was raped while meditating alone in the forest, adding that as a consequence nuns were thereafter required to live together."
(Female mutability and male anxiety in an early Buddhist legend.(Critical essay)(Brief article))

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:33 pm 
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Lazy_eye wrote:
Huseng wrote:
That is horrible. I hope some senior leadership steps in on her behalf.

She did not willingly have sexual intercourse, so she cannot be said to have broken her celibacy vows. There was no intent, so there was no violation of precepts.


My thoughts exactly.

Huseng, I know you have some experience with 人間佛教 and other East Asian traditions. Any guesses on how they might approach a situation like this?


They would defer to the vinaya. The nuns in Chinese traditions still maintain the traditional vinaya regulations, so the nun would not be at fault.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:41 pm 
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Local custom. Talk about blaming the victim?!

Looks like the Buddha's 2,600 year old teachings are more progressive / advanced than some 21st century local customs.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:34 pm 
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As mentioned by P at bit..this area is a hotbead of political turmoil between the communist or socialist followers and those of other view of the political, not even to mention india and their opinion of things and the indian view as opposed to the Chinese view of things due to political alliance.
England and the views expressed by the newspaper times of india perhaps is implicated as having agenda as well...I'd check into this very thoroughly before believeing in it exactly.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:02 pm 
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David N. Snyder wrote:
Local custom. Talk about blaming the victim?!

Looks like the Buddha's 2,600 year old teachings are more progressive / advanced than some 21st century local customs.


Indeed. This is pretty much the exact thought I had on reading this. The Buddhist precepts seem pretty clear on it (the nun was not at fault), but apparently the local customs take precedence over the precepts. Scary, that, at least to me. One would think the nun would be protected by her order, no? Perhaps that's merely my 21st-century Western American take on it.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:20 pm 
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What lineage is she in? Certainly there is someone we could implore to take her back in!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:46 am 
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We should find out what order she belongs to and then ask a well respected traditional leader to intercede.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:51 am 
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kirtu wrote:
We should find out what order she belongs to and then ask a well respected traditional leader to intercede.

Kirt


My friend in Kathmandu said the local paper had a fair sized article on this, so the Buddhist community there is well aware of it I imagine.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:32 am 
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What an absolutely sickening case of blaming the victim.

And it's agreed upon by "15 Buddhist organizations"? Are you kidding me?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:04 am 
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Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:
We should find out what order she belongs to and then ask a well respected traditional leader to intercede.


My friend in Kathmandu said the local paper had a fair sized article on this, so the Buddhist community there is well aware of it I imagine.


The issue is that people are reflexively applying social rules without thinking through the consequences. The history of the US and Western Europe wrt social facism concerning racial minorities and homosexuality and oppression of Jewish and Gypsy minorities respectively is offered as a significant example. It was not so long ago that these societies would have reacted reflexively too (in some cases they still do react reflexively). Would the Catholic Church have enacted such an enlightened policy 100 or 200 years ago? I think not. For one thing the Irish had work camps for single mothers that amounted to slavery less than 50 years ago. If we look we will find that raped nuns in the past had also in at least some cases been expelled from their orders. The last 50 years of social change in the West has been significant.

Therefore awareness of the issue alone isn't sufficient. We are asking a lot of a still mostly pre-modern society. However explained in the right way the people will overcome this prejudice.

Why was this nun raped to begin with? Was this action actually an expression of minority or class or religious or possibly Marxist or other violence? Historically ritual rape (which is clearly what this was) is an expression of minority or class violence. A despised minority had to be put in their place. Less frequently a despised individual had to be put in their place but that has happened too. Ritual rape is a tool for enforcing social power. There is almost certainly an underlying minority oppression problem that is the actual cause.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:21 am 
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Hello all,


Posted by pilgrim on DhammaWheel:
The incident

The nun was returning home with Rs 130,000 from Kakarbhitta. She boarded a bus in Dharan at around 10 a.m. for Sabha Khola. She would have to cross the river by boat because of the monsoon spate, and take another vehicle to reach Khandbari by evening.

“Throughout the journey she was in constant touch with her aunt in Kakarbhitta and had said in her last communication around 6 p.m. that she may be late reaching Khandbari as the road was blocked by a broken-down tractor,” Tara Tamang, the victim´s cousin, disclosed.

The bus reached Sabha Khola late and a boat was not available for the night. “Local hotels told us that she had asked for a room for the night but all rooms were already taken,” Inspector Thapa said.

She then had supper with the bus crew at one of the hotels and apparently agreed to stay in the bus for the night as she was a nun and also because an elderly woman was also staying in the same bus, the inspector added. The bus crew apparently drugged her at the hotel before raping her in the bus. “She said they had offered her a beer which she refused and she only remembers taking a Frooty at the hotel. The Frooty must have been drugged,” her father said.

Family misfortune

The victim was the eldest of Krishna Bahadur´s four daughters. His wife is chronically ill and can´t help him much with his farming.

The nun had tried to get enrolled in Dharamshala, India last year and borrowed Rs 20,000 from her uncle and aunts for the purpose but she couldn´t get admitted as she missed the deadline by a few days. She had then returned to Nepal and was staying in Pokhara.

Krishna Bahadur had planned to build the new house after selling one of his two buffalos but both were found dead in the morning just five days before the rape incident. She was bringing the borrowed money from her aunt for the house construction. “The death of the buffaloes was a bad omen and then this happened to my daughter just days later,” Krishna Bahadur lamented.

Exceprt from: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index ... s_id=33156
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 95#p139818

Also posted by pilgrim on Dhammawheel:
If anyone feels compelled to contact the Nepal Buddhist Federation, you can do so here
http://www.nbf.org.np/contact.php
email: info@nbf.org.np
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 95#p139831

with metta
Chris


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:39 pm 
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Kakarbhitta is a cesspool...I wouldn't want to be a young woman there...hell, I wouldn't want to be there alone, myself, as a large white male. What was it Obi Wan said about Mos Isley Spaceport--"You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villiany..."

This is a sad story.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:53 am 
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Anyone know this nun's name? I'd like to include it in my correspondence with the NBF.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:58 am 
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Hello P_R,

If you can't find out the nun's own name, just say ''the daughter of Krishna Bahadur'' - who is in the newspaper articles as her father.

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