Blue Garuda wrote:Every time I hear of monastic sexual abuse, or abuse by those with a vow of celibacy, I really wonder if a vow that is presumably there to remove temptation to indulge in worldy pleasures seems instead to cause more problems for some who take it.
We should bear in mind that many of the monks are not in the monastery voluntarily. They're given to the monastery as children, and are allowed to leave if they so choose after they turn 21. But it's difficult to leave, because they have no marketable skills or education beyond basic math, so they're doomed to menial jobs living in miserable conditions in India/Nepal, unless they're fortunate enough to emigrate to the West, which some ex-monks do. So it's not surprising that some don't deal well with the celibacy vow. Much better to have a completely voluntary monkhood, made up of those who feel called to the tradition as adults.
Gregory makes an excellent point. The effects of trauma can lead to self-medication via drugs and alcohol. It's not like these monks and tulkus can check in to the local psychotherapist's office for trauma therapy. They're left to cope on their own in an institution that can be more about power plays and personal politics than about compassion toward those who run up against the ugly side of celibacy.
I had the impression Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche was already in a monastery from a very young age, where his father was looking after him, but after his father's death, he was transferred to another one. I don't know what that was about, but clearly, it didn't work out for him.
Here's an essay by a Sri Lankan professor at Harvard who's published a number of comments in Sri Lankan newspapers on this same problem in his country. Though some of his comments here are clearly specific to Theravada, his comments on the dangers boy novices face, in points #2 and #3, apply to all Buddhist traditions in which children are institutionalized with celibate adults.http://www.infolanka.com/org/srilanka/cult/13.htm
Thanks to Mandarava for bringing this issue to our attention.