Signed! Thanks for letting me know about it.
This is on the FPMT website so it is fairly recent. The letter is dated 15th May.
When I first looked at the petition yesterday, 9 people had signed; now it’s at 1890!
Thanks for posting this venerable.
Does the Tibetan tradition follow any vinaya rules that buddha implemented?
Thank you for the post. I have also signed.
Perhaps the tulku system is outdated and needs to be abolished. If someone’s believed to be the reincarnation of a buddha or bodhisattva, it can lead to abuses of authority.
Can we please also start a petition for Aung San Suu Kyi to give back her Nobel peace prize, due to the continued persecution of Rohingya Muslims?
Hesitant to sign a petition unknowing, I looked around and found several helpful videos:
The first two are from women. The last is of Dagri Rinpoche giving a Dhamma talk.
After some consideration, I signed the petition.
FPMT recommends and links to Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s written response to Dagri Rinpoche’s students. “Lama Zopa Rinpoche News and Advice” His response gives his unequivocal support to the Rinpoche, essentially saying in this long rambling letter that no matter what accusations arise - no matter how many women he has harmed - Dagri Rinpoche is a holy being comparable to the Dalai Lama, and only defiled minds think otherwise.
[Edit: I hadn’t realized the above link was an addendum; here is his first statement: Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Advice to Students of Dagri Rinpoche. He begins by asserting that the accused monk is a holy being “definitely” not ordinary. He explains at length the tradition of great beings showing various “aspects” that appear low yet aren’t really so. Finally he exhorts students to make “great effort” to see the purity of the guru, as following him is the path to enlightenment. He sums up with the story of a man who misperceived an action by the Buddha causing him to see the Buddha as a liar, then stubbornly held onto that opinion for years, and ended up in hell; then he warns, “Have no regrets,” and signs off with a pointed reminder that death can come any time. Wow.]
I felt concerned on hearing the allegations, but LZR’s gas-lighting response is… horrifying. It seems to me that he’s calling upon the deep roots of Tibetan tradition, in the strongest & most persuasive tones, to give broad permission for gurus to continue to use despicable supposed crazy-wisdom methods including sex abuse. It’s your defilements, according to him, that keep you from seeing the guru’s purity in his act of molestation. Similar reasoning is used by leaders of abusive cults.
@AlexM , there’s no victory yet in this teacher’s (temporary) suspension, rather it seems likely that the battle lines are being drawn.
Could someone clarify the following?
a) Isn’t there an internal investigation process?
b) Isn’t there an external investigation process?
c) Have the process a and b are not effective?
d)Should this be investigated by Dali Lama?
e) How this sort of issues are handled in the Theravada community? For if something happened in Ajahan Braham lineage, who should investigate it? Is this a matter for the police?
Many of the questions you have asked are answered in the links above. The petition is simply asking for support of a proper investigation.
This sutta explains how in the Theravada path, neither faith nor tradition (the guru system) is used, but the direct experience of the practitioner is the required method. In particular this refers to the Satipatthana method, with focus on the third foundation of mindfulness, state of mind. This is because mind is the arena where the results of the actions of the fourth foundation become manifest.
“There is a method of exposition by means of which a bhikkhu—apart from faith … apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it—can declare final knowledge thus: ‘Destroyed is birth … there is no more for this state of being.’ And what is that method of exposition? Here, bhikkhus, having seen a form with the eye, if there is lust, hatred, or delusion internally, a bhikkhu understands: ‘There is lust, hatred, or delusion internally’; or, if there is no lust, hatred, or delusion internally, he understands: ‘There is no lust, hatred, or delusion internally.’ Since this is so, are these things to be understood by faith, or by personal preference, or by oral tradition, or by reasoned reflection, or by acceptance of a view after pondering it?”
“No, venerable sir.”
“Aren’t these things to be understood by seeing them with wisdom?”
“Yes, venerable sir.” — SN 35.153 SC
That is incredibly disappointing, yet not terribly surprising.
Just a question to all who feel like responding. How is posting this to the public not considered the wrong speech of slander? I am specifically asking this from a early Buddhist textual perspective. Of course, I am not condoning sexual misconduct by monastics of any tradition, and of course stories of Buddhist monks engaged in sexual misconduct I have heard before and I believe some sort of action should be taken by someone, but my question is 'What does the Vinaya say about such matters on how to deal with this type of situation, and also how is this situation dealt with in the tradition of Dagri Rinpoche? I ask this, because the Tibetan tradition with their specific legal vinaya rule sets are not my tradition. This question also maybe part of a larger question of Buddhist accountability, if there can be any in the larger globalized Buddhist world. Maybe a solution would be education of the vinaya to the laity? Does anyone know of any programs that encourage vinaya education to householders? I live in Sri Lanka, and I think I have heard how teaching the vinaya to householders by monastics is frowned upon. Recently, I was musing about how in European history the translation of the New Testament into local European languages, and the old Testament also, was an important factor that lead to the transformation of Europe in honestly a very short about of time, one development reacting off of another. Would starting a program of sharing the Vinaya texts to the larger globalized Buddhist world, help instigate a similar sort of challenge to the Buddhist establishment? Blessings to all of you, Weston
They are asking that the allegations be investigated, not asserting that they are true. If they are true, of course, it is not slander. More to the point, the ones who are suffering are the victims, and it is their welfare that should be paramount.
Yes, I agree, and this is part of SC’s philosophy. Throughout the Vinaya, laypeople demonstrate their understanding of the monastic rules and values, and in the First Council, Mahakassapa argues that since the layfolk are familiar with the rules, they should be kept. It’s not hard to imagine why monks would change this early philosophy and tell laity they shouldn’t study the Vinaya.
Certain scholars have used this analogy to describe what they call “Protestant Buddhism”, i.e. the modernist form of Buddhism promoted in the 20th century by TW Rhys Davids and others, based on the Pali canon. So in part it has already happened, although like any analogy, it has its limits.
If due process applies to Buddhism, then Dagri Rinpoche is innocent until proven guilty. I’m sorry for not mentioning this previously.
Sorry to say , to be neutral , it appears when someone sign the petition one already believes Dagri is guilty otherwise no one really knows the truth yet .
Bhante, it was my understanding that within the first four Nikayas slander meant, in part, publicly identifying individuals. Its late and I cant quite remember where or why I thought this, but I thought that it was proper from an early Buddhist context to name the skillful or unskillful action or dhamma, but not to name the person, at lead for monastics. One of the reasons I guess I thought this was because of the idea of solidifying identity upon the person who is being called out. I know I grappled with this issue within the spectrum of political discourse relatively recently, how to talk about the cultural or societal injustices or problems without scapegoating specific individuals.
Speaking only for myself, of course, as someone who signed the petition, I am very much aware of the prevalence of sweeping things like allegations of sexual misconduct under the rug. Of another house. In a neighboring country. As such, and because I believe people are capable of making bad choices, and Dagri Rinpoche is a person, I lent my voice to the call for a proper investigation.
The presumption of innocence is a legal presumption. I feel that this approach can lead to a kind of “bypassing,” where the legitimate claims of victims are discounted. Victims end up re-traumatized when the factual perpetrators are considered innocent, and their lackeys and enablers form protective committees around them, claiming to investigate the acts in question. I don’t know any of the facts of this case, but I’ve been involved in assisting with some other cases of clergy abuse, and the efforts made by religious organizations to protect criminal priests and to blame victims is astonishing and pervasive.
Facts drive cases. Any case of criminal sexual abuse by a person in a position of power needs to be investigated, not by the organization internally ( as so often happens), but by police and external bodies that have expertise in evaluating cases of clerical abuse.
I’ve always felt that "Buddhism’ should take the lead on being honest, vigorous, wise and compassionate with these cases of clerical abuse. Too many women, and men as well, have been traumatized by Buddhist teachers and “gurus,” with some attempting or committing suicide over the trauma suffered.
As Buddhists we should hold ourselves to the highest standards. We should always root out false claims, but at the same time, be ethical and diligent in referring for prosecution any sexual abuse by a Buddhist teacher or guru against a disciple.