View Full Version : When Buddhism is a Cult (Interesting article criticizing Tibetan Buddhism)

01 Oct 12, 17:23

As a desperately hungry spiritual seeker thirty-five years ago I suspended my doubts without a second thought. I’d burned my bridges back home, almost lost myself in drugs, found a home among the Tibetans and done what was necessary to fit in.
As you’d expect, this prescription has its dangers. A recent BBC documentary reports that the influential Tibetan lama Sogyal Rinpoche abused his female disciples for sex. As in earlier, less explosive, exposés those wishing to tell the story were confronted by a Vatican-like code of secrecy that has silenced even the Dalai Lama. In 1993 he chose to not endorse a letter calling on students to report abusive teachers.
A less public, more insidious, danger is the disciple’s private decision to avoid seeing the guru’s human failings. When the facts of life are incompatible with your spiritual practice, you’re headed for bitter disillusionment.
On first contact, Tibetan Buddhism is a welcoming paragon of reason and compassion. However, the teachings are layered with esoteric, mystical, exclusive and secret accretions. On the bottom lie the austere ethics and philosophy of the historical Buddha, referred to as ‘the lesser vehicle.’ Above this is the ‘greater vehicle,’ and then the ‘secret vehicle,’ also called tantra. It’s at this level that a guru is indispensible.

01 Oct 12, 19:27
This is clearly not contextualised as you will see if you read these...

On March 16-19, 1993, a meeting was held in Dharamsala, India, between His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama and a group of twenty-two Western dharma teachers from the major Buddhist traditions in Europe and America. Also present were the Tibetan lamas Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche, Pachen Otrul Rinpoche, and Amchok Rinpoche. The aim of the meeting was to discuss openly a wide range of issues concerning the transmission of Budhadharma to Western lands.

and here...http://viewonbuddhism.org/controversy-controversial-teacher-group-center-questionable.html

Although HHDL may have chosen not to endorse the letter that does not imply he was complicit or culpable. Such simplistic assertions are very easy to make outside of Lineage and Samaya considerations.
I question both the reason for writing such a simplistic non contextualised critique and the posting of it?

01 Oct 12, 19:49
I found this link when i read the comments on the article


In my opinion its hard to tell who is to blame, the Lamas or those who followed them blindly?

Best Regards,
Bundokji :hands:

01 Oct 12, 20:17
I think you're right about the Dalai Lama Ngagpa. He seems to be a good man to me. However, the article wasn't just criticizing him it was criticizing teachers who claim Buddhahood which as we know the Dalai Lama does not. The article you cited talks about some of the same things the one I cited does. Sexual misconduct among gurus, claims of Buddhahood.
I'm sorry if it came off as an attack on the Dalai Lama. I generally agree with whatever I hear/read the Dalai Lama say. I just think people should be aware of possible corruption in religious organizations, or any organization for that matter.

01 Oct 12, 20:42
I watched the video Bundokji. I would say that both parties are at least some what to blame. However the lamas are put in a position of power and I think they have a responsibility to not abuse that power.

02 Oct 12, 16:23
I think your right about teachers claiming Buddha-hood and realisations....very un-Buddhist indeed!
I may have been a touch defensive with regards HHDL. Apologies.


02 Oct 12, 21:28
That's OK Ngagpa. I could see how someone might think it was an attack on HHDL because of the section I quoted. I didn't mean to offend.


04 Oct 12, 22:02
There's also this - "Behind the Thangkas"


06 Oct 12, 13:18
I have to say that I do not know Sogyal Rinpoche well however when I did meet him he was exceptionally polite and self effacing.
I met him again some time later and from a crowd of what seemed like quite a few devotees he walked briskly over to me embraced me warmly and asked me how I was and how my teacher was.
I found that very touching from a'rock star'
However he has never been a teacher of mine nor are we strictly the same lineage so I can not really comment.

In relation to Trungpa Rinpoche I follow the advice of both my teachers and their teachers (as I trust them implicitly) I have been told that he was a most unusual Dharma practitioner with most unusual realisations who cannot be judged from a mundane perspective. Therefore I don't.


06 Oct 12, 13:42
When I was involved with Tibetan Buddhism I went to a couple of talks of his and also saw him at 2 or 3 functions led by other lamas. These were occasions before the news in the 1990's of the woman suing him in the USA and various other reports about his behaviour surfaced. There's also been the recent Canadian film "In the name of Enlightenment" as well as articles about his behaviour, both on the internet and in the newspapers.

I didn't feel any inclination to want to get to know him at that earlier time, nor do I feel at this particular time in the present that I want to further discuss him or his activities. There are other places on the internet where cult 'gurus' are listed, or where people talk about the sexual indiscretions of Buddhist teachers.

I also think that the people involved could possibly consider researching further ways of dealing with this kind of problem. The chaperoning of interviews, as is done in Theravada monasteries, would be a good start.

Thanks to those who participated in the topic.


Thread closed.