Denial of harm is complicity in harm

Bringing to light the many forms of abuse in Tibetan Lamaism is not hate speech, or drivel, and those who come against those speaking up perhaps have an incomplete understanding of how it is the underlying foundation of Lamaism that creates the abuses that have been perpetuated worldwide for decades (centuries?) by these practitioners of Vajrayana Lamaism. Denying that harm is done to so many, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, does not make the abuses any less real, or any less of an abomination.  Not wanting these abuses to be revealed is not wisdom, compassion or of benefit to anyone.

In my research on this subject, I recently found this blogpost:


Included in the blogpost is an interview that was published in Lion’s Roar, in 2014:

Confronting Abuse of Power


Abuse can take different forms: financial, psychological, physical, sexual. Recent headlines have revealed that spiritual communities, including Buddhist ones, are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse by male authority figures. At the same time, all over North America, targets of sexual abuse and institutional betrayal are speaking out with newfound energy, their words and experiences echoing over instant media to resonate with millions of others. More and more people are calling out habitual oppressions, exorcising self-blame, and inspiring others to wake up, saying, “No more! I am worthy of decency and respect.” Like never before, institutions such as colleges, military forces, workplaces, and spiritual organizations are hastening to move forward from patterns of denial. Typical of the new messaging, the White House recently launched a campaign that sets a new normal for group responsibility, making it uncomfortable for us to stand idly by while friends and fellows abuse. We are casting off centuries of myths that normalized abuses or at best treated them as an insurmountable problem. Communities are genuinely asking, what can we do differently?

In this interview, Palden comments:

Lama Palden: At some of Kalu Rinpoche’s centers in France, there were lamas who had engaged in unethical behavior and had to be removed. I’ve also acted as a mediator at dharma centers here, where the unethical conduct involved Western teachers.

As others have said, there’s always a great deal of shock and disappointment in these situations. There’s also a lot of hurt and a sense of betrayal. One of the serious concerns is that many of the people who get hurt the most are those who already have experienced abuse in their childhood. Instead of the dharma being a place where they can heal and find safety, it becomes another place of perpetration and hurt.

I’ve been in the room during some of these mediations where there was so much pain. We really have to acknowledge the level of pain that unethical activity brings forth in people. Just unbelievable pain. And I’ve seen hundreds of women turned off of the dharma.

Palden also comments (on Kalu being sexually abused as a child growing up in at Lamaist monastery):

Yes, he has brought the issue out of the closet for the Tibetan and Vajrayana communities, because of course it’s happening in all the monasteries. Some of my British male friends have told me it’s very much like the British public schools system—it’s something that has always gone on and everybody knows, but nobody talks about it. I think it was very courageous of Rinpoche to bring the misconduct to light. He wants to work inside the system for change.

…The young Kalu Rinpoche told me a similar story, that when he took responsibility for centers all around the world at the age of eighteen, he had to step in to address issues of abuse. At one center, he told all the women to come speak to him one by one. It took two days to hear them all out. He told me he cried the whole time. It was important that the women were heard.

…As has been said, some people are not going to heal, either because they don’t want to or because they lack the capacity to do so.

From my reading of this interview with these teachers, the awareness that abuses have been happening for decades is only that, awareness. Listening, on all sides, and creating forums is a bureaucratic way to NOT deal head-on with the abuse. I’m not sure where these teachers get their opinions that some who have been harmed will not want to heal. What? What exactly is that belief based on?

Perhaps there is no healing in the confines of that which harmed them, and leaving is the only way for these wounded to heal, so passing judgment on them because they leave wounded to find healing elsewhere is misinformed and myopic. Why should they stay if they have been abused?

Perpetrators of Tibetan blood, who were raised in the anachronistic, abusive monastery system obviously don’t understand that their behavior is reprehensible, so how do these teachers propose to re-train them to not be abusive, and sexual predators, when it is built into the very fabric of Vajrayana Lamaism?

Some teachers have been removed (such as Norlha), but only after decades of sexual predation and psychological abuse of their students. It’s hard to say, wow, progress is being made, when the behavior by these teachers, and the horrific harm their victims experience, was known all along, and blind eyes turned.

Palden acknowledges in this interview that the sexual abuse of minors is rampant in the Tibetan monasteries, but she did not say that she was working to end the rapes, beatings and abuses of these children, and to reform the monastic system.

But, while testimony by victims of the sexual abuse by Vajrayana teachers, both Tibetan and Western, is exploding, other types of abuse are being ignored. Psychological abuse (well, just leave the teacher, if you stay, you are as culpable in the harm as the perpetrator, many say to the victims) is rampant also, and is based on the sociopathic guru/student relationship in Vajrayana Lamaism. Trauma based mind-control is used by many Tibetan and Western teachers, along with thought and emotion projection, dream penetration (spiritual rape), and multiple teachings on how leaving your teacher or breaking samaya will bring the student to the hell realms forever.

And then, of course, in Lamaism, there is ritual harm, intentional pujas and rituals done to control and manipulate the students (Kurukulle, anyone?). This is just as harmful as the other forms of abuse, but no one is talking about this. If you believe that doing prayers, pujas, empowerments etc, to get desired results such as ‘world peace’ and ‘liberating sentient beings’ is effective and manifests in reality, then you also believe that doing these to control others and harm your ‘enemies’ (other people!) is also effective.

It’s time to widen the discussion of all forms of abuses in Lamaism, and stop all the harm to innocents.

One thought on “Denial of harm is complicity in harm

Add yours

  1. Dear Deeds of darkness

    I love you with all my heart and wish that you find healing and happiness in this life. But most of all I hope you find true and meaningful understanding of others. That you can see not only your perspective but others as well. That you might be able to go beyond your stiff concepts and realize that truth is dynamic and changing. Most of all that you would see and understand that misrepresentation of Jesus’ teachings has also caused enormous pain and suffering in this world.

    Be well and may you have spiritual growth beyond your own understanding and concepts

    That you comment on my comments without an open discussion leads me to believe that your closed for any growth or dialog. Too bad for us…



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