In the beginning this teacher wrote to me:
On a personal note, I usually refuse to even accept former tantra students because of the spirit of denial and deception that the practice contains, where everything related to morals and ethics is built on shifting sand... it boogles the mind that they can speak on tantra and the bodhisattva ideal in the same breath.
While I certainly would never disrespect a practitioner of tantra, without doubt I have no respect for the tradition itself.... shifting sand, a house of mirrors, a shell game... call it what ever you want, but it's the anti-Dharma and unfit at the table of anyone who practices the Bodhisattva Dharma.
As a side note, the practice seems to attract some of the most unstable people, where the teachers of it even fail to weed them out... that's the other problem with it, where the teachers are sometimes more concerned with materialism and popularity.
I suspect that those who actually join those groups and make excuses for them are in it for the thrill of it all.
And then as he learned that I had planned on exposing Tibetan Buddhism and other lineages who have harmed women and children, I get this in his attempt to stifle me:
"He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me" -- in those who harbor such thoughts hatred will never cease.
“He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me" -- in those who do not harbor such thoughts hatred will cease.”
This scripture has hushed many people, keeping them from speaking out because they are not supposed think of themselves as being beaten or abused, after all it is karma that caused these things, and as my own ex teacher said, “Never be angry at the instrument of your own karma.”
So I supposed if you are beaten, raped, robbed, etc. you just thank the person for helping you get rid of some karma.
And so now this person tries another tactic after I said that I didn’t care what Buddha had said:
If you stepped back and watched yourself walk by you might better understand why I'm saying this because activist compassion requires you to let go of the incriminations and anger, the feeling that you were deceived and are now justified. If you don't do so then you're only a "crusader" in every sense of the word.
When that didn't work, he said,
Don’t expect the rest of us to sit by and be silent about it...
In time you'll hopefully understand where I'm coming from in all of this, that compassionate activism and being a crusader are two different things, where the latter requires that you claim a mantle that is not yours to wear because you were not actually abused. It's okay to be compassionate and want to help see and end to abuse, but you need to get behind those who have been abused and follow their lead, not act like Joan of Arc and try to lead them into battle. Do you see the difference?
It matters not to me whether I am angry or not over those who are being hurt, because I will speak out either way, but yes, it bothers me greatly when I know that people are being harmed, especially in religion, a place where we come to heal our souls and minds, a place of peace and compassion, at least that is what is implied at the door.
But there is little compassion in any religion when it is accompanied with teachings of karma, which in turn teach you to believe that all harm that comes to you is due to your own karma; you deserve it. And yet at the same time no one seems to think that perhaps it is your own karma to help others who are being harmed. The teaching of karma can thus be very tricky and misused.
What if someone like Ram Dass, whom I admire for his honesty, said to others, It is your karma to be dying or to be in prison and then did nothing about it. Ram Dass has been helping those people. He even warns others of abuse in religions, as has Joan Halifax, the Batchelors, Jack Kornfield, the Trimondis, as well as a few others.
I do not place myself along side of them, but I will do my best to warn others and to not do so out of anger at what this Chan Buddhist believes is "because I was deceived." If I wanted revenge, it would have been easy to get; I don't want revenge. I went on the boards to find out if my teacher was lying or not, and when the Tibetan Buddhists began harassing and threatening me, I moved on. Then when I learned the truth and found that women and children were being harmed and was asked by a Human Right's Activist to help other women, I joined with her in exposing and thus, hopefully, in helping others.
Also, in Buddhism they try to make you believe that anger is wrong, and yet they harm others with their own verbal and/or sexual abuse all the while trying to hush you up. I find this strange. And so even this person who tried to tell me to not say "I was beaten..." finally wrote:
You do remember what happened to Joan of Arc, don't you? They burnt her at the stake
Just keep in mind that her behavior is seen as a precursor to a mental disorder, saint or no saint.
But then two other people wrote me words of encouragement:
“Some people are heavily invested in the tantric practices, and view you as someone bent on spoiling their party. Others simply can't handle any kind of negativity and feel the need to preach.
What surprises me is how many people forget that Buddhism is about kindness and compassion, and are quick to attack anyone who raises issues relating to the harm that Buddhism has caused. The same would go for any religion, including Christianity, which purports to be based on the principle of treating others as we would like to be treated. People's denial mechanisms seem to be much stronger than their kindness reflex. How sad!
I've run into the same preaching and hostility you have, when posting on forums about lama abuse/clergy abuse. I expected a sincerely concerned response, but anger is more typical. It depends on the forum, but even non-Buddhist forums that are about truth-telling and exposing corruption get very defensive about any criticism of Tibetan Buddhism, especially, and trot out the "China sympathizer" line.
Being a truth-teller is a hard but honorable road to travel. Keep on keepin' on. :)”
And then this:
“you know what happened to joan d' arc
Before she got made a saint she was burnt at the stake as a witch.
That was a threat to make you be silent and to stop disagreeing.
We have not moved on much since poor old Joan got hers for speaking her mind, at least on the forum where that was said.”
But what this Chan Buddhist doesn't realize is that I have been exposing wrong doing in religions for a very long time on the forums, for years.
And yet when I was on the forums trying to get the truth out of the Tibetan Buddhists. One of them accused me of knowing exactly what my ex teacher taught, and said that I joined his group to expose him. I had mentioned no names, no lineages, but he knew who I was talking about because we had emailed each other, and so he brought it out in the open, almost exposing my ex teacher himself. But I would not have had to join my teacher's sangha to expose his teachings; they are his lineage's website, which I wish I had read before ever taking Refuge in the Buddha though him, who as soon as I took refuge said, You should now think of me a Buddha." --a concept in Tibetan Buddhist lamas have that really bothers me now.
And this is what the my friend, the Tibetan Buddhist had to say:
“That is libel. The person is twisting the truth. There is no such thing as advanced yoga tantra and receiving a highest yoga tantra empowerment does not lead to sex. GKG did sack a few people for sexual abuse however. The NKT Highest Yoga Tantra is pure Gelugpa as taught by HHDL. . Men and women are treated equally and out of tens of thousands of people you will always find a few rogues. However I stepped out of the NKT because of those abuses which will be worse now that monks and nuns who are not Vajra Masters will be giving all empowerments.”
And from this same person:
''I wish you well, but I will try to stop you from negative karma out of compassion for others but also because it is harming you too. In the 'real world' I'm considered to be a pretty advanced practitioner of Highest Yoga Tantra with regard to Heruka Chakrasambara and Vajrayogini. You won't know it, but we 'self-generate' as either the female or the male deity with no regard to our gender in our current bodies. Not only that, but for example the female represents Wisdom, not a sex object.
So how, if you self-generated as a male, could you suffer at the hands of a man? It makes no sense, and I wish you would either stop and back away from insults, or make a thorough study and really understand what it is you are attacking."
And so all this aboe from an advanced practitioner.
And so my own reactions in all of this were first shock, then despair, and then more shock in learning about women and children being harmed, and next reading more books that exposed Tibetan Buddhism, which in turn sickened me. Next reading women's own stories, even children's, and all during this time as I was trying to get answers on forums, I was being told that I was committing "libel," and then was hounded. I left the forums for most part.
People, especially men, do not wish to give up their sexual practice in Tibetan Buddhism and will stop at nothing to hush a person up. How many threats have other people had? The Trimondis? I don't know. Some women are even afraid to speak out, and some have been depressed and frightened over what had happened to them.
How long can this go on before people will do something about it? Before people will stop saying it is just their karma?
I remember being upset over what was happening to a friend when I was in a Zen Buddhist group, and all I got from a monk was, "It is her karma." It felt cold even if it wasn't meant to be.
So now I ask, What is our own karma in allowing these things to go on?
Perry Bulwer (August 22, 2011 2:17 PM):
For several years now I have been following closely the issue of religion related child abuse. While I know very little about Buddhism and the various lineages (or sects and denominations as I would call them), I do recognize in this article some of the same issues faced by people trying to shine a light into the darker corners of religious institutions. It reminds me of a saying I heard often when I lived in Japan: "The nail that sticks out gets hammered down." That sounds an awful lot like the implied threats the author of this article kept getting when trying to expose in online forums Buddhist related human rights abuses. The push-back, criticisms, insults, threats, personal attacks Josey is experiencing for trying to do the right thing and protect women and children are all common tactics experienced by other human rights activists who try to expose abuses in other religious traditions. I have personally experienced this many times in my own efforts to expose religious abuses in general, and am well aware of similar efforts to silence those who speak out against particular groups, for example Scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses, or Mormons. You can find all sorts of online forums where these kinds of fights between apologists for a particular religion and activists exposing abuses take place regularly. So, Josey, you are not alone. Don't give up. No matter how much they try to discredit you, intimidate you, silence you. From my point of view, you are doing the right thing trying to protect others from harm by raising these issues. Like I said, I don't know much about Buddhism, but that sounds like good karma to me.
josey (August 22, 2011 2:41 PM):
Thank you so much Perry. Your website on Religion and Child Abuse News and the work you have put into it is very honorable, and you have put a lot of "work" into it!!! For those who desire to read your blog: http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.com/
josey (August 23, 2011 3:59 AM):
"For the most part, I think a lot of Rigpa students don’t feel it concerns them, and those who do know about it and remain, will not look on the web to see even what the Janice Doe case was about. Students have invested so much and it doesn’t touch them. It hasn’t happened to them. I find it ironic that sexual misconduct is one of the five basic tenets of non-harming, yet when it arises within the Sangha by the teacher then students turn away or dismiss it. If women are being damaged by this then it does matter.” Earlier this month we raised the question knowing that Sogyal was coming to give a retreat and providing persons the opportunity to make a statement to the Gardai"
Anonymous (September 7, 2011 6:07 PM):
Those who turn a blind eye to "clergy" misconduct, and who try to silence people who raise controversial issues in an effort to introduce reform, are in the final analysis only facilitating the misconduct, corruption, abuse, what-have-you. They are enablers. Most likely they come from a family background of enablers. I find it ironic that it's the "advanced practitioners" who seem to have lost sight of what Buddhism is fundamentally about: compassion for others. Threats, bullying, and intimidation have no place in Buddhism. This is some sort of false Buddhism that is more about learning secret teachings and techniques (even though the Buddha said on his deathbed that he had been an open book, and there were no esoteric teachings) than it is about the true spirit of Buddhism: cultivating humility, universal kindness, and wisdom. People who issue threats are standing Buddhism on its head and straying farther from their goal of Enlightenment.
Anonymous (September 7, 2011 6:18 PM):
Let's face it, people; the monastic system and the higher levels of Tantric Buddhism are the ultimate old-boys' network. And what the old boys do when faced with exposure of their boys' club secrets by women, is close ranks, and silence women by any means necessary. According to some women, lamas have gone so far as to threaten them with black magic and curses on their entire family and progeny if any secrets are revealed. They make a complete sham of Buddhism.