Two Documentaries examine the sexual abuse in the Tibetan Buddhist group, Rigpa

Two Documentaries examine the sexual abuse in the Tibetan Buddhist group, Rigpa September 1, 2018

As allegations continue to surface against Sakyong Mipham and the leadership of Shambhala International, it is worth looking a bit more into the structures of a Tibetan Buddhist organization where widespread physical and sexual abuse was recently exposed.

Rigpa (Tibetan for “wisdom” or “knowledge”) is a large Tibetan Buddhist organization founded in 1979 by Sogyal Lakhar. It has grown to be one of the largest single organizations dedicated to Tibetan Buddhism in the world with groups and centers in 41 countries around the world. Last year, Lakhar was deemed a “disgrace” by the Dalai Lama after a letter signed by 8 students detailed decades of abuse at his hands. Since then, a number of writings have come out, principally at the blogs “What Now?” and “How did it Happen?“, established explicitly to deal with questions stemming from the allegations and fallout in Rigpa; as well as at the Buddhism Controversy Blog, which features articles discussing a wide range of contemporary Buddhist groups.

The journalist Mary Finnigan has written perceptively of Sogyal, author Matthew Remski has likewise turned his attention to Sogyal and surrounding issues of clerical abuse.

Documentaries

Additionally, two documentaries, both in Dutch with English subtitles, explore the dynamics of power, Buddhist teachings, and personality of Sogyal Lakhar.

The more recent of the two is from the Dutch series “Brandpunt” (Focal Point) and was broadcast in June 2017:

All rights belong to Brandpunt TV and KRO-NCRV. The page for the programme, which included the written response from Rigpa is here: https://brandpunt.kro-ncrv.nl/brandpu…

And the older of the two is titled “In the Name of Enlightenment – Sex Scandal in Religion”:

The two serve as a good reminder to be careful when entering into any religious group. And to listen when members and ex-members speak out.


Do you find benefit in this writing?
Please support independent coverage of Buddhism and join a community of patrons here.

"There are at least two approaches to Buddhist economics, which is a term I love, ..."

Buddhist economics in action: Bhutan
"This was a fascinating read. As someone who fell into Buddhist teachings later in life, ..."

Studies in Buddhist ethics 4 – ..."
"My Tibetan teachers advise against involvement in politics. But politics has meant one thing in ..."

Watching the Kavanaugh hearings from a ..."
"In my humble opinion ayahuasca is superior to elitist intellectualism as a tool to interface ..."

The psychedelic drug debate: why Buddhist ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Buddhist
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment