Aaron

Sexual Abuse and Misconduct in Buddhism

88 posts in this topic

This is one of the hot topics for me, because, having done some research I know for a fact that the sexual abuse of boys in Buddhism is more prevalent than in Catholicism, yet no one seems to want to talk about it or even recognize that it occurs. I think for many practitioners of Buddhism sexual misconduct by Buddhist monks seems impossible or at least highly unlikely, simply because it is a topic that is highly taboo within the Buddhist religious institutions.

 

I was recently looking up some information regarding the holographic principle when I ran across some information that astounded me, if only because it was so blatant that you would think someone would say, WTF??? Yet no one seemed to bat an eye. In particular it's this quote by the Dalai Lama which is taken from a book by Peter Harvey, "An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics" in which the Dalai Lhama said, "Masturbation ... includes emitting semen on another person, a monk getting a novice to masturbate him, or himself masturbating a sleeping novice, which could be seen to include homosexual acts. It is a lesser offence, of expiation [i.e., atonement]"...

 

 

Now the quote itself doesn't seem that outrageous until you realize that novice monks are in nearly every case under the age of eighteen and in most cases much younger. Essentially what the Dalai Lama said was that if you got a boy or young teen to have sex with you, so long as it was masturbation, that it only required atonement, prayer and amends, not really a serious act. If the pope or any other prominent religious figure said something like this, the crap would hit the fan, but because it was the Dalai Lama, essentially it's ignored.

 

 

Nor is it completely isolated within Tibetan Buddhism, but rather it's rampant in nearly all monasteries, even in Ch'an, Zen, and Theravada monasteries. So here's my point, how can it go on without anyone really doing anything to stop it? How is Buddhism any better than other religions if they allow this kind of monstrous behavior to occur? In fact they have done absolutely nothing to stop it, neither the governments in those countries or the people living there who are aware of this going on.

 

 

The excused for these actions abound, the most common being that these enlightened people must indulge in these actions in order to remain in this world, otherwise they would leave us much sooner, to it being a cultural phenomena that Westerners don't understand. I think anyone who has half a mind understands what's going on. Anyways, I wont go any further, just wanted to hear other people's thoughts on this topic.

Also, please don't move this post to the Buddhist section, I would rather have it in the Open Discussion section.

Aaron

Edited by Twinner

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In particular it's this quote by the Dalai Lama which is taken from a book by Peter Harvey, "An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics" in which the Dalai Lhama said, "Masturbation ... includes emitting semen on another person, a monk getting a novice to masturbate him, or himself masturbating a sleeping novice, which could be seen to include homosexual acts. It is a lesser offence, of expiation [i.e., atonement]"...
Lol, it's funny because his Hollywood liberal fanbase would be outraged to know that jerking off with another guy is considered an offense because they are "homosexual."

 

Whereas, presumably "heterosexual" solo masturbation or with a girl - may be ok??

 

Meanwhile, you're offended because jerking off with young guys would ONLY be considered a lesser offense...

 

Anyhow yes, the Dalai Lama is deified in the West as a political pawn to villainize China. Not unlike with MLK Jr. & Mother Teresa. The "enemy" of your "enemy" is your "BFF"...

 

:D

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This is one of the hot topics for me, because, having done some research I know for a fact that the sexual abuse of boys in Buddhism is more prevalent than in Catholicism, yet no one seems to want to talk about it or even recognize that it occurs. I think for many practitioners of Buddhism sexual misconduct by Buddhist monks seems impossible or at least highly unlikely, simply because it is a topic that is highly taboo within the Buddhist religious institutions.

 

I was recently looking up some information regarding the holographic principle when I ran across some information that astounded me, if only because it was so blatant that you would think someone would say, WTF??? Yet no one seemed to bat an eye. In particular it's this quote by the Dalai Lama which is taken from a book by Peter Harvey, "An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics" in which the Dalai Lhama said, "Masturbation ... includes emitting semen on another person, a monk getting a novice to masturbate him, or himself masturbating a sleeping novice, which could be seen to include homosexual acts. It is a lesser offence, of expiation [i.e., atonement]"...

 

 

Now the quote itself doesn't seem that outrageous until you realize that novice monks are in nearly every case under the age of eighteen and in most cases much younger. Essentially what the Dalai Lama said was that if you got a boy or young teen to have sex with you, so long as it was masturbation, that it only required atonement, prayer and amends, not really a serious act. If the pope or any other prominent religious figure said something like this, the crap would hit the fan, but because it was the Dalai Lama, essentially it's ignored.

 

 

Nor is it completely isolated within Tibetan Buddhism, but rather it's rampant in nearly all monasteries, even in Ch'an, Zen, and Theravada monasteries. So here's my point, how can it go on without anyone really doing anything to stop it? How is Buddhism any better than other religions if they allow this kind of monstrous behavior to occur? In fact they have done absolutely nothing to stop it, neither the governments in those countries or the people living there who are aware of this going on.

 

 

The excused for these actions abound, the most common being that these enlightened people must indulge in these actions in order to remain in this world, otherwise they would leave us much sooner, to it being a cultural phenomena that Westerners don't understand. I think anyone who has half a mind understands what's going on. Anyways, I wont go any further, just wanted to hear other people's thoughts on this topic.

Also, please don't move this post to the Buddhist section, I would rather have it in the Open Discussion section.

Aaron

 

Even a blind man can see through your not so hidden agenda.

 

Your lies about child sex abuse in Buddhist monasteries are so outrageous that I don't even need to rebuke them.

 

The more TPTB try to stop asceticism and the culling of Lust and Sex, the more the holy people on this board will resort to asceticism and the culling of Lust and Sex.

 

Just remember, the filthy lies which you are propagating today will come back to haunt your soul at the time of your death, regardless if some higher dimensional powers are controlling you or not.

 

You will be Judged by the Gods and Angels for every mis-action which you take and lies propagated against the Buddha are some of the most evil sins of all.

 

But then I am sure some men aren't worried about punishments in the afterlife. Their sins are already too numerous and black for them to worry about adding another sin to their record.

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---------Scott Squad Message------

Tulku has been reported for trolling.

---------Scott Squad out-----------

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I was moved when I saw the current Kalu Rinpoche admit to being sexually abused in the monastery. You could tell that he had a lot of unprocessed emotion around the issue. I thought to myself, "Here is a guy who has had all these responsibilities thrust upon him, and there is probably nothing in his monastic training or personal milieu that would enable him to work through his issues." Perhaps change could happen if more "big names" "came out" about the issue.

 

Anyway, sexual abuse of women also happens in Buddhism, especially if the abuser thinks they can get away with it by calling it "Tantra".

 

On the other hand, as far as Westerners coming along and passing judgement about what should or shouldn't be done goes, well, I think that as a culture we have all this baggage in the criteria we use to judge and the assumptions we make about sexual relationships. I see a lot of self-righteousness, and demonizing of things that are not themselves the real issue.

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---------Scott Squad Message------

Tulku has been reported for trolling.

---------Scott Squad out-----------

 

And Twinner is not trolling about posting lies about Buddhism? This is what he wrote..

 

Essentially what the Dalai Lama said was that if you got a boy or young teen to have sex with you, so long as it was masturbation, that it only required atonement, prayer and amends, not really a serious act. If the pope or any other prominent religious figure said something like this, the crap would hit the fan, but because it was the Dalai Lama, essentially it's ignored.

 

Nor is it completely isolated within Tibetan Buddhism, but rather it's rampant in nearly all monasteries, even in Ch'an, Zen, and Theravada monasteries. So here's my point, how can it go on without anyone really doing anything to stop it? How is Buddhism any better than other religions if they allow this kind of monstrous behavior to occur? In fact they have done absolutely nothing to stop it, neither the governments in those countries or the people living there who are aware of this going on.

 

This is the biggest trolling piece of lie designed to flame bait the practicing buddhists in here. And he doesn't even have proof for his lies. Where are the URL links?

 

IMHO, Twinner should be banned for writing such outrageous lies.

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Carl Sagan - "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

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Considering there is a new scandal in the Catholic church almost every week it is a pretty extraordinary claim that what goes on in Buddhism is worse , you need evidence or at least provide links or it just looks like politically motivated malicious slander

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Elephant in the Room

 

Another Elephant

 

Yet Another

 

I am somewhat surprised at the replies Twinner has suffered from posting this topic. Are Buddhist monks somehow less likely to commit these misdeeds than Catholic Priests?

 

The Elephant is very difinitely in the room and to point it out is not an attack on Buddhism. If there is a problem then it should be admitted and dealt with.

Edited by Chang
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Elephant in the Room

 

Another Elephant

 

Yet Another

 

I am somewhat surprised at the replies Twinner has suffered from posting this topic. Are Buddhist monks somehow less likely to commit these misdeeds than Catholic Priests?

 

The Elephant is very difinitely in the room and to point it out is not an attack on Buddhism. If there is a problem then it should be admitted and dealt with.

 

I doubt anyone will deny such abuse goes on in Buddhism but the nature of the abuse in the Catholic church was that it was systematic and often covered up internally often at very high levels in the Church, some priests would get caught and just get transferred where they would abuse again. Twinner isnt just saying abuse goes on he is somehw implicating the Dalai Lama is involved which is a different claim which needs more backing up.

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I doubt anyone will deny such abuse goes on in Buddhism but the nature of the abuse in the Catholic church was that it was systematic and often covered up internally often at very high levels in the Church, some priests would get caught and just get transferred where they would abuse again. Twinner isnt just saying abuse goes on he is somehw implicating the Dalai Lama is involved which is a different claim which needs more backing up.

 

The Dalai Lama does not speak for all Buddhists.

 

Buddhist Monks are just as frail, weak and human as Catholic Priests. Of course abuse takes place so lets not make the mistake of thinking that somehow Buddhists are above such behaviour. I am afraid that they are not.

 

We should look at and face thing from where we are, the real world - the one what spins!

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Dont be so naive.

 

Countless people who find themselves thrusted into the monastic environment dont even have a clue what the heavens they are doing there! Its a fact that a large number of those who enter monasteries do so out of desperation and lack of options, so, in this instance, its good to remember that desperate people will do desperate things, and being inside this very buffered zone somehow gives these bent individuals the extra bit of opportunity and bravado to experiment with behavioral licentiousness.

 

The reasons and causes for them to act thus are as varied as there are types of mushrooms.

 

And like mushrooms, some folks are essentially prized for their nature, while others has to be treated with varying degrees of caution, regardless of the setting they are in.

 

Those who fancy picking them, or picking on them, well, knowledge and discernment is key.

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anyone can be a monk if they take vows and live in a monastery. perverts, the mentally ill, people with sexual issues. you can't tell at first, and sometimes people with issues use monastery life to escape their problems. so the issue of sexual abuse speaks more or less about the nature of some humans, and not necessarily about buddhism.

 

i think the agenda of the OP is transparent, to smear religion by point out a tiny fraction of what happens, that very worst fraction, and then imply that the sickness of humans is somehow the fault of the religion they were a part of. but thats incorrect.

 

you can find the sexually sick, and child molesters, everywhere, across cultures and religions. of course some ordained buddhists will be sexually sick. some of any statistically significant cross section of humanity will have serious sexual issues.

 

and if you really want to stay stuck in the falacy that buddhism is somehow causal to the effect of child molestation, why not compare the number of people it has helped, and the number of people who have attained liberation from the ceaseless cycle of craving and suffering, compare those numbers to the number of monks and nuns who have serious sexual problems.

 

i suggest that you might find a similar number of sick people per capita to any other group of human beings, while you might find a higher percentage of people who have been helped and who have attained the realization of their personal freedom thereby.

 

buddhism and monastic life isn't to be put on some pedestal. its just a bunch of humans trying to do the best they can. people tend to put monks on a pedestal like as if just because they took precepts and wear robes they are somehow fundamentally different than other humans, when really, the truth is that they aren't. their shit stinks just like ours, they are just spending their lives trying to refine their human natures while we are doing various things like engaging in our own daily activities, and unfairly criticizing entire institutions for the misdeeds of a small percentage of members. hmmm

 

i too would like to see verification of the claim that buddhism is worse than catholicism, or any other spiritual path that requests celibacy of its adherents, in its incident of child abuse and other sexual-repression based crimes. i just didn't "know" that until i read it in the OP! until there is some kind of proof given, i will categorize it as scandalous gossip, and consider that twinner might have one of those "hidden" agendas against organized religion.

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This is a very interesting post as it is obvious that some of those replying have read the opening entry and put their own slant upon it.

 

I for one did not consider the post to be an attack on Buddhism or indeed Buddhists and those who consider that it is may benefit from some introspection.

 

Well done Twinner for starting this topic.

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This is a very interesting post as it is obvious that some of those replying have read the opening entry and put their own slant upon it.

 

I for one did not consider the post to be an attack on Buddhism or indeed Buddhists and those who consider that it is may benefit from some introspection.

 

Well done Twinner for starting this topic.

 

I dont think you have read the op either as it is essentially claiming the Dalai Lama excuses molestation while all your links and posts had nothing to do with that. All we have is Twinners own interpretation of a quote which may be a wrong interpretation, or it may be out of context, or it may be translated or interpreted incorrectly; then from this one quote suddenly abuse in all Buddhist monasteries are worse than the Catholic Church which is sensationalist to say the least seeing as the Pope himself had to come out and apologise for the systematic abuse and coverups in his Church as it got so bad.

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This is a very interesting post as it is obvious that some of those replying have read the opening entry and put their own slant upon it.

 

I for one did not consider the post to be an attack on Buddhism or indeed Buddhists and those who consider that it is may benefit from some introspection.

 

Well done Twinner for starting this topic.

 

i may have extrapolated meaning where it didn't exist, based on twinners other posts about organized religion. But i'm not going to edit my post, as my basic points still stand. As a buddhist, i didn't feel attacked by it, but i don't think its factually accurate, and i don't think it addresses the problem in a solution oriented way, its just sort of a complaining post.

 

i would be more interested in reading an unbiased exposition, but thats just me. all the same, its a good issue to address, so i think its good to talk about it.

Edited by anamatva
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I dont think you have read the op either as it is essentially claiming the Dalai Lama excuses molestation while all your links and posts had nothing to do with that. All we have is Twinners own interpretation of a quote which may be a wrong interpretation, or it may be out of context, or it may be translated or interpreted incorrectly; then from this one quote suddenly abuse in all Buddhist monasteries are worse than the Catholic Church which is sensationalist to say the least seeing as the Pope himself had to come out and apologise for the systematic abuse and coverups in his Church as it got so bad.

 

I have read the original post and yes, Twinner has opened a bag of worms. But I see no good reason that he should be vilified for so doing.

 

It is obvious that a fire has been lit so let me throw some kindling on before retiring:-

 

Child Abuse in Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries

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It would seem that such things are generally related to large organizations / hierarchy

 

power and being above the "law"

 

perceived spiritual "rank" or monetary

 

the larger the hierarchical organization generally the greater the corruption / sense of being "untouchable"

 

the corruption being at the very top

 

from the Vatican to the "White House"?

 

From Wall Street to Hollywood?

 

with the multitude obeying

 

solution: level the field

Edited by White Wolf Running On Air

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I'd like to ask the moderators why this thread isn't being placed in the Buddhist sub-forum, other than the OP asking it not to be?

 

If positive postings about this subject are relegated to the sub-forum, why aren't critical ones as well?

 

Personally, I don't like the subforums, and preferred the earlier format of having everything in one place.

 

Also, there is a poster who is always posting Judeo-Christian stuff in the General Discussion. Why isn't there a sub-forum for that material also?

 

Thanks for your response.

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What does posting this on this particular board going to do at all to actually stop sexual abuse in monasteries? I haven't seen Twinner (or other Taobums like Chang) specific proposals for stopping such practices because merely posting on a message board isn't gonna do anything about it.

 

And I presume doing something to actually stop it is what Twinner is wanting us to do. He should also be posting this subject and his actionable proposals at places like Dharma Wheel or Dharma Overground. You know...places with LOTS of actual Buddhists instead of just the tiny handful like at TB.

 

Since Twinner didn't bring up any charges against Buddhist meditation retreat centers I assume these don't have nearly as much rampant sex abuse as is current in Buddhist monasteries - although presuming there are then my request is the same.

 

 

 

Chang...

 

Maybe you can make a list of specific actions we all can take to stop such abuse (besides solely yapping about it at a Taoist forum)? I would rather we all ACT than post and counter-post about the topic - which doesn't do squat for helping the victims or potential victims.

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What does posting this on this particular board going to do at all to actually stop sexual abuse in monasteries? I haven't seen Twinner (or other Taobums like Chang) specific proposals for stopping such practices because merely posting on a message board isn't gonna do anything about it.

 

And I presume doing something to actually stop it is what Twinner is wanting us to do. He should also be posting this subject and his actionable proposals at places like Dharma Wheel or Dharma Overground. You know...places with LOTS of actual Buddhists instead of just the tiny handful like at TB.

 

Since Twinner didn't bring up any charges against Buddhist meditation retreat centers I assume these don't have nearly as much rampant sex abuse as is current in Buddhist monasteries - although presuming there are then my request is the same.

 

 

 

Chang...

 

Maybe you can make a list of specific actions we all can take to stop such abuse (besides solely yapping about it at a Taoist forum)? I would rather we all ACT than post and counter-post about the topic - which doesn't do squat for helping the victims or potential victims.

 

I have no such list I am afraid but let me say this. The very fact that this post exists is a step in the right direction to correct that which is obviously wrong. My interest was in the response of some other Taubums to the topic being raised at all.

 

I feel that I have yapped enough on this unpleasant subject and so as to cause no more offence I will yap no more and leave further posts to wiser souls.

Edited by Chang

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Maybe you can make a list of specific actions we all can take to stop such abuse (besides solely yapping about it at a Taoist forum)? I would rather we all ACT than post and counter-post about the topic - which doesn't do squat for helping the victims or potential victims.

Jaw boning is about all we can do. Unless we have flashlights and hang out at monasteries. In reality we can't do squat (unless some monk makes a move on us).

 

But I think there is some good to learning monasteries have problems. Not to put other exotic systems on too a high a pedestal. The scandals of the West also happen (quietly) in the East. Cause people is people, especially people in power.

 

We need perspective and some of that comes out in the tit for tat. We reflexively counter attack when our idols are threatened, when we should put away our 'identities' and learn.

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I have no such list I am afraid but let me say this. The very fact that this post exists is a step in the right direction to correct that which is obviously wrong.

 

Well that's a bummer.

 

Jaw boning is about all we can do. Unless we have flashlights and hang out at monasteries. In reality we can't do squat (unless some monk makes a move on us).

 

But I think there is some good to learning monasteries have problems.

 

I don't think anyone denies these problems exist. All humans would have to be sages already if they didn't. If they're sages already there is no need for a monastery to exist. Monasteries only exist (presumably) to help people evolve to becoming sages. If you're already a sage you don't need one.

 

The following is not directed to anyone in particular but to the participants in this thread.

 

I wonder what good does only jaw-boning about all this stuff actually DO that's a step in the right direction?

 

See when I look on message boards and see threads like this one I see OODLES of jaw-boning tit for tat. But then when people stop being keyboard jockeys what did they really step up and do in the right direction? Shining a light on problems doesn't do jack s*** UNLESS we actually DO something to STOP these things from happening that was spelled out and discussed in that thread. I don't even see any of the tiny handful of Taobums Buddhists saying they currently live in a Buddhist monastery. Just which Taobum Buddhist(s) is(are) a monk?

In fact...I'd say threads like this - unless they mention how to follow up with action - add to the problem instead of helping in preventing it. People feel like they've 'done something' when they really haven't. This is no different from a bunch of old guys sitting around on a porch, drinking beer gossiping, arguing back and forth and all agreeing sex abuse is bad. So they all agreed it's BAD. No s*** Sherlock. Now what?

 

That's what specific actionable proposals are designed to prevent.

 

Twinner said this is a HOT TOPIC for him (maybe he was a victim of a Buddhist monk or friends with someone who was?). Meaning he wants it to STOP.

 

As a reminder he himself said this (even stated it was the whole point of his post):

 

So here's my point, how can it go on without anyone really doing anything to stop it?

 

So...I'd like to hear what we all need to do about it here at Taobums to do just that. It sounds like that's the kind of discussion Twinner wants us to focus on as well.

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thanks for that last part sereneblue, i didn't even see that he raised the question. i appreciate it.

 

i looked up petitions and movements of the sort that might be available for people wanting to engage in direct action via a signature or a financial donation but i found nothing.

 

i wonder if it is so prevalent why isn't there more voice to be heard on the subject?

 

monastic buddhism is a celibate tradition so um i don't doubt that it happens, and i would be happy to give or sign or whatever i could do from my seat here to help insure that young monks and nuns are not subjected to those crimes... but i don't really see what there is to do about it directly. hopefully someone can shed some light on this, please post if you find anything

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