Khenchen Namdrol Giving a Master Class in Victim-Blaming

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Khenchen Namdrol Giving a Master Class in Victim-Blaming

Postby admin » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:29 pm

Tibetan Buddhism Enters the 21st Century: Trouble in Shangri-la [EXCERPT]
by Stuart Lachs

The highest-ranking Buddhist to have spoken publicly on Ösel Tendzin’s issue was Kalu Rinpoche (b. 1905 d. 1989), of the Kagyü lineage, a highly respected meditation master known for his compassion and wisdom. He spoke at a meeting of about 100 Buddhists in Los Angeles on December 22, 1988. According to a tape of the meeting recorded by a church member, Kalu Rinpoche, speaking in Tibetan with an English interpreter, said: ‘As all of you know, the Vajra regent has contracted AIDS. And people worry very much about the fact that he might have passed this on to many, many people.’ Yet he then asked members to show compassion for the regent.49 However, there was no mention of compassion for people the Regent infected or may have infected or were realistically worried about becoming infected because of having had sex with him or one of his partners. Not only no compassion, but also that worries of the students’ questioning Ösel Tendzin’s behavior could be detrimental to themselves because this questioning was breaking their samaya vows.

One student asked about repairing their samaya vows broken by the student’s questioning, if even only to herself, the sexual behavior of the Regent.50 These vows are taken very seriously. We already saw Trungpa’s close disciples because of their samaya vows proudly supplying him with alcohol and cocaine as he rushed to early death from abusing his body with just these very substances. So, the samaya vow idea is very complicit in the entire set up of unquestioned hierarchy, abuse, obedience, and secrecy.

Kalu instructed that the Regent Ösel Tendzin was their Lama, that they should follow him, that they in fact needed to repair their “broken vows” to the Regent. He instructed that this can be accomplished by first confessing to him and second by making a promise to themselves and to the Regent that they would not develop this kind of attitude in the future. He added to rely on Ösel Tendzin and to accomplish as much virtue as possible. ‘You should do whatever you can to be helpful to the Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin to bring him joy. In these ways you can clear away any broken samaya completely.’51

Kalu also forbid any public talk of the Regent’s AIDS problem at his Centers and told Shambhala members not to discuss it as ‘it was neither helping anyone and was only disrupting their meditation and the harmony of the sangha.’52 Kalu also forbade Lama Ken McCleod, a senior student of his, to speak publicly of Ösel Tendzin, which he obeyed.53

Knowing what we now know, it is not surprising that Kalu demanded secrecy. In 1996, June Campbell’s book, Traveler in Space: In Search of Female Identity in Tibetan Buddhism was published. Campbell in her twenties, as a Tibetan studies scholar, spent many years as a student of Kalu Rinpoche and acted as a translator for him. She also wrote that she was a secret consort of his along with at least one other woman, a teenage Tibetan girl. Campbell said Kalu’s sexual life was kept secret aside from one other person though the relationship lasted for years.54 She wrote, ‘it was plainly emphasized that any indiscretion in maintaining silence over our affair might lead to madness, trouble, or even death.’55 Though Kalu lived many years not as a monk after escaping Tibet, according to Campbell, ‘he was afraid of the consequences of revealing his secret life.’56 Several western scholars seemed to be completely ignorant of the hidden life existing within the lama system; in 1993 Kalu was described as a monk. When the biography of this high lama was written there was no mention of Campbell’s name or even references to a metaphorical consort. According to Campbell, ‘the Tibetan system was for all intents and purposes a secret society.’57

However, in terms of keeping secrecy the reincarnated tulku Kalu (b. September 17, 1990) appears to be very different from his former incarnations. During the question and answer period after a talk he gave in 2011 in Vancouver (Canada), the young Kalu was asked about sexual abuse in Tibetan monasteries. Kalu replied that he was sensitive to it because he himself was a victim of sexual abuse. When the interviewer, Joseph Hooper brought up the concept of “inappropriate touching,” the young Kalu laughed edgily. ‘This was hard-core sex, he says, including penetration. Most of the time, they just came alone,’ Kalu said. Kalu continued, ‘They just banged the door harder, and I had to open it. I knew what was going to happen, and after that you become more used to it.’ It wasn’t until Kalu returned to the monastery after his three-year retreat that he realized how wrong this practice was. Kalu said that by then the cycle had begun again on a younger generation of victims. Kalu’s claims of sexual abuse mirror those of Lodoe Senge, an ex-monk and 23-year-old tulku who now lives in Queens, New York.58

After his three year retreat the young Kalu wanted to change his tutor which resulted in an argument with the current tutor: ‘The older monk left in a rage and returned with a foot-long knife. Kalu barricaded himself in his new tutor’s room, but, he says, the enraged monk broke down the door, screaming, “I don’t give a shit about you, your reincarnation. I can kill you right now and we can recognize another boy, another Kalu Rinpoche!” Kalu took refuge in the bathroom, but the tutor broke that door, too. Kalu recalls, “You think, ‘Okay, this is the end, this is it.'” Fortunately, other monks heard the commotion and rushed to restrain the tutor. In the aftermath of the attack, Kalu says, his mother and several of his sisters (Kalu’s father had died when he was a boy) sided with the tutor, making him so distraught that he fled the monastery and embarked on a six-month drug-and-alcohol-fueled bender in Bangkok.’ 59 The reincarnated Kalu was exceedingly brave to expose some of the hidden underbelly of Tibetan Buddhist monastic life while struggling to make sense of his life. Interestingly, here as in other sexual abuse cases, often the family turns away from the victims.

This story related by the young reincarnated Kalu raises a few questions. Was no older monk looking out or watching over and guiding the young Kalu? If there was, was it just accepted practice that young tulkus or monks to be would be sexually abused? On what grounds was his tutor picked who so easily was ready to kill Kalu for rejecting him as his tutor? Was there no consequence for the tutor attempting to kill Kalu which also was known by at least a few older monks? As Kalu mentioned after coming out of his retreat, ‘the cycle had continued on a younger generation of victims,’ so it seems that the sexual abuse of young boys by older monks was quite open and seemingly common and accepted practice. It appears there are some deep problems that are internally well known in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries but hidden from the public.

However, it was not only the older Kalu who instructed secrecy. When the editor Rick Fields of the Vajradhatu Sun, the official paper of the organization, prepared a short article describing the bare bones of the Ösel Tendzin crisis, he was forbidden to print it. ‘There have been ongoing discussions, both within community meetings and among many individuals, about the underlying issues that permitted the current situation to occur,’ read the banned article. ‘Those issues include the abuse of power and the betrayal of trust, the proper relationship between teachers with spiritual authority and students, particularly in the West, and the relationship between devotion and critical intelligence on the spiritual path.’ In March, Fields again attempted to run his article but this time he was fired by the Vajra Regent. When the board of directors refused to support him, he formally resigned.60

The whole, ugly mess was so rotten!!!

Then came the news about Osel Tenzin and his thinking he was above AIDS, that his penis was magic, so magic it killed people. Then news of Trungpa's death, his obesity, the drunken stripping of people in public, violating them publicly, then Kalu Rinpoche's using June for all those years with his nephew in on this insanity, all while pretending to be His Holiness monk, who looked like a male Mother Theresa, and actually being scum.

Yes, it's a whole, ugly, rotten mess, and the betrayal by the lamas was just the beginning. The lack of principles, clarity, honesty, morality trickled down. Ugh.

-- The Writings of Am Learning
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Re: Khenchen Namdrol Giving a Master Class in Victim-Blaming

Postby admin » Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:55 am

Kalu Rinpoche’s talk to the LA Dharmadhatu
by Kalu Rinpoche
December 22, 1988

Kalu Rinpoche talk to the L.A. Dharmadhatu
Transcribed from the tape by Tara Carreon

[Translator] Good evening members of the sangha, friends. On behalf of the Dharmadhatu of Los Angeles, and Vajradhatu, I’d like to welcome everyone this evening, and particularly to express our gratitude to The Learned, Very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche for The Extraordinary Gift of his Presence with us here this evening. The Venerable Kalu Rinpoche, as I’m sure most of you know, is The Senior Meditation Master of the Kagyu Lineage, One Of The Greatest Yogis and Practitioners, Masters Of The Profound Path Of The Kagyu Lineage That The World Has Ever Known. Rinpoche Is Renowned For His Retreat Practice And Accomplishment, For His Wisdom, And For His Compassion. And It’s Quite Extraordinary That We Have The Auspicious Coincidence of The Embodiment Of Compassion With Us At A Time That It Is Most Appropriate For Us. So we’re very grateful to Rinpoche for being here and very grateful to auspicious coincidence for his being here, and we welcome you Rinpoche and request you to address us….

[Kalu Rinpoche] During my last trip to North America several years ago -- this was before the passing away of Trungpa Rinpoche -- I went to Boulder where I had been asked by Vajradhatu and Dharmadhatus to perform the initiation, the empowerment, of kalachakra, both for the benefit of peace and happiness in the world, and particularly for the benefit of the students of Trungpa Rinpoche. At that particular time, Trungpa Rinpoche was quite ill. And I performed this ceremony with the thought that I should be doing something to prolong his life if it was possible; if not, then simply to do something which would please him. And at that time, I was accompanied by most of the lamas here present tonight, and the translator at that time was Ken McCloud. And everything went very excellently in Boulder at that time. And at that time I made a very strong connection with various members of the Dharmadhatu organization, and our minds became as one from that time.

At this particular point in time, I have been extremely happy to be among you once again, and to see various members of the Dharmadhatu, and most particularly the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin. However, there seems to be some problems these days. And in spite of my great happiness at meeting all of you, and particularly the Vajra Regent once again, there are things which are making me a little sad.

The present situation is like this:

At one time there was a rabbit. And there was a great wind. And during this time, some trees were blown into the water, and made a very great sound. The rabbit became very afraid of this sound. He wasn’t used to hearing it, so he ran away. When he was running away, he ran into a couple of deer. And the deer said, “What are you running from?” And he said, “There’s something the matter here in the ocean. I’m running away from this sound ‘Jow.’” And the deer became very afraid, and they started running away with the rabbit.

Many animals gathered as the news spread that there was some terrible sound, “Jow,” which was coming from the ocean. And they all ran away. And eventually they came and met a lion. And this lion was completely fearless. And he said, “What are you running away from?” And they said, “Well, there’s this sound ‘Jow,’ at the ocean.” And he said, “I’m not afraid of this.” He had a tremendous amount of pride, and he had the rabbit lead him to the ocean where the sound had come from. And he stood up on the rocks to look over into the water to see where the sound had come from. And he made his body very, very high, and he looked down into the water, and he saw his own reflection. And he said, “Ah, this must be the particular thing that is making this particular noise. I’m very strong. I can defeat this particular enemy.” And he jumped in, and made the sound “Jow” once again, and died. And nothing came of all of his courage.

The present situation is like this. [LAUGHTER] I really feel the present situation is like this. At this particular point in time, as all of you already know, the Vajra Regent has contracted AIDS. And people worry very much about the fact that he might have passed this on to many people. As far as I’m concerned, the panic that people are feeling at this particular point is much like these animals running away from the sound “Jow, Jow, Jow.” As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing to this particular worry.

I’ve been aware of this situation for some time now; however, I’ve heard just recently that due to the activity of Ken McCloud, and one of the people at his center, that some of the information concerning the Vajra Regent has gone into the newspapers. My own feeling about this is that we in the dharma centers, be they the Vajradhatu, Dharmadhatu, or my own centers here, all of us are working to provide beings with peace of mind as well as happiness and comfort physically. This is the reason why we have dharma centers, in order to benefit others. Now persons who have AIDS have other very serious sicknesses they are suffering physically. And this sort of publicity which is blaming others for the difficulties that a person might have, is only adding unhappiness to the person’s physical suffering. They are suffering in their minds if they follow this type of news.

In America, you have a lot of people looking over the laws of the land, and taking care of the health of the citizens of this country. You have the President, you have the Supreme Court, you have everybody from the top to the bottom. You have hundreds of thousands of police, and other persons who are taking care of people’s situations, whether people are harming one another, or are benefiting one another. As far as I’m concerned it is not the work at all of the dharma centers to examine exactly what is happening in another center’s group. I have control myself only of my own organization. And if Ken McCloud and other persons within my own organization are being harmful to others, this is something which I can put a stop to. This is something which I will put a stop to. This sort of activity of putting things into newspapers and making publicity which is harmful to other people in various ways, is something which is against the principles of our religious organization. We don’t have an organization for this sort of purpose. The purpose of our organization is to be of benefit to others.

As little as we can say, as little as we can discuss with others about this subject, the better, simply because this is a tremendous cause of distraction within our meditation practices. This is of very little benefit to the minds of anybody.

There are agencies in the American government, no doubt, that take care of people who have AIDS. And they are able to make an examination of a person. And if a person has AIDS, this is something between them and government agencies. And they should simply ask, “What do I do now?” And if they don’t have AIDS, then that’s just fine.
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