Time for Radical Change How We Raise our Tulkus, by Dzongsar

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: Time for Radical Change How We Raise our Tulkus, by Dzon

Postby admin » Wed Mar 18, 2020 10:29 pm

What Lies Beneath the Robes: Are Buddhist Monasteries Suitable Places for Children?
by Adele Wilde-Blavatsky
Elephant Journal
June 7, 2013

“I think this [sexual abuse in monasteries] is something we should look at. It’s very important that people don’t forget: Buddhism and Buddhist are two different entities. Buddhism is perfect. Buddhists are not.”

~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

“Whenever one person stands up and says ‘wait a minute, this is wrong,” it helps other people to do the same.”

~ Gloria Steinem

Bhutan Issues Condoms for Monks

This month is the sacred month of Saga Dawa, when millions of Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvana (passing away) over 2500 years ago. Ironically, this same month, in the tiny Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, it was reported that health authorities are making condoms available at all Buddhist monastic schools in a bid to stem the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV among young monks who are supposed to be celibate.

According to one newspaper, warning signs of risky behavior among monks first appeared in 2009, when a report on risks and vulnerabilities of adolescents revealed that monks were engaging in “thigh sex” (in which a man uses another man’s clenched thighs for masturbation), according to the state-owned Kuensel Daily.

On the one hand, this is a shocking story about the moral degeneration of the Buddhist community, with supposedly celibate Buddhist monks engaging in sexual activity. On the other hand, it is a positive sign of a conservative, Buddhist society opening up and acknowledging there is a serious problem of sexual misconduct in their monastic institutions.

The point of taking monastic celibacy vows is to show one’s commitment and intention to renounce attachment to sexual desire that, from the Buddhist viewpoint, causes many different types of physical and mental suffering. Some might think “thigh sex” (if consensual) is a minor transgression. Yet, one might also question if this was really what the Buddha intended when he spoke about the path of celibacy?

In any case, whatever one might think about “thigh sex” between consenting adult monks, if they are contracting HIV and other STDs, that generally means full penetrative sex (with men or women); penetrative sex is a clear breach of their vows and the Buddha’s teachings on monastic discipline and ethics.

Over the last few years, I have heard several stories of monastic sexual misconduct and abuse in Tibetan monasteries in exile. At times it is difficult to distinguish what is second-hand gossip and what is based on facts or direct personal experience. Melvyn C. Goldstein also referred to the sexual activity of monks in his book History of a Modern Tibet (Vol 2) and Lama Shree Narayan Singh has also written about the historical origin of ‘thigh sex’ in Tibet; however, up until recently, very few Tibetans have taken the brave step of ‘going public’ with their personal experiences.
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