Sep 15, 2018

Dalai Lama meets alleged abuse victims

September 14, 2018

The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has met four victims of alleged sexual abuse in the Netherlands.

The group had requested the meeting to discuss abuse reportedly carried out by former or current Buddhist teachers in several countries.

"We found refuge in Buddhism with an open mind and heart, until we were violated in its name," they wrote.

A spokesperson said the Dalai Lama was "saddened" to hear about the abuse and "constantly condemned" such behaviour.
The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, is currently on a tour of Europe.

The three women and one man who attended the 20-minute meeting on Friday presented written testimonies from 12 alleged victims.

One of those present, Oane Bijlsma, told Efe news agency that it was "a very complicated meeting".

She said that at the beginning the Dalai Lama "didn't want to hear" about their cases, but added that after 10 minutes of conversation he became "more receptive".

"By the end he was closer, he stopped trying to convince us that it wasn't his fault and started to listen to what we were saying," Ms Bijlsma said.

The meeting comes a week after Rigpa, an international Buddhist organisation active in the West, apologised for alleged abuse carried out by its founder Sogyal Lakar, also known as Sogyal Rinpoche.

Mr Lakar is best known for his 1994 book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, which sold over three million copies.

Last month, an independent investigation by a lawyer commissioned by Rigpa found that some members of Mr Lakar's "inner circle" were "subjected to serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse by him".

The report added that senior members of the organisation had knowledge of some of the issues and "failed to address them, leaving others at risk".
Mr Lakar, who has stepped down as the head of Rigpa, declined to be interviewed for the investigation due to health issues.

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