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Sexual Boundaries in Tibetan Buddhism.

To: alt.religion.buddhism.tibetan,alt.magick.tantra
From: seetoh - deja singapore 
Subject: Re: Sexual Boundaries in Tibetan Buddhism.
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 01:26:49 GMT

Date: 1999/10/09
Author: Mary Finnigan 
   Posting History

catherine yronwode writes
>As you can see from the crosspost, i am reading this from
>alt.magick.tantra, an ecelectic newsgroup, and not primarily religious
>in nature. Please forgive, if you will, my dropping in to
>alt.religion.buddhism.tibetan like this, but i was alerted to the
>on sexual misconduct via e-mail, and i find it of cnsderable relevance
>to a.m.t as well.
Hello Catherine and welcome to a.r.b.t This is an instance where
crossposting is useful.
>Accusations of sexual abuse against Hindu tantra teachers -- e.g. Swami
>Muktananda -- have not seemed to cause anyone from the Bible Belt to
>react in any way at all. They have their own fish to fry, as do the
I said this with specific reference to Sogyal because he is currently a
high profile, famous guru in America. But I take your point.
>One of the major differences between Chsitians confronting sexual abuse
>among preachers and priests and tantrics doing the same is that the
>Christians are NOT SUPPOSED TO have sex with students, whereas in some
>traditional Hindu tantric schools, this is considered fairly normal.
It is not considered normal in TB. In fact, as several posters have
already mentioned, sexual yoga is not taught by most TB lamas. It is
hardly ever even acknowledged as part of the path. Its existence is
more widely known these days, as a result of books by Keith Dowman,
Miranda Shaw, Glenn Mullin and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for example, but in
the early stages of the Tibetan diaspora images of deities in union
were explained as symbols, rather than representations  of sexual
practice by human beings.
>If a student thought sex was NOT going to be on the agenda, did she
>choose the wrong school of tantra -- or did the teacher lie about what
>was entitailed in the practice of his school's traditions?
Not so much lies, more like economy with the truth.
> I agree; there is too much glabal awareness now of teachers
>power-tripping students into sex, in ALL branches of the religious
>community -- for Tibetan Buddhists to pretend they are unaware of the
>public's growing resentment of such abuses of power.
Most TB teachers and a fair proportion of their followers are still
trying to sweep the problem under the carpet. This discussion is
probably the first of its kind since lamas first started teaching in
the west. It is not, however, the first alarm bell to sound on this
issue. Back in 1988, the American Buddhist writer Diana Rowan drew
attention to sexual misconduct by Tibetan and Zen teachers in the
magazine Turning Wheel. There have been occasional outbursts ever since
-- but nothing as detailed and informative as the contributions to this
>On the other hand, if a teacher clearly states that sexual initiations
>will take place, the ADULT student can have no cause for accusations
AFAIK, genuine sexual initiations in TB are almost non-existent.
>Fringe-teachers are more likely to be pinpointed as sexual abusers,
By *fringe* do you mean TB as a whole (in contrast to mainstream Xtian
churches) -- or is your remark directly related to Sogyal? if so, he is
by no means a fringe teacher. Despite his sleazy reputation and lack of
substance as a lama, he has a huge following in America and Australia.
This is largely due to his personal charisma, gift of the gab, skill at
cherry picking from other teachers, his astute re-packaging of TB in
books -- but mostly I think because even today there are not enough
qualified Tibetan lamas to meet the demand for teachings.
>Are the accusations widespread about two people, or widespread about
>Tibetan Buddhist teachers in general?
The latter.
> What about Tarthang Tulku, also
>accused of alcoholism and "womanizing" during his lifetime -- was he
>ever reprimanded by others in his lineage, called to account by his
>disaffected students?
No. I have only heard vague rumours about TT. AFAIK, no-one has come
out publicly with allegations against him.
>This is an admirable notion -- the democratization of ideas -- but in
>experience, hierarchs rarely want to spend time mingling with their
>followers, especially if doing so means facing something less appealing
>than outright adulation.
This is exactly the way it is in TB. I am sure Sogyal and other lamas
are aware of discussions such as this one, because I know of at least
one of S's followers who contributes to this thread. I expect big shot
lamas and even little ones consider Usenet infra dig. IMO, this is a
serious error of judgement.

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