Dalai Lama speaks of sex abuse among Buddhist teachers

The Dalai Lama says he has known about sexually abusive Buddhist teachers since the 1990s.

These allegations are “nothing new,” he says.

The Dalai Lama, who is the Tibetan spiritual leader, was visiting the Netherlands when he commented publicly about sex abuse.

He had been invited to visit the Netherlands by four victims of sexual abuse by Buddhist teachers.

In their letter encouraging him to visit them during his current visit to Europe, the victims told the Dalai Lama they had “found refuge in Buddhism with an open mind and heart, until we were raped in its name,”.

The Dalai Lama’s office responded by saying he would talk to the victims during a “short audience” on Friday afternoon.

“His Holiness the Dalai Lama was saddened to learn of the sexual abuse suffered by students of Buddhist teachers,” an official in his office wrote.

The Dalai Lama’s meeting with the victims is believed to be the first time he has met with Buddhist abuse victims.

“I already did know these things, nothing new,” the Dalai Lama said in response on Dutch public television NOS on Saturday.

“Twenty-five years ago … someone mentioned about a problem of sexual allegations” at a conference for western Buddhist teachers in Dharamshala, a hill town in northern India.

People who commit sexual abuse “don’t care about the Buddha’s teaching. So now that everything has been made public, people may concern (sic) about their shame,” he said.

Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, a representative of the Dalai Lama, says the Tibetan spiritual leader “has consistently denounced such irresponsible and unethical behaviour”.

When Tibetan spiritual leaders meet in November they “should talk about it,” the Dalai Lama says.


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