Abuse in Buddhism

Ought you follow the teachings of someone who has been shown to be disgraceful? The answer is no because, like any teacher, they were merely teaching from a curriculum but not following it themselves. Is a teacher any good when the students feel at risk, and other teachers agree?

[Article] Following discussion of allegations of abuse, Sogyal Rinpoche, Buddhist teacher and author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, “has decided, with immediate effect, to retire as spiritual director from all the organizations that bear the name of Rigpa in different countries around the world,”

[Article] A common teaching in Tibetan Buddhism suggests that, “if a lama or rinpoche says something wrong, you MUST point it out as wrong.”

Dzongsar Khyentse begins by writing that:

You should not say, “oh this is my guru, whatever the guru says I must follow” – that is totally wrong. The Buddha himself mentioned, “my teachings, you must examine.”

Similarly, if one particular lama says something, you examine: whether this go well with the Buddha’s teachings or the circumstances of society, then you must follow.

In ‘secular’ school, that is public school, would we know when a teacher was “bullshitting” to us if we go to school with the preconceived idea that it is good for us? How would we be able to pick out the valuable information from the corrupt information? In ‘secular’ school when a teacher must abandon his post over something ‘bad’, the principle and other authorities step in to fix the mistake.


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