Sexual and financial scandals in Buddhism: Sogyal Rinpoche and the temple of Lodève on Arte this Tuesday

Sexual and financial scandals in Buddhism: Sogyal Rinpoche and the temple of Lodève on Arte this Tuesday

Sexual and financial scandals in Buddhism: Sogyal Rinpoche and the temple of Lodève on Arte this Tuesday

“Buddhism, the law of silence,” a documentary aired this Tuesday evening at
10:35 pm on Art and a book of the same name resulting from the investigation of Elodie Emery and Wandrille Lanos (edited by JC Lattès), which comes out on Wednesday in bookstores, return to the sexual and financial abuses perpetrated by Tibetan lamas. With a “textbook case”: the lama Sogyal Rinpoche, who died three years ago in Thailand, “fired” by the Dalai Lama in 2017, omnipresent in his temple in Roqueredonde, built since 1992, home to so many excesses. The journalists’ investigation throws a stone into the pond, with supporting evidence: the Nobel Peace Prize winner was alerted in 1993. He waited until 2017 to put an end to his disciple’s actions.

“Sogyal Rinpoche is behind the biggest sex scandal in Buddhism. For years he has claimed hundreds of victims by assaulting them sexually and physically. And I’m not even talking about the people who worked for him for free until ‘exhaustion’. : Rob Hogendoorn, journalist, does not mince words in the documentary “Buddhism, the law of silence”, broadcast this Tuesday 13 September on Arte (1).

Sogyal Rinpoche as the protagonist

“Buddhism, the law of silence” is also the title of a book published by JC Lattès, an investigation by Elodie Emery and Wandrille Lanos, which will be released on Wednesday 14 September in bookstores. With still Sogyal Rinpoche as the protagonist. The lama, who died in August 2019 in his exile in Thailand after being “deposed” by the Dalai Lama in 2017, is particularly well known in Occitania.

He had built in 1992 in Roqueredonde, near Lodève, one of his most emblematic temples, visited twice by the Dalai Lama, in 2000 then in 2008, each time in the presence of many “people”: Yannick Noah, Rama Yade, Carla Bruni, Bernard Kouchner … It is however there, in the Hérault, that the Tibetan master sexually abused the faithful, mistreated others, not to mention financial abuse, the huge sums requested from the faithful.

“There were people above who knew”

Film and book give voice to witnesses who had so far expressed themselves in a dispersed way, Midi Libre interviewed them at the publication of “Devotees of Buddhism” (edited by Max Milo), the book of an anthropologist, Marion Dapsance, who testifies to it evening on Art. We also find Mimi, a daïkini, a kind of sex slave, and Olivier Raurich, the former interpreter of Sogyal Rinpoche, also confided in Midi Libre. Other witnesses also like Oane Bijlsma, a former disciple of the lama, who accuses: “There were people above who knew what was going on”.

One in particular: the documentary conveys images of a bewildering encounter in Dharamsala in March 1993, when twenty Western Buddhist masters came to warn the Dalai Lama of a number of abuses, sexual and financial abuse. One name in particular comes up: Sogyal Rinpoche. “I have received many letters myself” (of denunciation), admits the Dalai Lama, which is said “ready to scream”.

He undertakes to sign a public document, a sort of “open letter” condemning these actions, this will not be the case.“There is mostly someone who has been mentioned, Sogyal Rinpoche. The only thing to do is to make it public“, The Dalai Lama reiterates during a meeting with bruised students in Rotterdam in September 2018. “Don’t put it all on my shoulders”, he also lets himself go with a laugh. And “If I have to speak in public, yes, I will”. This was not the case.

(1) Buddhism, the law of silence, 10:35 pm, this Tuesday night on Arte.

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