The inertia of the Dalai Lama, filmed here in 1993 in India during a meeting on the “ethical problems” of some Tibetan Buddhist masters, is identified in the documentary.
RELIGIONS – Rape, beatings, deprivation of food … Far from its benevolent image, Tibetan Buddhism has been targeted for several years by allegations of physical and sexual violence against hundreds of disciples around the world, including children. A documentary, broadcast this Tuesday 13 September and already available on the Arte website, collects the uncovered testimonies of various victims. A larger book is also published on September 14 by JC Lattès editions.
Three Tibetan masters are named in the documentary implicated, even though the two journalists, Élodie Emery and Wandrille Lanos, received testimonies aimed at “ more than a dozen masters teach throughout the West “, Élodie Emery explains to HuffPost.
First accused: Robert Spatz, founder of the Buddhist community “Ogyen Kunzang Choling (OKC)” created in the 70’s. He is present in Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal. At the end of 2020, the man was sentenced on appeal in Liege to a prison sentence of 5 years with suspended sentence and financial compensation for his victims. He filed an appeal in cassation.
Another education is also open in France. In addition to Robert Spatz, he turns to other educators at the OKC center in Castellane, in the heart of the Verdon gorges in the Alpes de Haute Provence. Several victims, children in the 80s and 90s, testify to rape or abuse suffered in ” Castle of the Suns “where at the time about sixty miners lived.
Robert Spatz is accused of having imposed “energy transfers” girls, inviting them to undress and have sex, presented as a way to progress on the spiritual path.
The Dalai Lama and Matthieu Ricard accused of inaction
Another Buddhist figure in question: Sogyal Rinpoche, author of the bestseller The Tibetan book of life and death published in 1993 and at the origin of the opening of 117 Rigpa centers around the world, including that of Lerab Ling near Montpellier. This close associate of the Dalai Lama is accused of abusing and exploiting dozens of his close disciples and raping the women he surrounded himself with day and night.
“I started investigating these allegations in 2011 when I was working at the daily Marianne. It all started with the testimony of ‘Mimì’, a Frenchwoman who had worked for him for almost 3 years. At first I thought I was dealing with an isolated phenomenon. But after the first publications and over the years I have been contacted by other people accusing other masters “, explains Élodie Emery. The Tibetan, however, was never questioned before his death in August 2019, despite Mimì’s reports to the gendarmerie.
PASCAL GUYOT / AFP
On August 22, 2008, the Dalai Lama and Sogyal Rinpoche (right in the photo) inaugurated the temple of Lerab Ling in Roqueredonde in Hérault, in the company of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
“It took all these years to prove that these accusations were not isolated news but something systematic, which repeats itself. It is also likely that our investigation will lead to new revelations ”. esteem Élodie Emery, specifying it “These facts were known by the spiritual authorities”.
There is also a lack of reactions and condemnations from the Dalai Lama and other figures of Tibetan Buddhism in the West. The archival footage, first unearthed on television, is also shown in this documentary. They shows a meeting between the spiritual leader and about twenty Western Buddhist teachers, held in March 1993 in Dharamsala – the place of his exile in India – on seriousness “ethical problems”.
In this sequence, the Dalai Lama guarantees it “every effort should be made” and he says he is ready to talk about it in order to help the disciples and the victims no longer be silent and let it go. However, he explains that he doesn’t want to wear it “all the weight on his shoulders”, even having fun. These promises of the 1989 Nobel Prize will remain a dead letter.
“This is not the only time he has been questioned about these abuses. He always replied that the disciples had to denounce them. But, privately, his office advises victims to walk away from the master in silence. Denouncing his boss is inapplicable without the support and support of the institution, because people are accused of lies and ostracized “the journalist points out, adding that the Dalai Lama is not the only religious figure to remain silent or inactive.
On the documentary “Buddhism: the law of silence”, Matthieu Ricard spoke on his blog: https://t.co/YpM3X5m8rr
– Matthieu Ricard (@MatthieuRicard)
“My condemnation of the acts of Robert Spatz, Sogyal Rinpoche and the false teachers is total”, Matthieu Ricard, a media figure of Tibetan Buddhism in France, reacted on his blog. The latter claims to have repeatedly condemned these practices, warning the disciples of the risks of falling “a false teacher” or some “charlatans to be avoided at all costs”. They guarantees that it has never been in possession of confidential information or that it has not already been brought to justice.
He also accuses the two journalists of hiding the real object of their work from him in order to obtain an interview. “Matthieu Ricard has never denounced publicly and by name those whom he describes today as“ false teachers ”. Over the years, he has been approached many times by victims asking for this position. He repeated that it was not his role, but above all he continued to visit delinquent centers. To the point that these visits are used by Robert Spatz’s lawyers as a guarantee, a guarantee of the legitimacy of the guru. The last visit dates back to 2019, while the first police searches in the Spatz centers date back to 1997! We asked for an interview that addressed many issues, such as its role as a link between European and Asian cultures, but also this notion of “devotion”, at the root of all abuses. It is a little late to consider that “the ambition of this documentary is healthy” when he pressured the channel not to broadcast his answers “, concludes the journalist.
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