LhasaLhamo wrote:The discussion seems to be down to just you and me, so maybe it is time to move on. : )
How widespread are cases of sexual abuse? (I'm not talking about what took place in pre-1950 Tibet; I'm talking about now.)
How widely are such cases tolerated? (which is not the same thing)
Is the situation in this country any worse than in other countries?
Is the "Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism" campaign unique to Taiwan?
Are Taiwanese people particularly susceptible to misplacing their trust in teachers with titles like "tulku" and "rinpoche"?
You're talking about reforming TB as a whole, right, not just in Taiwan? (Just clarifying.)
I'm answering the easier questions first.
The "TB is not Buddhism" campaign in unique to Taiwan, unfortunately. It would be great if there were a similar movement in Europe and North America.
I don't know about Taiwanese being "more susceptible" to "Living Buddhas" as they're called in Taiwan, and lacking critical thinking skills. People all over the world come to Buddhism through faith and a drive to dedicate themselves to spiritual development. They open their hearts wide, and to an extent I think, suspend critical thinking, again--due to faith that spiritual guides are trustworthy. It's only after bitter experience they learn otherwise, and engage their critical thinking. Many followers in the West, for example, never engage their critical thinking because nothing inappropriate happens that would force them to do so.
Take you, for example. Exhibit A: Adikarmika. You still believe that Gelug monks are celibate. ( LOL!!
) So in this respect, you're no different than the Taiwanese you speak of.
As far as how widespread the problem is, it's everywhere in developed countries. Canberra, Australia experienced a big scandal when their lama (married) had simultaneous affairs with several women. They put up a website about it, but were forced by threats of a lawsuit (from a Sakya lama in the US, I suspect) to take it down. I think they had no reason to worry, since the lama had confessed, and the case had newspaper coverage, but in any case, the website's gone now. It's not unusual for women to receive all manner of threats ("Vajra Hell", black magic, death) to prevent them from going public or from telling anyone at all, even in private, so it's very difficult to document cases.
Furthermore, the legal system in most countries generally doesn't recognize coercion into sex as a crime. In the US, there is some movement to expand the definition of rape, but still, how do you prove the sex was not consensual, no matter what the circumstances? And speaking of coercion and rape doesn't include plain old misconduct--celibate monks harassing women in the sangha for sex, abusing their position of power and trust.
"How widely are such cases tolerated?" By whom? By lamas, Rinpoches, monks? My conservative guess is--by the vast majority. Even the Dalai Lama is friends with Sogyal, Sakya Trizin, and other offenders. He's not sending a strong message re: his purported belief that sexual misconduct and abuse are wrong.
Tolerated by sanghas? Most, possibly all, women who experience abuse are shunned by the sangha and are told that to criticize is "Wrong Speech". Because the other sangha members have placed all their faith in the lama, see? They've suspended their critical thinking skills, so they accuse victims of lies and slander.
So far, there have been no comprehensive studies, no statistics. Most women who experience abuse only want to put it behind them, and don't want to talk about it. (I should mention it's not only women who experience abuse, men do too, from both female and male teachers: look at Trungpa and his "regent", Osel Tenzin). People are traumatized. We hear about women who return from dharma study in India showing signs of trauma and refusing to discuss what happened, or for ex. a Christian website mentioned a young woman who spoke to the blog owner who was visiting her town, about some horrific experience she'd had with her lama in Seattle, and she wants nothing more to do with Buddhism (tsk, tsk--root downfall for the lama, turning someone away from the Dharma), and this kind of thing. On rare occasion, someone will speak out, or post about their experience on the internet, usually anonymously. So it's easy to accuse such people of lies.
That is where the matter stands.
RE: Y. Kalu Rinpoche's reform efforts: http://www.paldenshangpa.net/2011/04/br ... in-france/http://www.paldenshangpa.net/2011/04/li ... nes-again/
He arrived in France during his tour only to find one of "his" centers abandoned due to students fleeing abusive lamas, and others run by corrupt lamas. He threw everyone out, and has appointed new teachers. Let's hope he keeps an eye on them. At least he doesn't accuse victims of lying. He knows from direct experience what goes on behind closed doors, so he's taken immediate action upon hearing of chronic abuses in his centers.