Monday, December 5, 2011

Confessions of Kalu Rinpoche - Monastic Abuse

In this candid video, Kalu Rinpoche talks about his life as a monk, including sexual abuse he suffered from other monks as a very young man (around the 2:23 mark). His tutor even tried to kill him.

Being chosen as a reincarnated monk is not at all romantic in this account of one man's life.

It seems monastic systems are fundamentally flawed - we have seen it in Catholic history, and here we see it in a Tibetan tradition. He sees the system as flawed and in need of change - that Buddhist beliefs need to be brought into the personal lives of the monks.

After years of drug and alcohol abuse to self-medicate his pain - a common pattern for victims of sexual abuse - he is clean now and trying to reform his lineage. But he faces a lot of challenges for speaking openly about his struggles and experiences.

Here is some of his biography - the official story:
His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche was born in 1990 at his Monastery Samdrub Darjay, as Rainbows appeared in the sky above. He was officially recognized by Situ Rinpoche and the Dali lama and enthroned at his monastery in 1993. Young Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche inspired everyone who met him with his gentle and loving presence. At age 7 he began formal studies with under the Ven. Bokar Rinpoche and entered into the traditional Shangpa Kagyu three-year retreat at age 15. We are extremely grateful to His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche whose only purpose is to benefit all beings, through his commitments to keep alive the transmissions of the Shangpa and Karma Kagyu lineages, ensuring that the precious teachings remain available to those who seek to walk upon the Path to Liberation.

There's more biography here.


Sage said...

This feels important to me. Thanks Bill for all you do to unmask so many important things through your blogging. I appreciate you and your contributions...

Unknown said...

I am an old woman, so I hope you will forgive my comment. However, this also happened to me at the age of 4. It causes great harm to children. And a sadness that you carry always. For many the memories are buried with, as you say, drug or alcohol use. Because being so young you make up other memories to hide it. It really messes with your bindus, nadis,and chakras. It is a worldwide problem. And until it is taken out of the closest, it will remain one.

Chandra Easton said...

I am so touched by this. It's so important that he shared this with us, to bring it into the light with courage.

Chandra Easton said...

I am so touched by Kalu Rinpoche's candid sharing of what happened to him. I'm sadly inspired by the way things are shifting in Buddhism now. It's obvious that things need to change and with leaders like him, they will. Buddhism has to come into our daily lives.

Unveiler said...

Chandra, you write: "...the way things are shifting in Buddhism...NOW..??? No, don't be naive! As if hideous abuse had never gone on before, and were only happening in the "bad modern world of today" - this is wishful thinking. We are learning about all this nowadays because there are so many more ways to spread and acquire information, and because there is so much more awareness about rights of individuals, including children. Not so easy to sweep things under the carpet all the time any more, and thankfully so!