The Dalai Lama met on Friday in Rotterdam in the Netherlands with four Western Buddhists who say their religious teachers subjected them to sexual or psychological abuse, sources said.
The four, representing a group of 12 who had petitioned the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader earlier in the week for the meeting, presented the Dalai Lama with accounts of the abuse members of the group said they had suffered and asked him to take action to address their concerns.
Tibetan lamas named in the complaint presented on Friday included Rigdzin Namkha Rinpoche of the Swiss-based Rigdzin Community.; Tulku Lobsang of the Nangten Menlang Center in Vienna, Austria; Sogyal Rinpoche of the Rigpa organization, an international community with over 100 centers worldwide; and Robert Spatz, a Belgian citizen also called Lama Ogyen Kunzang Dorje, sources told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Friday.
Petitioners who submitted the original request for the meeting included students from Austria, Australia, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and the United States.
Sex scandals involving several Tibetan lamas teaching in the West, including Sogyal Rinpoche of the Rigpa organization and Sakyong Mipham of Shambhala International, have surfaced in the news in recent months.
An independent investigation into the allegations made against Sogyal released its report last week, upholding many of the accusations made against him.
The Dalai Lama took no questions from reporters following the 20-minute meeting, but told participants in the meeting that he would raise the issue of abuse in Tibetan Buddhist communities when he meets with Tibetan religious leaders in India in November, sources said.
“What we want from him is that he is very clear about the fact that religious leaders in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition are not above the law,” meeting participant Oane Bijlsma said following the meeting, quoted by the Associated Press.
“That even if they claim that their tradition endorses behavior that is supposedly beyond good and evil, it can never be the case."
The meeting with the 83-year Dalai Lama comes as the Roman Catholic Church faces a major crisis of its own in dealing with victims of clergy abuse in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere.
Reported and translated by RFA's Tibetan Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.