Dalai Lama knew of sex abuse by Buddhist teachers since ‘90s
The Hague: The Dalai Lama says he has known about sexual abuse by Buddhist teachers since the 1990s and that such allegations are “nothing new”.
The Tibetan spiritual leader, who is revered by millions of Buddhists around the world, made the admission on Saturday during a four-day visit to the Netherlands, where he met with victims of sexual abuse allegedly committed by Buddhist teachers.
He was responding to a call from a dozen of the victims, who had launched a petition asking to meet him during his trip, which is part of a tour of Europe.
“We found refuge in Buddhism with an open mind and heart, until we were raped in its name,” the victims said in their petition.
“I already did know these things, nothing new,” the Dalai Lama said in response on Dutch public television NOS on Saturday.
“Twenty-five years ago... someone mentioned a problem related to sexual allegations,” he said later at a conference for western Buddhist teachers in Dharamshala, a hill town in northern India.
The Dalai Lama, 83, lives in exile in Dharamshala.
People who commit sexual abuse “don’t care about the Buddha’s teaching. So now that everything has been made public, people may be concerned about their shame,” he said, speaking in English.
Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, a representative of the Tibetan spiritual leader in Europe, said on Friday that the Dalai Lama “has consistently denounced such irresponsible and unethical behaviour”.
Tibetan spiritual leaders are due to meet in Dharamshala in November.
“At that time, they should talk about it,” the Dalai Lama said in his televised comments on Saturday.
“I think that the religious leaders should pay more attention.”