The Editors

Sexual Abuse by Buddhist Teachers

Sexual Abuse by Buddhist Teachers

Sexual abuse plays a role in an unacceptably high percentage of the member organizations of the Buddhist Union of the Netherlands (BUN).

This concerns abuse committed by teachers in the Netherlands or highly placed teachers who belong to organizations active in the Netherlands.

We emphatically distance ourselves from these Buddhist teachers and our compassion goes out to all victims.

We hope that the victims can find their way to professional help.

Sexual abuse by Buddhist teachers is completely unacceptable. It does not matter if it is rape or an apparently reciprocal sexual contact.

This kind of behavior by Buddhist teachers is in no way consistent with the Dhamma and cannot be condoned.

It cannot be seen as ‘just a stain on further good work’. Abuse by a Buddhist teacher nullifies his teachings.

Morality stands at the basis of the Dhamma and is deeply intertwined with mental development.

Teachers who are unable to adhere to even the most basic aspects of morality cannot, by definition, have a deep personal experience of the Dhamma, true compassion, love for one’s fellow human beings, real concentration or insight.

Such teachers cannot contribute to the passing on of the Dhamma but only create confusion and push people away from the Dhamma.

Ahba, our teacher, once indicated that a teacher is like a train and the students are like the passengers. If the train goes in the wrong direction, the passengers will follow irrevocably.

Therefore, in line with the above, we wonder whether it is wise if teachers designated as such by abusers in turn continue to act as teachers.

We would welcome it if in the Netherlands the discussion would start about the foundation of what it means to be a meditation teacher if this title was awarded only from the direct line of an abuser or within an organization affected by abuse.

The chance of passing on one’s own limitations and a distorted view of the Dhamma is very high in this situation.

We would also find it approptriate if the BUN, as an umbrella association, would strongly distances itself from the guilty Buddhist teachers, would help protect the Dutch citizens from these kinds of teachers and their organizations, and would make a demonstrable effort to support those who have already fallen victim.

We have expressed our concerns to the board of the BUN and are awaiting further action.

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Buddha, Dhp 276