Dalai Lama admits he knew about Buddhist monks’ sexual abuse
The Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has said that he had known about sexual abuse by Buddhist teachers against their followers since the 1990s.
The Dalai Lama said in response on Dutch public television NOS late Saturday that such allegations were “nothing new.”
“I already did know these things, nothing new.”
The 14th Tibetan leader made the admission during a four-day visit to the Netherlands.
“Twenty-five years ago… someone mentioned about a problem of sexual allegations” at a conference for western Buddhist teachers in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, he noted in his televised comments.
The Dalai Lama, 83, lives in exile in Dharamshala city in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
People who commit sexual abuse “don’t care about the Buddha’s teaching. So now that everything has been made public, people may concern about their shame,” the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate stated.
Tibetan spiritual leaders are due to meet in Dharamshala in November.
“At that time they should talk about it,” the Dalai Lama said. “I think the religious leaders should pay more attention.”
The Dalai Lama also met victims of alleged sexual abuse by Buddhist teachers in the Netherlands on Friday.
A group of four people presented the Dalai Lama with written accounts from 12 people, who claimed that Tibetan Buddhist teachers abused them physically or psychologically.
“We found refuge in Buddhism with an open mind and heart, until we were raped in its name,” the victims said in their petition.
Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, a representative of the Tibetan spiritual leader in Europe, said Friday that the Dalai Lama “has consistently denounced such irresponsible and unethical behavior”.
The Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is followed by millions of Buddhists around the world. It was not the first time the Dalai Lama made controversial remarks.
The Tibetan spiritual leader has also recently sparked anger after saying “Europe belongs to Europeans” and that refugees need to return to their countries.
In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter, back in 2016, he said that there were “too many refugees” in Europe and that “Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country.”
The Dalai Lama fled a failed uprising in Tibet in 1959 and retired from politics in 2011. However, he maintains that he seeks only greater autonomy for Tibetan areas in China. Beijing regards Tibet as an integral part of its territory.
The exiled leader has been accused of supporting use of violence to set up an independent state in the Himalayan region.
The spiritual leader has been blamed for plotting against China with the help of the US. From the late 1950s until 1974, the Dalai Lama received $180,000 from the CIA each year.