RANDY SOGYAL, BEST-SELLING LECHER
by Charles Carreon
The Sogyal sex story has been told so often, it probably is a truism. Most Vajraloyalists dismiss it as "old news," but the fact is, this guy is a fraud, pure and simple, and he is, like most pious bullshit artists, making a fucking buttload of cash. Ambu has posted an article on the lawsuit that made Sogyal a bad word in the Dharma community for some length of time: . If you need a starter course in Sogyal-consciousness, his detractors and (far more numerous) apologists, you can check out the thread on Mary Finnigan, who has lead the charge against this scalawag. . Unfortunately, I have been unable to find Marys promised book on this cross-cultural abuser. Hardly surprising, since given the current wave of Buddhist adulation in the publishing industry, it would be unlikely to get the thumbs up.
Heres an image of the great wise man. Anyone think hes a chick magnet?
And because here at American Buddha we believe in "giving them enough rope," heres the mans own publicity brigade at work inflating his image:
"Born in Kham in Eastern Tibet, Sogyal Rinpoche was recognized as the incarnation of Lerab Lingpa Tertön Sogyal, a teacher to the thirteenth Dalai Lama, by Jamyang Khyentse Chöky Lödro, one of the most outstanding masters of the twentieth century. Jamyang Khyentse supervised Rinpoches training and raised him like his own son. Rinpoche went on to study with many other masters, of all schools, especially Kyabjè Dudjom Rinpoche and Kyabjè Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. First as translator and aide to these masters, and then teaching in his own right, he travelled to many countries, observing the reality of peoples lives, and searching how to translate the teachings so as to make them relevant to modern men and women while losing none of their authenticity, purity and power. Out of this was born his unique style of teaching, and his ability to attune the teachings to modern life, demonstrated so vividly in his ground breaking book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
A million and a half copies of this spiritual classic have been printed, in 26 languages and 38 countries. It has been adopted by colleges, groups and institutions, both medical and religious, and is used extensively by nurses, doctors and health care professionals. Rinpoche continues to travel widely in Europe, America, Australia and Asia, where he finds himself addressing thousands of people on his teaching tours, and is a frequent speaker at major conferences."
Clearly, Sogyals organization has maneuvered around the obstacles that appeared to have arisen from the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him in California. He wisely settled early, and then kept out of sight. Now it all appears in the past. A google posting from back in 1997 shows why this strategy works well. People hate to think theyve been had, theyre eager to take all the blame, and they are afraid to pass judgment.
I dont know the substance of the allegations about Lama Sogyal Rinpoche, nor do I particularly want to, because by definition those allegations are lacking context. I wasnt there, and even if I were a participant, my experience would be viewed through the filter of my own karmic obscurations and should be suspect. While I really respect HH the Dalai Lama, and have supported him vociferously in this and other forums, I have not spoken with him regarding HE Sogyal Rinpoche, and probably would not. He comes from a different lineage than Sogyal Rinpoche, a lineage that is based on a monastic (read celibate) lifestyle, and is himself a monk. Sogyal Rinpoche, on the other hand is a ngakpa, is not celibate, and is from a different lineage, which is traditionally householder oriented (although with a strong monastic component as well). Expectations differ, and it is unlikely, for example, that I would go to a Catholic priest or nun for sex tips, or for that matter for advice concerning the sexual proclivities of someone who is neither a Catholic nor celibate.
It is my view that judging teachers (or really, for that matter, anyone) is a very tricky business, and is best left to experts, like your mother (or Christian TV evangelists in the US; Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart for example). People have such weird associations regarding sex, that its really hard to find clarity in the way they approach it, which makes outside judgment doubly difficult. If I have consensual sex with another adult, is it really anyone elses business? If the point is that its impossible for there to be consensual sex between a teacher and an adult student, then I think that takes an unnecessarily dim view of the capabilities of adult humans, all of whom have Buddha Nature, even those who make money and gain notoriety by "exposing" alleged sexual activities of spiritual teachers. As Buddhists, our exposers are just more subdued than Jessica (I am not a bimbo!) Hahn.
"Limbaugh was railing about how feminists believe that all heterosexual sex is rape. The thing is, though, I know a lot of women, almost all of whom consider themselves feminists, and I know of only one who actually holds this belief. And weve been married nearly twenty years."
Al Franken in "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot"
I have my own story. It has been viewed by some that I was "ripped off" for about two million self-made US dollars by a spiritual teacher and his right-hand man. I could feel justified in writing an expose of the financial practices of spiritual teachers, and try to recoup my money. I could write endlessly and tediously about teachers and their financial abuse of students. I could cover the net with self-righteous blather about how students should guard their money, put on their financial chastity belts and check out their teacher for 12 years before they trust him or give any donations. I could slander the teacher in question, and warn all and sundry about him. But you know what? That course of action would be stupid. I am and was, an adult. I am responsible for what happens in my (imagined) life, through past karma, and my own obscurations, which lend solidity to something which lacks inherent reality. If I was, in fact, ripped off and not just fulfilling a karmic debt to the other person in question, then I should be filled with compassion for the cause of their future suffering, rather than just trying to self-righteously get back at them.
Sogyal Rinpoche is not my teacher, although teachers I respect greatly are fond of him. I have never met him or even slept with him, although I read his book and watched him teach on a video, so maybe I was abused by him in a past life and am just repressing. I do know, however, that very many non-buddhists have benefited greatly from his teaching, and have been favorably drawn to Buddha Dharma as a result. I find him to be a deceptively wonderful translator of Dzogchen into readily understandable terms. Had I slept with him and he was lousy in bed, maybe I would be justified in warning other students about his lovemaking prowess, but it doesnt seem to have affected his ability to communicate dharma, and therefore is not really relevant to his capacity as a teacher.
Sorry for the length of this post. Hope youre still there.
What about the years of retreat, the hours of deep contemplation, the studying at the knee of the great wise men. Did it happen? I think not. According to a post on Google, Sogyals biography should read more like this:
"The lama in question in this thread was not really brought up in a monastery, but went to English schools in India, attended Delhi University and studied comparative religion at Cambridge University here in the UK. He has lived in the west since the late 60s - some 2/3 of his life - so I think he is quite familiar with western notions of propriety and what constitutes an abusive relationship."
Of course, the Tibetan hierarchy, including the Dalai Lama, are avowedly powerless to expose their own kind. According to Mary Finnigan, who has spent a lot of time exposing Sogies dirty laundry, in the face of relentless opposition from Vajraloyalists, the Dalai Lama cant criticize rogue lamas directly, and urges disgruntled students to go to the news media. Wow, thats like going to the police station to report a crime, and they tell you to go scream in the street! Heres one of Marys posts on this subject. For a courageous guy, the Dalai Lama sure lacks intestinal fortitude on this issue:
"HH the DL made a plea via my tape recorder to all western Dharma students to examine the behaviour of their teachers and if midsconduct is apparent, to make it clear that they disapprove. HH says students should be alert to these problems and should avoid denial, suspension of judgment and blind devotion. During the first Conference of Western Buddhist Teachers in Dharamsala, HH said that if the teacher ignores requests to maintain acceptable moral and ethical standards, students should make this known and if all else fails, tell the media."
Of course, when you go to this page on the Rigpa.org site, and you see that the Dalai Lama is selling his book from Sogies website, you sort of stop wondering about why the DL wont speak up about this shysters shenanigans.
Its all good, and Tibetan clerics gotta stick together.
An Adulatory Article about Sogyal wrote:
"One listener asks: "Ive also at times had glimpses of a spiritual nature, and then Im comfortable with myself. But soon my everyday self comes back, and again Im uncomfortable with myself. Why?"
The reply: "Because the battery has worn out, and it has to be recharged—preferably before it wears out. (Laughter) The glimpses are too weak or too small, and the pressure of everyday reality is too strong. Its like an elastic—you stretch it, it goes back. But if you persist, someday it will pop."
Sometimes (he says) we have to go through suffering, attachment, to realize that its all completely worthless. Suppose you are bewitched, fall in love with somebody, lose your dignity and go through all that. Then one day you meet the same person and say to yourself: "Why did I fall in love with this person?"
With a ready smile, which lights up his face, and a puckish sense of humour, Rinpoche says: "Im really impressed by you all—especially by those of you who did not speak." There is laughter, and he adds: "Im just teasing, sometimes we have to tease each other."
Let me spell it out (he continues). First, just be spacious. (Teaching is important, it eliminates ignorance). Then create the environment of the mind—incense, music, lighting, if possible, proximity to nature. Then you practise, its not really meditation, but creating the right environment for it. Preferably, keep a book of wisdom with you.:
Batteries, elastic, creating the right mood with incense and lighting, not really meditating, just creating the right environment. This guy is a born seducer. But a little obvious. And can you believe that shameless plug for the book? On tour hes a monster.