DHARAMSALA, Sept, 14: The Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will today meet with a dozen victims of alleged sexual abuse by Buddhist teachers in the Netherland according to various media reports.
Drawing inspiration from the groundbreaking anti-sexual assault and women’s empowerment movements #MeToo, the victims have launched an online petition titled ‘#MeTooGuru earlier on Sept. 10, asking to meet the Dalai Lama who is on a four-nation European tour, to share their experiences.
“We found refuge in Buddhism with an open mind and heart, until we were raped in its name,” the victims said in their petition signed by over 1229 people at the time of filing this report.
The twelve victims of whom three are Dutch nationals have put together a book-length compilation of abuse survivors’ testimonies which they will present to the Dalai Lama during the meeting and will seek his response to their ideas for follow-up actions.
The testimonies were written exclusively for the Dalai Lama, under the survivors’ real names and the victims have further said in their petition that the testimonies concern (sexual) abuses by at least five Tibetan Buddhist teachers, experienced by at least twelve survivors in ten Western countries.
According to media reports, the Dalai Lama’s office has said that “His Holiness the Dalai Lama was saddened to learn of the sexual abuse suffered by students of Buddhist teachers,” and that he will talk to the victims during a “short audience” in the afternoon today.
Though the Dalai Lama has previously denounced sexual misconduct by Buddhist teachers, he has never met with the sexual abuse victims of Buddhist Teachers.”When a teacher commits ethical misconduct and disregards Buddhist ethics, students should make the misconduct public,” the Dalai Lama said at a teaching in Ladakh in August last year.