RANDY SOGYAL, BEST-SELLING LECHER -- THE WRITINGS OF AMLEARNING
January 9, 2004, No. 1
Hello dear Tara,
Yes, your kind and brave efforts to express your anger here got me here.
I want to say that I think you made the right decision to come forward with the secrets of those who wrote to you privately, which has been and is protecting the abuses, many of them criminal, being perpetrated by various Tibetan lamas. In life there are situations in which discretion and honoring privacy is the right, moral, and honorable thing to do, and also circumstances where keeping the secrets is enabling the abuse to go on.
Legally, enabling a crime, such as hiding it or keeping it secret from others who could otherwise prevent themselves from being victimised, is called aiding and abetting. It has been over two decades since I removed myself from the Tibetan scene in India. In that time, I tried to expose the truth of what was going on, but all the victims I spoke to were afraid to come forward. And all those who saw the victims being abused and exploited did nothing, said nothing directly to the abusers. When I helped Jane Doe file her suit against Sogyal, it took me two years of my life to help her organise and support her case. I got $300 for all that help, not enough to remotely pay for all the telephone calls I made, speaking to Sogyals' victims.
At the same time, I understand they were shamed into not telling, or feared Vajra Hell ... ooooh. They were and are cultically paralysed into silence. Maybe this conversation can inspire others to not be afraid of telling the truth openly. I'm alright after all this time! You will be alright too!
Last night I ruminated about what had happened to me, the old memories and the news about the Tibetan Buddhist scene with Gyaltrul and Sangye.
The overriding thought was about how many sad sides to this ugly, messy betrayal there are.
There is an excellent book I'd like to recommend to anybody who has or is feeling betrayed by their involvement with Tibetan Buddhism. It's by Patrick Carnes called, "The Betrayal Bond - Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships."
When the lamas' lack of integrity started creeping into my consciousness, I made so many excuses for it. Like my old friend, Chloe, who said that lamas' and disciples' immoral and corrupt behavior was HIGHER morality. Yeah, right, the lamas' grandiosity, their feeling entitled to be above the law, and sexually abuse their students at will, their racist and sexist comments, including their contempt for Indian people and Indian culture, in spite of the Indians offering the Tibetans generous refuge, that was such excellent morality. There were routine little experiences of Tibetan ill-will via the lamas that I tolerated for so many years, excusing it, glossing it over because I WANTED to believe that I was connected with something Meaningful - a Higher Good.
For example, I lived for a while near Hardwar, a holy city for many Hindus, on the bank of the Ganges. Tibetans would arrogantly carry bloody slabs of water buffalo beef onto a bus packed with strictly vegetarian Indian pilgrims. When the blood got on a pilgrim's clothing or dripped onto the floor and a pilgrim complained, the Tibetans would be so arrogant about it. A lama hearing this also was so arrogant about it. Indians were grossly ridiculed by Tibetans as a matter of course.
One lama, a head of Mindroling Monastery, Zona Rinpoche I think his name was, said he could not take tea in his community for fear he would be poisoned. I wonder why? Smuggling gold was a routine that lamas did to get money, and they got Western students involved in this as well. I took it for granted that when lamas did criminal activities that it was skillful activity!!!
When Geshe Ngawang Dargye asked me to lift my shirt up to look at my breasts, he said it was to blow on my heart to help me feel less agitated. I trusted him as a teacher more than anyone I’d ever trusted in my life, and in many ways as if he were a parent. If he punched me hard in the face I would have felt less pain than I did by his 'trivial' betrayal. When I told another student what Geshela had asked me to do, she said I must be a dakini, special. I wanted to buy into this malarkey because I wanted to believe, to trust my refuge guru, that he had my best intentions at heart, that he was a Superior Being.
Not only did Geshela betray me, my dharma sister also betrayed me by helping me lie to myself about the truth.
And she covered for the abuser too.
She betrayed herself.
I betrayed her too by not snapping out of the cultic mindset and saying, Elizabeth, this monk who we all prostrate to and take refuge in as the example of Truth and Enlightenment, just asked to look at my breasts! That is TOTALLY unacceptable, and I want to discuss this with the proper authorities, like the Dalai Lama, who put Geshela in charge of teaching foreigners only to sexually act out on them over the years. AND so did his dufus of a side kick assistant, Khedrup, who regularly felt me up, especially if by bad luck I was doing korwa around the library, and he came up behind me to grab my ass.
The betrayal was 3-dimensional. It was a full-circle lie. We were bound to each other in our betrayal bond, a mandala of deception and betrayal.
Variations on this theme occurred over the years in all the Tibetan communities I stayed in. I feel partly responsible for the death of my old friend who committed suicide because I was part of the lies that went on at the Library for the 1-1/2 years I was there. If I had only spoken up maybe she would not have bought into such insanity and taken her life.
Oh, and the games the old timers, like Alex Berzin and Priya, used to play with their not openly giving advice about the teachings. The secrecy-power games they and other old timers played were truly crazy-making. And that shit came down from the lamas too, who also got off on secrecy power trips.
My own morality began to crumble over the years too.. There were a couple of sexaholic men there at the Library, Glenn Mullin and Brian Beresford, who died recently of a heroin overdose I believe, or complications from his drug addiction. Geshela, a monk who was extremely strict about his impeccable following of the rules and regulations when in public, KNEW these men were sexual predators, cruising the new women students who arrived doe-eyed to study with a ‘genuine’ lama at the Library. He did nothing, and numerous children were adulterously and recklessly sired by these men who thought they were sooo cool with their Tibetan rigamarole and substance/alcohol addiction.
This all may sound like just so much Peyton Place bullshit but in real life, actual kids came into the world because of these rogue creeps, and their mothers really suffered not having a father who behaved like an adult to these kids but instead had some cheating dog who was goofing on the pseudo-yogi role. God knows how the dozen or so kids are doing! I can't imagine their LIVES have been comfortable being basically fatherless ... and all this under the guise of being Buddhist? What a crock!!!
I slept with one of these dogs, Brian. When, getting off the train in Old Delhi, he asked if he could share the hotel room Jenny and I were staying in. He was married, I knew his wife, and didn’t think anything of it. He took the middle bed in the room and in the middle of the night came into my bed. I deeply regret sleeping with him. I felt badly. Jenny scolded me badly, but then went off and married a Tibetan monk herself. Although I eased my guilt by saying I wasn't the only one who’d cheated with Brian, because over the years I met a few other Western women who had slept with him. I betrayed Brian's wife, who I did apologize to 4 years ago. I betrayed myself, my own principles about not liking to commit adultery. I betrayed Brian's daughter by doing that with her father.
The lack of morality was seeping slowly into my own life and I didn't like who I was becoming as a person, using Buddhism as part of some camouflage, and not being well connected with my true self. I saw what this betrayal cover-up was doing to ALL my Western Buddhist friends. It took me six long years to break away and decide to keep a complete distance from the entire Western Buddhist scene, in India and America. By the time one of Trungpa's Kalapa Court Mafiosi came to New Delhi due to the fact that Karmapa was dying of stomach cancer, I had seen so much Tibetan corruption, lama corruption, vicious gossip, kids being born out of adultery, Western Buddhist corruption, everybody screwing everybody, lying, smuggling, the assassination of the head of Clement Town, monks molesting little boys, monks having a prostitution camp outside Rumtek, the various Kargyu heads of the various sects all in political war with each other, death threats ...
The whole, ugly mess was so rotten!!!
Then came the news about Osel Tenzin and his thinking he was above AIDS, that his penis was magic, so magic it killed people. Then news of Trungpa's death, his obesity, the drunken stripping of people in public, violating them publicly, then Kalu Rinpoche's using June for all those years with his nephew in on this insanity, all while pretending to be His Holiness monk, who looked like a male Mother Theresa, and actually being scum.
Yes, it's a whole, ugly, rotten mess, and the betrayal by the lamas was just the beginning. The lack of principles, clarity, honesty, morality trickled down. Ugh.
I remember now that Sangye also told me in 1980 that Gyaltrul saved her from an abusive marriage. It sounds like her ex, this Hawaiian DJ was/is a psychopath. It sounds like Sangye may also have a personality disorder if she is a pathological liar, cold and socially exploitative. She may be a Narcissist or an Inverted Narcissist and need some kind of celebrity or 'unusual' person to subjugate herself to? It certainly sounds like she is unhealed from the abuse she survived with the psychopath DJ. It would be logical from that alone and the fact she went into this bizarre and unhealthy servile relationship with Gyaltrul, that she had been sexually abused as a child.
Holding her arms out and making kissy faces to Gyaltrul Rinpoche would be as culturally acceptable a display of affection to a Tibetan male as if she did a striptease act. Traditional Tibetans NEVER hold hands, and public display of affection is unthinkable to them. Saliva is considered to be a greater contaminant than urine, and less attractive. Kissing is done to babies and on cheeks, dry and privately. Sex is something that takes place in about 5 seconds. I sincerely doubt that many Tibetan women have any idea of what an orgasm is or would know what it feels like, nor would a Tibetan man have any idea that a woman could have one! Sakya Trinzin, for all his education, being married, father of two children and world traveling, thought oral sex could get a woman pregnant. Almost all Tibetans I met knew almost nothing about the birds and the bees or the most basic science, and still think the world is actually flat.
I seem to remember the sexaholic, adulterous Achi, (Karmapa’s translator) saying that Tarthang Tulku had coerced a number of Tibetan people into near slavery, and had tried to do that to his American wife too, the one Achi had the affair with. I cannot imagine that dozens of Tibetans have been in this bonded labor situation without other Westerners or Tibetans knowing about it. This is an example to me of an abuse support network that happens in the presence of a malignant Narcissist. It is a strange collusion of the victims in their own abuse and of the abuse of other victims. This has happened throughout history, for example, in Germany, under Hitler. It is a crazy-making enmeshment that is common in cults. It can be common also in corporate Narcissism, like at Enron.
I am ashamed of my own bad behavior in all this mess and corruption. I regret that it took me six years to get out of the cultic enmeshment. I was deeply invested in the Tibetan Buddhist scene. I convinced myself I was part of something that was a Higher Good, while not allowing myself to be fully conscious of the bad I saw around me. I would like to publicly apologize to all those I have hurt with my own lack of morality on the occasions I did not follow my better judgment, and in not having taken clear-thinking action to stop the abuses I saw or knew about, and also because I also participated in the cover-up with my silence. Previously, I justified my passivity by saying I was a victim. Yes, I was, but I also helped in the secrecy. I said and did nothing for 6 years to speak up against what I knew in my heart was wrong. I deeply regret that.
I hope my sharing of my tale of betrayal will help others who are or have been traumatized into secrecy or into not honoring what feels right, to get out of their betrayal bondage and to share their story here.