Monday, October 4, 2021

"Since the teacher-student relationship and relationships within Buddhist group were found to be harmful to in many cases and have caused severe damage to their health"...

Information on relations and teacher-student relationship

Since the teacher-student relationship and relationships within Buddhist group were found to be harmful to in many cases and have caused severe damage to their health, here information material is provided for all those affected.

Why a Gaslighting/Narcissist Relationship Is So Devastating Gaslighters and narcissists harm your self-esteem and view of the world  21.7.2019, Sarkis, S. A.

"Traumatisation by suffering damage within so-called Buddhist groups"

Trauma and trauma treatment

Traumatisation by suffering damage within so-called Buddhist groups

Trauma as a challenge to individuals and society

"When trauma occurs, it affects all of us, not just the individual, and it is a common societal task to deal with this and find ways forward." (in the German version, at track 29.43, Prof. Dr. Sack; transl. Anders)
Trauma and trauma treatment

Post-traumatic stress disorder information film - a project of DeGPT and Elfriede Dietrich Foundation with the kind permission of Elfriede Dietrich Foundation

Understanding PTSD's Effects on Brain, Body, and Emotion Janet Seahorn TEDxCSU

Anxiety and Anxiety disease

Anxiety 101: How to Recognize If It's Interfering With Daily Life

"Psychoeducation for people affected by abuse in Buddhist groups"

Psychoeducation for people affected by abuse in Buddhist groups

Psychoeducation for people affected by abuse in Buddhist groups


This section provides psychoeducational material for those affected by abuse or indoctrination in buddhist groups. It will be gradually enlarged and expanded.

Network for people concerned

If required, networks will be developed for those affected. This information will be provided after the interviews.

The importance of contacts and a network of contacts


If you have withdrawn from a group, it has shown to be valuable not to be left alone. Social contacts can have preventive effects against the onset of mental illness.
Friendships: You could reconnect with previous contacts important before your participation in Buddhist groups based on vital relationships. Due to many people having been persuaded into accepting hostile stereotypes or the idea that it would be necessary to distance oneself from people who were not part of the group or from other teachers, they often have lost their friendships or even working relationships outside the group.
There are also affected people who have been burdened with a lot of work leaving no time for outside contacts or friendships.
As you rebuild contacts, it might be useful to address some aspects which were important to each other. This can help to take up shared interests for you. Over time, that will help review your own values and identify what is important to you personally. Social and legal care: Benevolent contacts may also help to find a safe place to live, work, develop resources and ensure legal support.
Recovery and convalescence: for the processing of difficult, stressful experiences and for your recovery please consult a psychotherapist.
Contacting other people affected: It depends on individual needs and processes whether it makes sense to engage in contact with other people affected. You may sometimes find it helpful to share topics that have remained unaddressed and unevaluated or to initiate joint legal action.

Actively addressing insecurity, devaluation and internalised dependency structures

Self-responsibility brings freedom of choice. On the basis of months or years of devaluation and irritation for the sake of reinforcing dependency and wearing down, you may experience various reactions. The sense of openness and freedom of choice might emerge. Sometimes, there is a deep sense of insecurity and the effects of devaluation and dependency. Such changing feelings are normal reactions to experiences of manipulation and abuse.
Since many individuals have internalized concepts aimed at increased devaluation and the development of dependency, framing the dignity of every human being repeatedly, for example by reading the Human Rights Convention, can be a useful tool.
The experiences of devaluation and humiliating practices, however, will not simply disappear. In listening to one's own needs and paying attention to them the ability to reconnect to one´s own inner resources will grow steadily. So, the challenge is to take these needs seriously, even if you have just learned to silence them for a long time or you might still consider them to be selfish, which they are not. They are the key to your own strength. Here is an example: If you are exhausted, probably because you have worked too many hours in the organisation, because you are trying to handle the parting or similar, then it is necessary to ensure recovery. And this may vary slightly for each person . One could think about enough sleep, appropriate nutrition and exercise or contacts. Training awareness of your own particular needs will bring you back to yourself. And in the course of time, superimposed images and concepts gradually dissolve.
If you have practiced merging with someone who has inflicted violence or any form of abuse on you for a long time, or who has exploited you thoroughly and then exchanged you for others, in the sense of being constantly connected to that person and placing solely his wishes first, for example through a technique that is decontextualized and marketed as Guru Yoga, then it will take some time for this to release.

To be with benevolent people who show the respect and appreciation each human being deserves and to listen to your own needs and body language instead of ignoring them and even sacrificing it to others' needs is a worthwhile approach.
Even dropping some of the techniques used daily might be important to avoid the recurrence of stressful memories. In the case of traumatisation, it is also advisable to refrain from contact with the offender.

Stabilisation through activating resources

Consider your strengths and begin to embrace and nurture them. Staying with focus on your own resources and strength helps you during change processes as well as for the first period of stabilisation after trauma.
Returning briefly to decontextualized concepts that are currently used in many groups and have already caused a lot of damage to people. The term " karma-purification " is a neologism.
It is used to push people into dependence and to force arbitrariness upon them. No one has the right to denigrate or slander you. Cults are using such methods for the purpose of intimidation and to attack individuals who have gone their ways. Therefore, these are just one of the many indications of what has been developed using personality cult and seemingly buddhist terminology to render people more dependent and victimised. By focusing on your own human strengths and resources, you are able to counteract the damage you have suffered. This may even lead to increased compassion towards others affected as well.

© Anne Iris Miriam Anders, research project TransTibMed 17.6.2019

"Apologies" - "apologies from people from the organisation Shambala."


At the following Website one finds apologies from people from the organisation Shambala. They relate to general dynamics in that context and therefore extend far beyond this single organisation.

"I am deeply touched by your bravery to speak up. I am also very sorry for the harm you have endured and the shunning from your community. Just by being part of the sangha, I feel complicit." by Shannon van Staden 7.2.2019

"Thank you for speaking truth to power and hoping to change the toxic institutional culture. It’s very sad that Shambhala’s response has not lived up to the heart of the teachings themselves." by Good Boundless Rainbow 7.2.2019

"I am deeply grateful to all of the survivors for sharing your stories, even in the face of gaslighting, shaming and threats. I cannot imagine how difficult this has been for you, but in sharing as you have, you have saved many of us from harm. Thank you. I am also sorry I supported this toxic organization, and that I did not take the time to understand what it was all about before giving it my time and money." by Alyson Fyffe 7.2.2019

"I was part of this organization for several years and I totally jumped in even while witnessing problems from the very beginning. I apologize for the blindness that lead to my not noticing the extent of the harm being perpetrated. I apologize for the narrowness of my understanding resulting in ignoring the systemic nature of harm in this community. I apologize for believing, however briefly in the specialness of a leader, imbuing others -and myself – with less power and agency. I apologize for not asking more questions and for my lack of curiosity. I apologize to all those who were harmed by me. I really should have known better.
I have tremendous appreciation and gratitude for those who have had the courage to reveal their stories of suffering by leaders, teachers and students in this community. I know they have faced derision, dismissal, shunning, gossip, threats and discounting. They have been revictimized. I applaud you and I respect you. I am listening." by Margaret Ervin 7.2.2019

"I am so sorry that a community that was supposed to be a “culture of kindness”, has abused people so horrifically and that the head teacher didn’t even attempt to acknowledge the “rot” until he was caught. I am sorry for all the victims who were driven to suicide, psychiatric issues, PTSD, addiction, despair, and complete isolation. I am so sorry that sangha members continue to pour secondary wounding on top of that." by Kindness Warrior 8.2.2019

"I believe you completely. [...] I am sorry that I have been a leader in a bystander group and that this group that has not had the courage to come forward and offer empathy, which has made my attempts to be an ally confounded by my ties. I have publicly cut those ties. I am sorry that I have parroted the language of devotional enabling that keeps people in these high demand groups and encourages them to give their power, money and time away. I will continue to speak out and use my influence in my community to raise awareness. I wish you healing." by Oona Edmands 8.2.2019

"I am sorry for also gaslighting you when you first told me. I am sorry to have contributed to this culture of harm towards women and abuse of power." by Kathy Southard 8.2.2019

"I am sorry I supported financially and emotionally a hypocritical predatory organization. I am sorry I had no idea anything like this was happening around me. I am sorry I lacked the confidence in my own innate wisdom but instead placed that confidence with someone as foul and disgusting as MM. I am sorry I didn’t trust my gut feeling when I thought certain situations seemed strange and I didn’t speak up which may have resulted in someone being harmed. I am sorry that practitioners/teachers perverted “vajrayana secret practices” as an excuse to justify horrible behavior. I am sorry everyone used Trungpa’s “Crazy Wisdom” to justify mysogyny and sexual exploitation while we justified it as those crazy hippie years. I am sorry I was so angry and disappointed that I did not attend an Atlanta community meeting that was suppose to open a discussion with John Rockwell regarding the allegations/investigations (and after spending most the time having everyone chant and mediate leaving only 20 minutes for discussion, saying that a simple accusation could damage a man and basically blowing it off )and I wasn’t there to stand up for victims by calling out how gross he was. I am so so very sorry from the depths of my humanness that you either were not believed or told that MM shouldn’t be questioned. I ache knowing this happened to you. I am sorry the leaders in every Shambhala setting have not lived up to their position and are not real leaders in any sense. I am sorry Shambhalians are continuing to support him and find excuses for MM’s (or any other perpetrator’s) chronic aggressive criminal behavior. I am devastatingly sorry your practice and your path to wisdom was clouded/confused or eroded by self serving people with no integrity. I am sorry the investigation was obviously biased and in no way complete. I am sorry that the investigator had the irresponsibility to publish hearsay/gossip by claiming one of you was trying to buy a way to the teacher. I am sorry there was ANY question that it could be a victim’s fault in any way. I’m sorry that the findings were classified as sexual misconduct instead of what it really was- sexual predation and assault. I am sorry and disappointed but not surprised that MM wrote an “apology” that was not real or heart felt and pointed the finger/blame to us to look at how we create harm. I am sorry that all the community and victims are being asked to continue to follow this sick sociopath if we want to pursue these beautiful and dignified teachings. I am so so very sorry. No one in our community should ever be put in a situation of harm. I am so very truly and with all my heart sorry you the victims have had to be the ones to shed light on this alone and have to relive and add new pain. We have all failed you. I love you and respect you and feel heart break and true sadness for what you have had to go through."by Dr. Annie Price 8.2.2019

"Thank you for speaking up, sharing the difficult truth of your experience, and for shedding light on the harm that has been happening. I am beyond regret for the trauma that you have been through. I honor you for your fearlessness and for being your own true witness. I hope you find the solace, acceptance, connection, and appreciation that reflects the true compassion and wisdom that you are. I promise to believe and serve survivors in the process of healing from the harm of sexual misconduct and from the harm inflicted by those who are complicit in allowing it to continue." by Elizabeth Batiuk, 8.2.2019

"In deepest gratitude for your voices, your courage, your stength! Through your willingness to be the voices and the faces for those who have endured harm within our community. We are indebted to you for coming forward and being the stimulus for change. I am sorry for the pain, mistrust, and trauma you have endured." by Apriel JessupSearcy 8.2.2019

"Thank you so much for your courage in breaking the silence, especially when faced with so much marginalization, minimization and ostracism. I’m so sorry for your suffering. I’m sorry the very community that was your refuge negated your reality, and I’m sorry for any of the ways I was part of that. I’m sorry that, for years, I suppressed my raw intuition and understanding of the world, and relied on a theocratic, disembodied, flawed path, and so became incurious & untrusting of the real inner lives and experiences of others. I deeply regret censoring myself & withholding the genuine expressions of my heart when our “religion” came into conflict with my perceptions & innate knowing. I’m sorry for this obstacle to honest conversation, growth, and healing. I deeply regret that I kept my mouth closed because I thought it was impolite to disparage anything about “the lineage.” I deeply regret believing that a spiritual path is Off Limits for critique, and therefore that I added to the layers of obfuscation and confusion. I deeply regret believing that members of the dharma hierarchy were beyond reproach. I apologize for the walls this created between us and for the stupid reinforcement of power structure that I bought into. I’m sorry that I believed that all the secrecy and ritual was inherently special and valuable, magical and beneficial, pure and safe. I’m sorry that I didn’t see that they actually create the ideal conditions for abuse & deception. I’m sorry for any way that my participation, and my encouragement that others participate, perpetuated this damage that has hurt you. I’m sorry that for so long things didn’t feel right but that I didn’t articulate what I knew. I apologize for judging my own life through the lens of (insufficient) devotion, surrender, discipline and broken samaya; and therefore projecting this cloud of misunderstanding onto others. I believe you, and I promise to speak now and to support you." by Katie Getchell 9.2.2019

"I’m sorry that I lack the courage to call out my abuser by name, a long time student and MI in Shambhala, for fear for my personal safety and that of those I love. I value my safety first. I’m sorry that even with #metoo I can’t share what happened, whenever I tried people turned their back on me. They did not want to see their friend as the physically violent, verbally abusive predator he was. I am sorry I could not protect his next victims. If you are one I am so sorry. I had to save myself . I admire the courage and bravery of every person who has spoken up, you are beautiful, you give me hope." by Anonymos 10.2.2019

"How i healed" - YouTube videos by a survivor of abuse in Tibetan Buddhism


How i healed

The OKC case - Ricardo's testimony to the damaging Ogyen Kunzang Choling sect

 The OKC case - Ricardo's testimony to the damaging Ogyen Kunzang Choling sect

OKC / Ogyen Kunzang Choling, The Forgotten Children (YouTube - documentary in French)

 The forgotten children (publication of the film in French language at 17.12.2015):

OKC / Ogyen Kunzang Choling, The Forgotten Children