Author Topic: Bhutan’s Buddhist monks accused of sexually molesting boys  (Read 1288 times)

Ensapa

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this is alarming. I hope something is done about this because thousands of young boys can be ruined if left unchecked.

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Bhutan’s Buddhist monks accused of sexually molesting boys
Vishal Arora | Jun 20, 2013 | Leave a Comment

(RNS) The South Asian nation of Bhutan has been rocked by a sexual abuse scandal in which young Buddhist monks molested by older monks fled their monastery and reported the abuse to journalists.

While rumors about child sexual abuse in monasteries have swirled around this tiny Buddhist nation for a while, this is the first time confirmed cases of underage monks molested by their seniors have come to the fore.


 Show caption

Two young monks at the gate of a monastery in Thimphu. Photo by Vishal Arora
 This image available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

“Every time I tried to scream or struggled, he pinned me with his body, put his hand over my mouth and covered it tightly,” an 11-year-old boy told the magazine “The Raven,” describing how he was sexually abused by a 20-year-old monk in a monastery in Punakha, about 45 miles northeast of the capital city of Thimphu.

The underage monk said he and his 12-year-old friend at the monastery were asked to come in turns to sleep with the senior monk.

Another pedophile monk, a 60-year-old man, molested not only the two boys, but two other monks, aged nine and 11.

Months after facing regular abuse at the monastery, the two boys fled last summer to their village in the southwestern district of Chukha, where they met with Sonam Ongmo, editor of the “The Raven,” which published the story and reported the case to the government’s National Commission for Women and Children.

Chhoekey Penjor, deputy chief information officer at the Children’s Division of the commission, confirmed the allegations were found to be true and “necessary action was taken.”

The “Red Hat” sect of Tibetan Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan, a nation of about 700,000 people in the Himalayas between India and China.

According to the code of conduct in monasteries, authorities disrobe an erring monk, throw flour on him and chase him away from the monastery – as they did with the 20-year-old monk.

However, the 60-year-old monk remains in the monastery, “The Raven” reported.

“This is the first time that child sexual abuse among monks has been reported to us,” Penjor said.

She added that the commission had forwarded the case to the monastic body and that her department had helped set up a child protection office.

But Lopen Gyembo Dorji, secretary general of the monastic body, said he was not aware of sexual abuse in the monastery.

“The Raven” quoted a doctor at a hospital in Thimphu saying he is often visited by monks with psychological or sexual problems, some showing signs of abuse.

Kinley Tshering, a former newspaper editor, said “muffled voices” about sexual abuse in monastic communities had been there “for quite some time now.”

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV have been reported among young monks, and health officials make condoms available to monastic schools.

A 2009 report on risks and vulnerabilities of adolescents revealed that monks were engaging in “thigh sex,” in which a man uses another man’s clenched thighs for intercourse, according to the state-owned Kuensel daily.

A year later, at least a dozen monks, including some who were underage, were diagnosed with STIs, and at least five monks were known to be HIV positive.

On April 10, three monks from Bhutan, aged between 21 and 24, were arrested for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl in the Kalimpong town of West Bengal in neighboring India.

Ensapa

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Re: Bhutan’s Buddhist monks accused of sexually molesting boys
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 08:36:37 AM »
Here's another perspective of the same sad issue.

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In a country that claims to honor its children, the latest sensational headlines are shameful: Bhutan citizens fear sexual abuse is rampant in monastic schools. An 11-year-old monk told a reporter for The Raven, Bhutan’s monthly news magazine that calls itself the country’s “guardian,” that he had been sexually assaulted multiple times by elder monks at a monastery in Punakha, about 45 miles northeast of the capital city of Thimphu.

June 23, 2013, writing about the scandalous story of sexual abuse of young boys, the Bhutan online newspaper The Raven, told the heart-breaking story. Describing the boy’s report, TR quoted one of the boys as saying, “Every time I tried to scream or struggled, he pinned me with his body, put his hand over my mouth and covered it tightly,” said an 11-year-old boy describing how he was sexually abused by a 20-year-old monk in a remote monastery in Punakha, 45 miles northeast of the capital city of Thimphu. The underage monk said he and his 12-year-old friend at the monastery were asked to come in turns to sleep with the senior monk. Another pathetic pedophile monk, a 60-year-old man, molested not only the two boys, but two other monks, aged nine and 11.”


Bhutan young monks running
The frightened boys told authorities that after months of repeated sexual abuse they escaped their caretakers and ran away to their village of Chukha in the southern district of Chuka. After reaching the safety of the village, the boys contacted Sonam Ongmo, editor of The Raven, the newspaper that broke the story. Upon hearing of the boy’s experience, Ongmo immediately reported the case to the government’s National Commission for Women and Children.

Chhoekey Penjor, deputy chief information officer at the Children’s Division of the commission, confirmed the allegations were found to be true and “necessary action was taken.”  “I think this sexual abuse in monasteries is something we should look at. It’s very important that people don’t forget: Buddhism and Buddhist are two different entities. Buddhism is perfect. Buddhists are not.” ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

RSN reports, “According to the code of conduct in monasteries, authorities disrobe an erring monk, throw flour on him and chase him away from the monastery – as they did with the 20-year-old monk. However, the 60-year-old monk remains in the monastery, “The Raven” reported. “This is the first time that child sexual abuse among monks has been reported to us,” Penjor said.

She added that the commission had forwarded the case to the monastic body and that her department had helped set up a child protection office. But Lopen Gyembo Dorji, secretary general of the monastic body, said he was not aware of sexual abuse in the monastery.

“The Raven” quoted a doctor at a hospital in Thimphu saying monks with sexual or psychological problems; some showing signs of abuse frequently consult him.


“The Adobe of the Gods.”
Many have long considered the mystical Himalayas a sacred place of spectacular beauty, a region possessed of a special energy: “The Adobe of the Gods.” Tucked in the bosom of the Himalaya Mountains, the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked state in South Asia. Bordered on the east and west by India and on the north by China, Bhutan’s is home to more than 700,000 people sequestered by time and tradition in a country half the size of the State of Indiana.

UNICEF reports, “ The child is at the heart of Bhutan’s development. Children receive high priority in Bhutan, guided by the King of Bhutan who has declared, “The future of our nation lies in the hands of our children.” Bhutan was one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, and has since been investing steadily in service to benefit children. The government allocated more than 26 per cent of its resources in 1999 to the social sector.”

Bhutan is the world’s only official Buddhist Country. The “Red Hat” sect of Tibetan Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan. The Guardian UK reports, “The Buddhist faith is tightly woven into the fabric of Bhutan’s fiercely protected national identity. Monks are still revered by large sections of the population and for many remain an integral part of everyday life, performing birth and death rituals and presiding over prayers at national holidays.”



Since the 16th Century, brightly colored prayer flags have marked the location of Buddhist monasteries. Today there are more than 1000 monastic orders scattered throughout the hills of the kingdom. The monasteries provide a home and education for more than 4,000 of the country’s poorest children. The children, sent to the monks by families to poor to afford textbooks the uniforms mandated by government schools. Bhutan has approximately 388 monastic schools with 5,149 nuns and 7,240 monks. Officially, the monasteries are only supposed to accept children seven years and older. In reality, they often shelter younger children with nowhere else to live.

Sadly, for many of these children, rather than a sanctuary, the monasteries are a “house of horror.” Living conditions within the monasteries are basic as the monks can barely afford to feed and house the wards in their care. The children sleep on roll-up mats on the floor; scabies and lice infestations are common.

March 13, 2013, Religious News Service reported, ““We are making condoms freely available everywhere, even in monastic schools and colleges,” Bhutan’s minister of health, Zangley Drukpa, said in a phone interview. The ministry, he added, has formed a special action group to deal with STDs in monasteries.

Warning signs of risky behavior among monks first appeared in 2009, when a report on risks and vulnerabilities of adolescents revealed that monks were engaging in “thigh sex” (in which a man uses another man’s clenched thighs for intercourse), according to the state-owned Kuensel daily”. The health ministry got concerned when a dozen monks — including a 12-year-old — were diagnosed with sexual transmitted diseases a year later, Kuensel reports. At least five monks are known to be HIV-positive, the youngest being 19.”

In an ongoing litany of scandal and disgrace the monks of Bhutan continued to perpetuate acts that focused international attention on the tiny kingdom. In February 2011 Scoop News reported, “A Buddhist Monk in Bhutan has been arrested for smuggling tobacco into the country. Tobacco based products have been illegal in Bhutan since 2005. Jigm Dorji, a state sponsored Buddhist Monk was found with two kilos of tobacco and was arrested for possession with intent to supply. The minimum sentence for this crime is five years.

Dorji is said to be quite pleased with sentence. ‘He has a five foot square cell in which to sleep at his monastery high in the mountains,’ said a close friend. “In prison he’ll have a ten foot square cell all to himself, with a mattress and a television.”

In October 2012 the Tibet Telegraph published an editorial about an incident of sexual abuse involving a monk that rock the world. The TT reported, “The Rape of Kalu Rinpoche writing, “In October 2011, a famous and highly-respected reincarnate Tibetan Buddhist master, Kalu Rinpoche, posted a Youtube video in which he reveals the abuse he suffered as a young monk at the hands of adult monks in his monastery. Rinpoche’s allegations caused shockwaves within the Tibetan Buddhist community (particularly his western students). Since that time, I have not heard any Tibetan Buddhist teacher (especially those connected with Kalu Rinpoche) publicly respond to his allegations, let alone suggest there be a formal investigation and those responsible brought to account. One can only hope Kalu Rinpoche’s video exposure of this serious issue has not gone to waste and been brushed under the carpet in the hope that people might forget about it.

Kalu says that when he was in his early teens, he was sexually abused by a gang of older monks who would visit his room each week. When I bring up the concept of “inappropriate touching,” he laughs edgily. This was hard-core sex, he says, including penetration. “Most of the time, they just came alone,” he says. “They just banged the door harder, and I had to open. I knew what was going to happen, and after that you become more used to it.” It wasn’t until Kalu returned to the monastery after his three-year retreat that he realized how wrong this practice was. By then the cycle had begun again on a younger generation of victims, he says. Kalu’s claims of sexual abuse mirror those of Lodoe Senge, an ex-monk and 23-year-old tulku who now lives in Queens, New York. “When I saw the video,” Senge says of Kalu’s confessions, “I thought, ‘Shit, this guy has the balls to talk about it when I didn’t even have the courage to tell my girlfriend.’” Senge was abused, he says, as a 5-year-old by his own tutor, a man in his late twenties, at a monastery in India.

If that weren’t bad enough, Kalu Rinpoche’s former incarnation was himself accused of sexually exploiting June Campbell, his former female student and translator.”

Hopefully the latest scandal will focus renewed attention on the growing problem of sex abuse in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Because Buddhist monks answer to no outside ecclesiastical authority, the temples respond to allegations as they see fit. Because the monks are viewed as free agents, temples claim to have no way of controlling what they do in the future. Bhutan’s Buddhist monks have broken their vow of celibacy.




http://guardianlv.com/2013/06/bhutan-buddhist-monks-break-celibacy-vows-engage-in-thigh-sex-confession-video/

RedLantern

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Re: Bhutan’s Buddhist monks accused of sexually molesting boys
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 04:57:40 PM »
This is such a sad case of Buddhist monks who broke their celibacy vows.Celibacy in Buddhism is seen as a discipline of detachment from worldly desires .There should be a place foe monks to practice to realize that nothing in samsaric existence bring more than brief pleasure.
Monks who truly energized and excited by practicing the dharma,if they make progress in their practice and have realizations,will naturally value their practice higher than mundane samsaric activities.

diablo1974

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Re: Bhutan’s Buddhist monks accused of sexually molesting boys
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 03:42:05 AM »
Sad but it happened and maybe still happening in other part of the world and also in other religious institutions. It's not the fault of the Buddhadharma but with too much of such incidents happening it will affect Buddhism as the world leading religion. We all have desires, but we should restrain our desires to an extent if not base on Buddhist theory but moral ethic as a human and elderly to the young. Bhutan is a not a largely populated country and its not fully open to the world yet, most importantly its a buddhist country where their government also  has the responsibility to uphold the teachings of the Buddha.

Ensapa

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Re: Bhutan’s Buddhist monks accused of sexually molesting boys
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013, 07:53:26 AM »
Has anyone noticed that these cases usually happen in monastic institutions that does not have a clear hierarchy and are more or less decentralized? It is more common in the Kagyu and Nyingma schools but not so in the Sakya and Gelug schools, where there is a very clear hierarchy and system in place where monks who are found breaking the monastic discipline will be expelled without question. Also, Sakya and Gelug emphasize a lot on vinaya compared to Kagyu and Nyingma and perhaps that could be a factor to this as well.

Big Uncle

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Re: Bhutan’s Buddhist monks accused of sexually molesting boys
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 08:17:51 AM »
Whatever it is, I am sure this is not unique of the Nyingma and Kagyu Schools. Bad monks who break their vows and abuse others are in all Buddhist traditions. Unfortunately, people seeing this will often associate their bad behavior with Buddhism whether we like it or not. Recently, a monk's face appeared on Times Magazine and the headlines associated the monk with the word terror. Now, millions of people are going to see that face and immediately associate it with Buddhism.

That's very sad and as the Buddha predicted, degeneration of the teachings and the Sangha is already happening in full force. There's nothing much we can do except change ourselves and reflect well the teachings that we strive to practice. We cannot really do much for that monk or the monks abuse who abuse the kids except pray to Dorje Shugden that they sincerely regret and make ammends. We should look into ourselves as the Buddha had taught because that will be better way to restore confidence in Buddhism.

Ensapa

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Re: Bhutan’s Buddhist monks accused of sexually molesting boys
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2013, 09:19:04 AM »
Whatever it is, I am sure this is not unique of the Nyingma and Kagyu Schools. Bad monks who break their vows and abuse others are in all Buddhist traditions. Unfortunately, people seeing this will often associate their bad behavior with Buddhism whether we like it or not. Recently, a monk's face appeared on Times Magazine and the headlines associated the monk with the word terror. Now, millions of people are going to see that face and immediately associate it with Buddhism.

That's very sad and as the Buddha predicted, degeneration of the teachings and the Sangha is already happening in full force. There's nothing much we can do except change ourselves and reflect well the teachings that we strive to practice. We cannot really do much for that monk or the monks abuse who abuse the kids except pray to Dorje Shugden that they sincerely regret and make ammends. We should look into ourselves as the Buddha had taught because that will be better way to restore confidence in Buddhism.

Like I have said, usually problems like these occurs in monastic institutions who lack a proper, centralized hierhachical system. For example, in Sri Lanka, there is a Dhammaraja that regulates the interpretation of the Buddhists texts, and a Sanghaharaja to enforce discipline on the monks. The same goes for Thailand, and we can see that when he declared that smoking was forbidden for monks and all monasteries adhered to that rule. In the Tibetan system, the Sakya Trinzin's decrees help control and regulate, and does the Gaden Tripa in the Gelug tradition. If the same incident happens in either traditions, the head will speak up for sure.

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Re: Bhutan’s Buddhist monks accused of sexually molesting boys
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2013, 10:43:30 AM »
It's really sad that such serious mind delusions can take place in a monastic environment . Those who choose to practice Buddhism as ordained monks and nuns should also choose to live in celibacy. Sexual misconduct is a very serious monastic transgression and in general entails expulsion from the monastery.
For a sangha member to hurt another through sexual misconduct really proves the serious degeneration of human kind. What karma has brought one to commit such degenerate actions ? And the continuous bad karma one collects doing such actions ! Especially one who has taken vows!
The Buddha says (re sexual misconduct of sangha) " Worthless man, this neither inspires faith in the faithless nor increases the faithful. Rather it inspires lack of faith in the faithless and wavering in some of the faithful ".

whitelion

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Re: Bhutan’s Buddhist monks accused of sexually molesting boys
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2013, 08:18:48 PM »
This is the first time i heard something like this in a Buddhist society but I'm not surprise. Due to the degeneration time, more and more degeneration actions will appear, even under the Monastic system, it will be harder and harder for one to hold a pure Dharma lineage. As our bad karma accumulate days by day, and we have heavily influence by the information from all around the world, it's very easy for us to choose the wrong path.
This is why for a degeneration like now, we need a very powerful Dharma protector to protect us from all source of negative influence. Our mind in degeneration time is like a candles in the wind, it flickering all the time. If we have no strong faith in our lama/dharma, we could easily effected by the samsara.
Dorje Shugden swore to protect the Dharma during the degenerate time, which it is now. It's very important for us to engage in a dharma protector practice, which can keep our mind clearer on situation and it actually stop us from doing bad things and collected more negative karma.
The situation of degeneration will not become better as prophesied by the Buddha himself, but engage in a Dharma protector will prolong the period, which allow us to collect more positive karma/merits.