A Tibetan spiritual leader admitted that he was aware of sexual abuse committed by Buddhist teachers and the allegations against them in Europe since the 1990s.
During his four-day visit in the Netherlands, the 83-year-old Dalai Lama told Dutch public television NOS on Saturday that the accusations were “nothing new.”
“Twenty-five years ago… someone mentioned about a problem of sexual allegations” at a conference for western Buddhist teachers in Dharamshala, northern India, the Dalai Lama added, according to AFP via AsiaOne.
While speaking to NOS in English, the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in Dharamshala, said that those who commit sexual abuse “don’t care about the Buddha’s teaching. So now that everything has been made public, people may concern about their shame.”
The spiritual leader met with four of the 12 victims who recently penned a petition, which received around 1,300 signatures with the hashtag “metooguru,” during his visit to the Netherlands a day before his appearance in the television program.
They met the Dalai Lama at a hotel in Rotterdam where he pledged to bring up the sexual abuse issue at a meeting of Buddhist teachers in November.
“At that time they should talk about it … I think the religious leaders should pay more attention,” he said about the upcoming meeting.
The 12 people alleged that they were physically and psychologically abused by Tibetan Buddhist teachers in the Netherlands and Belgium, Deutsche Welle reported.
“We found refuge in Buddhism with an open mind and heart, until we were raped in its name,” the victims said in their petition.
A representative of the Dalai Lama in Europe, Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, said on the same day as the meeting with the victims that the spiritual leader “has consistently denounced such irresponsible and unethical behavior.”