Sex Between Gurus & Disciples?
"In ancient India, one of the reasons for the
degeneration of the Buddhadharma
was the wrong implementation of
certain tantric explanations." -H.H. the 14th Dalai
Excerpts from "Cave in a
Snow" by Vicki MacKenzie (in dialogue with Ven. Tenzin Palmo)
Between Gurus & Disciples?
While religious teachers of any faith engaging in sexual activity
with their disciples was morally and ethically questionable, within the context
of Tibetan Buddhism it was arguably more so. Tibetan Buddhism had tantra,
the legitimate sexual coupling between spiritual partners which was said to
inspire both parties to higher levels of attainment. To be chosen by a guru
as a consort for such a mystic union, therefore, was to establish you as a very
special woman indeed. In many cases it was irresistible. With the guru seen
as the Buddha, how could a woman resist?...
'Of course where a lama is
acting dishonourably it is extremely damaging. It creates an atmosphere of
rivalry, jealousy, secrecy and chaos. I have heard of some lamas creating a harem situation, of having one or two secret
liaisons. In such circumstances the women have a right to feel humiliated and
exploited. It's also hypocritical. The lama is posing as a monk, yet he is
not. I don't see how that benefits the Dharma or sentient beings. It's a
very different situation from a lama who has not taken celibacy vows having a
consort openly, and a decent steady relationship...
Distinguishing Authentic Gurus from
The Dalai Lama had his own recipe for
distinguishing between an authentic guru and a fake: 'You
should "spy" on him or her for at least ten years. You should listen, examine,
watch, until you are convinced that the person is sincere. In the meantime you
should treat him or her as an ordinary human being and receiving their teaching
as "just information". In the end the authority of a guru is bestowed by the
disciple. The guru doesn't go out looking for students. It is the student
who has to ask the guru to teach and guide,' he said.
Distinguishing Genuine Sexual Tantric
Tenzin Palmo had other
ideas, especially when it came to lamas suggesting sexual liaisons. 'One
way to judge if he's bona fide is to see if he's pursuing old, unattractive
women as well as the young pretty ones!' she suggested 'If he were a genuine lama he would see all women as Dakinis,
young and old, fat and thin, pretty and ugly, because he would have pure view!
And if a guru were genuine you can always say no without feeling you've blown
it. A true guru, even if he felt that having a tantric relationship might be
beneficial for that disciple, would make the request with understanding
that it would not damage their relationship if she refused. No woman should ever
have to agree on the grounds of his authority or a sense of obedience.
The understanding should be "if she wished to, good. If not, also
good", offering her a choice and a sense of respect. Then it is not
Rarity of True Sexual
'Actually real tantric liasons are
extremely rare,' she continued. "I once asked Khamtrul Rinpoche, "Seeing as
sexual yoga is such a fast way to Enlightenment, how come you are all
monks" And he replied, "it's true it's a
quick path but you have to be almost Buddha to practise it." To have
genuine tantric relationship first there must be no feeling of lust. Then there
must be no emission of sexual fluids. Instead you must learn to send fluids up
through the central channel to the crown while doing very complicated
visualisation and breathing practices. All this requires tremendous control of
body, speech and mind. Even yogis who have practised tumo for many years say
they'd need one or two lifetimes of practice to accomplish sexual yoga.
So these tantric weekends on offer in the West these days may give you a jolly
good time, but little else!' she said.
'Many Westerners have false ideas
about what a guru is,' she went on. 'They think that if they find the perfect
master with the perfect teachings, they'll immediately get it. They believe that
the guru is going to lead them through every step of the way. It's a search for
Mamma. But it's not like that. A genuine guru is there to
help people to grow up as well as wake up. The real
function of a guru is to introduce you to the unborn nature of your mind and the
relationship is one of mutual commitment. From the side of the disciple,
she or he should see whatever the guru does as perfect Buddha activity, obey
whatever the lama says, and put into practice whatever the lama instructs. The lama, on his part, is committed to take the disciple all the
way to Enlightenment, however many lifetimes that may take. In that lies its
glory and its downfall. If it's a genuine lama you have the certainty of never
being abandoned. If it's not a genuine lama you open yourself to all sorts of