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From: Mary Finnigan (
Newsgroups: alt.religion.buddhism.tibetan
Date: 1999/10/29

[deleted portion]

It was with these basic concepts that I came to respect the Buddhist path and wanted to practice Buddhism. Since the teachers of these concepts, the Tibetan Lamas I studied with, elucidated these ideas, it was logical that the lamas' aim was to practice these concepts in their daily lives. Since the Lamas taught morality, the importance of not causing others suffering, skilful means, the laws of cause and effect, it being wrong to deceive or crave or be attached to one's lust, it was a natural conclusion to think that the lamas made an effort to practice themselves what they were teaching.

I met enough lamas who were apparently good examples of Buddhism not to have my guard up when I met Sogyal, who was translating for HH Dudjom Rinpoche. At the end of Dudjom Rinpoche's teaching, Sogyal stated to a roomful of people if they had questions to leave their name and number on a notepad and he would try and answer everybody. He phoned me about two weeks later and he said he couldn't answer my question over the phone, but to come to his apartment.

About 7 or 8 minutes after my arrival at this place he sexually assaulted me. He thrust his body on me after patting my head and face seemingly affectionately as in a blessing. What ensued was completely unexpected and unwanted. The act was over after several minutes. I didn't scream, I didn't fight, I was polite and deferential. I simply didn't want to believe that a Buddhist lama would intend to do me harm. Not only did this cause me great emotional anguish, but I became pregnant by Sogyal and later miscarried.

At the time I was 22, newly having taken refuge and devoutly Buddhist. I didn't have the knowledge how to sort the good Lamas from the bad Lamas, fake Buddhists from real Buddhists. In my mind, if one was a Buddhist, one was basically good. If one was a Lama, one was holy and to be greatly respected. I rationalized Sogyal's actions as some kind of blessing that I would later come to understand, but his assault and subsequent behavior showed me that he had no interest in my benefit. I hardly knew him for more than a few minutes before he sexually assaulted me. There was no way I could have known what he was going to do.

He caused me great suffering. I perceived him to be a deceitful, self-serving person at that time. Since1976, I have heard many similar stories on three continents that I believe that he has not changed and has not lived up to his title of Lama or Rinpoche.

The Geshe and Sakya Trizin, however, were both people I trusted utterly. Both for different reasons. The Geshe was a respected monk, strict in the observance of his vows. Our relationship was very much like that of a father and daughter in his personal communication with me. He worried if I took a train alone, travelled by myself. He told me childish, innocent jokes. We discussed Buddhist dialectics almost every day for 1-1/2 years. When he said he wanted to "blow on my heart" to alleviate my mental tension (lung), I did not expect him to order me to lift my pullover to expose my breasts. I was 23 years old. He didn't touch me. I don't know what his motivation was, it just felt wrong to me. I was full of shame. I lost a kind of innocent trust I had in him. It also caused me suffering. It felt like a breach of boundaries.

As for Sakya Trizin, I had known him and his family for years. I know the Rajpur community where he lives extremely well. There are a number if Indians living along Rajpur Road who rent apartments or rooms to foreign visitors. I rented the upper floor of an Indian family's house across the road from Sakya Trizin. I also spent a lot of time at the houses of many other families in Rajpur. Three of Sakya Trizin's disciples knew of his request to be yab-yum with me at the time. One of his disciples read my diary and discussed the fact she read "His Holiness Sakya Trizin came to my place to do consort practice" both with her boyfriend and with me. I still have the diary.  The exact dates were: December 3rd and 6th, 1981. I also discussed this "consort practice" with my best friend who was a disciple of Sakya Trizin. I had been a student of Sakya Trizin for only a few months before he asked me to have sex with him. It is my belief he was interested in the sex not for my or other beings benefit, but to satisfy his personal lust. The effect was that I totally lost faith in Lamas as trustworthy. In fact, I felt sickened, disgusted and miserable.

I am genuinely concerned that many other western women may have suffered the same effects after being approached for sex by Lamas.

To sum up, I suffered loss of faith and trust, I felt violated, betrayed. I experienced pregnancy and miscarriage, and felt shame and disillusionment for many years since these events. I have not been able to feel safe with a Lama since. It has also discouraged me from participation in the Sangha, not only because of these actual events, but from the lack of understanding and outright blame from other Buddhists. Although still in my heart I am very much a Buddhist practitioner.

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