Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Dagri Rinpoche Permanently Removed as FPMT Teacher After Investigation into Sexual Misconduct
Tibetan lama Dagri Rinpoche has been permanently removed from the list of teachers at the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). The FPMT announced the news in a statement on its website last week. Following allegations of sexual abuse against Dagri Rinpoche that surfaced in May 2019, the FPMT suspended Dagri Rinpoche from its list of teachers. In October 2019, the organization commissioned an independent investigation by the FaithTrust Institute, a multifaith organization helping religious groups with issues of sexual and physical abuse. From witness interviews, statements, and corroborating evidence, the investigation concluded that Dagri Rinpoche had engaged in a pattern of inappropriate sexual behavior that persisted over many years. The allegations, which date back to 2008, include complaints from many women, including ordained nuns, of groping, sexual harassment, and sexual assault at FPMT centers and elsewhere. Despite multiple requests, Dagri Rinpoche did not meaningfully engage with FaithTrust Institute’s investigation, the FPMT said. However, after receiving a detailed summary of multiple victim statements from FaithTrust Institute, he emailed a written response asking for forgiveness. The FPMT said it will continue to publish updates and a summary report on the fact-finding assessment, together with the steps the organization is taking to help protect its students from abuse.
Murder of a Tibetan Farmer by Her Ex-Husband Ignites Outrage in China
The murder of a Tibetan farmer named Lhamo during a livestream on Douyin, the Chinese version of Tiktok, has raised concerns about China’s legal system’s failure to protect victims of domestic violence, the New York Times reported. Lhamo gained a following of about 200,000 by posting videos of herself cooking, singing, and picking herbs in the mountains where she lives in southwestern China. Over 400 people were watching her livestream in mid-September when a man stormed into her kitchen and she screamed before the screen went dark. Police in the area are investigating Lhamo’s ex-husband on suspicion that he doused her with gasoline and lit her on fire. She died two weeks after the attack.
In the past few years, most women in China whose domestic violence cases were investigated had video evidence of abuse. A law against domestic violence was passed in 2016, but according to Beijing Equality, a women’s rights group, more than 900 women have died at the hands of their husbands or partners since the law was enacted. After Lhamo’s death, the hashtags #LhamoAct, #StopNotActing, and #PunishNotActing began trending on Chinese social media. Within a day, #LhamoAct was censored on Weibo, one of China’s most popular platforms.
“Sutras for Well-Being” Series Released by the 84000 Translation Project
The global nonprofit initiative 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha launched a “Sutras for Well-Being” series with texts from the Tibetan Buddhist Canon curated to aid with resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, Buddhistdoor Global announced. Each sutra is available as English text and as audio chanted by Tibetan masters such as His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trichen, Garchen Rimpoche, Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche, and Pema Wangyal Rinpoche. Audio is also available in English. The sutras were specifically chosen for their relevance to times of crisis and reminders that all things will pass.
The 84000 project’s goal is to translate and publish all surviving canonical texts preserved in classical Tibetan. Before the project’s work began, less than 5 percent of the canon had been translated into a modern language. 84000’s founding chair, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, said that by making these texts available to modern people, “a vast swath of Buddhist civilization and culture may be saved from annihilation.”