Tibetan monk in eye of ‘MeToo’ storm

DHARAMSALA: A “MeToo” campaign has been initiated against a senior Buddhist teacher Dagri Rinpoche, who had been accused of molestation earlier this month while on a flight from Delhi to Gaggal.

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Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, May 9

A “MeToo” campaign has been initiated against a senior Buddhist teacher Dagri Rinpoche, who had been accused of molestation earlier this month while on a flight from Delhi to Gaggal.

On May 3, a woman filed a complaint with the Kangra police, stating that Rinpoche molested her on board an Air-India flight. The Gaggal police detained him before he was released on bail.

Another charge of molestation has been levelled against him. Jakaira Perez Valdivia from Spain has released a video, accusing him of molesting her at his residence at Namgyal Monastery in McLeodganj in 2008. At the time, she was staying in Dharamsala as a Buddhist nun.

In a YouTube video that Valdivia posted on Tuesday, the Spanish woman said it took a long time for her to muster courage and tell what had happened because some people tried to convince her that it didn’t happen, or that whatever he did was out of compassion.

She said in the video that she knew of many women who had been molested by Rinpoche. She urged them to come forward to tell their stories. In 2010, Valdivia wrote a four-page declaration detailing the incident in which she explained that she had approached Rinpoche for blessing and consulted with him a disk hernia problem so that she could avoid surgery.

Rinpoche invited her to his residence where he asked her to take off her clothes so that he could perform “some work” on her. He gave her an alcoholic drink, saying it was a “holy substance” which he consumed several times during the session and also poured it on her body. He touched her inappropriately.

The four-page statement she wrote was given to the Kangra police. The copies were sent to the Dalai Lama’s office and also to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) as he is one of FPMT’s revered teachers.

The Dalai Lama’s office arranged a meeting between the two, for Rinpoche to apologise. Valdivia said since he apologised, she didn’t approach the police.