‘A Minimum Courtesy’

Written by Rob Hogendoorn

Less than a minute

In 2019, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) thought it was appropriate to honour Sogyal Lakar with effusive condolences¬†to his organisation Rigpa. No surprise, Rigpa put CTA’s letter on full display on its website, under the heading ‘Paying homage to Sogyal Rinpoche.’

I wrote to CTA in protest,¬†quoting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and judgements from the law-firm Lewis Silkin and Charity Commission in the UK. More people objected, after which CTA published a ‘Clarification’‘ and asked Rigpa to remove its message.

It’s striking to see how CTA, which prides itself on being a democratic government inspired by Western and Indian constitutional law, suddenly tries to hide behind ‘Eastern’ and ‘Tibetan’ customs and traditions, as if it is a foregone conclusion that a future government of free Tibet somehow must pay tribute to abusive, violent, and criminal Lamas’ ‘good deeds’ as ‘a mininum courtesy.’

Evidently, its rhetoric aims to conceal another live option: do nothing, remain silent.

Also, CTA aimed to hide its choice: to honour Sogyal, the Dalai Lama’s ‘old friend’, and Rigpa, the organisation that enabled him, rather than empower the victims and survivors who exposed Sogyal’s numerous crimes, by paying homage to their ‘good deeds’ as a ‘courtesy.’

Originally posted as a long-Tweet on September 13, 2022.

About the author

Rob Hogendoorn

Investigative reporter and academic researcher Rob Hogendoorn (b. 1964) began researching the reception of Buddhism in Western society and culture in the early 1990s. His modus operandi remained the same ever since: independent, inquisitive and provocative.