Investigative reporter and academic researcher Rob Hogendoorn (b. 1964) has probed into the reception of Buddhism in Western society and culture since the early 1990s. As a practicing Buddhist he is singularly devoted towards cultivating a sense of reality. Meanwhile, his modus operandi as an investigator is always the same: independent, inquisitive and provocative.
After all, Buddhists are mere humans. They are driven by the same interests, motives, and concerns as non-Buddhists: wisdom and compassion, kindness and common sense—as well as status, money, power, sex & drugs & rock ’n’ roll.
Like the rest of us, Buddhists benefit from open-mindedness and transparence. Secular journalism and academic research, specifically focussed on the ongoing institutionalization of Buddhism in the West, help warrant that.
Through the original perspectives and critical analyses of its contributing writers, the on line investigative platform Open Buddhism seeks to educate and challenge its readers. Thus, it aims to contribute to open-minded, public debates across the Buddhist world. To this end, Open Buddhism invites contributions by freethinkers who develop tough, probing questions and dare speak truth to power.
Open Buddhism’s founding editor, Rob Hogendoorn, graduated as a Master of Law (LL.M.). He holds an international press card of the Dutch Association of Journalists. He is also a member of the Dutch Association of Investigative Reporters. He subscribes to the guidelines of the Dutch Council for Journalists.
Since 2011, Hogendoorn is a news partner of NOS Net, a network of sources who share news and their professional expertise with the Dutch Broadcasting Foundation (NOS). On a case by case basis, Rob Hogendoorn taps into his extensive database, expertise and findings to further the research of other investigative reporters and academic scholars.
As an academic researcher, Hogendoorn investigated the so-called Mind & Life dialogues of the fourteenth Dalai Lama with (mostly) Western scientists in-depth. He also presented the paper ‘The Making of a Lama: Interrogating Sogyal Rinpoché’s Pose as a (Re)incarnate Master,’ to the panel From Rape Texts to Bro Buddhism: Critical Canonical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Sexual Abuse Scandals in Western Buddhism, during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Denver, 17-20 November 2018.
In 2019, Rob Hogendoorn and the British journalist Mary Finnigan published Sex and Violence in Tibetan Buddhism: The Rise and Fall of Sogyal Rinpoche, available as softcover and e-book through online resellers and Jorvik Press. Dutch speaking readers can watch Pim van Galen’s 30-minute interview with Hogendoorn about this book for Café Weltschmerz here.
To mark the launch the revised and updated second edition of Sex and Violence in Tibetan Buddhism (July 2021), British writer Mick Brown (The Daily Telegraph, Telegraph Magazine) interviewed Finnigan and Hogendoorn on Zoom. The hour-long video of their wide-ranging, animated discussion—with interesting input from other knowledgeable participants—can be watched here.