Not In His Wheelhouse

Written by Rob Hogendoorn

2 minutes

Eleven months ago, Josh Baran said this [fragment starts at 46.40 mins.]:

“I helped the Dalai Lama for many years in the West when he came with the PR. And I remember being backstage with the Dalai Lama before a press conference and he spent five or ten minutes telling me that half the tulkus were frauds.

I hadn’t thought about it at that point, this is years ago, and I said: ‘What do you mean, Your Holiness?’ He says: ‘It’s family, it’s politics, they’re fake.’ Half of them are fake,’ he said. ‘At least!’ he said, ‘they’re fake.’

And I looked at the audience, because we’re backstage and there were a lot of Lamas in the front two or three rows, and I said: ‘Do you mean half of those guys are fake?’ And he giggled and he said: ‘Yes! That’s right.’

I want to add one quick little story.

Three years ago, a top donor went to see the Dalai Lama about the NXIVM scandals. I was very involved in trying to get the Dalai Lama not to get involved with that group. I told him that this was a cult and that it was dangerous.

And then it became exceptionally dangerous. I think one of the most concerning things that the Dalai Lama ever did was to become involved with that sex cult, who caused a great deal of harm and abuse and, really, violence toward women.

And this donor went there because one of these Gelukpa monks got very involved with the scandal—I forget his name. [Tenzin Dhonden, the Dalai Lama’s ‘Personal Emissary for Peace’, RH]

So, he went there to try to talk to the Dalai Lama about it and about other things like that.

And at this meeting—it took a year to get the meeting—the Dalai Lama was very firm and he said:

‘I don’t want to talk anymore about these women who have been abused. I don’t want to talk about any Lamas. I’m done with this I can’t control these people. I can’t do anything. I’m sick of it. If there’s a problem, they should sue or go to the media, but I don’t want to talk about it. I’m done.’

I was just trying to be clear: the Dalai Lama did say some things about Sogyal, he said a few things. But over his career, we’re talking about half a dozen moments—a total of five minutes or ten minutes.

And there was one meeting with the Western teachers, once in 1991 [it was 1993, RH]. What was that? 25 years ago!

So, it’s just not in his wheelhouse to talk about women or sexuality or the abuses in Tibetan Buddhism.

There was going to be a meeting among the leaders of Tibetan Buddhism and he mentioned that he was going to bring up something about it, after the meeting in Holland, I think.

But there’s no evidence that he did. But it’s true that he can’t control any of these Nyingmas or Kagyus.”

Josh Baran is highly experienced communications consultant. He knew that he was talking to three journalists and that the meeting was being recorded.

Originally posted as a long-Tweet on September 27, 2022 (slight edits and links added).

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.