ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands – Four people who say that Tibetan Buddhist teachers have abused them physically or psychologically have filed written reports of 12 alleged victims to the Dalai Lama and have called on him Friday in the Netherlands to address the problem.
A group using the hashtag "metooguru" has collected about 1,300 signatures on an online petition requesting a meeting with the spiritual leader to receive his collection of testimonies. He met four representatives for about 20 minutes on the first day of a four-day visit to the Netherlands.
The Dalai Lama is the head of a Tibetan school of Buddhism. The organizers of the Friday meeting at a hotel in Rotterdam hope that the Nobel Peace Prize will use its moral authority to influence the faith more broadly.
"What we want from him is that it is very clear that religious leaders in Tibetan The Buddhist tradition is not above the law," said Oane Bijlsma, one of the four people who met the Dalai Lama. "That even if they claim that their tradition approves behavior that goes beyond good and evil, it will never be like that."
The alleged victims, from the Netherlands and Belgium, said the Dalai Lama pledged to take action, including bringing their reports of sexual, physical and psychological abuse to a meeting of Buddhist teachers in November.
The Dalai Lama did not speak to journalists after the meeting. Members of his entourage did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
People he meets emerged from their audience by expressing conflicting reactions. One said he was a little disappointed
But Ricardo Mendes, who said he had been physically abused as a child raised in a Buddhist sect in Belgium, said he was pleased that the Dalai Lama was moved by the reports they shared.
"It was like: OK, now I have the material, I have real documents, true stories of real people that I can use to point fingers in the Buddhist landscape and say" This guy, this guy, this guy are going behaving in this way and you should not follow them, and this is not Tibetan Buddhism. "
This gave Mendes hope for the future.
"Perhaps, perhaps this is what will come out of this meeting, that he is going to have ammunition to shoot," he said.