The Dalai Lama's Advice for Dealing with Abusive Teachers

Those of you who have come from Tibet and the large number of Chinese who are here, there is something that you need to be definite about. When there are hypocritical, false spiritual teachers, you need to expose their lies and deception. You need to be definite about this.

A few years ago, there was a conference in Dharamsala of teachers coming from the West who were teaching Tibetan Buddhism, Zen Buddhism and the like. On the occasion of this conference, a few of the Western teachers among them reported like this, “Nowadays, among Zen masters, there are some that can be called out as being very abusive, and likewise among Tibetan lamas, there are also some that can be called out as being very abusive. In light of this, we need a skillful method and means to stop them.”

At that time, I told them, “There isn’t anything we ourselves can do to stop them. The Bhagavan Buddha clearly and decisively declared what is to be abandoned and what is to be adopted. For example, He clearly and decisively said, ‘Move others to act in accord with the aims of the teachings and act consistently yourself with these aims.’ But they don’t listen to that; they don’t value that. If they haven’t valued what the Bhagavan Buddha has said, what help will there be from us saying something? It won’t be of any help at all.

“You need to make the situation public. Publish in newspapers, mentioning people’s names, that there are cases like these of persons teaching the Dharma but behaving in a reckless manner. Publicize that. This may help a little and bring some benefit, but except for that, our explaining won’t help to stop them.” I told them that.

You need to know that it’s like that. Whenever the situation arises of there being a hypocritical, false teacher, publicize their name and, in the end, if it’s necessary to have them arrested, have them arrested. In America, it has happened that some have been arrested, and perhaps in Taiwan as well there will be a few who will be arrested. They absolutely must be apprehended by the law.  

When a few Dharma teachers like that, holding the title of “Lama” and called out as being disgraceful, are prominent in the public eye, you don’t need to worry with thoughts that this is going to cause harm to the Buddhadharma. On one occasion, a few years ago, when I was in England, there was a lama at one of the British Dharma centers who had caused a scandal concerning his behavior with women and who had been apprehended by the law in America. His students told me that they were extremely worried. They were worried that, with that being the case, there was a danger that it would cause damage to the teachings of the Buddha themselves. I told them that they don’t need to worry about that. 2500 years have passed since the coming of the Bhagavan Buddha. Nowadays, there are just a few Dharma teachers that have been called out as being disgraceful. They cannot cause damage to the Buddha’s teachings. These teachers that have now been called out as disgraceful cannot cause harm to the Buddha’s teachings. I told them that. I am confident about this.