Here are some excerpts from Marion Dapsance's article describing
rigpa classes and retreats she witnessed in France.
IMO Soggy's behavior, as reported by anthropologist Marion Dapsance
was abusive. Not just once, not just twice, but repeatedly so. Berating
people sitting in front of the audience and doing so repeatedly -
that is abuse.
Humans are adaptable. Stay too long in an shitty situation and that
abuse becomes "normalized" and you get used to it. If you witness your
fellow students being yelled at by Soggy, you get used to witnessing
abusive - and, over time, you become complicit.
Corboy suggests (just a hunch) that all this together
undermines students' boundaries and moral standards - undermines these
in relation to Soggy.
Without all these classes and the ideology of crazy wisdom without all
the fancy ritual, people could look at Soggy and say, "What a fucking
douche, I'm outta here."
But...have people go through all the intro courses, pay the fees,
do the meditations, accept the crazy wisdom ideology, and get all tired
out waiting for Soggy to arrive, most people will become estranged
from their usual BS detectors.
Another matter not mentioned: People who have traveled through multiple
time zones to attend a Sogyal retreat will be jet lagged. They will
have an especially difficult time accessing critical thinking.
Even if rigpa is not doing this intentionally, all this together probably
sets people up to tolerate asshole behavior from Soggy that they'd never
tolerate from someone else.
First, prospective rigpa members go through introductory talks
"Sitting With Rinpoche."
Courses are taught by former students of Rigpa called ‘instructors’; in front of them sit between four and fifteen people. The course begins with an introduction of all participants, including the instructors. The latter highlight the relationship which unites them to Sogyal Rinpoche, a relationship which the newcomers do not know yet. The relationship to the master is described as both desirable and painful.
Here, is where it starts. Soggy cannot be judged by ordinary moral standards. If, later on, a student tries to report abuse, a senior ripga
instructor can reply, "You were told right at the start that this
would be painful. What are you complaining about?" Or the student
may self censor him or herself using the same rationale.
The particularity of Sogyal Rinpoche, the instructors explain, is that he teaches through his ‘being’ more than with his words. Sitting in front of him while focusing on his eyes is presented as an ‘extraordinary’ practice which accelerates the awakening process, because it puts the student’s deluded mind in contact with the master’s rigpa
(Corboy hunch: Later on, when, at a retreat, students witness Soggy, in person, scolding
other students, they will have been indoctrinated to ignore his words (
that is, ignore his trash talk) and just absorb his image. This means
ignoring any pained empathy you fell when witnessing other people being
Corboy has given links to some discussion of confusion techniques
as used by other gurus. This is not to say that Soggy is deliberately
using such techniques - we need more information. (Perhaps if some
former disciples could step forward)
These URLs to material contributed by The Anticult in discussing other
gurus will, however illustrate how disorienting such behavior is.
Anyone who behaves this way is bad company. Get away ASAP or you will
get used to all this and lose access to your gut instincts - and lose
access to your conscience.
You will lose access to your all important BS detector. You will no
longer be shocked by things that used to horrify you.
Here comes the anthropolgist's description of what takes place at the beginning
of a Sogyal retreat, where Soggy appears in person. All the persons at this
retreat have been practicing meditation upon Sogyal's televised image; letting
their inner boundaries down, being told that actual relationship with such a
special being is both desirable and painful.
Now, before the students see Soggy in person, they are briefed on how
to normalize his strange behavior -- behavior that they would probably not
have tolerated anyone prior to those sessions at rigpa.
The organizers (the centre’s managers) make an inspiring speech about Sogyal Rinpoche, emphasizing his greatness, but also stressing the confusing nature of his personality. At the beginning of each retreat, they say: “You mustn’t be surprised and draw the wrong conclusions about the way Rinpoche manifests, but rather remain open and always accept what comes with an open mind”. The way the master behaves on stage, they explain, must be ‘viewed as a mere appearance’, that is to say as an illusion created by the audience’s mind.5 Everything Sogyal Rinpoche says or does, the organizers announce, is charged with meaning that lay beyond his physical manifestation. This hidden meaning must be associated with Sogyal Rinpoche’s awakened nature: what he does on stage must be ‘seen’ as an ‘expression of his compassion’, an example of his ‘unconventional way’ to teach.
Corboy calls this being trained to eat shit and insist it is sugar.
n the heat of the final preparations, the organizers announce several times the master’s arrival, before he finally comes, at a point where he is no longer expected. The room, until then happily buzzing, is now suddenly silent.
Sogyal Rinpoche’s entrance is thus dramatized in the same way as for celebrities: the instructors are no longer teachers, but presenters, who repeatedly announce the master’s imminent arrival, highlight the extraordinary nature of the event, indefinitely repeat and comment on his greatness and originality.
(Corboy: this, and all the televised "sitting with rinpoche" courses may
possibly be what experts in trance induction call a "preframe".
Even if rigpa folks dont know about trance, this suspense building, this grand entrance of the rinpoche -- all this is is good theatre arts - you get people used to
interpreting Soggy's actions in a special way, and this gets you to accept
behavior from him that you'd reject from anyone else.)
Training the audience to expect and make excuses for Sogyal's "crazy" behavior looks like another set up.
Once Sogyal Rinpoche is finally on stage (after long minutes or hours of waiting), the organizers stop talking and return to their seats at the forefront of the assembly. The lama is then at the centre of the audience’s attention. The teachings will begin. Their theme has already been advertised weeks before: they usually focus on a topic linking Buddhism to daily life, such as “how to find peace in a hectic world” or “harmonizing relationships”.
While the audience expects him to get into the heart of the subject, as they see him do on the videos they watch during the introductory sessions, Sogyal Rinpoche begins to have personal conversations with the people sitting in the first row.
Soggy's changes of topic, interspersed with verbal attacks on his senior members looks confusing This may also induce mental fatigue in his audiences.
Corboy: Anyone who is not alarmed or outraged at Soggy's nasty behavior has become willing to stay present and witness the guru trash talking their fellow seekers and in public. To witness this and accept the explanation that this is crazy wisdom and not plain cruelty makes the onlookers complicit.
If, reportedly Soggy behaves this way publicly, what happens when he's in private, eh?
Paying a large sum of money for a Soggy retreat and feeling
ripped off is a painful state of mind. It is called cognitive dissonance.
So much easier to write it off as a "practice opportunity" "education"
or "interesting experience" and not admit that Soggy and his organization processed you through a well oiled engine of abuse
--or shall we say, a theatre of cruelty.
Even if someone comes from a thousand year old lineage of
authentic teachers, this is still abuse - an entire arrangement
that would weaken boundary instincts in most of us.
Human beings are highly adaptable. It is our glory and our
Remain in an abusive environment for a long enough time and you will
become desensitized. You will adjust and come to consider this normal.
With some encouragement many will be persuaded that the ongoing abuse
is enlightened activity.
I'd rather remain unenlightened if becoming enlightened means
eating a plate of steaming dung, then saying thank you
for the blessing.
Ah, and if anyone observes that I am getting all worked up about this
-- I am worked up about this.
As described by the anthropologist's article, Soggy is abusing people, even the people he is not inviting into his
Plus ripga is tax exempt, which means those of us who do pay taxes are indirectly subsidizing this.
Note: Since Soggy behaves so abusively in public - it is possible
that he may behave even worse in private.
Wonder how many of his close disciples have come down with severe
stress related conditions.
How many close disciples - the barf basins who receive Soggy's public scoldings- how many are coping by using medication and or heavy alcohol
use? Eating disorders?
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2017 09:43PM by corboy.