I had intended to contribute only the one comment, but I think there are still some important points to be made. Also I was confused by the Independents online form, which resulted in my screen name being used. The idea that its somehow OK to make comments on such a topic in such a forum and to remain anonymous strikes me as cowardly. Be it known that this is Roger Tucker from Hillsborough sopachochog is the name I was given when taking the bodhisattva vow. It means supreme dharma patience, which points to my greatest obstacle. We all have inner obstacles to be worked with and hopefully overcome, and these are the working ground of the spiritual path. That is why the statement made by Eklutna is not only inaccurate (Bo admitted to quite a lot) - Meanwhile, Bo himself, after his one lengthy diatribe denying all allegations and pointing the finger at others, remains silent. but it overlooks the fact that Bo is someone who has clearly followed a spiritual path. Such people are far more likely to learn from their mistakes and make positive changes than those who have not acquired the tools and learned how to use them. The great poet/saint of Tibet, Milarepa, was in his early life a murderer and a black magician.
Id also like to point out that the informal grand jury consisting of the readers of this particular forum might take into account the relative credibility of the various witnesses involved, most particularly two groups among Bos accusers the women with whom Bo had some sort of sexual encounters, and their supporters, and second, the ex-con who has weighed in. As I said in my earlier comment I have considerable experience with both of these situations, both as observer and participant.
With regard to inappropriate sexual behavior I will start with an incident in which I was accused by three women of gross sexual misconduct. The context was a program at one of our practice centers, and I had imbibed perhaps more than I should have. I had more or less forgotten the event when I became aware of the accusations more than a week later. Not being certain myself of the accuracy of my memory, I questioned everyone I could find who had been present this had occurred in the presence of dozens of other people. I had to guess who my accusers were (sound familiar?), but I guessed right about who one of them might be, and asked her to recall for me what she had seen and experienced. She said that she had been annoyed with me at the time, but the whole thing had been grossly overblown and she had gone with the others to the authorities only because they insisted that they needed her support I never found out who they were. At first I had accepted that I was guilty as charged, but as I pieced together what had actually happened from what the various witnesses told me, I changed my mind and concluded that it was more a case of group hysteria, a squirrely tendency among some women to play the anti-feminist vulnerable female card, an acquired habit of perceiving males as sexual predators, and the projection of ones own dysfunctional emotions onto others.
There is no black and white in these matters and all cases are unique, but there are so many stories of this kind that it is probably wisest not to jump to conclusions based on such testimony. This is particularly true in cases where the perp is in the role of a spiritual teacher, and even more so when the spiritual tradition being transmitted is either tantric Buddhism or tantric Hinduism, in which sexual activity is very much included as part of the higher teachings and practices. Not surprisingly, this is bound to lead to confusion and misinterpretation unless the teacher is highly accomplished, has gone beyond self-deception, and has also chosen his (or her) partners with great care. Needless to say, this goes double when Eastern traditions are being taught in a Western context.
As for ex-cons, I am one, a two time loser as they say in the movies. Also, as I mentioned before, I was a counselor for a few months in a halfway house for parolees. What I can tell you from experience is that cons comprise a far greater percentage of pathological liars than any other segment of society it sort of goes with the territory. Therefore, make sure to include some extra-large doses of salt when considering their uncorroborated testimony.
The last point is something that so far has gone unmentioned, but its important, in fact its remarkable. Unless Im wrong, Kindness House resulted in a zero or near zero recidivism rate. This is in contrast to the usual story that place where I worked for a short time ended up with a nearly 90% rate, and the average for halfway houses is 65-70%, the same as the general rate for released prisoners. This fact alone should give pause to those so quick to pass judgment in this case.
Judge not lest ye be judged.
Wednesday's article in Front Porch on Bo Lozoff and the Human Kindness Foundation begs for comment. As a practitioner of a spiritual path (Tibetan Buddhism), and as a former counselor in a halfway house for parolees, I have some background to speak of these matters. I am also acquainted with Bo and HKF, having visited Kindness House on a number of occasions.
Unfortunately, sex scandals are par for the course in spiritual communities, not to mention the cover stories in supermarket magazines and the tabloids. It doesnt tell us so much about the individuals involved as it does about the deeply conflicted and hypocritical attitudes that so many Americans have about sex. And this story comes perilously close to tabloid journalism albeit a politically correct version.
It would be nearly impossible for your readers to grasp the immensity and difficulty of the task he set himself, which only a true bodhisattva (someone who works for the benefit of others) would even attempt. In the process he has provided wisdom and comfort to tens of thousands of prisoners in the American gulag. His is the oldest and most effective prison meditation project in the country.
But he is no saint and never pretended to be. Hes only human. I hope that his friends and supporters in this community will have the courage and integrity not to turn their backs on him now that the wind blows ill. He is a local treasure. We could forgive him his trespasses, whatever they may be, and be proud of him. I am.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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