NDF Stands with Survivors and with H.H. The Dalai Lama

NDF Stands with Survivors and with H.H. The Dalai Lama

Natural Dharma Fellowship affirms, first and foremost, that we stand with survivors and believe in naming misconduct when it is identified. NDF also stands in solidarity with the Dalai Lama amid the misleading news coverage of an exchange, taken out of context, between His Holiness and a young Indian student. What has been misconstrued as an inappropriate sexual advance was actually intended as a gesture of playfulness that was welcomed by the student and his parents.

In a world replete with actual scandals and falls from grace of religious leaders, it’s easy to assume misconduct. The content of the video clip, in and of itself, could understandably trigger concern for the welfare of the student and judgment of the Dalai Lama. Those of us who have survived abuse or been affected by the fallout from scandals are understandably vigilant.

However, context is nuanced, and a fuller picture of what led up to the interaction and what followed yields a subtler understanding. The interaction occurred at a public talk by His Holiness in February. Curiously, it was not until five weeks later that a doctored video clip of the incident surfaced and went viral. The clip’s metastasis over social media occurred when the CCP (Communist Party of China) was seething over the Dalai Lama’s recent recognition of an important reincarnate lama, and while China was conducting three days of war games to intimidate recent movements toward Taiwanese independence.

In complex situations such as this, it is essential to employ discriminating awareness to discern what happened. While we believe this interaction has been overblown and harnessed for political reasons, we believe that an informed response is a wise response. So we would like to share the following statements, articles, and videos from reputable sources.

Short statements for a quick summary of the situation:
Medium-length articles for more context:
Videos for deeper exploration of the nuanced cultural and geopolitical context:

NDF remains committed to our Code of Ethics and to providing a safe space for our Sangha.

May His Holiness the Dalai Lama live a long and healthy life and continue to shine a light in our troubled world. And may all survivors be believed and held in community, and be connected to sources of love, support, and healing.



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