The 2011 gang-rape of a Buddhist nun shows us the sad picture of declining Buddhism in Nepal, which is often more intermingled with superstition and misogny than with Buddha’s teachings of compassion Karuna. This story also gives a taste of how Buddhist monks could have been involved in abductions, beatings, tortures and rapes masterminded by Ram Bahadur Bomjon – the so called “Maitri Guru” of Nepal.
“While condemning the attack and deploring the communist government’s ignorance of a “rarest of rare” crime in Nepal, the birthplace of the Buddha, 15 Buddhist organisations said that as a result, she had lost “her religion” and could be no longer regarded as fit to be a nun. “
“”Such a thing never happened in the Buddha’s lifetime,” said Norbu Sherpa, an official of Nepal Buddhist Federation. “So he did not leave instructions about how to deal with the situation. Buddhists all over the world adhere to what he had laid down: that a person can no longer be considered ordained in case of having a physical relationship. It’s applicable to both men and women.”
THREE CONNECTIONS WITH MAITRIYA BOMJON
1, The interesing and rather shocking analogy with Ram Bomjon’s hidden inhuman and law-breaking activity, not known to the celebrating masses on his so called Wordl Pecae Maitri Pujas, is that he had been and still is supported and served by the Nepalese Tamang Buddhist community for years. The victim of the gang-rape described in the below articles, had been also of Tamang origin, and obviously her Buddhist lineage also belonged to the Tamang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Bomjon is also a Tamang.
2, Another connection with Ram Bomjon (in 2011 still named Dharma Sangha) is the fact that he had just finished his alleged 6 years of meditation in May 2011, and he and his followers celebrated it by a mega-program called Mahadarshan 2011, ending on the 2nd of June. His alleged 6 years of Tapasya was advertised as something which would definitely bring peace, love and the regeneration of Dharma to Nepal and the world. Everyone believed it. The gang-rape of the Tamang Buddhist nun of a Pharping Monastery happened immediately, THE SAME MONTH as Bomjon’s great-great Mahadarshan, just a few kilometers far from it! Yet worse than the rape were the consequences she suffered from the Nepalese Buddhist community, which evicted her from the monastery and did not provide her with any help. This was a clear betrayal of everything that Buddha taught, and Ram Bomjon’s appearance in Nepal did not bring thus any positive change.
3, The third connection with Bomjon’s own Buddhists was not yet known in 2011. Yet as soon as 2012 he abducted two of his female followers, tied them and locked them in his jungle and let them tortured. At least Marici he let tortured also by sexual abuse and rape!
So could it be that the invisible effect of the Bomjon-worship Movement among Nepalese Buddhists is actually more a degenerating, defiling and sacrileging effect than any advertised regeneration of the country’s Buddhist Dharma? If there is any great positive energy that Bomjon’s final public appearance and “starting of his teaching” was supposed to bring to Nepal, Buddhism and Humanity, he and his Sangha failed to prove any such signs… Yet the opposite signs are just too many.
KATHMANDU: From one of the most disadvantaged Adivasi communities of Nepal, a 21-year-old Buddhist nun who was gang-raped by five men last month in a public bus, now faces the additional ordeal of being stripped of her religious habit and turned out of the nunnery where she had been apprenticed for almost 10 years.
The young woman’s family told TNN that she was still in a state of shock after having wavered between life and death in a hospital in India’s border town of Siliguri. But she could no longer be considered a bhikshuni (Buddhist nun) after the rape, Nepal’s Buddhist organisations said.
While condemning the attack and deploring the communist government’s ignorance of a “rarest of rare” crime in Nepal, the birthplace of the Buddha, 15 Buddhist organisations said that as a result, she had lost “her religion” and could be no longer regarded as fit to be a nun.
“Such a thing never happened in the Buddha’s lifetime,” said Norbu Sherpa, an official of Nepal Buddhist Federation. “So he did not leave instructions about how to deal with the situation. Buddhists all over the world adhere to what he had laid down: that a person can no longer be considered ordained in case of having a physical relationship. It’s applicable to both men and women.”
Now the victim, whose family is already reeling under the burden of paying the Indian hospital nearly Rs 3 lakh for her treatment, can no longer go back to the nunnery in Pharping, the little town in central Nepal with a concentration of Buddhist monasteries, where she had been admitted when she was about 12 years old.
Asked if it was not a gross injustice to the woman who was a victim, Sherpa was regretful but firm. “A vessel that is damaged once can no longer be used to keep water,” he said. “Buddhism all over the world says this. Even the Dalai Lama says you can’t be a monk or nun after marriage.”
Regarded as one of the most progressive religions in the world, this is a little-known face of Buddhism that is more a matter of interpretation by the followers of the Buddha than probably the teachings of the compassionate one himself. Compared to the interpretation, the church, still vilified in Nepal despite the former Hindu kingdom becoming secular five years ago, supports its wronged nuns and monks with compassion.
Pastor Robin Rai of the Catholic church in Nepal said the church would not throw out a raped nun. “She is the victim,” he told TNN. “To us, she is still a virgin. She remains a nun as long as she belongs to Christ.”
The Nepal Tamang Lama Gedung added a sympathetic note, saying it would provide care for the victim.
The woman belongs to the Tamang community, one of the worst victims of human traffickers and suffering from a high degree of illiteracy and abject poverty.
Last month after visiting an aunt, a 21-year-old Buddhist nun in Nepal was returning to her monastery when bad weather forced her bus to stay the night in a rural town. According to reports, she had left the bus but was pulled back into it and raped by the bus driver and four other men. Initially flown to India for treatment, she was brought back to Kathmandu last week. There, a government teaching hospital refused her emergency treatment until the next day when an official from the Health Ministry came to oversee her admission into the hospital.
This event has raised controversy throughout Nepal, not least of all in Parliament, who were being asked to give free treatment and compensation to the nun. The government has moved to help her. Also, some traditional Buddhist monasteries are saying that she cannot return as a nun due to her lack of celibacy; that this was involuntary is not a factor in their stance. See this Times of India story for more.
Raped Buddhist nun’s lost virginity might mean she no longer can serve
By Michael De Groote, Deseret News, Aug. 9, 2011
KATHMANDU, Nepal — A Buddhist nun raped by five men on a bus is facing ostracism from her religious life. “The religious dictum requires a nun to be virgin. So, it will be difficult to take her back,” the president of Nepal, Tamang Ghedung Kumar Yonjan, said in an article in the Nepal Republic Media. “But we will lobby for her reinstatement as it is a unique incident.”
An article in GreaterKashmir.com explained that some “orthodox Buddhist organizations” condemned the attack, but said “she had lost her religion as she had lost her celibacy.” This led to an outcry, the article continued, that included other Buddhists “citing incidents from the Buddhist scriptures to show how the Buddha absolved a nun of blame after she was drugged and raped by a monk.”
However, Norbu Sherpa, an official of Nepal Buddhist Federation, told the Times of India, “Such a thing never happened in the Buddha’s lifetime. … So he did not leave instructions about how to deal with the situation. Buddhists all over the world adhere to what he had laid down: that a person can no longer be considered ordained in case of having a physical relationship. It’s applicable to both men and women.”
When pressed by the Times of India, Sherpa expressed regret about the attack, but said, “A vessel that is damaged once can no longer be used to keep water. … Buddhism all over the world says this. Even the Dalai Lama says you can’t be a monk or nun after marriage.”
One of Nepal’s most popular singers, a 40-year-old Buddist nun named Choying Drolma has come to the stigmatized nun’s defense. The Times of India reported that Drolma “offered her a new home at Arya Tara, the school run by the Nuns’ Welfare Foundation.
Choying founded the non-profit organization with the money earned through her singing to provide education to Buddhist nuns – anis – who mostly remain neglected while monks have greater access to education.”
“She is still a nun at heart and she didn’t lose her virginity willingly,” Drolma told the Nepal Republic Media. “I will consult our gurus and maybe she would be taken back after some sort of cleansing rituals.”
“This could have happened to anybody,” Drolma told The Independent. “Right now, the most important thing is to treat her like a human being and then later we can look into the matter of whether she is still a nun.”
The involvement of Drolma will “help wash off the stigma attached to the poor nun,” Nepal24Hours.com said.
The Times of India reported that Choying helped pay for medical expenses for the nun and is working to keep the five alleged attackers in jail until the trial.
“When the trial starts, the attackers will get lawyers who will try to pin the blame on the victim,” she said in The Times of India. “It will be an ugly thing and my primary concern is how she will deal with it emotionally.”
Featured image to the main article: Courtesy of Thomas L. Kelly