Where is Richard Gere now, and the Dalai Lama? A Nepali Buddhist nun who was gang-raped will be stripped of her religious habit and thrown out of the nunnery. Is it her fault that five men sexually assaulted her in a bus?
Buddhist organisations have said she had lost her religion and in a shocking statement the Nepal Buddhist Federation declared, “Such a thing never happened in Buddha’s lifetime. So he did not leave instructions about how to deal with it. Buddhists all over the world adhere to what he had laid down: that a person can’t be considered ordained in case of having a physical relationship. It’s applicable to men and women.”
The Buddha chose a certain path – do all Buddhists adhere to it? There is a difference between the utterings and rituals of a given time and what happens later. Not everyone who chooses Buddhism comes from a background similar to the Buddha or follows every idea embedded in the faith. Most people are fascinated by the Buddhist credo mainly because it propagates a free-form kind of belief that is not stringently organised. There is a denial of godliness itself. Has that remained so? No. Not only has there been a denial of what Buddhism stands for, but the Buddha has himself become part of iconography with statues everywhere. Besides, there are the living gods. Therefore, it is obvious that the religion has evolved tangentially into different sects.
We regularly see how religious places abuse people and the abusers are the keepers of the faith. It is a power game and even more disgusting because supposedly hallowed places are misused.
The raped nun did not have a “physical relationship”. Five men forced themselves on her. She is just 21 and has been in the nunnery for ten years. This has been her chosen life. It would do the authorities some good if they realised that, like other faiths, the Buddhist places too have their aberrants who take advantage of the female nuns. Instead of trying to help her heal, they are discarding her for a crime she did not commit.
Has the Dalai Lama formulated a profound tweet on the nun’s misfortune?
Moreover, since she is an ordinary nun and from a tribal community – some more introspection regarding the egalitarian, non hierarchical nature of the faith - and not a well-known publicly-acclaimed Buddhist, she will have to suffer in silence. Why? Because the Buddha did not “leave instructions” for such an eventuality? Did the Buddha leave instructions on how to glorify Hollywood stars who have ‘embraced’ Buddhism and go around with halos and trip on spirituality during their time out from their Beverly Hills mansions and occasional scandals?