Rising Up to End Sexual Abuse in Buddhist Communities: Part 2

Part 2: Studies of Sexual Exploitation in Buddhist Communities

From the Editor of Engage!, Shaun Bartone:

Jack Kornfield conducted a survey of dharma teachers* in the mid 80s (published in Yoga Journal 1985) which showed that 63% of all Buddhist teachers surveyed (celibate and non-celibate) had sexual contact with their students, and over 85% of non-celibate Buddhist teachers surveyed had sexual contact with their students. Kornfield interviewed 54 spiritual teachers: 48 men, 6 women; 9 Hindu & Jain swamis; 15 Zen, 24 Theravada, 6 Tibetan Buddhist teachers. (Total = 45 Buddhist teachers).

Overall, studies show that 10% to 30% of clergy from all religious groups have sexually involved with their constituents. The rate of sexual exploitation amongst Buddhist teachers is as much as 300% higher than the average for all spiritual leaders.

No new research has been done on sexual exploitation in Buddhist communities since Jack Kornfield’s study in 1985, as of 2011 when Edelstein’s Sex and the Spiritual Teacher was published.

*Reported in Scott Edelstein’s book, Sex and the Spiritual Teacher, Wisdom Publications, 2011.

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