Fallout : Recovering from Abuse in Tibetan Buddhism

4.19 (16 ratings by Goodreads)
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When eight students wrote a letter accusing Sogyal Rinpoche, author of the best-selling Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, of decades of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, Tahlia Newland set up an online support group for abuse victims and students of his Tibetan Buddhist community, Rigpa. Appalled by the lack of ethics, the group undertook a journey of discovery during which they uncovered the depth of the trauma suffered by victims, and the fundamentalism and cult behaviour at the heart of Rigpa. They learned about destructive cults, trauma and recovery, narcissistic abuse, co-dependency, institutional betrayal, and the methods of mind control used by Rigpa, who had covered up and enabled the abuse for decades.

Fallout, Tahlia's memoir of this time, reveals the consequences of spiritual abuse for an ordinary member of an abusive, high-demand religious group and the psychological processing required for healing and cult recovery. Fallout is a cautionary tale for students and potential students of any guru-centred spiritual group. For Buddhist teachers and scholars, it also provides valuable insight into areas of the teachings which can easily be misunderstood and misused. For psychotherapists and counsellors, it's an important case study for anyone working with cult survivors, particularly in a Buddhist context.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 436 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25mm | 635g
  • English
  • 0648513041
  • 9780648513049
  • 672,157

Review quote

'Written with spiritual insight, emotional literacy, and common sense, this down-to-earth, wise, and healing book should be read by anyone who is thinking of joining, is part of, or thinking of leaving a religious group, whether it is Buddhist or not.' Geoffrey Beatson, psychotherapist.

'Tahlia dispels the myth of enlightenment-by-abuse with compassion, penetrating wisdom and a clear-headed vision.' Dr Jack Wicks.

'Tahlia Newland explores the dynamics behind the painful issue of physical, sexual and psychological abuse of students by their spiritual teachers. Her report lays bare the harm and anguish left behind in the wake of such appalling behaviour and the subsequent efforts, by those who seek to maintain their power and control, to denigrate the victims and condone the abusive conduct by invoking the excuse of Tantra. This attitude is a complete distortion of the impeccable Vajrayana path and creates much confusion, disenchantment and pain. So we are grateful to Ms Newland for bravely looking into this controversial issue with such compassion and insight.' Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo.

'Written with passion and clarity, this shocking expose is a must-read for anyone who has ever been involved with Rigpa and a compelling account of what can go wrong in religious groups for everyone else. Though she pulls no punches, Newland writes with compassion for the victims and makes an attempt at understanding the flawed human beings behind the guru masks. Tibetan Buddhism as always seemed like the 'good guy' of religions; to discover corruption of the message at the heart of some groups is painful, even for one who has only ever been an outsider.' Barbara Scott Emmett, author.
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Rating details

16 ratings
4.19 out of 5 stars
5 69% (11)
4 6% (1)
3 6% (1)
2 12% (2)
1 6% (1)
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