By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 13 May 2019
Following molestation charges against him from two different women, Dagri Rinpoche issued a statement professing his innocence. He denied any wrongdoing, and said that the accusations are baseless.
Dagri Rinpoche is a high lama from Sera Monastery. He has been teaching around the world at various centres of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).
One woman charged Rinpoche earlier this month with molesting her on the flight from Delhi to Gaggal near Dharamshala. Following reports of that allegation in the media, another woman from Spain accused him through a YouTube video of molesting her in 2008 when she was a nun and living in Dharamshala.
Describing the in-flight incident, Rinpoche said that on 3 May morning, a little after the flight had taken off, he got up to put something back in his bag in the overhead compartment. While sitting down, for support he held the arm rest of the seat across the aisle from his, where the woman was seated.
He said he needed that support since he suffers from chronic knee pain, and has difficulty sitting down straight.
At that moment, the woman occupying that seat woke up. She appeared angry and said something to him which he didn’t understand as he doesn’t speak Hindi or English properly. He just smiled at her and took his seat. But she continued to say things to him, at which he moved to another seat in a back row.
When the plane landed she reported the incident to the local police and alleged that Rinpoche had touched her body inappropriately.
Describing how they were seated, Rinpoche clarified that the woman was not even next to him, her seat was across the aisle.
Rinpoche’s attendant was travelling with him on that day. “There was nothing like what the woman has complained. There were so many people on board. Maybe there was a misunderstanding,” he said.
On being asked about the Delhi-Gaggal in-flight complaint, Superintendent of Police in Dharamshala Santosh Patial said that the investigations are going on, and Rinpoche has been out on bail since then.
A newspaper reported that Rinpoche had said he works in the Dalai Lama’s office. “Never have I made a claim to that effect,” he said.
With regard to the Spanish woman’s allegations, Rinpoche said: “Many years ago [in 2008] a nun experiencing some physical and mental problems approached me to receive a blessing as a cure for her problems. In response, I performed Jabtru, a water purification ritual, and Kakgo, a ritual to remove obstacles. About three years later, she made a statement [to the offices of the Dalai Lama and FPMT] accusing me of inappropriately touching her during these rituals. Following this, the two of us along with six persons as witnesses met together and clarified the truth.”
In today’s statement Rinpoche also said, “From my side, I have never committed a misdeed like this to feel ashamed of. I do not hold any grudge, anger, or expectation toward those who have made these baseless allegations and have accused me of misdeeds that I did not commit.”
“I am a person, who has dedicated everything — my body, resources and all my merit — for the benefit of all the sentient beings. May victory be to all others; while defeat be mine alone. I am grateful to you; since in you I have found a supreme teacher of patience.”