Do, 19.11.2020. 16:00

ISA online guest lecture: Anne Iris Miriam Anders

The Decontextualization of Vajrayāna Buddhism in International Buddhist Organizations

The process of globalizing and commercializing Vajrayāna throughout the past forty years has resulted in a simplification of concepts and methods as well as in neologisms, notably the concept of a so-called ‚karmapurification‘ of others. Currently these can be understood as cross-group aspects used in international seminarand retreat centers for teaching Buddhism and Tibetan medicine to nonprofessionals. These issues will be explored by presenting a timeline of crucial events and legal investigations at the organization Rigpa, starting with the open letter in 2017 by eight people in key positions there. This is followed by an analysis of testimonies from important members of Rigpa and reflections upon the crucial dynamics of this organization. The analysis reveals how the new concepts ascribed to Vajrayāna are used to individualize structural issues and to both rationalize and enable forms of economic, emotional and physical abuse. This has led to serious and complex mental health issues of seminar participants, especially of those working in the so-called 'inner circles', who sometimes have spent decades of their lives working for such organisations. Thus, the impact of distorted concepts being sold for Vajrayāna Buddhism in big international organisations and the impact of the resulting transgenerational trauma represents a crucial societal, medical, legal and economic challenge.


Mag. DDr. Anne Iris Miriam Anders currently leads a research project (TransTibMed) at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). After her bachelor‘s degree in Buddhist Studies at Kathmandu University and eight years of traditional studies in Nepal, she graduated with a Master‘s degree in Tibetology and Buddhist Studies from Vienna University, with a thesis on Tibetan Medicine. Thereafter she completed two doctoral studies in psychology (Ludwig- Maximilians-University Munich) and psychotherapy science (Sigmund-Freud Private University Vienna), conducting research with psychotherapists and students on the gradual cognitive training taught in Vajrayāna Buddhism.

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Meeting ID: 778 460 2447
Passcode: 087963




November, 19.11.2020, 16:00