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‘I knew of abuse by Buddhist teachers’

The Dalai Lama said on Saturday that he has known about sexual abuse by Buddhist teachers since the 1990s and that such allegations are “nothing new”.

He made the admission during a four-day visit to the Netherlands, where he met on Friday with victims of sexual abuse allegedly committed by Buddhist teachers. He was responding to a call from a dozen of the victims who had launched a petition asking to meet him during his trip, part of a tour of Europe.

“I already did know these things, nothing new,” the Dalai Lama said on Dutch public television NOS late on Saturday. People who commit sexual abuse “don’t care about the Buddha’s teaching. So now that everything has been made public, people may concern about their shame”, he said.

Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, a representative of the Dalai Lama in Europe, said on Friday that the Tibetan spiritual leader “has consistently denounced such irresponsible and unethical behaviour”.

Tibetan spiritual leaders are due to meet in Dharamshala in November. “At that time they should talk about it,” the Dalai Lama said in his televised comments on Saturday. “I think the religious leaders should pay more attention.”

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