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宗薩欽哲仁波切關於某些旅行社利用布姆塘竹千法會進行商業宣傳的聲明

Published on 19 July 2016

幾天前,關於一個旅行社對即將在布姆塘舉行的竹千法會進行商業宣傳、並將我的照片用於商業目的,我發表了聲明表達我的擔憂。我聲明了我與此類將我的靈性活動用於個人商業獲利的旅行社沒有任何關聯。

人們對這個聲明的深切回應促使我對這個情況表達更多意見,在一個更加廣泛的背景中對布姆塘的法會做出一個新的聲明。

作為世界上唯一的金剛乘佛教國家,不丹長久以來對靈性追尋者具有特別的吸引力。同時,用於旅遊監管的高昂的每日費用造成了不丹的排外的形象。因此,一些不擇手段的旅行仲介利用這些特別的情況來獲得個人的利益,這並不出人意料。

其中一個旅行社收取了虔誠但缺乏警惕的遊客人民幣28000元(大約美金4200元),僅僅為了參觀我的住所和佛堂;收取美金8000元,聲稱可以與我會面,而我對此完全不知情,當然這也從來沒有發生過。

另一個旅行社帶領遊客會見了某位仁波切,並收取了令人咋舌的金額,謊稱用於必須的「供養」。不幸的是,輕信的遊客相信這類「供養」被送到了那位仁波切手中,而事實是,這些錢都進了旅行社的口袋。

還有一個旅行社使用了類似的不正當的手段,以承諾與不丹的精英人士會面為噱頭,在本來已經很高的旅遊費用以上再收取更多費用。

我明白,國外的旅行社必須通過與不丹本地旅遊業的相關方面進行積極的合謀和利益分享才能製造如此榨取性的騙局;作為不丹人,我感到尷尬。

對於這樣毫無原則的行為,我深深感到我需要盡我最大的努力來保護那些真誠的佛法學生,他們來到不丹的目的並不是為了旅遊觀光,而是為了拜訪真正的佛法老師以及接受教法。事實上,我個人認識一些虔誠的修行人,即使沒有被這樣欺騙性的手段利用,他們也並不富裕,但是將他們的所有積蓄用於支付如此高昂的旅遊費用,來不丹拜訪佛法老師和接受教法。

對我自己的學生,我希望聲明,即使不來不丹,他們也不會有任何損失。在不丹舉行的教學和法會都會在其他地方舉行。事實上,我計畫將大部分南亞的教學和活動安排在尼泊爾和印度,這兩個國家不存在簽證的問題,並且有大量的住宿選擇,包括低消費的選擇。

最後,我沒有其他選擇,而只能告知大家,布姆塘的竹千法會及活動完全不再對外公開。不論旅行社在進行商業宣傳的時候對你承諾了什麼,我必須抱歉地告知你,即使你來到了布姆塘,也不會被允許進入會場。

宗薩蔣揚欽哲仁波切

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Announcement on Bumthang drupchen in light of tour agent advertisement

A few days ago, I posted a notice expressing my concern about a tour operator who advertised the upcoming Bumthang drupchen and used my  photo for commercial purposes. I noted that I have nothing whatever to do with such travel agents who use my spiritual activities for their personal business gain.

Heartfelt responses to that notice prompt me to say more about this situation, to place these concerns in a larger context, and to make a new announcement about the Bumthang event.

As the world’s only Vajrayana Buddhist kingdom, Bhutan has long held a special appeal for spiritual seekers. As well, Bhutan’s image of exclusivity has been nurtured by the very high daily tariff used to regulate tourism. It is not surprising therefore that some unscrupulous tour operators are tempted to exploit these unique characteristics for their own gain.

One such agent charged devoted but unsuspecting tourists 28,000 Chinese RMB (about $USD 4200) just to see my house and shrine, and $8,000 to have a supposed audience with me and other Rinpoches about which we knew nothing and which of course never happened.

Another agent brought tourists to meet a particular Rinpoche and then charged them exorbitant amounts of money falsely claimed to be a required ‘offering’ to that Rinpoche. Gullible tourists sadly believed such ‘offerings’ went to the lama when the money in fact went to line the agent’s own pockets. 

Another operator used similar devious tactics to extract money over and above the already high tourist tariff by promising audiences with members of the Bhutanese elite.

As a Bhutanese I am embarrassed to recognize that foreign travel agents could not engineer such exploitative scams without the active collusion and profit-sharing of their Bhutanese counterparts in the domestic tourism industry.

In light of such unprincipled behaviour, I am deeply moved to try my best to protect genuine dharma students who wish to visit Bhutan not for tourist purposes but to see authentic teachers and to receive teachings. In fact, even if they have not been exploited in such deceitful ways, I personally know dedicated practitioners who are not at all well off and use their life savings to pay the very high tourist tariff just to see teachers and receive teachings in Bhutan.

To those students who are connected to me personally, I want to announce that they will miss nothing if they don’t come to Bhutan. Pujas and teachings happening in Bhutan will also happen elsewhere, and I am actually planning most of my South Asian teachings and activities in Nepal and India where visas are not an issue and where there is a wide choice of accommodations including very low-budget options.

Finally, I now have no choice but to inform everyone that the Bumthang drupchen and ceremonies are henceforth absolutely closed. Regardless of what tour operators promise you when they advertise the event, I must regretfully advise you that you will not be permitted to enter the premises even if you come there.

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse