Women who claim to have a “marriage-like relationship” with a Buddhist saint can sue for support

A woman in British Columbia has obtained permission to sue one of the holiest figures in Buddhism for spouse support. This proposition seems certain to be a new step in the law.

According to the Supreme Court of British Columbia Ruling issued on Tuesday, Vikki Hui Xin Han claimed that even though they had only seen four close contacts, she still established a marriage-like relationship with Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Ogyen Trinley Dorje was called the “Honorable One” by his thousands of followers. The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa or just map Maba Lama.

Han Han, who wants to become a Buddhist nun, claimed that she became pregnant when Dorje sexually assaulted her in a New York monastery in 2017, but “the sexual encounter without mutual consent evolved into a loving and affectionate relationship” , SMS, Dorje gave her hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Lama Mapa denied having any romantic relationship with Han and said that any emotional and financial support he provided to her “is for the benefit of the child.” [she] Tell him that it is his daughter. “

Han initially sued for child support, but she asked the court to allow her to modify her claim to include spouse support during the trial in April 2022.

A “novel” question

The Supreme Court official who approved Han’s application, Master of Bruce Elwood, said the case raises a “novel” question: “Is a secret relationship that has never entered the real world from the Internet like marriage?

Elwood wrote: “Ms. Han’s proposition is novel. It may even be weak. Almost all traditional factors are gone.”

“However, traditional factors are not a mandatory list, limiting the concept of’flexibility’ similar to marriage relationships. Moreover, if the COVID epidemic does not bring us any other revelation, it is that true relationships can form, develop and eventually end. virtual world.”

In this photo, the peaks of the Dhauladhar mountain range in the Himalayas shone in the afternoon sun after heavy rain in Dharmsala, India. map Karmapa Lama escaped Chinese control in Tibet in 1999 and crossed these mountains and made international headlines. (Ashwini Bhatia/Associated Press)

Dorje is regarded as the successor of the Dalai Lama and the leader of Tibetan Buddhists in the world. In 1992, when he was seven years old, he was recognized by the search team as the 17th reincarnation of the Maba Lama.

At the age of 14, he fled China-controlled Tibet and went to the Dalai Lama’s compound in India, which made international headlines in 1999. This incident has strained Sino-Indian relations.

Dorje is one of the two claimants for the Karmapa title, one of the most controversial Buddhists. In 2018, the two met for the first time to heal the differences between followers.

Although not a judge, Ewood is one of 15 Supreme Court judges who make decisions on pretrial motions and procedural orders. He said that calling the Lama Mapa by his surname is not disrespectful.

Elwood described Dorje’s lifestyle as “monasteries and nomads.”

Elwood wrote: “His real home is Tibet, but he currently lives in India. He has received followers from all over the world at the Gyuto Monastery in India.”

“He also traveled around the world, taught Tibetan Buddhism and presided over pujas. Buddhists expressed their gratitude and dedication to the Buddha in the ceremony.”

“Take care of her, you are my life’s responsibility”

Han claimed that he decided to become a nun after meeting Dorje at such a ceremony in 2014.

She started a three-year residence in an American monastery in 2016 and claimed that she had seen Dorje twice, including in October 2017, when she claimed that Dorje had been sexually assaulted.

Elwood wrote: “After learning that she was pregnant, Ms. Han asked Mr. Dorje to attend a private audience gathering.”

In this photo, Tibetans in exile pray in Indian prayers organized by nuns from international nuns. A woman in British Columbia claimed that she abandoned her plan to become a Buddhist nun after she was sexually assaulted at a monastery in New York. (Ashwini Bhatia/Associated Press)

“Mr. Dorje initially denied responsibility; however, he provided Ms. Han with his email address and mobile phone number. According to Ms. Han, he would “prepare some money” for her.”

Han gave up his plan to become a nun and returned to Canada. But as the baby’s due date approaches, the two still keep in touch via instant messaging, e-mail and phone.

Elwood wrote: “The parties seem to express their care and affection for each other in these communications.”

“Both parties write in private shorthand, sharing jokes, emojis, cartoon portraits and’hugs’ or’kiss’.”

Han claimed that she believed Dorje fell in love with her and that they were in a “husband and wife relationship” before 2018.

Allegedly, in the first few months of the child’s birth in June 2018, Dorje transferred 420,000 US dollars and 350,000 Canadian dollars to the Han people, including money for buying a house and wedding rings.

In the following months, he allegedly wrote: “Take care of her, you are my life’s responsibility.”

According to the judgment, Han claimed that they are essentially a husband and wife relationship, but they cannot be together because Dorje “is prohibited by his position and religious beliefs due to his close relationship or marriage.”

The two lost contact in January 2019, and Han Han filed a lawsuit in June of the following year.

“What kind of “marriage-like relationship” is it?

This situation may be the first to involve internationally renowned spiritual leaders, but this is not the first time that the court has been asked to consider the changing nature of relationships that constitute “quasi-marriage.

Elwood cites a list of 22 factors, which are divided into 7 categories. This is part of an attempt to give an answer in a 1980 case. Categories include housing, sex, services within marriage, social and social activities, financial support and children.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia will hold a trial in 2022 to determine whether a respected and holy leader in Buddhism must pay child support and spouse support to British Columbia women. (David Homans/CBC)

Elwood said that in almost all respects, the cases of prospective nuns and nomadic lamas were not fulfilled.

They never live under the same roof and have never had a voluntary sex life. Except for Han’s mother, they never told them about this relationship. They didn’t help each other with housework and didn’t want to have children.

But Elwood said that the judge who will ultimately decide the case may value Dorje’s financial support.

He said that these words show true care and love.

“They seem to be discussing marriage, trust, honesty, finances, mutual obligations, and obtaining family property. This is not something expected of Mr. Dorje to discuss with friends or followers, or even with the mother of his child, without A marriage-like element in marriage,” Elwood wrote.

“The trial judge may find based on the facts claimed by Ms. Han that the two parties love each other and could have lived together, but due to Mr. Dorje’s religious duties and nomadic lifestyle, they could not do this.”

The decision means that Han has 21 days to amend his request and provide details of similar marriage relationships.

Han’s lawyer declined to comment, while Dorje’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

No allegations have been proven in court.

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