Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexually as

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:28 am

Buddhist Project Sunshine: A Pale Illumination Indeed
by Charles Carreon
March 29, 2019



The Columbia Journalism Review just came out with an article about Andrea Winn, who published the Buddhist Project Sunshine reports. The thesis of the article is that sometimes journalism isn't actually up to the task of getting cult members to speak out about abuse. It takes someone like Andrea, who is willing to keep the names of all the victims completely confidential, to get them to speak out anonymously.

Winn, the creator of Buddhist Project Sunshine, does not consider herself a journalist. But she was able to get many other survivors to tell their stories, ultimately shining light on decades of abuse by faith leaders throughout the community. When reporters descended upon the story—requesting additional proof, corroboration, and on-the-record interviews—everything changed. Many survivors were wary, exhausted by their trauma and unwilling to put their names out for public scrutiny

-- CJR

Actually, we might consider the other possibility -- completely not touched upon by the CJR -- that Andrea Winn collected a whole lot of stories from victims at the bulletin board she operated, filtered them through her own biased system, and released a sanitized production that could not be used as a basis for further journalistic work. Another fact left undiscussed is that, after pulling tens of thousands of dollars in Go Fund Me money into her bank account, and promising to use it to move BPS to another level, she simply took the money and split.

We might also ask ourselves what kind of behavior Andrea Winn modeled for the benefit of victims.

The roots of Winn’s project date back to her childhood in the Shambhala community, when, on several occasions, she was sexually abused by other members and one Shambhala leader.

-- CJR

What she modeled was SILENCE ABOUT HER OWN ABUSE. Read the entire BPS, and you will not find a single hint about who abused her, where it happened, the nature of the abuse, or how much pain it caused her? Instead, what do we get? The entire BPS is loaded with gushy nonsense about Andrea's "fierce dedication" to Shambhala, the "dakini wisdom" of the women in the group, and the importance of "holding space" when suffering abuse -- which amounts to swallowing after being given an unpleasant mouthful.

The attitude that Winn models in the BPS reports is "healing the community." It is hard to understand how she comes to this position, given that she claims to have been run out of Shambhala for insisting on talking about her abuse. Hasn't she seen enough of this "community"?

Fortunately, a lawyer came along to give voice to the women who actually had suffered:

Winn also heard from Carol Merchasin, a retired employment law partner at the law firm Morgan Lewis. Merchasin, who had experience investigating workplaces, hoped to lend credibility to Winn’s project. “I said, ‘You need to have more detail if you really want to have people believe you,’” Merchasin tells CJR. She joined Buddhist Project Sunshine as a volunteer, producing two investigative write-ups for the project’s “Phase 2” and “Phase 3” reports, published in June and August of last year, respectively.

In all candor, it is only the Phase 2 and Phase 3 reports that contain convincing material. BPS Phase 1 models Shambhala good-citizenship, holding out an absurd hope that Shambhala has crushed under the weight of total disinterest. Her "Values" are yoked to the very system that has dealt her and her sisters so much abuse:

• We are fiercely loyal to the vision of the Shambhala Teachings.
• We look to the Great Eastern Sun to lead us
• We work to create safety and stability in our own minds and in community through practicing Shamatha daily
• We fearlessly and compassionately acknowledge the impact of violation
• We work with our own projections and act powerfully from the wisdom of our deep self-knowing: In moments of rage, we take a sacred pause to have mercy for our self and unpack what has happened before acting.

Winn's Goals are not to benefit individuals or bring any wrongdoers to justice, but rather, to burnish the institution that has wronged her and other victims.

• Create a wise and empowered Shambhala right-relations activist group
• Create the space to have emotionally safe and clear dialogs about abuse that has been suffered in our community
• Collect impact stories from people who have experienced abuse and from leaders who have witnessed abusive situations in the Shambhala community
• Create a promotion campaign to launch in 2018 so that Shambhala citizens across the globe are able to hear the truth of what has happened to women, children and other vulnerable people, and participate in creating healthy relational changes in the community

Some people have posted about how things actually turned out while working with Andrea Winn on the bulletin board where people came to tell their stories. Apparently there was a "back room" where the women who posted were analyzed, and their stories were deemed worthy or unworthy of being told. In any event, all of the stories disappeared when Andrea Winn took the board down. This was a great way to get women to come out, tell their stories, and then see them all go down the memory hole. The journalists who came to her, trying to get some people to interview went away empty handed.

Throughout the process, Winn acted as a gatekeeper, protective of the survivors who had shared their stories for her reports. She says she felt betrayed by some journalists who she believed didn’t put survivors’ needs first in their reporting. Jerry West, a producer at CBC Radio, declined to run a story about the Phase 2 report without an interview from one of the survivors. Winn says she wasn’t able to provide him with such an interview. “He didn’t get the fact that these women had been sexually abused and spiritually abused by their guru, and had been shunned from the community,” Winn says. “His expectations were outlandish.”

West says he had already interviewed Andrea for a story about the Phase 1 report, and he needed new sources willing to go on the record to move the story along after Phase 2. “I can’t just read a report into the record,” he says. “We need a live person to talk.” West says he still wants to run another story about the sexual abuse in Shambhala, but hasn’t yet found another source willing to go on the air.

Wendy Joan Biddlecombe Agsar, a reporter at the Buddhist magazine Tricycle, asked Winn if she might speak to a specific survivor mentioned in the Phase 2 report. Winn asked the survivor if she felt comfortable speaking to a reporter, but the woman, referred to as “Ann,” said she wasn’t up to it before the Phase 2 report came out. Agsar ultimately published her story on the report with a note that Ann “declined to speak with Tricycle about her accusations.”

“It simply isn’t ethical for me as a journalist to not attempt to reach out to anonymous accusers in a story about widespread abuse…and to omit the fact that I attempted to reach out,” Agsar tells CJR. “I’m reporting a story, not just relaying the information that Winn wants me to tell our readers.”

Winn, who was outraged by that sentence, has a different take on journalists showing all of their work in finished stories. “The last thing [the survivors] needed was Tricycle saying that Ann declined to make a statement,” she says. “When I hear that on the news, I think, Well, what do they have to hide?”

-- CJR

The net effect of the BPS reports has been to provide zero evidence for law enforcement or victims who might wish to pursue civil claims against their abusers. The Sakyong has gotten enough of a whiff of danger that he is out of the jurisdiction, probably for a very long while. After all, police don't generally investigate absent suspects, especially when the victims won't talk. The Kalapa Kingdom received the BPS disclosures with aplomb. The Sakyong's concessions that he might have upset someone once, here or there, while going about his sacred duties, were exactly the type of tepid denials that Andrea Winn's platitudes prepared the Shambhalian masses to accept.

Before new reports were published, moderators received extra preparation and training to help the community receive the news. They considered questions such as, “How do you respond to the aftershock and care for the people who are reading that news and are going to be devastated?”

-- CJR

By modeling loyalty to the organization that set her up to be abused as a child, by modeling silence about her own abuse, by keeping all reports anonymous and arguing that none of the victims could bear the light of public disclosure, Andrea Winn effectively contained explosive revelations in a bland, sanctimonious container.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:13 am

Reason and Experience in Buddhist Epistemology
by Christian Coseru
A Companion to Buddhist philosophy, First Edition. Edited by Steven M. Emmanuel.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.



Introductory Remarks

As a specific domain of inquiry, "Buddhist epistemology" (sometimes designated in the specialist literature by the Sanskrit neologism pramavda, or the "theory of reliable sources of knowledge") stands primarily for the dialogical-disputational context in which Buddhists advance their empirical claims to knowledge and articulate the principles of reason on the basis of which such claims may be defended. The main questions that we shall pursue here concern the tension between the notion that knowledge is ultimately a matter of direct experience ­ which the Buddhist considers as more normative than other, more indirect, modes of knowing ­ and the largely discursive and argumentative ways in which such experiential claims are advanced.

The Sanskrit philosophical idiom, in which Buddhist epistemology finds its first and perhaps most elaborate expression, contains one distinctive term, anubhava, for the concept of "experience" and several terms that closely approximate the concept of "reason." For instance, tarka captures the notion of speculative or logical inquiry; nyya stands for the notion of rule or method for investigating objects by reliable means; yukti for the notion of ground, proof, or motive, or for something that is right, fit, or appropriate; and hetu for the notion of means by which what was hitherto unproved is now proven. From this cursory terminological survey one may hastily conclude that, whereas the epistemic notion of experience is universal, reason and the corresponding notion of rationality (with their roots in the Latin ratio, which conveys the sense of "reckoning" or "giving an account of judgment," as one might do in court) as a distinctive epistemic faculty or process is not. Of course, this observation assumes a Western frame of reference for examining the relation between reason and experience. An alternative project would be to explore the relation between experience and whatever it is that Buddhists mean when they examine, reflect upon, or seek to prove a given thesis without any reference to Western concepts and ways of thinking. Given that this second project is well nigh impossible if carried out in a language such as English, whose philosophical vocabulary has been shaped by a longstanding tradition of Western thought, we face a dilemma: can Buddhist philosophy be written in English without losing the explanatory force of its original concepts and categories?

Perhaps setting the problem in terms that are alien to the ways in which the Buddhists have pursued their epistemological reflections showcases a limitation that the tradition in fact does not possess. Since analyses of experience, argumentation, and debate are ubiquitous features of Buddhist thought ­ barring all caveats about translatability ­ it should be possible to offer an account of the role that reason and experience play in Buddhist epistemology that is neither inauthentic nor mere reportage. It may also be the case that this distinction between reason and experience is too sharply drawn, and that there are ways of conceiving of what it is like to perceive and reflect that regard them as complementary rather than opposite practices. Indeed, the recent recognition that the exercise of reason varies both over history and across cultures (see Weinberg et al. 2001; Machery et al. 2004; Huebner et al. 2010) should suffice to call into question any attempt to see both practical and theoretical reason as removed from the embodied patterns of conduct that characterize our specific ways of being in the world. As will be argued at length in this chapter, epistemological inquiries in India, particularly with regard to examining the sources of reliable cognition, have never displayed the sort of non-naturalism distinctive to the Cartesian and Kantian traditions in Western philosophy and their characteristically abstract epistemic notions of experience and rationality. Thus, with the return to naturalism in epistemology, hence to understanding cognition in embodied and causal terms, we may now be in a better position to appreciate the contributions of Buddhist philosophers to epistemology.

This chapter explores how the relation between direct experience and discursive modes of knowing is articulated in Indian Buddhism. The first account of this relation, as is well known, originates with Siddhrtha Gautama's experience of enlightenment. This experience becomes at once the source of the Buddhist metaphysical picture of reality and the culmination of all aspiration for genuine knowledge (the kind that guarantees the successful accomplishment of such practical ends as freedom from suf- fering). Key to this metaphysical picture is the causal principle of dependent arising and a thoroughly psychological account of persons, which takes experience and rational deliberation to be but two of the many contributing factors that shape human identity and agency. Indeed, at the foundation of this Buddhist inquiry into the sources of knowledge is the notion that awakened knowledge has existential consequences, and can effect the removal not only of such afflictive tendencies as ignorance and deception but also of the reifying tendencies inherent in common-sense beliefs. It is not surprising, therefore, that epistemological inquiry is central to Buddhist philosophy, and that understanding the nature of knowledge, its sources, and its conditions of possibility are constitutive of its main thrust.

We will start with a brief overview of canonical and Abhidharma perspectives on the scope of epistemological reflection, then evaluate the well-known Madhyamaka skepticism about the possibility of conceptually articulating our specific modes of being in the world, and conclude with an examination of Dignga and Dharmakirti's accounts of the relation between observation and inferential reasoning. Lastly, given the modern audience for this essay (and, indeed, for this volume), adopting a constructive, rather than merely critical and exegetical approach seems not only appropriate but also timely. If our efforts to reclaim the legacy of non-Western Traditions of philosophical inquiry are to have more than a historical or broadly exegetical value (and thus appeal to those outside Buddhist scholarly circles) we must necessarily consider whether Buddhist epistemology can provide a basis for analytic and constructive engagements of the sort typically found in contemporary philosophical debates.

Doubting, Knowing, and Seeing

In one of his best-known discourses, the Buddha endorses doubt as a legitimate epistemic attitude, telling his disciples that it is fitting to doubt and be perplexed. Enjoining his followers not to accept oral and scriptural tradition, but to rely on personal experience and discernment, the Buddha appears to challenge even such widely accepted modes of inquiry as logical and inferential reasoning: "Do not go by . . . logical reasoning, by inferential reasoning, by consideration of reasons, by the reflective acceptance of a view" (Klma Sutta). Rather, the Buddha urges, one is to discriminate between wholesome and unwholesome states of mind and use that discrimination as a guide to undertaking only those particular tasks, and following only those specific practices, that are conducive to welfare and happiness. It is nonetheless obvious that, despite such apparent disclaimers of reason, an endorsement of the notion that liberating insight demands careful empirical scrutiny can be clearly gleaned from the canonical literature. Furthermore, the knowledge one gains from such scrutiny must be ascertained on the basis of its effectiveness in removing both afflictive and cognitive obscurations, as well as in overcoming the kind of hindrances typically associated with conditioned phenomena. This emphasis on direct experience as a preferred mode of knowing is one of the reasons why some authors have interpreted the quest for truth in early Buddhism as akin to Western forms of empiricism, even though the Buddhist operates with a wider notion of "experience" than empiricist accounts of knowledge (as derived solely from sense experience) would allow. Thus, contrary to what might seem from afar like a Buddhist endorsement of misology, canonical sources make quite clear that several distinct factors play a crucial role in the acquisition of knowledge. These are variously identified with the testimony of sense experience, introspective or intuitive experience, inferences drawn from these two types of experience, and some form of coherentism, which demands that truth claims remain consistent across the entire corpus of doctrine. Thus, to the extent that Buddhists employ reason, they do so primarily in order further to advance the empirical investigation of phenomena. It is principally for this reason that early Buddhism presents us with a causal account of cognition and takes theories of causation to play a central role in any theory of knowledge. As K. N. Jayatilleke, one of the first proponents of a Buddhist sort of empiricism, notes, "inductive inferences in Buddhism are based on a theory of causation. These inferences are made on the data of perception . . . What is considered to constitute knowledge are direct inferences made on the basis of such perceptions" (Jayatilleke 1963, 457).

But there are matters that are simply not amenable to rational inquiry (and justification), and cannot be offered the sort of categorical answer one would expect of more straightforward issues such as the difference between true and false belief or between wholesome and unwholesome mental and affective states. Perhaps the best-known examples of such matters are the so-called unexplained or undetermined (anyakta) questions: whether the self and the world are eternal or not, whether they are finite or infinite, whether the soul and the body are identical or different, and whether one who has thus gone or come (a tathgata: one who has realized that the real nature of things is just "thus," free from any conceptual imputations) continues, does not continue, both continues and does not continue, or neither continues nor does not continue to exist after death. Modern scholars have proposed different interpretations of the Buddha's apparent non-committal on these crucial metaphysical and epistemological questions. Some claim a philosophical basis for the Buddha's silence, asserting either that he wished to leave the matter open for further inquiry and debate or that he did have answers but refused to reveal them as a deterrent to those seeking to make progress along the path. The canonical literature makes amply obvious that those who are able to follow in the Buddha's footsteps will likewise come to realize that all views are merely conventions established upon common practice, and, as a result, will forgo all philosophical disputation: the adept "agrees with no-one, disputes with no-one, and makes use of philosophical terms without erring" (Dghanakha Sutta).

We can easily recognize in one of these questions the well-known mind-­body problem. Are we to conclude that the Buddha does not consider this to be a real problem, deserving of a careful and measured answer? Or, is it rather the case that our conceptual resources are simply inadequate and cannot provide an answer to these questions in unambiguous and uncontroversial terms? If the knowledge project in Buddhism is about overcoming adherence to mistaken views, then it may well be the case that these questions are simply verbally and conceptually ill-formed, typical examples of pointless speculation (cf. Collins 1982, 132). Phenomena, including the five aggregates that are constitutive of human existence and/or experience (form, feeling, apperception, dispositions, and consciousness), come together as a product of multiple causes and conditions and cease with the removal of these causal and conditioning factors. None of these elements and factors in the web of interdependent arising, however, has causal priority. Any attempt to understand them in terms of permanence or complete dissolution disregards the fundamental causal principle of dependent arising, and therefore is not worthy of serious consideration.

Abhidharma traditions ­ essentially comprising a large body of literature concerned with examining the received teachings that emerged roughly three centuries after the death of the Buddha ­ do concede that there are specific principles of reason for why causal chains display patterns of regularity. But even here the assumption is that the descriptive framework of analysis is intended to serve not as a complete metaphysical picture of reality, but as a primer for identifying those elements (thoughts, desires, habitual tendencies) that are unwholesome, with the ultimate aim of overcoming them. The goal is thus pragmatic rather than speculative: unwholesome thoughts and desires must be properly identified and eradicated if liberation from suffering is to be achieved. Attempts to identify specific principles of reason, and indeed to employ them for the purpose of achieving greater clarity about controversial issues, become formalized in such representative works as the Points of Controversy (Kathvatthu), where we come across issues of doctrinal conflict that warrant serious critical discussion and debate. Whether works such as the Points of Controversy anticipate something like a logical system of deductive principles and propositional laws, as early interpreters have claimed (Aung and Rhys Davids 1915; Schayer 2001 [1933]; Bochenski 1961; and Matilal 1998), is less significant for our purpose here than their pragmatic valuation of rational modes of inquiry.

It is true that, in terms of both structure and strategy, these methods aim to codify specific rules of debate, by means of which controversial issues can be addressed and arguments (adduced by both parties) properly weighed and considered. Typically, the debate revolves around such issues as whether all knowledge is analytic, whether one can know the minds of others, whether sensations follow one another continuously, and whether continuity of awareness is genuinely achieved only in meditative equipoise. These debates, which involve a back-and-forth exchange concerning statements of the sort "Is a b? ("Is knowledge analytic?"), most certainly appeal to principles that are discerningly like forms of material implication, contraposition, and some version of reductio ad absurdum. We may thus recognize these philosophically non-eristic dialogues as "reasoned examinations" (yukti) of controversial points.

The pattern of argumentation at work in Points of Controversy, as Jonardon Ganeri has convincingly shown, is presumptive rather than demonstrative, since the burden of proof switches from one party to the next, neither of which offers any positive thesis (Ganeri 2001, 487). It is precisely this preference for argumentum ad ignorantiam (of the sort: "I am right because not proven wrong") that gains prestige with Nagarjuna's development of the radical thesis that it is not just that some controversial (or difficult) issues must be rigorously debated, but rather that reality itself in some sense is beyond the reach of conception. Nagarjuna's skepticism about the possibility of positive argumentation hinges on a crucial insight: that our ordinary ways of conceiving ­ which depend on such standard concepts and categories as origin, motion, sensation, physical objects and their properties, past, present, and future, and the idea that objects in the class of what J. L. Austin calls "medium-sized dry goods" have a self-standing nature or essence ­ are seriously flawed. That is, they are the result of a pervasive and systemic ignorance that afflicts the unenlightened human condition.

Before we turn briefly to consider Nagarjuna's challenge to rationality as a method for establishing positive views, and its implications for Buddhist epistemology, let us first consider the causal aspects of the principles of reason formulated by Abhidharma philosophers.

In the context of addressing such basic doctrinal issues as the nature and scope of Buddhist teachings, Asaga, for instance, identifies four widely shared "reasons" (yukti) for which one may proceed to inquire into the nature of things. The assumption is that such inquiries are indispensable for all who seek knowledge, however it may be defined. The issue under debate is not whether the desire to know itself needs to be called into question ­ presumably by those who might see it as an affliction, and thus doubt its inherently positive value ­ but how one who has realized that there are good and perhaps many reasons to examine things is to carry out such examinations. In the Collection on Higher Knowledge (Abhidharmasamuccaya II) (see Tatia 1976), Asaga lists four such reasons. First, there is the principle of dependence (apekyukti), which takes into account the fact that conditioned things necessarily arise in dependence upon conditions: it is a principle of reason, for instance, that sprouts depend on seeds. Second, there is the principle of causal efficacy (kryakraayukti), which accounts for the difference between things in terms of the different causal conditions for their apprehension: it is a principle of reason, thus, that, in dependence upon form, a faculty of vision, and visual awareness, one has visual rather than, say, auditory or tactile experiences (of course, the phenomenon of synesthesia, which Buddhist philosophers did not consider, poses a challenge to this principle). The requirement that any sort of instruction about what must be established as a matter of principle is not contrary to the means by which it can be established captures the sense of the third principle of reason: the realization of evidence from experience (sktkriysdhanayukti). We realize the presence of water from moisture and of fire from smoke. Lastly, there is the principle of natural reasoning, or the principle of reality (dharmatyukti), which concerns the phenomenal character of things as perceived (for instance, the wetness and fluidity of water). These four principles of reason become a near permanent fixture with later Indian Buddhist philosophers, and come close to embodying internalist and externalist accounts of rationality for the purpose of justifying certain claims to knowledge (or for appealing to causal explanation). That is, the principles of reason (yukti) capture both the notion of "her reason for doing x" and "the reason x happened" (cf. Kapstein 1988, 153).

This account of the principles of reason could be read in at least two ways: first, as a causal theory of natural fitness, which would postulate that the world is such that it is reasonable to assert that things arise due to specific causes and conditions (for instance, that sprouts come from seeds). Such a theory would share common ground with views expressed by Sanskrit grammarians such as Bharthari, who claim that the manner in which words are capable of capturing objects in the empirical domain ­ such that the thing cognized is in some sense indistinguishable from the word (or expression) by which it is thus cognized ­ reflects the latter's natural fitness (cf. Iyer 1969, 204). Second, we may understand this account in Kantian terms as describing the a priori conditions for knowledge, since it is reasonable to assume that causal laws justify claims about the order of the objective and subjective domains of experience.

What we have here are examples of natural reasoning or of reasoning from experience, rather than attempts to use deliberative modes of reasoning for the purpose of justifying a given thesis or arguing for its conditions of satisfaction. With Dignga and Dharmakirti, such uses of reason, as we shall argue below, develop in what may be best described as a system of pragmatic or context-based reasoning.

Emptiness, Rationality, and the Impossibility of Proof

The expansive taxonomies of Abhidharma traditions, and their long and detailed lists of the elements of existence and/or experience (dharmas), stand as testimony to the central role that descriptive accounts of experience play in the Buddhist epistemological project. But these descriptive accounts rely on observation, and observation leads to the old philosophical problem of the difference between "seeing" and "seeing as." Recent developments in epistemology, in particular those centered around the project of naturalism, have challenged the empiricist claim that observation is in some sense a type of "seeing" that is always dissociated from "seeing as." As Jerry Fodor, for instance, puts it, letting psychology settle what an observation is, or just letting the observations be the data, is legitimate; but "it's sheer Empiricist dogmatism to take it for granted that you can do both at once. In fact, there is no good reason to suppose that the psychological notion of perception ­ or, indeed, any psychological notion ­ will reconstruct the epistemological notion of a datum" (Fodor 1991, 200).

For the Buddhist epistemologists, however, this distinction between "seeing" and "seeing as" is instrumental in discriminating conception-free from conception-laden cognitive states, and, indeed, for claiming that only the former warrant the proper label of veridical perception. Typically, the Buddhist points to such examples as being able to attend to perceptual input while thinking of something else, as proof that there is an epistemic gap between direct observation and perceptual judgment. It is this distinction that philosophers such as Nagarjuna and Candrakirti challenge, and those such as Dignga and Dharmakirti defend as normative for any epistemological project. To say that there is a way that things are that is separate from how they show up to us, and that it is possible to have something like a pure, undiscriminating awareness of phenomena that is implicitly (thought non-discursively) cognitive, is to endorse the view that reality is in effect accessible to thought. The Buddhist epistemologists are not unaware that our cognitive capacities are constrained in some aspects. However, their emphasis is not on the internal and External Constraints imposed upon our cognitive systems, but on what can be known and by what means. For Nagarjuna, though, it is not just that some aspects of reality might escape our discerning capacities, but rather that reality itself is beyond the reach of thought. As he famously puts it in his Stanzas on the Middle Way (Mulamadhyamakakrika):

Where the reach of thought turns back, language turns back. The nature of things is, like complete cessation, without origin and without decay.

-- (MMK.18.7)

For that reason, namely that the truth is deep and difficult to understand, the Buddha's mind despaired of being able to teach it.

-- (MMK.24.12)

Though at first glance this position might be suggestive of skepticism, it has elicited a wide range of interpretations (some reiterating criticism leveled against Nagarjuna by his historical rivals, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist, and some reflecting novel and constructive engagements with his philosophy). His position has been variously described as skepticism, nihilism, irrationalism, misology, agnosticism, criticism, dialectic, mysticism, acosmism, absolutism, nominalism, relativism, Wittgenstenian linguistic analysis, philosophical therapy, anti-realism, and deconstructionism, and as articulating a version of paraconsistent logic (see Ruegg 1981; Siderits 1988; Huntington 2007; and Garfield 2008). As these widely divergent readings suggest, the exegetical question about how best to interpret Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka is yet to be settled. What is indisputable, however, is Nagarjuna's unambiguous stance vis-а-vis reliance on the common-sense conceptual schema that takes the world to be constituted of enduring, self-sustaining objects.

For the purpose of our analysis, Nagarjuna appears to raise serious concerns not only about the very notion that there is such a faculty as reason, one attributable to a stable and enduring agent, but also about what it is like to be undergoing an experience. Indeed, his dialectical stance calls into question the very notion that our modes of being in the world (and the activities we typically associate with what it is like to see, hear, or verbally comprehend) have something like an inherent existence or character or their own (a svabhva). The Madhyamaka dialectical project is thus anchored in a deconstructive analysis of key concepts such as causation, essence, and the self. But, for this deconstructive analysis to be effective, Nagarjuna needs to establish the view of universal emptiness and supply arguments in defense of such a view.

Now, Nagarjuna does discuss the four modes or sources of knowledge admitted by the Naiyyikas (perception, inference, cognition of similarity, and verbal testimony), but it seems he is reluctant to commit to the view that such modes of knowing constitute effective epistemic guides. That is, while he recognizes that, say, objects in the empirical domain are established in dependence upon perception, he is less disposed to credit perception with the capacity to disclose entities as ultimately lacking inherent existence. Perception, at best, may be able to establish that objects exist as they appear (though, given the possibility of perceptual illusion, it cannot establish that what has thus appeared has its conditions of ascertainment intrinsically). That is, perception cannot establish by itself whether its contents are veridical or not.

What, then, are some of the ways in which we may explain what our modes of knowing can, if at all, accomplish? Addressing this issue with respect to Nagarjuna's account, Jan Westerhoff identifies at least three such ways: (1) establishment by mutual coherence; (2) self-establishment; and (3) mutual establishment (Westerhoff 2009, 166). In the first instance, the testimony of experience is corroborated by other means, such as inference. I know that my perception of a blue sky is non-deceptive because I can infer its presence from the absence of clouds or the presence of the sun's warm radiance (given causal relations, or relations of entailment between clouds, sky, and sunlight). Second, it may be that perceptions are in some sense self-revealing. In perceiving I am aware not merely of the object, in this case of the blue sky, but also of my act of perceiving. This view of perception relies on the notion that there is something it is like to see that requires no further corroboration. Finally, it may be the case that perception and object perceived are mutually established: vision discloses a world of visible objects, touch a world of textures, and so on.

Most of Nagarjuna's efforts are aimed at refuting the self-establishment thesis (though he also briefly considers, and rejects, the mutual coherence thesis) and at justifying the mutual establishment thesis. For Nagarjuna's opponents, chiefly the Naiyyikas, the sources of knowledge cooperate in disclosing a world of self-standing, enduring objects, something that, of course, is antithetical to the emptiness thesis. Taking fire, and its capacity to illuminate, as a metaphor for the revealing nature of cognition, Nagarjuna advances the thesis that phenomena of this sort cannot be established either by perception or by inherence. To claim that cognitions are intrinsically self-revealing (just as fire is inherently self-illuminating) is effectively to say that every- thing knowable is established by some source of knowledge: visible objects are established as such by a faculty of vision. At least in the case of empirical awareness, to know something is to bring it forth and make it manifest to conscious awareness. But Nagarjuna is not content merely to refute the thesis that, like fire, a mode of knowing, such as perception, discloses both itself and other objects. Rather, he deploys his dialectical method to argue that, in effect, a mode of knowing discloses neither itself nor other objects (a double refutation of the opponent's thesis). It is here that Nagarjuna's conceptual schema, which places objects in mutually exclusive classes, leads to an epistemological impasse: that is, he presents us with an analysis of experience that ignores the difference between what one might deem to be case (on the basis of assumptions about the nature of experience) and what seems actually to be the case in the occurrence of a perceptual event:

A lamp cannot illuminate when it is connected with darkness since their connection does not exist. Why are the lamp and darkness not connected? Because they are opposed. Where the lamp is, darkness is not. How can the lamp remove or illuminate darkness?

-- (Auto-Commentary to Refutation of Logic (Vaidalyaprakaraa-Svavtti), 24.2­8; in Tola and Dragonetti 1995)

In postulating darkness as something that has the power to conceal, Nagarjuna in effect appears to reify a phenomenon that is established only negatively: darkness is not something that can be defined as the possessor of some (concealing) capacity in the same way that light is defined by its capacity to illuminate. The phenomenological picture at work here is somewhat inadequate, given that it contains a description of darkness that assumes its discrete existence. Thus, Nagarjuna's refutation of the capacity of light to illuminate (or, by analogy, of perception to reveal) is problematic, since light and darkness are not independent objects but phenomena within the horizon of intentional awareness. The mutual exclusion of light and darkness, however, is used here not simply to justify the impossibility of light to illuminate what was hitherto concealed; rather, the argument is intended to demonstrate that fire cannot be self- established as a source of illumination for other objects (presumably because it is itself dependent on other things, such as fuel). Such self-establishment of illumination in its dual role would require that light and object illuminated stand in a relation of causality. Though Nagarjuna does admit that darkness is merely the absence of light, he nonetheless appears to argue that absence itself has some kind of positive existence (which perforce prevents it from entering into any causal relationship with light, its opposite).

Against the self-illumination theorist, who postulates that our modes of knowing have a revealing character, the Madhyamika advances the argument that no mode of knowing has its characteristics intrinsically. Just as a knife cannot cut itself, so also any given mode of knowing cannot know itself in the process of revealing an object. Two principles seem to underlie the Madhyamika's argument: (i) the anti-reflexivity principle, which postulates that vision does not see itself; and (ii) the doctrine of emptiness, which postulates that vision lacks intrinsic existence (viz., seeing) (cf. Siderits 2003, 32). The argument goes as follows: if seeing is the intrinsic nature of vision, then vision must have seeing intrinsically. Thus, vision must see even in the absence of a visible object, because seeing would otherwise be dependent on external visible objects. But seeing (by definition) requires that there is something that is seen. Hence, in the absence of a visible object, vision itself is what vision sees. But vision cannot see itself (as per the anti-reflexivity principle). Hence, seeing is not the intrinsic nature of vision. Conclusion: it is not true that vision sees visible objects.

What, then, is it like to have veridical visual experiences, and how might one meaningfully articulate their epistemic status? Neither Nagarjuna nor his followers offer us a positive answer. For these Buddhist philosophers of the Middle Way, the true nature of reality is such that it is beyond the limits of thought. But we may ask: is it also beyond the reach of experience? And, if it is, by what means may this thesis be ascertained? It is worth noting that Nagarjuna's categorical stance on the limits of knowledge is decidedly different from such paradoxical inquiry into the possibility of knowledge one comes across, for instance, in Plato's Meno (80d-e). We are dealing here not with the impossibility of inquiring into that which we do not know, but with the impossibility of reaching beyond what inquiry itself can deliver. What we have here is a rejection of the notion that (ultimate) reality can form an object of rational inquiry.

Not all followers of Nagarjuna are satisfied with his uncompromising stance about the possibility of making assertions about the ultimate nature of reality. As Bhviveka (who takes seriously the virtues of positive argumentation in discriminating between true and false beliefs) claims, there is something it is like to see the nature of reality, even though only buddhas have such abilities: "Buddhas, without seeing, see all objects of knowledge just as they are, with minds like space and with nonconceptual knowledge" (Verses on the Heart of the Middle Way (Madhyamakahdayakrik), 5.106; in Eckel 2008). The terminology used here includes terms such as loka (light) and locana (illuminating), both of which convey the sense of vision as having a revealing and disclosing capacity. For the ordinary individual, the clouds that obscure their vision exist only in their minds, since reality is as clear as the autumn sky. Even the experience of enlightenment itself is in some sense associated with a specific type of vision that is effortless in revealing the nature of reality. Such reality cannot be merely the postulate of reason. But Bhaviveka is not only willing to rehabilitate empirical awareness; he also comes to the rescue of reason (even though he admits that inferential knowledge does not possess the kind of vividness that alone qualifies direct experience as a true source of knowledge): "It is impossible to understand reality as an object of inference, but inference can rule out the opposite of the knowledge of reality" (ibid., 5.107). It is this rehabilitation of a reason that is firmly grounded in experience that informs the spartan epistemology of Dignga and Dharmakirti, who, as will be examined below, will come to recognize that epistemological disputes cannot be properly undertaken (or indeed settled) without taking into account that cognitive events are grounded in all aspects of an individual's conscious experience.

Cognitive Events, Logical Reasons, and Causal Explanation

That reason may be more readily (and effectively) deployed to exclude unwarranted beliefs, rather than to make warranted assertions, marks an important shift in attitude among Buddhists towards the role of rational inquiry. Indeed, the development of Buddhist epistemology as a distinct type of discourse is marked by the gradual acceptance of certain canons of logic and argumentation by those Buddhist philosophers who would come to regard polemical engagement with their Brahmanical opponents as vital to influencing their standing in a wider philosophical community. But there are more than simply sociological reasons at work in this novel orientation towards the scope of rational inquiry. We may see this engagement as reflecting a certain eagerness on the part of (at least) some Buddhists to guarantee that their modes of argumentation are commensurable with the widely accepted methods of reasoning formulated by the Naiyyikas. What seems to concern philosophers such as Dignga, Dharmakirti, and their successors is precisely this need to withstand the criticism that core doctrinal principles such as those of momentariness and dependent arising can neither be defended on rational grounds nor find any sort of empirical support.

Debates about the proper way to conduct epistemic inquiries, and about the kind of sources that can provide evidential ground for knowledge, form an integral part of the Indian philosophical traditions. Though there is no universal agreement on what should count as an "accredited" source of knowledge, perception is often singled out as the exception: most philosophers agree that the testimony of direct experience ought to play a central role in any theory of knowledge. For inference and verbal testimony to play the sort of epistemic role that is typically attributed to them, the content of one's mental states (or propositional attitudes) must be grounded in veridical experiences. Indeed, what use would inference have if, in trying to infer the presence of fire from an observation of smoke, one were to mistake dust (or mist) for smoke? But grounding knowledge on a foundation of empirical experience is not without its challenges: perceptual ambiguities are often experienced even under the best conditions of observation, and there is always the possibility of less than optimal perceptual functioning.

How, then, do the Buddhist epistemologists resolve the tension between experience and reasoning? In the first instance, they take perception to function not only as a psychological process, to be understood within the framework of classical Abhidharma phenomenology, but also as an epistemic modality for establishing a cognitive event as knowledge. Secondly, they do not make a radical distinction between epistemology and the psychological processes of cognition, at least not in the Western sense in which modern normative epistemology eschews naturalist explanations. This understanding of epistemology as cognitive theory is most clearly illustrated in Dignga's formulation of the method of reasoning known as the triple inferential mark (trairpya), which relies on empirical observation as the most authentic criterion for establishing the validity of inferential cognitions.

What interests us here is not Dignga's method or its Theoretical underpinnings, but the specific way in which he conceives of the relation between reason and experience. For Dignga (and all subsequent Buddhist epistemologists), cognition operates in two distinct domains: that of particulars, which are only available to empirical awareness, and that of universals, which can only form an object of inferential reasoning:

The sources of knowledge are perception and inference, because the object of cognition has only two characteristics. There is no object of cognition other than the particular characteristic and the universal characteristic, because perception has as its object the particular and inference the universal characteristic of the thing.

-- (Collection on the Sources of Knowledge (Pramasamuccaya), I. 1; in Hattori 1968)

First, unlike Nagarjuna and his Madhyamaka followers, Dignga is quite categorical in his assertion that there are reliable sources of knowledge. Furthermore, by offering a phenomenological (thus descriptive) account of cognition, Dignga makes obvious that these two sources of knowledge (roughly equivalent to experience and the exercise of reason) are distinguished not only on the basis of the sort of objects they intend but also in terms of their functional role (cf. Dreyfus 1997, 49). In other words, perception apprehends real individuals by virtue of its constitution (its cognitive architecture and organization: seeing occurs only in organisms endowed with a visual system), whereas inference can apprehend only what are essentially conceptual constructs. This co-presence of perception and object as perceived explains why only perception can enter in a direct causal-­cognitive coupling with phenomena in the empirical domain.

Thus, the Buddhist epistemologist comes to regard conception as a secondary, rather than a higher-order cognition: the chasm between the world as experienced and its conceptual apprehension can only be bridged in cognitive events that are pragmatically efficacious. What makes such pragmatic cognitive events "indubitable" is precisely their efficacy, the fact that they attain their object. If the Buddhist epistemologists come to conceive of the relation between reason and experience in context-specific terms, then their epistemology may well be described as a system of pragmatic or context- dependent reasoning. Unlike the deductive systems of semantic reasoning, which are context-free, pragmatic reasoning is generally inductive and encompasses the types of logic (non-monotonic and paraconsistent) that represent reasoning from premises that are context specific (cf. Bell 2001). On this model of pragmatic reasoning, we reason by first observing the occurrence of certain properties in an object or class of objects and the non-occurrence of those same properties when the object is absent. This model of reasoning operates by deriving hypothetical statements from past observations of the inductive domain. Take the example of empirical objects: these are understood to come into existence due to causes and conditions, and thus to be impermanent, for whatever is produced must necessarily cease. Conversely, a permanent object cannot be produced. Propositions of the type "Sound is impermanent, because it is a product," are then true so long as we do not come across an example of permanent (or indestructible) sounds. Shoryu Katsura has defined this type of logic as "hypothetical reasoning based on induction" (Katsura 2007, 76). Assuming this system of reasoning, which is based on the observation and non-observation of evidence, is open to revision so as to accommodate cases where there is a violation of the linguistic convention, we may describe it as a system of context-specific reasoning.

Such appeals to empirical observation tie logical reasoning to the ability to establish causal connections between the things we directly experience. Consequently, exploring the limits of our ability to establish various causal connections between the elements of experience has less to do with principles of logical entailment and more with psychological inquiries into the nature of our perceptual and cognitive systems.

Thus, Dharmakirti's attempt to ground reasoning on a stronger principle than mere observation and non-observation of the evidence would lead him to postulate that there must be some "natural connection" (svabhvapratibandha) between the thesis and what is to be demonstrated in order to provide a stronger basis for reasoning. This essential connection is meant to overcome the challenge posed by reliance on hypothetical reasoning. However, since Dharmakirti's ultimate criterion for truth is the causal efficacy of cognitions, this essential relation cannot be viewed as pragmatically neutral. Reasoning from the empirical data, so the argument goes, must be grounded on more than the simple observation and non-observation of occurring associations and dissociations. In Dharmakirti's technical vocabulary, the notions of identity (tdtmya) and causal generation (tadutpatti) thus come to represent two essential conditions on the basis of which we distinguish between theories of meaning and theories of reference. Whereas the truth of the former is contingent upon the semantic content of the sentence, the truth of the latter requires additional empirical knowledge of the causal relation that obtains between the designated objects (cf. Hayes 1988, 254; Arnold 2008, 421).

In order to establish the sort of evidence that can serve as a warrant for sound inference (and to rule out instances of erratic attribution of an essential connection between premises in an argument), Dharmakirti provides various examples of things that are ordinarily thought of in conjunction: the act of speaking and passion, a living body and breathing, perceptual awareness and the senses, and the stock example of fire and smoke.

But this mode of understanding pragmatic reasoning must explain what sort of properties, whether observed or unobserved, in similar or dissimilar cases, can be counted as evidence for asserting a given thesis? Furthermore, it must also explain how such properties are ascertained. In the case of the act of speaking and passion, for instance, observation of their occurring association is just a case of erratic evidence, for at most the act of speaking can serve as ground for inferring the presence of a speech organ and a capacity to communicate, not of passion. In this example, we see Dharmakirti indirectly rejecting the notion that speech requires passion ­ seen as an affliction ­ for its cause. Obviously, in delivering speeches, buddhas cannot be seen to act from passion or impulse (conditions that afflict only the unenlightened).

Given that observation of one occurring relation does not guarantee the same relation will obtain at a different place and time, how can one escape the risk that there may be unobserved instances to the contrary? For Dharmakirti, appeal to rules of reasoning that best reflect the nature of causally efficient entities (that is, to the so-called natural relation between the properties of an inference) offers the best solution to this conundrum. As he explains, one cannot infer from a cause to its effect, or from a causal totality (kraasmagr) to an effect, because there is always the chance of impending factors preventing the arising of the given effect. One can infer, however, from the effect to the cause, though only in a restricted case. Thus, "only an immediate effect enables the inference of a cause, because it is dependent on it" (Auto-Commentary to Commentary on the Sources of Knowledge (Pramavrttika-svavtti), II 12.4; In Pandeya 1989). In this effort to tie reason to causal explanation (and thus view reasons as causes of a certain type), we see the Buddhist epistemologist's concern with maximizing our predictive capacity to make sound inferences, the ultimate goal of which is achieving desired ends.

We have now come full circle in our account of how specific concerns with identifying and formulating principles of reason come to inform the Buddhist epistemological relation between reason and experience. What does it mean, then, to say that there is a natural relation between the properties of an inference, or that the truth of the major premise can be known by perception? It is to put forth a particular view of perception one that regards empirical awareness as a form of embodied action. To perceive is to understand how we cope with the environment we inhabit.

Conclusion: Knowledge as Enactive Transformation

All Indian Buddhist philosophers argue in one way or another for preserving the canonical teachings as conveying a vision of reality that requires constant actualization through a dynamic praxis of interpretation and enactment. This praxis is essentially epistemic in character, marking a gradual progression from the act of listening to, and reflecting upon, a set of statements, to actualizing their significance in an enactive manner. Such dynamic integration of disciplined observation and rational deliberation provides both a pragmatic context and the phenomenological orientation necessary in order to map out the Cognitive Domain. It is this praxis that leads a representative thinker such as Dharmakirti to claim that the Buddha, whose view he and his successors claim to propound, is a true embodiment of the sources of knowledge. Thus, far from seeing a tension between empirical scrutiny and the exercise of reason, the Buddhist epistemological enterprise positions itself not merely as a dialogical-disputational method for avoiding unwarranted beliefs, but as a practice aimed at achieving concrete, pragmatic ends. As Dharmakirti reminds his fellow Buddhists, the successful accomplishment of any human goal is wholly dependent on having correct knowledge.

Appealing to the Buddha's extraordinary cognitive abilities, therefore, is a case not of the abdication of reason in the face of authority, but of showcasing the embodied and enactive character of enlightened knowledge. Against the dialectical method of Nagarjuna, whose ultimate aim is the relinquishing of all views, the Buddhist epistemologists emphasize the critical and positive role of perspicacious reasoning. Indeed, with Dignga, Dharmakirti, and their successors, epistemology comes to be regarded as an effective discipline that brings about real results. This is a new epistemology, one that is constrained by the phenomenology of first-person experience rather than by a priori notions about the operations of reason or metaphysical assumptions about the nature of reality.



Arnold, Dan (2008). Transcendental Arguments and Practical Reason in Indian Philosophy. In Argumentation 22, 135­47.

Aung, S. Z., and Rhys Davids, C. A. F. (1915). Points of Controversy, or, Subjects of Discourse: Being a Translation of the Kathvatthu from the Abhidhammapiaka. PTS translation series no. 5. London: Luzac.

Bell, John (2001). Pragmatic Reasoning: Pragmatic Semantics and Semantic Pragmatics. In Modeling and Using Context: Proceedings of the Third International and Interdisciplinary Conference. Berlin: Springer, 45­58.

Bochenski, J. M. (1961). A History of Formal Logic. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Collins, Steven (1982). Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravda Buddhism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dreyfus, Georges (1997). Recognizing Reality: Dharmakirti's Philosophy and its Tibetan Interpretations. Albany: State University of New York Press.

 Eckel, Malcolm D. (2008). Bhviveka and His Buddhist Opponents. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Fodor, Jerry A. (1991). The Dogma that Didn't Bark (A Fragment of a Naturalized Epistemology). In Mind 100, 201­20.

 Ganeri, Jonardon (2001). Argumentation, Dialogue, and the Kathvatthu. In Journal of Indian Philosophy 29, 485­93.

 Garfield, Jay L. (2008). Turning a Madhyamaka Trick: Reply to Huntington. In Journal of Indian Philosophy 36, 507­27.

 Hattori, Masaaki (1968). Dignga, On Perception. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Hayes, Richard (1988). Dignga on the Interpretation of Signs. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

Huebner, B., Sarkissian, H., and Bruno, M. (2010). What Does the Nation of China think about Phenomenal States? In European Review of Philosophy 1, 225­43.

Huntington, C. (2007). The Nature of the Mdhyamika Trick. In Journal of Indian Philosophy 35, 103­31.

Iyer, K. A. Subramania (1969). Bharthari: A Study of the Vkyapadya in the Light of the Ancient Commentaries. Poona: Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute.

Jayatilleke, K. N. (1963). Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge. London: George Allen & Unwin.

Kapstein, Matthew (1988). Mi-pham's Theory of Interpretation. In Buddhist Hermeneutics. Ed. Donald S. Lopez. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 149­74.

Katsura, Shoryu (2007). How Did Buddhists Prove Something? The Nature of Buddhist Logic. In Pacific World Journal 3(9), 63­84.

Machery, E., Mallon, R., Nichols, S., and Stich, S. (2004). Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style. In Cognition 92, B1­B12.

 Matilal, Bimal K. (1998). The Character of Logic in India. Ed. J. Ganeri and H. Tiwari. Oxford: Oxford University PRESS.

Pandeya, Ram Chandra (ed.) (1989). The Pramavrttikam of crya Dharmakirti with The Com- mentaries "Svopajсavtti" of the Author and "Pramavrttikavtti" of Manorathanandin. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

Ruegg, David S. (1981). The Literature of the Madhyamaka School of Philosophy in India. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Schayer, S. (2001 [1933]) Studies in Indian Logic. Trans. Joerg Tuske. In Indian Logic: A Reader. Ed. J. Ganeri. London: Curzon Press; orig. pubd as Altindische Antizipationen der Aussagenlogik. In Bulletin International de l'Academie Polonaise des Sciences et des Lettres, classe de philologies, 90­6.

Siderits, Mark (1988). Nagarjuna as Anti-Realist. In Journal of Indian Philosophy 16, 311­25.

Siderits, Mark (2003). personal identity and Buddhist Philosophy. Aldershot: Ashgate.

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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:19 am

Einstein's conversion from a static to an expanding universe
by Springer
February 18, 2014



Albert Einstein accepted the modern cosmological view that the universe is expanding long after his contemporaries, new study shows.

Until 1931, physicist Albert Einstein believed that the universe was static.. An urban legend attributes this change of perspective to when American astronomer Edwin Hubble showed Einstein his observations of redshift in the light emitted by far away nebulae—today known as galaxies. But the reality is more complex. The change in Einstein's viewpoint, in fact, resulted from a tortuous thought process. Now, in an article published in European Physical Journal H, Harry Nussbaumer from the Institute of Astronomy at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, explains how Einstein changed his mind following many encounters with some of the most influential astrophysicists of his generation.

In 1917 Einstein applied his theory of general relativity in the universe, and suggested a model of a homogenous, static, spatially curved universe. However, this interpretation has one major problem: If gravitation was the only active force, his universe would collapse – an issue Einstein addressed by introducing the cosmological constant.

He then fiercely resisted the view that the universe was expanding, despite his contemporaries' suggestions that this was the case. For example, in 1922, Russian physicist Alexander Friedman showed that Einstein's equations were viable for dynamical worlds. And, in 1927, Georges Lemaître, a Belgian astrophysicist from the Catholic University of Louvain, concluded that the universe was expanding by combining general relativity with astronomical observations. Yet, Einstein still refused to abandon his static universe.

However, in an April 1931 report to the Prussian Academy of Sciences, Einstein finally adopted a model of an expanding universe. In 1932 he teamed up with the Dutch theoretical physicist and astronomer, Willem de Sitter, to propose an eternally expanding universe which became the cosmological model generally accepted until the middle of the 1990s. To Einstein's relief these two models no longer needed the cosmological constant.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:48 am

Cutting Through Spiritual Puritanism
by Gabe Dayley
November 27, 2018



Illustration by Alicia Brown

In the West it is difficult for the Dharma to take root. The soil is not fertile. The good and evil, fire and brimstone logic of puritanism has dried the ground and permeated our cultural and political institutions.1

Western Buddhists often lament this situation, claiming to hold a superior, subtler view that sees the emptiness of phenomena and transcends the misguided dualisms of puritanism and its modern offspring.2 Yet when crisis strikes—when the proverbial Buddhist rug is torn from its restful place beneath our feet—more than a few Western Buddhists forget their cherished dharmic view.

Although some of the fire-and-brimstone eccentricities of puritanism have long since faded from mainstream discourse, the fundamental logic of good and evil—with no middle ground—remains a powerful cultural force in politics, media, and literature. Buddhist practitioners in the West, who have been steeped since birth in a society of rigid categories of good and evil and Aristotle’s law of the excluded middle,3 cannot escape their puritan conditioning, which rears its head in thoughts, feelings, and pronouncements in reaction to crisis.

We see this phenomenon as many Dharma communities in the West have been shaken in recent years by allegations of sexual misconduct and other abuses of power by teachers and lineage holders. Most recently among them have been allegations of sexual misconduct against the spiritual leader of the global Shambhala Buddhist community, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Many responses from members of these communities are constructive—calling for introspection, examination of patriarchy, and transformative justice.4 Yet alongside these responses emerges a pattern—often among men—of expressing righteous indignation toward the accused, lumping all abusers into one convenient category of everything evil: rapists, child-abusers, tyrants, and Harvey Weinsteins.5 Doing so both ignores a spectrum of harm and allows men in particular to avoid critical self-examination by publicly distancing themselves from the harmful behavior.

We should condemn behavior that causes harm in the most uncertain terms. There is something questionable, however, when men use the abuses of another man as a foil, condemning the accused abuser in a self-righteous way that places the commentator above such reprehensible action, as if to imply that some men are responsible for patriarchy, while others are clean observers, on the right side of history lamenting the abuses of others.

All men participate in patriarchy. (So do women.6) The righteous indignation—laden with puritanical judgment of the other—creates an implicit illusion of a stark division between ‘good men’ (who righteously defend women, always) and ‘bad men’ (who perpetrate abuse, full stop). This indignation perpetuates “the lies that we men like to tell ourselves,” as philosophy professor George Yancy writes, “that we are beyond the messiness of sexism and male patriarchy, that we don’t oppress women.”7

A more dharmic response to the news of such abuses that would more skillfully challenge patriarchy would be for men—especially the righteously indignant ones—to contemplate and interrogate our own behavior toward women. In what ways, despite our best intentions, do we perpetuate patriarchy? George Yancy offers an eloquent, if painful, enumeration that is worth quoting at length:

“I have failed to speak out when I should have. I have failed to engage critically and extensively [women’s] pain and suffering in my writing. I have failed to transcend the rigidity of gender roles in my own life. I have failed to challenge those poisonous assumptions that women are “inferior” to men or to speak out loudly in the company of male philosophers who believe that feminist philosophy is just a nonphilosophical fad. I have been complicit with, and have allowed myself to be seduced by, a country that makes billions of dollars from sexually objectifying women, from pornography, commercials, video games, to Hollywood movies. I am not innocent.

I have been fed a poisonous diet of images that fragment women into mere body parts. I have also been complicit with a dominant male narrative that says that women enjoy being treated like sexual toys. In our collective male imagination, women are “things” to be used for our visual and physical titillation. And even as I know how poisonous and false these sexist assumptions are, I am often ambushed by my own hidden sexism. I continue to see women through the male gaze that belies my best intentions not to sexually objectify them.”8

And in if in our contemplation we find that we are generally respectful toward women most of the time, if we find that we hold feminist views and seek to challenge elements of patriarchy even as we perpetuate other elements, then let us ask further: What good fortune and circumstances contributed to our outlook and perspective? What women and men opened our minds, stretched our thinking, and nurtured our empathy and compassion?

I am fortunate to have been in a ten-year relationship with a strong, grounded, confident woman who has a deep sense of self-worth. We met in college, and I think I brought some of my own ‘game’ as a sensitive, respectful, self-identified feminist man (thanks to my parents and closest friends from childhood, as well as to a whole slew of karmic causes and conditions that I cannot understand). Through college and graduate school I certainly pursued opportunities to study feminist theory, patriarchy, and rape culture. But in the course of our relationship, the woman who is now my wife has been a partner and mirror as I have sought to deepen my own awareness, investigate my social conditioning as a man, and cultivate my feminist inclinations. Despite whatever personal tendencies toward awareness I nurtured of my own accord, I also had a lot of help. To be clear, it is not the responsibility of women to educate men on how to be decent. But when reaching some point along our journey, if other people helped us get there, we cannot claim sole credit for arriving. This is one way of pointing to Buddhism’s teaching on dependent origination: While our own intention, discipline, and exertion are crucial for cultivating virtue, we are never the sole cause of that virtue.

Indeed, I sometimes wonder, if I hadn’t been lucky enough to meet a long-term partner in my freshman year, how might have I treated women on certain occasions under the influence of desperation for love, romance, and sex in my college years and mid-20s? There but for fortune go I. And what of my flirting with girls in middle school and high school? To what extent could my attempts at connection—socialized by society—have made some of those young women feel uncomfortable?

This is not to equate the behavior of all men. Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault—and subsequent lying about it—is far more heinous than a mild flirtatious transgression. But if you are a man and you have condemned Kavanaugh or Buddhist teachers accused of sexual misconduct with no thought of your own participation in patriarchy or as a way of distancing yourself from such behavior, then consider looking more deeply. You are not as ‘clean’ or ‘pure’ as you think you are, and whatever ‘purity’ you have is as much the result of the blessings of others as your own self-reflection and education.

A similar phenomenon is observable among white people’s condemnation of racism. Too often it comes as a condemnation of the overt racists at the expense of ignoring—or as a means to avoid—one’s own participation in a racist society. It is so easy for white liberals to bash white supremacists while staying ignorant of the ways in which we support oppressive systems or of the subtle racist thoughts we wish we didn’t have. The flip side of this righteous condemnation is the self-promotion of our own anti-racist virtues. I most recently witnessed this in a group dialogue among white people on our experience of whiteness. Most participants offered heartfelt self-reflections on our own confusion, shame, and sadness when contemplating the ways in which we have impacted people of color through our social conditioning as white people. One person, however, made a point of emphasizing how they have been at the frontlines of supporting people of color for decades. This person never shared their experience of being white; they only proclaimed their status as an ally, as a ‘good’ white person. It fell flat.

This is known as virtue signaling,9 and generally serves one’s own ego—establishing oneself as a ‘good’ white person or a ‘good’ man—while avoiding honest introspection and reckoning. Virtue signaling shores up one’s own status in a group while doing little to nothing to challenge systems of oppression.

Claiming one’s own history as a ‘good’ man or white person not only fails to promote introspection, it also claims whatever virtues one has as one’s own. If you’re male or white and you think you are woke, how did you get that way? What friends were kind enough to name your sexism or racism for you? What friends held your basic decency while giving you feedback on an ignorant remark or calling out a behavior that crossed a line? I can’t be sure how my friends and colleagues who are women or people of color see me. But to whatever extent I have increased my awareness as a white male in recent years, I have many friends to thank who have had the patience with my ignorance and the kindness to reveal my own shortcomings and blind spots.

When we see the wisdom and confusion of ourselves and others, we open the door to genuine feedback and learning. Puritan virtue signaling—which seeks to create neat categories of good and evil—closes this door. If a man sees himself as firmly established in the ‘good’ camp, then why would he choose to seek out feedback from women about his behavior? In the absence of feedback to challenge his self-righteous image, he perpetuates patriarchy. Thus if we can view our fellow humans and ourselves as multilayered and complex, we empower one another to challenge oppression.10

In 1973, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche published Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, in response to the materialistic approach to spirituality that he saw in students. We could also be more vigilant for what we might call “spiritual puritanism”—posturing ourselves as righteous in contrast to others and viewing people in a strict dichotomy of good and evil. Particularly for men and white people who posture themselves in dualistic opposition to “bad” men who are responsible for patriarchy and “bad” white people who are responsible for racism, little else is served but ego, while patriarchy and racism continue apace. As men, as white people, let us condemn harmful behavior, and let us also reflect on the ways in which we contribute to harmful systems. We can let go of virtue signaling and cut through spiritual puritanism.

Gabe Dayley founded and serves as Chief Editor for The Arrow: A Journal of Wakeful Society, Culture & Politics, which publishes essays and academic articles examining the relationship between contemplative practice and social transformation. He also serves as Executive Director of the Shambhala Meditation Center of Washington, DC, and as Program Assistant for Global Field Initiatives at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, where he supports the grants program for activists around the world to develop grassroots educational projects that train civilians in the knowledge and skills of civil resistance. He received his master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University in Washington, DC, and his professional areas of focus include environmental peacebuilding, intergroup dialogue, and the application of contemplative methods to confronting systems of oppression.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:55 am

Shifting the Conversation: Interview with Gabe Dayley and Kai Beavers
by Jayne Sutton
September 20, 2013 – 12:50 am



A first glimpse of an exciting new project — the launch of a journal devoted to shifting the conversation about the issues facing our world from aggression and destruction toward social wakefulness and compassion.

What would it look like to explore and examine the world’s enormous social, economic, and environmental problems from a perspective rooted in the principle that human beings and society are basically good – possessing dignity and worthiness to exist on this planet? This question, posed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, led Gabe Dayley to the inspiration to create a new and unique interdisciplinary journal of politics, culture and society. “The idea started to form between my freshman and sophomore year in college,” Gabe says, “but it ended up on the back burner while I was finishing school.”

Gabe and his friend Kai Beavers — both of whom grew up in the Shambhala sangha — got together after graduation in May of 2012. When Gabe shared his inspiration, the response from Kai was, “This is awesome — let’s do it!”

“It was a moment of windhorse — it could have easily gone the other way,” says Gabe. This moment of windhorse has led to more than a year’s effort spent in refining the concept and developing an identity and framework for the journal, which is currently under the working title, Enlightened Society Journal. The aspiring editors have been most fortunate to have the enthusiastic support, guidance and advice of Kalapa Acharya Adam Lobel, to whom — quite auspiciously — the Sakyong had previously expressed the need for a journal that could explore these themes.

The Vision

Currently, humanity as a whole may value selfishness and aggression more than care and kindness. At a global level, we are all engaged in a giant meditation on humanity’s pitfalls. But collectively, we can’t be naive and think the world we live in now was created by anyone other than us. Somehow, throughout the evolution of human history, we have come to this point, and the future ceremony of humanity will be determined by what value system we next put in place.

—Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, The Shambhala Principle

Gabe Dayley

Gabe and Kai see their journal as a forum for sophisticated conversation about how to shift economics, politics and other social systems. They envision a holistic examination of issues and topics that invites participation from multiple disciplines. As an example, a discussion of alternative approaches to economic development could include contributions from political philosophers, economists, ecologists, health professionals, and contemplatives, so that the exploration transcends disciplinary stovepipes of “economics” or “politics,” and shifts the conversation to the societal realm.

They describe their approach as “scholarly, but not academic.” They are aiming for serious scholarship, argument, and discussion — but not at the expense of accessibility. The journal will not compete with popular, newsstand publications, but in the spirit of broad engagement of as wide an audience as possible, readability will be highly valued in potential submissions.

The journal will be seeking out contributors from a wide range of professional disciplines, both from within the Shambhala community and from “communities of affinity” — organizations and individuals whose view, work and mission align with and embody Shambhala principles.

Gabe cites as an influence Charles Eisenstein’s work Sacred Economics as an example of how a deep level of technical understanding and knowledge can be brought forward in the context of sacred outlook and basic goodness. And both Kai and Gabe point to Breakthrough Journal and n+1 as current journals that are thinking outside the box and holistically. As Kai puts it, “We’re not trying to model ourselves after another journal, but it’s interesting to see that there are other approaches.”

Reaching Out

Just as the universe of contributors is seen as wide and interdisciplinary, the long-term vision is to develop an audience for the Enlightened Society Journal that encompasses a broad community of individuals seeking ways to uplift society and manifest wakefulness — both Shambhalians and citizens of society at large, from government officials and professionals to scholars and artists. It invites those who see themselves exclusively as activists and practitioners and those who see themselves exclusively as contemplatives to see the journal as a ground to meet and engage an exploration of nonaggression and nonviolence in our world. For those in the Shambhala sangha, it can be a connection to a larger dialogue about and avenues for wakeful action.

Through the power of our global mind, we can shift our whole value system. But first we must realize the power of the mind. Next we must shift our contemplation to the goodness we already possess. Then, when we ask people why they are being kind, they will answer, “Because that is what others are doing.”

—Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, The Shambhala Principle

The journal envisions a blend of personal contemplation with collective action — connecting theoretical understanding of social problems with a deep examination of human experience, and bringing the personal exploration of spiritual practice into engagement with the problems of society. The goal is to wake up society, not just talk about doing it. The journal hopes to offer a shift in the discourse that will allow for a fundamental change in the way we personally and societally view our political, economic, social and legal systems.

Coming Soon to a Website Near You

Kai Beavers

The journal is planned as a quarterly with a calendar of topically-themed issues exploring a particular issue or subject not only from the perspective of various disciplines, but also in various forms — features, case studies, essays, and artistic contributions. The hope is to gradually build a web presence, and to fully launch by Shambhala Day 2014.
Gabe and Kai are now turning their attention to the format and presentation of the journal, researching aesthetically magnetizing page design as well as user-friendly web platforms and digital formats. They are committed to keeping the publication as available as possible to a wide audience inside and outside the US.

Though many of the particulars are still on the drawing board, the Enlightened Society Journal promises to be an inspiring new effort in the service of creating good human society on this earth.

Kai Beavers is a graduate of Hampshire College, where he studied political philosophy and cultural studies. His senior thesis explores experiences of empathy in film, dance, and photography. He is interested at present in current debates around establishing a philosophical basis for universal Human Rights, as well as the cultural and economic effects of globalization. He continues to write about experiencing artwork. During college, he developed an interest in investigating the intersection between his studies in European Philosophy and the cultural values and meditation practice he grew up with.

Gabe Dayley is a graduate of Pomona College, where he studied International Relations. His formal focus is conflict resolution and peacebuilding, particularly between groups in intractable conflicts, and he is currently exploring graduate programs within these fields. Gabe hopes to employ Shambhala principles and various meditation techniques when helping members of groups in conflict to develop empathy and compassion for one another. Gabe is also interested in social change in a broad sense, and particularly in the connection between the personal experience of basic goodness and enlightened society and how actual elements of society (e.g., government, the economy) would manifest if based on the collective recognition of these principles.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:22 am

Dalai Lama Secretary denies $1 million paid to speak for Raniere; Yet Dalai Lama Trust founded 10 days after Albany speech with $2 million in donations
by Frank Parlato
January 27, 2018



The Dalai Lama’s secretary has denied the Dalai Lama was paid $1 million by Clare and Sara Bronfman to endorse cult leader Keith Raniere. That may be true. He might have been paid $2 million.

The Dalai Lama’s secretary, Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, wrote:

Clarification in Response to the Daily Mail Story of 24 January 2018

The 24 January 2018 Daily Mail article by Ryan Parry regarding an appearance by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at an event held in Albany, New York in 2009 contains incorrect statements and untrue allegations.We wish to categorically state that His Holiness the Dalai Lama never takes an honorarium or fee of any sort, nor does he require that any payment be made to charities or organizations, as a condition of his making a personal appearance. Therefore, the reported allegation has no basis. Neither His Holiness the Dalai Lama nor the Dalai Lama Foundation ever received the alleged $1 million in connection with His Holiness’s appearance in Albany. As reported in the Daily Mail, during His Holiness’s talk in Albany in 2009, he called on the media to investigate the allegations made about the NXIVM organization and its founder, and was quite clear that the truth should be exposed.

It is true, the Dalai Lama asked the media to investigate Keith Raniere. But whether he received money or not is another issue. Let’s parse the above statement a little:

The Dalai Lama’s secretary said the Dalai Lama “never takes an honorarium or fee of any sort”.

A donation is not a fee or an honorarium.

The secretary said: “nor does he require that any payment be made to charities or organizations, as a condition of his making a personal appearance.”

Again, the secretary says a payment was not required. But he does not say a donation was not made by Clare and Sara Bronfman.

The Dalai Lama appeared in Albany on May 6, 2009 and he gave Raniere a white scarf onstage.
He allowed the Bronfman sisters to sit onstage with him. {For readers unaware, Keith Raniere heads a cult called NXIVM, which brands women on their pubic region with his initials and requires them to give him nude photos of themselves and other damaging material in case they reveal the secrets of his cult.]

The Dalai Lama may have received a donation that was understood to be an “unconditional donation”, not connected to his speaking engagement in Albany.

He may have agreed to speak in Albany and they may have agreed the donation was unconnected to his speaking so, therefore, it not ‘connected’ to his appearance.

The Dalai Lama’s secretary does not deny that the Bronfmans donated money. The Secretary said, “Neither His Holiness the Dalai Lama nor the Dalai Lama Foundation ever received the alleged $1 million in connection with His Holiness’s appearance in Albany.” [emphasis mine].

I get it: He did not receive the $1 million ‘in connection with His Holiness’s appearance’ but, again, the secretary does not say the Dalai Lama did not get $1 million [or possibly more] from the Bronfmans.

He only states the Dalai Lama did not get $1 million ‘in connection with his appearance’.

It may have been what is called an ‘unconditional donation.’

Dalai Lama in Albany NY. Also seen are Clare Bronfman and Sara Bronfman

Now let us look at some coincidences:

The Dalai Lama spoke in Albany on May 6, 2009.

The Dalai Lama Trust was founded May 16, 2009. [10 days later]. ... ls.jsp?id={908B8702-9423-41B2-AACD-8491673198EF}

Registration Statement for Charitable Organizations
New York State Department of Law (Office of the Attorney General)
Charities Bureau - Registration Section
120 Broadway
New York, NY 10271

Form CHAR410

Part A - Identification of Registrant

1. Full name of organizaiton: The Dalai Lama Trust
2. c/o Name: N/A
3. Mailing address, City, state or country and ZIP: 241 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016-6305
4. Principal NYS address: 241 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016-6305
5. Fed employer ID: 264635814
6. Organization's website: N/A
7. Primary contact: Lobsang Nyandak, Trustee, tel: 212-213-5010; fax: 753-630=6776; email:

Part B - Certification - Two Signatures Required

We certify under penalties of perjury that we reviewed this Registration Statement, including all schedules and attachments, and to the best of our knowledge and belief, they are true, correct and complete in accordance with the laws of the State of New York applicable to this statement.

1. President or Authorized Officer/Trustee: Lobsang Nyandak, Secretary, 05-04-09

[No second signature as required]

Part C - Fee Submitted
Part D - Attachments -- All Documents Required
Part E - Request for Registration Exemption
Part F - Organization Structure
1. Incorporation/formation
a. Type of organization: Trust
b. Type of corporation: __
c. Date incorporated: 02/23/2009
d. State in which incorporated: New York State

2. List all chapters, branches and affiliates: N/A

3. List all officers, directors, trustees and key employees
His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, First Chairman, 241 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016-6305
Lobsang Nyandak, Secretary, 241 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016-6305
Yodon Thonden, Trustee, 241 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016-6305
Tenzin Taklha, Trustee, 241 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016-6305
Jamphel Lhundup, Trustee, 241 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016-6305

4. Other Names and Registration numbers: N/A

Part G - Organization Activities
1. Month the annual accounting period ends: 03
2. NTEE code: N/A
3. Date organization began doing each of following in New York State
a. conducting activity: 04/15/2009
b. maintaining assets: 04/15/2009
c. soliciting contributions: N/A

4. Describe the purposes of your organization: The Trust is founded to fund and provide financial support, through grants and donations, for the activities of individuals and institutions belonging to, associated with and working for the welfare of the Tibetan community and other needy persons around the world, the study, preservation and promotion of the culture and heritage of the ancient civilization of Tibet in its many facets including but not limited to its history, religions, arts, crafts, architecture, medicine and way of life, and the promotion of education, human health and welfare and provision of basic human needs for all people.
5. Has your organization or any of your officers, directors, trustees or key employees been
a. enjoined or otherwise prohibited by a government agency or court from soliciting contributions? NO
b. found to have engaged in unlawful practices in connection with the solicitation or administration of charitable assets: NO
6. Has your organization's registration or license been suspended by any government agency? NO
7. Does your organization solicit or intend to solicit contributions in New York State: YES
8. List all fund raising professions (FRP) that your organization has engaged for fund raising activity in NY State: [blank]

Part H - Federal Tax Exempt Status
1. If applicable, list the date your organization: *The Dalai Lama Trust has not yet submitted its 1023 application to the IRS, but it is in the process of drafting its application and will be submitting it the near future.
2. Provide Internal Revenue Code provision: 501(c)(3)

See the Dalai Lama trust’s IRS return for 2009.

8. Contributions and grants Current Year: 2,243,041.

See also: Dalai Lama Trust certificate of incorporation.

The IRS return shows $2.2 million in unconditional donations and royalties for The Dalai Lama Trust for 2009.

It could be a coincidence, but it is peculiar that the Dalai Lama appears in Albany on May 6, 2009 and 10 days later, The Dalai Lama Trust is formed in the USA – and gets $2 million plus in donations etc.

When I worked for NXIVM/Bronfmans, I was told by a high ranking NXIVM official that, prior to the Dalai Lama’s coming to speak [before he canceled the first time], the Bronfman sisters pledged to donate $1 million to him.

When he canceled, the sisters, plus Keith Raniere and Lama Tenzin, rushed to India to get the Dalai Lama to change his mind. I was no longer working for NXIVM. But I heard they offered the Dalai Lama another million [making it $2 million].
I never confirmed the second million and I never saw the checks.

It may be true the Bronfmans did not donate anything. But it seems far-fetched that the Dalai Lama came at his own expense to Albany and got nothing in return. And then a trust suddenly opens in the US just 10 days after his appearance?

What do you think?
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:24 am

Sara Bronfman’s Lover, Lama Tenzin, suspended by Dalai Lama overcorruption claims
by Frank Parlato
October 31, 2017



Readers of Frank Report might recall that Sara Bronfman introduced the ‘Venerable’ Lama Tenzin Dhonden, the self described ‘Personal Emissary for Peace for the Dalai Lama’, to Keith Raniere around 2008.

The three worked together to bring the Dalai Lama to Albany in 2009 and reportedly Sara Bronfman and the Lama Tenzin, a monk, became lovers for a time.

According to the Guardian, on October 5, 2017, The Venerable Lama Tenzin, 53, was suspended as Secretary and Trustee of the Dalai Lama Trust. The suspension pends an investigation into allegations that Lama Tenzin extorted payments from A Washington State businessman in 2008.

Daniel Kranzler claims he was forced to pay Lama Tenzin as much as $250,000, some of it in cash, to prevent the Lama Tenzin from working to cancel the Dalai Lama’s appearance at the Seeds of Compassion event in San Diego.

Lama Tenzin denies the allegations. He maintains he received $50,000 in legitimate salary, plus expenses for his work. He retained Patterson Belknap, a New York City law firm, to defend against possible civil or criminal charges.

Attorneys for the firm said the event “occurred nearly a decade ago,” the accusations are “largely inaccurate and otherwise relate to conduct that is not unlawful, unethical, or even inappropriate” and were “designed to falsely and unfairly tarnish” Lama Tenzin’s reputation.

The case does raise two questions:

– Why did Kranzler wait nine years to come forward to claim he was extorted into making payments to Lama Tenzin?

– Why did the Dalai Lama suspend Lama Tenzin if the charges against him are so weak?

A Buddhist monk makes two vows: the renunciation of money and sex. While Lama Tenzin may or may not be guilty of the charges in Washington State, the record is pretty clear that he broke his vow of celibacy with Sara Bronfman.


Sara Bronfman met the Venerable Lama Tenzin Dhonden in Idaho in 2007. He visited the heiress in Albany in 2008. Sara encouraged Lama Tenzin to invite His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Albany to meet and work with Keith Raniere. The Dalai Lama agreed to a four day visit in April 2009.

Clare Bronfman told the Albany Times Union she had a vision of “… bringing His Holiness together with Keith, believing that we may have certain tools that His Holiness would think would be good and beneficial for humanity.”

The Venerable Lama Tenzin told the media, “With the ethical tools developed by Keith Raniere, and the presence, wisdom and guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we have the essential ingredients to transform our society.”

It wasn’t long before the Venerable Lama Tenzin was transformed by Raniere’s ethical tools, it seems:

Lama Tenzin went with Sara to Necker Island for a NXIVM seminar.

Sara Bronfman at Necker Island.

Lama Tenzin with Sara’s mother Georgia Bronfman.

Lama Tenzin with Raniere-disciple Allison Mack, at Necker Island.

Sara with her host on Necker Island – Sir Richard Branson.

According to a transcript of a March 24, 2015, recorded telephone conversation between Barbara Bouchey and Kristin Keeffe, two ex-harem members of Keith Raniere, as filed in the court records of the People vs. Barbara Bouchey [Note: The case against Bouchey was dismissed because of the perjury of Clare Bronfman]:

Kristin Keefe: [Do] you know who Sara was having an affair with? Lama Tenzin.

Barbara Bouchey: Well, that was obvious.

Kristin: She was sleeping with Lama Tenzin, then she was sleeping with Emiliano.

Barbara: Well, here’s the thing, Sara’s mother’s best friend caught Sara and Tenzin in the hot tub canoodling.

Kristin: That was, what’s her name, Sue White?

Barbara: Yeah, they weren’t having sex, but they were in the hot tub in a hot-necking embrace. So, I mean, you could tell. I’ve showed up to her house a couple of times and the two of them come out of that bedroom.

Kristin: Yeah, I’ve seen him come out of the… bedroom. It wasn’t even a secret. Keith use to say to her in front of other people, how’s your husband?

Barbara: Yeah, I know, honestly.

Clare announced to the media that the Dalai Lama would appear in Albany for four days of talks and meetings in colleges, side by side with Keith Raniere. It would culminate with a lecture by the Dalai Lama on Sunday, April 9, 2009, at the Albany Times Union Center.

Stories in the Albany Times Union, the Albany Student Press, The Daily Gazette and Metroland reported people’s astonishment at the coupling of the Dalai Lama with Keith Raniere.

The Albany Times-Union reported that, despite the stature of the Dalai Lama as a religious leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Skidmore College and Raniere’s own Alma Mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic, declined to host the event.

A Rensselaer spokesperson explained, “While we have the highest respect for the Dalai Lama and his teachings, we chose not to accept the invitation based on a variety of considerations.”

The University of Albany agreed to rent out one of their arenas with a condition, “that by no means were we going to allow NXIVM to be part of our relationship with the Dalai Lama. NXIVM and the organization were not going to have any part with dealing with our students, or advertising or recruiting,” according to U. Albany’s vice president for development, Fardin Sanai.

Daniel Weaver, writing in the Schenectady Gazette, wrote “Keith Raniere has been involved in controversy for the last 20 years. He’s been the subject of lawsuits and investigations. He has initiated numerous lawsuits, many of which appear to be frivolous. He also harasses people…. He is hardly a poster boy for humanitarianism, peace and ethics; and his invitation to the Dalai Lama to speak makes one question the motive of the invitation.…. Raniere has not utilized compassionate ethical methods and solutions to address problems. Keith Raniere has brought anything but peace to the Capital Region.”

Following the negative publicity, the Dalai Lama canceled his appearance.
Times Union Publisher George Hearst spoke with a representative of the Dalai Lama. Afterward, Hearst said in his newspaper, “There’s enough stuff out there that (they) don’t need to expose His Holiness to this kind of risk.”

For NXIVM, this was a PR nightmare.

Sara wrote on her blog:

The highly paid media campaign designed to destroy our company, or any person or entity related to it, reared its ugly head at the news of [The Dalai Lama’s] visit. We had naively believed people would be excited about his visit and that our community would put their pettiness aside to unite for this momentous occasion. We were wrong. His visit was met with fear and cynicism and some of our local media sources worked ardently to destroy the honor faster than we could build it.”

Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman in the audience when the Dalai Lama appeared in Albany.

Raniere and Nancy Salzman flew to India to see the Dalai Lama and brought Sara and Clare with them. The Dalai Lama agreed to deliver a single lecture. He was coming to the US for a Harvard University sponsored speaking engagement and could spare a couple of hours in Albany.

Sara called it a success.

“After an onslaught of negative articles and powerful local personalities voicing their lack of support for his proposed visit, His Holiness postponed until the truth became evident,” Sara wrote on her blog. “In the end the truth prevailed, but in the process we lost participants, money and good faith.”

The press announced the rescheduling, noting that the Dalai Lama event moved from the 7,500 seat Albany Times-Union Center to the much smaller 2,800 seat Albany Palace Theater.

When questioned if there was any financial incentive from the Bronfmans connected with the Dalai Lama changing his mind about appearing in Albany, Lobsang Nyandak, representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas, told the Times Union that the Dalai Lama would not receive money for his trip. When asked for clarification, he said that whatever money was received would be “used for charitable and other purposes as per His Holiness’ guidance.”

Reportedly, two days before the Dalai Lama’s appearance in Albany, the Dalai Lama Trust was registered in New York State.

The Dalai Lama with Lama Tenzin.

On May 6, the Dalai Lama spoke at Albany’s Palace Theatre to a crowd of about 2600.

Onstage, the Dalai Lama presented Sara and Clare with white silk scarves, called “kataks,” which, according to Tibetan culture, symbolize purity.

The Dalai Lama appears onstage with Clare and Sara Bronfman.

On stage with the Dalai Lama. How much it cost the two heiresses for this moment is anybody’s guess.

Seated cross-legged on a chair, the Dalai Lama spoke about compassion for an hour and a half.

When the time came for questions, the Dalai Lama was asked about his canceled, then re-scheduled, visit.

The Dalai Lama replied as follows:

Oh. Firstly I received an invitation that, in principle, I accepted. Then I received some request that I should not go there because of this is controversial; some allegations.

“Then we carry further investigation. Then finally, including this organization’s teacher [Keith Raniere], and his, some friend, {Nancy Salzman] came to see me in Dharamsala and I discuss, I observe, basically, they are carrying some kind of movement about ‘ethics.’

“Then, as I mentioned earlier, it is my moral responsibility to support any movement by any person who carry, who are working for ethics. Because in today’s world many problems essentially our own creation. Nobody want more problems, but due to lack of ethics, lack of principle, this unwanted man-made problems happen. Whether politician, whether businessman, whether a religious person, whether anyone, moral principle is very essential, like backbone.

“So, therefore, I felt, I feel it is my moral responsibility, but, at the same time, these allegations [of Mr. Raniere being an unethical person].

Keith and Nancy listen attentively to the Dalai Lama.

“So when I met them personally in Dharamsala, I told them very friendly, very openly, ‘As far your sort of work for promotion of ethics, I fully support. Is my moral responsibility, but, at the same time, those allegations you must make very clear.


If you have done something wrong, you must accept, you must admit, and change, make correction. If you not done [anything unethical], make clear all these allegations, truthfully, honestly, openly, transparently.’


“Then some media, I always telling media people, ‘media people should have long nose, as long as (audience laughs and applauds)

The NXIVM audience laughs when the Dalai Lama said the media should have a 'long nose.' I believe they thought he meant the media had the long nose of Pinocchio. But he asked the audience to stop laughing and explained he meant the long nose of the elephant.

… wait, wait, wait… [applause dies down] as long as an elephant nose and smell, in the front and behind. That’s very important. And make clear to the public what’s going on. Whether with the politician or with the mayor or religions people, the bishop or myself, must sort of watch and make clear, and inform public, provided it must be very honest, unbiased, objective, that’s important. Sometimes, say, one company financing a newspaper then newspaper report a little bit biased. I think not as biased as Chinese propaganda. But sometimes you see a little sort of biased sort of version also is happening. That must be avoided, must be honest, truthful.


“So, now I think in front of, I think the public, I want to to tell the media people, ‘please carry continuously, all these spots where you have some doubt, thorough investigation.’

“And those concerned people’s side: ‘Also make clear. All your work must be transparent.'”


“So, that’s my view. So, I feel, no problem, come here, meet people, and talk. Because of some criticism remain distance? Not much use. Come face to face and talk, friendly, bluntly. Truth always win. So, more talk, more investigation, truth will become more clear clear, clear, like that. So, that’s my answer.” (applause).

The Dalai Lama makes a seemingly prophetic utterance when he says that transparency will make truth about Keith Raniere clear.

At the event’s conclusion, the Dalai Lama greeted Raniere on stage and placed a katak around his neck.

The Dalai Lama places the white scarf of purity on Keith Raniere

After the lecture, Sara wrote on her blog:

“As we stood in the rain to say goodbye to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he touched each of our cheeks and held our faces next to his with the words ‘thank you’ and ‘see you again.’ Tears started running uncontrollably down my cheeks.… his visit was a privilege we fought for….. It was a long road, and one paved with hardship, adversity, and tremendous growth…. However my hope for humanity was restored by possibly the greatest leader of our time…. who has a strong enough sense of himself not to seek external security, and who conforms to truth as his standard …. It was a victory for us, for this region and for humanity. I feel proud to have been a part of this great feat.”

Clare wrote on her blog.

“Due to the ongoing struggle several of my closest friends and I have (had) here in Albany – how we have been portrayed in the media – his visiting and message was particularly moving. His coming brought about a certain contradiction: what is written about NXIVM, Keith, Sara and myself in the press – being labeled as a cult – and a world leader showing his support for us after thorough investigation.”

The Dalai Lama asked the media to investigate Keith Raniere.

The New York Post, Vanity Fair, Forbes, The New York Observer, the Nation, and the Albany Times Union reported many things previously unknown to the public.

This included allegations of statutory rape; efforts to hide the paternity of his son; a lovesick letter he sent followed by veiled death threats to his ex lover; and that, according to allegations contained in court records, the Bronfmans, following Keith Raniere’s advice, lost more than $150 million in bad real estate and commodities investments, and detailed Bronfman-Raniere’s history of litigation. The Times Union called NXIVM a “litigation machine.”

According to sources, Keith told his followers that the Times Union paid women to lie on the record.

Keith Raniere tells followers ‘the brighter the light the more the bugs.’

Earlier this year, the Frank Report broke the story about the human branding and blackmail scheme of Raniere. The New York Times then turned that into a worldwide story.

Hundreds of media outlets have since stuck their long noses into the Raniere camp. The smell has been piquant.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:25 am

Revealed: Dalai Lama’s ‘personal emissary’ suspended over corruption claims: Tibetan monk who is gatekeeper to the Dalai Lama in the US strongly denies allegations he demanded improper payments
by Katherine Ellison in San Francisco and Rory Carroll in Los Angeles
October 27, 2017 03.00 EDT



The Dalai Lama (right) with Tenzin Dhonden in Idaho in 2005. Dhonden, 53, has been suspended from the Dalai Lama Trust pending an investigation. Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP

For more than 15 years, Tenzin Dhonden has stood between the Dalai Lama and multitudes of US philanthropists, celebrities, scholars and officials eager for even an instant in the revered Buddhist leader’s presence. In his red and saffron robes and gleaming bald pate, the smiling Tibetan monk, widely known as Lama Tenzin, has introduced himself as the Dalai Lama’s “personal emissary for peace”.

Yet the monk has now been suspended as secretary and trustee of the Dalai Lama Trust, a charitable organization chaired by the Dalai Lama, pending an investigation into allegations from a prominent Seattle-based technology entrepreneur who claims that, between 2005 and 2008, the monk abused his role to extract unjustified payments from him.

The Dalai Lama is said to have expressed “deep disappointment and concern” over complaints about his gatekeeper, which include the allegation he demanded payments in return for ensuring the spiritual leader appear at a major event in Washington state.

Dhonden, 53, strongly disputes the allegations. In a move that shows how seriously he regards the potential impact of the claims against him, the quiet monk, who is respected in Dharamsala, the hill town in India which hosts the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, has contracted Patterson Belknap, a major New York City law firm to defend him.

Attorneys for the law firm said in an email that the allegations against their client relate to events that “occurred nearly a decade ago, are largely inaccurate and otherwise relate to conduct that is not unlawful, unethical, or even inappropriate”. They added in the email the allegations have been “designed to falsely and unfairly tarnish” Dhonden’s reputation. A source close to the monk said any payments he received were for legitimate work done and business expenses.

Those lawyers are now locked in a behind-the-scenes battle with Daniel Kranzler, the Seattle businessman and philanthropist who claims that for several years he felt pressured into making payments to the monk, including some he alleges were made in cash to avoid leaving a trace.

Kranzler first relayed his concerns to the Dalai Lama during a face-to-face meeting over the summer, according to two other people present at the meeting. He has also laid out his accusations to the Dalai Lama in two letters, both of which have been seen by the Guardian.

The Dalai Lama in London. Many relied on Dhonden for access to the spiritual leader. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Dhonden was not present at his San Diego home, a ground-floor apartment, during a visit this past weekend, and there is some suggestion he may be in India. The Dalai Lama Trust, which has a website that still lists Dhonden as its “venerable” secretary, has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

For more than two weeks, the Dalai Lama, and other figures close to the Buddhist leader, also held their silence, declining to respond to multiple requests for comment. However on Tuesday, the Dalai Lama’s personal secretary confirmed in an email that Dhonden has been suspended since 5 October, adding that the monk has been asked to respond to the allegations “in order to reach a conclusion” over the accusations.

It is a difficult predicament for Dhonden, whose star has been on the rise since 1991, when he arrived in the US and taught meditation and counseled terminally ill patients. In 2000, he founded a not-for-profit organisation called Friends of the Dalai Lama, based in La Jolla, California, near San Diego, which he still controls. Over time, Dhonden became the Dalai Lama’s de facto emissary, a position that led to frequent contact with some of the Buddhist leader’s many rich and well-connected supporters.

Many, but not all, relied on Dhonden for access to the Dalai Lama. “Everything I have to approve,” he told the San Diego Union Tribune in a 2015 interview. “There are many requests, demands coming to me.” The same article quoted admirers who praised Dhonden’s “equanimity” and “pure goodness”.

It is little surprise that Dhonden has, along the way, established connections with some of the Dalai Lama’s most high-profile US admirers – Kranzler said he introduced the monk to Steve Jobs, the singer Dave Matthews and other well-known artists and rich businesspeople interested in Buddhism. Dhonden may also have made enemies of some in the US over his ability to control access to the spiritual leader.

W​​e had no choice not to give in to what we clearly saw as blackmail

-- Daniel Kranzler, businessman and philanthropist

Concerns have recently been expressed by some other American Buddhists, for example, about the monk’s judgment following an 80th birthday celebration Dhonden organized for the Dalai Lama in California in 2015.

The event, held in Anaheim, south of Los Angeles, featured a giant golden cake, testimonials by minor celebrities and dancers in tight body suits who circled around the spiritual leader while a lotus flower-shaped contraption lowered other dancers from the ceiling.

Richard Grace, a Napa vineyard owner who has been friends with the Dalai Lama for more than 20 years, was in the audience, and was horrified. “How does anybody think that’s appropriate?” he said. “It was insulting.”

Grace, a former marine officer, blamed Dhonden.

Upon hearing friends and acquaintances also criticise the monk’s performance as emissary he resolved to alert the Dalai Lama – a task complicated, he said, by Dhonden loyalists in Dharamsala he claimed had insulated the spiritual leader from such complaints.

Grace contacted Marty Krasney, the director of Dalai Lama Fellows in San Francisco, who shared similar concerns.

The duo then enlisted Kranzler to join them at a meeting they arranged to convey their concerns to the Dalai Lama while he was speaking at the University of California in San Diego. The in-person meeting was, they believed, a rare chance to circumvent Dhonden’s influence over the spiritual leader’s information flow.

The Dalai Lama and his emissary Tendzin Dhonden (far left) during a blessing ceremony. Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP

The meeting was scheduled for 10 minutes but ran more than an hour, according to those present.

Grace said the allegations of financial impropriety left the Dalai Lama “slack-jawed” with surprise – a description echoed by Krasney and Kranzler.

The most serious of those allegations relate to a large public event featuring the Dalai Lama that Kranzler’s charitable nonprofit, the Kirlin Foundation, organised in 2008 called Seeds of Compassion.

In Kranzler’s first letter to the Dalai Lama, which was sent in July, he said said it was only after his planners had reserved seats for 150,000 attendees and committed to several million dollars in expenses that Dhonden allegedly threatened to cancel the Dalai Lama’s trip unless he received additional payments.

Kranzler claimed the monk demanded “very substantial payment in various forms” for the event to go ahead, adding: “We had no choice not to give in to what we clearly saw as blackmail.”

The letter contained a breakdown of those alleged payments. Some were said to be documented in checks and bank deposits, while others, Kranzler alleged, cannot be traced because the monk “asked to be paid in cash to avoid records”. In all, Kranzler alleged in the letter, he paid Dhonden more than $250,000 in connection with the Seeds of Compassion visit. He further alleged it was only after the event ended and Dhonden asked him to buy him a $850,000 house to continue to arrange events with the Dalai Lama that “I said ‘enough is enough’”.

The source close to Dhonden said he had never owned a house of such value, and any payments he received were for legitimate work.

The San Diego meeting with the Dalai Lama, and ensuing letters detailing complaints about his emissary, were rare exceptions to convention around the Dalai Lama, said Robert Thurman, a Columbia University professor of Buddhist studies, who co-founded the Tibet House in New York and is one of the Dalai Lama’s closest US collaborators.

“It is considered a breach of etiquette to bring up unpleasant matters to the Dalai Lama,” Thurman said. That custom, he added, “leads to whistleblowers not being rewarded”. Thurman said the Dalai Lama never profits from conference talks or appearances, never even taking honorariums.

Ultimately, the Dalai Lama may now be required to decide whom he believes: his long-serving monk or a trio of American Buddhists now questioning his integrity. The case may also rest on the Dalai Lama’s interpretation of any documented payments to his emissary, and whether or not he believes they were justified.

A source close to Dhonden who asked not to be identified said the monk received far less than the $250,000 Kranzler claims he paid them, and insisted the payments he did receive were for legitimate work setting up the Seattle event.

The source said Dhonden received approximately $50,000 in salary in 2007 and 2008 for event preparations, plus legitimate expenses, but no clandestine cash payments. The source also asked why Kranzler only came forward this summer, nine years after he claims he was strong-armed into making these payments.

‘It is considered a breach of etiquette to bring up unpleasant matters’ ... the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. Photograph: Ashwini Bhatia/AP

That question was addressed in Kranzler’s second letter to the Dalai Lama, which was sent earlier this month, after Dhonden’s lawyers mounted a strong defense of their client.

Kranzler said in that second letter that he “held his silence” for almost a decade “because in my own simple inept Dharma, I felt that it was inappropriate to speak ill of someone”. He changed his mind, he said, after he was “asked by a number of people in the community that support your wisdom and message of compassion, as well as several individuals in the Private Office of Your Holiness, to ‘tell the truth’.”

Ron Rabin, the executive director of the Kirlin Foundation at the time the alleged payments were made, said he had no knowledge of any under-the-table cash payments and had no direct conversations with Dhonden about cancellation of the event.

These false allegations, raised after nearly a decade, are an attempt to unfairly tarnish Lama Tenzin’s reputation

-- Statement from Tenzin Dhonden

However, Rabin said he was told by Kranzler at the time that the monk, who was not involved in the day-to-day organization of Seeds of Compassion, was threatening to cancel the event unless he received payments. He said the foundation concluded the monk was “the direct line to His Holiness” and “in that sense we had to keep Tenzin happy”.

Asked by the Guardian why he would have made payments to the monk if he believed they were inappropriate, Kranzler replied that had he not paid the money “the Dalai Lama wouldn’t have come to Seattle and thousands of lives wouldn’t have been changed”. He added: “If the cost of that was to pay the man, so be it.”

But it is clear that Dhonden, who has a reputation for being a humble and soft-spoken monk, is determined to fight back against his accusers.

“These false allegations, raised after nearly a decade, are an attempt to unfairly tarnish Lama Tenzin’s reputation,” a representative for the monk said in a statement to the Guardian. “Lama Tenzin has lived a modest life, working tirelessly to organize public events, that have enabled millions to connect with the mission of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”

The statement added that “any concerns” have “already been refuted by documentation” provided to the Dalai Lama Trust, adding: “We are confident that the truth will reveal itself and there will be a positive outcome.”

Additional reporting by Julia Carrie Wong
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:45 am

Letters of The Current Situation
by The Chronicles
February 2, 2006



The Current Situation (TCS), as it was known, grew into a bitter dispute that seemed unresolvable, and over the course of the next three years, generated a flurry of letters and official statements, several of which are presented on this page.

In late November 1988, rumors began to circulate that the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin was sick with AIDS and that he may have infected a sangha member with HIV. Regardless of your point of view on the issues, the turmoil that followed was excruciating and heartbreaking.

Many sangha members called for the Regent to step down, and many others expressed their support of the Regent's continued leadership.

The Current Situation (TCS), as it was known, grew into a bitter dispute that seemed unresolvable, and over the course of the next three years, generated a flurry of letters and official statements, several of which are presented on this page. Most of these letters and documents were widely circulated at the time. But the last three—Karl Springer's letter to Khyentse Rinpoche in July 1991, and Khyentse Rinpoche's letters in reply to Karl Springer and Patrick Sweeney a few weeks later—have only recently come to light and are presented here for the first time in a public format.

Khyentse Rinpoche died just seven weeks after these letters were sent. Before his death, he left copies with one of his students for safekeeping and said that they might be useful someday. Last summer (2005) these letters made their way to North America, where they passed through several hands before finding their way to the Chronicles.


December 29, 1988
Statement to the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin
from the Vajradhatu Board of Directors



Statement to the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin
by Vajradhatu Board of Directors: David I. Rome, Loppon Lodro Dorje (Eric Holm), Jeremy J. Hayward W.O.G.S., Kenneth H. Green O.G.S., John W. Roper O.G.S., Charles G. Leif O.G.S., Samuel Bercholz O.G.S., Michael A. Root, Mitchell M. Levy, Kasung Dapon James J. Gimian, Kasung Dapon Martin Janowitz
December 29, 1988

Buddhist Church of Canada
L’Eglise Buddhiste de Canada

Board of Directors:
Vidyadhara the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, President
Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin, Executive Vice President
David I. Rome, Executive Secretary
Lodro Dorje Holm, Head of Practice and Study
Samuel Bercholz, James M. Gimian, Kenneth H. Green, Jeremy J. Hayward, Martin Janowitz, Mitchell M. Levy, Charles G. Lief, Michael A. Root, John W. Roper, Karl G. Springer, Ronald C. Stubbert

Vajradhatu U.S.A.
1345 Spruce Street
Boulder, Colorado 80302

Vajradhatu Europe
Zwetschenweg 23
3550 Marburg Germany

Major Centers
Karma Dzong
1084 Tower Road

Nova Scotia B3H 2Y5
Gampo Abbey
Pleasant Bay
Nova Scotia B0E 2P0

Edmonton, Alb.
Montreal, P.Q.
Nelson, B.C.
Ottowa, Ont.
Vancouver, B.C.

An Ontario Non-Profit Corporation


The three jewels, gurus of the lineage, herukas, dakinis, dharmapalas, lokapalas, guide us, inspire us.

Sir, at this time the future of our sangha and the continuation of the Vidyadhara's teachings are in great danger because of your actions.

You have engaged in unprotected sexual activity after knowing you had HIV disease and AIDS illness, with individuals whom you did not inform of your condition.

You have used your position as Vajra Regent in order to induce others to fulfill your sexual desires.

Also, you have in our view engaged in the three main symptoms of corruption described in the Court Vision:

"The first is pleasure-seeking, love of luxury and sexual indulgence; the second is love of power and indulgence in the abuse of one's subordinates; the third is infatuation with one's charisma and intelligence."

These violations have become the source of great pain, confusion, and loss of heart in our sangha. You have lost the trust and confidence of your colleagues, the Directors of Vajradhatu and the Nalanda Foundation, and of a large number of students of the Vidyadhara. Even now, your attempt to continue in power is causing further pain and divisiveness in our world. By all these transgressions, you have clearly violated your oath as Director of the First Class of Vajradhatu.

Therefore, as Directors of Vajradhatu and the Nalanda Foundation and as Ministers of the Realm empowered by the Vidyadhara and bound by our oaths to him - and also as your vajra brothers, fellow students and friends - we find it necessary to clearly censure all these violations - both to yourself and to the sangha. We find that for the spiritual welfare and psychological well-being of our communities, in order not to encourage factions and divisions in the sangha, and to provide the best opportunity for the continuation of the Vidyadhara's teachings it would be best for you to voluntarily withdraw yourself at this time from all activities of leadership, teaching and administration in the spheres of Vajradhatu, the Nalanda Foundation and the Kingdom of Shambhala.

Acknowledging our appreciation for your generosity and great service in the past, to the dharma and to the sangha, we make this statement with sadness.

We pledge our continuing support for your personal welfare and that of your family.

With humility and deep devotion
to the dharma and the Great Eastern Sun vision, for the sake of all beings, this statement has been composed and agreed to at Dorje Dzong, Halifax, on the 29th day of December, 1988.

David I. Rome
Loppon Lodro Dorje (Eric Holm)
Jeremy J. Hayward W.O.G.S.
Kenneth H. Green O.G.S.
John W. Roper O.G.S.
Charles G. Leif O.G.S.
Samuel Bercholz O.G.S.
Michael A. Root
Mitchell M. Levy
Kasung Dapon James J. Gimian
Kasung Dapon Martin Janowitz

This letter from the Board, which asks VROT to step down, is the first official document of the turmoil. Because the board operated by consensus, and because individual members had very different points of view about what action to take, this letter was a hard-won compromise. Although its existence and intent were widely known in the community at the time, the letter itself was never made public.


January 17, 1989
Letter to the Sangha
from the Vajra Regent ösel Tendzin



Letter to the Vajradhatu Board of Directors
by The Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin
January 17, 1989

17 January 1989

Dear Members of the Noble Sangha:

I am delighted to be able to write to you to express my appreciation for your courage and devotion. The way you have handled yourselves during this difficult time is a mark of the power of the teachings and of your own intelligence. Although many obstacles may still cloud our vision, they are all temporary. I have great confidence that the strength of our practice will enable us to cut through any and all of these.

During this upheaval I have never lost faith in my guru, and I have relied solely on his blessings to be able to act properly.
Although the faults of myself and others are the cause of this apparent confusion, this situation has provided a means for purifying whatever negative karma has been accumulated. As Lord Buddha said, there is no fault so grievous that it cannot be purified, and as the Vidyadhara Trungpa, Rinpoche himself said, “Whatever occurs in the confused mind is regarded as the path; everything is workable. It is a fearless proclamation, the lion’s roar.”

At present there are individuals in the sangha who would like me to remove myself from the sphere of Vajradhatu and Nalanda Foundation. If I were to do such a thing it would violate the oath I took with my guru, and it would also violate my heart. I intend to continue in my activities with humble dedication to fulfilling the Vidyadhara’s wishes.

As to my current plans, I have decided to return to retreat to continue my practice. There have been various indications that if I do so my health will improve. My fundamental conviction is that in working with disease, dharma is the best medicine. Many students have requested that I grant the Abhiseka of Vajrayogini and lead the Vajradhatu Seminary as scheduled. Whether I do so will depend on my health. The main point now is for everyone to practice without complications so that we can fulfill our goals.

I have always considered all of you my friends, my dharma brothers and sisters. I have great affection and love for you and nothing but sincere wishes for your long life, prosperity, and success on the path. I would like to reaffirm my commitment to working with you in upholding the command of the victorious ones and in particular of the glorious piercing light of sanity, the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. Please stay well and practice with a hard and soft mind.

All my love to you.

With blessings,

The Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin

A few weeks later, the Regent sends this message to the sangha. In it he says that there are individuals in the sangha who would like him to remove himself from office, but there is no reference to the Board’s statement. He says that doing so would “violate the oath I took with my guru, and it would also violate my heart.”


October 17, 1989
Letter to the Sangha
from His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche



Letter to the Entire Adhatu Sangha
by Ven. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
October 17, 1989


I have recently learned that the conflicts occurring within the Vajradhatu Sangha have still not been resolved. This has caused me great concern and I am very much unhappy that these problems continue.

As I have communicated to you earlier, it is my deep conviction that the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin was carefully appointed by Trungpa Rinpoche and was confirmed by His Holiness Karmapa. It is my feeling that all students having had a connection with Trungpa Rinpoche should respect his appointment and in this way follow Trungpa Rinpoche’s instructions.

If they follow the Regent’s instructions that is good, since in doing so that is serving Trungpa Rinpoche. Trungpa Rinpoche appointed the Regent knowing his capacities and seeing completely his capabilities to continue his lineage. Those who are experiencing difficulties following the Regent now should realize that it is necessary to do so in order to follow Trungpa Rinpoche’s instructions.

Everyone is aware that Vajradhatu is quite well-known for its grandness and for how well organized it is. Among the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism it is one of the biggest and most highly regarded organizations and it has taken great Bodhisattva activities to create this. You should all realize that because of your own problems you may be damaging the Sangha that Trungpa Rinpoche created.

As for officials of Vajradhatu who were appointed by Trungpa Rinpoche the purpose of this was so that you would take responsibility for his teachings to flourish. Following the leadership of the Regent as you were instructed to by Trungpa Rinpoche will be only the way to sustain Vajradhatu.

To help all of you, Trungpa Rinpoche put each of his centers under the care of different protectors and Dharmapalas. By going against that which benefits the centers, obstacles and difficulties may be encountered.

I am giving this advice not because of my partiality but simply because this is the only way to benefit and continue the Sangha and because of my deep commitment to Trungpa Rinpoche which you all know very well.

You are constantly in my thoughts and you should all continue to do the practices I have advised in order to overcome present obstacles.

With Blessings:

H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Writing to the community at the request of the Regent and Karl Springer, His Holiness says, “Those who are experiencing difficulties following the Regent now should realize that it is necessary to do so …”. This unequivocal message was met with simultaneous rejoicing and despair, and provoked the Board of Directors to send its own delegation to meet with Khyentse Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, and other prominent Kagyu and Nyingma teachers in Asia.


November 28, 1989
Letter to the Sangha
from the Vajra Regent ösel Tendzin



Letter to Vajradhatu Board of Directors
by Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin
November 28, 1989

An Association of Buddhist Meditation Centers
28 November 1989

Dear Vajradhatu Sangha Member:

It was in January that I last addressed all of you. At that time, I informed you of my plans for retreat and requested everybody to continue with the practice and study of the dharma as given to us by the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. It has been a turbulent year. In some sense, the turbulence has expressed the naked and raw quality of our emotions, and at the same time has, in my mind, provided deeper access to understanding fully our own commitment. Some of this has been extremely embarrassing. However, as we have been taught, shedding the fortification of ego is not only embarrassing but painful.

Now it appears to me that it is time for all of us to take some definite steps to go forward, personally and as a sangha. It is time for us to re-examine as thoroughly as we can our practice and our place in this life. We all have a particular seat. We all have our innate worth. However, only the dharma can bring about that kind of equanimity and understanding.

Fortunately, the Vidyadhara was ruthless in working with his own students in this respect: he did not hand people solutions, did not provide baby food to grownups, and was constantly warning all of us of the dangers of spiritual materialism, self-made gurus, and spiritual trips. In this way he created Vajradhatu to carry on the authentic dharma which is not based on ego and the deceptions of mara. He let every one of us live out our karma in the context of a larger vision and a larger world. For that we should be eternally grateful.

How shall we now proceed to fulfill the Vidyadhara’s wishes and to fulfill our own lives? First of all, I feel that it is necessary for all of us to abandon ill will and negativity toward each other. Sometimes thoughts become so vivid that they stick in the mind like real entities. And as we might have experienced in our practice, no matter what we do, it is hard to dissolve them. Even if we practice all the different techniques, sometimes we still cling to negative feelings and emotions. Therefore, I feel we must practice as Milarepa did when encountering the demons in his cave. After trying all the techniques he could think of, he finally embraced the demons and said, “All rights, let’s play together.”

Please understand that I am not advocating some kind of love and light approach to the strong or bitter feelings we might have. I am not advocating lip service as practice. We must do this – for our own happiness and for the teachings to continue. There is no other way. If we carry with us even the slightest suspicion which could produce hatred, then we will find ourselves living in the hell realm, when our intention is to practice the dharma.

As for myself, I hold no grudges toward anyone, nor do I wish to see anyone suffer because of anything I may do or have done. At the same time, it is supremely important that all of us understand clearly the reality of cause and effect, so that we can impartially contemplate how situations such as this occur, and how they can be boycotted, as Rinpoche used to say. Panic brings about fear, fear brings about frozen space. Frozen space brings about the appearance of ego. It was my feeling a year ago and it is my feeling now that if we would not have panicked, but actually stuck together as a family, as a sangha, we could have boycotted the tremendous upheaval that occurred, and at the same time made great progress in our understanding. Since this process of ego is continually going on, we undoubtedly will have a chance to work on this again. However, we might as well start fresh right now.

I have been working on my health, with the help of the guru’s blessing and the blessings of the late Very Venerable Kalu, Rinpoche and of course His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse, Rinpoche, and also Trogawa, Rinpoche. Sometimes I feel great, sometimes not so good. Even so, I feel it is time once again for me to take up active leadership of Vajradhatu and the Nalanda Foundation, and depending on my health, give the various teachings that are necessary for people to progress along the path. Therefore, I would like to announce my intention to grant the Vajrayogini Abisheka in late May at Karme Choling, and to preside over the 1990 Vajradhatu Seminary at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center. Everyone will be kept informed with regard to the technicalities such as application forms, etc. Those are the teaching commitments that I would like to make at this time. I will stay on retreat until then.

Finally, I would like to make it completely clear as to my understanding of lineage and especially what was given to me as sacred trust by the Vidyadhara. As I have said, all of us have a place in this mandala, and none is higher or worth more or lower or worth less than any other. Nevertheless, in order for karma to ripen, in order for the dharma to bear fruit, there must be one lineage holder in whom resides the spiritual and temporal authority to say “Yes” or “No”. That karma has fallen to me. The samaya of my relationship to my own duty for me is beyond good and bad, success and failure. And having been warned over and over again by the Vidyadhara about the dangers of democracy, I must reiterate the nature of this command. At the same time, everyone is invited into the boiling pot of chaos which is our world. Everybody is appreciated for who they are. So the real middle way is neither authoritarian nor democratic, but simple the natural hierarchy based on the blessings of the Buddha and the Victorious Lineage.

In conclusion, I would like to wish everybody excellent health, wonderful dharma experiences, and worldly success of all kinds. Keep smiling.

With Blessings,

Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin

These Regent reflects: “It was my feeling a year ago and it is my feeling now that if we would not have panicked, but actually stuck together as a family…we could have boycotted the tremendous upheaval that occurred…” He then goes on to announce his “intention to grant the Vajrayogini Abhisheka….and to preside over the 1990 Vajradhatu Seminary.”


February 15, 1990
Letter to the Sangha
from His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


Letter to the Sangha
by Ven. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
February 15, 1990

Ven. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

To the Sangha,

I have received many letters expressing the concerns of your community. Since I could not reply to everyone individually, I would like to convey here the fruit of my reflection.

I feel strongly that it is very important that the Vajra Regent do a strict retreat, starting with this New Year of the Horse, and at least for the duration of this year.

I suggest also that everyone close to Trungpa Rinpoche – such as representatives of the Regent, Lady Diana, the Board of Directors, the Sanyums, the Sawang (if his studies allow him to come), as well as old and new students who wish to attend – gather on the occasion of the anniversary of Trungpa Rinpoche’s parinirvana and perform together the Mahamudra sadhana for seven days. At the end of this period of intense practice and supplication, a meeting should be held with all the participants. By all means, out of this meeting, a constructive solution must be found to resolve the current conflicts.

Mutual understanding, loving-kindness, and harmony among the brothers and sisters who constitute your sangha is vital in order for everyone to progress in their practice and to preserve the work Trungpa Rinpoche accomplished in the course of many years for the benefit of beings.

I shall keep everyone in my prayers,

With all my best wishes and greetings for the coming Horse Year,
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

After receiving further information about the conflict, His Holiness suggests very strongly that the Vajra Regent go into strict retreat. He also implores the sangha to gather together to practice the Sadhana of Mahamudra for seven days. He goes on to say, “By all means, out of this meeting, a constructive solution must be found to resolve the current conflicts.” This gathering never occurred.


August 26, 1990
Statement to the Sangha
from His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche



Statement of His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche to the Vajradhatu Sangha
by His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche
August 26, 1990

Barnet, Vermont 05821 802-633-2384
Founded by the Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

Sunday, 26 August, 1990

First I would like to acknowledge the twentieth anniversary of the arrival of the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in North America and the founding of Karme-Choling. It is good for us to appreciate this today.

The Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin passed away last night. I would like to express my sorrow, and I send my thoughts to Lady Rich and the family of the Regent. The Vajra Regent received the lineage transmission from Trungpa Rinpoche, and he accomplished a great deal over many years in teaching dharma for the benefit of others. His exertion and accomplishment are worthy of respect and appreciation. Please let us join in a short period of meditation for the Vajra Regent.

I feel very sorry about the difficulties that the Vajradhatu sangha has been going through. His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and I met recently in France and talked about this. His Holiness and the Kagyu lineage holders are concerned about the future of Vajradhatu. Trungpa Rinpoche put a great effort into establishing the whole mandala; this must not be wasted. It is important that the sangha have clear direction in the future for the continuity of Trungpa Rinpoche’s teaching.

His Holiness and the Kagyu lineage holders are all in agreement that the Sawang Osel Rangtrol Mukpo should become the lineage holder of Vajradhatu. This is in keeping with the intention of Trungpa Rinpoche, who acknowledged the Sawang as head of the Shambhala lineage and wished him to take on such responsibility.

I communicated this to the Vajra Regent before my visit to see him in the hospital in California. The Regent acknowledged this and expressed his full support and blessings for the Sawang to become the leader of Vajradhatu.

In keeping with his father’s wish, the Sawang will continue his studies with His Holiness; he will also start to become more involved in teaching and administration for Vajradhatu. His Holiness and the Kagyu lineage holders will do our best to guide and help him with these responsibilities.

We feel strongly that this is the best way for Trungpa Rinpoche’s teaching to continue. We hope this will bring all of the Vajradhatu sangha together. We request that everyone support this, in order that the great work of Trungpa Rinpoche may flourish.

His Eminence expresses his sorrow at the Regent’s death the previous day. He goes on to say, “It is important that the sangha have clear direction in the future for the continuity of Trungpa Rinpoche’s teaching. His Holiness and the Kagyu lineage holders are all in agreement that the Sawang ösel Rangtrol Mukpo should become the lineage holder of Vajradhatu.”


August 26, 1990
Statement to the Sangha
from His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


Statement of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche to the Vajradhatu Sangha
by His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
August 26, 1990

Barnet, Vermont 05821 802-633-2384
Founded by the Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

I was very sad to hear of the death of the Vajra Regent and would like to express my deep condolences to the whole Vajradhatu sangha. I am saying prayers and conducting ceremonies for him. It is of great concern to me that the important work begun by Trungpa Rinpoche should continue and develop in the best possible way. As Trunga Rinpoche’s eldest son, the Sawang knows very well how best to accomplish the wishes of his father, and I feel that in the present circumstances he should take on spiritual and administrative responsibility for the sangha founded by Trungpa Rinpoche.

My prayers are always with you all for the continued flourishing of the Vajradhatu community.

His Holiness expresses his deep condolences to the sangha on the death of the Vajra Regent. He says, “It is of great concern to me that the important work begun by Trungpa Rinpoche should continue and develop in the best possible way. As Trungpa Rinpoche’s eldest son, the Sawang knows very well how best to accomplish the wishes of his father…..”


July 29, 1991
Letter to His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
from Karl Springer




Letter to His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
by Karl Springer
July 29, 1991

His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
c/o Her Majesty Ashi Kusang
Dechen Choling Palace
Thimpu, Bhutan
29 July 1991

Your Holiness:

I hope this letter finds you in good health and excellent circumstances. I have heard from Chansur Ngodrup that Your Holiness is once again in retreat at Samtsen Choten and I remember it as a truly delightful place. It has been nine months since I last wrote to you and this time has been a difficult one in terms of my health. I am recovering very slowly and will enter hospital this week for an operation that may prove very helpful. I have spent this time in a sort of semi-retreat, spending virtually all of my time at home, seeing only a few close friends. My health has not permitted anything else. Fortunately my illness is not life-threatening, just painful, so through the Guru’s blessing I anticipate a full recovery.

Of course I have had no involvement at all in any kind of politics or struggle during this time which has been very beneficial for my health and my state of mind. I feel much more settled and simple than at any time before and my mind feels much clearer. I have given considerable thought and contemplation to everything that has occurred in my life and, in particular, during the past few years and this has led me to want to communicate once again with Your Holiness. First I would like to express my most heartfelt and sincere gratitude to you for your incredibly kind and wise activity in relation to all of Trungpa Rinpoche’s students, including myself. We can never repay your generosity.

I would like to inform you of some understandings that I now have regarding the recent years of difficulty, and request your blessings for the journey ahead. I have realized, quite strongly, that I and some other students will simply not be able to continue to relate to Vajradhatu in the same way we have in the past. The first reason for this is that having spent a great deal of time with Trungpa Rinpoche I know with certainty that the way Vajradhatu is now existing is very definitely not what he wanted. I completely understand why Your Holiness gave the direction you did and I will never question this or object to it in any way. However I can not be part of Vajradhatu as it is now, since this would be for me going against my understanding of my Guru’s instructions which I can never do. I know Your Holiness will understand this.

My second difficulty has to do with the situation concerning the Vajra Regent’s main student and lineage successor. When I saw Your Holiness in France you and H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul asked me to convey your decisions to the Regent and ask his agreement. Immediately after the Regent’s death it was announced by His Eminence that the Regent had fully agreed to The Sawang assuming the leadership of Vajradhatu. This was not entirely true and was very misleading for those hundreds of students who were very devoted to the Regent. The message that I brought back from France included your decision about the Sawang leading Vajradhatu in the future but it also included a number of other points among which were: that the Regent remained the leader of Vajradhatu while he was still alive and all his decisions should be respected and: that the Regent had been instructed by Trungpa Rinpoche to choose his own dharma heir and lineage successor and he retained the right to do so.

It was only based on these conditions that The Regent expressed his agreement to the decision regarding the Sawang. As Your Holiness already knew The Regent had indeed selected his dharma heir, Mr. Patrick Sweeney, and sent him to receive Your Holiness’ blessings at the very retreat place in which you are now. After The Regent’s passing we had hoped that all of the students would be told all of these facts but this has not happened.
I can only tell you that this is very difficult and painful for me and for many students who were close to The Regent and who knew these facts anyway. It seems to me absolutely necessary that these facts be told so that the deepest wishes of both Trungpa Rinpoche and his Regent may be fulfilled. Trungpa Rinpoche told me personally many times that it was of greatest importance to him that he could transmit lineage to his Regent and that his Regent must do the same. This was actually a vital part of his teaching, the very core of his brilliance in bringing vajrayana to the west. Following this understanding The Regent did, in fact, establish his own dharma heir and this is of great importance to me and others here.

In addition I also discussed this with the Regent shortly before his death and he told me that it was deeply important to him that he had been able to empower a dharma heir and of great importance that Your Holiness and His Eminence recognized his prerogative to do so. He intended for his own dharma heir to carry on his teachings regardless of who ran Vajradhatu. Given all of these factors I hope and trust that you will understand why I feel that Trungpa Rinpoche’s students must at least be told these facts; what actually took place. I also trust that you will understand why I and some others here can not be part of Vajradhatu. We feel totally compelled to follow our understanding of the deepest instructions of our two main teachers, The Vidyadhara and the Vajra Regent and to work together with The Regents successor and the small sangha which shares this common samaya.

Of course it should be clearly understood that I am not questioning The Sawang’s leadership of Vajradhatu at all only saying that we must be free to conduct ourselves independent of Vajradhatu at this point. We simply can not do otherwise. It is, of course, completely important to us that we have Your Holiness’ blessing to carry on with our spiritual journey and to work for the benefit of all beings in this way which is the only way we can possibly proceed.

I would like to thank Your Holiness with all my heart for your help in all of this and request, once again, that you allow us the great privilege of receiving your blessings once again in North America. This is now everyone’s deepest wish. Mr. Sweeney, Lady Rich and I will continue to work together with other students here to fulfill the wishes of our teachers. We supplicate Your Holiness assistance in clearing away any and all obstacles to these aspirations.

May your health prosper and may your lotus feet remain steadfast in this world for the benefit of all beings. Please think of me with kindness.

With deep devotion and longing,

Karl G. Springer

In this letter, written almost a year after the Regent’s death, Karl expresses the difficulties that he and others have experienced since the Vajra Regent’s death. In particular, Karl points out that while the Regent had agreed to the decision that the Sawang would assume leadership of Vajradhatu, he did so under certain conditions. One of these conditions was that the Regent retained the right to choose his own dharma heir and lineage successor “regardless of who ran Vajradhatu.”


August 10, 1991
Letter to Karl Springer
From His Holiness Khyentse Rinpoche




Letter to Karl Springer
by Dilgo Khyentse
August 10, 1991

10 August 1991

Into the hand of Karl, who is of unequalled faith and love, [1]

I received your letter, in which you have given me the news that, there, you are doing well and virtue is increasing. I am delighted to know this. Here, I too am well, practicing in retreat wherein virtue increases, and making offerings celebrating the end of the retreat.

The matter at hand

During this period in which the Sawang is studying and training, Kongtrul Rinpoche and I have not appointed any Regent, Vajracharya, Acharya, and so on. Both the supreme Trungpa Rinpoche and his Regent, who has passed away, placed great faith, trust, and hope in me, in dependence upon which I have accepted the responsibility of offering you this counsel: it is important to practice the inconceivably profound instructions that you received from the supreme Trungpa Rinpoche, without squandering them; to propagate [such instructions] to others, and [to avail yourselves of] the methods that prevent harmony among the dharma centers from diminishing and permit all to come about for the best; therefore, act accordingly. I have written about this to Patrick as well in a letter sent separately.

As you are presently unwell, it is important that your own practice continue without fail. It is exceptionally important principally to foster freedom from any ground for controversy, a peaceful environment, and harmonious consensus within the dharma centers. In the fulfillment of the intentions of Trungpa Rinpoche and the Regent, were the practice of profound instructions to be sustained within an atmosphere of harmony free from contention and turbulence, there would be nothing to surpass that. There would, by contrast, be neither purpose nor benefit in newly appointing a regent of the Regent, instituting a holder of his lineage, dividing the dharma centers into two sections, and so on. Therefore, it is important that, beginning now, any and all allegations concerning this be set aside completely.

In response to the circumstances you have described in your letter, I would remind you that both previously and subsequently I have offered you advice in order that an excellent collection of benefit and happiness may come about, both provisionally and finally. Therefore, the meaning of that should be understood by all, and I will not forget to pray to the Three Jewels on your behalf.

Dilgo Khyentse
Satsam Choten in Paro, Bhutan
First day of the seventh Tibetan month



1. A literal translation of a lovely way of saying, “Dear Karl.”

His Holiness’ replies comes quickly. “There would … be neither purpose nor benefit in newly appointing a regent of the Regent, instituting a holder of his lineage, dividing the dharma centers into two sections and so on. Therefore, it is important that, beginning now, any and all allegations concerning this be set aside completely.” His Holiness died in September 1991, just seven weeks after this letter was sent.


August 10, 1991
Letter to Patrick Sweeney
From His Holiness Khyentse Rinpoche



Letter to Patrick Sweeney
by Dilgo Khyentse
August 10, 1991

10 August 1991
Into the hand of Patrick, who is of unequalled faith and love, [2]

I am delighted to know that, there, you are doing well and virtue is increasing. Here, I too am well, practicing in retreat wherein virtue increases, and making offerings celebrating the end of the retreat.

The matter at hand

During this period in which the Sawang is studying and training, Kongtrul Rinpoche and I have not appointed any Regent, Vajracharya, Acharya, and so on. Both the supreme Trungpa Rinpoche and his Regent, who has passed away, placed great faith, trust, and hope in me, in dependence upon which I have accepted the responsibility of offering you this counsel: as I advised you previously in Bodhgaya, it is important that you practice the inconceivably profound instructions given by the supreme Trungpa Rinpoche, without squandering them, in common with the other students, and in a harmonious manner, as well as [to avail yourselves of] the methods that prevent the former tradition from diminishing and foster the expansion of the dharma centers along a path of excellence; therefore, act accordingly. There would, by contrast, be neither purpose nor benefit in newly appointing a regent of the Regent, or instituting a holder of the lineage of his tradition. Therefore, it is important that, beginning now, any and all allegations concerning this be set aside completely.

Both previously and subsequently I have offered you advice in order that an excellent collection of benefit and happiness may come about, both provisionally and finally. Therefore, the meaning of that should be understood by all.

Dilgo Khyentse
Satsam Choten in Paro, Bhutan
First day of the seventh Tibetan month



2. A literal translation of a lovely way of saying, “Dear Patrick."

His Holiness’ letter to Patrick, dated the same day, conveys what is essentially the same message. “There would … be neither purpose nor benefit in newly appointing a regent of the Regent or instituting a holder of his tradition. Therefore, it is important that, beginning now, any and all allegations concerning this be set aside completely.”


December 22, 1988
Kalu Rinpoche’s talk to the LA Dharmadhatu

Kalu Rinpoche talk to the L.A. Dharmadhatu
Transcribed from the tape by Tara Carreon

[Translator] Good evening members of the sangha, friends. On behalf of the Dharmadhatu of Los Angeles, and Vajradhatu, I’d like to welcome everyone this evening, and particularly to express our gratitude to The Learned, Very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche for The Extraordinary Gift of his Presence with us here this evening. The Venerable Kalu Rinpoche, as I’m sure most of you know, is The Senior Meditation Master of the Kagyu Lineage, One Of The Greatest Yogis and Practitioners, Masters Of The Profound Path Of The Kagyu Lineage That The World Has Ever Known. Rinpoche Is Renowned For His Retreat Practice And Accomplishment, For His Wisdom, And For His Compassion. And It’s Quite Extraordinary That We Have The Auspicious Coincidence of The Embodiment Of Compassion With Us At A Time That It Is Most Appropriate For Us. So we’re very grateful to Rinpoche for being here and very grateful to auspicious coincidence for his being here, and we welcome you Rinpoche and request you to address us….

[Kalu Rinpoche] During my last trip to North America several years ago -- this was before the passing away of Trungpa Rinpoche -- I went to Boulder where I had been asked by Vajradhatu and Dharmadhatus to perform the initiation, the empowerment, of kalachakra, both for the benefit of peace and happiness in the world, and particularly for the benefit of the students of Trungpa Rinpoche. At that particular time, Trungpa Rinpoche was quite ill. And I performed this ceremony with the thought that I should be doing something to prolong his life if it was possible; if not, then simply to do something which would please him. And at that time, I was accompanied by most of the lamas here present tonight, and the translator at that time was Ken McCloud. And everything went very excellently in Boulder at that time. And at that time I made a very strong connection with various members of the Dharmadhatu organization, and our minds became as one from that time.

At this particular point in time, I have been extremely happy to be among you once again, and to see various members of the Dharmadhatu, and most particularly the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin. However, there seems to be some problems these days. And in spite of my great happiness at meeting all of you, and particularly the Vajra Regent once again, there are things which are making me a little sad.

The present situation is like this:

At one time there was a rabbit. And there was a great wind. And during this time, some trees were blown into the water, and made a very great sound. The rabbit became very afraid of this sound. He wasn’t used to hearing it, so he ran away. When he was running away, he ran into a couple of deer. And the deer said, “What are you running from?” And he said, “There’s something the matter here in the ocean. I’m running away from this sound ‘Jow.’” And the deer became very afraid, and they started running away with the rabbit.

Many animals gathered as the news spread that there was some terrible sound, “Jow,” which was coming from the ocean. And they all ran away. And eventually they came and met a lion. And this lion was completely fearless. And he said, “What are you running away from?” And they said, “Well, there’s this sound ‘Jow,’ at the ocean.” And he said, “I’m not afraid of this.” He had a tremendous amount of pride, and he had the rabbit lead him to the ocean where the sound had come from. And he stood up on the rocks to look over into the water to see where the sound had come from. And he made his body very, very high, and he looked down into the water, and he saw his own reflection. And he said, “Ah, this must be the particular thing that is making this particular noise. I’m very strong. I can defeat this particular enemy.” And he jumped in, and made the sound “Jow” once again, and died. And nothing came of all of his courage.

The present situation is like this. [LAUGHTER] I really feel the present situation is like this. At this particular point in time, as all of you already know, the Vajra Regent has contracted AIDS. And people worry very much about the fact that he might have passed this on to many people. As far as I’m concerned, the panic that people are feeling at this particular point is much like these animals running away from the sound “Jow, Jow, Jow.” As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing to this particular worry.

I’ve been aware of this situation for some time now; however, I’ve heard just recently that due to the activity of Ken McCloud, and one of the people at his center, that some of the information concerning the Vajra Regent has gone into the newspapers. My own feeling about this is that we in the dharma centers, be they the Vajradhatu, Dharmadhatu, or my own centers here, all of us are working to provide beings with peace of mind as well as happiness and comfort physically. This is the reason why we have dharma centers, in order to benefit others. Now persons who have AIDS have other very serious sicknesses they are suffering physically. And this sort of publicity which is blaming others for the difficulties that a person might have, is only adding unhappiness to the person’s physical suffering. They are suffering in their minds if they follow this type of news.

In America, you have a lot of people looking over the laws of the land, and taking care of the health of the citizens of this country. You have the President, you have the Supreme Court, you have everybody from the top to the bottom. You have hundreds of thousands of police, and other persons who are taking care of people’s situations, whether people are harming one another, or are benefiting one another. As far as I’m concerned it is not the work at all of the dharma centers to examine exactly what is happening in another center’s group. I have control myself only of my own organization. And if Ken McCloud and other persons within my own organization are being harmful to others, this is something which I can put a stop to. This is something which I will put a stop to. This sort of activity of putting things into newspapers and making publicity which is harmful to other people in various ways, is something which is against the principles of our religious organization. We don’t have an organization for this sort of purpose. The purpose of our organization is to be of benefit to others.

As little as we can say, as little as we can discuss with others about this subject, the better, simply because this is a tremendous cause of distraction within our meditation practices. This is of very little benefit to the minds of anybody.

There are agencies in the American government, no doubt, that take care of people who have AIDS. And they are able to make an examination of a person. And if a person has AIDS, this is something between them and government agencies. And they should simply ask, “What do I do now?” And if they don’t have AIDS, then that’s just fine.

After receiving further information Kalu Rinpoche addressed the LA sangha in December 1988, just seven days prior to the Board letter to the Regent. Thank you to Tashi Armstrong and Suzanne Townsend for bringing this talk to our attention. It was added to the list of documents below on June 14, 2016.
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Boston Dharmadhatu: The Early Days
by Anna Taylor
May 7, 2018



In this 1979 article, published in part by the Vajradhatu Sun the same year, Anna Taylor takes a look back at the beginnings of the Boston Dharmadhatu just eight years earlier. Here—three years shy of Boston’s fiftieth anniversary—are excerpts from her original article. This portrait of the first tentative steps and missteps of the Boston sangha is worth a fresh look, in part because it is funny, tender, and insightful. But this piece also provides a very interesting glimpse into how we viewed our baby steps so soon after they were taken, and how quickly Trungpa Rinpoche’s mandala became more or less fully manifest. By 1979, Vajradhatu, Shambhala Training, the Kalapa Court, Naropa, the Kasung, and much more had been established and—if not yet fully matured—were distinct and formidable landmarks of the mandala.

I remember in early 1974 being first told about the practice of prostrations and thinking it was a joke in very poor taste. Now [1979], new people come to the Boston Dharmadhatu, to our loft in the center of town, where Shambhala Training is carried out by friendly and efficient crews, where regular daily and all-day weekend sittings are open to the public, where two or three classes are held simultaneously most evenings, where pretty elegant receptions are periodically staged with a fair amount of aplomb, including occasional grand visitations from Rinpoche and the Regent, where ngöndro and Vajrayogini sadhana are practiced, and the new people seem to accept it all quite easily. I suspect they can live with all this mostly because of Rinpoche’s inspiration and perseverance—slowly ploughing, aerating and fertilizing the ground for years; partly also because people in general are much more sophisticated about practice today; but in small part, too, because we, the Buddhist neanderthals, died on a strange and wonderful assortment of crosses for them over the past seven years (which may be the same thing as saying that we were some of that hard, rocky ground that was ploughed).

The Boston Dharmadhatu started in 1972 with Patricia Shelton’s hatha yoga group, which met at her East-West Center. We were followers of Rudrananda, Muktananda, Vankatesananda, Vishnudevananda, Satchitananda, Ram Dass and the American Dream. The first official meetings were held at Persis McMillen’s estate in Concord, with Beth Gordon as coordinator. Rinpoche gave a talk there on The Way of the Buddha, which is in the Myth of Freedom. Narayana (later the Regent Osel Tendzin) and Olive Colon gave meditation instruction under a tree and we sat in a little outlying cottage and did walking meditation in the fields. Then we got a small loft on Charles Street, in Beacon Hill. There were 12-15 members and we met on Monday nights. On Wednesdays, we had open house—40 minutes of sitting and listening to a tape by Rinpoche. Every other Sunday, there was a nyinthun attended by four or five people.

Sitting style tended to extremes: some people sat propped up against the pillars and walls, some were prone, and some sat in the rigor mortis of full lotus (occasionally picking their toes). Walking meditation was a time for virtuoso performances, a la Jacques Tattit and the Lippizaner Stallions. Every now and then, one of the capricious Olympians from the hills of Vermont would come down and talk about pain. It was considered an art form and they were its chief exponents. Outbursts of anger, rudeness and fits of depression were considered signs of a serious practitioner. Politeness, friendliness and tidiness were considered middle-class cop-outs. In the next two years, some of us proceeded, with startling abandon, to jettison middle-class respectability and security in the form of non-meditating husbands and wives, sports cars, furniture, jobs, girdles, bras, ties, soap and razors. Some of us gave up teetotalling and vegeterianism, some of us gave up drugs (pot in particular—the only thing Rinpoche actually asked us to give up). We exchanged them for booze, sex, cynicism and the glimmer of some distant light.

Rinpoche would come to give talks and seminars Transcending Self-Indulgence, Is Meditation Therapy?, Open Secret of Enlightenment, The Intelligence of Confusion, etc. He didn’t wear a beard, long hair, flowing whites or beads. He didn’t chant into the microphone with closed eyes. His eyes were always open and he was always late, he wore suits, his hair was short, he smoked and he drank in public and, it was rumored, he had relations with some of his female students.

Some of us were shocked and relieved at the upfront quality of his behavior. Some of us were just shocked and never got beyond that. Some of us listened to his talks and they were like swallowing timed capsules—timed to go off months and years and perhaps decades later. It was like hearing extraordinary poetry—a lot of it was totally obscure, but there was something evocative, something haunting that kept us coming back. And so the culture implanted in us by Rinpoche began to ferment slowly, in the heat of our muddled practice. We began to experience learning not as acquiring, but as undoing, being undone.

From time to time, Karl Springer would appear amongst us. He was learning to be Sol Hurok (an early twentieth century music agent and impresario) at the time, and went in for festivals. His education proved somewhat expensive to the rest of us, but definitely broadened our horizons. There were two festivals: the Dharma Festival in 1973 and the Mandala Festival in 1975.

The Dharma Festival brought us into uneasy partnership with the followers of Ram Dass. We Buddhists tended to be small, nervous, alcoholic, and we travelled in clouds of smoke. The dasses tended to be tall, handsome, vegetarian and they moved in an aura of mint tea. They lived on Washington Road, in a Victorian mansion owned by professor David McClelland, a sort of Harvard Don Quixote of the counterculture. We lived two blocks away in a large house on Upland Road. They would sneak over to our house at night for alcohol and protein binges, resorting secretly to cow flesh and woman flesh on our premises. They thought of us as arrogant debauchees and we thought of them as holy noodles. There was a grain of ugly truth on each side.

Ram Dass drew 3,000 people to a talk and slide show called, Gurus of the Ages. Allen Ginsberg and Bhagavan Dass sang, Keep on truckin’ down the eightfold path. Rinpoche talked to a crowd of 1,200 people at Rindge Auditorium on Tibetan Buddhism and American Karma. He talked about the validity of our glimpses into the teachings, our enormous good fortune at having this opportunity to practice and the need for more discipline. He was very moved and so were we.

A Nalanda Video Presentation: Psychology East and West: Chogyam Trungpa, Ram Dass, John Baker, Jim Green, and Moderator Duncan Campbell. Shown on Wide Screen Video. An historic forum on the diverse traditions of psychology and spirituality presented by their renowned spokesmen, held at Naropa Institute's Summer Program, 1974. Wed. July 9, 8PM, $2. Harvard Science Center, Hall B, Cor. Kirkland & Oxford Sts., Cambridge

The Mandala Festival was a totally Buddhist effort. We mounted an exhibition of Tibetan art at MIT (which resulted in the publication of Visual Dharma by Rinpoche, based on his lecture); there was a folk concert and a Peter Serkin concert, a poetry reading, lectures and a panel discussion between Rinpoche, Eido Roshi, an eloquent Episcopal father and a dapper rabbi, chaired by the ubiquitous Harvey Cox; it also snowed most of the time even though it was April and we lost $10,000.

Festivals and houses were our specialty in Boston. The original idea of getting a house was Alan Sterman’s, who soon after thought better of it and went “Outward Bound”. The rest of us found ourselves just bound, panicky, fighting assorted windmills and ourselves.

In looking for a house, we divided into two camps—those in favor of hippy funk and those in favor of uptight Zen. The uptight Zen won and we rented 169 Upland, in Cambridge, at twice the amount we had expected to pay. Before we even moved in, we clashed over the issue of whether or not to admit dogs and non-meditating husbands (I had one of the latter, for a while).

The political system was one of rampant democracy: part town meeting, part encounter group. Dharmadhatu business and house business were discussed in the same meetings, by everyone: who was going to give the next talk, should people take showers in the upstairs bathrooms during nyinthun, and what brand of marmalade we should buy. We threw the I Ching and drew Thunder in the Middle of the Lake. We couldn’t decide whether we were a Cambridge commune or a practice center. There was one notable discussion in which we argued about the size, shape and height of the table we were going to make. It lasted eight hours. We never made the table.

We had external problems, too, in the shape of the sisters McLaughlin and their brother Richard, the Commissioner of Highways for Massachusetts. All three lived opposite us. The McLaughlins were powerful local dieties. They had clout in city hall. They could summon police and health inspectors and stop garage sales at a moment’s notice. We tried to propitiate them by inviting them to tea (they stood us up), sending over a nice Irish boy (Kevin Lyons) to talk with them, and by working for their cancer drive. There was an exhilarating (and temporary) breakthrough in our relations when the McLaughlins finally came to our very successful neighborhood open house at 30 Hillside, our third house. But in the meantime, they complained to the landlord that we had topless women running around the premises. We finally tracked that idea to the source—Christopher Pleim, our dedicated practice coordinator, who at the time wore his beautiful blond hair half-way down his back and would frequently run around without a shirt in the summer.

The afternoon the McLaughlins stood us up for tea, we pulled down the shades, brought out all our private stashes of liquor, consumed all the carefully prepared finger sandwiches and had our first blow-out party. The news of this spread quickly to Tail of the Tiger and soon the Boston Dharmadhatu developed the contradictory reputations for its gentility and its orgies. We often had our blasts in the shrine room. Cocktail glasses—and once, a pair of nylon panties, in a tigerskin design—ended up on the shrine.

During nyinthuns, as one sat unfocusing on the Persian rugs, a small part of the intricate design would detach itself and move off—a cockroach, one of many. They, too, were drawn to Buddhist communes and multiplied somewhat faster than the sangha. The great question was what to do with them. So we asked the Vermont Olympians. We got a lot of interesting advice: 1. Do not kill them under any circumstances. Relate with them. 2. Kill them, but only with natural products—Molotov cocktails of borax, baking soda, pepper… 3. Usher them out, whenever possible, on little pieces of paper, one by one, pointing them gently at the house next door. 4. Have a non-Buddhist kill them (the Shabbas goy approach, used also on larger game, such as lobsters). We finally asked Rinpoche, who told us to have them exterminated, to do a thorough job and to keep the place clean.
The first part was easy and a relief, the second a challenge. Apart from our laziness, cleanliness was equated in those days with middle-class uptightness, inhibitions and goal-orientation—the only sin we recognized. But every time we cleaned the place for a grand visitation, we would be delighted and amazed at how elegant it could look. Finally, it began to dawn on us that we could enjoy this sort of environment all the time. It was a big epiphany.

When Rinpoche or Khyentse Rinpoche would come to stay in the house, they were given rooms on the second floor. We would then clean the first and second floors, hoping they would not venture to the third. Khyentse Rinpoche had a disconcerting habit of darting into rooms that were not on public display. He also left behind him an indelible impression of what true aristocracy is—treating his little grandson, us and the attendant monks with the same unvarying awareness, consideration and humor.

The Karmapa’s visit in ’76 was quite a lesson for us as interior decorators and practitioners. We watched ourselves turning our funky Victorian Hillside house into a rococo palace of satin and brocade. We got some idea of how a Vajrayana teacher is treated traditionally. We were also amazed by the whole stretching process we went through—stretching of purses, minds, schedules. The same people who were shocked at the idea of paying $15 a month dues in ’74, contributed $250-500 a piece for the visit. The experience was a mixture of boot camp and mahamudra.

In 1977, after searching for two years, goosed by the Regent (who said one day, when he was sitting in the Upland shrine room, “You have to get out of this place. I can smell your dirty laundry from here.”), we found a large loft off Copley Square. We finally had some neutral space, not tied into our domestic situation, in Boston proper. Not only that, but it was right next to Styx and Chaps, two gay bars, which was extremely convenient for half the membership. It was also close to Filene’s, which houses Boston’s famous bargain basement, which took care of the other half of the membership.

The following year, there was a whole change of the guard. Bob Morehouse, Chris Pleim, Joe Harvey and I all left the administration, one after the other, and central casting sent in a new crew—our inspired ambassador, Winfield Clark, our able new coordinators, William Karelis and Holly Hammond, and their Shambhala equivalents, Ellen and Peter Lieberson. They, and a whole phalanx of competent doers, old and new, now run the Dharmadhatu.

711 Boylston. photo by Robert Morehouse

That is not to say that all is smoothness and light in our $2,333 a month haven at 711 Boylston. Women, older people, people with children particularly complain that we do not provide a really accommodating environment for them. But more of them are coming, and in the old days, everyone who came to the Dharmadhatu at Upland felt lonely and somewhat left out of the ongoing domestic situation, while the inmates frequently felt threatened and invaded by visitors. One thing hasn’t changed too much: people are still startled by our predilection for liquor, cigarettes and coffee, and now three-piece suits and certain quaint feudal practices.

But there does seem to be a different quality about the membership today. People seem to be more at ease in the world, more together and more inclined to discipline than the old stretcher cases that used to arrive at the Dharmadhatu five, seven years ago. We were then, by and large, a prize bunch of bewildered delinquents who had no place else to go.

Anna Taylor, circa 1972. Photograph by Karen Tandee Roper

We seem to have acquired the strength to extend ourselves further, as in Shambhala Training, the whole notion of Shambhala world, of Buddhist teachings secularized, and at the same time to mine more deeply, as in our Buddhist studies, which are getting more demanding, more precise, more doctrinal.

Looking back on the history of the Boston Dharmadhatu, what one sees are milestones of resistance, Rinpoche’s arduous task of taming untamable beings in terms of practice, study, relating to each other and the environment. It has been a slow, often painful maturing process for us, a slow housebreaking process—and the rare experience of watching a true master practice the paramita of patience.

Thank you to Anna’s friend, Lillian Thibodeau, for retrieving this gem from her files, and thank you to the Shambhala Sun Magazine for permission to republish.

Originally posted in August 2006


His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa and CTR, Boston, 1976

711 Boylston St shrine room during the Karmapa’s visit, 1980; Photo Mary Lang

Lynn Newdome plays the anthem in front of 167 Upland Rd, 1982; Photo Mary Lang

Waiting for the Karmapa’s departure, 1980; Photo Mary Lang

Waving goodbye to the Karmapa, 1980; Photo Mary Lang

Binny Clarke; photo by Robert Morehouse

Boylston Construction; photo by Robert Morehouse

Boylston Entrance; photo by Robert Morehouse

Boylston Shrine Room; photo by Robert Morehouse

Buchannan, Morehouse, Clark; photo by Robert Morehouse

At the airport; photo by Robert Morehouse

Photo by Robert Morehouse

Standing: Richard Haspray, Alice Haspray, Holly Hammond, Gaylon Ferguson, David Sable, Chris Pleim, Mark Wagner, Ellen Kearney, Jan Watson, Peter Lieberson, Robert Morehouse, William Karelis, Phil Stanley, Richard MacGregor, and Daniel Mead. Seated: Chögyam Trungpa, and Winfield Clarke; photo by Robert Morehouse

Ann Doubilet; photo by Robert Morehouse

The Vajra Regent; photo by Robert Morehouse

The Vajra Regent Teaching in Boston; photo by Robert Morehouse

Judy Lief & Chris Pleim; photo by Robert Morehouse

Richard Wurtz; photo by Robert Morehouse

Bill Wooding and Bob Morehouse; photo by Robert Morehouse
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