Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Befhel ist Befhel: the Nazi Sangha: Updated X 2

Ours is supposed to be the religion of loving kindness and compassion. Each and every action we take is supposed to be motivated by our concern for the welfare of all sentient beings. Most, if not all, of our religion's greatest masters agree on one point: you can equivocate on virtually every aspect of Buddhism save the foundation -- you cannot equivocate on the issue of kindness. In the absence of loving kindness, compassion, and concern for the welfare of all sentient beings, nothing you do in the context of Buddhism means a thing.

Not a thing.

Ours is not supposed to be a religion of hatred, revenge, or jihad. We are not supposed to be bigots, xenophobes, or militants. We are supposed to practice the ultimate form of "turn the other cheek," which is "turn the other mind." Yet, somehow -- and I cannot pretend to know or even guess where or when -- these basic messages got lost for some of us. When they did, it set free a demon that is threatening to destroy -- yes, destroy -- Buddhism in the United States.

I gave that demon a name -- I call it the Nazi Sangha.

-- -- -- -- --

Nowhere in Buddhism is it written that you have to participate in burning an effigy of your "spiritual director's" ex-husband.

Nowhere in Buddhism is it written that you have to steal medical records of people who criticize you -- I think Nixon did that with Ellsberg, didn't he?

Nowhere in Buddhism is it written that you mount public smear campaigns against individuals who, for whatever reason, have decided to leave and seek teaching elsewhere.

Nowhere in Buddhism is it written that you have to take turns slapping a member of your organization who has experienced a personal crisis.

Nowhere in Buddhism is it written that you have to take psychiatric medication simply because your "spiritual director" takes psychiatric medication.

But you... you, the Nazi Sangha... you have done all of these things and more.

The annual summer retreat at KPC, Poolesville, Maryland. As the above records indicate, well over an hour of the opening session was devoted to visiting here.

Befhel ist Befhel, literally, "order is order," is the underlying concept of the Nuremberg Defense: "only following orders." Every chance it gets, society has condemned the defense on both moral and legal grounds. Indeed, Nuremberg Principle IV states: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

So, my question today is simple albeit rhetorical: is the Nuremberg Defense no less reprehensible when applied to a renegade "sangha," as it is when applied to war crimes?

Over the course of the past few months -- if not the past two or three years -- I have received several letters from members of western "sanghas," all to the same general effect. They have, for whatever reason, decided to leave their milieu and take up interests elsewhere. In response, they have been stalked, abused, pilloried, and cursed by their former comrades. They write with doubts and many, many questions that boil down to one question: is this Buddhism?

Is this Buddhism, indeed.

I used to take these letters with a grain of salt, until I witnessed the Nazi Sangha in action, Although some of this has already been exposed in various other forums, I do not have the stomach to go through the catalog of outrageous behavior here -- it is quite simply too offensive to the human heart.

When called to task, those responsible for perpetrating these offensive outrages have offered one uniform defense for their conduct: we are only following our teacher's orders. Our teacher is grand and glorious. We are grand and glorious.

I'm sorry, but I don't see grand and glorious.

I see bullshit bullies who traded brownshirt for burgandy.

A comment from one of the victims, to a post back in 2008,
reminding us of events in 1996 -- yet a decade later and
the Nazi Sangha is up to its old tricks

UPDATE: The author of the above has now (Aug 11 09) recanted her statements. See here.

- - -

If you, or someone you love, are trapped in a Nazi Sangha, here is some Tibetan for you, done phonetically, so it will be easy to say:

May hindrances, obstacles and mistaken guides be tamed!

Say it three times, click the heels of the ruby slippers, then pack your bags and go find a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who actually teaches Tibetan Buddhism. As the ex-husband of the lady in the photograph, above, so eloquently explains on his web site, she isn't teaching Tibetan Buddhism. As the ex-attendant of the lady in the photograph, above, so eloquently explains on her web site, you are being swindled to support a lifestyle. If you want to stay in a cult, then stay in a cult... only, please... please do not contaminate Buddhism by calling yourself a Buddhist.

It isn't the damage you do to Buddhism that is the issue here... it is the damage you do to yourself. By following a mistaken guide, you are being led into the depths. You need to understand that you have a moral choice available at all times.

You can choose to stop confusing intrigue and constant turmoil with actual sitting-on-the-stone practice. While your hearts are corrupted and brittle with anger and hatred, of what use are a million prayers? Ten million prayers?

- - -

I am not a teacher. I don't take students because I don't know anything to teach. So please, don't think of me as someone who wants or needs the driftwood of the Nazi Sangha to land on his beach.

I am just a guy who has made every mistake it is possible to make on the long road of bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West... and an even greater number of mistakes on the even longer road of being human.

I just have this tendency of wishing others might profit from my mistakes.

-- -- -- --

"In my present life and in all my births in beginningless and limitless samsara, in all the places that I have taken birth, I have performed negative and destructive karma, I have helped others to perform it, and I have rejoiced in others’ performing of it.

"I have stolen the possessions of stupas, the possessions of the Sangha, that of the Sangha of the ten directions, I have helped others in stealing it, and I have rejoiced in the stealing of it.

"I have performed the five grave actions of limitless consquence, I have helped others in performing them, and I have rejoiced in the performing of them.

"I have entered into the totally taking up of the path of the ten non-virtuous actions, I have helped others to enter into it, and I have rejoiced in others’ entering of it.

"Through whatever karmic obscurations I have, through their obscuring power, I will go the sentient beings’ hells, I will go to the abodes of the animals, I will go to the land of the hungry ghosts, I will be born in a remote border region, I will be born as a primitive, I will be born as a long-lived god, I will be born with sense-faculties incomplete, and I will be born as a holder of wrong views.

"All of those that there are, whatever karmic obscurations there may be, from such things as not offering service during the arising of a buddha, before the Buddhas, the Transcendent and Accomplished Conquerors, who have timeless awareness, who have deeper vision, who have power, who have valid cognition, and who see through their transcendent knowledge, before their divine eyes, I openly admit them! I confess them! I do not conceal them! I do not hide them!"

That's Erick Sherab Zangpo's translation of the Bodhisattva's Confession of Downfalls: The Arya Three Heaps Sutra, by Shakyamuni Buddha.

It doesn't mean that you recite this, mindlessly, and then go right out and start crap all over again. What it means is that one considers things very deeply -- a fearless self-appraisal, as they say -- and then one resolves to throttle down the head-long dash to Hell.

Don't come here.

Go to the source.

Because there comes a point in time when your teacher -- as damaged as she is -- is no longer the problem.

You are the ones who are only following orders.


Why is this important? Simply because we have an instance of an uneducated western "teacher" exhorting her gullible western students to break one of the forty-six branch vows, and this in the context of her own violation of one of the eighteen root vows:

"15. Falsely claiming to have realized emptiness. Falsely claiming to have the full realization of the emptiness of inherent existence of self and phenomena breaks this root vow. It is a specific form of lying, whereby you deceive others into believing that you have special attainments. It is not necessary to claim explicitly that you have high realizations to break this vow. Just implying that you have high realizations also incurs the downfall. An example would be to suggest to others that if they practice according to your instructions they will also gain great powers and spiritual attainments. Or to say, 'If you practice the three principal paths diligently you will gain similar experiences of bliss to my own!' The Buddha said that even when you have attained the paths of insight or liberation you should never openly say to others, 'I have this or that realization' or 'I have attained this or that path'. Publicly stating such things will only cause confusion and suspicion. Cynics will believe that you are lying to improve your status and reputation, and the gullible will follow you blindly rather than because of the quality of your teachings. Deceiving other people into thinking that you have realizations when you do not is particularly dangerous. Tibetans have a poor opinion of the person who boasts about his qualities and claims to have special clairvoyance or an ability to communicate with the Buddhas. On the other hand, we have the greatest respect for the truly humble practitioner who hides his attainments and leads a quiet and simple life practicing the Dharma diligently."

The branch vow in question was broken when, one by one -- and "only following orders" -- members of the Nazi Sangha stepped forward to strike the nun that their "teacher" had just assaulted: an act of pure cowardice unequalled in the history of western Buddhism:

"8. Forsaking those who have broken their moral discipline. These people will need advice and help with relieving their guilt. They should not be treated with contempt or be ignored."
The "sangha" in question is a collective of anger and hatred. Their behavior continues unchecked to the present day. If we allow this to pass by unremarked, then how are we different from those who stood by, silently, while the nazis went about their wickedness?

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3 reader comments:

Kunzang Lhamo said...

This is the biggest mistake Penor Rinpoche ever made in his life and I doubt we will ever know the true story but one thing is certain and that is he regretted it to the day he died. Over and over in India he warned people that she was dangerous but when we asked him why he didn't dismantle her he said that he felt sorry for a person on their way to Hell and kept hoping she would rise to the challenge. I think she is one of the things that killed him. Do not be afraid of these people. They are only attacking you because you are exposing the truth. Their false sangha is shrinking more and more every day. There are plenty of lamas around who can help. Gyatrul Rinpoche takes in many students who have left her and he won't have anything more to do with her since he has seen with his own eyes the damage she has done.

Anonymous said...

Alyce represents herself as a "lineage holder" but according to HH the Fifth Karma Kuchen that is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. To be a true lineage holder she would have had to receive the complete teachings. She did not. Penor Rinpoche had Bakha Tulku try to teach her, but he left after a month because she wouldn't stop using drugs. Even had she received the teachings, she would have had to do the practices. She does not. She gets loaded every afternoon with her son Rigdzin sits on the couch watching TV and wakes up with a hangover the next morning. Even had she done the practices, she would've had to show signs of accomplishment. Her only "accomplishment" to date is to alienate every Tibetan lama who ever came to visit. After a brief honeymoon (and some fat envelopes) they go away never to return. Ask any one of her students who ever went to India what happened when they mentioned her name at Namdroling. Not once but dozens of times, many witnesses heard HH Penor Rinpoche tell people not to trust her. He told many people many times: She does not listen to me, she does not listen to anybody, her karma is going to be terrible. She says she is Mandarava but when she went to Tsopema they would not even let her in the door of the Nyingma monastery there and just laughed at her. She can wave letters from Penor Rinpoche around all she wants but the truth is the truth and the truth is she blew it and became dangerous and corrupt. She preaches love in public but hate in private and has become a doped up demon who practices witchcraft. One more thing. I think all you Western tulkus are nuts and should just take care of your own business first and maybe next life you can do somebody some good.

Anonymous said...

Alyce lies and tells people she was never arrested and the case never went before a judge but it did and she was convicted. There was a lifetime restraining order placed against her. She doesn't want people to know this. She preaches love but her black heart is full of hate.