Thursday, August 13, 2009

Michelle Grissom: About Face

In the very, very small meadow of Michelle Grissom, of Seattle, Washington -- the storied victim of a notorious incident involving New Age teacher Alyce Zeoli ("Jetsunma") that led to the latter's arrest on assault charges in Maryland -- there are numerous changes of prevailing wind.

To be fair to all concerned -- since we have quoted her in the past -- I think we should report that Ms. Grissom, also known as Dechen, from the Martha Sherrill book Buddha From Brooklyn, has now, over a decade after the fact, written a long, sometimes rambling statement (entitled "My Way," with no apologies to Frank Sinatra) in which she expresses deep regret for her actions and flatly says that she lied -- to the police, to Ms. Sherrill, to her friends, colleagues, lamas, and the world at large.

I've read her statement very carefully, and if it is true, then she is to be commended for owning up to something that caused a great deal of confusion among otherwise well-meaning people. To do this obviously takes a major cathartic episode, or courage, and possibly some of both. However, "truth" is this case seems to be rather an ambiguous concept.

Ms. Grissom -- a formerly ordained, twelve year veteran nun from the KPC temple in Poolesville, Maryland -- openly admits to perjury in her statement, and although the statute of limitations precludes her prosecution, it does cast a rather serious pall over anything else she might have to say on impacted matters, now or in the future. For the rest of her life, the question will inevitably be:

 "Were you lying then, or are you lying now?"

I have never met Ms. Grissom, spoken to Ms. Grissom, nor corresponded with Ms. Grissom. I simply do not know the person. However, I have in the past placed some reliance upon her published and reported statements -- statements which she now recants in their entirety -- and to the extent that I have done so, I now post this clarification of events, and will cross-index as appropriate.

Sometimes we just have to accept people at their word. If we rely upon this, and it later turns out that we have been deceived, we just have to accept that as well. Things like this happen all the time in this world, and one doesn't need to feel this way or that way.

Anyway -- here are links to the "back story" on this one:

Locking the Stable After the Horse Already Gone
The Monkey Queen's Mistake
The Lion's Corpse (principal statement)
All Sentient Beings Wish for Happiness
Toga, Toga, Toga
Stablizing the Mind
Buddhist Cults, Or How I Became Frankenstein and Learned to Love the Mob
Hellbound and Happy About It
Benefit of A Thousand Lights and Flowers
Played Holy, Saw Toli
Spy vs Spy
Befhel ist Befhel: The Nazi Sangha
Following A Spiritual Master
Sedona, the Succubus, and the Stupa

The 4:20 Out of Poolesville

And Now... Thaganapa

One of the Eighty-Four Siddhas was known as the "Man Who Always Tells Lies," or Thaganapa. He used lying as an antidote to lying, meditating on all things being false from the very beginning. What Jigme Lingpa refers to as the "great lying projection," isn't it?

"As for the existing things of this world of appearances,
what is not known to be true is seen as false.
Indeed, knowing and the objects of knowing are all false;
so if the six senses and their objects are false,
where do you find the truth?
And so you remain in the misery of samsara.
O child, if you do not recognize the false is false,
you take it as true; and like a waterwheel,
you are lost again and again in samsara.
Therefore you should actually meditate on the falseness of all existing things.
Just as words are false,
so also are the physical forms and such.
So grasping this, meditate on the false."

Keywords: Michelle Grissom, Dechen, Buddha From Brooklyn, Alyce Zeoli, Jetsunma, Buddhist cults, My Way, Seattle

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6 reader comments:

Lhadron said...

I read the Buddha from Brooklyn years ago. I really don't get it. Wasn't she beaten, or something like that? KPC...I know of some people who have gone there. Hmmm, I don't know about that place. The Stupas are great however. Thanks for keeping people up to date.

Phake said...

This is really rich. Poor little Michelle writes that she had an epiphany and swears to do good? Bullshit. This multiple samaya breaker just puts new lyrics to old music so she can have another few minutes of fame. Wonder how she got paid off? Alyce buys everything... her titles and most especially her friends. The only thing is, she does it with other peoples money.

TENPA said...

Yes, the stupas are great. People need to make up their own minds about KPC. I have my own idea, but I could be wrong.

TENPA said...

I personally don't think that Alyce "bought her title" in the way people might suppose, because I don't believe Penor Rinpoche was in the business of selling titles. That is just unthinkable to me. I also don't think there is any question about her being a tulku. The main issue with her is about crazy without the wisdom, and pure, unbridled self-cherishing. Tulkus aren't enlightened beings just dropped from the sky. Tulkus are works in progress. As to Michelle Grissom, I don't know enough about her one way or the other to be able to comment, beyond saying that she sounds like one mixed up little lady.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Way back when this all started, Gyaltrul Rinpoche warned me that this would happen. I thought he meant that no one would believe me about Jetsunma but now I know he meant now.

Once I put my views in stone, I was stuck. If I changed -- the whole point of Dharma -- I'd have to recant and then become the boy who cried wolf.

Got an interesting email this am, where one of the former KPC students said, "Good luck with your new you." And I got to take a look at how naming ex-KPC names in my confession was the same thing I did in The Buddha From Brooklyn.

So I started to take out all the names ... except the Lamas. Then I realized I was treating the Lamas worse than the students. I got a hard look at how I treat my enemies (or opponents if you will) differently from friends.


I left the post alone, scratching my head, realizing that the horse has left the barn regardless.

Pity I have to do the "head first into a brick wall" method of learning everything, eh?

Anyway, I appreciate your response.

Michelle Grissom

TENPA said...

I don't know if the above post from "Anonymous" is legitimately from the person in question or not, but it certainly brings an interesting perspective to this little soap opera.