Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Franklin Lineage: Updated

This is one of those things where nobody gets any good news.

You have to ask yourself: is it better to keep this at the back-alley whisper level, or better to drag it, kicking and screaming, into the light? Is this rumor mongering, gossip mongering, or catharsis? Is it catharsis, or a long overdue investigation?

Are we better off knowing, or not knowing?

Sorry to be cryptic, but those are just a few of the thoughts that run through my mind, when I re-read for the one hundredth time, an unsolicited series of letters and documents I received from an anonymous correspondent.

To the point:

The thrust of the material I received was that somebody bought recognition as a tulku. Bought it for cash.

In a certain profession, there is a name for anonymous, accusatory documents that come in over the transom: they call this "noise," and give it very low ratings. Often, it tells more about the author than the target, and to that extent may have some slight collateral value. Once, in a blue moon, the information turns out to be credible. More often than not, it is just a troll. Sucker bait for the unwary.

So... somebody (names are given) bought (an amount is given, as is the manner of receipt) recognition as a tulku. Proofs are offered, fingers are pointed, and enough detail is supplied to support the hypothesis that the source was (1) in a position to acquire the information, (2) did acquire the information in the manner stated, and (3) relays the information exactly as received.

Our source claims to be an interpreter who was present (1) whilst the bargain was struck, and (2) later, when it was discussed among the recipients. That much we can check out. Yes, it seems that our source is an interpreter, knew the parties in question, and was in the operational environment under examination. To the question of "why now, why not blow the whistle then," our source replies that he/she was waiting for some strategic time to pass... the proverbial decent interval.

So, how does one go about peeling this very stinky onion?

Amateurs believe that it is impossible to track and trace a structured cash transaction in furtherance of a conspiracy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The net balance assessment, to cite just one technique, is known to every forensic accountant in the business. Usually, the people who do the buying follow certain behavior patterns, as do the people who do the selling, and these patterns often prove to be their undoing. Finally, money that moves across borders leaves signatures. Were it not so, FINCEN wouldn't have such big offices and the U.S. Attorney wouldn't be so successful obtaining convictions in bribery cases.

Have such things ever happened in the past? Yes, as a matter of fact, they have.

Now, the implications of this particular case are horrendous at the very least -- although it would certainly explain a great deal were it in fact established as true. The putative seller made more than one recognition, so if one or two turn out to be for cash, it is going to cast a pall over all the others. What this hypothetically means is we could have a busload of worried tulkus fully invested in sweeping the truth under the rug -- and that could prove an obstacle. To the question of whether the obstacle might be insurmountable, we can only reply that the quality of the information presently in hand is such that it might take considerably more than a busload to control the spin.

And then there is this -- if the buyer paid the seller money, and the seller paid out squeeze to foreign officials, that triggers the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and a very, very messy investigation.

So, I leave it to you... what do you think should be done? Should this one be pursued hammer and tong, or should it hit the round file? Should it hit the round file, true or not?

Ethics 101: what must be done with the Franklin Lineage, and is it any of our business in the first place?

UPDATED: We were very careful not to name any names, but we already see certain quarters issuing what they feel are proactive responses. What is this: "you're so vain I bet you think this blog is about you?"

Methinks they doth protest too much.

Opinion (see comments) is more or less running in favor of saying something further, but I am still waiting for the opposite view -- all the reasons why we should let the matter rest.

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6 reader comments:

Cliff said...

I am in favor of the truth. I am sure there will be a mess to clean up. Better a mess now than a lie on every day to come. Ouch! Politics and profit and "spirituality."

Kunzang Lhamo said...

I believe you should expose them. Everybody already has a pretty good idea who they are anyway because their own actions have exposed them already.

Karma Dorje said...

It goes without saying that if the information can be reasonably verified, it should be reported if it can benefit others. In my opinion, sweeping all of this stuff under the rug has not helped anyone. It only ensures that some who do not have a strong connection and can not distinguish the personal failings from the religion may turn away from Dharma in disgust. There have been too many controversies in the past years caused by Tibetan Buddhist teachers Eastern and Western that have been hushed up.

In bringing the dharma to the West, surely we don't need to bring Tibetan corruption with it. Silence just tinges all of the truly wonderful lamas that have devoted their lives to sentient beings with suspicion.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people already know who it is, simply because nobody else besides these two characters would need to buy something like this. Like the person said, they have already showed their true colours. What use is it then to bother with this? I say throw it in the round file with the rest of the trash and go find a real teacher. Thanks for all you do and for opening up dialogue on the controversial subjects. Seems like you've been through a lot and came away the better man. You are very courageous.

Anonymous said...


Speak to general corruption not specific corruption.

You more than anyone knows that chasing the rabbit down the hole is a wonderland of mirrors and not very useful.

My father, I remember, though being very law abiding, had a mistrust of police. He used to say the only difference between a criminal and a cop was one had a badge. He grew up in the 30's and police were different from the badge of law today, but I share his sentiment still when it comes to Dharma police.

What is the boundary between self inflation and equanimity when it comes to Dharma policing?

The root of that question is an answer that shouldn't be surprising...ala 'excuses'

all the best

Anonymous said...

As (possibly) one of the sources mentioned, let me correct the possible misconception that I was an interpreter present at the time. I was not. I heard this story first-hand from an interpreter who was present. As far as the transmission of the Franklin lineage, that is only what I can infer reasonably.

I think this matter should be allowed to rest, since the principals are deceased and the results, well, speak for themselves. Whether money changes hands or not, the truth of 'In Name Only' tulkus will out, sooner or later. No dynamite is necessary.

Now let me get back to watching Khrims Dang 'Gal ba on AMC. One of the 90's best action movies, IMO.