Friday, November 20, 2009

The Letter

"Great, prideful people look down on others who are humble and lowly. No matter how kind one is to those with great pride, it makes no difference. They think they are like great, high lamas or famous people. Even though they don't have the ability to teach the Dharma in a deep way, they lie about their qualities. People like this really love power and fame. Even if a teacher teaches something very minor, these people think it is the deepest, most profound teaching they ever heard. Except when trying to steal your pure awareness or qualities, they would never think that you had been kind to them. Even if they have a bit of interest, they do nothing but ridicule."--Thinley Norbu Rinpoche   

According to multiple, informed sources in India, a letter from the late Penor Rinpoche (1932-2009), written shortly before his death, and intended to be opened after his death, has now been unsealed and is quietly making the rounds.

In part, the letter is said to make short work of the more extravagant claims of New Age "Jetsunma" Alyce Zeoli, and her cult of followers in Maryland and Arizona.

According to sources, the letter contains language such as, "...while I recognized her as Akhon Lhamo, that is really the extent of it. If she continues to think of herself as a wisdom dakini, or an enlightened person, or a Mandarava, or even a Jetsunma, and more importantly, if she permits others to refer to her in this fashion, then it is her karma for misleading others and the cause of an unfortunate rebirth."

The letter is also said to contain cautionary statements to the effect that Zeoli, publicly identified as a former psychiatric patient, makes "numerous false claims," is "sadly damaged,"  and of "limited ability," and is not to be considered a fully qualified Buddhist teacher.

While we have not seen this letter, we believe on the basis of information received that it exists, and hope that it will soon surface in the manner intended by its author.

Circulation of the letter is said to have been prompted by the revelation that Zeoli  -- who in twenty years has never even managed to complete ngondro -- is now offering  -- for money -- "commentaries" and "teachings" on the revealed treasures of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche: a situation which has shocked, and definitely saddened, many Tibetan Buddhist teachers in the United States and overseas.

Little Theatre, while the show is still on Broadway?

NOTE : - We may follow up on this story, or not, depending on reader interest. I do not think, at this point in time, that there are more than a handful of people in the world who even know who we're talking about. We used to publish the odd item about this, simply because we felt it newsworthy, but as Zeoli's cult continues its inevitable attrition, who cares? Add her to the list that began with the "Regent," and will no doubt claim a few more names as time goes by.

Speaking very personally -- just for myself -- I don't trust American "lamas" or "gurus" or "rinpoches"  or "monks" or "nuns" any farther than I can throw them, and you probably shouldn't either. There are, of course, a few exceptions here and there --  but for most Americans, the temptation to toss unnecessary ingredients in an already well-cooked broth is just too great. It seems so difficult to say, "I don't know," so many people resort to invention, thinking themselves divinely inspired.

We can package up bullshit in this country and sell it as Buddhism, and millions will definitely buy it as a blessing. But, like Lincoln said, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

I was very lucky, in that I had very great Tibetan teachers. I could put my trust in those teachers, and over a period of more than 40 years now, I have had the opportunity to repeatedly see that the trust was not misplaced. When I see the shenanigans that some people get up to these days, I find myself wishing that the old teachers were still around, to put a stop to the nonsense.

But, you know... they had the foresight to understand that these dark days would come, and they left us many signposts, many correctives, to help us through the fog of delusion that envelops sentient beings in Samsara.

One of the best correctives is the simple admonition to "look at yourself." So, as much as possible, I like to examine my own shenanigans, rather than the shenanigans of others. This blog is  something of a journalistic exercise, so examining shenanigans is something that naturally arises. I just want you to understand that I try to keep it perspective.

Really... since when do we care what other people do?

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19 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

What do you think about Traktung Rinpoche?

TENPA said...

I have never met the gentleman, but I really enjoy his writings, and seeing what he does in terms of his various projects and so forth.

Actually, when I read what he writes, I can agree with everything. He and I have some of the same life experiences, some of the same teachers and so forth, so there isn't much to challenge agreement.

I don't know what he teaches, or even if he teaches, but it certainly seems like he is open to friendship with people in a useful way, so what is the harm in that?

I do know that some people say, "he is not a tulku." That is easy to sort out. If you see a tulku, there is a tulku. If you don't see a tulku, then there is no tulku.

Speaking personally, I see a tulku, but that is probably the least important aspect of the gentleman's view.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely nothing new. Penor Rinpoche bawled her and her husband out for this nonsense years ago but it did not stick. This woman is just a bad joke and I don't know anybody in the Buddhist world who takes her seriously for even a minute. The only reason she gets the lamas around is guess what? Donations. Just let her disappear.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tampon
You say you're a Tulku, but you have no lineage. I think there's only one other way you can prove you're a Tulku... die. 

Fuck You Very Much
Not a Fan

TENPA said...

Dear IP in Rockville, Maryland --

Thank you for writing.

I do not understand your reference to "lineage." Is this something I am supposed to broadcast around so that people will... well, so that people will do what?

Better I should keep my lineage on top of my head, where it belongs.

Some of us aren't in show business, although I can imagine that might be difficult for you to understand.

BTW... is writing to me part of your Buddhist practice?

Penor Rinpoche must be so proud of you.

Are you proud of yourself?

Anonymous said...

Dear tampon

Not sure why you put up that ip info, it's not mine. Follow the yellow brick road to wichita, Ks ip: 166.......

without a Lineage, one is only a charlatan . dot .

It's not so people will do anything. That is manipulation, I know you know about that. It is to benefit others.

Along with manipulation, is lying and impersonating part of your practice? Don't bother answering that, i know that answer too, yes.

I HAVE no teacher, no practice, no wisdom and no compassion. I studied Buddhism, I have no obligation to good or evil. I have only bound myself to truth and to that; I am blinded by the glaring contradictions in your "writing", you are not a Buddhist.

Stop fucking around. Prove yourself - do it! If you don't want to shut up or die then make a miracle that benefits others. Simple as that.

Again to be clear - you have three choices; prove it, shut up or die.

you can't prove it, you are just wearing the costume and there is no other truth. So

Fuck you very much

not a fan

Anonymous said...

Dear Tampon (lol manically),

I’ve become obsessed with my threatening ideas. They are horrifying and cause deliriousness. I fear they prey on gross distortions and phobias. I seem to seek oblivion or have a psychotic break with reality.

Please help me, I am a little fucker.

TENPA said...

Dear IP in Poolesville, Maryland, resolving to Kunzang Palyul Choling, posts beginning at 11:48:08 am and continuing to 12:07:46 pm...

I do not think that spending your time wondering about my lineage is doing you any good. You are supposed to be off playing monks n' nuns, and saving doggies and budgies, and having enemies and friends, and praying for all sentient beings, and hating me for introducing you to your own face.

So... do you think we should lay on an enthronement, videotape it, and then stick it all up on You Tube? How about some posh certificates with seals and so forth? That is how you are conditioned, isn't it?

That makes it better for you?

Did Mummy cut your meat up for you when you were oh, so wee and helpless?

What if putting you out of your curiosity-induced misery involves introducing you to a greater curiosity-induced misery?

If you have made a mistake, you have made a terrible mistake, do you know that? A mistake that cannot be corrected in one lifetime.

So, I think you want to know all about my lineage so you can attack my lineage? Make yourself feel that you have made no mistake? Play "Battle of the Lineages?"

So sad.

Don't you know how very mistaken you really are?

Anonymous said...

Tenpa, don't waste your time on hell people. Just say prayers for them. If they didn't listen to Penor Rinpoche when he was living what makes you think they'll do any different now he is dead? These people are obsessed with worldly dharmas so the sad result will come to them without doubt. I am shocked that people who claim to be monks and nuns act the way they do. They are disgraceful!

Anonymous said...

Tenpa, how is it that a tulku recognised by HH Penor Rinpoche could fall so low ? She was once Mandarava, and now a totally deluded person leading others into delusion ? Was her reincarnation all in vain ? Please explain. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tampon,

I’ve begun to antagonize anything interfering with my personal vision. I provoke abrasively, with intentionally extreme and radical views. I am attached and suffering.
I have no one to verify my lineage.

TENPA said...

If I give you a very beautiful car, that is one thing. But, if you don't learn how to drive properly -- or, more to the point, if you drive carelessly and recklessly -- then the car is going to get all sorts of dings and dents. In time, when your reckless driving becomes a habit, you might even injure someone.You might drive drunk, for example, or get high on drugs and try to drive into a crowd. You might be self-absorbed, singing away to yourself, or concerned only with your own needs, and then this beautiful car you were given is in ruins.

Anonymous said...

Tenpa, in other words, we have someone who made the right choice in one life and reached a high level of realisation , and who made the wrong choice in the next.

TENPA said...

I can't comment on somebody's realization, their putative degree of realization, or the choices they make.

I think very, very, very highly of the person in question. That is a fact.

I just think they got to her too late, left her too much to her own devices, and didn't really understand the extent to which she had already been injured.

Now, of course, it is too late to do anything to help her.

I wish her all the best and always keep her in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Dear tampon

I don't care about other teachers and their lineage. So, Instead of avoiding my request, to remove the cloud of doubt that your readers and students do or at least should have, declare and prove who recognized you as a tulku. There is no reason one should respect you just because you say we should or because you write from the tulku perspective. I could do that too. You writing displays clearly that you are not enlightened or wise by any means. You like what you do and don't when you want; that is how us deluded people make judgements.

Fuck you very much

not a fan

Tina Marie Stinnett said...


Those holding Buddhist vows, especially those claiming to be teachers of the authentic Tibetan Buddhist lineage, should care about their own actions and reflect upon them wisely and with much caution.

In the West you know we have the saying, "actions speak louder than words," and it's certainly something to keep in mind with anyone professing to be a lineage holder of Tibetan Buddhism.

Concerning your not wanting to make a 'judgement' about someone, in writing the blog posts about "Jetsunma" Alyce Zeoli with your added comments, you already did so. And while it's evident that Zeoli's actions are that of an 'unrealized' woman who lives in defilement and ego attachment, it doesn't mean she isn't who Penor Rinpoche recognized her to be. The two can exist side-by-side. Just as an orange tree can be recognized by certain botanical characteristics, it doesn't mean that all orange trees will ever yield any fruit. The tree can produce sour fruit, or be sickly itself, and then wither, die.

The way I see it, both you and Zeoli are suffering from "Spiritual Materialism," having an attachment to pride which comes from lack of meditation, in addition to not receiving many, and not understanding many, heart teachings from true Tibetan Buddhist lineage holders. In addition, neither of you have been given permission to teach from a recognized Tibetan master.

Tenpa, it is right and good that anyone, especially in America, would question your lineage if you profess to be a 'teacher.' The curious need to be praised and not put down for their in depth search of truth!

For information about why learning from a 'true' Tibetan Buddhist lineage holder is so important, please read this page and you will understand better:

What I'm presenting to you is not an argument between schools of Buddhism, one over or above the other as there are many 'authentic' paths. Rather, I'm pointing out to you how both you and Zeoli are defiling true Tibetan Buddhism by claiming knowledge above and beyond what you know.

You both give Tibetan Buddhism a bad name. Please consider changing your ways now.

- LittleWolf

TENPA said...

Dear "Little Wolf"
I am in agreement with most of what you say, but there are one or two misconceptions that need to be addressed. Foremost, I think you should understand that I do not profess to be a teacher. I think I have made that extremely clear. I don't want students, donations, assistance with grand projects, etc., etc. I do not make a living in connection with my faith in any way, shape, or form. Nevertheless, I liked your post because it was from your heart -- right or wrong, you wrote what you felt -- that is what I try to do here, do you understand? With whatever arises, perfection is ever-present and immediate.

powerinthelines said...

The difference in circumference of two circles of different sizes equals an arc length of the larger circle. Can it also equal an arc length of the smaller one?

Anonymous said...

Yeah I used to go there I mentioned to the sangha there how I was going to go for a guyagharba retreat for 2 weeks and the nuns there said it would be better for me to cut the grass at the 65 acres stupa park instead so i would gain merit. I never read anywhere in the texts how to attain realization by mowing lawns.

Gives palyul a bad image.