Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The 4:20 Out of Poolesville

This post is very, very close to my final thoughts on certain matters arising from Cult Buddhism in America. As promised, we will be dropping this subject in the very near future. Nevertheless, because it is a compelling issue, and because it does impact the lives of many people, we address it herein.

A few things have always struck me about the subject of my research, the Jetsunma Cult, of Poolesville, Maryland, and I would like to address them in no particular order -- sort of "thinking aloud," if you will -- and, as always, I'd like to hear your thoughts, as well.

I. The "Flying Lama" on Track Nine

I am informed and believe that New Age "Jetsunma" Alyce Zeoli habitually uses marijuana. She, herself, has directly admitted this to me, and her close, personal attendants have supplied the details. It is, I believe, therefore an established matter that she is what any one of us would immediately recognize as "a doper." Her personal attendants report that she keeps her stash in a box by her bed, has bongs, pipes, and hookahs in the house, and gets wrecked on a nightly basis.

She has also built an elaborate, paranoid web of secrecy and denial about this topic that has negatively impacted her entire organization. In fact, when I weigh all I know and have been told about the matter, I come to feel that it is one of the central features of her organization's morbidity: a complete obstacle to her own psychological well-being.

So, the thought that strikes me is simply this: "Why bother?" Why not just be up-front and say, "You know, I have a personal issue with this," or even, "hey.. its medical!" Why not work to overcome this addictive behavior? Why not transform the poison into nectar?

I am asking this American "Mandarava" directly --- Stop wriggling for a few minutes, and tell me why you feel the need to keep lying about sucking that glass? Don't you know that it only hurts you and those around you?

II. "Why would Penor Rinpoche... ?"

This question always comes up: "Why, if Alyce is so over the top, would Penor Rinpoche not say something?" This question only comes from people who never sat down with him at Namdroling, and put it to him directly. It subsumes the larger question that one also hears, which is:" "Why would Penor Rinpoche enthrone a loony?"

There is no question in my mind that Alyce is a tulku. No question whatsoever. However, that and a dollar will get you on the bus.

There are, quite literally, hundreds of disinterested witnesses who will be glad to tell you of the numerous occasions when Penor Rinpoche directly warned people: "She doesn't listen to me, she doesn't listen to anybody, she refuses to take teachings... yes, I enthroned her, but she is broken, so if you want to take teachings, take them elsewhere."

Naturally, he was polite and compassionate with her and her immediate coterie. Naturally, he wanted her to be cared for. But, time and again, he issued direct warnings about her reliability.

I am informed and believe that on one occasion near the end of his life, he actually wept in disappointment when hearing reports of her conduct. I think it is a clear sign of their estrangement that Alyce did not even bother to attend his memorial services -- she was too busy with her "musical career."

So, the thought that strikes me is this: "Why care?" If this gal doesn't respect her teacher, and her lineage, enough to slow down and take teachings, why should anybody give her the time of day?

III. Clear and Present

Here is Maria Jaoudi, writing in the Los Angeles Times:
"She is ... a rather complicated, if not thoroughly secular, person, given to certain personal and temperamental indulgences (megalomania, lying, verbal abuse, to name a few). She is also physically violent; in one instance, she hits a disciple in the face. She also accepts a $100,000 yearly salary while her students go into debt to pay her."
It is not just naughty old Tenpa and the Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar blog -- whatever the hell that is -- that sounds the alarm. It is not just the very confused Michelle Grissom, or the book Buddha from Brooklyn. I had contact with Alyce and her cult that lasted roughly four months. She has been doing business for over twenty-five years. When I called in a nationally recognized fraud investigator, it was to examine the detritus of those twenty-five years, not some recent disaster. If I evaporate tomorrow, there is still that twenty-five years' worth of lies and grasping standing there, silently screaming witness to the truth of greed and avarice.

Alyce Zeoli baked her cake a long time ago.

Yet, Alyce maintains over a dozen "hit sites" directed against DTBA -- cyberstalking that is paid for with 501(c)(3) temple money, and staffed by "ordained" personnel, inclusive of one site where she personally posts the latest efforts of her poison pen, albeit anonymously.

So, the thought that strikes me is simple: "Why?" If she and her organization sit around most days, plotting some sort of abstract revenge because we outed her drug use, psychiatric disability, double dealing, and tax evasion, why not look to the real source of the problem: the twenty-five years' worth of their own screw-ups, that now puts them in the path of the bankruptcy that faces them down the track.

IV. The Monkey Trap

Hey! Kiddies! I did not come to break your rice bowl.

I came because you asked me to, and if you had not asked me to, I would not have come. I did not come looking for you... you came looking for me. You can lie, deny, and equivocate, but we both know it is the truth.

It is called a Monkey Trap.

You make a little hole in the coconut, just big enough for the monkey to reach in. You put a peanut in there, for the monkey to grasp. The monkey reaches in, grasps the peanut, and can't remove his paw.

He is too greedy to drop the peanut, so he stays trapped.

Open your hand, and walk away.

Don't get trapped in the wreck of the Flying Lama, 4:20 out of Poolesville, with stops on the way to Vajra Hell.

V. Sigh

Longchenpa said:

In these decadent times one may reproach the crude people around one.
Although one thinks it will be useful to them,
it is just the source of poisonous thoughts.
To utter peaceful words is my advice from the heart.
The best thing to do at this point is concentrate on the much larger catalog of my own faults, and do nothing at all about stirring bubbles in the broth. But, you know... I keep thinking about the victims of this madness.

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10 reader comments:

Anonymous said...


We are witnessing the degeneration of the tulku system. It was an invention of the Tibetan paradigm for expediency. It did not exist in India in a formal way, it has little business extending into our paradigm. [hisses and boos from the gallery]

True nirmanakaya does not need to be chosen in my opinion. Its appearance is always in dependence upon the needs of beings.

Had Alyce not been chosen her outcome might have been cleaner, and it is not over. Until one has deeply experienced dissolution of their life as they know it, in my opinion, you haven't even stepped onto the Vajrayana path. There is an easy way to do this and a hard way. Some take the hard way, myself included.

The magical mystery tour ends when there is no longer any ground underfoot, only refuge.

What faults Tenpa?

WoFat said...

Great photo.

Editor said...

Getting ready to go into that.

Unknown said...

It's shocking that this is happening, but somehow I'm not necessarily surprised. I have had a feeling about that place...what is the real story behind His Holiness Penor Rinpoche and Jetsunma?

Mama Mojo said...

The first I've ever heard of this person is on your site. She sounds like she might be serving some time soon.... I like the Longchenpa quote very much. It's useful to me in dealing with the pettiness I've encountered where I go for teachings. None of it coming from our teacher, thank goodness, but from the people who work for him.

Fishy said...

Dearest Tenpa-hla,

Thankyou so much for quoting the magnificent words of Longchenpa. They mean much to me in these decadent times.

om shanti...

Kunzang Lhamo said...

When you call this the central obstacle you are very right it is the central deception and maybe the heart of the whole problem. Who knows about her drug use? Alana, Atara, Ariana, her children... (Rigdzin is the biggest doper you ever saw and he can't go one week with smoke) the list goes on and on but for some reason there is this big dark cloud of secrecy and they get very defensive if anybody brings it up. To me this means they know they are doing something wrong. How can these hypocrites live with themselves? They know she is doing dope, they help her cover up doing dope, and then they also help her destroy the people who blow the whistle on her doing dope? These are Buddhists? There is no karma attached to this? She is a "wisdom dakini" but she smokes weed every night and lies about it? This is like a cancer at the heart of KPC. Think of the thousands of dollars that have been wasted. Think of the damage that has been done to innocent people who have discovered her secret. You know why they built that music studio inside that barn don't you? You know why she won't fly on planes anymore don't you? Please, Rinpoche, no matter how they threaten you, do not stop.

Anonymous said...

The reason why you don't hear more about this and all the rest of the horror at KPC is nobody wants to be cyberstalked and harassed the way you and others are being cyberstalked and harassed, and it is precisely that behavior on the part of her followers that puts an absolute lie to anything anybody might try to say in her defense. She teaches anger, hatred, revenge, lies and poisonous thinking and she is a Buddhist? Get REAL people! Maybe if we could respect her followers then we could respect her but they are the biggest collection of fruits, nuts and flakes since granola was invented. Sorry but they have showed their true colors, and that color is as black as Alyce Zeoli's heart.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Great Longchenpa quote. We shouldn't dwell on others' faults, because they become our own...well I've had the same problem as Alyce Zeoli, except I was never a Dharma teacher, and I never went to any lengths to disguise my being an alcoholic or a pothead. These are some reasons why I was never made a lama.

The sort of deception you describe is a terrible waste of energy, even worse than the addictions themselves. It's easier to stop using than to stop deceiving oneself. So yes, let's have out with this truth, bitter as it is.

Anonymous said...

I go to Montgomery College. The Zeolis have always been the biggest dealers around and everybody knows it. They get it from Arizona and it is the bomb. So what? It should be legal anyway.