Thursday, September 10, 2009

Judge Slaps "Jetsunma" With Restraining Order

A Superior Court judge in California has slapped New Age "Jetsunma" Alyce Zeoli, also known as Akhon Lhamo Rinpoche, with a restraining order enforceable in all fifty states.

We are informed the order came in response to a cynical cyberstalking campaign -- cynical, because it at times masqueraded as an "anti-cyberstalking" effort to "protect women," but was in fact a systematic campaign of internet and other forms of harassment directed toward a woman: a Tibetan Buddhist nun formerly associated with the so-called Jetsunma Cult, Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC).

In 2008, after privately conferring with senior Palyul lineage tulkus and khenpos, and with guidance from the late Penor Rinpoche himself, the nun decided to leave KPC and disassociate herself from any further contact with Zeoli. Reportedly, a senior Palyul lineage khenpo likened Zeoli to a "suicide bomber," and advised the nun to "let the truth be known" about the controversial organization. We are informed that the nun was explicitly advised to keep her distance from and no longer study or associate with Zeoli, based on substantial evidence that Zeoli was "behaving in an inappropriate fashion."

The campaign of vilification and harassment against the nun began in March 2008, and has continued unabated ever since. During the past month, the cyberstalking intensified, to include aerial photographs of the nun's residence posted on the internet, and numerous threats against her and her family. Law enforcement observers believe this intensified campaign was sparked by a revelation that the nun -- a former member of the board of directors of KPC -- had turned over incriminating documents to FBI and IRS investigators probing the cult leader's financial practices.

According to police sources, Montgomery County, Maryland sheriff's deputies served Zeoli with copies of the court order in the early morning hours of 09-09-09, and also attempted to confiscate a Glock semiautomatic pistol believed to be in her possession.

In addition to the typical content of restraining orders, the judge has additionally ordered Zeoli to dismantle the ten (10) hate-filled blog sites that she maintains, and to cease all further hostilities. Failure to do so could result in additional criminal charges being filed against Zeoli, and quite possibly others. However, even after being served with the court's order, one of Zeoli's sites posted a bizarre call for her followers to arm themselves with Glocks.

Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials in California, Arizona, and Maryland have closely watched this case since its inception -- taking careful note of Zeoli's attempts to "spin doctor" her own legal issues. Reportedly, she has attempted to shift blame to others -- both inside and outside her organization -- by means of anonymous complaints to police, and vilification campaigns directed against those she believes may be called to testify against her. Since April of this year, Zeoli's conduct has become more and more erratic, and reckless.

At one of the retaliatory blog sites, Zeoli regularly posted "poetry" and "comments" under a variety of pseudonyms. However, IP track and trace techniques of the sort available to law enforcement and network administrators can quickly reveal the locations where each post originates, and a substantial body of evidence can be collected. The content of these "poems" and posts is disturbing to say the least -- revealing (among other things) a mind consumed by racial prejudice against Asians, and obsessive anger, hatred, spite, and vengeance directed to those she calls "enemies of the dharma."

In other developments, we are informed process servers are seeking to serve subpoenas on current Palyul lineage head Karma Kuchen. Reportedly, he will be questioned, under oath, as to what is and is not appropriate conduct for Palyul lineage tulkus, and the extent to which the Palyul lineage ratifies Zeoli's increasingly bizarre behavior.

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14 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Guess A to Z never learned that sometimes you hold 'em and sometimes you fold 'em.

I read her "Dead Man's Hand" poem, which was interesting, because aces and eights got its name because that's what Wild Bill was holding when he was shot in the back.

Guess A to Z is a back shooter? Can't go eye to eye without shaking?

Sure looks like it.

Anonymous said...

Of course, cyberstalking is what you do for a living, you fucking retard.

Editor said...

Hmm... another "American Buddhist" and a credit to the Nyingma School... now, lets see where that comment came from:

IP, which resolves to ACC-KUNZANG PALYUL BUDDH in Poolesville, Maryland

Well, I must say -- you are obviously a credit to your teacher, as well.

Anonymous said...

<-- IP, which resolves to ACC-KUNZANG PALYUL BUDDH in Poolesville, Maryland -->

Keep on whois-ing those IPs, TT!

While you're at it, to the long list of misconduct cited in your recent KPC post, you can add "dissemination of death threats". It's a fact.

I can scarcely believe Wallis Seeholy has not been locked up yet. Firearms violations anyone? Somebody go sell them a Glock with the serial scratched off. Any pretext to put them in jail will do, really.

These people need to be taken off the street. They've been wandering somewhere way, way off the path for long enough.

your captcha: torming
interp: make offerings to that end

Anonymous said...

The word needs to go out LOUD and CLEAR that KPC does NOT represent any legitimate form of Buddhist behavior, and that stalking or threatening people is NOT RIGHT CONDUCT.

The behavior of these people is reprehensible and a black eye for Buddhists everywhere. They should be deeply ashamed of themselves.

Anonymous said...

"They should be deeply ashamed of themselves."

That is unrealistic. It's way too soon for any of them to "feel ashamed".

"Jetsunma" and her posse have turned into a multi-headed, sociopathic monster. First she needs to be locked up, one way or another, and get sober. She'll lose everything and see what a mess she's made. Then, after a few years (if she survives them) she'll be able to feel shame, but not any sooner than that.

Editor said...

I would like to say something, from the heart, and I hope everyone will do the courtesy to pay close attention:

Please say prayers for Alyce Zeoli and her group.

Hating them, feeling anger toward them, or thinking vengeful thoughts about them won't help. Sure, if you want to open a dialogue about what's right or wrong with Buddhism in America, that is one thing -- we have done it in here on more than one occasion -- but you shouldn't use this as an excuse to degenerate into deeply personalized negativity.

I would hate to see Alyce locked up, literally or figuratively. However, you are quite right that some people don't straighten out until they meet a heavy challenge. You could only hope that challenge happens here and now, as distinct from the challenges one meets in the intermediate stage.

These are people who really believe they are doing the right thing, just as you believe yourself to be doing the right thing. If you believe they are grossly delusional, maybe they believe you are grossly delusional. But, what benefit lies in swatting that ball back and forth over the net?

If you want to criticize them -- and criticize them vigorously -- please do so honestly, and by that I mean honestly with yourself.

If they want to misunderstand or mistreat others, that is their issue, but I believe others understand them very, very well. Because of that generally acknowledged understanding, I repeat my suggestion that we pray for them.

People are bewildered in samsara, you know?

Anonymous said...

You are right, we should pray for them and not hate them. All the same I do think Alyce Zeoli needs to be locked up -- to save her from herself and to save her disciples from going down with her.

Her paranoia won't abate unless she recovers from her substance addictions, and she won't do that until her disciples stop enabling her. Even if they did, she would probably not stop anyway. Without all her willing enablers to fetch her drugs and alcohol, she would end up on the streets -- or worse. Her life is hanging by a thread, from what I gather.

All your efforts, not to mention those of H.H. the late Penor Rinpoche and others have worked for naught.

Therefore I still think, as the most (perhaps only) compassionate alternative she needs to be busted and locked up somehow. That is what I'm praying for, anyway. What she's doing is disgraceful to the Dharma and harmful to living beings. A lock-up seems appropriate, even just, to my way of thinking.

Editor said...

It is a very simple issue in my mind. Has what they have created helped Nyingma in America or hurt Nyingma in America? Just take the personalities out of the equation, and look at the net effect.

They will point to (1) what you might call their external structure, i.e. the stupas, the prayer session, her music, and their corporate existence. They will point to (2) her interpretive teachings and say "that is the Dharma." They truly believe her to be (3) a fully enlightened Bodhisattva. The nature of their understanding is such that (4) they believe devotion to her is completely sufficient to vouchsafe their own liberation at the moment of death.

Those are the four essential points to understand about KPC. They boil down to one point: they have completely invested in a personality.

Now, you can debate these points from the "is she or isn't she" perspective, or you can attempt to penetrate their worldview and find out what objective facts support their beliefs. I don't think either approach is very useful. It all boils down to somebody gave her a credential. There is no "authenticity" operative in the entire scenario any greater or lesser than that. The personality in which they have completely invested is completely invested in a credential.

What is useful is to understand that for some people, this is precisely what works for them, and what you or I think doesn't matter. They are fully invested in something -- for their whole lives in some cases -- and they don't know anything different. They cannot even conceive of anything different. This is their reality.

Now, their reality may be based on a fundamental dishonesty. They may in fact use dishonesty to perpetuate their reality. Some may do this wittingly, as a means of self-preservation. Some just do this because they don't know any better. But, isn't this just samsara's paradigm anyway? Are any of us doing anything differently?

What I see when I look at all this is the textbook example of the credential concept that Trungpa Rinpoche so eloquently explains.

This is an organization desperately looking for evidence of itself for self-justification. If they paint a stupa, they are out with a film crew. If they are kind to a snake, they call the Washington Post. They think they are Nyingma because somebody told them, "Now you are Nyingma."

Not very Nyingma, but very, very human. Nothing surprising here, either.

Whether they are kind or cruel is unimportant. The point is, they have completely suspended the deeper issue, which is simply that a fully enlightened Bodhisattva doesn't care about credentials, and doesn't constantly need to seek self-justification.

My own view is that here we have a Buddhist Nixon, and the lights are on at Watergate.

Regardless, if you think in terms of her downfall as their salvation, I believe you will be disappointed.

If you think of her downfall as her own salvation, that is something beyond my ability to consider.

If you think in terms of her success as your success, maybe it will take you in a different direction.

That brings us to the final point:

Is deconstructing KPC hurting Nyingma in America or helping Nyingma in America?

I am not making elliptical judgment here... I am quite candidly asking you what you think.

Anonymous said...

"Is deconstructing KPC hurting Nyingma in America or helping Nyingma in America?"

You are right to pose this question as the bottom line, or at least, the penultimate bottom line. I was thinking in terms of Dharma generally, and then in terms of the Nyingma tradition. I think what's happened here may be a discredit to both. Certainly what has happened has been a discredit to H.H. the late Penor Rinpoche in some people's minds, though not in mine personally, since I believe I understand his intention in recognizing Akhon Lhamo.

In any case it would be a terrible waste if all of KPC's premises and stupas were to fall into disrepair or disuse. The best case scenario is that Akhon Lhamo step down from her position voluntary, seek treatment, and then spend a long time, maybe the rest of her life, in a genuine retreat. Chances are though she will not step down, seek treatment voluntarily nor spend a long time in strict retreat in this life. I wish that were not the case but experience tends to indicate that a complete about-face is unlikely in Alyce Zeoli's case.

Failing that, an extended involuntary leave of absence from her bogus Guru role, and a glimmer of insight from a few of her close students, could bring some authentic teachers around to KPC to help pick up the pieces, maybe to perform a drupchen of Vajrasattva or Vajrakilaya to purify the place of all that's occurred there. I'd be more than happy to help with that, if the possibility ever arises.

Again, that is not something she would ever allow voluntarily. She never could stand having any other teachers around, because that would impinge on her being the center of attention. It seems peaceful, enriching and magnetic means have not worked enough magic on this woman. I believe you were alternative number 3, magnetic, in the scale of things, and that wasn't enough, even if (as your blog reveals) it looked promising for a spell.

That leaves only one alternative, as far as I can tell, and it seems to loom larger as time passes.

Om mani padme hung

Editor said...

Interesting response.

I never met Penor Rinpoche. There was a letter from him in 1969, asking for money, and it was quite moving, so I went to work in a restaurant washing dishes for two weeks to raise up $150., and I sent it to him never giving him another thought.

In 2005, my wife went to meet him on a couple of occasions, really out of common courtesy, because she had Taiwanese friends in common.

Someone who is actually quite close to my heart was quite close to his heart, but that is as far as it goes. I simply did not know the man, and he did not know me.

Nor do I have any particular affinity with the Palyul that I am presently inclined to cultivate.

Therefore, I cannot speculate about why Penor Rinpoche or his lineage did this or that with respect to Alyce Zeoli. Quite frankly, I did not even know who she was until one of her students wrote to ask if I would consider helping her.

I replied that I would help anybody who asked me for help. I do not care who they are or what they do.

So, I became involved in late 2007, basically because her close students pushed her to contact me and ask for help. That was a positive step, but it was a step off a cliff into space.

What I encountered was a basically friendless woman, in way over her head, trapped in a web of her own design.

Somebody in that condition needs massive doses of unconditional love.

The reality check will come in a very short time, as the medical, financial, and legal fronts deteriorate. Nobody has to "do" anything. This is a slippery slope.

Demonizing Alyce Zeoli or ostracizing KPC isn't necessarily the right way to go. To my way of thinking, the only really useful thing is to come to some understanding of the nature of one's own mind.

She needs a teacher.

So do her students.

And again, maybe this doesn't need to be personalized, you know? Instead, you can just go down the list and ask the same question at every entry: is this what we want for Buddhism in America?

And that is a question that can and should be universally asked. Ask it of me. Ask it of others. Above all, ask it of yourself.


Anonymous said...

Dear Rinpoche,
The answer to your question is NO, NO, NO this is NOT what we want for Buddhism in America. I went to some of the hate sites that KPC maintains and I was shocked and disgusted. It is as plain as the nose on your face: these people are NOT Buddhists. This kind of behavior is what we see from Islamic fundamentalists, or crazy Christians. I feel SO sorry for that nun. How she must have suffered! How brave she had to be! We should all be supporting her instead of arguing about them. They aren't worth it.

Kunzang Lhamo said...

The callous arrogance of KPC and Alyce Zeoli cannot be permitted to become the face of Buddhism in any country. These people have done deliberate harm to others and must be held strictly accountable for their actions. People of conscience everywhere need to take a stand against their threatening behavior and the time is now. If we don't, then we are no better than they are.

Anonymous said...

I agree with use of the word "arrogance" to describe the problem. The problem is stubborn pride: stubborn cow pride, egotism, and neurotic concern with appearances. As far as I can see, these people had their stupid egotism handed back to them as a New Year gift, and they have been bitching and moaning and whining about it ever since, instead of just accepting that a very clear mirror got held up by a very high practitioner. If they don't like the reflection then they should work on themselves not on others and certainly not on the one who was gracious enough to show them who and what they really are. They should be down on their knees thanking that person. Sad to say they are too full of themselves to consider that option. My idea is that Alyce Zeoli and her KPC should walk away: just walk away and get a life. Get a practice. Going back and forth with all sorts of negativity and deception is just making them look bad in the eyes of the world and putting a bad face on Buddhism. The question you should be asking in here is what is the consequence going to be if they fail to do that and continue the way they are going? This isn't a war with sides that somebody is going to win or lose. Maybe they are so stupid they cannot see that. All of these silly "personalities" and silly web sites are like chains around their ankles, dragging them to Vajra Hell. If Alyce Zeoli was a real teacher she would shut it down but she isn't so look for it to continue until they destroy themselves with their own cleverness. She doesn't have the class to understand the issues much less serve them well. She is bull headed and full of herself. She needs to come down a notch and humble herself. What is she upset about, Rinpoche? That you didn't die and leave her your insurance money? That they were nice to somebody and didn't get a reward? You threw pearls before swine, Rinpoche. Their conduct ever since and the things that have befallen them are ample proof of that. Let them stew in the juice of their ripening karma. Whoever wrote "multi-headed sociopathic monster" described KPC. They wear Buddhism the way a thief wears a disguise and for the same purpose. Nothing to respect there. Nothing to save. Give the buildings, the statues, and the stupas to the khenpos to divide among themselves, and send this bunch into silent retreat. They are an embarrassment to the Palyul Lineage and a complete failure as Buddhists.