A Clear and Present Danger to a Buddhist Free Press ~ Bill Schwartz

Thanks to Bill Schwartz for his guest post.  For my commentary on this controversial topic check SLAPP threats to Buddhist Bloggers.

Three months ago I decided I wanted to write a blog for my publisher, Elephant Journal, on the subject of Kunzang Palyul Choling, a Tibetan Buddhist franchise founded by a controversial Palyul lineage tulku.  I’m a 2010 Blogisattva Honorable Mention for Political and Opinion blogging by a Buddhist. As a journalist I thought it would make it an interesting column.

Unfortunately, before I was able to even finish my blog I was notified by Waylon Lewis, publisher of Elephant Journal, that he had received threatening phone calls from Kunzang Palyul Choling. Even a law suit without merit could put his magazine out of business. This was no idle threat. So advised, I was in the process of finishing my blog when Waylon notified me that he had received a cease and desist letter from KPC’s lawyer.

This is not a squabble between Buddhists. It is a threat against our fundamental right to a free press. Fortunately for Kunzang Palyul Choling, Buddhists don’t care about free speech. KPC can threaten to put a publisher out of business to block the publication of a blog about them with impunity. I wouldn’t have believed this to be so, but this has been the response from Buddhists to date.

The Palyul lineage (of which KPC is a nominal affiliate because its founder was recognized by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche as a tulku and enthroned as such) can do nothing even if it were so inclined. As a Buddhist franchise, KPC does not accept the authority of the present head of the Palyul lineage, His Holiness Karma Kuchen. The founder of KPC does not answer to HHKK.

When Travis May published a blog on Buddhadharma about the KPC SLAPP Scandal the editor removed it. Was KPC threatened? No, it wasn’t threatened. Worse, it simply doesn’t care. Why? It doesn’t care because Buddhists don’t care. None of the glossy Buddhist magazines is willing to cover this story. Buddhists don’t believe in a free press.

But surely Buddhist bloggers care? Nope. One Buddhist blogger informed me he wasn’t interested. It would be too much work. It’s much easier to write about wisdom and compassion instead. His audience will just eat that up and ask for more. There is no upside to a Buddhist blogger in harshing the mellow of his audience over something of such little or no interest to Buddhists as a free press seems to be.

The response of individual Buddhists has been even worse—unsolicited dharma advice on Tonglen, sending and receiving. We are to exchange our attachment to our right to free speech for the peace of mind that comes with caring only about ourselves. I kid you not. That’s what Shantideva taught. This is the path of the bodhisattva. The Buddhist response has been that it’s perfectly acceptable what KPC has done.

We are two weeks into this scandal. I thank John Pappas for providing me the opportunity to share with you this breaking story. This is but the beginning. Until the Palyul lineage issues a public statement in support of press freedom, until Buddhist bloggers step up and make their voices heard on this subject, and until Buddhists consider the slippery moral slope we now find ourselves upon, I have only yet begun to fight.

Advertisements

114 thoughts on “A Clear and Present Danger to a Buddhist Free Press ~ Bill Schwartz

  1. For all those wondering what a SLAPP is, the following is at Chiddar Roots blog. If you explore this blog a bit you’ll see what has Bill so insulted, someone using the free speech.

    “Lately on Twitter all I hear from these guys @ryderjaphy and @wutangtulku is them whining that Kunzang Palyul Choling, or KPC as they apparently call it, sought legal counsel who then wrote a letter to the Elephant Journal warning them not to publish libelous material submitted by the same @ryderjaphy. They even have the chutzpah to call it a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation), which is not what this is about. A SLAPP is used by an organization to discourage critics by saddling them with endless litigation and legal fees. Nothing like that happening here. From what I can see, this is a legitimate act of self-defense.

    First off, no legitimate publisher would ever publish anything without first checking the facts. They have to do this for their own self-protection. Look what happened to the New York Times when they published that series by Jayson Blair a few years back that turned out to be straight from the writer’s imagination. It was a huge scandal and tarnished their publishing credibility for a long time.

    To knowingly publish lies about a spiritual organization like KPC, however, would be even worse and could very well mean the end of any publication that did it. All KPC was doing was giving them fair warning that they had good reason to doubt the integrity of anything this particular writer was going to write in his so-called expose because he had never checked the veracity of anything with the organization (KPC) he was writing about. That obviously violates the very first rule of journalistic ethics, to always check the facts of any story.

    “Obviously writing about facts is not a priority with @ryderjaphy. In fact, it sounds like he is a collaborator in a smear campaign initiated by this Cassidy fellow, who is apparently the real face behind this @wutangtulku mask. So obviously their whining about this alleged letter that KPC sent Elephant Journal is just a smoke screen to cover up their smear campaign and make them look like the injured party. Trouble is anyone with half a brain can see through their little game. I personally think it’s time they shut up and got on with their pathetic lives.”

    But who knows what Bill wrote? Who knows where he gets his information from? No one can be sued for writing proven truth. A good “journalist” is that what Bill is, can back up what he says. Let’s hear the Truth from Mr.Perposterous!

    • and so she wonders talking to her self – what is this FREE SPEECH that some Buddhist’s just don’t get – time for research?

      According to the Freedom Forum Organization, legal systems, and society at large, recognize limits on the freedom of speech, particularly when freedom of speech conflicts with other values or rights.[33] Limitations to freedom of speech may follow the “harm principle” or the “offense principle”, for example in the case of pornography or hate speech.[34] Limitations to freedom of speech may occur through legal sanction or social disapprobation, or both.[35]

      Members of Westboro Baptist Church have been specifically banned from entering Canada for hate speech.[36]
      In “On Liberty” (1859) John Stuart Mill argued that “…there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered.”[35] Mill argues that the fullest liberty of expression is required to push arguments to their logical limits, rather than the limits of social embarrassment. However, Mill also introduced what is known as the harm principle, in placing the following limitation on free expression: “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”[35]

      O look – The Harm Principle – TO PREVENT HARM TO OTHERS WE ALLOW LIMITATION ON FREE EXPRESSION. How Buddhist is this!

      • (3) Now how did Bill verify the truth and FACTS of this?

        “The Palyul lineage (of which KPC is a nominal affiliate because its founder was recognized by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche as a tulku and enthroned as such) can do nothing even if it were so inclined. As a Buddhist franchise, KPC does not accept the authority of the present head of the Palyul lineage, His Holiness Karma Kuchen. The founder of KPC does not answer to HHKK.”

        Did he actually speak with the Nyingma lineage holders, they’re quite accessible. HH Penor Rinpoche has said:

        “Whenever there is a new incarnation born or recognized, I personally feel very happy because it is like you have one more brother or sister. I take delight in such occasions as they seek to further compassionate activity for others. Being recognized as a tulku is an acknowledgment of one’s potential to help others. Such recognition does not mean that one is already a realized teacher. The degree to which tulkus have been able to actualize and utilize their potential depends upon how they have been able to use their past circumstances and how they currently use their present circumstances to develop their potential. Each tulku must work to develop themselves to the best of their ability. The essential point is that a tulku should strive to help others in whatever life situation they find themselves. It is out of such an aspiration to help all sentient beings that I have recognized many tulkus in my life and it is with this motivation that I recognized Steven Seagal as a tulku. If all beings seek to have this motivation, what need will there be for controversies and confusion over the motivations of others?

        Whenever there is a new incarnation born or recognized, I personally feel very happy because it is like you have one more brother or sister. I take delight in such occasions as they seek to further compassionate activity for others. Being recognized as a tulku is an acknowledgment of one’s potential to help others. Such recognition does not mean that one is already a realized teacher. The degree to which tulkus have been able to actualize and utilize their potential depends upon how they have been able to use their past circumstances and how they currently use their present circumstances to develop their potential. Each tulku must work to develop themselves to the best of their ability. The essential point is that a tulku should strive to help others in whatever life situation they find themselves. It is out of such an aspiration to help all sentient beings that I have recognized many tulkus in my life and it is with this motivation that I recognized Steven Seagal as a tulku. If all beings seek to have this motivation, what need will there be for controversies and confusion over the motivations of others?”

        http://www.palyul.org/docs/statement.html

        Good question! Relative to this piece, perhaps Bill can share with us how his concern with others conform with the intention to help others and not harm them.

    • We’re still waiting for the great expose of KPC that elephant journal was too cowardly too publish. Noble and courageous ZDZD has come to the rescue of Buddhist Free Speech by allowing Bill’s Great Expose to be published here but WHERE IS IT? Must be through spell check by now?

      “All #Ele had to do was not publish my blog about KPC. That was the plan. It worked perfectly.” Bill S

      Well, not really as Bill is FREE to publish here and FREE to create his own blog. But. Nada. Just the endless ranting and trolling around the web to find ten year old bits of scandal recanted years ago much to the disappointment of Jetsunma haters.

      I think it rather spineless to post gossip and innuendo not backed up by FACT against others although on the other hand, go against the desires of a narcissist who understands force but not feeling and one becomes the latest target for the grandiose, self centered ranting accompanied by drivel from others grinding their own ax.

      Surprisingly, even Buddhist Geeks rushed to post this mindless stuff. Hate mongering to attract readers?

      • Just a few points of clarification. When I offer a guest post to someone, I leave it to them to post what they wish. I will not push a person one way or the other. I am a blogger not an editor. Bill wished to post his experience of the whole fiasco and that he did. Of course, I am open to his actual post if he wishes to write it. I have opened the door for people to discuss their issues involving other controversial groups as well (SGI, NKT and Big Mind etc).

        For my money, I care very little with the scandals of the past or issues of enthronement or whether or not a certain person really was or should have been. What I am amazed with is that when I bring up topics for explanation, as I have with SGI and NKT, Dai Bosatsu and Big Mind (all controversial and with some scandal in the past) I was approached by people within those organizations with candor, understanding and openness. I may not agree with them but they approached my questions in the spirit of inquiry.

        I will say that the response to my own questions (as well as others) from KPC were largely defensive and then actually accusatory. That is not gossip, that was their organizational response to my questions over the past two years. This was well before Bill went on his tirade. I will also say that @KPCmonk was more than engaging and polite with me.

        I don’t “hate” KPC anymore than I hate any other organizations I had questions for (which is to say I don’t hate them). I do dislike the way criticism and inquiry was handled by them as an organization though. I have seen plenty of people on twitter ganged up upon by KPC supporters solely for asking questions (usually politely sometimes not) and no…I am not including Cassidy in this group of honest questioners. I have no love for that man or his method of discussion.

        Bottom line: Authentic or not (from what I have seen KPC is a legitimate branch of the Palyul lineage) the monks and supporters of KPC on twitter act in a manner that is surprising and disappointing from an actual Buddhist lineage (whether this type of behavior is encouraged at KPC or not, I can’t tell) . I personally felt others were bullied online for just asking questions and just the idea of a post was blocked before it was even written. When I told members of Big Mind that I was going to write a post critical of them, they returned with “Go ahead, we will read it and respond” and that is exactly what they did. They did not threaten me for asking questions or send a letter from their legal department telling me not to post. They met my criticism head-on, refuted some quite well and other aspect not so well in my opinion. For that they have my respect, even though I disagree with aspects of their organization. KPC does not have my respect (for what that is worth) by the way they responded to honest inquiry. This is not an immutable fact and I hope that things over there change.

        That being said, since this thing has exploded the KPC crew on twitter has ceased their bullying from my perspective and I think that is wonderful. I hope that this was an organizational change on how to approach and respond to criticism from the public on social networking sites. Most non-profits have clear and distinct rules on how to engage the public – bullying is usually not part of that plan nor is immediate threat of legal action.

        For my part, I do not regret having Bill post on my site. The comments have helped clarify the matter for me and I hope helped others come to informed decisions. I think the comments and discussions were heated and intense but not over the line (even your sarcasm is more than welcoming, unless you actually think me noble and courageous). I have received heat for allowing Bill to post and that is fine. Bill and I have argued and agreed on points of Dharma in the past and I am sure will continue to agree and disagree in the future.

        Cheers,
        John

        ps. I am “Still Waiting” too! Come the New Year, I believe Bill will have his own blog prepared and maybe then we will see more info.

  2. Hiya,

    important post! You wrote: But surely Buddhist bloggers care? Nope. One Buddhist blogger informed me he wasn’t interested. It would be too much work. It’s much easier to write about wisdom and compassion instead.

    This is not a surprise. I have neved heard of that “Kunzang Palyul Choling, a Tibetan Buddhist franchise founded by a controversial Palyul lineage tulku.” But quite often people rather write about nambybambyboogabooga issues than real problems. I wrote a little post about this problem: http://possibleway.blogspot.com/2010/11/burst-your-buddhist-bubble.html

    Sorry I can’t help you in this matter because I don’t know anything about that lineage or that issue. But I published this post of yours as link in Facebook. I hope it will draw some little attention.

    Good luck!

    • Uku,

      When we offer our body, speech and mind to the Buddha we are not relinquishing them to a higher power but instead owning them and the possibility of both the harm and the benefit they possess.

      When confronted with the issue of a Free Buddhist Press Buddhists today are at a loss what to make of it. When they became Buddhists they thought they relinquished such concerns of body, speech and mind. Sadly, Buddha is their co-pilot.

      When push comes to shove they honestly don’t know what to do. They crash and burn as they struggle with their lame excuses for their cowardice. Their tin foil Ushnisha blown from their heads by the winds of samsara they cry like little babies whenever someone or something harshes their mellow.

      Poor babies. You have to explain to them that being Buddhist isn’t a get out of Samsara free card. This is not a game. We don’t get to check out, and leave it to Buddha. A Free Buddhist Press isn’t an option for us to care about or not care about as Buddhists, depending upon on us evaluating the merits at our leisure.

      It’s urgent. It’s upsetting. It’s inconvenient. You either believ in it or you don’t. If you have to think about, you don’t believe in it. I don’t have to think about it. I don’t have to be convinced one way or the other. I believe in a Free Buddhist Press. Most Buddhists don’t today.

      I enjoyed your blog. I enjoy it because I stand for a Free Buddhist Press. I fight for a Free Buddhist Press. It’s a fundamental right to me. It is a right. To threaten it is wrong. Even if what someone writes upsets me. It makes no difference. Thank you for your support.

      Bill

  3. Hi Bill,

    I tried asking you directly on Twitter what this was all about, but never got a straight answer. Maybe it’s the nature of using 140 characters. But this is the first time I’ve actually seen your side of the story in it’s entirety. All I ever got was “All you need to know @flylikeacrow is KPC lawyer attempted SLAPP of publisher to prevent publication of blog about them.” Hardly informative.

    And now what I can see is some he said/she said type of back and forth from you and here in the comments. Maybe Waylon could put the cease and desist letter into PDF, so we can see the allegations for ourselves and be able to decide based on fact?

    Has Buddhadharma commented on the issue of why they removed it? Did they remove the article because it lacked facts or references?

    And then we have:
    “Buddhists don’t believe in a free press.”
    “There is no upside to a Buddhist blogger in harshing the mellow of his audience over something of such little or no interest to Buddhists as a free press seems to be”

    These are gross generalizations and quite false. If you took a look around the blogosphere, you’d see that people certainly do care about a free press. And that people post on controversial issues ALL the time. I know of a few bloggers that have been threatened with law suits so you can keep your generalizations. And quite frankly I find it insulting and disingenuous for you to use name-calling tactics to try and bully people into caring about your cause. It really doesn’t help out in the least bit.

    • Adam,

      Grow a pair. Do you need to be convinced that it is wrong for KPC to threaten a publisher with financial ruin if they publish a blog yet to be written about them?

      As a blogger could you not contact Elephant Journal and KPC for their side of the story. Or am I supposed to do that for you?

      I offered to do a phone interview with any Buddhist blogger interested in writing about KPC SLAPP Scandal.

      One blogger called. I also answered questions via email sent me by another blogger for his blog.

      One blogger posted blog about his interview with me. The other blogger posted blog on Buddhadharma but it was removed by editor.

      And you are insulted. Poor baby. Well you have a lot of company to commiserate with. You aren’t alone.

      You are obviously a Buddhist that has to think about freedom of the press as do so many other Buddhists today.

      It’s not a trick question. You either believe in or you don’t. Be insulted. When you had your chance you balked.

      Bill

      • Bill, if I grew another pair, I’d have 5 testicles. And there simply isn’t enough room in my boxer briefs for that.

        Yes, I do need to be convinced that what someone yells about on Twitter actually took place in reality. Waylon was nice enough to post the letterhead on ele (though I wish he would have posted the rest, he probably could have got permission to do so, or maybe it was denied?) though, so I see that your accusation that they threatend Waylon is at least accurate.

        “As a blogger could you not contact Elephant Journal and KPC for their side of the story. Or am I supposed to do that for you?”
        As a blogger, I wasn’t going to write about this. So I didn’t feel the need to investigate for myself in that capacity. I don’t feel the need to post on every topic that is controversial with the word “Buddhist” in it.

        It would be nice if when asked, you would have been more specific, or at least provided more substance like you did here, on this post. I saw that Duff had similar issue when trying to get more info. You had all the info of what has transpired, but unless I went through months of your tweets, I didn’t.

        “I offered to do a phone interview with any Buddhist blogger ” – Well, I didn’t see your offer. Did you message me directly in some way, or just tweet about it? I use Twitter as a live feed and RARELY go back more than a few minutes when I do happen to use it. Not that I really wanted to do an interview anyway. It wasn’t a topic of interest to me. I have no idea who posted the phone interview (again it would be nice if you would have at least put up the URL to that!) but if someone already did and published it, would there really be a need for more?

        “You are obviously a Buddhist that has to think about freedom of the press as do so many other Buddhists today.”

        Maybe you didn’t read my other comment yet, but I think I address it well there. In particular, which other Buddhists have to think about freedom of the press like you say here? How many is “many”? Or are you just generalizing again, trying to bully people into agreeing with you?

        “When you had your chance you balked.” – Balked at what?

        Really Bill, just create a damn blogger or wordpress account, and post whatever it is you were going to post.

        • Adam,

          Excuses, excuses, excuses. KPC blocks the publication of a blog about them and it’s my fault that you can’t read about it. That’s precious.

          Bill

        • Bill, now you’re just making shit up. I never said it was your fault that KPC threatened Ele.

          Why is it so damned hard for you to answer straight questions? I’ve asked several but you refuse to answer any of them. Why is it hard for you to understand that people want clarity and facts before they jump to concluscions? And why do you insist on broad generalizations and assumptions about people whom you don’t even know?

          Your approach to this whole situation is what makes people question the validity of your accuastions. Personally, I’ve said several times here that a preemptive cease-and-desist type letter to silence an article not even published is BS. Personally I say publish the god damn thing and let the legal challenge come about after the content can be viewed by all.

          But what are you expecting? That every single Buddhist blogger write a post about this or something?

        • Adam,

          You either believe in A Free Buddhist Press or you don’t. You don’t, I get that. I’m not interested in convincing you to care about something you don’t care about.

          I am 15 days into organizing a response to KPC’s threat to a Free Buddhist Press. I’m sorry that I have offended you in the process. You have my heartfelt apology.

          The issue remains what to do about the present situation. Other bloggers have begun to step up. Most have not. Like you, most Buddhist bloggers don’t care. They have told me.

          I haven’t singled them out in public to pressure them as you seem to want me to do. I write in generalities for the sake of brevity and for effect as a writer of an opinion blog, which is what I write.

          You can wish for Woodward and Bernstein from me until the cows come home but I have no interest in being a reporter of fact nor do you have any reason to expect that from me.

          I choose a subject to frame a discussion, as I did with my previous Elephant Journal blog about KTD. I do my due diligence. As a journalist I have a record in this regard.

          I have never had to retract a word I have written in any of my blogs. No matter how controversial my opinion may be, I’ve never been challenged on the facts.

          I immersed myself for months in the inner workings of the Palyul lineage in the West, cultivating sources. I can’t use 99% of what I was told. I have no interest in repeating gossip.

          That is why in the end I chose to take four statements made by KPC themselves and based on my due diligence write my opinion of these statements.

          This in itself was too much for KPC. They had to stop the publication of the blog. And this doesn’t concern you as a Buddhist blogger. Fine. No skin off my nose.

          There are a growing number of Buddhist bloggers that think otherwise. They are re-posting this blog and writing their own blogs on the subject.

          KPC can’t threaten us all with legal action. Again, I’m sorry for hurting your feelings. Continue on as if nothing happened. It’s all a dream anyway, go back to sleep. Sweet dreams.

          Bill

          • Thanks for just making shit up again Bill.

            Where was it that I said I didn’t care? You’re right in that I don’t think we need to make it an issue about a free “Buddhist” press, but rather a “Free Press” – I would hope your sentiments would transcend religious boundaries. Obviously not.

            “Like you, most Buddhist bloggers don’t care. They have told me.” MOST Buddhist Bloggers have told you something? Holy shit that’s a lot of correspondance! At last count, there were over 400 blogs on the Bloggisattva directory alone! You mean to tell me that MOST of those people told you personally they don’t care? Or maybe it was just a handful of people on Twitter? Maybe a dozen or so? 2 dozen? 5 dozen? Even if it were 50 bloggers, I think you’d STILL be painting broad strokes over the entire Buddhist and Buddhist Blogger community. I can guarantee that by posting this here on John’s blog, this is the first time that people have heard of any of this issue.

            And once again, you’ve failed to answer any of my questions. Are you unsure about how to answer them? Afraid to answer them? Or just don’t care enough about supplying some info? I’m sure as hell not going to make a blog post just linking a few things here and there. Because THAT’S all that anyone has right now. A stream of vague tweets by you, a post here and on Elephant Journal, and KPC’s official response on their website.

            What would you like me to do, just copy and paste everything, and put it into a post on my blog? I’m trying to ask you for more info, but you refuse. I’m not going to simply reblog someone else’s work, or copy/paste their comments. If you refuse to answer direct questions, then obviously you don’t care about an informed Buddhist Press.

            You seem hell-bent on painting a picture of me that you made up in your head, that somehow I don’t care that the fucking whackos at KPC pulled some obvious bullshit manuever. What I want is some more info so I can
            A) make an informed decision, especially in regards to the background on this whole situation which you seem to be intent on hiding for whatever reason.
            B) make a post where I can weigh in with something new/a different perspective. I have no intrest in posting something that isn’t original and genuine. It is clear to me that your only wish seems to be to get others to parrot what it is you are saying. I’m no one’s fucking parrot Bill.

            If you were to simply answer the questions raised here, I’d be more than happy to draft a post, provided I was able to chime in with something that hasn’t already been said.

            And the insult wasn’t felt by me personally, but I found it to be an insulting thing to generalize every Buddhist that hasn’t taken up your cause to be against a free “Buddhist” Press. Which is pure bullshit.

            For the 3rd or 4th time here, on this post: WHAT KPC DID WAS FUCKING WRONG. I can’t be any clearer than that. If you accuse me of not caring after this, you’re full of shit. And I have no issues with posting on this situation. Provide more info, and answer my questions directly if you want more support. I had a post coming on the wikileaks bit, and I think this would tie in quite nicely (though Nathan beat me to the punch so I’ll have to re-work it a bit).

            • Adam,
              Dude, get a grip, this isn’t about you. Get over yourself. I’ve responded to your comments.

              I’m not going to waste my time going tit for tat here with you. Your objection has been noted.

              I never singled you out. What’s your problem? I haven’t a clue who you are. This is ridiculous.

              I wrote an opinion blog. You disagree with my opinion. I don’t know what you want from me.

              Bill

              • “You either believe in A Free Buddhist Press or you don’t. You don’t, I get that. I’m not interested in convincing you to care about something you don’t care about.” Bill, this sure sounds like singling out Adam to me.

                If you go through Adam’s archive, you’ll find that he posts on social/political issues, and is definitely someone who sees engaged practice as essential.

                Until today, I only had a vague about all of this, based on a single reference in a post I can’t even remember right now. I have over 150 Buddhist blogs on my list, and I regularly read many of them. I say this because if someone like me didn’t know, I’m guessing much of the Buddhist blogosphere was also in the dark. People can’t do anything about something they know nothing about.

                In my view, it’s important to have enough information before going on publishing posts, and demanding action on an issue. You have several months worth of research – the rest of us have almost nothing to work with. It weakens our collective efforts if all we can say is something like “Bill has all the info., but we stand behind him, and think KPC is jacked up.” Allies need to be educated enough to be able to present both the general, agreed upon set of grievances, and also whatever individual insights they might have.

                • Nathan,

                  I only have Adam’s indignant comments in response to a minor talking point.

                  I’ll gladly concede the point. Adam is right. I’m wrong. It changes nothing.

                  The issue is what KPC did to Elephant Journal. Think about that. Forget about me.

                  You either care about what happened or you don’t. The back story doesn’t change anything.

                  Anyone can just ask Waylon whether it happened or not. It happened.

                  There is nothing to clarify. If you care about it, that’s all you need to know.

                  I’m available to any Buddhist Blogger interested in writing about what happened.

                  Bill

              • You have responded to my comments, but haven’t answered questions that I think are valuable to this discussion. If you wish to have a discussion, then let’s discuss.

                And you singled me out quite a bit, and directly responded to my comments. And for someone that doesn’t know who I am, you presume much about my intentions. I disagree with some of your generalizations, not your points about KPC threatening Ele. But mostly like Nathan says, am in the dark to most of the situation.

                What I “want” from you is just to answer some of the direct questions i’ve asked, so that I’m not so in the dark. If you won’t answer the questions I’ve asked about your comments to me or your intentions, at least answer the ones pertinent to the discussion and this issue.
                That’s all. Here, i’ll re-ask them:

                Has Buddhadharma commented on the issue of why they removed it? Did they remove the article because it lacked facts or references?

                So my question to you Bill, is why not create your OWN blog, and simply post what you were going to post there?

                You say that it would be cowardly to do so, but if the information is important, why not put it out there for the world?

                How will you go about trying to resolve this in the open forum on Ele so that KPC will take away the legal threat and you get to publish your piece on Ele?

                And are you saying that if they never do help resolve this, you’ll never publish the article?

                Had you on Twitter or on a blog or anywhere said anything libelous about KPC/Jetsunma that would give them cause to be concerned that your published post would also be libelous?

                Was there something non-libelous that you said about them somwhere that would make them threaten Ele like this? Or was it simply the nature of your tweets?

                If you would answer these, it will give me better context if I craft a post. If not, I’ll only have to go by your comments here. And that isn’t much.

  4. Did Bill go after a lot of these people a few months ago accusing them of writing a blog and telling all of them he was going to sue?? This is the same guy that told all of them he was up their ass right?? ummm… not sure how legit this is, if at all

    • Here’s Mr.Free Speech to me when I disagreed with something her said –

      “If you wish to stand behind your comments as posted please leave your contact information for my attorney and I will gladly see you in court here; will even give you a lift from the airport.

      Bill Schwartz”

      Threats Threats and More Threats

      • Joyce,

        You are a well known KPC member. Nobody is fooled here by you. Elephant journal has offered to host a moderated debate on a Free Buddhist Press. I have accepted their offer. Bring it on.

        Bill

        • I am NOT a KPC member. Try to be a little less self-serving with your “facts” and less willing to listen to any lie your twitter buddies whisper in your ears. I am a student of HH Penor Rinpoche & Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso and, again, none of your slander against Palyul lineage has the remotest connection to any “truth”. You’ve done nothing but sneer at “Buddhists” considering yourself in someway superior. When anyone has suggested you actually put into practice your Buddhist training sneers again rain down. I find your constant attention seeking and negativity totally absurd. What is it that your hope to get out of this behavior? You live in fantasy land! Come out come out where ever you are Bill.

        • This is the kind of clarity I would like. If it is true that Joyce is not in fact a KPC member, then your position is strongly compromised by making such claims while arguing that you are being silenced for merely stating your opinions.

          • Duff,

            I responded to a comment. It’s impossible for me to be certain who Joyce is. She appears to be the same person I encountered under a different name that represented herself as a KPC nun. My bad. Big deal. We have no way of knowing who she is.

            KPC had good reason to want my Elephant Journal blog to not be published. I’ve been in their business for months. I’ve been up there ass big time. That doesn’t justify them threatening Elephant Journal with financial ruin if it publishes my blog. I gladly stipulate that I’m a threat to KPC.

            Bill

    • Angela,

      I was indeed libeled last summer by a KPC surrogate using an anonymous blog. They accused me of credit card fraud.

      I contacted Blogger.com and they refused to take down blog without a court order. I decided it wasn’t worth it. End of story.

      I’m a 2010 Blogisattva Honorable Mention for Political/Opinion blogging by a Buddhist blogger.

      KPC threatened a Buddhist publisher with financial ruin if they published a blog I was writing about them.

      The blog was a summary of public statements made by KPC online about themselves and my opinion of these public statements.

      Elephant Journal had published a blog by KPC touting their ground breaking use of social media.

      This put KPC in the public arena and fair game for a political/opinion blogger such as myself.

      My malice for KPC since they threatened me last Spring with “We have people in Chicago” is well documented.

      But this isn’t about Twitter but instead a Free Buddhist Press which is a subject you obviously have to think about. I suggest you do.

      Bill

    • Kyle,

      When Elephant Journal is free to publish original blog I had written about KPC without being threatened by KPC with a law suit that would put them out of business I shall do so.

      The blog was a summary of statements made by KPC themselves in public and my opinion of their statements.

      I’m a 2010 Blogisattva Award Honorable Mention for Political/Opinion blogging by a Buddhist.

      I write my opinion. I have the right to write about my opinion. KPC is a clear and present threat to such protected speech.

      This isn’t conjecture but a fact.

      Bill

  5. Though upon further reflection,
    if everything went down as you say it did, and there was a threat of a lawsuit before you posted anything, then yeah, that’s wrong and shouldn’t be stood for. Obviously Elephant Journal and Waylon are hurting for cash right now and can’t defend itself in an actual lawsuit, so KPC wins in that sense. For now. You and the rest of the world can call them out all you want (which you should if this is all true and you weren’t about to print libel) but no amount of public outcry will change Ele’s legal fund status.

    So my question to you Bill, is why not create your OWN blog, and simply post what you were going to post there?

    • Adam’s response is quite sane… there’s not much to stop us bloggers from writing away to our heart’s content about whatever we want, however potentially libelous it might be. It’s a different story for established print magazines such as Trike, Buddhadharma, SS, and Elephant Journal.

    • I think self-publication is key to owning the argument. At this point, its no longer about the “lawnmower scandal” but about some ginned-up free speech non-issue (and by non-issue, I mean its economics driving whether to publish, rather than some authority preventing such publication). I’ve mentioned to Ryderjaphy once or twice on twitter to start his own blog (and I know I’d read) but he wasn’t interested.

    • Adam,

      It’s a matter of a Free Buddhist Press. I’m a political/opinion journalist. I write for Elephant Journal.

      What part of a Free Buddhist Press do you not get? Self publication isn’t a solution but a capitulation.

      Bill

      • I’m not interested in a Free Buddhist Press as much as I am a Free Press as defined by legal standards here in the US. And, like I said, I do feel that it is wrong of KPC to threaten Ele without cause to prevent you from writing something about them if it isn’t libel.

        How will you go about trying to resolve this in the open forum on Ele so that KPC will take away the legal threat and you get to publish your piece on Ele? And are you saying that if they never do, you’ll never publish the article?

        • Agreed. The issue to me is about a free press, not a Buddhist issue necessarily. I’m still not sure whether I’m a Buddhist in any case.

        • Adam and Duff,

          Waylon Lewis has offered to host a debate on @elephantjournal which I immediately accepted this morning. KPC has not accepted to my knowledge.

          The comments aren’t working on all comments so in response to Duff’s concern about whether “Joyce” as she calls herself here is a member of KPC or not, all I can say is that I believe she is the same person that filled my @replies previously with responses in such a volume I had to block her account.

          It’s hard to say, given the circumstances. I have little to go on. Regardless, it doesn’t change the facts of the matter, which is what KPC has done They can’t un-ring that bell. They can’t defend what they have done. However you look at it, it’s wrong.

          The blog itself was a simple summary of statements published by KPC about themselves and my opinion, point by point. It was written as such to assure that their would be no legal basis for KPC to file suit against Elephant Journal.

          If you question Waylon’s ability to represent Elephant Journal against even a lawsuit without merit, just ask him. He told me he couldn’t, and I believe him. When he informed me that he had received a cease and desist letter from KPC’s lawyer, my 800 word blog about KPC became irrelevant to me.

          The fate of an obscure Buddhist franchise and it’s founder means nothing to me by comparison to the future of Elephant Journal. It was an interesting idea for an opinion blog. In the larger scheme of things, they are irrelevant.

          What matters to me is the threat they represent to a Free Buddhist Press. What matters to me is that Buddhist publishers be free to publish political/opinion blogs. If we don’t stand up for a Free Buddhist Press this fledgling niche of publishing political/opinion blogs for a Buddhist audience will be killed before it gets a chance to develop as a part of the Buddhist experience today.

          It is noteworthy that my “Crisis in Woodstock” was not well received by KTD, the subject of my blog. According to Waylon, he didn’t hear a single complaint, much less hear from their attorney.
          Compare that to KPC’s response about a blog that wasn’t even published. KPC has to answer for what they have done.

          Bill

          • Fair enough–thank you for your clarity around why you assumed Joyce was a KPC member.

            Cultish groups often threaten free speech. I’ve found there is little one can do about it except fight on protected land. You might consider posting your article in the Rick Ross cult forums as the battle for free speech has already been won there:

            http://forum.rickross.com/

            • Duff,

              Success and failure are equally empty of self existence to me. I was taught this by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche.

              I am but 15 days into a campaign to hold KPC accountable for threatening Elephant Journal.

              I’m not a whistle blower. I couldn’t care less about KPC personally.

              I never even heard of them before I somehow ended up on their enemy list.

              They thought I was this guy, William Cassidy, which is a KPC obsession online.

              Ask John Pappas. They thought he was William Cassidy too. Everyone is William Cassidy to them.

              I’m forming a posse of Buddhist bloggers like John who has answered my call to cowboy up on this issue.

              If someone isn’t interested in saddling up and joining us in our mission I have no interest in convincing them otherwise.

              The idea of a Buddhist blogging politics and opinion as I do for Elephant Journal is controversial among Buddhists.

              As a Lama told me just yesterday in a phone conversation Free Speech is something new for Buddhists.

              There is no historical precedent for it, and there is much in the history of Buddhism to argue against it.

              If I was a monk it would arguably be a violation of my monastic vow to blog my opinion.

              So I appreciate how upsetting this issue is for Buddhists. It’s confusing. It’s unpleasant.

              My purpose is to agitate for a discussion of what is acceptable and unacceptable for Buddhists today.

              I argue that what KPC has done is unacceptable. Others are free to disagree.

              If I have to do this alone, so be it. I’m doing this for myself. I believe in a Free Buddhist Press.

              People are free to question my motivation. It doesn’t change what KPC has done regardless of my motivation.

              Bill

  6. I went through a similar situation with American Buddhists but not about a blog. I agree with you. It seems like a majority of Buddhists don’t care about practicing compassion or justice when it comes to something like this. The Buddhist unspoken way seems to be either complete and utter silence or being very judgemental and finger wagging. Not much better than fundamentalist Christians or extremest of any faith. In my opinion we have to do something about this kind of hypocritical Buddhism that cares nothing about leaving fellow Buddhists twisting in the wind. This is America! Speak out for justice and be loyal to the truth and your friends and fellow Buddhists. And don’t hide behind Buddhist precepts! Most likely you are misinterpreting the precepts anyway. I don’t think the Buddha had anything against speaking up when an injustice has been done. Every country in the wide world has had it’s impact on Buddhism and Buddhism on it. Lets not let the opportunity pass by to improve on Buddhism here in America and stand up for truth. The threat of lawsuits against you for such things are ridiculous!

    • Ronin,

      My dharma practice requires enemies. They are the root of my practice of compassion. I don’t have to think about what I want to do to them. Such feelings arise naturally in me. It helps me solidify my object of meditation in a manner mere intellect can’t match.

      I learned this from a son of a Khampa warrior, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, and the great master of Mahamudra, Traleg Rinpoche. My object as real to me as the nose on my face I begin to search for its true nature, applying Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche’s “Progessive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness.”

      I’m not one of those well read tools, all hat and no cattle, that pass themselves off as Buddhists. I know nothing of the dharma other than the oral instructions I have received from some of the greatest masters in the Karma Kagyu tradition. Those days of Buddhism in America are for the most part a thing of the past.

      I do hear from those who today can say the same regarding their relationship with the dharma. I’m glad to hear it, but it is no longer representative of the Buddhist experience today. Now it is all about book tours, and so-called “retreats” attended, or cookie cutter course work completed, which is all better than nothing, but it wasn’t how I came up in Buddhism over the past thirty years.

      You need only survey the response to this one blog to observe the silence and finger wagging typical of today’s Buddhism. I needed only watch KPC go after people on Twitter once to know that there was something very wrong afoot that I needed to look into. That has not been the typical Buddhist response, which has been to instead utterly ignore what they are doing, since it doesn’t effect them in the least what KPC does in their lives.

      The next issue of the glossy Buddhist Magazines will still arrive to announce still more books to read, retreats to attend, and classes to sign up for with their favorite smiley faced Buddhist who will gladly validate their smiley faced Buddhist credentials. They have no principles. They have no guts. To them, only an angry, and vindictive person, would do as I have done when confronted by what KPC does as a matter of course with people online.

      I feel genuine compassion for KPC, as I do for all who choose to be my enemy. I know how it for end for them if I have anything to do with it. This is a true heartfelt compassion. As KPC can attest to, you do not want to be my enemy. I am nothing if not relentless. I will show them no quarter until I am satisfied that they will never go after another person like they tried to do with me. They will need more than a lawyer when I am done with these people.

      Bill

  7. I have written about plenty of controversial topics on my blog, to the point where I ended up having further discussions with the editors of Tricycle, as well as the Mayor of Walnut, CA amongst others. Am I concerned about free speech and the internet? Yes. When you see what’s happening to Wikileaks, for example, as well as some of the legislation the U.S. Congress has proposed in recent years, it’s troubling.

    I honestly don’t know how to respond to this particular post and situation however. I know nothing about KPC, nor do I know enough about what’s happened at Elephant J in order to say much. It also seems quite ridiculous to paint the wide spectrum of Buddhist bloggers out there as “not caring about free speech.” I can imagine you received some bunk comments from people, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us fall into line as little Buddha robots spreading sunshine and butterflies all around.

    • Nathan,

      With a few notable exceptions this has not been a moment of glory for Buddhist bloggers.

      They for the most part honestly don’t get it. They are befuddled by what the big deal is.

      It’s a Buddhist thing. It’s a laziness thing. They go hand in hand. Buddhist don’t care about anything but themselves these days.

      It’s all about their mellow. Harsh their mellow and they are at a loss as to how to respond.

      They have exchanged such concerns as the importance of a Free Buddhist Press for their own little piece of nirvana.

      I wish this wasn’t so, but that is where we are at these days as far as Buddhist bloggers are concerned.

      Bill

  8. So I hate SLAPP suits as much as the next guy. I do think this is a clear example of preventing free speech through legal force, as the blog post in question which is claimed to be libelous hasn’t actually been published! This is a bullshit tactic and we should call it out.

    On the other hand, I distinctly remember Mr. Schwartz threatening KPC with legal threats on Twitter prior to this legal threat from KPC. It seemed to be a very similar kind of suit, a libel claim against things that had been said to or about Mr. Schwartz on Twitter. Maybe there’s more to it, but I didn’t see anything and couldn’t get a clear answer.

    This is where I say “get over it, dude! It’s fucking Twitter!” Look–if someone insults my mom on Twitter, I’m not going to threaten to sue them, I’m simply going to block them and move on. Now on the other hand, if someone does something I find unethical, like sell a bullshit product with hype marketing, I will confront them on Twitter or in a blog post, etc., and face the potential for a SLAPP lawsuit. I’ve done just that in fact. But it’s not libel if that person turns around and calls me names—it’s only libel if they make false claims about me in an attempt to ruin my reputation somehow, like saying I’m a male prostitute or something.

    In Buddhist speak, this conversation is lacking in vajra clarity. Get to the point and cut out the bullshit. What’s the real issue here?

    • Duff,

      Last spring KPC threatened me on Twitter with “We know people in Chicago” and I threatened to go to the police with the threat.

      Where is the moral equivalency between this and KPC’s attack on a Free Buddhist Press? Get back to me on that one.

      Last summer a KPC surrogate wrote a blog accuses me of credit card fraud and I threatened legal action.

      Blogger.com required a court order to remove the blog in question. I decided it wasn’t worth my time and money.

      Again, where is the moral equivalency? You honestly don’t see what the issue is? That’s sad, very sad.

      Bill

      • So if I understand you correctly, the blog post in question made a specific claim about you that was falsifiable, i.e. it’s author claimed you had committed credit card fraud. Is this what you are saying? If so, then yes, you have a case for libel. It was my impression that there were no such falsifiable statements made against you. Thank you for correcting me. Also, do you have a link to this specific instance of libel or an exact quotation? Libel can be a tricky thing legally—someone can start a “Duff is an asshole” blog and there’s nothing whatsoever I can do about it legally. But if they start a “Duff committed credit card fraud” blog AND it’s false AND it can be proven malicious intent, then and only then can it be libel. Otherwise all legal threats are illegitimate.

        You also say that someone on Twitter stated “We know people in Chicago.” I’m assuming you interpreted this as a death threat? Unfortunately I don’t know the context so I can’t say either way, and the writer was sufficiently vague as to leave the implications open for question so you probably don’t have a legal case here. Certainly it can be frightening to receive death threats from anonymous internet douchebags. Did you in fact go to the police?

        I’m still unsure what was this in reference to, as claimed by Joyce above however:

        “If you wish to stand behind your comments as posted please leave your contact information for my attorney and I will gladly see you in court here; will even give you a lift from the airport.”

        Where and when did you make this comment/legal threat specifically?

        Again, I am very much opposed to SLAPP and other bullshit legal threats, and KPC certainly seems guilty of this from my perspective. But I’m not choosing sides here, just trying to hold up the same standards for all parties.

        • I agree Duff. I actually shook my head when Bill posted something along those lines on twitter. But it is one thing to threaten on a tweet to sue (almost knee-jerk these days) and quite another to send a letter to a publisher to put a stop to a post before it is even written.

          For example, my threatening to sue you versus “Big Mind” threatening it and sending a letter from their lawyer. One is an idle threat from an individual and the other is direct threat from a corporation. I have a tough time equating those two things.

          Cheers,
          John

          • John,

            I’m not a very pleasant person as you well know. I shoot first and ask questions later on Twitter.

            When I’m wrong I admit it. If I hurt someone’s feeling I apologize. I don’t have to tell you this.

            My blogging is another matter. I’ve never had to retract a word of any blog I’ve ever published.

            I do my do diligence as a journalist. I’m no reporter though. I write for effect and not edification.

            KPC threatened Elephant Journal to stop the publication of a blog about them.

            They have good reason to feel threatened by me but it in no way justifies what they have done.

            Bill

            • It would help if you didn’t keep mentioning that you got an Honorable Mention from Blogisattva like it was a goddamn Pulitzer Prize. 🙂

              Writing for “effect and not edification” is otherwise known as demagoguery, not journalism. The sad thing is that even those of us that have watched the ongoing train wreck that is Ahkon Lhamo are turned off by the sheer pettiness of this social media rumble. It’s personal on both sides. It’s ugly.

              My teacher always said that one can only perform wrathful activity if you love the object of your wrath like it was your own child. Anything else and it is just regular enmity.

              What is of use to the dharma community is more facts and less hyperbole. If the larger dharma community is not interested in this tempest in a teapot, it is hardly surprising. Speaking for myself, I am far more concerned with the erosion of our rights and freedoms by the government than by some ‘Queen For a Day’ contestant from Maryland. It’s silly to dwell on it. Nobody takes her seriously. Why waste any time at all on it?

              • People have written to me to ask if I wrote the above comment by Karma Dorje. No, it wasn’t me. I go by the name @_karmadorje on Twitter.

              • Karma Dorje,

                I am an “In Blood” Buddhist. I was not taught to believe everything is empty. Everything is indeed empty, but it is also real; very, real, to me.

                When I first met my guru, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, he said I was like a Khampa warrior, and he trained me according to who he assessed me to be. Being from Kham himself, the son of a Khampa warrior, I was a familiar type of person to him.

                My biggest concern before taking refuge with Rinpoche was that I didn’t want to be someone I wasn’t, which he respected, and thus I took refuge with him and thirty years later I have never faltered in my devotion to him.

                I later studied Mahamudra with Traleg Rinpoche who taught me much about the Karma Kagyu Mahamudra as taught in the wilds of Kham to local bandits and briggands who went on to become devoted practitioners despite their rough and unsavory appearance.

                I am not an angry person. I do take care of the business of this life in a particular manner. I have people that have done me wrong, for example. I call them enemies. I feel compassion for them, great compassion. I never give up on them. Until I am satisfied that what is wrong between us has been made right they will remain a constant object of my compassion.

                And yes, I do have the appropriate empowerment for this approach, from Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, Dorje Bernakchen. I’m practicing here. It may not be your practice, but it is mine. Feel free to judge me for not being like you. I don’t care.

                I have no pretense of representing some “Buddhist” ideal you seem to want to foist upon me. I don’t. I remain as I always have been, who I am, without a care as to what others may think of me.

                I was wronged by KPC and I have set out, with compassion, to make matters right between us. Without anger, or malice, I have gotten into their business. This is about how they do business. It has nothing to do with the dharma.

                You do not care about KPC. In that, you are a typical Buddhist. Everything is empty, the perfect excuse for everything. I’m not that kind of Buddhist. I have set out here what I hope to accomplish.

                I couldn’t care less about KPC. They mean nothing to me, other than as an object of compassion. I will not rest though until I am satisfied that what I consider to be wrong has been made right.

                I will be addressing this more in the future. Suffice it to say that this is but the beginning. KPC has used their lawyer to make sure Elephant Journal is unable to publish my blog about them. That’s how they have chosen to proceed in this matter.

                Thanks to the fact that Buddhists today only care about themselves, it’s business as usual for KPC. They know that you and others don’t care so they feel free to do as they please in the world and pay their lawyer to clean up the mess.

                For me, whether you like it or not, it has only begun. Put you robe over your head and pretend everything is empty if that is the kind of Buddhist you are. I don’t need your approval. I’m working here. Just stay out of my way.

                Bill

                • Dear Bill,

                  You are putting words in my mouth. I have never said that everything is empty, so nothing matters. That is not buddhism– it is nihilism. It is wrong view.

                  The viewpoint you are arguing from is perfectly insular. You are right, everyone else is wrong and not half the buddhist you are because of your time studying, your contrarian attitude, your affectation of roughness. Leaving aside the whole KPC issue, you have never missed a chance to promote yourself and denigrate others when they express an opinion contrary to your own.

                  I don’t doubt your sincerity. I do question your narrative. In the same way that you feel you must take on your perceived enemies, I feel compelled to point out to you that taking an ‘us and them’ attitude is a barrier to even normal discourse let alone a conversation amongst buddhists. Witness the failure of our political system. Dismissing everyone who disagrees with you even slightly makes people question your maturity, if not your sanity.

                  You are attempting to communicate a message. You are getting considerable feedback to modulate your message to be more effective in communicating– which after all is a two-way street. Do what you will with this feedback.

                  All the best and may you have a happy and healthy New Year.

                  Karma Dorje

        • Duff,

          The blog http://tinyurl.com/27s5by5 titled “BEWARE-TWITTER SCAM” so judge for yourself.

          Our “Joyce” didn’t call herself by this name on Twitter.

          The woman I told I would see in court represented herself as a nun (presumed to be with KPC).

          The opinion I took offense with on Twitter was her assertion that the blog in question was true.

          I welcomed her to argue that in court and not that I would sue her for her tweet which is ridiculous.

          At the time I decided it was a waste of time to pursue the matter and blocked all KPC Twitter accounts.

          Was I pissed two months ago for a couple hours. I had never been libeled before.

          I was frustrated that Blogger.com wouldn’t remove it without a court order.

          A bill collector by trade before my heart attack I began to follow KPC’s money and found the Penor Rinpoche Charitable Trust.

          I stopped thinking like a victim of libel and realized that there was a story to be written instead.

          I called KPC on the “We know people in Chicago” when it occurred last Spring.

          I live in “CopLand” here in Chicago, one of those blocks were the sworn live, and they don’t look kindly on strangers.

          I’d like to see KPC “protector” David Williams show up on my doorstep, as he is known to do.

          He flew to a Palyul center in Ohio when Ogyen Tulku to pay a visit when Rinpoche did something to displease KPC.

          It was a threat though. They can’t un-ring that bell. It makes no difference whether I was frightened by it.

          And to return to the libel blog. The author of the blog attempted to extort me on Twitter with an offer to stop if I contacted him.

          As I mentioned earlier, I was a bill collector. I’ve been called everything imaginable. I didn’t take them up on the offer.

          There is no other side to tell when it comes to what KPC did to Elephant Journal.

          Regardless of my motivation in going after KPC there is no justification for what they did.

          They can spin it anyway they want. This isn’t about me but what they did. They were caught in the act.

          There are no ifs, ands, or buts to it. I’ll gladly cop to being everything they say about me. It changes nothing.

          Waylon has offered to host a debate between myself and KPC on the subject of a Free Buddhist Press, which I accepted.

          I’ve made myself available for a phone interview (or email) with any Buddhist blogger interested in writing about this story.

          At the end of the day, I care about what was done to Elephant Journal. That’s the story as far as I’m concerned.

          Those unconcerned about what KPC did really don’t concern me. I’m not looking for converts.

          I want the true believers to join me and John in our little posse to make sure KPC answers for what they have done.

          Bill

  9. I’d like to read Bill’s article. The one he never got to post on EJ. Post it here or one of the other blogs for all to see and comment on. I’m certain that everyone with an interest in this issue will read it, even if it isn’t in a higher profile publication.

    • Zendette,

      My blog was a summary of public statements made by KPC about themselves and my opinion.

      The threat of simply framing a discussion about them was enough for them to contact their lawyer.

      When Elephant Journal can publish the blog in question without risking financial ruin for publishing it I will gladly post it.

      Until then I will not publish it elsewhere. It’s a matter of standing up for a Free Buddhist Press.

      To do otherwise would be to capitulate to KPC’s threats and I refuse to do so.

      Bill

        • It is a common tactic in group persuasion to turn everything back on the practitioner as if one must be perfect before bringing up issues of justice. The most important thing in any conflict IMHO is to get crystal clear about facts. This clarity still seems to be missing on both sides of the conflict.

        • I contend that it’s not the noble cause of free speech that has Bill’s nickers in such a twist. This is what set him off. He even at first blamed me for the blog, then settled for Jetsunma.

          http://chidarroots.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-10-19T19:13:00-07:00&max-results=7

          But since Bill and others are such champions of let it all hang out blogging, why the fuss?

          If anyone has enough integrity to do a little gritty research, you can find the slander against Jetsunma all the way back to the book, Buddha from Brooklyn. This has been recanted at great length but people still enjoy repeating as if true. Truly now, if anyone here had this amount of negativity addressed towards them for this long, how would you feel? Im really curious to hear how verbally lynching Jetsunma works as your Buddhist practice?

          If I have to I can find the exact blog post on EJ where Bill threatened to sue me – he’ll sue/block/ dis anyone who doesn’t flatter him.

      • Just a quick question. Had you on Twitter or on a blog or anywhere said anything libelous about KPC/Jetsunma that would give them cause to be concerned that your published post would also be libelous? I’m not accusing you of anything, but it seems weird to me that they would just out of the blue threaten Ele like that, without there having been some history of you saying somethign about them they didn’t like.

        Was there something non-libelous that you said about them somwhere that would make them threaten Ele like this?

        I’m only asking because I keep seeing comments and posts asking for more specifics on the background of this whole thing Bill.

        • Adam,

          Last Spring I was hounded by KPC on Twitter when they thought I was their Bogeyman “William Cassidy” for some reason.

          I had just began writing for Elephant Journal and apparently there was something about me that made them suspicious.

          For months I had not heard a peep from them on Twitter. I had pushed back hard after our initial dust up.

          Then I wrote “Crisis in Woodstock” for Elephant Journal which put me back on their radar apparently.

          My core readership as a blogger is around 300 but the blog has received over 7,000 views to date.

          I received a 2010 Blogisattva Honorable Mention for political/opinion blogging by a Buddhist blogger for this.

          In September an anonymous KPC surrogate posted a blog accusing Waylon Lewis and myself of credit card fraud.

          In 2009 I suffered a massive heart attack, the widow-maker, and I have stage II Congestive Heart Failure.

          I haven’t worked since, and couldn’t afford a lawyer to file a suit, but in the heat of the moment I railed on Twitter about it.

          I was a bill collector before my sickness so to satisfy my curiosity I set out to determine what assets KPC held.

          I have been relentless in my pursuit of KPC since early October and have updated my Twitter stream accordingly.

          I was a very good bill collector and despite my poor health I am still someone you don’t want after you.

          There is no anger in this, there is no vengefulness in this, there is nothing in this but who I am as a person.

          Having decided that I couldn’t afford to pursue my legal case for libel I focused on my next blog for Elephant Journal.

          In KPC I had the perfect subject for a blog and I made sure to update my Twitter account accordingly.

          I was meticulous in my journalistic due diligence, although as an opinion blogger I needed only make sure I didn’t libel KPC.

          I cultivated a source in the Palyul lineage who was communicating with me via email on a background only basis.

          As the story developed through November I’d update my Twitter accordingly for my readers.

          After months of this, I really didn’t have anything that wasn’t already out there, to write about.

          I had been warned that KPC had legal representation and that I should be prepared to be sued if I blogged about KPC.

          At this point I decided to do a Chicago-style journalist sting to catch them in a SLAPP scandal.

          When Waylon told me he had received a threat of legal action if he published my yet to be written blog I had them.

          I used my Twitter account to announce that I would be posting my blog over the weekend.

          KPC’s lawyer jumped the gun expecting their cease and desist letter to arrive at the same time the blog was published.

          Did I set KPC up using my Twitter account? Absolutely. The sting is a time honored Chicago journalistic tradition.

          I caught them red-handed, in the act, threatening Elephant Journal with financial ruin for an un-published blog.

          From November forward everything I did was a calculated ploy on my part to catch KPC threatening Elephant Journal.

          None of this changes what they did. None of this justifies what they did. This isn’t about me, but about what they did.

          If you believe in a Free Buddhist Press what they did is no less grievous than sexual misconduct.

          It’s a scandal. I have nothing I need to retract. I have nothing I need to apologize for as a journalist.

          Bill

      • Bill, I certainly appreciate that you are holding out to post with your original publisher. You really have done little more than stir the pot, but look what that stirring turned up. My experiences with AZ go back more than 15 years. I was never her student, but she and her ordained bullies caused me extreme distress at the time.

        There was a lot of discussion with and about KPC on the old Usenet, now called Google Groups. A search there will turn up interesting discussions.

        • Zendette,

          I wish I could have done more. I did what I could as a journalist. I only have my pen, and a willingness to use it.

          If I wasn’t a journalist I could have started an anonymous blog as so many would like me to and self-publish but I can’t.

          I’ve never written anything I have needed to retract. I’ve never been threatened with a libel suit.

          To write of all the accusations made against KPC to even a personal score with these people would be wrong.

          My only hope as a journalist is that I have made an example of KPC so that what they did will never happen again.

          Hopefully what happened to KPC when they threatened Elephant Journal will be remembered by others so inclined.

          Bill

    • I too would like to read it, Zendette. If Bill wishes, he can complete it and post it here. If I get a letter from anyone, I will post it right along with it.

    • Zendette,

      I appreciate the desire of people to read what KPC needed a lawyer to stop Elephant Journal from publishing.

      As I joked with Waylon when the shit hit the fan, all I had to do is publish the title.

      I could have written about the weather and they would threaten to sue Elephant Journal.

      In the end, I didn’t even have to publish the title they were so afraid of what I had, based on nothing but my Tweets.

      I didn’t have to write about how KPC didn’t have the permission of the Palyul lineage to do what they were doing on Twitter.

      I didn’t have to write about the $250, 000 donation they accepted from someone HHPR is said to have called a liar.

      I didn’t have to write about the Palyul response to her announcement that she was going to begin performing empowerments.

      I didn’t have to write about how Khenpo Tenzin Norgay was determined to bring KPC back in the Palyul fold.

      Every single point I wanted to write about had already been written of by KPC themselves online.

      The only issue was that I was prepared to share the back story and discuss in public what they themselves had already made public.

      What they had to stop was the discussion, and for good reason I might add. It’s all pretty sketchy shit if you ask me.

      At this point I couldn’t care less what happens with KPC. It’s no skin off my nose what becomes of them

      The issue is what they did to Elephant Journal. They were caught red handed. It’s wrong.

      All I want is to hold them accountable for it. I want to put a stop to this kind of bullshit.

      I want to make an example of them so that Elephant Journal will never have to worry about being put in such a situation again.

      The next time someone wants to threaten Elephant journal I want them to think of what happened to KPC.

      Bill

  10. Hi. This was just emailed to me by source wishing to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal. Take it for what you will. I apologize for the length.

    To all Palyul students, I think there are many threats to our lineage right
    now and I feel we do need answers from HH Karma Kuchen, the other heart sons and Khenchen Tsewang. This is the letter supposedly sent from Lobsang in October 2009. Reading this letter carefully explains what is happening within our lineage. How is the power being consolidated within the US? Who is running what or who will be running what? As Bill has said, we do need answers otherwise we will fall apart.

    To All Palyul brothers and sisters, please see the letter from Lama Lobsan Chopel below. Please pass it on to anyone you believe may benefit from knowing.

    From Lobsang:

    To Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso and all the Tulkus¹ lotus feet,

    I, Lobsang Chophel, respectfully prostrate and request from my heart that
    you hear what I have to say.

    For about 30 years, from the time I was young until now, I have served His Holiness Penor Rinpoche. Other people have either liked me in that position or not, but His Holiness and I have had an extremely comfortable outer, inner and secret relationship. He would give me a direct order and I did it always exactly as he wished. I did everything he asked. Because of that, up until His Holiness¹ last moments, we shared the same samaya and the same motivation. So, in that way, in my life, I am very lucky. It is my good fortune.

    Even before the ending of Rinpoche¹s thugdam, or the 49 days, you all have done many shameless acts, and told many lies. In spite of that, I did, as much as I was capable of, handle this without any opposing word or action. I did this because of the presence of Rinpoche¹s Kundun body, and my desire to not bring shame to Rinpoche¹s reputation. Because of these two motivations, I was patient with all you were doing to me and to others. With the end of the 49 days, my responsibility ended. The job of caring for His Holiness, while he was alive ­ from beginning to middle and end ­ the entire activity is pure white. The head is white and the end of the tie is also white. So all these activities which I performed to benefit Palyul and Penor Rinpoche – if there is anything worthy ­ I offer it to the Three Jewels. If there is no benefit to Palyul and His Holiness, then there is nothing more I am able to offer.

    Namdroling¹s new special high council, (two Tulkus & 3 Khenchens) convened an administrative meeting prior to the arrival of His Holiness Karma Kuchen during His Holiness Penor Rinpoche¹s thugdam. At that meeting I made the request that you prove these insults you have spoken, one by one ­ both those to myself and others as well. At that meeting everyone verbally denied the things that had been said, however no one would commit to writing the words they had spoken so easily. So I now repeat my request.

    At the Palyul Retreat Center, in upstate NY, we had another meeting, and in front of 3 Tulkus and 1 Khenchen I spoke about how I had served His Holiness tirelessly with my whole heart. And with my tears, I spoke of the lies that had been spoken against myself and others. Specifically, they are:

    1- You said that His Holiness passed away because of the actions of Paljor and myself. This was said by you, the special council, during the administrative meeting.

    So, today, do all of you think same thing or not? If you still think this is true, please let me know and I will bring all the medical records during the last few years to any court in the world so we can clarify this openly. If you think that is not true, then please will you issue a written letter stating that it was a false accusation? I have requested that in the meeting where all the Khenchens denied the accusations, but would not say so in writing, only their words.

    2- You said that, during the last stage of His Holiness¹ final stay in the Bangalore hospital, that you saw Lobsang (me) try to keep His Holiness either in the hospital, or if that was not possible, arrange take him to His Holiness¹ brother¹s house in Bangalore to die there. Further, you said that it was you (the special council) who brought him back to the monastery in Bylakuppe. These words were spoken by you to all of Namdroling¹s monks, and these are lies.

    Because, when His Holiness was in his last stage ­ I, Lobsang, together with Mugsang Tulku, Gyangkhang Tulku and two doctors ­ met in the hospital¹s office and discussed what kind of transportation we would take to the monastery. ­ helicopter or ambulance. We decided on the ambulance and when the decision was made final, I personally called the Royal Bhutan ambassador and asked him to request the Indian government to provide a special police escort from Bangalore to the monastery to help ease any disturbances along the way and make the journey more comfortable for His Holiness. That is how we reached the monastery. Both of you Tulkus know everything because you were there ­ they are lying. Again, I request that you give me a letter that whatever I did was in the best interests of His Holiness and Palyul. As often as I have made these requests, I only get words, no written confirmation. I¹m especially sad about these two subjects.

    In general, as the leaders of Namdroling, when you speak, you have to be really truthful. If you speak in that way, it will be easy to speak and easy for others to listen comfortably. If you are just supporting each other with bargains, and ignoring the karma of ill speech, no one will hear you with comfort for it is not the truth. If you are bargaining with each other, do you think that is His Holiness¹ wish that you don¹t follow the karma? I don¹t think it is his wish. So please keep that in mind.

    If I don¹t get these two letters, validating the truth of my actions, there is no reason for us to get together again. We will have no basis for talking.

    Concerning the upstate NY center, during His Holiness¹ visits to America in 1997 and 1998, he mentioned that he wanted to have one large center in the upstate NY area as the main head of all his centers. Because of this, following his direction, I started this center. It has been going for 12 years. For this entire time, Tsewang Norbu and myself designed and built the center, following His Holiness¹ direct orders. To date we have 500 acres of land, houses and many assets. To accomplish both fundraising and expansion ­all the jobs required – we both worked tirelessly to see it come to fruition. Nowadays, there are various people saying they helped the center over the years ­ but actually we never got anyone¹s support for this project. To find out how we did it, you can ask the local people who know how we faced the difficulties and overcame them.

    It¹s important for everyone to know that all the assets ­ land, buildings, cars etc, – are legally owned by Palyul Ling. Nothing belongs to any individual. This is the only way we can operate under American law. It¹s important to know that.

    During the legal incorporation of Palyul Ling, His Holiness and I discussed the succession of the presidency of Palyul Ling. It was His Holiness¹ wish that the president always be the current Throneholder of Palyul. To honor that wish, before the Summer retreat, I asked His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, as the current Throneholder, to be the President of Palyul Ling. At that time, His Holiness Karma Kuchen was not ready to fully accept the position. Since I don¹t want to force him to take the job, when he gives me the letter saying he wants to be president, I will do that immediately.

    Regarding the other officers of Palyul Ling and the daily routine, that should all continue as it was during His Holiness¹ life with no changes for now. It is running peacefully now, and it should continue that way. There should be no more changes like those already done this year. In the future, we will sit down and discuss how we can best serve Buddhists in general and Palyul specifically in how we handle the administration. We can also discuss how best to transfer this center to the next reincarnation of His Holiness when the time comes. Once this is legally finalized in writing, I will leave the administration. I won¹t bargain like the special council of Namdroling (if you do this I¹ll help, if you do that I won¹t). If we set the organization up in a way that transfers to the next His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, I¹ll step down and not be involved.

    I feel I need to think in great detail on this subject because His Holiness faithfully gave me this job. And I also have to think very carefully concerning how this center can help Buddhists and Palyul and be returned to Holiness¹ hands as he would wish. Unless I am careful, the center could end up in the hands of some family. At the end of the day, they will have it for their own use. If that is even a remote possibility, then in the worst case, I will wait for His Holiness¹ reincarnation and keep the organization and center for him myself.

    I want you to especially understand neither myself nor Tsewang Norbu get any benefit from the center. We have and will continue to work tirelessly for the center without appropriating any assets for ourselves. If you don¹t believe that, you¹ll have to wait and see, since I can¹t do anything now to show you differently.

    • John,

      I had the Lobsang letter. It was helpful as background in my research. It confirmed for me that there is indeed a power struggle going on in the Palyul lineage in America. I promised my Palyul source to not write about it though.

      It’s embarrassing. I’m not a whistle blower. I’ve been given a number of documents in the process of working on my blog about KPC. They were useful to me on background.

      KPC has a lot of enemies. I’m glad to be considered one of them It’s an honor, like being on Richard Nixon’s enemy list. If you haven’t been accused of being William Cassidy by KPC, obviously you aren’t saying anything interesting as a Buddhist online. Anyone worth following online is on the KPC enemies list.

      The email is fair game. Don’t get me wrong. It’s out there floating around for anyone to read. I cringe whenever I read it though. I feel for what the Palyul lineage is going through with the parinirvana of HHPR. Succession is such a mess in Tibetan Buddhism. It’s like making sausages. You don’t want to see how they are made.

      Bill

  11. Any Buddhist claiming to be in the dark about this issue, and who may want to actually waste time checking it out, should read “The Buddha from Brooklyn” by Martha Sherrill.

    The point is to warn new students that there may be un-Dharmic things going on at KPC. As always, the student chooses the teacher, and gets what they wanted in the end.

    Buddhist Free press is just a talking point. The issue is whether new students should trust the claims of lineage or trust their gut when choosing a teacher.

    • Zendette,

      The hypocrisy of the Palyul lineage as it pertains to KPC, saying one thing to students in private and another thing in public is shameful.

      I haven’t seen such an embarrassing display since the sexual misconduct scandals that plagued Buddhism in America in the 1980’s .

      Let us not forget that HHPR created KPC and the Palyul lineage is responsible for what they have become.

      Although KPC refuses to acknowledge the authority of the present head of the Palyul lineage, HHKK, this is no excuse.

      Hopefully, those who care about the legacy of HHPR in America will compel the Palyul to publicly denounce KPC.

      From their side, they have created what they call their “New” Palyul based on the teachings of their founder.

      I have faith in HHKK as head of the Palyul lineage to do more than merely isolate KPC from his students, as he has done to date.

      There was a time when such a move would be sufficient to separate a Buddhist franchise from a lineage.

      Unfortunately the Palyul lineage has lost control of its name and there is nothing they can do at this point in this regard.

      This is most sad for all Tibetan Buddhists who follow a lineage instead of a Buddhist franchise of the moment.

      Bill

  12. Wanderer, some aspects came from that source, but Martha had many, many sources, including her own experiences and “gut” feelings. All I said is go with your gut when choosing a teacher.

  13. Wanderer, sure, I didn’t say take it as gospel, just that anyone considering her as a teacher might want to check it out.

    Shouldn’t all students study all aspects of their teachers before committing? Truth is relative.

  14. Hi Zendette – absolutely. I’ve heard it say that one should study a teacher for 10 years before taking them as their teacher. However, it doesn’t seem fair to cite sources which have aspects that are known to be false. Especially ones which might negativly sway someones opinion. It would be a different matter if the source was known to be accurate – and not just possibly partially accurate. Seems to be a tactic to sway opinions.

    • Known to be false? Was she lying then, or is she lying now? I have no clue. Do you know for certain?

      I have been on the receiving end of a wrathful Alyce. Reading Martha’s personal experiences, not those of others she interviewed, was like reading about my own feelings after spending almost a year around AZ and her family. Don’t worry, I’m not here to dish dirt, just to stand up for Bill and others who have been bullied by her and her true believers.

  15. Bill – you state:

    “I want to make an example of them so that Elephant Journal will never have to worry about being put in such a situation again.”

    Are you positive that’s really why you want to make an example of KPC?

    • Wander,

      I am clear in my motivation. If my motivation was otherwise I would have self-published, as so many have suggested over the months.

      My waiting as long as I did before even sitting down to write my blog supports this.

      You are free to question my motivation of course. That’s fair. There is no question though as to what KPC has done.

      As of this evening KPC continues to threaten Elephant Journal regrettably with legal action.

      Sadly Elephant Journal has deleted my blog and broken off our relationship in response.

      Despite the fact that my blog on KPC was never published by Elephant Journal. the threat remains.

      What is KPC’s motivation? There has been no libel. There are no grounds for legal action against Elephant Journal.

      Waylon has bent over backwards to accommodate KPC yet they still threaten to ruin him. Think about it.

      Bill

    • FYI:

      Go to http://www.bookfinder.com

      Put Buddha From Brooklyn into their search slot.

      You will see that the book had two paperback printings in 2000 and 2001 and was reviewed on Amazon com and also received a review from Pico Iyer in Tricycle magazine.

      If that book was slander, why didnt the KPC try and obtain an injunction to prevent a second paperback printing?

      Or do AZ and her minions only pick on smaller, more vulnerable targets, rather than publishers like Viking and Washington Post, both of which have extensive legal departments available for advice–and representation.

      Two, for those who claim that Sherill was an outsider and had no right to comment, interested readers are invited to get and read Stephen Butterfield’s book, The Double Mirror, a memoir of his time studying with Trungpa and later Ozel Tenzin. Butterfield made it clear he loved practice, loved the Dharma, and even noted the many ways he benefitted.

      What troubled him was how a feudal pecking order was created, with ranks, status differentials, and in the guise of combatting spiritual materialism, the ranking system and favoritism just created spiritual materialism in more subtle forms, and that the Buddhist trappings were used to deflect insight from afflictive emotions when, dressed up in brocade and ritual.

      Note: there was also extensive discussion of the problems in the Palyul lineage some years ago on the http://www.american-buddha website.

      KPC didnt issue any threats against that site–the owners were prepared to stand their ground and fight.

      So..it is interesting that individual bloggers are being threatened while those who can afford legal representation (eg Viking, the publisher of Buddha From Brooklyn) did not reportedly recieve any threats and two editions of the paperback went to press.

      Interested persons are advised to purchase copies of both Butterfield’s Double Mirror and copies of Buddha From Brooklyn, so that these can be preserved in archives. Too often, history is sanitized if enough time goes by. Some wealthy groups try to purchase and destroy copies of early, subversive texts if a print run is limited enough.

      Interesting too that Tricycle, nine to ten years ago, did print Pico Iyer’s review of Buddha From Brooklyn. It would be nice if this large circulation magazine could offer readers an update.

      • Noddlebowl,

        KPC has taken a counter insurgency approach online to criticism. If you are a power to be reckoned with, as you have pointed out, they hide behind the prestigious cover provided them by the Palyul lineage whom created them.

        In the meantime they track down, harass, and threaten those that cannot defend themselves, every chance they get. That is how KPC came to my attention. I had never even heard of KPC until they started to attack me. They thought I might be their bogeyman William Cassidy. I had inadvertently followed him back on Twitter and responded to a tweet of his.

        That is how little one must do to unleash the nightmare that is KPC on you. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Being the kind of Buddhist I am instead of doing the Buddhist thing, which is only care about myself in all things, I dedicated myself to exposing how KPC does business, which I have done here.

        No Buddhist can say they didn’t know. All they can do is confirm that Buddhists only care about themselves, which with a few notable examples has been the case. KPC is a clear and present danger to us all. They are a threat to a Free Buddhist Press. What they have done, and continue to do, to Elephant Journal, not just for what they were afraid I would publish there, but for even associating with me is now part of the public record.

        I don’t care so much about the KPC side of this story and all the sordid allegations which so dominate any discussion of these people. I have chosen to focus instead on the business end of the relationship between KPC and the Palyul lineage. Unlike the personal allegations they are accustomed to, this is what both parties do not want to have publicly examined for fear that the powers out there able to put them out of business will take an interest in themselves.

        I have only begun to fight in this regard. I have yet to get the interest of a Tricycle, or a Washington Post, those with the resources to cover the story of KPC in a meaningful way. I’ve been only on this matter for a few months though. My Elephant Journal blog was killed, and Ele has to satisfy KPC dropped me as a contributor and put all my blogs into their draft archive. That’s nothing to me. I’m just getting started.

        Bill

    • Anyone who is a tax paying citizen has a right to be interested, even if he or she doesnt practice Buddhadharma.

      Because those who pay tax indirectly subsidize these feudal baronies that have arranged to be tax exempt on grounds of being spiritual projects.

      Trungpa was reportedly contemptuous of democratic process (Butterfields book) yet, he failed to be aware of the chain of cause and effect by which American democracy had generously given him tax exempt status, and had, very generously (these were the 1970s) set up a generous immigration policy that enabled Trungpa and many other Asian teachers to enter and then reside in the United States.

      By having contempt for the kind of decision making that had made all these benefits available to him, and by calling outsiders heretics, Trungpa ignored the network of cause and effect by which non Buddhist citizens indirectly subsidized him by paying their taxes and the local fire departments and public works departments that maintained the roads, plumbing and telephones that made it possible for Trungpa to travel in the US and for his centers to function.

      Tax exemption is given on trust and in good faith that someone is going to do something of spiritual benefit, not use it to create a feudal barony and re-educate members to think and behave as peasants and grovel to their sovreign lord.

      And in the case of Tibetan lineages there is the matter of wealth being sent out of the United States to support relatives engaged in very secular and non spiritual activities in Asia–or to pay high lamas to ignore funky goings on at the ashrams and Lings in the US.

      All one has to do is be a tax payer and be part of a chain of cause and effect supporting this stuff. And that alone means this is more than just an in-house
      Buddhist only matter.

      As Deepthroat said, ‘Follow the money’.

      And every accountant will tell you that they got Al Capone for tax troubles, not for murder. You cannot scare ledgers into silence.

    • It is entirely on topic for Mr Schwartz to mention his heart condition, as it sharpens his priorities and shapes his practice.

      And if someone has a chronic heart condition and chooses to stand up to an abusive lama, thats says a very great deal. When ill with heart disease one has to budget ones energies and be clear on priorities.

      I know this because my father, 35 years ago had chronic congestive heart disease and angina, as did a next door neighbor. I saw for myself how carefully they paced themselves. Miss X would walk up her stairs one at a time, pause, count her breaths, then go up the next step. She made it to age 80
      and never imagined she was doing walking meditation.

      It is yet more on topic for Brother Schwartz to have mentioned his heart condition, for AZ and her minions continued to direct a stream of vile and hateful messages at a man who has a serious and chronic heart condition. This reveals how far they have departed from the Bodhisattva Precepts.

      Three, based on the descriptions given in Sherill’s Buddha From Brooklyn, no one ever complained that Alice Zeoli was off topic when talking about her own struggles.

      But when someone like Bill happens to mention he has heart disease, all at once, he’s chided for going off topic, while the changing wardrobe lama and her multiple kicked-to-the-curb- boyfriends go un reprimanded.

      Its the classic double standard. The guru monopolizes all compassion and attention and can do no wrong. Whatever cruddy thing the lama does isnt cruddy–its all dharma.

      If a disciple or a critic mildly alludes to personal hardship, that person is told he or she is whining or being a distraction.

      Only the guru’s pain matters. Everyone else has to shut up or provide adoring attention, and if necessary go out and shame trip dissenters.

      Thats the behavior of a warlord, not a Buddhist leader.

      Note: just because someone is being reactive doesnt mean a situation isnt a valid threat.

      We have a fight/flight response hard wired into us. It takes years of practice to find skillful ways to cool it down so that we can be responsive and not reactive.

      If we wait until we are totally free of reactivity, that can take decades and meanwhile the hazard continues unabated.

      Standing firm when bullied is hard to do, especially when the rest of the Buddhist sangha go silent and leave one isolated.

      A biochemical crackle of reactivity is going to linger, no matter how skilled a practitioner one is–its hard wiring.

      • Is it really so on topic, noodlebowl? Or per chance could it be that you are finding ways to explain it as such to further your own opinion, and Bills agenda?

    • Double standard strikes again.

      AZ is teaching the dharma.

      Anyone who challenges AZ’s minions and her own warlord behavior ‘has an agenda’.

      There’s no satisifying you, Wanderer or AZ except by submission and silence, and that means the bully–that is to say, AZ –wins.

      Penor and Gyltrul soiled the entire Palyul Nyingma lineage by giving approval to AZ and her gang.

      • All right, let’s remove the word agenda from my last question. Does that really make it any different for you?

    • My take on right speech:

      Where harmony and justice already exist and the Dharma is rightly taught, say only what helps and say nothing that interferes.

      Where disharmony, and injustice *are already taking place* and where *the Dharma* is no longer rightly taught, speaking up to 1) identify this situation and 2) warn new arrivals and 3) call for correction is right speech.

      Note from a novel about Marines in Vietnam entitled The Short Timers by Hasford:

      (Quote)

      “A ‘lifer’ is someone who abuses authority he does not deserve to have.”

    • “A ‘lifer’ abuses authority he does not deserve to have”.

      ‘The Short-Timers’ by Hasford

      Friends, this is a big difference between American culture and Tibetan tulku ID culture.

      We as Americans, have a set of mental catagories that make it possible for us to imagine there is such a thing as a person having authority he or she does not deserve to have.

      We can even imagine it possible to abuse authority one did once deserve to have but for which one is no longer qualified (such as being a boss for so long and being catered to for so long that power goes to ones head and turns one into an abuser)

      But in the Tibetan tulku culture, authority cannot be evaluated, once it is conferred. Authority equals legitimacy and authority equals infalliblity unquestionability.

      Again, most teachings on right speech such as the one by Thanassaro Bhikku, though admirable are from a stance in which it is unimaginable that authority could ever be abused.

      The constitution of the United States of American was written by persons able to imagine that authority could be abused and had been abused, hence the need to declare independence from Britain and create a new national identity.

      The mindset that created the United States of America and has made us rich enough to attract swarms of gurus, tulkus rinpoches, swamis, etc, was made possible by a post feudal mindset that could imagine that authority can be evaluated in terms of benevolence or abusiveness.

      The cultures that produced the roles of tulkus and gurus and swamis were pre feudal or feudal and could only authority with legitimacy.

      To be a tulku, rinpoche, guru was to be unquestionable.

      However, if we go back to the Pali sources, we see Buddha being questioned and even argued with.

      And the historical studies on Buddha note that he came from a clan that was a small kingdom and where councils of elders and villagers participated.

      Buddha came from a less heirarchical social structure than the ones later created in Tibet and in the Tibetan diaspora.

      One can be a Buddhist practitioner and not sell oneself into slavery or turn off one’s American sense of responsible speech and the enlightenment understanding that powerholders CAN and must be held accountable to the persons who have given them power and wealth.

  16. Just one problem with the advice to ‘study a teacher for 10 years’ before getting involved.

    One–a teacher may be living a double life and conceal private failings, and be guarded by a wall of secrecy using hand picked senior students willing to act as enablers.

    Two, a teacher might start out honorably and well, but over many years, may slowly lose perspective and become corrupted by the perks and prerequisites of power and by all the adulation. Someone at Stanford did research using groups and randomly assigned people to leadership in the group. The task lasted just an hour or two.

    Those assigned to the leader role for just that brief time, were more likely to take more than their share of snacks, chew with mouth open, leave crumbs, etc.

    Am sorry to suggest that even a high degree of dharma attainment may not safeguard against the corrupting effects of long term adulation.

    And..if one hangs out studying a teacher for ten years–one may become emotionally bonded to that very same person, even while believing one is being objective, careful and cautious. By the end of those ten years,the teacher may have slowly drifted into self indulgence, and the observer may during those same ten years, become so used to the ceremonial and the bowing and ritualism of the setting, that he or she may have learned to ignore the teacher’s drift into self indulgence and by the end of that ten year period, no longer be capable of objectivity–and just by hanging about as an observer, made a deep and subtle emotion commitment and bond without realizing it.

    All this is ignored by the facile advice to ‘study a teacher’s behavior for ten years’.

    Finally, if that teacher spends a lot of time travelling and spends much time in foreign countries, how can most of us keep the person under scrutiny, unless we have time and funds to travel and learn the relevant languages?

    That too is ignored by those giving such advice, however well meant.

    Lets face it, power corrupts.

  17. An article by Pico Iyer concerning Buddha from Brooklyn can still be read at Tricycle Magazine online. On the left hand side of the article there is an option to tweet the article, but “0” readers have clicked the tweet button to send the link for the article onto twitter. Who knows, maybe if there were enough attention given to this article, letters might start to arrive at Tricycle telling them to have nothing to do with the journalist who wrote the article, isn’t that what happened to Bill Swartz? It’s interesting what Pico Iyer has written in the second paragraph of this article that the book The Buddha from Brooklyn is “one of the most measured and disciplined accountings of a circle of idealists I can remember reading”:

    http://www.tricycle.com/reviews/the-price-of-faith-pico-iyer-emthe-buddha-from-brooklynem

  18. Uh…I think you’ve got Shantideva’s teaching backwards. You wrote:

    “The response of individual Buddhists has been even worse—unsolicited dharma advice on Tonglen, sending and receiving. We are to exchange our attachment to our right to free speech for the peace of mind that comes with caring only about ourselves. I kid you not. That’s what Shantideva taught. This is the path of the bodhisattva.”

    Tonglen makes it the other way around–you focus on other’s happiness more than your own. Shantideva is quite clear about this.

    By the way, I’m the monk in the far right of the photo at the top of your blog. 🙂

    • To comment on the header of the blog: I knew you looked familiar (and now famous!)…did you arm-wrestle Hank while he was there?

      By the way, was always a fan of “A Monk Amok”

      Cheers,
      John

  19. FYI: Go to http://www.bookfinder.com Put Buddha From Brooklyn into their search slot. You will see that the book had two paperback printings in 2000 and 2001 and was reviewed on Amazon com and also received a review from Pico Iyer in Tricycle magazine. If that book was slander, why didnt the KPC try and obtain an injunction to prevent a second paperback printing? Or do AZ and her minions only pick on smaller, more vulnerable targets, rather than publishers like Viking and Washington Post, both of which have extensive legal departments available for advice–and representation. Two, for those who claim that Sherill was an outsider and had no right to comment, interested readers are invited to get and read Stephen Butterfield’s book, The Double Mirror, a memoir of his time studying with Trungpa and later Ozel Tenzin. Butterfield made it clear he loved practice, loved the Dharma, and even noted the many ways he benefitted. What troubled him was how a feudal pecking order was created, with ranks, status differentials, and in the guise of combatting spiritual materialism, the ranking system and favoritism just created spiritual materialism in more subtle forms, and that the Buddhist trappings were used to deflect insight from afflictive emotions when, dressed up in brocade and ritual. Note: there was also extensive discussion of the problems in the Palyul lineage some years ago on the http://www.american-buddha website. KPC didnt issue any threats against that site–the owners were prepared to stand their ground and fight. So..it is interesting that individual bloggers are being threatened while those who can afford legal representation (eg Viking, the publisher of Buddha From Brooklyn) did not reportedly recieve any threats and two editions of the paperback went to press. Interested persons are advised to purchase copies of both Butterfield’s Double Mirror and copies of Buddha From Brooklyn, so that these can be preserved in archives. Too often, history is sanitized if enough time goes by. Some wealthy groups try to purchase and destroy copies of early, subversive texts if a print run is limited enough. Interesting too that Tricycle, nine to ten years ago, did print Pico Iyer’s review of Buddha From Brooklyn. It would be nice if this large circulation magazine could offer readers an update.

    • Re the american-buddha site, it’s worth noting that the site’s co-creator/ husband of Tara is a lawyer specialising in internet law. So it’s a fair bet he knew how far they could go, legally speaking.
      During it’s prime, that site had a number of sharp digs at various Buddhist icons. So while it’s somewhat controversial, perhaps Charles Carreon could have given some pro bono advice on the threats from KPC.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Carreon
      http://www.charlescarreon.com/

      Speaking from another country, we’re always hearing about how ‘freedom of speech’ underpins U.S. law and apparently makes defammation difficult. So I still don’t understand why Waylon backed off so quickly, to the extent of removing all the important stuff re Karma Triyana from Elephant Journal.

  20. Bill,

    While I am sorry to hear that are suffering from ill health and wish you a full recovery, why do you keep mentioning your heart problems, along with your Bloggisatva nomination? What does that have to do with this story?

  21. I first heard of KPC when I saw a friend on Twitter ask a Buddhist nun about what precept she was abiding under while selling meat at a market that she co-owns with another nun. A Buddhist nun selling meat was definitely an interesting question. It took a long time to see any response from the KPC nun and when she finally did respond it was a disappointing, slightly defensive answer despite his reasonable request. Considering the subject matter was directly involved with the suffering of another being and an ordained Buddhist nun profiting from it, I had higher expectations for an answer..

    While waiting for KPC to answer my friend, my curiosity started a little investigation into Kunzang Palyul Choling monastery. I somehow lucked out in life and crossed paths with some extraordinary teachers. but Alyce Zeoli (a/k/a Catherine Burroughs, Jetsunma Akhon Lamo) is unlike any Buddhist teacher that I have ever encountered. The self-professed ‘Mother of Palyul’, Jetsunma Akhon Lamo is a text book classic psychology 101 case of a somewhat smart and charming nut job and her followers are her mafia. The whole KPC cult is just wrong on so many levels it is just really difficult for me to understand.

    KPC threatened a publisher with a lawsuit before an article was ever even read by the publisher. This is about what hundreds of thousands of people have fought and died for down through the ages for us entitled Americans. For our apathetic (“don’t harsh on my mellow please”) Buddhist sanghas, for the Christians, Catholics, Atheists, Taoists, Rich, Poor, White, Black, Tibetan…

    People like Bill Schwartz and his father and probably his grandfather went to battle for us. They went to war with the full intent to die to protect your ass so that you could be comfortable. We have the right to free speech, religious freedom and other various comforts many times at a warriors expense. Can people unite and try to make a change? I don’t know.

    In many Buddhist circles, my observation has been that conflict is a dirty word. But it is necessary and good when handled properly… that’s the tricky part and I deal with conflict very direct therefore I am learning about meeting it in softer ways. Not there yet so maybe someone else can suggest how to deal with issues like the KPC scandal. I don’t know what can be done.. I’ve been writing letters to magazines and monasteries. I do know that I am gonna stand up with Bill. Now that I know a little about the KPC franchise, I wouldn’t feel good about myself for not putting in a good effort to bring attention to this horrible misrepresentation of Buddhism.
    I feel it would be a complete disrespect to all of the Buddhist lamas, teachers, monks and nuns who have travelled heroic and unrelenting journeys to bring the dharma to us here in the west. We thank them by turning cheek to a franchise profiting from and tarnishing the image of Buddhists everywhere? A monastery comparing their hateful, controlling cult leader to the Dalai Lama, Tara, and Guru Padmasambhava is ok? This would be laughable if it weren’t so blatantly disrespectful on so many levels. Bill is making a bunch of noise for a reason. It’s the only way to get people to listen these days. Being quiet is for meditation halls and temples.

    “Naturally, there are some times when we need to take what on the surface appears to be harsh or tough action, but if our motivation is good our action is actually non-violent in nature. On the other hand if we use sweet words and gestures to deceive, exploit and take advantage of others, our conduct may appear agreeable, while we are actually engaged in quite unacceptable violence.”
    Dalai Lama quote used by @ryderjaphy in an article titled “A Whale Story: In Defense of the Dalai Lama” on http://www.elephantjournal.com

    One last thing. Can anyone put me in my place and tell me there is something good hearted and nice about the way Ms. Akhon Lamo directs her “tweets” toward Mr. Schwartz, who has a chronic heart disorder? This one is nice compared to some I’ve seen when I used to read her Twitter rants from time to time. There is something just NOT okay with this.

    12/14/10 6:20 PM
    “Until hate is completely washed from the face of the Earth. And who better than people of spirit and light to lead the way. How sad the Insincere ones in Buddhism, or other paths, Zen, “magical mystic” types make it bad for the rest of us. So we have to stay away from
    Those who prefer Hate to #COMPASSION. And #Character. What do they contribute? What will be their legacy? Sadism? Ignorance? Hate?
    They will descend, sadly to a kind of hell that exactly mirrors their hate, poor #qualities and habitual tendencies. A puffed up blowhard will
    My advice is STOP, turn it around NOW, there isn’t much time. And if we’ve heard Buddha’s teaching and do not know how to prepare please
    Learn and accomplish the Phowa now! There isn’t much time. Life moves like a waterfall. It looks stable. But follow a cup of the water……”
    Blah blah blah

    Nice little excerpt from a sermon by Jetsunma with Love to Mr. Schwartz. Just one of many.

    Very Anti-Buddhist behavior for a tax free monestary supposedly operating under the best interests and protection of the Buddha, the dharma and the sangha.

    “As a Buddhist that’s the point: this not having to think about something. This is the role of the teacher as the puller of the rug from beneath your feet.” quote from Bill Schwatrz

    Sincerely,

    Jenny R.

    • Jenny, regardless of what side one is on, I find it hard to take you seriously considering the manner in which you address @JALpalyul on twitter.

      • Hi LibbyLoo. So how would you suggest I, or anyone for that matter, address Alyce?
        There is no mistake about what side I am on. I don’t sit on the fence with this issue. And if you are on the side of KPC, I could care a little less than nothing about you taking me serious. If you are not just another KPC cult member, then I do apologize if you find my mannerisms annoying. You wouldn’t be the first person and definitely not the last. I am still learning to be a good Buddhist. Maybe you can teach me something.

        • Jenny, in my experience, name calling and cursing at someone never solves anything. Even if you disagree with them….we are all sentient beings and we are all suffering. So called “enemies” are the deepest point of practicing compassion (and I am hardly a good Buddhist, just relying on the wisdom of my teachers). I wouldn’t say that I am just another KPC Cult Member. My Root Guru is from the Gelug-pa tradition. However I do consider Jetsunma to be a great Lama with much wisdom to offer.

          • There’s a fine line between name calling and a true statement. But I see your point. When I learned that mindful speech was a Buddhist precept, I figured I was screwed. (See I cleaned it up for ya!) But I am trudging down the Buddhist path still. I grew up with a father who was stern but nurturing, he fought in WWII, Korea & Vietnam and lived to tell about it and he cussed alot. I grew up to be normal and I carry on the tradition. Sorry if that language barrier makes it hard for you to take me seriously. Even before I began practicing and learning dharma, most anyone who knows me would attest to the fact that I have an extremely generous and kind heart. I am very generous with parayer and my energy and generous physically, mentally and monetarily. I have no enemies to speak of. I am friends with my ex-husband (and that is not and easy thing to be but we have a child together so…. ) I go out of my way to help others. I do realize that learning to solve conflicts with others is extremely important and I practice but I don’t back down to bullies either. And last, but not least, the great lama of wisdom Jetsunma you speak of… I have no idea who you are talking about. All I have seen from her is a bunch of psycho babble and hate and anyone who calls that wisdom is questionable too. My teachers have credentials. They left Tibet when China invaded, lost family, studied from birth . Great Nyingma masters. Lifelong scholars. They are living in accordance to the tradition. Jetsunma is not. Being smart and having wisdom LibbyLoo are two different things. While Alyce Zeoli seems to be a very smart and cunning woman, she is not wise. Nor is she in accordance to the way or tradition. So to call her a great lama is a huge insult to my lamas and all other Buddhist lamas who practice in accordance to the tradition. Simple as that. Have a great day!

            • That’s wonderful that your loved ones consider you very kind and caring, and I hope that you are. So why not show that side? What is your aim in trying to take down Jetsunma? Do you not treat her an an enemy? Have you read anyof her teachings on her blog? Do you see hate and psycho babble in those?I hardly think so. So I take from what you wrote, that you have a problem with the fact that she is a western women, not trained in the traditional method? What wisdom do you have to say that even though she is not a traditional teacher, she is not a Lama?

  22. To all who have kindly taken the time to comment here,

    I apologize for not responding to your comments. My CHF has worsened of late. I’m a husband, father and a grandfather so with the holidays my family, and getting as much bed rest as possible, so that I can enjoy my time with them, has been a priority for me.

    For those that dismiss the newsworthiness of the KPC SLAPP story I have an update. Two weeks I was contacted by a reporter for the Washington Post. His editor was interested in the story of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in America threatening to sue an online yoga magazine, Elephant Journal, for libel over a blog prior to the publication of the blog. KPC is a local interest religion story for the Washington Post.

    This afternoon I was updated on the story by the WaPo reporter. The Religion editor is interested in the KPC Slap story. Waylon Lewis, Publisher of Elephant Journal, has confirmed that he was indeed threatened by KPC with a libel suit. It’s a pretty straight forward story for someone looking at it in the real world.

    The National editor is interested in the story I shared with the reporter about how KPC attempted to sabotage the 2010 Payul Ling Retreat by not sponsoring the visas of the Tulkus scheduled to visit. This story will take much more reporting of course, and a decision will have to be made at WaPo regarding whether they want to dedicate their resources to this much larger expose of KPC. It is through their sponsoring of the visas of visiting Tibetan Palyul teachers that KPC controls the lineage itself; why although the Palyul Lineage created KPC in 1988 as the Largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in America the lineage itself has no control whatsoever over it. If pursued, this is a huge story.

    To date WaPo has not begun to did into the Financial/real estate records for KPC to see if they are indeed in compliance with their tax-exempt status. That’s a WaPo decision of course. Allegations were made by Martha Sherrill, then a WaPo reporter, over a decade ago regarding suspect use of donations, so there is an institutional interest in doing a follow up story about these more salacious allegations.

    There has been some noise locally that was raised recently over the $250,000 bail out of KPC by Peter Yeung, some HHPR refused to take money from himself, and who he called a liar. It’s all very sordid, but if developed makes for fascinated reading for WaPo’s no Buddhist audience interested in seeing their tax subsidies for KPC at work,

    So there are two stories being developed, and one yet to be developed. Given that the shit hit the fan only 38 days ago and the story is being reported on by the Washington Post, that isn’t a bad result form my perspective. As blogger I feel totally vindicated that WaPo agrees with me that what I have been tweeting about is newsworthy.

    On the Palyul side of the story, the lineage is in utter disarray since HHPR passed away. In private they insist that HHPR renounced KPC before his death. He may well have, but made no public statements to that effect. The Heart sons haven’t a clue about what to do with KPC. They have no control over it, which is to say it is no longer a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Palyul lineage but something entirely different than it appears.

    Efforts are being made to help the Palyul lineage to get in front of the scandal of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in America not being controlled by the lineage that created it. If you are a Tibetan Buddhist, this harms the efforts of us all to establish our respective lineages in America if it is found that individuals have profited from KPC’s tax exempt not for profit status.

    To date, the Palyul lineage has been saying one thing in private and something entirely different in public. They are so disorganized, even if they wanted to issue a statement clarifying their relationship with KPC they lack the consensus to make it sadly. It’s that messed up. KPC can do whatever they want and answer to nobody. So much for the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in America,

    Bill

  23. This is a dispiriting situation.

    I’m a DC-area Buddhist and I visit the KPC grounds from time to time, specifically the Stupa park across the road from the main center. It’s a glorious site, very much worth a visit by anyone regardless of their views on or relationship to KPC as an organization.

    Luckily there are other places in the area to practice Mahayana & Vajrayana, and involving less of a commute than a trip out to KPC…

    May peace prevail and may the Dharma flourish!

    dctendai.blogspot.com

  24. Pingback: The battle for the Shorty Award in Buddhism | Lest it be soddened by the rain

  25. Bill, thank you! Sorry if I missed your vote, am struggling to keep up. I’m responding here because I wanted to look at your site – you do great work. Best wishes for continued success and thank you, Paul

Comments are closed.