Poor Bill Cassidy, aka Tulku Tenpa Rinpoche. He sits out in the California desert, alone in his empty play temple (It had been inhabited by Chinese Buddhists at one time but they abandoned it after they found Cassidy’s presence so odious they could no longer stay), complete with garden ornament “stupas.” But no one visits his “temple.” There are no students, no Buddhist pilgrims, no friends, just Bill, pretending away that he is a “tulku,” a spiritual teacher, kind of like a five year old playing with his toys. Is it possible to imagine anything more pathetic?
His latest “teaching” http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/2010/07/as-much-as-you-can-relax.html reflects his useless life. He wants so badly to be meaningful and deep, but he comes off instead like some dime store New Age preacher. “Just relax,” he says. “That’s all you need to do. Forget all your goals, your aspirations, your life. Just relax. Then you’ll be enlightened.” (like him?) Wouldn’t it be great if that were true? Lacking the courage of his own convictions, he attempts to enlist the stainless teacher Longchenpa to come to his aid, but as usual he completely misses the point of Longchenpa’s teaching. Longchenpa isn’t talking about folding your tent and dissolving into a lump of laziness; he’s talking about concentrating on what is important and abandoning that which isn’t.
Buddhism isn’t easy, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise just doesn’t know what he is talking about. It is about rooting out the poisons that lie embedded in our minds, products of countless lifetimes of deluded belief in “self,” poisons that prevent us from seeing our true nature. It’s hard work, true, but it’s the only thing that is worthwhile in this life. Perhaps Bill should try doing that for a change. After all, he has plenty of time on his hands.
Continuing with the psychiatric aspects of William Cassidy and what motivates his increasingly psychotic outbursts, it seems clear that he is more than just a sociopath, although he is a fully developed sociopath. One for the textbooks you might say. But he is more complex than it would appear. He also shows traits normally associated with things like borderline personality, and narcissism.
Of course, narcissism is also a symptom associated with the sociopath disorder, but his is very well developed to the point of obsession with himself. Everything in Cassidy’s universe revolves around himself. Nothing and nobody else matters unless they can somehow benefit him (which in Cassidy’s view means anything that would profit him or feed his enormous ego).
Borderline personality disorder is a related condition that is characterized by pervasive mood instability and significant dysfunction in personal relationships, self-image, and behavior. We have already commented on Cassidy’s wild mood swings which are characterized by outrageous rants followed by a retreat into a “safe” mode where he tries to fend off any responses to his rants by locking up his Twitter accounts. His inability to form relationships with women is another example of this condition. He went to prison for beating up, raping, and burning up the business of one former wife. No one is really sure how many wives he actually has had, but no evidence has been found of any happy marriages or relationships. This suggests a very negative relationship with his mother that has made it impossible for him to have a loving relationship with a female. In fact, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is essentially a disorder of emotion regulation. To quote from the National Institute of Mental Health:
“While a person with depression or bipolar disorder typically endures the same mood for weeks, a person with BPD may experience intense bouts of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last only hours, or at most a day. These may be associated with episodes of impulsive aggression, self-injury, and drug or alcohol abuse. Distortions in cognition and sense of self can lead to frequent changes in long-term goals, career plans, jobs, friendships, gender identity, and values. Sometimes people with BPD view themselves as fundamentally bad, or unworthy. They may feel unfairly misunderstood or mistreated, bored, empty, and have little idea who they are. Such symptoms are most acute when people with BPD feel isolated and lacking in social support, and may result in frantic efforts to avoid being alone.
“People with BPD often have highly unstable patterns of social relationships. While they can develop intense but stormy attachments, their attitudes towards family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike). Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize the other person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, they switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all. Even with family members, individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger and distress to such mild separations as a vacation, a business trip, or a sudden change in plans. These fears of abandonment seem to be related to difficulties feeling emotionally connected to important persons when they are physically absent, leaving the individual with BPD feeling lost and perhaps worthless. Suicide threats and attempts may occur along with anger at perceived abandonment and disappointments.
“People with BPD exhibit other impulsive behaviors, such as excessive spending, binge eating and risky sex. BPD often occurs together with other psychiatric problems, particularly bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and other personality disorders.”
This description of BPD reads like a biography of William Cassidy. Obviously he suffered significant psychological damage as a youngster. Equally obviously the man needs expert medical treatment , though the likelihood of him ever seeking it out is nil. One more reason to avoid dealing with him at all costs.
One of the characteristics, or more correctly chief symptoms, of an antisocial personality disorder, is a complete inability to recognize any flaw within himself, any need to change. In his world he is supreme, smarter than everyone else, and completely without morals of any kind. He feels he can do or say anything he wants because of his innate superiority to everyone else, and he becomes livid when others do not recognize this alleged superiority. This is why Bill Cassidy goes into his frequent rants on Twitter, spewing vile lies and slander right and left with little regard for truth or even sanity.
But beneath all the bravado, the sociopath is at heart a true coward as down deep he realizes that he is worthless and empty. At the end of his rant he withdraws and locks the doors to his numerous Twitter accounts so no one can attack him. All the shouting and carrying on he does is to draw attention away from the emptiness he feels, a pitiful attempt to draw the attention of the world away from his true self, which he believes is so horrible that even he cannot face it. He knows at some level that he does not have feelings like a normal person, that he is completely unable to feel anything for another person except blazing rage because they have what he will never have. This is why Cassidy projects his rage onto someone like Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo. Her status as a tulku becomes a symbol of everything he lacks, so he lusts after it, and if he can’t have it, then he wants no one else to have it either.
The futility of such rage is obvious. It is bound for failure no matter what he does. That he cannot see this simple fact is perhaps the saddest thing about him. He has created a hell realm for himself that he cannot escape because he is not even conscious of its existence. He is incapable of admitting to himself the reality of his situation, and instead he projects all his frustrations out into the world, choosing Jetsunma as his target, but in reality hating and despising everything and everybody. Such a being is worthy of our compassion, but he also requires the utmost caution as he also has the potential to be extremely dangerous, as he has proven time and time again in the past and for which he did prison time. We can only urge the utmost caution and repeat our advice to avoid any dealings with this man.
We find it very interesting how quiet and well-behaved William Cassidy becomes whenever someone he is trying to court is in town. For example, Ogyen Tulku, Cassidy’s latest flame, is in Springfield, Massachusetts, to give a talk. Coincidentally, Cassidy’s incessant malicious tweeting to defame Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo and her sangha from various bogus Twitter accounts came to a sudden halt on Saturday, July 10th. Ogyen Tulku’s talk is July 15th. Like his and her monogrammed hand towels, there were matching blog posts today on Cassidy’s Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar and Tulku Ogyen’s Blog announcing Tulku Ogyen’s teaching event on the 15th. Not surprising since Cassidy moderates both of these blogs as confirmed by Tulku Ogyen himself.
This is Cassidy’s usual pattern of behavior. He puts his best face forward, at least publicly, whenever someone he is interested in cultivating is near. In other words, when no one (supposedly) is looking, he spews the vilest hate imaginable at those he considers his enemies, including most of the Palyul lineage lamas, such as His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche and Mugsang Tulku Rinpoche. Then when someone he wants to impress is paying attention, he is on his best behavior.
Such a pattern of behavior is not the behavior of a serious Dharma student, much less a “tulku,” as he claims to be. But it is the typical behavior of a con man. Be forewarned. For more information on Cassidy’s criminal record, click here.
One of the symptoms or characteristics of psychopathic psychology is total self-absorption. Even a little criticism will send a psychopath into a rage of wild self-defense. They are dead serious about themselves and think they know it all, so when anyone suggests otherwise, they totally lose control. This is the modus operandi of Bill Cassidy, the man who wants to be tulku.
Several days ago Cassidy flew into one of his periodic rages and went into a two day rant on Twitter. Then, as is his habit, he locked all his pseudonymous accounts so that no replies could be made to his rants. The next day he put up a post on his blog to continue his self-defense by invoking his usual explanation for everything when people call him on it, namely that everything is emptiness and therefore doesn’t exist, so it doesn’t matter what he says or does. This is a sad perversion of the Dharma. But what is worse, he then quotes the Diamond Sutra in his defense, except that it is really not the Diamond Sutra at all that he quotes. Instead he has had the chutzpah to rewrite the sutra so that it appears to justify his antisocial behavior.
Thus have I heard. At one time the Lord was staying near Savatthi in the Jeta Wood at Anathapindika’s monastery. On that occasion the Lord was instructing, rousing, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus with a Dhamma talk connected with Nibbana, and those bhikkhus, being receptive and attentive and concentrating the whole mind, were intent on listening to Dhamma.
Then, on realizing its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance:
“There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.
This is not the Diamond Sutra.
The actual sutra reads as follows:
This is what I heard one time when the Buddha was staying in the monastery in Anathapindika’s park in the Jeta Grove near Sravasti with a community of 1,250 bhiksus, fully ordained monks. That day, when it was time to make the round for alms, the Buddha put on his sanghati robe and, holding his bowl, went into the city of Sravasti to seek alms food, going from house to house. When the alms round was completed, he returned to the monastery to eat the midday meal. Then he put away his sanghati robe and his bowl, washed his feet, arranged his cushion, and sat down.
At that time, the Venerable Subhuti stood up, bared his right shoulder, put his knee on the ground, and, folding his palms respectfully, said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, it is rare to find someone like you. You always support and show special confidence in the bodhisattvas.
“World-Honored One, if sons and daughters of good families want to give rise to the highest, most fulfilled awakened mind, what should they rely on and what should they do to master their thinking?”… The Buddha said to Subhuti, “This is how the bodhisattva mahasattvas master their thinking.” However many species of living beings there are — whether born from eggs, from the womb, from moisture, or spontaneously; whether they have form or do not have form; whether they have perceptions or do not have perceptions; or whether it cannot be said of them that they have perceptions or that they do not have perceptions, we must lead all these beings to the ultimate nirvana so that they can be liberated. And when this innumerable, immeasurable, infinite number of beings has become liberated, we do not, in truth, think that a single being has been liberated.’ ”Why is this so? If, Subhuti, a bodhisattva holds on to the idea that a self, a person, a living being, or a life span exists, that person is not an authentic bodhisattva…”
The point of this passage of the sutra, called The Vajracchedika Prajñaparamita Sutra, is not to show that emptiness = nothingness. That is nihilism, which was specifically denied by Lord Buddha. Note that the Buddha here is talking about the existence of a self, not the existence of the elements or the world or the sun and the moon. Emptiness as taught by Lord Buddha has to do with the direct experience of reality without condition or filter, not that nothing is real and thus doesn’t matter. What he is teaching here is that the self does not exist, not that the world does not exist. The self is the product of our own deluded perception. In other words, it has no existence outside of our belief that it does. Cassidy twists the meaning to say that nothing exists, not the four elements, not the world, not the sun and the moon. If that were so, it would make the perfect excuse to get away with anything on the grounds that nothing really matters ultimately. Nothing, however, could be further from what the Buddha actually taught.
Note also that in the original there was not even any mention of the four elements, the world, or the sun and moon. Pure fabrication on Cassidy’s part. Not only do the subtleties of the original sutra escape Cassidy, but he chooses to ignore them and create his own fabrication in the name of the Buddha!
It is truly sad to see such a perversion of the Dharma as taught by Lord Buddha, and what is most sickening about this post is the extreme megalomania of any individual who would rewrite the sutras to serve his own selfish ends. Bill Cassidy knows no limits in pursuing his endless attempts at self-justification in the face of his total ignorance of the essence of the Dharma. It also illustrates how dangerous he can be when confronted with his own illness. Cassidy might have benefited from reading on a few paragraphs below the passage he subverted. There it says:
Five hundred years after the Tathagata has passed away, there will still be people who enjoy the happiness that comes from observing the precepts. When such people hear these words, they will have faith and confidence that here is the truth. We should know that such people have sown seeds not only during the lifetime of one Buddha, or even two, three, four, or five Buddhas, but have, in truth, planted wholesome seeds during the lifetimes of tens of thousands of Buddhas. Anyone who, for only a second, gives rise to a pure and clear confidence upon hearing these words of the Tathagata, the Tathagata sees and knows that person, and he or she will attain immeasurable happiness because of this understanding. Why?
“Because that kind of person is not caught up in the idea of a self, a person, a living being, or a life span. They are not caught up in the idea of a dharma or the idea of a non-dharma. They are not caught up in the notion that this is a sign and that is not a sign. Why? If you are caught up in the idea of a dharma, you are also caught up in the ideas of a self, a person, a living being, and a life span. If you are caught up in the idea that there is no dharma, you are still caught up in the ideas of a self, a person, a living being, and a life span. That is why we should not get caught up in dharmas or in the idea that dharmas do not exist…”
In his post, “Wind Divination” on Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar on Thursday, July 1, we have yet another example of William Cassidy’s (aka Tenpa Rinpoche) strange mixture of interesting facts, gratuitous self-promotion, and outright fabrication to make himself look important and associate himself with well-known lamas. He does this often, offering up something that appears interesting (and often actually is) and then mixing in his own blend of insidious suggestion and bravado to reel the reader into his web of lies.
After describing a Chinese movie he watched, Red Cliff, a recent (2008) John Woo production based on a crucial episode in ancient Chinese history which was decided by a feng jiao wind divination, Cassidy describes an alleged conversation he had with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1971, also claiming that the Vidyadhara had “officiated” at his (Cassidy’s) wedding in Barnet, Vermont (where Tail of the Tiger, now known as Karme Choling, had been established in 1970). There is, of course, no way to verify that such a meeting ever took place or indeed that Cassidy ever had a conversation with Trungpa Rinpoche. Cassidy claims to have been a “drinking buddy” of Trungpa around that time, though no one at Shambhala who was around in those days has any memory at all of Cassidy. In fact, in 1971 Trungpa Rinpoche was very occupied with setting up Karma Dzong in Boulder, Colorado, as well as the birth of his first child that year. More likely, this is yet another attempt by Cassidy to associate himself with an important lama, and since Trungpa Rinpoche passed away in 1987, virtually impossible to refute or verify at this late date.
He then gives a description of how feng jiao works, claiming along the way that he had written a “small booklet” on the subject way back in 1980. No evidence exists that he ever wrote such a “booklet”, however, other than, of course, his word. He did write a “small booklet” on it in 1998, however, so perhaps he got his dates confused. There have been several scholarly works written on or including feng jiao, however, including the one by Michael Loewe and others by Alan Berkowitz, Joseph Needham, Livian Kohn, Clifford Pickover, and many others.
Feng jiao appears to have been originally practiced by fangshi, Chinese alchemists who attempted to control nature through the use of various divination techniques. These techniques were then adopted by Taoists. It is interesting how Cassidy’s interest in feng jiao is very much intertwined with his interest in crow divination, all of which fits into Cassidy’s obsession with black magic, which he admits to practicing. Crows have long been associated with black magic, usually as a messenger of some sort or a protector but also as an agent of a curse or spell. By his own admission he uses black magic to accomplish his ends. Unfortunately for him, however, all his black magic and con artistry will never gain him what he really lusts after - to be recognized as enlightened, and specifically to be recognized as a tulku.
He closes with his usual mumbo-jumbo pseudo-Buddhist interpretation of what he has just been discussing. One can take it for what it’s worth, which isn’t much.