What is criminal behavior? How does it manifest? If we could solve the problem, would we? These are tough questions, and hard to answer. Over the years this country has decided vis`-a-vis´ on what law is, and what isn’t; what defines criminal activity that deserves punishment, and what isn’t. We support our “fore fathers” in their efforts of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights (our Amendments), and LAW. Are we living their intention today?
Where do we draw the line on what is okay to say, and what isn’t. Does someone deserve the right to free speech at the cost of threatening one’s life? Does it make it okay to say anything you want, at the expense of causing one to live in constant fear? Sure, free speech is important, and we believe that most Americans support the First Amendment. The case U.S. v. William Cassidy is not really about free speech. It’s about a man who cyber-stalked a woman for over three years saying defaming, harassing and threatening comments over blogs and twitter accounts to no end; up to hundreds of tweets a day, and long rambling blog posts on several different blogs, under disguise. This, is criminal. William Cassidy has a long history of conning people, women in particular, and then abusing them. In this recent letter that made its way from his cell to cyber world, he speaks of his attendant who has left him with nothing…do we really need to tell you who that is? Ask the question, why is he not welcome back to his “ranch?”
Some on twitter would have you believe that our amendments are in the balance, redirecting what really happened. These folks want to pick a fight over a cause, completely dismissing what really happened, and lead you to believe that the victim in the case is actually the wrong doer. This is classic criminal behavior. Dragging the EFF into this federal matter, and the slander that has taken place across Twitter and Google+ are people wanting to lead you away from what really happened. Andrew Wilson and his traumatic experience with the FBI is all about him. Why DID the FBI bust down his door? Hmmm. Oh, I guess Grand Jurors are just handing out indictments like Halloween candy. We don’t think so.
This letter circulating (in the small circle that it is) is nothing other than another trick of William Cassidy, trying to con his way out of a bed he made. So, what really happened? Let’s look at the facts:
History: William Cassidy, convicted felon of aggravated assault for domestic violence; burning down his ex-wife’s business.
He has moved from town to town, always the same story; he needs money, dying man (apparently he has stage IV lung cancer for about five years with no chemotherapy—what?), pulling the strings of women across the land; preying upon the innocent and vulnerable. We call these people scavengers, or worse. Scavengers at least help us clean the Earth. By the way, notice the manipulation on words in the letter about the surgeries as if it were heart related. Don’t be fooled, could have been something as simple as…kidney stones, maybe.
After his arrest and detainment, we learn that his “attendant” no longer wishes for him to return, and has had no contact with him, nor does she want any. Good decision, “attendant.” What does that say about Cassidy? A brain that uses logic can figure this one out.
William Cassidy is obviously desperate, reaching out to likeminded maniacs who choose pride and ego over compassion and kindness. They want you to believe that your rights are being threatened. No one is threatening the amendments or rights. Rather, a recognized and enthroned Tulku is trying to live her life without being defamed, harassed and threatened. She is attempting to maintain the establishment of Dharma in the United States. She does come with controversy; so did Martin Luther King, Trungpa Rinpoche, and Eleanor Roosevelt (to name a few). You don’t have to see it her way. If you choose not to, then fine. Practice what you practice, but it’s not necessary to then spend hours on the internet, tweet after tweet in an obsessive manic circle of lies. How is that the American way? Get a job, or a hobby that brings some benefit.
If your purpose is to formulate defaming tweets and Google+ diatribe with your morning coffee, sounds like you’re the miserable one.
Is this normal behavior?
Excessive pride, along with low self-esteem is a false front designed to protect an undervalued self. Displaying neurotic pride underlies an appearance of self-contempt and low self-esteem. Further, the nature of self-hate points toward the intertwined relationship between neurotic pride and self-contempt.
Tending to talk excessively, and boast about oneself, believing oneself to be better and more important than others is what we define as egotistical. Again, underneath is the undervalued self, neurotic pride that manifest in a twisted turn of attacks on another person, in order to feel valued.
This can take many shapes, and unfortunately turn into actions that this country has deemed inappropriate, illegal, insane, or all of the above. This whole mess on the Internet between Jetsunma and Cassidy is a lot like the John Grishams book, A Time To Kill, where the trial is about a black man who kills two white men. It takes place in Mississippi where “coloreds” still live on the other side oftown. The prosecutor, and his lovers would have you believe that the black man had broken every article in the constitution, but what was really happening is that those two white men brutally raped, beaten, and pissed on a ten year girl and then threw her off a bridge to drop 30 feet, leaving her to die. But,she lived and was brave enough to tell the world what had happened to her. This ten year old girl was the black man’s daughter. How hard would you fight for something or someone you love? In the wake of burning down homes, threatening town members and reinstituting the KKK, the black man was freed, and justice prevailed.
Cassidy and his lovers would have you believe that we are dealing with an issue of free speech and a violation of unreasonable search andseizure. The FBI had probable cause to knock down two doors in February of this year; one in California, and one in Oregon. One arrest was made. Andy Wilson preaches that his Miranda rights were violated (he wasn’t arrested therefore Miranda is not warranted). Cassidy and his lovers are saying Jetsunma is responsible for Cassidy’s arrest, and Wilson’s PTSD. Why not blame the people that did it (thatwould be the Federal Bureau of investigation). Do you really think that Jetsunma has that kind of control over the U.S. Government? Really?
Jetsunma is the victim in a federal criminal case that is about Cassidy violating a federal statue of stalking. Period. Make it out to be something else if it beats your drum, but let’s keep the facts straight.
Lastly, we ask you…the reader to take a moment. Sit back in a comfortable chair, close your eyes and imagine that your whole life’s work is turned upside down, twisted into lies, distorted and projected into manically driven rants from people that don’t even know you. They threaten you to the point where you don’t feel safe to leave your home. All you can do is try to move forward, go on with your life, but you can’t because every time you turn a corner, someone from far off, who never met you, is calling you names, mocking your livelihood, and spreading lies about you. Imagine yourself being a woman, and being called fat, stupid, a cunt (that’s right, the “C” word), bitch, whore, every day for three years, in public. Is that okay to you? Does that sound okay to you? Does that violate some kind of right? As if whore, bitch, and cunt aren’t enough, they attack your family, friends, and way of life. How would you feel if they called your son and daughter names, with no claims, only the motivation to torment you, publically, and hide behind the First Amendment. Is this what our fore fathers intended? For you, to sit back and call someone on the internet a cunt, every day for three years just because you don’t like her?
On a final note, some of our readers have left comments indicating that this is Jetsunma’s blog. Let’s get this straight. This is not Jetsunma’s blog. We are a group of writers that happen to be dharma students in the Nyingma tradition, and live in different parts of the country. We are struck by what has happened to a Buddhist organization and community, which has been in turbulent waters for a long time, and believe at the root of the issue it is because she is female, and yes, comes with controversy. If you don’t like Jetsunma’s outspoken way, then go about your life. We have not witnessed her forcing anyone to go her way. Why should people be allowed to say what they want, even if it’s disgusting, untrue, and threatening, and yet she can’t talk about compassion, loving kindness, and engage folks to save dogs, birds, and people?
Well, my friends, that’s leaving her hanging her out to dry…and that’s just criminal.
There has been a lot of talk about the book, Buddha From Brooklyn, written and published in the 1990s by Martha Sherrill. During the course of research, our writers noticed the nice and relatively new website by Martha Sherrill: http://marthasherrill.com/. Martha now lives in Massachusetts with her family after spending time in California, and the Washington DC area. She has published four books, one of which is a story of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, the founder and spiritual director of Kunzang Palyul Choling, a Buddhist temple in Maryland. For more information on Jetsunma and KPC you can visit their website at www.tara.org. Sherrill’s book was written from her very ordinary perspective. In fact, we are told that it wasn’t until the book was published that members of KPC actually knew what was going to be in the book. Apparently Sherrill put a nice little fictitious twist about half way through the book without any facts to back up her claims. We are told that members of KPC were shocked to read what actually came out in the book.
One could argue that the damage the book has caused to Jetsunma and KPC is tremendous (it’s been posted all over the internet, and even used in William Cassidy’s defense tactics). However, we have found many in our research that indicated it was how they found KPC, and so grateful that they did. The controversy did not sway them from wanting to know more about Buddhism, and Jetsunma. Further, after learning of Jetsunma’s recognition by the late His Holiness Penor Rinpoche and the tremendous support from His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, any doubt soon dissipated http://protectingnyingma2.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/smokescreen/.
Sherrill has no comment regarding her book, or the lies the book holds, even after the confession of Michelle Grissom, who was interviewed in depth by Sherrill for the book and spoke many untruths herself. http://icarusancalion.livejournal.com/894371.html
We are told that some folks from KPC actually tried to make contact with Martha, and she wouldn’t return phone calls or emails. They simply wanted to understand why she wrote stories about them that were not true. Perhaps she was more interested in fame instead of the truth.
Let’s ask a few questions. How does one write such a book about a recognized and enthroned Tulku, yet doesn’t even consider herself Buddhist? How is it that she would understand the Teacher / Student relationship, which is the very heart of Vajrayana Buddhism. No, Martha was looking for a story, and took something precious, made Hollywood out of it, and then called it non-fiction.
We found a quote from Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo that seems appropriate here:
“The enemy is a Dharma in disguise. Gently observe subjective/ objective hope/fear and gain experience to go deeper.”
Today’s Internet is filled with egotistical humans claiming to have levels of accomplishments, yet they have no credentials to support their claims, and in the process of emitting self-indulgent lies, they attack the real warriors of the Buddhist Path.
Why do such actions transpire, and how can they be tamed?
First, one has to evaluate what a real warrior of the Buddhist Path is and means. Dharma refers to the teachings and doctrines of the founders of Buddhism. Warrior is defined as a brave or experienced soldier or fighter. In Dharma, being a warrior means maintaining the strength and dignity in a situation, making sure that when the Buddhadharma is being presented, it is presented in a proper and clear atmosphere.
Chogyam Trungpa talked a lot about this sort of thing. The dharma warrior is about creating the space and container so the Teachings of the Buddha can come forth. They are not about vomiting self-indulgencies, quoting movie lines that mock the teachings, or ad libbing poetry and song that defames Dharma. The Teachings of the Buddha are pure and should be treated with respect, or they will not exist. If the real warriors cannot create the container for the Vajra Masters to appear and teach, then there will not be proper space for the Dharma to come forth.
In this regard, and from this perspective, the dharma warrior has a lot of responsibility. Real warriors on the Buddhist Path understand that their role is not just about cleaning up other’s messes, but about something more; to allow the Teachers to extend even further, so that they can have a very expansive vision for the benefit of all sentient beings. Real dharma warriors don’t worry so much about worldly items or approval in Dharma, or being some hot shot meditator, monk or nun. Trungpa spoke a lot about this in his writings on spiritual materialism. The writers at Protecting Nyingma appreciate Trungpa Rinpoche’s pioneering work in the United States during his short life.
Because the teachings are true and powerful, they present a real challenge to one’s ego. In Vajrayana Buddhism, this is why the Dharmapalas are so important; they are protectors of the Dharma, and will repel that which is harmful to the Teachers and the Teachings. They are wrathful deities, often times with different colors, multiple heads, arms and legs – each aspect representing and symbolizing something very specific and for purposeful. These warriors have the single-pointed focus of protecting that, which is true and powerful.
We are not in the time when Shakyamuni Buddha walked the Earth, rather we find ourselves amidst technology beyond our imagination, convenience at our fingertips, and the ability to arm one man or woman in warfare enough to wipe out an entire town. We also find ourselves in a time when spirituality is declining, and people’s interest in the basic principles of kindness and compassion wane. We are in a time when our Teachers are mocked, provoked to break vows, and rarely properly greeted. Only the real dharma warriors still embrace the richness of tradition and ritual. Those not interested pursuing the Buddhist Path as intended merely dance with it for entertainment, and then call themselves accomplished.
When one’s ego is so inflamed that they are compelled to defame and mock Buddhist Masters and the Buddhist Teachings, they do so from pride and ignorance, and have no accomplishment, only higher levels of hatred, anger and resentment. Dharma warriors present obstacles to these folks from motivation to protect the Dharma. In fact, real dharma warriors perceive themselves as having the responsibility of repelling those who defame the Dharma; it is their duty to present obstacles to the neurotic tendency of others who wish to bring harm to the Teachers and the Teachings. They help facilitate one’s access to the Dharma, and align themselves with the Bodhisattva mentality. The more real dharma warriors carry out their duties, the more the ego of the one looking simply for entertainment becomes inflamed and resentful. Such individuals begin to call themselves names that represent something precious out of mockery, and attempt to entice others to join them. The old saying, misery loves company becomes real in their lives.
When you can understand the role and responsibility of the real dharma warrior, then you can begin to understand why real warriors don’t step down, step away, or give up. They have taken the vow of protecting the dharma, and that is their charge; not for themselves, but for the benefit of bringing forth the dharma for all sentient beings, including the very ones that bring harm to them and the teachings. That is the ultimate compassion.
Real dharma warriors practice meditation, keep their vows, have generosity towards others and most importantly have devotion to the Guru. They do not meddle in other religions, call it something that they like, and then create their own second hand give away.
What the attention seekers fail to understand is that Vajra Masters are indestructible, just like the very Vajra itself. So, in the end what is really happening, is those who seek to mock, play dress up, and bring shame to dharma are simply creating the causes for their next life. Oy!
Tom Fry, also known as the Venerable Konchog Norbu has been looking for a home since mid-2009, wandering from East Coast to West Coast, back to East Coast when he packed his bags and left his Spiritual Friend of more than 20 years. His most recent attempt was to land on the sacred lily pad of Palyul, in New York and the Palyul Ling Retreat Center. When told no, that he needed to make amends with his Root Teacher and then it would be considered, he promptly packed his bags yet again, and fled to Vermont to take care of his aging mother, which is a virtuous thing to do, however, we here at Protecting Nyingma question the motivation and intention behind the virtuous act. Unfortunately, it happens in Buddhism just like in other religions of sentient beings performing seemingly kind acts with poor motivation, or ulterior motive.
Don’t be surprised if the ego centric monk shows up at your Dharma Center looking for bed and breakfast. He may present the idea that he is a scholar and that for a nice place to sleep, and food to eat, he is happy to talk to anyone who will listen to his stories of Mongolia and perhaps Bozeman, Montana where he went “under cover” as a Bitterroot Badger. At first, you may think, “oh, this monk knows a few things about Dharma.” And, all seems keen. However, remember this is the same monk who turned his back on his Spiritual Guide, Friend and Teacher. Konchog Norbu has been a Vajrayana Buddhist Practitioner for practically two decades, so one would think that he understands that the Guru-Disciple Relationship is the very heart of Vajrayana Buddhism.
Why did Konchog pack his bags and leave his Teacher?
Given that this is an investigative reporting blog, specifically for Buddhists, we like to present more facts, and less opinion. One of our investigators stumbled upon Konchog’s connection to the Buddhist community under the Spiritual direction of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo known as Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC). This is the same Buddhist organization that William Cassidy infiltrated and took advantage of in 2007, and then defamed, harassed and threatened until his arrest earlier this year by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and transported to the state of Maryland by US Marshalls, where the US Government obtained an indictment by a Grand Jury to prosecute Mr. Cassidy with a federal criminal charge of cyber stalking. Jetsunma is the victim in the federal criminal case. http://protectingnyingma2.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/united-states-v-william-cassidy-811-cr-00091/
In 2007, Konchog befriended Mr. Cassidy over the course of a few months, corresponding primarily through blogs. Konchog soon reverend Mr. Cassidy, who was portraying himself as a Buddhist Master (http://protectingnyingma2.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/the-tulku-not/) called Tenpa Rinpoche. Konchog, being a close student of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo repeatedly requested that his teacher meet with “Tenpa.” Late in 2007, Jetsunma was going on retreat in Arizona and agreed to meet Mr. Cassidy. This was the beginning of a long and harrowing experience so we are told. Essentially, it was Konchog who made the connection between Mr. Cassidy and Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo. We are also told that Konchog developed a close relationship with Mr. Cassidy. Perhaps Cassidy promised Konchog something in return for his devotion?
How did Konchog find “Tenpa?” Essentially, the Blogosphere. In 2007, both Konchog and Cassidy were devout Bloggers, spreading what they perceived as wisdom. We have another word for it but will refrain as it is not really necessary to say.
“There are glorious traditions with unbroken lineages to which we owe our opportunities for freedom, and those who break their vows to these lineages in order to fabricate something new should not seek to inveigle others with fraudulent home grown doctrines of sanitized teachings.” ~Rigdzin Dorje, Dangerous Friend.
It seems as if Konchog believing that Mr. Cassidy was this Tenpa Rinpoche, might have been enamored by him, as they share similar qualities, such as gloating and being prideful, thinking you are someone of authority, when you’re not. It seems that both of them miss the boat in understanding that Vajrayana is really only accessible through promise, and not just another process. “The Lama, the vajra master, is central to Vajrayana and without the vajra master to abuse our fixation with duality we are merely the slaves of dualistic rationale.” (Dorje, pg. 76).
Unfortunately there was a lot of negative posts and commentary toward Jetsunma and her organization on William Cassidy’s blog, Digital Tibetan Buddhist Alter, throughout 2008, even while he served time in a state prison in Nevada (http://protectingnyingma2.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/william-l-cassidy-a-conpendium/). Meanwhile, Konchog returned to Mongolia to deal with the issue that someone had stolen a Palyul throne that he had facilitated in getting built and was holding it ransom. Turns out that somehow the Mongolian mafia acquired the throne while Konchog had been in the United States, and he needed to return and resolve those issues. Once back in Mongolia, he got very sick with a respiratory condition and went to Australia to convalesce. He returned to Mongolia for a short period as he lost his penthouse and had no lily pad to jump to. He returned to Maryland in the Fall of 2008, and was granted permission to stay in the Buddhist Temple of which he belong (KPC). He did return to Mongolia a few months later to oversee the completion of translation of dharma texts, and to engage in a few political endeavors. However, he languished there with little to do, and in 2009, Jetsunma being his Spiritual Teacher and Buddhist master, asked him to return home. Her community was in the thick of being “attacked” by Cassidy, and she as well as the community needed his help. Sources tell us he was very upset and distressed upon returning.
One would think that since he had been the original connection, he would be eager to return home and help his Teacher and sangha. Sources tell us that he did return, but reluctantly and with argument. OK…we sentient beings can definitely throw our fits, and it’s the Guru’s job to upset the lily pads in our pond. Seems like a reasonable to request to us.
What was the Mongolian project anyway?
Apparently in the late 1990’s, the wife of the Mongolian ambassador and her husband visited Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC) and were impressed by its size and beauty and the quality of the teachings that were being presented there. One thing led to another, and in the end the Mongolians invited KPC to help them restore what they had lost in Mongolia.
At the time, Mongolia was emerging from a 65 year-long nightmare of Communist oppression and suppression in which all traces Buddhism had been systematically purged. Monasteries, temples and temple lands had all, except for a few showplaces, been destroyed, thousands of monks had been murdered, sent to labor camps in Siberia (from which few returned) or forced to drop their robes and marry. Tulkus and lamas were not exempt, and many were also murdered. In the bloodless revolution of 1990 (officially known as “The Peaceful Democratic Revolution in Mongolia”), however, Communism was replaced by a democratic constitutional government and a market economy.
Post-revolution it was discovered that the Mongolians had not forgotten their rich Buddhist past, despite the sustained efforts of the Communists to erase the religion. In fact, a poll taken shortly after the revolution revealed that fully 95% of Mongolians self-identified as Buddhist. But the method of Buddhism had been greatly crippled by 65 years of brutal suppression. Only a very few individuals survived who recalled how things were before the Communists cracked down on Buddhism in the 1930s. Therefore they were reaching out to other nations where Vajrayana Buddhism was established for assistance in rebuilding their heritage.
The irony of an old Buddhist culture like Mongolia turning to a Western country in which Buddhism was still a novelty and still in the process of becoming established is evident. But the invitation was accepted, and in 2005 Konchog Norbu left for Mongolia to see how to best assist the Mongolians. He joined the efforts of various Tibetan lamas and the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, Lama Zopa’s organization, who were already on the ground in Mongolia. The latter organization proved to be particularly generous and helpful to KPC’s efforts.
A mutually beneficial relationship was struck between Konchog and the abbot of a monastery, Dush Lama, and the Takhilch or caretaker of Danzan Ravjaa’s legacy, Altangerel. The position of Takhilch is a hereditary one identified by a singular birthmark and is responsible for guarding the legacy of Danzan Ravjaa, which included hiding his treasures from the Communists when they came to destroy the monastery in the 1930s. It was soon determined that the best way Konchog could help the Mongolians was to sponsor their young men and women to go to India to become fully trained monks and nuns at Namdroling Monastery, the seat of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, then the Supreme Head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, and also to supply the essential texts of the Nyingma School to the Mongolians.
Konchog made a few trips back and forth between Mongolia and the US, and soon this became known as the “Mongolian Buddhist Revival Project.” (MBRP)
By 2007, MBRP was firmly established with Konchog Norbu living full-time in Mongolia. Konchog remained active in supporting young men and women who were being sent to India to become fully trained monks and nuns as well as providing the Nyingma canon to various monasteries and temples throughout the country. He also provided a running commentary on his blog, Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa. ( http://danzanravjaa.typepad.com/). It was through this blog that Cassidy first contacted him.
In early 2008, Konchog was plugging Cassidy’s writings, such as his “Prayer for all the world’s deserts” and his book, High Desert, saying about it, “I’m stunned by it: it’s one of the most exquisite expressions of the sublime dharma I’ve ever read in English or any other language…”
Disappointed about his move back to Maryland after such intense involvement in Mongolia, sources tell us that Konchog had grown resentful. He didn’t return to his Buddhist community very much, and eventually left landing in Montana, calling himself a Bitterroot Badger, and seemingly cut all ties to Jetsunma, his Root Teacher. Ironically, this was also during the time that Twitter exploded with tweets from an avatar called “crystalsally” who immediately began defaming and threatening Jetsunma, as well as other members of Jetsunma’s Buddhist community. “Crystalsally” eventually morphed into “Vajragurl,” and both interestingly disappeared from the planet when Cassidy was arrested by the FBI earlier this year. Perhaps Konchog’s departure was strategic.
The Buddha taught that time is not linear but cyclic. Traditionally it is said that the world goes through four cycles in an age, or kalpa. During the time of the Buddha’s life the world was in a different cycle than it is now. It was easy to practice, and many attained enlightenment in one lifetime just by contemplating the Buddha’s teachings and practicing meditation. That situation no longer exists. Now we are in the age known as Kaliyuga, a time when karma is very condensed and ripens quickly.
As Jamgon Mipham, a famous Nyingma master of the Nineteenth Century describes it:
The Buddhist tradition calls our time the Kaliyuga, an era of increasing darkness, heaviness, disorder and friction. In symbolic terms it is said that eons ago, beings had bodies of light, but over time, their embodiment grew more material and more dense. In psychological terms, people feel more constrained on all sides by limitations, obstacles and obligations. Individual lives grow more painful and complicated; the sense of personal integrity weakens, and even simple honesty becomes a difficult practice. Manipulation and aggression rule the day, and society is beset with rules that attempt to restrain the increasingly selfish orientation of its members.
If you have lived any length of time and have been paying any attention at all, this is not news to you. You no doubt have seen the quality of life degrade in many ways during just your own brief lifetime. But as time is considered cyclic, there will come a day when the cycle will begin anew, and better times will arrive.
The good news about Kaliyuga is that it is a particularly good time to practice the Dharma. Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo describes it this way:
“This time of Kaliyuga is extremely contracted. Karma is thick. It isn’t spread out and dispersed over a great, long field. Rather, it is drawn in. It is a time of contraction, and karma ripens much more quickly than it used to ripen…Under these conditions, Vajrayana can actually do the most good…we can see cause and effect relationships more readily. We are suffering, and we are suffering just enough to help us be convinced that suffering is a reality. Therefore we are willing to practice. We realize the benefit of practice because we truly do wish to attain enlightenment.”
The down side of Kaliyuga, however, is that the Buddha prophesied that the Dharma would disappear from the earth during these times. True Buddhist masters would be ridiculed and attacked, while false teachers would abound. Confusion and chaos would increase throughout the world, resulting in even more wars and natural disasters. Sentient beings would remain lost in cyclic existence, wandering from one life to the next in the six realms of cyclic existence, hell, hungry ghost (preta), animal, human, jealous god and god realms, until the next Buddha, Maitreya, appears in the world to teach the Dharma once again.
Unfortunately, the incident with Cassidy is not an isolated event. Other manifestations of Kaliyuga have also occurred that intertwine with the Cassidy story that make the whole sad event even more painful and damaging to the Dharma.
When Cassidy was released from prison for his violation of probation, he made it a priority to bring down not only Jetsunma and KPC, but the whole of Palyul as well. He spread vicious gossip about His Holiness Penor Rinpoche and other Palyul lamas, all of which was outright lies and distortions. Cassidy found a golden opportunity when he found Tulku Ogyen, a young Palyul lama who was trying to establish himself in the United States. When Tulku Ogyen was visiting a small Palyul center in Alhambra, California, to give several empowerments, the students at the center introduced him to Cassidy, who was dressed in his best fake tulku robes, and asked Rinpoche if he would please write a long life prayer for him as he was very ill. Unfortunately Tulku Ogyen fell for the scam and wrote a prayer for him.
Cassidy had claimed on his blog that he had personally translated two of the texts used by Tulku Ogyen in one of the empowerments. When asked about this, Tulku Ogyen denied any knowledge of Cassidy translating any of the texts he used in the empowerments and said he had never met or heard of him before that day.
Not long thereafter, in January, 2010, Cassidy somehow managed to con Tulku Ogyen into visiting his residence in Lucerne Valley and bless the property. He then shamelessly touted the event on his blog, suggesting that this somehow validated his claim to be a tulku and indicated that he had promised to will his compound to Tulku Ogyen following his supposedly imminent death. Not long thereafter he showed up as the webmaster for Tulku Ogyen’s blog, even placing a link to his own blog there. A number of identical posts were placed on both blogs, indicating he had total control of what went on Tulku Ogyen’s blog. He also began making suggestions on Twitter that Tulku Ogyen was preparing to formally recognize and enthrone him as a tulku. A bogus tweet on Twitter, which pretended to be from Tulku Ogyen, claimed that Cassidy had been recognized by none other than His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche. Of course, at the time Cassidy was tweeting on Tulku Ogyen’s Twitter account (Tulku Ogyen speaks very limited English).
Cassidy’s specious promise to give him the compound at Lucerne Valley following his death (which he promised would be soon due to his advanced cancer) must have been particularly enticing to a young lama unfamiliar with the scams and schemers that abound in the West. You can read more here: (http://protectingnyingma2.wordpress.com/?s=Tulku+Ogyen). It has been confirmed by Tulku Ogyen that he did in fact visit Cassidy’s property with a Palyul monk as his attendant. The monk has confirmed to Protecting Nyingma investigators as well. Tulku Ogyen continued to allow Cassidy to run his blog until Cassidy’s arrest by the FBI. Tulku Ogyen’s reaction to Cassidy’s arrest are unknown.
“If one cannot be free to give up the sovereignty of one’s narcissistic rational, Vajrayana becomes meaningless. If we fail to recognize the compassionate nature of vajra relationship as the heart of Vajrayana, then we are left merely with a prosaic esoteric pastime.” (Dorje, pg.77)
Konchog Norbu fled from the West coast to the Palyul New York retreat center looking for a new lily pad, and was told to make amends with his Root Teacher. This story tells you something about the kind of monk he once was (or maybe it was all a façade?) and the kindness of his Teacher. It’s a story that tells the reader about how karma can ripen for any of us, at any moment, which is why the Guru / student relationship in Vajrayana is so critical. We, as sentient beings, cannot possibly know our karma, or how it will ripen, therefore we must rely upon our Teachers, in particular our Root Teacher. All the masters of Vajrayana Buddhism have spoken about the critical nature of this relationship, and why a Spiritual Guide is so important. Our karma can knock us off our tracks, perhaps for a long time…maybe for countless lifetimes.
“Our perception can certainly become poisoned by narcissism, and the result of indulgence in such a self-centered rationale can certainly lead to hellish mind states in which one tortures oneself with one’s own self-aggrandizing concepts. To be unable to trust and have confidence in a lama who has shown us nothing but kindness, who exhibits endless patience and energy in helping others, and who has invested significant time and effort in our spiritual welfare, is clearly an unfortunate psychological state. To regard something as valuable and important, to take the major step of committing oneself to a teacher, and then to come to despise that the teacher is its own unique form of personal psychological hell. If we continue to prioritize our narcissism, we may start to see negative motivation in the lama’s actions, and begin judging everything about the lama by the unreliable, dualistic yardstick of our deluded rational. Our whole experience of the relationship will become diseased, poisoned, and hellish if we view it through the lens of our own self-interest.
We will also do severe damage to ourselves as practitioners, not only of Vajrayana but of any spiritual path. It would be extremely difficult ever again to trust anything apart from our own self-serving perception, and therefore difficult or impossible to make any kind of wholehearted commitment to a teacher or practice in the future. Once we have gone back on our vows, it would be extremely difficult to be able ever to take them again with the same sincerity and enthusiasm. It would require a dramatic shift in perception, and this shift would be as great or greater than the shift we were unable to make that caused the breakage of vows in the first place. Vajrayana practice is not possible without vajra commitment, and so one would lose access to Vajrayana completely. “ (Dorje, pg.43).
Good luck, Konchog Norbu. May your next lily pad be one of return.
And so it goes…
It seems the trial of USA v. William Cassidy is gaining momentum. The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), a non-profit organization founded in 1990, mainly consisting of lawyers, policy analyst, activist and technologists has posted a press release concerning the case, advocating for William Cassidy, stating that it “…filed a friend-of-the-court brief today urging a federal court to block the government’s use of the federal anti-stalking law to prosecute a man for posting criticism of a public figure to Twitter.” You can see the release in its entirety at http://www.eff.org/press/releases.
Federal Public Defender Service attorneys, like the ones that William Cassidy has representing him in this case are not First Amendment specialists or actually terribly tech-savvy kinds of people. They are lawyers, and they probably need a little help to make their arguments. EFF staffs attorneys that are First Amendment attorneys. These attorneys are well-versed in the First Amendment but their focus is on keeping the Internet as free from government intervention as possible – hence their position. It would appear that the US government is dealing with some complicated issues; therefore we at Protecting Nyingma believe that the prosecution was probably expecting such a press release as this one from the EFF.
EFF gets involved with cutting-edge issues on a regular basis, and is simply here for one purpose, which is to advance the Federal Public Defenders’ (FPDS) general First Amendment position that free speech on Twitter should not be a criminal offense. We speculate that the EFF will most likely not get into the evidence and specific facts – that’s for the FPDS. The EFF always appears on the opposite of the issues; this is what they do.
If you would like to read more about the history and background of William Cassidy, you can read more here: http://protectingnyingma2.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/william-l-cassidy-a-conpendium/
We have worked hard at educating all communities about William Cassidy, most especially Buddhists communities. Please grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit in a comfortable chair, and read our blog. It offers extensive knowledge regarding Mr. Cassidy, his past record, and his involvement with malicious intent to harm a Tulku and her organization. We have also written wonderful articles specific to Dharma and we hope you will enjoy those as well. It has truly become a resourceful library of information.
The US Government has arrested and detained Mr. Cassidy on interstate cyberstalking charges. We like to believe that the US Government would have just cause in doing so; otherwise they would not use such valuable resources. It would seem that they take very seriously the protection of US Citizens, and the right to feel safe in one’s home in particular.
Twitter is a website, owned and operated by Twitter Incorporated; offering social networking and micro blogging service, enabling its users to send and read messages called tweets. Tweets are text based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the users profile page. Tweets are publicly visible by default; however senders can restrict message delivery to their friends list. Users may subscribe to other users’ tweets. This is known as “following” and subscribers are known as followers. All users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website.
It’s our understanding that William Cassidy “tweeted” over 8,000 tweets, most of those toward one person, and her Buddhist organization. We suppose if the tweets were beneficial, Dharma related, and composed of compassion and kindness, that would be wonderful. However, they were quite the contrary.
Based on the statue that Mr. Cassidy is being held on, it would appear the charges involve defamation, harassment and threats made toward one individual, who is a recognized Tulku in the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. We can’t imagine the US Government would bring such a case to the US Federal Court system without just cause. The EFF can certainly make their brief, and they have. We here at Protecting Nyingma have vowed to give our readers ALL the facts.
Now, if we could all put some energy (no pun intended) and prayers into the Japan situation, there may be some benefit found.
Enjoy the blog.