Alert! False Tulku Giving Teachings Online!
The site Digital Tibetan Altar is maintained by William L Cassidy, who calls himself Tulku Tenpa Rinpoche. Although he scorns the value of credentials http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/2009/07/lasting-reflections.html he claims to have them himself http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/2008/01/chewing-on-cannibals.html. It is crucial for anyone visiting that site to be aware that Cassidy (aka Tulku Tenpa Rinpoche)has a criminal history and does not have any authentic claim to a pure lineage. Additionally, if you look through his copious entries, you find no reference to his lineage or any evidence that he was indeed recognized by any Tibetan Master beyond his own words. His credentials are his own fabrication. You will note that he draws from Lineages randomly, putting together his own “teachings” based on whatever teaching, practice or Lama he is interested in at the moment. This is counter to Vajrayana Buddhism.
To those unfamiliar with Vajrayana Buddhism, these issues are extremely significant. Sogyal Rinpoche outlines the importance of Lineage, especially in this time of Dharma emerging in the West, in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying as follows:
“The West has become a haven for spiritual charlatans. In the case of a scientist, you can verify who is genuine and who is not, because other scientists can check their background and test their findings. Yet in the West, without the guidelines and criteria of a thriving and full-fledged wisdom culture, the authenticity of so-called “masters” is almost impossible to establish. Anyone, it seems, can parade as a master and attract a following.
This was not the case in Tibet, where choosing a particular path or teacher to follow was far safer. People coming to Tibetan Buddhism for the first time often wonder why such great importance is placed on lineage, on the unbroken chain of transmission from master to master. Lineage serves as a crucial safeguard: It maintains the authenticity and purity of the teaching. People know who a master is from who his master is. It is not a question of preserving some fossilized, ritualistic knowledge, but of transmitting from heart to heart, from mind to mind, an essential and living wisdom and its skillful and powerful methods.” pg128 The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, copyright 1993 by Rigpa Fellowship published by HarperCollins 1994
It is clear from the above passage, and will be clear in any authentic Vajrayana Buddhist environment, that the Spiritual Master is essential to success on this difficult path. It is not enough to simply become well read in Buddhist scripture. Every sincere practitioner must find a qualified teacher. In the book Mother of Knowledge, translated by Tarthang Tulku, Yeshe Tsogyal is devastated by grief when her Spiritual Master, Guru Rinpoche is leaving the world of human beings, even though she herself has attained full realization and is the repository of all his teachings. She cries out:
“Kye Hud! Orgyan Rinpoche!
A time of thick darkness has come to Tibet:
A time when hermitages are empty;
a time when the Dharma throne is vacant;
a time when vase initiations are no more.
Now we can only guess as to the nature of things;
now we must look to books for teachings;
now we can only visualize the lama;
now we must use images as his substitute;
now we must rely on dreams and visions;
now a grievous time has come!” Mother of Knowledge The Enlightenment of Ye-shes mTsho-rgyal by Namka’I snying-po Translated by Tarthang Tulku copyright 1983 by Dharma Publishing pg155
If you have arrived at this site because you are wondering who “Tulku Tenpa” is, please beware! The Digital Tibetan Altar is a site created by a convicted felon, and con-man. If you are interested in learning about Vajrayana Buddhism and learning from qualified masters, please visit the following sites (note each has a page devoted to it’s lineage masters):
There are many, many resources out there for those interested in exploring Vajrayana Buddhism. The Buddhist teachings expound on the importance of a student being cautious and scrutinizing a would-be teacher in order to choose one with great care, because a student places his most precious posession in the hands of the teacher – his spiritual life. Please do NOT be taken in by this False Tulku.
For more information on the teacher-student relationship here are two books that can get you started: