An altar should inspire one’s faith and support one’s practice on the path to awakening. It’s a place to make offerings and to take refuge. A Tibetan Buddhist altar upholds what the practitioner holds most dear – the face of one’s own enlightenment in the forms of one’s teacher, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
Mr. Cassidy refers to his website as the Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar. Lets take a look at the recent offerings on Mr. Cassidy’s altar. He has posts on the decline and degeneration of the publishing industry and music (negative commentary on Jetsunma’s music that puts mantra, which is indestructible, to modern beats). He has an article called “Buddhist Televangelism: Put Your Hand on the Screen.” In another post he claims that Alcoholics Anonymous doesn’t work. He also has posts about Buddhism and Taiwan’s economy, images of oversized rabbits, tents, and a daily dose of astrology.
Mr. Cassidy peppers his posts with some references to Dharma supports such as Stupas or a Lama. More disturbing are his posts in which he offers his commentary on the meaning of Protectors, or much worse when he claims to offer a White Mahakala “Empowerment” in a series of posts. This is not possible to do. Recognized Tulkus cannot, do not, and would not offer empowerments over the internet. This does not allow for proper transmission from teacher to student. And Mr. Cassidy is not recognized as a Buddhist master. This is not an empowerment, but rather the opposite. This is what he has to offer? Rather than inspire faith, his blog reads like a tabloid.