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.