An Open Message to Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, Head of the Palyul Lineage of Nyingma Buddhism

[May, 2012]

Honored Sir,

I write to you in your official capacity simply to ask: to what extent have you empowered a Tulku named "Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo" (also known as Alyce Zeoli and Catharine Burroughs) to act as a wrathful defender of Palyul, and/or to attack those she believes are engaged in "defiling" Vajrayana Buddhism?

Why do I ask you such a question? You may be aware that last year "Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo" and her students involved the FBI (via some extremely ruthless and expensive lawyers) in an online dispute. As a side-result of various lies she and her sangha told to a Baltimore FBI agent, my home was invaded in the pre-dawn darkness by FBI agents who handcuffed my girlfriend and I at gunpoint and asked us questions about a man named "William Cassidy" aka Tenpa Rinpoche. We were never arrested nor charged with anything at all but our computers and cell phones were seized and briefly held for possible evidence of "crimes" related to the case of US vs. Cassidy. This was all because "Jetsunma" and members of the Kunzang Palyul Choling had decided on their own that I must either be William Cassidy or be someone who knew him closely, and managed to convince the naive and credulous FBI agent that this was the case. I didn't know him.

(Note that US vs. Cassidy has since been thrown out of court by a federal judge who ruled that William Cassidy could not be charged with "cyberstalking" for exercising his Constitutionally protected right to free speech. So, however one feels about Cassidy's background and character, according to Judge Titus the man's civil rights were violated in a dramatic and rather alarming way. As were mine -- and my girlfriend's.)

"Jetsunma" and her group were able to keep from this FBI agent's awareness the fact that she and David Williams and John Buhmeyer aka "Thubten Rinchen Palzang" (the ordained Kunzang Palyul Choling monk now serving a mandatory 20 year prison sentence in Arizona for repeatedly raping a young boy even as William Cassidy sat in a Maryland jail) had previously conducted one of the most sustained and intense cyberhate campaigns in the history of the Internet, and the only such hate campaign to my knowledge ever orchestrated by a Buddhist lineage holder. This cyberhate campaign, directed against William Cassidy, an ex-KPC nun named "Nydia Alexander," and anybody else who "Jetsunma" believed might be connected to him or who she just happened not to like, involved over 100 different Twitter accounts and multiple anonymous blogs dedicated to posting slanderous and defamatory material about "Jetsunma's" critics, and it continued unceasingly for almost an entire year.

William Cassidy is not only a former "inner circle" member of the Kunzang Palyul Choling, but also the man who had either the temerity or the reckless courage to post on the Internet a letter from the former head of Palyul, H. H. Penor Rinpoche, to "Jetsunma" ordering her to stop referring to herself as a "realized person" and to stop teaching Buddhism in his name. Shortly after this happened, "Jetsunma" ordered all her monks and nuns to open Twitter accounts in order to stalk Cassidy and anyone she felt might be connected to him.

When "Jetsunma" confidently identified my Twitter account to her followers as a "sock puppet" for Tenpa Rinpoche, I was deluged by unending attacks from members of this sangha -- up to 100 attacks every single day -- and my online friends had to contend with constant interrogation, interference and mockery for their support of me. These concerted attacks followed the pattern of previous campaigns against individuals whom "Jetsunma" had identified as "enemies" of Palyul, including some famous journalists like Martha Sherrill and Will Blythe:
When it became known that Tenzin Chophak, a recently enthroned tulku and a translator for Penor Rinpoche, was talking openly to me about KPC, his electronic mailbox filled with anonymous hate messages and death threats, among them: "you better watch your back." "Testicular cancer will befall you, and in a hurry, I hope." "You will burn in vajra hell for many kalpas for what you are doing." . . . I, too, was warned, by a former Temple member who, while retaining a fondness for Jetsunma, blamed her for the near collapse of his marriage. 'She will fuck you royally," he said. "She has these people who think she's God. They might come burn your house down, put a bomb in your car. Or they'll put a hex on you and you'll have bad dreams for ten years." -Will Blythe, "Bad Karma," published in Mirabella, 1998.
There is more about all this craziness on my Web site. I would also be glad to answer any questions you might have in greater detail.

Some of those crude and obscene KPC attack blogs and Twitter accounts still exist. Here, for example, is the followers page for @vajragurlpig, a Twitter account set up to insult and harass Nydia Alexander. Note that @JALpalyul, "Jetsunma's" official Twitter account, is listed as one of its followers, along with a number of KPC nuns. Here also is @haunted_spirit, a breathtakingly tasteless Twitter account created solely to insult and harangue William Cassidy in the voice of his deceased mother. Do you, Honored Sir, approve of this type of obsessive, evil online behavior by "Buddhist" nuns and monks claiming to represent Palyul? I assure you that these two Twitter accounts are only the tip of a vast iceberg.

In truth, the Kunzang Palyul Choling's bizarre and distasteful cyberhate campaign is still going on as David Williams and "Jetsunma" vent their ire not only on their old nemesis William Cassidy but also on the federal judge who dismissed the government's case against William Cassidy. Also, they recently published a series of bizarre and threatening posts on their "Protecting Nyingma" website accusing me of having a "relationship" with Cassidy and of flying mysterious helicopters over their Poolesville compound, saying that I ought to "feel the sharp edge of a knife," and repeatedly mentioning the name of my girlfriend which they found via Google search. Is this, Honored Sir, the way you believe the Buddha Dharma ought to function in the West?

Here, for your information, is the full text of a recent series of Twitter posts by this lama:
Nothing new is happening here, this disrespect for pure undefiled Dharma was all predicted as was misunderstanding the Lama's words or Disregarding them entirely, making it up as they go along. This time, when Dharma moved west was expected. My commitment is 2 keep Vajrayana Safe and secure by following the instruction of my perfect TEACHER. I will keep the Transmission of Lineage and Terma from #Palyul undefiled. This is what I am expected to do. And when it is safe and I am healed I will come roaring back triumphant and ready to rock! #Palyul needs Me, sentient beings need me and #women need me. I want to fulfil them all. I keep hearing encouragement from my own; and the cries of the Lost and worldly. The Poor and Hungry. How can I fail? How CAN I give in, leaving beings in suffering? I can't. If anyone prefers another Lama or stage of #Buddhism I'm all for it. If it is REAL. But change Vajrayana or defile #Palyul and you will see the wrathful fangs of the #DAKINI for sure. Be warned. And YES, this IS #LOVE. It is #Boddhicitta in wrathful form. But pure. Wholesome -- and vital.
Granted, the writing in these Twitter posts is childish and sentimental, and the imagery is (as usual) unbelievably cliché. But keep in mind that "Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo" has ample money at her disposal, all raised for Palyul tax-free in the name of charity, to pay ruthless lawyers and private investigators. Also, she and her group have not only threatened many people, but have in the past followed up on their threats. You, Honored Sir, might be interested to know that "Jetsunma" has sent out threats to journalists on letterhead bearing your name and crest as head of Palyul.

"Jetsunma's" followers make extravagant claims about her accomplishment, such as "Genpo Yeshe" (David Williams) claiming on the Kunzang Palyul Choling Web site "Protecting Nyingma" that "there is no one higher [than "Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo"] in the world today," and that "her enlightened wisdom is equal to Padmasambhava's." However, based on my online interactions with "Jetsunma" as well as upon what I've seen of her interactions with other people, I've become convinced that she is mentally ill.

According to an official government document "Jetsunma" spent over 18 months paralyzed with fear, leaving her house only to visit a psychiatrist. During that time she received twice-daily briefings by a committee of nine KPC monks and nuns about the most recent activity dealing with her and the KPC on blogs and Twitter. As the FBI agent remarked, "[She] does not believe that she has long to live and believes her professional career is ruined. She has on occasion hired armed guards to protect her residence for fear of her life." Would you, Honored Sir, not admit that all this behavior seems a little strange for a lama who wrote a book titled Stabilizing the Mind? Is it not also strange that during this time when "Jetsunma," according to her sworn statement to the federal agent, lived in constant terror, plagued by physical ailments she believed were the result of "emotional stress," she also went online every single day to attack, mock, ridicule, and condemn anyone who dared to criticize her (as well as many who did not)?

Here is "Jetsunma" posting on a Kunzang Palyul Choling blog about William Cassidy and Nydia Alexander in 2009: "They speak hate, they breathe hate, and the vile pus of their hatred is their nectar. At the time of their death they will see what they have done." Do you, Honored Sir, endorse and support such a frenzied, disturbed and threatening style of public speech by a Palyul lineage holder?

In a now infamous series of Twitter messages in 2010, "Jetsunma" encouraged followers to join her in visualizing a phurba (a Tibetan ritual dagger) plunged into William Cassidy's heart. At that time she informed her students that she, their Leader, would die within six months if Cassidy was not dealt with somehow. What do you think, Honored Sir? Is this how a Bodhisattva ought to behave?

Besides claiming that I was actually William Cassidy posing as a Zen poet, "Jetsunma" criticized me many times on Twitter for not being a real teacher of Buddhism. She seems to believe that she has the right to attack "unreal" teachers, even those of different traditions, "wrathfully." For example, she once pursued and mercilessly harassed an ordained teacher of the Jodo (Pure Land) tradition of Buddhism -- a woman named Clara Llum Ibanez, who I happen to honor as a great Roshi. "Jetsunma" clearly feels that she is fit to judge who may or may not teach the Dharma.

Lord Buddha taught to always reply to hatred with kindness. That's correct, isn't it? Because if it isn't then one of my own revered teachers, a man named Lama Tsering, taught me wrong.

If you do not support endless interfering and "wrathful" activity against people "Jetsunma" dislikes on and off the Web, please consider taking some sort of action. I personally know of several people who turned away from studying Vajrayana because they observed what "Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo" was doing on Twitter. This matter should concern you.

Thank you for listening.


P.S. A Kunzang Palyul Choling nun named "Ani Sonam" recently contacted me on Twitter to inform me that you and your assistants had read this open letter "and laughed" at it. Is that really so? Note that "Ani Sonam" is one of the nuns who in 2010 sadistically LOL'd and ROTFL'd back and forth with other Kunzang Palyul Choling members, including "Jetsunma," when I alluded on Twitter to the deep grief I felt over the death of my beautiful animal companion Bella. See The Miraculous.

See also "The Deadly Viper Assassination Buddhists" and "A Short Interview with Andrew Wilson (February 15, 2011)"