A hidden danger to the LGBT community – ‘re-branding’ a dead rapist using fear and cognitive dissonance
Michelangelo Signorile, Thank you for your insightful article in the Huffington Post, on the dangerous ‘anti-outing’ policy by publications.
I’m wondering if you are aware of a terrible harm currently being done to the LGBT community, those who are former and new followers of the deceased Chogyam Trungpa, the Tibetan who founded Naropa Institute (now University) and the man who took over Trungpa’s ‘sangha,’ the late Thomas Rich, known to the Vajrayana ‘Buddhist’ community as Osel Tendzin. Thomas Rich is referred to as ‘The Regent’ or ‘Vajra Regent.’
Chogyam Trungpa opened the door to the West for the sexually and psychologically abusive practices of Tibetan ‘Lamaism’ (incorrectly known to the world as ‘Buddhism’) to flourish. Trungpa’s self-proclaimed successor, Thomas Rich’s aberrant, predatory and reprehensible behavior with young men was known to many, including everyone at Vajradhatu (later renamed Shambhala International) and he was enabled by those around him who had lost their internal ethical moorings, through the teachings of Trungpa and Thomas Rich.
- One of the principles in Tibetan Lamaism, spread widely in the West, is that there is ‘no good, no bad, no right, no wrong,’ that all actions of the Tibetan lamas are above all moral reckoning, and this belief has created terrible harm to many women, men and children, and has allowed behavior that to reasoning minds would be considered immoral and even criminal.
Regarding the numerous first-hand accounts of sexual and psychological abuse by Tibetan lamas, the Dalai Lama himself gives the weakest of defenses of the abusive lamas, by saying that if one is abused by a lama, one should just leave the teacher. The teachings and the techniques used by Tibetan lamas, as taught in their ancient texts, which he himself practices, directly contradicts his advice. In Vajrayana Lamaism, your teacher is to be seen as a ‘Buddha,’ and your inferior Western mind will never grasp the understanding of the actions, good or bad, of this ‘higher-realized being.’
There is nothing remotely resembling the Buddhism of Siddhārtha Gautama in Tibetan Lamaism, it is a guru-worshipping cult based on a medieval sacerdotal Tantra culture of mind-control and sexual abuse, with countless demons, deities and spirits, that uses a veneer of Buddhism to fool the public. The teachings of Tibetan Lamaism, if you look deeply, do not promote love, compassion and altruism, in fact, Lamaism is in reality Hindu Tantric guru-worship which morphed over the centuries into institutionalized sexual abuse of women and little boys in the lamaseries.
- Now that the passage of time has smoothed the memory of the sexual assaults and rapes of Thomas Rich on his male students, Tibetan lamas are now ‘re-branding’ Rich’s reputation. Tibetan lamas are giving talks and teachings to old and new Trungpa students, especially the vulnerable LGBT youth at colleges and universities.
These students are being told that they must now see the ‘Regent’ as Enlightened, and to not do this is breaking their samaya (vow) to Trungpa. Thomas Rich’s horrific behavior is to be seen as for the benefit of his victims (they were blessed to have been ‘chosen’ by Rich, and they and others should use the abuse to reach ‘higher-levels of understanding’!) and the behavior is to be believed as above the understanding of the unenlightened.
- In the ancient texts of Tibetan Lamaism, it is written that breaking your samaya to your teacher will consign you the hell realms for all future lifetimes, you are told that you will never be reborn and never reach ‘enlightenment.’
These teachings are ‘grooming’ these young LGBT people to accept the predations and mind-control of Tibetan and Western teachers of Lamaism, and are creating cognitive dissonance in the minds of these precious young people.
I hope you will look into this, and help to expose the harm to not just the LGBT community, but to men, women and children worldwide.
- In 1976, Trungpa had chosen a Western student, Thomas Frederick Rich, subsequently named Osel Tendzin, to be his successor. A promiscuous bi-sexual, Rich had contracted AIDS, and he had unprotected sex for years with many of his followers, both men and women, by ‘seducing’ them with increasingly risky tantric sex rituals. Rich was even accused of rape, by at least one male student, his Western attendants allegedly holding down the victim while Rich raped him.
- Rich claimed that Trungpa knew that he had tested positive for HIV, and allegedly counseled him to keep it a secret, telling him that if he did the Vajrayana purification practices this would keep others from getting AIDS from him. But Rich did, in fact, pass on this deadly disease to many, causing decades of harm to them and their families. At least one of Rich’s students was known to have died from AIDS, and possibly eight more people died.
- Those who spoke up over the years about the abuse by Trungpa and Rich, were silenced, mocked or ignored, by Tibetans and Westerners alike, including successive boards of directors at Naropa.
From a 2015 interview with ‘Lama’ Lodu ‘Rinpoche’ recounting the Vajra Regent’s ‘parinirvana’ and Kalu ‘Rinpoche’’s understanding of Trungpa ‘Rinpoche’’s students samaya vows concerning the ‘Vajra Regent’.
…Friday night I have teachings; Saturday night teachings I think. He passed away Friday night I believe but I get a call Saturday morning saying, “where are you.” “We’d like you to come.” I say, “o.k. I’ll come but I have to finish my program here because everybody pay they cannot be just stop right there so I have to finish but I will very much likely to have Sunday morning and maybe I will say afternoon but I’m not sure but I cannot come this weekend.
They think I should come very much at that time. I’m not sure who called me, maybe Patrick and maybe Karl Springer. It’s one of them I guess. And that is our conversation. So later they call again and it’s the same. I say I cannot come tomorrow either, Sunday. So I didn’t go. He pass away I believe Friday and Saturday I get call and I didn’t go and Sunday I didn’t go because I have to finish my program. Then I drive from Mendocino to San Francisco. And then I change and take a shower. And then I go to Osel Tendzin who was in San Francisco at the time. The Vajra Regent was there in their Center. So I drive there, I get there by afternoon sometime between 12 and 1 p.m. or maybe 2:00 even I’m not sure. So I get there and they led me to come in. The first time I’m interested, I wanted to see you know is he really meditating because he’s a very famous teacher. And also he is Trungpa Rinpoche’s appointed him as his Vajra Regent. And so I did not want to hesitate – I talked to them can I touch his heart and they said no problem you can go ahead and do it. Immediately I open to the heart area and the heart was very warm. It impressed me! I don’t know what to say this. Because (ordinary) people I thought after ten to fifteen minutes they are cold, they are dead body’s there will be no warm at all. But this is from Friday afternoon, Saturday all day, Sunday all day and Monday half day. That meaning almost three, four day. And I find that hard… I was impressed really and I don’t know what to say. I become speechless you know. I don’t expect it.
…So (Kalu) Rinpoche (the previous ‘incarnation,’ Lodu Kimshul’s root teacher) was very much talking very highly of Trungpa Rinpoche and then he said that 12 no 11 incarnations in our lineage , he is not just an incarnation he is a truly realized being come in the form of a human being to benefit sentient beings. So this individual came to the west and worked hard, he found the person who can take his lineage, not by his intellectual (means) but through his wisdom he knows this guy (the Vajra Regent) can take this lineage. So therefore Trungpa Rinpoche appointed him. “Now all you students” – and he talked to groups of Trungpa Rinpoche students. “You now have devotion to Trungpa Rinpoche?” Rinpoche asked “You are devoted to Trungpa Rinpoche.” And they say “Yes.” “And now you against the Vajra Regent? That means you are against Trungpa Rinpoche. You broke samaya. And this the Rinpoche chose his Regent so now you have wrong views. This is not the way the Vajrayana teachings work.”
To watch this interview: http://www.satdharma.org/listening_viewing_room.php
- Purposely creating the fear of being assigned to the hell realms forever for breaking ‘samaya’ with a dead Tibetan man, and intentional cognitive dissonance in the minds of those who were properly horrified and disgusted by the criminal actions of Thomas Rich, with the intention of scrambling their sense of right and wrong, making them believe that the actions of Vajrayana teachers (many touted incorrectly as ‘god-kings’, or ‘highly realized beings’), are above the understanding of mere mortals is now the order of the day for Tibetan Lamaists.
To read about how my husband and I came to realize the dark hidden agenda of Tibetan lamaism after fourteen years of immersion and harm, and abuse by the man who gave this talk, Lodu Kimshul (known as ‘Lama’ Lodu), you can check out my book, ‘Exposing the Deeds of Darkness,’ on Amazon, and Christine Chandler’s (a former long-time Trungpa student) exposé, ‘Enthralled, The Guru Cult of Tibetan Buddhism, also on Amazon.