Part I: Crazy Wisdom
Chapter 1: Reckless Madness
Thomas Rich, a.k.a. Osel Tendzin, western teacher and appointed Regent of the popular Tantric guru, Chogyam Trungpa, seduces his male students into the sexual Tantric practices of the Vajrayana while knowing he has the deadly AIDS virus and how it is spread.
The board of directors of Trungpa’s organization, Vajradhatu, including an American physician, go right along. They let Trungpa’s “dharma heir” continue to have sex with his students, despite knowing he has this infectious AIDS virus and how it is spread.
Some of Trungpa’s inner circle even facilitate finding him a steady supply of new sexual partners for his Tantric ‘advanced’ teachings.’ Procuring sexual partners for a guru can be part of one’s devotional practices. Tibetan Tantric Buddhism encourages sexual couplings and re-couplings as a sign of detachment. Detachment from all ordinary relationships is encouraged in Tibetan Tantra, except when it comes to your gurus. Tibetan Buddhism teaches one to see your guru as your “mother and father”; forsaking all other attachments and merging your mind with his, obeying him in all things.
Tibetan Tantric Buddhists actually take oaths to their gurus, to obey them in all things, and to keep their secrets. Because of these diktats, the inner circle of Vajradhatu put hundreds of their own members in harm’s way.
Seeing one’s lama as a ‘living Buddha” is considered essential behavior for a western Tibetan Buddhist’s spiritual development, in order to progress along the path. Devotees of Tantra come to believe, regardless of education, that everything the lama does, or says, comes from “immeasurable compassion” that can never be judged by an ordinary, conceptual mind.
This allows the lamas to do whatever they want.
Unknown to the public, guru-worship is the essence of the Tibetan Tantric path and submitting to a guru’s sexual advances, even pimping for the lamas, or accepting any degrading humiliation by these divine beings—greater than kings –is said to be a “blessing” to purify your negative karma, as well as an exercise in non-duality; an opportunity to have a glimpse of the no-good, no bad mind.
Repeating the mantra “may I always obey my master and never reveal the secrets of the Vajrayana or may I turn to dust” completed the Vajrayana Tantric students’ years of preparation for the total control of their minds.
So, Thomas Rich, even more promiscuous than Trungpa—which was saying a lot—would be allowed to do whatever he wanted. This would include infecting at least one of his students with the deadly AIDS virus, along with the young man’s girlfriend. When Rich and the young man died of AIDS, Trungpa’s Vajradhatu group made national news, once again.But that didn’t cure this group of their blind guru-devotion.
For western devotees of this lineage holder of Trungpa, lying, sexual abuse, even causing another’s death, is excused as just the guru’s crazy wisdom,emanating out of his transcendental generosity; a generosity that leads others to a greater understanding of “one taste”; that things are neither good nor bad but “always pure in themselves.”
Not even apologies are given to the young man’s family, while I often overheard, in the cult-chatter, that his death was a result of this guru’s immense blessings; an accelerant for his ‘karmic cleansing,’ and a quick rebirth that would bring him closer to enlightenment.
In other words, how lucky this young man was to have died from such a ‘blessed’ and close relationship with his guru.
Many of Trungpa’s Vajradhatu students were outraged, when they found out what had happened in their community, and many left, but only to fall under the enthrallment of other Tibetan lamas, waiting to catch them with the same Tantric net. Tibetan lamas who made sure this scandal was sealed over by re-programming all the Trungpa and Regent students, with more mindfulness, and other ‘contemplative practices,’ and by reminding them of their vows to keep their gurus’ secrets.
Tibetan Tantric Buddhism and its delusional guru-worship caused this young man’s death as much as the AIDS virus, itself. Influences that are as pervasive today, and now even more widespread, but always camouflaged by high-sounding, philosophical discussions on the ‘nature of emptiness,’ on the ‘stages of mindfulness,’ or on ‘how to abide in non-duality” and increase compassion; concepts that are used to gradually bring people into the BIG MIND and group think of Tantra where there is no right or wrong, and nothing to judge.
The Shambhala/Vajradhatu organization refuses to admit their culpability in the death of this young man, to this day. Instead, they are rehabilitating Trungpa’s Regent’s legacy by honoring him and creating a new Dzogchen lineage in his name in rural Maine.
Several years later, after this Trungpa/ Regent debacle fades, a sixty-year old western teacher of this same Vajradhatu/Shambhala group has sex with the ten-year-old daughter of another community member. The case is quietly settled out of court as this early student of Trungpa, himself an appointed teacher of Tantra, is given a slap on the hand by a group where nothing happens and there is “no right-no wrong.” He continues to teach classes in Tibetan Buddhism at one of the group’s satellite centers and becomes its director for several years.
The Tantric mantra, “nothing happens” is put on bumper stickers and stuck all over the devotee’s cars, from San Francisco to Boulder to Boston, reminding each other and the world that all is illusion, anyway. Besides, the Vajrayana Tantric teachings, including the Dalai Lama’s Kalachakra secret teachings, recommend a ten or eleven- year- old girl from an outcast class as an ideal consort for their advanced practices. The lamas believe their occult guru powers will be negatively absorbed if they have sex with women over twenty years old. They also believe they can turn biological fluids into a spiritual essence that can flow backwards, through their imaginary channels and chakras and up to the top of their heads, enlightening them in an instant.
Tantric Lamaism has no concept of pedophilia, nor of women as equal partners; either socially, spiritually, or sexually. The lamas have lived in an androcentric caste system their whole lives. The idea of equality for women is completely foreign to their way of thinking.
In 2014, Naropa University, still staffed and run by a Naropa Board of early students of Trungpa, maintain their vows of keeping secrets and protecting gurus. Since most of the staff and administration are either early students of Trungpa or graduates of Naropa University, or both, this has become a very special group, driven by Trungpa’s command to shift the world into an “enlightened dictatorship,” based on their vajra master’s crazy wisdom Tantric teachings.
Naropa’s academic milieu, based on the no right-no-wrong view of crazy wisdom, would have attracted a Japanese dance guru like Katsura Kan, whose death dance form of Botuh, enslaved one of Naropa’s beautiful, vibrant, and healthy western dance students; a daughter, wife, and sister, with her whole life ahead of her; another young victim of gurus.
Surrounded by Tantric guru worshipers on Naropa’s staff and administration, this young woman would have more easily succumb to being under Kan’s thrall and control. Naropa’s with forty years of their Tantric ‘no right-no wrong’ view, would see nothing wrong in this dance instructor’s methods, or notice if his relationship with one of his students was beginning to cross a line.
Her death, at the hands of another Naropa guru, is hardly reported in the national mainstream news, that always seems to protect anything to do with the Tibetan lamas and their ‘Buddhism.’ Could it be that Tibetan Buddhism is the cornerstone of a newly-formed Tibetan, Zen and Theravada Buddhist ‘alliance,’ with their co-creation of the mindfulness meditation movement? A multi-billion-dollar business ‘too big to fail?’
Naropa University is not unique in its level of denial and enabling of abusive gurus. But it is the boldest. Supported as it is by very powerful players, including the Dalai Lama and the powerful Karma Kagyu sect. Guru worshiping also tends to become a very bad habit, generalized to other self-declared gurus; like the dance guru, Katsura Kan.
Lying is also allowed at Naropa, with its Tantric ethos and its Law of Inversion that promotes the view that social mores can and should be turned on their head, if it helps facilitate Tantra’s spread. Since Naropa is still a Tibetan Tantric institution, just as Trungpa declared it to be, and is a crucial vehicle to help the Karma Kagyu Tibetan Lamaist sect expand, why would Naropa now be presenting itself as ecumenical, non-sectarian and only ‘Buddhist- inspired?’
Naropa University, nevertheless, is still listed, as of this writing, as a center that is part of the ever-expanding network of Karma Kagyu centers. The Karma Kagyus, the founder, Chogyam Trungpa’s sect, have been building temples, monasteries and creating foundations and organizations—thousands of them—all over the world; most particularly in the United States. But, also in China and Chinese-speaking nations. The Kagyu lamas have always been the most popular among western Tibetan Buddhists, but I imagine no matriculating student or their parents will learn this history about Naropa University and its global connections and ties.
Keeping secrets are some of the skills these Tantric Buddhist professors at Naropa have mastered.
Western Buddhists, from other streams, now keep the lamas’ crazy wisdom secrets, too……
This is the effect Tantra has had, on a certain segment of other Buddhist streams, and a significant part of the psychology profession, with its ‘contemplative psychology’ explosion. Psychologists and academics, now Tantric Buddhist practitioners, or Dalai lama fans, who once would have been outraged by these lamas’ behaviors, now approve of harems, and seeing women as sexual objects for the lamas’ practices. Or they look the other way; so double-binded, inside these groups, that they now believe that these acts by the lamas are “blessings”and purification for their own future enlightenment.
Of course, not all Tibetan tulkus become as sexually promiscuous as Lama Sogyal, Trungpa, or his Regent, and many don’t. But, all of them are encouraged by Tibetan Buddhist teachings to have sexual relations with sexual consorts for their “advanced practices.” Their superstitious and medieval belief is that they need to have constant sex, with very young females, to become enlightened in this lifetime. Believing they can make their semen, mixed with female fluids, shoot backwards, through imaginary chakras and channels, up to the top of their skulls, resulting in a big bang of Hindu Tantric Shakti, they could have just stood on their heads, like their Indian sadhu guru and saint. (Padmasambhava).
It seems the most prestigious universities were the easiest to fool, thanks to the Dalai Lama’s ability to pose as a great scholar of wisdom and compassion; promoting his esoteric, Tantric subliminal ideas about the “fluidity and illusion” of the self; about the “phenomenal world being empty and unreal”; about intuition and emotion being superior to reason; about reason being the obstacle to compassion and enlightenment….
In Tibetan Tantra’s crazy wisdom, everything is deemed an illusion, so anything crazy can be believed. — From Chapter One: Crazy Wisdom-Reckless Madness- Enthralled: The Guru Cult of Tibetan Buddhism
Copyright© Christine A. Chandler, M.A., C.A.G.S.
All rights reserved ISBN-13: 9781511543460
Library of Congress Control Number 2016910961