Simon E. wrote:
I was a student of CTR. Many years after his death, while still attempting to come to terms with events
I asked Shamar Rinpoche what he made of it all. He was silent for a while. Then he said ' What I am sure about is that Trungpa Rinpoche did more for Dharma than most of us will do in many lifetimes '.
Closing ranks , or a greater truth ?
I don't know...Really.
I sympathize with your situation, I really do. Hopefully this discussion has not been too awkward for you. I mention Trungpa mainly because he is so famous and influential, and his case relatively well known.
My response to Shamar Rinpoche would go like this: Was it worth it? That is, was the spread of Tibetan Buddhism into 1960's North America worth the enormous human cost in terms of alcoholism, AIDS, and eclipse of positive values in favor of cult-like behavior? If human sacrifice would have helped, would that too have been worth it? (Because that's what it amounts to--the sacrifice of people's lives.) Trungpa was obviously effective in founding institutions, but one could just as easily argue that he poisoned the well for other, less problematic groups.
Anyway, why should we assume that Shamar Rinpoche knows what is good for the Dharma? Is he magic? Can he see into the future? Or conceivably he has good reasons for saying what he did, I dunno, but just because he has a fancy title doesn't make his opinion better than other people's.
By the way, someone earlier pointed out that unlike Lama Ivo, Trungpa was a recognized tulku. True (I think), but that wasn't why he became popular. His followers didn't flock to him saying "Hooray, the current holder of the Trungpa tulku line has arrived on our soil!" but something more along the lines of "Groovy, a real Tibetan lama!" Trungpa's personal charisma mattered more than any credentials he carried.
For instance we have the odd case of Steven Seagal.
That is indeed an odd case, and it has less to do with Seagal than with Penor Rinpoche, who recognized him and Jetsunma (partly, one assumes, in anticipation of financial donations, and in ignorance of just how whack the two of them are). Now Penor Rinpoche has done a lot of good work, e.g. in supporting the Namdroling Institute. But thanks to the social structure of Tibetan Buddhism, questioning the central conceit that lamas can identify incarnations is just not on--that would tend to call into question everybody's credentials.
Alfredo seems to think that Ivo needs to be called out at as a fraud.
No--not yet, anyway. I haven't seen anything to suggest that he's insincere, though it is possible that he is deluded, and many aspects of his teachings (and the group dynamics underlying them) do raise ethical concerns. Again, I would honestly appreciate additional information. For example, the anecdotes of the several people who have interacted with him in the past, and posted above, I find revealing.