CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

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Malcolm
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CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:46 pm



Tabi: Trigger warning–this is not a nice, devotional story about CTR.
The first time I met His Majesty Chögyam Trungpa Rincophe was at encampment in the late summer of 1983. I was attending a dathün (month long sitting practice) at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center. This retreat is supposed to be mostly silent, but I was never good at holding my tongue. During the retreat, some of my new friends and I plotted a raid on encampment, which was a military-style program that was simultaneously happening on the land. We decided to raid encampment and attempt to steal the flag. Our plan was simple: we could create a diversion and while the attention was on us, our cohorts would sneak around the perimeter and steal the flag. Three of us drove through the tori gates in a convertible blaring Michael Jackson’s Beat It while the rest tried to sneak around and steal the flag. We were all immediately caught and locked up in the stockade. CTR came by that night to check out the prisoners. I noticed that he flirted shamefully with all the women/girls who were in the lock-up and totally and completely ignored me.
But I really met CTR in the backyard wedding of sangha members in Boulder in late January of 1985. I had been prepped by the family I nannied for for weeks in advance of the wedding. It appeared to work because I caught CTR’s eye and he asked me to marry him the next day. Then there was so much activity! We had our charts read by Larry Laughlin who found the most “auspicious” day for our wedding. Given the tremendous constraints of marrying six women in a five months, there was some wiggle room with the dates. The first wedding I attended was Karen Lavin’s. Next was Valerie Lorig Sanford, which happened on May 10th. Then Lady Cynde Grieves married him on May 13, Wendy Friedman was on May 17th, I was the fifth on June 12th, Ciel followed on her 18th brithday, and then Agness had her wedding in December of 1985.
There was so much to be done–especially for me as a new student who only completed through level four Shambhala training. I received stroke, lungta and werma transmission. I read Born in Tibet, and studied the Letter of the Golden Key Which fulfills desire, The Golden Dot, The Letter of the Black Ashe, Sacred World, the Practice of Warriorship, and Court Vision and Practice. I was on the fast track to learning and absorbing everything he’d ever created. I studied the texts themselves as well as the commentaries. Our ceremonies required correctly answering a direct question from CTR and the preceptor, who in my case was the regent. (Mine was the only ceremony with him as the preceptor–people said I should be honored–but I was not.) We were told to study the Six Ways of Ruling in particular, as it was rumored this would be one of the questions.
When I wasn’t with CTR, I was completing my tasks as a nanny. And I was introduced to the Shambhala lodge with a party in my honor. I attended Karen, Cynde, Wendy and Valerie’s ceremonies prior to mine. These all happened at the court in Boulder. We had dinners together where we were taught elocution by both Ashley Playfair and Carolyn Gimian. We had one dinner with CTR and the five of us Sangyum (Karen, Cynde, Wendy, Val and I), where we were served white fish with bones in it, green peas and white rice, and copious amounts of sake. We were learning how to eat like the British–holding our fork upside down in our left hand and our knife in the right to shovel the food onto the fork, not an easy task with that meal. During meals we usually played the qualities game, a parlor game CTR enjoyed.
One day I arrived at the court for a shift and I was told I was to receive another transmission from Marty Janowitz. I assumed this was to be like the others, perhaps he was giving me TGS transmission early. Marty told me this transmission was extremely sacred and was only known to a few close students. He then pulled out a vial filled with a white powdery substance. Marty told me it was ground up vitamin D or something. (I really can’t remember exactly what he said it was). He put a bit of it on the spoon and told me to rub it on my gums, which I did. It was not cocaine. It was part of our job description to always carry a vial of “Tabi” which was the code name for cocaine. Due to his paralysis, CTR only had the use of one hand, so when he called for tabi it was our job to go into the bathroom with him, keep him steady, help him get his penis out before he wet his pants and put the coke on a spoon for him to inhale. It was also our job to keep his nose clean, and as you can tell from the picture, we were not always successful. Later, when I went to the bathroom alone, I put some on my gums. It was definitely cocaine.
This is another secret I have kept for over 30 years. I can no longer keep it. I believe it is not of benefit to anyone to keep this secret anymore. I believe it’s important for the followers of Shambhala to know what really happened in the “inner circle” of the court. We all–every one of us–didn’t know how to say “no” to CTR. We were so busy tripping over each other to do his bidding that we never questioned why an enlightened mediation master would need copious amounts of cocaine and alcohol every day. We never questioned why he spoke of every woman or young girl in sexual terms. It was supposed to be a great honor to sleep with him. No one wondered if his sexual appetite for his female students might be unhealthy.
I started wondering about it shortly after Ciel’s suicide. Could this sexualized idea of women be unhealthy? Could this lack of boundaries eventually result in rage and self-hatred? Why did I think marrying a man with seven other wives, a serious drug addiction, alcoholism and suicidal tendencies shown as severe bulimia would be a good idea? I was 23 and vulnerable. And I said yes. Yes, I will do this strange thing. It was only later when I learned of power differentials and feminism that I truly understood how totally wrong it all was. And now I am triggered by all things Tibetan. I will never enter Karma Dzong again. It’s too painful to see the hero worship and the enshrinement of this deeply disturbed man. And for those of you who might have spent a few nights with him or more and feel they knew all there was to know about him, I ask you to dig deeper. And for those of you who never met him yet still follow his teachings, you might want to ask hard questions of those in the know.
The most shocking thing for me through this whole process of sharing my truth is the sheer number of people who are lying now, and denying that sexualized violence has a negative effect on women. This continued minimization of the real, undeniable scars that are left from sexual assault and harassment is shocking. Shambhala has had choices every step of the way since we have begun talking about the neglect and child rape and abuse that is the legacy CTR left his close students. And this deplorable view of women continues through his sons. Time’s Up Now.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Quay
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Quay » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:12 pm

Quite the story! I have no firsthand knowledge of any of it so I can't say much.

Though I do think one of the things that has happened because of the scandals and scandalous behavior is that one now can easily separate the teachings from the teacher. I've sometimes wondered if CTR created a small circle cult-of-personality so a larger one could not form. About the most positive spin my very conventional mind can put on things when I read stories where the teller is going into explicit detail about what seems pretty awful behavior especially towards women.
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

– Longchenpa.

sillyrabbit
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by sillyrabbit » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:01 pm

I never know about things like this, because I can't really bridge the gap to relate (it's my fault, I know). Being a millenial from the black community, it seems like my mom was in a totally different space in the 80s from what she tells me. Even reading it, a part of me is like "Pfft, just a little cocaine, so what? Try watching your friends rot away and die on the streets or in prison due to heroin!"

Other questions arose, but they pretty much hinge around this one:

What's with the pre-occupation with courting lamas (being prepped even...) vs just studying under them? (Were men just SOL?)

I understand being vulnerable but I don't know, 23 is adulthood, and I'm thinking that there were some issues before they met Rinpoche.

I will say that she got a lot of study and transmissions done within a fair amount of time and I hope impressions from that remain strong in her mindstream. It just seems like she didn't need to marry him to get that done, though.

This may seem like I'm blaming her, but I'm not. Mainly because I don't see a lot of blame-worthy behavior here, as written. I think I'm supposed to be scandalized by the drug use, and I'm not too clear on what the sexual violence was here.
Namo Amitabha Buddha
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Karma Dorje
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Karma Dorje » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:21 pm

"Although my view is higher than the sky, My respect for the cause and effect of actions is as fine as grains of flour."
-Padmasambhava

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:27 pm

if I ever accrue to teach something, anything, I may have previously established myself in a decided morality, and if not, then refuse to teach.

may I fulfill this desire.
what are you doing

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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by XXIlluminatingVoid72 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:33 am

I have always been disturbed by reading the wikipedia article on his main student, who was a rapist and essentially murdered people by knowingly giving them AIDS.

Their lives I believe are a true expression of Nihilism - understanding emptiness, but ignoring karma

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Aryjna
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Aryjna » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:10 am

There is the argument, which has been mentioned in other similar threads, that you can tell whether something is actually 'crazy wisdom' by the results. If someone is hurt or driven to suicide for example, it is not enlightened activity. This makes sense of course. On the other hand, I was just reminded of this sutra https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html where many monks kill themselves because of a teaching by the Buddha. The circumstances are clearly different, but it seems to suggest that even enlightened activity can in some cases have terrible results for some.

Then again, I have no way of knowing what kind of activity what is described in the post is.

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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by kausalya » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:11 am

I don't see the wisdom in this behaviour -- neither do I appear to have a strong connection with CTR -- but I believe it's not my place to comment on the behaviour of others, particularly when I don't see a clear benefit to the present circumstances. Although I've heard such things regarding him, I find myself at a loss for what to say. I'm not trying to be laissez-faire about it; rather, I consider myself a strong feminist who would never inflict this type of behaviour on anyone. I hope it never arises again.

However, dependent co-arising's being what it is, all we have is the now. The karma being discussed has already ripened. Is there anything we can say about this that will be truly useful? My attempt is as follows:

Although it's appropriate for the person quoted to share her story from her own experience, any speculative comments should be made carefully. We can all agree, I'm assuming, that abuse of any kind is contrary to what we would wish for ourselves or others. I also share the wish that this person will meet the Dharma in every life, and have the best possible teachers along the path until the very end.

What comes to my mind, and could be disturbing to some, is that accepting a Lama in the most respectable way could in fact lead to abuse if the proper investigation isn't done beforehand to avoid this. The mere presence of abuse doesn't mean that effective teaching is not taking place; even though the outer form may be completely repugnant to our sensibilities, and even as it may be in one's best interest to step aside from that relationship and warn others, dukkha is a teacher greater than any other. We all need to own our stories and reframe them to benefit ourselves and others.

In any such situation, one has to arrive a firm conclusion for oneself as to whether the experience can be transformed in the context of a continuing relationship, or whether the harm to one's state of mind dictates getting out of Dodge.

My experience with this in a Buddhist context is considerably less severe than the above, but I believe it applies in principle. In the beginning of our relationship, my Lama's language and mannerisms would at times appear quite abrasive and in conflict with my values. By itself, this was a huge obstacle for me, in part because I had built my identity on my relationship to social justice and holding "right" opinions in the eyes of my peers. In his case, his kindness is actually immeasurable, but he doesn't go out of his way to make friends, and this was one lesson among many I needed to learn. Circumstances were such that I stayed with him, because I realized that it wasn't an insurmountable obstacle.

Had I been CTR's student, I imagine that my reaction would have been different, but I can't say that with any conviction, because it's not my reality.

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Malcolm
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:14 am

Aryjna wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:10 am
There is the argument, which has been mentioned in other similar threads, that you can tell whether something is actually 'crazy wisdom' by the results. If someone is hurt or driven to suicide for example, it is not enlightened activity. This makes sense of course. On the other hand, I was just reminded of this sutra https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html where many monks kill themselves because of a teaching by the Buddha. The circumstances are clearly different, but it seems to suggest that even enlightened activity can in some cases have terrible results for some.

Then again, I have no way of knowing what kind of activity what is described in the post is.
Apparently one of his sangyums offed herself.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Drenpa
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Drenpa » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:09 am

http://www.poetspath.com/Scholarship_Pr ... TCHELL.htm

Joni Mitchell's credits CTR with getting her off of Peruvian marching powder.
Last edited by Drenpa on Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by TharpaChodron » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:11 am

Sounds like she is accusing his son, Sakyong Mipham, of abuse of women, but what exactly he's ever done, I don't know and somehow find him an unlikely candidate for misbehavior.

I'm not an apologist, but I think one can "sometimes" separate the person from the art or work they produce. Woody Allen is a pervert, imo, and as much as I detest his character, I still like a lot of his films.

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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Josef » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:51 am

So much suffering.
PTSD, addiction, and power are a frightening combination.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

Fortyeightvows
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Fortyeightvows » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:54 am

She's a typical western tibetan buddhist.
I'd bet money she is also allergic to gluten!

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Malcolm
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:24 am

TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:11 am
Sounds like she is accusing his son, Sakyong Mipham, of abuse of women, but what exactly he's ever done, I don't know and somehow find him an unlikely candidate for misbehavior.

I'm not an apologist, but I think one can "sometimes" separate the person from the art or work they produce. Woody Allen is a pervert, imo, and as much as I detest his character, I still like a lot of his films.
Apparently the accusations are going to drop Thursday, Mipham Rinpoche has issued an apology in advance.
To the Shambhala Community:

I write to you with great sadness, tenderness, and a mind of self-reflection.

It is my wish for you to know that in my past there have been times when I have engaged in relationships with women in the Shambhala community. I have recently learned that some of these women have shared experiences of feeling harmed as a result of these relationships. I am now making a public apology.

In addition, I would like you to know that over the years, I have apologized personally to people who have expressed feeling harmed by my conduct, including some of those who have recently shared their stories. I have also engaged in mediation and h ealing practices with those who have felt harmed. Thus I have been, and will continue to be, committed to healing these wounds.

As the lineage holder of Shambhala, I want to demonstrate how we can move toward a culture of kindness in line with our legacy of teachings. Kindness can sometimes begin with acknowledging the ways we have harmed others, even if we did not intend to do so. Thus, with the strong support of my wife, the Sakyong Wangmo, I am now entering a period of self-reflection and listening. I have worked with, and at times struggled with, how to be a teacher and a human being. I have found that there is no easy solution to navigating these responsibilities. Like all of you, I am human and on the path. It is important to me that you know I am here, continuing to do my best. We

Above all, it is important to me that we continue to create a caring community where harm does not occur. It is my fervent wish that we be a community that relates to each other with compassion and kindness, so I have offered teachings and written practices to support such a culture. I want to encourage our community to completely immerse itself in caring and kindness. This is not easy work, and we cannot give up on each other. For me, it always comes back to feeling my own heart, my own humanity, and my own genuineness. It is with this feeling that I express to all of you my deep love and appreciation. I am committed to engaging in this process with you.


With love,

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Quay
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Quay » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:44 am

Interesting apology. He is sorry others think they feel harmed while interacting with him but no where admits he did anything wrong. Quite lawyerly.
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

– Longchenpa.

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anjali
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by anjali » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:49 am

... I have worked with, and at times struggled with, how to be a teacher and a human being.
Interesting. Reading the letter leads me to believe he's not struggling with being a human at all--he's got that down pat. Seems to me, the struggle is with being a bodhisattva. :shrug: How do others interpret this statement?
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Fortyeightvows » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:58 am

This statement says it all
Yes, I will do this strange thing. It was only later when I learned of power differentials and feminism that I truly understood how totally wrong it all was. And now I am triggered by all things Tibetan.

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Malcolm
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:07 am

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:58 am
This statement says it all
Yes, I will do this strange thing. It was only later when I learned of power differentials and feminism that I truly understood how totally wrong it all was. And now I am triggered by all things Tibetan.
Apparently you think the meaning of this statement is self-evident, but you do not share your conclusion concerning what exactly it is you find self-evident. Care to share?
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

Fortyeightvows
Posts: 2032
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by Fortyeightvows » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:15 am

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:07 am
Apparently you think the meaning of this statement is self-evident, but you do not share your conclusion concerning what exactly it is you find self-evident. Care to share?
I look at this in three parts
1.She did what she wanted to do and then changed her mind about it later
2.She read some stuff and is following a fad
3.Triggered by all thing tibetan: seems pretty clear to me that she is not a very well adjusted person (also using 'triggered' is another sign that she if just following a fad)

Really though I'm honored that The Great Malcolm asks me if I care to share.

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TharpaChodron
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Re: CTR, polygamy, cocaine, etc: Discuss

Post by TharpaChodron » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:26 am

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:24 am
TharpaChodron wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:11 am
Sounds like she is accusing his son, Sakyong Mipham, of abuse of women, but what exactly he's ever done, I don't know and somehow find him an unlikely candidate for misbehavior.

I'm not an apologist, but I think one can "sometimes" separate the person from the art or work they produce. Woody Allen is a pervert, imo, and as much as I detest his character, I still like a lot of his films.
Apparently the accusations are going to drop Thursday, Mipham Rinpoche has issued an apology in advance.
To the Shambhala Community:

I write to you with great sadness, tenderness, and a mind of self-reflection.

It is my wish for you to know that in my past there have been times when I have engaged in relationships with women in the Shambhala community. I have recently learned that some of these women have shared experiences of feeling harmed as a result of these relationships. I am now making a public apology.

In addition, I would like you to know that over the years, I have apologized personally to people who have expressed feeling harmed by my conduct, including some of those who have recently shared their stories. I have also engaged in mediation and h ealing practices with those who have felt harmed. Thus I have been, and will continue to be, committed to healing these wounds.

As the lineage holder of Shambhala, I want to demonstrate how we can move toward a culture of kindness in line with our legacy of teachings. Kindness can sometimes begin with acknowledging the ways we have harmed others, even if we did not intend to do so. Thus, with the strong support of my wife, the Sakyong Wangmo, I am now entering a period of self-reflection and listening. I have worked with, and at times struggled with, how to be a teacher and a human being. I have found that there is no easy solution to navigating these responsibilities. Like all of you, I am human and on the path. It is important to me that you know I am here, continuing to do my best. We

Above all, it is important to me that we continue to create a caring community where harm does not occur. It is my fervent wish that we be a community that relates to each other with compassion and kindness, so I have offered teachings and written practices to support such a culture. I want to encourage our community to completely immerse itself in caring and kindness. This is not easy work, and we cannot give up on each other. For me, it always comes back to feeling my own heart, my own humanity, and my own genuineness. It is with this feeling that I express to all of you my deep love and appreciation. I am committed to engaging in this process with you.


With love,

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
bummer. he does sound like an egomaniac, however.

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