Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I don't know what it's all about...but those crystals...but what about the Golden Ratio? And 水風?

Nathan tries to do good Buddhist practice blogging on this Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC),  and their attempts to censor Waylon Lewis and Bill Schwartz, and I commend him.  I still don't know what it is all about, but I suspect it's about the truth...Now me, I love me a good Twitter Storm, blog-storm, etc. etc. and so forth.

I deeply suspect that Mr. Schwartz probably was going to say the truth about these people...because

I'd like to know more about these KPC people...but looking at their website....these people are what exactly?

The power of prayer

In the Prayer Room at KPC, a network of large and unusual crystals holds, amplifies, and broadcasts the spiritual energy of the 24 Hour Prayer Vigil (on-going at KPC since 1985). What if that very energy – of love, disciplined commitment, and longing for the freedom of all beings from suffering – could enhance your own spiritual practice? Read more

Well, I read more and for a while it looks like a conventional Tibetan Buddhist temple...yes, sharers, I've been in more than a couple of them, ...and it all looks right until...

Crystal Collection

KPC also has a large and beautiful crystal collection. Crystals are traditional Vajrayana Buddhist symbols for the pure nature of mind, and at KPC they play an especially important role in the interplay of the physical environment with the metaphysical. The crystals are specifically placed to enhance the network of spiritual energy established by continuous prayer and the virtuous activities of teaching and practicing the Dharma.

At the outset, I've got to say I've no issue with using crystals to represent something...especially lattice structures...but seriously, in a sense it can be no more, representational than other representations.  And indeed it is certainly true that "Vajrayana" is often called the "Diamond Vehicle."  But beyond that, it appears difficult to make the claim that crystals "are traditional Vajrayana Buddhist symbols." It may or may not be true,  but given the nature of the teachings of the school and the way in which its teachings are propagated,  it seems just as easy to make the claim, but, because of the nature of the propagation of the teachings, it becomes somewhat difficult to falsify, unless you're some kind of initiate into several of these schools I guess.  But I doubt it. Heavily.     It is true that the diamond refers to a type of wisdom that can slice through delusion in most of Mahayana Buddhism.  But in no tradition of which this admittedly somewhat parochial Rinzai Zen Buddhist is aware do crystals "play an especially important role in the interplay of the physical environment with the metaphysical"  where they may be "specifically placed to enhance the network of spiritual energy."

But what about the Golden Ratio?

Well, these are esthetic  issues that seem to approximate certain measurements in life, for which there has been claimed to be some basis for its connection to the description of nature.  Nothing really metaphysical there.

And what about  水風?  Many of its principles are common sense, actually, as well as an esthetic sensibility...about the "energy" in it,  though, I'm afraid that's a bit to woo for me at the moment.  But my Zendo and house are in accord with its principles generally, because it's common sense, especially in the Pacific Northwest, where you should suck up all available light in these colder months.

So enough of that.  What does KPC say the blogging /Twitter controversy's about?

New social media available on the Internet, such as Twitter and Facebook, have revolutionized society, making communication worldwide and instantaneous.  In many ways this is tremendously positive, as people now have access to much more information than ever dreamed of in the past.  The downside, however, is that the Internet also opens the door to individuals who use the anonymity (or not) on the Web to launch malicious attacks in pursuit of their personal vendettas. It can be a breeding ground for inaccurate and violent attacks against individuals and institutions.

Our precious teacher, Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo, has been a victim of such cyber attacks, just as so many others have.  On September 17, 2009 Jetsunma began teaching on Twitter in an attempt to connect with as many people as possible, people who otherwise would never have had any contact with the Dharma.  She wrote a short Amitabha practice that was easy enough for anyone to do and began doing the practice every day at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time with anyone who wished to join her, and she gave numerous spontaneous “tweachings.”   As a result, the Amitabha practice was performed simultaneously by an expanding cyber community. Unfortunately, there was a darker response, as Jetsunma soon became a target of several individuals who attacked her viciously without interruption and without cause.  These attacks affected her ability to utilize this new medium to teach....

Lately on Twitter there have been individuals making various statements regarding Kunzang Palyul Choling seeking out legal counsel in reference to the potential publication on Elephant Journal (an online publication) of an article written by an individual who did not inquire or make any contact with our organization, yet wanted to publish untruths and defamatory content about our Spiritual Director and organization.  KPC wrote a letter to the Elephant Journal advising them that the author had been engaged in an ongoing campaign of defamation and slander of our Spiritual Director, our organization, even our Lineage, and that he had demonstrated that he was unconcerned with actual facts. We advised the Elephant Journal that the author had made no attempt to contact KPC to verify any of his claims. We have no criticism of Elephant Journal in terms of its purpose, journalistic approach and stated mission.  The free exchange of ideas fundamentally is a good thing.  However, if the result of the “free” exchange of misleading and defamatory information is detrimental or damaging in any way to Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo or KPC, then KPC reserves the right to seek an appropriate remedy which could include legal action.   This is a legitimate retort and any reasonable organization would do the same in response.

 Now I've got to say, "Defamatory? What the hell are the supposed damages?" You folks claim crystals are spiritual energy thingies ore something like that.  Moreover, they refer to false things without ever saying what the false things are.

But this I know: "Tweachings" are generally not my cup of tea.  I'll have more on this later, when I investigate what they are..

Update: I started poking around here. Besides the typical saccharine maxims you generally expect, you do get some inkling that there's some intra-school fighting going on here (see here and here, for example).   And I personally have no idea at all what's going on there.

But this I know:  if you see your guru on the road...


So your own website doesn't exactly enhance your reputation as a Buddhist exponent.

To the best of my knowledge, everything here is true. No, I didn't contact them. I have quoted from their website which is available for all to see.

I think, as Nathan does, that the bit by Mr. Schwartz was over the top a bit.  But I am deeply skeptical of KPC, based on their own words.


Adam said...

From the wiki on Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo:

She studied with a New Age teacher named Jim Gore and gave channeled psychic readings at the Black Mountain Light Center in North Carolina

She continued to give channeled teachings from a being called Santu, the prophet Jeremiah,[9][12] as well as a being named Andor.[13][14][15]

Thereafter Zeoli[Jetsunma] continued the channeled teachings, but they took on a more Buddhist flavor,[9][12] for example gradually shifting terms such as "Christ consciousness" to "Buddha consciousness" between 1984 and 1987

Nathan said...

Oye, the more I learn, the bigger the train wreck it seems to be.

Mumon said...

Thanks. Simply because she was a New Age...what's the loving-kindness word I'm looking for... anyway, something suggesting an unusable pot comes to mind...anyway, simply because she was doing that kind of Shirley MacLaine type stuff doesn't mean that she's not a legit Buddhist now...but the crystals don't exactly encourage me in that direction. Her teaching doesn't look like a Buddhism I easily recognize as Buddhism.

Also, "Andor" is an anagram for both "radon" and "drano." As a TV psychic in the NY area used to say, "I leave that with you."


Yeah. Train wreck.

Petteri Sulonen said...

I first ran across JAL/AZ during my run-in last year with H.E. Khenpo Gurudas Dharmacharya Sunyatananda, aka Fr. Gianmichael Salvato (O.C., Dr. Div., M.Ec, Archbishop, Exarch, etc. etc.), more recently peddling Zeropoint Energy Wands for curing anything really.

Anyway, Gurudas is/was very big on her, so I did some looking-up at the time. Perhaps it was unfair of me, but as a result I filed the whole gang together under the same rubric at the time... and not much I've seen since has changed that perception.

Yeah, I mean the non-functional cooking vessel rubric.

Also, I believe I was the first to call this a train wreck. YEAH!

Mumon said...


OMG, some of these ...um...folk... have actually filed patents on this stuff.

Or so they say.

These people are jaw-droppingly reminiscent in its hucksterosity of something that rhymes with the Bintegral Bife Bractice Bit.