Tag Archives: #pulpbuddhism

Karma Kagyu interrupted: Is Chen Li-an to the 17th Karmapa what the King of Tsang was to the 10th Karmapa?

Tire-toé une bûche,

I submit the following from the life of the 10th Karmapa.

“Chakmo Gushri presented extensive gifts to Sengge (seng ge), the leader of Golok, who soon sold Orgyen Kyab’s family to the warlord. Chakmo Gushri exerted considerable control over the young boy for the next decade.”


And the same will be said of OTD’s turn as 17th Karmapa.

The Panama Papers caught Dilyak Drupon using OTD’s Kagyu monlam to launder Chinese money.

He presumably did this on behalf of Chen Li-an, the man Tibetans sold OTD to as a child.

And so on.

As a hagiography it’s plausible to read OTD’s not being able to return to India as following the broad strokes the 10th Karmapa’s hagiography.

L’affaire est ketchup !



Filed under Buddhism

A Karmapa’s resignation not without precedent in Tibetan Hagiography

Tire-toé une bûche ,

From the Tibetan hagiography of the 10th Karmapa:

“Realizing that he had to leave Central Tibet due his allegiance to the King of Tsang (who was a Kagyüpa and was assassinated during the war that came (see the brief historical account below)), the Tenth Karmapa appointed a regent, the Fifth Goshir Gyaltsab, Dragpa Chöyang, gave most of his belongings to the poor and needy, and – disguised as a beggar – walked through Tibet with an attendant at his side. In his biography of the Tenth Karmapa, Ken Holmes wrote: “His followers saw Chöying Dorje flying off through space, holding the hand of his chief attendant. They ‘landed’ in the forests of Bhutan and spent more than three years living wild, helped by animals.”

After staying in Bhutan, the Tenth Karmapa and his attendant then travelled to northern Yunnan (present-day South-West China), Birma, and Nepal. Simhanada tells us that “the King of Yunnan proposed to invade Tibet and enthrone the Karmapa as its ruler, however the Karmapa refused such an unethical act.” Not wasting a moment in his life, the Karmapa bestowed sacred teachings to devoted disciples wherever he went and established thirteen Karma Kamtsang monasteries. Something like twenty years passed before he could return to Tsurphu Monastery, his seat in the Tölung Valley in Central Tibet.”


From my introduction to Buddhism, the poet Gary Snyder:

Axe Handles

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
“When making an axe handle
the pattern is not far off.”
And I say this to Kai
“Look: We’ll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with—”
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It’s in Lu Ji’s Wên Fu, fourth century
A.D. “Essay on Literature”-—in the
Preface: “In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand.”
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.

Gary Snyder, “Axe Handles” from Axe Handles. Copyright © 1983 by Gary Snyder. Reprinted by permission of Counterpoint Press.
Source: Axe Handles (North Point Press, 1983)


I fell in love with this poem in those early days in my life as a dharma practitioner after the 16th Karmapa passed into Parinirvana. Tibetan literature as destiny, a rationalization for everything. This is how I framed the appearance of a 17th Karmapa at Tsurphu, in terms of how Karma Kagyu literature rationalized past Karmapa’s past.

L’affaire est ketchup !


Filed under Buddhism

Following in 15th Karmapa’s footsteps Thaye Dorje and wife Sangyumla are expecting their first child

Tire-toé une bûche,

L’affaire est ketchup !


Filed under Buddhism

OTD not first Karmapa forced to resign and name Goshir Gyaltsab as temporary regent in his absence

Tire-toé une bûche,

“The civil war became such that Chöying Dorje had to flee Tibet and he appointed Goshir Gyaltsab as the temporary regent.”


If the karmapa was forced to flee India it would be goshir gyaltsab who wouldsucceed him which we just witnessed with OTD’s otherwise inexplicable failure to return to India for kagyu monlam this year.

What just happened?

OTD can’t return to India.


Dilyak Drupon Rinpoche was named in the Panama Papers.


He was caught using Kagyu Monlam LTD to launder Chinese money.

In 2011 the Tibetan Government in exile changed its constitution to prevent OTD from suceeding the Dalai Lama so upset was the Tibetan people that he used Gyuto Monastery to hide suitcases of foreign currency against Indian Law govering said foreign currency.

Said currency was Chinese not coincidently.

Also not coincidently it was at this time the OTD’s new Labrang entered into a scheme to use Kagyu Monlam LTD to launder Chinese money offshore, Dilyak Drupon being a citizen of Bhutan providing a plausible legal denial as far as Indian Law is concerned, which it would have under normal circumstances.

Unfortunately for OTD last Spring the Panama Papers became an issue in Pakistan, news not lost on the Indian Government. Not coincidently at the same time India saw in the Panama Papers the opportunity to solve its Karmapa problem. It never believed that a 14 year old OTD escaped Tsurphu.

That being said OTD’s high profile agitation in Sikkim along India’s disputed border with China became a national security threat secured by using the Panama Papers to leverage OTD out of India without embarrassing the Tibetan Government exile, which is what just happened with his not returning to India for the 35th Kagyu Monlam the other day.

L’affaire est ketchup !


Filed under Buddhism

Has HHK17 resigned as head of his Karma Kagyu Sect? OTD steps aside for Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche at 35th Kagyu Monlam

Tire-toé une bûche,

Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche’s lineage exists for moments like these.

“This line of reincarnations historically has a strong practice emphasis, and an exceptional commitment to working for harmony among disputing communities. During the tumultuous seventeenth century, the Fifth Gyaltsap Rinpoche (1616-1658) was able to retain friendly relations with the Fifth Dalai Lama, and prevented the appropriation of many important Karma Kagyu monasteries, including Tsurphu and Yangpachen, which were handed over to him. Once tensions eased, Gyaltsap Rinpoche offered the monasteries back to their original head lamas. ‘Gyaltsap’ means regent, and the Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoches are traditionally responsible for caring for Tsurphu Monastery and the Karmapas’ interests until each subsequent Karmapa is found and comes of age.”


All this flows from Dilyak Drupon Rinpoche being named in the Panama Papers using OTD’s Kagyu Monlam, LTD to launder Chinese money in 2016.

Last year India allowed OTD to flee the country.

He dare not return.


Video edited to make OTD appear to be speaking from India.

I don’t recognize the location.

Someone on Twitter suggested it was in the United States.

It doesn’t have that made in America feel.

L’affaire est ketchup !


Filed under Buddhism

Another day visualizing Amitabha here, thanks to my benefactor I’m reminded

Tire-toé une bûche,

Judging from the wind howling down the alley outside our shrine room it is still winter here in Chicago.

I’m reminded of a verse of Milarepa via Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche.

“When a skillful meditator meditating in the wilderness
And a skillful benefactor providing the wherewithal
Come together, this connection leads to both gaining buddhahood
But what gives this link its meaning is to dedicate the merit”


I survived my share of epic 1970’s winters on the summit of Mount Bruno. I’m reminded of the wind we got up there. The isolation. Confinement. All the things we long for as dharma practitioners. The disappointment when the snow plows make it up to our neck of the woods. The sound of the wind reminds me of home. It calls me. Then I check my curation of French Twitter. Between the Poutine and #teambenny it would be the death of me. My life is my wilderness.

L’affaire est ketchup !


Filed under Buddhism

“An Introduction to Ngöndro” Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche

Tire-toé une bûche,

“Preliminaries usually refer to things that precede. However there seem to be many different ideas about this term. Some of you write to me to say that you stopped doing ngöndro and now you want to “go back”—as if to say back to basics, as if the preliminaries were like going back to the kindergarten level of vajrayana. Instead, the preliminaries should be seen as the ‘leaders,’giving direction to your whole vajrayana path of practice. This is the way the great masters related to ngöndro.”


I once asked Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche about what the deal was with everone doing prostrations and he told me to mind my own business. Marvin had arrived, Bob and Colleen separated, Colleen moved into Marvin’s condo on Marine Drive. Bosworth Avenue was done. It looked like KTC Chicago was finished. In a sense it was. Rinpoche stayed with Bob and Marvin as if nothing had happened. It wasn’t though. I checked in with Rinpoche as had been my habit since 1981. Married with two kids in diapers my visiting with Rinpoche was very much a mission of getting in and out of the interview room and get back to what I never lost sight of, my family. This was my path for the next twenty years. In retrospect I can now see why Rinpoche didn’t think it necessarry to work off whatever energy he had my former KTC sangha members working out. Over time I came to realize it was more than the desire of children seeking the approval of a remplacement father to compete for access to Rinpoche. But that came much later in my life.

L’affaire est Ketchup !

Leave a comment

Filed under Buddhism

After what happened to Jamgon Kongtrul the 4th under his watch would you trust your child with Situ Rinpoche?

Tire-toé une bûche,


Photo from last month of Situ Rinpoche grooming Tenga Yangsi for Jamgon Kongtrul the 4th’s fate after promising otherwise after the previous episode of his passing said child around for donations.

L’affaire est ketchup !


Filed under Buddhism

Guru Yoga in the Age of Facebook, A picture of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and Lama Karma…


Tire-toi une bûche,

What does love have to do with my guru yoga?

“A guru is like a fire. If you get too close, you get burned; if too far away, you don’t get enough heat.”

Tibetan Proverb

This is way too familiar for my guru yoga.

L’affair est ketchup !

Leave a comment

Filed under Buddhism

The deconstruction of our Rinpoche begins not with our seeking an alternative to Rinpoche more to our liking but instead to borrow a Zen phrase killing him with Guru yoga

Tire-toé une bûche,

My response to Lama Rod. This September it will be 37 years since Khenpo Karthar accepted me as his disciple. Rinpoche told me after tasking me with a practice informed me that never again would we be apart. Of course the next day he was in another city. That isn’t what he meant. He was referring to his pith instructions on the fourth empowerment which he expected me to master before his next visit. At least that was how I approached the practice he had so meticulously outlined for me. True to Rinpoche’s word I have never once since not rested in that which he pointed out to me. Taking the result as the path as such Rinpoche has never not been available to me. That being said I’ve never loved the man, not like Lama Rod does. He asked me on Twitter the other day to read his Facebook post about Lama Norlha. I had already quoted it in the post he was responding to but I read it again anyway. What does love have to do with guru yoga? I’m reminded of Kalu Rinpoche, his guru’s guru, and how much he scared the shit out of me as a kid. In 1982 I received the Kalachakra empowerment from him. On day One to see him you wouldn’t have thought him up to using the bathroom without assistance he seemed so old and frail to me but by the final day I was spent and Rinpoche was shining bright. Rinpoche was as I was told he was if not Milarepa incarnate close enough for me. At one point during the ceremony I was handed a conch shell to blow to see what kind of dharma teacher I was destined to become. I gave it a toot. Rinpoche gave me a grin and a chuckle for my effort. I was destined to teach. I was reminded of Khenpo Karthar’s instructions on the fourth empowerment. The same experience I had at the 16th Karmapa’s Parinirvana. In retrospect though these are but a few of the experiences I had in my first six months as a disciple of my guru. It was an incredible freshman year for me. For me my guru yoga is an exercise in deconstructing my image of my guru the man, how he appeared to me in any given moment. This is what he made himself available to, his reason in seeking me out in the first place, to practice this practice with him. It has been a life and death struggle fought out daily ever since. And loving him has nothing to do with it.

L’affaire est ketchup !

Leave a comment

Filed under Buddhism