Concerns and Questions about the School of Tibetan Healing Chod and Lama Jinpa
The main issues regarding the School of Tibetan Healing Chod and Lama Jinpa include:Whether Lama Jinpa has authority from Tsewong Rinpoche to give the empowerment of Chod?
Conversations with Sang Ngak in the US have led them to believe that Lama Jinpa does not have the authority to give the empowerment but they won't be able to ask Rinpoche directly until he returns to the US. We will let people know when this happens. They are also undertaking legal action to remove Tsewong Rinpoche's name from the School of Tibetan Healing Chod. They have also undertaken legal action to block Lama Jinpa from any involvement with them.
If this is so then, in the light of Lama Jinpa's serious allegations (see below) of Tsewong Rinpoche's behaviour, whether the Rinpoche still agrees to extending this authority
Given that we have a recording of Lama Jinpa making all these alleagtion and the pending legal action why is he still including Tsewong Rinpoche as a teacher of the school?Given the level of duplicity (details given throughout article) of Lama Jinpa , is he a suitable spiritual teacher?
Whether Lama Jinpa is a suitable spiritual teacher and qualified to be in a Guru/student relationship with people is in serious question. It is clear though that he is now working on his own, without support from his stated lineage. What he has done through his translation and construction of a comprehensive School of Chod available with distance learning is considerable and to be applauded. Yet the cost, lack of transparency and tendency to duplicity needs to be addressed. With Tsewong Rinpoche 's previous involvement the school was valid in the context of Vajrayana Buddhism but without this seems dubious. Lama Jinpa is misleading students on who is involved in the school and how it gains authority. Tsewong Rinpcohe is no longer involved and Choeying Lhundrup connection is tenuous. As stated above legal action has been taken to prevent him being involved with Tsewong Rinpoche's Organisation in the US and NamDak SaLing in Canada where he was a teacher have removed their affiliation with Lama Jinpa.
Lama Jinpa mentions another lama in connection with the school, Choeying Lhundrup, and we wonder if this lama is aware of who and what he is getting involved with?
The involvement of Lama Choeying Lhundrup with the school also needs to be looked at. From my knowledge of this with conversations with Lama Jinpa, contact with him was established during his recent trip to Bhutan in April/May. According to Lama Jinpa he has agreed to be part of the school -- but whether he has any knowledge of previous developments I do not know. What is clear is that this is not a long-term or deep connection. My concern is for this is that this Lama should not be led unwittingly into give his good name to back up Lama Jinpa and his school.The serious allegations Lama Jinpa made about the ethical conduct of Tsewong Rinpoche and Lama Jinpa's following behaviour. It is now in question that Lama Jinpa made these allegations that were not based on truth in order to encourage people to just follow him and discredit Tsewong Rinpoche.
I have made a statement about what happened in London concerning Lama Jinpa's visit. I have tried to be objective as I can and to state what happened.
I would like to try and make a clear picture of what has happened so people can make an informed decision and make up their own minds.
--Tsewong Rinpoche, Lama Pema and Lama Jinpa were due to fly to this country (UK) to give teachings over two weekends, 24th-26th May and 31st-2nd June 2013 on Chod, Bardo and Dream Yoga
-- The day before they were due to fly in (Tuesday 21st May) I received communication from Lama Jinpa that Tsewong Rinpoche was seriously ill and wouldn't be able to travel. Lama Jinpa decided to travel alone and teach an alternate program, giving the Chod empowerment himself and teaching the Pegyal Lingpa Chod on the first weekend and teaching Tsa Lung/Tibetan yoga the second.
-- The first weekend course went ahead. Yet in this Lama Jinpa sneaked in his own theories that he is working on called the 5 Ways of Power – yet made them out to be theoies of Chod – which is not so. Yet on the Sunday evening Lama Jinpa in conversation to me made serious allegations regarding the ethical conduct of Tsewong Rinpoche. These included sexual affairs that he had with students, was previously an alcoholic but still drinking, had misappropriated funds and was not personally interested in the welfare of students or in fulfilling responsibilities of scheduled teachings. Lama Jinpa also made it clear that Rinpoche's motivation was for what he could gain on a financial or hedonistic level. We personally know nothing about Tsewong Rinpoche's behaviour and that we inititially took on faith what Jinpa had said. However, since his following behaviour and lack of responsibility to make a public apology and to take back what he has said about his teacher. The primary and very serious issue is now one of his integrity.
-- I personally made the two friends with whom we were staying aware of these allegations. Lama Jinpa had an in-depth discussion with one of them, Richard Mason, about these issues.
-- I had an in-depth conversation with Lama Jinpa concerning these statements. This conversation was recorded. What became clear in this conversation was that Lama Jinpa didn't seem to have any moral problems with the sexual affairs or drinking, what he was concerned with was Rinpoche's lack of respect for students. This included himself as he found it very difficult to contact or spend any in-depth time with him. It became apparent that Rinpoche had very little personal time for him during his recent stay in Bhutan.
-- Due to the seriousness of these allegations I decided that I needed some advice and assistance from another senior Buddhist and practitioner within the School Of Tibetan Healing Chod. I spoke to Suvajra a senior member within the Triratna community and told him exactly what had happened. We decided that Lama Jinpa needed to be spoken to again with a witness to the conversation - Suvajra agreed to be this witness.
-- This meeting which took place on the evening of Wednesday 29 May and was recorded. The primary focus of this meeting was to give Lama Jinpa a chance to personally deal with these allegations before any statements were made. I started the meeting summarising the main issues that the Lama had previously told me and had discussed with Richard Mason. The points were all confirmed again by Lama Jinpa. This was the first time that Suvajra had heard directly from Lama Jinpa about the behaviour of Tsewong Rinpoche. We then raised a number of points but the main concern was: why, if Lama Jinpa had previously been aware of this type of behaviour by Tsewong Rinpoche, did he continue to introduce students to Rinpoche and why was he prepared to bring Rinpoche to the UK? Because I felt a personal responsibility in organising the trip I felt that these students needed accurate knowledge of the state of affairs regarding Rinpoche's alleged behaviour and the organisation of The School of Tibetan Healing Chö, which had given the impression that he was the main teacher. However it became clear that Lama Jinpa saw himself as the primary teacher of the School with Rinpoche not having anything or little to do with it. There was reluctance on Lama Jinpa's part to make this clear. Due to the importance of the teacher-student relationship in Vajrayana Buddhism I felt it was imperative that students have this knowledge of who their teacher is and that teacher's role in the School.
-- Many other things were discussed. A full recording of the meeting was made without the previous knowledge of Lama Jinpa. (This is legal in the UK and can be done by any participant, or group of participants, of a meeting if they are primary participants of the meeting.) This was done by Suvajra to keep an accurate record of the issues raised. The conclusion of the meeting was that Lama Jinpa agreed to make a personal statement to all the students attending the events in the UK making clear the allegations he was making and that henceforth Rinpoche would have nothing more to do with the school of Tibetan Healing Chod. Both myself and Suvajra agreed to help him with this.
-- Due to the stress that these events had placed on Lama Jinpa's hosts he was asked to find alternate accommodation by about 5-6pm the next day. (Thursday).
-- The next morning it was discussed via e-mail while in the same house (Lama Jinpa did not seem to wish to have a face-to-face conversation) that it would be appropriate to cancel the coming weekend's event. This was due to the lack of bookings and that the personal statement, which had not been issued yet, was likely to cause more cancellations. Seeing that the event was due to take place on Friday, and this was already Thursday morning, it seemed appropriate that the cancellation happened as soon as possible as people to be contacted and to be given an as much notice as possible. This was agreed by Lama Jinpa and he requested me by email to forward the student's details so he could personally contact them in order to cancel. He also asked for the money for the events before he left. I wasn't able to do this as the final accounts had not been done and refunds had not been given for the cancellations we had after the news of Rinpoche's absence. Yet I gave him nearly £500 in cash from the sales of the Kanglings at the event as he said he was broke. I left this on his bag as I felt he didn't want to see anyone.
(E-mail records of this initial discussion have been kept.)
--Lama Jinpa left the accommodation arranged for him around 9:30 on Thursday morning. I then e-mail/phoned and put a statement on the event Facebook page saying that the event had been cancelled -- which to my knowledge had been agreed upon (this is confirmed by copies of the emails I have), and that Lama Jinpa would issue a personal statement fully explaining what had occurred. We then waited for Lama Jinpa's personal statement.
-- The first indication that we have that Lama Jinpa had changed his mind was a posting on the Facebook page that the event had been cancelled without his approval and he would stand by the teachings and transmissions.
] ) The copies of the email and the time-stamps on them show that this was not true and that he did have such knowledge. I still have these emails and Suvajra and others have seen them.
-- It became apparent that he was not going to issue a personal statement as agreed in our meeting. Therefore students would not be clear on what they would be undertaking or getting involved in if they decided to start studying with the school or doing the practice they have been given the previous weekend.
-- We then decided to release a statement ourselves. This was done via my personal e-mail on Thirsday evening to people who were attending and interested in the event.
--Lama Jinpa and send out a response to the mailing list containing significant untruths and an e-mail he sent me personally. These were that the event was cancelled without his knowledge (I have the e-mail record's), that he agreed to what we discussed at the meeting because he was under threat of being thrown out in the rain that night (it was witnessed and recorded that he was asked to leave by the next day between 5-6 o'clock). He also made public very personal and traumatic events in my past and was quite vicious in other accusations. Including calling me a reincarnated Witch Burner and in emails to other students calling us demonic and Witches and Warlocks. He has not clearly answered any students questions just insulting us and ignoring students questions.
-- A thread was started on Dharma Wheel (not by me) concerning these events. Lama Jinpa also put the above post that he sent out to the mailing list on Dharma Wheel. I reported this post as we did not want this information to remain in a public domain. I also had to block him on the events page on Facebook.
-- I decided to also take advice from senior Buddhists in this country this included Suvajra, a senior member in Triratna, Akong Rinpoche and Ani Choesang, a senior nun in the Gelug tradition and chairwoman of Sakyadhita UK. Suvajra also contacted his Chod teacher Lama Wangdu and Lelung Rinpoche, as I contacted my teacher Tsultrim Allione. Prayers and pujas were also requested and sponsored by myself in order to help the situation.
-- Due to the fact that Lama Jinpa was scheduled to fly to Budapest and then Canada in a few days we decided to contact them and let them know what had happened in the UK. The organisers in Budapest and Lama Dechen in Canada asked to listen to the recording made which, after consideration, we agreed to. They both then decided to cancel Lama Jinpa's visit.
-- We also contacted Rinpoche's group Sang Ngak in the US. They had legally blocked any involvement from Lama Jinpa with there organisation before the London event. They released a newsletter on 31st May 2013 stating that:
"we must mention Asa Hershoff AKA Lama Jinpa is no longer translator for our organization, nor any part what so ever. The Sang Ngak website does not belong to us and any advertising on it is not endorsed by our non profit."
This was also stated on their Facebook page:
--NamDak SaLing in Canada, which is headed by Lama Dechen, where Lama Jinpa was a teacher released a similar statement on their website:
-- In this country we offered a space in North London Buddhist Centre on Saturday morning for anyone who wished to speak to us directly and offer any support.
--Lama Jinpa also offered people an opportunity to meet up and practice Chod, discuss the Tibetan Yoga's and make plans for his future visit to the UK. He didn't turn up to this event.
-- Communication was re-established with Lama Jinpa by Suvajra to offer him an opportunity to apologise and to make clear to everyone what had happened and to make any confession that he felt was needed. It was stressed that this was entirely up to him but that to be taken seriously needed to be genuine. It was felt important to give him a chance to stand by the allegations he had made or to make clear that these were untrue and to clear Rinpoche's name. So far this has not been done.
--Lama Jinpa reported via e-mail (again records kept) that he was now in retreat doing 6 million Vajrasattva mantra in order to purify any harm he had done to others. Calculated at three a minute at 10 hours a day this would take him approximately 9 years!?
--In a personal letter to Suvajra Lama Jinpa agreed to issue a statement basically standing by what he said a apologising for his own inappropriate behaviour. He had not yet done this.
-- Since this time we have checked the School of Tibetan Healing Chod's website. On this it is clear that Lama Jinpa is still continuing as he is planning on personally giving an online empowerment on June 23 2013. Tsewong Rinpoche is still mentioned as a teacher on the site.
The other issue, although not illegal, is Lama Jinpa's involvement with a very young Bhutanese girl. He befriended her on facebook, brought her over to Thailand to meet and then proposed. Yet as a 65 year old man this raises serious issues about his own ethical standards and treatment of women.
I hope that I have made as clear as possible the developments that occurred during and after Lama Jinpa's visit to the UK. The vast majority of the above can be sourced and checked through e-mail records/witness accounts and recordings.
I would also like to just say thank you for the considerable support, advice and help that we have received during this time.
We personally feel that for anyone to enter into a spiritual relationship with an individual or organisation as much transparency, clarity and honesty needs to be available to all. It is for this reason that I have gone into this detail and then it is up to the individual to make an informed decision based on the priorities that are important to them.
Ex Students of The School of Tibetan Healing Chod