Are Buddhsist Racist

Read my one & only interview in the New Statesman

What is Racism?

 

Race can be defined as:

"A classification system used to categorise humans into distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation.”

 

Racism can be defined as:

“The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

 

When a group of people are labeled according to a certain religious belief or affiliation and their access to public services, jobs, livelihoods and social freedoms are denied or restricted on the basis of this belief or affiliation this is racism.

When Buddhists Lie

3rd March 2015 (updated)

When I began researching the Dalai Lama controversy I expected to face a certain degree of lies, deception, and misinformation, but as it turns out this expectation was greatly underestimated. Even when politicians have been caught lying they can often hold their hands up and apologise, yet I encountered some Buddhists who seemed to find this impossible.

As I've mentioned previously it's a strange feeling to find supposedly spiritual people who manage to make politicians look ethical by comparison. During my research there have been three exceptional examples which warrant an article in their own right.

 

Tenzin Peljor

Tenzin is without doubt the most compulsive and active promoter of misinformation regarding this controversy that I have encountered. He has good reason since he works for the Central Tibetan Authority (CTA) and has been actively promoting their propaganda for over 8 years as a previous article uncovered.

When asked about Tenzin, Dr. Suzanne Newcombe, a researcher with the religious watch charity Inform stated, "We are aware that he works towards the [sic] promoting the Dalai Lama's position on various issues.", adding, "it is clear from his many public websites that Tenzin Peljor works actively in ways that support the agenda of the CTA."

Due to his rather sketchy East German military and Stasi background Tenzin aroused the suspicions of Dialogue Ireland whom he was trying to co-opt into his propaganda campaign against the protests. A member of that group who had extensive knowledge of East Germany queried several serious discrepancies in Tenzin's biography. Rather than explaining this Tenzin instead began to attack Dialogue Ireland accusing them of twisting the facts - an accusation he frequently directs against anyone who fails to agree with his stance.

In addition to running multiple websites under various false names Tenzin also operates several different online identities which he uses to try and create the appearance of people agreeing with his views. After creating the "survivors" group with David Cutshaw, Tenzin engaged in several online conversations between some of his different accounts to make it appear that people were speaking out.

One such identity Tenzin used for this was named York Johns (yjohns2000) which was a similar user name style to David Cutshaw (davcuts2000). Tenzin also set up a You Tube account under this pseudonym where he uploaded several videos to use in his various websites.

The unusual aspect of York Johns You Tube channel is that it contains a large number of German language videos, several of which feature Dr. Birgit Schweiberer, a teacher from Instituto Lama Tzong Khapa, where Tenzin spent several years studying. Both Tenzin and Birgit studied under Geshe Jampa Gyatso at Instituto Lama Tzong Khapa, which makes York Johns decision to upload Birgit's teachings to his You Tube account a somewhat unbelievable coincidence, unless of course he was Tenzin.

Throughout Tenzin's history in this controversy he has systematically lied and deceived people. From using fake names to register websites, aliases to falsify online "survivors" accounts, and blatant lies about his activities in India, Tenzin is about as trustworthy as a snake oil salesman.

To the casual observer he appears to be a normal Buddhist monk, who has strict vows against lying. In accordance with Buddhist traditions if it is shown that he has knowingly lied he ceases to be a monk because he has broken a root vow. So far I have exposed just a small fraction of the lies Tenzin has told.

He is a Buddhist monk in the same way that Valerie Plame was an energy consultant. That was her cover whilst being a CIA operations officer and "monk" is Tenzin's cover whilst being a CTA operations officer. The only difference is the agency they work for.

For example in late December 2014 Tenzin wrote on his blog that he would be away in India until the end of April 2015 and he would be, "offline during that time", so no comments or articles would be added until he returned. He later amended this on 1st January 2015 because he needed to upload some more articles to the site. He stated:

"I had a change of the schedule in India and some limited internet access. Therefore there was a bit time to confirm comments and to add some additional posts. I might be able to continue this until the 3rd or latest 5th January and then I am totally offline as I said already."

In actual fact Tenzin was in India not to engage in a strict retreat without internet access but to work with the CTA to counter the protesters online campaigns. The CTA were very concerned they were losing the battle online and the coverage of the protests in the US and Italy had them very scared.

Tenzin has been online almost every day since he's been in India, working in part on the Wikipedia pages related to the protests, trying to build support for the ban. This is similar to the role he had in 2006 when he first began working for the CTA.

He's also found time to review comments and articles for his website. Carol McQuire has continued to claim that he is offline and unable to respond to any claims made about his activities. However she is in touch with him via email and has submitted articles for his blog, the latest of which he published on 27th February 2015.

At the time of writing this Tenzin has so far managed upload new articles as well as edit and approve comments on his blog on 19th January, 21st January, 27th January, 29th January, 30th January, 31st January, 2nd February, 8th February, 11th February, 15th February, 16th February, 25th February, 26th February, 27th February, and 1st March. In fact for someone who is supposedly "totally offline" Tenzin has been updating his own blog with a somewhat miraculous diligence.

Tenzin was lying about being "totally offline", from 5th January onwards. The truth is that he's been online and very active for the CTA ever since his arrival in Dharamsala. Which brings a very important question to bear - how can a genuine Buddhist monk lie so blatantly and still be a monk?

The answer in Tenzin's case is quite simple, he's not really a monk, he's an operations officer for the CTA.

 

Carol McQuire

Tenzin's preeminent recruit in his fight against the protest movement is Carol McQuire, an ex-NKT member. In Carol's own words her, "greatest refuge for a long while was Tenzin Peljor".

Although Carol doesn't work as an employee of the CTA she works for them principally through Tenzin, and whereas Tenzin receives regular payments from the CTA Carol receives only occasional renumeration from them. One such example was her recent trip to Basel as their special guest.

During her time there Carol had privileged access to the event in return for helping Tenzin with his work to oppose the protest movement. A source within the movement who was in Basel stated that during the first day of the protests Carol attempted to gain access to the protest area. She was stopped by the International Shugden Community (ISC) security as she didn't have a valid pass.

Despite failing to blend in with the ISC protesters she spent long periods of time observing the administrative area and photographing it. It was the opinion of the person I spoke to that she was trying to gather as much information as possible about the organisers and which Tibetans were involved, presumably to feed back to Tenzin.

Carol has continually refused to explain how she managed to attend the Dalai Lama's teachings in Basel since the event was sold out months in advance. She also dismissed claims that she received any favourable treatment from the CTA or was allowed any privileged access.

However Carol has now posted a picture she took from the side of the stage area when the Dalai Lama was teaching (shown below).

 

 

As you can see from this image the access Carol was given by the CTA is not in any way normal. As well as being a highly privileged position it is also a highly dangerous one given her close proximity to the Dalai Lama. It is therefore impossible for anyone to be in this position without having received a high level of clearance from the CTA's Department of Security who are responsible for the Dalai Lama's personal security during such events.

Not only does this photograph demonstrate that Carol is considered to be of significant value to the CTA, it also shows that her handlers are connected to senior members of the exile leadership.

As well as assisting Tenzin with managing the "survivors" she has been their main representative with the religious watch charity Inform. Both Carol and Tenzin have spent considerable time and effort trying to unduly influence Inform's information about the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) as explained in a previous article.

When that article was first published it contained a screenshot of Carol claiming that Inform had asked her to participate in the Dorje Shugden discussion at the SOAS University in London. Carol responded to various parts of the article but didn't dispute the screenshot of her comment.

It was only when a follow up article was published 2 weeks later which included a response from Inform that Carol suddenly tried to refute the statement. She deleted the comment that was taken from Facebook and claimed that I had forged the screenshot.

Previously she also lied about the CTA's involvement with a "survivors declaration" she claimed to have organised. Carol stated that it hadn't been altered following instructions from the CTA and that the first version of it was published on their website. Screenshots of Carol's own comments around the time showed that she was lying by making these claims (see more here).

 

Linda Ciardiello

As part of the CTA's fight back against the protesters online campaign several of Carol's associates have taken to Twitter using various pseudonyms. Whilst most of the battle appears to be a ping-pong game of memes from either side it occasionally steps over the bounds of campaigning into hate speech and bullying.

One such instance occurred between the @LaughingDaquini account and Jan, an ISC protest member. Over the course of a few hours @LaughingDaquini accused Jan of creating an image of the Dalai Lama which she found offensive and seeking to, "destroy the Dalai Lama".

This sort of rhetoric is quite normal for Twitter and for clashes like these, however @LaughingDaquini took it a step further by targeting Jan's employer and encouraging other users to target them with tweets. What followed was a blatant case of bullying and harassment which was clearly designed to have a negative impact on Jan's employment.

This type of approach is quite typical of the controversy and what we see in the example of @LaughingDaquini is simply a microcosm of the same approach the CTA takes where they publish the names of protesters and encourage other Tibetans to treat them as outcasts. Rather than addressing the issues the protests raise, namely that of discrimination and segregation, the CTA and its supporters just attack protesters and attempt to bully them into submission.

In my own dealings with @LaughingDaquini I challenged them that they were in fact Linda Ciardiello. Eventually they made a mistake and Linda published the following comment on Facebook:

 

 

I had made no threat whatsoever to Linda and I find it somewhat childish that she would make such a claim. What I found interesting though was that I had never communicated directly with Linda, I had only communicated with @LaughingDaquini. Yet here she was stating I had sent her a tweet, clearly Linda Ciardiello is also @LaughingDaquini.

Following this I tweeted the error and she immediately deleted her comment and claimed I had forged it. It would seem that Carol's approach to being caught out is now the standard protocol - delete the comment, lie about it, and accuse me of forging evidence.

To be honest I don't know what I find most offensive, being accused of forging evidence or being accused of forging such tediously insignificant pieces of evidence.

 

Conclusions

The three examples above are by no means the only ones I've encountered, they simply illustrate the main trends in this controversy. I've lost count of the number of lies I've heard, and I've lost track of the amount of time it takes to check each one.

From the stock CTA lie that the protesters are funded by China all the way through to lies about forging evidence, each one is convenient, but totally unsupported by any evidence. It seems that Tenzin and his associates have spent so long spinning lies and having people believe them they think they can get away with saying anything.

The problem for people like Carol is that if they claim to represent ex-NKT members with genuine grievances they are completely undermining themselves. With each lie and each falsification they gradually destroy not just their own credibility, but that of other ex-members.

They are obviously highly motivated to criticise the NKT, both financially and in terms of ongoing access to the Dalai Lama, which will play a role of introducing significant bias into their comments. When that bias is also conjoined with clear evidence of lying their credibility is practically non-existent.

If they have an ability to lie and an incentive to lie, then how can Inform or anyone else who deals with them give credence to their comments?

Whilst they may think they are being clever and getting away with making up events to suit their agendas the reality is the opposite.

If Tenzin is honest, as a Buddhist monk is supposed to be, then why is he lying about being offline in India? Why did he lie when he created false users and false accounts for the "survivors" group? Why did he lie about his military and Stasi background in his biography? Why did he lie when he used false names to register websites?

If Carol is honest and a credible "survivor" then why did she lie about the CTA's involvement with the declaration? Why did she lie about Inform asking her to be on the panel of the Dorje Shugden discussion? Why did she lie about the CTA giving her access to restricted areas? Why is she being given such special treatment by the CTA?

If Linda is honest and credible then why did she lie about her comment on Facebook? Why did she lie when she said I forged it?

This all goes back to the very heart of this issue - if there is no discrimination and persecution of Shugden Buddhists by the Dalai Lama and his government then why are there so many lies?

If these people are lying to protect the Dalai Lama then what else are they lying about?

 

Update

4th March 2015

In a continuation of her online antics Linda Ciardiello has continued to make false allegations about me. Normally I ignore most of these, but when people are wrongly named as being me it puts their life in danger.

I have publicly explained several times to Dalai Lama supporters that I have received credible threats to my life and I have security precautions in place to mitigate against these risks. Other people who aren't me don't have those measures in place and when people recklessly name someone as being me they put that person in serious danger.

It is beyond ironic that Linda accuses me of threatening her and at the same time threatens someone else and puts their safety at risk. Her post is shown below:

 

 

The person who has independently researched the matter is an associate of Robert Thurman and is loosely connected to the Anonymous hacking collective. He attends Tibet House in New York and is very much against Shugden practice.

He's currently on a US National Security Agency (NSA) watch list and he threatened to hack into several protesters Twitter accounts around the time of the LamaGate incident. This is the type of person Linda, Carol, and Tenzin think will add credibility to their cause.

In addition to lying about me forging evidence Linda also lies about this person's background and independence on the issue. She uses that as justification for endangering someone's personal safety and the safety of their family.

Below Carol is shown repeating the same false accusation with absolutely no regard for the named person's welfare or safety. She admits the information comes from a "hacker", but that clearly doesn't bother her.

 

 

This again illustrates my point that people like Linda and Carol, who claim to be representing ex-NKT members undermine their own credibility by lying and bullying people. What they fail to understand is that in so doing they also undermine the credibility of any ex-NKT members they represent who may have genuine grievances.

It seems very clear they are more concerned with protecting the reputation of the Dalai Lama than in helping ex-NKT members. To that end lying, bullying, threatening, deceiving people, and relying on hackers all appear to be acceptable methods for them.

 

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