Hardly An Elevating Sight, But Quite Enlightening

Written by Rob Hogendoorn

I’m glad that online forums like Diffi•Cult exist. They offer a window to observe assertive Western Buddhist converts in their natural habitat, exhibiting their ordinary behaviour. Hardly an elevating sight, most often, but quite enlightening.

Today we can witness a factual claim by an anonymous “vetted contributor”—”A court-mandated paternity test has proven conclusively that the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje fathered a child with a woman”—morph into:

“One key reason Tenzin had in his motivation to publish this was his memory of the hush money that settled the case of sexual assault against Sogyal Lakhar. Because of this case being hushed, Sogyal was allowed another 2 decades of serious harm. And there is nothing here that has been newly revealed. Tenzin is simply backing the claims of an alleged survivor.” (Comment 202).

Evidently, in the mind of this commenter at least, unsubstantiated-yet-conclusive-evidence-by-hearsay gives Tenzin Peljor (also known as Tenpel and Michael Jäckel) a right to insert his “key” motive into (supposed) ongoing negotiations on a (supposed) settlement (supposedly) involving a non-disclosure agreement.

Pre-emptively making sure that nothing-to-be-hushed remains by speculatively turning allegations into unsubstantiated ‘facts’, Peljor’s deus ex machina intervention—hearing the parties themselves be damned—seems like a warped sense of respecting others’ agency to me.

Conclusive evidence of the seventeenth Karmapa’s parenthood may exist. But it has not yet been presented. Reaching a settlement and signing a non-disclosure agreement may have detrimental effects. But they are the involved parties’ decision to make.

To prejudge the matter in public, in an apparent attempt to obstruct or sabotage a (supposed) settlement negotiation with less than hard evidence, is not just bad practice. It’s not just presumptuous. It’s immoral. Try selling that to Diffi•Cult’s meddlesome regulars.

Originally posted as a long-Tweet on July 21, 2022.

About the author

Rob Hogendoorn

Investigative reporter and academic researcher Rob Hogendoorn (b. 1964) began researching the reception of Buddhism in Western society and culture in the early 1990s. His modus operandi remained the same ever since: independent, inquisitive and provocative.