wish to draw your attention to several misstatements that you made
in your book from your meeting with H.H. Shamar Rinpoche in New
At the time, I was a student of Karmapa International Buddhist Institute
and was working for Shamar Rinpoche's office. You contacted Rinpoche
to request an interview for a book you were doing for Bloomsbury
about Orgyen Trinley and the Karmapa controversy. You said that
you wanted to include points of view from both sides in your book.
Shamar Rinpoche told me that it would be fine to meet for one interview
but that the Karmapa controversy was too complicated to cover in
that time. Therefore, to help you, Rinpoche offered to introduce
Mrs. Tina Draszczyk, an editor of The Karmapa Papers, as
a resource to offer you more detailed information. Rinpoche explained
that he would not have more time for further interviews and that
Mrs. Draszczyk would be available to answer your future queries.
Mrs. Draszczyk was now running a Dharma center in Vienna. In response
to your question, she explained that there were two centers in Vienna,
one run by Lama Ole Nydahl and one run by her husband and herself,
directly under H.H. Karmapa. So when you implied that Mrs. Draszczyk
was a student of Lama Ole, you made an error.
the electricity at KIBI had been intermittent all week, Rinpoche
invited you to join a lunch at the Hyatt Regency that had already
been planned for the next day with Rinpoche's disciple Hans Luehrs
from Hong Kong. Rinpoche also invited Mrs. Draszczyk to this lunch
to meet with you.
The next day, as planned, before the lunch, Rinpoche met you in
the Hyatt Regency's lounge for an interview.
response to your questions about how the controversy began, Rinpoche
explained the whole story from beginning to end, particularly about
the forged letter and the takeover of Rumtek by Situ and Gyaltsab
Rinpoches and other outside people. Rinpoche also explained how
the Karmapa Charitable Trust operated and how Situ and Gyaltsab
Rinpoches were from a different administration than Gyalwa Karmapa's,
so that they had no rights by tradition or by law to interfere in
the affairs of Rumtek, the monastic seat of the late Karmapa.
also explained how, since all three rinpoches, Shamar, Situ and
Gyaltsab, were part of the Karma Kagyu, each had the authority to
suggest Karmapa candidates. However, none had the authority to confirm
any candidate - only the Rumtek administration could do this. Rinpoche
made this point very clear to you.
you asked Shamar Rinpoche to respond to Situ Rinpoche's claim that
the reason he handed Orgyen Trinley over to the Chinese authorities
was because the boy was born on Chinese soil, in Tibet. Shamar Rinpoche
replied that if Orgyen Trinley was to be the official Karmapa, then
the only office with the authority to decide whether he was the
genuine Karmapa or not, where he would live and other details of
his official role, would be the office of Rumtek Monastery.
these subjects were finished, Rinpoche took you along with Mrs.
Draszczyk and myself to his lunch with Mr. Luehrs. During lunch
an informal discussion started about the problems in the relationship
between H.H. Dalai Lama and the late 16th Karmapa.
a secretary of Shamar Rinpoche at the time, I was very surprised
to see that when your book came out, you reported very little of
what Shamar Rinpoche had said in your interview. Instead, you focused
on the casual lunch conversation, reporting comments about H.H.
Dalai Lama and Shamar Rinpoche's informal observations about his
uncle the late Karmapa. You reported little of the information that
Rinpoche had given you earlier concerning the Karmapa controversy.
That was supposed to be the main topic of your meeting with Rinpoche,
yet you obviously found the casual lunchtime talk more interesting.
unfortunately, you implied that Rinpoche was staying in the hotel
and that he had come down from a hotel room for the interview, which
is untrue. We had already informed you that Rinpoche was simply
meeting you at the hotel for the interview. You made another mistake
too - you described Rinpoche as drinking coffee. However, everyone
who knows him is aware that Shamar Rinpoche never drinks coffee,
but sticks strictly to tea for his hot beverage of choice.
Mr. Luehrs, the host of the lunch, answered all of your questions
about how he had met his wife, how they had three children, and
how old they both were and so on. So you made another misstatement,
apparently intentional, when you said that Mrs. Luehrs appeared
twenty years younger than her husband, making an unpleasant implication.
conclusion, when I analyze how you report your meeting with Shamar
Rinpoche, it appears to me that you must have some kind of agenda.
It appears that you intentionally take many details out of context
while getting other details wrong. This allows you to portray Rinpoche
as a kind worldly lama - more a businessman than a spiritual teacher
- with Mr. Luehrs as a business partner, rather than a student.
You even knowingly seem to imply that Mrs. Luehrs is a kind of trophy
wife, which I suppose is what you think worldly businessmen have.
me, your words could not be more inaccurate in spirit. Here, I will
not try to convey to you my own feelings for Shamar Rinpoche.
I will say is that this kind of petty misrepresentation seems very
disrespectful to people who have done much to spread the Dharma
in the West. Your language demonstrates clear bias. Given that this
bias is as evident in the major points of your argument as it is
in these small details, I cannot see how you can claim that your
book is balanced journalism. Instead, it seems to be little more
than propaganda for Situ Rinpoche and his allies.
also the response to this letter by Mick Brown