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you for your letter of July 19 of this year.
did not enter into your exchange of letters with Neeraj about the
Rumtek court case and Topga Rinpoche. But my letter to you of March
28 of this year challenged the points you made in your letter to
Neeraj, so actually, you have not replied to the substance of my
points on these two subjects.
the donation in question, you will recall that in your book The
Dance of 17 Lives, on page 103, you write that Shamar “also
had a gift for raising funds. One Western devotee recalls being
with him in New York, in an apartment on 5th Avenue, with a wealthy
sponsor, ‘and he extracted this $25,000 donation, just like
that. He had enormous charm and personality. It was just his way.”
have asked you to present your evidence for this alleged donation.
In your letter, you refuse to do so and you present an explanation
that, with all respect, seems rather elaborate to me: “On
the question of the donation, I spoke to a number of people on both
sides of the controversy and also to disinterested parties, who
wished, for their own purposes, to remain anonymous. As I am sure
you will appreciate, I am duty-bound to honor the assurances I gave
appears that you conducted much research to verify such a small
donation. Today, Tibetan lamas receive donations of hundreds of
thousands of dollars or more on a regular basis, and so a donation
of only $25,000 would be regarded as only moderately newsworthy.
Yet, you were able to locate at least three witnesses—one
on each side of the controversy and one “disinterested”—perhaps
including the donor him- or herself? I have to admit that your finding
so many witnesses for such a small gift sounds highly improbable
also find myself at a loss to deduce any possible motivation why
that donor, as well as the witness you claim to have on “my
side” of the controversy, would not be willing to take credit
for their claim. What’s the shame in making a donation to
a lama? I thought that people were supposed to be proud of something
like that, and not ashamed. In any event, I cannot imagine why your
alleged witness on “my side” would be afraid to back
up your story.
Mr. Brown, I am tempted to place a classified advertisement in the
New York newspapers asking the donor to come forward. I would like
to thank this donor, make sure his or her funds were properly received
and accounted for, and verify that the donor received a receipt
to deduct the charitable gift from his or her taxes. If this donor
does not show him or herself, then I will take this as confirmation
that your story about such a donor was invented.
so many people are witnesses, as you have written, how could this
donation and the “wealthy sponsor” still be hidden?
It should be quite easy to locate this person with such a crowd
involved, but yet it still seems that nobody really knows except
you. Therefore, Mr. Brown, with all due respect again, I must be
very frank with you. On this issue of the donation, your explanation
sounds like Lady Macbeth, and I fear that you “protest too
much.” For me, your claim of having so many witnesses—on
each side and in the middle—for such a small matter puts your
veracity in question.
clear your reputation, I would like to ask you one final time to
present some acceptable evidence for this donation or else to issue
a public apology for making a claim that you cannot support. This
should not become a major issue of saving face, Mr. Brown. This
point is not even crucial to your book’s argument. If you
were misled by one of your informants, I would encourage you to
admit your mistake and move on.
your misstatement about the identity of the Black Crown that the
sixteenth Karmapa brought from Tsurphu to India in 1959—a
misstatement that was challenged by Thubten Gyaltsen as you acknowledged
but also by Khenpo Chodrak Tenphel (which you did not mention)—this
is an issue between the three of you. But as I am the chief executive
of the Karmapa Charitable Trust it is my responsibility to take
your statement seriously. To me, such a statement, casting groundless
doubt on the Black Crown at Rumtek, sounds like part of a cover-up
for those who may have perpetrated some crime involving the crown.
It is possible that the Rumtek administration of Situ and Gyaltsab
has either stolen the original or has damaged it. If this is true,
your book would, then, in essence, serve as an “alibi”
to cover up their mischief, which would make you an accessory to
any crime your statement intentionally attempts to obscure.
Karmapa Trust has been worried for years, because we have received
many indications that something may have happened to the crown under
the care of Situ and Gyaltsab. In any case we have initiated a legal
case on this issue in India. I should now take this opportunity
to inform you that you should prepare to show us in court the “previously
published material” that you refer to in your letter. I cannot
imagine that this “material” was Lea Terhune’s
poorly researched book Karmapa: The Politics of Reincarnation, since
her volume was published the same year as your book, if a few months
earlier. Given timelines in the publishing industry, it is unlikely
that you would have had time to review her published work before
finalizing your own manuscript, unless of course you collaborated
with Ms. Terhune before her book was published. In any event, Terhune
presented no evidence for this claim in her book, so I cannot imagine
that a responsible journalist would have trusted her assertion without
double-checking it. I will look forward to hearing what other source
you will cite for this misinformed claim about the Black Crown.
must point out that I notice a contradiction in what you say in
your letter on the Black Crown. On the one hand, you say that “All
my information about the history of the Crown, the existence of
a replica and the uncertainty over which Crown had been brought
from Tsurphu was drawn from previously published material.”
But then, on the other hand, you say that “I am sure that
confirmation that it is the original Crown will be welcome news
to many of the devotees I spoke to—some of whom are quoted
in the book—who witnessed His Holiness the 16th Karmapa perform
the Vajra Crown ceremony.” So I am quite confused. You say
that you did not talk to anyone about the history of the crown,
but then you say that people you spoke to will be happy to hear
that the crown is the original one. If you did not speak to anyone
about the history of the crown, how do you know that devotees were
concerned that the crown wasn’t the original?
your July 2004 letter in response to Neeraj KC, the IKKBO experienced
a technical problem which caused the link to your letter, as well
as a variety of other documents, to disappear temporarily from the
site. I have requested the IKKBO webmaster to post your letter back
online along with these other documents at www.karmapa-issue.org.
I have also instructed the webmaster to leave these documents online