Hi to all,
Sorry that I could not react earlier, I was just made aware of this thread by a friend. I did expect that something like this would appear at some point, but please know that I have not really followed anything on the Dharma related Internet forums during the past several years, so as of today I have no idea of what is really going on. I have not read Dharma Wheel at all. In fact, I made this account some months ago just to contact a friend, and have not used it.
I tried to read most of the thread, and it is an interesting one. I am surprised to see nuances which were lacking in Dharma related Internet discussions years ago. Thank you all for not crucifying me completely, at least not for now, and even for the occasional tentative kind words. Some of you I know and respect a lot.
If I can clarify in any way what is going on with me I will. However please know two things - 1) I have tried to make sure that most major points are explained as clearly as possible on the skydharma website, I am not sure I can do better than that, and 2) I have really no interest to associate what is happening with us with the Tibetan tradition, at all. I can not escape from my lineage and background, and I have utmost respect for my teachers. However what we do has little to do with the Tibetan tradition at this point and I would not like to be a burden. I would actually prefer to be dismissed as a false "teacher", cult leader, whatever. I have never been recognized as a tulku in the tibetan tradition and I am no more a tulku than any of you. Also, I have had nothing even remotely resembling a traditional tulku education so I find it very hard to take proper care even of the small group of people who think of me as their teacher. On top of that I utterly despise the role of a 'lama', in any form, and I hate personal responsibility and try to avoid it any time I am given a chance to.
I am still coming to terms with many things which have happened to me personally, and with some responsibilities I have taken and I have no idea still if I will be able to help anyone in a genuine or meaningful way. All of you are free to judge what we do, from the little information which is publicly shared, and this is something I have been aware of from the moment I agreed to the idea of an open community. I know very well how the Internet works. I am also aware of Aro, which i do not like, and of the many problems related to false lineages the Tibetan tradition has been facing - both historically and currently. I am not a fan of false Dharma, I do not fancy the personal karmic implications of involvement with something like this, nor do I like to cause harm to beings.
Regarding the mention of some of my personality flaws in this thread, I must say that these observations are, sadly, entirely accurate. I have others flaws too, which I can voluntarily add to the list upon request. My character is not very pleasing, my attitude is often rude with people, and on top of that my command of the English language is poor and what I write often actually comes out more strong than I intend. And I have little patience with nonsense. I do not think highly of myself, so I can understand very well anyone who does not like me.
And finally, just one of a few factual inaccuracies I noticed in the thread - please know that I have the highest regard for Yeshe Dorje. He is one of the very few amazing Western practitioners I have had the pleasure of communicating with, and I am sure he is a much better Dharma practitioner than I can ever aspire to be.
Ivo, your response should be considered plagiarism. Why do I say that?
Because I've heard the same apologetic spiel several times before from cult leaders being confronted with their deception and misconduct.
So humble, so open, so,.. rehearsed. But obviously not well thought out.
"I have really no interest to associate what is happening with us with the Tibetan tradition, at all."
So how does this not wanting to associate with Tibetan Buddhism fit in with your "new cycle of Dharma/new dzogchen" teachings? The name is so similar after all.
"You can find our community and this website beneficial if:
8. You have at any point really considered whether to involve your kids in the educational system at all."
How bodhisattva like of you to consider the children of your potential followers.
"11. You feel that you have been unjustly treated by life so far."
How premeditated of you to frame a victim as being wrong before they even have the chance to be victimized.
"There is a lot of difference and there is none, it depends on how we define differences. The established Tibetan traditions teach methods and teachings which were given in India and Tibet long time ago, and which were generally suitable for other times and cultures. We carry lineages which have been given by the same sources only in the past few years, and which are very attuned to our time, circumstances and culture. Both sets of teachings are valid for the appropriate audience they were transmitted to, both come from the same sources, and both lead to the same goals."
This bit speaks for itself, you're claiming you're on par with the lineage masters and therefore a greater authority than the "lowly lamas that are just regurgitating old irrelevant to modern people teachings" .
"I have extensive spiritual insights and would like to share them with your community, how can we arrange this?
We can't. If that is the case, you will be much better off founding your own community somewhere and saving the world with it."
Well worn advice?
"On top of that I utterly despise the role of a 'lama', in any form, and I hate personal responsibility and try to avoid it any time I am given a chance to."
I do particularly like this line because it makes you out to be a victim of circumstance.
It's completely nonsensical since you did choose to set yourself up as a lama
, and your website is just about you and promoting you, but it's lovely as far as paradigms for manipulation go.
Anyways, I have seen this so many times already it's become boring and I don't feel like elaborating on all the red flags.
10 years ago I would have still had some dismay and energy at seeing this "humble" defensive strategy but now it just feels so cliche.
Next time have someone proof read your rhetoric.