Trigger Warning- Child Abuse:

This is a repost from one of my dharma sisters, Khandro Tsultrim on Facebook, she is from France. More and more stories and posts like this are appearing daily, and not just on Reddit, where people’s identity is protected and masked. I was hesitant to re-publish this, and included with her post is an exceedingly graphic image of a young girl. Khandro Tsultrim was banned from posting to Facebook for 24 hours due to the subject matter and the graphic image that I did not re-post here. I personally can’t verify any of these stories of women and young girl abuse, but I have been told in confidence by two high Tibetan teachers, that yes, secret practices that are designed to “extract the essences and life force” of young girls and women, are regularly still practiced to this day. I wrote to her and told her that the greater community will probably turn against her and say that she’s mentally ill or hysterical, for bringing to light what these people do behind the scenes. She said to me “well if I can help one child to be protected, that’s my Bodhisattva vow, and it’s a small price to pay to protect a child from sexual exploitation.” She’s certainly braver than I am.

I personally have not been privy to any of these teachings or rituals and can verify nothing, and the internet sources are sketchy at best. Everything that I know about it is secondhand and hearsay. I was told by an ex-monk that the children are systematically abused in many of the monasteries every day and everyone turns a blind eye, and there’s an actual proctor charge of the beatings. It’s so hard for me to take refuge in a tradition that still secretly harms children and I’ll never stop speaking about it until the harm to these little vulnerable souls, under the false guise of trust and religion has completely ceased.

I so hope all of my friends will be able to talk about this utterly unseemly subject, and put a firm stop any instance of covert harm, hurt, threat or sexual exploitation used still, in this “tantric” tradition. As far as women having their lives lost or getting cancer, dying, black magic being used against them, I’m not sure if any of that stuff mentioned below really works and it’s under the realm of “magical thinking.” I do think it’s heartbreaking, criminal, that anyone in a  trusted religious position would ever use anything with the intent to: harm, silence, defame or destroy another person. That is not spirituality, or Buddhism or “wrathful protection,” that is evil incarnate.

It’s really sad because, as I’ve said before, my personal teachers were never abusive to anyone that I know of. I do always wonder if they know about any abuse of children that might be happening under their auspices. This remains an open question. I have tried unsuccessfully over the years to contact some of the heads some of the major Buddhist monasteries and even the Tibetan government in exile and begged them, pleaded with them with tears, to protect children. In the age of the #metoo, the age of transparency and whistleblowers, if abuse is indeed happening and it seems verified from many sources, it’s exposure can cause harm to the credibility and endurance of the entire global Buddhist infrastructure. I never wanted that to happen, and people are waking up now. I pray that all harm immediately cease, and all precious children are protected, always. ♥


Khandro Tsultrim

Be very careful when you are with a Tantrika, yogi or lama of the Vajrayana, never be alone with him but also not send to him undressed photos. More and more of these “practitioners” use the pretext of Karma mudra to steal your subtle energy. They feed on you without you realising it, taking up to 10 years from your life. A friend of mine died of cancer as a result of what a known Vajrayana monk did to her. She had asked me to pass on her story to women consorts who are silently sexually abused by their master (like mimi with Sogyal Rinpoche). I promised her to do so, I am in the process of gathering her testimony into a single document that I can transmit in private. Another woman I knew in the Karma Kagyu lineage was also abused at the age of 20 by religious people, now she is a drug addict and a prostitute. Moreover, when I lived in India and Nepal, many ex-monks told me in secret about the ordeal they suffered as children and adolescents in monasteries, about gang rapes, about sexual touching, they also served as consort to their elders. We must break this Omerta and denounce paedophilia and the sexual abuse of women by religious, it is not breaking a Samaya to act in this way, but it is a duty of Bodhisatva and of a human being fulfilled in the six paramitas. All these abused beings have their lives destroyed. No excuse, no pity for their nazis ! It is time to return to the original Dharma so that no one suffers any more !
Notice to the trolls who are going to attack me : I am working with international cybercrime, I will report any threats against me and people I protect. Even you kill me, I don’t care, now the new generation of warrior Dakinis are coming ! EMAHO !


Today we bid farewell to one of the original beat poets, Lawrence Ferlinghetti who died at 101, please listen to him read the Assassination Raga.

As many of you who follow me know, I had the good fortune of studying Buddhist studies and creative writing and poetry at Jack Kerouac School of  Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa (Institute) University from 1989-1994 and came back to TA there a few times.  Almost all of the living beat poets would convene there every summer to teach classes and we would read together and there would be weekly impassioned performances at the Boulder Theater. It was an interesting mix of sacred and profane- tortured souls sipping cigarettes and dark espresso to a semi- psychedelic magic sex dharma- ‘we are here to change and awaken society’ brightness. I’m privileged to have been and be- even a tiny part of it. The photo below was our current class while I was at Naropa, a tad thinner and god only knows how many years younger, but my heart, somehow more healed in it’s rawness.

You can see Anselm Hollo, Jack Collum, Anne Waldman, Allen Ginsberg. Below that is the only known picture of me during the Summer Writing program. Many classes took place outdoors on the lawn, and our readings outside in a tent. It was a magical time, and I think you don’t really appreciate what you have until it’s gone. A lot of my teachers, most from Naropa, have passed on now, and I’m making a strong decision to wake up and be happy each and every day in this brilliant and fleeting life. There are no guarantees, no ultimate insurance plan that we will have another life, or continue in any way.  Let’s make this one real and not squander even one second. 101 Lawrence…well done!

Love to you all, from the depths of me.

daw at naropa outside

Can you tell who is me, 1993 or 1994. Naropa Summer Writing Program, Boulder Colorado.


An insider’s look at religion, Tibetan Buddhism, ethics and a way forward.


I wonder how the mothers of the myriads of children in the Catholic religion feel, once they realize their children are sexually assaulted by priests under the guise of religious trust, piety and safety. I wonder if it causes them to lose faith in their entire religion- in God, in Jesus and turns their world upside down in terms of value and priority, and religious absolution? I haven’t researched the subject in terms of the magnitude of how many children were harmed and how many families and communities and dioceses are impacted, globally. I don’t know the amount of reparations that the church is paying to survivors and how incredibly all-pervasive and ubiquitous this abuse of children is, as abuse has spanned over centuries. No one but no one wants to talk about this- it’s the most grotesque and unseemly subject we can fathom. Just mentioning it, brings up for many, any type of trace of abuse or betrayal, anything we’ve ever kept secret and unresolved wounds from our personal childhoods. I believe it’s considered human society’s deepest, darkest shadow.

I am suspecting that the families of the children that were assaulted even possibly multi-generationally, still within them hold deep faith in the essence of their religion, and so long simply for the wrongs to be righted. Part of why it goes on for as long it does, is that the priests, cardinals and bishops in the dioceses cover for each other and are silent, even when they knew children were being harmed. I think when you are invested in the religion very deeply you care for it so much, you don’t want to say or do anything that would ever endanger it or cause people to lose faith. We would never want to disrupt the architecture or milieu of what we’ve created, let alone our identity, position and risk legal and ethical considerations. Oftentimes, in religions, people think that they are in keeping with God, Mohammad, a prophet like Joseph Smith, the Buddha or some special divinity that gives them permission to abide by God or some other spiritual law outside man’s paltry, temporal laws.

This is the very root of why people have been exploited and abused, and harmed in religion and can continue to be so today. Anyone found guilty of seeing the corruption behind the cloth or the curtain, is generally shunned, excommunicated, slandered, defamed or silenced. Generally there’s some religious notion that the person would be a demon, a vow breaker, satanic, or going to hell if they did anything to harm the integrity or piety of the religious structure. In religions, high demand groups or cults, people have oftentimes built their lives and all social relationships and families around religious socialization, community and values. It’s extremely difficult to have ethics, transparency and the prevention of abuse and power because lay people or indoctrinates, are not permitted to question or speak out against religious authority. We can see now why these groups are able to continue to propagate abuse and exceedingly unhealthy practices that span over hundreds of years.

I wonder however, if the mothers of these child sexual assault survivors in the Catholic or other traditions, still hold great faith in the essence of their tradition and their personal relationship with their beliefs. I for one do. I’ve seen so many instances where people see things in terms of black-and-white, you are either in or out, ascribe to our doctrine without question, or not. For example, you either have unquestioning faith in Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard and would never dare speak out against it, or if you begin to see some of the problems, you are deemed a “suppressive person” and are told to leave with no contact with anyone again, even your primary family members. These are what cult expert Margaret Singer called a “closed system” of religious/ community authority, that does not permit questioning or evolution.

I had a close Dharma friend come over last night, I have been speaking out with some moral concerns in general and with one particular Buddhist teacher for years, who I think is in part, ethically compromised in many complex ways. This teacher is possibly, like many who have gone astray, a covert narcissist. He happens to find this teacher to be charming and unconventional and worthy of great reverence, and with a veiled threat, suggested that I “be careful” and remain silent, as expected. This Buddhist teacher maintains the perspective at the root of a lot of our recent scandals, the #metoo and conflict, is the fact that westerners are too spiritually immature, “not proper vessels” to understand the profundity and depth of their [sic] Asian Buddhist ways. He insults us, and calls us names like neo-liberals and suggests that we are spiritually arrogant and have absolutely no right to question him, his cronies, his religious tenets or anything in the doctrine that they considered to be absolute truth. These teachers consider themselves divine, flawless enlightened Buddhas, they mandate an unquestioning authority of command and control, and our job is to follow their commands with devotion and non-discriminating obeisance. Anyone that does not or god-forbid speaks out is considered evil, a demon or a vow breaker (samaya) and shunned.

We talked for many hours into the night. My friend was born into an American Tibetan Buddhist family, and grew up with the doctrine. It took me a long time to show him my heart, tears, sincerity, my longing to heal what I feel is wrong in our tradition, and help him to deconstruct some of the heavy-handed doctrine that we all have invested in and take for granted. He used accusatory words like- you must think that you are spiritually superior, that I should be careful because there could be some karmic implication (hells) for me speaking out against harm and teachers exploitation, this is a tradition that dates back thousand years, who did I think I was, I was no one, it’s the many women’s fault with being overly emotional, vindictive and then- I simply wasn’t seeing the tradition as purely as I should. Why focus on other’s faults, we have plenty ourselves? He, like others suggest: “Why don’t you just silently leave if you don’t like it/ find flaw in a teacher?,” that’s what the scriptures insist. I get this often, orthodox men in a religion who try to silence or demonize whistleblowers, rather than possibly self reflect and respect that our concerns just might be… sound. (They are.)


“It’s important for people to know what was going on, not only as a warning for people but also for the Lamas themselves to know, that they cannot just get away with everything like the way they did before. You know it’s the old boys club syndrome. You know they have to support each other, because you know if they don’t maybe the whole edifice falls down.” Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

Okay, so I started to bring up that within our tradition, powerful people like his Holiness Dalai Lama, Mingyur Rinpoche and Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo talk very frankly about the sexual abuse of women and children and the abuse of power and exploitation of this “feudal” tradition, that can only be an inception of causing it’s demise. Their hurtful conduct is causing many, worldwide, to rapidly lose faith, as the hypocrisy in the tradition, which actually teaches ethics and non-harming can not uphold any type of religious integrity while corruption is still permitted and covered. I told him that I had a very authentic raw and candid conversations with my close, ethical Buddhist teacher. He knows exceedingly well about what I am saying my public expression of concerns, and my longing to preserve the tradition by shedding light on what within it is harmful so that it could continue to flourish.  He agrees with me and shares all of my concerns, but is socially hesitant to be a public voice of change.

Like the Catholic mothers and families of child sexual assault survivors, can’t we still have great faith in our tradition, the methods which connect us to a deep sense of spirituality and openness and love within us? Yet, at the same time, be able to be sober and practical around the harm that human beings have used within religion to exploit people since time immemorial? I believe that if we stay silent, knowing that women and children and religious members are harmed and controlled, it would be akin to hearing a family next-door yelling and screaming and knowing that domestic violence was happening there, and  believing that the way to peace would be to stay silent ignore it, and not call the authorities.  Silence is complicity, it enables harm. If we see teachers taking liberties by sleeping with most of their students, if we see small children assaulted within these monasteries on a daily basis, can’t our basic human ethics and conscience pull us to want to help to heal things that are harming others? *No religious doctrine should give itself permission to abuse, assault, punish, threaten or spiritually harm any human being ever in any way.* This truth, to me is in keeping with my treasured Buddhist vows of non-harming, compassion, love, integrity-  values that the Buddha intended.

Anyone that wants to still stay silent, ignore, make ‘dharmasplaining‘ spiritual excuses to cover what they know has happened that’s abuse, and does not take any steps to clean it up and to stop the patterns is still complicit, and either an abuser themselves or enabling abuse. I guess I’m naïve and I believe that human beings, still somewhere, however dormant, have a conscience.  We, in our hearts, don’t want to exploit each other in terms of power and sex, or hurt children and somehow, if we brought transparency to these things people couldn’t live with themselves anymore with what they do and what they’ve done. Though a process of the deep soul-searching and contrition, we would actually want to create healthier communities, treat each other better and foster truly helpful methods of connecting to our inherent deep wisdom within us.

I guess I have faith, deep, unwavering faith in the integrity of our humanness, and our innate longing to purify our mistakes, learn and evolve. That is my vow, that is my commitment to the part of us that is enlightened and clear and doesn’t want to harm people within the guise of religion, even one more day. I am an adult abuse survivor and I can’t ignore teachers who use their trusted role as bullies to sexually assault, exploit, suppress or harm any person and try to believe that it is somehow divine, and if we were to express concern, that we are demons, or vow breakers. This just can’t go on this way and I pray that  the sound, wholesome and powerful methods within these traditions flourish, once what is not, is firmly pruned away. That pruning process mandates transparency and culpability, not silence and secrecy, for us to grow, learn, evolve and really have any chance of making spiritual progress in this precious life. If you have harmed others, admit it and purify and moreso, don’t do it anymore. I believe we all care, can and want to heal; I believe in us, my vows, unbreakable. དམ་ཚིག་


We purify and purify, so that the ‘good one’ can remain. Tsoknyi Rinpoche


Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels



Last year, I met with the number of noted Buddhist teachers here in Crestone Colorado, including Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Thrangu Rinpoche about the future of our Dharma practice after some of the concerns of the #metoo movement and many scandals were exposed. We had heartfelt, forthright discussions concerning misconduct, abuse, authoritarian power, cults and cult-think and how, if at all possible, to move forward as a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner. Here is my recollection of their personal advice to me and us all, musings from retreat.

direct link



Narcissistic/ Borderline Abuse is much more ubiquitous than we know. Any contact with unfeeling, abusive people can be some of the most heartbreaking and damaging relationships we ever encounter and without education, can literally destroy lives, careers, health and families. Every one of us, most likely at some stage of life, has had some contact with a disordered person. According to the DSM-5, “one in 25 people will have the disorders associated with ‘no conscience’ which include anti-social personality disorder, sociopath, and psychopath.”

With the days of predatory social media and online dating, these numbers are ever increasing, as social media and dating apps provide access to unsuspecting, well intended and open people, who naturally trust. We believe that others act with good intentions, integrity and would not break unspoken social norms. The problem is… that a certain percentage of our population has no conscience and simply cannot love, all they can do sadly is use others to boost their inflated ego as narcissistic supply, and extract whatever they can from those willing to offer. When they see no more use or are confronted, it causes dangerous, narcissistic injury and the target is discarded and useless to them. All attempts from the victim to heal, resolve, understand, problem solve or at least have basic human closure are “ghosted” or denied. Often the disordered person who forged intimacy, trust and “trauma bonds” will turn on their targets when they plead for resolve as if they themselves are the victims. We talked a lot about D.A.R.V.O. where the offender acts and believes they are now the victim and can become callously vengeful. Idealize, devalue and… discard, it’s formulaic and always the same.

I speak of this process often because I see so many people including myself have been deeply hurt or devastated by conscienceless predatory people. The harm can be quiet and insidious, and you can become easily emotionally addicted to an abuser. It’s not easy to leave them at all, and often friends say “just forget them and get over it.” I have a girlfriend that’s been on dating sites for a few years and the very moment that she does something wrong or the person loses interest and finds someone who they consider to be better, oftentimes if not all, the men don’t even so much as reply to text even after a relationship had been forged for weeks or even months. Ghosting- no reply, they are gone, you mean nothing, see ya. I guess this is the world we are living in right now, people are just treated like ego’s fodder and we live to collect as many Facebook and Instagram likes as we can. I can’t imagine now, the daily heartbreak and damage that happens on dating apps. These electronic relating worlds seem to be birthing more and more narcissists by the moment, replacing love addiction, predatory games and trauma bonds for real love.

What can we do to protect ourselves, is there a solution?

It’s very difficult to heal from relationships with disordered people. In my case I was born into a family with a full spectrum narcissist, so I didn’t have the grace of learning about red flags and what people to accept and what people to avoid. I had no choice but to relate with this person for the greater part of my life. However right before I had a child, in order to not recreate unhealthy family patterns, I sought a deep therapeutic help to understand the dynamics of the long term insidious soul crushing abuse. Through a lot of therapy, journaling, self-awareness and self care, turned the corner to find a sense of self value and self-love, despite the many years of being minimized and devalued, which still sadly continues to this day.

I’ve come to a point where I can accept and understand, that it’s built into the type of mental illness and disorder that a narcissistic person cannot, *ever,* self reflect, apologize and see their fault. All that a narc/ borderline is capable of doing is projecting that onto others what’s called “object other or splitting.” This process is complex and you can read about it if you ever find yourself in contact with one of these people. For me, the beginning of the healing process is simply knowledge and awareness and separating out myself from the disordered person. Once I can see their state of mind and m.o., I could begin to heal and I stopped blaming myself for everything they wanted to blame me for, and most of all stopped any type of codependent attempt to try to fix or heal them. Fixing is untenable, you simply can’t have a healthy relationship with an untreated disordered person ever, it’s a zero sum game.

N.O.R.P. Thinking

We can’t underestimate the power of transparency and having these types of discussions, education and knowledge is absolute power. I have volunteered to teach meditation in prisons, and every year we would have to renew our training and safety protocols for entering into the prison milieu. One of the things that they told us is that there’s a difference between the way that normal ordinary rational people thinking and criminal minds. They actually created an acronym for that called N.O.R.P. vs. the criminal minds of the “offenders.” They told us that people like us, come into the prison population as missionaries or trying to teach meditation or some type of trauma support. The people that teach these programs have all of the best intentions and are open hearted and altruistic. The security guards who were running the training would warn us that prisoners did not share the same type of thinking. These are people that are ok with breaking boundaries, laws and social norms. They cautioned us that the prisoners would be looking to see if they could find a psychological or emotional vulnerability so that we would feel sorry for them and maybe take pity on them them and help them in some way either financially or maybe when they got out, or to get out. They would tell us that they would be looking at our jewelry to assess how much money we had etc. In sum, their mindset vs the N.O.R.P. was really different. We were coming in to try to help and oftentimes people with criminal minds would be looking in a predatory way, looking to how to game us and the situation. The trainers wanted to make us really highly aware of how the criminal mind operates without there being a sense of conscience.


Once I got into the prison population even with this awareness and engaged with everyone more deeply, I did see many many moments of genuine grief and regret. I saw cruel, unhealthy issues with our penal system that have to do with race and oppression, but this is a complex social topic that is for another article altogether. It is relevant to this discussion in trying to heal from narcissistic or borderline abuse, because we need to understand that there are certain people that simply see the world in a generally conscienceless, predatory way. Is there any hope or treatment, well, stats say that some personality disorders are treatable, especially borderline, as the heightened emotionality and anxiety very often leads way to self reflection and great regret. I would give up on no one if the pain and their fundamental aloneness prompted them to treatment, but we can’t hold out for that. As someone who deeply loves a full spectrum narcissist, and full spectrum is defined as un-treatable, holding out hope is unhealthy, codependent, life wasting and delusional. The soul damage done to a child raised by a narcissist or BPD can have lifelong impacts, and they in adulthood are very vulnerable to recreating familiar patterns and subconsciously seek out what’s called trauma reenactment. In the past few years, survivors have thankfully created a powerful social movement of bringing tremendous awareness to the narcissist’s destructive capacity, and through healing and solidarity we can protect ourselves and each other.

I discovered a woman Maria Consiglio, who is going very deep into her own healing and writing a book on narcissistic abuse recovery. I wanted to share some of her top insightful, heartbreaking and inspiring thoughts and healing suggestions, you can follow her on Instagram. All of the below content is credited to her. *Trigger Warning…*


“Kill the part of yourself that still wants to save someone after they walked away while your were drowning.” Maria Consiglio

Trauma Bond

Victims often feel like they are addicted to their abusers. When a person goes back and forth between being nice and then being abusive and rejecting, it causes the victim to become highly addicted and bonded to the narcissist. This creates a Trauma Bond. These bonds are powerful and extremely difficult to break. Victims become addicted to the relief they feel when the narcissist shows them love, or gives them any form of positive attention. This starts a cycle where victims feel anxiety and uncomfortable until the next time the narcissist is less abusive or nicer. This creates an addictive pattern where you literally get addicted to those small moments of relief when the abuser is being nicer or more pleasant. This cycling of back and forth behavior of being good and being bad ensures the narcissist that you become addicted and less likely to leave them. This gives them tremendous power over you.

The After Effects Of Narcissistic Abuse

Even if you are over the narcissist, you still experience so much psychological trauma. Your brain is affected, your functioning is affected, and the way you see the world is affected. There is so much damage in these relationships, the stress alone has dire affects on your health. Your body can not constantly be in hyper-vigilance mode and not be affected. Your cortisol levels are high and you are exhausted, mentally, emotionally and physically. You feel different like you don’t fit in the world anymore. You feel broken and like no one understands. How could they, when you didn’t even know the extent of the damage that was ensuing. You come out of this relationship scared, bruised and completely lost. Not knowing if you will ever feel the same again. Feeling like you will never fit into the world again. They break you down in a way that there are no words that could accurately explain or describe.


“Don’t expect a narcissist to be there for you. Not only wont they be there, but they get mad that you even expect them to be.”
“Some narcissists believe their own delusions. They believe their own mask, they actually think they are good people, no matter what horrible things they do. Narcissists can justify anything they do. Remember that, when you keep hoping for some accountability from them.”

Her suggestions for healing:

Important Things To Do When Going “No Contact”

  • Block Narcissist on all social media, telephone or what ever else connected you to them.
  • Do not look on their social media page to see what they are doing, or if they have a new supply.
  • Do not respond, if they find a way to connect with you. Stay firm in your convictions.
  • Allow yourself to grieve. You may be grieving a false person, but you still need to get that grief out of your system.
  • Do not obsess about the good times or think about the fond memories with the narcissist. Remind yourself of the horrible abuse. And why you are no longer together.
  • Join a support group. It is a very difficult process to go through alone.
  • Have friends available to help talk you out of calling the narcissist.
  • Focus on yourself, practice extreme self care.
  • Look for a therapist to help you heal from all the trauma, you experienced. (either a trauma therapist, or a therapist who understands narcissistic abuse)
  • Have faith in yourself, believe for the best, and have faith for a better future.

-Maria Consiglio


image of woman free use from pexels

Tomoe Gozen
A Ronin is a Japanese Samurai Warrior that has lost his (or her) master and yet wanders boldly and bravely into their life. Many of us are taking a hard look at religion, a “religious path” and longing to make real personal, spiritual progress before this life is over. The problem is, that often people follow these religions with great devotion and expense, and yet find after many years that all of the amazing qualities promised, are just not occurring. Why? They promised us that if we do these practices and did everything that they said, that we would be free of pain and evolve into something greater, even magnificent. For example, in the yoga community, they have a famous quote:
“Practice and it’s all coming.”
Anyone who’s ever been involved with a high demand group, or a very controlling semi-cultist religion might want to read this book immediately. It’s called Cults in our Midst by Margaret Singer of Colorado. She discusses basic, standard tenets of spiritual/ religious abuse and control, it’s always the same, formulaic. For 25 years, I was closely involved with some Tibetan Buddhist communities and could see the same problems recur: power, control, hierarchy, people fighting to be close to the teacher and people in power, treating others unwell as they maintained their positions. They used subtle threats of spiritual punishment had no grievance board or place to work out issues or offer feedback. For years as an insider, I thought that the valid concerns I kept seeing were “me”, well…
After the exposures of #metoo movement, a lot of these organizations are now being questioned and some of them are even dismantling. Many have fallen apart with some pretty painful, scandalous hemorrhaging, and it was really hard for me to process. We have some very deep personal vows that we take with our guru, an authoritarian teacher. I was told if we ever break them or speak ill of anyone or anything that we would become ill, or have serious personal life obstacles and then be born in some type of torturous compassion-less hell in an afterlife.
Even though I’m married to an evidence-based scientist and was educated and went to some of the best schools, I actually really believed in this stuff on a deep level and was frightened. I sought out help from people who understand religious dynamics and that brought me to an organization called Recovering From Religion, which offers a community support group and even a 1-800 number/ 24 hour chat, if people find themselves in a spiritual crisis! I went to some of their meetings in Denver, and I wanted to share with you some of the wisdom about how people can be harmed by religions.
Here were their healing suggestions for those who wanted to deconstruct their acquired belief system and heal. There were people there who grew up as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, some very heavy-handed religions that made people feel bad about themselves, period. We, together, tried to heal the pain and confusion from our religion or organization. It can be so incredibly hard, especially if you’re born into a religion that’s hardwired to see the world from that lense and oftentimes people’s entire families, relationships and entire milieu are part of the constructs of these heavy handed, black and white, spiritually retributive religions.



  • We do not talk anymore in terms of “magical thinking,” things that are not based in consensual evidence-based reality for example: imagining all of the different fantastic reward and punishment things that could happen in some afterlife, any afterlife or previous life, devils, angels, Buddhas or gods influencing us from another dimension. We do not point to there being some type of unseen, righteous moral authority that’s calibrating our good and bad deeds and judging us from a place that we can’t perceive. We do not talk in terms of any type of magical thinking as being real. In sum, we take a full stop to- archaic beliefs, religious crazy and conspiracy theories. Even if any of this afterlife, interdimensionality or other-worldliness is true, we remain in consensual, earth based reality.


  • We decide that we no longer want to participate in any type of religious tradition or paradigm or organization that is incapable of questioning itself and learning to grow beyond it’s structure. It’s religious rites and tenets cannot be so fixed that it creates a closed contracted, limited belief system. Oftentimes, High Demand Groups, cult-like communities or very closed fixed religions will suppress, defame, invalidate, attack and even modern-day shun, anybody that merely questions it’s values, formula, beliefs and ethics. This closed, contracted system simply can’t benefit human evolution in a genuine path of questioning learning and growing. The Buddha himself, said “don’t take anything I’ve taught on faith, please question everything I said, your own experience is what matters and be a lamp unto yourself.”


  • Avoid destabilizing traditions that make you feel like you doubt yourself, that you are bad that you’re evil, or that you’re going to hell, or that you’re sick. It happens all too often, that religions try to co-opt and monetize some type of purification, absolution or spiritual evolutionary process. Oftentimes the whole thing becomes a business and all of the amazing qualities promised never really occur, even after following their practices and paying with a lifetime of devotion. One of the most debilitating conflicts of interest is spiritual codependency, taking complete trust and refuge and someone or something outside of yourself, to help you to grow and to fix all of your problems. This quest is perilous and keeps us looking outward and it’s nearly impossible to grow with the mind turned in the wrong direction.


This is the best quote from an article called How Cults Work by Julia Layton. It summarizes the type of control and induced dependency in the spiritual communities: Induced Dependency– Cults demand absolute, unquestioning devotion, loyalty and submission. A cult member’s sense of self is systematically destroyed. Ultimately, feelings of worthlessness and “evil” become associated with independence and critical thinking, and feelings of warmth and love become associated with unquestioning submission.” This pretty much sums up my religion also known as Lamaism, or at least the exploitative parts of it.
I actually had the good fortune of studying with a powerful, old, ancient wisdom Buddhist Yogi. I would fly over to Nepal every year and climb the top of the mountain and stay with him. There was one time where I think I asked for too many teachings and practices and it was clear that I wasn’t even putting to practice the ones that he’d given me before. I asked for some blessing, and empowerment and some high spiritual this and that, he said:
“I’ve already told you all that you need to know, I want you to go out and practice what I taught you.” Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
He never asked me for money or commanded me to do any type of administrative work, only to practice. There was never any sexual impropriety, any type of manipulation on his part and he did not want to use me for anything in any way. He simply gave me some very powerful meditation instructions that were simple and subtle and required quite a bit of time to go pretty deeply and hopefully, establish some type of quality of simple clarity and compassion in my being. There was one time he even taught us a practice called Guru Yoga where you imagine all of the ancestral qualities of an enlightened, powerful teacher above your head. Even as he was giving this instruction, he was very very careful to not attribute all our openness and sacredness to him personally. He said “you can imagine it’s me but it’s not me.” What you are connecting to is, beyond me.
I’m so grateful that my spiritual teacher worked with us in a very personal way and had so much integrity. With any trace of this spiritual codependency or grasping arising, he would gently redirect us back to our own strength and heart. In this way, eventually we can grow up and stand alone in our power. This was the essence of a healthy relationship with a real master, guru or spiritual teacher, and I feel fortunate. In retrospect, I’ve seen many religions, yoga and spiritual communities become these giant monstrosities of control and commoditization, and I’m not altogether sad that a lot of them are dissolving. My teacher passed in 1996. Many of us, Ronin like spiritual refugees, hold the hope that something ethical, transparent and beneficial will arise in their wake. Genuine rock real, raw, falsity-free spirituality.
The master-less Ronin uncovers her own deep power. Look for what is healthy and empowers and strengthens you, rather than makes you dependent upon a priest, teacher or their methods, to be absolved to heal to grow or to learn anything.

 Sloughing off any traces of spiritual codependency, allowing ourselves to think critically about what is helpful to us verses what is just the socialization of religion and spirituality, is such a powerful and first step in finding a way to really grow and to develop into the best people we can be. We might then, from our own wisdom, find true spirituality and release any limitations from the bounds of constrictive religion.

Cults in Our Midst Image of Tomoe Gozen was a onna-bugeisha, who appeared in 14th century Japanese literature. According to lore, she served Minamoto no Yoshinaka during the Genpei War and was a part of the conflict that led to the first shogunate. Her family had strong affiliations with Yoshinaka. Wikipedia

There’s an amazingly powerful, loving and gentle teacher you might have heard of named Mingyur Rinpoche. I am a close student of his father and brother and “grew up” with this family while I was living in Nepal for many years. I lived at his brother Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s monastery in Swayambhunath, and had the good fortune to spend a lot of time with them personally. I began reading Mingyur’s book, In Love with the World. It’s about himself, Mingyur Rinpoche, a Tibetan monk-yogi teacher who took to the streets with no money and no provisions, to bravely do a three year retreat and trust that he’d survive. He didn’t tell anyone that he was going do this; it was an old yogic masters practice to just “enter in to the action” and have no defined place to go.

Rinpoche was set up to do a three-year retreat in a cabin with attendants and had simplified his whole life and administrative roles to prepare. On the first day the attendant came and they found a note on his meditation cushion explaining that he was going to go into the streets to wander and just experience the rawness of life and trust that he would come back to us in three years after his retreat is completed, and for us to not worry. We that knew him, were so very worried. His mother, reportedly cried without console. He has a large worldwide organization called Tergar, and indeed his students were concerned.

We found out later that at times, he came close to starving and despair. He met up with his attendant named Tashi when begging in Boudhanath Nepal, around the Stupa (Buddhist Monument). Tashi recognized him even as an unkempt beggar, and they traveled together for a bit. He slept on the street and in caves and sometimes begged enough for hotels. He was used to being revered and grew up with servants, wealth and privilege and was heartbroken when people passed right by him, when he was close to starving. He came back after these three years with more depth, more alive and with more  profound compassion than ever. Someday, when they let us travel again, I want to go back to Nepal for a simple cave retreat again, where these great masters practiced in simplicity. I highly recommend his book of you haven’t yet read it. Rinpoche we are glad you came back safely and your bravery inspires us all.

I’m thinking a lot these days about yogis and yoginis and being the most wholesome we can be in these dark times. My dharma and yoga practice has graciously strengthened since we’ve had to stay home more. No matter how apocalyptically dark, no matter how much pain and despair, there is always a core of calm and warmth that we can access. The media, news and social media do not define us. I feel a new evolution and renaissance within and without that we can co-create, emerging. We must do away with old ways, male dominated greed and corruption, and the monetizing and institutionalizing of, not only the tantric Buddhist tradition that Rinpoche was trained in, but everything. Change happens through honesty and transparency and brave voices that demand a revolution and a new human way must emerge for us all to survive. A new day of Goddess and Sage, real yogic wisdom is dawning, and I’m happy to live in this time. I feel more than ever, like Rinpoche suggests, In Love with the World.

Here are some heart warming yogini line drawings from artist, Ally Kitowski to inspire our meditation and yoga practice. I just found them this morning and they visually embody this feeling of being in love with our world.

Ally Kitkowski

Another Day Another Dala ❁
Fineliner and Digital Art ☽
Creating in Breck, Colorado ❅
DM for Prints & Inquiries ©

Lineage fathers,
I supplicate your sordid
AH divinity.


I had the privilege of meeting Burroughs at the Naropa Institute in the early 90’s, I recall him being very stoic, and indeed no one could prevent him from smoking inside. He smoked slowly intentionally, and the oddly disturbing and reverent imprint of him, never left my mind.

I also had the further privilege of taking a class during the Naropa Summer Writing Program with Allen Ginsberg. All of the living Beats would, and still convene there annually. I remember the first time rising to read my poetry in front of him, and he being a tad misogynistic, asked me firmly to sit down, but I remained standing to read.

He gave me one transmission that always stayed, but I tend to not follow, as my process is to write exactly the words as they appear with almost no editing.

He said that that a poet should use words that communicate feeling that appeals to our direct, consensual senses: sight, sound, taste, touch. He told me to refrain from interpretative words like the base, subjective word “beautiful.” He suggested rather to evoke the experience of beauty as a wordsmith,  “the yellow of morning forsythia bursts forth,” the scent of Christmas cinnamon, pine and solitude.”


Thank you, to my rawly human, base and indeed beautiful, lineage fathers, may the wisdom muse forever imbue my soul.

The Light That Makes Things Clear: A Prophecy of Things to Come⁠⁶

“The singular work entitled The Light That Makes Things Clear: A Prophecy of Things to Come,⁠⁷ was revealed by the late ‘Jam-byangs mKhyen-brtse Chos-kyi bLo-gros (1896–1959), widely known and celebrated as the “Master of Masters.” It was first translated into English in 1988, by Karma gSungrab rGya-mtsho, with the admonition that it be freely reproduced. We (Tibetan Alter) have elected to publish this work as received, with only slight editorial revision, as the translator prepared his version with the assistance of the late Khyentse Rinpoche’s learned students, and other qualified commentators. Our revisions cover matters of English expression; not content, which is unchanged, and basic meaning is left intact.

“This work takes the form of a dialogue involving Shakyamuni Buddha, Ananda, Avalokitesvara, and Maitreya concerning events commencing 2026, and lasting through 2032.”

Homage to the Three Jewels. The Victorious One (Shakyamuni Buddha) once related this teaching applicable to a time when the evil period would arise. It is like a path because all sentient beings are connected to it.

When the Victorious One was sitting under the bodhi tree and thinking of all sentient beings of the world, he saw that at the end of five hundred years, an evil age would begin. As to the deeds and thoughts of all these beings, those with great merit would come into contact with this teaching while those with little merit would not. The pain from conflicting emotions would be great indeed.

Because it seemed that humans living on the surface of the earth would be as if cut to pieces with swords due to this, the venerable Ananda pleaded with the Victorious One:

“Victorious One, because you consider things with great compassion, spare humankind this torment.”

And the Victorious One replied to the venerable Ananda:

“I have this to say about it. While I was residing in the great expanse of space, I was thinking of and gazing on the beings of the world. So, listen! There is a teaching useful during the time when the dark age arises. If one writes of it, propagates it, and practices the “Great Responsiveness Meditation” and recitation, impurities and obscurations will be quickly purified. If one sincerely makes offerings to this spiritual text with flowers and incense, all sentient beings will benefit. By propagating this text and writing about it, one will obtain a good existence throughout all of one’s lives.”

Then, near the base of a tree, there was a great lake. On its shores sat the Greatly Responsive One (Avalokitesvara) (in the form) he appears with and for others. While considering all beings in his responsiveness and compassion, he began to shed copious tears. Then the Victorious One said:

“Listen carefully, oh Greatly Responsive One! It is not necessary to shed tears, so heed my words well. During the month of the Tiger in the new year, I intend to go to many places. At that time during the evil age all sentient beings will be freed from the ocean of existence’s miseries. All evil conduct will be abandoned and I will lead sentient beings away from evil states (they have fallen into). At that time, this spiritual text will be well known. Because of this text and by making it known, all sickness will end. If written about by one person, it will benefit one city. If proclaimed by one city, it will benefit all states. The merit of humankind will be increased and secondary evil influences averted. One will be free of hellish torments, and it will be of benefit for both this life and the next one. This path is desirable for all sentient beings of the six classes. For example, it is like taking a boat across a river or the ocean. This is truly a most beneficial text until Maitreya arrives in the world of humans. By writing of this teaching and spreading it to other areas, in one lifetime, in one embodiment, one’s merit will increase limitlessly. The bloody ocean of life as a (vicious) circle will dry up.

First, because of the ten impure practices, sentient beings will come under the power of conflicting emotions. Oh, pity on these sentient beings! After this, an area (valley) in the human realm will be (as if) filled with blood. Three, when it comes to reaping your own merits you will be powerless to do so. Four, human suffering will become very great. Five, people won’t be able to perceive the “path.” Six, cities will become filled with carnivorous animals. Seven, the residences of politicians will become deserted. Eight, individuals will be unable to cope with one another. Nine, hungry ghosts will be seen wandering about the cities.

Things will be like this as a result of ten impure practices. One will not compliment or praise another person; there will only be praise of oneself and putting down others. There will basically be four social groups: the politicians, the rich, common people, and the well-educated. If all of these peoples have confidence in this text and devotion toward it, a good time period will result.

“But,” the Victorious One said, “If people have an irrational trust in it, they will follow one another and fall straight into the most intolerable of hells. The earth and heavens will be filled with the cries of those who have not heard this teaching. A time of epidemics will result. But as soon as one hears this spiritual message and then writes it down and distributes it, these epidemics will be brought under control. All famine that might exist will be pacified and people will achieve a good existence.

Furthermore, there are seven miseries that humans might suffer. First there is the misery like that of a denizen in hell. Second, the misery of hunger and thirst for a hungry ghost. Third, the misery of disputes and warfare as an anti-god might experience. Fourth, the frustration resulting from having no leisure, and constant hunger and want. Fifth, the misery of having erroneous views. Sixth, the misery of having a long life like a god, and seventh, the misery in potential existence when in the after-death state. This text is of benefit for these (situations), for if one trusts in it, one will achieve success in all that one may strive for. All diseases will be destroyed, and there will be a return to good times. If one is to ask how these will come about [it is like this]:

Out of deep space, in the Fire-Male-Horse year (2026), a large meteor will strike down on the shores of a large body of water. This spiritual text will appear when the meteor cracks open. Having appeared, it is very important, when teaching this document, that there are no secret or hidden meanings. There is but one, no secondary meaning. It has been put together for the benefit of all sentient beings. May all the torments of existence end!

After 500 years will be a time when the teachings of the Spiritually Awakened One will be on the decline and monks’ ethics and general conduct will become corrupted. When evil thoughts will occupy the mind, and food supplies will be contaminated. A time when the ten unwholesome deeds will be practiced and practitioners of advanced spiritual techniques will recite only evil mantras, and the five poisons will overwhelm one’s perceptions. It will be a time when body and speech acts will be perverted; teaching of spiritual values will deteriorate. A time when feathers will grow on mountains (sic!), and a person will travel about in wooden and metal vehicles. All of one’s actions will merely contribute to evil happenings, a time of fearfulness when evil will manifest most definitely. This text will reverse the contributory evil causes of this time. By so much as seeing it, writing of it, proclaiming it, there is no doubt that these evil times will end. It is sufficient to see what is true and what is not true. And to say what one knows to be the truth. In those people who say it is untrue, from the tops of their heads to the bottom of their feet, signs that they will be seized by sickness will appear.”

After the Victorious One had spoken these words, Avalokitesvara, Maitreya, Ananda, gods, anti-gods, humans, and spirits who live on odors, all rejoiced and offered great praise of his words. The Victorious One touched his right hand, marked with certain signs and characteristics, to the earth, and (by this act) conquered the dark forces of spiritual death, along with their retinue. I experienced an unbelievable happiness and joy and decided to (always) engage myself with this discriminative appreciation that goes beyond itself, that tames (beings) by pacifying all sickness and evil. Then the Spiritually Awakened One, the Victorious One, after remaining in meditative enstasis, uttered this summary of his discourses, as part of the teachings (as a whole). Again, Ananda asked of the Victorious One:

“Victorious One, since you have delivered this teaching, turn around the obstacles and evil conditions within existence. In the Earth-Male-Monkey year (2028) an epidemic will occur and its impact will be very profound. If all sentient beings do not think that this is true and have no confidence in this letter and are not able to propagate it, then the dark evil forces of spiritual death will be satisfied. If there is confidence and they do publish this, then great well-being will arise. Great benefit will come from this spiritual text. That’s it! Great! That’s for sure! May you always teach it! May most excellent good and wholesomeness arise! May capabilities and merits always increase! This has been taught by all of the Spiritually Awakened Ones. You yourself are energetic to this truth, of benefit to beings. At the end of a future time, the qualities of this will be beyond imagination. For the person who is confident in this, all desires will be fulfilled. Evil conditions and obstacles will be diverted. The person who is confident in the teachings of a spiritually awakened person should make offerings of flowers and incense.”

Then Maitreya looked back from the expanse of space. He saw blood coming from the eyes of humans so he went to the Victorious One and asked:

“Victorious One, I pray that you give a teaching of great sustaining power as to what is to come, gathering the meaning in (only) a few words.”

The Victorious One replied:

“Very well, Maitreya. Listen to what I say. I choose this for the benefit of all sentient beings as well as Brahma, Indra, and so on. I will convey my words and their meaning for the sake of beings. It is certainly very positive to be energetically devoted to this. In the autumn of the Fire-Female-Horse year (2026), and in the year of the Earth-Male-Monkey (2028), all of those evil persons who have no confidence in this teaching will die. But, if one writes of it and propagates it, then one will live for a long time, without sickness, and merit will become very great. All the harmful forces of this evil time will quickly gather in the cities. They will run and hide themselves so that humans will not be able to see where they are. At that time, the power of this spiritual text will scatter those noxious demons and they will run away. So it is important to spread this text to all areas. One should not entertain any doubts and think that it is not true. The Spiritually Awakened One, incomparable teacher of gods and men, is the tamer of beings, sensitive to the world, gone into well-being, head of the spiritually aware ‘family.’

“Those persons who do not have any confidence in this teaching will experience a great earthquake in the year of the Fire-Horse (2026). When the evil times come in the Fire-Female-Sheep year (2027), there will be death due to overcrowding. Some will die on the road; some from heart (disease). In the year of the Earth-Male-Monkey (2028), there will be terrible floods. In the summer, death will come from famine-induced epidemics. At that time, demons will be all over the place. If one writes of and propagates this text, there will be no harm from obstructions or demons.

“In the Earth-Female-Bird year (2029), there will be no harm. Nonetheless, it will be very important to guard one’s discipline and not eat red meat. In the Iron-Male-Dog year (2030), all cities and surrounding areas will be filled with carnivorous animals such as tigers, bears, wild dogs, wolves, and the like. At that time it will be very important to write of and propagate this text as a method for liberating humans. In the Iron-Female-Pig year (2031), all sentient beings will lose self- control, and will be like paper blown about in the wind, or as if carried off in a flood. Then, those who lack belief in this text will die.”

Then the Victorious One said to the Greatly Responsive One:

“During the year of the Mouse (2032-?), a sound with spiritual qualities will be heard coming out of the depths of space. And, like the light of the sun and moon, because of the strength in the sustaining power of the Spiritually Awakened One, if one writes of and propagates this text which illuminates all of the four directions and eight points in between, then it will be of benefit until Maitreya comes. If one writes of and propagates this, one will obtain merit like a mountain (in size). In the palace at Potala, a transformative form of the Spiritually Awakened One’s communication dwells, surrounded by a retinue of those in whom pure and total mind has taken over. All sentient beings, above and below, in all the ten directions, are placed in well-being. This well-being is intensified for the sake of all sentient beings on account of the compassionate intentions of the Greatly Responsive One for all humans. By thinking that this is untrue, or if one entertains doubts, a period of plagues will become widespread in the middle of summer. People will die from dawn to dusk. At that time, calculating from when the evil period of time increases, all the forest (ecosystems) will collapse. All the rocky mountains will crumble at their bases. One will not be able to bear the leveling (process) of the earth’s (mountains). For every ten persons, only one will be left. If one thinks that this is not so, it is the word of the Victorious One. Oh, pity sentient beings!

“In the Fire-Female-Sheep year (2027), and in the Earth-Male-Monkey year (2028), the evil “five hundred time” will emerge. This disruption will come from every direction and the — eight subdivisions as well. People will be defiled by quarrels and restlessness. This spiritual text will liberate one from these omens of the evil time merely if one has confidence in it, sees, writes about it, propagates it. Agitation will thereby be pacified. If one does this, limitless good will come about. May beings be free of all terror and fear! This spiritual work which has one, no secondary meaning, has been composed for the benefit of all sentient beings. This spiritual text will spread fully to all realms and all humans will be happy. May virtuous sentient beings be free of misery! If one is not energetic in making the text an object of sustained attention for five or six months, then a period of sickness and diseases will come. Some will die from fever; some from chills; some from stomach ailments; some from madness; some from skin diseases. Some from heart disease, others from liver disease. There is a remedy for these harms. When impermanence (begins to show its mark) in the body, if men and women tie this [mantra], which will protect them, to their bodies, this protecting mantra will free them from all plagues and the harms of demons, water spirits, and gods. [It is:] e-ma-ho pen-no pen-no so-ha!⁠⁸

“It should be worn on the right side of the body for a man and on the left for a woman.

“If one does this, one will be freed from these diseases and plagues, and will have a good life. If one writes about, propagates and is confident in it, there is no doubt that one will be liberated from the bloody ocean of life’s miseries. Oh, pity for all humans, everywhere! May all torments that come with an untimely death be completely pacified. May there be good-times, as before! May one obtain limitless merit! For all those beings who have no confidence in the spiritual text, as before, there will be no chance for them to believe, and so diseases will spring up everywhere in the cities. Even if there is nutritious food, one will not, at that time, be able to eat it.”

Then the Greatly Responsive One, the Noble Avalokitesvara, in order to produce compassion in the hearts of sentient beings, spoke this portion of the teaching:

“I pray, Victorious One, that you empower this text. I pray that you empower it with your consecration.”

Again, the Victorious One said:

“If one performs religious service to this text with devotion and confidence, then the whole evil time will stop. It would be beneficial for all disease and illness. May all humans who dwell on the surface of the earth obtain limitless merit. When they are liberated from all the unhappiness, epidemics, sickness, and unrest which are signs of the evil age, may they come to experience good times as before. On account of the positive nature in making a wish such as this, the qualities of the benefit if a person should do this, especially during the month of the Rabbit and of the Horse, is beyond imagining. If people come to write of and propagate this, they will come to possess a long life, free of illness, and will find happiness and well-being. Even if they write of one part of this, all noxious influences of the evil age will be pacified in their own time. What has occurred before will increase once again in the year of the Dragon. It will show itself, but will be unable to expand out into the realms of the world because of the evil time’s arising. After that, in the Fire-Male Horse year (2026), this text will increase.

This work is a technique for diverting the evil time. If one is not able to spread (its ideas) to all countries, ripening crops will be destroyed by three frosts, or hail. Secondly, the specter of famine will arise. And when disease with no apparent etiology occurs, there will be much suffering and unhappiness. But, if one writes of and propagates this, there is no doubt that one will be liberated from all this misery. Until Lord Maitreya arrives in this world, this text is the refuge for sentient beings. If one is confident and devoted to it, all obstacles and obscurations will be cleansed, and one will be purified. May there be most excellent good! May the jewels of necessity and wishing come into being! May all countries have good fortune! May the whole earth be made pleasing! When unrest, sickness, famine in all countries is pacified, may there be a most excellent rain for the crops, and may one spontaneously obtain one’s wishes! May the glorious wealth of nations increase widely. May the turning of the wheel of spiritual teachings be steadfast, always!”

After the Victorious One had spoken, all the gods, Avalokitesvara, Maitreya, Ananda, anti- gods, humans, and the world including those who live on scents, rejoiced and praised the speech very much.

Original scans of the Tibetan text of the Prophecy can be found online at the Buddhist Digital Resource Center⁠⁹ in Volume 10 of Khyentse Lodro’s sungbum, and also on the Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar page⁠¹⁰ associated with Tulku Urgyan Tenpa Rinpoche on Facebook. It was formerly hosted at the British Library⁠¹¹ in its Endangered Archives Programme area, but seems to have been moved.
reposted from:

Buddhists scholars historically, are fond of lists. Many are feeling that this exceedingly male dominated tradition led way to some dated, heavy handed tenets and it’s been suggested to rewrite them, remove punishment and hellish fears altogether. Tantric vows bind the  yogic meditation practitioner to their own goodness, purity and heart. These revised root downfalls, are rewritten to inspire, rather than trap and frighten, feedback welcome!

1. Mutual Commitment. A trusting and mutually respectful relationship between teacher and student, both have permission to offer feedback. This teacher could also be the “inner guru,” one’s conscience, strength, wisdom, heart and inner truth.

2. No Harm. Try as hard as we can never harm anything, to be patient and compassionate, and if we fail, make amends.

3. Conscious Communication and Transparency. Have open, democratically based  communication, active listening, honesty and transparency in any organized community, workplace, family or spiritual group.

4. Exertion. Always try our best to help society with exertion, never be lazy or narcissistic or pass the buck, the Dharma is not an escape.

5. Joy. Connect to what is wholesome in ourselves and others, see the beauty in life. That warmth and well-being is contagious.

6. Self-Knowing. Like the Buddha suggested, always be critical of, discriminating, do not assume as true, any doctrine or instruction from anyone, irrespective of status or title. Find out through practice and introspection, what is true.

7. Equal Nature. Do not use the Dharma as a credential, feeling that one is more evolved than any other, teachers especially. We all possess the same Buddha Nature and potential. We do not deify people, nor the teachings.

8. Clean Living. Care for our Body, Speech and Mind and world as a whole, commit to clean, simple, Eco-living.

9. Interconnectedness. Know that everything arises through many causes and conditions, and stay strong through adversity, knowing that everything changes.

10. Intelligent Helping. Try to help everyone with impartial compassion, but it’s ok to set boundaries with people who consistently hurt you.

11. Meditation and Yogas. Try to practice meditation and calming breath, formally, at least a little every day to maintain our strength during challenges.

12. Be Positive. Use positive encouragement and affirmations for us all to be inspired to learn, grow and heal.

13. Let It Go. Forgive yourself and others, do not hold grudges, guilt and self deprecation in the mindstream.

14. Respect. People of all genders, race, age, creeds and nations, be non-sectarian, celebrate diversity, and be a genuine, loving person.

Traditional “Samaya” Vow Root Downfalls:

1. disrespecting the vajra master
2. transgressing the words of the buddhas
3. insulting one’s vajra brothers and sisters
4. abandoning love for sentient beings
5. abandoning the bodhichitta in aspiration or application
6. criticizing the teachings of the sutras and tantras
7. revealing secrets to those who are unworthy
8. mistreating one’s body
9. abandoning emptiness
10. keeping bad company
11. failing to reflect on emptiness
12. upsetting those who have faith in the teachings
13. failing to observe the samaya commitments
14. denigrating women

more details:


Photo by Julia Volk from Pexels

What is Enlightenment? Series Part 4.- The Afterlife?

What really happens when we die, we would all love to know once and for all. Is there an afterlife? A young Colorado dharma woman passed away last year, and I read some her last beautiful and poignant words to us again and again that I’d like to re-share here:

“As I feel the time drawing nearer. As I go to bed every evening uncertain if my heart will continue beating through the night. Or wondering if I can stand up in the morning. As the nurse informs me of estimated timelines based on what she is seeing and I sink into how brief my time left on this gorgeous planet is. As I fathom no longer hearing the birds chirps in the morning, seeing a violet tree blossom out my window, taking a walk through a meadow, or feeling the rain on my bare skin. The grief I have around leaving this world is mounting. Yes. I have peace around crossing over. But that does not mean that my heart is not breaking into a million pieces. The world is so beautiful. More so each day. The love is so limitless. The moments each one so sacred. And my heart is just splitting wide open. I have the most amazing angels around me at this moment doing the hardest work there is. Holding space for someone who is letting go and witnessing that process.” *

May we all appreciate the beauty of this very short life. Sometimes, it’s the impermanence that makes us appreciate, and “we” may not continue. Often I think that most religions offer a promise of some personal continuity, and I’m questioning that now. That hopeful promise of reincarnation/ everlasting life can make us complacent, when in fact all we may very well have are these moments.

Thank you to this woman who passed, for the clarity and reminder. Maybe it is this life that is where the sacredness is, religions often promise something next and just what if indeed, this is it? Probability, for me, if I look up into the sky with an open mind, at the stars and galaxies, one might feel that religion is made by humans, and it is relative not absolute truth. If this life is it, would we then, be kinder, would we make it count? Maybe it’s actually “reverse nihilism” to hold the promise that we continue and invest in some unperceived spiritual self rather than right now?

Self Knowing- Self Empowerment

The famous Tibetan teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche gave a three word dharma teaching once. I think he had called students together in the middle of the night, while everyone was on retreat in Colorado. His words were: “NEVER FORGET HINAYANA.” Hinayana, which means “lesser vehicle” is a slightly pejorative term referring to the original teachings of the Buddha, from India that relate to discipline, desireless-ness, and analysis. I always thought that Trungpa was referring to curbing our sometimes wild hedonistic conduct from the 70’s, but in these degraded times, I now see it refers to one of the even more fundamental instructions of the Buddha. In the Kamala Sutra, The Buddha instructs his students to not believe ANY doctrine he said unless they could verify it in their own experience. We should never, ever lose the wisdom of our own insightful discrimination, nor believe any tenet whatsoever with blind obeisance anything: karma, realms, any afterlife, 17 hells, the ‘path’, enlightenment, unless one experiences it within oneself. Religions, throughout history have many colorful stories and  suggestions about what happens when we die, and near-death experiences, but no one has provided any reproducible, empirical proof as of yet. Oftentimes also, our current religions views, texts, teachings and rites may have be written and rewritten by men, and significantly altered from the original source and intention. You could say that our Buddhist meditation practice was the first evidence based science, using the mind itself, our human experience, as the experiential lab.


I think we should indeed, Never Forget Hinayana, and always ensure that whatever teaching or dogma is offered, passes the litmus test of our own experience, and basic ethics. One example is- Tibetan astrological dates, some scare people with reward or punishment “karma multiplier days,” and some say certain weeks in a year one should never travel and these things really evoke fear. They are arcane Tibetan cultural superstitions, not existing somewhere in some ultimate spiritual authority.


We must retain or take us back our essential power of discrimination as the Buddha insisted. If it seems: untrue, harmful, infused with cultural taints and mores, creates any mental or emotional harm, is unethical, exploitative (financially, sexually, emotionally or spiritually), implausible or just plain wrong, it’s probably not the authentic Dharma, and should be firmly corrected or discarded. I’m concerned about the very viability of our Tibetan Buddhist tradition now, and we must update for it to endure.


Many of us in the west found Buddhism as an antidote to some of the antiquated, heavy handed, punishment based religions that we grew up with. We were longing for something we could trust, for true kindness, simplicity, ways of living life without a savior, no fear of hell in an afterlife and authoritarian religion’s mandates.Guess what many found, more of the same, if not worse. Tibetan Buddhism  is exceedingly complex and has actually 17 hells instead of one, and we offer our teachers 100% power and control. I can only pray that it is able to update as it takes it’s root in the west, and westerners are not blamed for “not understanding” it’s dated orthodoxy. If we can recognize this, the Dharma can indeed grow and flourish, if not, it may continue to contract.Furthermore, when spiritual hierarchy, like Guru worship and judging people as more or less “evolved” is used to access value- to exalt, ignore or exclude people, it creates indelible harm. Everyone possesses the exact same raw “Buddha Nature” and is composed of the very same elements. The value of life to it’s possessor, is equal.

Matter is the Sacred Five Elements

It is said that the five basic elements, earth, water, fire, wind (air), space make up all manifestation, the basic building blocks of form. They say that~ as we are unenlightened we see these as “matter,” but if we meditate a lot with some of the higher yogas, we see the elements as sacred, we call them then, the essential “5 Buddhas,” of light and manifest wisdom.

With this logic, the “material world” is not unenlightened, inert matter, but rather a fantastic dynamic display of energy coming and going. It starts to look a lot more like quantum physics when you directly see “matter” in it’s oscillating, semi psychedelic light form. When you see this, there is no “you,” no personal self that exists nor continues, nor is there a creator. However, it is no less magical or fantastic. This, from my meditation experience is what we are a part of, and made of and will be again when we pass.

We are the stardust of the universe and we, parts of us, elementally, make up all that was or ever will be. Isn’t that fantastic enough? Why must we impose images of Gods, Demons, Angels, Buddhas, human imputed moral rewards and punishments on a vast and cosmic interconnected system? Seeing this, feeling it to me, is my religion, and my promise of continuity, my solace. This world, the elements, as they are, amazing, life right now, in awe.

“A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.” Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

*This quote is from a mutual Facebook friend Ali, who, so sadly passed from complications from anorexia and lyme at a very young age. May her last post touch many hearts.

Dawn Boiani, Owner Sakura Designs, Mantra & Yoga Mala Bead Makers

  1. Dawn Boiani says:

    So there were some after thoughts and discussion with a few friends, and although we realize some of the suggestions are utterly heretical- we should be able to debate like the old monks from Nalanda to test everything we believe. It is not breaking our vows to go deep and question. I think so much of what we believe has deviated from what the original gentleness and simplicity and methods of the original Buddha might have taught, to anyone.Look for example, at the compassion of Christ and his patience and tolerance and what men did to it after his teachings got written and rewritten and reinterpreted use for money and power and created gold gilded intolerant orthodoxy. I think we might have built-up the same control based heavy handedness that is part of *human culture* not part of any thing that exists as a real true helpful and liberating spiritual path. It is indeed time that we examine this with great honesty and going very very deep into ourselves, ourselves only- in quietude to find out what is there.Reply
  2. Sangye says:

    I think foundation is a good word – and when the ethics and original teachings aren’t even allowed to be discussed without people treating you like a dogmatist or fundamentalist you know you are in a whole different religion. The ethics are also there to protect the whole system of study and practice so it doesn’t fall into disrepute which it has done now in many places due to trying to downplay ethics.In the case of Rigpa and other groups students were attacked merely for asking for an explanation in public. This was considered to be a samaya breakage but the very same action had been a promise “if you are confused then come for clarification” but that was not honoured. So it was done in a way where people did it as a group after individuals kept being selected for various punishments and reputation attacks by bringing their grievances.Reply
  3. Tahlia says:

    I agree. For me, this me, there is only this life. Even if there is some continuity of moments of consciousness propelled by some subtle casualty, this I will never be again. Here, now, I am a distinct human being, that will never be again after my time is over, and there is true beauty and sacredness in that, and yes, in every precious sacred moment.Lovely post. Thanks for sharing.Reply



In the future, the “Shambhala Warriors” *must be involved with politics, engaged Dharma, and social action* to help our world. This is not a time in human society for retreat and ignoring or losing heart. This is what Joanna’s teacher said:

“There comes a time when all life on Earth is in danger. At that time great powers have arisen, barbarian powers, and although they waste their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other, they have much in common. Among the things these barbarians have in common are weapons of unfathomable devastation and death and technologies that lay wast to the world. And it is just at this point in our history, when the future of all beings seems to hang by the frailest of threads, that the Kingdom of Shambhala emerges. Now, you can’t go there because it is not a place. It exists in the hearts and minds of the Shambhala Warriors….
“Now the time is coming when great courage is required of the Shambhala Warriors: moral courage and physical courage, and that’s because they are going to go right into the heart of the barbarian powers to dismantle their weapons. They are going to go into the pits and citadels where the weapons are made and deployed. They are going to go into the corridors of power where the decisions are made, to dismantle the weapons in every sense of the word. The Shambahla Warriors know that these weapons can be dismantled because they are made by the human mind. They can be unmade by the human mind. The dangers that face us are not brought upon us by some satanic deity, or some evil extraterrestial force or some unchangeable preordained fate. They arise out of our relationships and habits, out of our priorities. They are made by the human mind; they can be unmade by the human mind.
“Now is the time the Shambhala Warriors go into training. They train in the use of two implements. One is compassion and the other is insight into the radical interdependence of all phenomena. You need both. You need the compassion because that provides the fuel to move you out where you need to be to do what you need to do. That means not being afraid of the suffering of your world. When you’re not afraid to be with that pain, then nothing can stop you. You can be and do what you’re meant to.
“But by itself that implement is very hot – it can burn you out. So you need that other tool – you need the insight into the radical interconnectivity at the heart of existence, the web of live, our deep ecology. When you have that, then you know that this is not a battle between good guys and bad guys. You know that the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart. And you know that we are so interwoven in the web of life that even the smallest act, with clear intention, has repercussions through the whole web beyond your capacity to see. But that’s a little cool; maybe even a little abstract. You need the heat of the compassion – the interplay between compassion and wisdom.”
“But insight alone,” he said, “can seem too cool to keep us going. So we need as well the heat of compassion, our openness to the world’s pain. Both weapons or tools are necessary to the Shambhala warrior.”

— Joanna Macy

Before His Holiness Chatral Rinpoche passed away (at age between 103 -105 years), a disciple asked him,

“How will the rise and fall of the Dharma be like in the future?”

Chatral Rinpoche replied,

“Support and take refuge in those spiritual masters who focus their practice in solitary retreat. Before one attains enlightenment, one should also enter into solitary retreat to focus on one’s practice under his or her close guidance and mentorship.

If not, it will be just like now, where everywhere is flooded with Khenpos who give empty talks.

Those ignorant ones, who run after fame and fortune, and establish their own factions, will cause people to have aversion for Buddhism and lead to the extinction of Buddhism sooner or later.

Hence, it is said that the authentic Dharma is not in the monasteries, it is not in the books and not in the material world, but within the mind. There is a need to awaken it through practice and to realized (actualized) it, in order to be called the continuation or preservation of the Dharma.”

His Holiness himself left two messages as his final testament. He said, “First there is no need to search for my reincarnation after I have passed. Second, don’t be sad.”