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My way: by Michelle Grissom, formerly ani Dechen Drolma [Aug. 14th, 2009|12:35 am]
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[mood |relievedrelieved]

I'm cleaning up my relationship with my teacher, Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, and temple, Kunzang Palyul Choling.

In order to do so, I need to post my clean-up confession just as publicly as I once posted my criticism.

To some of you I've alluded to my past Buddhist associations. Maybe three of you I've told in detail. If you've been curious all these years, well ... here you go. Some of you might read this and go, "Wow, I want nothing to do with this person."

I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't worried about that. LJ and fandom have been a refuge from the rest of my life. But here goes.


Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

My real name is Michelle Grissom, formerly Ani Dechen Drolma. I wish that I could reach every person who has read or heard of The Buddha From Brooklyn, or who has heard the slander I've spread through blogs and as Longchenpa on Wikipedia -- now being helplessly replicated everywhere against my will -- because I lied.

Lies
The Truth: What was I defending?
A bad friend and broken vows
Turning to bad friends
Morphing the temple into a cult
War and broken samaya
Unable to connect with Dharma
The Buddha From Brooklyn
Unable to connect with Lamas
Letting anger dissipate
Bad friends, again
Lashing out at the Lama
Hook of compassion
The kindness of the Guru



Lies

There are liars who make things up out of whole cloth. Those lies are easily discovered, easily defended against.

Then there are liars who tell the truth selectively with a spin geared to the audience whom they get to know very well. They make a whole truth out of two half truths and weave an entirely new picture embedded with bits of the truth, like glittering bits of broken glass.

I am deliberately telling this in a compelling way so that you can see it in action. Are you seduced? Is it interesting? Do you want to hear more?

I am the second type of liar. A liar of this stripe has no sense of the truth. It is all simply fodder for the next story. Truth is multi-valent, isn't it? Multi-layered? Well, I've had no sense of the truth because because I've had no self-honesty. That's where the truth is. Truth is taking responsibility for ones own faults. Liars are cowards in their own minds. I've been too cowardly to face my faults because the well is so deep.

From my lack of self-honesty came self-deception -- all stemming from protecting my pride. From self-deception I could convey a genuine sense of sincerity and sweetness. Believability, because I believed my own story, too. For the moment. There was always another layer to it.

That's how I explained The Buddha From Brooklyn to myself. I didn't gloss over or leave anything out. There were merely ... other layers. Martha Sherrill caught me changing my story several times but she still didn't see it. She believed in my good intentions. As did I. A con artist has to con themselves first so they can mimic the right emotional facade to elicit the response they want, wrapping themselves around their audience like a snake.

It is almost impossible to defend against this kind of lie because it's salted with the truth. But many people have experienced it, from an ex-husband or ex-boyfriend during a divorce or bad break-up, where overnight they've been painted as a horrible monster. Just because someone wanted to leave and found a need to give themselves reasons.

I always reacted to Jetsunma with the childish knee-jerk response as if she were my mother, so that whenever I was angry with my mother I took it out on Jetsunma, the spiritual teacher. Just because Jetsunma's a woman and I wouldn't accept female authority.

So to defend my pride and my actions, I painted Jetsunma and Kunzang Palyul Choling as a cult, and the Palyul lineage as corrupt and supporting a cult. None of that is true.

I slandered my own spiritual teacher. I slandered good people at my temple. And I slandered an ancient lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

H. H. Penor Rinpoche would not enthrone and make a cult leader a throne holder of the Nyingma lineage.


H. H. Penor Rinpoche

I said I didn't believe Jetsunma was Mandarava. And how would I know this, exactly? What is my expertise? Of course she's Mandarava.

And just who was fixated on Jetsunma's personality rather than the teachings, the distinction between a cult and the dharma? That was me. I was in a cult all by myself. I viewed her as a mom and authority figure, alternately adoring her and rebelling against her as my mood changed.



The truth: what was I defending?

Here's the truth: So long as I was pointing out the faults of other people I didn't have to look at my own.

I failed as a Buddhist nun, breaking my vows in 1992, and again in 1995/96, with my vows degenerating until I finally gave them back in 2002. I regret most of all that I've involved others in this.

I was a student of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo at Kunzang Palyul Choling for twelve years until 1996. I was perpetually in trouble during that time, defensive, angry, and uncomprehending when corrected for my total irresponsibility, not understanding the steady flow of negative karma I was creating. I didn't watch my mind, I did things like fall behind on rent leaving an elderly nun on a fixed income to pick up the tab, regularly blew off cleaning the monastery for more "important" tasks, woke exhausted nuns when I was late for temple responsibilities, constantly disturbing the monastic community with obnoxious self-absorption and inconsiderate actions.

Rather than change, I blamed my mother for my own poor qualities. I had an excuse rather than a desire to improve, never mind get enlightened. I wanted to feel safe and the robes were my blankie.

I was finally asked to leave the monastery in 1991 but it didn't sink in that this was my fault, my responsibility, the result of my actions. The monks and nuns were patient with me, but I wasn't getting it. I thought of the robes as a safety net, and didn't get that the karma I created was magnified because I was supposedly a nun.


The Ven. Gyaltrul Rinpoche

When I broke my vows in 1992, I was given a second chance. But even after advice from Gyaltrul Rinpoche that the breakage was the result of my overweening pride, that I should now watch my mind, I didn't listen. I didn't believe that my pride and therefore incapacity to admit I had faults which needed correcting was the cause of the breakage. I couldn't see how. I thought it was just an aberration. I wasn't getting the seriousness of my actions. I didn't understand karma.



A bad friend and broken vows

In 1996, after eight years of this, a monk named Lama Jinpa Zangpo came to KPC.

He had left his second three-year retreat mid-way due to a scandal at his retreat place. I was $800 behind on rent again, refused to get a job or clean my room, and the nuns had had it with me. I clung to Jinpa who told me how smart I was, that the monks and nuns shouldn't work and so forth. He poured out all his doubts about Lamas to me. I poured out all my doubts about KPC and the temple to him.

We mutually destroyed each other's view. I destroyed his hope that KPC might be a home for him. He tore down my shaken faith in Jetsunma. Of course we had nothing left but each other after that.

With him I broke my vows for a second time and hid it.

When it was found out, I guess I just expected to be forgiven again. Jetsunma gathered the monks and nuns together and confronted us, told me I was "shitting on those robes," which was true. She struck me with her palm, missing once, and lightly a second time, which I later blew up into the word "beating." She took the robes, my blankie, away, and had all the monks and nuns tell me exactly what I had been doing those last eight years.

I didn't hear a word of it. I thought I was special to receive a wrathful blessing from the Guru. There are many stories about in Tibet of Lamas healing grievous illnesses and so forth with a wrathful display. Wasn't I lucky? But I grew disheartened and changed my mind about it being a blessing when months later, at Jetsunma's instructions, no one cut me any slack this time. I expected to get my blankie back. I was being good after all. I still thought of the guru, Jetsunma, as that mother-authority instead of someone who could teach me how to awaken Bodhicitta, to wake up.

I might have changed. I might have gotten it. I was starting to respect the ordained and consider cleaning the temple a real practice. I was starting to at least try to be respectful and quiet as I cleaned, watching my actions.



Turning to bad friends

After only a few months I grew tired. I looked for sympathetic voices outside the temple, from people who'd left Jetsunma, who'd tell me what I wanted to hear: that I was a good person and Jetsunma was just being cruel.

This was a horrible mistake. The teachings say that one should not associate with samaya breakers and bad friends. I now know that we poisoned each other.

I called the monk I’d broken my vows with, Jinpa Zangpo, who soothed my ego with compliments. I called my friends Rick and his wife who welcomed me warmly, who praised me with a balm of gentle words. I called Michael and Richard who reassured me that their dharma practice was going very well.

I called a nun who'd left, Ani Sonam, who was a better friend and urged me to not engage in negative talk about KPC, "It bums people out." To just appreciate the fact that I was lucky enough to be a nun this life. This was the one piece of good advice I received, and at least when I went to dharma centers thereafter, I followed it.

 

Morphing KPC into a cult

But going from bad to worse, I couldn't allow myself to admit I was wimping out. So I convinced myself that Jetsunma had no compassion for me or else she would not have taken the robes away, and without compassion she was no Lama, and so forth. I could point to Paltrul Rinpoche's The Words of My Perfect Teacher to prove my point.

Compassion here defined as giving me what I wanted, of course. What I thought I needed to feel safe, using the robes to avoid watching my step.

Next my friends gave me books on cults. Rick and his wife gave me the The Guru Papers and an early copy of Perfect Conduct and so had every right to ignore Jetsunma’s instructions and put the robes back on. My landlady gave me a book by Marc Galanter and I drew parallels the cults described in the book and KPC wherever I could find them.

Thus not only could I feel good about leaving, take my robes back, I could cloak my guilt in a veneer of saving the other students. Afraid that my teachers would slander me I engaged in preemptive slander of my supposed opponents. They'd never done anything like that before, but I'd been reading a lot of books and the monk I'd broken my monastic vows with had a great deal to say about the negative actions of teachers and I was convinced.

I went to war with my own teachers. I would save my friends at KPC from Jetsunma.

All because I couldn't humbly admit I couldn't hack it at KPC.

 

War and broken samaya

I filed assault charges against Jetsunma seven months after the fact (the police wondered why I waited so long).

Rick was floored at my decision (said I’d bitten off an awful lot) though he and his wife were supportive, he later begged me to “put down the sword” after I frightened his children with with an explosion of anger at their house. Jinpa Zangpo was alarmed and tried to persuade me to stop. Michael got involved in arbitration between me and the lineage, expressed glee at my actions, playing both sides of the fence.

I got everyone spoke with to agree with me that my temple was a cult. Even though I wasn't upset about Jetsunma striking me, I just wanted my robes back -- I used it.

My mother, also a student of Jetsunma's, was very upset by all this so I stopped short of going through with the court case for her sake. I thought I was changing and not for the better, and keeping in mind Rick’s words “put down the sword,” I did.

 

Unable to connect with dharma

The court case over, I moved across country to Seattle, dreaming that I'd be a practitioner now. Instead of being the ani I thought I'd be, I moved in with a man with whom I had a platonic relationship working around the root vows as if that were okay.

Once in Seattle I couldn't set foot in a Dharma center without crying. For 13 years I couldn't practice. I would attempt a retreat or practice in non-Nyingma lineage and I could do it, but I couldn't seem to stay with any teacher.

Deep down I knew the problem was my broken vows and broken vows to my teachers. I felt poisoned. I developed ongoing phlegm and allergies I'd never had before.
 


The Buddha From Brooklyn

I thought it was an emotional obstacle and in 1998 I talked to Will Blythe for his article in Mirabella Magazine slamming Jetsunma, and then to Martha Sherrill for her book The Buddha From Brooklyn, hoping to just purge the past out of my system.

Instead I increased it by playing the innocent (if childish) victim and not being honest with myself or with Martha Sherrill. I was convincing because I had lied to myself first and I stuck with partial truths rather than all-out fabrications, giving the story a spin that I thought she would accept, all hiding under the ego-veneer of "helping" young people like myself. I stewed in my anger at the lamas and the lineage for over a decade.

I doubted everything in Buddhism and where I once practiced guru yoga, instead I wondered why my teachers had lied to me about Jetsunma's recognitions. And I was too proud to admit it to anyone or seek help.



Unable to connect to Lamas


Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso

I met Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso and sobbed through his songs, overwhelmed by his view. I felt he was the real thing. But I'd developed this aversion and fear of lamas in my mind on top of everything else, and I couldn't stay with him.

I went to Nitartha Institute in 2001 to try to find another means to connect with Dharma, to study the teachings. Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche had me contact Gyaltrul Rinpoche and H. H. Penor Rinpoche and told me to give back the monastic vows I still had but wasn't keeping. I sort of did what he said, but not exactly, giving the robes back to Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and then in a panic immediately taking them back again. No understanding of what the vows were about at all, for all the teachings I'd received. I wrote to H. H. Penor Rinpoche but didn't give him a return address. I made a gesture of an attempt to reach Gyaltrul Rinpoche.

The second year at Nitartha Institute in 2002, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche managed to pry the robes out of my clutches. I finally did give them back. But I was too embarrassed to admit to Ponlop Rinpoche that I'd only made a half-hearted attempt to contact Gyaltrul Rinpoche and that H. H. Penor Rinpoche had no way to contact me. Encouraged by his close student Steve Seely to whom I had poured out all my KPC-related grievances (normally I followed Ani Sonam's advice and kept my trap shut at dharma centers), I asked Ponlop Rinpoche if he would be my teacher.

Ponlop Rinpoche sighed and said, "I'll try." Then told me not to run away.


Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

I left within eight weeks.



Letting the anger dissipate

So I tried the academic route through college, working on an English and Asian Studies degree at the University of Washington.

I replaced fighting KPC and my teachers with writing fanfiction just to give my mind something else -- anything else -- to do. My anger at KPC and my teachers naturally died down. I retreated to an ordinary life, taking Buddhist college courses and attempting to learn Sanskrit.

Even with Sanskrit, I had obstacles every time I attempted to take it ... a death in the family, a layoff ... and was never able to complete a full year no matter how hard or how often I tried. My broken samaya cut me off from the Dharma at every pass.
 


Bad friends, again

Then via Rick and Christine, I got in touch with an old friend who’d left KPC, Julie. I was delighted she’d left, still hanging on to my excuse that KPC was a cult. Julie had become involved with someone named Bill C. relying on him as a teacher much as I had turned to Jinpa. Bill had KPC financial records.

I helped. I found KPC documents that Bill C. had uploaded to his digital tibetan altar that had been cached. Though I warned her that all my attempts to defeat KPC had been ineffectual and, well, do what she had to do to save everyone, but she would be better off getting on with her life.

She was at war, determined to take KPC down. Still insisting KPC was a cult, I supported her intention but felt she was wasting her time.

She and Bill have financial documents, paperwork to prove KPC to prove KPC’s corrupt.

Yeah. I had paperwork too. An arrest warrant. Yet what really happened was not an assault. I was never afraid of her, not for a second.



Lashing out

Stirred up again, after a difficult conversation with my mother, I lashed out at Jetsunma on Wikipedia. I blamed Jetsunma for my strained relationship with my mother, even though I was the one who had left and never called mom. I'd always reacted towards Jetsunma as if she were a surrogate mother. I posted under the name Longchenpa, first in a small petty way, then spiraling rapidly out of control, fighting with KPC members online and growing increasingly angry.

Martha Sherrill's book was at least fair and I wouldn't give my opinion about Jetsunma one way or another.

On Wikipedia I fought dirty, cherry-picking through books and articles to smear Jetsunma in any way I could, determined to keep people away from the temple. I was slippery, proud of how smart and experienced I was in online communities, and had no ethics at all. What started out as a petty snipe became a daily game, a competition, a hunt. I was cruel to a KPC member who went by the name ZuluPapa, hateful towards Jetsunma, and I enjoyed it. I manipulated Wiki's cliqueishness and respect for academics, exaggerating my honor's thesis (a class I was dropping) to make them think I was a master's student. I encouraged them to think I was male so that I'd have more authority. I worked on other Wiki articles to develop credibility.

Julie figured out it was me and we encouraged each other.

Finally, with some advice from my boyfriend, I couldn't live with the internet road rage and stopped. Frankly, by then Konchog Norbu had entered the fray and I wasn't going to win in an online fight with him.

I created three outside blogs slamming KPC and Jetsunma based on the cherry-picking I'd done through Marc Galanter's book about cults twelve years ago. I abandoned them on the internet with no thought to karma and forgot about them. I regretted participating in The Buddha From Brooklyn, but there were good things in the book. Nothing that I did on Jetsunma's Wikipedia page was motivated by anything other than hatred.



The hook of compassion

I went to the University of Virginia for a nine-week Tibetan intensive. There Gen Tseten-la, Gen Trinley-la, and Gen Dekyi-la and the students helped me tremendously, particularly a student of Lama Padma Karma Rinpoche, Brian Noell, who took me in hand and put me in touch with his teacher.


Lama Padma Karma Rinpoche

Lama Padma Karma Rinpoche pointed out that my teachers were great Lamas and that I should thank them for what they taught me. I resisted, not because I disagreed, I was beginning to see the truth that I'd only resisted seeing my own faults -- in an extreme way -- but I'd become afraid of the teachers.

I met with Rick and Christine for lunch midway through the intensive. They were suffering so much it was frightening. They spoke constantly of negative beings coming into their house, and strange psychic occurrences such as complete strangers looking at their daughter Eleanor with hatred and distaste. It was like they were haunted. I cared about them and it hurt that I was creeped out and wanted to get away from them as fast as possible. I tried not to talk about KPC, but they were gleeful about Bill C. getting out of prison and attacking KPC.



The kindness of the spiritual teacher

At Lama Padma Karma's advice, I wrote to Jetsunma. Two lines of apology and then the rest asking for help with a personal matter. After all I'd done she got back to me through my mother within a week. While she was on retreat.

And she just helped. Without a trace of withholding.

Even after all I'd done. Even after I battled her for thirteen years. Even after all the damage I'd done to her reputation and the growth of the temple and the questions I'd put in the minds of people, there was not a trace of resentment from her. Or the students.

I thought it would be a year before I heard from her, if that.

Yet when I was a teenager, Jetsunma met with me, treating me gently and with respect, which teenagers don't usually get. Instead of fueling my habit of exhausting myself, she taught me how to take care of my health and taught me to rest, which I never understood also meant meditation.

I was disappointed that her advice seemed all ordinary, even though there was nothing ordinary about someone being able to see the state of my channels at a glance. She gave me a home with a sangha family because my family was such that I could never rest. I ran from meditation, emptiness, and later accused her of not teaching it.

In my next meeting with her, she said I was an adult now, and encouraged me to develop friendships.

That seemed so ordinary to me. I wanted her advice to be about fancy practices. I didn't realize that I isolated myself when I was in trouble and that relying on good friends would have helped me both with my debilitating pride, and my struggles to understand what I was doing wrong. I didn't realize my immaturity was within my control, something I could change and I was wrecking my relationships with people.

I always did "big important Dharma projects" and never realized that the "ordinary" is Dharma. But she taught me this all along. Not directly. But she taught me to do things that would have, if I had done them, changed me and I would have been happier.

When I rebelled against our head nun Alana's insistence that I stop wearing ugly sneakers, Jetsunma cut it. She took me to the store and bought me shoes herself. I never took her example of humility, of being kind instead of sticking to my guns. She was so gentle, so skillful.  

When I broke my vows in India, she had always been so close, I didn't think twice about calling her immediately for help.

She found a way for me to do a Vajrasattva retreat, learn I wasn't as good a practitioner as I thought I was, and resolve the problems with my mom.

During the Vajrasattva retreat, as I went around the stupa and begged for a way to purify this horrible karma of breaking my celebacy vows, I heard her voice gently lead me through a deeper way to do the practice. I wasn't sure if I was nuts or not, but it seemed to work. I hoped it was right. Then when I got out of retreat, I found out from mom that she had given exactly that teaching to the rest of her students. Other students here have teachings from her in their dreams. There is nothing ordinary about her.

And she's always been kind.

I never did what she said. Never. I thought I had a better idea. This is where I ended up. This is what I've done, searching for people who will support me in doing it my way.

I hope this note serves the dharma, the sangha, the Buddha, helps clean up my relationship with Jetsunma, and acts as a cause for Buddhahood.

I've been a fool. How stupid to have everything, all this help and the kindness of the spiritual teacher, and to turn away from the moment I met her, to do it my way.

I screwed up so badly, but it's also a teaching. When I approached something pure with an impure motivation, it ... splattered. What I saw instead was the content of my mind.

That's not a problem. That's to be expected. But when I held onto that, stopped right there, and blamed her for what I saw, when I stopped looking at my mind (I occasionally did check in with it) and looked instead on fixing everyone else -- that's when I lost the path, that's when I wasn't Buddhist, even if I was sitting on a prayer cushion at the time.

A few of you have noticed over the years (maybe more than a few on Fandom Wank) that I've been a pretty angry and arrogant person in the LJ community and fandom. Hanging on to this stuff has been a large part of why. I hope I can treat you guys all a little better now.


ETA: If you would like to help -- PLEASE DO LINK TO THIS POST.

There are people who are using my past words and my RL name to continue to lambast Jetsunma. If this post is linked to and has hits, it will show up in the search and mitigate what I've done.

She's taken flack no male teacher would receive, just because she's a woman.

This is a mostly female community. She's a rare woman Lama and deserves our support.

sharp_tongue put it best: "Jetsunma sounds like a woman of profound compassion."

chris_smith_atr has done so here: http://c-smith-author.livejournal.com/40016.html
sharp_tongue has done so here: http://sharp-tongue.livejournal.com/43103.html
rellan has done so here: http://rellan.livejournal.com/60186.html and http://rellan.dreamwidth.org/1035.html
kijikun has done so here: http://kijikun.livejournal.com/947614.html
nova_bright has done so here: http://ix-tab.livejournal.com/320965.html
violetknights has done so here: http://violetknights.livejournal.com/29145.html
undinae has done so here: http://undinae.livejournal.com/7630.html
rabidfan has done so here: http://rabidfan.livejournal.com/59623.html
bella_the_dark has done so here: http://bella-the-dark.livejournal.com/49779.html
kirby_crow has done so here: http://kirby-crow.livejournal.com/301205.html
laney_cairo has done so here: http://laney-cairo.livejournal.com/24214.html
wildebeth has done so here: http://wildebeth.livejournal.com/346799.html
wadjet_theperv has done so here: http://wadjet-theperv.livejournal.com/336397.html
severedscythe has done so here: http://severedscythe.livejournal.com/669820.html
lexstar29 has done so here: http://lexstar29.livejournal.com/46509.html
tekalynn has done so here: http://tekalynn.livejournal.com/250456.html
lavvyan has done so here: http://lavvyan.livejournal.com/361663.html
tafkarfanfic has done so here: http://tafkarfanfic.livejournal.com/268330.html
skinscript has done so here: http://skinscript.livejournal.com/15666.html
angiepen has done so here: http://angiepen.livejournal.com/102820.html
amalthia has done so here: http://amalthia.dreamwidth.org/574095.html
elfwreck has done so here: http://spiritual-woo.dreamwidth.org/5550.html
wanelda has done so here: http://wenelda.livejournal.com/1025859.html
xiphias has done so here: http://xiphias.livejournal.com/531944.html
oakthorne has done so here: http://oakthorne.livejournal.com/274043.html
tylik has done so here: http://tylik.livejournal.com/775820.html
Vajrakilaya has done so here: http://protectingnyingma.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/it-takes-courage-to-face-your-poisons/
sable_twilight has done so here: http://sable-twilight.livejournal.com/352293.html
ldybastet has done so here: http://ldybastet.livejournal.com/466136.html
nehalenia has done so here: http://nehalenia.livejournal.com/86184.html
thnidu has done so here: http://thnidu.livejournal.com/489543.html
wildebeth has done so here: http://wildebeth.livejournal.com/346799.html
nufaciel has done so here: http://nufaciel.livejournal.com/264264.html
seticat has done so here: http://seticat.livejournal.com/190432.html
Nicocoer has done so here: http://nicocoer.tumblr.com/post/163742786/my-way-by-michelle-grissom-formerly-ani-dechen-drolma
harveywallbang has done so here: http://harveywallbang.livejournal.com/93294.html



You guys are amazing friends, as you've proven again and again. Thank you all.

ETA 2: abydosangel has a really good point here. Yeah. I would have turned off comments if I weren't asking people to link to this post to make it as public as my prior criticism. This is only a start. The book was by Random House and there were between 50,000 and 100,000 copies. Wikipedia isn't exactly a small traffic area. (Aargh. She's right. I should have turned off comments.)

But it's urgent that this be done now. There are number of former students who, like me, weren't content to just leave. They are actively attacking Jetsunma -- right now. And they're using my words.
linkReply

Comments:
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[User Picture]From: chris_smith_atr
2009-08-14 06:39 am (UTC)

(Link)

Hey,

Just wanted to say read that all. I couldn't hate you for realising something so important, and taking steps to implement change.

I would say it is brave for you to post this - but being honest, after what you've said about KPC in public, and how you manipulated their internet profile, I hope for your sake this is the first step into repairing and mitigating the damage you've caused. (Wish I could be nicer, but this is not a post I should respond to with nice, I think)

I congratulate you on your self-realisation and must say I am very proud of you - after all these years confessing this in public, while right, is a hard thing to do - I think anyone can see that.

And if you ever need to talk - you know where I am. Just to reiterate, I don't feel anything negative towards you because of this. And am here if you want to talk at somoene - I still respect you and care for you as a friend.

x

Chris
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 06:43 am (UTC)

(Link)

Yes. To all of it.

And you're one of the ones I wanted to talk to privately because you're one of the few in fandom that I told "my" version of the KPC story.

(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 06:59 am (UTC)

(Link)

Say hello to the meezers for me.

Actually, what would really help is if you linked to this post.

What's happening is that there are other people criticizing Jetsunma, and they're using my words, and my name (that's why my RL name is in the post). I can't stop them. But if this post gets lots of hits and links in to it, it'll rise to the top.

Please? Pretty please? With kitty treats on top?

[User Picture]From: kyuuketsukirui
2009-08-14 06:58 am (UTC)

(Link)

Reading this was like looking in a mirror. The details are different, but it's the same denial and anger, finally leading to dawning realisation and fear, and then forgiveness. For me it lasted eight years, but it has been such a weight off my heart since I apologised to the people I hurt.

I'm glad you finally had the courage to admit your mistakes.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 07:22 am (UTC)

(Link)

Thank you. And... yeah.

If I could ask a favor. There are people who are using my past words and my RL name to continue to lambast Jetsunma. And I can't stop them. If this post is linked to and has hits, it will show up in the search and mitigate what I've done.

If you could link to this post, I would really appreciate it.

chris_smith_atr has done so here: http://c-smith-author.livejournal.com/40016.html

That would be really helpful. Jetsunma is a woman Lama, so of course she takes heat no male teacher has to put up with.
[User Picture]From: jamethiel_bane
2009-08-14 06:58 am (UTC)

(Link)

I don't know anything about this. It sounds like you've done some tremendously damaging stuff (to yourself as well as to them) and I wanted to say:

Your courage in admitting you were wrong is large.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 08:20 am (UTC)

(Link)

Yes, I have. And the damage is still going on because my words are being used by others.

I need this post to turn up in searches alongside what others are repeating of what I've said. If you could post a link to this post, I would be very grateful.

[User Picture]From: lavvyan
2009-08-14 07:00 am (UTC)

(Link)

Huh. I'll admit I find it difficult to merge the you who was struggling with her studies and so thrilled to be engaged, with this other you, the one who was so spiteful and angry. That may take a while.

That said, I do admire the courage posting this must have taken, and your decision to try and make amends so publicly. You didn't have to connect this identity to that other one. It counts for something that you did, and I hope it's not an empty gesture.

And yeah. Nice to meet you. :)
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 07:08 am (UTC)

(Link)

I avoided connecting the two identities. I didn't want to. But I had to.

What's going on is that a group of people are using my words, and my RL name, in order to tear down Jetsunma. This is to directly mitigate what they're doing. To say, "no, here's what happened." To stop them from using me.

I couldn't get the hits or the links to the post on an outside blog. It had to be here.

The more hits and links there are to this post, the more we support a woman spiritual teacher.

Would you be willing to link to this post?
[User Picture]From: kijikun
2009-08-14 07:09 am (UTC)

(Link)

Oddly, I've always viewed you as a very supportive person to me. I've never regretted friending you after meeting you on HP_dungeon. You've defended me against people wanting to write me off just for being a member of fandom wank.

I don't really understand you specific situation, but I can understand struggling to try correct mistakes of the past and being honest with yourself as well as others that you've erred. And I can understand being at war in a sense with ones faith. I was alternatively at war with god and hiding in religion after my father's death, until I realized it wasn't my faith in something higher I was angry with but people and institutions.

If I were to say you are a person I don't want anything to do with because you've confessed to wrong doing I'd be a hypocrite.

*HUGS*
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 07:14 am (UTC)

(Link)

Thank you.

I would appreciate it if you could link to this post in your LJ as chris_smith_atr did here:

http://c-smith-author.livejournal.com/40016.html

There are people who are using my past words and my RL name to continue to lambast Jetsunma. If this post is linked to and has hits, it will show up in the search and mitigate what I've done.

She's taken flack no male teacher would receive, just because she's a woman, and she deserves our support.
[User Picture]From: rellan
2009-08-14 07:24 am (UTC)

(Link)

I had no idea about any of this. Of course, it wasn't that long ago that we 'met' via the 'net when I commented on your fic.

I do not think badly of you. I know how black things become when all you see is negative. It's easier to lash out than think 'am I in the wrong?' or 'did I create the mess?' or even WTF am I doing?' I am happy that you've turned over a new leaf, as it were. Now you/your life can improve. Knowing some of your recent troubles, I sincerely hope making reparations begins to heal your wounds and the wounds you gave others. This is a good start.

I'll still be here commenting, encouraging, poking, whatever's needed. Right now, I send a *HUG*
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 07:34 am (UTC)

(Link)

Especially the "WTF am I doing?"

Can I ask a favor?

What's going on is my words -- and my RL name -- are being used by some people to lambast Jetsunma. A confession is good, but what needs to happen is that it needs to show up in a search. To mitigate what I've done and the fact that it's still being repeated, over and over again. That requires links in and hits.

Would you be willing to post a link in your LJ to this?

chris_smith_atr has a pretty good template here: http://c-smith-author.livejournal.com/40016.html

Jetsunma's a woman and therefore she's taken criticism no male teacher would ever have to face. And she deserves our support. The attacks are getting really ugly for her right now.

[User Picture]From: sharp_tongue
2009-08-14 07:34 am (UTC)

(Link)

Hi, Michelle.

I'm happy for you. It sounds like you're finding your way. It sucks to admit to yourself when you were wrong and it sucks even more to admit it publicly. It's painful but I hope this can be a good pain for you. Growing pains, as it were.

I posted in my LJ with a link back to you.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 07:38 am (UTC)

(Link)

Okay, I'm tearing up. Thank you, Sharpie. I am so lucky to have friends like you guys.

The attacks against Jetsunma are getting really ugly right now so this will really help.
[User Picture]From: nova_bright
2009-08-14 07:36 am (UTC)

(Link)

It takes immense courage to admit wrongdoing, especially when it's been years in brewing.

There really is nothing better then coming out and speaking out against your own mistakes.

I'll link to this post, because I think every little thing may help.

Good on you for this. It's the best way to begin to heal wounds, both caused by you and inside of you.
[User Picture]From: nova_bright
2009-08-14 07:47 am (UTC)

(Link)

I posted here: http://ix-tab.livejournal.com/320965.html

I hope it helps!
[User Picture]From: ursule
2009-08-14 07:36 am (UTC)

(Link)

Hey. Glad you're not as angry.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 08:17 am (UTC)

(Link)

You have always been true friend who has caught me when I'm going off the deep end.

I'd appreciate it if you'd be willing to link to this, and here's why. This is not self-flagellation. There's a pragmatic reason for this.

A fellow just got out of prison who fancies himself a killer Lama. He's decided to "take on" Jetsunma. He runs a Buddhist blog that attacks her using my words. The temple itself is being harassed on regular basis. For example, someone just called the fire marshall on them, etc., etc.

I need to have this post show up in searches alongside what he's writing.
[User Picture]From: florahart
2009-08-14 07:54 am (UTC)

(Link)

Rejecting someone for an effort to make amends seems like a lousy way to go about life. I mean, where you say you fear people will want nothing to do with you; I hope that most people understand that they (and I, and everyone we all know) has been wrong sometimes, sometimes in big bad ways, sometimes in self-deceptive ways, sometimes in hurtful ways, so I hope they don't think an admission of poor behavior, even when it's a big thing, is a reason to avoid (and honestly, it is difficult for me to judge scale regarding this story, because I have no context for relative values of what would constitute expected behavior because I have little context regarding Buddhist teaching environments).

Long-winded Flora is long-winded. So: when I say everyone screws up, I am not patting you on the head and saying pshht stop worrying about it, but rather, that in my estimation it would be absurd to cease association with everyone who ever screwed up or even everyone who ever screwed up maliciously (I am not actually assigning you malice here; I think that would be a harsher-end reading of what you're saying. I'm saying even for that reading, still).

I am torn about what else to say. I want to say that when I am an injured party, I never want the injurer to take extreme and perhaps self-harming steps to repair the damage, but I also agree that simply making a statement seems more like a first step than an end. I suppose I will say I hope you are feeling good about this new direction.

Me linking to you wouldn't help with the google numbers because I am unindexed; I don't know if it would be useful to link from comms that are indexed? If that's what you're looking to boost?
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 08:00 am (UTC)

(Link)

This LJ is indexed, so hits in will make a difference, even if you're not.

Some of what I did was malicious. Early on, no. But later, oh yeah.

Honestly, any bit to help mitigate the harm done to Jetsunma would be of benefit. Right now the ugliness against her has ramped up.

A guy who fancies himself a spiritual master just got out of prison and he's taken it upon himself to use my RL name and my unfortunate words to attack and vilify her. There are also various other attacks against the temple, for example, calling the fire marshall to get them in trouble and so forth, in an ongoing stream.

Please help.
[User Picture]From: violetknights
2009-08-14 08:14 am (UTC)

(Link)

I have always found your presence on LJ to be a warm and supportive one. Although I don't often comment (too shy, too busy, too scared, too sad - I'm very good at finding excuses), your posts are ones that I always smile to see - I keep you on my flist for the warmth and honesty of your posts even though your fic now is in a fandom i have no knowledge of.I respect your opinions and your honesty.

I come from a different spiritual background than you but have spent a very long time running away from it as hard as i could only to find myself back where i started. On my flight I too tried to denigrate the teachings I should have respected but have always been treated with warmth and kindness by those who I verbally attacked.

You have been hugely brave and honsest in posting this and I will be honoured to link it to my flist.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 08:41 am (UTC)

(Link)

Mostly what this is about is counteracting what I've done. Unfortunately, what I've said is in print, and has been used by people who are vilifying Jetsunma. This needs to come up in the same searches to begin to undo that harm.

[User Picture]From: ponyboy63
2009-08-14 08:18 am (UTC)

(Link)

kudos to you for your honesty. it takes courage to bare your soul like that. we can all learn from what you have said here... especially about ourselves. i know i have already...
thank you.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 08:37 am (UTC)

(Link)

Actually, in this case it's about counteracting what I wrote in public. My words are being used by people who are dead set on publicly vilifying her. This needs to turn up in a search to try to stop it.

[User Picture]From: starrylizard
2009-08-14 08:24 am (UTC)

(Link)

I feel great sorrow for you, when reading this. I do hope that this post is for real (the internet being what it is) and that you're getting on with your life with some of this anger off your shoulders and, that having admitted your actions you can start to really move on from them. *hugs* Good luck.

For the record no defriending from me.

[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-14 08:38 am (UTC)

(Link)

Yeah, I was counting on you, hoping that I'd hear from you in particular.

I do hope that this post is for real (the internet being what it is)

I'm not sure what you mean. Hope it's sincere?

It is for real.

[User Picture]From: telesilla
2009-08-14 08:56 am (UTC)

(Link)

As an outsider with no real stake in any of these events, all I can say is that I'm glad, for your sake, that you're trying to set things right even though it's obviously incredibly difficult. That takes a special kind of courage and determination.

Even though we follow different paths, please know that my thoughts and well wishes are with you as you make this journey. *hugs*



[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-18 01:56 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Thank you.

[User Picture]From: seekergeek
2009-08-14 09:39 am (UTC)

(Link)

Taking personal responsibility for ones own actions is always difficult. I wish you the best of luck of coming to grips with what you've done and your efforts at mitigating the negative consequences that resulted from it. I know that this will not be easy for you, but I hope that in the end that it gives you peace.

[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-18 01:57 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I hope so, too.
[User Picture]From: iibnf
2009-08-14 09:51 am (UTC)

(Link)

Man, that couldn't have been easy. Hope it's burst the boil and let a lot of poison out for you.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-18 01:57 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Yeah, me too.
[User Picture]From: tekalynn
2009-08-14 09:57 am (UTC)

(Link)

Linked. And I'm still reading.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-18 01:57 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Thank you very much for linking.

[User Picture]From: lexstar29
2009-08-14 10:26 am (UTC)

(Link)

Hey,

I will definitely link to this post. I think this serves as a great lesson to everyone. A lesson to look with pure honesty, and to look to our own behaviour before we look to blame others for how things unfold in our own lives. We've all done and said things where we've twisted things in our own minds to suit what we needed it to at the expense of the truth or purity of the situation. I've spent the last few months trying to clean all that out of my own past and cleanse the stains left behind from where I have done that. I am moved to tears by the honesty in here and certainly don't judge you for your previous actions. I am imperfect and in no place to do so. We've all done things that we shouldn't, you've had the courage to say this and say it publicly.

If there's anything else aside from linking to this that I can do to help you, do just feel free to ask. My door is always open to you.
[User Picture]From: lexstar29
2009-08-14 01:25 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Posted and linked, another friend of mine has already reposted and linked too. We'll get this showing up alongside all the other stuff.
[User Picture]From: wishwords
2009-08-14 10:57 am (UTC)

(Link)

I'm glad to see you taking this important step. It does explain a few things that I noticed over the years regarding your Sanskrit classes. I always found it curious that you would post about not being able to finish assignments or classes and almost immediately afterward post a fanfic chapter. I had my suspicions that there was something else going on but didn't have a clue about what. So, congratulations for taking this step, and I wish you strength and patience to keep going. It's going to get harder, but it will be so rewarding. It's worth the journey.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-18 02:02 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Yeah. "My way" applies to a lot of things.

[User Picture]From: severedscythe
2009-08-14 11:31 am (UTC)

(Link)

linking, because everyone deserves a chance to right a wrong.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-18 02:02 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Thank you.

(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-18 02:03 pm (UTC)

(Link)

That's a long story but basically I met a teacher and a lot of really good Buddhist practitioners who spent two months helping me.

[User Picture]From: slb44
2009-08-14 12:36 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Hi MIchelle,

Nice to meet you.

I have to say that this explains so very much to me. I could never really comprehend how your academic struggles got so complicated and overwhelming so quickly and why the help that should have been there for you wasn't. Now I have a hint of what might have really been going on.

It's a lot to assimilate and it will take time for me to do that but I wanted you to know that I appreciate what you're trying to do. Righting a wrong is never easy. I hope this helps you find your way through life more peacefully and on the correct path.

{{{Hugs}}}
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-18 11:44 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Thank you.
From: wadjet_theperv
2009-08-14 12:50 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Linking on my LJ if it works.

I'm sorry that anger and negativity ruled your life for so long, but you're obviously making huge strides with your self honesty and self improvement. I admire your courage and your honesty and your sincere desire to right a wrong and take responsibility for it. Everyone has transgressed like this to some degree at some time or another but not everyone has the bravery to admit it.

We've never met, but I hope we do one day. I hope putting the link up helps.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-18 11:45 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I appreciate it, thank you very much.

[User Picture]From: wildebeth
2009-08-14 01:09 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I'd be glad to link to this, and I'm overwhelmed by the humility and gut-wrenching honesty. As others have said, it took a lot of courage to admit something like this, especially in a forum where you're held in high regard and where you had previously been very selective about private information. You've made yourself very vulnerable, which seems necessary, and I can't help but hurt for you. I'm sorry that you've been suffering (even because of your own actions) for so many years. I'm happy for you that you've found a way to wash some of that pain away. I wish you the best.
[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2009-08-18 11:46 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Thank you, and thank you for linking it as well.
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