Since the beginning of September 2019, I have had my Facebook account, Adele Zangmo, deliberately disabled, as well as my emails being logged into by unknown devices and personal data illegally accessed. Despite much effort and time, I have not been able to recover it or regain access to my FB account, as I no longer use the email or phone number I originally registered the FB account with. This has not only meant I lost access to many of my friends and contacts on there, but also my personal data, and administration of the new FB group ‘Followers of HE Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche’ and the older FB page ‘Shentong Madhyamaka and Kalacakra Translations and Teachings’. I have not been able to make a new FB account either without it being immediately disabled or hacked into on the phone and laptop I normally use. This has never happened to me before. I am trying to set up a new FB page for the Shentong Kalacakra website but that is very difficult to do if I cannot create a new FB account. For now, I will post updates of new translations and research on this website here.
Please also see below a public statement I requested to be posted yesterday in the FB fan group, that I created and ran few months ago, called ‘Followers of HE Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche’. The group became popular quickly with over 3000 followers. This statement addresses the circumstances in which I have lost access to the administration of the group, the hacking into my FB account and my relation with Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and the translation work I have been doing with his support since we met in Nepal last year. Since my FB account was lost, I have seen and been brought to my attention many malicious and false posts (mainly from fake FB profiles) attacking me as a woman, my personal life, my work as a translator/scholar and as a Dharma practitioner. I strongly deny these anonymous and unsubstantiated accusations and defamations and hope the statement below clarifies it from my own side. The sources of these attacks is still not clear, they started almost immediately after I informed Rinpoche’s sister about my close relation with Rinpoche at the beginning of September 2019 and others appear to have come from some members of the Benchen monastic community too, it seems after she informed them about my private comunication with her.
Others have come from Facebook profiles, using the names ‘Sunny Ng’ (said to be based in Hong Kong), and ‘Gillian C Kin’ (who has now changed the name to Palden T Stone) who sent me messages earlier this year with the main purpose being to smear and defame the name of my precious root and refuge lama, HH 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje (whom I took refuge with in 2005 in India) and that of Kagyu in general. Starting in January 2019, both these FB profiles have sought information via message requests about the nature of my relation with Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and also spread rumours and gossip about him and his conduct towards women and female followers. Some women I have met over the past year, who are long time Dharma practitioners, also told me similar things. It was very upsetting and painful to read about and hear such things from people using fake profiles and whose sole intent was to cause doubt in my own mind towards him and emotional distress. Of course, all such allegations should be investigated and responded to in an objective manner.
Of course, much more can (and perhaps should) be said about what has been happening, but I sincerely hope that with a sense of common humanity and desire not to harm or cause uneccessary suffering, these matters can be eventually resolved in a peaceful, harmonious, compassionate and humane manner in person and away from irresponsible mud-slinging and personal attacks, via FB profiles and online messages.
PUBLIC STATEMENT REGARDING THIS FACEBOOK GROUP AND HE SANGYE NYENPA RINPOCHE
Dear group members and fellow devotees,
For the record, and to clear up any confusion and malicious gossip, I am now issuing this public statement about the FB group and my relation with HE Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche.
First, I want to make it clear that the sole reason I set up this group was to share and post new translations and transcribed quotes of HE Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche. There are many such FB fan pages in existence for HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, HH 17th Karmapa, HE Tai Situ Rinpoche, HE Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche and more, which are not set up by or administered by their monasteries. This group for Sangye Nyenpa has been very popular and appreciated by many, as there was not such a group in existence before. There was a FB followers group for another Benchen lama, HE Tenga Rinpoche, which was unofficial and not administered by Benchen monks, which has been running for several years. So I did not see any reason why there could not be one for Rinpoche either.
I met Rinpoche in September last year, and offered to translate some of his texts and he agreed and gave his personal support, instruction and full backing. Since then, I have faced obstacles and hostility from some members of the Benchen community. Many translators would probably have walked away from it. However, as Rinpoche himself personally continued to support and help me, and told me he was happy to do so, I continued despite these obstacles. Rinpoche has also been proactively in daily contact with me over the last year on Wechat (including voice messages and calls) which developed into an intimate connection and friendship. Earlier this year, Rinpoche also kindly helped me attend his teachings in Trongsa, Bhutan (for which he helped me arrange a guest visa with one of his friends and also offered me some financial support for my translation activity). We also met several times for several hours in May 2019 at Benchen Monastery, Swayambu, where he continued to give me instruction on a Shentong text he composed and which he has given me the transmission and permission to translate. As a result of this kind and generous support and our close communication, I did not see any issue with setting up such a fan group, as the work I was doing had the direct blessing and input from Rinpoche himself. Since the beginning of September 2019, however, all contact with Rinpoche stopped, and do not know what has happened. The last time we spoke he had told me that, health permitting, he would meet me at the monastery in Nepal in the first week of October and continue to help with the Shentong text translation. As a result, I am also very worried and concerned about his health and well-being.
As you already know, for the last couple of weeks, I have been hacked out of my FB account, Adele Zangmo, and lost access to management of this Followers group as well as my other page ‘Shentong Madhyamaka Teachings and Translations’. Unfortunately, FB do not have any direct phone line or email to contact in such situations and so far I have been unable to recover it. When I have tried to create new FB accounts, they have been blocked and disabled. This has never happened to me before. It has been a stressful and time-consuming situation indeed. My email account has also been accessed by other devices and private data has been accessed. This is clearly part of a deliberate attempt to bully and silence my voice and activity off Facebook as a whole (not just in the group). I have also been messaged by fake FB profiles this year by people (whose first language is Chinese judging by their timeline posts) whose sole intent is to spread false and malicious rumours about my precious root and refuge lama, HH 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, whom I have been following since 2005. In addition, I have also seen various FB posts from one or two junior monks within the Benchen monastic community (as well as many fake FB profiles), defaming my character, relation with Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, translation work and motivation. Some Dharma friends who have helped me maintain the group after I was blocked, and support and appreciate the posts in it, have also been messaged by these people privately, even to the point of harassment.
When this group was first created, several members of the Benchen monastic community and Rinpoche’s family joined the group and shared the posts. However, for the last four weeks, this has changed and their motivation and reasons for doing so are not clear. They are now trying to insist that the group be closed and be replaced by an ‘official’ one (whom it is not clear actually have the official authority of Benchen administration or of Rinpoche to do so). The same anonymous people have also recently set up a new ‘followers’ page that seeks to ‘compete’ with and shut down this group. One of my main goals has been that Rinpoche’s teachings and texts are shared and made available in an accurately referenced and sourced manner, with good quality English translation/transcription. However, from what I have seen of the new followers page, the posts are mainly in Tibetan, not fully or accurately sourced or referenced and/or poor English/translation. In addition, there appears to be no direct transmission or blessing from Rinpoche himself for the page and the content in it. Nonetheless, as they clearly now want to have such a page, I congratulate that effort and wish them well with it. I hope it is of genuine benefit to people and promotes the genuine Dharma with words that have actually come from Rinpoche himself.
As a result of the above, and mainly because I have lost the ability to post and administer this group, I have decided for the time being to stop any postings to the group, unless and until I get full access to my original FB account. However, the group content that has already been posted will be left available for people to read and hopefully benefit from. This decision has not been taken because I have done something unethical but because sometimes ‘offering the victory to others’ (even if they are acting in a bullying and unethical way) is sometimes the wisest and kindest action of all. So, with that as the motivation, and also out of consideration for the mental and physical well-being of Rinpoche himself, I hope this is the most compassionate and wise action to take for all involved at this moment.
May truth, virtue and harmony prevail and may the genuine Dharma flourish.
Adele Tomlin, 5th October 2019.