Am happy to announce that today I was informed that I been awarded the Ashoka Grant by Khyentse Foundation, for the second year running. The first year it was awarded for the ‘Innate Kalacakra’ project (this translation booklet can be downloaded for free from this website here). This new proposed project, aimed to be completed and published in 2021, is for a philosophical text, ‘Music of the Ultimate Sphere’, written by HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, which I started translating in March 2019 (after freely offering to do it) and for which I received the personal permission, transmission and instruction (as well as a personal small financial offering) to translate from Rinpoche himself (for more on that see a previous post here). He also met me several times in Nepal in May 2019 to give personal one on one explanations of sections of the text.
In July 2019, I applied for the Ashoka grant funding, before Rinpoche abruptly ‘disappeared’ from contact and public view in September 2019, and did not return to Nepal as originally planned. The reason for this seems to be his continuing psychological and physical health reasons, as well as the surfacing of independent allegations regarding his conduct towards various women who have told people they feel exploited and harmed by him. I sincerely hope these issues will be resolved appropriately in the forthcoming year and that truth, love and compassion will prevail for all concerned.
In any case, as I also took the Dharma translator’s commitment to the text after getting the oral transmission and permission, this award is very welcome as a valuable acknowledgement and commitment to my own independently-funded work as a translator and to Dharma translation in general.
Therefore, I would like to thank the Khyentse Foundation (and of course the root of all their activity HE Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche) for their unparalleled continuing support and encouragement not only to myself but to many other Dharma translators, students and practitioners. May it be of benefit!
UPDATE: JULY 2020
In February 2020, the Benchen Phuntshok Ling Belgium chairwoman, Carina Bleicher-Kramer, sent a vindictive and misleading letter to Khyentse Foundation that led to them withdrawing their award of an Ashoka Grant I had been awarded to translate the shentong text, Music of the Ultimate Sphere, by Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche. The letter misleadingly informed them that I did not have permission to translate or publish the text, even though since January 2019 I had been working on that text, and others, with the express direct permission, transmission and instruction (and even financial support) of the author, Sangye Nyenpa.
Vindictive and misleading letter to Khyentse Foundation
At no time, did Benchen or Sangye Nyenpa contact me personally, verbally or in writing, to communicate this to me before writing to the Khyentse Foundation. Despite several requests to Benchen in Nepal and Europe to withdraw (or amend) this false and misleading letter to Khyentse Foundation, they have refused to respond or do so. For that reason, I am now clarifying the situation here.
Publication in 2020 of same text
Benchen Publications also, in retaliation for my relation with Sangye Nyenpa, hurriedly published a translation of the same text by David Molk this year. I was very surprised to see this, as I had been working for months on it with the direct support and input of Sangye Nyenpa and this other translation had never been mentioned. David Molk later told me in emails that:
- he completed the translation in 2011 and sent it to Benchen but they never responded.
- that he has never been to Nepal, met Sangye Nyenpa or got transmission or instruction on the text from him verbally at any time.
- that he was surprised when they contacted him ‘out of the blue’ this year saying they wanted to publish it but that he did not check with Sangye Nyenpa if he had agreed to the publication of his translation.
After these actions have been taken, without even communicating with me about any of it, I no longer see any benefit in continuing to translate the text. However, such bullying, vindictive actions against a lone woman and female Dharma translator are not acceptable.
This is not the first time Benchen monastery have had issues with Dharma translators. I was told by another translator that he also had had a bad experience with them several years ago when they published his translation of a text without his permission.
The reasons for this action are various but, in particular, various issues and concerns have been raised by several women independently, including myself, to Sangye Nyenpa and Benchen representatives privately regarding his sexual and ethical misconduct, for more on that issue of the importance of love, respect and consent in male-female Vajrayana partnerships, see here.
Audio and written evidence is available to support what I say here and can be provided on request.