"21st February, 2018
I am sorry for not responding much sooner to your letter of 23rd August. The main reason is that I’m just so lazy but also pretend to be busy – a pretence that ends up actually making me busy. In fact, I had started to respond to your letter months ago but somehow never got around to finishing this return letter till now.
However, I want to assure you that, because the Buddhadharma and especially the Vajrayana are dear to my heart, I do pay attention as much as time allows to what you and others write. So, from my heart, I want to offer my sincere appreciation for the great effort and thoughtfulness you and many others have been putting into the dialogue of the past seven months.
As you know, I am about to visit a few Rigpa sanghas in Europe. I don’t know how much I can achieve there, but I will try my best to address some of the issues that have been raised in the past seven months. I know people have said and will continue to say that I am trying to “have it both ways”. But more likely I think I will be upsetting both camps!
Anyway, I was determined to finish my response to your 23rd August letter, Bernie, before starting these Rigpa centre talks, in part because I want to quote you in public there. I wanted you to be aware that I intend to do that and hope you don’t mind. But I think this could be useful, as several of the issues you have raised are on many people’s minds.
I would also have liked to respond in writing to other articles, like for example Tahlia Newland’s recent one on whether Vajrayana Buddhism is a cult religion, but just haven’t had the time in recent days to do so. I’ll just say briefly here that I fully agree with her overall conclusion that Vajrayana Buddhism per se and in its essence is not a cult religion but that certain Vajrayana communities have the potential to become cults, as do communities in other religions.
As for the arguments she presented, I’ve been asked by Rigpa in my upcoming talk at Lerab Ling to address exactly the question she asked in her title – namely, is Vajrayana Buddhism a cult religion? So, I do hope to address there some of the issues she raised in her two articles.
Of course, there are many other important issues that other writers have raised in the past seven months. I know I can’t cover even a portion of these, but will certainly try to address some of the key questions in the coming sessions in Europe – without any expectation that my responses will satisfy anyone.
But for now, this letter belatedly focuses on some of the key issues that you, Bernie, raised in your 23rd August letter to me."
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