September 18, 2009

Disturbing “facts” re Trungpa Rinpoche on Wikipedia.

Update: Mission Accomplished. The unsubstantiated allegations have been removed (for now). When and if there’s three on-the-record, corroborating, verifiable sources that state Trungpa Rinpoche did...those things...then, honoring Journalism Ethics 101, they have a place in his biography. Until then…their presence in his official Wikipedia biography, the most-clicked-upon top-in-google-rankings page defining who and what this great Buddhist teacher was has been amended by many of the people who knew him, and read this post over the past 32 hours. With thanks— ed.

Original post follows:

Horrifying rumors & slander re: Buddhist pioneer Chogyam Trungpa on Wikipedia. Surprised? Let’s correct it:

I know every rumor and fact there is to know about Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, the Buddhist meditation master who de-mystified and made accessible the seemingly esoteric teachings of Buddhadharma, and who was the teacher of my parents. I’ve reported on them here before, seeking to draw a clear, broad line between fact and myth. I believe in openness, showing the light of day on this stuff—as did Trungpa Rinpoche himself, who never hid anything, which is part of the reason he was so well-loved and that the many myths that have sprung up about him did not fester until after he’d died.

I just happened upon his Wikipedia page, and was shocked. I couldn’t even read all of it. It’s like hanging out in the most degraded cocoon of gossip you could imagine.

Wikipedia is often made fun of for not having its facts straight—still, it is the web’s number one source for information. Chogyam Trungpa’s page has some really horrible information regarding cocaine, etc that I’ve never even heard rumors about, though I grew up in his community and write about him frequently in the public sphere these day. I’d love to hear a confirmation from some senior students that this stuff isn’t true—and, assuming the stuff on this page…

Wikipedia Biography of Chogyam Trungpa Controversies

“…Two former students of Trungpa, John Steinbeck IV (son of novelist John Steinbeck) and his wife, wrote a sharply critical memoir of their lives with him in which they claim that, in addition to his addiction to alcohol…

[…it goes on to talk about drugs, and womanizing, in a harsh light and with many unsubstaniated facts and opinions, like his treatment of women as “chattel,” something I’ve never heard. Since some of the most vitriolic, inflammatory entries have been amended or deleted (for now) as a result of this here post, I’m not going to repeat all the details here, as “repeating rumors makes them true.”]

…is BS, any of you who want to help me correct the information on this page, which we all can do, please go to that page and edit it. Anyone can do so.

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