Letter from Shamar Rinpoche to Mick Brown

Posted on Posted in Letter

Dear Mr. Brown,

Thank you for your letter of 19 Sept., 2005. You said, ” I fear you have misunderstood my last letter. When I say I spoke to a number of people who wished to remain anonymous, I was referring to the book as a whole, not to the paragraph about the donation.
“Regarding the donation, you said in your letter of 19 July, 2005, “ One the question of the donation, I spoke to a number of people on both sides of the controversy and also disinterested parties…”. It should be clear that the complaint is specifically about your not providing proof of the donation in the light of my earlier objections.

In your letter of 19 Sept. 2005 again , you said, “As I explained to you the source of the story about the donation was a single person. This person requested anonymity, which I am obliged to honour. This is basic journalistic practice, which I am sure you will understand. If you are told something in confidence you are not in a position to breach that .”

I cannot understand the value or nature of your professional ethics: that you have obligation to a questionable source but not to me, the entire subject of your story. Would that mean I had to accept your verdicts – just because you are a journalist?

Justice is the basis of ethics, and rights always equal responsibility. But somehow your journalistic practice looks the other way so that a journalist is able to exercise many rights over his subjects but zero moral responsibility toward them. That makes your position insensitive to say the least.

You also said, “ I have further explained to you that I have checked back with this person and that they have assured me that their recollection on this matter is accurate. ”

Likewise, you insist that your source’s recollection is accurate but reject my ‘recollection’ that I, who is supposed to be the receiver of the $24,000 donation, had never seen or received it. When I think it over, I finally had to conclude that you must have physical evidence what you claim. The informant or the person who has intimate knowledge of the donation must also be the carrier of the money, but money which he pocked, leaving me, the legitimate donee in the dark as he must to hide the crime. But to convince you of his integrity (hence indirectly to convince the donor) he must have volunteered the ‘evidence’ which in the business of donations usually comes in the form of an attached letter. Now you must produce the evidence to clear the air. In any case it will not compromise your professional ethics as a letter of this kind would not bear the name(s) of the carrier(s). The alternative must be that your donation story is a complete fabrication.

And, in my judgment and with my wide experience of people, I can tell you with confidence that this particular person is so worried now that even the ‘hair shading his ear’ must be trembling with fear – fear of having to answer for his deeds at a place of justice.

You said, “…. my publisher and I have decided that as a gesture of goodwill the anecdote will not be included in subsequent reprints and translations of the book. I trust this will bring this matter to a close. ”

You and your publisher should do whatever you decide.

Still there remain many issues of a biased or accusatory nature that need clarification. For example, you say in the last moments of his life the 16 th Karmapa did not want to see me but called for Situ Rinpoche instead. But that would be extraordinary. The late 16th Karmapa was my direct uncle but had assumed the position of father of me and my brother since our own father and other uncles had passed away when we were children. Although unfounded the comment on me is large; and yet it is mean and cold. Again, it is the same question regarding sources. You had the perfect chance to cross-check with me during our interview in Delhi before publication of the book; yet you did not do it. So it does seem that you had tried to avoid raising the question altogether.

Also, name-dropping Topga Rinpoche in the recounting of Damchu Yongdu’s death has in effect cast a dark shadow over the impeccable name of the Royal Bhutanese family. Does it deserve such a treatment? Does British ‘journalistic practice’ give you the right to smite an innocent Bhutanese family even though Bhutan is thousands of miles from the United Kingdom ?

Regarding the Black Crown you said you would remove the parts I objected to in future editions. But serious doubts have already been raised by your book, removing them will make no difference. The only beneficiaries of these unfounded stories will be Situ and Akong Rinpoches’ party since the stories will help cover up the guilt of what many people suspect they may have already done to the Crown during the years when it was in their immediate care and custody. Because of the seriousness of the situation surrounding the fate of the Crown, I have to request that you submit your story’s references to the Gangtok Court to rectify the errors caused. Alternatively, you can rectify the errors by good document, which no doubt will bring the dispute to a quick end.

Finally, regarding your note on Mr. Neeraj’s error, I have informed him and the mistake will be rectified in due course.

With my best regards,
Shamarpa Rimpoche

>> Please read the response from Mick Brown to this letter