Open Letter from Mick Brown to Shamar Rinpoche

Posted on Posted in Letter

Dear Shamar Rinpoche,

Thank you for your letter of July 19.

I fear that 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.

As I explained to you in my letter of 29 July, 2004 , the source of the story about the donation was a single person. This person requested anonymity, which I am obliged to honor. 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 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.

As you acknowledge, there is nothing untoward about a lama receiving such a donation—indeed, you point out that Tibetan lamas regularly receive much larger sums—and my publisher and I have complete confidence in my source. However, it has become clear that you are personally upset by this anecdote. This was never my intention and could not have been anticipated. Accordingly—and for that reason alone—my publisher and I have decided that as a gesture of goodwill the anecdote will not be included in subsequent reprintings and translations of the book. I trust this will bring this matter to a close.

On the subject of the Black Crown, I have already told you that in light of the account of Thubten Gyaltsen the sentence about there being some uncertainty over which crown was brought from Tibet will be deleted from subsequent reprintings and translations of the book.

I have checked your Karmapa-issue site, and I am pleased to see that you have now published my reply to KC Neeraj’s letter. However, I am disappointed to see that my letter has been published with a significant error of transcription. You quote me as saying: “When my appointment was made to meet Rinpoche at the Hyatt Regency I was told that he was having lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Luehrs.”

What I actually said was “I was NOT told that he was having lunch…” Which of course, means something else entirely. I am sure this is a simple mistake, which I trust will be rectified.

I trust too that we have now dealt with all the points you wish to make about my book, and that this correspondence can be brought to a cordial end.
Yours sincerely,

Mick Brown