Dharma Scammed

William L. Cassidy, aka Tulku Tenpa, has perpetrated a scam in the Buddhist community. In the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition, the recognition of Tulkus, or reincarnate Lamas, is practiced in order to insure the continued purity of the teachings handed down through the generations. A Tulku who has been authentically recognized is able to name the Lineage with which he or she is associated, as well as the Lamas who have made the recognition. Cassidy, inventing for himself the persona “Tulku Orgyan Tenpa” simply started a blog, which was rich with convincing content giving rise to the belief that perhaps he was ‘for real’. He began to correspond through email to members of one Vajrayana group and slowly began to play on their sympathies by indicating that he was mortally ill, living in a tent or in mine shafts in the desert in California and had nowhere to go and no one to care for him. Offering him shelter in Arizona, the group, thinking they were caring for a “Rinpoche” (high Lama in the tradition) began to support him financially, purchasing his food, and paying for moving his belongings from California to Arizona. This escalated into purchasing many items he requested and insisted that he needed. Becoming suspicious of some of his behavior and requests, this group wrote to the head of their Lineage, who replied that he had never heard of this “Tulku”, and since he knows all the heads of all the Lineages, would have heard of an American Tulku who had supposedly ‘declined being recognized’. Further searches into Cassidy’s background began to turn up the information you see on this blog. Even after finding out he was not a Tulku, and still thinking he was a dying man, this group offered him a place to live for his remaining short time. Within days of being found out, Cassidy fled the home where he was staying, enlisting the help of one of the group’s nuns, having turned her mind against her teacher and her sangha. He got her to abandon her teacher, her sangha, her sister, her aging parents who were living with her, and left her large pack of dogs for her parents to care for. Later it was discovered he had used the credit card of another nun without her permission and that he is not mortally ill. The group is still totaling the costs of the scam, but it is approaching $10,000 financially; in interviewing many members of the group, it is clear the emotional cost is beyond measure.

In perpetrating this scam, Cassidy used a false identity of “Susan Nevis” on e-sangha, and “Susan Rockefeller” via e-mail, saying ‘she’ was his biographer and sending members of this group false information about interviews with Tibetan Lamas who are all now conveniently deceased.

The Tibetan Buddhist Sangha of America is another ‘group’ we suspect is not a sangha group at all. Under this organization’s name Cassidy goes by the name Ven. William Cassidy or Jigme Rinpoche. This is the organization under which he registers ownership of assets and has a Federal Credit Union to which ‘donations’ are made. We have been unable to find any of Cassidy/Jigme/Tenpa’s students.

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Published in: on March 10, 2008 at 3:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I lived with this guy for about a year in Lucerne valley California. I knew he was a con artist .I warned the monk Dao Yuan about this he just didnt do anything. I stopped talking to him and he became angry cause he knew I discovered him as a fraud. it was the worst time. This guy is a total monster. THere was a nun living with us in a trailer. He would scare her by banging on the walls at night and make all sorts of scary noises. WIllians daugher Jade Cassidy stayed with us and also started. I asked the monk to help but he was to scared to do anything. Was a strange time of my life. THis guy WIlliams is truelly Mara the evil one.

  2. I found some info that may apply to Mr. Cassidy that I think people should be aware of. In speaking with the daughter of a well-known Tibetan lama who lives in the United States (and who wishes to remain anonymous) about Mr. Cassidy, she suggested that he may be a “Gyalpo spirit”. I didn’t know what a Gyalpo spirit is, so I looked it up. Here is the definition I found in Tony Duff’s dictionary:

    Gyalpo, the name of a type of non-human included in some listings of the eight classes of gods and spirits. Gyalpo are non-humans of very great power who inhabit an area; they are the non-human “kings” of the place (hence their name). They can be good or bad, depending on the individual. Historically, they were often bound by great spiritual beings to work for the dharma, e.g. the protector Pehar, who is regarded as the ruler of all the Gyalpo, was bound by Padmasambhava. Tibet had a lot of these beings, e.g., Nyenchen Thanglha, the Gyalpo who “owned” the area around the tall mountain in Tibetan called Nyenchen Thanglha. The Gyalpo non-humans are regarded as more powerful than Tsan non-humans.

    In Tibetan Buddhist liturgies, the Gyalpo are ruled by Pehar, and are associated with temples and religious places; they often manifest as a lama who then interacts with humans. Their principal insignia is a wide brimmed felt hat. They are credited with often being the cause of madness.

    In a more general way, Gyalpo are also one of a group of three spirits that correspond to the three root afflictions in Buddhism.

    It is also worth noting that in lama dances, Gyalpo spirits are often depicted as wearing not only wide brimmed felt hats, but also tan coats, both of which Mr. Cassidy frequently wears.

    I don’t know if this applies to Mr. Cassidy or not, but I do think it is advisable to treat him with extreme caution should one encounter him.


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