Jeremy Hayward replied to the topic the Acharya Letter: at 2:28 am, February 22, 2019 Thank you, Frank. I agree with much of what you say. The Sakyong said on several occasions that ‘acharya’ is not a title but a job. It was a job that had to do with supporting and representing him. So, no more Sakyong equals no more acharyas. It’s as simple as that.
It is clear from the kusung letter that at least several acharyas were involved in, or at least present at, the Sakyong’s debauchery. I agree with you that they should come forward, acknowledge this involvement, and resign immediately. Otherwise even the apologies in this letter have no meaning whatsoever.
I personally had no idea that all this was going on with the Sakyong. But I want to acknowledge that I was asked to ‘retire’ in 2017 because there was a Care and Conduct complaint against me. Back in the Fall of 2016, I had made a stupid and insensitive joke, at a Scorpion Seal Assembly, towards a small group of four men and one woman who were acting out a scene to represent “grasping” (I quoted Donald Trump). The comment was not specifically directed at the woman but to the whole group, but she was seriously offended. In spite of my several sincere apologies, including agreeing not to attend the program’s final banquet, I was reported to the Care and Conduct committee. This was the instigating factor in my being requested to resign by acharyas Rockwell, Rosenthal and Lobel.
However, when it finally happened I was quite relieved. I had been very concerned for several years about the complete exclusion of other Tibetan Buddhist teachers, the removal of Buddhism from the curriculum, especially the Refuge and Boddhisattva vows, and the fact that the Four Noble Truths were no longer being clearly taught. I had started to think/feel that we were becoming a cult. I said this to one or two colleagues and we tried to protest the removal of the Buddhist vows, but to no avail. I was also very concerned at the destruction of the central office in the firing of Richard Reoch, Carolyn Mendelker and Anna Weinstein in 2015, and the setting up of the “Potrang”. Again I questioned this in one of our acharya meetings but was met with “trust the Sakyong.” In the later years it was impossible for ordinary acharyas to have access to the Sakyong. It all had to go through one of the special acharyas—Rockwell, Rosenthal or Lobel. And I don’t think he listened to them much either, especially if they tried to disagree with him.
In summary, I believe that the appropriate thing now would be for all the current ‘acharyas’ to resign. If they are good teachers, as some of them are, they will still be called on to teach, even without the title. If they are not good teachers, so be it. There are many good teachers who have never been called anything special. If the Sakyong does, “in the foreseeable future,” come back to take a leadership role in teaching, he can certainly appoint new acharyas then.
Finally, a little story regarding “teaching” and talking. In the early 90’s I was at Karme Choling teaching a Shambhala Training program. I came out of my office with my AD, Chris Pleim. As we came out, Lady Kunchok came down the corridor and stopped in front of us. Chris said, “Lady Kunchok, this is Jeremy Hayward and he is just going to give a talk.” Lady Kunchok immediately turned around, walked back up the corridor waving her hands from side to side and saying, loudly, “Talking easy, doing hard. Talking easy, doing hard…” I have never forgotten that, and in the last few years before my retirement I used to often quote it at some point in any program I was teaching.