On the eve of the book's release, NKT's lawyers threatened. NKT likes to threaten.
A couple weeks before the author was pressured to withdraw his book, it went on sale at amazon.com. Bowing to pressure, the book never made it to publication.
From the book's description...
"Many visitors to the Dalai Lama's teachings across Europe and the USA in 2008 were surprised to come across groups of Chinese and Western protesters, many dressed in Tibetan Buddhist robes and with shaven heads, chanting anti Dalai Lama slogans, accusing him of being 'a liar', a 'hypocrite', and a denier of the basic human right to religious freedom.
"A Cuckoo in the Peacock Palace" charts the gradual development of the deity cult lying at the very beginning of the long running dispute that gave rise to these protests, from its bloody and controversial birth in the mid 1600s, down to its continuing bloody and controversial existence in the present day.
Since the overwhelming majority of protesters outside the Dalai Lama's teachings internationally were members of the Western, Neo-Buddhist Movement, the New Kadampa Tradition, and since it was they who provided the logistical framework and manpower behind them, 'Cuckoo' analyzes the history of the NKT and asks to what extent the group have become puppets of the Chinese propaganda machine in its ongoing war with the Dalai Lama of Tibet. For students of Tibetan Buddhism and those studying the transition of Buddhism from East to West in an academic context, this book provides a detailed study of the dogmas, doctrines and politics which have blighted the Tibetan religio-political world for the last three and a half centuries. Moreover, this issue is probably the greatest controversy that Buddhism has thus far faced in its transitional journey to the West.
The book is therefore also a meaningful resource for scholars studying New Religious Movements, and the Sociology and History of Religions.
Since the NKT is certainly among the West's most controversial Neo-Buddhist Movements, members of New Religious Movement and Cult Watching groups should also find the work helpful, both in terms of understanding the history of the group itself, as well as in distinguishing factors common to various NRMs, sects and cults."
From this description, the book appears to accurately portray NKT's political campaign, which has generated substantial notoriety around the world since 1996.
In withdrawing the book due to NKT pressure, the author noted,
"It is with sincere regret that I write to inform you that, due to the threat of legal action from the New Kadampa Tradition, and in light of the inadequacies of UK libel law, I have been forced to withdraw my forthcoming book, 'A Cuckoo in the Peacock Palace: The Decline of Tradition in 21st Century Western Buddhism and the Rise of the New Kadampa Tradition' from publication.
I appreciate that many of you will be very disappointed by this decision, a disappointment that I share with you from the very depths of my heart.
However, as a Buddhist layman with a wife and children, I must place the short and long term well being of my family at the very fore of my considerations. Having raised myself up from poverty through dedication, hard work and the blessings of the Buddhas, I could not bear to impose an undeserved life of poverty on my wife and children when I leave this world. Therefore, for the sake of my family, as well as the good name of the Dharma, I have made this difficult, indeed heart wrenching decision."
NKT's wealth is sufficient to scare many, and thus the author needed to protect his family.
However, legally speaking, unless the book involved falsehoods, which NKT would have to prove, NKT would not prevail in the court room.
Consider, for example, this analysis...
"English law allows actions for libel to be brought in the High Court for any published statements which are alleged to defame a named or identifiable individual (or individuals) in a manner which causes them loss in their trade or profession, or causes a reasonable person to think worse of him, her or them. Allowable defences are justification (i.e. the truth of the statement), fair comment (i.e. whether the statement was a view that a reasonable person could have held), and privilege (i.e. whether the statements were made in Parliament or in court, or whether they were fair reports of allegations in the public interest)."
As long as the book was truthful, fair commentary and/or presented fair reports of allegations in the public interest, the author and his publisher would have an allowable defense...and prevail.
Since the book will not be published, the book's legal merits or demerits cannot be evaluated.
Imagine if NKT's books and protests were held to the standard that NKT's threats demand of others. Most likely, NKT would cease. Just an opinion, of course.
The book's Table of Contents...
Introduction; The Present Work: Aims and Methodology 5
Why the NKT? 7
A Brief Note on Tibetan Words and Spelling 11
1. NKT Pre-History: The Rise of the Deity Dorje Shugden
Chapter 1: The Pre-History of the New Kadampa Tradition 14
Dorje Shugden: 'Violent God of the Yellow Hat Teachings' 15
Tibetan Buddhist Protector Deities: The Transcendental and the Mundane 17
The Life of Dragpa Gyaltsen 19
The Death of Dragpa Gyaltsen 21
Legends Surrounding the Death of Dragpa Gyaltsen 26
The Fifth's Recognition of Gyaltsen as Shugden: Sincere Conviction or Political Pragmatism? 32
The Lhasa Trode Khangsar: Spirit House or Celestial Abode? 34
Chapter 2: Shugden's Sojourn Through Space and Time 36
His Relationship with the Sakya Tradition 36
His Relationship with the Gelug Tradition 41
Chapter 3: Pabongka, the Transformation of the Gelug, and the Rise of Dorje Shugden in the Twentieth Century 46
The Transformation of the Gelug: From the Conservative to the Reactionary 49
The Thirteenth Dalai Lama: His Life and Relationship with Pabongka 55
The Death of the Thirteenth and the Resurgence of Shugden 61
The Fifth Reting Rinpoche 68; Chapter 4: The Fourteenth Dalai Lama 75
'The Thunder of the Rolling Black Clouds' – Zimey's 'Yellow Book' 78
The Campaign Against Shugden Worship: Let Battle Commence 84
2. The New Kadampa Tradition; Chapter 5: Kelsang Gyatso and the New Kadampa Tradition 90
His Early Life: Confusion and Charismatization 90
1977-79: The Honeymoon Period 95
The Arrogation of Manjushri Institute: While the Cat's Away 96
The Emergence of the NKT 100
1990-91: The Declaration of Independence 105
1991-1996: The Movement Finds its Feet 107
1996: The First Demonstrations and the Media's Response 109
Chapter 6: The Next Ten Years: The NKT in Retreat and Advance 114
The Disrobing of Neil Elliott, Gyatso's First Heart Disciple 114
The Assassination of Lobsang Gyatso (1928-1997) 117
The Disrobing of Gen-la Samden, Gyatso's Second Heart Disciple: Did he Jump or Wass he Pushed? 121
Cyberspace, Networking, and Questions in the House 125;
2008: the Second Wave of Demonstrations and 'The Western Shugden Society' 131
Chapter 7: Doctrines, Practice and Teachings Within the NKT 141
'New Kadampa Tradition': The Origin and Function of the Name 141
The Lineage of the NKT 145
Ordination in the NKT 148
The NKT Educational Programme 154
The NKT Educational Programme: The 'McDonaldization' of the Dharma? 159
Meditation in the NKT 163
Chapter 8: Reasons for the NKT's Success: Motives, Methodology and Monetary Machinations 166
Chapter 9: A Chinese Connection? 179
Chapter 10: The NKT and New Religious Movements: Their Nature and Location in the Church, Sect, Cult Spectrum 187
The Church – 'The Established Religious Body' 188
New Religious Movements (NRMs) 195
The Place of NRMs in the Typological Spectrum 196
The Place of the NKT in the Typological Spectrum 197
A Religious Organisation or a Political Movement? 202
Bibliography & Index 205 & 214
Director of Dialog Ireland wrote,
"DIALOGUE IRELAND STATEMENT OF SUPPORT: We were very sorry to hear the news of the withdrawal of the book. This raises great issues of free speech and reminds the Director of an experience he had in 1996. Jon Caven Atack, author of "A piece of blue sky," had his book destroyed by Scientology. He had to withdraw from all forms of commentary and it also resulted in his family breaking up. So we understand what Gary has written. We appeal to all world wide to rise to his support and to consider ways to address this crisis of free speech. To misquote J. F. Kennedy, Ask not what your freedom can do for you, but what it can do for Gary. Here in Ireland where we have a written constitution we decided to sell the book here in Ireland. We went into the court and told Scientology to lodge £50,000 to defend their position after they threatened me with ruin. Our barrister was Adrian Hardiman currently one of our Supreme Court Justices. We call on all right thinking people to stand up and be counted on this issue."
Yet another chapter in NKT history. Threatening litigation against a book it never saw, claiming the unpublished book contained lies.
We repeat our request for corrections to anything on this web site that is not truthful, and readily add our request for information that shows that anything presented on this web site is not fair commentary or does not represent reports in the public interest. Such invitations have been included here for nearly 2 years and will always be considered.
We believe that accurate reporting of and fair opinions about NKT's behavior, protests, Internet attacks, scandals, politics and activities are fair and necessary journalism serving the public interest.
We, and the evidence, tend to agree with the following comment...
"legal action from NKT is an oxymoron
their threats are like sticks and stones
anything other than NKT bluster about litigation threats would produce treasures of new revelations about NKT shenanigans and wrongdoing, more than enough material for another book
NKT, bring it on, we will enjoy the entertainment and outing of many NKT 'truths', violations of codes of conduct, abuse of taxpayer funds, abuse of charity status....and abuse of its followers and survivors.
In the US at least, the plaintiff has the burden of proof. NKT, filer of a lawsuit, would be the plaintiff. NKT would have to prove that its claims are true. And, in the process, subject its leaders and members to depositions and its records/finances to discovery, as well as go into the details of its scandals. This process would be most illuminating to all.
NKT's protest rallies, sickening web sites and voracious internet attacks of its ex clergy and members would raise many important questions to any judge or jury. NKT has an ugly record that has generated massive public coverage, much of it published by NKT again and again as its leaders brag about their power, intent and hate."
(NKT would have to prove an alleged falsehood was issued with actual malice, that is, with deliberate knowledge that the statement was both incorrect and defamatory. Generally, truth is an absolute defense in a suit for defamation. The requirement of colloquium makes unactionable defamation of a large group, e.g., a racial or professional group. Only proven factual misrepresentation is to be considered libel or slander, not expression of opinion. In New York Times Company v. Sullivan (1964), the U.S. Supreme Court provided a significant expansion of the protection of the press from libel actions.)
We disagree with NKT's political religion and what NKT is doing in the name of Buddhism against the wonderful legacies of those like Shakyamuni Buddha, Tsongkhapa and the Dalai Lama. We are disgusted by NKT's taxpayer-funded campaign animated by its protest rallies, Internet attacks, assaulting web sites and threats.
NKT has threatened lawsuits against many of its ex members. Kelsang Gyatso himself threatened a lawsuit against the Washington Times in 2002 as he falsely claimed that NKT is completely independent of Shugden groups around the world while leading the Western Shugden Society. Gyatso also falsely promised that he and NKT "stopped being involved with the Shugden issue at all levels" while creating, organizing and funding the Western Shugden Society. April 2008, Gyatso wrote his cult members, "as the representative of the Western Shugden Society, I personally will organise demonstrations against the Dalai Lama directly. I requested Kelsang Pema and Kelsang Thubchen to do this job for me and they have accepted."
Imagine the insane idea of Buddha Shakyamuni suing somebody or organizing protest rallies and writing books against Buddhists. Well, admittedly, NKT is no Buddha Shakyamuni. Nor does NKT adhere to Buddha Shakyamuni's teachings. If anything, NKT is anti-Buddhist.
Unfortunately, many are duped by NKT to give their lives, service and money to NKT, a cult.
The following comment made about this matter deserves consideration...
"You've Been Slapped!
A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. The plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit.
The plaintiff's goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. A SLAPP is often preceded by a legal threat.
If you read his letter on the reason for pulling the book (see above), it boils down to the issue of financial intimidation, not truth.
As it says above, a "(SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition."
That is obviously why it was pulled. Trying to convince people that it was pulled becuase it was libelous is totally disingenuous and manipulative.
The other reason they offer is that he wrote previously about the FWBO. Did the FWBO sue Beesley for writing about them? I mean they too have millions of pounds and he is just one individual. No, the reason the FWBO didnt sue is because they knew everything he said was evidenced and would stand up in a court of law. Similalry, the NKT know that the "Cuckoo in the Peacock Palace" contains information that is true (writers dont bother making allegations unless they have evidence unless they are toally stupid). They threatened to sue because they are frightened of people knowing the truth and becuase they knew they could bully the author financially under English libel laws, libel laws which are the laughing stock of free thinkers everywhere.
The conclusion for me is that the book was pulled because Beesley couldnt afford to match the legal costs the NKT case would have required. He has been bullied into keeping quiet. With both the NKT and English law it clearly is all about money and not truth. Shame on them for their supression of free speech and shame on them for their cynical manipuation of the English libel system."