Dalai Lama Had Monk Set up Speaking Engagement for Sex Cult Nxivm; Monk Wound Up Seduced by Seagram’s Heiress

Dalai Lama and Sara Bronfman Clare Bronfman on stage Nxivm
The Dalai Lama speaks in Albany on May 6, 2009  L-R Dalai Lama, Roman Catholic Bishop Howard Hubbard, Clare and Sara Bronfman and Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings.

A Sordid Tale with Raniere, Bronfmans, Lama

Tenzin and Dalai Lama

By 2007, the Bronfman sisters had invested more than $100 million in Raniere’s ideas of how to make money in commodities and real estate. They also invested millions in litigation to sue his adversaries, some of whom were preventing NXIVM from reaching its full potential.

Some of the litigation was aimed at indicting adversaries, including two of Raniere’s ex harem members who left the NXIVM group.

Keith Raniere is the founder of NXIVM. His followers consider him a genius and world savior.

In Idaho, in 2007, Sara Bronfman had a fortuitous meeting with the Venerable Lama Tenzin Dhonden, a special emissary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  The title “Venerable” is given to Buddhist monks who take a vow of celibacy and poverty and achieve a high spiritual status. He was a holy man.

Lama Tenzin with Raniere follower Allison Mack at Necker Island.

Sara Bronfman told Lama Dhonden that his leader, the Dalai Lama, might find NXIVM’s tools useful.

Tenzin visited Sara in Albany and met with NXIVM members. Raniere thought that the Dalai Lama should come to Albany since his teachings were consonant with his own.

Despite allegations that NXIVM was a cult, Lama Tenzin intuited otherwise. He told the local media, “I have my own intellectual resource, capacity, to know persons, to feel persons. I can pick up like that, very easily.”

Lama Tenzin even arranged for Sara and Clare Bronfman and Nancy Salzman, president of NXIVM, to meet with the Dalai Lama in India. There, they expressed their desire to invite His Holiness to Albany to meet Raniere and offered to make a suitable contribution to the Dalai Lama for his worthwhile causes.

The Dalai Lama agreed.

Back in Albany, Clare, announcing the glad tidings, told the Albany Times Union that she had a vision of “bringing His Holiness together with Keith, believing that we may have certain tools that His Holiness would think would be good and beneficial for humanity.”

Venerable Lama Tenzin Dhonden lent his voice as well, announcing, “With the ethical tools developed by Keith Raniere, and the presence, wisdom and guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we have the essential ingredients to transform our society.”

It wasn’t long before the Venerable Lama Tenzin Dhonden was transformed by Raniere’s ethical tools. The monk began having an affair with Sara Bronfman, according to numerous witnesses.

One night, a friend of Sara’s mother came to Sara’s house unexpectedly and found Sara and Lama Tenzin in the hot tub cuddling amorously, or, as NXIVM inner circle member, Kristin Keeffe called it, “canoodling.”

Barbara Bouchey, an ex-harem member, said, “Yeah, they weren’t having sex, but they were in the hot tub in a hot-necking embrace.”

From a monk in a hot tub with an heiress, it was mere paces to the bedroom.

Bouchey said, “I’ve showed up to her house a couple of times and the two of them came out of that bedroom.”

Keeffe said, “I’ve seen him come out of the… bedroom. It wasn’t even a secret.”

Raniere knew. So did his harem.  Raniere used to say to Sara in front of others, referring to the monk, Lama Tenzin, ‘How’s your husband?’”

Sara Bronfman, smitten with her holy romance, even purchased a home for her lover Lama in Half Moon, a suburb of Albany.

While things were hot with the Lama and Sara, her sister, Clare, announced to the media that the Dalai Lama was to appear in Albany for four days of talks and meetings, side by side with Raniere, and capped by an appearance on Sunday, April 9, 2009, at the Albany Times Union Center, where His Holiness would give a public address on compassion and ethics and announce the confluence of greatness – the Dalai Lama and Keith Raniere, working together to save the world.

There was shock when it was reported.  Stories in the Albany Times Union, the Albany Student Press, The Daily Gazette and Metroland reported people’s utter astonishment at the coupling of the Dalai Lama with Raniere.

Attempts to get a college to cosponsor the event failed.

The Albany Times Union reported that, despite the stature of the Dalai Lama as a religious leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Skidmore College and Raniere’s own Alma Mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic, declined to host the event.

A Rensselaer spokesperson explained, “While we have the highest respect for the Dalai Lama and his teachings, we chose not to accept the invitation based on a variety of considerations.”

The University of Albany agreed to rent out an arena with a strict condition, “…that by no means were we going to allow NXIVM to be part of our relationship with the Dalai Lama. NXIVM and the organization were not going to have any part with dealing with our students, or advertising or recruiting,” according to U Albany’s vice president for development, Fardin Sanai.

Daniel Weaver, in the Schenectady Gazette, summed up what many felt about the leader of NXIVM:

“Keith Raniere has been involved in controversy for the last 20 years. He’s been the subject of lawsuits and investigations. He has initiated numerous lawsuits, many of which appear to be frivolous. He also harasses people….  He is hardly a poster boy for humanitarianism, peace and ethics; and his invitation to the Dalai Lama to speak makes one question the motive of the invitation.….  Raniere has not utilized compassionate ethical methods and solutions to address problems. Keith Raniere has brought anything but peace to the Capital Region.”

Following the negative publicity, the Dalai Lama canceled his appearance. Times Union Publisher George Hearst spoke with a representative of the Dalai Lama. Hearst said, “…there’s enough stuff out there that (they) don’t need to expose His Holiness to this kind of risk.”

For NXIVM, this was a PR nightmare.

Sara wrote on her blog: “The highly paid media campaign designed to destroy our company, or any person or entity related to it, reared its ugly head at the news of his visit. We had naively believed people would be excited about his visit and that our community would put their pettiness aside to unite for this momentous occasion. We were wrong. His visit was met with fear and cynicism and some of our local media sources worked ardently to destroy the honor faster than we could build it.”

But through the blessed teachings of Raniere, they had learned to be persistent.

Sara, Clare, Salzman and Raniere, himself, went to India to persuade the Dalai Lama to come..

While the Dalai Lama would not consent to the original four-day planned visit, to teach side by side with Raniere, he agreed to deliver a single lecture. [I was told that Bronfmans upped their original $1 million donation to the Dalai Lama to $2 million and the holy man agreed to make the lecture with Sara and Clare being permitted to sit onstage with him.]

The Dalai Lama was coming to the US for a Harvard University-sponsored engagement anyway and he could spare one day in Albany [for $2 million.[

Sara declared it a huge success.

Stupid is as stupid does. Sara Bronfman, along with her sister Clare, invested more than $100 million with Keith Raniere in various investments he handled. Unfortunately, all the money was lost. So what was $2 million more to get the Dalai Lama to appear on behalf of Nxivm?

Having announced the cancellation of the Dalai Lama’s original appearance, the media now announced the rescheduling, noting that the Dalai Lama event moved from the 7,500 seat Albany Times-Union Center to the smaller, 2,800 seat Albany Palace Theater.

“After an onslaught of negative articles and powerful local personalities voicing their lack of support for his proposed visit, His Holiness postponed until the truth became evident,” Sara wrote on her blog. “In the end, the truth prevailed, but in the process, we lost participants, money and good faith.”

Meanwhile, critics took shots at the Dalai Lama. It was widely assumed Bronfman money changed his mind. There was still criticism of his Holiness – to the effect that he was a sellout.

Pam Cafritz, Nancy Salzman and Keith Alan Raniere at Vanguard Week. Raniere, who tells his followers he has the highest IQ in the world, devised a system of winning at gambling. Several people claim to have lent Raniere large sums of money which he said he was unable to repay.

When questioned if there was any financial incentive from the Bronfmans connected to his visit to Albany, a representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas, Lobsang Nyandak, told the Times Union that the Dalai Lama would not receive money for his trip.

When pressed for clarification, however, he said that whatever money was received would be “used for charitable and other purposes as per His Holiness’ guidance.”

Two days before the Dalai Lama’s appearance in Albany, the Dalai Lama Trust was registered in New York State and, according to sources at NXIVM, the Bronfmans donated $2 million to the trust.

Required filings show that $2 million was deposited into the trust shortly after it was registered.

On May 6, the Dalai Lama spoke at Albany’s Palace Theatre to a crowd of about 2,600.

Onstage, the Dalai Lama presented Sara and Clare with white silk scarves, called “kataks,” which, according to Tibetan culture, symbolize purity. Seated cross-legged on a chair, the Dalai Lama spoke about compassion for an hour and a half.

Keith Raniere (center with glasses) is in the audience as the Dalai Lama speaks. It had been planned that he and the Dalai Lama would spend four days together uniting the world with their glorious joint message, but bad press kept them apart and for Raniere – relegation to the audience was his lot.
During question and answer, the Dalai Lama was asked about his canceled visit. He said of Raniere, “….  If you have done something wrong, you must accept, you must admit, change, make correction. If you have not done (anything wrong), make clear all these allegations (are untrue), truthfully, honestly, openly, transparently.’”

Then he asked the media to investigate Raniere and report the truth of their findings.

Then, the Dalai Lama called Raniere on stage and placed a katak around his neck.

A joyous moment for the Bronfmans. After reportedly spending more than $1 million dollars to get the Dalai Lama here, they were amply rewarded when the Dalai Lama asked Keith Raniere to come on stage where he gave him a white scarf.
After the Dalai Lama spoke, he left Albany and never met again with Raniere. While both Clare and Sara Bronfman, who funded the lecture, were elated with their “great feat”, the planned combining of the two great religious leaders did not result in any meaningful array of spiritual forces.

After the event, Sara wrote on her blog, “As we stood in the rain to say goodbye to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he touched each of our cheeks and held our faces next to his with the words ‘thank you’ and ‘see you again.’  Tears started running uncontrollably down my cheeks.… his visit was a privilege we fought for….. It was a long road, and one paved with hardship, adversity, and tremendous growth….  However, my hope for humanity was restored by possibly the greatest leader of our time…. who has a strong enough sense of himself not to seek external security, and who conforms to truth as his standard …. It was a victory for us, for this region and for humanity. I feel proud to have been a part of this great feat.”

And Clare also wrote on her blog: “Due to the ongoing struggle, several of my closest friends and I have (had) here in Albany – how we have been portrayed in the media – his visiting and message was particularly moving. His coming brought about a certain contradiction: what is written about NXIVM, Keith, Sara and myself in the press – being labeled as a cult – and a world leader showing his support for us after thorough investigation.”

Despite the happy blog posts, the media thought little about the great feat of bringing the Dalai Lama to Albany.

Shortly after his visit, the Albany Times Union reported that the Bronfmans lost more than $100 million in bad real estate investments and commodities losses, plus detailed their serial litigation calling NXIVM a “litigation machine.”

Just prior to the Dalia Lama’s appearance, Keith Raniere appeared in a video, posted on YouTube, a film owned by Susan Dones, where he makes a statement about having people killed for his beliefs and their beliefs. The ‘killer’ video was reported in the New York Post.

The Dalai Lama had asked the media to investigate Raniere and the New York Post, Vanity Fair, Forbes, The New York Observer, the Nation, and other magazines and newspapers, especially the Albany Times Union, uncovered and reported many more items unknown to the public about Raniere. This included allegations of statutory rape, the efforts to hide the paternity of his son, the lovesick letters he sent followed by veiled death threats to ex-lovers, the suicide of an ex-lover, and lawsuits pursued against ex-lovers and more.

Indeed, the investigation had only just begun.

James Odato of the Albany Times Union wrote a series of stories about Keith Raniere which comprise some of the most important information the public knows about him.

Some readers might ask what happened to the canoodling couple, Sara and Lama Tenzin.

Tenzin reportedly had enough of the foolish heiress and soon, after the flop with the Dalai Lama, the torrid affair became tepid, the hot tub sprung a leak metaphorically and the two split apart.

Sara married a Muslim, Basit Igtet, and the monk, Lama Tenzin, went on to further his spiritual journey, fully equipped with Raniere’s ethical tools. He was spotted with other rich heiresses and self-made women of fortune. It is not known if he enjoyed hot tub canoodling with them or not.

Viva Executive Success!



About the author

Frank Parlato


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    • I have no evidence of this but it is at least possible that Epstein would have been on hand to welcome the Dalai Lama and maybe help fund him.

  • Dalai Lama

    The Dindoo Hindoo say that Dalai Lama is a “Boodha incarnate”, and will help “them partition China”!.dindooohindoo

    Sample the genius of this “demented Tibetan moron” !

    The Ape says that he “may not be”, the Dalai Lama


    The Ape says that the next Dalai Lama, may “be a woman”

    The Ape says that next Dalai Lama may be “more stupid than him”


    The Ape Dalai Lama was on the “CIA payroll”, for many years


    Y do the chinese treat the Tibtean as trash

    Sample – the Guru of Limpet Dalai lama who died is reborn and the Guru is reincarnated therein, in a 2 year old !

    And the 2 talk of the prior life ! Wonderbar !


  • I used to be respectful even reverential to buddhists soliciting on the street with their booklets and amulets, but post FR, I just look through them as I would JW’s and Scientologists.. There is a Huge centre called Kadampa Meditation Centre, opened around the corner from where RCG used to be in Kensington.. interestingly, where before Ive been bowed to, smiled at, hugged even, in an attempt to get me to a meeting, level disinterest provokes sneers and not very peaceful looks! Im grateful to FR for this understanding. And yes I know all bhuddists are not the same, Buddhism itself is worthy of respect etc. Its these large live-in temples that are suspect.


  • “Monks who take a vow of celibacy and poverty”. Love the picture of the so very Venerable Lama Tenzin Dhonden with Allison Mack in the tiny white top with the plunging neckline. She’s got her chin on his beefcake shoulder and her boob pressed against his arm, both of them looking like the cat who swallowed the canary. Celibacy my rosy ass! As for poverty, there’s His Holiness the Dalai Lama, endorsing the illegal racket Nxivm. When he found out about its shady status, he doubled his price for his personal appearance and cut it from four days to less than one. Some ethical leader he is.

    It seems that the Dalai Lama is personally accessible to multimillionaires like the Bronfmans. I wonder what the odds would be of a non-celebrity without money getting a meeting with His Holiness? The bum’s rush, more like.

    This mercenary holy man reminds me of Renaissance popes selling indulgences to the super-rich criminal nobility of Europe. None of the money went to them personally of course — perish the thought! It was all for the good of the Church (cough, cough). Also reminds me of Evangelical ministers with their private jets and McMansions. Disgusting frauds, the lot of them.

    I once read one of the Dalai Lama’s books. Reminded me distinctly of the prosperity gospel hucksters. Buddhism, in practice, is as filthy corrupt as the other organized religions. A fraudulent scheme selling spiritual woo-woo. And the Dalai Lama is a lot like Raniere himself, with the renunciate BS. He jets around the world first-class charging fortunes for his spiritual cred.

    • At Necker Island, Sara, Ally and other young coaches provided “bait” to reel in the horney big fish, Tenzin and Branson.

    • The Dalai Lama is a corrupt religious leader like all religious leaders of our time…..don’t be fooled….he probably has a harem of sex slaves both male and female that would bogle the mind…..All these peope sell their souls to the devil, just ask the baal worshiping luciferians….

    • I couldn’t agree more. It’s the root of all “EVIL”. They are prancing around being all superior like…like who cares eh?????

  • Ladies who lunch love to get on the bandwagons of gurus, for good or for ill. When Paramahansa Yogananda came to America in the 1920s, ladies all over the country adopted him as their champion and helped him immensely to get started bringing the east to the west. It’s not always a mistake, but naiveté can certainly back some bad horses with the same fervent enthusiasm used to back a winner. Check out Hannah Bronfman not long ago, getting press for seeing Sadhguru when he was in NYC. Here’s just one piece of press: You Tube – Lessons in Life and Love with Sadhguru (5/24 /18.) There’s plenty more as well. N.Y. Post, blah blah blah.

    I’ve been studying Sadhguru and his group for about 10 years, mostly because my dear ex-husband lives with him. I’ll spare you from reading the book I could write about this Sadhguru dude, ’cause what *the*hell*do*i*know.

    • Thanks for that bit of history.

      Before that, in the 1890s, there was Vivekananda, who tapped into the sort of interest in the East that helped fuel Theosophy, though the two were not quite complementary, and he founded his own Vedanta Society in New York which then spread, and still exists.

      The aunt by marriage of Hannah Bronfman, Barbara Bronfman, dabbled in the counter-culture and ended up supporting the charismatic, self-promoting and murderous Ira Einhorn, who infamously and falsely took credit for Earth Day, before fleeing the US after a missing girlfriend’s decaying corpse was found in a trunk in his closet. Another aunt, and the sister of the NXIVM Bronfman sisters, Holly Bronfman (AKA Bhavani Lev), is a practitioner of “Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique,” and along with her husband a follower of the guru Papaji (Ramana Maharshi), who taught “Self-enquiry” as advocated by Ramana Maharshi. Something strange seems to run in the family.

    • From Gossipgist “Who is Clare Bronfman married to?….Clare Bronfman is a married woman. Information about her partner is not available. She has maintained a low profile regarding her personal life.”

      A further paragraph claims that Clare is 5’6″,121lbs and gives her measurements as if a tailor had been consulted. Unfortunately Clare has been given no waist at the inches cited as 33-26-35. Built like a skinny brick shithouse. Well fiddle-dee-dee!

  • You prol won’t publish this comment and you wonder why I am having “trust issues” with you, Frank, however the slant of this story obviously vilifies for allegedly using her feminine wiles to “seduce” a poor, implicitly chaste monk despite the fact — at least you make mention of — that his gold digging ways didn’t stop or, likely, start with Sara Bronfman.

    In addition, you entirely overlook the possibility that Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman (at least) just may have had some influence on Sara’s behavior as well as whom to monkey around with much less tempt with a $2M gift to his cause.

    And don’t you find it a bit disconcerting that Tenzin’s “seductresses” — or, perhaps, would-be so — also included Allison Mack, as pictured?

    In frame with Allison, Tenzin doesn’t not appear to be the least bit camera shy or fearful that anyone might get the “wrong” impression, either.

    As you and a few other journalists I’ve spoken with know, my sister, Gina, also developed a crush on a monk (a very high ranking Rinpoche of such dubious distinction that he was banned from the continent of India) and that Keith Raniere was so jealous of Gina’s veneration of this figure, who resembled Keith in both appearance and criminal propensity (Tai Situ even calls himself the “gangsta Llama”) that he once threw a fit over a tattoo got in honor of him.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Sara discovered Buddhism while listening to a Dalai Llama recording “from her bed” without any inspiration from Keith or Nancy as their attorney, Paul Coffee, has her stress on a local radio talk show featuring the Bronfman’s as guests promoting the Dalai Llama’s appearance in Albany in 2009. In fact, it was the news of this that finally gave me the courage to contact Jim O’dato at the Albany TU to expose the prdopholia and help investigate Gina’s death.

  • Just like grounds keeper Carl Spackler in Caddyshack; maybe the Dalai Lama granted Raniere and the Bronfman sisters “total consciousness” while on their death beds.

  • Were all the NXIVM coaches present at the propaganda event? Allison Mack, Kristin Kreuk, Nicki Clyne, Mark Hildreth etc?

  • Not too many years ago National Geographic did an article on Buddhism and factually presented what goes on in these monasteries.
    It ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, folks.

    Secondly, Sara sniggered of late, saying, of course, Keith isn’t the smartest man in the world and implied anyone who thought so was a fool.
    Well….both sisters expended multi-millions with Keith because they believed he is the smartest man in the world.
    We are not easily fooled by Sara. Just shows how she looks down on the rest of us.
    Not even a high school grad and she looks down her nose at us.
    Gotta love the hypocrisy.

    • Many of the monasteries — especially in the West — are “hot beds” of controversy, yes — but it doesn’t mean there’s not truth and wisdom in the ancient teachings, beauty in the Tibetan traditions or they aren’t well worth protecting, preserving and carrying forth.

      [Sad that the Dalai Lama announced he is not returning for the 14th round of his earthly reincarnation — virtually taking the Gelupga’s out of the game — but guess since the Chinese decoy Ponchen Lama (born to “recognize” the next Dalai Lama) has been completely, irreversibly compromised, that was the wisest if not only move left to preserve the integrity of his people and lineage.

      Gina saw the commercialization and Western expansion of traditional Tibetan Buddhism art, teachings and culture as the greatest threat to that.

      Btw, a few “seduced” 🙄 monks don’t spoil the whole bunch and there certainly are ‘forces’ allied that would benefit from spoiling all those traditions and ‘sacred’ (to some, they most certainly are) images to utter rot and ruin.

      Sometimes I wish Tenzin Dhonden’s charms had commanded a much higher price. At least more than the $100M or so and counting NX and it’s bloody-minded shark pool swindled from the Bronfman girls.

    • The Bronfman sisters spend money like they are multi-billionaires and not the centimillionaires they are….

      How long can they continue spending like they have?

      Guesses anyone?

      Going broke is like riding a bicycle with two flat tires….

      It sucks!

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com