Convicted Nxivm sex-slaver Keith Alan Raniere spent a lot of effort and considerable money to be able to use the Dalai Lama as an endorsement for Nxivm.
He had – with the aid of his financiers Clare and Sara Bronfman – been able to persuade the Dalai Lama to initially agree to come and attend a four day event in Albany – appearing side by side with the Vanguard – scheduled for April 2009.
But because of negative press – primarily from the Albany Times Union – the Dalai Lama chose to cancel the four-day event.
Raniere himself flew with Nancy Salzman and the Bronfman sisters to Dharmasala India and together they were able to persuade the Dalai Lama to make a one-day appearance – sitting side by side with the Bronfman sisters, and without Raniere, on stage – but with Raniere in the audience.
At the end of the Dalai Lama’s one-and-a-half-hour lecture, Raniere was permitted to go on stage, before the audience, and greet the Dalai Lama – who gave him a white scarf of purity and the two greeted each other as if they were fellow enlightened teachers.
The video of the Dalai Lama’s entire talk is available on youtube.
The appearance of the Dalai Lama – on May 6, 2009 – before a crowd of about 2,700, a largely Nxian audience – was touted by Nxivm as the Dalai Lama’s full endorsement of Nxivm and Raniere.
Onstage, the Dalai Lama did not actually fully endorse Nxivm and Raniere. His statement was far more equivocal than Nxivm members later implied.
During his talk – entitled “Compassionate Ethics in Difficult Times” – the Dalai Lama refers to Raniere and Nancy Salzman as “respected teachers” but he also clearly suggests that rumors about Nxivm and Raniere should be investigated by the media.
Keith Raniere sits in the audience with Nancy Salzman listening to the Dalai Lama. Keith would later use this event and also a written foreword by the Dalai Lama for a book Raniere wrote to widely publicize that the Dalai Lama endorsed him and his Nxivm technology. This was a clever strategy. The argument he and his salespeople used was in effect was, “How can we be a cult if the Dalai Lama endorses us? Don’t you see the media reports about us are all false? Who are you gonna trust – the Dalai Lama and Keith or the Albany Times Union and the New York Post?” The video of the Dalai Lama’s talk is available on youtube. At 44:14 of the video, the Dalai Lama answers a question about the earlier cancellation of his scheduled four-day appearance and why he then chose to speak in Albany.
The pre-written question, which was asked by his interpreter, was: “There seems to be a lot of confusion about your visit here. Why did so many news sources and even your own New York office said that your visit was canceled?”
The Dalai Lama answered:
Oh. Firstly I received an invitation that, in principle, I accepted. Then I received some request that I should not go there because of this is controversial; some allegations.
Then we carry further investigation. Then finally, including this organization’s teacher, and his, some friend, came to see me in Dharmasala and I discuss, I observe, basically, they are carrying some kind of movement about ethics.
Then, as I mentioned earlier, it is my moral responsibility to support any movement by any person who carry, who are working for ethics. Because in today’s world, many problems essentially our own creation. Nobody wants more problems, but due to lack of ethics, lack of principle, this unwanted man-made problems happen. Whether politician, whether businessman, whether a religious person, whether anyone, moral principle is very essential, like backbone.
So, therefore, I felt, I feel it is my moral responsibility, but, at the same time, these allegations.
So when I met them personally in Dharmasala, I told them very friendly, very openly, ‘As far your sort of work for promotion of ethics, I fully support. Is my moral responsibility, but, at the same time, those allegations you must make very clear. If you have done something wrong, you must accept, you must admit, and change, make correction. If you not done, make clear all these allegations, truthfully, honestly, openly, transparently.’
Then some media, I always telling media people, ‘media people should have long nose, as long as (audience laughs and applauds) … wait, wait, wait, as long as an elephant nose and smell, in the front and behind. That’s very important. And make clear to the public what’s going on. Whether with the politician or with the mayor or religions people, the bishop or myself, must sort of watch and make clear, and inform public, provided it must be very honest, unbiased, objective, that’s important. Sometimes, say, one company financing a newspaper then newspaper report a little bit biased. I think not as biased as Chinese propaganda. But sometimes you see a little sort of biased sort of version also is happening. That must be avoided, must be honest, truthful.
So now I think in front of, I think the public, I want to to tell the media people, ‘please carry continuously, all these spots where you have some doubt, thorough investigation.’
And those concerned people’s side: ‘Also make clear. All your work must be transparent.’
So that’s my view. So I feel, no problem, come here, meet people, and talk. Because of some criticism remain distance? Not much use. Come face to face and talk, friendly, bluntly. Truth always win. So more talk, more investigation, truth will become more clear clear, clear, like that. So that’s my answer. (applause).
The Dalai Lama did accept an invitation to attend a series of events in Albany and, as he explained, after adverse publicity about coupling his name with the controversial Raniere, he canceled and did some investigation. The Dalai Lama admitted on stage that there are some allegations of wrongdoing about Nxivm, and a suspected lack of ethics, etc..
Then, he explains, that Raniere and company came to Dharmasala India, the Dalai Lama’s headquarters, and persuaded him in the spirit of friendship and promoting ethics.
The Dalai Lama said he told Raniere and Salzman in India, “As far [as] your sort of work [is actually, really] for [the] promotion of ethics, I fully support [it]. [It] is my moral responsibility, but, at the same time, those allegations [about NXIVM] you must make very clear [if these are true or not]. If you have done something wrong, you must accept [responsibility], you must admit [to wrongdoing], and change, make correction. If you not done [anything wrong], make clear all these allegations [are untrue], truthfully, honestly, openly, transparently.”
So the Dalai Lama agreed to visit [it is said that Bronfman raised the donation from $1 million to $2 million] after advising his new friends to be honest and transparent [words that Raniere could never understand or agree to].
[I was told Raniere himself advised the Bronfmans to double their offer. He was absolutely desperate to get the Dalai Lama to agree to come after he canceled. For, if it was bad not to have the Dalai Lama’s endorsement – it was 10 times worse for the Dalai Lama to first agree, then cancel. That was almost like putting an anti-endorsement on Raniere. It was like the Dalai Lama, by his cancellation, was agreeing that Nxivm and Raniere were odious. It would be used against them for all times to come.]
On stage, in Albany, the Dalai Lama further protected himself. He clearly advised the media to “make clear to the public what’s going on…. Watch and make clear, and inform [the] public… I want to to tell the media people, ‘please carry continuously, all these spots [about Nxivm] where you have some doubt, [make a] thorough investigation….”
He is saying on stage for the media to thoroughly investigate NXIVM, since it was Nxivm’s reputation that caused the controversy and prompted the written question in the first place.
And, as he did in India, the Dalai Lama again exhorts on stage the leaders of Nxivm to be transparent. He says, “and those concerned people’s side [NXIVM] Also make clear. All your work must be transparent. ….Truth always win. So more talk, more investigation, [of NXIVM] truth will become more clear clear, clear.”
He was right. It did become more clear in time. But between that time, May 2009, and June 2017, when I broke the branding story, Keith got a lot of mileage out of the Dalai Lama and his supposed endorsement.
He did not need to publish the complete remarks of the Dalai Lama – he only needed to show that the Dalai Lama came to Albany via an event he [and his followers] the Bronfmans sponsored. He got the credit.
How many hundreds of people joined Nxivm – some of whom were even branded – because Raniere used star power to recruit.
The stars he always used were Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Clare and Sara Bronfman, Emiliano Salinas and the Dalai Lama [and sometimes Richard Branson.]
These were the names that were always dropped to recruits who had doubts about media reports.
In addition to the Dalai Lama’s speech – with his curious media advisory to investigate Nxivm – the Dalai Lama’s forward to one of Raniere’s books also appears in print and was used to show many a dubious recruit that Nxivm had something special to it, something good and highly ethical.
The date of the Dalai Lama’s foreword is April 13, 2009 – which was prior to his appearance on stage in Albany and about the same time he canceled his initial four-day event for Raniere.
It is my understanding that the Dalai Lama received some $2 million total for his efforts – a foreword and a speech.
On Raniere’s book cover, entitled “The Sphinx & Thelxiepeia”, Raniere’s name, with his co-author, is relatively small and the Dalai Lama’s name is much larger.
The book was published by the Ethical Publishing LLC, of Albany New York, a Bronfman funded LLC. The first edition [I do not know if there was a second edition] was dated April 2009. The book says it is “distributed around the world by Ethical Media LLC,” of Albany New York.
[Albany – so much ethics in one small place.]
As far as I know, the complete foreword of the Dalai Lama for the book, The Sphinx & Thelxiepeia, has never been printed before online.
It is found on page XXX1 of the book, following two prefaces by Raniere himself and one by his coauthor.
We human beings are naturally intelligent and we also have some freedom and flexibility of thought and action. This wonderful intelligence is one of our unique human qualities. However, whether we use it properly or not depends on our motivation, and our motivation should be guided by truth and transparency.
Humane values and ethics give our lives meaning. Science and technology expand our ability to understand and change life. Today, our impact on the natural environment has grown to the point that we are doing damage to the planet as a whole. We can no longer think of economies and societies as separate. In our global community they are increasingly interdependent and our actions affect not just ourselves, but our neighbours throughout the world as well. Now, more than ever, it is important that we examine the impact of our actions on each other as individuals, peoples, countries and inhabitants of this planet.
Exercising our critical faculties in the ethical realm entails taking responsibility both for our acts and for their underlying motives. If we do not take responsibility for our motives, whether positive or negative, the potential for harm is much greater. The moral value of a given act is to be judged in relation both to time, place, and circumstance and to the interests of everyone involved now and in the future. It is conceivable that a given act is ethically sound under one particular set of circumstances, but that at another time and place and under a different set of circumstances it may not be.
The authors of this book present readers with a challenge. In seeking to contribute to building a compassionate, ethical humanity they often discuss recognised problems from unfamiliar angles. In the part of the world from which I come, there is a well-known adage that even when offered gold, the wise test it, beating it and burning it to ensure its value before accepting it. This means that rather than take any advice on trust, we should think about it and ask ourselves if it is useful. If we decide it is, then the sensible thing is to put it into practice.
April 13, 2009
Even in his foreword, the Dalai Lama is careful not to fully endorse Raniere [who he does not mention even once by name.]
In his foreword, he refers to “a well-known adage that even when offered gold, the wise test it, beating it and burning it to ensure its value before accepting it. This means that rather than take any advice on trust, we should think about it and ask ourselves if it is useful. If we decide it is, then the sensible thing is to put it into practice.”
So the Dalai Lama carefully suggests that the reader test this so-called gold offered by Raniere. He seems to know that the man offers fool’s gold, but, as a spiritual leader, living in exile, with hundreds of monks and a large staff to feed [a budget reportedly of more than $20 million per year] and fighting the ruthless slave state of China, the Dalai Lama must take large donations for the welfare of his mission wherever he may find them.
That doesn’t mean he has to endorse them. He did what he could, which was to qualify his endorsement in pretty blunt language.
But that did not stop the monster from using it, for milking it for all it was worth.