Robert Thurman: Fanning hatred against Shugden Buddhists

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The Dorje Shugden ban is a travesty of justice and also an indictment against everyone who has perpetuated this grave injustice against innocent monks and four million Dorje Shugden believers around the world. One of the enforcers of the Dalai Lama’s illegal ban is none other than Robert Thurman, regarded as ‘the Dalai Lama’s man in America’. Thurman had previously labelled Shugden Buddhists as the “Taliban of Buddhism” with the intention of creating public enmity towards Dorje Shugden people.

Thurman’s disregard for the law is not limited to defaming innocent Shugden practitioners but also extends to seeking to engage hackers to attack the social media accounts of some who are critical of the ban. This itself is a felony and shows Thurman’s utter scorn of the people’s right to express their opinions.

Fortunately, there are people like Indy Hack, an independent UK based journalist who has devoted himself to reporting on the deceit of the Dalai Lama and his coterie. In this story, Indy Hack exposes Thurman’s criminal enterprise in denying Shugden worshippers their right to their religion. For more from Indy Hack, visit



What is #LamaGate?


#LamaGate refers to the hacking scandal that surrounds the Dalai Lama’s trip to the US in fall 2014. It centres around the Dalai Lama’s most trusted US friend and confidant, Professor Robert Thurman, who allegedly tried to solicit members of Anonymous to engage in computer hacking on his behalf.

On 29th October 2014 Professor Thurman published a tweet (shown below) asking how to get the help of the Anonymous group to “get info out” about certain individuals he wished to target.

robert thurman

In and of itself this may seem like nothing more than a foolish and careless over-reaction on the part of Professor Thurman to the widespread media coverage the Shugden protests had been receiving. Yet when it was pointed out to him that such an action could be considered illegal in the US this didn’t dissuade him from continuing down his chosen path of action.

In the following hours Thurman published a series of tweets identifying specific Twitter accounts to target. He identified each of them as, “key Anti HHDL Shugden Twitter Spam Accounts”, and followed the account name with the tags #anon and #OpShugden.

#OpShugden was devised by another Twitter user (@OpTsampa) who appeared to be working alongside Thurman in his campaign. @OpTsampa also tweeted an offer of 50 BitCoins ($16,967) to anyone who could link the most accounts together that had been identified by Thurman.

Exactly what information Thurman wanted Anonymous members to “get out” of each of the identified accounts is uncertain, although it appears that he was trying to reveal the identities of the owners of the accounts. The only way to get this information would be to gain access to the users accounts without their consent, as such it appears that Thurman was soliciting computer hacking against each of the individually named Twitter accounts.


Why would Professor Thurman solicit hacking?

Throughout his fall tour of the US the Dalai Lama has faced an unprecedented level of media attention about allegations of human rights violations and religious discrimination, as anyone familiar with this site will know. Professor Thurman plays a key role in the dissemination of information against the protesters because of his academic standing and his close friendship with the Dalai Lama. They are so close in fact that the NY Times magazine referred to Thurman as, “the Dalai Lama’s man in America”.

Prior to 29th October, all of the Dalai Lama’s attempts to avoid addressing the issues raised by the protesters had been unsuccessful with the US media. Everywhere the Dalai Lama spoke, protesters gathered and news agencies covered not just the protests, but the issues behind them (see here).

As the time drew closer for the Dalai Lama to appear in New York City, where Thurman is based, the pressure had been increasing on Thurman to do something to counteract the effect of the protests. Under such increasing pressure it appears that he may have taken the highly unusual step of soliciting computer hacking in an attempt to reduce some of the exposure they were getting on Twitter.

It seems that Thurman believed several Twitter accounts were run by one or two individuals, and that by hacking those accounts he would be able to silence them.


What happens now?

Presently the #Lamagate scandal is continuing to increase on a daily basis. On 30th October this website published a guide on how to indict Robert Thurman and on 31st October it ran an Indict-Storm on Twitter, calling for any users who felt violated by Professor Thurman’s actions to report them to the authorities.

During 30th/31st October multiple reports were filed with the NYPD and the FBI asking for them to investigate the allegations against Thurman. Specifically they stated:

“It is alleged that Professor Robert A. Thurman (@BobThurman) did knowingly solicit others to commit computer hacking and provided information to direct said computer hacking against several users of Twitter in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1030 (a) (2).

On October 29th 2014 it is alleged Professor Robert A. Thurman directed computer hackers associated with the ‘Anonymous’ group to hack Twitter’s computer servers and extract information about the following users: @tompotter1945, @TalkingTibet, @wisdomdakini2, and @Vajralight.

I am making a formal complaint about alleged criminal activity by Professor Robert A. Thurman and asking you to investigate whether any criminal activity has taken place.”

Despite this Professor Thurman continues to maintain a public list of Twitter users which he refers to as, “Known Spammers”. Members of this list continue to report suspicious activity on their Twitter accounts.


Who is involved?

Given Professor Thurman’s close relationship with the Dalai Lama it is highly likely that he may have known about this course of action. As the management of the Dalai Lama’s visit is also conducted with the US Office of Tibet, now based in Washington DC, it is also highly likely that they were aware of Thurman’s decision to try and recruit Anonymous.

Despite the high profile of this scandal both the US Office of Tibet and the Dalai Lama have so far remained silent, refusing to comment or even acknowledge its existence.

Likewise Columbia University, Professor Thurman’s employers, have refused to acknowledge or comment on the scandal.

Fortunately the Anonymous group are less afraid of speaking publicly on this issue. On 2nd November they issued the following public statement about the scandal addressed principally to Professor Thurman:

“.@BobThurman we have no position on this currently but can tell you one of Anon’s only central principles is NYPA: Not Your Personal Army”

More to follow…




Robert Thurman & Anonymous

On October 28th 2014 respected scholar and author Robert Thurman decided to mention me on Twitter and make false and unsupported claims about me. He also tried to add me to a list which he promotes to followers of the Dalai Lama so they can send threatening and offensive tweets to its members. I responded by publishing an open letter to him on 29th October, but what I wasn’t expecting was his vehement and extreme reaction.

Throughout the day there was no response from Professor Thurman, yet things suddenly changed as the evening arrived and he issued a tweet publicly asking for the help of Anonymous.

Screenshot taken at 18:00 EDT 29th Oct 2014

I was one of the people that Professor Thurman was wanting to target and unearth information about, including my identity. Whilst I have the greatest respect for the ethos of Anonymous, I have never been their focus, nor have I ever considered my work to warrant their focus.

I raised the issue of the legality of publishing such a tweet and the hasty reply from an account that Professor Thurman was working with in his new Anonymous campaign replied that it was just about re-tweets and whois searches.

Screenshot taken at 07:44 EDT 30th Oct 2014

Of course re-tweets and whois searches are standard practices and certainly not in any way illegal. However the Anonymous group is not renowned for its use of whois, or its social media re-tweeting campaigns.

As @OpTsampa says, “Anyone can backtrace an IP”. So why would they be asking for the help of Anonymous if they only wanted to back-trace IPs and conduct whois searches?

Anonymous is well known as a collective of hackers who engage in electronic civil disobedience (ECD). You don’t ask for the help of Anonymous for re-tweets, you ask for their help for one thing – hacking, which is a federal crime in the US.

Asking for the help of Anonymous is fairly easy on Twitter, you just publish a tweet and insert the call sign “#anon”. Both @OpTsampa and Professor Thurman then engaged in a campaign of publishing tweets identifying Twitter users and encouraging Anonymous members to target them.

Screenshot taken at 07:45 EDT 30th Oct 2014

Screenshot taken at 21:36 EDT 29th Oct 2014

If you thought this was maybe a bit of harmless fun from Professor Thurman and his accomplice the next tweet may surprise you.

Screenshot taken at 07:44 EDT 30th Oct 2014

For those unfamiliar with the Bit Coin currency it’s a virtual currency which enables transactions to be carried out completely anonymously. It is often used when paying for services which are illegal, such as hacking. The value of 50 Bit Coins at the time this tweet was published was $16,967.00.

Offering hackers just under $17,000 to target people on Twitter is not harmless fun. It is a very serious financial offer, and a US federal crime. As this statement from the US Attorneys Office in April 2014 makes clear in the case of Fidel Salinas.

Whilst Salinas was accused of engaging in hacking, it is a criminal offence to solicit federal criminal acts and you can be an accessory to the crimes if you are found to have encouraged or instigated them.

On October 29th 2014 it would appear quite clearly that @OpTsampa and Professor Robert Thurman were not only accomplices in cyber crime, but that they actively engaged in soliciting cyber crime, as defined by the FBI.

The question is why would a Professor at Columbia University in New York, the co-founder and president of Tibet House US, and father of Hollywood star Uma Thurman, be so desperate as to break federal law?

Maybe it was never intended as an attempt to solicit hacking? If so then why did Anonymous themselves issue a formal response through their official Twitter account?

If there is nothing to hide, if the allegations of religious discrimination and human rights violations by the Dalai Lama are unfounded, then why would an eminent professor ask for Anonymous to help?

Why not simply debate the issue and show evidence that refutes or counters the claims?

At the present moment I am taking legal advice regarding filing a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) of the FBI so that they can further investigate Professor Thurman’s role in soliciting cyber crime.

I will keep you posted with updates as this case develops.



14:30 – 30th October 2014

After having taken legal advice I am in the process of drafting a formal complaint for investigation by the FBI. I am awaiting the FBI’s decision whether it is best to submit the formal complaint through their New York field office, or through IC3.

As the alleged offenses occurred over the Twitter platform it is likely to be an inter-state matter placing it within federal jurisdiction.

I am advised that Professor Thurman is currently aware that he is one of the subjects named in my formal complaint.

More to follow.


***Further Update***

As this is now an ongoing criminal investigation I am unable to add further comments.


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  1. Dear Tibetan government-in-exile (Dharamsala),

    Sharmapa Rinpoche is the highest authority in the Karma Kagyu after Karmapa. By age-old tradition, Sharmapa is the one that confirms the real incarnation of Karmapa. He recognized Thaye Dorje as the genuine Karmapa. But Dalai Lama endorsed Orgyen Trinley as the real Karmapa. Dalai Lama is a great lama but there has never been a tradition of him recognizing a Karmapa.

    Both ‘Karmapas’ have big followings in and out of Tibet. So which one should we follow? We have to follow the genuine Karmapa. If we follow the fake one, we will get fake teachings, fake lineage and no results. We can even take rebirth in the lower realms.

    Only the Tibetan leaders can tell us which is the real Karmapa. You have told us which one is the real Panchen Lama. We follow the Panchen of your choosing. Since then we have condemned China and condemned the fake Panchen Lama. Now it is the same situation with Karmapa. We have denounced the fake Karmapa and ask him to step down. He is destroying the Karma Kagyu Lineage.

    This issue has torn the Karma Kagyu sect in half. There are many who are so confused and some gave up Tibetan Buddhism altogether because of this. We must solve the confusion. This does not look good for the Tibetan government in exile because the confusion was started by Tibetan government. I support Dalai Lama and Tibetan government. But so many of us need to know the real Karmapa already. Don’t remain silent. Which one is the real Karmapa.

    Tibetan government in exile, you have created two Gelugs (Pro-Dorje Shugden and against), you have created two Panchen Rinpoches, two Karmapas, two Dromo Geshe Rinpoches, two Kundeling Rinpoches and so on. When are you going to solve all the confusion. You are destroying Tibetan Buddhism.

  2. Robert Thurman is really good at branding and promoting himself. He is all about promoting his fame and how good he is. That is why he is the first person to get ordained by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. By doing so, he gains instant fame and then he quickly disrobed after that. He does not really want to be a monk and it is very clear that he did it for fame.

    Being a disrobed monk is a shameful thing for a real Dharma practitioner. When we go to places like Nepal or India, being disrobed is shameful and it is not something that we always talked about. Robert Thurman used it as a plus point in promoting himself to convince ignorant people of how good he is that he got the training of a monk last time.

    Everything he does is for money and fame. He uses Dharma to gain fame and when it does not serve his purpose, he will forget about it. An example, he promoted fly fishing at his dharma spa to get more customers. He is willing to break his vow of not killing just to get more business for his spa. That is very un-Buddhist like at all.

  3. It is obvious that Robert Thurman wrote the book out of the motivation of getting money and not spreading the Dharma to liberate others. How can the author of “Love your enemies” hire trolls on Twitter to attack his enemies with harsh speech and racist comments? He does not mean what he says and he is just using Dharma to get money.

    He has been studying Dharma for so long and he is a professor as well. He should know his stuff and knows clearly that what he did is not very nice. It is not the Buddhist way of dealing with enemies. On top of that, he should also know that committing killing will create a lot of negative karma but he still promotes fly fishing in his Buddhist spa in Catskills.

    He did it for business and from his action, we can see that he is selling the Dharma for money. What kind of Buddhist professor promotes killing? That is against what he is teaching. Whatever he teaches is just fake words try to get money from sponsors.

  4. Robert Thurman is a bad example of how a Buddhist should be but he is a very GOOD example of how a Buddhist should NOT be! I was shocked at how money minded he is. His retreat center encourages flyfishing activity, he openly wants to pay hackers to attack Dorje Shugden followers’ twitter accounts and he befriends sex abuser!

    I have never imagined a long time Buddhist practitioner like Robert Thurman can do something like this. No killing is the basic refuge vow a Buddhist has to keep, but why is he encouraging people to kill for leisure? Or he thinks he is already attained so he can bless those fishes that are killed? What have the Dorje Shugden practitioners done to make him want to look for hackers to attack them?

    It appears to me that he is very vengeful, just because he and the Dalai Lama choose not to practice Dorje Shugden, so he sees Dorje Shugden followers as his enemies and wants to ‘take care’ of them? Where is the compassion? His compassion is limited to rich and famous then? He writes books about how to control anger and develop compassion how come he has failed to do that? How credible and reliable is he? He is just a commercial Buddhist, selling Dharma for his indulgence.

  5. Robert Thurman never put what he has studied in practice. he knows all the theory, he can explain to everyone what guru devotion is, what karma is but he doesn’t walk the talk. If he truly practises guru devotion, he will not harm Dorje Shugden followers.

    From the spiritual aspect, if the Dalai Lama is not one’s teacher, it is ok to not listen to the Dalai Lama. Not listening to the Dalai Lama does not mean not respecting him. In Vajrayana practice, we have to follow the instruction of our teacher, not to follow someone who is more famous.

    Robert Thurman is a very bad example of how a Buddhist should be. He has no compassion for anyone, he wanted to hire hackers to hurt Dorje Shugden followers. He is acting like a hooligan.

  6. Just accept the fact that Robert Thurman is a fake Buddhist guru who creates conflicts between different Buddhist groups. He also encourages killing. One of the activities organised by his retreat centre is fly-fishing, how Buddhist is that?

    His daughter Uma Thurman is a sexual abuse victim but he is a close friend to sex offender, Sogyal Rinpoche. why is that so? Doesn’t he have compassion for his own daughter?

    Many things that he does is contradictory to what a Buddhist should be doing, this is something I cannot understand. He should not be called a Buddhist expert anymore because he dos not walk the talk.

  7. Robert Thurman once requested his guru to give him Dorje Shugden initiation but was refused. His guru definitely had the clairvoyance so he was very compassionate to refuse Thurman’s request to help Thurman to not create serious negative karma. However, what Thurman has been doing is not something great or good either.

    He wants to be in the Dalai Lama’s good book so he can get endorsement from the Dalai Lama. With the endorsement from the Dalai Lama, it makes him more credible and reliable. As a result, his books will be sellable and people will go to attend his course.

    It is a pity. Robert Thurman has the merits to meet so many high lamas but he didn’t genuinely practice Dharma. He would have been a great Dharma teacher if h

    • It is a pity. Robert Thurman has the merits to meet so many high lamas but he didn’t genuinely practice Dharma. He would have been a great Dharma teacher if he genuinely practice it.

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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