The Boulder Buddhist Scam is a blog about Naropa University and, by extension, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Shambhala International (formerly Vajradhatu) and of course, the current management of Shambhala International. I am against the fraud that is perpetuated by Naropa University and I wish to seek an end to it by peaceful, lawful and scholarly means. Naropa University has abused it’s status as a higher education institution, has lied repeatedly to the communities that it serves and is responsible to and needs to either reform or disband.
It is my observation that Naropa University does not wish to reform, that it is perfectly happy scamming students and lying to the community at large. I honestly feel that certain sanctions should be taken against Naropa University and that it’s accreditation should be stripped effective immediately, pending a further investigation of the abuses that are committed by Naropa University. I feel that we should reduce the number of victims of Naropa University as much as humanly possible and I would like to help to stand up against this evil organization.
About the Author
My name is Jessica Sideways and I am the author of this blog. I do all of the research and write every word that you see on this blog (unless it is properly and previously quoted). I am a former Naropa University student, having started in Spring 2010 and stayed until the end of Fall 2010, having transferred to Metropolitan State College of Denver (and having only three credits transfer). After I have experienced a bit of fraud concerning Naropa University, I felt that it was time to start investigating Naropa University and what I have found was shocking. As I dig deeper into Naropa University’s history, I find an institution that is mired in a culture of fraud and continually seeks to raise money for the “Kingdom of Shambhala”, as Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche put it.
I am living a pretty good life but I lost a year of University work at Naropa University as nothing will transfer to a real University that offers a quality education. The thing is that Naropa University is unlikely to change, as Osel Tendzin made it quite clear. The only changes that they are willing to make are only superficial and not to improve the organization or to make it something proud of. The unfortunate thing is that Naropa University does not offer advanced degrees in their undergraduate majors, such as a Bachelor of Music or Bachelor of Music Education for the Music programs, Bachelor of Fine Arts for their Writing & Literature & Visual Arts programs and a Bachelor of Science for Contemplative Psychology and Environmental Sciences.
I love to write and I intend to write a book about Naropa University and the fraud perpetuated by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why the Boulder Buddhist Scam?
When I was running The Naropa Biz, I was contacted by Nathan Stone, an attorney with Jackson-Kelley, PLLC – a law firm in downtown Denver. They were retained by Naropa University and obviously, they were instructed to deal with me in one way and one way only – to get my stuff off of the Internet. They claimed that I was making them lose business, but in all honesty, if they were running a clean operation, there would be no need for me to speak out against them. Unfortunately, I needed money at the time and I signed the paperwork that they requested that I sign, in exchange for my confirmation deposit that they were holding (against their own internal policies and procedures, I might add – another bit of fraud committed by Naropa University).
The agreement that we entered into forbids me from using Naropa University’s Intellectual Property or be a part of any organization that does so – so this is why the Boulder Buddhist Scam was created. Essentially, it was created as a loop hole around the legal contract that was drafted by Nathan Stone and myself and agreed upon by Naropa University. Also, I feel that people still need to be informed so long as Naropa University continues it’s campaign of fraud and abuse. I wish to help Naropa students and those wishing to become Naropa students find ways to get a quality education without getting ripped off and Naropa University is one of the biggest rip offs I have ever seen in my life.
You’re not being objective!
No, I am not. You are correct, but I never claimed to be objective. I would rather stick with the facts and live a honest life instead of posting things that I do not agree with. I will not be just another mouthpiece for Naropa University, I will instead discuss my own opinions and research and hopefully, you the reader can make up your own mind concerning Naropa University. That is what I want everyone considering Naropa University to do – read both sides and make up your own mind. There are some serious allegations concerning Naropa University and honestly, I would say that you should not go to Naropa University. However, I believe that you and you alone can make that decision for yourself.
How do I know that you are being honest?
Good question, I would love to earn your trust but the fact is that other than providing sources and telling you where to look for information on your own, I do not know what more I can do. Some of the research I do involves going to a library and looking at archives, such as the Tom Clark archives. As Tom Clark is very litigious when someone posts his out of print book, “The Great Naropa Poetry Wars”, and he is unwilling to sell me rights to display it on the web for free – I cannot provide much of the original data from his research but I do have copies of it. I can even tell you how to make copies of it yourself at the archives, which is not terribly difficult to do. It is just very time consuming and it takes a long time to complete.
I will not tell lies on this website either, everything I say is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and I am more than happy to redact or retract anything I have previously said on this website. I strive to be correct so that the readers of this website can know that they are getting accurate information, which is why I cite my sources and tell people where they can find the information that I am talking about. To quote Bikram Choudhury from his book:
In India, we have a Hindi saying: Satch, Bohot, Karwa, Hi. Roughly translated it means the truth is extremely bitter like quinine, the medicine. It is one of the hardest things in life to swallow and digest. But like quinine, we swallow it because we know it’s good for us.
The philosophy is the same here and I firmly agree with the heading of that prefix chapter: “Warning: I will tell you the truth”. This is not a place where I will promote homeopathy or alternative medicine of any kind. I am an atheist and a skeptic by my very nature and I will challenge any and all religious claims put forth to me. I think our tolerance and embrace of religion and it’s lies is what gets us into such situations in the first place. Whether its spiritual abuse at Naropa University or the Church of Scientology or Wirral Christian Centre, it is spiritual abuse all the same and it needs to be stopped. This requires me to tell you the truth, whether or not you will like it – because combatting spiritual abuse requires exposing it and naturally, this will make some people uncomfortable.
What is your linking policy?
I allow anyone to link to my blog and I encourage it. I even link to Naropa’s websites when it is appropriate but I don’t think that they would dare link to my websites. After all, they so much as admitted that my words have cost them business. Seriously, that is what Naropa University’s attorneys admitted in the letter to me that I may have enlightened someone about the fraud and abuses at Naropa University and they do not like that. It is for this reason, that I seriously doubt that I would ever get links from Naropa University, Shambhala International, The Sycamore or Elephant Journal.
What reforms would Naropa University have to make?
Naropa University needs to make reforms to correct each and every problem with it’s campus. I am actually surprised that the administration at Naropa University just does not give a damn about the reputation of their University. It makes me sick how they can run a University and yet have a culture of not caring about the campus or what the students need or want. There is not even sufficient student housing for the entire student body of Naropa University and considering that Naropa University’s enrollment figures hover around 1,000 (including the undergraduate and graduate programs), that should not really be a problem.
I enjoy hearing from people who wish to talk with me about Naropa. Please note that I am a student, I am working on a better Bikram practice and I have a number of things going on in life but I endeavor to respond to each and every e-mail as quickly as humanly possible. Please allow for 24-72 hours for a response and please make your message as complete as possible so I can help you better.