We would like to inform the public that Yeung Leung Fong AKA Peter Yeung / Young (PY) has recently begun to style himself as “Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche”.
I was a direct witness in 2011 when an ex-follower familiar with Tibetan Buddhist traditions and customs caught him out for attempting to claim himself as a “Rinpoche”, and clarified the matter with senior officials of the Palyul Nyingma Tibetan Buddhist tradition which PY claims to be affiliated with. PY has waited for years to retry this by keeping his distance from Palyul. And with only the most brainwashed or uninformed followers left with him, PY is emboldened into believing that no one, not even the administration of the Palyul can hold him accountable for claiming this honorific.
The use of the title “Rinpoche” in the Tibetan Buddhist context is highly specific, it is either bestowed by higher spiritual authorities, by consensus of the Buddhist community, and never self-anointed. An in-depth explanation can be read in the previous post by ex-Pathgate member anon27: Peter Yeung’s use of the title “Rinpoche”.
PY will claim that his followers wanted to call him “Rinpoche”, as was the case over the years with “Sifu”, “DaShi”, “Dr”, “Venerable”, “Lama”, even the outrageous combination “Sifu Rinpoche”, but ex-followers have realised that these names were not willingly given to PY by his followers; they were manipulated, intimidated and coerced into using them, until they stuck, and then presented as norm to newcomers. This is one of the reasons why PY isolates his followers from the wider martial arts and Buddhist community and even the Palyul community, because they will discover that PY has been using these titles fraudulently.
By referring to himself officially as a “Rinpoche”, PY is in effect portraying himself as some special reincarnate being, to deceive unsuspecting, usually Western followers into believing that he is one. This is not only fraudulent, but also highly disrespectful to recognised and enthroned Tulkus in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
Ex-followers easily recognise that this is PY’s decades-long pattern of giving himself undeserved honorifics. It is fortunate that with the power of technology, we are able to track PY’s history of self-aggrandisement from 2005 onwards. I invite everyone to examine the information carefully and come to your own conclusions:
Using as example the earliest archived version of PY’s profile on Pathgate’s website, one can see multiple obvious and subtle bogus claims. Ex-followers will also recognise the frequent usage of terms like “deemed by many”, “referred to”, “known to”, “renowned for” to deceive followers into believing that he is more widely recognised than he actually is.
PY’s profile reads impressively, but is in reality littered with fabrications, exaggerations, glaring omissions, and “subtle massaging of the truth” to gross misrepresentations:
“Director of Palyul Sangha International”.
This is a complete fabrication – it’s like claiming one is the “Director of Roman Catholics International”. Yes, there is a global Palyul sangha, but it is not in any way “directed” by PY.
“Long time disciple”, “personal attendant”.
In traditional biographies of Tibetan Buddhist teachers, there is clear information on where, when and with whom they studied with. Most even state where and when they were born. PY, on the other hand, provides little detail and no timeline of his background and training progression. He does not reveal the years he followed Penor Rinpoche, not even to long time followers. When on the occasion he was asked directly, PY’s responses has been vague and cryptic, sometimes angrily retorting, “how long have I NOT been with His Holiness!?”
One would expect an authentic teacher to be transparent about these details, but PY omits them to prevent people from knowing he is not actually authorised to represent Palyul to teach. By piecing together evidence and testimonies from ex-followers, we now know that PY lied his way into Penor Rinpoche’s inner circle by posing as a professional photographer, and spent at most 10 years with him, and never in the sort of closeness as PY made it out to be. PY may have indeed attended to Penor Rinpoche on several occasions, but surely did other ordained and lay followers when circumstances call for it. This simply means that PY was close in proximity, not close in relationship. It does not represent an endorsement of PY’s spiritual realisations, and it does not represent an authorisation to teach.
In case one hasn’t realised, PY is a layperson but wears the Tibetan monastic robes. PY claims to be a Ngakpa practitioner, and has worn its red and white robes in the past; but as with most of his claims, have no evidence to back them up – in this case – ordination from Palyul. Non-monastic practitioners, at least in the Palyul Tradition, “on completion of certain levels and requirements of Dharma study and practice are ordained Ngakpas in the Tibetan Buddhist order.”
“Extensive instructions” and “transmissions”.
“[PY] states that he has received all kinds of major empowerments and initiations. That is true, but so did anyone who paid for the [one month] retreats. He also lists his various dharma names and titles, and explains their meaning. They are quite impressive. But anyone who has been on the Tibetan Buddhist path for long can reel out a hefty list of impressive titles and names. That is the custom.”
PY’s followers are misled into believing that these transmissions and instructions are close to impossible to receive, when most of them have always been available yearly in official Palyul centres in Europe and the US. It is apt to reiterate here that PY isolates his followers (which includes ordained monks and nuns ordained from Palyul’s Namdroling monastery) from the actual Palyul community. Instead, he runs his own “retreats” from his home city in the UK, brainwashing followers with plagiarised content retrieved from the internet.
“Recipient of three Honorary Doctorates (PhD)”.
PY omits where, when and how he received these degrees, and eventually, removed these mentions from his profile. Well, the PhDs are from here: http://www.martialarts-kungfu.com/International_Martial_Arts_University.html, and one can decide for themselves if it is a credible university.
In contemporary society, a PhD is “an earned research degree, those studying for a PhD are usually required to produce original research that expands the boundaries of knowledge, normally in the form of a thesis or dissertation, and defend their work against experts in the field”. It takes years of dedication to complete. On the contrary, PY received these degrees after hosting a friend from the US. They can only be described as “bogus PhDs” or “fake doctorates”. On the same note, the “World Outstanding Leadership Golden Award” and “World Tai Chi Internal Power Highest Gold Award” were given by the same “Dr. Chiang” who ran all of the so-called “American Asian Federation”, “the International Martial Arts/Kung Fu Federation”, and the “World Chinese Medicine and Herbs United Association” and gave PY the degrees.
“Pioneer of Education”.
PY ran the so-called “Classical Chi Kung Study” for several years and then stopped it abruptly, charging extortionate amounts of money which was used to fund his globe-trotting and more importantly, to buy his way into Palyul’s good books. Ex-follower anon27’s testimony here reveals that
“…despite PY saying there would be exams and tests, there never were. The way he taught it was also a lot of waffle. It took me years to realise that without any kind of testing, none of us knew if we were “doing it right”, there was no sense of advancement, and PY didn’t have to actually teach anything! This meant nobody really learned anything more than if they had picked up a book, but we were paying top dollar of course. It was all martial arts with supposedly esoteric Chi Kung.”
“International Champions of Chinese Martial Arts”.
anon27 also recalled that:
“…the medals were won by a small group of early students, at various events, but these included many of PY’s own events!! I am one of the medal winners. Those medals mean absolutely nothing, they’re total bullshit, handed out like sweeties, mainly for just turning up.”
This is left to the last because it is the most significant in uncovering the fraud PY commits as a supposed Buddhist teacher. PY uses the term lama to refer to himself as a teacher/guru. And his followers, mesmerised by the exoticism of the Tibetan Buddhist imagery and rituals, the supposed supernatural powers of PY, and the presence of monks and nuns around him, believe him to be one. It appears very convincing, one has to admit.
However, in this age where the authenticity of teachers can’t be trusted simply based on appearances and by what they say, concrete evidence of their qualifications is vital. In Namdroling monastery, khenpos and lamas are enthroned yearly and receive authorisation and assignments to teach. PY has never enrolled in Namdroling’s shedra, the Ngagyur Nyingma Institute (NNI) to become a Khenpo after nine years of education, and has never completed the 3-year 3-month 3-day retreat to qualify as a Dorje Lopon. Shockingly, PY claims same status as these practitioners who had dedicated years to their education and practice, and calls them his “Dharma brothers”. He boasts about being praised regarding his scholarship being similar to that of a Khenpo, and that cryptically hints that “some lamas complete their retreat in the world.” This goes to show the level of audacity that PY possesses to maintain his guru persona. PY is in effect, claiming that he, who is not a tulku, is so realised and “spontaneously accomplished” that he can be exempted from Palyul’s formal education system, when even recognised high tulkus of the tradition all go through years of the prerequisite studies and training.
Over the years, PY brainwashes his followers to buy into the belief that paper qualifications are irrelevant in determining the quality of a real teacher. In fact, PY has been observed to disparage scholars and academics countless times, with what can only be described as an attitude of contempt. This is an insult to all contemporary educators and educatees in general; and more specifically in Palyul, to the legacy of the 3rd Penor Rinpoche and the dedication of thousands of NNI graduates.
With no formal education to back him up, PY fabricated his legitimacy by ingratiating himself with Palyul through financial sponsorship and projects. While these are meritorious acts, this only makes PY a generous sponsor, but not a lama, and definitely not a Rinpoche. He claims closeness with the 3rd Penor Rinpoche, but this makes him the occasional personal attendant and bodyguard, but, again, not a lama, and definitely not a Rinpoche.
The Palyul community is huge, diverse and occupied; most are unaware of PY’s activities outside of the monastery. Many, including senior figures, are well-intentioned but uninformed monastics who assume PY is one of them because he wears the monastic robes, not realising he was never ordained and never educated in the tradition. They are also grateful to PY as a sponsor for projects, unaware of the source of his money and his unethical conduct outside the monastery.
The handful of insiders who are indeed aware of PY’s misconduct have shunned him, or abide by the Tibetan etiquette of silence in response to complaints, or are unable to criticise PY openly because he skilfully hides beneath the banner of Penor Rinpoche and “lineage blessing”. The lineage hierarchy is not taking more assertive measures because Pathgate is not under the jurisdiction of Palyul.
Therefore, it is up to ex-followers who have experienced first-hand the magnitude of the deception and abuse, to come forward with our accounts and call out PY on his misconduct. We are motivated to stop further abuse and mind control of innocent students who genuinely wish to improve their lives. In the context of Buddhism, this is to prevent the Buddhadharma and its authentic lineages be brought into disrepute. It is in accord with the Dalai Lama’s exhortation, Western Buddhist teachers’ consensus, and personal advice I have received from senior figures in Palyul.
In short, PY is not a venerable, not a lama, and not a Rinpoche. Followers and ex-followers should take heart from the realisation that they are/were not bad students; rather, they were deceived, exploited and abused by an imposter.