Gary Beesley Buddhist scholar forced to withdraw ‘A Cuckoo in the Peacock Palace’

Posted on June 1, 2010


This letter from the British Buddhist Scholar Gary Beesley was recently posted at the Dialogue Ireland blog and the NKT World website:

Dear Colleagues,

It is with sincere regret that I write to inform you that, due to the threat of legal action from the New Kadampa Tradition, and in light of the inadequacies of UK libel law, I have been forced to withdraw my forthcoming book, ‘A Cuckoo in the Peacock Palace: The Decline of Tradition in 21st Century Western Buddhism and the Rise of the New Kadampa Tradition’ from publication.

I appreciate that many of you will be very disappointed by this decision, a disappointment that I share with you from the very depths of my heart. However, as a Buddhist layman with a wife and children, I must place the short and long term well being of my family at the very fore of my considerations. Having raised myself up from poverty through dedication, hard work and the blessings of the Buddhas, I could not bear to impose an undeserved life of poverty on my wife and children when I leave this world. Therefore, for the sake of my family, as well as the good name of the Dharma, I have made this difficult, indeed heart wrenching decision. The NKTs legal representative kindly reminded me that, as Buddhists it is very important that we try to resolve our problems in a peaceful manner. I hope the withdrawal of the book is an indication of my intention to observe such advice in my dealings with others from now on.

With respect and sincere regret for any hurt or disappointment I may have caused.

Yours in the Dharma

The layman Gary Beesley

One comment left on the Dialogue Ireland blog reads:

“A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

The plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff’s goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. A SLAPP is often preceded by a legal threat.”

Information about the book was previously posted at this blog here.