Author Topic: Kymberlee Ruff  (Read 46126 times)

Offline Odelle

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2013, 06:18:47 am »
Hi, Critter.

I think I might mean something differently by "proselytize" than either you or the writer who sent out the letter to the NYTimes, but I also frankly think there is something disingenuous about the claim to not proselytize. I do not mean that Tibetan Buddhist teachers pressure or try to coerce people into converting. I meant that Tibetan Buddhism is a religion whose practitioners actively encourage people from other cultures and traditions to become Buddhists. Dozens of books just in English are published every year targeting people who have no previous experience with Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. This includes the industrious output of H.H. Dalai Lama. I do not think there is an equivalent effort for, say, Zoroastrainism, a religion that one must be born into, nor does it match the descriptions of what other members on this site give for other religious traditions.

I have, in fact, like millions of other Westerners, received teachings from H.H. Dalai Lama that first required me to take "refuge" before I would be allowed to listen. Taking refuge, at least in the ceremonies in which I participated, includes a pledge to abstain from the practices and places of worship of other religious traditions and also to study and follow certain tenets of Buddhism. I would call this "conversion". I am aware that H.H. Dalai Lama speaks against "converting" people, but I think he has a very narrow definition of proselytization that involves words like "force" or "coercion". This is not a "sect" thing and one of the Rinpoches of which I spoke before is both highly regarded by Tibetans and Westerners and has close and friendly ties to H.H. Dalai Lama. He is also a member of the largest sect in the US. The reason this sect has so many followers here is mainly due to the efforts of one teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who in fact repeatedly spoke of a need to spread Buddhism to the West. It is important to remember that, while almost universally popular and beloved, H.H. Dalai Lama religiously represents the Gelukpa Sect, of which he is but one of many teachers and I don't think I have ever encountered a quote from him claiming to represent other sects, or even other teachers. As the de facto representative of the collective interests of the world's Tibetans and as someone who is consciously aware of that fact, he also probably sees a need to separate his own and other teachers' religious activities from those of Christian and Muslim proselytizers.

The very fact that someone like Kymberlee Ruff can show up at a public Buddhist teaching and ask the teacher to make her a student and be instantly granted her wish, marks this as a pretty different tradition than that of indigenous traditions.



:>

Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2013, 07:08:44 am »
I believe they open the teachings to anyone as the world changes and people come to learn. I do not believe they "recruit" people. It's quite a different thing to welcome someone seeking than to go and recruit. (I know there are other sects that do actively recruit). Speaking of a "need" to spread to the west, I see this differently. Not as a recruiting method, but as a need, being asked or required of. Language is difficult. But if I see a "need" in the world around me, and I can fill it, then I try to do that. That is a totally different meaning. Nor would I call the "refuge" conversion. If you accept vows to learn a tradition, then what do you need to go to other traditions for? I call it a commitment, an act of meaning what you say, perhaps so not just you, but others can also take you at your word.

Unfortunately, people like Ruff come along and make false claims and write books and make tons of money.

I don't believe Ruff's claims.

And leaving this, as it's gone too far off track from Ruff and her claims.
press the little black on silver arrow Music, 1) Bob Pietkivitch Buddha Feet http://www.4shared.com/file/114179563/3697e436/BuddhaFeet.html

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2013, 06:15:12 pm »
I think the mish mashers of traditions/religions/spirituality and new agers are the ones who have turned Tibetan Buddhism into the product it apparently is being sold as today. And I just don't believe this Ruff person is some Tibetan and Hopi prophecy keeper or whatever she wishes to call herself.
... ... ...
Somewhere along the way, Tibetan Buddhism has been appropriated and now everyone seems to think they want converted people.
... ... ...
I think about how it's like this for the various Native beliefs.. that people are confused and now think this or that is from this or that Native American belief.. and it's not. But the appropriators have succeeded in making these FALSE things seem TRUE. THIS is the damage caused by appropriation.. and I'm irritated about it.... so SORRY if this is off topic.. but dang it.. I had to say it.. people like this Ruff person are damage makers. They're damaging.

Total agreement, here. There are people who sell and profit off Buddhism. And there are quiet, traditional sects with deep teachings and practices that have nothing to do with the sellouts.

A Buddhist monk who lives under vows of poverty, who (at the request of the heads of their lineage) writes a book to share some of the very basic things, is different from the exploiters. Offering basic information to seekers, who may then choose to explore the Buddhist traditions more deeply, is not the same as aggressively seeking converts.

I would not take Ruff's word, or the word of other Americans or sellouts on any of this. And even if a respected, Tibetan leader comes forward to support Ruff's ridiculous claims... I would look to see if there is money involved. And even if any real Tibetans support her behaviour (as opposed to just being polite and compassionate about her craziness and self-aggrandizement) it doesn't change the fact that she is arrogantly exploiting NDN beliefs (or, outsiders racist fantasies of them). If there are any Tibetans who have been kind to her out of compassion, I humbly suggest they also show compassion for the NDN Peoples who are harmed by Ruff's lies.

Offline Odelle

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2013, 12:26:16 am »
 :)
My point is that Tibetan Buddhism is not in the same position as the Hopi spiritual community. For one thing, there are millions of native Vajrayana believers in the world. For another, a spiritual teacher of Buddhism is a professional teacher. This is the only way they earn their living and most teachers also have to support an entire monastery. In the case of H.H. Dalai Lama, he has also at various points in his career been responsible for significant portions of the budget of the exile community in India. There are many ways to be a professional religious practitioner in Tibetan Buddhism. Some people become monks or nuns, some people become hermits, some people take up more official, managerial capacities and some people become teachers. It is absolutely essential for a teacher to find students, and many teachers in recent years look to non-Tibetans for potential students. This is the way the religion works and has worked. It is not exploitative or immoral. Tibetan Buddhism is an institution. In some places in the world, even within China, it has some resemblance to a government institution. It is also much more immune to the escapades of people like Ruff than, say, Bon practices. It is wrong to call either of these Rinpoches appropriators or messengers of a false Buddhism. As I said earlier, both men have close personal ties to H.H. Dalai Lama and at least one of them is well-known to Tibetans in Tibet and outside and is praised by everyone I have mentioned his name to as not just a good teacher and Buddhist but as a vessel of endangered Tibetan wisdom. He has spent decades of his life receiving traditional teachings, including those that can only be passed down orally, and engaging in essential practices. Much of his wisdom can only be passed to an appropriate student, as such his most important role is perhaps that of a vessel of knowledge. This makes him especially valuable in today's world, since historical events have cut the line of transmission for much of this knowledge. His activities in the west provide income and support for his personal monastery back home, but also other monasteries, and other projects, such as schools and what not. Beyond that, his work as a teacher brings benefit to his students.

I'm not defending Ruff. I think this forum has done a pretty thorough job of showing that she has unhealthy attitudes toward NDN religion, NDN communities and NDN people and that she is exploiting NDN spirituality for personal profit and publicity. I have nothing to add to that conversation. I did, however, have concerns that she was also falsely using the names of Buddhist teachers and their organization and I thought I'd try to do something about it. Since I haven't heard back from the people I was worried she was victimizing, but I have heard back from her and she gave me reason to suspect that, after all, maybe these people do know that she's claiming a connection with them and don't care or, as she suggests, are actually encouraging of it, then that's what I have to report. 

I'm somewhat disappointed by this outcome. I assume that the organization just doesn't realize the negative impact of Ruff's behavior. The organization is run by primarily Tibetan people, I believe, people who were born outside of this country and who do not know its history or the history of Native people here. I doubt that they have had much experience of NDN traditions except through people like Ruff. Ruff has sent me several emails (I finally blocked her from my account) since I first engaged her. All of them read as friendly and enthusiastic and also pretty desperate to win me over. I'm sure she comes off that way in person and no doubt elicits sympathy and concern from people who have been trained from childhood to comfort others. It is possible that these two men are being very kind and supportive to her and have no idea whatsoever of the nature of her activities. I assume this is the case. It is also possible that they themselves believe some of what she says (I doubt this, because if it were true, I'd expect it would show up on their websites and it doesn't.). It is a shame that they end up being associated with Nuage foolishness and, worse, lend legitimacy to Ruff by the use of their name.

I have looked into trying to find other members of the center to see if I can find anything out that way, but I expect that she is pretty peripheral to the actual activities of the organization itself and my investigations will turn up nothing. This is a very large sangha and both Rinpoches almost certainly see thousands of students every year. Some of those people are going to be coming from backgrounds of cultural and spiritual confusion and alienation, such as I imagine is the case with Ruff. Some of these people are like Ruff, either believers of nonsense or else cynical promoters of nonsense for their own profit. But at this late date, no one in the US has any excuse to think that someone like Ruff in any represents Tibetan people, Tibetan culture or Tibetan religion. So, I must believe that people who believe her nonsense about Buddhism CHOOSE to.  I don't think this is the case with her lies about Hopi and Zuni traditions.

I  that she will stop with the Hopi and Zuni nonsense. I feel like she contributes to misperceptions of these communities, but also EVERY NDN community, especially since she uses claims of Cherokee "ethnicity" (a term she picked strategically since she isn't and never will be enrolled) to validate her claims on the religious traditions of totally unrelated people. Non-NDNs who are ignorant of such matters learn un-truths from her. They learn: all NDN cultures are the same. Cherokee, Zuni, Hopi--who cares! It's all interchangeable. They also learn total gibberish that they are told is NDN culture. And they learn that all brown people are mystically connected. White people are left out because, yet again, we're special. Brown people exist to further our needs. If they're not cooperating, it is because they are not "authentic" or they are "selfish". Thankfully, there are some white people who are secretly brown (but, no worries, totally white!) who will bridge the gap for us. Whew! Brown people who criticize these white brown people are jealous or racist or brainwashed.

I get all that, I'm just saying that it's possible that Ruff is not making up her connection to certain Tibetan Buddhist communities and individuals. I hope that these individuals have a positive influence in her life. I hope that Buddhism relieves some of the desperation she feels. I hope that she gets the kind of validation she seeks from trying to be a prophet from her work as a student of Buddhism in a loving and supportive environment and that she stops activities that are NOT beneficial to all beings, that bring sadness and suffering to the people whose cultures she is impersonating and bring ignorance and blindness to the world.
:>

Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2013, 04:52:30 am »
In the past, they were not "professional".. the monks sat daily with their bowls, and the people of the community fed them. Today's world requires something different, especially with China having taken possession of Tibet.

It is not correct to say that the way things work today is how it "has" worked. It is not. Even in that old Kung Fu movie/series.. although appropriating, they show that just because you show up at the door doesn't mean you are accepted into the monastery.

I think the money making of selling books and selling religion is too far spread for them to do much about it, and that they don't have connections with the Hopi people to do anything about that there. But I do think that allowing this woman to use their name in this way is shameful and they have some responsibility to say something in regards to it. Making claims about ones self is not, as far as I've ever known, a Buddhist way.

There is also, as always, cultural differences in how people think. Translating a belief from one cultural way of thought to the western mind or white people, has always seemed to come up with misinterpretation. I do believe being raised within a culture is important in terms of being able to understand what is meant. Western/white people thinking is rough and short. One thing makes them think a little and they build an entire enterprise around it making loads of money and never actually really understand the thought they once had.. it is a flaw in mind.

Who knows what was said that she thinks she understands but doesn't.. and this is the same with the many Native cultures as well.. which is why so many think they can run sweat lodges.. they think they know, because their minds are flawed, their thinking isn't the same as the culture they are stealing from. And they do more damage than good.

What I find saddest is that some of these people had or have a real chance to learn something deeper about their world, others, and their self, but they stop as soon as they think they know and never let go of that.


press the little black on silver arrow Music, 1) Bob Pietkivitch Buddha Feet http://www.4shared.com/file/114179563/3697e436/BuddhaFeet.html

Offline Odelle

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2013, 06:58:21 am »
"Translating a belief from one cultural way of thought to the western mind or white people, has always seemed to come up with misinterpretation."  This is absolutely true. Buddhism as practiced in Tibet is substantially different than Buddhism as practiced by Hinayana or Mahayana countries and Buddhism practiced by Westerners is different, as well.

After all this, I have an update on Kymberlee Ruff:

I heard back from my friend who is involved with the community in Santa Barbara and he has never heard of Ruff or anything about this Tibetan-Hopi Prophecy business. I've mentioned to Ruff that I have this friend and I'll see what her response is to that. I imagine that her connection to this group is pretty important to her. If it turns out that she is lying about having their permission to use their name, she'll hopefully back down if she thinks that she'll be exposed to them.

I agree that it would be a shame if this organization willing contributes to Ruff's cultural appropriation. Somehow I think that, as I said elsewhere, they are an unaware of it. I imagine that no one at the center has seen her website. I also notice that she only mentions the center and the Rinpoches in a couple of places. On radio interviews, I think she just uses the generic "Tibetans"? So she might be being sneaky about it all, after all.
:>

Autumn

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #36 on: March 02, 2013, 01:51:15 am »

Offline Odelle

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #37 on: March 03, 2013, 07:20:23 am »
Forehead smack!

 In her emails to me she seemed to avoid making any claim of having a tulku (reincarnated lama) son. I asked some people in Santa Barbara, where she claims to be active in a Buddhist center, and they hadn't heard of her, so it seems like she's probably not promoting her prophecy-bearing status to the members of that community. In fact, she did not in any way represent herself to me as a teacher or suggest that I try and learn from her or anything. Instead, she suggested that I attend teachings and other events hosted by the center. I still haven't heard back from the center, however.

She seems like a nice person, eager to be liked and really pushing her connection to the two Tibetan teachers in her email. But yet she is promoting herself as a lama, basically. I suspect her motive isn't money so much as a strong drive to be seen as important, useful, valuable, special. She is a racist, in a way, because she views Hopis and Tibetans as not fully human. She also talks as if she thinks that all Hopis or all Tibetans feel and think the same way. Their individuality doesn't matter. They are merely stage props for her fantasy of being a superhero. Even worse, perhaps, she thinks that Hopi and Tibetan culture are interchangeable. And why not, right? I mean, magical elfen indigenous people exist to teach us westerners/white people (aka "the world, humanity," etc.) the errors of our ways. God sent them to earth to do this! To save us (white people), his children.

I'm calling racist bullshit on this one. However, I don't think she's very successful at it, just heavily invested.
:>

Autumn

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2013, 05:08:31 pm »
You make some really good points, Odelle.

There is so much conflict in what Kymberlee Ruff says.  Se has said in prior messages that she does none of this for money and does not use any of this in her counseling practice, but just look at her website:  http://www.kymberleeruff.com/  (Sorry, the website won't allow me to "cut and paste" and I don't know how to do a screen shot).

But if that is not profiting by all this, then what is?

P.S.:  I just realized what I said.  Which is funny, because her specialty is "Conflict Resolution".  Maybe she needs to do some work on herself.

« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 05:17:01 pm by Autumn »

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2013, 08:16:54 pm »
just look at her website:  http://www.kymberleeruff.com/  (Sorry, the website won't allow me to "cut and paste" and I don't know how to do a screen shot).

Screen shots attached :)
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 08:19:30 pm by Kathryn »

Offline Odelle

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #40 on: March 07, 2013, 04:36:26 am »
I just asked my friend who is a lineage-bearer and a teacher of Tibetan Buddhism of the Nyingma tradition and he has clarified some things for me. He is telling me not to "scold" this woman because, while her actions may be problematic, she may be coming from good motivations or have something else going on that I don't know about. He also says that I should spend less time obsessing about other people and more time working on myself. I suppose I'm disregarding that here, since I'm going to summarize what he has said below, mostly because I believe that doing so may help people who are looking for a teacher avoid a person who maybe should not be a teacher.

1. Kymberlee is representing herself as being able to teach Shambala. Which Shambala teachings? It doesn't matter, however, since each teaching is part of a lineage and can only be taught by a person who has been "empowered", that is deemed to be suitable in other ways, to act as a teacher of this teaching, and who has been given permission through a ceremony by the holder of that lineage. As a non-Tibetan speaker, Kymberlee almost certainly has not received any such permission (I assume).

2. Mixing Buddhist teachings with Hopi teachings is against the spirit of the Tibetan teachings. This isn't to say that people shouldn't practice how they want, but a teacher should not mix.

As a joke he says, "You don't need to speak on our [Tibetans'] behalf. The Communist Party of China claims to speak on our behalf. CCTV claims to speak on our behalf. There are already plenty of people speaking on our behalf. Let us speak on our own behalf."
:>

Offline milehighsalute

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #41 on: May 29, 2013, 05:59:29 pm »
my friend joe......a cherokee from oklahoma who grew up cherokee about pissed himself laughing when he heard the term "cherokee dream walker"

Offline fynnmckewl

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #42 on: August 24, 2013, 01:47:14 am »
My questions are simple?  Why should I believe you? What are your credentials to add validity to your claim that Maria Yraceburu is fake?  Are you Apache?  Which reservation do you live on?  Anyone can accuse anyone else of being fake, but until you can back up your allegations with credible evidence, your accusations remain your personal opinion.  If what you claim is true, then back it up with facts, not conjecture. 

Offline Laurel

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #43 on: August 24, 2013, 10:25:25 am »
Well, fynnmckewl,

You could Google, or do a site search, rather than insisting the world accommodate your request right now. Here's her thread on the board

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=1924.0

...and here's an example of how the Apache feel about what she does, or did nine years ago.

https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!topic/alt.native/KWRrWcMg1oI

I'm not Apache or native. I can still do research. She's on every fraud list I've ever seen, and has been for years. Her name is often associated with the names of other frauds. What about this evidence, and about simple, testable claims like "There are no Quero Apaches," is so outlandish that you can't bring yourself to believe them? Or did you not know of them? Then, again, a search, not a list of demands, might have been a good place to start.

Why do you demand evidence from Apaches when you've either already discarded it or never bothered to look for it? Why should I believe you? What credentials do you have to to add validity to your claim that Maria Yraceburu is anything other than a fake?  Are you Quero Apache?  Which reservation do you live on?  Anyone can claim any scammer is legit, but until you can back up your allegations with credible evidence, your claims remain your personal opinion.  If what you claim is true, then back it up with facts, not conjecture.

Funny how that works both ways.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Kymberlee Ruff
« Reply #44 on: August 24, 2013, 04:40:55 pm »
My questions are simple?  Why should I believe you? What are your credentials to add validity to your claim that Maria Yraceburu is fake?  Are you Apache?  Which reservation do you live on?  Anyone can accuse anyone else of being fake, but until you can back up your allegations with credible evidence, your accusations remain your personal opinion.  If what you claim is true, then back it up with facts, not conjecture.

Actually I am Apache, and she's as fake as a 3 dollar  bill.
1. To start with her name is not Apache, it's Yaqui, an entirely unrelated people.
2. She doesn't speak any Apache dialect, only a mangled version of Navajo.
3. She uses as symbols animals that are taboo to Apache, someone who was actually Apache would know better.
4. The "Qero Apache" don't exist except in the lies of Ms Naylin.

5. And guess what? The San Carlos Apache denounced her as a fake.

But you would know all of this if you actually looked at the thread on her, and instead came on this unrelated thread.

So tell us, why do you demand reams of proof from Natives, but not from an obvious fake that seems to fit with what you would like to believe?

Have you bought her fake ceremonies? Are you a follower of hers? And if so why did it not occur to you to ask questions like this before? A 2 minute google search would have told you the "Qero Apache" are fakes, don't show up anywhere online except her ceremony selling websites.