Thank you for keeping public informed about Pine Forest
by Lucy C, Abergele, UK, The Buddhist Channel, July 9, 2007
My thanks and congratulations to the Buddhist Channel for keeping the public informed on the dubious credentials and activities of the 'Pine Forest' group - and I will NOT call them 'sangha'!
It is amazing that instead of reassuring the public by answering the simple questions that have been asked repeatedly in reference to their 'ordination', these people continue to threaten with legal action.
I applaud your request to include them in one's thoughts of loving kindness, which I will try to do, though it will be hard. However, I'm also concerned about unaware people being misled into taking refuge vows from people who have no right to give refuge vows, or into believing
that they are studying and practising the precious Buddha Dharma when they receive poorly digested, misunderstood, plagiarised 'teachings.'
That the 'brothers' have been misleading the public and the British authorities should now be obvious to anybody. No matter how they modify their web site in response to issues discussed publicly, deleted pages in their web site are still available for all to see.
For example, here:
http://web.archive.org/web/20060816025315/www.pineforest.org.uk/id17.html it is possible to see that in June-August 2006, Penney published the following claim about his creation 'Edo Shonin':
"...Having been Abbot of various monasteries in the East, he has now been invited to Great Britain."
Perhaps it would be fitting and surely not against any law to publish a world-wide request for any of the monasteries in which 'Edo Shonin' was an abbot to come forward and identify themselves - simply to protect their former abbot from defamation and slander.
Moreover, the deletion of web pages does not exempt their authors from liability in the case of, for example, past copyright infringements. Their internet provider (BT Internet) surely has cached versions of all pages, as required by law.
Although British libel laws are a sorry mess and appear to be on the side of scoundrels and cheats, web pages are only subject to the laws of the country where they are published. I don't know what the laws are in Malaysia or Singapore, but if need be, the questioning could be moved to the US, where the laws protect free speech and the rights of the public to openly question those who are suspected of being frauds.
Please count me in support of the Buddhist Channel and any actions you may need to take to preserve the integrity of the Buddha Dharma and prevent the Three Jewels from being abused in dubious business enterprises.