Kelsang Pawo (Barry Grivell) – A ‘Tibetan Buddhist monk’ in Brighton

Throughout 2500 years of Buddhist history monks and nuns have traditionally sought solitary retreat with two modern day exceptions. The first and most famous being His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama whose efforts and travels towards world peace are well documented. The other being the English born Kadampa Monk, Kelsang Pawo. His inspiration is to be found in the plight and sufferings of children around the world. 1

Kelsang Pawo spent 25 years in the Himalayas sitting with over forty meditation Masters. He has been inaugurated personally by his root teacher Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and received an audience with HH the Dalai Lama on three separate occasions. Following the lifestyle of Patrul Rinpoche, Pawo decided to live outside of the monastic institutions to spend his life in service to the vulnerable. When his work as a wandering monk is complete he will retreat to a meditative existence in order to continue his practice in solitude.2

The quotes are taken from Kelsang Pawo’s webpage and DVD cover. (see Foootnotes)

A ‘monk’ ordained by the Dalai Lama, the New Kadampa Tradition, Dilgo Khyentse or in the Kagyu Tradition?

Screenshot: Some words from Kelsang Pawo (YouTube)

Kelsang Pawo, Barry Grivell, claims to have been ordained “30 years ago by the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s head of state, and given his name which means most fortunate of Englishmen.”3 The EDP 24 news article which states this was written in 2008, hence Barry Grivell (Kelsang Pawo) should have received ordination by HH the Dalai Lama around the year 1978. However, other posts by Barry Grivell (or his supporters) claim that he was ordained ‘nearly two decades ago’ in 2007 and also ‘in 1989’ by HH the Dalai Lama.4

There are many signs that indicate that Kelsang Pawo (Barry Grivell) is a charlatan, deceiving the public.

In the EDP 24 news article he is claiming that he received his name Kelsang from the Dalai Lama. But those who are ordained by the Dalai Lama (like the author of this post) receive the last name of the preceptor, which would be Tenzin, because the monk name of the Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.5 Hence if Pawo / Barry was ordained by the Dalai Lama and if he had received a monk’s name from him he should have a name like Tenzin Pawo or Tenzin [other name] but not Kelsang Pawo. Most Western monks with the name Kelsang [other name] were “ordained” within the New Kadampa Tradition (“Kadampa Buddhism”) and are not even members of the Buddhist order because they only have an inferior ordination which is even lower than a novice (tib. Getsul) ordination.6 The name Kelsang therefore rather indicates that Pawo was ordained by the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) / Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

An email request to the NKT office about Kelsang Pawo led to the answer: “Thank you for the information we are aware of Pawo and will look into [it] your concerns, which are much appreciated.” In a second email the NKT office wrote “I don’t anything about his ordination, he has no connection with the NKT.”7 In the first half of July 2012 I sent an email to Kelsang Pawo / Barry Grivell via his Gesar website (using the form and email addresses given there) asking him if it were true that he was ordained by the Dalai Lama. I asked him to send me his ordination date, time and place (which a monk must know and should say if being asked). However, Barry didn’t reply. Some people tried to ask him personally about this but he skilfully escaped the questions, and now claims he was ordained by HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in 1989 in Bhutan. But such a claim is necessarily untrue because Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was not a monk and therefore could not and did not confer ordination. He married before the exodus from Tibet. Only a Sangha of at least five fully ordained monks (tib. Gelong, skt. Bhikshu) can confer full ordination. Novice ordination (tib. Getsul, skt. Sramanera) might be conferred in the Tibetan tradition by one fully ordained Buddhist monk.

One person who tried to clarify details about his ordination wrote in an email* to me:

He is very difficult to ‘pin down’ when you talk to him. He won’t give any information whatsoever to me (and I went to talk to him as a member of the public perhaps a future student) about when or where he studied, where he ordained, etc. Nothing. He just quoted the names of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Dudjom Rinpoche  to me!!! … People are going to his talks and they know nothing about how to check him out. He is a very friendly man who ‘appears’ to be a little bit wise as he quotes Dharma sayings and listens well. There is nothing on his website about where he studied etc. Perhaps you have had a look. Also I asked him about his projects, to see if I could work on any and there actually don’t appear to be any!!!!

His website used to have the Animal Sanctuary on it. Now it says he is an ‘independent charity’. I also asked him about the Gesar Foundation and his only reply was that ‘It’s the Gesar Foundation!!!’ as if I should have known about it already.

“As soon as you have met a spiritual teacher and have received the teacher’s instructions, you are ready to set out on the path of awakening”
H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Pawo told people in the past in Brighton that he had been ordained by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (NKT). Pawo has also claimed to be a Kagyu monk. When asked, Pawo does not state when and where he studied Dharma except to say that it was ‘in Bhutan’. He is presently giving weekly Tibetan Buddhist meditation classes in Brighton for which he charges a small sum. The announcement states:

The Gesar Meditation Centre
Offers Meditation and Dharma practice
The Art of Happiness
Regular meditation talks by resident teacher
and founder of the Gesar Foundation, Kelsang Pawo

The Gesar Foundation

There seem to be also inconsistencies in his charity Gesar Foundation. According to EDP 24 “his Gesar Foundation for Children [was] set up in 2005 …” and Kelsang Pawo “has achieved the colossal task of raising £22,000 for the new children’s library in Ethiopia.” According to the BBC article from march 2012 “The Gesar Foundation is currently applying for charitable status.” In the UK only low income charities do not have to register or give accounts. However, receiving a £22,000 donation does not indicate a low income charity. How to solve this contradiction? The Gesar website says that now it would be an “independent charity” that “no longer operates under the umbrella of the charity, eye on the wild Reg 1044459”.8

According to my own research Kelsang Pawo (Barry Grivell) has been accused of having abused the charity number he used for collecting money via Gesar Foundation, and finally he was forced to stop using the (abused) charity number: “his charity number was false it belonged to a lord who on two occasions demanded Pawo to not use it as it brought suspicions to him.”

The musician, Mark Emmins, claims to have been cheated by him:

In an email* Mark wrote:

I met that man a few years back where he asked me to do a version (my interpretation) of  a song called Wishfulfilling Tree. I was happy to do this thinking the money raised was going to children. When I saw the flaws and cracks in the man’s identity I demanded the song be removed from his website and any money that may have been collected from my part I have no idea where it went or who had it. But I do deeply believe it would never have gone to children. He was very reluctant to take the song off and I had to threaten him in the end.

The police in this area are very much aware of him. He is a beggar and has serious attraction to people with money or land. He also preys on the week in the hope of conning them for their property.

In another email* Mark added:

He is a crook and needs to be stopped.
I hear he was trying to buy Brighton Pier !!  I can assure you that any money given to him for that would not have gone into that project.
He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I am also aware of sexual harassment from him to a few women. There is also another woman that is on his case too …

However, not everybody shares such a view. For instance ShiDaDao portrays Pawo in his post Encountering The Spiritual Presence of Lama Pawo as a “remarkable being”.

Kelsang Pawo’s current project: Buying Brighton Pier

Barry Grivell collects money using the name Kelsang Pawo in the streets of Brighton for his unregistered9 Gesar Foundation. It is not illegal to beg for money on the streets of Brighton if one has a street collection permit. His latest project (after an animal charity in Devon collapsed) is collecting money to buy the Brighton Pier. According to BBC NEWS Sussex, the pier has an estimated value of at least £25m, and

“Kelsang Pawo wants to buy the structure and turn it into a symbol of worldwide hope and love. He has launched The Gesar Foundation Palace Pier project which begins with the art auction, where he is hoping to raise £500,000.

He said that Brighton Pier could become the first landmark structure in the world to be run by a charity for the benefit of local history, culture, community and children.

English-born Kelsang Pawo is determined to succeed, and said: “I remember the saying of Gandhi – first people laugh, then they ridicule and then you win.”

On the 14th July 2012 I wrote to the Brighton authority making them aware of the case. As of today they haven’t answered.

The media seem to believe what Pawo is stating without questioning him and instead seem to be promoting him in two press articles:

For a self-promotion video about his wish to buy Brighton Pier see:


1 28 July 2012:  screenshot

Besides this immodest comparison it is also wrong to claim that the Dalai Lama would not do solitary retreat. The Dalai Lama regularly does retreats, and he has an extensive meditation practice starting each morning when he gets up 3:30 a.m.

2 28 July 2012: screenshot

3 28 July 2012  (PDF) (PDF)

4 28 July 2012: (PDF) (PDF)

5 The last name comes before the first name in Tibetan and Asian society.

6 NKT ordination is not a sufficient Vinaya ordination for details see:

7 NKT Office <> Fri, 13 Jul 2012 10:11 AM, signed by “Steve EC reps” and Sat, 14 Jul 2012 2:06 AM signed by “Steve NKT General Secretary”

8 28 July 2012: screenshot

9 28 July 2012, according to the Charity Commission website

* email quotes with kind permission from the writers

Last edited by tenpel on August 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm


  1. an old friend says:

    So he cant be an ordinand of the DL, NKT ordination is not valid and DKR couldnt have ordained him. Combine these facts with the knowledge that it is generally the tradition to preface ones ordination name with the term ‘Karma’ (eg ‘Karma’ Sherab Sangpo) in the Kagyu and it looks like Barry was ordained in the Alice in Wonderland tradition. More frauds, more lies, more innocents duped-I wonder how much his bank account holds?All gathered in the name of Buddhism

    • Joe Taylor says:

      Very sadly I was taken in by Pawo for about four years, I feel like a real fool, I stopped all contact and received a phone call from him, I said he had lied as impossible that he was ordained by Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche, I also added that everyone I had introduced him to thought he was very dodgy, clearly an East End con man. The lies got too big such as being buddies with Jack Nicholson, Goldie Hawn and Ray winston, he also claims to have beebn friends with the late Trungpa Rinpoche as well as a monk from Jamyang center in london Geshe Tashi and Sogyal Rinpoche also, when I spoke to my lama the late Akong Tulku Rinpoche about Pawo, he gave me a look that said ‘ in time you will learn’ the thing is that he is not all bad he referes people to the Tibetan Doctor based in London. I have never met any of his friends and my Dr who specialises in Mental Health thinks that Pawo is sufferring from delusions , he is in fact acutely mentally ill. A monkey could wear a set of robes better, the film of him on the Peir is in fact very funny like a comedy sketch. In Brighton he has a group of devotees , I bump into them ,and hear there praises . I really feel for all the people who gave him money in the lanes , being preyed on through there good nature, thinking the money is going to Animals and or Children. Pawo is no longer seen in Brighton . I know where he lives in a small caravan on the outskirts of Brighton. I would not be surprised if Pawo was in fact never ordained and I am sad that so many people myself included have been misled .

      • Thank you for sharing your painful story, Joe.

        You are not alone …
        So many have been fooled by charlatans, deceptive teachers who were maybe mentally ill or not …
        The good think is that you woke up and that you were able to distance yourself from him and that you are not under “his spell” any more.

        Hopefully others wake up too. But it is their job to wake up. With your comment you might have added a useful contribution for someone else to wake up.
        Thank you.

        I wish you all the best, now and in the future.
        May you be able to always meet genuine spiritual friends and may you never encounter misleading friends – “in reality the cohorts of Mara” as Tsongkhapa put it.

        • Alex Romero says:

          Kelsang Pawo was ordained by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso at Manjushri Centre, Cumbria, in 2004. I know this to be true as I was there and thereafter we became good friends. He would often visit me in Cornwall, collecting money every day for the Gesar Foundation. He got the idea after visiting his friend Kate Faraway, a Christian missionary, working in Ethiopia. His aim was to fulfill the wishes of the African children who wanted a school and a library. He is a remarkable man. He works tirelessly, 7 days a week, for the benefit of the children. He asks nothing for himself and is a living example of kindness, giving, and compassion.

      • Hi Joe, Your story resonates very much with me. My now ex wife has been involved with Kelsang Pawo “Barry” for a number of years now. I agree that he is not a wholly unpleasant man, but something just didn’t sit right with me. I felt that he surrounded himself with vulnerable people and had an unhealthy influence upon their lives. I questioned him on a number of occasions and drew my own conclusion that he was not who he said he was and that he was falsely “guiding” people through there own life paths. He annexes himself to people to his own benefit (we fed him, let him stay at our house, washed his clothes and supported him in some of his “projects.” ) I hold him partly responsible for the breakdown of my marriage and the fact that I have not seen my daughter for 2 years. His guidance and teachings are floored and I feel stem from a position of self interest. His “disciples” do his bidding without questioning and that is exactly the reason he attracts and targets vulnerable and malleable people.
        The police are aware of him, he has appeared in court with my ex wife and they are all aware that it is highly unlikely that he is who he says he is.
        He does indeed live illegally on a site outside of Brighton in a caravan along with some of his supporters. I think that it is important that we continue to raise awareness of our concerns so at the very least other people can engage with him with there eyes wide open. His transient life is indeed indicative of someone who has to keep moving so the truth doesn’t catch up with him.
        My life has irrevocably changed since he appeared in me and my families life and I would not want this to happen to anyone else.
        Good luck Joe

        • Joe Taylor says:

          Hi I was around when this was taking place, I have met your daughter and your ex wife . I am so sorry to hear he has had such a bad effect on you, he was described to me as a tar baby (very difficult to become unstuck from) I know of someone who whilst being ‘helped’ by Pawo ended up homeless. It would be great if he saw this page, he does know about it and since I made my previous comment i have heard nothing from him as he would every now and then phone me up and tells me ‘he loves me’ and why don’t I come to Devon or on pilgrimage to India. I am very fortunate as I do have authentic Buddhist teachers people who actually do work selflessly for other people , I gave Pawo a photograph of my teacher Akong Rinpoche who was very sadly killed in October 2013 , he had it on his shrine in his caravan. I think it may be too late for him to wake up , it seems he believes his own lies but miracles do happen .

          • Thank you for your kind words Joe. I am happy to hear you are yourself in a better place than you were. We can only hope that others still involved have the opportunity to see what is in front of them. I am a strong believer that if you stop questioning the world and the people around you and actually listen for the true answers then you are always going to be at risk of becoming someone else’s reality. This is exactly what Pawo relied on. I too was described by Pawo on regular occasions as being a “good” man and that he was filled with love for me, but since the dramatic changes to my life I have heard nothing from him either ( this is probably a good thing). I can only assume that he is still holding influence over my ex wife and has been part of the problem regarding contact with my daughter. breach and exploitation of trust is a hugely destructive thing and I only hope that others who have suffered at his hands have found the strength to continue on their paths unhindered.
            May your 2016 be a fruitful one.

  2. Just as an addition:

    the use of “wandering Kadampa monk” in BBC (e.g. ) and elsewhere indicates that – if he was ordained at all – he was “ordained” within the New Kadampa Tradition / by Kelsang Gyatso.

    The immodest (ab)use of the term “Kadampa” to describe oneself in 21st century is unique to NKT.

    — later addition to this comment —
    Those still having doubt might read what “Lama Pawo” is stating about emptiness: “Space is our ultimate refuge and therefore the final reality …” — after 25 years “sitting with over forty meditation Masters” I would expect a bit more …

    • an old friend says:

      The ‘teaching also equates ‘stillness’ with emptiness (thus leading to the idea that appearances are other than emptiness) and thus contradicts the fundamental import of the mahayana, the union of appearance and emptiness

      It continues ‘There will be no self-cherishing as the ‘I’ would be long gone’ implicitly inferring that a formerly existent ‘I’ has been made extinct.

      Again, it suggests that meditation on emptiness is prefaced by dissolving appearances ‘through the power of imagination’ which would result in experiencing a mentally fabricated image of reality rather than reality itself,

      Again, it suggests ‘By practicing the discipline of giving the victory to the other, the ‘I’ soon disappears and we blend with the actual nature of the universal mind or Dharmakaya’ This asserts that we achieve the perfection of wisdom through collecting merits of method (which actually lead to the achievement of the Buddhas form and not the Buddhas mind) and that the Buddhas mind is a ‘universal mind’, a philosophically inferior view according to the Tibetan Mahayana philosophical schools.

      For a beginner, these ideas might resemble Buddhist ones, but for someone with even a basic knowledge of Tibetan Mahayana philosophical thought such as myself, the flaws in this persons understanding are blindingly obvious. Someone who claims to have studied with 40 teachers for 25 years would certainly know better than this.

      It is of note that the image on the teaching webpage is of Charles Luk (Lu Kuan Yu), a proponent of Chan meditation, a system refuted and expelled from Tibet in the late eighth century at the Council of Lhasa at Samye. While Chan may resemble certain Tibetan systems of meditation, the system itself, focussing on stillness as a goal,as appears to be the understanding of Mr Grivell, is considered philosophically limited and inferior by the Tibetans.

      In summary, these are not the ideas of anyone trained effectively in the Tibetan tradition. They are the ideas of an auto-didact, probably written after reading a couple of books by Charles Luk One can infer from all this that ‘Kelsang Pawo’ is not what he claims to be and is actually defrauding the public of their earnings

  3. an old friend says:

    I note that he video appears on youtube-has anyone pointed out the fraud being perpetrated via the videos to youtube?£22000 is a fair amount of money

  4. an old friend says:

    If Kelsang Pawo IS a Buddhist monk, he should have no trouble in proving who ordained him and where.Again, since his fund raising has been for charitable purposes, he should be able to provide financial records of amounts, dates, etc (in his various names and in the name of the Gesar Foundation) Since he is quite probably aware of this site, and will want to establish the veracity of his claims, I would invite him to publish the details here, as well as to the Charity Commission. Since, if his activities are fraudulent, he has committed a number of criminal acts, it would serve him well to prepare such evidence.If the claims here are true, I would invite him to retire,or ‘quit while he is winning’ as they say.

  5. an old friend says:

    Well, then Kelsang Pawo, where is your response? I am afraid ‘noble silence’ is a very obvious admission of guilt in these instances so where are your facts? Who ordained you; when and where? Whoever it is, why have you given so many different answers, just to this one question? Why do you sing, dance and play musical instruments on you tube, in direct contradiction of your monastic vows?Or did you not know these acts were contradictory? Who are these 40 meditation masters you sat with? Please answer these important questions. along with the above enquiries about your personal finances and those of your ‘foundation’. Still no answers-surely, if you have sufficient ability to set up webpages and pot self promoting videos on youtube, you have computer access and are able to answer simple questions on a blog??

    • ecumenical buddhist says:

      If you want to speak directly to him, his mobile number seems to be:
      [deleted by blog owner]*
      That’s what it was when I met him some time ago.

      Comment TP
      *this goes a bit too far.

  6. ecumenical buddhist says:

    I know this man. The latest post on his website is giving himself away. If you read it carefully, you’ll see that Brighton Pier will be ‘bought’ as an end in itself and then more properties are being sought ‘for the benefit of all beings’…no mention of how they are going to benefit anyone after they are obtained.
    He used to read palms for a living. Say no more. he is a member of the travelling community.

    • Thank you. Exactly, he wants to buy Brighton Pier for a peace blah, blah but does not tell how this should help sentient beings, that BBC Sussex and other media take this man seriously sheds some light on their research ability and intuition …

      • ecumenical buddhist says:

        Hi Tenpel! Truth is the only ‘weapon ‘ we need really, isn’t it? Truth will expose him by times…

      • … “truth” … I have some problems with this term. Truth is also something relative … I am somewhat sceptical with the usage of this term because it has been heavily abused by the Western Shugden Society / New Kadampa Tradition. They call themselves “truth sayers” run “truth” websites and “truth” blogs but only spread distortions and lies all over the internet and in Wikipedia.

        BTW, this man doesn’t even know how to wear the Tibetan robe (shamtab) properly nor does he have a dongkha, not to speak about his strange zen …

        The press seem to be somewhat confused when it comes to Tibetan Buddhism. Fraudulent people like Pawo or the Western Shugden Society (the Kelsang Blah, Blah clones) the press is taking seriously. For instance the Western Shugden Society being utter anonymous at that time and who announced not to have a “Legal office” yet still being linked by The Guardian. The WSS was given space in national TV stations, newspapers, magazines, like the following deluded NKT nun who also does not know how to wear the robe properly. She can enjoy unquestioned Dalai Lama bashing in Australia’s National ABC TV: calling the Dalai Lama “a spiritual dictator” and a “hypocrite”. Instead of questioning her and her background (NKT) ABC TV “thanks [her] for being with us”. Or Kelsang Pema NKT and WSS press speaker at ABC National Radio: The press utter failed to ask Tibetologists and experts and just offers them a platform for their rubbish. Stephen Crittenden linked the Wikipedia article on Shugden who was taken over in April 2008 by NKT / WSS editors who offer an utter distortion of the facts there.

  7. ecumenical buddhist says:

    I went to see His Holiness both in Manchester and in Scotland when he visited the UK recently and in no way could you say he is a dictator. One of the questions after his teachings in Manchester was about Dorje Shugden and his attitude was ‘well you can practise it if you like, it’s up to you, but in my experience,it’s not helpful’.
    Proof of that is on the QED DVDs released after the teachings. doesn’t sound like a dictator to me….
    The NKT teach their ‘sangha’ to put two folds on the left and one on the right all facing forwards…I notice, Pawo doesn’t have any regular way of folding his shamtab!

    • WSS / NKT and those journalists (like the Austria Gerald Lehner, Michael Backmann or Brendan O’Neill) who take over their agit prop unquestioned will solve this dilemma by claiming that the Dalai Lama would have a double face. Though its not the case they will just claim this, so for them its still true that he is religious intolerant and a dictator … strong ideology bears such views.

  8. ecumenical buddhist says:

    Well, on the ‘truth’ front…he is either Kelsang Pawo, ordained by NKT or he is not…if not , then what?

    • difficult to say, though the NKT claims they have nothing to do with him, he could be ordained by NKT. The NKT office is not a reliable source of information nor is it Pawo. So if you have two unreliable sources of information how to find out the truth?

  9. ecumenical buddhist says:

    Well, whatever or whoever he turns out to be, the main issue is definitely that he’s up to no good, so whether he’s this , that or the other ordination, he’s still bringing Tibetan Buddhism into disrepute.

    As long as funds donated to the ‘Gesar Foundation’ cannot be matched to any active projects and can’t be accounted for, the wider issue of the NKT is an aside…and I’m no member or supporter of the NKT by the way!
    The fundamental problem is that here we have a man who purports to be a Buddhist monk, trying to buy up properties and land for a charity that doesn’t operate any projects or give funds anywhere.
    That’s what came to attention originally.

    • It seems to be more complex- Someone wrote me in an email:

      I asked someone today about the animal charity you mentioned in your article – they donated to it and got a receipt for their donation. The owner of the charity said that Lama Pawo gave everything he gathered for her cause, but that the local Council moved against her farm due to a lack of money. Horses cost a lot to keep and the collections could not sustain there needs. This information comes through the Animal Voices charity based in Torquay.

  10. ecumenical buddhist says:

    The mis spelling of ‘there’ needs is a common one on the Gesar website, so unless you made a typo yourself, have a recheck.
    I know about the local animal sanctuary. The people who said they were running it didn’t actually own the land it sat on but a relative of theirs did, They were over £500,000 in debt and were asking for money on a local radio station long after it had closed and the animals had been rehomed.

  11. an old friend says:

    In other words Tenzin,
    the person who wrote to you actually only sent the mail on Barry ‘Kelsang Pawo’s’ behalf-He wrote it, as indicated by his bad spelling and misunderstanding of the ownership issue of the farm-Sorry, Barry, must try harder

    • yes this person defended Pawo, and for his defence he gave the argument I quoted above.
      as far as I can see the person who wrote this is not the same person as Pawo. But he might be close to him or has a certain relationship with him.

  12. ecumenical buddhist says:

    Might be be the same person who writes the website for him…

  13. an old friend says:

    Looks that way-BTW-where is Barry?

  14. ecumenical buddhist says:

    Just had a thought.
    If you check out the Arbatu Essessa School in Gondar, I’m sure there is no mention of money donated by a Buddhist monk at all.

    • Some one wrote in an email that the persons which are names there as collaborators are said they have never had a contact with him … I had no time to check this.

  15. an old friend says:

    Well, if thats what they say, it must be true.
    Yours truly
    Genghis Khan (honest)

  16. ecumenical buddhist says:

    I just looked at the short film above, entitled ‘a few words’. Look closely at his face as he walks towards the camera and talks. He even looks shifty, dishonest and vain.
    Often the body language and facial expressions are dead giveaways.

  17. an old friend says:

    True, but here we need not rely on opinion: a complete lack of evidence to support ‘any of his claims, accompanied by a total unwillingness to answer any questions concerning the same are, IMO, clear indicators that ‘Kelsang Pawo’ is a fraud. I mean come on, he doesnt even know how to wear the robe properly-he’s about as authentic as my grandad’s teeth!

  18. ecumenical buddhist says:

    How true! Mind you , I wouldn’t know how to wear a robe properly myself, so how much less aware are those people he is presently duping in Sussex.
    I’m a bit concerned about the man who appears to have given Gesar the ‘retreat centre’ as he looks like he has some kind of learning difficulty…have a look at the photos from the site about the retreat…please forgive if I sound insulting, i mean no harm to the man concerned…I’m just concerned about him losing his land!

  19. ecumenical buddhist says:

    PS: It’s just that the people who gave the NKT their house and land for Tharpaland Retreat Centre have a son with learning difficulties. He helps out at Manjushri during the festivals you see.

  20. an old friend says:

    Its a valid concern-It would not be the first time the unscrupulous have chosen to prey on the vulnerable

    All this talk doesnt cook the rice. Police involvement, reports to the Charities Commission , local council and local press will take a little more time but will have greater effect

    • of course this should be done but to post the private telephone number of a person on a blog goes too much into the direction of “witch hunt” for me.

  21. ecumenical buddhist says:

    Well, that was his number way back in 2001 so I guess it’ll be different by now!
    One way of maybe getting it from ‘the horses mouth’ so to speak rather than from a go between, as there were calls for him to answer the questions posed here. No biggie, old phone number.


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  23. ecumenical buddhist says:

    And what about Barry Grivell? Has he been checked out? At least the Swiss seem to do things but here in UK we tend to passively watch. The recent publication of the Hillsborough papers support this.

    • It appears to me – as it is so often in life – the justice catches the small fishes … Mike seems to need rather psychological help than anything else.

  24. ecumenical buddhist says:

    Barry Grivell also needs Psychological help…

  25. ecumenical buddhist says:

    Yes, unfortunately that’s something about British ‘justice’…just as an aside, I noticed today that there’s someone posting on the Newkadampasurvivors who has the same spelling errors that Barry Grivell makes. As he uses the jargon and behaviour of the NKT for his own ends, could he be keeping tabs like they do, or am I just paranoid (most likely the latter…)!

  26. I note the presence of two other Kelsang Pawos on the web, both of whom are ordained by Kelsang Gyatso. One of them appears wearing the outer, patchwork robe of the fully ordained bhikkhu (even though he isnt even ordained as a novice) and thus, like our own Barry, has no idea of what he should be wearing-looks like Barry was ordained by KG???

  27. Sorry, that word ‘ordained’ should be in inverted commas since NKT ‘ordination’ is totally inauthentic according to the Buddhist monastic codes, by which monks have been ordained authentically for thousands of years

    Just off to dress up as Darth Vader and tell everyone Im actually a powerful evil demagogue intent on ruling the universe-obviously, if Im dressed like that, it must be true.

    • NKT’s office denies that “our Pawo” was ordained by them – though the NKT is not a reliable source of information – we cannot say for sure if or if not “our Pawo” was ordained by the NKT (Kelsang Gyatso).

      NKT ordination is in so far valid, as it is a type of initial ordination for “an in-between” a person who is neither a real lay person nor a real ordained person. So this person is a in-between (see commentary by Geshe Jampa Tegchok “Monastic Rites”). Those following the Tibetan tradition receive such an ordination before they become a getsul (novice) as an initial step to become a real monk by receiving the vows of a getsul / getsulma (engl. novice, skt. sramanera / sramanerika) and / or the vows of a gelong / gelongma (eng. fully ordained monk / nun, skt: Bhikkhshu, Bhikkshuni).

      People who are ordained in this way, like the NKT followers, are no members of the Buddhist monastic order, they are just approachers to become members (as long as they strive to become real monks – gestul/ma or gelong/ma). Therefore them is neither allowed to participate the bimonthly Sojong (Posadha) purification ritual nor is them allowed to wear the yellow upper robe. However, them is allowed to wear the robes of monks and nuns. That such people campaign against fully ordained persons like HH the Dalai Lama or the decisions of the monasteries in India and show up in TV, YouTube, Press etc. as monks to denounce members of the order reveals only how less they know about being monk or nun and the basis of this being, the Vinaya.

      What a shame.

  28. ecumenical buddhist says:

    Oh, yes, no doubt Pawo was ordained by Gyatso…he uses the same techniques as the NKT and jargon to draw in prospective ‘investors’.

  29. ecumenical buddhist says:

    A post script…I contacted the Charities commission and nothing happened, I contacted the local Brighton BBC and nothing happened…isn’t it amazing how the world operates? If he was genuine, chances are he’d have gotten nowhere. Evidently the art auction in Brighton raised a lot of cash, but he’s gone to ground since then…

  30. The police will act as and when he makes his next move. All that need happen is inform them that he is procuring funds under false pretenses and then the onus will be on him to prove he is a monk: photographic evidence, documentation, letter from abbot etc-Just point this out, plus this webpage
    Forget the BBC and the CC-the BBC is a news organization and Im afraid journalists are only interested if there is a story and the CC are moral eunuchs whose only aim is to protect their status and keep their jobs

  31. paul clarke says:

    Plot thickens! Makes you laugh really when mark emmins is in hiding from charles bronson “The most violent prisoner in the uk” who has a bounty on his head! scared I WOULD BE!

  32. ecumenical buddhist says:

    Where did that comment come from ? Interesting though it is, it presupposes some other comments have not been made explicit on the site.

  33. Paul Clarke’s comment referred to Charles Bronson who is currently residing at Her Majesty’s pleasure in Wakefield gaol. I live in Wakefield, a stone’s throw from the prison. The reference to the pub being named after Charles Bronson was flippant but indicative of some of the thinking in my home town. The NKT failed to make a lasting impression here so I suppose there is some sanity..

  34. stu johnson says:

    you’ve got alotve venom in you. it must hurt to be you. so what if pawo isn’t who he says he is. does it matter? the fact is, ive heard him talk, an I heard alotve beautiful positive things to take away with me. we live in shitty times in a sea negativity an I for one welcome positivity, no matter what its wrapping paper looks like.

    • The Devils Advocate says:

      Yeah what does it matter if he is conning people out of their money by pretending to be something that hes not? Right on brother (PS moral compasses are on sale in the foyer…..if youre interested.)
      Here’s a clue-what Barry Grivell is doing constitutes fraud and is against the law, Its also lying and stealing, which is against the law AND Buddhist moral codes. Apart from that, everything is just fine n dandy!

      • Barry has started up a company, or at least is a director of, called the “Two Acre Sanctuary”. Address – Old Pump House Clappers Lane Fulking BN5 9NJ. He is about at weekends living in a shipping container accompanied by several people who refer to him as “The Master”!

        • Ecumenical Buddhist says:

          OH for goodness sake! He’s gotten the learning disabled chap to donate the land and property! Exactly what he was doing in Devon!
          Good on you Anon, for posting this. He needs observed…anyone who is ‘the master’ needs looked at!

        • Anon III says:

          Grivell has a Brighton side-kick called Joe T. who works in a partnership with him. Joe T. has claimed on his Facebook page that he was initiated to the Mahakala tradition. He’s sometimes found to take sanctuary at the Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist centre.
          Maybe Grivell has had another partner in crime before-but his partner in crime in Brighton (or Sussex in general it seems) is Joe T..
          Why am I mentioning Joe T.? Because Joe T. often plays the poor victim where everybody has wronged him and then gains the trust of people-and as soon as they have gained his trust, the rumours start spreading about people!
          They have both spread horrible rumours about people I know-right in front of my eyes, thus alienating these people from a lot of people-including friends!
          Why am I telling you all of this? Because as well as financial fraud (for want of a better word) both Grivell & Joe T. have spread nasty rumours about certain people in Brighton.
          So not only does Grivell try to squeeze money out of people-he also tries his best to destroy the reputations of those that try and question him.


          Comment by blog owner: I replaced the real name of the person with Joe T. I cannot verify these claims and out of respect for the individual I think its better to respect her private sphere.

          • Ecumenical Buddhist says:

            Yes, it’s a widely practised tactic among the sly gossip mongerers….if a person might ‘bust you’ with some truth, then make sure you discredit them first, so they can’t be believed, that way you live to fraud another day.
            Barry Grivell wants a team of worshippers, keeping him in the comfort he thinks he deserves. Frankly, he’s discovered what religions have known down the ages (Buddhism included) that if you appear to be a ‘higher being’ or have some ‘hidden knowledge’ it’s a meal ticket for life.
            Barry, however, seems to less effective as a maverick than the ‘great religions’ who manage to support a vast array of non contributors to society.
            However, he could ruin the lives of individuals with his schemes.

    • ecumenical buddhist says:

      I suspect if you’ve donated money to one of his ‘schemes’ from the Gesar website, done some research then found out that it doesn’t really exist, then you might feel differently. There’s so much negativity out there that people often throw their common sense (and money) at anything in desperation.
      The trick is to be your own person, silly, not a serf of a charlatan.

  35. Ecumenical Buddhist says:

    Has anybody noticed that some of the posts here are out of chronological order? Makes it a bit confusing to follow at times…

    • There are different ways to list the comments. I chose one where the replies to a comment are shown right after that comment even if a comment to a comment was posted later. I did this in order to have clarity about the thread of discussions otherwise it is difficult to follow certain discussion topics …

      • Ecumenical Buddhist says:

        Well, I made a reply to ‘the devil’s advocate’ on june 11, 2013 and it now appears after my post on 7/8/13, which renders it incomprehensible and disjointed in that context.
        Perhaps it would be better to leave them in the order they were posted. This has also happened around august 2012.

        • If I do this then elsewhere other problems appear so that the thread of discussions get lost. You could include the quote of what you are commenting upon, this would fix at least the set up in that context. I am sorry but I have to decide for a certain order, I decided for thread based discussion.

  36. Dear ecumenical buddhist and anon111, I am also aware of Barry and am currently concerned that people close to me are being “instructed” by him. I have met him on a number of occasions, he has visited my home and I am aware of some of his projects. He is currently based in a caravan in Shoreham. and is still involved in the CIC (community interest company) 2 acre sanctuary. I have genuine concerns that he is not the person he states and am keen to find out more.

    • Ecumenical Buddhist says:

      He is very persuasive and sounds legitimate, but if you try to find out who ordained him, when and where, you will soon find out that he chops and changes his story.If you look on the Gesar foundation website, you’ll see that there are no active projects there and you really must question him about where any funding given to the CIC will be going, as there’s never a transparent trail, receipts or information.

      Please try to persuade your friends not to give money. I know this man has connections with the travelling community, by his own admission, and in the past has been a palm reader. Some people just fall under his spell and you might not be able to convince your friends, but at least direct them to this site.

      His efforts to buy the Brighton Pier , with no real plan as to how it could benefit anyone but himself, the subsequent art auction which raised a load of money towards this cause, then the complete silence afterwards, with no more mention of it, points towards a money raising scam.

      He has a wife and son in Somerset, but has not been living with them for some time. If he truly is a Buddhist monk, then there will be a record of him. He told me he was Kadampa, he later mentioned Rigpa/Nyingma but I checked and they didn’t know him. I remember him getting terse and angry when I asked him directly, later he told someone he is Kagyu,but he really is fraud.

      • Unfortuanately much of what you say rings true and it is the confused back story that concerns me most. Are you aware if there have been any incidents with the police, would he be on record at all for fraud or worse? and is it actually a criminal offence to impersonate a monk? I will try to speak to my friends but it almost feels like a cult like culture is being created.

        • I wrote an email to the Brighton authorities and made them aware of the case when I was in the UK, they said they will have a look on it but then he left Brighton. I wrote also to the newspapers who reported about him to make them aware of the contradictions of his claims. He is not a monk and even if he were it is correct to announce him to the police if he does any criminal or fraudulent deed. Don’t worry.

      • Alex Romero says:

        He was ordained by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso at Manjushri Centre in 2001. I was there and witnessed it.

  37. guess who? says:

    It seems that ‘Lama Pawo’ has wound up his business in the Two Acre Sanctuary in Sussex….

    On 04 Aug 2013 you requested that we monitor the company TWO ACRE SANCTUARY C.I.C. for changes.

    The following changes have been detected:

    05 Nov 2014
    New Company Document Available
    Form: GAZ2 – Second notification of strike-off action in London Gazette (Section 652) – WARNING THIS DOCUMENT DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY INFORMATION OTHER THAN INDICATING THAT THE COMPANY IS STRUCK OFF
    Purchase a copy of this document for £4.99 + VAT

    Company Accounts Next Due Date changed:
    Was: 11 Dec 2014

    So, he’s either been rumbled, or he’s made enough money to move on…so, where to next?

  38. Alex Romero says:

    I can bear witness to Pawos ordination at Manjushri Centre, Cumbria in 2001. Kelsang Gyatso is his Guru. Shortly after, he established Gesar Foundation after visiting Kate Faraday in Ethiopia. He works tirelessly for the benefit of children and has overseen the building of a school and a library in Adis Ababa. He is a living example of giving, selflessness and compassion.

  39. Alex Romero says:

    This is my 3rd attempt at a reply. Hope this gets through. I met Pawo at Manjushri summer festival 2001, where he received ordination from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso nkt. He was living in a converted van. After visiting various centres throughout the year he went to Ethiopia to visit a friend, Kate Faraday, a Christian missionary, and asked if he could help. The local children said they would like a school and a library. Thereafter the Gesar Foundation was founded. He returned to the uk and spent years travelling from city to city collecting donations which were regularly deposited into abbey national building society. He visited me often in St Ives and stayed for weeks at a time, collecting on the streets 7 days a week, before moving on elsewhere. As far as I am aware he was a homeless monk working solely for the benefit of children and I have heard nothing to change my mind other than rumour and suspicion. I notice his Facebook account has recently been taken down and the Gesar page has not been updated since 2012. I hope these rumours are unfounded. If he is a conman, he is a very good one!

  40. Alex Romero says:

    He was ordained in 2001 by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

  41. james sabourin says:

    hi pawo,
    i need help. i am paranoid schizophrenic now and in love. she screwed me into the mental health system. i am angry what happened to me. i need saving. james

  42. ‘Lama’ Mike Andres can be very plausible but I would warn people not to send money to his website.

  43. Alex Romero says:

    You can think what you like. I never heard him say he was ordained by anyone other than Geshe Kelsang, and I know it’s true because I was there. His dedication to the cause of children’s welfare is stainless. Furthermore, his work was selfless in the time I knew him. Your blog is full of rumour and heresay. My input is from personal experience. He stayed with me on several occasions and the man has a heart of true compassion. As a Buddhist you should be aware of the power of speech and judgment and not feed on gossip and slander. Should you continue to do so, at least ascertain the facts before making claims.

  44. Alex, I think the details being listed (often from his own websites!) and the testimonies being given are quite clear – maybe not for you. Just because you defend him or deny that he issued different claims about his ordination or deceived/deceives people doesn’t make your “positive view” valid or non-judgmental or non-gossip.

    Slander is when you claim deliberately untruths to deprecate a person. I can’t see that I did that.


  1. […] kann vielleicht Schlimmeres verhindern, wie z.B. den Fall eines Briten, der es als mutmaßlicher Fake Mönch Lama Pawo oder Kelsang Pawo die Aufmerksamkeit der BBC und anderer Medien gewinnen konnte, die dann berichteten er wolle […]

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