Letter to Desmond Tutu, requesting help with removing Shugden ban

Dear Archbishop Desmond Tutu,                                    July 13, 2014

I am writing you this evening to ask your help, as an advocate for human rights, equality, and peace, with a matter that involves an unfortunate move toward segregation and apartheid in Tibetan Buddhist Exile Communities.  I became Buddhist 14 years ago, and had the immense good fortune to first meet Buddhism with Karmapa Thaye Dorje, and Shamar Rinpoche, the latter of whom sadly passed away in late June.  I have read Rinpoche’s book on democracy, for which you were kind enough to provide the forward, and it is in the interest of democracy and human rights that  I am requesting your help.

Though the Buddha taught peace, and definitely taught Buddhists not to harm others, of course the Buddha was teaching ordinary human beings, who sometimes become confused.  I converted from Christianity, back in 2000 to Buddhism; to me, Buddha and Christ are the same being, it is just that some people do better understanding how to become peaceful on the paths of various religions.  We have some issues in Buddhism, though we are definitely supposed to remember, as a basic tenant of Buddhism, not to engage in violence or dogma, with a set of Buddhists being discriminated against; the discrimination began in 1976, but did not become a problem leading to severe segregation and apartheid until 2008.  It has also escalated to violence in some instances, with both sides accusing the other.

The issue is a Buddhist practice (which involves prayers and meditation) toward what was practiced by many before the ban, approximately 30 percent of Tibetans according to the Dalai Lama’s European representative, Dorje Shugden, an aspect of the Buddha of Wisdom, Buddha Manjushri.  As is normal in Vajrayana Buddhism (of which Tibetan Buddhism is a part), the Buddhas sometimes take wrathful (sort of scary faced forms) to protect our practice and to keep us mindful of how to deal with emotions such as anger; in other words, the wrathful Buddhas remind us not to put up with our own anger, but to conquer it as though it were an enemy, realizing that outside sources such as people are not the cause of our anger; it is in our control to conquer anger; anger is the enemy not other beings.  My first school, which was the Karma Kagyu, for instance, relies on a wrathful emanation of Buddha called Mahakala; this is the practice that Shamar Rinpoche used to do daily; I used to sit in on these practices with him in the United States and Nepal, as is normal for his students; eventually, due to having moved physically far away from Rinpoche’s Centers, I prayed to the Buddhas to find me a place to take my daughter for blessings; I was lead to a Kadampa Buddhist Center, which happens to do the practice which was banned in 1976 in India.  Please understand, Shamar Rinpoche, was one of my first two teachers, the other being H.H. Karmapa Thaye Dorje; the the Dalai Lama, who is not historically in charge of choosing reincarnations in schools other than his (Shamar Rinpoche is a different school, Kagyu, than the Gelugpa Dalai Lama); the Dalai Lama, who picked China’s candidate and over-rode Shamar Rinpoche’s authority in doing so, is also the one who banned this Protector practice, instigating severe segregation toward practitioners of this aspect of Buddha.

Please understand, the Dalai Lama has never been my teacher, and I was completely unconcerned with his opinion, much like if the Methodists would try to pick the Pope for the Catholics or tell the Catholics what prayers to say , I don’t suppose the Catholics would really listen to the Methodists, as that is not their church.  (I used to be Methodist!  That is why I picked them for the example, because I don’t imagine they would do such a thing).  When I got to this school, I knew that the Protector Practice (Buddha Dorje Shugden) was banned by the Dalai Lama for Tibetans; I am however, unconcerned with his opinion regarding spiritual matters, and this school, the New Kadampa Tradition, had formed its own western-oriented school back in the 1970s or 1980s.  (They do not recognize Tibetan lamas, and do things in a democratic fashion.)  Having been to India and Nepal back in 2001, I was aware there was a ban on this practice; back then Tibetans in exile were afraid to associate with Shugden practitioners because they were afraid of violence from the Dalai Lama’s more fanatical followers.  As western Kagyu practitioners (who didn’t do the Shugden practice), some of my friends and I would do business with the Shugden practitioners; when I went to Kalimpong to visit Shamar Rinpoche and Karmapa, a group of us stayed in a hostel run by Shugden people, and then would go to Buddhist practices and empowerments at Karmapa’s house.  I don’t think that Karmapa or Shamar Rinpoche had a problem with this, or they would have said so.

The Dalai Lama claims that the prayers I am doing, and that 30 percent of Tibetans (including the Dalai Lama himself) did before he banned them, are to a spirit, rather than a Buddha.  Forgive me, but the Dalai Lama is not in charge of Tibetan or other Buddhism, or even of his own school, Gelugpa (the Ganden Tripa is in charge of the Gelugpa school, the Karmapa in charge of the Kagyu, and so on).  Furthermore, I am sure that we can rememberEurope at the time of kings, and think back to when the ruler would decide that everyone had to be Catholic or a certain type of Protestant; everyone else was evil, according to the monarch, and often had to be killed.  At any rate, the Dalai Lama is certainly entitled to his own opinion, and is welcome to say what prayers he likes.  However, neither he nor the CTA has any right to exclude people from shops, medical care, primary schools, etc. if they happen to say these prayers.

As a Shugden practitioner, the difficulty with working for peace and ending what has started to become segregation leading toward a type of apartheid, is that the Dalai Lama is a powerful international figure, who often says the right words about peace.  However, his follow through on actions that uphold his words would be very helpful.  You see, the Dalai Lama and some very prominent figures in Tibetan Buddhism, such as Columbia University’s Robert Thurman and the Dalai Lama’s CTA, claim that there is no ban, there never was a ban, and the only thing that the Dalai Lama did was ask people who do my daily prayers not to come to his teachings and empowerments.  While of course he can decide who he wants at teaching and empowerments, and honestly, since I have not the slightest interest in going to his teachings etc., that certainly doesn’t bother me.  The issue though, is that in Tibetan Buddhism, that when the Dalai Lama takes disciples, which he does in vast numbers, he asks them, apparently, not to associate spiritually or materially with anyone who does my daily prayer, that of Dorje Shugden.  This becomes a big problem in exile, not only is it unkind to ostracize people, but actually it is very difficult, for Tibetans in exile to be excluded from shops and medical care in their own communities.  Often, these exiled people, who are not wealthy, of course do not own cars; when the shopkeepers from their own Tibetan settlements will not sell to them, then sometimes they have to walk upwards of 15 miles each way to Indian shops that will sell to them.  Furthermore, the CTA funds clinics, which are sometimes in monasteries, which are supposed to be open to all Tibetans in exile; however, there are signs posted, sometimes in English and often in Tibetan, that ask Shugden followers not to enter the monastery, even the clinic, as they don’t support our practice.

Robert Thurman recently wrote an article in the Huffington Posts where he suggests that this segregation toward Shugden people is all made up, that anyone who does these prayers to Dorje Shugden is following China, etc..  However, it is not made up, as I can assure you, as I visited India and Nepal back in 2001 when some of the ostracism had begun.  Furthermore, in 2008, the Dalai Lama’s and his government in exile made Tibetans sign yellow cards, which swore an oath not to practice the Shugden practice or associate with any Shugden followers.  People would ask each other to present these yellow cards to get access to Tibetan shops, health care etc.  The Tibetan government in exile also asked any medical personnel to give up this practice in order to remain working in medicine.

It is difficult, as I am sure given your history and understanding of extreme apartheid in South Africa, you would understand, to have our voices heard against such a powerful political figure.  Furthermore, it is difficult because the Dalai Lama to many represents the struggle for freedom and democracy from communism; while I am completely for democratic governments, and while I have never liked communism, I feel that in modern society, we need to respect the rights of various groups, rather than staying with what a dictator, or former dictator would like.

Concerning whether the practice is bad, I have to tell you that I wrote the Karmapa that Shamar Rinpoche picked and asked him if it would be okay if I could sometimes come to his Centers for teachings and blessings, even though I do this Shugden practice.  The Karmapa (Thaye Dorje, Shamar Rinpoche’s recognition— there are two recognitions) said that it was no problem from the Kagyu side, in an email he sent via his personal secretary.  I have attended a few Kagyu teachings, with a lama named Ole, and I keep mostly to my main prayers and meditations, as well as teachings from the Kadampa (Shugden) school.

The Dalai Lama’s CTA tries to claim that we are sectarian, that we cause division, because we won’t give up prayers if the Dalai Lama tells us to.  They also accuse us of being with China, which I assure you I am not, nor do I know anyone who is.  The reincarnation that the Dalai Lama recognized of his own former teacher Trijang Rinpoche (who lives in Vermont, U.S.A. due to death threats from Tibetans in India), asked permission from the Dalai Lama to do these prayers; the Dalai Lama gave grudging permission, but some of the Dalai Lama’s more fanatical followers still think anyone who teaches these prayers to others is evil.  This is simply that people are not well educated and do not understand that in the west we already determined that people had to be allowed basic human rights like allowing people to live, do commerce, receive medical attention, etc., regardless of what prayers they may say.

I am not entirely sure what the Dalai Lama’s real reasons may be for the ban, though I suspect they are political; the Dalai Lama did propose to unite all of Tibetan Buddhism under his command several years back; this was met with opposition by the other schools, including the 16th Karmapa and Gelugpa lamas in his own school, some of whom did the Shugden practice.  The Gelugpa school has had a long-standing issue with the Kagyus; just for the record, back in the time of the 5th Dalai Lama, the 5th Dalai Lama invited Mongol invaders to Tibet; the Mongol- Gelugpa alliance killed by decapitation virtually all the abbots of 1000 Kagyu monestaries, the Kagyu monestaries were forcibly converted to Gelugpa, and Kagyu monks were slaughtered (about 7000) and the 10th Karmapa went into exile in order not to be killed.  I mention this so you can understand, the history of Tibet is not an always peaceful happy one; even though they were Buddhists, like I said, people can get confused.  Furthermore, just so you understand, the Dalai Lamas were never in charge of all of Tibetan Buddhism (according to Shamar Rinpoche).  Actually this is quite obvious if we look at the history of Tibet; the Karmapa was the first recognized line of lamas and never relied on the Dalai Lamas for recognition, especially since the first 300 years of the Karmapa’s line, there were no Dalai Lamas yet.  (Shamar Rinpoche’s line happens to be the 2nd line of reincarnate lamas recognized in Tibet).

Please ArchBishop Tutu, I am asking you, as an ordinary non-sectarian Buddhist who happens to do prayers to this banned Buddha, would you please, in the interest of world peace and harmony, as a Nobel laureate yourself, please help us end the segregation of Shugden people in exile? Since the Dalai Lama says there is no segregation, but that it is up to individual people whether to discriminate against us,  I am requesting if there is some diplomatic way, perhaps you could try to request of His Holiness Dalai Lama, that he make a public statement, to please treat Shugden Buddhists as equals; to please encourage his followers that associating materially with us is good, and harmonious.  I think the Dalai Lama recently spoke against the caste system in India, which is in line with both Buddha and Gandhi.  However, because he believes people who do my prayers to be doing something evil, he has not asked his followers to please let us in their shops, to please try to be friendly and harmonious with us. Right now the discrimination is so bad, that families have been cut off from contact with each other, because the mother does Shugden and the children married into families that didn’t etc..  Always it is the Shugden people who are cut off from friends and families.  Please understand,  I wish only the best for the Dalai Lama, and pray for the long lives of all Buddhist teachers, including the Dalai Lama.  If the Dalai Lama would make a public statement for people to embrace their family and relatives who do this practice, to do commerce with us, etc., then this would clear up any misunderstandings that people may have concerning whether the Dalai Lama wants them to treat us badly.  They seem to be treating us badly, based on what they believe he wants.

In closing, there has been violence; a triple murder in the 1990s, that was blamed on Shugden followers, but never proven.  The CTA currently blames my current school among others for having a hand in this violence; I know that the founder of my current school, Geshe Kelsang Gyastso, would never order a death.  Interestingly, Robert Thurman, who claims we are lying about the ban and tries to imply that we are the ones that wanted three monks to die in the 1990s, also claimed that an account in a book against Shamar Rinpoche, in which a woman named Lea Therune accused Shamar Rinpoche of murder, was “valid and reasonable.”  I knew Shamar Rinpoche years ago, and I can assure you, there is no way he would order a death.  Also, there have been people harmed and killed who did Shugden, burned in their own houses, recently there has been a beating of a very elderly Shugden monk, and a lot of important Shugden teachers have had to go into hiding in fear for their lives.  Please understand, it is a difficult political situation, in which some people are very devoted to a teacher (the Dalai Lama) and never want him to be wrong.

I am asking, if perhaps, you could encourage peace among everybody, regardless of what practice (prayers/meditation combination) that they do, and ask the Dalai Lama to explicitly say we want to be peaceful and respectful with the Dorje Shugden practitioners, we would like peace on both sides, and that commerce and normal relationships should be okay between them.  Please understand, I only want peace for everyone, every being, throughout space and time.  The Buddha never condoned violence.

Thank you for your valuable time and consideration.  I will ask that you join me in praying for our world and whatever prayers you normally say for the deceased for Shamar Rinpoche.  (I am praying for his swift rebirth).

Yours in harmony,

Kelly Inman

P.S. The main teacher (founder of my school) is more or less in hiding for his life, thus I do not have his email address.  I am going to cc to the Eastern National Spiritual Director of the U.S., who happens to be a devoted Shugden practitioner (that varies right now in my school) so that you may contact him, would you like to attempt communication with Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.  Thank you.

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Steve Cowing now refuses to allow communication with Ven. Geshe-la

This is from Steve Cowing, saying he will not give Geshe-la an email from me. Whitewashing and suppression. of the Shugdens in the NKT. If you scroll you will see my response below.
NKT Office
10:59 AM (1 hour ago)

to me
To Kelly Inman

I can’t pass your email to Venerable Geshe-la
———————————————————————————–
Dear Venerable Geshe-la,
Your organization clearly has people who are misleading in their responses. Please help declare the NKT impure due to Dalai Lama style transmissions and please live for a very long time.
Dear Steve Cowing, Gen Rigpa, Gen Jampa, and Gen-la Khyenrab,
If you think there is not one truthful word, then we should debate. And also, I asked which emails you received when. Certainly at first I was not criticizing anyone, just saying you have impure transmission and that Peng mentioned to changing Dharma Protectors in class.
That this is not true is not accurate, nor does it give me the information about which emails were received when. Please understand that I consider you must forward this to Venerable Geshe-la.
You should not threaten a person with police action but realize that you yourself and others could be implicated in a cover-up that some of you have harassed Shugden practitioners by pretending to be in our group when you were with the Dalai Lama instead.
Happy Buddha’s return from heaven day, by the old calendar.
———————————————————————————————-
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: NKT Office <info@kadampa.org>
Date: Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 5:55 AM
Subject: Letter from NKT Education Council

————————————————————————————————–
To Kelly Inman

So far you have written for over 2 years to Gen Jampa, Gen Rigpa, Gen-la Khyenrab, myself and many other people criticising the NKT’s GSD Gen-la Dekyong, without saying one single truthful word. Your letters are filled with your own hallucinations. The NKT has over 1000 Dharma Centres throughout the world and all the people of these Dharma Centres are our witnesses to prove that Gen-la Dekyong is a pure Dharma practitioner especially a sincere Dorje Shugden practitioner. She is the most qualified Dharma Teacher of both sutra and tantra. Her good heart, teachings and her way of showing a good example are unequaled. All NKT people understand this. We can say the same for Gen-la Kunsang. The reason why we did not previously reply to your letters is that we believe from your way writing you appear to have a mental problem so we didn’t want to cause you more suffering.

However now I would like to suggest that you must please stop writing letters like this in the future. We have the collection of all your previous emails. So now you have a choice either please stop writing these kinds of letters or we will pass your previous emails with your information to the police.

Kind regards
Steve Cowing
NKT Education Council Secretary
————————————————————————————————–
to NKT, Gen, Gen
Dear Steve,
I am curious if you can tell me on whose authority it is that you cannot give my letter to Ven. Geshe-la?
I am wondering what on earth you would contact the police for? I have cced everything I wrote to you guys to either Rigpa,Atisha,Jampa or Lhachog, and generally forwarded a copy to the others just mentioned. If there is something that would warrant police action, I am curious what that would be.
I am not sure why you will not tell me what emails you received and when? I certainly asked you enough times.
I do not think it is good for a secretary to refuse to forward emails or respond either, not when it deals with lineage purity. You have also accused me of lying, but without a dialogue.
Please respond.
Thank you,
Kelly Inman

NKT’s Steve Cowing responds after 2 years of no response— accuses me of complete lying: still does not confirm which emails he receives when

From: NKT Office <info@kadampa.org>
Date: Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 5:55 AM
Subject: Letter from NKT Education Council
To: kinman26@gmail.com

To Kelly Inman

So far you have written for over 2 years to Gen Jampa, Gen Rigpa, Gen-la Khyenrab, myself and many other people criticising the NKT’s GSD Gen-la Dekyong, without saying one single truthful word. Your letters are filled with your own hallucinations. The NKT has over 1000 Dharma Centres throughout the world and all the people of these Dharma Centres are our witnesses to prove that Gen-la Dekyong is a pure Dharma practitioner especially a sincere Dorje Shugden practitioner. She is the most qualified Dharma Teacher of both sutra and tantra. Her good heart, teachings and her way of showing a good example are unequaled. All NKT people understand this. We can say the same for Gen-la Kunsang. The reason why we did not previously reply to your letters is that we believe from your way writing you appear to have a mental problem so we didn’t want to cause you more suffering.

However now I would like to suggest that you must please stop writing letters like this in the future. We have the collection of all your previous emails. So now you have a choice either please stop writing these kinds of letters or we will pass your previous emails with your information to the police.

Kind regards
Steve Cowing
NKT Education Council

To see my first letter to the NKT, which was crtitical not at all, please see:

https://redblackfireandwind.wordpress.com/…/first-letter-to…/

Dear Venerable Geshe-la,
Your organization clearly has people who are misleading in their responses. Please help declare the NKT impure due to Dalai Lama style transmissions and please live for a very long time.
Dear Steve Cowing, Gen Rigpa, Gen Jampa, and Gen-la Khyenrab,
If you think there is not one truthful word, then we should debate. And also, I asked which emails you received when. Certainly at first I was not criticizing anyone, just saying you have impure transmission and that Peng mentioned to changing Dharma Protectors in class.
That this is not true is not accurate, nor does it give me the information about which emails were received when. Please understand that I consider you must forward this to Venerable Geshe-la.
You should not threaten a person with police action but realize that you yourself and others could be implicated in a cover-up that some of you have harassed Shugden practitioners by pretending to be in our group when you were with the Dalai Lama instead.
Happy Buddha’s return from heaven day, by the old calenda

Financial Issues at VBC Part II: high interest, retroactive stipends and ambiguous books

This was the email that was accidentally forwarded to me last October, by a Sangha member, who along with many others, does not appear allowed to talk to me; it appears at KMC San Diego, all financial and spiritual decisions are made by a select oligarchy; XXXX, who is asking for a retroactive stipend, refused to allow me to pay less than 85 dollars a month (full price) for FP from the day I moved from the homeless shelter in spring 2010 until she stepped down in spring 2011, except for one month when she granted an exception.  She would not respond to my emails regarding offers to volunteer, she did very little work for us, but wanted a retroactive stipend, after telling us that VBC (now KMC San Diego) got her for free.

  As mentioned in previous letters to the educational council/financial council, XXXX would tell me we were in danger of the NKT closing the Center if I didn’t pay her full price.  Since I had wanted lojong teachings since 2001, and since this was my first opportunity to study lojong in depth, I paid her, though I did ask at least 3 times, with a few months interval for a reduction in price.  I could not believe my good fortune in receiving such systematic teachings from someone of Gen Atisha’s quality of instruction; I did not want to drop out of the class, which seems, as often happens at KMC San Diego, to be the only option for Shugden people who can’t pay.
 My understanding is that XXXX was one of the founding members of the community, and put a loan out against the mortgage on her house; the building that KMC San Diego is in, was negotiated at a very high mortgage, and we have all been run into the ground paying it back.  Some of the people who are responsible for taking out the mortgage and finding the building are the same ones that talked against Geshe Kelsang, the Dorje Shugden practice or switched our transmissions to zen in the classroom right after they got Atisha to leave.
  I do not know much about the finances, as the finances are kept from the community at large.  My understanding is that the books are closed; we are not to know what happens with the books or have any say in the decision process; only a select few can find out what is going on.  I do understand that some people took loans out against retirements and homes, to start VBC.  I am not sure who those people were, but I also understand that after they took these out, at a high mortgage and with a high interest rate, that the KMC San Diego community is supposed to pay them back.  Since some of these same people are also talking against our transmissions and trying to switch us to zen Rime and tao, then I think it is worthwhile to look thoroughly at the books, who received scholarships vs who did not, ect.; not to mention what happened to our scholarship funds etc.  I am going to attach two documents that detail the financial issues as happened to me; since no normal Sangha can have any idea what is going on financially or in any running of the Center, I can really only comment on what little I know.  Thanks.  Please find email below, accidentally sent to me, apparently, when my friend was on medication for back pain.  I am sending this, though I do fear retribution from my local community, since they don’t seem allowed to communicate about anything financial.  I do not wish to get XXXX in trouble, since this was accidentally sent, but I think we need transparency in what we are doing; XXXX even asking for a retroactive stipend after how horribly she treated people at our Center is quite over the top to me.

  Attached are two documents concerning Financial issues, VBC in crisis, which details what appears to be the beginning of the spiritual take-over of VBC by anti-Shugden people, and Chokyi’s (the RT) order to me not to write anyone but her regarding these matters.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: XXXX
Date: Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Subject: Fw: update

          They should be authorized because there is a board action saying VBC is going to give me the stipend.
             Was this from the current board or the board at the time of the financial situation?  I am shocked that XXXX
             has a problem with this.

          BTW, I am fighting to regain my confidence and final nail in the faith in Buddhism.  This may end up putting the f

Hi XXXX,

We met and now I am waiting…. somehow I am not surprised.

I was asked about some kind of thing where ordained waive their stipend if they don’t take it.  I explained that I could have taken it but was concerned re cash flow…. should I just have taken it?  I suspect the Board will want to pay it to me but there will be some resistance – at least with XXXX.  But I did explain to her (but refused to tell the Board) that the stipend was to offset my direct costs of being the AD.  I was clear with the Board that there were reasons and I have certain views about things… but I would not disclose them because that is not why the payments should be authorized.  They should be authorized because there is a board action saying VBC is going to give me the stipend.

The interest is pretty convoluted by now   lol.  So they need to find a folder that has the paid note in it and see what notations XXXX left behind at the time.

I have asked for swift action and that the monthly payment be enough to make a difference in my life.

So we shall see.

Love,
XXXX

On Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 8:45 PM, XXXX wrote:

      Good luck!!!  Let me know the outcome OK?

From: XXXX
To: XXXX
Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 4:31 PM
Subject: update

Hi XXXX,

Well I finally heard from them.  I asked for 2 options so they sent me one  🙂

Seems they plan to discuss both topics.  So much for my preference to take care of the interest and then address the stipend.

I guess I will be meeting with the board on Friday at 6pm.  Think good thoughts.

Financial irregularities at VBC San Diego Part I

April 4, 2013

Dear Gen-la, Gen Jampa, and Educational Council Representatives,

I have written about several issues at VBC, San Diego, concerning spiritual purity at VBC San Diego; the current letter does bear on spiritual purity issues as I feel that perhaps the educational and financial interface did not function properly, during the time that XXXX was AD.  Atisha, the RT at the time, was giving a completely pure transmission of Kadam dharma, but the Center having been apparently brought to the brink of financial ruin, he was sent to England and we were given a new RT.  Since XXXX and others immediately proposed format changes to one of the GP classes that involved lineage changes, and since Amy Peng, the new RT, approved and supported these changes, herself teaching us alternate mediations and also informing us that we might not always have Shugden as our Dharma Protector in the NKT, I feel I should inform you about a few financial oddities that I am aware of, though I certainly don’t know much about the finances.   Please understand that I write this, not to disparage others, but to keep the pure lineage of Je Tsongkapa, protected by Dorje Shugden, flourishing and also out of compassion for those who might otherwise succeed in acts that would give them karma for the lower realms.

With only a part time AD, it was probably difficult to have complete communication with other Sangha members and staff, all of which may have contributed to financial issues.  I am writing you, because I feel that it does bear on the situation; during XXXX’s time I feel a lot of people may have been discouraged by XXXX from attending the center, who could not pay the entire amount of money; in other words, I am afraid the logistical aspects of the AD position, which XXXX expressed as her being in complete control over the physical aspects of the Center, which included jurisdiction over reduced fees for financially challenged disciples, may have kept people away.  There are also issues of miscommunication, and computer issues, which XXXX XXXX unable to access the credit card account numbers for FP members who paid by monthly credit or debit for 3 months unavailable to the Center; I believe this happened right before Atisha left., and I believe the problem wasn’t resolved until 2 or 3 months after he had departed. Please understand I am not saying that any of this is the fault of XXXX or any particular person, as I have no idea how any of it happened, not having worked ever in the administration of the Center.  I just think it might make it difficult to decide what our budget looks like if we have failed to take everyone’s payments, and I think we were saying that Atisha was leaving due to the place being in financial ruin.  I do know that XXXX used to tell me that she couldn’t be a full time AD because the Center couldn’t afford to pay one, and so she couldn’t quit her paying job, which meant she didn’t have as much time to devote to running the Center.

I will tell you, in the interest of time, that I think it might be wisdom to check the books over at VBC; I do not really trust all the lineage changes XXXX and others have propagated, and it is my understanding that XXXX has been on the board.  Concerning financial and miscommunication issues that may have kept people away, I was, for example, told by XXXX that I had to pay the full FP amount as soon as I moved out of the homeless shelter I was in, or as soon as I got enough money to do so.  As soon as my disability money was granted by the government, I did start paying $85.00 a month, rather than the $40 dollars a month I paid while in the homeless shelter.  I received, two months in a row, a letter saying that I had been donating 65 dollars off to international temples.  I honestly thought someone must be trying to donate money to the temple and was dedicating their merit to me by saying that it was from me; I found out several months later that it was because XXXX had mistakenly not realized I was in FP correspondence, and thinking I had dropped out, the bookkeeper must have donated it off to international temples, keeping 20 dollars each month for the two Kids and Families classes I had attended.  I had never received the contract when I signed up for FP that said that they would donate off your money to International Temples if you didn’t come to class, but I was surprised that no one approached me; I was still in FP at that point, but by correspondence.  After a few months of that occurring, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to complete the FP course, partly because I really couldn’t afford it.  I went back to FP 3 or 4 months later, when the Tuesday evening FP started, and again tried to explain to XXXX that I was on Social Security disability, but to no avail; she kept telling me that the Center had no funds; I paid the monthly amount in its entirety, but seriously went often to a soup kitchen next door to my apartment building for lunch;  my daughter wouldn’t eat their food, so I would feed her separately at home; I  mention this only so you will understand how bad the communication was at that time; I also went to food banks to try to reduce my grocery bill, but again my daughter really didn’t like the food and I had to make her something separate to eat.    I did receive a small re-location grant from the government, which is like a reward from a homeless shelter for successful movement to an apartment, but I felt it might be better to reduce our payment before we completely ran out of savings, and I did ask XXXX at least three times, a few months apart,  about reducing it; she allowed me to pay less one month, but said the NKT was going to close the Center if we didn’t stay more solvent and she couldn’t let me reduce.  (As soon as XXXX left I did reduce my amount, being around the same time at the end of the small relocation grant).  I mention this only because a lot of people, some of whom had been on the board of directors over there, were surprised to find out that I had paid full price for so long, and also because they had thought there was an account for people who needed sponsorships.  I do not know what happened with that; my point is not that I want any money back; the point is that I am not sure what happened to the sponsorship account.  Again, I know a lot of different people worked in the office, and I don’t know who did what, so I am not saying it is any one person’s doing.

Thank you, I hope you will check the books at VBC generally, for the sake of all living beings.  I sincerely would like all of Geshe Kelsang’s money to remain under the jurisdiction of Geshe Kelsang’s organization.

Sincerely,

Kelly Inman

Hostage to the Dalai Lama: Attempted take-over in NKT by anti-Shugden management

 

Dear Gen Rigpa and Gen Jampa, September 12, 2013

I am writing the both of you, because I need to express my concern about communication at VBC and within the NKT.   I appreciate that my favorite Dharma Protector is under ban from the Dalai Lama, a “lama” who is influential, mostly as a result of his political power.  I also appreciate that we might sometimes get people, as mentioned previously, who are new to the NKT and sincerely did not know that we are under ban from the Dalai Lama, who though is not really in charge of any school of Buddhism, still has enough political clout to intimidate and confuse others.  While I appreciate very much that we want to be able to teach our dharma without degenerating into constantly discussing the Dalai Lama, and while I also appreciate that it might be difficult to discern whether people, professing to like Shugden or not, are actually being truthful, I do feel that we need some sort of ability to talk to one another, at least during spiritual emergencies, which I feel is what we now have.

I am quite sure I am not the first person in the NKT to have had people trying to persuade me to leave; I have seen blogs where people mentioned that FPMT people try to tell them that they are spirit worshipping by going to the NKT; so I am not the first.  However, I wonder how many people are approached by such people, have their teacher ousted and then the anti-Shugden people do a one eighty and jump on the podium with anything but Kadam dharma coming out of their mouths?  I really hope the only time this happened was to VBC.

Regardless of who this may have happened to, of course it is important that we keep our transmissions pure and actually have time to receive them, rather than talking about the Dalai Lama all the time.  That said, I have to share with you that when the very unusual dharmas started to happen in earnest under Amy, I had been coming to the Center for 2 years already, and had been Buddhist 9 years prior to that; since “NKT” people had previously already started to openly try to convert me to the Dalai Lama’s school, I did at that point ask a few ‘senior’ practioners basically what was up with that: was that normal, etc.?  Now, I realize that I definitely told a few people about this that I didn’t need to talk to about it, especially at the beginning, though I have to say I told very few.  I did pick some people who taught, simply because I trusted them to be NKT people; however, this was obviously a mistake to assume that the NKT is always putting NKT people into teach.  At any rate, it took me a long time to talk, because I was afraid of disparaging others; also I did not think it odd that people might have the mistaken impression that the Dalai Lama is the Buddhist Pope since that is the popular impression.  So, when people kept trying to get me to leave the Center, talking down Geshe-la and talking up the Dalai Lama, I only thought it was a little odd, but didn’t worry about it, assuming that the people were just having doubts.  When these people then flipped around and wanted to teach as soon as Atisha left I was concerned, because I couldn’t figure out why someone would change their mind that fast from being so dubious about the NKT to wanting to spread the NKT’s doctrine by teaching it.  I of course had not mentioned peoples’ doubts to anyone else, as I don’t generally talk much about what others tell me privately, especially about personal religious beliefs.

So, while I can appreciate too that I might talk to the wrong people, or that people might be afraid to talk to me, because maybe they think I really would like the Dalai Lama after all (please purify that, Buddha, if that is what they would think), I still think that communication is now necessary.  Obviously, had I a chance to know that this sort of thing happens somewhat regularly (being approached and having non-NKT people try to convert us), I would have known not to waste my time with people when they tried to do this.  Also, if more open dialogue were possible, maybe I would have not needed to talk to so many people to try to work out what to do when people who tried to get me to leave the lineage one week wanted to teach in it the next.  Basically, I didn’t know who to tell after my teacher (Atisha) was removed; Rigpa was the Principal teacher, but was still spending half the time teaching in his own Center in L.A.; I did try to tell Rigpa some of it, the summer after Atisha left, but I kept the version very abridged as it wasn’t clear to me yet that a take-over might be underway and I had always read that we shouldn’t talk about others to the lama; at the time I just thought we had some spies from the Dalai Lama school and said so; however, I had not yet worked out that maybe they were actually trying to take our podium and maybe our Center rather than just dissuade people from coming.  At any rate, Rigpa had always been leaving back to L.A. by the time the kids’ class, which used to be at noon, was happening.  So, it would have been complicated for him to know what was going on, since he wouldn’t have been there all the time; besides that, I was being lied to(for instance when Gregg Lane assured me that he wanted to stay with the Geshe Kelsang books and immediately read zen) so much that it was hard to know what was supposed to be happening; when Amy mentioned in class we might not stay with Dorje Shugden as our Dharma Protector, I really thought she was just announcing a policy change within the NKT; she was after all, RT while a Shugden practioner (Rigpa) was Principal teacher, so  when she announced that we sometimes change dharma protectors and that Shugden might not be ours forever in the NKT, I thought it must be coming from high up in the lineage.  At that point, I couldn’t decide how I would be able to stay in the NKT if they changed Dharma Protectors, but it did make sense that they might be doing so, since they had just ousted Atisha, who clearly was devoted to the practice.

If I had known what to do or whom to approach, I would not have needed to involve anyone from the general Sangha, but I did not know; the teacher had just been yanked away from us, with no real explanation, other than he wasn’t bringing in enough money.  Since ousting a teacher for monetary concerns is inconsistent with the spirit of the bodhisattva vow (placing business concerns ahead of spiritual concerns), I had to conclude that the dharma in San Diego was having issues and also degenerating.

Since these people seem to be staging a take-over of our little VBC, and also since there seems to be more of them in other Centers (please reference “Gen Choma’s disregard of Shugden,” “Shugden is a Buddha,” and “Golden Mala”), I think it might be prudent to try to discuss the possibility of nearly- forced conversions to the Dalai Lama’s impure transmissions.  After all, those of us that have a heart commitment would need Kadampa teachings and practices, which is why we come to NKT Centers; when they place the very worst, most politically influenced dharma on the podiums in front of us, then we are basically hostages to the wishes of the feudal dictator of former Tibet.  The NKT is one of the few places Shugden people can openly practice; it is one of the few places with pure Kadam dharma, and while it is possible to go to a teaching at more open minded schools of Buddhism even as an openly Shugden practioner, the fact remains that if we wanted to study Kadam dharma, then the NKT is supposed to be right for us. However, if the teaching standards are not high enough to insure that we don’t have the Dalai Lama’s students taking the podium, looking down on us as degenerate spirit worshipers while ‘teaching’ us the worst most impure dharmas of the modern era, then we become like hostages to the Dalai lama even within the NKT.  We cannot go anywhere else to get pure Kadam dharma, but if we come to our own Centers we will find polluted political nonsense aimed at ending our school and practice.  That our root teacher is in hiding, which makes it difficult to see him is bad enough; that he is in hiding is of course due to the fanaticism of Dalai Lama followers who would murder him; if they are willing to murder for the Dalai Lama, then of course they are willing to lie.  They may think they are helping us by removing any trace of our Protector from the earth, whom they view as a spirit leading us all to the lower realms.  If we are too devoted to Dorje Shugden then we are really super evil and can leave, in their view.

So why would we have such loose teaching standards that having these people teach would be so easy?  We really need to change the teaching standards so it is more probable that the person is a sincere Geshe Kelsang/Dorje Shugden practioner rather than one from another school, particularly the political Dalai Lama school with its broken transmissions.

Concerning VBC, we need to do a massive overhaul; I have mentioned several issues in previous papers; though I understand that we cannot expect immediate results, I do hope we can encourage the Dalai Lama people to go elsewhere by removing them from their power positions.  I can appreciate that we may have put them there thinking they would network with each other, but enough is enough.  Obviously, the FPMT, or whoever they exactly are, having no Centers of their own in places like San Diego, wish to convert some of our Centers in order to destroy Geshe Kelsang’s school?  So why not make it harder for them to do so?  In the meantime, I am not sure how it is helpful to treat people as abysmally as my daughter and I have been treated at VBC and at this year’s CADC.  I find it amazing for my lojong practice, but the problem is that my daughter and others wouldn’t have the lojong transmissions yet this life.

And why do we have to be ostracized and disallowed from our normal activities just because I won’t go along with having my daughter only in a kids’ class?  The Kid’s class has had many problems since Atisha left, including improper transmissions; the current teacher was one who pretended to befriend me, came to my home, and tried to convert me away from the NKT on more than one occasion.   So, I can’t go to that and I can’t let my child be around that, since the last thing I would do is take her to the Dalai Lama’s school, or someone who is sympathetic enough to the Dalai Lama school to wish for our Dharma Protector practice to end.  If soon we could go back to the former style video link for puja and empowerments, we could have some connection with part of our Sangha (if there remains any of the puja people who haven’t gotten run off).  I am again requesting that we could have video link for tsog pujas.  I am also going to suggest that while we are working out the teaching standards etc., that it might be good to temporarily stop both kid’s classes; as mentioned in earlier papers neither are taught by anyone with any credibility concerning propagating Shugden.  There was some confusion between Atisha’s departure, Amy’s tenure, and Chokyi’s early time here that allowed for people to start teaching who did not need to be here.  Chokyi’s choice of EPC is rather dubious concerning Shugden (please see previous papers) so I am not sure why exactly we are supposed to trust her.  Since they are teaching our children, I am just suggesting, that there could be some skillful way that perhaps in the next few months, VBC could put a stop to their teaching.  We need our dharma to flourish for many lifetimes to come; obviously we want to affirm to this generation that our lineage is not only good but really indispensable to the full enlightenment of all living beings.

In closing, I am sending this to both National Spiritual Directors, because I am really hoping we can work something out to help the pure Kadam dharma flourish again in San Diego; karmically I think it is very similar to the forced conversions at the time of the 5th Dalai Lama; pure teachers (Kagyus) were removed (by beheading them) and 5th Dalai Lama backed teachers were put in their place.  Obviously, we had a pure teacher removed (thank goodness not by beheading him) and we have had people replacing our pure transmissions with those of the 14th Dalai Lama and anyone who isn’t Shugden (which is still the wish of the 14th Dalai Lama).  I have been doing Vajrasattva for like 3 years so maybe my part of this (as well as others) will purify soon.

Thank you very much for your time.

Best regards,

Kelly Inman