Harassment at California Dharma Celebration toward Shugdens

Dear Wangpo, 2-24-2013

I wrote you yesterday expressing some difficulties we were having with sound in the children’s room at CADC, both from the sound system itself and from lack of monitor in the room and a general lack of consideration for others.

I wanted to make an addendum to yesterday’s letter, and clarify a few points.  First of all, we were unable to receive sound not only in the beginning of Choma’s teaching and Jampa’s teaching, but also during Rigpa’s meditation.  After we got sound, someone came in to ask us to turn it down or off because Jampa was in the next room meditating.  (It got turned off, at which point I left, as I didn’t see any reason to be next door to Jampa, and therefore a potential noise risk,  without receiving meditation instruction ourselves.)Again, I feel that it could be better planning to allow the video link during the meditation, perhaps by having booked a sound proof room like we did at last year’s CADC Medicine Buddha empowerment, or by moving the kid’s room further away from where Jampa would be.

I have previously expressed difficulties with general noise levels in the kid’s room, and I want to clarify that the last two years, people who came to the kid’s room were careful to take out even a crying toddler from the room; while one or two families did do that, I have never experienced the unchecked commotion that we had, as mentioned previously, in great part due to the children’s activity table including balloons and bubbles, and having no monitor for the room.  In having to ask two different times in the same teaching (yesterday’s afternoon one from Jampa) for noise levels to be reduced, and having experienced no useful results from either of the two ushers, I have to say we probably need someone to help monitor room sound next time; the ushers did not seem to know what to do about the noise, or did not perhaps understand that it is a problem if people do not get their teachings.

I have a specific issue with Maxine Wright in that she seemed to want to not only allow the 6 year old to play with bubbles in the middle of a teaching, but also seemed to think that rather than listening to the teachings, we would prefer to debate what we could play with for several minutes, rather than simply using common sense and thinking that bubbles would invite commotion.  I also take exception to the fact that though Maxine would not take helpful action to reduce noise, she was quick to correct my child, Kristen, when Kristen appearing distressed by the proceedings, and probably by the way I was being treated, interrupted our conversation, saying ‘Mom, mom.’  Maxine was immediate in her replying my daughter in a harsh tone of voice that she was  talking right now, and that my daughter wasn’t allowed to talk.  I find it karmic ally inappropriate to allow people to disrupt teachings and empowerments unchecked, but to immediately tell another child not to interrupt a conversation.  It would seem, then, it is no concern of Maxine’s whether we are interrupted every time we want to hear Gen Jampa, but if someone interrupts her, then she would consider that inappropriate.

I would like to say that it is clear that we were having outer obstacles at the first two days of CADC in the kid’s room, but I will also say, that according to Geshe-la, though we should practice patient acceptance, it doesn’t preclude taking appropriate action.  Of course, if people understand the importance of Buddha’s teachings, then they would have consideration for others and a willingness to accommodate, in the way that would most appropriately benefit beings, others receiving the teachings.   Of course, not everyone is aware of the importance of these teachings yet, and it is helpful to their karma, and very compassionate to them to help them avoid being disruptive; otherwise they will create conditions where it is difficult for them to receive dharma in the future. I would have considered it a violation of my bodhisattva vows not to try to correct the problem; not only was I not receiving teachings which directly benefit my main practice, but others are creating negative karma by obstructing others’ dharma.   When I went the second time for help from the main gompa, I had no choice but to try and look stern, because no one was listening to us, and our problems with the sound even being hooked up each time indicate an issue with thinking perhaps that kids and families’ transmissions are not important.  I was in the middle of a teaching, but unable to hear, and no one seemed concerned or worried about helping us.  I would like that looked into and changed before the next CADC.

Again, I rejoice that we have all received the blessing empowerment of Dorje Shugden.  I am praying that no one who disrupted the empowerment or teachings get bad karma; I am also doing Vajrasattva for that situation and that of all living beings.  I am still asking for Gen Jampa’s afternoon teaching from yesterday to be made available by MP3 download, with no additional charge, as I consider the problems between the sound and the lack of available room to have obstructed the reception of the teachings.  I would pay for them, but I consider that being on fixed income (disability) and having had a sponsor for 2/3 of my payment, that I really feel I do not have more money to give in this situation.  Having read about karma, I am sure that we must have had a collective karma for obstacles yesterday; I am thinking I must not only have tried to burn down a monastery or some other heinous act in some past life, but also wasn’t wise enough to listen to the Buddha’s teachings when I first heard them in some previous life.  I sincerely aspire that I will get Jampa’s teachings today in the main gompa as I have a friend who is planning to step in and watch my daughter during the teachings.  I am sorry not to be able to bring her as I always feel that CADC not only gives blessings and transmissions to her, but also is like our family’s equivalent of Christmas spiritually.

For the record, my daughter was actually quite well behaved yesterday; she has a lot of practice playing quietly due to having been in video link with me on so many occasions; I also tried a reward system yesterday and informed her that there would be a lot of kids, and she would still need to be quiet, but that if she listened to me during the empowerment that I would get her some ice cream from the coffee shop.   I apologize for mixing her motivations in such a way, but I felt that the transmission was so profoundly important to receive that I didn’t mind if she was being partly inspired by her love of chocolate.  At any rate, I imagine that will make her better understand the ubiquitous chocolate-attachment examples in her future GP classes.

Best regards,

Kelly Inman

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