Dear Gen Jampa, Gen-la Deykong, and Educational council, 5-17-2013
I have written you on a few other occasions to express some concerns I had about the purity of the dharma in San Diego and other California NKT Centers and the CADC. Concerning the 2013 CADC, which featured the blessing empowerment of Dorje Shugden, we had experienced difficulties, as mentioned in previous emails, with the sound in the kid’s video link room, both with the actual sound working and also with noise levels the day of the empowerment and teachings. I have just had the illuminating opportunity to listen to Gen Choma’s intro talk on MP3 download. I find it interesting that in over an hour of speaking, Choma only mentioned Dorje Shugden once, at the end of her talk, saying that he protected the Lam Rim teachings of Buddha. I find this an interesting co-arising, given that the CADC committee distributed publicity that avoided mentioning that Jampa is a Buddhist monk/teacher, that would not refer to Dorje Shugden explicitly as a Buddha, and also that was completely as uninformative as possible concerning what the NKT is, or that Geshe Kelsang founded a large and legitimate Buddhist organization. I would like the running of the 2013 CADC looked into, including any changes from the previous two years in selection procedures for committees and AD and EPC. Given that Gen Choma seemed afraid to propagate Shugden in an intro talk for a Dharma Celebration where his empowerment was the main feature, I think we should also review our teaching standards and make sure that we have people who are sincerely Dorje Shugden practioners as resident teachers.
Gen Choma, the RT of the San Francisco center, seemed really quite good at avoiding the subject of Dorje Shugden at the intro talk to our Protector’s empowerment, and did not refer to Dorje Shugden as a Buddha the one time she did mention him. Choma did seem happy to fill our time discussing chandeliers and how we should try to enjoy our surroundings at this celebration, but did not really address the heart of dharma. While she did mention “bodhichitta”, the word, toward the end of the teaching, the beginning of the teaching she focused more on something that sounded like “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama, a book written for people of all faiths who understand little Buddhadharma. Choma seemed to think that coming to the Celebration indicated that we were seeking spiritual change, and eventually informed us that by becoming Buddhas we would become happy, though it was unclear from what she was saying that the current empowerment would further that aim; while it is true that we would be happy if we were Buddhas, it begs the question of whether Choma understands anything about the Mahayana. If we become Buddhas, of course, we would be filled with a fierce compassion to rescue all living beings from the miserable prison of samsara, and the omniscience and wisdom to accomplish this task; it is not their own happiness that bodhisattvas seek, but that of all sentient beings.
I do understand that some people do not understand that Dorje Shugden is a Buddha; I also understand that they think we are inferior practioners for following Dorje Shugden, whom they see as a spirit. Living in a Christian society, I must say that quite a few Christians see Buddha Shakyamuni as an idol or a false god. He is neither, but a Buddha. While they believe Buddhists are going to hell for their faith in Buddha, that of course doesn’t make them empirically correct about our prospective future rebirths. I also understand that there is a possibility of some people who think Dorje Shugden is possibly a Buddha, but they do not see why he is important to their path; in other words perhaps we would just like to switch to Vajrapani or Avalokiteshvara practice, since Dorje Shugden’s one is banned in India. However, this is similar to the situation with the Christians in which I can’t just switch to Christ to make beings who are Christian relatively happy; just as I require the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni for enlightenment, so do I require Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden for enlightenment. I do his practice and understand that some people do not approve of it, but since I know I require it for enlightenment, then following the Bodhisattva vow, I happily continue it and support others who may wish to do the same.
I am curious what exactly is going on with the educational council right now and with our selection process for Buddhist teachers. I understand that Gen Choma was asked by Geshe-la to teach a long time ago, but I do not know what her current ambiguity may result from; perhaps she is just someone that prefers not to discuss anything controversial, perhaps not understanding that some of us actually require Dorje Shugden for enlightenment. Perhaps she is afraid that if she is seen as supporting Dorje Shugden in California, she would be removed from her position as they did with a perfect Kadampa teacher, monk, and Shugden practioner, Gen Atisha. I do not know, but I do know that any wish for propagating Shugden or allowing people access to it is being stifled and stymied at my own local Center, San Diego, the same city in which the CADC was held. I would like it looked into who was in charge of selecting this year’s CADC committee, who was responsible for putting out the unusual publicity, and who was in charge of the sound and usher selection, as they both contributed to the difficulties of hearing the empowerment and teachings.
In closing, I would like to thank Gen Jampa again for the blessing empowerment of Dorje Shugden and the very clear teachings on how to hold the heart commitment. May the pure lineage of Kadam dharma be protected by Dorje Shugden for a very long time. For the sake of all living beings, please help restore Dorje Shugden’s lineage throughout the NKT.