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.