Included are two early emails, one from me to the Educational Council Representatives and from Lora Driscoll to the RT, which I also sent to the Educational Coucil Reps, about how she supports us coming to puja, as we had done for years. My family was heavily involved in the NKT group from spring 2009 until we were suddenly removed from our local center in 2013. I continued taking courses from Gen Rigpa in KMC California until 2015, when eventually, due to his now being National Spiritual Director and reliant on the Dalai Lama-style substitute teachers that Gen-la Dekyong provided, meant I rarely got a teaching from him. We used to do offerings (on offerings rotation) 2x a week, plus were often called into back up; we gardened, and attended weekly WFJ, monthly Long Protector, and bi-monthly OSG, as well as monthlyTara. Our attendence at these Dorje Shugden pujas I estimate at 90 percent attendence over 4 years and OSG was more like 70 or 80 percent attendence. We had been to the kids class 2x a month from fall 2009 till 2011; in 2011 we started coming once a week (the class was once a week back then); after 6 months I realized that we were not being ever taught Geshe-la’s meditation transmissions but were given zen and tao like stuff; when we switched resident teachers yet again, a woman who had very recently been strongly advocating against Dorje Shugden and who had been very pro-Dalai Lama to me at my home, was selected as kids’ class teaching assistant, a role that involves direct spiritual assistance to the kids when the teacher is gone; at any rate, she had tried to befriend us, dropped us when I wouldn’t convert to Dalai Lama, which hurt my kids’ feelings. She was only 2 and a 1/2 but kept asking for the woman’s little girl to play with. Obvioulsy, I couldn’t explain to a 2 year old that the lady quit talking to us since I wouldn’t give up Geshe-la’s Dharma PRotector and didn’t want to follow the Dalai lama. The woman also kept trying to get me to go anywhere but Geshe-la’s temples. Obviously, I did not think this would be a healthy relationship to re-introduce my child to. I didn’t want my kid to think the lady hated her because I wouldn’t give up Shugden, and in turn start hating Shugden or me.
We kept coming to puja until thrown out, shortly after I wrote the General Spiritual Director for the 3rd time in 4 months. The people have been shuffled and replaced; we mostly have Dalai Lama people at the school. I continued weekly correspondence classes with Gen Ripga in KMC California until 2015; at that point since he travels so much as the Western National Spiritual Director, and since Dekyong made available mostly Dalai Lama people as back-up teachers— I dropped out simply because even 25 dollars a month reduced fee is too much to give the Sangha if it is going to Dalai Lama people’s attempt at over throw and I was not getting many good teachings as I was getting Dalai Lama substitutes for Gen Rigpa’s perfect transmissions.
My child really missed our Sangha, but they all broke off contact and we haven’t talked to anyone for years other than if we run into them for a minute— usually at a KMC California empowerment — they will hypocritically act as though they miss us, when they are responsible for actively removing us and other actual Shugdens from the school. The Dalai Lama people taking over the school have been actively trying to pretend I in no way exist since 2013 when we got tossed by their coup.
———————— Email to Roy Tyson and Steve Cowing—– never answered—–
February 15, 2013
Dear Steve Cowing and Roy Tyson,
I hope this letter finds you well and the pure Kadam dharma flourishing generally in the NKT. I sent you some email attachments that expressed some concerns I have about Vajrarupini Buddhist Center in San Diego. I had, as I mentioned in one of the letters, attempted to discuss the matters in question with the RT, Chokyi, for over a year before writing the NKT. Chokyi does not seem concerned that people teach other transmissions at our Center; after I discussed that Gregg Lane read a Zen book to the Kids class, and that Amy herself was discussing openly in class that we might not have Dorje Shugden as our NKT dharma protector anymore (Kids and Families class) she still has Gregg Lane teach at least day courses/workshops at VBC. My understanding is that his ‘Sunday School Format’ for the kids class is the one we are currently following, which in addition to being modeled after a Christian Sunday School, is also a place where I am not comfortable sending my child, since she may or may not receive our lineage transmissions there; I don’t wish to confuse my child into thinking that the Kadam transmission include the Tao and other non-Buddhist teachings.
Having been in two other lineages before coming to this one, I am perfectly happy if children go with their own families to another lineage to receive teachings, if that is what they wish. The Buddha taught Mahayana Dharma in different transmissions to meet the different karmic needs of different beings. However, when I come to this Center, I must reiterate that I am looking for the Geshe Kelsang transmissions; I get the impression that Gregg Lane, who teaches and instigates a lot of changes at VBC, and some of his friends, many of whom openly discourage others from doing puja, feel that perhaps we are not an open minded enough group and wish to help us receive other dharmas here.
While it is good to be open-minded, a really open-minded person, having discerned for themselves what transmission of Buddha’s teachings to follow, should not be prevented from receiving those transmissions. This Center, which is supposed to be an NKT one, should encourage the NKT transmissions and practices. I am concerned that Dorje Shugden’s practice is being discouraged by those who ‘don’t like puja.’ I am also concerned that if we allow people to teach, such as Gregg Lane, who openly bring in other transmissions, discourage puja, etc., that we are hindering our progress on the path.
Chokyi has chosen some people that do not seem to be interested in propagating Shugden; her new EPC had never done Dorje Shugden offerings or been to a Long Protector Puja before becoming EPC. When posting on the VBC Facebook page, she will not refer to Dorje Shugden as a Buddha, despite my repeated requests. When I mentioned this to Chokyi, the RT, Chokyi informed me that a lot of people coming to VBC do not even know what a Buddha is, so mentioning that on the Facebook page really wouldn’t help anything.
I no longer attend the Kid’s and Families class with my daughter; the current class assistant, chosen when Gregg Lane wished to change the format, was in an FP class with me; she is very pro other transmissions than Geshe Kelsang, is a bit dubious about Geshe Kelsang, and volunteered the information that she just didn’t bother with the FP puja requirement. I also do not quite trust the way that the RT has ignored helping people discover our Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden and seems compliant with allowing random spiritual transmissions. Her EPC, Stephanie Gaschet, who appears afraid to mention that Dorje Shugden is a full Buddha, will be teaching a new teen class; while having an EPC who does not appear comfortable admitting openly that Dorje Shugden is a Buddha is a problem for the entire community, putting people who are unwilling to propagate Shugden as the teacher for NKT young people is a formula for ending a lineage; they are our next generation of practioners, after all.
I am not sure what is going on here in even the conventional sense, but I really feel that we should encourage our lineage to flourish by helping people of all ages get the correct transmissions. If the people that are teaching are not committed to our practices, how will they inspire new people to these practices? I am asking again for better teaching standards so that our lineage will flourish until all beings have attained full Buddhahood.
I am truly sorry this is happening; after writing Gen Jampa and Gen-la, Chokyi asked me in an email to not write anyone else. Two days ago, I received a phone call from Chokyi; she told me in the call that my daughter, Kristen, who has been attending tsog pujas by video link would not be allowed to come back to puja; Kristen also attended 3 empowerments at VBC by video link, and I received several compliments about how quiet she is during these events. (I bring quiet activities for her to do so that she can get the blessings and transmissions). When we took a leave of absence from October to January from attending tsog puja and offerings, 4 out of 7 regular puja attendees specifically asked us to come back. (We are tsog puja regular attendees numbers 5 and 6 from the group of 7).
I am enclosing a copy of a letter that one tsog attendee wrote on our behalf to Chokyi; please understand that I would never keep my daughter in the video link room if we are noisy; rather we have always gone for a walk outside in the lovely temperate climate of San Diego, or just gone 10 paces from the Center to the bus stop, and headed home. My daughter requests puja both at home and “at the Buddhas.” I think, in other words, that people who do not attend puja may be the ones that do not want my daughter in video link outside the gompa, because it seems like perhaps some of them may be laboring under the delusion that Dorje Shugden is a gyalpo (spirit), and out of compassion, wish to protect her. While it is compassionate of them to be concerned, it is not wisdom, since he is really a Buddha. Since around the time of Atisha’s departure, I have noted a tendency at VBC of those ambivalent about/not so keen on Shugden to have gotten into teaching and administrative and board of director positions while those of us that want to practice Shugden are being shown the door. I think an investigation of the board of directors, the EPC, RT, and the changes since Atisha left would benefit those who do potentially like Shugden and those of us who have already noted that we require him for full Buddhahood.
————————————————— sent a copy of this to the Ed council reps Steve Cowing and Roy Tyson; Steve Cowing is also the Secretary of the NKT who never wrote me back until 2 years later. When he did, he claims every word I said was a lie.—-
(My note: this letter was sent to Chokyi Resident Teacher in San Diegoon February 13th, 2013 from Lora Driscoll. )
I would like to add my support to Kelly’s request that Kristen continue to attend
pujas and empowerments. In the 4 years Kelly and Kristen have attended VBC
I have never witnessed any disruptions of any kind. Additionally, I have not heard
a single complaint from other members of the sangha.
However, if having Kristen in the gompa is a problem then I strongly encourage you
to allow Kristen to remain in the community room with her mother. I know that Louise
cared for Kristen at the last OSG. If that is the concern I agree that child care is not an
obligation of our sangha but I also know that Kelly does not expect child care. I recall’
though, that you told Kelly that another child had been at an event and there was no
problem but Kelly pointed out that a baby is different than a 4 year old. Your sudden
change from encouraging Kelly to have Kristen in the gompa for puja to denying
her attendance is confusing.
I cannot come up with any valid reason to deny Kristen’s attendance at pujas and
empowerments (either in the gompa or the community room) and I sincerely hope
that she will be permitted to continue her 4 years of attending pujas.
Thank you for any consideration you give to this matter.