Shugden is a Buddha

Dear Gen Jampa, January 14, 2013
I have written you a few emails concerning the purity of the Kadam Dharma at Vajrarupini Buddhist Center in San Diego, CA. I recently wrote you a third email in which I suggested that we could explicitly mention that Dorje Shugden is a Buddha on the CADC website. I am very concerned that the publicity being distributed from Vajrarupini Buddhist Center, San Diego, for the CADC also does not mention explicitly that Dorje Shugden is a Buddha.
The publicity does mention that Dorje Shugden is a Wisdom Protector, but as I mentioned in my previous email, I am not sure that it is evident to those new to Buddhism that a Wisdom Protector is a Buddha. Moreover, when I contrast this publicity with that of the US National Festival from last summer, which also had a Dorje Shugden empowerment, I see that Dorje Shugden is referred to both as a Wisdom Protector and as Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden. The CADC publicity from 2 years prior, which was Avalokiteshvara, refers to Avalokiteshvara as a Buddha; the publicity from Rigpa’s Maitreya empowerment (at VBC) refers to Maitreya as a Buddha; the one from Rigpa’s most recent Je Tsongkapa empowerment at KMC LA refers to Je Tsongkapa as a wisdom Buddha; the one from last year’s Medicine Buddha empowerment (CADC) is obvious I think, from the Medicine Buddha’s actual name. If we refer to all the other Buddhas as Buddhas, why should we not honor Dorje Shugden in the same way? Not only is he a Buddha, but since he is specific to our lineage and not as perhaps commonly known as Avalokiteshvara or Je Tsongkapa, would it not help beings if we were clear on this point?
Furthermore, the publicity from VBC might leave some question as to whether we were a Buddhist organization or a church or cult that just likes Buddhism; for instance, though you are mentioned as the National Spiritual Director, and also as the resident teacher of KMC Texas, there is nowhere on the publicity that explains what ‘NKT’ stands for or what “KMC” stands for. While Geshe Kelsang is referred to as ‘our founder’ it might not be clear that he founded a large legitimate Buddhist organization; indeed it was not even clear to me that a newcomer might understand that we are Buddhists.
I feel it is always good to be clear on the fact that the New Kadampa Tradition is a legitimate Buddhist organization; in California in particular, we get all kinds of spiritual Centers; I have friends for example, that go to a Universalist Church in the same part of town as VBC, and claim that half their congregation considers themselves Buddhist. While I don’t suspect that there is anything at all wrong with that, I would like to make it clear to people that we are an actual Buddhist organization, with lineage teachings that go back to Buddha Shakyamuni, and to Je Tsongkapa, via the Kadam emanation scripture. Maybe we could write a specific phrase on our publicity that would generally help new people to that point, and perhaps you could bring it up in discussion with the EPCs NKT-wide at the next big international festival?
My heartfelt request is that we could rewrite our publicity for this year’s CADC; I feel that the current edition may confuse beings. Please at least consider including the information that Dorje Shugden is a Buddha; beings are easily confused and feel it would benefit all living beings to allow people to rely on our particular Dharma Protector. I sincerely pray we will proceed with the Dorje Shugden empowerment at this year’s CADC; I just want to change the confusing publicity; not the dates or the fact that it is a Dorje Shugden empowerment that we are receiving.
May Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden continue to protect our lineage for countless aeons,
Kelly Inman

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