I am a regular Dorje Shugden practitioner & have been a loyal follower of Kadampa Buddhism for over a decade. Kadampa Buddhism is a pure lineage of teachings from the 10th century. They are not modern teachings. When I think about the work that has been done to bring these teachings to modern Britain I can say I feel a great sense of responsibility for these teachings being a success in the modern world.
The King Yeshe O for example who died as did many to ensure that there was Dharma for his people for generations to come. Then the 1000s of people who worked translating, studying, meditating. It is amazing that the Dharma got here. Now all we have to do is preserve it & care for it & represent it well so that people come to respect it.
I was doing my Shugden practice today & I felt such a strong feeling to speak out and tell some people off. As Shugden practitioners it is our responsibility that if we see something that would obstruct the success of Dharma or is creating a problem that can be solved we should act to do so.
Yeshe O did not die so that we can be corrupt monks & nuns destroying the reputation of the Sangha. We work to repair the reputation of Buddhism & yet because we carry on with our childish ways stubbornly we make new damage over & over again. Why on earth when the future of Buddhism is so important are we not sitting down as a group and trying to understand why 1000s of normal people who have decided to dedicate themselves to our centres, after being residents become so upset & frustrated with the administration?
If the main centres representing Kadampa Buddhism are churning out year after year people who quite frankly feel offended & shocked by what they have seen then as Shantideva put it and Chandrakirti there is a conflict with the worldly. These communities as they are being run are not working for people. We need to speak out! These communities can be changed so they do work for people. In fact it would be very easy to do.
The 1st step is to admit that there is a problem.
The 2nd step is to instigate a solution
We don't have to die like Yeshe O did all we need is to realise that we are affecting the future of Buddhism with our worldly behaviour. The constant invasion of peoples privacy and attempts to enforce increased voluntary work, from turfing people out of their rooms, taking their belongings, removing their telephone lines etc to making very personal remarks about what people should & shouldn't do. The constant character assassination of people whether it be a group of admins sitting down with one resident to tell them they are not doing enough voluntary jobs & need to stop being so self cherishing or simply having meetings without the person present & discussing how they are a bad practitioner who they need to try new strategies with to control & manipulate them. The constant tease of secrecy - people being asked to leave & then the other residents not being told why- the whisperings of how somebody is a bad resident and the feelings of horror those people feel when they realise that admins are talking about them behind their back undermining their reputation.
This will never stop until the admins sort themselves out. If you throw out 1000 people saying they are all deluded & then bring a completely new set of people the new people will soon be making exactly the same complaints. Why is this? Its because the administrative peoples behaviour is offensive to the everyday man on the street. The Bodhissattva vow is to act in accordance with peoples disposition & a countries customs - not to be offensive.
Who would choose to live in a place where it is dictated every moment of the day when & where you are controlling you, prying, and spying, monitoring you, having meetings about you when you aren't doing everything right.
Who would choose to live in a place where your landlord along with a few other admins write down a list of activities for you to do & organises your daily schedule without even consulting you.
Who would choose to live in a place where admins have meetings about you without you even being there.
Who would choose to live in a place where good people are suddenly booted out & its all a big secret why & nobody is allowed to know why. In normal society people would talk about it. It is far worse not knowing why someone has been booted out believe me because you start imagining all sorts of things. If you were just told what they did you'd probably be relieved & glad that they were booted out. But no we are left hanging & confused & not allowed to speak or even ask what is going on.
How do you think Shantideva or Geshe Ben Gungyal would have got on in one of our centres? He would have been told hes a trouble maker & asked to leave. The admins would have sat discussing how to make him do voluntary work & attend classes then if he wanted to do his practice in his room he would have been brought to disciplinary meetings & told he needs to stop being so selfish. He would have been forced to 'voluntarily' serve cappuchinos and listen to cheesy pop music.
People move into centres & they are enjoying it. They take part in work, study & prayer. Then suddenly an administrative leader makes a joke to their face one day in front of people about how selfish they are or lazy. This person is shocked and from that day is the start of a downward spiral I have seen happen again & again. Why take a pot shot at a lovely kind & good spirited person like that? A person who has come in good faith thinking that they are amongst good people, a person full of faith & admiration for the admins. Its part of living in a centre to be subject to this sort of character assassination & mistreatment. We all put up with it because we cherish Dharma & we are waiting as residents for these behaviours to reduce & for the residents to start to be treated with respect. Its not self cherishing to respect others, respecting others is the very foundation for successful Buddhism. If the admins show the opposite then people learn from them that its OK undermine people, do things that in normal society are considered outrageously rude, humiliating, embarrassing and even inhumane. Continuing this will destroy everything that people like Yeshe O worked for. How can we accept that? How can we misrepresent Dharma destroying peoples faith in the Sangha & think its no big deal. If something is harming such a beautiful chance it has to be stopped. People have to speak out and ask those misrepresenting to stop doing this.
Geshes las book say all the solutions from how to be polite & respect others to how to not offend conventional society. Treating everyone as an equal. Saying thank you. Saying "if its no trouble". Not admiring miracles but admiring devoted people. How to be thoughtful & considerate. Not gossiping. Not belittling people. What makes a community fail or succeed. The value of listening & considering others feelings. The kindness of others. There is an endless undermining of the kindness of others. People who have given everything all their time, even their life being told that they are bad for not doing centre cherishing. How can it be said they are not doing centre cherishing. What do you think they are doing when they are cleaning, cooking, gardening, studying, attending pujas and have given up all other activities only to be told they need to do more so a scheme to 'cherish the centre' has been added. Not by Geshela. Geshela said it was important to cherish the centre & and that acts of voluntary work are wonderful. THEN the admins changed that to saying that the acts that people are doing are NOT wonderful but are insufficient, that people are lazy & selfish. Is that cherishing the centre? Verbally whipping people & saying that they are not doing centre cherishing. They ARE doing it & have been doing it before these new rotas were ever devised. Geshela was in fact pointing this out & how precious & important these peoples activities are.
The centres have greatly improved over the last 10 years & I wish I could accept the new improved model. The problem I have is that for the majority population the current model wont work & they will come away in huge numbers saying negative things. THAT MUST NOT HAPPEN
Now huge numbers of people are starting to come to centres with these cafes & hotels. If this is not sorted out they too will become a majority who are hiding how they feel. Except this time it will be 10,000 or more people hiding frustration. When those people eventually all start chiming about these problems it will be much bigger voice. And it will be loud enough that wider society will hear it. So why not sort this now whilst most people haven't been subjected to this and don't know these problems exist.
So this is my prayer. For the sake of Yeshe O and all those who died travelling 1000s of years ago to bring these teachings from India to Tibet, those who spend years translating from Sanskrit to Tibetan, those who gave every penny they had to creating good reputable instructions like Marpa did, those who revived the teaching over & over when they had degenerated. Those who sat on thrones begging people to practice the holy Dharma & care for it like a precious jewel year after year century after century. And all those people who haven't yet met NKT who's destiny we can change to a good experience. Let us pray that the admins sit down & figure out how to stop this rude, intrusive & faith destroying behaviour.