Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I call Patch my Saga Dawa Dog because I adopted him on Saga Dawa Duchen in 2003, amidst a stream of miracles.(Saga Dawa Duchen is a Buddhist holy day that marks the Buddha's enlightenment and parinirvana.)
I had connected to KPC through Ani Pema 6 months before, when my dog Laika was struggling with a horrific, undiagnosable condition. By May, it became apparent that Laika was dying. I’d rescued her from the dog-unfriendly streets of Spain 10 years before. She was my heart and joy, and my sorrow grew daily. Because she was unable to support her own wasting body, I kept her with me and carried her everywhere—to work, to prayer shifts, etc….
We were in the early phases of building the Amitabha Stupa in Sedona, Arizona, under the guidance of stupa expert Tulku Sang Ngag Rinpoche. He was giving a public talk on stupas at Sedona Creative Life Center. Though I had mixed feelings about going, the life of the Buddha taught me I would ultimately be of greater benefit to Laika if I accomplished the Path.
So Laika laid limp and blind in the back seat of my car that evening, as I filled my eyes and ears with Dharma, praying it would benefit her. At the end, Ani Pema came running up and said, “Bring your car to the exit right away. Tulku wants to bless Laika!” She had told Tulku about Laika’s desperate condition. We drove up just as Tulku emerged. I opened the back door of the car, and Tulku gave Laika a very long blessing. Through my tears of joy, I could see Laika do what she had not been able to do for weeks—lift her head towards Tulku, as if she were receiving the blessing. “Look, look at Laika!” Pema said with equal delight.
Two weeks later, with “Invocation” playing in the room, Laika died peacefully in my arms as I tapped the crown of her head. I got a message through to Jetsunma right away. I felt surprisingly joyful. Laika had burned up so much negative karma, and she’d had a good death, with so many blessings. That afternoon, I drove to Sedona for a Shower of Blessings tsog to be with sangha and dedicate merit to Laika. I was winding through Oak Creek Canyon, when all of a sudden I “felt” Laika everywhere, in everything. I don’t know how to describe it. I certainly wasn’t expecting it. It was as if I could feel her joyful presence in every living cell around me, buzzing, sparkling.
Within another 2 weeks on Saga Dawa, I adopted Patch in Prescott, got him acquainted with my foster dog Lucy, and we hurried to KPC. As we arrived, I learned that Jetsunma was teaching. I had never seen her in person before! I tied the dogs on the shaded porch. The place was packed. I wedged myself into the little prayer room for the last 10 minutes. I could see Jetsunma’s right arm and was overjoyed to see my Lama for the first time. The dogs waited quietly outside. Jetsunma stopped abruptly and said, “Someone bring those dogs inside. It’s too hot.” There was no way she could have known there were dogs out there!
I marvel at this string of miracles, and at the miracle Jetsunma displayed for me within minutes of seeing her. I rejoice in Patch’s excellent karma—on his first day as a sangha member, he got to hear his Lama speak.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
United States v. William Cassidy 8:11-cr-00091
Dialogue and critical thinking are valuable gifts we share as sentient beings. Freedom of belief and freedom of expression are valuable rights we cherish in our democracy. Hatred and violent threats, however, are neither valuable nor right. In recent years, Jetsunma and KPC have been threatened repeatedly and made the target of hateful, homophobic and misogynistic epithets. These threats were reported to law enforcement and, following a full investigation conducted by FBI and U.S. Department of Justice, federal criminal charges were filed in the case of United States v. William Cassidy, 8:11-cr-00091 and he has been charged with cyberstalking.
We understand from law enforcement that, as part of that criminal investigation, search warrants were executed upon the residences of both William Cassidy and an individual named Andrew Wilson. KPC has no comment on these matters and possesses no authority over the ultimate outcome of this criminal case. The matter now is up to the courts and our criminal justice system. KPC has cooperated fully with law enforcement requests and will continue to do so.
What matters remain in our hands and in the hands of all responsible, peace-seeking and law abiding citizens is our own behavior. Persons seeking the path of truth do not taunt and seek to hurt others through hateful and demeaning epithets directed at women and sexual orientation. That is not an esoteric concept but common decency. Hatred and fear wear many masks in our world but their true face is eventually revealed. We call upon all to engage in healthy dialogue and critical thinking free of hatred and fear. Love, forgiveness and acceptance are the way of peace and enlightenment.