KPC in our World
KPC has greatly impacted our lives since my partner John and I began engaging in Buddhism in the summer of 1998. We started attending Jetsunma's teachings (a series of videos shown on Sundays) back then as well as a KPC led meditation group called variegated jewels and we were studying and reading transcript summaries of other teachings on tara.org voraciously. When that fateful intersection of "us and the dharma" occured... our lives changed fully, instantly and for the greater good. I believe positive change continues to occur by being a practitioner on the Buddha's path.
Personally, I was not seeking a new "religion". Having read one or two general books on Buddhism back then I did not find it particularly interesting at the time. However, when I found KPC and in particular Jetsunma's teachings... I was absolutely amazed to receive answers to profound questions that I had held since early childhood. At an early age I had dreams and what seemed like "memories" about death that I could not explain and as a child perhaps I was too shy to ask people, but even once I became old enough to experience the loss of loved ones or acquaintances... I discovered that NOBODY talked about death and dying. At least, not anything that came after the EVENT of death. Hearing that you would go to heaven or hell and it was up to someone else never felt like the whole truth to me.
It was the exploration of Vajrayana, the non geographically specific name of "Tibetan" Buddhism, that expanded my understanding of life, death and my perspective not only of family and romantic relationships but the interwoven truth of any person's connection to all other beings in their life, on this planet and throughout worlds both known and unknown. For all the questions that I had about death, the afterlife, the purpose of my current life... I learned that ALL THE ANSWERS were contained within the Buddha's teaching and they now were accessible to me by Jetsunma's sublime instruction and commentary on the path of dharma. It's not like we began attending a new "church" when we visited KPC... we actually found an invitation to universal truth that is available in multiple ways to match the capacity of anyone seeking it. I believe that Buddhism is now very much American thanks largely in part to teachers like Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo and the numerous lamas and visiting instructors from the Palyul lineage that come to give lessons and traditional practice instruction at KPC.
It is important to me that Buddhism really takes root here in America, especially during such challenging times, because it holds answers that many citizens of our culture seek but may not know where or who to ask. People think Buddhism is simply a "religion" and though it maybe fits into that category in this country, it is an engaged path and way of life that has been around for somewhere between 2000-2500 years on this planet. It does so much more than become a place to go on Sundays or holidays. This path gives us access to tools that can allow us to be precisely what we are and that allows other religions to be exactly as they are. It allows for tolerance of differences in opinion because just as gravity affects every being on a planet, not every being on that planet may use the same word for it, have the same understanding of it, or be aware of it at all. But the effects of gravity are impersonal and follow certain principles. The way in which people interact with spirituality and reality is not solely based on what a religion teaches... it is based on their understanding of it, but is absolutely shaped by mind and our perceptions. Understanding something as all pervasive as our own habitual tendencies does so much to empower you to maximize your engagement with your life and your beliefs and your habits... spiritual, material, psychological and otherwise.
I guess there are not perfect words to explain how important my teacher and my temple are to me. KPC was started by Jetsunma, and the spiritual home she has created is open 24 hours a day so that anybody seeking refuge in a profound way can arrive any time, any day, from anywhere and find that it is available to them. You may sit and meditate quietly or come during a teaching or empowerment or engage in a lively debate with someone while hiking in the peace park. Engage as little or as fully as you feel moved to... and stay for a minute or a lifetime. It is here for all of us... it is here for you. It is here for anyone seeking peace and truth, no matter what religion you consider yourself... and it seeks to bring an end to suffering. I hope that during this fundraising event people feel moved to support such a place, which relies on financial donations to keep the power on and the doors open and the programs offered so that it can remain for generations to follow!
Thank you for your generosity and may all those who have hopes of you benefit from your kindness.
My Story with KPC