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Joint Petition to Lama Zopa

I am a bit uncomfortable revealing this email because it was only sent to Gabe — but given that there is nothing really private or sensitive and seeing the disdain shown towards any form of negotiation, let alone accommodation, I think that revealing it is more important than my shame.

This email was triggered by the EC’s flourish with the upcoming AGM; not really a gesture of accommodation but because it is a statutory requirement, anyway. By law, the AGM must be held within 5 months of the end of last year.

However, I have long been uncomfortable with the idea of holding a public vote where one member votes against another member. It is obvious that I am not the only one who avoids this kind of political adversaries scenario; no one at TI wants that. Well, maybe not no one…

Gabe made it clear that the EC sees that discomfort as an advantage in their quest to “win”, as they termed it in their recent announcement.

I had hoped that petitioning Lama Zopa Rinpoche would be a good face-saving way to heal the current wounds but, no, Gabe was having none of it. She was adamant that the EC had a plan and they wanted no form of Petition going to Lama Zopa.

Hey Gabe,
This is a private email sent only to you. Can I please ask you to read it as if I was your friend and not your enemy — and I hope you will take that sentence without any “flavour”.
Three months is crazy. I’m sure you will agree that this situation has already gone on too long and it is way past the time for fixing it. Geshe Doga and Lama Zopa seem to be keeping themselves out of the picture, so I think we in the community have to find a way to dig ourselves out of the hole we are in. And to do it in such a way as to leave no winners or losers. We have to do it together.
You and I have been the 2 people who have probably invested the most serious time into building TI — 30 odd years each, and I mean odd. So I think we have to be the ones to break the logjam and bring this all together. Can you think of anyone else?
I was thinking about all the time Lama and Rinpoche put into coming to Melbourne almost every year in the 70s and 80s, teaching to hundreds and hundreds of people, Malvern Town Hall, Camberwell Civic Centre, Melbourne Uni, South Yarra Library and so on. Can’t even remember who did all that organising, Dorian? You getting busted by Lama around the showers at Diamond Valley, breaking down for a ciggie at Dromana — shit times.
Your AGM email prompted this email. For two months I have poured cold water on people who have wanted a Special General Meeting to bring everything to a head and I have the same objection to an AGM as being a suitable forum for sorting everything out. These are essentially political solutions that involve putting up Dharma friends against each other and then asking their Dharma friends to choose between them. First of all, I don’t think it will happen, but if it did it would be devastating on the community when everyone sees what “side” other people chose. I am really afraid of the damage and hurt that comes when such choices are made in public.
And worse than that, how does it solve the problem? The outcomes can be looked at beforehand in our mind; there are only 3 ways it can go:
  • the current EC is elected
The situation is exactly as it is now, a stand-off waiting for LZR to pull a rabbit out of the hat and find someone acceptable to the current EC — or risk the FPMT dissolving the Affiliate Agreement and winding up TI as it is clearly stated in the Agreement. Shit we don’t want that.
  • a new EC is elected
They inherit an utterly divided community, some offended along with those who were outvoted by their friends and others feeling superior to their outvoted friends. I don’t want that. And they still have to find a new CD.
  • a mixture of old and new
How do you see the vibe of that group? I can’t see Nelson Madella uniting that group.
I’d like to propose something quite different. Let’s together write a petition to Rinpoche telling him that we have dug ourselves into a hole and that we don’t know how to get out of it. That TI is firmly in the FPMT, he is our Spiritual Director and we are humbly asking for his advice and guidance. How can we resolve the situation and what practices can we do or get done at Sera and or Kopan? Please help us.
Ideally we should write it together but it needs to be asking for his help and guidance in such a way that absolutely anyone can sign it without risking taking sides. I strongly believe that a non-biased petition like that coming from the whole community with signatures from Geshela, the EC, Gil, Allan, Frank and me and everyone who wants to sign it, really has a chance to bring us together and send a positive message of unity to the whole of the FPMT.
Please say Yes.