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A Message from Geshe Gelek

A Personal Message from Geshe Gelek to Kadampa Members in 1999

In searching for interesting items in our old Prayer Flag newsletters for our 25th Anniversary Gala, June 10, 2017, 
this lovely letter written in 1999 by Geshe Gelek, the year he arrived, was found. 
May it be of benefit as it is as relative now as it was then.

"I wish to strongly urge all Kadampa Center members to consider that we are like a huge family. At the Center, as in a huge family, an atmosphere of love, compassion and understanding towards each other is very important. If there are any gaps in this kind of family connection among Center members, I wish you to re-introduce yourselves to each other, restore any communication which has been lost and become closer. In that way, we can become a strong, large family where we share harmony, compassion, kindness and patience. This will be the basis, the seed, of the Center's future development.

Unlike other institutions where people go for intellectual learning, our Center is a place where the atmosphere must reflect what we practice - compassion, tolerance, being kind to others, love and understanding - all that. Without a word, people entering the Center for the first time should be able to feel that atmosphere. Newcomers should feel this is a Center where people are like a big, happy family in which they receive warmth, feel very welcome, and know they can be part of it. That reflection should be there if we are good practitioners.

As I said, the Center is not an institution where we learn intellectually, or for the sake of academic reasons, but a place where we create community - create and feel it. For that reason, if there have been any misunderstandings, or any unpleasant happenings that have occurred among members, it is now time for all of you to share taking initiatives in eliminating them and to gain momentum towards having a harmonious place.

I have observed that among people gathered in one room there is a habit of keeping a distance among neighbors, among social circles, because of different walks of life or professions. It could be very helpful, if once you are in the Center, you eliminate that habit. There should be no differentiation among you which makes for any separation. You gather in the Center for a common purpose, but there still can be a sense of keeping away from each other. I feel that once you are in the Center, you should forget about that habit and know each other more closely. This could be very, very beneficial.

This kind of improvement of quality of the Center cannot be accomplished by means of money or financial support. It is dependent on each and every individual's action. So this is why I would like to request all of you to keep these things in mind."

~ Translated by Sherab Lama Oct - Dec 1999. Transcribed and edited by Kathy Williams. Typed again by Jill Marie on May 2, 2017