(I wrote this just after I passed the exam for getting into the State Department in August 2010)
Much has happened. First, I passed the OA with a very high score, so it is essentially certain that I will get the diplomat job. I made billions of requests to Dorje Shugden, so there is no scope for thinking anything other than this is what he has arranged for me. He has taken care of my career wise my whole life. In the end, my motivation for becoming a diplomat is manyfold:
- I wish to be able to provide for my family. This is part of my karmic circumstance and responsibility, and it is not a problem. It is easy to grasp at it as if it is a problem because we judge ourselves against those who are able to dedicate their lives to causing the Dharma to flourish (direct Dharma activities). But these are not my conditions and this is not a problem. We need people gaining realizations of all sorts of different lives, not just Eupames. Living up to my traditional responsibilities is part of my path that has been given to me by Dorje Shugden.
- A Kadampa Spiritual Guide is, in effect, the Ambassador of all the Buddhas in this world. The goal of a diplomatic career is to produce the result of an Ambassador. Within the Foreign Service, rank is embedded in the person as they acquire the skills and competencies of a higher and higher ranked diplomat, culminating in being an Amassador. I wish to gain all the skills and qualities of a good Ambassador so that I may later use them an employ them in the service of flourishing the Dharma. Bodhichitta, at its most practical, is the wish to improve oneself so as to be able to better serve others. A career in the foreign service will enable me to do exactly that. These skills and qualities will become part of me as a person, not just knowledge I possess that I will lose when I die. My focus throughout my career should be on skill building. I need to strive to do my job with a higher and higher degree of quality, understanding that I need to develop these skills so that they stay within me in all of my future lives as tools which enable me to be a more qualified Kadampa Spiritual Guide. In other words, the skills and qualities of an Ambassador are components of the skills and qualities of a Kadampa Spiritual Guide, and I have been given this job to learn these skills. If I learn these skills with this intention, then they will ripen in this way.
- Along the same lines, Bjorn had a Chosang (a dedicated and effective helper) because he had done the same for others in the past. So I need to learn to become a model helper/employee for those I work for to create the karma to have model helpers/employees when I strive to flourish the Dharma – just like Bjorn. Specifically, I need to learn to work to fulfill the wishes and objectives of my superiors. I need to help them complete their goals and objectives. I need to be loyal to them without getting drawn into clan-like conflict with other groups. I need to learn how to let go and be happy for the Foreign Service to determine my next assignment. Ordained RTs submit themselves to the wisdom and decisions of VGL when it comes to where they are posted, trusting that this is what is best for their practice. I need to have a similar mindset, viewing the HR people as Dorje Shugden! There are many other ideas along these lines which I will have to learn.
- My hope is when I retire, I can then do long retreat, and especially focus on writing my own commentaries to VGL’s teachings. The commentaries will be my sharing of what I have learned and understand of the Dharma he has taught, not an attempt at providing definitive Dharma. He has given us the definitive Dharma, but it is still useful to have different commentaries to these teachings. I likewise want to write the Kadampa Quest books. And throughout my career and my being a parent, I also wish to maintain my blog/journal. Perhaps at some point I will go public with it, but in the meantime, I write it. This too can also later become books. Perhaps I will have a website where I make all of this freely available to others. These are things which still need to be resolved.
While I may not have conditions that enable me to be near the NKT in terms of my activity, my commitment to practicing Dharma remains the same. When I met with Olivier and Flavia a few summers ago, I had in my gut a feeling that this would happen, and that it would be sometime in my mid 50s when I reintersect with them in terms of being able to teach and spread the Dharma directly again. We will see.