September 16, 2008

Dorje Shugden: Deity or Demon?

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a lot of activity on this blog and elsewhere around the Buddhist web relating to the Dorje Shugden controversy. While we take no position on this rather arcane sectarian dispute, we have covered it in the past. In order to shed some light on the controversy, we reproduce here the opening two pages of a special section from the Spring 1998 issue with links to the section's contents, including interviews with Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, leader of the New Kadampa Tradition, and Thubten Jigme Norbu, the recently deceased brother of the Dalai Lama. Click on the images below to see larger versions of the opening spread, and the links below that to read the articles themselves. - The Editors

Dorje Shugden page 1 Dorje Shugden page 2


[UPDATE: Thanks to Danny Fisher for pointing out the Wikipedia link on the controversy above.]

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Tenzin's picture

Hi Tenzin Peljor (again!),

You said: "The WSS is presenting only one side of the story"

But you are presenting one side of the story too and until a few months ago this was the only side people were hearing. People can read both and make up their own minds. The only reason I blog about these subjects is to help people who are being persecuted and ostracized in India, who have no voice because the Dalai Lama is the one who is persecuting them, with the help of the repressive TGIE. I don't know why you do all this blogging for I'm sure the Dalai Lama can stick up for himself, he is the one who has all the power.

"I do not support the trial to point out HHDL as the sole cause of the problems"

Why not? Why should the Dalai Lama be above the law? If he is innocent, he has nothing to fear from going to court.

"as GKG tells his followers repeatedly while implying indirectly he would be Je Tsongkhapa or “more pure”."

GKG himself rarely talks about the subject. And I have never ever, in decades, heard him say he would be Je Tsongkhapa or more pure. This is just spin you keep repeating to try and turn people against him.

"In my eyes and the eyes of other former NKT members, NKT/GKG just abuses this topic for the sake to cover up the own scandals within NKT."

Well, those are your eyes. I don't see the world the same way as you do. Don't you think it would be a rather preposterous way to go about drawing less attention to yourself though?!

"There is no good motivation behind these actions, they are just based on selfish delusion and hostility towards the Dalai Lama."

And I suppose that statement about Geshe Kelsang, along with hundreds of others you have made, are not based on selfish delusion or hostility? Examine your own motivation. Let Geshe Kelsang examine his.

"NKT should help the own members to make their mind free and to live according to Buddhism."

I agree, and that is exactly what the teachers and study programs are aimed toward -- to help people find inner peace and mental freedom and live in accordance with the beautiful teachings of Buddha.

"Of course WSS or Kundeling were again successful to present their “facts” to Al Jazeera or France 24 TV."

To remind you again, WSS and Kundeling are not in cahoots, they are acting separately. And the WSS had nothing to do with either documentary and were not interviewed.

"Serious press, like BBC they could not convince."

Pretty racist, don't you think. Al Jazeera is also serious press. 40 million viewers in the Arab world.

"Many radical Shugden followers never tell the other side of the story e.g. that this Swiss TV contribution has raised itself a controversy in Swiss .."

The thing about the Swiss documentary that is powerful is the actual footage of people talking about what they had been through. It's actually heart-breaking.

"This situation will change, I hope it changes into a good direction which is of benefit to all."

Me too. It looks like more people are understanding now that there is a genuine problem. The best way to end that problem would simply be for the Dalai Lama to lift the ban, stop the persecution, and let everyone practice their religion in peace. Ideally, before he has destroyed his own reputation irreparably.

Lineageholder's picture


1. Highly realized beings don't break samaya, that's how I know he didn't. How do I know he is highly realized? Because he's the incarnation of Panchen Sonam Dragpa. How do I know that? Because other highly realized beings such as Panchen Losang Chogyan, Ling Rinpoche's previous incarnation and Trijang Rinpoche have all said so.

2. Ditto, it's impossible for a highly realized being to be born as a gyalpo spirit - that's how I know that claim is false.

3. The fact that you claim that Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen's incarnation was seen as a harmful spirit from the beginning is false. You need to read the Dorje Shugden History site to see that he was worshipped as a Buddha by a succession of Sakya and Gelugpa Lamas from the very beginning.

Read the history and see the facts.

Dorje's picture

Yeah right. I don't stand in the street shouting "Lineageholder, stop lying" waving my little placard, though I probably should.

To see the extreme fanaticism of the NKT cult please watch the BBC documentary “An Unholy Row” found on the following website:

Rodney Billman's picture

"No mention of Phabongkhapa? So how does this address my point that Phabongkhapa politicised this gyalpo worship? I don’t get what you’re trying to say. As with your other references to other lamas that are not Phabongkhapa, this has no bearing on my point."

It shows that Shugden was already spread through Amdo and Mongolia before Pabongkha, and as the titles of the texts therein already shows Shugden was promoted as Protector of the Gelug before Pabongkha. For example, the Eight Kirti Rinpoche's initiaiton into Protector of Manjunatha. Pabongkha already had precedent for his actions.

"Actually the reverse is true and Phabongkhapa’s exception is really a licence for people to take refuge in any kind of worldly protector just because they claim they are the emanation of some deity or other."

1. We're back to the straw man argument about refuge from earlier, there are two clearly distinct points here. One is claiming Shugden is an emanation of an enlightened being and one is about taking refuge. The former does not entail the latter. As mentioned the Sakya Throne Holders mentioned Shugden was an emanation of Chenrezig but their rituals don't take refuge in Shugden. The 2nd Retreng Rinpoche mentions Shugden is an emanation of Vajrapani but his ritual does not take refuge in Shugden. Pabongkha and Dagpo Kalsang Khedrup say Shugden is an emanation of wrathful manjushri but there is no taking refuge in Shugden in their rituals. Even in NKT's rituals I see no taking refuge in Shugden in the formal sense.

So clearly Pabongkha's argument about taking refuge was clearly exception to his normally disseminated mode of practice, and only told in a letter to a particular Rinpoche. Even I never take refuge in Shugden, yet I would call myself a Shugden practictioner and I see no fault in Pabongkha's advice but I wouldn't consider my view advanced enough. Actually this so-called license was dug up by critics on e-sangha, otherwise it would have stayed undisseminated in the annals of Pabongkha's collected works. So ironically indirectly it would appear your party's criticisms are actually promoting Shugden.

2. Another point is we're not talking about "pure view" when stating Shugden is an emanation. You say "any kind of worldly protector", but clearly Trijang Rinpoche mentions there is a difference between Shugden, Pehar, Dorje Legpa and the other protectors like Ode Gungyal, ones who were born from contaminated karma. There's a difference between pure view and recognizing dependent origination. Dependent origination is the key doctrine of the Gelug, which in context of Trijang's position that these protectors were have taken a worldly aspect as an emanation, not from throwing karma.

Of course, you're free disagree and state Shugden is an ordinary Gyalpo that did take rebirth from throwing karma. But it's your word against a number of earlier lamas, as I mentioned a few earlier.

Dorje's picture

This is related to the “mythology” of Sri Langka, where Avalokiteshvara has a special, historical connection even despite the fact it follows the Theravada tradition.
Avalokiteshvara, along with Tara, was quite popular in Sri Langka during the same time that Buddhism was being exported to Tibet, as evidenced by the rather exquisite Tara statue in the British Museum and another of Avalokiteshvara in Colombo.

SeekingClarity's picture

Dear all

I and others have argued that

(1) GKG is wrong in his claim about Dhongthog's writing

(2) GKG's statements on the Yellow Book are not tenable

(3) GKG and supporters have never referenced their statement about Morchen...which suggests it is most likely incorrect.

Furthermore, I and others have argued that GKG is at odds with his root guru and/or his root guru's root guru with regard to

(1) whether DS has in the past killed mixers

(2) whether other schools have complete paths

(3) the appearance of DS

However, it is important to note that none of this speaks to the question of whether DS is a wordly spirit or a Buddha. It simply illustrates that GKG's word cannot necessarily be taken as gospel on these matters and that lineage gurus seemingly diverge significantly on important issues.

So what are the arguments against DS being a Buddha. I put forward three.

(1) The case for DS being a Buddha rests on the reincarnation lineage as set out by Trijang in MDOP and this lineage is simply not tenable.

(2) DS is not mentioned in either in sutra nor tanta whereas all supramundane protectors propitiated in Tibet are. This argument has been made by Namdrol on, for example, the Dirty Laundry thread. In #493 Namdrol says

I frankly do not know of a single so called Dharmapala (defined as a being who is explicitly on the bodhisattva stages) who does not also appear in a tantra. But there are many lokapalas who are not mentioned outright in tantras.

(3) The DS practice has no clearly defined practice lineage (as opposed to reincarnation lineage). In Quick Path GKG lists the full practice lineage of Vajrayogini from Naropa through to the present day. Apparently (so Namdrol says) such practice lineages also exist for supramundane Protector practices. However, there is no such lineage for DS practice. Who was the first practitioner, who did he/she pass it on to etc etc

Hopefully this moves the debate on.

Dorje's picture

Could we also conclude that, as Kelsang Gyatso knew nothing of the sexual abuse that was being perpetrated by his 'heart-sons' and is therefore not an enlightened being, or even particularly astute, the synthesis of his 'new tradition' is also invalid?

Lineageholder's picture

Dear Dorje

You said

Other than the forced conversion of Nyingma gompas in Kham, I also mentioned the recent intervention of Lama Gangchen, who forced minks at Gangchen Gompa to worship his protector and had those that refused arrested by the Chinese security services. Besides this, we can see the implied death threats made to Gelugpas that chose to take teachings from other traditions is another aspect of the sectarianism that is integral to this protector worship.

Is this the best you can do? Of all the thousands and thousands (some say millions!) of Dorje Shugden practitioners, this is all you've got to support your claim that Dorje Shugden practice is sectarian?

Regarding your last point - if it were true (and it's not) that Dorje Shugden kills everyone who chooses to take teachings from other traditions no one would practice it. Who in their right mind would? Who is going to say "oh, I think I need a very dangerous spiritual practice that might result in my death 'cos I think I want to mix traditions"

No one is putting a gun to anyone's head and saying "you must worship Shugden, but if you step out of line, he'll kill you" but the Dalai Lama has effectively put a gun to people's heads to make them stop practising this Deity. He's done worse - he's made them break their spiritual commitments which will harm them for countless lifetimes, which is a worse crime than murder for those who understand actions and their effects.

This 'sectarianism' is all nonsense created by the Dalai Lama and blindly repeated by his followers. In ancient India there was a sect called the Charavakas who believed that, basically, what you can't see doesn't exist and so they denied karma, past and future lives, enlightened beings and so forth. The founder of this tradition wrote a long text of a hundred thousand lines to justify this 'philosophy' but he did this only to justify his own non-virtuous lifestyle. Similarly, the Dalai Lama cries 'sectarian' with respect to Dorje Shugden and all this writing on the internet is to justify his philosophy but there's no evidence. It's just a smokescreen for the Dalai Lama's political activity based on wrong views. It's just as Helmut Gassner says:

When during an anti-Dorje Shugden information meeting in Switzerland the Dalai Lama's Private Secretary sketched the picture of three hundred years of trouble with these Dorje Shugden people, someone asked him to mention some of the incidents that had occurred during this time. He was unable to come up with even one.

You've come up with two, congratulations! If we accepted that what you said was true, that's two out of tens of thousands of practitioners but I doubt that what you say is true. If it were true and widely accepted as you say, why didn't the Dalai Lama's secretary mention Je Pabongkhapa's actions?

Let me give you an analogy to show how ridiculous the Dalai Lama's position is. If there was a community of tens of thousands of people called 'ithquas' and two of the Ithquas were rumoured to have stolen some goods, even if it were true, would it be right to say ' all ithquas are thieves'? Of course not. Would it be right to ban all Ithquas from entering shops? No, of course not. But we see a very similar situation happening in India at this present time.

There is no way the Dalai Lama can justify his claim that Dorje Shugden is sectarian - it's hogwash, a smokescreen for the Dalai Lama's political action of weakening the Gelugpa tradition so that he can control it, his policy of divide and rule, nothing more.

harry is a gandul's picture

Hello Tenzin,

"Can you proof your claim that “in fact, they are used by an number of Tibetan teachers.”? I never met one. The knowledge of Tibetan teachers is far more broad, deep and vast than what GKG offers. I wonder who may use his books? I never heard even an account of such an instance."

I have met a Geshe (Lharampa) who said that in his monastery KG's books were studied. This was about 4 years ago when i lived in Keajraland Retreat Centre in Granada, Spain. He had been invited by a non-NKT group to give teachings nearby, and he payed Keajraland a visit. He highly praised KG's books and said he believed KG to be a manifestation of Je Tsongkhapa.

Unfortunately I cannot name him, as he asked us to please keep his visit quiet.

I have tried to retell this account roughly as i remember it. I cannot remember the Geshe's exact words so i hope that you can simply trust me on this. I believe this was the meaning of his words. Of course, the old resident teacher (who was there) may be able to provide a more accurate account, if mine is deemed untrustworthy.

Friendoftruth's picture

Words and more words to defend a religious and civic persecution. I wonder who or what makes you so fanatic, guys. Because on the "Shugden" side are the persecuted. So, that they defend their lineage, their beliefs, those who suffer in harsher ways the tyranny from Dharamsala, it's understandable. Even the DL's terrible actions I am willing to trace to obvious things ... his difficult young years, the extraordinary influence of oracles and bad advisors, the suffering of exile, the debts he has with certain government ... But his followers? Mainly his Western followers, how can they back up a persecution? Why this sad perseverance? What is the gain in persecuting others?
May be you really are fanaticized by a cult figure and you have to defend it, lest you loose your identity. What a picnic for Dr. Sigmund you would be! Calling the Protector's people the "Shugden cult" ... what a case of projection!

By the way, I just received a couple of news from Southern India. Probably the WSS and the CRS are going to post them, but for those charitable ones that read this blog, let me transcribe them.
"November 7, 2008,
A meeting was held in Gaden Lachi. They have discussed about the dispensary run by Shartse monastery. “The dispensary has relationship with dholgyal organization. Some Shugden monks come to the dispensary. Therefore, the dispensary must post a letter on its door, announcing that Shugden devotees are not allowed in the dispensary."

November 11, 2008, Shartse monastery convened a meeting. It was attended by abbot, disiplinarain, chanting master, and so on. The Chanting master Tenzin Namdak reportedly said:
“Some Shugden devotees and non shugden devotees are friendly like before they were separated. They ride motorcycle and jeep together. We should stop this friendship and company between monks from Shar Gaden monastery and Gaden Shartse monastery.”

To split the Sangha ... now, this is a bitter fruit.

So by all means, go on with the utterance of words upon words upon words. You need to hide such sad events from public scrutiny, no doubt, and mainly from the scrutiny of your own hearts. What a difficult judge to face, your own mind. Yeah, I understand that you cover the web with words, and your own ears with words. To face this truth ... aïe!


Gyalpo's picture

dougal: It seems you are the monkey in Yama Raja's court who weighs the black pebbles versus the white pebbles with a scale. That's a good job until your own personal account comes due, at which time they find another monkey.

Ron's picture

Response facilities to any NKT/WSS websites is in all cases notably absent. As well, a total obscuration of authors identity is proof that divergent viewpoints are not tolerated by the cult extremists. Their own chat forum header discourages personal attacks and general negative acrimony but it is not enforced unless it is a criticism of the hat people– anything goes inside. That is why it resembles pornography, the illicit thrill of the right wing extremist dictating to us the 'way it is'
Meanwhile someone, perhaps a Chinese agent, perhaps an NKT zealot actually posted YouTube videos of Nazi human rights atrocities along with their usual WSS/NKT propaganda on Phayul for the benefit of Tibetans. One really must ask who is the abusive fascist here? The allusions to Jefferson and so forth are empty bluster, NKT/WSS is in effect a cyber-terrorist outfit with an extreme right wing ideology.

Lineageholder's picture

To see how much and how often you write to condemn holy spiritual masters and practices, I can see you are fanatics.

Your fanaticism is scary and your wrong views a symptom of these degenerate times. I think it's best left there.

Dorje's picture

If they are the essence of the gelong how are they not gelong? Can we forget titles, fully ordained, novice, etc, for a moment and try to understand if the NKT ordination really differs that much from what Buddha intended for ordained practitioners?Different levels of vows all have the same essence, renunciation of samsara and taking refuge in the Three Jewels. This is true of one day precepts, pancha shila, brahmacharya upasika vows, all the way up to Bhikshu and Bhikshuni. It doesn't mean they all wear the robes of a fully ordained member of the monastic sangha.
Is the heart sutra not valid because it is a condensation (or the essence) of the perfection of wisdom in 8000 lines sutra? Is someone who practices the teachings of the latter less qualified than someone who practices those of the former?Please try not to be fatuous.
Also it is not just these 5 vows that you mention. The following are also part:
1. little desire
2. contentment
3. no distracting activities
4. pure moral discipline
5. no distracting conceptions
These are not listed as vows, more aspirations, as far as I understand it. In any case, all Buddhists should try to observe these, lay or ordained.
Yeah Dorje this sounds terrible. I dare not think of the consequences this may have on your mental continuum.
The negative consequences come to those that receive offerings and honour for holding the vows whilst not holding the vows. This is a very serious fault.

Harry, this discussion is daft. We know what fully ordained members of the monastic sangha are. They are the people that hold the vows for the fully ordained monastic sangha. If people don't want to or can't hold these vows, they don't have to. Nor should they dress up as people that are.

If monasticism is really inappropriate for the west, don't do it. If getting a job is necessary for people to survive, as LH argued earlier, why bother with dressing up? If NKT monks and nuns are so attached to their robes, why do they change out of them when attending the jobcentre to sign on when dishonestly saying they are 'actively seeking work'?

The whole thing's a mess, Harry. But that doesn't change the fact that a genyen is someone that holds genyen vows, a getsul is someone that holds getsul vows and a gelong is someone that holds gelong vows. It really is this simple.

If your point is that people holding less vows should still be entitled to dress up as monastics (and I can't really think of any other point to what you are arguing) fair enough, but it is still little more than dressing up.

emptymountains's picture

Dear Dorje,

Your narrow definition of sectarianism allows for the rejection of many syntheses in Tibetan religion, such as Shije and even Kadam, neither of whom have large monastic institutions.

Please, don’t spin the facts. Once again, you are putting someone else’s words (i.e., Samuel’s) in my mouth. You wanted me to look at this book, and then you criticize me for quoting was it says?

Define tradition and then we can discuss if Rime is one or not.

Actually, at this point I would appreciate if you could just suggest to me a published work on the subject. Ringu Tulku was not acceptable to you, and the Samuel reference you cited didn’t work out for you either.


SeekingClarity's picture


It's been a pleasure. I've found your posts both extremely informative and extremely well written. Shame you're not sticking around, though I can understand why.


Dorje's picture

Removing all the “foreign” elements would be sectarianism, especially since they were introduced by enlightened beings (the only ones who can synthesize new traditions, since only they have both the correct motivation and discriminating wisdom to do so).
Phabongkhapa wrote the life entrustment for your protector and made it central to the Gelug tradition, but rather than Phabongkhapa being an 'enlightened being', we can see that he was actually a man burning with sectarian hatred and violence towards followers of other traditions, whio he condemned to be sent to Avichi hell. So, from what you have said, can we conclude that the 'new tradition' that Phabongkhapa synthesised is invalid?

Dorje's picture

"And all this simply because I happen to refer to Manjushri by the name Dorje Shugden who you believe is a spirit?

Where’s the cause and effect in that?"

If someone stands in the street and calls out for a really good person, hoping to invite that really virtuous person to them to have a chat and a cup of tea but instead of using that person's name calls out the name of a murderer, would you be surprised if the murderer thought that person was calling them?

Names are believed to have special significance, especially in the practice of sectret mantra. What you call out for may have little to do with what you expect. You are, after all, calling out for a sentient being. Why wouldn't it answer? Where's the cause and effect in that?

Your question suggests a greater problem. You seem to be disregarding the teachings about this protector given by the lamas of its lineage. Phabongkhapa and his followers taught that this protector kills sentient beings. If you reject what they said about this protector, why would you continue to worship this protector and claim its validity based on the lamas whose teaching you reject?

Lineageholder's picture

Dear TP,

If the Gelugpa teachers you are talking about don't regard Geshe Kelsang as a reliable Teacher, why would they let their students use his books? What you say doesn't make any sense.

All this stuff about 'brainwashing' is rubbish. People have freedom to study or not to study Geshe Kelsang's books but to claim that people get 'brainwashed'? It sounds irrational. I've got complete choice over what I read and I live in an NKT Center. I choose Geshe Kelsang's books because they are deep, clear and practical. You saying that Geshe Kelsang's presentation of Dharma is superficial reminds me of Gelugpa 'scholars' who used to look down on those who practised lamrim, thinking that it was 'Dharma for simpletons'

There is nothing deeper and more profound than lamrim. A word of warning to the scholars: don't look down on the Three Principal Aspects of the Path in favour of studying 'Commentary to Valid Cognition' or Abhisamayalamkara because it won't do you any good at all. Dharma is about changing your mind, not intellectual knowledge.

Okay, so here we are again: what depths and vastness of Buddhism does Geshe Kelsang's presentation miss out? Give me some practical examples and explain how that knowledge is needed to attain enlightenment.

namkhah's picture

Marsden: Wow, Nazi aspersions in the first sentence, and downhill for the rest of your unreferenced opine. Your argument is spurious: it was indeed the deb serpo which claimed several Gelugpas died sudden deaths for the misdemeanor of what NKT calls 'mixing' (apparently even dear old Ling Rinpoche was apprehensive about this rumor), so you just shot yourself in the foot, metaphorically speaking. How is that an argument in your favour? Talking of the insubstantiality of mental events, you god is also a mere figment of your imagination, unless of course you are not a Buddhist whatsoever but rather eternalist theists or alternately nihilists which is ostensibly the case with NKT.
Finally, no hard evidence is found in a book if you can't read the language, that much is correct.

dougal's picture

on the other hand:

"The Dalai Lama has donated tens of thousands of pounds to charity after unexpectedly making a huge profit from his recent visit to Nottingham." BBC, 9th October 2008

i'll try to answer your questions:

1 - that's great, and i applaud it;
2 - NKT/WSS/other Shugden organisations also benefit others, but they do so solely through the promotion of religion, namely the Kadampa Buddhism of Atisha and Je Tsongkapa as passed down through Je Phabongkhapa, Trijang Rinpoche and others - they do not usually make similar donations to secular organisations;
3 - in common with many Shugden practitioners, i have made and do make personal donations to secular charities from time to time;
4 - no, i don't know the Dalai Lama or TGIE's motivation for making these public donations at this critical time right before his appearance in court - my good siode wants to give him the benefit of the doubt, however;
5 - doing a bad thing doesn't make one incapable of ever doing a good thing, and vice versa - making a donation to charity doesn't make banning a spiritual tradition and splitting a community ok;
6 - no, i don't really think it's relevant here, but i wanted to post this just so i can refer back to it and not have to type all this out 84 times for each one of you.

i hope that covers it. any questions, please see above.

Dorje's picture

1. How exactly do you know he didn't break his samaya. This is more a statement of faith than of knowledge. The rivalry between him and the supporters of the Fifth Dalai Lama certainly did create lots of problems. It led to the death of at least one of the antagonists.

2. Where is your proof that he was highly realized? It is certainly the case that the spirit that arose following the death of Dragpa Gyaltsen was seen as a gyalpo spirit by all that dealt with it at that time, both Sakya and Gelug. Your argument may sound rational to you, but it sounds a lot like blind faith and superstition to me.

3. The gyalpo stuff is not subsequent to these events, it was intrinsic to these events. A high lama died a violent death and then a gyalpo spirit started acting up. Maybe the two events were unrelated, but that would mean this gyalpo spirit was not the reborn lama and your whole 'incarnation lineage' goes down the toilet. Where ever Dragpa Gyaltsen ended up, there is no doubt that this spirit has been seen as a harmful gyalpo spirit from the start. The idea that it is actually a Buddha is modern Gelug revisionism motivated by violent sectarianism.

Sorry if you don't like the truth, but there it is.

Dorje's picture

To see more examples of the intolerant exclusivism and sectarianism found in the NKT cult please watch the BBC documentary “An Unholy Row” found on the following website:

harry (gandul)'s picture

"and how would not wearing robes, not shaving the head or not having a foreign name put our spiritual development at risk? There have been many great practitioners who were laymen. You don’t need monasticism to attain realisation, and if you can’t hold the vows or don’t wish to, there is no shame in it. The shame comes when you dress as one holding the vows but fail to do so."

Some people have needed monasticism to attain realizations. Or at least monasticism has been needed in order for the wheel of Dharma to be carried on turning. If not why did Buddha set up the monastic Sangha?

KG thinks the tradition of JT still needs ordination. So he has made ordination accessible to westerners.

And it's not about not being able to hold up vows. It's about integration of Dharma in accordance with the times and needs of culture.

Some of my favourite advice from KG is "you don't need to abandon your jobs and families to practice Dharma, all you need to do is change your intention".

With ordination his approach is i think the same. You don't need to live like a monk would live 2600 years ago in India, but you will practice the essence of what they practiced, which is what you need to attain tranquil abiding.

In the same way a layman may attain tranquil abiding without following a vow which says i mustn't eat to fast or to slow, why can't a fully ordained monk not do the same. It is indeed about essence.

SeekingClarity's picture

Hi Rodney

Thanks for #1683 and #1684. Very interesting. You say that to get to the bottom of Morchen's view would require further investigation, but from what you've done so far, is it your view that Morchen regarded DS as enlightened rather than worldly? Does the verse you quote (below) suggest that this was his view?

Although having found the pure nature Dharmakaya,
By the power of compassion emanating a form,
[I] entrust you for the sake of performing
All three times’ bodhisattvas’ countless activities.

I know DS is represented in five forms. Is it a common practice with (Tibetan) Buddhism to represent certain beings in five forms? And does the fact that a being is so represented say anything about how the person so representing views that being's status (mudane v supramundane)?

You say the four other forms of DS represent the four tantric activities. Does the fact that that they represent tantra suggest a supramundane status?

Your essay sounds interesting. When (and where) do you hope to publish?

Dorje's picture

As I said, both the Dalai Lama and Phabongkhapa say this protector kills beings. If you agree that beings deserve to be killed, you follow Phabongkhapa and worship this protector.

If you think sentient beings do not deserve to be killed, you follow the Dalai Lama (and many lamas before him) and reject this protector.

This is the bottom line. This is the dispute. There is no other question to be discussed here.

Dorje's picture

The problem em has is rather like modern members of the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK has a history of racial hatred and violence, from lynchings to church burnings, etc. Now, the modern KKK are saying that they are not racist but they think the races should remain separate and each should celebrate their own particular qualities.

In the same way, Phabongkhapa expressed violent hatred toward other traditions and forced the conversions of their monasteries where he could. Now his followers are saying they are not sectarian but that each tradition should remain separate and celebrate their unique qualities.

Sorry, Kelsang Gyatso, as you are a proven liar, I do not believe you or any naive member of your cult you send on here.

Dorje's picture

"Dorje Shugden practitioners in general, and in particular the great Je Pabongkhapa have been accused of sectarianism. The statements that Je Pabongkhapa were made in private letters."

He referred to other traditions as "faulty, dangerous and misleading paths" and "mistakes among mistakes" in his commentary to the life entrustment ritual that he composed for his protector. That he made the other sectarian statements, that other traditions lead to vajra hell, for example, in private does not diminish the fact that these were his beliefs. They were made public by Trijang Rinpoche, who compiled Phabongkhapa's collected works and published them as the Sung Bum Dechen Nyingpo.

"I challenged Dorje a few posts ago to give some modern day examples of the sectarianism of Dorje Shugden practitioners and he failed to do so. Every time he levels an accusation of sectarianism it’s against Pabongkha and his opposition to certain Nyingma monasteries. Even if that were true, it’s no reason to ban a centuries old spiritual practice, arguing that ‘Dorje Shugden practice is inherently sectarian’ because there are no other examples he can give."

Other than the forced conversion of Nyingma gompas in Kham, I also mentioned the recent intervention of Lama Gangchen, who forced minks at Gangchen Gompa to worship his protector and had those that refused arrested by the Chinese security services. Besides this, we can see the implied death threats made to Gelugpas that chose to take teachings from other traditions is another aspect of the sectarianism that is integral to this protector worship.

This practice in the form promulgated by Phabongkhapa is not centuries old. It is only one century, if that. Phabongkhapa used it as a vehicle to spread his own form of sectarianism. He is the root of this and his actions are the reason why it is not a valid practice.

As T.G. Dhongthog Rinpoche, who Kelsang Gyatso falsely claimed was a supporter of this protector, said in his Earth Shaking Thunder of True Word,

"In reading my previous refutations some may have thought that my ridicule of Phawong Khapa’s ideology (and others’) was not relevant to the subject since those works were purported to be refutations of Dzeme. So it must be pointed out that it was Phawong Khapa who founded the doctrine that elevates Dolgyal to king of guardians of the Ganden tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Furthermore, it was also Phawong Khapa who defined Shugden’s specific role as the one who punishes those Gandenpas who develop faith in the Nyingma (ancient) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Dzeme was merely following this doctrine.

"According to the Buddhist epistemological tradition epitomized by the great logicians, Dignaga and Dharmakirti, in order to establish the Buddha Dharma as perfect, it is necessary to first establish its founder as perfect. In the same way, in order to reveal the imperfection of the doctrine of Dolgyal as a transworldly protector, it is necessary to first establish the imperfection of that doctrine’s founder."

Tenzin Peljor's picture

"Furthermore, such criticism is unique to you. I haven’t seen anyone else who has knowledge and experience of Dharma criticizing Geshe Kelsang’s books - in fact, they are used by an number of Tibetan teachers."

Yes, the first point is true. It looks like I am the only one who criticizes some of GKG's books or who found a fault like that with the Bodhisattva vow.

I met two Gelug teachers who see no problem for their students to use them. But both never were a part of NKT and know how this set of teachings is functioning for the mind and how the mind is more and more bound to NKT/GKG and more and more separated from the Gelug school and Tibetan Buddhism or how they increase sectarianism and pride.

Although these two Gelug teachers do not perceive GKG as a reliable teacher, they said their students can use his texts. I have my doubts with this approach, because as shown, his views are well expressed in his books and the setting of NKT and the books of GKG function - according to my own experience and investigation, also based on the reports and talks with other former members - rather like "brainwashing", not as a path to free the mind from the mind-poisons.

Someone stated in a anonymous interview "if you follow NKT you loose more and more your freedom and this is the opposite of what Buddha has taught." this lost of freedom is based on GKG's teachings and this includes his books.

Of course it depends also upon the person what benefit or demerit he gains by reading the books.

Can you proof your claim that "in fact, they are used by an number of Tibetan teachers."? I never met one. The knowledge of Tibetan teachers is far more broad, deep and vast than what GKG offers. I wonder who may use his books? I never heard even an account of such an instance.

A well-known Western Gelug teacher and scholar rather holds the position that the NKT presentation is very superficial and is not able to present the depths of vastness of Buddhism. A view I share.

Jimmy Marsden's picture

Well, 'the final truth', that's a pretty nasty thing to say -- "fact it, it's over, ghost, you're finished!!" Actually, it is far from over and your name, eerily reminiscent of the 'final solution', is not portentous -- Shugden practice will never be destroyed by ignorance and cruelty as the very nature of Dorje Shugden is compassion and his function is to destroy ignorance.

There are two really good articles showing the witch hunt of Shugden practitioners as typified in your ignorant and discriminatory comment: You may or may not recognize yourself amongst a group of medieval-type accusers, but that is how you and other fervent supporters of the anti-Shugden brigade appear to those condemned as witches without a trial i.e. Shugden practitioners:

An extract: "Well, let’s remove the Shugden scenario from its current political and religious context and examine it in stark academic terms. The fact is, once you’re familiar with examples of witch persecution around the world, the similarity with the kind of social ostracism and persecution that’s being visited on Shugden practictioners in the Exiled Tibetan Community in India, and indeed in the West too, becomes all too apparent.

Like ‘witches’, Shugdenites are accused of conducting harmful practices. In the language used, the nature of this harm is often vague, but it includes a general harm against other practitioners and against unwitting Shugden worshippers too. And just as with accusations against so-called ‘witches’, actual proof of this harm is rather scant. In fact, there is none. Not even the most ardent detractors of Shugden worship have been able to show any tangible evidence of the harmful and destructive nature of Shugden practice.

Of course, around the world, witches are usually accused of causing specific misfortunes - unexpected deaths, natural disasters, or unexplained accidents . Likewise, Shugden worshippers too are often accused of specific misfortunes, despite the fact that no visible link connects them. From cattle disease to harming the life of the Dalai Lama, a host of evil consequences have been attributed to this practice. Of course, the notorious Yellow Book is considered by some to be a comprehensive history of the kind of harm meted out by Shugden to wayward worshippers themselves. And no hard evidence exists to confirm any of it. At least, not the sort of evidence that would stand up to academic scrutiny. Not the sort of proof that would be entered as any kind of exhibit in a court of law.

This is a very important point to understand. Like ordinary witchcraft trials the world over, no evidence has been needed to confirm the guilt of Shugden worshippers in perpetuating what is considered a harmful practice . With witch persecution, the effectiveness of the accusation has never depended on actual or reliable evidence. The same is the case here. For the most part, the claim of harmful practice against Shugdenites is reliant on hearsay and hypothesis, and the same would be true at any witch trial. It is given authority by numerous lamas, including the Dalai Lama, just as once inquisitors and sometimes even the Pope lent weight and authority to allegations of witchcraft and heresy."

dougal's picture

Gyalpo -

you don't seriously think only Asians can be Buddhists, do you? mind you, that's what the Dalai Lama has been saying recently: people should stick to the religions of their native countries (like Bon for the Tibetans, i guess).

on what grounds?

are you seriously implying that westerners are by nature unqualified to speak out against a political leader's policy of religious persecution?

do you think Lord Buddha would agree?

Lineageholder's picture


I'm simply pointing out that CNNR's account is full of mistakes and does not accord with history. There are at least three mistakes here:

1. Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen did not break his samaya in any way, but especially not in a bad way. He also did not create 'lots of problems'.

2. He did not become a gyalpo after his death (how can a highly realized being take a lower rebirth?)

3. This means that all the subsequent 'gyalpo' stuff is irrelevant and not a little superstitious sounding.

Sorry if you don't like the truth, but there it is.

Dorje's picture

The campaign against the Dalai Lama is not baseless because he alone is the cause of all the sectarian problems and division we are witnessing
This is not true. As has been shown above, the proponents of this spirit worship have spread sectarianism and violence towards other traditions.
Some followers of Ven. Phabongkha Dechen Nyingpo Rinpoche engaged in heated argument on the philosophical tenets of the new and the ancient. They engaged in many wrong activities like destroying images of Padmasambhava and those of other peaceful and wrathful deities, saying that reciting the mantra of the Vajra Guru is of no value and fed the Padma Kathang to fire and water. Likewise, they stated that turning Mani prayer wheels, observing weekly prayers for the deceased etc. are of no purpose and thus placed many on the path of wrong view. They held Gyalpo Shugden as the supreme refuge and the embodiment of all the Three Jewels. Many monks from small monasteries in the Southern area claimed to be possessed by Shugden and ran amok in all directions destroying the three reliquaries (images of the Buddha, scriptures and stupas) etc. displaying many faults and greatly harming the teaching of Je Tsongkhapa, the second Conqueror. Therefore, if you could compose an instructive epistle benefitting all and could publish it and distribute it throughout the three (provinces) U, Tsang and Kham it would greatly contribute to counteracting the disturbance to the teaching.

Zangmar had fallen under the spell of this new and impressive personality. P’awang kawa was undoubtedly one of the great lamas of the early twentieth century, but he was a man of contradictory passions, and he shows us two different faces when he is recalled by those who knew him. In many ways he was truly a saint; he was sent to Ch’amdo by the central government to represent its interests and administer its Gelug monasteries, and he was sympathetic to the concerns of the K’am people over whom he had been granted jurisdiction, a scholar and an enthusiast for all aspects of Tibetan culture. But many eastern Tibetans remember him with loathing as the great persecutor of the “ancient” sect, devoting himself to the destruction throughout K’am of images of the Precious Guru and the burning of “ancient” books and paintings

P’awang kawa sent his new disciple back to take charge of the Gelug monastery in Dragyab; Zangmar, with the zeal of the convert, carried with him only his master’s sectarianism and implemented only his policy of destruction. He tried to force the monks of Kajegon (who were technically under his authority) to perform the Gelug rituals, and when they obstinately continued to refuse he called in the government police on a trumped up charge of treason. They raided Kajegon, broke its images, made fire of its books and paintings, and beat its monks with sticks. The head monk, who carried with him by chance that day our image of Tara, tried to stop them; while one policeman threatened him with a stick, another shot him in the back.
As quoted above by T.P., Kelsang Gyatso follows this tradition of sectarian bigotry. In a clear attack on Dzogchen he says in one of his books
These days many people talk about Tantra, but there are few who teach the two stages. There are even teachers who never mention the two stages and yet claim to be teaching something even higher than Highest Yoga Tantra! I wonder what sort of Buddhahood these so-called Tantric Masters attain? It must be a very deluded kind of Buddhahood!
It's a shame that worshippers of this evil spirit can't avoid insulting and denigrating other traditions. They are the real source of these sectarian problems.

harry (gandul)'s picture


If they are the essence of the gelong how are they not gelong? Can we forget titles, fully ordained, novice, etc, for a moment and try to understand if the NKT ordination really differs that much from what Buddha intended for ordained practitioners?

Is the heart sutra not valid because it is a condensation (or the essence) of the perfection of wisdom in 8000 lines sutra? Is someone who practices the teachings of the latter less qualified than someone who practices those of the former?

Also it is not just these 5 vows that you mention. The following are also part:

1. little desire
2. contentment
3. no distracting activities
4. pure moral discipline
5. no distracting conceptions

On newkadampatruth it is explained that "the purpose of the Vinaya is “to control [the mind]” through higher moral discipline, as this is the foundation for developing pure concentration (i.e. tranquil abiding), and in turn profound wisdom (i.e. superior seeing)."

In relation to the last 5 vows it says that "these preparatory practices are methods of training the mind—methods of moral discipline. The very purpose of becoming ordained as a Buddhist monk or nun is to practice a moral discipline that enables one to achieve tranquil abiding. With tranquil abiding, one can attain superior seeing. With these three higher trainings—moral discipline, concentration and wisdom–one will attain liberation from samsara."

What more is needed? Regulations about how fast and how slow one mustn't eat his food? I really fail to see the relevance to westerners.

I do not agree that it is impossible for westerners to be gelongs or getsuls.

Neither do i. I said "near impossible" which is a figure of speech. Of course westerners can become gelongs or getsuls, but like i said it isn't something very accessible. I really don't know how one can get on the train to visit one's mother without either a) bypassing several vows, or b) severely confounding those who one comes across.

If I see a NKT member in the street and I don’t know they are an NKT member, I may pay them the respect due to ordained sangha despite them not being ordained sangha.

Yeah Dorje this sounds terrible. I dare not think of the consequences this may have on your mental continuum. Sorry mate, just teasing ya. Couldn't resist.

Dress has a social function of helping people identify those that are following the vows of the Buddha. NKT members dressing up is both false advertising, and given their protests against the Dalai Lama, a fully ordained gelong, brings the Sangha into disrepute.

Yes of course, if NKT ordination isn't valid or complete then i would agree that this isn't very good publicity. Er, i don't think it's very good publicity anyway... So please carry on explaining how the ordination isn't valid. What i want to know, is how does NKT ordination really differ from what Buddha intended for monastics? Is it just some vows about eating and walking code or is there something more fundamental lacking?


Rodney Billman's picture

Another thing, I am not complete familiar with all of Pabongkha's rituals yet, but so far I have not seen anything regarding "outer, inner and secret" forms of Shugden. Such a concept of these 3 forms exists with the protector Dharmaraja, but if this was also added to Shugden it's completely new to me.

SeekingClarity's picture


Re #1420

LH has consistently claimed Pabongka is an enlightened lineage master.

The obvious response is to say that if he's enlightened then his Avichi Hell teachings must be true.

No says LH because Pabongka didn't actually mean what he said about Avichi Hell. It's just something he said in private to a few disciples to increase their faith. Skillful means and all that.

Sorry, LH, says we, actually Pabongka publicly made it very clear what his views were.

OK says LH (in #1262)

I believe that Je Pabongkhapa was simply pointing out the truth as he saw it.

OK says I in #1323, if you hold that Pabongka is enlightened then

“the truth as he saw it” is, in fact, “the truth”

And so you must hold that his Avichi Hell teachings are true.

To be continued...

Kagyupa's picture

EM believes that taking practices from different traditions implies that one tradition does not have a complete path. Otherwise, why would one need to engage in other paths?

Therefore, for EM, practicing things from more than one path implies a lack of completion of at least one path. EM cannot square this with the notion, or statement, that each of the 8 Chariots of the Practice Lineage is a complete path.

We should keep in mind that GKG's students have heard, over and over, that GKG is the first Lama to provide the Complete Path Translated into English for Westerners.

Those of us who've been around the block, however, or studied our history to some degree, realize that every lineage currently existent is a synthesis of various "transmissions" or lineages. The Six Yogas of Naropa, to use just one example, are said to be the inheritence of Marpa's students, and they were passed down through the Kagyu Lineages, and have spread to the Gelukpa Lineage and others as well. but one should note that Naropa himself synthesized this "teaching" from a variety of transmissions and Gurus, and from a variety of Tantric Systems. It is said that each of the Six Yogas is a self-sufficient method to bring about enlightenment. Yet such a one as Naropa grouped these six together and tought them as one system.

Let's keep in mind, however, that the main issue here is not sectarianism vs. "non-sectarianism," or "exclusivism/inclusivism" or any "tripartate" conceptual schema one wishes to impose. The main issue is about a certain practice which has historically been shown, through a multitude of textual and oral sources, to have encouraged sectarian bias, and how some have denied that nature, or at best refashioned that practice in an effort to purge the historical record of accounts of such bias.

mirage's picture

Dear mSPP

Re 879
My post was not intended as a 'propaganda package'. I don't know who you think i am or why you think I'm here. It was my first time posting and i was simply sharing something based on my own experience. Actually I hadn't realized what a world of alias and intrigue I'd stepped into. Some (or one) of you is quite the political animal.
I had assumed sincere posts with no ulterior motive were permissable...?

I hadn't realized you were such an authority on 'classic NKT logic.' I don't know how you find the time to master other traditions in between your practice of all those different Deities, your study of all those texts, and your pervasive web-presence. Even with my naive NKT practice of integrating all Yidams into one and all teachings into Lamrim practice I can only marvel at how you do it :-)

Whilst I understand your analogy of the snake, I don't agree that it is analogous to the point I was trying to make.

My point is :
If I sit down to make prayers to Buddha Manjushri, with a mind of refuge in the Three Jewels and as good a bodhichitta motivation as I can muster (just like you do when you do your prayers), vizualising him as a monk of Je Tsongkhapa's tradition, on a lion symbolizing his fearlessness, wearing ordained robes symbolizing moral discipline, holding a heart symbolizing great compassion/ great bliss, wearing a hat symbolizing Nagarjuna's view and carrying a sword symbolizing the wisdom realizing emptiness, and i make sincere prayers to him to increase my realizations and to help many living beings through the Dharma...
are you saying that despite Manjushri's power, despite my motivation and faith, a spirit who you believe in (we don't) named Dorje Shugden is going to intercept my prayers and prevent Manjushri from answering them, and that this spirit is instead going to kill people, harm the Dalai Lama and harm the Tibetan cause, even though I didn't ask for such a thing? And all this simply because I happen to refer to Manjushri by the name Dorje Shugden who you believe is a spirit?

Where's the cause and effect in that?

Lineageholder's picture

Dear Tenzin,

I asked you to prove that, scripturally, Geshe Kelsang's books are divergent from Tsongkhapa's teachings. You didn't give me any practical examples, just a list of vague criticisms of Geshe Kelsang where you compare him unfavourably to Je Tsongkhapa. Of course, there are two sides to every story and I could show that they have more in common than you think.

I asked you to quote from Tsongkhapa's teachings to prove your assertion, otherwise it's vague and unjustified. 'Just go and receive teachings from Geshe Sopa and see for yourself' doesn't do it.

You can just use Lamrim Chenmo if you want, but if you don't want to take the time to do it (or can't!) don't make vague accusations without evidence to back it up otherwise people will assume that you can't prove your case. I personally believe you don't have any such evidence.

Gen Hur's picture

Friendoftruth: I don't understand most of your long winded posts, but the main point seems to be you assume you possess judgmental insight into other's motivation and thoughts without knowing their language and culture, let alone knowing them personally. Much like your speculative recreation of the Shugden cult murder scene in Dharamsala–simply not helpful and I agree it is reminiscent of the diatribes supporting Dolgyal in the Beijing People's Daily. 'The Protector' melodramatic, but then I expect its all just an online game for you. Sorry to inform you, these efforts will bear bitter fruit, oh self-righteous one.

Gyalpo's picture

Years ago, a Sakya lama warned that to teach Western people was a bad idea, it would never be fruitful –I tend to think he was correct. It's an experiment that not only didn't work work out, it's badly backfired. So I will continue to be more interested in buddhism in the perspective of 2500 plus years alive in actual buddhists not this recent perversion of a 'promoted into a full buddha' obscure dratsang mascot , which by the way don't exist anyway.
You know in Germany there's people who imitate the Sioux tribes of North America, live in teepees the whole bit, that's fine but they'll always be germans and they're not attacking the people they emulate. You can pretend to be tantrikas or great logicians or whatever but its just the same as the German branch of the New Sioux. So leave us alone or pay the consequences, we have the numbers and depth to bury you. Monks are running away from Gangchen's gompa for being forced to do Shugden, leave them alone, too. Stop aiding and abetting the Chinese.

Ron's picture

Lineageholder: It is absurd to attempt to debunk Professor Norbu's statement as folklore by spinning out your own fairy tale factoids, a fictive narrative that does not sway non-cult members one micron. This is not, as you suppose, superior logic, just old fashioned b.s.
Academic Harry G Frankfurt notes in 'On Bullshit' that we seem to view lying as worse than bullshitting. Frankfurt makes the case in the book that “bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.” This is because, while the liar intends to deceive you as to the truth and must therefore know what is true in order to lie, the bullshitter need pay no attention to what is true – his aim is not to deceive you as to the truth, it is simply to get away with saying what he does (to “misrepresent what he is up to”). Excessive indulgence in bullshitting undermines the ability of the bullshitter to tell the truth (”a person’s normal habit of attending to the way things are may become attenuated or lost” in the words of Harry G Frankfurt), whereas a liar is still able to distinguish between what is true and what is false (which he must be able to do in order to be able to lie in the first place).

Dorje's picture

Buddha would be appalled by this. The Dalai Lama should restore the religious freedoms of Shugden practitioners Buddha would be appalled to see his Dharma reduced to spirit worship. From the accounts of the monk at Sera, it seems those monks that wish to worship this spirit are perfectly free to continue doing just that. You contradict yourself.

Kagyupa's picture

I've seen the light!

GKG is a genuis, and the NKT are the perfect vehicle for those wishing to practice the Dharma in this age. When I previously examined the wide variety of practices, views, and positions in the Tibetan cultural tradition, I could not comprehend all the paradoxes and outright contradictions I found. I've been struggling with this for years...

Now, with New Kadampa Dharma (tm), everything's easy! GKG has boiled everything down to it's essence. There's no more need to worry about a long list of vows--he's condensed everything down to just a few basic principles. And I don't have to read actual "Primary Source Texts," because he's covered all the important stuff in his 22 Essential Works. My library, as a result, can be sold off and I'll only need one good sized bookshelf. I can shave my head and look nifty in those maroon robes, and everyone will identify me as a Buddhist Monastic, which is surely what I want.
And all those complex yidam practices? GKG has made it easy, he's jsut followed Pabongkha (the greatest Tibetan Yogi ever, and the only Gelukpa Lama to maintain the PURE tradition of Tsong Khapa, by condensing it all down to a couple yidam practices, a guru yoga, and best of all, one Dharma Protector, who can act as all three roots, because he is a Buddha, and can appear anyway he wants!
Once I memorize the books, and can quote from them at command, I will be able to call myself a lineageholder--it's easy! All those sources from the other, older, pesky lineages, even those that existed before Tsong Khapa, can just be ignored. I can enter any discussion about the Dharma and, by quoting such truisms as "Dorje Shugden is a Buddha" and "NKT has the only complete Path to Buddhahood available to Westerners" I cannot be defeated. How could I, when my faith is so strong?

It will be better when all of us see the light, and subscribe to the NKT view. Why figtht it?

Rodney Billman's picture

Dear Seeking Clarity,

Unfortunately Morchen's writings are very difficult to find, his autobiography is rather terse. The only ritual I found so far is preserved are in Shugden Be Bum in ritual called rgyal chen rdo rje shugs ldan rtsal gyi gsol kha 'phrin las 'dod 'jo bzhe bya ba bzhugs so, pages 231-243. The first half ritual is written by Dre'u Lhas of Drukpa Kagyu order while the second half is written by Morchen. In there is a verse of enthronement that says:
Although having found the pure nature Dharmakaya,
By the power of compassion emanating a form,
[I] entrust you for the sake of performing
All three times’ bodhisattvas’ countless activities.

This appears to be the earliest ritual enumerating the central figure and four surrounding emanations, described in detail in Morchen's part of the ritual. Dre'u Lhas does not describe the four surrounding emanations explicitly. But he alludes to Avalokiteshvara in the invocation:
Avalokiteshvara’s field to tame,
Langka, Land of the red faced Rakshas,
Protecting the place, Dharma wheel and temples,
Emanated Dharma king and retinue please come here.

This is related to the "mythology" of Sri Langka, where Avalokiteshvara has a special, historical connection even despite the fact it follows the Theravada tradition.

Clearly the four emanations are described for the four tantric activities of peace, increase, power and wrath. This is what I assumed as meaning entrustment of activities, although this question is almost like a master's research project by itself. Also see here, as it clearly relates the various emanations to tantric activity:

To really get to bottom of Morchen's views would be to find Losel Gyatso's writings which is quoted by Trijang Rinpoche. Perhaps even Morchen's collected works has something, but I have not seen that available. Anyways this is described in more detail in an essay I'm completing now called "Among Shugden Texts".

Kagyupa's picture

I wrote a long post yesterday which didn't show up. I attempted to re-post, and got the message that "it appears you already said that!"-but as of now, my post didn't go through.

Perhaps it's for the best. This thread just keeps circling around on itself. Pro DS people continue to pop up and quote empty statements with no recourse to textual sources ("DS is a Buddha") and they continue to ignore the plethora of historical and textual records, both from within and outside their own tradition, regarding the nature, history, and function of DS. I see no further benefit in logical, rational discussions when the NKT folks will not even entertain the legitimacy of opinions other than GKG's. Arguments regarding the true nature and contents of TsongKhapa's tradition, or regarding Pabonkhapa's positions and actions, are ignored or flatly denied. Despite the fact that neither the Kadampas nor Tsong Khapa had anything to do with DS, and despite the fact that prior to Pabongkhapa this "deity" was felt to be a mundane being, to put it nicely, with very minor importance, and with a clearly controversial identity, GKG and the WSS have chosen to hang their hats on this issue. Good luck to them. And good luck to you all.

Dorje's picture

Eclectics like to make their own doorways out of the burning house of samsara, or try to escape using two or more doorways at once (and thus hit a wall). It’s best to use the nearest exit
False analogy. You'll be talking about riding two horses next, or other such nonsense.

BS metaphors aside, why is taking practices from different traditions wrong?

Tenzin Peljor's picture

very simple Lineageholder. when i clearly perceive the (really existing) qualities of an object then there is faith.

i think you would also jugde Je Tsongkhapa's works as "completely dry and intellectual presentation worthy of a University Professor."

to understand the positive emotion of faith one can also indicate the signs of the different levels of faith. inspired faith brings tears into your eyes, makes you to get goose skin or makes your hairs standing up. faith of conviction gives you the deep clean clear confidence, conviction or certainty that this quality is really a fact. This conviction is so deep that no one in this world is able to shake you in that conviction. Based on these perceived qualities, enthusiasm arise to develop these qualities in yourself.

as long as there are misunderstandings or superficial explanations in the terms or definitions of topics like devotion, faith, guru, root gurus, vinaya, pure view etc - all this lack of discriminating intelligence give rise to projections, wrong views, afflictive emotions, confusion and misunderstandings. this is the opposite of a liberating path. that's why the masters like Je Tsongkhapa and all the lineage lamas, Asanga, Vasubandhu. Nagarjuna, Aryadeva etc. and also HHDL and contemporary masters are very precise in what they state.

Thank you for your correction with respect to the possibility that faith can be damaged. This is correct. However, I think it depends on the depths of one's insight and one's merit + certain mental habits (like a tendency to over analysis) if it can be damaged or not. So, I agree that faith could be damaged even after one perceived the qualities of an object with a valid cognizer; e.g. like after one has perceived clean clear a blue shape and based on confusion or the influence of others, a lack of self-esteem or many people who oppose your valid perception and tell you the opposite (e.g. that it was a white shape), one could doubt maybe it was white? This can happen.


If you wish to prevent "the arising of non-faith towards the Kadampa Tradition [better to say NKT] and Dorje Shugden that I’m engaging in this debate on Tricycle" I would suggest NKT leadership to show a good example of Buddhist behaviour, e.g. to stop to slander the wise and the monastic order, to stop to misinform people, to be self-critical and practice like a Kadampa: exposing the own faults and praising the qualities of others. For me most of the actions performed by NKT indicate not so much qualities, though there are inspiring exceptions of individual practitioners. Faith is a dependent arising phenomenon, not a one way route.

I think, also to excuse for the slander and misinformation and to put one's own house in order will increase faith. Geshe-la had already such an attitude in the past when he stated:

"This was my first experience of politics in this life. I pray that this will never happen again in the future....However, my letter upset many Tibetan people and many Western practitioners who regard HH as their root Guru. I would like to apologize sincerely to all of them."

He said this in an 'interview' with one of his students, a nun Kelsang ..., her real name is Yvonne Nilles. see:

Also to follow his former promise can help to restore faith:

"In October 1998, we decided to completely stop being involved in this Shugden issue because we realized that in reality this is a Tibetan political problem and not the problem of Buddhism in general, or the NKT. We made our decision public at this time -- everyone knows the NKT and myself completely stopped being involved in this Shugden issue at all levels."

you asked:
"Do you know what that disturbance is? It’s doubt and non-faith." Yes, this is an aspect of the path to experience confusion, and it is better to be able to accept and to be able to face and work with this.

There are subjects were doubt is appropriate. e.g. when the object lacks qualities, increases the mind poisons or is deceptive, like Devadatta (although he may have demanded also faith from his followers). GKG names this "correct doubt", 'doubt which goes into the correct direction'. To doubt GKG and NKT could be also correct doubt, going into the correct direction, but it could be also wrong doubt, going into the wrong direction. That's why to check openly and unbiased, based on discriminating intelligence and a proper dharma understanding is the advice of the masters, including Je Tsongkhapa.

Also the Buddha showed that doubt can be very appropriate, e.g. in such a situation (which seems to be not very different from what we are faced with):

The Kalamas who were inhabitants of Kesaputta sitting on one side said to the Blessed One: "There are some monks and brahmins, venerable sir, who visit Kesaputta. They expound and explain only their own doctrines; the doctrines of others they despise, revile, and pull to pieces. Some other monks and brahmins too, venerable sir, come to Kesaputta. They also expound and explain only their own doctrines; the doctrines of others they despise, revile, and pull to pieces. Venerable sir, there is doubt, there is uncertainty in us concerning them. Which of these reverend monks and brahmins spoke the truth and which falsehood?"

The answer of the Buddha:

"It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty has arisen in you about what is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are bad; these things are blameable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,' abandon them.

for the full sutra:


I wish you all the best and I think there is not much more to say for me any more.

Tenzin Peljor's picture

Dear LH, some points to your last posts.

There are a lot of differences between the foundation of NKT and what later formed the Gelugpas and GKG/Je Tsongkhapa.

A short list:

- Je Tsongkhapa is and was respected in all Tibetan schools (he is also in my Kaygue refuge tree) – this is not true for GKG
- Je Tsongkahapa was so brilliant that even his teachers became his students – GKG has only Western students who in general didn’t study Buddhism before following NKT and his “fully qualified” successors failed even in his very presence…
- While Je Tsongkhapa clarified the teachings and had many teachers from all Tibetan Buddhist schools, GKG interprets the teachings in a way that all his followers become solely dependent on him, his 22 books, and his NKT and its centers
- Je Tsongkhapa emphasised the Vinaya, GKG has abandoned the Vinaya
- Je Tsongkhapa emphasised that Tantric Teachings are restricted to only learned monastics who have a proper foundation – NKT advises even for newcomers his Vajrayogini or Heruka initiations (as soon as they took it, them is taught, “now Geshe-la is your root Guru” and “if you leave your root guru, you will go to hell” (of course a bit more skilful than I state but in that way)
- Je Tsongkhapa was prophesied by the Buddha, GKG not ;-)

The list can be continued if wished.

With respect to

The quote form Al Jazeera and France 24 TV by HHDL:

“Shugden followers have resorted to killing and beating people. They start fires. And tell endless lies. This is how the Shugden believe. It is not good.”

1. He does not speak about Trijang Rinpoche in that context.
2. Why did Interpol issue wanted notices for Shugden followers when they are not accused of having killed the scholar Ven. Lobsang Gyatso and two other monks?
3. It has been reported different times that Shugden followers have beaten up´others and fanatical Shugden groups even posted posters with death threads against the Dalai Lama
4. that Shugden followers have forcefully destroyed Nyingma monasteries and destroyed statues of Padmasambhava and converted them to Nyingma monasteries, can be found in different 3rd party academic research (Samuel has been quoted here already in that context) but also e.g. in the biography of Chagdug Tulku "Lord of the Dance" this can be found
5. That Shugden followers lie without shame seems to be quite obvious (although I restrain to speak from lies, rather I use the phrase “spreading untruths”), just the fake claim that the 5th Dalai Lama would have written a prayer of self-correction to Shugden is not true
6. Some of them are so aggressive that even their icon H.E. Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche had to escape from them to USA. According to journalist Bultrini:

“In a dramatic letter and in an interview on the Tibetan radio station in Dharamsala, he (Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche) announced his abandonment of his monastic robes in order to become 'an ordinary person'. Shocked by a series of still murky events, the gravest of which was the attempted murder of his former personal assistant by members of the cult, the young Trijang explained he had no intention of becoming a banner or symbol of the pro-Shugden movement (albeit continuing to do its practice) against the Dalai Lama, who was his disciple in his previous incarnation.”

The problem with NKT leadership and its closest devotees - and some of the Shugden followers - is their fundamentalism; they can just only accept their own version of history and events and accuse everybody who opposes them as liars. By this they deceive themselves by having only a fraction of the full image and finally believe that those correcting them or opposing them are wrong and lie.

Another problem I see is that NKT’s leadership and the closest devotees seem to think they are the only and last true possessor of “the truth” and based on the own narrow-mindedness, bias and fragmented knowledge they judge those who have a broad mind and vast knowledge, like HHDL or academics, which they can’t comprehend as hypocrites, liars or as being biased or what else is suited to disparage them.

All this is very different from a statement by HHDL about the destructive actions of Shugden followers, which are verifiable and can be found also in records of Tibetan Buddhist history by 3rd party academic sources.

I know that GKG and NKT believes that HHDL destroys the Buddhadharma, but actual he is preserving the Buddhadharma by pointing out what practice is not a Buddhist practice or a proper object of refuge. His opinion in that is shared by the vast majority of Gelug and non-Gelug masters and Tibetan Buddhists. Only a very small fraction of Gelugpas disagree with him. And this disagreement does not justify slander like that what I've quoted - libel, exaggerations, untruths, spins which has been spread via NKT/WSS all over the world including to news magazines, TV stations, youtube and and and...

With respect to doctrinal disputes about the differenced between GKG/NKT and the Gelug school/Je Tsongkhapa as addressed in your last post #657. I will think about if I go into details or not and if there is a use in doing this. In general I am inclined to suggest to receive teachings about Je Tsongkhapa's text e.g. from Geshe Kelsang's own teacher, Geshe Lhundup Sopa in the USA, and find out the differences yourself.

If you can not see the differences in the Guru approach of GKG and Je Tsongkhapa even after I gave quotes and referred to a passage in the Lam Rim Chen Mo, as well as on some points I made in my Amazon reviews, I wonder what more work will bring. I gave my hints already.

Keep you chin up!

TheFinalTruth's picture

sounds quite strange... hidden news from hidden practitioners who rescue in the future the pure lineage and the world? those who have faith in the gelug lineage don't need shugden. Je Tsongkhapa, Gyaltsab Je and Khedrub Je, the authorities in the Gelug school, mentioned this gyalpo neither with one word nor one letter.

i expect that in the future some try to re-establish Shugden worship in the gelug school but they will fail completely. i won't be surprised if some try it, I expect that even. but they will have no power besides if they get money or special conditions from the PRC and lure poor people, and people are so weak to get attracted by the money or PRC's promises.

that there is in general no need for shugden from a spiritual point of view and that the practice didn't bring much goodness but many quarrels is obvious nowadays and proofed by facts.

so time to say good bye, as Gyalpo puts it:

The writing is on the wall: face it, it’s over, ghost, you’re finished.

@gyalpo: I accept your refutation. The statement is about 12 years old and the situation changed a lot. Mainly I wished to refute the claim of 4 millions as stated by Al Jazeera and other news agancies who didnt't contact specialists and took over wrong information from shugden followers.

The writing is on the wall: face it, it’s over, ghost, you’re finished.