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.]

Share with a Friend

Email to a Friend

Already a member? Log in to share this content.

You must be a Tricycle Community member to use this feature.

1. Join as a Basic Member

Signing up to Tricycle newsletters will enroll you as a free Tricycle Basic Member.You can opt out of our emails at any time from your account screen.

2. Enter Your Message Details

Enter multiple email addresses on separate lines or separate them with commas.
dougal's picture

anyway - that's entirely off-topic. this is about the Dalai Lama's illegal ban on Dore Shugden practice.

Dorje's picture

"Your negative conceptions born of internet gossip do nothing to benefit yourself or anyone else."

You are quite wrong, Truth[sic]sayer. Our negative views on your cult are based on accounts of those involved in it and our direct experience of it. I'll say it again: The overwhelming majority of critics of the NKT are former members of the NKT.

Also, the information about the NKT available on the internet has actually helped many people to know more about your cult and stay clear of it. I know of a number of people who have benefitted from the information on the internet, and left your cult as a result.

If you reject this information as gossip, are you saying that Gen-la Thubten and Gen-la Samden did not sexually abuse their students? Or that Gen Lodro did not cover up his relationship with Thogme for years?

Live with your head in the sand if you want to, but you'll have to face the truth sooner or later, in this life or the next.

By the way, Thogme just gave birth to Lodro's child. Has kelsang sent his congratulations yet?

Dorje's picture

Dorje Shugden is a mainstream Gelugpa practice that has been supported through history by all the principal Root and Lineage Gurus. Dorje Shugden is regarded as the principal enlightened protector of Je Tsongkhapa’s lineage.What on Rodney Billman's site supports this bizarre claim? Quote it. Simple fact is Billy boy, your protector was seen as a worldly protector even by Phabongkhapa himself, who said that it was not a suitable object of refuge. I'll ask you again, list the lineage lamas of this protector cult.
To weaken the Gelugpa tradition so that he can gain power over it, the Dalai Lama has attempted to destroy this practice for the past thirty years according to his own political agenda. He is aided and and abetted by people like yourselves who follow him unquestioningly and who either omit important information about the history of the practice or distort it Paranoid piffle. The ones to weaken the Gelugpa tradition are the Chinese communists who have been busy destroying and supressing the major Gelug gompas for the past fifty years. The Dalai Lama has done more than most to preserve this tradition and greatly aided the reconstruction of these monasteries in exile. How sad that you should spew such nonsense on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Lhasa uprising. But please, give us any evidence you have to support your spurious claims.
If you’ve got a problem with the legitimate history of this practice and prefer to accept the distortions of the TGIE then it’s your problem
The problem I've got is with a protector practice that has been busy for the past 100 years spreading sectarian bile as evidenced from the quotations I provided above. These are the words of Phabongkhapa and Trijang Rinpoche, not the TGiE. Seeing as you love posting links to Rodney's site, please could you post quotations that support your claims.

I will provide another quotation from the power-hungry fake geshe that wants his cult followers to view him as a Buddha.
People who are thinking Geshe Kelsang is the Third Buddha is not bad. Maybe they think like this because their pure mind. Because they are happy with me and there is some benefit from spiritual, you know. So maybe they think oh maybe he Buddha. That is nothing wrong [laughs].
To find out more about the cult of personality around Kelsang Gyatso, please watch the BBC documentary “An Unholy Row” found on the following website:
http://www.tibetonline.tv/shugden_issues.html

Dorje's picture

Likewise, it is invalid to impute Buddha on a samsaric gyalpo spirit. However, if the truth body of a Buddha emanates as a gyalpo spirit and one has a realization of this fact then it is - according to Pabongka, the DL, Dorje and yourself - valid to impute Buddha.
I would not agree to this. Firstly, even if I don't rule out the possibility of a Buddha emanating as a gyalpo spirit, I don't think any of the gyalpo spirits that are commonly taken as protectors are enlightened emanations. Secondly, even if they were, it is still important to relate to any such being according to their conventional appearance. Conventional appearance is karmicly effective and should not be disregarded. Phabongkhapa's exception allowing taking refuge in worldly protectors leads to the kind of situation we see in the NKT where people completely lose sight of a worldly protector's worldly status. This is dangerous and leads to the degeneration of the Dharma.

Many followers of non-Tibetan traditions dismiss Tibetan traditions as demon worship. Taking worldly spirits as enlightened emanations and objects of refuge takes us closer to this. It should be avoided and a line should be drawn. Previously the convention was to draw the line at protectors of Tibetan origin. I would agree with this.

Dorje's picture

Rather, the karma of some practitioners changes, and so new presentations of the path must be given to support them on the path as well.This is the same for the Rime synthesis. The Rime tradition came about in response to the karma of practitioners.

Dorje's picture

To avoid the ping-pong, move the discussion forward and explain how you justify Phabongkhapa's teachings. If the NKT reject the teachings on violence and sectarianism that was integral to this protector worship, have the NKT issue a statement that their lineage lamas were wrong. This would surely be clearer than Gyatso's previous denials and obfuscations, rejecting that these teachings were ever spread.

LH, given the quotations from Phabongkhapa that have been provided, your position really seems untenable. How do you justify it?

Dorje's picture

the eclectic has no faith in anything, really.
Ignorant sectarian ramblings of a man that knows nothing of other traditions. Sorry, em, but I really can't see how anyone can take you seriously.

SeekingClarity's picture

LH

In #847 you say

I don’t accept something just because someone said it, even someone I admire. If there is no other way of knowing something, for example that Virupa was reborn as Sakya Pandita, I am inclined to believe someone in whom I have a lot of faith.

In #781 I asked whether you regarded as true the statement by GKG that

In the book by Dhongtog Tulku Tenpai Gyaltsen he says that Dorje Shugden cannot be a worldly spirit because he is a Bodhisattva.

In #784 you said you did. Dhongtog Tulku Tenpai Gyaltsen is a living author, well-known for his view that DS is a spirit. His work is heavily referenced in McCune's thesis. On p40 she quotes the following passage from p17 of his book "The Earth Shaking Thunder of True Word: A refutation of attacks on the advice of H.H. the Dalai Lama regarding the propitiation of guardian deities."

It is amazing that Phawong Khapa said that even putting other Tibetan Buddhist books together with Gadenpa books is prohibited (his collected works, vol. Cha) and yet a spirit, rebirth of a Gadenpa pledge breaker, can be assigned to the rank of a Gadenpa chief guardian deity (my emphasis).

And on p39 McCune states

Another proponent of the Dalai Lama’s decision is the Sakya lama and former librarian at Tibet House, Tenpé Gyeltsen Dongtok. He has authored a number of texts that argue on behalf of the Dalai Lama’s cause. The first of these, titled “The Timely Shower, a Genuine Statement” ...was a direct rejoinder to Dzemé Trülku’s “Yellow Book.” Many of his rebuttals have since been in response to the polemical writings of the Shukden advocate, Yönten Gyamtso...These texts were composed in Tibetan and have not been translated into English. However, he and Lucjan Shila have translated one of his most recent refutations so that it may be available to Western audiences. The rejoinder, entitled “The Earth Shaking Thunder of True Word..."...is a response to several statements made by one of the Dalai Lama’s most vocal opponents, Geshé Kelsang Gyamtso (my emphasis).

Thus, on investigation, it would appear that the truth of the matter is the opposite to what GKG states. Given this, it would seem that you have, contrary to your statement in #847, accepted the truth of GKG's statement just because it was said by someone you admire.

I practiced in the NKT for some considerable time but when I (rather belatedly) got around to investigating the DS issue, the fact that GKG's statement re Dhongtog seemed so inaccurate made me think that I couldn't simply assume that everything he (or, for that matter, others) said on the issue was beyond question.

Tenzin Peljor's picture

Dear Lineagegholder, you've asked, "Please tell me where the faults lie in Geshe Kelsang’s books."

see here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A255G3TT5J4Y07/ref=cm_pdp_re...

and such claims by GKG:

Statements by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso which probably invite a narrow-minded perspective and blind faith include:

“Experience shows that realizations come from deep, unchanging faith, and that this faith comes as a result of following one tradition purely - relying upon one Teacher, practising only his teachings, and following his Dharma Protector. If we mix traditions many obstacles arise and it takes a long time for us to attain realizations.”[17]

According to Geshe Kelsang spiritual success is based on

"unwavering faith and confidence" and "it is essential to eliminate those doubts that interfere with the development of pure faith."[18] Faith he explains is "a naturally virtuous mind that functions mainly to oppose the perception of faults in its observed object."[19] "In particular, our ability to rely completely upon our spiritual guide depends upon having faith based on conviction that our spiritual guide is a buddha."[20] and "We should be like a wise blind person who relies totally upon one trusted guide instead of attempting to follow a number of people at once."[21]

Regarding sectarianism he states:

"It is mixing different religious traditions that causes sectarianism"[22] , and he discourages the reader of doing so, stating "studying non-religious subjects is less of an obstacle to our spiritual progress than studying religions of different traditions."[22] "The practices taught by one teacher will differ from those taught by another, and if we try to combine them we will become confused, develop doubts, and lose direction."[23] “The ugly, unfortunate result of not understanding pure Dharma and of following misleading teachings that pretend to be pure Dharma is sectarianism. This is one of the greatest hindrances to the flourishing of Dharma, especially in the West. Anything that gives rise to such an evil, destructive mind should be eliminated as quickly and as thoroughly as possible."[24]

If you know Je Tsongkhapa's biography a little bit, and his teachings on relying on a teacher, the qualities a student should possess and Je Tsongkhapa's commentary on Guru devotion, it becomes obvious that there is a huge difference between Je Tsongkhapa and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

It becomes also obvious that HHDL is far more close and in accordance with the teachings and approach of Je Tsongkhapa than Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

[17] Kelsang Gyatso: Great Treasury of Merit: A Commentary to the Practice of Offering to the Spiritual Guide, 1992, p 31

[18] Kelsang Gyatso: Understanding the Mind, 1993, p 75

[19] Kelsang Gyatso: Joyful Path of Good Fortune, 1990, p 107

[20] Kelsang Gyatso: Joyful Path of Good Fortune, 1990, p 106

[21] Kelsang Gyatso: Guide to Dakini Land: The Highest Yoga Tantra Practice of Buddha Vajrayogini, 1996: p 18

[22] Kelsang Gyatso, Understanding the Mind, 1993, p 167

[23] Kelsang Gyatso, Understanding the Mind, 1993, p 166

[24] Kelsang, Clear Light of Bliss, 1982, p 154

Gyalpo's picture

Friendoftruth: You are not a native english speaker are you? Don't tell me...mainlander? I can show you India on a map if you wish to visit and check out this gossip and second hand arguments you are publishing. There are few Priories there but the people are kind.

dougal's picture

Namkhah -

i'm 36, so i have no idea whether i helped to bury (physically or otherwise) any refugees in the Sixties, having no idea where i was back then. also, what the hell are you talking about?

i haven't forgotten anybody as a real human beings: i'm trying to protect some from persecution and others from their own delusions and negative karma. even the Dalai Lama. when i'm not being flippant and rude, i do actually hope that guy can see the error of his ways and purify his actions before he dies, i really do.

NKT-IKBU Internal Rules say something along the lines of because it's so open to abuse for political and material ends, there'll be no system of recognition of reincarnations in this tradition, and that General Spiritual Directors will be chosen from among their peers by their peers based on their merits, with none serving more than a four-year term.

Red's picture

Lucy James, a longtime Gyatso confident, official transcriber of Gyatso teachings and Resident Teacher for several NKT centers, was effectively fired by Gyatso for questioning Gyatso's characterization of the 2008 NKT political campaign as non-political when the previous campaign, which Lucy James managed, was recognized by Gyatso as a political campaign against The Dalai Lama. Accordingly, Gyatso sent these emails to Lucy James during April 2008. NKT teachers have since reported that Lucy James is happy and on retreat. Reports are that Gyatso reassigned Lucy James to NKT's manager of its wikipedia entries, managing a shugden web site and using various ultra-egos to engage NKT critics.

"Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2008
Subject: Letter from Geshe-la FAO Managers & community of KMC Florida and Parbawatiya Center

Dear Lucy,

With regard the demonstrations, I myself and my students have not done anything wrong. We have no political aim and we are not involved in any political issue but are simply trying to prevent the pure lineage of Je Tsongkhapa's doctrine from being destroyed by the Dalai Lama and we are trying to prevent future problems and dangers for Shugden practitioners throughout the world.

You know that not one single student of NKT Dharma Centres in Florida joined the demonstration in Hamilton, NY, and this week the Admin Director of KMC Florida has resigned saying:

Since the beginning of our involvement with the NKT we have been repeatedly told that the NKT was not involved in politics. Now that the NKT has opened up with its political position and begun demonstrating I can no longer be a part of the organization. This complete lack of honesty about the NKT's involvement in Tibetan politics is the reason for my departure.

This clearly shows that the students have seriously misunderstood the demonstrations through receiving wrong information from you – their Resident Teacher.

You directly told me that the NKT was involving in political activities and that this was against the NKT and Dharma Centre constitutions; this is completely untrue.

Previously I wrote two letters to the Resident Teachers and Admin Directors of NKT Dharma Centre's (which are pasted below) in which I clearly explained that the NKT was not organising the demonstrations, the NKT was not involved in political activity and there was no basis for either the NKT or Dharma Centre constitutions to be broken.

I am very sorry that you have not trusted me. Because you do not trust me I cannot work with you therefore my conclusion is that you should resign from being an NKT Resident Teacher. From 1st May 2008 you will no longer be an NKT Resident Teacher. I will prepare a new Resident Teacher for KMC Florida and Parbawatiya Center.
With much love and prayers,
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Cc NKT Central Office, Gen-la Khyenrab, Gen-la Dekyong, Managers & community of KMC Florida and Parbawatiya Center"

Bill Esterhaus's picture

Dear friends,

You can post as much misinformation as you like, but you will never eclipse the truth of history - Dorje Shugden is a mainstream Gelugpa practice that has been supported through history by all the principal Root and Lineage Gurus. Dorje Shugden is regarded as the principal enlightened protector of Je Tsongkhapa's lineage.

To weaken the Gelugpa tradition so that he can gain power over it, the Dalai Lama has attempted to destroy this practice for the past thirty years according to his own political agenda. He is aided and and abetted by people like yourselves who follow him unquestioningly and who either omit important information about the history of the practice or distort it (a la Dreyfus). Whether you do so intentionally or out of ignorance remains to be seen. Perhaps you just believe what the TGIE tells you.

Your only harming yourself and all living beings through your fanatical opposition. You are against holy Dharma and holy beings such as the Gelugpa Lineage Gurus. You are the cult of anti-Shugden. I say this for good reasons. If the facts don't suit your views, you reject them, as a cult would. If you've got a problem with the legitimate history of this practice and prefer to accept the distortions of the TGIE then it's your problem, but you need to read and understand the facts:

http://www.dorjeshugdenhistory.org/among-shugden-texts.html

Dorje's picture

"As I said before, a Gelong is someone who has realization of Dharma, not just someone who holds a certain number of vows."

No it is not. A gelong is someone who holds the vows of a gelong. There are a number of ways to approach Dharma. There are upasikas holding upasika vows who have attained complete enlightenment. The fact that they are upasikas is because of the vows they hold not the realisation they have reached.

Your explanation of ordained sangha is convoluted and self-serving to disguise the fact that the NKT ordained sangha are not ordained according to the Buddha or Je Tsongkhapa. There is nothing wrong with not being ordained. Some of the greatest lamas of recent years were not gelongs, but pretending to be ordained whilst not observing the vows of at least a getsul degrades the Dharma.

emptymountains's picture

Dear Dorje,

EM, please tell me why the Rime tradition is not a valid synthesis of the Buddha’s teaching.

I am not saying it is valid or invalid. I'm saying it is not a synthesis at all. There was no need for a new synthesis, which is why all the Rime practitioners remain grounded principally in one tradition.

EM, if Rime is not a valid synthesis, I suggest that the Gelug tradition is not either. Je Tsongkhapa’s synthesis was eclectic extreme inclusivism as he took teachings from different sources and obviously didn’t believe that each of these elements constituted a complete path.

It is not the case that Buddhas synthesize new traditions believing that the other traditions are incomplete. Rather, the karma of some practitioners changes, and so new presentations of the path must be given to support them on the path as well.

This does not amount to a valid argument against Rime being a new presentation. It clearly was.

Too bad the Dalai Lama doesn't give his seal of approval saying Rime is a new bonafide Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

em

Dorje's picture

"being the iincarnation of Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen, who himself was the incarnation of the omniscient Panchen Sonam Dragpa,"

I notice you've stopped making the idiotic claim that Virupa, Sapan and Buton were reborn as this protector.

Does this reflect another change in NKT policy?

Dorje's picture

The eclectic says no tradition is a complete path (thus destroying one’s faith in the power of any one tradition to lead him to enlightenment).
No person who follows the non-sectarian approach says that. You are attacking your own absurd straw man. Non-sectarians say that all traditions are complete paths. They are not contradictory, they are complimentary and can be used in unison or not, as desired.

I just knew after your apparently reasonable start you would come up with a whole load of nonsequiters to prove that actually your bizarre western cult is really good and everyone else is really bad. But your problem is none of your arguments are based in reality.

Tell me how different Tibetan Buddhist traditions contradict and lead the practitioner in opposing directions. Tell me explicitly why practices from different traditions can not lead to realisation. As long as they hold the four seals, they do not contradict. They work together.

Dorje's picture

Realisation is beyond concepts, so all concepts are flawed to some degree, but those taught by the four Tibetan traditions are close enough to the truth to point the way. Some of these are a little nihilistic, others are a little eternalistic. Whether one refutes inherent existence or the four extremes actually doesn't make that much difference. Scholars like to argue about these things and sometimes these arguements get quite heated, but they don't really amount to much of anything.

Tenzin Peljor's picture

mhm.

to denounce the Dalai Lama as a "saffron robed muslim", "who is evil and cruel", a "liar", "hypocrite" who "has stolen the teachings from Trijang Rinpoche" and is "deceiving the world to be a holy being" is not only libel and wrong, it is also very different from the approach HHDL holds with respect to Shugden and its propagators.

HHDL not only states

"I am of the opinion that Phabongkha and Trijang Rinpoche's promotion of the worship of Dholgyal was a mistake. But their worship represents merely a fraction of what they did in their lives. Their contributions in the areas of Stages of the Path, Mind Training and Tantra teachings were considerable. Their contribution in these areas was unquestionable and in no way invalidated by involvement with Dholgyal... My approach to this issue (i.e. differing on one point, whilst retaining respect for the person in question) is completely in line with how such great beings from the past have acted."

HHDL really lives this.

Slanderous, depreciating statements as issued by the NKT/GKG/WSS and its food soldiers against the Dalai Lama can't be found by him.

The motive to "expose the hypocrisy of the Dalai Lama" (see WSS website) is also no Dharma practice or proper motivation of a Buddhist.

With respect to experience: I had 6 1/2 years experience with Shugden and its propagators, I found what has been said by opponents as being true, especially as a Nyingma lama summed it: "first you have many disciples, then many money, then many problems". Demons can appear as Buddha's and can bring success to the practitioner until his ego is getting bigger and bigger and he/she thinks to be something very special. This trick is one way how demons work. You can find this in a text by Patrul Rinpoche.

GKG and Je Tsongkhapa and their writings are not the same for me in any way - NKT just claims it would be the same. For me they are not.

As NKTees are encouraged only to study GKG's books, and to follow only his teachings, how can they really compare to be able to judge this? It is like a frog in the well who gets visit from a frog living near the ocean. The frog in the well won't understand the ocean as long as he stays in his well and believes there would and can't be any difference between his beloved well and the ocean.

So if I criticize NKT/GKG's approach and claims I do not criticize Je Tsongkhapa, because for me they are not the same entity. (I studied within and outside of NKT.)

The 22 books are a self-referential system. Every book starts with praises to GKG's extreme kindness, and advises always GKG's other books. And at the end of each book only his books are advised again and his centers and no further reading besides GKG's books is suggested. There is not even a bibliography on which origin works he has based his texts. Although GKG states the sources of quotes and states here and there that this can be found in that or that Tibetan text. In NKT there is the attitude to put down even translations of those texts as not being "authentic" because either the author is an academic or has no pure lineage or another lineage (no member of NKT) or there is a dedication to the long life of HHDL, like in the Lam Rim Chen Mo, so it is not authentic or better not to be read.

So at the end the devoted NKT follower, who wishes to keep NKT's "essential purity" is caught in this total self-referential system of GKG's 22 books, backed up by wrong teachings of a bodhisattva vow, which claims it would violate the Bodhisattva ethics when "Preferring to rely on books, rather than to rely on our spiritual guide", a commentary which is plain wrong.

The books of my non-NKT teachers start instead with expression of gratitude by the author to their teachers, not with devotional praise of his students to push up the author. Also they include in general clearly from which origin text they derive and has further readings they advise texts also by other authors.

I think, it speaks for itself that, besides about 5-10 pages, there is no origin work of Je Tsongkhapa, Atisha, Nagarjuna, Asanga/Maitreya available in NKT. It appears funny for me to hear the claim of NKT that these 22 books would present the entire and complete path to enlightenment. When GKG had only 15-18 books they also were announced as the entire and complete path to enlightenment, it follows it became more complete by the additional 4 books or were it already complete with three of his books?

With respect to competition and jealousy, I am not competitive to NKT or you or GKG in any way. I think this is a mere projection.

People who are convinced to be special usually interpret criticism as the jealousy of others, because they are so supreme and have so many amazing qualities, the other person can only be jealous of them.

"Live and let live"?

mhm, sounds good, but why do you not practice this with respect to the freedom of the Tibetan monastic communities to ban harmful 'spirit worship' from their places?

namkhah's picture

Friend: None of your allegations are referenced. I do not accept WSS/NKT websites as valid citations. NKT is target-painting around where the knife wound fell. Until the murders are solved the excommunication of semi-geshe Gyatso will stand so those of you carrying out his personal senile revenge trip are barking at the moon. Go have a few pints and get laid, celibacy doesn't work.

namkhah's picture

dougal: Questions I expect you will opt to evade: How may refugees did you help to physically bury in the Sixties? This is a nice parlour game for you neophyte self-proclaimed "practitioners" but you would have nothing without TGIE and the Tibetan community, who in your rush to demonize seem to have forgotten as real human beings.
Who is going to select the tulku of k. gyatso, the Communist Party of China or his perhaps his family? There's money so there will be a candidate. He will die soon enough but you harpies better start planning how to divide the spoils now.

R. Donald Rollo's picture

'Your negative conceptions born of internet gossip do nothing to benefit yourself or anyone else"
That maxim suits the NKT/WSS smear PR campaign perfectly, and here's a news flash: we will never give up because:
1. a gyalpo spirit is not a Buddha, not even close
2. k. gyatso is not a Geshe, he is the Benedict Arnold of Tibet
3. NKT are not properly ordained sangha, just money grubbing posers.

T.P.'s picture

# 2170
Dear LH it is common knowledge that cults are rooted in having a distorted version of reality and that they are very convinced they are the sole owner of the truth and that the world hasn't been able until now to recognize this truth, therefore the cult must spread "the truth" and convince the world.

That the world does not accept the cult truth of course is due to the world's deep ignorance and confusion, while of course the cult leader and the cult followers are free of deep ignorance and confusion and know "the truth" exclusively. If the world does not accept the truths the cult spreads, then the world has not awaken yet and the "truth must be revealed" of course, then if this fails, to keep the members in the cult, the cult will tell the followers that we "live in degenerate times", that this is all due to the evil forces who oppose the group, and how happy the followers can be, that at least they have met the glory saviour (the cult leader and his group.)

This is my personal 'truth' or better understanding with respect to NKT, and what you and some other NKTees are doing here.

It appears to me there is no non-NKT person who disagrees very much with such "a truth". Nor is there (almost) any academic research which does not show that NKT as well as Shugden worship is rooted in conflict and schism, and that there are a lot of controversies right from the start (very dissimilar e.g. with respect to HH the Dalai Lama and the Dalai Lama institution).... That outsiders of NKT see this so clearly is not due to the Dalai Lama or the TGIE but because people outside NKT and the influence of Kelsang Gyatso (or Kundeling Lama) are able to investigate things from all sides and there is no need for them to cling to one or the other side, because in general for them Shugden has no importance, its a minor side track topic. So there is not too much need to be biased in this or another direction. This is very different from those who defined Shugden as one of the most essential practice in Gelug school and cling to that idea as an ultimate truth. But in the ocean of knowledge and the vastness and depths of Buddhism (and also Gelug schoo) it is an unimportant fraction pushed up by the adepts to major importance, clinging on its importance, and since this controversial practice is so pushed up by its adepts now almost all got involved in a way and had to think about it or to invest time to understand it... what a waste of time!!!

Its an unimportant issue. Buddhism will survive without it. Moreover, what ever you or NKT accuse HHDL or TGIE or academics is for me clearly a projection derived from the actual situation within NKT and the own bias and hostility, the views of a narrow minded frog with a feeling of self-importance, projecting his frog perspective onto the far more larger and complex universe and those beings who are beyond his own metal capacity.

What you say may be for you, KG or NKT and some Shugden followers "the truth" for me (and probably some others) it is just the narrow minded deluded frog's well perspective who has never seen or even studied the ocean which is beyond his narrow minded deluded concepts.

This is my perspective and understanding.

Dorje's picture

You Tibetan Buddhists love acting all affronted and going to extremes, exclaiming that NKT has ‘abandoned the vinaya”. That’s simply not true because it would mean that moral discipline had been abandoned and that’s not true.
Abandoning the vinaya means ordained sangha not observing the vows contained in the vinaya. This is all it comes down to.
Vinaya’ means ‘to control’ and refers to controlling the mind, which is the essence of all Buddha’s teachings. Therefore, since lamrim is the main method by which we can control our mind, and lamrim is the main practice of the NKT, how can NKT have abandoned the vinaya? That’s nonsense!
That's nonsense.
Kadampa monks and nuns wear robes. These robes were designed by Je Tsongkhapa, so therefore, being followers of Tsongkhapa, we are entitled to wear them.Je Tsongkhapa's robes were for those that follow the vinaya, not some fabricated vows made up by a cult leader.

Your defence of Kadampa ordination comes as a result of your not understanding what the Vinyana really is and not understanding the nature and function of ordination.

Dorje's picture

As I have illustrated above, it seems that your real complaint is with Samuel, Dreyfus, Kay, Ringu Tulku, the Dalai Lama, and others—not with me.These people are only saying that Rime lamas maintained their political affliations with their respective monastic institutions and even this isn't particularly true. This does not amount to a valid argument against Rime being a new presentation. It clearly was.

Lineageholder's picture

Dear all,

Aren't you finding this game of ping pong a little boring?

Surely all that's important has already been said?

emptymountains's picture

Dear Dorje,

Well, *in general* then, if someone practices just one tradition, do they necessarily have a hidden hostility towards other traditions? Does their pratice of just one tradition mean that they aren't practicing all of Buddha's teachings?

em

SeekingClarity's picture

Dorje

I found #900 very helpful. I have to say that it does seem to me to be a slightly unnatural use of language to call any minor disagreement between scholars of different schools "sectarian". However, I entirely take you point that there is the world of difference between saying that another school has good some nuanced point slightly wrong and saying the practices of another school lead to Avichi Hell.

Clearly, one needs to meditate on the correct view of the two truths to attain enlightenment. Given that the view of the two truths differs between schools - for example. Gorampa/Sayka v JSK/Gelug - I have for a long time wondered whether one school held that other schools with views it regarded as subtly incorrect were nevertheless paths to full enlightenment. You say in #900

Here there is still room to accept that people became enlightened through following these subtly flawed words.

To clarify, are you saying that though, for example, Sakya scholars disagree with Gelug scholars regarding the two truths, they regard the "subtly flawed" views of Gelug scholars as close enough to the truth to lead the sincere practitioner who meditates on these subtly flawed views to full enlightenment?

Lineageholder's picture

Dear Tenzin Peljor,

Where will disparaging the words of your Guru get you? Please tell me where the faults lie in Geshe Kelsang's books. If you think you can prove that they are not Buddhadharma and not Je Tsongkhapa's teaching, go ahead. They are mainstream Gelugpa teachings, albeit with a different presentation.

Do you regard the books containing the Sutras and Tantras as a 'self-referential system?' They are the works of one Teacher as well.

Was the development of the Gelugpa tradition of Je Tsongkhapa a schismatic event? No, it was a re-presentation and clarification of previous teachings for the benefit of the people of those times in Tibet. So it is with the NKT, it's simply a re-presentation and clarification of Buddha's teachings, based on Je Tsongkhapa's commentaries, for the benefit of beings living today.

If you criticise Geshe Kelsang and the NKT, you have to criticise Je Tsongkhapa and what he did, for their actions have the same meaning. Like NKT, Je Tsongkhapa also had problems with the jealousy of traditions existing at that time. It's said that it took a hundred years for that jealousy and sectarianism to die down.

When you are going to get it into your head that Buddhadharma is not some kind of competition, with traditions scrabbling for devotees? NKT is for those who have the karma for NKT, Tibetan Buddhism is for those who have karma for Tibetan Buddhism. There's no need for jealousy, Tenzin P. Live and let live.

Friendoftruth's picture

One thing, one has to admit, the Dalai Lama and his followers have in common: their liberality about the notion of truth. It seems that this poor truth has been reduced by them to a fonction quite simple: if it serves us, we use it, if not, we deny it, if necessary, we invent it.

I am writing these words with shame. That a Buddhist has to point a finger and call other people manipulators of truth is quite sad. I beg the pardon of the readers who are reading these posts in order to try to find the truth. I am only doing this for the sake of truth. This is nothing personal. There is a sublime tradition that some are trying to destroy, there are Lamas that some are trying to demean, there is a Deity, so beneficial, that is being sacrilegeously slandered. I'm sorry, my Western upbringing does not allow me to shut up and allow this to go unnoticed.

This issue is also destroying among many immature people the best of our Western heritage, the heritage of the "other" Enlightenment. That people around here belonging to nations without tradition of human rights find it normal what the Dalai Lama is doing... it's understandable. That people brought up in democracy follow the Dalai Lama in his unrelenting civic and religious persecution of a sector of Tibetans and Tibetan Buddhists is astonishing and again, sad, very sad.

_____________________________________

In March 1996, the Dalai Lama pronounced a ban against the Buddhist deity Dorje Shugden, declaring that worshipping this Deity posed a “danger to his life and the cause of Tibet.”

THE BAN

Tibetans, at least Tibetans post-1959, worship the Dalai Lama, and the idea that this king-priest-father of the nation could be in danger makes them crazy, because for some reason they have transformed him in the sole owner of their identity. Talk about cults! That's why the Dalai Lama has deliberately given as a reason for justifying the ban on Dorje Shugden, the outlandish and cruel accusation that the worshipping of this Deity was putting his own life in danger. No doubt, a ban proclaimed on the basis of such accusation triggered the heaviest of discords among Tibetans and the relentless persecution of the Gelugpas faithful to their religious commitments.

Now, let's see a few of the things that happened right after the proclamation of the ban in March 1996.

His Private Office issued a decree for everyone to stop practising Dorje Shugden, with instructions to make people aware of this through government offices, monasteries, associations, etc.

The Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies (Parliament) passed a resolution banning the worship of Dorje Shugden by Tibetan government employees.

The Dalai Lama personally encouraged the Tibetan Youth Congress and the Women Association to enforce the ban.
Consequently a group of nuns dragged into the street a Dorje Shugden statue, consecrated by some of the highest Tibetan Lamas, by using a rope attached to its neck. They spat at the statue, sat on it, broke it up into pieces, and threw the remains into the town's garbage dump.

The Tibetan Freedom Movement and the Guchusum Organization barred the worship of Dorje Shugden among their members.

All government employees were ordered to sign a declaration to the effect that they do not / will never worship Dorje Shugden. Those who didn’t comply lost their jobs.

The Tibetan Department of Health gave a special notice to doctors and staff:
“We should resolve not to worship Shugden in the future. If there is anyone who worships, they should repent the past and stop worshipping. They must submit a declaration that they will not worship in the future.”

Employees of the Tibetan Children's Village were urged to take oaths against Dorje Shugden.

The Dalai Lama made it mandatory for administrators and abbots of all major Tibetan monasteries to enforce the ban. A campaign of intimidation and forced signatures set the stage for many acts of violence against the practitioners in the various monasteries. Through his private office the Dalai Lama commissioned Sera Je monastery 21 days of wrathful exorcisms against Dorje Shugden and his practitioners.

The Tibetan Youth Congress implemented the ban in every Tibetan settlement, with house to house searches, desecration and burning of statues, paintings, and other holy objects.

THE DENIAL

All of this and much more happened in the first two months after the ban.

Then some voices from the West started asking questions, wondering what was going on.
As a result, on May 14 1996 the Kashag (Tibetan Cabinet) issued a statement declaring that nothing resembling a religious suppression had ever taken place.

This was the first denial.
From that time on the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan government in exile and all Tibetan institutions never stopped the persecution of the faithful Gelugpas, simultaneously denying that the ban ever even had existed.

______________________________________________

Something must be really bad, if one follows the symptoms.
How do you explain that after those and myriad similar documented facts -documented ad nauseam- the Dalai Lama and his followers deny that there ever was a ban, and that there ever was a persecution?

The answer is simple: the denial is the best declaration of guilt. The denial is the symptom of guilt.
The facts are clear and proven, the proofs are there. To deny them only shows that the Dalai Lama and company perfectly know that in our culture what he has done, what they have done, deserves public condemnation.

What can we say more?
Go on denying.

__________________________________________________

Of course, they do more than denying.
They invent truths.

Cult murders? Interpol? But who declared that those murders were cult murders? Who pointed to the police that poor monk Chimey Tsering and the handful of dedicated monks whose only crime was to try to help the victims of the Dalai Lama through the Charitable Shugden Society? The Dalai Lama and his government, of course. It suited their purposes, to accuse the faithful Gelugpas, so they accused them.

After so many years, where are the "shugdenites" condemned by the Indian courts? They were not condemned.
After so many years, where are the "shugdenites" that nobody arrested? Conveniently disappeared in the mists of the Tibetan plateau? Of course. Who said? The Dalai Lama and his government.

Obviously the Dalai Lama and the members of his TGIE were there when the murders happened and they saw everything. Why they didn't intervene to defend those monks nobody knows. Ah? They weren't there? Sorry! Of course, if they weren't there then they could not have helped them. But if they were not there, how come they immediately, immediately phoned the Indian police and accused the members of the Dorje Shugden Charitable Society of the crimes?

What can we say more?
Go on inventing the truths that suit your purposes.

_____________________________________________________

A rather arcane sectarian dispute? May be. But the persecution is not a dispute, it's a persecution. And it's not arcane, it happens in the present tense, in day light.
A child can understand it.

Actually, a child -a Tibetan child- not long ago astonished her teacher in a New York high school, explaining in a paper that the Dalai Lama was a tyrant and that he persecuted people for his religious beliefs. The adult members of her family were astonished, they had not talked to her about the issue. She had heard, and what she heard was simple enough for her to understand. You believe in Dorje Shugden, the Dalai Lama persecutes you. This child should ashame the adults who see arcanes disputes where there is such a simple, sad truth.

Go to sleep now, we all need some rest from this crazyness.
Good night.

dougal's picture

Katie66 -

http://westernshugdensociety.org? is about religion. only. 100%.

how can i say that? because the aims, intentions and motivation of the site is 100%, exclusively religious - to get the ban on a spiritual tradition lifted.

there is no other aim. the very moment this aim is accomplished, WSS will dissolve and disappear, as will its websites etc. - regardless of who holds the political power in Tibetan society.

so long as the political leaders give religious freedom to Shugden practitioners, we don't care who it is - Tenzin Gyatso can have another 68 years in power for all i care, so long as he gives religious freedom.

if you're incapable of understanding or believing this, there's nothing more i can do to help you.

ps. re. Shugden lamas wanting to replace Nechung oracle with Shugden oracle: i have no idea, i wasn't there. however, because they were Buddhists one might reasonably assume that they would have preferred their political leaders to receive advice from an enlightened being rather than a worldly being, no?

Truthsayer's picture

Same old, same old. When are you going to let it go, guys?

Your negative conceptions born of internet gossip do nothing to benefit yourself or anyone else.

You'll have to let it go when you go to your next life, for sure.

Dorje's picture

Bill, Rodney Billman's argument rests on little more than brief quotations from colophons, obscure ritual texts and biographies. There is no real meat to back any of this up. If the worship of this protector was so significant before Phabongkhapa, name the lineage lamas of this practice. Go on, Bill, name them.

Georges Dreyfus' main point in his essay was that the worship of this spirit is tied up with Gelug sectarianism. To prove this we don't need to find obscure Sakya prayers or unheard of termas. We can look at Phabongkhapa and Trijang Rinpoche's own teachings about this protector. Trijang Rinpoche said
Furthermore, whether they were lords of Tibet, great lamas who held the political power of the throne, lamas and tulkus, great or small, with illustrious lines of incarnation, holy beings rich in scriptural and realized qualities, high lords of vast lands and works, those haughty with pride of family lineage, dominion and wealth, any who hypocritically claimed to be followers of Protector Manjusri Tsongkhapa’s Teachings while remaining unsatisfied with Je Lama’s precious Teachings of Sutra and Tantra which, in terms of view, meditation, and action, need not crave more from any other tradition, and, instead, mixed, polluted, or confused them with other modes of view and practice, whether lay or ordained, regardless of status, there have been many who have met with unpleasant wrathful punishments, such as being punished by authorities, litigation and legal disputes, untimely death, and so forth. Such swift, decisive signs appear to direct perception. Here praise is offered to that manifestation as a great wrathful protector who raises the Yellow Hat Teachings to the heights of the heavens.
Phabongkhapa said
[This protector of the doctrine] is extremely important for holding Dzong-ka-ba’s tradition without mixing and corrupting [it] with confusions due to the great violence and the speed of the force of his actions, which fall like lightning to punish violently all those beings who have wronged the Yellow Hat Tradition, whether they are high or low.[This protector is also particularly significant with respect to the fact that] many from our own side, monks or lay people, high or low, are not content with Dzong-ka-ba’s tradition, which is like pure gold, [and] have mixed and corrupted [this tradition with ] the mistaken views and practices from other schools, which are tenet systems that are reputed to be incredibly profound and amazingly fast but are [in reality] mistakes among mistakes, faulty, dangerous andmisleading paths.In regard to this situation, this protector of the doctrine, this witness, manifests his own form or a variety of unbearable manifestations of terrifying and frightening wrathful and fierce appearances.Due to that, a variety of events, some of them having happened or happening, some of which have been heard or seen, seem to have taken place: some people become unhinged and mad, some have a heart attack and suddenly die, some [see] through a variety of inauspicious signs [their] wealth, accumulated possessions and descendants disappear without leaving any trace, like a pond whose feeding river has ceased, whereas some [find it] difficult to achieve anything in successive lifetimes.
Phabongkhapa also dismissed other traditions as leading to hell. He said,
Apart from the doctrine of Manjughosha Tsongkhapa alone, these days the views of all Sakyas, Kagyus, Nyingmas and so on are erroneous. They are not even Svatantra or Cittamatra, let alone the view of Prasanga Madhyamaka– meditating only the nihilist view like tirthikas and Hashang. If one upholds the nihilist view, the result is nothing other than going to Avichi hell. Since they can’t recognize subtle lethargy, even their meditation is defective. Apart from the thunderous noise of their pretentious boasting about profound secret mantra, they don’t even know the direction of bliss and emptiness, luminosity, union and so on. Since for them liberation and path of omniscience does not exist, realization will not arise even if they practice for a thousand years, as pointless as wishing for butter by churning water.
Bill, if you think the teachings by these two lamas are unimportant to the worship of this protector, please explain how these two lamas distorted this protector practice and show us a list of the modern lineage of this practice untainted by these two insignificant lamas.

Lineageholder's picture

Dear SC,

Does this mean that you impute Chenrezig on the DL?

I don't have any faith in the Dalai Lama - his actions appear too faulty to me so I could not impute Chenrezig on him. However, I don't know his mind. It's possible that he is Buddha and all of this is a carefully staged opportunity to accumulate merit by protecting a pure spiritual tradition and standing up for Buddha's teachings, who knows? Buddha can appear in any form to benefit others, even appearing as an evil person or an insane person if that's what's needed for practitioners.

The Dalai Lama's followers impute Chenrezig on him and receive commensurate benefit. Anyone who imputes Chenrezig on the Dalai Lama will certainly receive Buddha's blessings. It would not be wrong to do so but he doesn't appear that way to me.

Dorje's picture

EM, if Rime is not a valid synthesis, I suggest that the Gelug tradition is not either. Je Tsongkhapa's synthesis was eclectic extreme inclusivism as he took teachings from different sources and obviously didn't believe that each of these elements constituted a complete path.

Lineageholder's picture

Dear SC,

First, both sides can equally make the argument “how can this great long list of esteemed lamas be wrong”. So LH making the argument for his side cuts no ice. More importantly, the unfortunate fact is that one great long list of lamas is wrong!

It cuts plenty of ice when you realize the spiritual integrity of those Great Beings proves that they were not spirit worshipers and the Dalai Lama is wrong. It is impossible for a spirit worshiper to be a great Buddhist Master, and since these were all great Masters, they did not worship a spirit, they relied on peaceful and wrathful Manjushri.

emptymountains's picture

Oops! Please forgive me; I messed up #3 there. Here is an accurate example:

3. Recalling the story of the man who saved the dying fish, more sentient beings died because of his idiot compassion (i.e., compassion without wisdom) than had he uncompassionately left it to die on the road.

I still believe that "many scholars have been reborn in hell (but those who have faith will be reborn in a Pure Land)," but the eclectic has no faith in anything, really.

em

Tenzin Peljor's picture

correction to my last formatting error...# 904 the content is the same.

Another academic source:

“In present day Kathmandu ‘....Shugden is widely propitiated as a divine bestower of wealth. Because Tibetans in Kathmandu have in fact flourished during the past couple of decades, growing rich through success in the tourist and crafts-export trades, the Dalai Lama’s calls to abandon the Shugden cult have caused no small degree of consternation; the deity, after all, appears to be promoting the ends for which he is propitiated.....as sectarian strife appears to undermine the interests of the Tibetan community at large, the Dalai Lama and those who perceive the issue as he does, have concluded that the cult is now a self-defeating one, and that it should therefore be set aside. This of course, leaves some of the business people who are supporters of the Dalai Lama in a position of inner conflict: their loyalty to their leader requires them to obey him, but at the same time, they find it difficult to accept that this practice has in any sense been self-defeating.’”

M Kapstein (2000) The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism: Conversion, Contestation and Memory Oxford University Press p143

post # 902
1. I made clear that this is my position, I didn't claim this is a truth. This is a dissimilar approach than that of NKT and WSS who state their positions as facts without having even sources.
2. My position is not as yours that "‘Gyatsoism’ as you put it is pure Gelugpa teachings". On the most accurate base I would agree that NKT follow a number of Gelug teachings which are seen by GKG as being essential. However, his views do in some aspects not present Je Tsongkhapa's school (e.g. teacher-student-relationship or the definition of sectarianism and the lack of emphasize of the union of the three HYT tantras, the lack of the Kalachakra Tantra and other tantras, the lack of the lineage of Machig Labtroen, and the reduded emphasize on Mahakala, Vaishravana, Kalarupa the lack of open debate and emphasize on the Indian texts etc., the lack of being critical with one's gurus teachings etc.) and NKT misses also a lot of Je Tsongkhapa's own teachings and texts on different subjects, e.g. Golden Rosary, the Commentary on the Abhisamayalamkara - probably 'the essence' of this is in GKG's book on the Heart Sutra ;-)

The 'essence claim' is one of the most important features of NKT to explain why something is missed.

From all of Je Tsongkhapa's works, there are only about four pages of Je Tsongkhapas texts available in NKT: his stages on the path prayer and his root text Namtso Lam Sum (the three principles of the path). I wonder how this can keep his tradition 'purely'?

From Je Tsongkhapa's 18 volumes not even one is present, not even one of his major works e.g.:

* The Great Exposition of the Stages of the Path (Lam-rim chen-mo),
* The Great Exposition of Tantras (sNgag-rim chenmo),
* The Essence of Eloquence on the Interpretive and Definitive Teachings (Drang-nges legs-bshad snying-po),
* The Praise of Relativity (rTen-'brel bstodpa),
* The Clear Exposition of the Five Stages of Guhyasamaja (gSang-'dus rim-lnga gsal-sgron) and
* The Golden Rosary (gSer-phreng).

3. it is nice to see the first time the plural: "his Spiritual Guides". thank you.
4. I agree with "his books are also a synthesis of the instructions of countless other Buddhist masters which he received through his Spiritual Guides." Although 'synthesis' sounds like 'mix', doesn't it ;-)
5. I strongly disagree with "It is a tradition: it’s the Kadampa tradition." Its NKT or 'Gyatsoims' but not the Kadampa tradition. There is too much missed of what the the Kadampas are: there is not even Atisha's 'Lamp on the path' and his auto-commentary available. There is no monastic ordination available. The main texts the Kadampas studied are also not available, Achala and the Sixteen drops; and many precious texts of the Kadampas are also not available. The NKT uses the name of the Kadampa Tradition but by using a name it is not the Kadampa Tradition. For what the Kadampas held for lineages please read this article: http://info-buddhism.com/kadampatradition.html

Of course ‘Geshe Kelsang does judge the Vinaya to be unimportant’ that's why he said “Traditionally, Tibetan Buddhism follows the Vinaya Sutra, which belongs to the Hinayana tradition. Personally I find this strange. We are Mahayana Buddhists so why are we following the Vinaya – the Pratimoksha vows - of the Hinayana tradition?” (Such a claim is also in contradiction to the Bodhisattva vows, as I have shown earlier by using Je Tsongkhapa's own work - see #664.)

As you have not studied the Vinaya and repeat only the faulty NKT claims, I think you shouldn't talk about it, and judge based on your own ignorance that others would be ignorant or to try to convince me that it is me who has no understanding.

Although I have indeed less understanding, at least I know enough about the Vinaya and received enough teachings about the Vinaya to be able to judge the NKT position as being wrong. It is clear that other monks and Geshes hold the same position. I think you won't hesitate also to judge them of being ignorant and not to have understood the meaning of ordination?

How do you know what I see as the essence of the Vinaya? I never stated my view about this, yet still you claim wrongly: "For you, Vinaya is a book with a bunch of rules and if you don’t see those rules in the form that you expect, you make outrageous claims that NKT has abandoned the Vinaya."

The first part is not my position, that NKT has abandoned the Vinaya is my position. My reasons are, when there is no getsul and gelong ordination, then there is no order of monks and nuns anymore, then there is no-one whom is allowed to ordain, no sojong can be performed and the vinaya lineage dies out completely. So the Vinaya has been abandoned.

For the correct position and refutation from learned and elected elder monks read their statement: http://info-buddhismus.de/Australian_Sangha_Association_Statement.html

To study the Vinaya takes about four years in the Gelug tradition, and such a study is not done in weekend courses. That Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa strongly emphasized the vinaya is also a sign that those how claim to follow them should not ignore it.

Of course NKT has 'the essence' and puts the Vinaya in 10 vows and the Lamrim text of GKG... Probably Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa lacked the wisdom to do that.

Lineageholder's picture

Dear Tenzin,

What did the Dalai Lama say? He doesn't disrespect his root Guru, Trijang Rinpoche, he simply says that respect to Dorje Shugden, he was wrong.

I can say the same then. I respect the Teachers, students, teachings, activities and realizations of all schools of Buddhism, but I can say that if one of them says that Dorje Shugden is not a Buddha, they are wrong.

As much as many of you might like to dismiss my experience of Dorje Shugden as a delusion, you can't because I alone know what I've experienced. I'm nothing special, but all detractors are like mara at the moment of enlightenment saying to Buddha "what gives you the right to be enlightened?". Having tried in every way to de-rail Buddha from his task, mara left doubt to last of all.

I have no doubt about Dorje Shugden, so that won't work. As Buddha touched the earth, asking it to bear witness to the causes he had created for enlightenment, I touch the truth of my experience which comes from virtue, not from delusion. Through the blessings of my Gurus, I've had the good fortune to have that experience.

Anyone who has never experienced Dorje Shugden practice is just like a parrot of the Dalai Lama squawking "Dorje Shugden is bad!". They are the people who have never tasted chocolate, yet regard themselves are confectionery experts.

Get some experience and then tell me I'm wrong.

namkhah's picture

Marsden: Wanted posters happen after brutal cult murders and multiple death threats, there is nothing unusual about that. There's still an outstanding Interpol warrant on Shugdenites, see previous posts.

Buddhist Friend's picture

Hey Tenzin Peljor,

I thought you said on your website that you were going to stop engaging with these issues? I wish you would make your mind up - since you said that you have posted on Wikipedia and now on this thread?

Are you giving up or not?

You need to be a man of your word or not make such statements!

Academic Research regarding Shugden Controversy & New Ka's picture

[...] The Bhutan Abbot of Ngor: Stubborn Idealist with a Grudge against Shugs-ldan by David Jackson, published by Amnye Machen Institute, 2001 in Lungta #14, Review by Mark Turin (excerpt see Tricycle Blog comment # 891) [...]

Ron's picture

Of course NKT need to distance themselves being seen to engage in from political activities like sending the 'singing nuns' on boondoggle junkets to 'protest'– they would lose their lucrative charitable tax status and possibly lose their hotels and much of their real estate holdings if they had to pay taxes like us non-cult samsaric people. Why the British government does not scrutinize them more carefully is an open question.

T.P.'s picture

For those interested I received an update about the situation in Sera Monastery India from a monk dwelling there:

http://westernshugdensociety.wordpress.com/2009/03/08/update-on-the-situ...

Dear Bill Esterhaus,
the personal point of view of Trinley Kalsang, who appears not to be any kind of scholar as LH had claimed previously, and about whom scholarly credit seems not to have been bestowed in any way until now, is of course interesting for some people, however to compare an unknown person with an highly respected academic heavy weight like Prof. George Dreyfus appears to be a case of comparing a fox with a lion.

Prof. George Dreyfus's work on Shugden is often quoted by the highest academic scholars and his work is also listed in their bibliographies. Dreyfus's work on Shugden is also listed with respect to a court case in Australia by Prof. Samuel who is clearly one of the crème academics among Buddhism scholars (see http://info-buddhism.com/001_geoffreysamuel.pdf).

Maybe you explain the academic credits or scholarly credits of Trinley Kalsang, this can put things into perspectives.

The "true history of Dorje Shugden practice, not the inaccurate, politically motivated distortion put forth by Shugden adepts and other of Dorje Shugden’s followers" will unlikely be published by people who appear to be biased and narrow minded but by those who are qualified to write about this.

Don't worry "The truth will be known despite the Dorje Shugden followers' propaganda." - the truth is already known. I linked the updated list of academic research already many times, so I restrain to do it again. You'll find it on the blog linked first in my post.

However, thank you to add your perspectives.

SeekingClarity's picture

LH

In #1794 you say

Buddha is different. Because Buddha is the Dharmakaya, there is no place where there is no Buddha. Anything can be correctly seen as Buddha’s emanation and such an imputation works through faith. If we have such imputation we will receive blessings.

Does this mean that you impute Chenrezig on the DL?

Dorje's picture

When I use the word synthesis (as in post 1225), I use it specifically in the sense of a new presentation of Buddha’s teachings
Rime was a new presentation of the Buddha's teachings. Nobody had done anything like it before. Jamgon Kongtrul's five great treasures, for example, give a completely different presentation as well as adding new terma teachings that he himself had discovered.
If each of the pre-existent traditions is not an ‘exclusive alternative’ but only a ‘partial description’ of the path, then they are each incomplete! So, ironically, the ‘universalistic’ approach fractures the BuddhadharmaSamuel is not saying that traditions are only partial descriptions because one may lack something another tradition has. He is saying that the ultimate is (according to the shamanic vision) necessarily beyond words, so all teachings are 'partial'.

To Rime lamas the ultimate teachings, be they Dzogchen, Mahamudra, Great Madhyamaka or Shije, all lead to the same place. The reality they point to is the same. You don't need more than one lineage, but having said that, neither do they contradict in any way.

Creating a universal super-tradition is the exact opposite of seeing the whole of Buddha’s teachings in each of its parts.The Rime tradition is not like this in at all. Each of the myriad teachings can lead to liberation. Previously you mentioned that the Migtsema prayer contains a complete path. Jamgon Mipham wrote a teaching (White Lotus) on the tshigdun soldep also explaining how this prayer contains a complete path. All practices are like this. This understanding is what informed the great Rime lamas. They saw the value of all teachings and practices. Each one is cherished as it may help an individual progress on the path.

EM, please tell me why the Rime tradition is not a valid synthesis of the Buddha's teaching.

Dorje's picture

If the hat fits...

Dorje's picture

"Lama Yeshe practiced the Geglupa tradition exclusively, he had a hidden hostility towards other traditions?"

I don't think he did practice Gelug exclusively, as such. I think the FPMT practiced various terma traditions at that time, such as Hayagriva, the Three Wrathful Ones and various prayers to Guru Padmasambhava. In any case, I'm not really interested in what Lama Yeshe did or didn't do.

Tenzin Peljor's picture

Another academic source:

“In present day Kathmandu ‘....Shugden is widely propitiated as a divine bestower of wealth. Because Tibetans in Kathmandu have in fact flourished during the past couple of decades, growing rich through success in the tourist and crafts-export trades, the Dalai Lama’s calls to abandon the Shugden cult have caused no small degree of consternation; the deity, after all, appears to be promoting the ends for which he is propitiated.....as sectarian strife appears to undermine the interests of the Tibetan community at large, the Dalai Lama and those who perceive the issue as he does, have concluded that the cult is now a self-defeating one, and that it should therefore be set aside. This of course, leaves some of the business people who are supporters of the Dalai Lama in a position of inner conflict: their loyalty to their leader requires them to obey him, but at the same time, they find it difficult to accept that this practice has in any sense been self-defeating.’”

M Kapstein (2000) The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism: Conversion, Contestation and Memory Oxford University Press p143

post # 902
1. I made clear that this is my position, I didn't claim this is a truth. This is a dissimilar approach than that of NKT and WSS who state their positions as facts without having even sources.
2. My position is not as yours that "‘Gyatsoism’ as you put it is pure Gelugpa teachings". On the most accurate base I would agree that NKT follow a number of Gelug teachings which are seen by GKG as being essential. However, his views do in some aspects not present Je Tsongkhapa's school (e.g. teacher-student-relationship or the definition of sectarianism and the lack of emphasize of the union of the three HYT tantras, the lack of the Kalachakra Tantra and other tantras, the lack of the lineage of Machig Labtroen, and the reduded emphasize on Mahakala, Vaishravana, Kalarupa the lack of open debate and emphasize on the Indian texts etc., the lack of being critical with one's gurus teachings etc.) and NKT misses also a lot of Je Tsongkhapa's own teachings and texts on different subjects, e.g. Golden Rosary, the Commentary on the Abhisamayalamkara - probably 'the essence' of this is in GKG's book on the Heart Sutra ;-)

The 'essence claim' is one of the most important features of NKT to explain why something is missed.

From all of Je Tsongkhapa's works, there are only about four pages of Je Tsongkhapas texts available in NKT: his stages on the path prayer and his root text Namtso Lam Sum (the three principles of the path). I wonder how this can keep his tradition 'purely'?

From Je Tsongkhapa's 18 volumes not even one is present, not even one of his major works e.g.:

* The Great Exposition of the Stages of the Path (Lam-rim chen-mo),
* The Great Exposition of Tantras (sNgag-rim chenmo),
* The Essence of Eloquence on the Interpretive and Definitive Teachings (Drang-nges legs-bshad snying-po),
* The Praise of Relativity (rTen-'brel bstodpa),
* The Clear Exposition of the Five Stages of Guhyasamaja (gSang-'dus rim-lnga gsal-sgron) and
* The Golden Rosary (gSer-phreng).

3. it is nice to see the first time the plural: "his Spiritual Guides". thank you.
4. I agree with "his books are also a synthesis of the instructions of countless other Buddhist masters which he received through his Spiritual Guides." Although 'synthesis' sounds like 'mix', doesn't it ;-)
5. I strongly disagree with "It is a tradition: it’s the Kadampa tradition." Its NKT or 'Gyatsoims' but not the Kadampa tradition. There is too much missed of what the the Kadampas are: there is not even Atisha's 'Lamp on the path' and his auto-commentary available. There is no monastic ordination available. The main texts the Kadampas studied are also not available, Achala and the Sixteen drops; and many precious texts of the Kadampas are also not available. The NKT uses the name of the Kadampa Tradition but by using a name it is not the Kadampa Tradition. For what the Kadampas held for lineages please read this article: http://info-buddhism.com/kadampatradition.html

Of course ‘Geshe Kelsang does judge the Vinaya to be unimportant’ that's why he said “Traditionally, Tibetan Buddhism follows the Vinaya Sutra, which belongs to the Hinayana tradition. Personally I find this strange. We are Mahayana Buddhists so why are we following the Vinaya – the Pratimoksha vows - of the Hinayana tradition?” (Such a claim is also in contradiction to the Bodhisattva vows, as I have shown earlier by using Je Tsongkhapa's own work - see #664.)

As you have not studied the Vinaya and repeat only the faulty NKT claims, I think you shouldn't talk about it, and judge based on your own ignorance that others would be ignorant or to try to convince me that it is me who has no understanding.

Although I have indeed less understanding, at least I know enough about the Vinaya and received enough teachings about the Vinaya to be able to judge the NKT position as being wrong. It is clear that other monks and Geshes hold the same position. I think you won't hesitate also to judge them of being ignorant and not to have understood the meaning of ordination?

How do you know what I see as the essence of the Vinaya? I never stated my view about this, yet still you claim wrongly: "For you, Vinaya is a book with a bunch of rules and if you don’t see those rules in the form that you expect, you make outrageous claims that NKT has abandoned the Vinaya."

The first part is not my position, that NKT has abandoned the Vinaya is my position. My reasons are, when there is no getsul and gelong ordination, then there is no order of monks and nuns anymore, then there is no-one whom is allowed to ordain, no sojong can be performed and the vinaya lineage dies out completely. So the Vinaya has been abandoned.

For the correct position and refutation from learned and elected elder monks read their statement: http://info-buddhismus.de/Australian_Sangha_Association_Statement.html

To study the Vinaya takes about four years in the Gelug tradition, and such a study is not done in weekend courses. That Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa strongly emphasized the vinaya is also a sign that those how claim to follow them should not ignore it.

Of course NKT has 'the essence' and puts the Vinaya in 10 vows and the Lamrim text of GKG... Probably Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa lacked the wisdom to do that.

Tenzin Peljor's picture

Thanks to Dorje and Kagyuepa for clarification.

For me as an ex-NKT the problem lies straight within NKT and its root in 'Gelugpa fundamentalism'.

My understanding is that the organisation functions a bit like a narcissist.

As the mirror to reflect again and again the own prettiness and purity functions the complete self-referential system of the organisation's literature - the 22 books of GKG* - which is seen by the members as 'extremely pure' and unfailing. This includes that of what "Geshe-la said" is the truth, everything else is untrue or can be ignored.

*(The 22 books are praised by the organisation as the first presentation of the complete Buddhist Path to Enlightenment available in any Western language.)

The mirror for the own reflection has been expanded now to numerous new truth-websites and truth-blogs with truth-bloggers. And when Al Jazeera or France 24 TV exaggerate events and support the own thinking this is praised as "the truth". -- As long as the members see the own views or prettiness reflected then this is "the truth" and one is happy, and as soon as someone opposes that self-image, this person is denounced as a liar, hypocrite or a stupid follower of the Dalai Lama 'who has too much blind devotion'.

I think, the foundation of a self-centred attitude which is based on a feeling of supremeness and uniqueness was laid when NKT was founded and has its root in the schism from FPMT and in the thinking of its founder. It is also strongly related to the 'Gelug fundamentalism' heritage which was exported to the West by some Gelug teachers.

While researchers (like Bluck, Kay, Prohl) refer to the foundation of NKT as a schismatic event, (which is according to Kay "rooted in conflict and schism") NKT literature ignores this poisonous root and uses euphemisms to announce the events as:

"a wonderful development in the history of the Buddhadharma."

The former NKT secretary Belither states:

Through the kind efforts and pure wishes of our Venerable Teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the sun of Je Tsongkhapa’s Kadam Dharma, having risen from behind the Eastern Snow Mountains, now radiates to many countries throughout the world. Through the pure thoughts and actions of Kadampa Buddhists, now and in the future, may the teachings, example and blessings of the Buddha and Je Tsongkhapa continue to remain and flourish for the greater good and happiness of all beings.

The first successor of GKG, Neil Elliiot / Gen Thubten referred in the NKT magazine Full Moon to GKG as the Third Buddha, because

"he has restored the essential purity of Buddha's doctrine and shown how to practice it in extremely impure times."

At the same time NKT leadership didn't get tired to announce again and again how degenerated the Gelug school or Tibetan Buddhism would be, to establish itself as more supreme and more pure to its followers and newbies. (This is usually called "to praise oneself while criticizing others" - to do this based on attachment to respect, gain and praise is the very first root downfall for a Bodhisattva.). For this approach different concepts were applied like that of "mixing Dharma with politics" or "practising purely" without "mixing the Dharma" with that of other traditions (non-NKT teachings or teachings not given by GKG and his devotees).

To establish the supremacy of NKT the "first fully qualified Tantric Teacher in the West" (NKT literature about GKG's successor Gen Thubten / Neil Elliot) claimed:

"So therefore, this I would like to say, when Geshe Kelsang says that he established the New Kadampa Tradition so as to preserve and protect the Dharma, that was transmitted from the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri to Je Tsongkhapa, this is what he is talking about, the Mahamudra. This is the actual inner practice of the New Kadampa Tradition, the only practice of the New Kadampa Tradition. And we can say these days, previously you could find the practice of the Mahamudra outside this Tradition; other Traditions held this practice. But these days we can say definitely it doesn't exist outside
of our Tradition. Only this Tradition holds the lineage, the pure lineage, of the Vajrayana Mahamudra. So this is what we need to preserve, this is what we need to protect. Geshe-la has carried this entire lineage................................"

Although the organisation has leaned to keep this kind of thinking about the own supremacy more secret, I think the founding views of NKT are still there but difficult to recognize for newcomers or outsiders.

As more as one perceives oneself as supreme, the more aggressively one will attack those opposing the own supremacy.

However for his followers, in his teachings these views of the own purity and the degeneration of others (especially the own roots, the Gelug school) can still be detected. In 1999 GKG explained in his talk about his NKT ordination:

Nowadays the practice of the Vinaya has almost died out, not only the Vinaya but Buddhism in general is degenerating, including the Tibetan Gelug tradition. I am not the only one who says this, many other Lamas have said the same. Over two hundred years ago a Gelugpa lama called Gungtang Jampelyang wrote a praise to Lama Tsongkhapa in which he said ‘Now, although the Ganden doctrine is increasing materially, its practice is seriously degenerating. This makes me very sad.’ Every year it is degenerating and becoming weaker, while political activities are increasing. This is very sad.

However here in the west we are very fortunate. For us this is not a degenerate but an increasing time. During an increasing time the Dharma is flourishing, it is very easy to gain realizations, and there are many pure practitioners and realized beings. When Buddhadharma first began to flourish there were many realized beings, both Yogis and Yoginis. Then gradually they became less and less common, until now it is very rare to find a pure practitioner.

From the pov of the principle of the elder, while the Tibetan Buddhists have to respect the Theravada Buddhists and the schools elder than Tibetan Buddhism, like those from China, Sri Lanka etc., the Gelugpas would do good if they respect the elder schools, especially their practitioners like the Nyingmapas, Sakyapas, and Kagyupas. Showing disrespect to them is against the spirit of the Dharma. Moreover the Gelugs owe almost everything to them.

With respect to the Westerners, we the younger to those elder from the Buddhist countries, should respect them and learn from them, like the Western Theravada followers do it.

With respect to NKT, NKT is the newest and most recent Buddhist movement, they should be humble and show respect to all other Buddhist schools and their representatives, like HHDL, Tai Situ Rinpoche, HH Sakya Trizin etc.; and especially to the own root the Gelugpas who them owe everything. Sadly NKT leadership and its food soldiers show one of the most disrespectful and noisiest behaviour of all the Buddhist schools. The criticism towards this "Ultra-Ego" I think is quite appropriate. If it will help is another question.

However, from the pov of compassion, I think it is important to put also GKG into perspective. He grew up in a rather fundamentalist and extreme situation within the Gelug school and the situation in exile.

When the 13th Dalai Lama died the Gelug purist were successful to gain more power. Pabongkha broke his promise towards the 13th Dalai Lama to stop propagating Shugden (strongly beloved especially among the aristocrats) and could increase the power of the most conservative Gelugpas.

As the Dharma was used to justify and increase power, it is difficult to differentiate for Westerners what is what. The claim by the Gelug purists they would "not mix dharma with politics" is for me nothing else than politics itself.

However, GKG grew up in a certain environment, later pushed by naive Western followers to be the third Buddha himself, all these things have an impact and will result in effects.