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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namkhah's picture

Some people are on the payroll, simple as that. Shame for you the present Tomo Geshe Rinpoche (I am not referring to the American woman) will not be a Shugden practitioner, on the other hand, unlike
Trijang's namesake, he will actually get a proper Buddhist education. Who's left? Ganjong...what a joke.

Tenzin Peljor's picture

Hi dougal:
is this a website about religion or politics:
http://westernshugdensociety.org ?

Why Shugden lamas wished to replace the state oracle Nechung by Shugden if not for political reasons?

Red's picture

Intellectual rigor and scholarship aside, the NKT cult now has an active celebrity gossip columnist who Geshe-la named Jang-chub Ozer:
Here is a sample of his/her writings:

"So while the chips may be down Mel's friends and family are closing ranks. The perception is that Oksana Grigorieva - otherwise known as the scheming gold digging whore - pushed him over the edge. Now while some claim that this is blaming the victim (it can be hard to tell who the victim is in some of these situations), even they can't deny that the woman has a way with a tape recorder."

http://wondertrash.blogspot.com/

Dorje's picture

The NKT is a cult in that it is a group that protects itself and its reputation at the expense of those who suffer at the hands of its leaders. The NKT, like other cults, promote a 'them versus us' mentality, and this was evident in the NKT from its inception. The demonstrations and political media campaign are just an extension of this.

The NKT can claim to have no links to those dogyal worshippers that support the Chinese occupation of Tibet, like kundeling, but the WSS, started by kelsang gets support from those sympathetic to the PRC.

namkhah's picture

We look forward to the Tibetan language version of the white Shugden's own Gene Smith: Rodney Billman 'among Shugden texts'....
what? there's a problem, i thought he was a fluent "scholar" no wonder his bibliography is 90% English, he can't read too good.

SeekingClarity's picture

Rodney

To clarify my #1827 I wrote in #1839 that

All I’m saying is that imputing Buddha on a gyalpo spirit would be an instance of such a wrong awareness.

You responded

Likewise imputing Buddha on a human born through conception would be an instance of wrong awareness.

If the truth body of a Buddha emanates as human born through conception, then it is valid to impute Buddha. On the other hand it is invalid to impute Buddha on a samsaric human born through conception. Why? Because the samsaric human does not perform the functions of a Buddha.

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.

emptymountains's picture

Correction. The last line should read: I’m just maintaining that it was not the Rime movement’s founders' intention to start something new.

Lineageholder's picture

Dear Dorje,

“destroying the tradition of Je Tsongkhapa”

Sectarian spirit worship has NEVER been part of Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition.

I agree with you, so the Dalai Lama is wrong.

Relying upon Duldzin Dorje Shugden, the Sublime Protector of the tradition of Manjugosha Je Tsongkhapa, being the iincarnation of Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen, who himself was the incarnation of the omniscient Panchen Sonam Dragpa, certainly is part of Je Tsongkhapa's tradition.

By discrediting all the great Lamas who I listed in the last post, and labelling them as mere spirit worshipers, the Dalai Lama has made a laughing stock of the Gelugpa tradition and completely destroyed its credibility.

emptymountains's picture

Dear Dorje,

Actually, it is always the second extreme (asceticism, nihilism, crazy compassion, eclecticism) that is considered worse than the first (hedonism, eternalism, intellectualism, sectarianism). The second extreme is the one that is *more* destructive in the end. For example:

1. Siddhartha almost died because of asceticism (not because of his previous hedondism).

2. Those who take a nihilistic view are incurable (because you are not allowed to use any conventional truths in your reasoning with them).

3. Many scholars have been reborn in hell (but those who have faith will be reborn in a Pure Land).

4. 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).

em

Lineageholder's picture

'Geshe Kelsang does not judge the Vinaya to be important' in the last post should read, of course, 'Geshe Kelsang does not judge the Vinaya to be unimportant'

Brian's picture

Lineageholder; A true buddha is way beyond the network of concepts, it may be exciting to think you have encountered one in a mundane place like a supermarket or bus station or that you are well on the way to practically becoming one yourself, but that experience is exceedingly rare and subtle, its much more likely you experienced a series of mundane mental event well within the realm of samsara.

Jimmy Marsden's picture

Sorry, meant to mention also: Pictures of the Wanted posters and the Shugden monks brutalized in the 1990s during their peaceful demonstration can also be found on that blog article:

http://www.wisdombuddhadorjeshugden.blogspot.com/2008/08/conversation-wi...

Tenzin Peljor's picture

Dear Tenzin, I do not support the exaggerated claims of WSS/NKT and some few radical Tibetan Shugden followers. The WSS is presenting only one side of the story, rejecting historical events they do not like, spin history and facts just for the sake to portray HHDL as the "21st Century Buddhist Dictator".

I do not support the trial to point out HHDL as the sole cause of the problems as GKG tells his followers repeatedly while implying indirectly he would be Je Tsongkhapa or "more pure". 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. There is no good motivation behind these actions, they are just based on selfish delusion and hostility towards the Dalai Lama. NKT should help the own members to make their mind free and to live according to Buddhism. This would be a greater deed, I think.

Of course WSS or Kundeling were again successful to present their "facts" to Al Jazeera or France 24 TV. Serious press, like BBC they could not convince. A "Dalai Lama controversy" sells just well. There are not 4 million Tibetans practising it etc. etc. Another perspective what happened in Sera can be read here:
http://www.nktworld.org/A%20monk%20from%20Sera%20Monastery%20describes%2...

Also Swiss TV was a victim of their joy to be able to offer a "controversy about the Dalai Lama" and believed too much Shugden followers, instead of contacting serious researchers or specialists they over took the wrong claims from DSS or some Shugden followers.

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 and that there were five contributions and that they had to correct themselves. see: http://www.tibetfocus.com/shugden/index.html Google translation may be suited to translate it into English - or that they have beaten up other monks opposing them up to killing their detractors.

However, there is already a lot of research about it and there will be more in the future. The TGIE and the monastery have done WSS a favour by being unwilling to issue a statement or to invite reporters to investigate and to offer a fair report. By this they offered the propaganda machine of WSS to reach its heights. However, I think they didn't do it because they have something to hide but because they think "it is a Tibetan issue" and "a monastery issue" and are maybe unable to over look what such gap of offering proper information for confusion can create.

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

tenpel's picture

I have compiled some new information about NKT.

There are posts about how NKT is running a bookshop tour to “introduce shoppers to our Spiritual Guide – listening to teachings Geshe-la enters their heart, buying a book Geshe-la enters their home!”, also there is a post about the "balckmail tape" against Lama Yeshe and a post how NKT threatens the NBO to take legal actions against them.

It maybe helpful to have a close look on the internal document provided by Tharpa/NKT with respect to the bookshop campaign.

For details see the blog (click link of my name above).

Brian's picture

The successor of Geshe Kelsang, Gen-la Samden, who is regarded by NKT followers as a Buddha, was involved over a few years in sexual misconduct. Not only that, he also encouraged other NKT monks to have also sex with NKT 'nuns'. Whomever complained about this sexual misbehaviour or asked Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for help was threaten by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso who gave harsh answers to them, like 'You destroy the pure tradition by saying this, stop saying this, this is very negative. If you say this you harm all sentient beings'. Geshe Kelsang, instead of helping the victims and stopping his successor covered it up, threw the blame on those who asked him for help until finally someone made the events in NKT public at E-Sangha. Then Geshe Kelsang immediately removed Gen Samden from his position. After this sex-scandal became public via Internet the confused members didn't receive proper information, they were faced with a misinformation campaign by claiming, Gen-la Samden is tired, he will do three year retreat and the like. NKT leadership tried to cover up the issue as they did also with Gen Thubten, another former successor, who was involved also in sexual misconduct with NKT-'nuns'. When members tried to get clarity about the events, NKT controlled and repressed discussion. When the NKT leadership realised they were not able to control the discussion, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso ordered to close all NKT internet-chat rooms and forbade his followers to engage in internet discussions by naming it "meaningless activities", which he said is inappropriate for a "pure Kadampa".

Gyalpo's picture

Bill Esterhaus: Former Geshe-la last year said 'I need your help' but now WSS/NKT has lost site of their mission in a thick fog of fuzzy 'logic' and half-baked rhetoric like "inaccurate, politically motivated distortion." or "the reprehensible political smear game the TGIE is engaged in to justify their religious oppression of Shugden practitioners, but the truth will be known, it’s just a matter of time, just like the CIA debacle." Stinks to high heaven.
Bill, let's face it: its time to give up and study the dharma for a change. But heres the problem for WSS/NKT: too many constructed concepts, too much ego invested years in of 'devotion' to worshipping your supposedly perfect guru and not enough intellectual humility to pull off the task of practicing Buddhism.

SeekingClarity's picture

Rodney

Re #1884 and #1911.

Clearly, unlike Dorje, you don't hold that Trijang's use of "Gyalchen" implies he regarded DS's wordly aspect as that of a gyalpo.

However, you, I and Dorje would all agree that Trijang held DS to have a worldly aspect. So can I ask what you think Trijang held this worldly aspect to be?

emptymountains's picture

Dear Dorje,

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.

To stop sectarianism between the world's religions, do we need to create a new religion like Bahá'í? Ringu Tulku uses this specific example to show what ri-me applied at an inter-faith level is not trying to achieve. That is to say, it is not necessary to start a new religion in order to do away with potential sectarianism between existing religions.

Likewise, for ri-me to be applied at an intra-faith level, it is not necessary to synthesize a new tradition in order to do away with potential sectarianism between existing traditions. I'm just maintaining that it was not the Rime movement's founders to start something new.

em

Dorje's picture

Trouble is, SC, all the lamas in both of these lists thought that this protector at least had the conventional appearance of a worldly spirit and acted, through violebt actions, as a worldly spirit. Kelsang Gyatso is completely alone in holding that this protector is a Buddha with the appearance of a Buddha.

emptymountains's picture

Dear Dorje,

I think I need to bring this up again. In response to your post #1140, by implication are you saying that because Lama Yeshe practiced the Geglupa tradition exclusively, he had a hidden hostility towards other traditions?

Are you also saying that Lama Yeshe was practicing only *some* of Buddha's teachings but not others (since he wasn't practicing all traditions)? Does that mean he was following an incomplete path?

em

Lineageholder's picture

Dear Tenzin,

As usual, what you say is exaggerated and inaccurate.

The problem I see with NKT is that NKT is no tradition or school in the sense like the other Buddhist traditions, its rather ‘Gyatsoism’, based on GKG’s books understanding and what he selected as being important and what he rejected as being unimportant (e.g. the Vinaya).

'Gyatsoism' as you put it is pure Gelugpa teachings. It's Buddhism. Geshe Kelsang always quotes scriptural sources, so his books are also a synthesis of the instructions of countless other Buddhist masters which he received through his Spiritual Guides.

It is a tradition: it's the Kadampa tradition.

Geshe Kelsang does not judge the Vinaya to be important. I think you have a very narrow idea of what Vinaya is. 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. This is because you don't really understand what Vinaya, which to me is astounding considering you're a Buddhist monk. It's this kind of ignorance of the real meaning of Dharma that does lead me to conclude that Buddha's teachings are degenerating - you're following the words and not the meaning because you don't know the meaning. It's all rather sad.

Dorje's picture

"It’s like this: you have a belief, based on the words of some people that Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit. I have experience that he’s a Buddha, so what could you do to convince me otherwise?"

As quoted above, Phabongkhapa said that this protector killed people. Buddhas don't tend to murder people. By Phabongkhapa's reasoning, Tsongkhapa should have been killed for taking teachings from Sakya, Nyingma and Kagyu lamas.

It seems we have come to the crux of your argument. You believe this protector is a Buddha because of your own personal experience of worshipping it. This is fine, assuming you are on one of the higher bodhisattva bhumis or at least on the path of seeing, but if you have not yet reached that level, your argument becomes problematic. We are in samsara and samsara is marked by delusion. Beings are open to all sorts of delusion and their subjective experience cannot be trusted. Many people hold beliefs they feel are confirmed by their personal experience, this does not make them true.

Supposing for a moment that the object of your worship is actually a harmful spirit. How would you know? Would it tell you so? Would it make you feel bad and unhappy, or would it help increase your confidence and give you dreams, visions and experiences that you feel could only come from a Buddha?

Some people marry the person that later kills them, based on their feelings and personal experience of the person. Is it not feasible that a powerful spirit could also have people fall in love and become proudly devoted to it?

Regarding the benefits of taking refuge, I believe that the Buddha shows us the way, the rest is up to us. No doubt, some people have experienced good karma ripening at times of danger, but the number of monks and nuns that starved to death in the Cambodian famine or were butchered by the Chinese invaders in Tibet suggests refuge is not a universal defence from physical harm, unless we dismiss those that were killed as lacking in refuge. And if we do that, how can we assume that we are somehow better?

Jimmy Marsden's picture

To answer Namkhah's post, please check out this first-hand account of a WSS demonstration:
http://www.wisdombuddhadorjeshugden.blogspot.com/2008/08/conversation-wi...

From a Tibetan who dared to stand up and demonstrate:

"They accuse us of being Chinese agents and against Tibet, but we love our country. Of course we want a free Tibet. This is why we bring the Tibetan flags to our demonstrations. It is because of the Dalai Lama's words that we have been thrown out of Tibetan exile communities. Now we are like refugees among refugees.”

All of a sudden, the atmosphere in the bus changed and the Tibetans began speaking amongst themselves in hushed tones. Some of them started texting and making phone calls. Clearly something had come up.

One of the Tibetans who spoke good English came and sat down next to me and explained that they had just received a text. All their photos had been posted on the wall of a Tibetan restaurant in Queens, wanted posters, along with sentences such as: "These people are paid by the Chinese", "These people are bad", and other implicit and explicit threats.

For a while the Tibetans discussed what to do, but then they decided that they could not run from this.

As Lobsang explained to me: “Where am I going to go now? I've already left India for America. There is no place else to run. Now is the time for me to make my stand. I have to do this even though I have a mother in India and they have threatened her, and told her that she must stop all contact with me, her son. My wife and children don't want me to do this but I feel I have no choice. The Dalai Lama and his government and security forces are destroying our lineage. They are killing our Gurus.

We have to take these threats in Queens very seriously. They have killed people. For example, it is an open secret -- everyone in the Tibetan community talks about this -- that Dagom Rinpoche was quite possibly poisoned in 2006. Two or three days afterward, one of the oracles of Dorje Shugden was killed in similarly mysterious circumstances. They can use sophisticated poisons; after all they are trained by the CIA. When two young and healthy pro-Shugden leaders die for such unexplained causes, this is a strange coincidence. [NB No autopsy was performed and the cause of death remains unknown.]

Lobsang continued: “Most of the Tibetans on this bus do not have family in India. Their families are in Tibet. Most Dorje Shugden practitioners in the West who still have families in India feel that they are not able to stand with us in public demonstrations because it puts their families in danger. However, they call me and thank me for what we are doing. They say they want to help, for example with money.

There are hundreds of Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners in the New York area. There are hundreds in the Madison area. All of them are behind us, but mostly they cannot show their support in public.

In Tibet, there are still whole regions where people practise Dorje Shugden and so there is no danger in those areas at this time. However they have begun to bring the oath swearing to Tibet as well.

They are very skilful. They have one piece of paper that is kept hidden and the other one that is legal. The secret one is the Dalai Lama's saying that you have to sign this. The legal one is how would you like to have a vote in which you decide whether to do this or not?

Most of the Tibetans here used to be monks. We were all forced to leave our monasteries after what happened in 1996 when the Dalai Lama first implemented and enforced the ban on Dorje Shugden.

For example, for one of the Tibetans, what took place during the New York demonstrations [when thousands of Tibetans started shouting and pelting us with spit, water bottles and coins] was nothing in comparison to what happened to him in India. He said: "Oh that was nothing. When the monks demonstrated against the ban in 1996 in India, we were pelted with stones and sixty monks had to be taken to hospital."

All we want to do is practice our lineage in peace. Lately the Dalai Lama has been giving a new justification. He says: "I give religious freedom and they take it away." This is completely untrue. We don't want to restrict anyone's right to practice their religion. Why should we? We are just trying to protect our own lineage from being destroyed. Now we need to make a stand. We had a big meeting in which we decided this and now we will see it through. What else can we do?

All of us on this bus and elsewhere have had to flee India for America. Now that they are bringing in the signature campaign and destroying our lineage even here in America, I have nowhere else to run to. When you know that they are destroying your lineage and killing your Gurus, you have to make a stand. I have no choice. I don't care if I myself die. Of course I am worried about my wife, children and mother. But I have taken out life insurance so then I don't need to worry.

Many of these people here don't have a wife or children because they used to be monks until they were expelled from their monastery and home. I used to run my own monastic community. A small monastery that practiced Dorje Shugden. Now I work twelve hours a day, six days a week, in a restaurant.”

[Another Tibetan, who was actually a Rinpoche, laughingly told me that he used to debate for twelve hours a day in a monastery. Now he spends twelve hours a day cutting vegetables.]

Lobsang continued: “We were very happy to come to America because at least we have freedom here to do our spiritual practice. But even now here in America we are completely ostracized from our communities. My child cannot go to a school where there are other Tibetan children because they have been told to ignore any child connected with a Dorje Shugden practitioner.

We have been discussing these threats against us in Queens. And we have made a decision. We will contact Radio Free Asia and let them know that these threats have been issued and let them know that if anything should happen to any one of us, it will be the Dalai Lama's responsibility. Previously we would never have said it like this but now we have no choice. It is his responsibility to protect his people but instead he is doing the opposite.”

I reflected to myself on the reasons articulated in the recent New York Times article for the Dalai Lama's defence of his position on the practice of Dorje Shugden, where he had said that 99 percent of his people are with him and only 1 per cent against him. He said: "I am for freedom of expression so let them have freedom of talk."

It is considerably more than 1 percent of his people who are against him. Once upon a time, the practice of Dorje Shugden was relied upon by almost every Gelugpa, which was the largest of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. However, even if it was only 1 percent, any normal Western politician would actually have said that the 1 percent is very precious to our democracy and that they need to be protected. They wouldn't just be given freedom to talk but freedom to practice.

The Dalai Lama's statement "give them freedom to talk" was actually patronizing and dismissive and clearly did nothing to curb the anger of the Tibetans listening to him, who came out in New York and promptly attacked us. It is amazing how people are bedazzled by his words and overlook his contradictory actions.

I thanked Lobsang for his explanation and first-hand stories. He replied: "I know it is useful to hear personal first-hand accounts. When you just read the various words, it is easy to develop doubts and therefore we feel the need to tell our stories.”

namkhah's picture

dougal: Keep spinning. Good luck with your will-o'-the-wisp bourgeois manufactured issue fought remotely from the UK. India: a country where hundreds of people are trampled to death in temples, brides set alight daily, bonded labour and child labour is still prevalent and Naxalites are fighting the government sometimes even with bows and arrows. You can kiss all that money for legal counsel goodbye, hopefully brings your spurious movement down for good.

Red's picture

NKKKT does not even recognize Trijang Choktrul, its only a matter of time before the cultists start ripping each other apart in bitter internecine feuds over real estate assets, especially since the old boy will kick the bucket soon. The cult been totally infiltrated with Chinese operatives, supporters of agenda of the Chinese Buddhist Association (Communist Party of China)

Ron's picture

Truthsayer: NKT should not be afraid of the word cult, as in the sense of culture, the cult of Tara, and so on– what ought to concern you is evidenced by pictures of NKT centres in various cities that show an image of the gold bonneted mascot situated ABOVE images and statues of Lord Buddha and blo bzang grags pa. Not only that– this modern kitsch NKT painting shows armed minions of the demon gyalpo god including a fanatic with a rifle! The only object that should be higher than a buddha rupa in a proper buddhist shrine is scriptures (by that I do not mean Tharpa ghostwritten paperbacks) But then, nobody in NKT including so-called teachers can even read let alone understand them them so the lack of respect is understandable. So therefore the word cult alone is insufficient to describe NKT, it is more apt to say it is a deviant cult. Small town England may seem to you to be the hub of dharmic culture when in fact it is an ignorant cultural backwater in this regard.
The time is up for your PR ruse, respect for NKT is plummeting, natural consequences for false and divisive speech. Forfeit means you lose respect for bad behavior. You are the one who is mixed up, 'Truthsayer' (is that an Anglo-Saxon name?) you might consider deprogramming to free your mind from its delusions.

Bill Esterhaus's picture

For anyone who wants to know the true history of Dorje Shugden practice, not the inaccurate, politically motivated distortion put forth by George Dreyfus and other of the Dalai Lama's followers, please see this site:

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

The truth will be known despite the DL's propaganda.

Lineageholder's picture

Dear all,

Of course ‘using more than the measure for an itch bandage’ - rule number 135" in my last post should read 'NOT using more than a measure for an itch bandage'

Pesky rules.

Dorje's picture

EM, other than the supposed lack of monastic institutions, how does the Rime tradition vary from other traditions? What makes it an invalid synthesis, in your view? Are you seriously saying that the great lamas that synthesised the Rime tradition were not able to pass on a tradition that leads to liberation? Are you carrying on with your sectarian attack on a valid synthesis, motivated by your Gelug supremacism?

SeekingClarity's picture

LH/All

Shugdenpas produce a great long list of lamas who practised Shugden.

Anti-Shugdenpas produce a great long list of lamas who were opposed to Shugden practice.

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!

Second, even if the Shugdenpa list were longer (and I don't think it is) it would prove absolutely nothing about the nature of DS. To claim it would, would be to commit the fallacy of argumentum ad populum.

Dorje's picture

so, with or without the word, I think it would be a far better extreme than the benign and positively useful approach that you, for some reason, posited as an extreme.

Dorje's picture

"Yeah, right, more ‘neutral’ stuff from academics? Nope. More propaganda from the Tibetan Government in Exile. Anything from Dharamsala can be throughly rejected"

David Jackson is a highly respected academic who has done much to explain the inter-sectarian debates, especially from a Sakya point of view. You cannot dismiss an account just on the basis of where it came from, just as you cannot accept a point of view based only on where it came from. These are logical falacies, as you are no doubt aware.

If you disagree with Jackson's explaination of how your protector and its Gelugpa followers were viewed by Sakyapas, show us where and give evidence. Dismissing an article because of where its publisher is situated is surely beyond even you.

Dorje's picture

"The only reason the heads of lineages say this publicly is because if they don’t the Dalai Lama will dispatch a group of Tibetans to throw stones at their monastery."

This is simply not true. Nyingmapas and Kagyupas especially have opposed this practice and seen it as harmful since it was first propagated by Phabongkhapa, precisely because it was used by those that oppressed them.

The Nyingma and Kagyu schools have specific practices to reduce the harmful influence of what they see as this evil spirit. Both schools have suffered persecution at the hands of the Gelug hegemony and their Mongol backers.

Sakyapas have also widely condemned the Gelugpa version of this spread by Phabongkhapa. I quoted Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro earlier, but also the Sakya scholar T.G Dhongthog Rinpoche has written a few books on the subject of why this practice is bad.

The opposition to this protector predates anything the Dalai Lama has said about it.

namkhah's picture

Dear Khorwa Lineageholder: Don't try to snow me, mate, I'm from the Land of Snows.

WSS press speaker: Kelsang Pema (NKT)
WSS front man and leader in the USA: Kelsang Khyenrab (present successor of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso)
WSS front woman and leader in USA: Kelsang Dekyong (NKT USA representative)
WSS front man and leader in Germany: Kelsang Ananda (NKT representative in Germany)
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, founder of the New Kadampa Tradition, has requested all his students by email to participate the WSS protests.

dougal's picture

it's also very popular, so *lots* more people have now heard of the Dalai Lama & TGIE's illegal persecution.

Tom's picture

Shugden, deity or demon?

Looks like the matter will soon be definitively resolved.

What NKT has been waiting for, Shugden's return in human form to revolutionize the world and maybe end NKT's demons (or invigorate them).

http://www.nktworld.org/backagain.html

Truthsayer's picture

Ron,

Your post sounds pretty mixed up to me, sorry.

The New Kadampa Tradition is not a cult, it's a Western tradition of Mahayana Buddhism following the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa as presented by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. NKT is not involved in a lawsuit against the Dalai Lama. It also has nothing to do with the monasteries that were built by Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners in Southern India.

As far as victimization is concerned, these monasteries were necessary because of the monks being expelled from their original monasteries. Tibetans were coerced into signing papers and had to swear that they would not share resources with Shugden practitioners, as the Al Jazeera and France 24 reports clearly show. In the Al-Jazeera report, the Dalai Lama himself is shown shamefully encouraging discrimination toward Shugden practitioners while addressing a large crowd of Tibetans. So much for his teachings on love, compassion, acceptance and respectful dialog.

It's the TGIE's persecution of Shugden practitioners that was responsible for the new monasteries. That they have recovered from this persecution to some extent (although they are still suffering discrimination and demonization) is no thanks to the Dalai Lama or his 'government' who caused the problem in the first place, therefore, of course there has been victimization, discrimination and hypocrisy by the TGIE, that much is very clear.

Dorje's picture

I'm not the one trying to change history. It is you and your cult leader saying that there was no problem with the evil spirit you worship until the Dalai Lama spoke out against it. You view is incorrect and I have shown it to be inaccurate.

To find out more about the incorrect views of Kelsang and his cult members please watch the BBC documentary “An Unholy Row” found on the following website:
http://www.tibetonline.tv/shugden_issues.html

Lineageholder's picture

Dear Kagyupa,

Dressing as Gelongs, while not holding the vows of Gelongs, is disrespectful to Gelongs, no matter what they say.

You also seem to have a similar misunderstanding of the meaning of Gelong. Surely the vow of a Gelong is 'to abandon all delusions and to attain nirvana' which is ultimate commitment of Kadampa ordination through practising the three higher trainings, not simply 'using more than the measure for an itch bandage' - rule number 135

As I said before, a Gelong is someone who has realization of Dharma, not just someone who holds a certain number of vows. What's disrespectful to Buddha's concept of Gelong is having 253 vows but not being able to remember them, much less keep them, and therefore not being able to see the wood for the trees by clinging to minor rules that Buddha himself gave permission to abolish.

As Thich Nhat Hahn said in Freedom Wherever We Go :

When the Buddha was about to enter Nirvana, he told his attendant, the Venerable Ananda, that the minor and lesser rules [of the Vinaya] could be removed, so that the text would remain light, relevant, and appropriate. At that time, Ananda did not inquire which specific trainings the Buddha was referring to. So after Buddha’s passing into Nirvana, the elder monk Kassyapa did not dare to remove any of the precepts. Two thousand six hundred years have gone by, and this recommendation by the Buddha has not been carried out.

Geshe Kelsang has carried out this recommendation by the Buddha.

Dorje's picture

At bottom, every single Lama maintains their own tradition, if you want to get down to brass tacks.
Earlier in this thread TP (mis)quoted a well known Tibetan saying, "one lama, one Dharma". The actual saying is more closely rendered as "every valley has its own lama, every lama has his own Dharma." This is closer to the reality. Each time a lama goes to teach, he is handed on what he has received but adding it by changing the emphasis. As you say, Phabongkhapa's 'synthesis' differs from Je Tsongkhapa's, Kelsang Gyatso's differs from Trijang Rinpoche's. In a way it is natural for a lama to have present the teachings different to their lamas, as interests change.

In this way, we could say that each lama presents his own tradition. The idea of a set 'tradition' separate from the monastic institutional traditions means nothing.

Dorje's picture

LH, you have claimed that Phabongkhapa's teachings do not represent the true nature of this tradition. Specificly, you have said:

1. It is no longer correct to rely on the Life Entrustment
2. It is no longer the case that this protector has the conventional appearance of a worldly spirit, contradicting the teachings of Phabongkhapa and your lineage lamas.
3. It is no longer the case that this protector harms and kills sentient beings for 'mixing' teachings, contradicting the teachings of your lineage lamas.

Are we to assume that you are talking for the NKT and are voicing Kelsang Gyatso's own reinterpretation of his lineage lamas?

Even if you are talking for the NKT, how can you assume you are talking for the Tibetans in India that propitiate this protector?

Was it dishonest of Kelsang Gyatso to obfuscate and deny the teachings above given by his own lineage lamas?

emptymountains's picture

Dear Dorje,

Actually, I think it was a good word choice on your part. I took it to mean "discriminating wisdom" (not any prejudicial discrimination).

em

Dorje's picture

"Now you seem to be saying that simply to believe other traditions to be inferior is enough to consitute sectarianism. But this would surely mean that as Gorampa believed Je Tsongkhapa’s view of the two truths to be inferior to his own, he was being sectarian?"

Yep, absolutely. One is a sectarian view, the other a sectarian act. However, to discern just how sectarian a view is, we must understand the corollary of the view. Most inter-sectarian debates are about very minor disagreements. These disagreements are inevitable, as scholars are trying to use language to describe something that is beyond description. So you end up with mildly nihilistic or mildly eternalistic ways of pointing to the middle way. Here there is still room to accept that people became enlightened through following these subtly flawed words. This is completely different from saying that an entire tradition leads to avichi hell. This should be obvious.

Very few Tibetan scholars outside the Gelug tradition agree with Je Tsongkhapa's take on Prasangika Madhyamaka, but most Tibetans, including scholars, agree that he reached a high level of realisation. Je Rinpoche's anniversary has just gone by. It is the only lama's anniversary that is universally observed by all Tibetans. This should tell us something. Even if Gorampa disagreed with what the subtle object of negation was, and so on, it's really not so much of a big deal.

Scholars like to make mountains out of semantic molehills. It's their job. But rejecting an entire tradition as one that sends people to hell is more the job of the politician, and Phabongkhapa was a politician first and scholar second.

PS. you will notice Phabongkhapa's rage at the republishing of Gorampa's works mentioned above in (the highly respected academic) David Jackson's article. A scholar would debate Gorampa's points. A politician would argue for them to remain banned.

Lineageholder's picture

Dear Dorje,

Do you know what? I really don't care if non-Gelugpas don't accept Gelugpa practices. What does that matter to me? I'm not going to give up my practice based on the words of the head of a another tradition, no matter how great their reputation is and how many titles they have.

I'd also argue that just because a view is widely held, it doesn't make it true. Almost everyone believes that worldly pleasure is real happiness, but their belief is incorrect. Based on my faith in my Gurus and Dorje Shugden that has come from investigation and experience, if everyone in this world believes that Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit, I will never change my view. I'm not going to bend with the wind: it's no good arguing that white is black, I know it's not. If everyone in this world believed that Buddha's teachings were wrong, would you agree with them and give up your practice? Only a foolish person would do this.

It's like this: you have a belief, based on the words of some people that Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit. I have experience that he's a Buddha, so what could you do to convince me otherwise?

On your point about someone going for Refuge and starving to death, I know stories of people who looked like they were going to starve and when they gave up their self-cherishing and went for Refuge, they were protected and didn't starve. I'm a Buddhist - I KNOW that going for Refuge to the Three Jewels eradicates all suffering and all fear. You don't believe this? I'm amazed.

Lineageholder's picture

Dear namkhah,

Some simple facts for you to consider:

1. Geshe Kelsang has never said that the Dalai Lama is the enemy of Buddhadharma. It is easy to come to this conclusion for yourself when you consider that the Dalai Lama's actions are the same as Devadatta's, a schism in the Sangha, and just as harmful.

2. Geshe Kelsang has never said that he is the he is the last pure lineageholder of Je Tsongkhapa or has ever implied it. It is sadly true that if there are pure Teachers of Je Tsongkhapa's tradition in Tibetan Buddhism they have to subjugate themselves to the Dalai Lama's political wishes and keep their practice of Dorje Shugden secret.

3. You seem to talk as if the NKT were the only body of Shugden practitioners who have a problem with the Dalai Lama's banning of the practice. This is simply not true. The Western Shugden Society (WSS) is an alliance of all Shugden practitioners who wish to oppose the Dalai Lama's political actions in this regard. The WSS has both Western and Tibetan members. Many Tibetans were unable to attend the demonstrations against the DL but they supported the WSS materially by donating money to supporting the activities. WSS and NKT are not the same.

4. As soon as the DL gives religious freedom to Dorje Shugden practitioners, WSS will dissolve and that will be the end of the matter. There is no politically motivated opposition to the DL - WSS was formed only to solve the Dorje Shugden problem. No-one has anything personally against the DL and he is free to do as he chooses within his own tradition as long as it doesn't adversely affect the spiritual practice of others.

dougal's picture

Namkhah -

you're wrong. Al Jazeera - whilst a media company and therefore as ultimately unreliable as any samsaric institution - has a very good reputation amongst pundits and journalists for the integrity of its reporting. for example, during the last Gulf War it was one if the very few media providing relatively disinterested coverage; so much so that a few journalists left BBC etc. to go work for them.

Namkhah's picture

Panchen Lama, Yellow Book Zimey and other cult stooges have been installed by the Communist Party of China. 'Nga Blama' Kundeling went one better and installed himself, very lucrative to be a traitor these days, with wide eyed western cultists throwing money at you in one direction and CPC in the other.

The following is the text of New Tulku Regulations in China, I know its longwinded but very telling about the degree to which the Communist Party of China intends to meddle in reincarnation and lama politics.

State Religious Affairs Bureau Order
Order No. Five

These “Management measures for the reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism” were passed at the administrative affairs conference of the State Administration of Religious Affairs on July 13, 2007, and will be implemented on September 1, 2007.
Bureau Director, Ye Xiaowen
July 18, 2007

Article 1: These measures have been formulated in accordance with the “Regulations on Religious Affairs” in order to guarantee citizens’ freedom of religious belief, to respect Tibetan Buddhism’s practice of inheriting living Buddha positions, and to regulate the management of living Buddha reincarnation affairs.

Article 2: Reincarnating living Buddhas should respect and protect the principles of the unification of the state, protecting the unity of the minorities, protecting religious concord and social harmony, and protecting the normal order of Tibetan Buddhism.

Reincarnating living Buddhas should respect the religious rituals and historically established systems of Tibetan Buddhism, but may not re-establish feudal privileges which have already been abolished.

Reincarnating living Buddhas shall not be interfered with or be under the dominion of any foreign organization or individual.

Article 3: Reincarnating living Buddhas should have the following conditions:
(1) A majority of local religious believers and the monastery management organization must request the reincarnation;
(2) The inheritance lineage should be real and have continued to the present day;
(3) The monastery applying for the living Buddha reincarnation must be the monastery at which the living Buddha monk is registered, it must be registered as a Tibetan Buddhist place of religious activity, and it must have the ability to train and raise living Buddhas.

Article 4: Applicants to be reincarnating living Buddhas who have any of the following conditions may not be reincarnated:
(1) Reincarnations which are not regulated by the religious doctrine of Tibetan Buddhism;
(2) Those in city-level people’s governments and above with delineated districts, which ordered no reincarnations to be permitted.

Article 5: Reincarnating living Buddhas should carry out application and approval procedures. The application and approval procedure is: the management organization at the monastery applying for the living Buddha reincarnation where the monk is registered, or the local Buddhist Association, should submit applications for reincarnations to the local religious affairs departments at the level of people’s government above county-level; once the people’s government above county-level has made suggestions, the people’s government religious affairs department reports upwards, and examination and approval shall be made by the provincial or autonomous regional people’s government religious affairs department. Living Buddha reincarnations who have a relatively large impact shall be reported to the provincial or autonomous regional people’s government for approval; those with a great impact shall be reported to the State Administration for Religious Affairs for approval; those with a particularly great impact shall be reported to the State Council for approval.

Verification and authorization of the living Buddha application should solicit the opinions of the corresponding Buddhist Association.

Article 6: When there is debate over the size of a living Buddha’s impact, the China Buddhist Association shall officiate, and report to the State Administration of Religious Affairs to be put on the record.

Article 7: Once an application for a living Buddha’s reincarnation has received approval, depending on the size of the living Buddha’s impact, the corresponding Buddhist Association shall establish a reincarnation guidance team; the management organization at the monastery where the living Buddha is registered, or the corresponding Buddhist Association, shall establish a search team to look for the reincarnate soul child, and search affairs shall be carried out under the leadership of the guidance team.

The reincarnate soul child shall be recognized by the provincial or autonomous regional Buddhist Association or the China Buddhist Association in accordance with religious rituals and historically established systems.

No group or individual may without authorization carry out any activities related to searching for or recognizing reincarnating living Buddha soul children.

Article 8: Living Buddhas which have historically been recognized by drawing lots from the golden urn shall have their reincarnating soul children recognized by drawing lots from the golden urn.
Requests not to use drawing lots from the golden urn shall be reported by the provincial or autonomous regional people’s government religious affairs departments to the State Administration of Religious Affairs for approval; cases with a particularly large impact shall be reported to the State Council for approval.

Article 9: Once a reincarnating living Buddha soul child has been recognized, it shall be reported the provincial or autonomous regional people’s government religious affairs department for approval; those with a great impact shall be reported to the State Administration for Religious Affairs for approval; those with a particularly great impact shall be reported to the State Council for approval.

Reincarnating living Buddhas who have been approved by the provincial or autonomous regional people’s government religious affairs departments or by the autonomous regional people’s government shall be reported to the State Administration of Religious Affairs to be put on record.

Article 10: When the reincarnating living Buddha is installed, a representative of the approving authority shall read out the documents of approval, and the corresponding Buddhist Association shall issue a living Buddha permit.

Living Buddha permits shall uniformly be issued by the China Buddhist Association and reported to the State Administration of Religious Affairs to be put on record.

Article 11: Persons and units who are responsible for being in contravention of these measures and who without authority carry out living Buddha reincarnation affairs, shall be dealt administrative sanction by the people’s government religious affairs departments in accordance with stipulations in the “Regulations on Religious Affairs”; when a crime has been constituted, criminal responsibility shall be pursued.

Article 12: When the reincarnating living Buddha has been installed the management organization at the monastery where he is registered shall formulate a training plan, recommend a scripture teacher, and submit the plan to the local Buddhist Association, which shall report upward to the provincial or autonomous regional people’s government religious affairs department for approval.

Article 13: Provinces and autonomous regions which are involved in affairs of reincarnating living Buddhas may formulate and implement detailed measures in accordance these measures, and report them to the State Administration of Religious Affairs to be put on record.

Article 14: These measures shall be implemented from September 1, 2007.

Ron's picture

Lineageholder: I can only conclude from your distorted perception of TGIE that you have either never lived in India or spent only a few days or minutes there. If one actually read previous posts here, the conspiracy theories soon vanishes into thin air when one understands that this so-called government is a tiny entity that collects no taxes and has zero policemen let alone military forces for a small and shrinking constituency–85,000 maximum and that is a stretch since many Tibetans don't care much about their own polity, and have never contributed or voted.
Religious tension in India is a reality, I suggest you research for example the number of Christian churches burned and priests killed in recent years all over the country. In light of this I am sure your ridiculous lawsuit will only drain your coffers. Meanwhile your cult is flourishing and building new facilities in south India with Chinese and western financial support. I fail to understand how spurious victimization claims benefit anyone in the long run, New Kadampa must really be going down for the count if this online "dharma porn' is the best you can muster to distract your students from teacher sex scandals.

Lineageholder's picture

Continually posting links to a very biased and inaccurate BBC documentary won't help either :)

Lineageholder's picture

Dear Dorje,

Previously you said the vinaya that the Buddha devised is no loonger appropriate for the modern western world. Why on earth do you imagine dressing in Tibetan monks robes, shaving the head and changing your name to a Tibetan name is in any way appropriate to the modern western world? You’re just keeping the appearance and discarding the content.

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. In the sutras Buddha said

Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good,
And control the mind
That is the teaching of the enlightened ones

'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!

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. Shaving the head has the same meaning it always has - to renounce worldly concerns and to live a simple life which is an explicit commitment in the Kadampa ordination (to practise contentment) but is not formally included in the Hinayana system of vinaya that Tibetan Buddhism is based on. The change of name is traditional - it's function is to allow the ordained person to forget their previous life and habits. As to the names, they could be seen as Tibetan, but really they are just sounds with particular meanings, although some of them do have very beautiful meanings. Some of the names are also Sanskrit, not just Tibetan.

In the Dhammapada it says:

Not therefore is he a bhikkhu
Merely because he begs from others.
Not by adopting the outward form
Does one truly become a bhikkhu.
He who wholly subdues evil,
Both small and great,
Is called a monk (bhikkhu)
Because he has overcome all evil. Dhp 266, 267

How can someone who has merely taken 253 and is struggling to remember them all, let alone keep them, a Bhikkhu, (Gelong) as is the case in the Hinayana system of Vinaya followed by the Tibetan tradition? Is such a person "one who has overcome all evil"? 'Gelong' must surely be a measure of realization, not just how many vows you are holding. In the Kadampa system, one becomes a Gelong or Gelongma through deepening renunciation, not simply by holding a certain number of vows. I feel this system is much closer to what is described in the Dhammapada. It is important to change one's mind, not just to wear robes and hold vows. To change the mind is real vinaya - everything else is just a show.

Your criticism 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, but this is a common problem these days, even amongst those who study the Vinaya Sutra, it seems, who prefer to cling to tradition and words and fail to recognise the validity of anything that deviates from what they know.