Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dalai Lama: Nottingham Protest

Hundreds of Buddhist monks and nuns gathered in the Old Market Square yesterday afternoon to protest against the Dalai Lama.

Members of the Western Shugden Society chanted and demonstrated against what they say was religious repression as the Tibetan leader has banned a traditional Buddhist prayer and Deity.

One placard read 'Dalai Lama Give Religious Freedom'. In 1996 the Dalai Lama advised Tibetans against using the Dorje Shugden prayer and worshipping Shugden, saying it could lead to Buddhism becoming a cult of spirit worship.

Although he had previously used the prayer and worshipped the Deity himself, he said he later realised it had been a mistake.

According to the protesters in Nottingham, Buddhists found practising Shugden worship in India, where the exiled Dalai Lama now lives, were being expelled and abused.

Organiser Kelsang Pema said: "People are suffering - people are having their houses burned and people are denied food and material things in monasteries if they are practicing this prayer."

Kelsang Pema said she was delighted with the turn-out and people had come from as far as New Zealand, Mexico and Brazil. She said: "Hopefully we will be able to get a meaningful discussion from the Dalai Lama from this."

The Dalai Lama was giving five days of teaching at the Nottingham Arena. He leaves the city today.

From This is Nottingham

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