Thursday, June 5, 2008

Did the 13th Dalai Lama ban the practice of Dorje Shugden?

The Dalai Lama claims that he is also following the tradition of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama in banning the practice. However, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama never banned the practice. After condemning Dorje Shugden, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama is said to have changed his mind on the issue and taken up the practice himself (Exploring New Religions, page 239).

The biography of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama does not mention any ban of Dorje Shugden or his oracle. On the contrary, it mentions advice given by Dorje Shugden through the oracle at Tromo Dungkar Gonpa, which the Thirteenth Dalai Lama appreciated and followed (' 'jig.rten dbang.phyug gi rnam.sprul rim.byon gyi 'khrungs.rabs deb.ther nor.bu'i ', compiled by Phurchog Yongzin Thubten Jampa Tsultim Tenzin, Dharamsala, 1984, pp. 621, 630 and 648). Moreover, at no time did the Thirteenth Dalai Lama close Trode Khangsar in Lhasa, a residence of Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen that the 5th Dalai Lama had authorized to be turned into a special Protector temple for Dorje Shugden.

The Thirteenth Dalai Lama had great faith in Tomo Geshe Rinpoche, a well-known Dorje Shugden practitioner, whom he called "a manifestation of Je Tsongkhapa." According to page 620 and 649 of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama's autobiography, Dorje Shugden came spontaneously through the Tromo Dungkar Gonpa Oracle in trance in front of Tomo Geshe Rinpoche and informed him that there was danger from foreign aggression toward Tibet. Dorje Shugden advised renovating two stupas, "the eastern and western one". Upon receiving the message, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama immediately renovated the great golden stupa at Ganden and the Potala in Lhasa. The Potala is huge, so this was no small feat! In his autobiography, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama praised Tomo Geshe Rinpoche for having helped to avert a possible national crisis.

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