Saturday, June 21, 2008

Frequently asked questions about Dorje Shugden and the Dalai Lama, Part Two

Q: What are the politics behind the ban by the Dalai Lama and what may have prompted him to issue such a ban?
In 1961 the Dalai Lama tried to become the supreme head of Tibetan Buddhism by merging all the schools of Buddhism into one (a position never held by any previous Dalai Lama). This move was opposed by many. From the Western Shugden Society booklet: “The Tibetan Situation Today, Surprising Hidden News”:

As soon as you arrived to India as a refugee you made a plan to transform the four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism—Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug—into one single tradition called Rigme (Non Lineage) tradition. This was your method to destroy the pure lineages of the Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug and make you alone the head of all of them by establishing a new tradition. In this way you now have complete power and control of everything at a spiritual, political and material level.

At that time, the Tso Kha Chusum (“Thirteen Groups of Tibetans”) were against your plan and because of this for many years the Tibetan community lost their harmony and peace. Finally, the leader of the Tso Kha Chusum, Gungthang Tsultrim, was murdered by a shotgun. Tibetan people believe that Gungthang Tsultrim was killed by people working for you. Later, some other important members of the Tso Kha Chusum suddenly died, and people believed your organizations created the conditions for their death.

At that time he had so much opposition that he had to abandon his ambition, but it seems he did not give it up. For example, he later meddled with the internal spiritual affairs of the Kagyus, going against their tradition and choosing his own Karmapa, which has led to a well-documented schism, conflict and opposition to him amongst those who follow the Sharmapa and want to preserve the autonomy of the Kagyu lineage. The most likely reason for his issuing a ban on the Protector of Tsongkhapa’s tradition is to weaken the Gelugpas, thus bringing them under his power as well.

There is no doubt that he is trying to destroy the autonomy of the four different schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The only school he has not directly meddled with is the Sakyas, probably as there are too few of them to oppose him.

He is getting away with this by appealing to a liberal West, calling his approach “ecumenical” or “inclusive” whereas those who want to keep to their own tradition are “sectarian” or “exclusive”. The reality is that he is dispensing with centuries of authentic time-honored tradition and starting his own tradition so that he can be the head of it, stomping over people’s freedom of worship to do so

In other words, it is likely that he is banning Dorje Shugden out of a political motivation to increase his power and influence. This could be the only justification for saying that his own Teachers (who were universally beloved in Tibetan society just 30 years ago) were wrong and banning the practice. How sad!

The reasons he gives to convince people to support him are that relying upon Dorje Shugden amounts to spirit worship. This then leads to many paradoxes (explained in detail on this website and elsewhere); not least of which is that, if it were true, his own Teachers would be non-Buddhists for taking refuge in a spirit! It would invalidate the whole Gelugpa lineage and what could be said, then, for his own Buddhist education? However, the greatness of the deeds and teachings of these Lamas attests to their state of realization, which would not be possible if they were non-Buddhists relying on a spirit. The only conclusion we can come to is that the Dalai Lama is definitely wrong!

Trijang Rinpoche also gives many valid reasons why Dorje Shugden is a Buddha which can be read here. In summary, Dorje Shugden is a Buddha because he is the incarnation of Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen who himself is from a long line of enlightened Masters including Manjushri. Since all these incarnations practised pure moral discipline for centuries, how would it be possible for Dragpa Gyaltsen to be reborn as a spirit? This would contradict the law of karma and imply that ethical conduct can lead to lower rebirth. Either that, or it would mean that an enlightened being could degenerate from the state of enlightenment and become a hungry ghost! All of these are the absurd consequences of holding Dorje Shugden to be a spirit.

The Dalai Lama has also repeatedly claimed that Dorje Shugden harms his health and the cause of Tibetan independence. He seems to be playing this down more recently because, again, it is ludicrous. If Dorje Shugden is harming his health, how is he a healthy-looking 72-year old? Also, one of the benefits of Buddhist refuge is that one is not harmed by demons or other evil influences. If the Dalai Lama is being harmed, he must be a non-Buddhist. Furthermore he abandoned the cause of Tibetan independence a long time ago, so how can Dorje Shugden harm it more than the Dalai Lama has by completely letting it go?

Check here to see if any of the Dalai Lama’s other reasons are valid.


Z said...

The "politics behind the ban" is mainly the succession of the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama is removing from the Tibetan world anyone he suspects that might step in once he is absent. The Dalai Lama, family and friends fear from the Chinese and this fear grows as the Dalai Lama gets older.

The Dalai Lama knows that any "outsider", such as a Chinese, would need support from inside the Tibetan community to step in his succession.

The usual suspect to step in when he dies is of course the Panchen Lama, a Gelug monk, living with the Chinese, who most likely is not following the Dalai Lama's ban.

So the Dalai Lama has been applying a test to the Tibetans: the ban. Anyone not showing cleary (such as signing) that neither rely upon Dorje Shugden nor supports any Dorje Shugden practitioner can be identified and then treated as suspect, considered as Chinese agent, spirit worshiper, sectarian, removed from Tibetan world and ignored.

By tagging the Gelug school's lineage holders as spirit worshipers and by removing their followers from the Tibetan world, clearly show that the Dalai Lama decided to destroy the Gelug school in the Tibetan world. This is also the reason for the Dalai Lama to emphasize a "non-sectarian" or "ecumenical" approach, which is just a way to save his place in other traditions, once nothing is left from the Gelug tradition. This is also why a "Ri-me movement" is good for him.

However, his "non-sectarian" emphasis and support to the "Rime movement" is just his now traditional "middle-way" approach, which in this case actually means half way from his goal of becoming the head of all Tibetan Buddhist schools (if anything is left by then).

The above are conclusions reached from facts and after reading what the Dalai Lama has said and when over the years. All this information is available in the news and so forth. If you investigate you can reach your own conclusions.

I hope the Dalai Lama, his family and friends can stop harming others and resolve his succession soon.

a Friend said...

Dear Z,

I think the politics behind the ban has to do with the life of the present Dalai Lama, not so much with his succession.

1-POLITICS AT THE BEGINNING: destroying the reputation of the Protector in his inner circle of Gelugpas.

The repulsion toward the Protector originated when the Dalai Lama started listening more to bad friends than to his own Guru.
In reality it seems to have coalesced when he started pushing his Rig Mè movement –in actuality a way to impose his own authority over all 4main schools of Tibetan Buddhism... a novelty in the Tibetan system.
Some Gelugpas reminded him and others that to mix lineages was not desirable from the religious point of view, and that actions towards mixing lineages were not agreeable with the advice of the Protector of the Ganden teachings, the Holy Buddha Protector Dorje Shugden.
Since this traditional view hindered his aspirations to become the head of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama attacked the Holy Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden as a way to destroy the influence of his own Guru and the great Gelugpa Lamas, the most influential Tibetans of those years.


The Dalai Lama never succeeded in seriously propagating his dislike for the Protector among the educated Lamas and Geshes of the Gelugpas, not in 20 years.
Then, all the sudden, he decided to publicly forbid, to ban the worshipping of Dorje Shugden –in other words, to take this domestic, almost private issue belonging to himself and the Gelugpas ... to the whole of the Tibetan community, monastic and lay people. Among the latter, the majority had never even heard before the holy name of the Protector, so to demand their ignorant intervention in this matter can be counted among the most ill intended actions of his government in exile –working, of course, under his "inspiration".

But there was nothing at that moment in the religious level that could propel him to proclaim the ban. What, then, happened? Why then the ban so belated?

The answer is simple but apparently people are having difficulties in just merely seeing it.

The Dalai Lama needed both a red herring and a scapegoat to distract Tibetans from this truth: that he had abandoned the independence of Tibet all on his own, without ever having for a little single time asked the Tibetans what they thought about it. He had handed Tibet to China without nobody noticing, in 1988, just before receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. With the Nobel Prize his fame exploded in such way that almost nobody realized what he had done, neither in the Tibetan community nor in the world at large. HE HAD HANDED TIBET TO CHINA HE HIMSELF ALONE, WITHOUT ASKING THE TIBETANS’ OPINION.

A few years later when his fame started to show discrepancies with his results about Tibet, when the false prophecies failed, then his brother Norbu and other staunch defenders of Tibetan independence thought it was time to oppose his view, delicately named "autonomy". Norbu with some others started an Institute for Independence and created the Walks for Independence, both in open defiance of his brother.

Oh divine coincidence! IN MARCH 1996 THE BAN AGAINST DORJE SHUGDEN WAS PROCLAIMED. All the sudden the Dalai Lama unveiled to Tibetans that everything that had gone wrong with Tibet was caused by a Wisdom Buddha turned evil spirit. Even his health was going to be in danger because of Dorje Shugden.

Now, the Tibetans have chosen as sole answer to the Chinese occupation of their country, as sole identity, the reliance on their leader the Dalai Lama. So they committed the most astonishing denial: instead of realizing that they had lost all hope for the independence of their Motherland, Tibet, because the Dalai Lama had decided to hand Tibet to China, they chose not to see this reality and rather follow the Dalai Lama's invention.

Thus started the persecution of the Deity and the lineage, and the lineage Lamas, and the practitioners.

The riots in Tibet. The Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games was the chosen moment to do a typical Dalai Lama's move: both to attack China through the riots in Tibet, and to try to obtain his old aim of returning to Tibet –to Mother China– by pushing finally in the open his "autonomy" theory.

How to do it without loosing face in front of the world by the intervention of some Pro-Independence movement still alive among the Tibetans? Let's see... isn't it true that the ban on the Protector had not been succesful in uprooting the practice in the great monasteries of Southern India? Fantastic! Let's use again the same scapegoat, the same red herring.

So, the Dalai Lama himself went to Southern India and personally gave the abbots the order to organize the famous referendum through sticks –in which by the way even kid monks were forced to "vote" and swear– accompanied by signatures and oaths in front of Deities that one was not going to rely on Dorje Shugden ever again, nor ever again have any human contact of any type with his religious devotees.

Thus was achieved the most atrocious schism in the monastic community, thus was unleashed the ultimate social persecution against the faithful Gelugpas, guilty of being faithful to their Gurus, guilty of being religiously innocent, guilty of following their centuries-old tradition and practices. They had been the mainstream group of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama transformed them in monsters, in followers of a demonic cult.

The frenzy of the voting was ordered and implemented to the whole of the Tibetan community and even to the Western Dharma Centers. This unholy crusade gained Western hearts. Western people forgot everything about their wonderful culture of human rights and found it great to shun and discriminate others based on their religious beliefs. But the main victims of course were the Tibetans in India, helplessly dependent on their community and their government in exile and persecuted by both. Good job!

Actually, brilliant job.

Because right after the schism was brutally forced in the monasteries came March 2008 and the obviously orchestrated riots in Tibet. Who then would listen to the feeble voices of those trying to protect the victims of the Dalai Lama? Now once again the Dalai Lama was worshipped worldwide as the champion of the Tibetan cause, as the defender of Tibetans. His Tibetan victims were not interesting any more for the press nor the politicians nor the public at large.

And there was no Pro Independence opposition among the Tibetans, neither, to mar the image of the leader. They still exist, these people, but they were too distracted persecuting the Dorje Shugden practitioners to even think to react.

So the Dalai Lama was now entirely free to proclaim, this time high and loud, his position pro-autonomy, which only signifies that he's given up Tibet. He's accepted that Tibet is part of China. Without consulting Tibetans about the matter.

This position is not negative per se, and it probably is the only reasonable one right now for Tibet. But this is something that Tibetans do not accept. So in order to mute their voices, to kill their attempts to oppose him, the Dalai Lama used the holy Buddha Protector Dorje Shugden and his practitioners to distract them.
What an easy task! How easy it is to arise fear and hatred. A brilliant political action. Machiavello wherever he reincarnated must be applauding his modern disciple.

I wish someone could paint a short summary of this long explanation for one of the demonstration banners. The world needs to know the truth. This is a religious persecution unleashed for political reasons. THE BAN ON DORJE SHUGDEN HAS POLITICAL CAUSES THAT THE WORLD CAN UNDERSTAND.