Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Impassioned Buddhists Protest Dalai Lama on the Streets of NYC

New York, NY (PRWEB) July 15, 2008 -- This Thursday, from 12:30-5:00 p.m., 600 Tibetan and western Buddhists from around the world, including 200 monastics, join with one voice to demonstrate against the Dalai Lama outside of Radio City in NYC where he will be speaking. In this unprecedented event, more than 100 Tibetans will participate in the Western Shugden Society (WSS) organized protest to speak out against the man who has been touted as an icon of peace and tolerance.

The demonstrators hope to bring to the attention of the West the hidden persecution taking place in the Tibetan community in exile and increasingly in the west through the newly imposed oath and identity card campaign.

Kelsang Pema, western Buddhist nun and spokesperson for the Western Shugden Society (WSS), an umbrella organization made up of Shugden practitioners from many Buddhist traditions and countries, explains: "By decree of the Dalai Lama, with political motivation, exile Tibetans are being asked to sign an oath promising to give up a 400-year old mainstream daily prayer to the Buddhist deity Dorje Shugden, and state that they will not give spiritual or material assistance to anyone remains a practitioner. Without signing this oath, they are refused an identity card, without which they are denied basic human rights such as food and travel documents. Thousands of monks have been segregated within, or expelled from, monasteries without resources, supporters have been denied medical treatment, families are being ostracized and segregated within their communities."

"Since this enforced ban by the Dalai Lama is causing so much spiritual, emotional and physical harm to practitioners both in India and now in the West, and for years he has refused to engage in dialog around this issue, we have no choice but to ask for the help of fair-minded citizens of the west to rectify this inhumane action by drawing attention to it with demonstrations and hoping that the press will investigate," Pema continues.

The only aim of the WSS is to have the Dalai Lama lift the ban on this prayer so that millions of practitioners across the world can live again without fear or harassment.

For further information, visit www.westernshugdensociety.org.

From PRWeb
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1 comment:

Gail said...

I found this posted by someone on the internet and think it may be of interest to the current debate.

"The vilification and persecution of Dorje Shugden worshippers within the Tibetan exile community is very real. There are many independent sources which have verified this. Have you read the web-site of the Dorje Shugden Devotees in India? I suggest that you do so. In particular you should read the research work of Ursula Bernis who examined this issue in great detail between 1996 and 1999.

During the WSS protests in Nantes I spoke with an Italian woman of Vietnamese descent who has recently been to Southern India and has filmed forty hours of video footage documenting the reality of oppression and intimidation within the exile community. The plight of the Dorje Shugden worshippers is truly pitiful and all Buddhists and people of good-will should have compassion for them. Anyone who has read the classic novel Uncle Tom's Cabin will have some sense of what it means for someone to try to maintain their faith in the face of fierce adversity. The plight of the Dorje Shugden worshippers is like that of Uncle Tom: "....though he held firmly to the rock of faith it was with numb and trembling grip." Thankfully Uncle Tom triumphed over those who would crush his faith and reduce him to moral bankruptcy, and I hope and pray that Dorje Shugden worshippers will likewise triumph over those who wish to deny them their faith, reputation, and self -belief.

The Western Shugden Society is engaging in the practice of non-violent resistance in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King said that the person of non-violent resistance tries to balance the truths of two opposites. It agrees with the man of violence that evil must be resisted, but balances this by also agreeing with the man of acquiescence that evil must not be resisted by means of physical force. You should also know that it is not without reservation that NKT people have engaged in the WSS protests. I think that almost all of us have some sense of reservation about engaging in this activity. Am I admitting that we are wrong or might be? I think that I am admitting that it can't be said to be obvious that the activities of the WSS are right. However, I also believe that on the basis of a thorough understanding of the issues i.e. the reality of persecution within the exile community, and on the basis of a thoughtful consideration of the options available, and a thoughtful consideration of the philosophy of non-violence resistance, the case for these protests can be made, I think conclusively."