Sunday, September 14, 2008

Six important questions for the Dalai Lama or his supporters to answer

I found this comment on the new blog that officially goes with New Kadampa Truth ~ Fighting the Smears. If you have answers to these questions, please send your comments in and we will post them. This particularly applies to Tenzin Peljor!

Background

From Ron Cook: Below was an email sent to Tenzin Paljor, the most vehement critic of Shugden practitioners and of the NKT. He will not post it. He will not answer these questions nor other important ones. He is very selective about what he chooses to respond to. These are some of the most important questions concerning the Dalai Lama and yet they remain completely ignored. If you (Tenzin Paljor) are so confident in your beliefs, why are you afraid to answer these questions?

Dear Tenzin,

Since you have taken it upon yourself or been asked to represent the views of the Dalai Lama, I wish to submit six important questions that hopefully you can provide clear replies to. Since you have gone to great lengths to accommodate the questions of a concerned citizen in Brighton, then in fairness please show the same willingness to address the questions below - they too come from a concerned citizen. If you are as fair and open minded as the people visiting your blogs indicate, demonstrate these qualities by providing the appropriate answers. There is no valid reason not to post these questions and let your readers draw their own conclusions.

Sincerely,
Ron Cook

Six important questions for the Dalai Lama or his supporters to answer

1) If it is appropriate for the Dalai Lama to decide what spiritual practices are appropriate, and seeing clearly that such a decision causes divisiveness, why are the reasons he cites for the ban on Dorje Shugden not being supported by the teachings of Buddha? What Sutras specifically dictate the need for invoking spiritual bans? If the ban is not politically motivated there must be an authentic spiritual basis for this action. The teachings of Buddha address all possible delusions that sentient beings are capable of generating, therefore, please cite the Sutras that necessitate imposing the ban on Dorje Shugden.

2) Why is the Dalai Lama consistently patient, apologetic, and conciliatory toward the Chinese and not Dorje Shugden practitioners? The Dalai Lama has never acknowledged any email, petition, fax, phone call, telegram, or verbal request, nor has he ever granted an audience to anyone wishing to try and solve the Shugden controversy. However, he makes effort to engage the Chinese at virtually every opportunity. Please explain this double standard of engagement.

3) The Dalai Lama says that Dorje Shugden practitioners are free to ignore his ‘advice’ and continue to practice their faith. How is this possible when his government, his siblings, his personal friends, and representatives of Buddhist traditions that he controls, at every opportunity, disparage and attack Dorje Shugden practitioners? What basis is there to believe that Shugden practitioners have freedom? The Dalai Lama has said:

“Everyone who is affiliated with the Tibetan society of the Ganden Phodrang government, should relinquish ties with Dhogyal. This is necessary since it poses danger to the religious and temporal situation of Tibet. As for foreigners, it makes no difference to us if they walk with their feet up and their head down. We have taught Dharma to them, not they to us…

‘Until now you have a very good job on this issue. Hereafter also, continue this
policy in a clever way. We should do it in such a way to ensure that in future generations not even the name of Dhogyal is remembered.”

(From a speech delivered July 14th 1996, in Caux Switzerland)

Since the Dalai Lama has expressed an intention to utterly destroy the practice of Dorje Shugden, please explain the nature and type of freedom such practitioners shall enjoy.

4) Johan Candelin, director of the World Evangelical Fellowship’s (WEF) Religious Liberty Commission, invited the Dalai Lama to meeting in Helsinki on June 20, 1998. One of the topics discussed was the persecution of Christians in Sri Lanka by Buddhists. The Dalai Lama said that any Buddhist who persecutes Christians “misunderstands the true nature of Buddhism.” Persecution is defined in the Random House College Dictionary (def. 3) to mean:

“A program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate a people because of their religious or moral beliefs or practices.”

If persecution of Christians is inappropriate and contrary to the true nature of Buddhism, why is the persecution of Shugden practitioners been not only acceptable, but advocated by the Dalai Lama? How can any reasonable person not consider the Dalai Lama’s words and actions to be hypocrisy in the extreme? Please clarify that persecuting Shugden practitioners is not hypocrisy.

5) The Dalai Lama freely admits that previous to his ban he was a practitioner of Dorje Shugden. He also composed a prayer to the deity entitled, Melody of the Unceasing Vajra, which is subtitled: ‘A Propitiation of Mighty Gyalchen Dorje Shugden, Protector of Conqueror Manjushri Tsongkhapa’s Teachings, by the Supreme Victor, the Great 14th Dalai Lama.’ Since the Dalai Lama is considered to be infallible and a fully enlightened being, how can these completely opposite beliefs be reconciled? Should we understand that the Dalai Lama was a faulty being when he practiced this deity in the past? If so, how is it that he can be considered to be faultless now? Enlightened beings cannot become more enlightened with time, nor can their perfect state degenerate. Moreover, such a pure being is omniscient, and would know indubitably that such a reversal of belief would cause tremendous confusion and problems. A flawless being should be able to provide a coherent, logical, and plausible explanation for this contradiction. The Dalai Lama has yet to provide such an explanation. Please explain how the Dalai Lama’s reversal on Dorje Shugden can be considered anything other than the confused and mistaken action of an ordinary being.

6) For nearly four centuries the deity Dorje Shugden has supposedly caused harm to many people. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama claims that since the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama, Dorje Shugden has caused not only a consistent degeneration of Buddhism, but many other serious problems. If this is true, why is it not possible for any of the reincarnations of the Dalai Lama to subdue this being? It is claimed that each of the Dalai Lamas are successive manifestations of the Buddha of Compassion (Chenrezig). There are many accounts of high Lamas subduing malevolent spirits in Tibet, yet the succession of ten Dalai Lamas cannot accomplish a similar feat. Practitioners of Dorje Shugden claim that he is an enlightened being, and therefore impossible to subdue. Please explain the failure of these ten Dalai Lamas to subdue Dorje Shugden. Please explain the failure of thousands of high Lamas to do the same.

Posted courtesy of Ron Cook.

2 comments:

dwaink said...

Kt66, the WSS wants 6 questions answered in this matter, while i would ask you only one:

What is HH's motivation in this Dorje Shugden matter?


dwaink

Tenzin said...

I found these replies to Tenzin Peljor's answers on the Tricycle Editor's Blog, on the article BuddhaJones and Dorje Shugden.

Tenzin Peljor answered the six questions on his blog on Bodhisattva Center Open Day - Review and Reply, in the comments section.

Ron Cook responded to him on September 17, 2008:

Tenzin’s answers to the six questions are quite revealing. They reveal that the Dalai Lama’s actions are inexplicable from a religious point of view, but completely consistent with a political agenda. His answers demonstrate an inability to differentiate religion from politics.

Of course I understand that he does not officially represent the Dalai Lama, however his activities extend far beyond his blog. For years he has engaged in a crusade destroy the reputation of Shugden traditions and practitioners. His function therefore, has been consistent with one representing unofficially, the Dalai Lama and his government in exile.

He has kindly clarified the criteria required for discussion on his blog. He could have easily simplified his standards by stating he desires a platform whereby he can say what he wants without opposition.

The fact that he feels that he has been blackmailed into a response indicates self generated pressure and worry. The questions are difficult to answer. If he did not provide some sort of answers his silence may cause doubt to arise in his readership or those undecided on the issue.

If Tenzin regards petitions and people being requested to prove their unsubstantiated allegations as being blackmail, this only reveals his irrational thinking. The method being used is precisely because they have refused to provide proof of their allegations and continue to make them. Tenzin continuously admonishes anyone who cannot back-up their statements from the pro-Shugden side, but if anyone from the anti-Shugden side performs the same action, this is considered acceptable. If Thurman has proof of his allegations he will definitely respond. Why? Providing proof will maintain and increase his authority and reputation as a legitimate Buddhist scholar. The Dalai Lama did not respond for two reasons. He did not feel that his reputation was in actual danger, and because his actions are indefensible.

Question one concerned a request to provide scriptural sources that necessitate the banning of a spiritual practice. His answer confirms by omission that there is no Buddhist scripture to support the Dalai Lama’s ban. There are no scriptural references and therefore no supportable Buddhist reasons for the ban. There are however plenty of political reasons.

He complains that facts are contorted. What facts are contorted? The ban has definitely caused division as demonstrated by all the various websites, books, articles, violence, insults, accusations etc. If the Dalai Lama never imposed the ban in the first place, he and I would not be corresponding, nor would any problem exist.

At one point he claims there is no ban, and then he infers that there is one within the monasteries in India. He claims the decision of a majority and monastic principals are legitimate reasons for the ban. The ‘monastic principles’ he cites are not based on politics, they are based on Buddha’s teachings. Anyone familiar with Dharma knows there is no spiritual basis for imposing bans. The ban imposed within monasteries shows clearly that the leadership of the monasteries are corrupted by politics. Buddhadharma provides the solution to every problem because it addresses every single delusion. If the monks practice Dharma there would definitely be no problems, this is true whether they believe in the deity Dorje Shugden or not. If they practice dharma the two groups can definitely coexist in the same monastery. The fear and hysteria by non-Shugdens shows without doubt that delusions are manifest in their minds. It shows that the solution that they have imposed (apartheid) comes not from Buddha’s teachings but from politics and delusion.

Despite Tenzin’s endless denials there is irrefutable proof that the Dalai Lama has imposed a ‘ban.’ See ‘A Ban by Any Other Name.’ http://www.westernshugdensociety.org/en/reports/shugden-contervery-a-ban-by-any-other-name

What are the Dalai Lama’s reasons for the ban? The interpretation of his own dreams, the advice of the worldly spirit Nechung, his own previous incarnations, and other Lamas who he regards as realized. For decades the Dalai Lama practiced Dorje Shugden! Since he has vacillated on this issue while wide awake, why should his dreams be considered to be a reliable source of information? Why is it that the advice of a non-human, ordinary worldly spirit is considered to be profound and insightful? This reliance on a spirit for religious advice breaks the vow of refuge that every ordained person takes. Most unusual is how is it he can not recall from one life to the next whether he should practice Dorje Shugden or not. As for the supposed realized opinions of other Lamas,’ if they were truly realized they would neither fear Dorje Shugden nor support a ban. Why? Realized beings have no fear, and most importantly, Buddha never taught such childish solutions as proclaiming bans.

Tenzin has failed to provide a spiritual reason for the ban, and has in fact, provided evidence to the contrary.

Question two noted the discrepancy in the way the Dalai Lama engages the Chinese and Dorje Shugden practitioners. He says he does not know if this is true or not. This statement is illogical because if the opposite were true he would definitely provide the evidence forthwith. It is a fact that the Dalai Lama has ignored all communication, and it is a fact that he has refused to grant an audience with Shugden representatives to try to resolve the issue.

Although Tenzin is blind to the obvious, it is absolutely clear that there is a double standard. He inadvertently provided the reason for the double standard. The Dalai Lama’s worldly concern far exceeds his spiritual concerns. Hence Tenzin’s conclusion: “Shugden is not that important.” For a Tibetan politician, engaging the Chinese is a priority. For an authentic spiritual leader the opposite would be true. If the Dalai Lama had either compassion or wisdom he would have long ago relinquished one or both of these roles.

Tenzin asks why am I or others not okay with this issue? Why is it so incomprehensible that someone would try and prevent their spiritual tradition from being annihilated? If you Tenzin, were faced with the destruction of your own tradition would you simply “let it go?” If so, this would undoubtedly indicate that you held no real faith in what you were practicing, because you would be willing to give it up so easily and thoughtlessly.

Question three requested an explanation of the nature and type of freedom Shugden practitioners actually enjoy. Tenzin’s answer concerning the Swiss quote reveals that both he and the followers of the Dalai Lama have no ability to distinguish religion from politics. This is not their fault, because their example - the Dalai Lama, has practiced mixing both continuously. The Tibetan government in exile should have nothing to do with religious issues. The role of any government is to manage the political interests of its citizens, not their religious concerns. If you check, you will find that any government that mixes religion and politics causes their whole society to degenerate into conflict. If the Dalai Lama’s followers seek redress to their religious concerns through government it only shows that they have a thorough experience of mixing the two.

Although Tenzin is unable to comprehend the meaning of the quote, it is clear that the Dalai Lama’s intention is to utterly destroy the practice of Dorje Shugden. This intention is expressed clearly and is not mere claim.

Earlier this year over 900 monks in India were expelled from their monasteries for refusing to comply with the Dalai Lama’s ban. This included elderly monks who have lived almost all their life in a monastic environment. The Dalai Lama instigated this purge in an address in January 2008. In the Tibetan exile communities, both ordained and lay Shugden practitioners have, in repeated incidences been threatened, or assaulted. They all are denied identity cards needed to obtain food and other goods, provide entry to hospital and schools, to have unfettered access to medicine, to obtain travel documents, and to seek employment. The only way to obtain the card is to sign an oath stating that you will never practice Dorje Shugden nor associate in any way with those that do. The cards must be produce to procure these services. This is not freedom.

In the West the opportunity does not exist to repress Shugdan practitioners in this way. However, if their traditions and reputations can be destroyed it accomplishes the same result - an eventual extinction of the practice. The freedom that I and others are fighting for is for future generations. It is their freedom to choose what to practice that is being destroyed.

In reality the freedom to be a practitioner of Dorje Shugden is under continuous assault both in the East and the West. In the East it is a direct attack and in the West it is an indirect attack. The Dalai Lama and his followers say we have freedom, but this freedom is a travesty in light of their unrelenting determination to destroy the practice.

Question four concerned a request to explain the apparent hypocrisy of the concerns of Christians persecuted by Buddhists in Sri Lanka versus the way Shugden practitioners are treated by other Buddhists.

Tenzin immediately denies there is any persecution but goes on to explain the dangers of the object of persecution. He says Dorje Shugden practice “supports exclusivism, (sic) elite-thinking, pride, hostility towards other schools and sectarianism.” Who is excluding whom? Isn’t a ban a form of exclusion? Who is engaged in elite thinking and pride? The mindset of the perpetrators of the ban is: we know what is good for you, so do what we say or else. Who is sectarian? The Dalai Lama is solely responsible for creating the ‘us’ (supporters of the Dalai Lama) versus ‘them’ mentality in the Buddhist community.

My proof of persecution is the Dalai Lama, and his government in exile. The Dalai Lama has expressed the intention to destroy Shugden practice, and that the policy should be done “in a clever way… to ensure that in future generations not even the name of Dhogyal is remembered.” My proof is the passing of laws by the Tibetan government in exile that require oaths be taken in order to receive identity cards. The oath declares that you will not practice nor associate with Shugden practioners. My proof is a litany of unsubstantiated claims and accusations that range from murder to financial support by the Chinese, levelled at Shugden practitioners. My proof is the ridiculous assertions that Shugden traditions are cults, that they are sectarian, and that they cause harm.

No one is asking those that do not wish to practice Dorje Shugden to practice it. We are asking for the persecution to end in both the West and the East. When this happens you will never hear from me again. I am very confident that all others will do the same.

Tenzin, you do not perceive the Dalai Lama’s actions as hypocrisy because you are not on the receiving end of his actions. You do not perceive any persecution because your religious faith is not being assaulted.

Finally, your analogy is invalid because you equate taking drugs with practicing Dorje Shugden. For your analogy to be valid you must have prove conclusively and without doubt that Dorje Shugden is harmful. No one has been able to demonstrate this.

You have not proven there is no persecution and you have not proven there is no hypocrisy.

Question five was please explain how the Dalai Lama’s reversal on Dorje Shugden can be considered anything other than the confused and mistaken action of an ordinary being.

Tenzin immediately confirms that the Dalai Lama is confused and mistaken and therefore an ordinary being. He says: “HHDL said different times (sic) he practiced Shugden out of his own ignorance.” This is a view for which we each concur completely - that the Dalai Lama is ignorant. This admission provides ample credence to the question why his action of imposing a ban is anything other that continued ignorance.

Then in order to justify following a confused and ignorant being Tenzin goes on to attack the practice of Guru Yoga. An aspect of this practice is to regard the Spiritual Guide as a Buddha. If Tenzin or anyone else takes the time to investigate they will find all the authentic spiritual masters since the time of Buddha, without exception, practiced Guru Yoga. All without exception regarded their Spiritual Guide as a Buddha. If you do not believe this then read the works of Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, Asvagosha, Aryadeva, Asanga, Vasubandu, Dignaga, Padmasamvava, Dharmakirti, Shantideva, Saraha, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milerepa, Atisha, JeTsongkhapa, and numerous others.

Tenzin if you actually bother to consult the works of these ancient masters you will discover that it is you that holds an inferior and mistaken view.

Tenzin is also confused as to the definition of a spiritual master. Necessarily for one to be considered to be a master they cannot vacillate on such fundamental knowledge as to what is to be practiced and what is to be abandoned! Therefore, the Dalai Lama cannot be considered a master.

The Dalai Lama’s reasons for implementing the ban (which I have read) come from the root of ignorance and not from the root of wisdom.

Tenzin, you have supported my view that the Dalai Lama is a being that is subject to making mistakes and is governed by ignorance.

Question six requests explanation for the continued failure for any Spiritual master to subdue the supposed spirit that is Dorje Shugden. Tenzin is unable to provide an answer. He wishes me to pose this question to the Dalai Lama. Perhaps he has forgotten that the Dalai Lama does not reply to Shugden practitioners. This is why I have to ask people like Tenzin to respond to such questions. I think it is much more appropriate that you Tenzin Paljor should ask him these questions. In this way you can clarify this centuries old failure in your own mind, along with the other points that have been raised.

For me and others the answer to this question is obvious - Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being, he could not be subdued in the past, he cannot be subdued now, nor will he be subdued in the future. Dorje Shugden is working to lead all sentient beings to enlightenment.