Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reting Lama – how he chose the false Dalai Lama

The latest article by Truthsquad 88 on his anonymous anti-NKT website, which is in response to the Western Shugden Society's article Reting Lama - how he chose the false Dalai Lama, begins with a bizarre conspiracy theory:

As previously discussed on this web site, NKT/WSS appears to be using a contrived Shugden controversy as a ploy to overthrow The Dalai Lama, either because Gyatso cannot recover from his Dalai Lama envy or because NKT/WSS - as many have reported - is aligned with the Chinese government against The Dalai Lama's leadership of the Tibetan people.

(It has already been explained in detail and with evidence how the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) and the Western Shugden Society (WSS) are not the same organization and, no matter how often this lie is repeated, it does not make it the truth.)

This paragraph quoted above shows particularly poor discrimination when it comes to distinguishing between religious and political matters. The Dalai Lama is both a religious and a political figure but the purpose of the Western Shugden Society (WSS) is solely to secure freedom of worship and human rights for Dorje Shugden practitioners in India and elsewhere -- not to involve itself in the murky world of Tibet-Sino politics.


All WSS actions are performed solely to obtain parity of the second-class Dorje Shugden practitioners with all other Buddhist practitioners, not to overthrow the Dalai Lama. It's a shame that the author of this article tries to mislead their readers by imposing a narrow and inaccurate political motivation onto the WSS. As stated many times, the WSS has no interest in politics, only in the religious freedom of Shugden practitioners.

The article then attempts to justify its mad premise by claiming that all Dorje Shugden practitioners are pro-Chinese based on the comments of Kundeling Rinpoche from the France 24 programme. There is no connection between the WSS and Kundeling Rinpoche and he does not reflect the views of the WSS.

Regarding the story of how the political machinations of the then Reting Rinpoche caused a false Dalai Lama to be installed, the claim is made:

“In this amazing story of lies (according to NKT/WSS), NKT/WSS does not explain why Trijang Rinpoche went along with the purported lie which ultimately caused Trijang Rinpoche to die of a heart attack (NKT/WSS believes that Trijang was a reincarnation of Shugden/Tsongkhapa/Manjushri and that Shugden is a Buddha).

Firstly, it is an amazing story to those who hear it for the first time; but why is it lies? What evidence does the writer have that will prove the story false? That this story has been hidden in plain view from non-Tibetans and even many Tibetans does not make it false. Despite Western infatuation with Tibet, more and more people are realizing that -- despite some gems of pure practitioners and pure Buddhism that certainly existed in all four schools -- Tibet as a whole was no Shangri-la. There was an amazing number of seedy and violent feudal Tibetan power struggles that arose due to the reigning theocracy and those who tried to take political advantage of it, especially at times when it was weak (e.g. during the regencies between Dalai Lamas and as child reincarnate Lamas (Tib. Tulkus) grew up.)

This is not a Chinese view, it is fact. And Reting Rinpoche was part of that sordid tapestry of theocratic power play.

The whole institution of reincarnation as a method to keep Lamas (and their hangers-on) in power is clearly subject to a great deal of abuse. Small children of course are easily manipulated by the adults around them.

Secondly, on the issue of why Trijang Rinpoche went along with it, in the WSS article it states that three things were happening at that time:


  • great fear was developing among Tibetans on hearing that the Chinese army would soon arrive in Lhasa

  • many people were unhappy at hearing that Lhamo Dhondup would be removed from his position;

  • Lhamo Dhondup had apparently begun to improve his qualifications through receiving special care and teachings from Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche.

For these three reasons, through Taktra Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche made strong requests to the Government, asking them to delay the removal of Lhamo Dhondup from his position as Dalai Lama.

What effect would it have had on the Tibetan people if it had been publicly announced at that moment in time that their beloved Dalai Lama was false, the result of the Regent Reting Rinpoche wanting to hold onto power for himself? At a time of great uncertainty, with fear of a Chinese invasion, this would have been a cruel hammer blow. It seems that Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche thought they could tame the boy with Dharma and make the best of the situation.

(Also, one might plausibly wonder whether these spiritual teachers believed in reincarnation as a political institution. Certainly, their root Guru Je Phabongkhapa was very against mixing religion and politics and turned down political positions that he was offered. Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche were also pure Spiritual Guides who did not involve themselves with Tibetan politics. Perhaps these Lamas saw that choosing a five-year old child as a political leader for the entire country was fraught with risk and that one small boy may turn out as well as another small boy, given the right environment and with their skilled guidance. This could be one feasible explanation; but it is hard to verify as these great Lamas are no longer alive.)

However, the situation changed when, due to the Chinese invasion, the 'Dalai Lama' escaped to India and formed the Tibetan Government in Exile (TGIE). Tenzin Gyatso now had full control over Tibetan society in exile and consequently both Tutors were unable to expose him as false, even if they had been willing. Moreover, it seems there was no reason to expose him as false to begin with because he was not trying to destroy their religious tradition and he was doing good works.

It was heartbreaking for these great Spiritual Masters to then watch the false Dalai Lama using the spiritual qualifications that he had gained solely from them to gradually destroy the Gelugpa tradition by being more interested in political power play. The task of exposing him was made harder and harder as he became famous around the world, the darling of Hollywood celebrities and unsuspecting Westerners who believe in Shangri-la and its peace-loving leader, and seemingly the only shining hope for Tibetans who wanted to return to their country.

More than anything, what this story reveals is how the Tibetan system of relying upon reincarnate Teachers is open to political manipulation.


The article by Truthsquad88 ends with a long quote from an open letter to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama by Reting Hutuktu representing himself as the 6th Reting, the supposed reincarnation of the 5th Reting who is responsible for the false Dalai Lama. However, the Dalai Lama refused to recognise him as the reincarnation of the 5th Reting and, in any case, we can all see how unreliable this reincarnation system appears.

Reting Hutulku spends all his time criticizing the most holy Gurus of the Gelugpa lineage such as Je Phabongkhapa, Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche. This reminds me of a story I read in Geshe Kelsang's book Meaningful to Behold:

The story is told of an old woman who used to argue and fight with everyone. She was so disagreeable that eventually she was expelled from her village. When she arrived at another town the people there asked her, 'why did you leave your home?' She replied 'Oh, all the people in that village were wicked; I left there in order to escape from them'. The townspeople thought this was very strange. 'This can't be true,' they said. 'The old lady herself must have been quite wicked.' Fearing that she would cause them nothing but trouble, they threw her out of their town as well.

To cast aspersions such as 'murderer, demon, thief' on such holy teachers means that Reting Rinpoche must have been quite wicked as well. Truthsquad quotes him as saying:

Trijang was the force who spread the doctrine of downfall to all peoples of high and low status, Tibetan and of other races. The greatest servant of Shugden in our entire history, he succeeded in destroying the living tradition of Je Tsong Kapa. This fact is obvious to any person who studies logic with a clear mind.

What is obvious to any person who studies logic with a clear mind (let alone to someone who is remotely informed on the subject of Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition) is the utter nonsense of that statement. Trijang Rinpoche was completely devoted to Je Tsongkhapa's tradition and upheld it tirelessly. He himself was the source of most holy Teachers of Gelugpa Dharma of that generation.

Reting Rinpoche also apparently says:

"Great lies have been circulated about my former incarnation, circulated by those who seek to hide their wrongdoings and evil nature. Foul propaganda was spread to denigrate the 5th Reting Hutuktu and to muster support for the slaughter of his disciples ”

However, if you read the full letter, Reting Hutuktu basically admits to the sexual misconduct of the 5th, trying to justify it by claiming that it wasn't as bad as what was done by Taktra Rinpoche and the Dalai Lamas:

'There are claims to the fallen vow of celibacy. Even if that were true is that not less of a defeat than the initial MURDER of hundreds then ultimately the destruction of life and nation which followed? Were all Dalai Lamas celibate? The answer is NO, and did that diminish their power of blessing? Naturally in the Ganden tradition a vow of celibacy should be taken from one who keeps it. But how this pales in significance when compared to the major defeats committed by Taktra and others whom you venerate!

(My bolding).

So, this article only quotes those parts of Reting Hutuktu's letter that supports its case and not the full letter that would, to some extent, support the claims of the WSS .

It is also clear from this book of conversations with the Dalai Lama by Thomas Laird that there was a power struggle between Reting Rinpoche and Taktra Rinpoche, and that Reting actually hatched a plot to kill Taktra.

Reting Hutulku readily admits to this, and then says cryptically:

Has a Dalai Lama ever directly supported an assassination? How the answer would shock and confuse the modern, casual, want-to-be Buddhist.

There are many people who would like to know the answer to this question. In 1962, the Dalai Lama tried to merge all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism under his control, but the plan was opposed by the Thirteen Tibetan Settlements under the spiritual leadership of the 16 th Karmarpa, who stood up for the independence of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

In March 1977, the leader of the Settlements, Gungthang Tsultrim, was shot several times at point-blank range. The murderer said he received 300,000 rupees from the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

Given the squalid nature of Tibetan theocracy (which is a far cry from the picture painted by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman), it is a wonder that the pure and beautiful doctrine of Je Tsongkhapa has survived intact to this present day. For this, we have to thank the fearless efforts of great Teachers such as Trijang Rinpoche, Ling Rinpoche, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and others who have refused to submit to the TGIE.

However, we can also see that through the politically motivated actions of the present Dalai Lama, the threat to Je Tsongkhapa's doctrine is by no means over. Right now, we need Dorje Shugden more than ever.

Truthsquad’s article concludes with this line:

NKT's Shugden heros Trijang and Pabongkha have some explaining to do.

How strange! I think it is the Dalai Lama who has some explaining to do.

3 comments:

Felix Pace said...

Yes, this is really quite an amazing window into the "Squalid world of Tibetan theocracy". What I find amazing is that most of the histories of Reting Rinpoche (while not giving the whole story of his confessing to lying, etc.) substantiate the majority of this article ... confirming his sexual misconduct, corruption, arrest, and death.

Anonymous said...

wow - interesting times!
indeed, the only people who has some explaining left to do is the TGIE and the DL.

Lineageholder said...

I've seen a big outcry about the WSS article from lots of supporters of the Dalai Lama but Robert Thurman is remarkably quiet these days, this after having written a book of lies called "Why the Dalai Lama Matters"

You'd think that he, if anyone, would be able to dispel this terrible slander against the Dalai Lama with positive evidence, wouldn't you?

Why no refutation, Bob? No answers?
Maybe you'll reply when you reply to the WSS, eh? :)