Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dorje Shugden -- A Recovered History

Over the past 30 years, Tibetan politicians and others following their view have been attempting to rewrite the history of the enlightened Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden, making him out to be a worldly deity of recent provenance, even an evil spirit.

Nothing could be further than the truth. And thanks to the efforts of Trinley Kalsang, a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, the truth of Dorje Shugden's history is now coming out in detail, based on research into "a legacy of rituals, historical works and art" that have been dedicated to the practice of Dorje Shugden over the last few hundred years.

Today sees the start of Trinley Kalsang's scholarly and clarifying website: Dorje Shugden History. We thank him for doing all this painstaking research and translation. It will go a long way to indicating the extent to which Dorje Shugden and his practitioners have been subject to terrible falsehoods over the last few decades, and especially the last ten years since the publication of George Dreyfus's highly misleading The Shuk-den Affair: Origins of a Controversy, which served as the basis for several other biased and inaccurate accounts.

From the introduction:

Dorje Shugden is a protector deity (srung ma) that came to be propitiated principally by the Sakya and Gelug sects starting in the 17th and 18th centuries. Since that time, a legacy of rituals, historical works and art have been dedicated to the practice of this deity. Although there are many texts that reveal the gradual development of the system of ritual for this deity, much of this has not been brought out in the open for examination. Examination of the important details from these texts is necessary to reconstruct a more complete history, as the history presented thus far by scholars has been partial in order to paint particular constructions that concur with events in the 20th century.