Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Great Deception

The Western Shugden Society has published a new book concerning the Dorje Shugden controversy entitled 'A Great Deception'. The website publicising the new book explains:

This is a true story revealing the hidden side to the celebrity Nobel Peace Prize winner – The Dalai Lama. Using ground-breaking research, this book looks behind the saintly image to expose the real Dalai Lama; a religious and political dictator, who is responsible for persecuting not only his own people, but millions of people around the World.

The stated aims of the book are:

  • To liberate millions of innocent practitioners of the Buddhist Deity Dorje Shugden and their families from suffering
  • To restore peace and harmony between Shugden and non-Shugden practitioners
  • To re-establish the common spiritual activities of Shugden and non-Shugden practitioners
  • To free Buddhism from political pollution
The book explains how, just like the 5th and 13th Dalai Lamas, the present Dalai Lama has misused Buddha's teachings for political aims (the Lama Policy) and how this degeneration has destroyed the peace and harmony of the international Buddhist community, including the persecution of Dorje Shugden practitioners.

We will be featuring extracts from the book in future blog posts, so stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

Im reading the book. At first I was unsure about it. The most interesting part is it has the biographies of the Dalai Lamas numbered 1 - 14. I was most looking for information on the Dalai lamas relationship with Trijang his root guru & Trijangs relationship with Pabongkha.
The reason why I feel its important for me to read this book although it is hard reading, is to establish the nature of religion & spiritual life. When the Dalai Lama the 4 Tibetan schools all dissappear when I die all I will have is my karma. At that time because of current events I would have drawn my own conclusions about what is a good & bad guru, what is a good & bad teaching and what to do when there is trouble, infighting, power struggles, manipulation etc. Then I will go to my future lives with this karma & it will take me in a certain direction. So I am shaping my future lives by the conclusions I draw from this current situation which in reality is as brief as a flash of lightening (my lifespan).
I want to advise everyone to do the same. There will always be these things whenever we try to practice spiritually. This is the environment in which we procceed. I think we have the idea that it should be like a shangri-la & resent that it isnt, feeling a sense of injustice that things are 'not as good as they could be'.
I am studying on a wide scale religion as a whole & us buddhist although subject to human error & fighting in sects have done very well amongst religions in minimising this.
I do agree that the Dalai lama needs to stop trying to increase his power. It is wrong. It is wrong because if one person has all the power then they can affect too much. Imagine if the Dalai Lama got control of the 4 schools & then when he died the wrong reincarnation was identified. The entire future of the 4 schools would be in the hands of someone who has no buddhist attainments. It is far better that the 4 schools are run by themselves. Then if something goes wrong in 1 the other 3 are still in tact. The more power the Dalai Lama gains over people the more danger if a reincarnation comes who is just one of us! The previous sharing of power has brought pure dharma to us why not stick with what works!
The Dalai lama is trying to gain influence over everyone. He is making everyone take him as their root guru to reduce the power of other teachers by giving highest yoga tantra empowerments to other lamas students. He is meeting other buddhist lamas & giving them advice & approval so that they become his students. He is meeting non Tibetan Buddhist tradition leaders & trying to take the role of advisor to them. If the whole world depends of the Dalai lama if something goes wrong with him the whole of Buddhism is damaged. And the more power he has the greater the potential for damage. It is right for there to be sects. Lots of sects. Its stops one person having the power to destroy Buddhism. To all you sects of Buddhism I prostrate. Let the Dalai lama rule his sect but not ours. We do not want to unite sects. We are fine as we are. stop interfering in everyones affairs trying to assume control of us all. Hail religious freedom!

Wisdom said...

I found this book extremely hard going because of the emotional and biased style of writing and presentation. I also thought that it was very schismatic by criticizing the Dalai Lama and the lama policy. If novices were to pick up this book, it is unlikely that they would be interested in Buddhism, especially as the most popular face of Buddhism i.e. The Dalai Lama, is so denigrated.

On the flip side, I thought that this book was well researched, with strong citations, which also made the claims appear to be backed up with facts. The historical account of the Dalai Lamas was useful information. The style of writing was also quite well crafted to achieve its objectives, which was mainly to destroy the reputation of the Dalai Lama.

There was a lot of repetition throughout the book, which was not necessary. With the richness of facts provided, I personally would have preferred it to be more objectively presented. I believe it would have held its own.

I had read this book as I was mistakenly hoping for more information on Dorje Shugden but that was rather scarce. In hindsight, the book gives what it promised, which was a critique of the ruling lama’s policies.

Although I found this book disappointing, I would recommend people to read it as it does give one perspective on the Dorje Shugden ban.

Rachel B said...

I started reading this book with great excitement, glad that there was finally a book out about the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden and his sacred, ancient practice. As a practitioner of Dorje Shugden, it was very thrilling to finally find some literature that talked about the current issues surrounding this controversy.

I was very disappointed however to discover that the book was just so very militant and tended to bash the Dalai Lama in an overly emotional way. I found it quite difficult to relate to the facts (which were very well researched) because a lot of this strong rhetoric overwhelmed the very good facts that they were trying convey.

It is a shame because the book does have many very good points and it has been very thoroughly researched, as can be seen by the many references they make throughout the book. But its very strong choice of words and expression – particularly in bashing the Dalai Lama or in making often dubious suggestions about the Dalai Lama’s actions – undermines the book and makes it far less believable and credible than it should be. Sometimes, it seemed almost immature in the way they became so emotional about the subject.

The purposes of the book includes “to liberate millions of innocent practitioners of the Buddhist deity Dorje Shugden and their families from suffering” and “to restore peace and harmony between Shugden and non-Shugden practitioners” among others. By the time I got to the end of the book, I did not understand how this book could or would contribute to accomplishing this.

Dorje Shugden is such a great Protector and his practice is one that has been upheld by many, many of Tibet’s greatest Buddhist masters. I felt quite sad that a book “in his defence” launches is written in quite a belligerent and sometimes offensive manner. Is that how the writers wish to reflect the greatest of the spiritual practice they are trying to uphold? I was looking forward to learning more about Dorje Shugden in this book – perhaps adding more details within the book about the qualities of Dorje Shugden, his practices and what we should be aspiring to achieve by his practice would have given a better balance to the presentation of the book.

As a new person reading this book, I would think to myself, “Wow, the Dalai Lama camp seems pretty unspiritual… and the people on the DS camp writing this book also seem to be pretty unspiritual writing in this way!” It would create even more doubts in my mind about what Buddhism and Dharma is really about or even turn me away. How can this “liberate practitioners” or “restore peace and harmony between Shugden and non-shugden practitioners?”

Still, the book does provide a lot of useful background information for the more interested Buddhist to contemplate. We must be careful however, not to get too caught up in the politics of the whole issue. What I found most useful was to extract the news reports of what has been going on in the Tibetan communities, to be aware of what people are really going through with regards to this situation and to gain a different, new perspective. But ultimately, whether we practice or not and HOW we practice is quite a different subject that only we can decide, according to the relationship and practices we have developed with our own teachers, traditions and schools within the Dharma. That is most sacred.

iloveds said...

I found this book interesting in the issues raised about Lamaism, and the deity Dorje Shugden. While the debate has raged since 1978, many people in the west may not have heard anything about the course of events, or whether there is truth in the actions of HHDL being exposed by WSS.

All credit to them for their documentation, but I can't help feeling a sense of biasness towards their views, that I'm left with an ugly taste in my mouth reminiscent of sour grapes. What could have come out an objective read for me turned quickly into a blame game towards HHDL. Once that tone was set, I found it difficult to even believe the facts quoted or even the truthfulness of their claims.

I have checked out dorjeshugden[dot]com, and antishugdenp[dot]com and I am still not convinced that the issues are as they seem. If you understand the system of vows / commitments, guru devotion, lineage and many other buddhist concepts you too will find it difficult to pass "judgement" on this self created situation by HHDL.

I have deep respect for HHDL as he has been and will be the first name that will come to mind in a westerners head about encountering buddhism. And now with HHDL stance on the deity Dorje Shugden, HHDL is now spreading the dharma to the east via China and their aversion to HHDL.

Anonymous said...

Okay okay, perhaps I could be a bit more generous – one aim this book has come a little close to achieving is being an example of the mess of politics. It is the perfect example of if you want to be a Buddhist, then let go of politics because it’s not a good mix.

And there is information in this book that prompts thinking – for example the issue of combining four schools of Buddhism into one, the issue of nepotism and the issue of HH the Dalai Lama’s brother purportedly embezzling funds and engaging in arms trading.

Therefore, I’m glad there is a book out there that supports Dorje Shugden, and I do think this book is very well-researched and supported by references (well except for Chapter 2, where cross-referencing is conspicuously absent).

However, this book is so emotionally driven and intent on destroying the Dalai Lama’s reputation that it loses all credibility.

Still, I do feel it’s worth a read, only if it’s balanced out with other sources of information because there’s a danger you may accept such an extremist view as the only view.

Sarah D said...

I found the book very informative. I was quite shocked at first, because the Dalai Lama has such a good reputation as a holy man and promoter of peace and harmony and to find out that he's not really like that, and in fact quite hypocritical, was hard to accept - but the evidence is there for all to see, I couldn't dispute it.

The book is well written and the evidence is well researched. The language of the book is quite hard in places, and it doesn't pull any punches. It's clear that the people who wrote it feel strongly about these issues.

What it did for me was make things very clear. I had held onto the view of the Dalai Lama as a holy being and had some doubts about the ban on Dorje Shugden. I felt there was possibly a good reason why the Dalai Lama had introduced it but now I see clearly that it is political and worldly and that the Dalai Lama is completely in the wrong. At the end of the book there's quite a harsh assessment of the Dalai Lama's actions that made me a bit uncomfortable, but you can't argue with the fact that he hasn't really achieved anything for the Tibetan people and has definitely caused a lot of suffering.

I think if people can see beyond the emotive style, they will definitely become clear about the 'Dorje Shugden controversy' and see that all these problems have been caused by one deceptive person: the Dalai Lama himself.

Anonymous said...

This is not Buddhism taught by Buddha, the Buddha himself has warned against spirit worship, and attachment.

In actual truth, if you really understand the dharma, you only need to rid of your "error" in heart by meditation.

Through ages, the authentic Buddhism was consumed by mere practices to appease the Pretas into spirit worship.