Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Tide has Turned - Gelugpa Tradition Revival in the East and the West

Homage to Guru Protector Dorje Shugden!

Since the Western Shugden Society demonstrated against the Dalai Lama's ban on the practice of Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden last year, much has happened that is a cause for rejoicing. These demonstrations came about because the Tibetan government were organizing the expulsion of Dorje Shugden practitioners from Tibetan society with those practitioners having no recourse and no free speech, and although the WSS made many requests to the Dalai Lama requesting him to stop, he never replied. The peaceful protests arose out of compassion, not out of anger. Now the problems they were addressing have stopped, at least temporarily. Moreover, developments on various fronts also show how necessary and effective this expression of free speech in Western society was in terms of showing support and thereby increasing the confidence of sincere practitioners in India and elsewhere. They have heralded a revival of Dorje Shugden practice throughout the world.

Persecution stops, WSS stops

As the world media spotlight is never far away, the Dalai Lama and his followers are forced to be more cautious, and as a result we are hearing less about the persecution of Dorje Shugden practitioners in the Tibetan exile community in India. Recent information indicates that the Tibetan government have stopped the persecution because the Dalai Lama's reputation is decreasing in the world due to this mistake. If the Dalai Lama continues to speak out and act to destroy the practice of Dorje Shugden and the beloved Gelugupa tradition transmitted by the lineage holders Je Phabongkhapa and Trijang Rinpoche, as well as many other great Gelugpa Lamas and their disciples, he now knows that WSS demonstrators will continue to protest to bring this hypocrisy and injustice to the world's attention. The WSS wants peace. If the Dalai Lama and his government stop, the demonstrations stop. If they do not stop, the WSS does not stop.

Politicians backtrack

The Dalai Lama's student and Tibetan prime minister, the monk Samdhong Rinpoche, has even been embarrassed into publicly criticizing the Abbots for the forced signature campaign. This is ironic, as he was of course an instigator of this campaign, but it is a clear indication that the exile government knows now that they cannot get away with this disastrous policy, and feel the political need to distance themselves from it by scapegoating the Abbots.

Court case

The court case against the Dalai Lama and Samdhong Rinpoche wends its way through the Delhi High Court, to be heard in September. Whatever the outcome, it is at least being taken seriously as there are pages upon pages of documented evidence of the ban and its repercussions -- persecution, violence, segregation, etc.

High Gelugpa Lamas speak up

Recently the Ganden Tripa, the Ganden Throne Holder and head of the Gelugpa school, spoke out publicly in support of Trijang Choktrul. The Dalai Lama has never been the head of the Gelugpa school (nor any of the other Tibetan Buddhist schools); it is the Ganden Tripa who has traditionally been responsible for what happens within the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition, and this support for a famous Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioner indicates the Ganden Tripa's lack of support for the Dalai Lama's interference in this tradition. It indicates that more and more Gelugpa Lamas who have continued their practice of Dorje Shugden in secret now have the confidence to come out of the closet and defy the Dalai Lama and his government in exile.

Dorje Shugden practitioners now have their own qualified temples and monasteries, free from political interference

Many Lamas, monks and other practitioners now have the confidence to join forces in practicing this tradition openly.

Perhaps the most compelling sign that the tide is turning is the growth of the monasteries Serpom Norling and Shar Gaden. Very fortunately, 500 monks from Ganden and 400 monks from Sera received their own land and are making new monasteries and temples where they can continue to practice the Gelugpa tradition purely without political disturbance. They are receiving financial support from individuals in the West, other Tibetan Lamas, and the WSS. As you can see from the pictures, they are working extremely hard and effectively, just as Dorje Shugden practitioners once upon a time worked hard to build the Tibetan community in exile after 1959.

These extraordinary qualified monasteries have arisen just ten minutes away from Sera and Ganden monasteries, the homes the monks were forced to leave for refusing to sign their names to say they would not support Dorje Shugden practitioners either materially or spiritually. These impressive buildings and the daily religious activities of the monks are a potent witness to the Dalai Lama's failure to use his power and reputation to stamp out a pure religious tradition. The lineage Gurus have been restored to their rightful places on the thrones and the walls of the new temples. These new developments also show clearly how religion and politics do not mix. It seems as though the pure Gelugpas have broken away forever from Tibetan politics, both in the West and in the East. Despite some run ins with Dalai Lama supporters, and attempts by the Tibetan Government in Exile to stir up animosity towards Dorje Shugden practitioners, the ranks of the monks are growing all the time.

The annual Medicine Buddha Festival will held in Serpom Monastery on Sept 29, 2009, when hundreds of monks will perform pujas three times a day for a week 'for the well-being and prosperity of all living beings, and particularly of devotees and well-wishers of the Peace Deity Dorje Shugden'.

Other monasteries throughout the world

There seems to be a revival of Dorje Shugden practice throughout the East, with temples and monasteries growing up or continuing to flourish in Tibet, in Chatreng, Chamdo and Kham, as well as in Mongolia, Nepal, and Taiwan.

In the West, the New Kadampa Tradition also flourishes, with over 1100 Centers and branches.

Dorje Shugden's practice is growing like his statues

There are also Dorje Shugden statues being built both in the East and the West. People from all around the world are ordering more and more Dorje Shugden statues to be intalled in their respective centres and temples. This summer will see the unveiling of a beautiful new set of Dorje Shugden five lineages in the Kadampa Temple in England.

Dorje Shugden empowerment to thousands of Westerners

Last but not least, next week in England between 4000 and 5000 Western Buddhists, more than ever before, will receive a Dorje Shugden empowerment and Lamrim teachings from Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso at the UK Kadampa Meditation Centre. For his entire life, Geshe Kelsang has fearlessly practiced, preserved, and promoted the pure Gelugpa tradition of Je Tsongkhapa as passed to him by Trijang Rinpoche.

All in all, it is proving impossible to stamp out this great tradition. Dorje Shugden's time has come! May all living beings be happy and experience religious freedom.

So that the tradition of Je Tsongkhapa,
The King of the Dharma, may flourish,
May all obstacles be pacified
And may all favorable conditions abound.

If you know of other hopeful developments, please let us know in the comments section.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Shugden Society USA Speaks Out

Letter from Shugden Society USA

September 2nd 2009

Press release

Today we would like to bring to the attention of all those who believe in peaceful coexistence of all faiths and beliefs in this world, and particularly the attention of the people who believe in freedom of religion and human rights.

Today, September 2nd is The Tibetan Democracy Day, but the irony is that we the Tibetan people do not have true democracy due to the policies of the Tibetan government in exile, under the powerful guidance of the Dalai Lama , that undermines our Rights to Religious Freedom as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and other international conclaves. We, The Dorjee Shugden practitioners, must commemorate the date of September 2nd to create a global awareness of our plight.

On the 9th of January 2008, His Holiness the Dalai Lama declared that "Dorjee Shugden devotees are supported by the Chinese and therefore there is no need for them to be in exile, they can go back to Tibet (under Chinese rule)”. On the same day, he also called for “holding an open referendum, to decide if the majority of the Tibetans want to coexist with the devotees of the deity”. This is an invitation for open segregation in the Tibetan society, under the disguise of practicing democracy. To hear such statements from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whom we regard as our most compassionate leader and who is known and respected around the world, as a champion of peace, is deeply heartbreaking for all of our people. Furthermore, because of His Holiness’s position and influence, his statements become government policies, and therefore have great consequences. These statements from His Holiness’s position, undermine our fundamental rights: our right to exercise freedom of religion, right to peaceful living, and right to equal opportunity; they denote an obvious contempt of the devotees of the deity; they implicate accusations for which there are no ground at all. These statements have great potential to cause communal violence in the society and as a result, we, the followers of this deity, and our family members have been victims of ostracism and violence.

In reference to the letter to the prime minister of the Tibetan Government in exile, Samdong Rinpoche and The Dalai Lama, dated April 25, 2008, we had appealed to the Tibetan government to enforce our demands within the deadline of September 2nd, 2008,

Our Demands were:

·To entitle us to the fundamental rights of freedom to speech, beliefs, and the rights to live peacefully as guaranteed in the Constitution of Tibetan Government-in-Exile and Democratic countries.

· To lift the ban on Shugden practice and the religious persecution of its practitioners.

·To stop the systematic process of segregation in the Tibetan communities in exile, that has led to the social, psychological and physical torture of Shugden practitioners.

As our demands were time and again blatantly ignored, and in addition to the plight:

· The Tibetan government in exile continue to ostracise and segregate the Shugden practitioners from the rest of the Tibetan society.

· All the Tibetan media including the Voice of America (Tibetan Section) and the Radio free Asia, instead of standing up for the democratic principles, promote further segregation and ostracism of the Shugden devotees.

· Hundreds of monks, who worshipped Dorjee Shugden, were ostracised and expelled from the monasteries. As a result, a new wall at Ganden monastery in Southern India was built in March 2008 to segregate the Shugden worshippers.

·Monks who worshipped Shugden were denied medical services from the health clinics in the Tibetan communities in exile.

·Students, whose parents worshipped Dorjee Shugden, were ostracised in schools system.

· The idols of the Dorjee Shugden deity, destroyed in places like Lhasa, Central Tibet, South India and Kathmandu.

Due to such violation of our fundamental human rights, we are left with no clear options but to stand up for our rights. From this date onwards, we will implement the following campaign measures until our democratic rights to practice our religious rights are established:

· Being proactive by using various media to create the awareness of our plight.

· Organise and gather petition and submit to various concerned authorities and organisations.

· Organise systematic demonstrations.

Following are few of the recent incidents of violence towards Shugden devotees:

1) In July 2008, wanted posters of several monks involved in the Western Shugden Society protests appeared in Queens, New York. Al Jazeera reported about the wanted posters saying, "No Shugden worshipper has ever been charged or investigated for terrorism and yet the monks that continue to worship Shugden remain victims of name and shame."

An attack on Gaden Shartse monastery in South India by thousands of monks and laymen resulted in 40 people wounded and properties damaged.

3) In 1997, a nun in Tibet, was beaten up and left naked in the street to die, who fortunately survived.

4) In Clement town, there was also an attempt of arson on a Shugden devotees family’s house.

5) In July 29th 2009, the Tibetan section of Radio Free Asia, with intention to turn the general Tibetan people against the Shugden devotees, demonised the Shugden devotees of being responsible for the abductions of Tenzing thakpa, Woeser rinpoche's father and a 13 year old boy along with few goats and sheep in Markham. In reality, Woeser rinpoche's father and a 13 year old boy were victims of flood and Tenzing thakpa was seen alive and well, travelling in Lhasa and India.

These are just a few cases from countless incidents of atrocities involving violence and discrimination towards Shugden followers.

With best regards,

Shugden Society USA

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Samdhong vendetta continues

Samdhong Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile, obviously doesn't know when he's fighting a lost cause. Despite the fact that Tibetan Gelugpa Shugden practitioners are flourishing, having just opened the new Shar Gaden and Serpom Norling monasteries and other positive news, Samdhong recently spoke out against Dorje Shugden practitioners while in Switzerland as reported on Radio Free Asia:

August 30, 2009

Scholar Samdhong
Rinpoche, Kalon Tripa of Tibetan Government in Exile has given advice to the public in Swiss that people should pay special attention about the Shugden issue. Please listen to the news sent by Tsering Phuntsok

Tsering Phuntsok: During the visit by Scholar Samdhong Rinpoche, political leader of Tibetan Government in Exile, in Switzerland recently, he said that Dholgyal (Shugden) issue is not only a religious issue, but it became a tool for Chinese government. And he advised public should pay special attention.

Samdhong Rinpoche: In terms of our religion and politic, some Shugden followers became like a tool which is used by political authorities of People Republic of China. Apart from that, be it in Tibet or in Exile, over 95 percent of monks and nuns and lay people have abandoned what is to be abandoned and have practiced what is to be practiced (meaning that they abandoned the worship of Shugden), and they are very well. In present situation, for example, although there were few Shugden followers in the Seats (Sera, Drepung and Gaden monasteries), they were separated and became clean, after religious and material connection are cut off. Among them Tibetans are very few. It is a human group composed of many from border side who do not know the matter, and who are deceived by materials. . I think this will be clean before long. However, Dholgyal followers became like a subject to be used for both politics and propaganda by People Republic of China. Therefore, it is not a question of religion; it falls under situation of politics only. Therefore, yet in Europe and particulary around Swiss, some dispute of Dogyal followers remain in unfinished-work. Recently if you look at the media – in newspaper – of around this country, they try their best to rise after death. Regarding these matters, Swiss public took firm stand. If you continue it to end, the public has responsibility to try to vanish their continuity, which is like air of poison, without letting it to increase in future. Therefore, you must take it into consideration.

A scan of the Tibetan version of the transcript is shown above.

The Kalon Tripa is once again stirring up unrest and disharmony in Tibetan society. He incorrectly says that the Shugden issue is only a political one. This is not true since the main objections to the practice voiced by the Dalai Lama are religious ones and it has been a religious debate. If Samdhong means that the Shugden issue is one that has come about because of the mixing of religion and politics by the Dalai Lama, he's certainly correct! Rather than China using Dorje Shugden as a political issue, it's the TGIE who have done so.

It's sad to say that although the Western Shugden Society has suspended its campaign of protests against the Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lama and his government officials never stop trying to harm Dorje Shugden practitioners behind the scenes. Although the Dalai Lama talked about how he is dedicated to democracy during his recent visit to Taiwan, there is little evidence of democracy in his government when he instigated this present situation regarding Dorje Shugden by cutting off material support for Shugden practitioners and forcing their families to do the same. He's not giving Tibetans the democratic freedom to follow the tradition of Shugden practice given to them by their spiritual masters.

Despite Samdhong's statements about 'cleaning' Tibetan society (which is scarily like statements by dictators about ethnic cleansing), the Tibetan Government in Exile's hopes are in vain as Shugden practice is healthily flourishing in Tibetan society as well as throughout the world and there is nothing they can do about it.

A reminder: The annual Medicine Buddha Festival will held in Serpom Monastery on Sept 29, 2009, when hundreds of monks will perform pujas three times a day for a week 'for the well-being and prosperity of all living beings, and particularly of devotees and well-wishers of the Peace Deity Dorje Shugden'.