Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Dalai Lama's Shady Past

There is another book out about the previous Dalai Lamas, called
Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama: The Untold Story of the Holy Men Who Shaped Tibet, from Pre-history to the Present Day

Part of its write up says:

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama is known to the world for his efforts to preserve Tibetan culture and for his inspiring spiritual teachings. Often unnoticed, however, is the long, colorful history from which this most beloved of holy men has emerged. In Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama, Alexander Norman tells this story in full for the first time, from Tibetan Buddhism’s foundational narratives to the present-day crisis faced by Tibet.

And what a story it is. Along with dedicated monks selflessly serving the Tibetan people, among His Holiness’s spiritual forebears there are a Dalai Lama who waged wars, a womanizing and inebriated poet, and several who wound up dead following disputes over temporal power. Also, while Western practitioners focus on Tibetan Buddhism’s liberating vision of enlightenment, it simultaneously contains ritual practices of prophecy and magic, as well as a vivid pantheon of deities and demons.

"Holy men"??! Upon reading the history of the previous Dalai Lamas, the only "holy men" amongst them would appear to be the first four and the Seventh, none of whom had political power or abused their position as spiritual teachers.

It is a stretch to call the rest "holy men". That is unless you call womanizing drunks (the Sixth), violent power-hungry people (the "Great Fifth" and the "Great Thirteenth") and political dictators (the current Fourteenth) "holy men". The Eighth handed over his political power to regents, and the Ninth, Tenth and Twelfth died too young for anyone to make their mind up about them.

During a rebellion of the Karmapas in Tsang, the Fifth Dalai Lama (the 14th Dalai Lama's favorite "spiritual forbear") issued orders:

[Of those in] the band of enemies, who have despoiled the duties entrusted to them:
Make the male lines like trees that have had their roots cut;
Make the female lines like brooks that have dried up in winter;
Make the children and grandchildren like eggs smashed against cliffs;
Make the servants and followers like heaps of grass consumed by fire;
Make their dominion like a lamp whose oil has been exhausted;
In short, annihilate any traces of them, even their names.

The "Great Thirteenth" (1876-1933) (the current Dalai Lama's other favorite "spiritual forbear") was also a cruel leader. As chief judge he commanded severe punishments to be meted out to trouble-makers, including floggings, amputations and exile. His friend Sir Charles Bell gave the damning verdict:

He loved the work... and he liked the power which the work gave him.

Doesn't sound very holy to me. Nor does the current Dalai Lama's current ban of a beloved spiritual practice and the threatening language he uses to back it up, such as (to monks in India who questioned the ban on practicing Dorje Shugden):

14th Dalai Lama inspecting 
troops at Chakrata in 1972
"There will be no change in my stand. I will never revoke the ban. You are right. It will be like the Cultural Revolution. If those who do not accept the ban do not listen to my words, the situation will grow worse for them. You sit and watch. It will grow only worse for them."
As for the 14th Dalai Lama's "inspiring spiritual teachings", they come from the kindness of his precious Spiritual Guides. Yet he superseded and denigrated all of them as he assumed more and more temporal power.

Sometimes cliches hit the mark: Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

This all sounds incredible. It is true though. To find out more, including all the sources for this information, read A Great Deception.

Here is a very good article on why we feel it is okay to criticize the Dalai Lama.


Bill Esterhaus said...

I think it's a sign of these spiritually degenerate times that people are unable to tell the difference between a genuine spiritual Teacher and an imposter. I do hope that this world gradually awakens to the truth about the Dalai Lama institution because, at present, the Dalai Lama is fooling most people (Time magazine described him as 'the most influential person in the world'!) and as a result, he is able to get away with massive abuses of power, all of which is causing immense damage to Buddhism and great suffering to many.

Let's pray for a separation of religion and politics.

AS said...

The quotes in this blog quite clearly dispel the myths around the role. Thanks for sharing.

Jerry said...

The Dalai Lama does not mind tests on animals:

Everyone knows he is not a vegetarian.

Seriously, though, should a Buddha of Compassion not show an example of loving animals, not eating them or ignoring their plight in animal labs?

My teacher Geshe Kelsang by contrast is a firm vegetarian and has never shown anything but love and compassion for animals and insects. He even says they are equal to us human beings and as such must be cherished as much.

Wisdomsword said...

Here is a video of Venerable Song Rinpoche talking about Dorje Shugden. He makes it clear that we should not be gullible when hearing ignorant rumors about this practice.

This was back in the early eighties, when the Dalai Lama had already started to start these rumors.

The Dalai Lama didn't go so far as to ban the practice until after the death of the enormously beloved Lama Trijang Rinpoche, knowing he'd never get away with it.

He rejected his own precious teacher Trijang Rinpoche in his take-over of all spiritual and political power. Indeed, there is no one above the Dalai Lama now. He demoted them all, one way or another.

If you have ever seen Kung Fu Panda, you'll recognize the hubris in the character of the tiger.

Wisdomsword said...

Part Two of Song Rinpoche (there is some overlap):