Friday, September 2, 2011

Tibetan Democracy Day? If only.

Press release from Shugden Society USA: Sept 1st, 2011     

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.
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 the rights to Religious Freedom as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and other international conclaves. Hence, we, the proponents of equal human rights, are commemorating the date of September 2 to create a global awareness of the plight as the Dorje Shugden believers continue to struggle against the religious persecution and segregation that has been imposed in the Tibetan community throughout the world by the Dalai Lama. (Scroll below for the most recent developments this year.)
On 9 January 2008, the Dalai Lama declared: 
"Dorje 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)”.  
Othe 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, in the disguise of practicing democracy.  Furthermore, because of the Dalai Lama’s position and influence, his statements become government policies, and therefore have great consequences. These statements from Dalai Lama’s position, undermine the fundamental rights: the right to exercise freedom of religion, right to peaceful living, and right to equal opportunity for the people. These statements have great potential to cause communal violence in the society and mislead the Tibetan people into believing that the Dorjee Shugden practitioners as the enemy. As a result, the followers of this deity and their family members have been victims of ostracism and violence.
In 2008, we gave a deadline to a Tibetan Government in Exile and Dalai Lama to stop the religious persecution and segregation of the Shugden practitioners and their families, including children at schools. However, the situation is getting worse every day, and now in 2011 things have not improved -- the Dalai Lama has declared a war against the Shugden people, demonizing and segregating Shugden worshippers since 1996. This "war" has been fuelled by outrageous rumors promoted by the Dalai Lama and his supporters that if a non Dorje Shugden follower should kill a believer that is not considered a sin! and furthermore it provides cumulative merit towards the Dalai Lamas long life! Other such "non sins" include destroying Shugden monasteries, stupas and religious documents.
Recent developments in 2011
Following are few of the recent incidents of violence towards Shugden devotees (more details of the atrocities can be found here):
The most recent developments occurred this Summer (July 2011) when the Dalai Lama was here in the USA in Washington DC performing the Kalachakra Initiation which he requested that no Dorje Shugden followers attended. His tone seemed edited for the Western audience. Following this meeting,on August 23rd 2011 the Abbot of the Namgyal Monastery (the Dalai Lama's private monastery) in Dharamsala who travelled with him to the USA called an emergency meeting with the Lithang Organization of NY. As a result of this meeting anyone who is caught associating with a Shugden follower is automatically expelled from the organization and subject to persecution. This is religious persecution right here in New York City,  USA right now in 2011!

Also, this year in January the Dalai Lama speaking at a Tibetan Monastery in South India angrily said that  "Dorje Shudgen harms the Tibetan Government of Tibet" and proceeded to expel several High Lamas including  the ex Abbot of Jumay Monastery  who wrote to the Dalai Lama and the prime minister Samdong saying it was illegal as well as morally wrong to segregate and engage in religious persecution, even though he himself is not a practitioner of Shugden.  Because of this repudiation of the segregation and ostracization of the Tibetan people, he was immediately expelled.
On March 10th the Dalai Lama dissolved the "Tibetan Government in Exile" creating the Tibetan Organization of which he is still the head. While the rest of the world believes that he is resigning from political power, he is still in fact making decisions and ruling behind the face of the the Tibetan Organization
Some earlier examples of ostracism and persecution
Another example of an unfortunate development occurred when the Chushi Gangdurk Organisation, New York USA (which is a political association) met with the Dalai Lama on May 2010 and informed him that they had removed the members who believed in Dorje Shugden and vowed to disassociate and remove any Shugden believers in the future for His Holiness' happiness.

On 26th February 2010, the Central Chushi Gangdurk Organisation's headquarters in New Delhi gave a letter to the Dalai Lama which stated that they hadn’t associated with the Shugden believers since 1996, and vowed to continue disassociating from the Shugden people in the future too. 

On February 20, 2010, 68 of the 100 invited guests as well as performers left the wedding party in New York City because a few Dorje Shugden devotees were invited. Those who left apologized and explained that they did not want to break the oath that they had taken to segregate from the followers of Dorje Shugden.
In July 29 2009, the Tibetan section of Radio Free Asia, with the intention to turn the general Tibetan people against the Shugden devotees, demonized 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, Tibet. In reality, Woeser Rinpoche's father and the boy were victims of flood and Tenzing Thakpa was seen alive and well, traveling in Lhasa and India. 
In 2008, the oath and signature campaign of breaking off religious and material relationship with Shugden devotees was introduced in the monasteries and Tibetan settlements.
Another example was the shutting down of Tibetan Association of Western Massachusetts, in US on October of 2008 because it had some Shugden believers as its members.
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." 
On 2006, the burning of thousands of autobiographies written by Lamdrim Rinpoche (from Deipung Monastery, Tibet). 

On April 5, 1996, after the Dalai Lama's teaching, Gaden Choeling nunnery in Dharamsala dragged the Shugden statue out, trod on it, and flung into a garbage pit. Throughout India and Nepal, tens of thousands of Dorjee Shugden statues, literature and scriptures were desecrated.
Threatening the lives of people who believed in Shugden and ostracizing them from the Tibetan community throughout the world.
An attack on Gaden Shartse monastery in South India by over three thousand Tibetans settlers resulted in 40 people wounded and properties damaged.
In Clement town, there was also an attempt of arson on a Shugden devotee's family house.
These are just a few cases from countless incidents of atrocities involving violence and discrimination towards Shugden followers. Some Westerners are beginning to understand the issues and the plight of the Tibetans people and editorials such as this one "Darkness behind the guru-bubble" by Mike Carlton for the Sydney Morning Herald are popping up here and there in international media. Still, these articles and the truth are few and far between.

"Silliness is one thing. Nastiness is another. The so-called apostle of kindness has been ruthless in crushing a rival Tibetan Buddhist sect known as Dorje Shugden, expelling its monks from monasteries and ostracising or exiling its adherents."

Our demands
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 2, 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 repeatedly blatantly ignored, and in addition to the plight:
  • The Tibetan government in exile continues to ostracize and segregate the Shugden practitioners from the rest of the Tibetan society.
  • Hundreds of monks who worshipped Dorje Shugden were ostracized 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 practiced Dorje Shugden were ostracized in the schools' system.
Until the Dalai Lama stops religious segregation and and admits his horrific mistakes, we will continue to fight for the 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. 
If you would like to help raise awareness in order to bring all this to an end, please share this free eBook, A Great Deception, with your friends and family.