Thursday, August 28, 2008

Segregation and ostracism of Dorje Shugden practitioners in India and the West

Update from the Dorje Shugden Devotees Society in India:

Sera-Jay monastery is situated in the Tibetan settlement at Bylakupee, five hours by bus from Banglore City, Karnataka State, India . Until this year, it was a monastery that was used by Shugden and non-Shugden practitioners alike. Since the introduction of the ban on Shugden practice made by the Dalai Lama, such harmony has been destroyed and great division and discrimination now exists in the monastery. The posters in these three pictures announce:

"Shugden followers are not allowed."

Picture 1: Sidharta Guest House, which is run by Sera-Jay School.

Picture 2: Visual Section run by Sera-Jay monastery.

Picture 3: Guest House of Sera-Jay monastery.

The posters have been here for the past few months. Taking photographic evidence was not possible before now because of the vigilance in these places.

These three posters show clearly the naked and open discrimination and abuses against Shugden practitioners. It is time for the world to know the terrible apartheid being conducted by monks against monks. We have the spiritual and social responsibility to raise this awareness and to help free these suffering monks from being outcast.


As these three posters show, we are witnessing the creation of a new class of untouchability in India. This is something prohibited by the Indian constitution.

ARTICLE 17 of The Constitution of India
"ABOLITION OF UNTOUCHABILITY - "Untouchability" is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising of "Untouchability" shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law."

(Ed: Worth noting that the monastery is only there because the Indian government gave it permission to be there, and it is still on ground belonging to the Indian government.)

Latest discrimination by the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT)

Dorje Shugden practitioners are now completely outcast from the FPMT in the West as well, even though the Founder of the FPMT, Lama Yeshe, practiced Dorje Shugden until his death, as did many of the lineage masters mentioned on their teachers page. Lama Yeshe’s senior disciples relying upon Dorje Shugden have already either had to go underground or give up their life commitment to Lama Yeshe in order to stay as a teacher or ordained person in the FPMT. Now they have to do this merely to attend teachings. This is a sickening echo to the Jim Crow “separate but equal” laws segregating blacks and whites in the American south, except that Shugden practitioners are now officially not just separate but unequal.

From the FPMT website: "Restriction: FPMT has recently issued a new policy regarding the Shugden practice in accordance with the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has expressed the wish "not to have a guru-disciple relationship with anyone who is practicing Shugden."

This is a clear policy of discrimination against other Buddhists. It is extraordinary that it has been enacted, let alone advertised on their website, in this 21st Century.

Since Lama Zopa is still the nominal head of the FPMT, this means that Tibetan politics has now irreversibly permeated the FPMT. It means that not even Lama Zopa's precious teachers, Trijang Rinpoche (or his reincarnation) or Lama Yeshe, would be allowed to attend Lama Zopa's teachings.

FPMT members have long accused the Dorje Shugden practitioners in the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) of being a sectarian cult. The irony is that the NKT is an open and tolerant organization that has never turned anyone away from a teaching due to their religious beliefs. That this religious belief is the 400-year old practice passed down through generations of fully accomplished Buddhist masters, including half the lineage Gurus of the FPMT, is beyond comprehension.

Meanwhile, it is unclear whether or not Lama Osel (the reincarnation of Lama Yeshe) would countenance this latest extraordinary development. He has kept his distance from the FPMT for the last few years. The de facto head of the FPMT is now the Dalai Lama.


Unknown said...

I am a Dharma teacher and people who come to class are Jewish, Catholic and Protestant. Being a Buddhist I cannot imagine telling people they cannot attend because of their religious beliefs.

Shame on the Dalai Lama and Shame on FPMT.


Anonymous said...

How very sad...Jim Crow like rules in a monastery (of all places!!!) and the DL's policies leading others to break their commitments to their gurus...What's next? A Tibetan Kristalnacht?

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind if I post a comment I just saw on another blog by someone called Manjushri's Sword, as I share his/her sentiments exactly:

"I used to have a lot of respect for Lama Zopa and used to read some of his teachings. I regarded him as a pure, holy being, but since it has become clear that the FPMT in general has been harming the NKT over the years by discouraging people from coming to classes, defacing publicity and contacting managers at the places where NKT classes are held and trying to persuade them not to allow them to continue, I’ve lost faith in the whole organization.

I’d be disgusted if NKT did those things to FPMT; it’s not Mahayana Buddhism. Heck, it’s not BUDDHISM!

This is the final straw from Lama Zopa, following the same political and sectarian stance as the Dalai Lama and denying Dharma to practitioners of the same protector that Lama Yeshe used to rely upon. I’m amazed that Lama Zopa doesn’t realize that the implication of his actions is that he’s saying that his own Teacher Lama Yeshe was an ignorant spirit worshiper. I wonder what Lama Yeshe would have to say about how his organization has turned out? It’s completely shameful. This degeneration has happened in one generation so what does the future hold? It doesn’t look good.

What’s also shameful is if you look at the FPMT website, the Dalai Lama’s picture is higher than that of all the great Masters such as Trijang Rinpoche, Song Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche, even though the Dalai Lama was their student.

Has the world gone mad?"