An Exclusive Interview with Geshe Sopa

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An Exclusive Interview with Geshe Sopa Part 2

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Venerable Geshe Lobsang Sopa is an incredible monk with a reputation of being sincere, fiercely devoted to his Gurus and extremely principled. All who come into contact with him describe Geshe-la as being direct, even brutally honest, but tremendously kind. And it is this kindness and loyalty to the Gelugpa lineage that drives Geshe Sopa to get involved in the efforts to end the Dorje Shugden conflict.

Geshe Sopa is no stranger to the persecution that so many Shugden practitioners have suffered. He has not been able to see his family for over 18 years since the onset of the Shugden ban, one that caused many other families to separate due to the split loyalties that were forced onto the entire Tibetan community; and has suffered discrimination and threats of violence for his efforts to create awareness of the suffering that Shugden practitioners have to endure. Recently, Geshe Sopa’s name and likeness were even listed in a hit list of Dorje Shugden practitioners published by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

Today, Geshe Sopa is a Resident Teacher of Trijang Buddhist Institute (TBI) where he has been based since 2004, the advisor to the North America Gelug Buddhist Association (NAGBA) and an outspoken advocate of Tibetan Public Talk (TPT), a NAGBA initative. Geshe Sopa was also one of the monks who tirelessly rebuilt Ganden Shartse Monastery in South India after the Tibetan exodus of 1959.

It is when you hear Geshe Sopa speak about Ganden Shartse Monastery that you again see the ugliness and damage the Dorje Shugden ban has caused. Till this day, Geshe-la expresses his wish to return to Ganden Shartse – the home which he built, grew up in and where he received his education – and to be reunited with his Dharma brothers and friends. He hopes to see the reunification of Ganden Shartse and Shar Ganden monasteries before the end of his life.

Very rarely can one find a monk who is so humble and yet has quietly accomplished such virtuous works from building monasteries to serving the highest of lamas. Thus, it was a great privilege for to speak with Geshe-la to get his views about the Dorje Shugden conflict.

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  1. No one has the right to judge that Dorje Shugden is a devil; no one has the right to judge until they themselves are enlightened and become a Buddha – wise words of Geshe Sopa.
    He also noted correctly that in this century of technology one must be careful of what they say and do because those actions and speeches can be recorded . It would seem silly to threaten people and later deny as evidence are available. All eyes are on the DS practitioners as well as those anti DS. Your speeches and actions says a lot of who you are and what sort of practitioner you are and hence, one can logically conclude if the practice of Dorje Shugden is good or evil. It is all reflected in our body speech and mind !!

  2. Very strong guru devotion, follow the guru instruction fully is a good example for practitioner to follow, anyway Geshe Sopa is correct no one can judge DS is devil or Buddha all people have religion freedom.

  3. follow these fake Geshis,that’s your karma to get as close as a fake Buddha!thats what I think dear!

  4. Thank you Geshe Sopa for your devotion to your Guru Trijang RInpoche and Dorje Shudgen. I truly concur that eventually that all Gelug monasteries should be reunited again and the Dalai Lama can make that happen. Dorje Shudgen practitioners split not because of choice, but because they had none so that they can preserve Dorje Shudgen practice for the future generation. Though Dorje Shugden came into existence 400 years ago but how much benefits has the Dorje Shudgen practice helped people, countless in this kaliyuga time.

  5. Personally I have known Geshe Sopa for 5 years. He is one very well-respected Geshe for his strong guru devotion, straight forwardness, hardworking and integrity. I like how Geshe-la said we have to fight for our lineage, not only for Dorje Shugden, as Dorje Shugden is just a small part of our lineage, however our Tsongkhapa lineage should not be destroyed just because of this unjust DS ban.

    We have heard thousands of stories about how people was damaged by this ban and the damage is still on-going. We need more people like Geshe Sopa to speak up and support his action via tangible results. Geshe-la is not young anymore yet he is very active in protecting our lineage as we can see he is no stranger to all protest. Geshe is a the modern hero of Tibetan Buddhism. He speaks his mind and have no fear. He is one role model for us to follow.

    Geshe-la, please live long and continue to serve the Dharma with your virtuous actions that represent Buddhist well.

  6. A thoroughly amazing man who is so devoted to his Guru. As he put it, loosing everything, even his family, he can accept because it is the Guru that we follow lifetime after lifetime. This certainly put into perspective what we should hold important in our lives, to let go of the temporary for the permanent.

    Even with the sufferings that he had to go through, he is and had been pro-active in activities to lifting the Shudgen ban. He understood that it is our very lineage that is being attacked, especially when lineage Gurus like HH Pabongka Rinpoche, HH Trijang Rinpoche, HH Zong Rinpoche, HE Tsem Rinpoche and many Shugden Lamas are being accused as “wrong”. Their attainments and recognition being questioned. If they were wrong then effectively the teachings that we received today are wrong too! The lineage stops at HH Pabongka Rinpoche.

    I do agree with him that we are lucky to have sites like to disseminate correct information to the people of Dorje Shugden, the ban and keep us up-to-date on the current situation.

    As he was speaking of his wishes, he sounded so poignant and would so like to return to his home, Ganden Shartse which he had built and to meet with his dharma brothers again (many of whom had passed away already). He had fought so long for the preservation of our lineage and Lama Tsongkapa’s teachings and I pray that his simple wish will be fulfilled quickly.

    CTA should really wake up to the destruction caused by the ban on Dorje Shugden and how heavy the burden of karma that had been created. Many of us are not enlightened and most actions we take creates karma, be it pro or anti- Shugden.

  7. Yonten accuses Geshe Sopa of being a fake Geshe, yet remains anonymous online. The irony is that when you accuse someone of being ‘fake’ when you don’t know them at all, it only reflects badly on you and not on the person you’re accusing. What kind of practitioner takes to the Internet to accuse people of anything? Best stay quiet in your room, focus on your practice, engage in retreats and study the Dharma.

    Monks like Geshe Sopa stick their necks out for the truth, and continue to do so even though they’ve lost everything. They are the real heroes of this fight.

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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