An Exclusive Interview with Kelsang Ananda

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Ven. Kelsang Ananda is a devoted and loyal student of the Dharma in Je Tsongkapa’s tradition. After studying and practicing the Dharma for some years, he was ordained in the year 2000 by one of the most renowned Gelugpa Masters of the modern era.

By the strength of his sincere practice, Ven. Kelsang Ananda developed tremendous faith in Dorje Shugden and was aghast at how the Tibetan leadership was disparaging an enlightened deity and in the process tearing the unity of Gelugpa Buddhists apart. He decided that as a Dharma practitioner and as an individual who values the rights of all people, he had to personally lend his support to the on-going initiatives to alleviate the anguish of the people as the result of a grave injustice.

Recently, had the opportunity to sit for a while with Ven. Kelsang Ananda and to hear his views about the Dorje Shugden ban and the sufferings of many as the result of this ban. Ven. Kelsang Ananda speaks passionately and yet with a calm logic, explaining why he thinks the ongoing protests against the Dalai Lama are crucial and effective and ultimately unavoidable. It is, to Ven. Kelsang Ananda, the only remaining way to appeal to the Tibetan leadership to listen.

This is an insightful interview with a sincere Dharma practitioner and a teacher of the Buddhadharma who tells us why the protests go way beyond just the interests of Western Buddhists protecting their rights – they are also an act of compassion for those who have no voice against their oppressors.

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17 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Kelsang Ananda speaks logically, calmly and in a dharma manner. I enjoyed listening to what he shared and learned a few things.

    It is indeed very heartwarming to see Kelsang Ananda sharing his views on here. This will have far and positive outreach to more people. All Dorje Shugden people must unite further. I wish and hope can interview more people, lamas, monks and practitioners of Dorje Shugden’s lineage. More people need to speak out. More people need to stand up to CTA.

  2. It’s good to see ISC and NKT and join forces to bring the ban down. Unity among all Shugdenpas will bring our goal of removing the illegal ban closer.

  3. There is so much urgency from different groups of Shugden practitioners to bring down the Ban of this practice. It is clear that Shugden people have had enough of all the discriminatory acts against them over their faith of a Buddha Manjushri Dorje Shugden.
    Those who ban the DS practice or anti this practice are creating territories. They claim to be all mighty standing behind HH the Dalai Lama. As Kelsang Ananda has stated in the video, the Shugden protesters started protesting gently chanting OM MANI PADME HUNG, seeking for compassion towards their practice. But this method was ignored and they were brushed aside and continued to be sidelined and discriminated. Hence the protests became louder accompanied by musical instruments etc …. BUT NEVER VIOLENT ! It was just to attract the attention of the appropriate parties to provide awareness and seek more support for their cause.
    It does seem very very strange for the HHDL which speaks volumes of peace and compassion, to act so differently with the Shugden practitioners.HHDL may not have been seen physically abusing any DS practitioner as per se. But why create such a deep division amongst his own people. This is something I will never understand. The only comforting words I have ever read is in the Trijang Rinpoche, Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso book “Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectors” which stated that all these division and squabbles are but just an “”illusory play”".
    I pray for this play to stop soon. Everyone needs to live in peace to focus on their practice ! May the Ban quickly come down !

  4. OM…

    May all those negative influences that harm the teaching of the victorious ones through their perverted aspirations –
    Those with form and those without form (Shugden) –
    All those who work with malicious intentions,
    Be annihilated through the truth of the Three Jewels !

  5. Om Ah Hung

    May all those who persecute others because of their religion
    through their ignorance come to understanding -

    May those who take religious freedom away from others realize
    the damage they create -

    May those who uphold the wrong view of religious discrimination find peace,
    truth and happiness -

    May the ban against the followers of the supreme World Peace Buddha Dorje Shugden gain freedom from religious persecution!

    Om Svasti!

  6. I fully agree with Kelsang Choney. All DS practitioners must unite to bring down the ban.

  7. Shugden plays very important role NOW for resuming dialogue between Dharsa and Beijing. The BAN must be lifted without precondition in the name of True Modern Tibet

  8. Thank you for sharing the interview Thank you for speaking up Kelsang Ananda and letting the world know what’s been happening.

  9. Thank you for sharing the interview with us, what Kelsang said is very true the Shugden issue not just affected the Tibethan in exile but also bother the non Tibethan basically the issue has create so many disharmony among the practitioners I think is time to put a stop on this issue I do hope the ban can lift as soon as possible everyone want peace and religion freedom.

  10. I totally agree with what Ven. Kelsang Ananda said, that the Shugden devotees are all acting out of compassion mainly in the following manner:-

    1) To give the Tibetans more confident to request the Dalai Lama for religious and personal freedom.

    2) To highlight the discrimination and sufferings and schism among Buddhist communities created with the Ban

    3) To educate the world of the powerful PR created by the pro Dalai Lama people that what they know is really not the whole truth.

    This insightful interview is the personification of a Shugden practitioner who thinks and speak with compassion, respect and goodwill in mind.

    My personal opinion is that Demon worshippers do not conduct themselves with such grace.

  11. Watching this interview made me understand better their cause and actions. Protesting in public is not an easy thing to do and can give some people the wrong perception. But there again there is very little choice as the Tibetan authorities do not help to solve the ban and its related consequences. Hence it is more important to understand the intentions of this group of people, which is purely selfless, to benefit others ! Should give them support !!

  12. Shugden followers killed three monks in Dharamsala because they oppose shugden practice.

  13. I finally got to listen to this today; I am so happy that Kelsang Ananda shared his experiences with us; he is very articulate; also it was very interesting to hear how even in the west he is receiving harassment (being followed on the subway by a Tibetan man trying to film him against his express wishes) just for being a “Shugden monk.” The harassment is real even in the west; imagine of course far worse in Tibetan community in exile.

  14. It is so good to hear Kelsang Ananda speak about the Dorje Shudgen issue. I always wondered how the people feel those who protest against the Dorje Shudgen and hear a monastic speak so well about the Dorje Shugden and why they are protesting against the Dorje Shudgen ban. And more often than not we hear about discrimination happening and greatly affecting the lives of Tibetans but less for other practitioners around the world, but Kelsang Ananda also has given a sharing that due to the Anti Dorje Shugden movement, many Buddhists on the Dalai Lama camps around the world in the West and even in many parts of Asia are discriminating against the people in those areas as well.

    Very good to hear about the Tibetans are making themselves heard, and are more assertive now when they demonstrate against the Dalai Lama. Hope there will be more protest to highlight the ban on Dorje Shudgen again soon.

  15. This interview with Ven. Kelsang Ananda helped me understand better how public protesting could potentially help in creating the cause for the Dalai Lama to lift the ban on Dorje Shugden practice. He is able to speak so clearly of his thoughtful opinions as he had taken the trouble to search, find and understand the issue of the illogical ban, its unfavorable aftermath and how much sufferings were faced by the Shugden practitioners. It is this understanding that had given him the courage to stand up for the unheard voices of Tibetan Shugden practitioners. As he pointed out, the effects of the ban had even gone beyond the Tibetans to other non-Tibetan Shugden practitioners too.

    Coming from a feudal system in Tibet, the people in exile dare not speak up for what they are actually rightfully entitled…..religious freedom. The Dalai Lama had long been viewed as the religious head of Tibet and his word would be rule to follow. Thus the gradual exposure to living in other countries and with the support of Western protesters, the Tibetan Shugden practitioners will find more courage to be more vocal and stand up for their rights.

    The anti-Shugden people are so narrow minded that they only focus on whether one is a Shugden practitioner or not. I feel that they really demean the Tibetan Buddhist religion as this beautiful religion encompasses so much more than just a protector practice. As Ven. Kelsang Ananda experienced, once they know you practice Shugden, it negate everything that you are practicing. How ignorant!

    This interview certainly will help the readers to understand better and maybe for some, to do more research of their own to understand and don’t judge Shugden practitioners just on the face of good PR that hides the ugliness behind.

    In unity may the Shugden ban be swiftly lifted!

  16. Culturally, the Tibetans dare not voice their dissent. There is the mundane fear of being wrong.

    Besides that, there is the threat of violence against those who practice Dorje Shugden and especially against those who dare to question the ban,

    But, being a Buddhist, one must be more aware and tend towards the teachings of the Buddha for peace, harmony and compassion. As the Dalai Lama is always encouraging harmony between religions, surely that harmony can be extended within Buddhism itself?

    As the article says – ” the protests go way beyond just the interests of Western Buddhists protecting their rights – they are also an act of compassion for those who have no voice against their oppressors.”

  17. Dear Dalai Lama,

    Since you started the cruel ban against the 350 year Dorje Shugden practice, how has it benefit your Tibetan society and Buddhism in the world? Things have become worse and most educated Tibetans can see this. They don’t speak out not because they don’t see your ban as wrong, but you instill fear in them and not respect. It is like fear of a dictator. I am sorry to say so. Everyone is divided. There is no harmony. Before your ban there was more harmony and unity.

    By enacting the ban, you split the monasteries, split so many families, split regions in Tibet apart, split your disciples from you, split your own gurus from you, split Tibetan Buddhism apart. You have created so much disharmony.

    It is not democratic what you have done to ban a religion within your community. You always talk of tolerance and acceptance and democracy and yet you do not accept and tolerate something different from your beliefs. When people practice Dorje Shugden you ostracize them, ban them from seeing you, ban them from using Tibetan facilities. You know you have done that. There are videos that capture your speech and prove this point. You even had people expelled from monasteries just because they practice Dorje Shugden. Some of the monks you expelled have been in the monastery for over 40 years. Many older monks shed tears because of this.

    Many young educated Tibetans lost confidence in you as they saw the damage the Dorje Shugden ban created and they lose hope. Many have become free thinkers. They reject what you have done. So many people in the west left Buddhism because of the confusion you created with this ban against Dorje Shugden which is immoral.

    You could of had millions of people who practice Dorje Shugden to support, love and follow you, but you scared them away. They are hurt and very disappointed. They loved you and respected you deeply before the ban. It has been 60 years and you have failed to get Tibet back. Your biggest failure is not getting Tibet back after 57 years in exile. Now you are begging China to allow you to return to Tibet to the disappointment of thousands of people who fought for a free Tibet believing in you. So many self-immolated for a free Tibet and now you want Tibet to be a part of China with no referendum from Tibetans. Just like a dictator, you decide on your own. It was your government and you that lost Tibet in the first place. Your policies and style of doing things do not benefit Tibet and Buddhism. You have been the sole ruler of Tibet your whole life and you still have not gotten our country of Tibet back for us. Our families and us are separated. Yet you create more pain by creating a ban to further divide people. Please have compassion.

    No other Buddhist leader has banned or condemned any religion except for you. It looks very bad. You are a Nobel laureate and this is not fitting of a laureate. You should unite people and not separate them by religious differences.

    You said Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi did not do right to the Rohingya people in Myanmar due to religious differences, but you are doing the same thing to the Shugden Buddhists within your own society. There is a parallel in this. You separate the Shugden Buddhists from the others in Tibetan society.

    You have lost so many people who would have loved and supported you. You have lost so much support around the world. The Shugden Buddhists who love you number in the millions. When you are fast losing support from governments and private people, it will not do you well to lose more.

    After you are passed away in the future, the rift you created between the Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people will remain for a while and that will be your legacy. Disharmony. You will be remembered for this. Not as a hero but a disharmony creator.

    Dorje Shugden will spread and further grow, but you will be no more as you are a human. No one wishes you bad and in fact we hope you have a long and healthy life, but we have lost so much hope and have so much despair because of you. All the hundreds of Dorje Shugden lamas, tulkus and geshes are maturing and there are hundreds of Dorje Shugden monasteries in Tibet who will not give up Dorje Shugden. You have made a mistake. These hundreds of teachers and teachers to be will spread Dorje Shugden further in the future.

    The gurus that gave us Dorje Shugden as a spiritual practice and you have called these holy gurus wrong and they are mistaken in giving us Dorje Shugden. How can you insult our gurus whom we respect so much? If they can be wrong, then you can be wrong. Then all gurus can be wrong. So no one needs to listen to any guru? You have created this trend. It is not healthy. Your own gurus practiced Dorje Shugden their whole lives. Your own gurus were exemplary and highly learned.

    Dalai Lama you have created so much pain with this ban against so many people due to religion. You are ageing fast. Are you going to do anything about it or stay stubborn, hard and un-moving. You show a smile and preach peace and harmony wherever you go. But will you do the same to your own people? Please rectify the wrong you have done. Please before it is too late. You can create harmony again or you can pass away in the future with this legacy of peace. May you live long and think carefully and admit what was a mistake in having this unethical ban against Dorje Shugden religion.

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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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