A Public Appeal to H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama to Stop the 20-year-long Persecution of Shugden Buddhists
As the ban on the Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden approaches its 20th year, there is no sign of the religious persecution, faith-based discrimination and suffering endured by Shugden Buddhists abating.
As one of the major controversies surrounding Tibetan Buddhism, it is no surprise that the ban on Dorje Shugden’s practice has received much media attention, especially in the West. From Al Jazeera to France 24, from SwissTV to the Guardian and Fox News, the Dorje Shugden ban implemented and enforced by the 14th Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government has been researched, discussed and dissected.
Yet, despite extensive evidence of Human Rights Abuses, Violations of Religious Freedom and various accounts of Shugden Buddhists suffering from persecution, discrimination and violence, there is still no sign of the issue being resolved by those who can make a difference.
On the 20-year anniversary of the Dorje Shugden ban, we at DorjeShugden.com wish to bring to light once again the history of this unethical ban, the sufferings it has caused and what all Shugden Buddhists around the world are tirelessly petitioning for. This is also a reminder that the fight to lift the Shugden ban is far from over, and that we should once again rekindle our resolve to see the end of such faith-based discrimination that has no place in the 21st Century.
1. A Religious Ban Begins
In March 1996, the 14th Dalai Lama banned the 400-year-old religious practice of Dorje Shugden, a Buddhist Deity whose worship was widespread in Tibet. As a result, over 4 million Shugden Buddhists worldwide have experienced tremendous suffering.
…yesterday we decreed that it will not be right for worshippers of Gyalchen [Dorje Shugden] to be among our audience … If there are any people unknown to me who have crept into this audience who are nevertheless worshippers of Shugden, it is better for you not to stay among us. – H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, 21st March 1996
2. Living Without Religious Freedom
If you private monks and spiritual masters in the monastic colleges continue making excuses and continue worshipping thus, you shall have a day of regret… it will not be good if we have to knock on your doors. – H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, 21st March 1996
From 1996 to the present time, the Tibetan Government in Exile has launched insidious campaigns of psychological abuse and physical threats to systematically purge Shugden Buddhists from the Tibetan refugee community in India. These misleading campaigns have turned the sentiments of the general public against Shugden Buddhists, causing great suffering and hardship.
- From April 1996 onwards, signature campaigns are organized in monasteries and Tibetan refugee settlements, forcing Tibetans to take an oath against the practice of Dorje Shugden, all under the supervision of the Dalai Lama’s Private Office.
- Around the same time, monastery abbots are forced to expel Shugden-practicing monks, at the behest of the Dalai Lama’s Private Office. Shugden Buddhists are banned from attending religious mass.
- In May 1996, the Shugden Society of Delhi receives a letter from the then Tibetan Prime Minister Kalon Sonam Topgyal, who rejects the rights to religious freedom of Shugden Buddhists:
…concepts like democracy and freedom of religion are empty when it concerns the well-being of H.H. the Dalai Lama and the common cause of Tibet.– Kalon Sonam Topgyal
- In June 1996, an 8-point Resolution is passed by the Tibetan parliament to implement and enforce the ban on Dorje Shugden. Tibetan government employees are forced to resign if they refuse to comply.
In case there is anyone who doesn’t abide by the addresses of His Holiness to give up Shugden worship, then, since there is nothing more important that the well-being of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan cause, such persons should submit their resignation. There is no other alternative for such person.– Tibetan Department of Health
- The Tibetan Youth Congress conducts house-to-house searches and forces entry to private property to confiscate and destroy statues, paintings and holy objects of Dorje Shugden.
- Shugden Buddhists who refuse to give up their rights to religious freedom are subjected to physical violence, slander, intimidation, vandalism of personal property, public shaming, witch hunts, deprivation of medical treatment, education and supplies, and various other methods of persecution to coerce them into complying with the religious ban.
- Those who are brave enough to speak up against the Dorje Shugden ban are falsely accused of being Chinese spies. Posters with their pictures and personal details are placed around the Tibetan settlements in India.
- In March 2014, all Shugden Buddhists are recognized as ‘Criminals in History’ through the Tibetan Government in Exile’s parliamentary resolution.
- Groups of Shugden Buddhists submit open letters and appeals for dialogue with the Dalai Lama on numerous occasions, but no action is taken.
More evidence of the Dorje Shugden ban and the 20-year-long religious persecution of Shugden Buddhists by the Tibetan Government can be found at http://www.dorjeshugden.com/press/proof-of-discrimination/
3. Religious Persecution Must End Here
…no government has the right to tell people how to worship and certainly not the right to discriminate against them or persecute them for the way they choose to express their faith… – Senator Joseph Lieberman, 1998
Like any breach of human rights in history, a movement must be initiated to bring about positive change. We are campaigning for an end to the discrimination against the people of our faith – a discrimination that has been created through the actions of the 14th Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government.
We are requesting the Dalai Lama to make the following public and written announcements:
- That both individuals and communities should immediately cease all discrimination against Dorje Shugden and Shugden Buddhists;
- That they should maintain harmonious relationships with Shugden Buddhists and never attempt to harm them either directly or indirectly;
- That the Tibetan leadership should engage in live televised dialogue with Shugden Buddhist leaders to peacefully resolve this present problem.
4. Help Make A Difference
We respectfully request you to use your influence to help millions of Shugden Buddhists who are presently suffering religious persecution and discrimination perpetrated by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan leadership.
You can help by:
- Organizing or participating in peaceful demonstrations. Educate the public with this simple factsheet and video.
- Writing letters to your local council or representative requesting them to take strong action against the persecution of Shugden Buddhists in your community.
- Signing a petition requesting for dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives to resolve this issue peacefully: http://chn.ge/1Ukv3iY
- Creating awareness of the on-going persecution of Shugden Buddhists by sharing this simple graphic on social media.
Over 4 million people around the world are suffering.
Help us end this in 2016.