The CTA’s Fatwa Against Dorje Shugden Worshippers

On the 20th of May 2014, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) published a post on their website, ( titled, “List of Dolgyal Protesters” (the “List”) in the manner of a “most wanted criminals” register (The article has since been removed and republished on 22 May 2014 titled “Updated: List of Dolgyal followers who protested against His Holiness the Dalai Lama in US and Europe”). On the List are names of twenty Tibetans with their photos and such scant and seemingly irrelevant information about them, that it would not mean much to most Western readers not familiar with the culture and attitudes of the Tibetan people.

However, those who are familiar with how routinely in recent history the Dalai Lama and his government have whipped up mob sentiments against people they regard as dissenters to the Dalai Lama’s absolute and indisputable wishes, this publication is nothing short of a death fatwa declared on those on the list.

The List is the latest instrument in the Dalai Lama and CTA’s campaign to wipe out worshippers of the Tibetan deity, Dorje Shugden, whose devotion to their practice is deemed to be in the way of the Dalai Lama’s political ambitions. From 1996, in what many have come to regard as the Tibetan Inquisition, the Dalai Lama and CTA have successfully gotten away with a string of ethnic cleansing activities, human rights violations, and persecutions of people based on their faith. In a move similar in fashion to the call of the Iranian Ayatollah, Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 for all Muslims to set upon the author Salman Rushdie and anyone involved in the publication of his work “The Satanic Verses”, the CTA latest publication bears the same malevolence. However in many ways, it is much more sinister and without doubt, significantly more dishonest.

Whereas the religious directive on Salman Rushie was proclaimed by a religious regime that is openly fundamentalist in character, the fatwa on the twenty Tibetans on the CTA’s list (and many more in the past) was declared by a government controlled by an individual who proffers to the world an image of a “simple Buddhist monk” and a champion of loving-kindness, tolerance and peace. That the Dalai Lama is a man of peace and his government, the CTA, an aspiring democracy fighting against an enemy-communist-regime has become tautology, this universally accepted “truth” is anything but, and as news of the ridiculous religious ban becomes more available, it has become more obvious that the Dalai Lama is not as the world presumes. In fact, not only has the Dalai Lama quietly oppressed his own people over the years, he has deceived the world as to his true character and purpose. The List itself is testament to this fact and its publication by the CTA presents an opportunity for all to see the true nature of the Dalai Lama and CTA.

The ‘wanted’ list published by the CTA. Click on the image to enlarge

Firstly, it has to be asked why there is even a need for the CTA to publish the List of protesters (and indeed, why are there so many protests against a “simple monk” to begin with?) and attempt to show them in dubious light. The right of the people to stage a peaceful protest is only a manifestation of a healthy democratic society, and arises out of the right to freedom of assembly, the right to freedom of association, and the right to freedom of speech.

Virtually all international treaties contain clear enunciation of these rights. Such agreements include the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, especially Articles 9 to 11; and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, especially Articles 18 to 22, not to mention various provisions in the Constitutions of democratic nations, of which the CTA claims to be one. And since these peaceful protests took place in liberal societies around the world, with official approvals from the relevant authorities of the various countries, what exactly is the CTA objecting to, if not the rights of the protesters to express their opinion as free people?.

Here we begin to see a more accurate picture than the one the CTA presents for public consumption – to the CTA, the Tibetans are not in fact entitled to any genuine freedoms. They have never been and hence the complete absence of reserve in the Dalai Lama enforcing a religious ban that clearly infringes on the rights of the Tibetan people and then setting about enforcing the ban by turning an unknowing community of Tibetan people into a lynch mob. The Dalai Lama has always enjoyed the dual advantage of being able to use his political power to consolidate his religious authority over the Tibetans, and then using his religious authority to enforce his political ambitions. And in the Shugden ban, he brought both to bear.

With an ongoing hate/fear campaign in place, to disagree with the Dalai Lama becomes an act of treason and/or an offence against the Buddha’s teachings. In publishing the List of protesters and portraying them as wanted criminals, the CTA shows what it truly is – a puppet government created to carry out the will of a feudal lord from an old Tibet, who still treats his people as chattel and will punish them severely if they disagree with him.

As Buddhists worldwide become aware of the Shugden Ban, more and more protests are staged in US and Europe calling for the Dalai Lama to cease the religious persecution and stop lying about his reasons for the ban

From the onset of the unconstitutional religious ban, the Dalai Lama and the CTA have declared over and over again that those who worship Dorje Shugden are traitors and enemies of the Tibetan people, responsible for the failure of the Tibetans to regain its independence from China, and seeking to harm the Dalai Lama’s life. Neither the Dalai Lama or the CTA have been able to justify their accusations against the Buddhist practice or provide sound reason as to how the continuation of a 350-year religious practice can influence the outcome of 55 years of geopolitics in which the despotic Dalai Lama is at the centre tugging at the strings. At best, this allegation shows the CTA to be deeply entrenched in archaic superstitions that they allow to cloud their judgement, and are therefore unfit to take the Tibetan nation into a future of complex international dealings with fast progressing neighbours. At worst and in reality, it shows the CTA to be callous liars.

Nevertheless, with the world completely spellbound by the Dalai Lama’s charm, the persecutions happened and in the absence of an enforcement body, the CTA relied on a strategy of inciting community hatred against Shugden worshippers and encouraging violence against them. Advertisements calling for violence to be inflicted on Shugden monks and lay worshippers are generally allowed, if not encouraged. For example, the Times of Tibet and the Sheja Magazine carried the CTA’s message to the Tibetan people which read:

Anyone who is against the Dalai Lama must be opposed without hesitation with men, money and possessions. This is to say with any means, including violence.
[A Great Deception, 2010, Chapter 6]

Therefore, having pronounced that it is the responsibility of every Tibetan to fight Shugden worshippers with violence, publishing their identity is nothing short of a religiously decreed death sentence. This is a ploy that the CTA have executed in the past with considerable success:

  1. In September 1997, the CTA circulated the identity and details of Jamphel Yeshe, a Shugden practitioner and then President of the Dorje Shugden Society in India, set up to provide shelter for those persecuted by the CTA and with nowhere to turn to. CTA-generated profiles of Jamphel Yeshe were posted on walls in Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal providing information of his whereabouts and accusing him of working for the Chinese government (the same approach taken by the CTA in this recent List). As a result, Jamphel Yeshe and his family received constant death threats and not even their children were spared.
  2. In another case, the Thupten family narrowly escaped with their lives after the CTA set the Tibetan mob upon them. Their ordeal was best described by Pema Thupten herself:

    “My husband knows much about Dorje Shugden because he is a Geshe Lharampa and earlier had studied the subject extensively. He explained the history to people who had not even heard about Dorje Shugden before and were told all kinds of misinformation. So after that people were saying he is not obeying the Dalai Lama. October last year (1996) we came to Delhi for religious observances and left our daughter and nephew in the house [in Clementown near Dehradun].

    On November 7, 1996, a group of people came and locked the house from the outside with the children inside and then threw stones at it and tried to set the house on fire. Luckily only the curtains caught fire through the open windows, the house did not burn because it is made of concrete. The children were able to stop the fire from spreading inside but men with masks had poured kerosene over the front door before they ignited it. For two hours they pelted the house with stones and shouted obscenities, including references to Dorje Shugden in Amdo dialect… When we went to talk to the police, they told us that they could not protect us and that we should leave for a while because our lives were in danger there… On June 29, 1997, our house in the Clementown settlement was attacked again. We found the door had been broken down and everything was destroyed with broken china everywhere.

    [Later, after police escorts had left]… a group of seventy to ninety Tibetans came and bombarded the house with stones again for two hours. The two policemen left for our security ran away. After some time twenty to twenty-five different policemen, some with two or three stars, came from Dehradun. A journalist took pictures. The crowd took his camera and injured his hand. Two or three women held back a policeman while the Tibetan men kept attacking the house. Leading officers finally told us to take our possessions and to leave since the crowd would kill us and they would not take any responsibility. We asked the police for a written statement saying that they could not protect us, but they refused. They only said that if we did not leave, the mob would kill us”.
    [, p33]

Although these happenings were widely reported by international media ( and stories of brutalities against Shugden practitioners came to light, the CTA did nothing to prevent further deterioration of the situation as a fair government must. Evidently it was not in the interest of the Dalai Lama’s ban for justice and fairness to intervene. In fact it continued in the same repugnant vein through to the year 2008 when the Dalai Lama’s ban intensified, and right up to this day.

In light of such precedence of violence in compliance with the Dalai Lama’s wishes, it is not difficult to see the CTA’s intentions in creating this new List, portraying the people named therein negatively and even providing the home addresses of the protesters if they have it. The latest List was created by the CTA with the intention to intimidate and harm, nothing else. With this, the world now bears witness that should any harm be brought upon any of the twenty people named on the list and their relations and associates, it is the CTA that must be held responsible for it.

For many years, the Dalai Lama and CTA got away with their persecution of Shugden believers. For its part, the world in its zeal to protect the weaker Tibetans against a rising super-power, became blinded to the virulent culture of violence continually fostered by the CTA and aimed uncompromisingly at the defenseless community of Shugden monks and lay believers, while the culprits themselves masquerade as victims of an oppressive China. Violence and oppression against Shugden people was allowed to persist.

Reports of attacks on Shugden worshipers

1. Attack on Shugden monks ordered by the CTA

Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

2. Attack on an 84-year old Shugden monk instigated by the Dalai Lama

Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

3. Violent suppression of Shugden worship

And yet, the Dalai Lama has the mendacity to claim that there is not a single record of violence as the result of his unholy act. [See the video below from 5:50 onwards]. It is chilling to see that such a blatant lie could be delivered with such conviction and this is the “simple Buddhist monk” whom the world has trusted.

Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

[At 5.50, the Dalai Lama denies any violence against Shugden practitioners]

The CTA’s latest hit list reveals more than their culpability in human rights abuse and persistence in inciting criminal violence against Shugden worshipers. It also reveals how sly the CTA has been in trying to frame a people’s fight to exercise their freedom as a Chinese-sponsored plot to stumble the Tibetan cause. In truth, there is not even an ounce of political agenda behind the Shugden protests in US and Europe, as the following interviews by Radio Free Asia show:

Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

Athar Tsering and Napo Gyatso, two of those named on the CTA’s List are clear in their purpose of participating in the protest, that is, to peacefully seek the Dalai Lama’s abolition of an illegal ban that has had consequences reaching far beyond the Tibetan exile community, and now affects Buddhists worldwide. But it matters not what the real reasons of the protests are. As far as the CTA is concerned, any opposition to the Dalai Lama no matter how essential and justified, is regarded as the act of traitors and hence the CTA insinuates in the List that both Athar Tsering and Napo Gyatso amongst others, are aligned to Chinese political objectives.

Death threats against Athar Tsering who has been labelled a Chinese agent by the CTA

Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

It is interesting to note that the US and European protests against the Dalai Lama’s ban were well attended by Western Buddhists who formed the majority of the protesting assembly. Will the CTA also have us believe that American and European Buddhists who joined in opposing the Dalai Lama’s human rights abuse, are also agents of the Chinese government?

Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

Finally it has also become evident that the Shugden controversy is no longer a minor domestic Tibetan dispute. By the CTA’s vicious ambition to completely annihilate the practice they disseminated the hate campaign to Tibetan communities all over the world and in so doing exported the conflict and threw Tibetan Buddhism into confusion and disrepute worldwide. This latest hit list issued by the CTA itself is a call for Tibetans living overseas to take action against the Shugden protesters who themselves are now residents outside the Tibetan settlements.

Ultimately it is Tibetan Buddhism that suffers the most. Whether as a spiritual leader of the Buddhist religion or statesman of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama needs to acknowledge that the conflict he created has spiraled into a tempest beyond his control and has, for some time now, been eating away at the credibility of the Tibetan Buddhist religion as well as the unity of an already disenfranchised Tibetan people. The winner is of course China, which essentially makes the Dalai Lama and the CTA supreme agents of the Chinese political agenda.



Read more about the CTA’s hit list on Shugden practitioners

  1. Tibetan leadership publishes hit list
  2. Tibetan leadership makes a huge mistake



Update – 1st June 2014

The CTA’s hit list grows, adding 14 more Dorje Shugden practitioners to their original 20-person target list. The question is, is this the end or will the CTA continue to add more names to their list, until the world can no longer ignore the obvious lack of religious freedoms, and intentional targeting and discrimination of Shugden practitioners?

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5 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Please help to spread this info everywhere on internet, we have to protect these innocent Dorje Shugden practitioners

  2. The whole world is watching you CTA! Don’t make a bad move.

  3. I have read quite a few articles where I learnt about how Dorje Shugden practitioners are subject to physical, emotional and psychological trauma simply because they wish to exercise their rights to freedom of religion. However, having it listed all together here is mind blowing how much these dedicated practitioner had to ensure and suffer.

    What is more baffling is, putting the Dorje Shugden issue aside, what these practitioners are doing is practice Guru Devotion, which I understand to be the foundation to Vajrayana Buddhism. Afterall, we were taught to view the Guru to be most precious because it is the Guru who connect us to the pure teachings of Lord Buddha.

    It is the renowned Dharma masters like Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche who have upheld and passed on the practice of Dorje Shugden to us, and now….they have taken good rebirth to return to us to continue turning the Wheel of Dharma. So, it is clear that these great masters could not be teaching impure practices because they were great back then and they have taken rebirth to continue their Dharma work.

    I sincerely hope that this barbarianism would end with the lifting of a ban.

  4. It is interesting that you compare the ban of Dorje Shugden practice by the Dalai Lama to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomenei who issued a fatwa urging all ‘zealous Muslims’ to execute the author Salman Rushdie after the publication of his book Satanic Verses in 1989.

    There are so many similarities. Firstly, both leaders are dictators. Secondly, Satanic Verses was a fiction, it all happens in the dream of somebody who is losing their mind. In the case of the ban, the practice of Dorje Shugden has a lineage going back to the time of the 5th Dalai Lama. So why persecute the innocent on a fiction or something that has a lineage?? Thirdly, the Iranian dictator called on all zealous Muslims to execute the author and publishers whereas the Tibetan dictator not only wants to persecute the Lamas but any Tibetan who practices Dorje Shugden. Buddhism is supposed to embody peace, harmony and forgiveness but is now not any different than Islamic fundamentalists .

    Well at least in 1998, with the new Iranian regime, they probably came to their senses, realised that their foreign relations and commercial contacts have been paralysed by this taboo imposed by their late dictator hence Iran’s Foreign Minister said his government did not intend to track down the writer and carry out the death sentence issued by the late Ayatollah Khomeini. The Minister even proclaimed, after a meeting in New York with his British counterpart, Robin Cook, that the Iranian government dissociated itself from the $2.5m bounty placed on Mr Rushdie’s head by a radical religious foundation in Iran.

    As for the Dalai Lama and CTA, will they ever realise that their foreign contacts who support their cause for peace, non violence and freedom is now realising that it is all a guise? The sooner they lift the ban, the better it is for them before they loose all respect, foreign funding and worse of all a bad name for Buddhism.

  5. If you had to look for a synonym for the word contradiction then CTA would not be wrong altogether.

    The CTA on hand they claims there is no ban and discrimanation against Dorje Shugden Practioneer but at same time publishes a list with names and pictures of People who have allegedly demonstrated against the Dailai Lama.

    The CTA claims to be democratic but at same time tramples on the right to freedom of opinion.

    The CTA claims wants to resolve the Tibetan issue through dialogue with China but is not ready for dialogue with Dorjey Shugden Practioneer.

    The list of contradictions could go on for pages… but will stop here…

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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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