Tibetan Public Talk, comprising of a group of outspoken Dorje Shugden practitioners, has recently been filming the experiences of Dorje Shugden practitioners around the world. This is the first time Tibetans have spoken so openly and directly against their leadership’s illegal and undemocratic acts. The fact these videos are becoming more frequent is a reflection that Tibetans are growing desperate after 18 years of suppression from their leadership.
These videos come after the Tibetan leadership has refused all requests for dialogue with Dorje Shugden practitioners for the last 18 years. As the suppression and undemocratic ban shows no signs of ending, it is only natural that the feeling of dissatisfaction amongst Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners will increase. As it increases, more Tibetans will reveal themselves as Dorje Shugden practitioners to peacefully pressure their leadership to give them religious freedoms. It can only be desperation that motivates them to engage in peaceful protests. After all, what logical person would readily identify themselves as a Dorje Shugden practitioner if they knew doing so would put them in harm’s way?
This violence against them is a very real possibility because the Tibetan leadership have just proven that they are very capable of directing harm towards their citizens. They recently published a list of 20 Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners, conveniently excluding non-Tibetan practitioners. In excluding the non-Tibetans, the leadership identified their real intention – they want their supporters to harass and threaten Tibetans who refuse to give up Dorje Shugden’s practice, and they focused on Tibetans because they are more accessible and easily intimidated than their foreign Dorje Shugden counterparts (who have the protection of their democratic governments).
These Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners are very brave for speaking up at the risk of their own lives. Not only does it reflect their desperate situation but they value religious freedoms so much that they are willing to make targets of themselves, to ensure every Tibetan has the freedom to worship whoever and whatever they wish. Now it remains to be seen if and when these brave men and women will appear on their leadership’s next hit list, so that other Tibetans are provoked into acting against them.
It is obvious in the videos that Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners are just ordinary people leading ordinary lives. They are not wealthy individuals who hold high-paying, influential jobs. They are men, women, sons, daughters who just want to practice in peace. They are normal people who will be scared if they are threatened by an administration that receives millions in donations from their foreign sponsors. Yet, understanding the danger to their life, these practitioners agreed to be filmed speaking about their experiences as Tibetan devotees of Dorje Shugden. In doing so, they are ordinary people who become extraordinary because of their courage to speak up.
These practitioners’ everyday, normal appearance contradicts the Tibetan leadership’s claim that Dorje Shugden practitioners are spies or terrorists receiving money from Chinese sources. As Len Foley says in the video above, if the Tibetan leadership wishes to accuse Dorje Shugden practitioners of receiving money from Chinese sources, they should produce evidence like check stubs or bank deposit slips to back up their claims. Otherwise, their accusations are nothing more than baseless, false allegations with the clear intention of character assassination. The Tibetan leadership’s intention is to imply that Dorje Shugden practitioners are anti-Tibetan (which they are not) for receiving money from the Chinese, to provoke Tibetans into attacking them for being traitors.
And what about the thousands of Dorje Shugden practitioners in the West? For the Tibetan leadership to accuse all of them of receiving money from Chinese sources is preposterous. How would it benefit the Chinese to provide funds to religious foreigners? It will not lead to an increase in investments, tourism, education or learning for the Chinese; four million Dorje Shugden practitioners cannot do anything for the 1.351 billion Chinese people.
As more videos like these are produced, the effect on the Tibetan leadership’s supporters will be interesting to observe since they claim Dorje Shugden is a minor, fringe practice. Already we are starting to see that the leadership’s illogical accusations and illegal acts are affecting the morale of their supporters. As the Tibetan leadership grows more frantic in their efforts to suppress the truth about the ban, they will not be able to keep up with their own lies and will start to make more and more mistakes.
On behalf of the four million Dorje Shugden practitioners around the world, we at www.DorjeShugden.com sincerely pay our deepest respects to these Tibetans in the video who risk life and limb for their democratic rights to freedom of spiritual worship by speaking up. They literally put their life at risk as the CTA (Central Tibetan Administration) could perhaps incite the Tibetan public to target these people. What the free world does not understand is in Tibetan society, differences in opinion and protest against Tibetan leadership are not allowed. The CTA portray themselves as open, democratic and ready to listen to their people which is false. Like any developing or underdeveloped nation, the opinions of the public are stifled by the ruling party’s hold on power. For if the CTA’s brutal handling of dissent within their people were made public to the world, then monetary assistance as well as moral backing would be lost and this would be the CTA’s greatest fear. The people who spoke are indeed brave and adding to the collective power of the truth to remove the undemocratic ban against the 350 year old practice of Dorje Shugden.
RECENT EMBARRASSING INCIDENTS
First, we saw a press statement declaring Dorje Shugden as the official Tibetan leadership’s protector. It is embarrassing that on such a fundamental issue for them, such an error could have been made in such an important press statement. Then the Tibetan leadership remained silent on the attack on Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s Ladrang, their silence being their approval for what is happening there which is clearly illegal. Even more recently, the Tibetan leadership identified, published and in effect, officially approved violent acts against a list of 20 Dorje Shugden practitioners.
The more frequently the Tibetan leadership makes mistakes, the faster their supporters will tire of the way their leadership constantly sabotages their efforts to oppose Dorje Shugden practitioners. While the Dorje Shugden practitioners are calm and rational, the Tibetan leadership appears hysterical when they sanction violence and vulgarities to ensure the world does not hear about the lack of religious freedoms in Tibetan society. As Jamyang Khedrup asks, what is the point of investing so much effort and time into supporting a leadership that proves time and time again that it is outdated and archaic in its thinking? Is this a recipe for success, an indication that the Tibetan leadership is capable of governing its people fairly and democratically? Or is it indicative of a leadership that is operated by self-serving officials who will exploit their power every chance they get?
Notice that all of the Tibetan leadership’s actions are geared towards inciting violence against Dorje Shugden practitioners. Their accusations that Dorje Shugden practitioners are funded by the Chinese implies they are traitors, thereby encouraging violence against them; their publication of the lists encourages violence against Dorje Shugden practitioners. Their insistence that Shugden practice shortens the Dalai Lama’s life encourages violence against Dorje Shugden practitioners; their continuous and insistent talk about the ‘*Dolgyal’ issue encourages violence against Dorje Shugden practitioners.
Is this how a democratic leadership behaves, dividing their population, and encouraging violence and in-fighting? Is this how supposedly BUDDHIST leadership behaves, encouraging schism and disharmony?
We hope that videos like these will continue to inspire brave Tibetans to expose the truth about the illegal ban, the lack of religious freedoms in their society and about a leadership that bullies its people into submission. Only when the Tibetan leadership realises that everybody knows the truth about their methods of operation, and they have nowhere to hide and no logic to explain the human rights violations they commit against their own people, will they realise that it would be in everybody’s best interests to give the religious freedoms to all, as is their right.
*Dolgyal is the CTA’s derogatory term to refer to Dorje Shugden