Can the Dalai Lama EVER Make a Mistake?

As you can see, the Dalai Lama’s political ban on a 350-year-old spiritual practice and attempt to discredit and outlaw the lineage of his teachers is a harsh and ongoing attempt to stamp out diversity and bring all Buddhist traditions (and hence all Tibetan Buddhists) under his authority. (It is not unlike the treatment of early Gnostic and other Christians at the hands of the authorized Church.)

These actions are not just bigoted and autocratic, they are also illegal and unconstitutional. Which begs the question, why does he think he can get away with it? And what is his motivation?

It may be easy to assume in the West, due to his reputation, that his motivation for doing this must surely be compassion even if his actual reasons are hard to understand. But is it not possible that, having being venerated since the age of four as both a god and as a political leader/feudal king, he may sometimes act like a political leader, motivated by the wish for control or power? In this instance, perhaps, power over all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism i.e. all Tibetans.

His own words in the section In the Dalai Lama’s words to the Tibetan people, exhorting them to seek out those who still worship Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden and “encourage” them to stop, have a very different tone and style to the words he uses for his Western audiences. So do his reasons for “discouraging” the practice. And his words and reasons to the Tibetans have had an incendiary effect, resulting in violence toward Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden practitioners, tension and disharmony which he has done nothing to quell – quite the opposite to his recent denunciation of the violence amongst Tibetans protesting in India and Tibet.

Is it so hard to believe that he could EVER make a mistake? Is he the first political (or spiritual) leader in history to have never made a single mistake? Indeed, he has made a number of mistakes that have been swept under the carpet, such as accepting money from the CIA (for his government in exile and $139,000 per year for himself) to sponsor an armed resistance, and accepting 2 million dollars from Shoko Asahara — see below. Why does the Western world want to believe that he is infallible and completely pure? Would it be so terrible if the Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden practitioners were correct in this instance? Or if he admitted to his mistake?

Those who dare speak up about their wish to continue with their practice of Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden freely and without harassment, both in the East and the West, sometimes feel like David pitted against Goliath due to the formidable reputation of the person who is leading the charge against them. But in truth we have the Declaration of Human Rights, the Indian Constitution, the Tibetan constitution, and Buddhist principles on our side.

(Source :

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  1. As I understand it , its very difficult for us to comprehend the minds and enlightened activities of holy beings and incarnates like authentic Rinpoches and HHDL.

    When our minds are not pure, we cannot see any pure actions in anyone. Our own powers of reasoning are limited. Bodhisattvas can appear to make mistakes in order to show us how they deal with such a situation. It can be a teaching on humility or how to take criticisms. When Sakyamuni passed away, it’s said that the Buddha showed us how to die with grace and peace.

    In Samsara, we are stuck in relativity. What is a mistake for someone may be a teaching for another depending how you want to see it. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

    Buddha had advised not to dwell on things which are not beneficial towards our spiritual progress. We should adopt what is good for us and abandon what is not. All teachers and saints appear to have both good and bad sides due to our deluded minds. We can’t pretend to not see their faults at our level, but we need not let our perceptions destroy our faith, practice or learning.

  2. Most Western practitioners of Buddhism who have been brought up with a strong belief in basic human rights find it hard to understand the Dalai Lama’s actions, thus viewing H.H. as feudal, autocratic and politically motivated. There are others, Western and non-Western, who, having reflected more deeply on the subject (and who have probably overcome their delusions to a certain extent)regard the Dalai Lama as displaying an enlightened activity. We tend to act and react to others according to our karma and project our ordinary faults upon the holy beings. In “Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectors”, Trijang Rinpoche said that “to the common view of beings, it is difficult to fully understand the appearances of holy great Aryas and their inconceivable three secrets at the definitive level.” Enlightened beings, out of compassion and with skillful means, may appear to “make mistakes” in order to get sentient beings started on the path. They always act according to the needs of the world. Therefore, we should regard what we see as “displays appearing to the common view of trainees.” (Trijang Rinpoche, in “Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectors”)

  3. I agree with Sarah that as, Trijang Rinpoche has said in his ‘Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectors’, we, with our ordinary view of beings and phenomena, cannot truly understand the actions of Enlightened Holy Beings. We see what appears to be their ‘faults’ and the ‘mistakes’ they make and conclude that they are fallible like all of us. Because of our contaminated view, we don’t see that they are manifesting ‘crazy wisdom’ and skillful means out of great compassion.

    Furthermore, ordinary beings involved in this current conflict are caught in the ‘playing out of karma and interdependent arising’.

  4. I believe this thought has been entertained by most, if not all, practitioners who are aware of the ban imposed by HHDL. I believe a great part of spirituality is faith, in this case we should have faith in HHDL all the way. He is a holy enlightened being and he must have reasons for doing so.

    Whatever sufferings we are going through now has to be the results of our rippened negative karma, so we might as well accept this and keep our practise pure and do our best to benefit others as a true Buddhist should be.

    I am very certain we will see the ‘light’ at the end of the tunnel and reasons for the ban will be unvailed.

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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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