Dear friends of the Dharma,
We are most happy to share with you a most interesting story about two great beings: Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the female oracle, known respectfully as Khadro-la.
Oracles are special people who are trained to take trance of higher beings or enlightened Dharma Protectors. They hold an especially esteemed role within the Tibetan Buddhist lineage, providing a direct, physical link between us and these attained beings. Many of the highest Lamas, including the Dalai Lama, enjoy very close relationships with these oracles and often consult these attained beings through them.
The greatly respected Lama Zopa Rinpoche is particularly close to Khadro-la, the female oracle of the worldly Goddess Tenma and is often seen performing rituals and in Dharma activity together. (see the links below for further information about Lama Zopa and Khadro-la).
During Lama Zopa’s illness, it was known that this oracle Khadro-la was helping Lama Zopa to heal. There are mentions about her help and Lama Zopa’s health on FMPT’s official website, written by Lama Zopa’s main attendant, Ven. Roger:
There are also videos of Khadro-la helping Lama Zopa in his recovery:
While this is wonderful and of course very kind of Khadro-la, this raised several questions within the Buddhist community, which have been discussed on online forums. This is why:
It was well known that Lama Zopa, and his Guru Lama Yeshe (the founder of FPMT) were greatly devoted to the enlightened Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden and propitiated his practice strongly among their students. Then, in the late 1990s, H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama declared that no one should practice this Protector Dorje Shugden any longer, suddenly claiming that he was a spirit (although he has been clearly recognized as an enlightened protector for hundreds of years). This sacred 350-year-old practice followed by thousands of the holiest lamas and practitioners was suddenly banned.
FPMT were one of the organizations who, under Lama Zopa’s guidance, followed the ban and gave up the practice. A highly attained incarnated Lama like Zopa Rinpoche will have his many good reasons for this but he has always remained respectful towards this issue and not created further problems for people who chose to continue the practice of Dorje Shugden. However, it has become known that students of his organization, FPMT, have acted in quite unkindly ways towards other Dorje Shugden devotees – ostracizing them, talking badly about them or the practice, spreading rumors to undermine these practitioners’ support and sponsorship.
We believe that whatever reasons Lama Zopa may have for not continuing the practice of Shugden, he would not advise his students to act in such schismatic and unkind ways. By acting like this, his students break samaya (spiritual bond and loyalty) not only to their teacher Lama Zopa, but also to Lama Yeshe, the lineage Gurus and the Protector Dorje Shugden himself.
Now, during Lama Zopa’s illness, we hear that it is an oracle of an unenlightened goddess who is being called to help him heal. Surely, an enlightened being like Lama Zopa does not need an unenlightened being to do healing for him? That is saying that unenlightened beings are more powerful than attained ones, which is not logical. Lama Zopa is a recognised Tulku (reincarnated high Lama), with full control of his deaths and rebirths. If he is able to control this, why would he not be able to control his own illness and healing? Why would he need such an oracle to help him heal?
By requesting dakini oracles to heal Lama Zopa, his students and organization FPMT are directly putting down Lama Zopa and his enlightened attainments. Why would such an accomplished Lama ask a worldly deity to heal him or seek advice from a worldly deity? Why would he entertain and spend so much time with this worldly deity’s female oracle? Why is Lama Zopa doing this when their organization used to rely on such a powerful enlightened protector before? Why not just rely on an enlightened Buddha, such as Shakyamuni or Tsongkhapa whose attainments are without question?
It seems that by entertaining this worldly deity oracle, Lama Zopa is sending a message that times have become so degenerate among his organization and students, that he now has to “rely” on a worldly being to cure him. Because of broken samaya among the students and in the FPMT organization, Lama Zopa is not able to manifest his full abilities and powers. He has had to “lower” himself to a level that seems fallible and unable to heal himself. He is being healed now, not even by an enlightened Protector, but by a worldly, unenlightened being.
Attached is an extract from the forum of DorjeShugden.com, where many Buddhists practitioners debate various subjects related to Dharma and especially to this Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. These particular posts here relate to this topic of Lama Zopa’s illness and his reliance on Khadro-la. Please read the comments and what fellow Buddhists around the world have to say about this – it provides a very interesting perspective to the situation, to Lama Zopa’s health condition and to this delicate aspect of samaya from his students.
We urge you all to think about the serious implications that this has and what large questions it raises about the importance of keeping pure samaya with our teachers, their instructions to us and the lineage practices. Lama Zopa is no ordinary being. The manifestation of his illness and this subsequent move to rely on an unenlightened deity is evidence that something is very wrong among his students. It is very important they repair their samaya quickly – that would be the best balm to cure their beloved teacher.
With great concern,
Some Selected Posts on the Forum Topic “Dakini Healing Lama Zopa”
This topic was started by “thaimonk”
FPMT has contacted this Tibetan woman and oracle to help Lama Zopa heal. Suddenly FPMT have such tremendous faith in her. FPMT says that she is not taking trance of a dakini but SHE IS A LIVING DAKINI.
She originally came from Tibet and during a public teaching with Dalai Lama in Dharamsala starting to take trance. Dalai Lama accepted she takes trance of a Goddess (Tema).
Years ago, Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa relied fully on Shugden and Shugden oracle to help them. Lama Yeshe relied on the Shugden oracle till the end of his days. Does it seem inappropriate they are relying on a Dakini now instead of Shugden? Either way, FPMT is really on a oracle. Shouldn’t Lama Zopa being a high lama be more ‘powerful’ than the dakini from Dharamsala?
I am not sure of this. I don’t have any negative thoughts or such. I was just wondering. What do you all think?
Responses and further comments
Posted by: “DharmaDefender”
I think Lama Zopa’s students would do well to remember their own guru’s teachings on how to extend the life of their lama. Like what dsiluvu said, how comes they can ask a spirit for help but cannot rely on Dorje Shugden? How can they entrust their lama’s long life to a spirit, but apparently practicing Dorje Shugden will shorten his life?
No offence and I’m sure they all mean well (and I sincerely mean that), but relying on an unenlightened being, after breaking their protector practice, kind of smacks of desperation and hypocrisy.
Posted by: “thor”
I think FPMT would be better off directing their efforts towards requesting Lama Zopa to extend his life and heal himself. Long life prayers, rituals and individual transformation and purification of wrong actions would be more effective than medical treatment or mystical help from the oracle.
If the lama can manifest sickness, then of course the lama will be able to make the sickness heal. And there is no reason for the lama to become ill, or to shorten his life, unless it is a method towards something much greater.
My own lama has often told me that no matter how many prayers the students do, how many requests they make, how much medicine and treatment they offer to their lama, none of that will have effect if the lama does not wish to heal. So FPMT should direct their attention towards analysing what it is they should do to please the mind of their lama that he will extend his life.
Posted by: “honeydakini”
I don’t think there is any harm in consulting enlightened beings, oracles, dharma protectors for help or advice, though we should really only consult them if they’re enlightened. I don’t really understand the point in consulting someone who is unenlightened since you open the doors for so many other potentially harmful beings to come in and disturb you.
As to this case of Lama Zopa’s illness, i don’t think anything would work better than for the students to check in on themselves – what commitments they have broken, or what actions they have done that would be against what their teachers have advised or taught them. Perhaps it is not something that they have directly disobeyed, it could even be something that isn’t as obvious like creating schism among Dharma practitioners, or creating doubt in other people’s minds about their practices and their teachers.
I personally think it’s quite silly to consult a dakini when your own enlightened teacher is right there. If you consult a dakini (whether she’s enlightened or not), that is to say that your teacher doesn’t have any control over his own body! I’m sure an enlightened teacher like Lama Zopa would have full control over his health and illnesses. (he has full control over his rebirths, as a tulku, but no control over illness? it doesn’t make sense).
So If our lama has control, that means that he has already taught us the means to heal him – which i’m sure would be, like all teachers advise us, to follow his instructions to us and practice and improve our minds. That would be so much more powerful than a dakini’s advice – because whatever the dakini could “prescribe” , I’m sure it isn’t something that Lama Zopa is beyond doing for himself.
Posted by: “Big Uncle”
Well, the very fact that FPMT is relying on a Dakini to heal their Lama shows that they are insecure about their samaya and the pujas that they can do to heal their own Lama. How much can this Dakini (enlightened or not) heal the Lama when the elders of the organisation know it is through clean samaya and sincere propitiation is the only way to purify lots of negative karma and move Lama Zopa to remain.
On top of that, they seemed to imply that the oracle lady is an enlightened dakini when she is not. Last time I checked, the goddess Tenma is a powerful but unenlightened mountain goddess of Tibet. Why rely on an unenlightened deity like Tenma? This all seemed very strange to me. I don’t think the politically correct elders would dare propitiated Dorje Shugden but in actuality, he is the only one who can help save the situation now. It is so sad.
Posted by: “Benny”
Yes, I could not agree more with Big Uncle, FPMT please mend your broken Samaya! As the saying goes “barking up the wrong tree !” Lama Zopa has full control over whether he stays or leave, there is nothing that the “mountain goddess” can do to move the lama to stay as he is here solely for the students.
What a sad sight to see such an attained Lama playing along with his students. In such crucial times, shouldn’t one propitiate to ones protector rather than a ” living dakini ” who channels an unenlightened deity (confusing ) ? They the FPMT are risking loosing their guru for the sake of looking good in the eyes of the Dalai Lama!
Further information about Lama Zopa and Khadro-la, the female oracle of Tenma.
There is a long-standing relationship between Lama Zopa and this female oracle, Khadro-la. Their closeness has even been documented in some of the most popular Buddhist magazines and resources.
Venerable Roger did an interview with Khadro-la in 2009, for Mandala Magazine (FPMT’s official magazine): http://www.mandalamagazine.org/archives/mandala-issues-for-2009/january/interview-with-a-dakini/
There are several videos of Lama Zopa and Khadro-la, engaged in pujas together:
- Lama Zopa, Phari Rinpoche and Khadro-la doing puja at Trijang Rinpoche’s stupa:
- Lama Zopa and Kharo-la doing puja, May 2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cUTLNaYqrc
- Lama Zopa, Khadro-la, Phari Rinpoche at the Maratika Caves, June 2010
Official news on the FPMT websites often feature Lama Zopa together with Khadro-la:
Some photos of Lama Zopa and Khadro-la, who travel and attend religious ceremonies together very often.