Dalai Lama and Ling Rinpoche: A Contradiction

His Holiness the Dalai Lama (right) and his tutor His Holiness Kyabje Ling Rinpoche (left)

The Dalai Lama visited Gaden Shartse Monastery this year (2013) and gave a set of teachings. With the talks he mentioned:

His Holiness (the previous) Ling Rinpoche doesn’t propitiate Dorje Shugden at all. Even though he doesn’t propitiate Dorje Shugden, he is the heart spiritual son of HH Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche. Ling Rinpoche himself really holds Pabongkha Rinpoche very highly. Ling Rinpoche has NO connections to Dorje Shugden at all, whatsoever.

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We found this statement to be without basis and false. Please examine the facts.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama mentioned that the previous Kyabje Ling Rinpoche “had no connection with Dorje Shugden at all whatsoever, and did not pray to Dorje Shugden”. This is downright incorrect. If one “had no connection at all with Dorje Shugden”, would he write prayers to Dorje Shugden? And not only is it not a casual writing of Dorje Shugden, but it is actually a serious Confessional Prayer and a prayer to request activities and serkym for Dorje Shugden, along with other recognized and “bona fide” protectors in the pantheon of Tibetan Buddhism like Mahakala, Palden Lhamo, Kalarupa and Vaishravana. (See the prayer that was composed by Ling Rinpoche at the end of this article.)

Why would Ling Rinpoche include a harmful spirit like Dorje Shugden with the “good” and enlightened protectors in the same prayer? It is obvious then, that Ling Rinpoche did not think Dorje Shugden is anywhere close to being negative.

Therefore, although Ling Rinpoche might not have been propitiating Dorje Shugden, he definitely had high regard for Dorje Shugden, even promoting Dorje Shugden for other people to pray to by, for example, including Dorje Shugden in the prayer he composed.

In Ling Rinpoche’s divination for people, he often recommended them to do Dorje Shugden pujas and rituals to overcome obstacles. According to their karma, circumstances, and obstacles, there are many rituals that can be done to alleviate their problems, and at times he would divine Dorje Shugden to be propitiated, when his practice was appropriate for certain individuals.

It is a known fact among the Tibetan community that Ling Rinpoche prescribed Dorje Shugden’s practice to many persons before. How could a lama like Ling Rinpoche give other people a negative practice? If he prescribed Dorje Shugden’s practice, that means the practice would definitely help the person and not harm them, simply because Ling Rinpoche prescribed it.

Kyabje Ling Rinpoche was the heart disciple of Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche, and Ling Rinpoche received all his Dharma knowledge and practices from Pabongkha Rinpoche. Ling Rinpoche, in turn, passed this knowledge and practices down to the Dalai Lama who is a great Buddhist master. For a lama to be qualified enough to teach the Dalai Lama, they must be at least as equally attained as the Dalai Lama, if not more. Therefore if Pabongkha Rinpoche’s own mind-stream was “tainted” by the practice of Dorje Shugden, he could not have passed down to Ling Rinpoche all the knowledge and practices that made him attained enough to teach the Dalai Lama. Contemplate this point carefully.

This is the level of the lama who composed a prayer to Dorje Shugden – that is, someone who was qualified enough to teach the Dalai Lama. And not only had Ling Rinpoche composed a prayer, confession, request and serkym to Dorje Shugden, but he included Dorje Shugden in the same prayers propitiating Mahakala, Palden Lhamo, Kalarupa and Vaishravaṇa. This shows clearly that he equated Dorje Shugden as being of the same enlightened level as those “good” Protectors.

Here enclosed is a video clip of His Holiness the Dalai Lama talking about Ling Rinpoche having no connections to Dorje Shugden. We also include the text which Ling Rinpoche had composed for practitioners to propitiate Dorje Shugden alongside other Dharma protectors. This contradicts what the Dalai Lama explained in Ganden Shartse Monastery, that Ling Rinpoche had no connections to him. What more of a connection could there be, than a lama actually composing prayers to Dorje Shugden for others to propitiate and worship?

Not only did Kyabje Ling Rinpoche respect Dorje Shugden, but he also composed texts for the Sangha and lay disciples to worship this sacred protector. By doing so, not only did he have a connection, but he was also creating a connection for others to Dorje Shugden.

Please note that at the time of Ling Rinpoche composing this prayer, he was also the 97th Gaden Tripa. He had been selected for his position by the Dalai Lama, to sit as the supreme head of the Gelug School of Buddhism. Thus Ling Rinpoche was composing this prayer as the head of the Gelug School, with full authority to pronounce Dorje Shugden as a Dharma Protector.

Therefore the accusations against Dorje Shugden and the so-called negative repercussions of his practice are totally false, and without any basis in the scriptures or logic. We respectfully request His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the CTA to refrain from curbing the religious freedom of every individual to worship Dorje Shugden henceforth.

Speaking negatively about Dorje Shugden and then saying you have the freedom to choose if you wish to practice him is contradictory.




Tibetan script

The ritual below was written by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche at the request of the Gelug assembly at Varanasi University for a simple way to do fulfillment, confession, request for activity and serkyem for Mahakala, Dharmaraja (Kalarupa), Palden Lhamo, Vaishravana and Dorje Shugden. Source: Jam mgon rgyal ba’i bstan srung rdo rje shugs ldan gyi ‘phrin bcol phyogs bsdus bzhugs so. Bylakuppe, India: Ser smad gsung rab ‘phrul spar khang (1992), pp. 63-69.




The front cover of The Life of My Teacher: A Biography of Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, composed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Thupten Jinpa provided an Introduction to this book. To read the full introduction (PDF format), click on the image above.

There is a rather sad epilogue to accompany this article. In 2017, His Holiness the Dalai Lama published a biography about one of his two tutors, His Holiness Kyabje Ling Rinpoche. The Introduction was provided by Thupten Jinpa who distorted facts about Kyabje Ling Rinpoche’s life for the sake of political correctness.

In spite of glaring evidence that Kyabje Ling Rinpoche did rely on Dorje Shugden, even composing prayers to propitiate him, Thupten Jinpa saw it fit to lie about this great lama’s practice and claim that he did not. The reasons for his doing so are clear – in order for Thupten Jinpa to keep receiving commissions for translations, in order for him to earn enough to support his lifestyle, he has to remain in the Dalai Lama’s good books.

That means providing the type of Introduction the Dalai Lama wants. In return, Thupten Jinpa will be able to continue translating at the Dalai Lama’s public talks, earning him the recognition and credibility he needs to continue translating for profit. This is typical amongst those who wish to use the Dalai Lama’s popularity to bolster their own livelihood. For Thupten Jinpa, economics trumps ethics and given the right price, the truth can be sold.

It does not matter that his root guru is Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, the lama whose teaching notes were leaked and and published into the Yellow Book, which so displeased the Dalai Lama that he banned the 350-year-old Protector practice.

Thupten Jinpa could have easily written an Introduction that did not mention Dorje Shugden but it served his purpose to be politically-correct by perpetuating a lie about Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, earning him brownie points with the Dalai Lama which will ultimately be useful in earning him more commissions for work and lucrative requests to give lectures and teachings.

In the Introduction, Thupten Jinpa says that the Dalai Lama once told him it gives him comfort knowing Kyabje Ling Rinpoche was not connected to Dorje Shugden. This statement has many implications:

  1. Thupten Jinpa undermines everything the Dalai Lama received from his other tutor, His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. It is well-known that Trijang Rinpoche not only practiced Dorje Shugden, but also widely proliferated the practice. In Thupten Jinpa saying the Dalai Lama derives comfort knowing Ling Rinpoche had no connection with Dorje Shugden, Thupten Jinpa is conversely implying that the Dalai Lama would be uncomfortable if someone relied on Dorje Shugden. This implies the Dalai Lama was uncomfortable with Trijang Rinpoche and if that is true, where does that leave the Dalai Lama in terms of the initiations, transmissions and countless teachings he received from Trijang Rinpoche for over 30 years?
  2. Many of these initiations and teachings have been transmitted to others so the question ought to be, why does the Dalai Lama transmit knowledge received from someone he is not comfortable with? Even in a secular environment, no one would propagate knowledge from a source that they doubt because once the audience is aware of this, they will immediately lose confidence in the knowledge itself. Therefore Thupten Jinpa’s Introduction, while beautifully-written, ultimately casts doubts on the Dalai Lama’s teachings and leads people to question the veracity of what he is propagating. It is illogical for the Dalai Lama to be uncomfortable with one major part of Trijang Rinpoche’s life, and comfortable with everything else. Yet, that is precisely what Thupten Jinpa is implying when he says the Dalai Lama told him he is comfortable Ling Rinpoche had no connection with Dorje Shugden.
  3. Where is Thupten Jinpa’s loyalty to his own teacher? Thupten Jinpa’s own root guru, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche relied on and promoted Dorje Shugden. It does not paint a very flattering picture of Thupten Jinpa’s character that he would forsake the practices and teachings given to him by Zemey Rinpoche to woo a more famous lama and benefit from being in the spotlight. It just goes to show that spending 15 years studying for a Geshe degree, does not always necessarily translate into practice and loyalty to one’s own teacher.
  4. In saying the Dalai Lama told him this regarding Ling Rinpoche, Thupten Jinpa has it appearing that the Dalai Lama almost confides in him. This is nothing more than a blatant attempt to imply he and the Dalai Lama have a close relationship to impress the public with so it’s better business for him, which would be very useful in Thupten Jinpa’s campaign to accumulate for himself more commissions for works and lucrative requests to give lectures and teachings.

It is disappointing that for the sake of profit, this educated Geshe and former monk will perpetuate a lie instead of standing up for what is right and what is true. And the truth is that Kyabje Ling Rinpoche was connected to Dorje Shugden because if he were not, then why compose a prayer for everyone else to be connected to him? Why encourage others to connect to a deity that he himself has no connection to? Hence for anyone to claim that Kyabje Ling Rinpoche was not connected to Dorje Shugden, it would be like Tsongkhapa writing a prayer to Shakyamuni, then someone else claiming Tsongkhapa had no connection to him.

The fact is, Thupten Jinpa could have written an Introduction about literally anything else, having studied in Gaden Shartse Monastery for over two decades. But he just had to write about Dorje Shugden, seizing the opportunity to earn the brownie points he needs to continue raking in the cash. However, Thupten Jinpa has missed a beat because in the final analysis, at the moment of our death, or to anyone who is capable of higher thinking, it is loyalty and devotion that really count when the chips are down and he shows that having Geshe-level knowledge is not necessarily a reflection of good character.

Disclaimer: all pictures of the book and the text therein are produced here for solely educational purposes. All rights are reserved by the publisher.




Contrary to what the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA; Tibetan leadership in Dharamsala) would have you believe, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche who was the 97th Gaden Tripa (supreme head of the Gaden lineage) and senior tutor of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, was a Dorje Shugden practitioner. So not only does the above prayer strongly attest to this but in this 1997 article by José Catalán Deus, published in the Spanish magazine Mas Alla, it is again clearly stated that both Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche (the junior tutor to the Dalai Lama) practised Dorje Shugden.

Given the CTA’s virulent need to suppress the Tibetan community, they often deny the fact that Kyabje Ling Rinpoche practised Dorje Shugden, which is a complete and utter falsehood. Published before the CTA heightened their divisive rhetoric against Dorje Shugden, this Mas Alla article was authored at a time when people were not yet being forced to hide the truth about the history of Dorje Shugden practice, in fear of social or political consequences. That is, it was published at a time when the ban had not yet reached its crescendo, and people still felt enough freedom to tell the truth about the practice.

The evidence that Ling Rinpoche practiced Dorje Shugden is beyond a shadow of a doubt. As seen in the article here, the proof comes even from journalists such as José Catalán Deus, a celebrated reporter with a history of working with CNN Interactive, and managing newspapers and magazines. Deus’s article is nothing but historical fact gleaned from reporting prowess and interviewing the right people, rather than wanting to embroil himself in an issue that is not his own. As an independent researcher, Deus does not even try to take or support either side of the Dorje Shugden divide. And the magazine his article appeared in, Mas Alla, discusses metaphysics and spirituality from around the world, so does not provide a biased viewpoint, either way, of the Dorje Shugden issue. Instead, following the magazine’s aim to explore the borders of the known world, religion and science, Deus simply states the facts. And the fact is that Ling Rinpoche practiced Dorje Shugden.

These facts are something that the CTA have tried to brush under the carpet, out of the public eye, as they try to cover their schismatic agenda and continue their regime of discrimination against innocent Dorje Shugden practitioners. But the truth has a way of making itself known and here it is again, that two of the greatest masters of the recent past, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche both practised the unjustly maligned deity Dorje Shugden.

You can scroll down to page 33 of the magazine to see where José Catalán Deus specifically mentions that Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche both practised Dorje Shugden. You can read a translation of the article in English here.

The cover of the September 1997 issue of Mas Alla magazine in which the article by José Catalán Deus was published. Click to enlarge.

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José Catalán Deus highlights the fact that both Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche were practitioners of Dorje Shugden here on page 33 of the magazine. The sentence in English reads “Among famous Lamas who have already passed away, Ling Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche, the tutors of the Dalai Lama, were probably the most renowned figures who worshipped the controversial deity and protector Dorje Shugden.” Click to enlarge.

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4 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. It seems to me that so many lies have been told about Dorje Shugden and when this site uncovers the truth and exposes accusations against Dorje Shugden to be lies, those from the Dalai Lama camp and CTA simply remain quiet. This site is open to all without limitation and I am sure the CTA and pro-ban people visit often to see what has been said. Why don’t they counter the proof and evidence that DorjeShugden.com presents here, with their own hard evidence if indeed there is any. Any of they have been wrong in the past about their accusations against the deity which are now proven to be false, should they not apologize and withdraw their past statements?

    In particular, I am quite shocked that the Tibetan people have been so easily fooled and have allowed lies to dominate their spiritual lives for so long. Come on already!

  2. The full translated video please to put his comments into perspective…..

    Meanwhile… does the DL still think educated people still believe his claptrap?

  3. Back in 1996 Tenzin Chodak a Tibetan living in London personally remembered Ling Rinpoche doing Kangso in the Tibetan monastery in Bodh Gaya. There was a Geshe here, Geshe Konchog who although he said that Dorje Shugden wasn’t his personal Protector had clearly memorised the Kangso prayers when we recited it in Tibetan years ago.

  4. Read this to get a better understanding:


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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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