Highest Peaks to Lowest Gutters by Jamyang Norbu

Jamyang Norbu (http://www.jamyangnorbu.com/) is a Tibetan political activist and writer, currently living in the United States, having previously lived for over 40 years as a Tibetan exile in India.

Taken from: http://www.jamyangnorbu.com/blog/2013/05/07/highest-peaks-to-lowest-gutters/

In a somewhat lame effort to divert attention away from the widening discussions on the Dharamshala instigated attacks on TYC and Chushigangdruk, some on the religious right have been circulating this photograph of me taken at Camp Hale, Colorado in 2010, where a commemorative plaque was being dedicated to the memory of the 300 Tibetan freedom fighters who were secretly trained there by the CIA, many of whom lost their lives in subsequent operations inside Chinese occupied Tibet. I wrote a piece on the event. It was a reunion of sorts where old trainees and CIA personnel met to share their memories, and of course there was a lot of picture taking.  A young Khampa in a natty suit, looking rather like our respected Sikyong, asked if he could have his photograph taken with me. Of course, I said yes.

Now the people circulating this photograph are claiming that this young man, Dechen Trulku, belongs to a Shugden organization. I didn’t know the young men then, or that he was a member of any Shugden group, but even if I did know, I would have taken the photograph with him.  I would like everyone to know this.

I have always believed that people have a right to their religious beliefs, even if I didn’t agree with them, and on the Shugden issue I stated my views clearly in a two-part essay about my disagreement with Tibetan superstitious beliefs in their oracles and protective, especially when the government consulted them formulate political decisions. I also clearly stated my views on the Shugden controversy. I wrote “I believe people have the right to worship Shugden or any other deity they want, while the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader certainly has the right to object to this on theological grounds and ask people to refrain from such practises. But that is not the problem. The trouble is that the Tibetan government has been inducted to implement the Dalai Lama’s proscription of Shugden worship.” And “The Shugden supporters are, of course, are more than exaggerating when they claim that the Dalai Lama’s actions are similar to China’s repression of religious freedom in Tibet. Such statements belittle the genocidal tragedy that the Tibetan people have suffered under Communist Chinese occupation.” I wrote these two essays way back in 2003 before I started this blog so you can read it on Phayul.com. The numerous comments alone are hugely entertaining and informative in their own right.



Since then I have not been paying too much attention to the Shugden issue, but this business with the photograph raises a concern. Is it now a criminal act in our society or a mortal sin in the eyes of the Dalai Lama to have your photograph taken with a member of a Shugden organization? I asked around and it seems that the answer is yes. I was told that Dharamshala is going around all Tibetan communities making people sign pledges that they would ostracize Shugden devotees, and not even share a meal with them or have anything to do with them. I was told to watch an Al Jazeera documentary on the issue and I was shocked. I had not known that things had gotten so out of hand. Tibetans really need to deal with this issue through discussion and debate, before we start murdering each other, one of these days, just like Sunnis and the Shias, or Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.  If anyone is under any illusion that Buddhists are inherently nonviolent just look back at the way Buddhist monks were instigating the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka, and more recently the killing of Muslims in Burma.



The Claws Reach Further

Tarlay Vin

Jamyang Norbu is a Western-based Tibetan political activist and writer. From his post we can conclude that he is more of a secular writer and not so much, if at all, a person who delves in religion, which is perfectly fine.

Jamyang Norbu accepts that the Dalai Lama has his right to object to the practice of Shugden based on theological grounds, but this recent incident of his photo with a Shugden organization member made him realize the depth and extensiveness of the destructive forces that the Shugden ban has on the Tibetan community and beyond.

First of all, Jamyang Norbu already stated clearly that he believes everyone has the right to their own religious belief, Shugden included, and even if he does not agree with the Shugden practice and knows that the person he was taking picture with belongs to the Shugden organization,  he would still do the same. Therefore he finds it illogical, to the point of absurdity, that he is now condemned simply because of him taking picture with that other person, and he is been made into a criminal who has committed a mortal sin for that.

The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), or the group of people who circulated that picture, has to realize that if by taking a picture with someone of questionable character means he or she endorses or condones the other person’s motivation and actions, then they should really look at the top of their own group, where their leader the Dalai Lama has previously done so with a few persons of such nature. For one, the Dalai Lama has been seen with Shoko Asahara, the Japanese cult leader who instructed his cult members to attack the Tokyo subway with sarin gas, kiling 13 and injuring thousands. So, using their own caption, we can now rephrase it as such:

“Watch and think, what he (the Dalai Lama) is trying to establish by posing with Shoko Asahara (who is a well-known mass murderer of modern times based in Japan).”

Using the logic of people who make up the CTA, the Dalai Lama must be an accomplice or supporter of Shoko Asahara by posing for a picture with him, and thus the Dalai Lama is a criminal and has committed a mortal sin. Now how does that sound?

What Jamyang Norbu experienced here proves that the witch-hunt for Shugden practitioners is still very much alive and pervasive even until today, something which the Dalai Lama and CTA constantly deny. Shugden practitoners and their families (both monastic and lay) are ostracized in the society and are denied basic services which normal people are entitled to, like health-care, schooling etc., and they are also subjected to the constant emotional stress and possible physical violence since the ban on Shugden was imposed many years ago. All of this evidence can be found in the articles, pictures and videos on DorjeShugden.com.

While many societies are marching towards a modern, open-minded democracy, the CTA is clearly going backwards to the dark Middle Ages where witch-hunting was deemed necessary to justify their own selfish agenda. How do we know that their utterly ignorant ways of doing things do not fit into modern times anymore?  Very simple – they lost their country, and will never get it back again.

Jamyang Norbu is a political activist and writer, and has nothing to do with the religious scene, but even he is targeted in the attack set out by the CTA on Shugden. This shows how extensive and damaging the ban on Shugden is. It is a ban that is based on false grounds, being executed with such animosity and bigotry, and will end with nothing but destruction for all.

I salute and respect Jamyang Norbu very much for making a statement that, even if he knew the person is from a Shugden organization, he would still take a picture with that person, simply because he respects the religious freedom of everybody. He is a much needed model of true wisdom and sanity amidst all this chaos in the darkness.

It is rare for a Tibetan to speak so openly against the CTA and the Dalai Lama, but I believe that Jamyang Norbu has no ill-intention of criticizing them, but it is simply because he truly believes that it is the correct way that should be voiced out and heard. Mr. Jamyang Norbu truly believes in religious freedom which the Dorje Shugden ban obviously contradicts.

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7 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. I am just wondering if a man kills another man he is called a murder, if an animal kills a man he is a man-eater, and UNFORTUNATELY (may be or due to lack of the correct knowledge) wise and intelligent woman termed and terms as witch!!! what should we term or call those which-hunter!!???

  2. Some outsiders feel the animosity is not dharma.

    Did anyone notice?

  3. You want to mislead people. The Dalai Lama posed with Shoko Asahara before he committed those mass murders, when he was respected as a spiritual leader in Japan. Asahara went with the Dalai Lama and did everything to have a photo with him, so please don’t confuse people with wrong information.

  4. you been guilty of crimes against humanity..

  5. The Dalai Lama is said to have clairvoyance. If he has, then why he doesn’t see that Shoko Asahara will commit mass murders? Why didn’t he do something? Why pose with something you know will commit great harm in the future? If the Dalai lama can make a mistake with Shoko Asahara, he could make a mistake with Dorje Shugden’s ban. Besides this article is not about posing with Shoko Asahara. But why is it bad to pose with pictures or associate with people who practice Dorje Shugden? Dorje Shugden practitioners have the right to practice what they like without being demonized or ostracized. Jamyang Norbu makes a good point here. This is what the article is about.

  6. I agree with gabbienca.

  7. We should be at liberty to practice and do what we like until and unless our practice physically or mentally hurts others. By this I don’t I mean that your organization is wrong or the Dalai lama is right.

    Though I am a foreigner I have deep respect for Dalai lama as a religious head and a Buddhist master.

    Meeting of Shoko Asahara with Dalai Lama might have been a coincidence and not intended. So lets not correlate this event

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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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