Sera Mey’s Actions Confirms Shugden Lies

By Mar Nee

For a summary of the points presented in this article, please see the video “Oracles: Enlightened or Not?

Sera Monastery is regarded as one of the three great seats of learning in the Gelugpa tradition, which adheres strictly to the sacred principles established by the great sage Je Tsongkapa. It was founded by Jamchen Choeje Shakya Yeshi (1359-1435), a direct disciple of Lama Tsongkapa, who by his devotion to Tsongkapa vested much of his guru’s mission and purpose into the institution.

Sera Monastery, both the original in Tibet and the one re-established in Bylakuppe, India, boasts a rich tradition of monastic debates to establish the truth by way of vigorous examinations and logical challenges. Such training is intended to develop a mind sharpened by acute reasoning, capable of exceptional analytical ability. No doubt, the training at Sera yielded many great lamas over time, nineteen Ganden Tripas amongst them. The great Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche himself hailed from Sera.

And yet, by the year 2007, the hallowed grounds of this great institution was host to one of the most heinous and illogical hate-speeches made against a significant portion of the Tibetan Buddhist sangha; the same speech also represented an unrestrained attack against the rights of Tibetans to practice their beliefs as free people.

Surprisingly, it was made by a peace Nobelist who was honored for his supposed fight for human rights and freedom, the Dalai Lama. But instead of a message of love and tolerance, the Dalai Lama accused worshippers of the Buddhist deity, Dorje Shugden, to be ‘murderers and beaters’. The message was received without challenge and accusations that Dorje Shugden, long propitiated in Sera Mey as an emanation of Buddha Manjushri, was nothing more than a common spirit and an evil one at that, was received wholesale and acted upon.

And with that, the once-great monastic university Sera Mey betrayed its core principle of upholding the truth, and began to expel its own monks whom it could not coerce into being disloyal to their gurus and Dharma protector. Whatever values its founder bestowed onto this great university was expensed that day to secure a convenient but immoral place on the politically correct side of the Dalai Lama.

However many pieces of silver Sera Mey was promised to join the obnoxious chorus to hunt down those who worshipped Dorje Shugden and force from them a confession and disavowal of their core religious beliefs, it instantly lost its integrity and credibility as an institution of higher learning that upholds and practices the truth. How can Sera Mey, a monastery that claimed prominence in producing great spiritual thinkers and that had worshipped Dorje Shugden as a fully enlightened Buddha, now proclaim the same deity to be a demon without any spiritual basis?

If there is any logic to Sera Mey’s new stance on Dorje Shugden, then the entire basis of the Buddha’s teachings about enlightenment being free of samsara is wrong. This is the predicament that Sera Mey and other once-great universities such as Ganden Shartse face in defending the ban on the Dorje Shugden practice.

By Sera Mey’s account today and those who oppose Dorje Shugden, the protector is merely:

  • A minor worldly deity whose practice was not at all prevalent amongst the Gelugpas or indeed any other sect;
  • [And at other times] a gyalpo spirit who is not enlightened and therefore should not be propitiated as a Buddha;
  • An unenlightened spirit who opposes the Dharma.

And yet, as we shall see, Sera Mey’s history of Shugden worship irreconcilably places it at odds with its new attitude towards the deity. This is clearly witnessed in a 2002 video produced by Sera Mey’s Pomra Khamtsen, which once accounted for the majority of Sera Mey monks before the ban.

 

#1: Who’s in the Audience?

The video begins with scenes from the opening of Pomra Khamtsen in Sera Mey, showing the King Protector Dorje Shugden taking trance as the highlight of the event.

The clearly grand affair was attended by key Gelugpa lamas such as the highly learned Geshe Yeshe Wangchuk who possessed tremendous grasp and mastery over extremely difficult texts such as the Commentary On Valid Perception and Light On The Path by Gyalsab Je. Other high lamas include H.E. Gangchen Rinpoche, H.H. Pabongka Chocktrul Dorje Chang and many other names known in Tibetan Buddhist circles to be synonymous with sharp acumen, undisputable intelligence and vast reservoirs of scriptural knowledge.

This immediately challenges the lie that the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and all who oppose Dorje Shugden propagate – that the worship of this protector was never a mainstream practice. Dorje Shugden was in fact regarded as an extremely important deity in the Gelugpa lineage before he was politicized and demonized.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

 

#2: Seating is Everything

If Sera Mey today refers to Dorje Shugden as a minor and unenlightened spirit, then it has to explain why the monastery has a history of Dorje Shugden worship that is manifestly inconsistent with its new claim of the deity.

Sera Mey had always provided a throne for the protector, positioned prominently in front of the main altar where the images of the Buddhas are placed. That particular position indicates that the deity to whom the throne belongs is himself an enlightened being equal to the Buddhas on the altar behind the throne, and definitely not a worldly god let alone an evil spirit.

In no other instance in the monastic history of Tibetan Buddhism has an alleged minor evil spirit received such reverence from a prime monastery. It just does not add up.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

If indeed Dorje Shugden was as he is accused to be today, then Sera Mey should never have extended such veneration according to monastic protocols and kingly treatment befitting a Buddha towards him, which it did until it was forbidden to be associated with the protector.

 

#3: VIP Treatment

An even more interesting comparison is between the honorifics given to the Dorje Shugden oracle and the treatment customarily given to the state oracles of Tibet – the Nechung and Gadong oracles as well as an oracle much favored by the Dalai Lama, Tseringma. The Nechung Oracle, Gadong Oracle and Tseringma take trance of Pehar (and his minister, Dorje Drakden), Shinjachen and the Tenma Goddess respectively, who together are the triumvirate of earthly deities very close to the Dalai Lama and by virtue of that, regarded as superior in Tibetan Buddhism.

And yet as we will see in the following video of the three oracles taking trance before the Dalai Lama, not even the primary state oracle, Nechung, is given the same treatment as Dorje Shugden. The Nechung oracle is provided a chair (except in his own home, Nechung Monastery, where there is a throne) as is the Gadong Oracle and Tseringma. It is quite apparent that Dorje Shugden has always been treated a class apart even from the ‘highest’ unenlightened deities of Tibetan Buddhism.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

 

#4: Not A Coincidence

Prior to the unholy and illegal ban on his practice, Dorje Shugden was always regarded as an enlightened Dharma Protector and worshipped as an emanation of Manjushri, and therefore a Buddha in his own right. This was the case even in Ganden Monastery.

We see in the following picture the Choyang kuten (oracle) taking trance of Duldzin (Dorje Shugden in peaceful form), again seated on a throne, placed in front of the altar at the main prayer hall of Ganden Shartse.

The Choyang Kuten taking trance of Duldzin on his throne at Ganden Shartse

The same Ganden monastery that revered the protector as a Buddha now says he is a malevolent spirit. And yet it is this “spirit” who had the sagacity to find many high incarnations of enlightened beings, tulkus, and high lamas including the incarnation of the present Pabongka Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche, all of whom were confirmed as genuine incarnations of their predecessors by the Dalai Lama himself.

Yet another example of Dorje Shugden being accorded the status of an enlightened being and provided with a throne in front of the main altar is seen in various Mongolian monasteries as we witness in the following video of another Shugden oracle taking trance of Duldzin:


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

 

#5: Rank and Respect

However there is more than just the presence and position of the throne of the Dorje Shugden oracle. It is the custom in Tibetan Buddhism that the rank or status of an oracle-lama is determined by the deity he takes trance of.

In the Sera Mey video, we see the Panglung kuten of Dorje Shugden being escorted into the prayer hall in time-honored tradition – with the accompaniment of incense and traditional musical instruments reserved for the highest lamas such as the Dalai Lama himself. A minor deity does not receive such a welcome.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

 

#6: Compassion and Wisdom

Another indication of Dorje Shugden’s enlightened status is the oracle, while in trance of Dorje Shugden, receiving the tsog offering with the bell and vajra – important symbols of compassion and wisdom. The vajra and bell held together mean that Dorje Shugden has attained the wisdom (bell) and method (vajra) of a fully enlightened Buddha.

The Nechung oracle on the other hand, cuts the tsog offering with his ceremonial sword as a means of acknowledging and receiving it.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

 

#7: We Come Bearing Gifts

But there are even more telltale signs to indicate that Sera Mey worshipped Dorje Shugden as a fully enlightened being and is now deceitfully masking that fact.

The first video (included again below) shows how the highest of lamas and dignitaries present, and even representatives of the Central Tibetan Administration, respectfully approach the throne of Dorje Shugden to make traditional offerings to him. If Dorje Shugden is truly a minor spirit as Sera Mey claims, he should have approached the lamas to make offerings to them instead.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

If the disparaging description of Dorje Shugden as a gyalpo has any basis, it would mean that no one in Sera Mey had any omniscience to see through a demon’s mimicry – not the enlightened minds of the tulkus the Dalai Lama himself confirmed, nor the Geshes, Abbots and in fact, not even the Dalai Lama. And instead, it would mean that all these great masters from the great Sera Mey monastery were, for decades, beguiled into worshipping a demon.

If indeed it were true that Dorje Shugden is such a malevolent force, then the fact that so many great masters, returning Bodhisattvas and Mahasiddhas were fooled would mean that the Dharma is powerless and all the attainments of these masters are imagined. But I doubt if Sera Mey or any other monastery or lama would concede this, as it is an even more serious charge than Dorje Shugden being a gyalpo.

 

#8: A Clean Vessel

Finally, we see the same Panglung kuten who previously took trance of Dorje Shugden now in trance of an undisputed enlightened protector, Dharmapala Setrab, long recognized as the Dharma protector of Ganden Shartse Monastery and also an emanation of Amitabha Buddha.

If it is true that Dorje Shugden is a lowly spirit, then how can the same oracular vessel who moments ago took trance of a malevolent spirit now take trance of a Buddha as we witness in the video? The only sound explanation is that both Dorje Shugden and Dharmapala Setrab belong to the same class of enlightened protectors and emanations of Buddhas.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

In less than 30 minutes of footage, the Sera Mey video calls into question the validity of claims made against Dorje Shugden. What is witnessed in the first 30 minutes of footage is completely inconsistent with present accusations of Dorje Shugden as a gyalpo or a lowly worldly god as he is accused interchangeably.

 


 

Comparisons with Other Oracles

But how does the treatment of Dorje Shugden compare with the other protectors of Tibetan Buddhism? Would a clearer picture of his status emerge, if examined from a perspective that broadens his treatment to encompass a wider view of Tibetan Buddhist cosmology?

The following video captures the protocol accorded to Gyalchen Karma Trinley, an unenlightened protector propitiated in the Nyingma lineage. From the very beginning, we see the oracle in trance of the unenlightened Gyalchen Karma Trinley prostrating to and then approaching Thegtse Rinpoche, an incarnate Lama from the Mindrolling lineage of the Nyingma tradition.

This is in stark contrast with the respect accorded to Dorje Shugden, clearly illustrating that while the unenlightened Gyalchen Karma Trinley pays homage to lamas, Dorje Shugden, however, is paid homage BY lamas.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

 

In the following video of Sera Jey monastery, Gyalchen Karma Trinley is again accorded only a simple chair outside the main hall for the oracle to take trance of the spirit, after which he is then permitted to enter the building.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

 

In another video of Gyalchen Karma Trinley, we see that the seat upon which the oracle sits – a couch with a simple cover – is outside the monastic building. This difference in treatment again leads us to believe that unenlightened protectors are not given the same accord as an enlightened protector in trance.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

 

The next video shows the previous Nechung oracle in full trance making his way into the temple on foot. This is vastly different to Dorje Shugden who sits on his throne inside the main temple and then takes trance.


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How does the interaction between a lama and protector in trance further prove that Dorje Shugden is enlightened? In the following video, Thegtse Rinpoche is given the seat of honor, and Gyalchen Karma Trinley repeatedly runs up to the lama to give advice or answer questions put forth by assistants.

Compare this with Dorje Shugden, who is seated on the central throne while lamas approach him for blessings and advice. Given the stark differences of protocol, it is strikingly clear that Dorje Shugden is a fully enlightened being.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

 


 

Proof that Dorje Shugden is Unfairly Singled Out?

Followers of the CTA and enforcers of the ban would undoubtedly brush all of the above aside in favor of their own agenda. So let’s turn to another blatantly obvious flaw in their logic. Claims are made that Dorje Shugden is a worldly protector or gyalpo and his practice should be stopped on that basis. But there is unsurmountable evidence that propitiation of worldly protectors continues to this day.

This video portrays a local medium taking trance of a visibly unenlightened being. In this case, the oracle isn’t even given a chair but kneels in front of a prayer table. The tradition of local oracles traces back many centuries within Tibetan culture and more often than not, oracles take trance of local protective deities or spirits for purposes of healing and oracular advice.

Known throughout Tibetan culture to be unenlightened, propitiation of these protectors remains intact, and the CTA and their enforcers are strangely silent on this issue.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

 

Next, we see what is most likely a local festival, in which two unenlightened beings take trance and join the festivities. Again, there is no throne or even a seat, just the mediums who are seen dancing and running around during the festival.


Or watch on server | download video (right click & save file)

 

Strange then that the CTA and its enforcers claim the ban on Dorje Shugden is due to his unenlightened nature, yet they say nothing in regards to the practice of other unenlightened protectors who are still welcome in Tibetan culture. Suffice to say, banning Dorje Shugden on the grounds of his supposed unenlightened mind has no basis, if a ban on ALL unenlightened beings is not implemented or enforced.

 


 

Conclusion

So, how is it that such great monastic universities as Sera Mey and Ganden Shartse can arrive at conclusions so vastly differently from the path they set out on, decades ago, with regard to the same deity? Consider the options below:

  1. Dorje Shugden was an enlightened protector in 2002 when he was worshipped as such by Sera Mey monks, but “became” unenlightened by 2008 when the ban on his practice was instituted. This is an impossible postulation because if that were to be true, then it completely undermines what the Buddha himself taught about the state of enlightenment (Buddhahood) being an immutable and unassailable position, unlike samsara;
  2. Dorje Shugden was a gyalpo all along but through his guile, tricked the entire Gelugpa sect, including all the high lamas and masters of Sera Mey into worshipping him as a Buddha, not sparing even Kyabje Pabongka Dorje Chang who is one with Heruka. And now, by the Dalai Lama’s sole omniscience, the demon has been caught out. Again, this is an improbable proposition because if it were true, then the entire sanctity of the Gelugpa lineage is flawed. How can a flawed lineage with gravely erroneous beliefs and training produce an omniscient and omnipotent Dalai Lama?
  3. Dorje Shugden has always been an enlightened protector, a true emanation of Manjushri who arose to protect Je Tsongkapa’s precious teachings on the Madyamika as Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, and countless masters have attested to. But for reasons political in nature, the CTA with the support of the Dalai Lama’s office have imposed a ban on his practice and forced its will on the people and monasteries. In other words, claims made in support of the Dorje Shugden ban are but baseless lies that once-great monasteries like Sera Mey are forced to validate, which they did to their own detriment and in the process damaging the Buddhadharma that they took oath to preserve.

If thought about in clear and logical manner given the belief systems inherent within Tibetan Buddhist cosmology – that a fully enlightened being cannot regress back into an unenlightened state; that omniscience can and has been achieved by many great masters and not just the Dalai Lama; and that the training and belief systems are not erroneous; then the obvious conclusion for these contradictions is obviously the last of the three mentioned above.

Thus, there is only one possible truth, Dorje Shugden is indeed fully enlightened, and the so called ‘truths’ touted by the Central Tibetan Administration and the actions of Sera Mey itself are in fact nothing but lies.

For a summary of the points presented in this article, please see the video “Oracles: Enlightened or Not?

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9 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. It is indeed unfortunate that the senior monks of Sera Mey monastery have indeed sold their souls to the Dalai Lama and broken the wisdom blessings of Dorje Shugden, an emanation of Buddha Manjushri himself.
    Indeed, it can be argued that with their abandonment of Dorje Shugden, and the removal of Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang and Je Phabongkhapa from their texts, they have in turn abondoned the Gelug tradition. They can no longer call themselves a Gelug institution as they have abondoned their lineage Gurus.
    Sera Mey monastery is now the obscure sect.

  2. Well done to the website, this article with the accompanying videos show that, ‘when the King Dorje Shugden is taking trance he is accorded a throne and his back is to the buddhas and all the lamas pay homage to Dorje Shugden, when unenlightened deities takes trance they are given chairs, or move around and they offer their khata and felicitations to the lamas instead.

  3. Thank you DS.COM for this educational article. Certainly these protocols of the enlightened and unenlightened beings are practised traditionally in monastic institutions. However, to the uninformed and undiscerning eyes, these differences would have no bearing at all until they are pointed out. Knowledge kills ignorance.

  4. First of all, thanks to DS admin for giving us such a detailed explanation on how enlightened and unenlightened protector is treated when the oracle takes trance. It is very obvious that DS is an enlightened being while Nechung is not. So it is Nechung whose practice should be banned not DS! How can an enlightened being harm people especially another enlightened being like HH Dalai Lama. Why is Dalai Lama so against DS? For political reason or like what DS.com is saying here “Dorje Shugden and Dalai Lama – Spreading Dharma Together”. I am actually more convinced that both DS and Dalai Lama are working together to bring DS to the world for the sake of all sentient beings.

  5. Sera Mey monastery has lost their dignity and guru devotion over the political influences…a very sad era where dharma is contaminated by impure teachings…the monks are suffering cos abandonment of Dorje Shugden, and the removal of Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang and Je Pabongkhapa from their texts, they have in turn break their guru samaya…and whatever they do later on will have no blessing from their guru’s guru….

  6. This article is well researched and documented for the comparison between enlightened and unenlightened dharma protectors. This reaffirms my belief that Dorje Shugden is indeed an enlightened dharma protector. Thank you admin.

  7. For a school that boasts of training erudite debaters who use unarguable logic to defend their statement, the ban against Dorje Shugden and the claim that he is an unenlightened spirit not only lack spiritual basis but also does not have any logical basis. It is very sad when renowned spiritual institutions like Sera Mey compromise their standards of integrity to be politically correct. One thing I would like to add though, the good thing about making mistakes is that we can correct them. With His Holiness the Dalai Lama loosing favor in the international arena (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/politics/140904/does-the-dalai-lama-matter-world-dominated-china), it may be a good opportunity for parties like Sera Mey that were pressured into denouncing Dorje Shugden to correct this wrong and go back our enlightened Protector.

    They claim that DS is an unenlightened spirit who apposes the Dharma. It is always encouraged to look at ourselves in the mirror before accusing other parties. Anti-DS fanatics have been acting violently for the past decades to coerce Dorje Shugden practitioners into giving up their practice (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/cta-creates-violence-again/ and http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/features/breaking-news-domo-geshe-rinpoches-monastery-in-phedong-attacked/). Blood was shed and lives were sacrificed. The Dharma promotes compassion and wisdom. What in violence is aligned to the Dharma? So, before accusing Dorje Shugden for “opposing the Dharma”, they should check in on themselves.

    Thank you for the detailed illustration of DS oracles and why these oracles are taking trance of an enlightened being. Besides the variance in protocol involved in the treatment between the DS oracle and unenlightened oracles, I reflect on the previous incarnations of Dorje Shugden himself. Dorje Shugden is the mind stream of highly attained, recognized and recorded lama and saints like Birwapa, Dultzin Dragpa Gyeltsen and Manjushri. As stated by Lord Buddha that once enlightened in achieved, we do not regress. Therefore, how can the mind stream of Manjushri become a demon or spirit. Impossible.

    Banning DS while permitting the practice of other unenlightened protectors is the typical double-standard that the Dalai Lama and CTA has consistently shown (http://www.gulf-times.com/sri%20lanka/251/details/401446/monk-rejects-dalai-lama-as-spiritual-leader-). Similarly, there have also been contradiction in the speech and actions of the Dalai Lama and the CTA. It is said that one of the key nature of pure Dharma as taught by Lord Buddha is that there is no contradiction. With the glaring contradiction and double-standard practiced by His Holiness and the CTA is frighteningly opposing the Dharma. So my questions would be: when will a ban be imposed on them?

  8. Indeed this videos shows that prior to the Dalai Lama politicizing the Protector the High Lamas and perhaps all of Sera Mey regarded the Protector as an enlightened being. All these high Lamas are highly attained and have clairvoyance and surely can perceive all phenomena including whether a being is enlightened or not. This is without doubt from Buddha’s teachings alone.

  9. Thank you for pointing out the various facts about Dorje Shugden’s position and interpretation of the various position of the throne and the respect accorded.

    So, after the clarification, it is indeed strange that Sera Mey Monastery’s actions belie what has happened before the ban. It is as though what has been happening is being swept under the carpet and convenient;y forgotten for political favors. So very sad that such things are happening in a major monastery.

    This is indeed a great website for knowledge.

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Contemplate This

.…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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