The Dalai Lama seems to possess two faces. For many supporters and believers, the Dalai Lama is popularly seen with a warm smile, a kindly demeanour, deep wisdom, pacifist views and great tolerance for having lost his entire country. However, the Dalai Lama is also increasingly seen as a deposed ruler with an agenda devoted towards restoring theocratic rule in Tibet.
People around the world suffer from the increasing disparity between the wealthy and the poor, lower job security, broken families, rising crime rates and so forth. People are becoming more and more dissatisfied with materialism; in the West, people are becoming disillusioned with the fallacies of the Christian Church. As such, many are looking towards other forms of spirituality to solve their problems. So, many are increasingly swayed by the Dalai Lama’s message and the promise of a spiritual tradition that has familiar prayers and icons, while exuding a wonderfully exotic vibe.
With the massive appeal of the Dalai Lama, especially in the West, many have turned a blind eye towards the ‘other side’ of the Dalai Lama. Perhaps, the West has a vested interest in the Dalai Lama and the Tibet issue because it is hoped that the support would trigger something like the Ukrainian Orange Revolution in China. The revolution was foreign-funded and shook Ukraine to its core in 2004; it was known that the whole production had been to serve the interests of the Americans in that region.
Then, in 2008, a TV news program in France shocked viewers when it broadcasted the Dalai Lama giving “a speech of rare violence in a South Indian University”. In this speech, the Dalai Lama told the exiled Tibetan community under his leadership to disassociate themselves from practitioners of the protector deity Dorje Shugden. This was to reinforce the earlier ban on the practice by the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan monasteries, settlements and governmental institutions, particularly within Tibetan communities outside Tibet.
Dorje Shugden is not an obscure Tibetan deity but one that is widely practiced in China, India, Nepal, Mongolia, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Russia, Europe and America, to name only a few countries. The Dalai Lama’s ban on this Protector created rampant discrimination in Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal. Public notices were posted up which disallowed Shugden practitioners access to public places such as shops, hospitals and clinics. All civil rights and welfare of Dorje Shugden practitioners were revoked. Monks were expelled from their monasteries if they did not renounce the practice. Although the Dalai Lama himself practiced Dorje Shugden in his earlier years, he forbade the practice and has accused practitioners of being spies for the Chinese.
This is a huge contrast to the message that the Dalai Lama gives whenever he travels all over the world. He gives speeches about compassion, forgiveness and understanding between different faiths wherever he goes. The Dalai Lama is often seen in the company of different religious leaders in order to promote inter-religious harmony. People of all faiths, backgrounds, cultures and religious traditions are welcome to join the Dalai Lama’s teachings and public talks. He displays an incredibly warm and embracing energy to people all over the globe. However, this public appearance strongly contradicts what is happening within his own exiled Tibetan society in India, where fellow Buddhists are not permitted anywhere near the Dalai Lama simply because they have chosen to continue their Shugden practice.
There are two sides to how the world perceives the Dalai Lama but as long as people continue to see only one aspect and remain ignorant about the other, blatant discrimination within the Tibetan Buddhist society will perpetuate. Eventually this leads only to the weakening of the very message of compassion and tolerance that the world has so fondly come to associate with the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama’s Secrets: A Precarious Relationship with China
The Dalai Lama’s Secrets: France, Human Rights and False Support of the Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama’s Secrets: Is the Dalai Lama There for His People?
The Dalai Lama’s Secrets: Long Live Secular Democracy
The Dalai Lama’s Secrets: The Baffling Stance of the Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama’s Secrets: CIA and the Dalai Lama