The Dorje Shugden – Dalai Lama Conflict (INTRODUCTION: EXPLORING THE PE.BUM SOURCES)

(extracted from research of Ursula Bernis)


In this section I will present the documentation for the interviews of Part I. It is not a history, since that would require a different kind of research possible here, which would have to include Tibetan texts, both published and unpublished. A uniquely Tibetan genre is “pe.bum” not much known or commented on in the Western context, since it was to a large extent governed by the rules of the oral transmission aspect of Buddhist lineages. It is a collection of texts about a practice by different authors which includes hand written, unpublished material of oral advice and explanations that pertained to secret mantra (vajrayana) practices, etc., which often held the key to the success of a practice, lineage, history. In Tibet, such a collection was not easily available or not published in the common sense of that word. Today, some have been published but are circulated mostly among those people who have been initiated into the practice. For example, according to oral sources, the texts concerning the practice of Dorje Shugden according were collected in Tibet by Tagri Dorje Chang by request of the Regent Radreng Rinpoche. I could not find written confirmation of this. There is reference in the below edition that the Mongolian Lobsang Tayang had collected many of the texts. The “pe.bum” from Tibet was expanded by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and the two volume ‘jam.mgon bstan.sung rgyal.chen rdo.rje shugs.ldan rtsal kyi be.bum, published by Gurudeva Rinpoche in Delhi, first early sixties, and this expanded version in 1983.

The material presented here is meant to contribute to the discussion with information not available now or not taken into consideration.

The Dorje Shugden conflict is so emotional because it directly involves the Dalai Lama myth. For that reason it is extremely difficult to get reliable, objective information. It is also the reason why I have resorted to this very tedious method of presenting basic information.

I hope this will provide a body of facts with the least interpretive overlay. Since the Tibetan exile government denies there is a ban or that anything discriminatory occurred against Buddhists who rely on Dorje Shugden, there is nothing much to present from their side in terms of facts. Unproven allegations and defamations against Dorje Shugden practitioners spread on behalf of the exile government will be discussed in Part III, particularly in the section “War of Words.”

In what follows, I am listing only the events for which there is documentation or reliable eye witnesses. Thus, it is by no means a complete or exhaustive chronicle. In order to better understand the unprecedented eruption of the Dorje Shugden conflict in 1996, I will first provide some historical background going back to the time when a highly realized master, Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen, first arose as a Dharmapala in the seventeenth century.

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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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