The Religious Freedom Delusion

Freedom of religion or Freedom of belief is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any religion. The freedom to leave or discontinue membership in a religion or religious group — in religious terms called “apostasy” — is also a fundamental part of religious freedom.

~ Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On 6 February 2014, the well respected President Obama of United States of America made an official statement in Washington Hilton hotel about religious freedom:

We see governments engaging in discrimination and violence against the faithful. We sometimes see religion twisted in attempt to justify hatred, persecution against other people just because of who they are and how they pray or who they love.
~ President Obama; Promotes Religious Freedom, CNN
[Extracted from:]

In another report on NYTimes, the President was reported to have chastised China and other countries known for their religious discrimination while declaring that promoting freedom of faith around the world is the goal of America’s foreign policy.

History shows that nations that uphold the rights of their people, including the freedom of religion, are ultimately more just and more peaceful and more successful,” Mr. Obama told a hotel ballroom audience of 3,500 people. “Nations that do not uphold these rights sow the bitter seeds of instability and violence and extremism. So freedom of religion matters to our national security.
~ President Obama; Religious Freedom is a tenet of foreign policy, NYTimes

Ironically, two weeks after making such enthusiastic speeches on religious freedom, the President of United States, Mr Obama met with H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader for all Tibetan Buddhists across the globe, and who has previously declared:

The Dalai Lama is famous for being a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and has spoken widely in support of world peace for the past 50 years. Yet within the Tibetan community, the Dalai Lama sings a different tune, forcing his personal religious views upon his countrymen and infringing upon the basic freedoms he publicly supports. Is President Obama, with all the intelligence of the FBI, CIA and Secret Service at his fingertips, aware of His Holiness’ actions?

The oppression of Dorje Shugden practitioners worldwide is no longer a small issue. Extensive media coverage on the recent peaceful protests organized by the International Shugden Community in California and Washington DC has revealed the silent suffering Dorje Shugden practitioners have endured for the past 18 years, due to the ban enforced by H.H. Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

The CTA’s ban on Dorje Shugden affects the lives of American Buddhists. Here, American Shugdenpas demand for their religious freedom

The CTA, on paper a democratic government for the Tibetans in exile, are known to mix politics and religion. For the past 18 years, with the encouragement of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, the CTA has gone the extra mile to ostracize and discriminate against Shugden practitioners, depriving them not only of their religious freedom but also of their basic human rights. The violence under the Tibetan leadership continues to breed fear amongst Shugden followers and although much of the physical oppression is no longer seen in Tibetan refugee camps, the unsaid rule of treating Shugden followers as if they had the plague goes on till today.

The Dalai Lama is crystal clear in his stance on the Shugden issue, and for all he says about world peace, he continues to encourage the Central Tibetan Administration to come down hard on peaceful, loving and kind Tibetan Shugden practitioners who want nothing more than to practice their religion in peace. Whether Dorje Shugden is a worldly spirit or an enlightened dharma protector is not really the issue; the real problem here is that no leader or governmental agency has the right to deprive its people and certainly, no right to deprive citizens of the world of their freedom of belief and human rights. Not even the Dalai Lama or the Central Tibetan Administration.

So when the two great leaders met – Barack Obama, the President of the most influential country in the world; and H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, who made it to the Top 10 of Forbes’ most influential leaders’ list – was President Obama aware of the human rights atrocities committed by the Dalai Lama? Or has President Obama been fooled by the Dalai Lama’s public statements, which hide what really happens within the Tibetan communities?

President Obama’s well-thought-out speeches about religious freedom have given us a glimmer of hope, but it has yet to show results when it comes to the Dorje Shugden issue. Let what of the President will now take similar action against the Dalai Lama and CTA as he did against China. After all religious freedom should transcend all political alliances. We can only hope.

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12 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. President Obama, please help us stop this injustice, inhuman and violence against Dorje Shugden practitioner. You need to stop meeting and talking to Dalai Lama, cos he is infringing the religious freedom to the Buddhist practitioner. Buddhism is suppose to be peaceful and accepting, Dalai Lama is not. And to the Buddhist practitioner out there, especially in USA, we need all of you to stand up and convey the message to lot more people, especially to President Obama. The world needs to know the truth!

  2. Was searching articles today and ran into this one. after reading your cmment Scott Lee I felt like someone reached inside my chest and squeezed my heart.
    I wrote a post about this a while back that basically says:
    Religion in all forms is nothing more than man’s possession of a great self-ego. Your brains are wired to understand a beginning and you are socialized to fear an end. Not being able to answer the perplexing questions about the meaning of life, unable to grasp the concept that you know not your origin, not being able to accept that your consciousness and your sense of self may one day come to an end, you therefore have the need to continue to seek your beginnings. You continue to paint your end as being able to live forever in a heavenly world or otherwise. You hang on arrogantly with both hands at the hope that you, the self must go on, even after death without a shred of evidence to these facts.
    That so much suffer so unnecessarily in the name of religion is mind boggling.

    Strength to you.

  3. Whatever His Holiness has said is a blatant lie! With all due respect to him being a monk, what more the leader of the Gelug school of Buddhism, there has been so much contradictions in his words and actions. And what is unbelievable is to deny that there are contradictions in what he says and does, when all evidences gathered has proved otherwise.

    If anyone from the White House is reading this at the moment, please do something to help the American Dorje Shugden practitioners who are suffering from this unjust and illogical ban which downright opposes religious freedom imposed by His Holiness. Your people need your help to advocate the removal of the ban, just like many of the Tibetans and monks who are in exile and are unable to reach out to the world as you can.

    During His Holiness’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize award, he said:

    “…But I believe the prize is a recognition of the true value of altruism, love, compassion and non-violence which I try to practice, in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha and the great sages of India and Tibet

    I accept the prize with profound gratitude on behalf of the oppressed everywhere and for all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace. I accept it as a tribute to the man who founded the modern tradition of non-violent action for change Mahatma Gandhi whose life taught and inspired me. And, of course, I accept it on behalf of the six million Tibetan people, my brave countrymen and women inside Tibet, who have suffered and continue to suffer so much…”

    So, has His Holiness forgot what he has said in his speech? He has done everything to oppose what he has said to Shugden practitioners, who are still suffering in and out of Tibet, because of His Holiness. Basic human rights and freedom are totally thrown out of the window when it comes to Dorje Shugden practitioners. In the modern world that we live in today, it is sad to still see discrimination taking place when the world has advanced in so many aspects.

  4. I agree what Scott Lee said about the people need to stand up to tell the whole world how Dalai Lama imposed the ban and caused the suffering to Shudgen practitioners. What are the effects of the ban towards basic human right on religious freedom. Everybody should speak up and convey the message to more and more people about the unfairness of the ban. We need to create awareness and make known to those people follow the ban blindly. Now is the time for the people to think and justify why the ban been imposed. Let us continue to share the truth behind the ban with our friends or share it through social media. We are just telling the truth about the unfairness of the ban and nothing much.

  5. Hi jane, I am not sure if I understood you correctly, but I understood you to express compassion for people debating their religious convictions. Your reasons do not fit within our framework. But, your reasons may make sense within other faiths or Judeo-Christian perceptions.

    This is a debate within Je Tsongkhapa’s (Kadampa) lineage of Buddhism. We agree on many things, such as no beginning, no end, and meditating on our own death to overcome the fear you say drives this conversation.

    It is possible a Kadampa student in this debate may be motivated for the reasons you say. However, neither side of the debate would acknowledge the spiritual credibility of such a person, because they would be rejecting core tenets of holy Kadampa doctrine on both sides, and those tenets are not being debated.

    Also, strong debate like this is historically intertwined with the culture of Tibetan Buddhism. It is my understanding the NKT, under Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s guidance, is discouraged from strong traditional forms of debate within his centers. I tend to be outspoken and can guarantee this style of communicating will not ingratiate a NKT practitioner to their colleagues or superiors, even on behalf of the Dorje Shugden debate.

    Hope that clears things up, and

    My apologies if I misunderstood you

  6. I am very sure President Obama would have been updated on the background of any leader he was going to meet, including current world affairs updates. We are talking here of the President of the United States and not the president of some small island. He has some of the best trained personnel in the world, not to mention one of the best security details on earth, who have access to world affairs of the four corners of the globe. However, after the closed door meeting between President Obama and the Dalai Lama, I heard of intensified death threats by the anti Dorje Shugden camp against pro Dorje Shugden advocates like Adar Tsering – I wonder why. Also there were top brass meetings in Dharamsala in which one of the topics discussed was of Dorje Shugden issue. See

  7. President Obama stated that nations that does not give and respect freedom, including religious freedom, will enjoy more peace and success. Therefore, is the failure of Tibet to gain any autocracy, freedom or success the result of Dorje Shugden practice or the government’s failure to protect and uphold the freedom of its people.

    The lack of peace and liberty in the Tibetan community is nothing new based on the primitive and inhuman methods of punishment the government practices. With a track record and the increasing international exposure and attention to injustice of the Dorje Shugden ban, the anti-Shugden camp should be very worried and concerned and take effective action to rectify the unfair treatment afflicted onto the unprotected and unrepresented Dorje Shugden practitioners.

  8. There is an interesting question here: Does the US President Obama not know about this Ban and how many have suffered as are result? I am sure we all have more faith in the President than to think he can be “fooled” by all the peace talks and mumblings of HHDL. Or is it that the numbers who have died and are suffering discrimination are just not high to be classified as “alarming” or “against human rights” and thus no intervention from the US? Come on the protests took place on the streets of US soil!

    I am not writing to insult the President, I dare not, but I am thinking why is it this has not been addressed? Or is HHDL so smooth with his peace talks that he can blind others? Or is it bad publicity to be associated with this issue and paint the HHDL in a bad light in front of millions? Maybe this should be done so that people stop suffering!

  9. With all due respect, President Obama is a politician and it does not benefit him or his country to berate the DL in public. Exposing the plight of the Shugden practitioners and outwardly supporting religious freedom this way may not be part of an agenda that is advantageous to the world at the moment. There can be overwhelming evidence of the oppression and abuse of Shugden practitioners and the Declaration of HR could be cited numerous times, but how many million Jews had to die before the Nazis were brought to justice?

    Nevertheless, it does not mean that we stop practicing DS and creating awareness regarding this issue. But maybe a new wave of approach should arise. Instead of fighting the DL, perhaps prove to him and those who are against DS how successful and victorious DS practitioners are. How dedicated we are to spreading the Buddha-Dharma. How we benefit and serve the world equally together with those who don’t practice. If we show the positive side of the DS practice, this will automatically invalidate the ban, making it redundant and insignificant.

  10. China is clearly the world emerging power in economy and military force and United States has every reason to fear this formidable and fast growing force. Tibet is her chess game to check and irk China. President Obama is no fool on the Dorje Shugden controversy and conflict staged on a world platform. It certainly cannot escape President Obama and his men. So what if President Obama is fully aware of the human rights atrocities committed by the Dalai Lama in his exiled community, is he willing to sacrifice the pawn in his hand?

    President Obama’s well-thought-out speeches about religious freedom will always remain a glimmer of hope in far away land for Shugden practitioners.

  11. Does hypocrite deserve respect, love and support? People who deserves respect, love, care, support etc are the ones who are genuine, kind, giving, considerate and most of all, respect all mankinds and even animals. In spiritual sense, we don’t deprive people’s freedom in whatever decision even we think they are doing something wrong. We don’t inflict violence on them who seem opposing the leader’s decision. We don’t do that because we believe cause and effect. When Buddha teaches His students, whether or not it is beneficial it’s depends on the level of the student’s mind. We don’t force the student and beat them up just because he didn’t do his homework or don’t listen to the teacher. Buddha never harm anyone.

    I hope all the leaders out there gain clarity of mind and with their wisdom and power, help the needy who deserves some basic human rights and stop associating with hypocrites who is creating disharmony only. Please.

  12. Space is the one and only Kingdom, Government, Law, Worldorder!

    Space is free of lastingness and non-existence, therefore space is a continuum, therefore conciousness is a continuum, therefore elements, nature and beings are impermanent and everything is interdependet.

    That’s why there are cycles in relatve reality like universes with their planets and nature that beings live in appear and disappear in cycles that means everything is a continuum and there is no death at all and there have been past lifes, there is present life and there will be future life.

    So we all had past lifes, are alive and will have future lives according to our activities/karma but allways are in space and its one and only Kingdom, Government, Law, Worldorder of wisdom and compassion.

    Therefore there is no duality, therefore there is a live upkeeping, life protecting, regenerating and healing process that is running by space but all states/republic/religions with their eternalism and nihilism that harm nature and beings, which is based on illusion of ignorancee regarding this non-duality or black magic/satanism, only betray themself with this/their harmful actions of mind, speech and body because it effects their own conciousnesscontinuum (present and future lifes) and means public authority, econmy and religions worldwide failed and will fail because of their ignorane/violence and therefore will be wiped away by the one and only kingdom of space sooner or later anyway. No chance to escape the one and only kingdom/government/law/worldorder of space and your karma!

    Black magic, satanism, eternalism and nihilism, has never worked, some ignorant people try again and again, create states, republics and religions with their own rules and they fail again and again. Thats why states/republics/religions come and go but dharma stays.

    States/republics/religions only harm themself by their own harmful actions of mind, speech and body, because they ignore the one and only kingdom/government/law/worldorder of space (wisdom and compassion) therefore they have no control over people by their violence but harm themself because their harmful actions effect their conciousnesscontinum, present and future lifes.

    Nobody rules the world but if you set up your own government/kingdom/law/worldorder and practive violence you will effect suffering for yourself because there is only this one Kingdom/Government/Law/Worldorder of Space and beings only can live in freedom and wellbeing if they live according to wisdom and compassion that is rooted in space.

    Space is not punishment because it is freedom and healing but ignorance is creating karma so therefore ignorance/violence of any kind is selfpunishment or selfhatered. Punishment is violence/satanism. Because states/republics/religions punish it is violence/stanism and cant effect freedom and wellbeing.

    Worldwide public autority, economy, religions are people who hate themself and keep themself away from freedom but they cant keep away others from freedom because space is bigger and stronger.

    Dharma will be victorous but ignorant mankind will fail, because they ignore the one and only Kingdom/Government/Law/Worldorder of space and want to rule eventhough they have no controll about anything that is outside of themself.

    Welcome to this rigpa world of space!

    And remeber you are always free to study and practice your own wisdom and compassion because space and conciousness is always there … just do it regardless of others … especially of ignorant people who want to prevent you from effecting freedom and wellbing by wisdom and compassion … they have nothing to say anyway and they are impermament and wil experience non-duality sooner or later anyway.

    So just go for it and don’t listen to states/republics/economy/religions with their dualistic betray systems, they will disappear sooner or later anyway but dharma will stay anyway.

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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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