The new wall at Ganden Shartse monastery in Southern India was built in March of this year.
(Editor’s note: The wall segregates Ganden Shartse Monastery from Shar Ganden Monastery, which was founded by monastics who do not want to renounce the Dorje Shugden practice.
Read more about Shar Ganden Monastery.
Watch the video about this particular wall here.
It has no gate, no entryway along its entire length. It is designed only to separate, to divide monk from monk; it even blocks access to the old road. It stands 9 feet tall and is made of concrete bricks. Visually, it is attractive in the same architectural style as the monastery. However, it’s appearance is deceptive and hides a sinister purpose. Each brick is an eerie symbol of inequality and hatred, instilled on the basis of just a religious belief. The wall lies on the brown dusty earth — the very earth on which we all stand equal as human beings, each with the basic right to hold the faith of our choosing. It rises, row by row, into our common sky — the vast common canopy into which all can gaze, uplifting the mind beyond the mundane to the infinite and even the holy.
At first the wall was planned to be just 5 feet tall like all the other walls on the property. But some monks complained. They argued that the Dorje Shugden practitioners could still be seen from the windows of the higher floors of adjacent buildings. They should not be seen, any of them. They didn’t even want the wind of Dorje Shugden practitioners to blow around them. So the wall became higher, reaching nine feet—an edifice to religious apartheid. The wall serves as an ugly reminder to practitioners of Dorje Shugden that they are separate, ostracized and objects of the animosity of those who were once their family and friends. Each day, in the seething heat, Dorje Shugden practitioners have to walk the new twenty-minute journey around the wall to the segregated prayer halls while enduring the humiliation of those wishing them to abandon their devotion to their lineage and their Gurus.
A Geshe who had been living in the monastery for many years, wanted me to know about this wall. He carefully explained its meaning in a serious tone that was tinged with sadness. I felt a sick feeling inside when I heard of the stories of discrimination and religious injustice. Although I was appalled but it confirmed news of the growing and relentless religious discrimination against sincere Dorje Shugden Buddhists.
This wall is just one physical example amidst the growing trend of religious intolerance that occurs on a daily basis against Dorje Shugden practitioners within the Tibetan community and now worldwide. As recently as last week, signs were posted in Tibetan communities in Mundgod, India by Save Tibet Group — “We appeal you to cut any ties of buying and selling foods in restaurants and shops with whoever has connection to this Dorje Shugden organization.” The aversion and hostility continues.
The office of the Dalai Lama is enforcing the systematic persecution and segregation of Dorje Shugden followers, and some parties are even encouraging people to see them as the sole object of blame, as scapegoats, for all difficulties within Tibetan society. His government officials, sycophantic Geshes hungry for his favor and leaders fearful of arousing his disapproval and reprisal are implementing his policy with ruthless zeal. All of them think that the Dalai Lama must be obeyed. There is no freedom of speech and no freedom of press within the Tibetan community.
I have been told that in the East, many see that there is something wrong with the Dalai Lama and his policies. While in the West, he is revered and awarded endlessly. At the Harvard Divinity School, the Dalai Lama said once, that it was time for all of us to give up thinking our beliefs are superior to those of others. He said recently (in the Economist) ‘Freedom, fairness, openness and equality… are among the highest human values, a measure to which all nations should be held to account.’
Yet amongst the Tibetans he says: ‘There will be no change in my stand. I will never revoke the ban. You are right. It will be like the Cultural Revolution. If those who do not accept the ban do not listen to my words, the situation will grow worse for them. You sit and watch. It will grow only worse for them.’ Dalai Lama (July 13, 1999), to monks in India who questioned the ban. And ‘The Dorje Shugden Society plays games with me wherever I go… they think I will back off. That I will never do. If not in this life, a successor will be appointed to sustain this ban’. Dalai Lama, Drepung Monastery (January 14th 1999).
By sharing blatant facts and truths, listening to testimonies, and bearing witness on behalf of all Shugden practitioners around the world, the policies of the Dalai Lama’s government must soon inevitably come toppling down. And with it, the grotesque wall at Ganden monastery.