The will to refuse a jungle of views

I have been scouring the internet for as much information as I can on Dorje Shugden. I have compiled a lot of notes (thanks to Google Notes) so I will now present what I have found with regards to this “deity”.

At this moment in time I have no affiliation with any Buddhist Schools nor with the Dalai Lama so everything here is taken from other web sites and blogs with my own interpretations. Where possible I have included links to the original articles.

So, if like me you are interested in the Dorje Shugden Practice and want to know more, this is my introduction.

What’s in a name?
The name Dorje Shugden translates from Tibetan to Powerful Thunderbolt.

Who is Dorje Shugden?
Some say that this “deity” is an enlightened being or dharma protector whereas others view him as an “evil spirit”. It was said that the 5th Dalai Lama, who came into rule in 1642 had a rival by the name of Dragpa Gyaltsen. Dragpa defeated the Dalai Lama in debate and was deemed more popular than the Dalai Lama himself. Soon after Dragpa was mysteriously found dead with a ceremonial scarf forced down his throat. It has never been verified if this was murder or suicide. It is/was of the opinion that Dorje Shugden was the vengeful spirit of Dragpa Gyaltsen.

The Dalai Lama then changed his mind about Shugden and announced that Shugden was indeed an enlightened being and henceforth praised him as a Buddha.

Who practices Dorje Shugden?
It would be wise of me to mention at this early stage in my research that the 14th Dalai Lama himself was a practitioner of Dorje Shugden from around 1951 to 1970. He was certainly introduced to the practice by his teachers Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche (respective Senior and Junior teachers to the 14th Dalai Lama).

The Ban
The reason I bring this up early in this post is that in 1996, the 14th Dalai Lama made a sudden u-turn in his mindset and banned the practice of Dorje Shugden.

The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying he “strongly discourages” the practice of Dorje Shugden. But there is evidence of a ban. For example the ID cards for Tibetans are given as long as they swear they are not Shugden practitioners nor will they have any spiritual or material relationship with those who do.

The Dalai Lama has given a few reasons why Dorje Shugden should not be practiced. One of those is that the 5th and 13th Dalai Lamas banned the practice. As noted above, the 5th Dalai Lama had already changed his mind about Dorje Shugden being an evil spirit. Plus if you add to this the fact that the 6th to the 12th Dalai Lamas did not have a problem with the practice. Also there is no record of the 13th Dalai Lama actually banning the practice itself and he had also changed his mind about Dorje Shugden being an evil spirit.

As the 14th Dalai Lama’s teachers were practitioners, it seems odd how he would wait until Trijang Rinpoche had died before initiating the ban. Trijang had died in 1981, the Dalai Lama had stopped his practice in 1970, yet he did not ban it publicly until 1996. Some people believe that the 14th Dalai Lama is using his political power for religious reasons.

Why I think the ban should be lifted.
Buddha Shakyamuni [1] was the founder of Buddhism, in his own words, Shakyamuni said that “practitioners have the freedom to make up their own minds about what to adopt and what to practice, and which spiritual leader to follow.” He also said that, “no one should believe him just because he said it or because others believed him – they needed to ascertain the truth for themselves.”

So why does the Dalai Lama have a right to tell Buddhists not to practice Dorje Shugden? If Shakyamuni said we should effectively be finding these things out for ourselves then no one has the right to tell Buddhists what they can and cannot practice.

In his autobiography, Freedom from exile, the 14th Dalai Lama wrote that he consults an Oracle (that of Nechung). Now, to be a Buddhist, you must take “refuge in the Three Jewels – The Buddha, The Dharma, and The Sangha”. No where does it mention about Oracles nor did the Buddha ever teach anything on the reliance of Oracles.

Here is a Youtube video called Dalai Lama – The Devil Within. This explains some of what I have written here.

[1] Buddha Shakyamuni is the founder of Buddhism who lived in the 6th century BC in Northern India. Buddha explained that all our problems and suffering arise from confused and negative states of mind and all our happiness and good fortune arise from peaceful and positive states mind. He taught methods for gradually overcoming minds such as anger, jealousy and ignorance and developing positive states of minds such as love, compassion and wisdom. Through this we will come to experience the lasting peace and happiness of full enlightenment.

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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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