Tibetan Kashag Makes Dalai Lama Out To Be A Liar

by Shashi Kei

It has been over half a century since Tibet was forcibly taken over by China. Since then, the Tibetan people have come to be defined by their struggle to regain their country and reinstate their beloved Dalai Lama in the Potala Palace. So far their struggle has not yielded anywhere near the result that they had hoped for.

To add to the Tibetan people’s woes, another tragedy has been unfolding ever so gradually, resulting in the people slowly losing their claim over Tibetan Buddhism which has been their birthright for centuries. We hear stories of the deep spirituality of the Tibetan people and we can be excused for expecting to find the same piety in the people’s government; however it is here that a different character of modern Tibet reveals itself.

One of the ministries within the Tibetan government-in-exile (now known as the Central Tibetan Administration or CTA) is the Department of Religion and Culture which, according to the CTA’s website, serves the function of overseeing religious and cultural affairs in the Tibetan exile community. The DoRC, as it is known, has the responsibility of “supervising works aimed at reviving, preserving, and promotion of Tibetan religious and cultural heritages that is being led to the verge of extinction in Tibet”. [1]

On the face of it, the DoRC’s purpose is to fulfill a very noble calling of preserving, for posterity, the Dharma as expressed by all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. And seeing that Tibetan Buddhism is synonymous with Vajrayana, which has the distinction of being the swiftest path to enlightenment, the DoRC’s mission takes on an even greater significance and becomes a duty to keep the most efficacious practice in Buddhism alive and flourishing.

The statement by the DoRC alluded to a threat of the Tibetan religious [and cultural] heritage becoming extinct. Looking at the history of the Tibetans, it would appear that other than a period in its past when Buddhism was suppressed almost into complete destruction by King Langdarma, the religion experienced an unprecedented renaissance from the time Lama Atisha emerged in Tibet to resuscitate the pure Dharma, right until recent decades. In that period, the Tibetan Buddhist culture took shape and became strong, reinforced over time. Even the invasion of Tibet by Mao’s China was a catalyst for the growth of the religion as the exodus of high lamas from Shangri-la paved the way for Tibetan Buddhism to spread all over the world, transforming lives and by that creating international disciples and Dharma teachers to transmit the teachings in a multitude of languages.

In fact, without the impetus of the annexation of Tibet, the dynamic propulsion of Tibetan Buddhism into the world may not have happened at all, and in all likelihood, the religion and its mystifying culture would have remained exclusively entrenched in the high plateaus, jealously guarded by its isolation from the rest of the world. The Tibetan Buddhist heritage, in fact, gained footholds around the world from the communist incursion. And while it is true that the communist party of China sought to eradicate all forms of religion earlier on, with the passing of Mao Zedong the party changed its policy to embrace especially Tibetan Buddhism as a means of winning over the Tibetans in the occupied Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Therefore in a broader analysis, within China there was no threat of Tibetan Buddhism becoming extinct while outside China, the practice and acceptance of Tibetan Buddhism gained momentum. So where does the threat to Tibetan Buddhism that the DoRC refers to actually come from?

It might shock many to learn that the real threat arises from within the very body that was established to preserve the Tibetan people’s culture and religion, and also to embody the struggle of the Tibetan people for freedom – their own government in exile. China may have taken their country but it is the CTA itself that is spreading a cancer, attacking the moral vertebrae of the Tibetan nation and stealthily working to dislodge pure Buddhist ethics from the conscience of the Tibetan people – ethics that so many masters in the past have tirelessly taught and instilled. Tibetan Buddhism may not be extinct to the world but it can certainly be lost to the Tibetan people unless the corruption that has allowed the Tibetan leaders to use the language of religion to disguise their irreligious intentions is exposed and weeded out.

One very clear example of the CTA’s degeneracy is in the way its uses its executive powers to persecute those whom it perceives to be opposed to its political ambitions by attacking their religious practice. On one hand, the CTA via the DoRC claims to preserve and promote Tibetan religious culture. But on the other hand, the kashag (Tibetan Cabinet) balefully harbors a unit of government known as the Dolgyal Affairs Scrutiny Section, whose function seems harmless enough until it becomes clear that it is in fact a spying and witch hunting unit, the “witch” being whom the CTA decides. [2]

The Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and Kashag members who jointly harbor the Dolgyal unit, a front for the government’s religious persecution activities

“Dolgyal” is a pejorative given by the CTA to an ancient Tibetan deity, Dorje Shugden, known to be a wrathful emanation of the Buddha Manjushri and worshipped as such since the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Dorje Shugden was the Dharma Protector of the Gelug lineage (known also as the Yellow Hats), which for centuries dominated the political landscape of Tibet. The Dalai Lamas themselves hail from the Yellow Hat sect and until 1996, the deity was a popular and sacred figure in the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon. However, things began to change when the CTA decided to enhance its control over the Tibetan people who adhered more to spiritual guidance than political governance.

The government initiated a program to combine all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism into one under its control. This was the first sign that the establishment was quite prepared to do away with the rich tapestry and heritage of Tibetan Buddhism. The plan did not work because an influential component of the people who opposed the government’s political ambitions were worshippers of Dorje Shugden. The ruling establishment then conspired to eliminate their presence from the Tibetan community in exile by banning the worship of their Protector and outlawing its practice. Buddhism became a tool to subjugate instead of liberate. Dorje Shugden became “Dolgyal”, a derogatory name (meaning spirit of Dol) by government decree as the CTA sought to demonize this particular Buddhist practice and its practitioners, thus sending them underground. [3]

The Dolgyal Affairs Scrutiny Section is thus the unscrupulous snooping unit that operates inquisitorial campaigns to eliminate dissenters of the government’s ambitions, on the pretext of safeguarding the welfare of the public, the state and the spiritual head of the Tibetan people. Its sole duty, in fact, is to make sure that all Dorje Shugden worshippers are marked out, socially oppressed and marginalized. They are stripped of all voting rights, denied basic welfare such as medical treatment in public clinics and hospitals, denied travel permits, positions in all government and government-controlled companies and offices, and banished from all levels of Tibetan society.

At the same time, the department makes sure that the Tibetan community in general participates in the persecution and in fact becomes agents of the government’s tyranny against Shugden practitioners. They do so by making it a crime to be associated in any way with Shugden practitioners. [4] For example, shops deny service to Shugden monks and laity because NOT to do so would be considered a crime. This is the Tibetan’s own Ku Klux Klan in action and how the CTA manages to convince itself that its finger-pointing at China is justified while it denies a significant section of the Tibetan community the freedom to practice their religion, is anyone’s guess.

Shugden worshippers turn to the Indian government for justice. As refugees, the Tibetans in exile are obliged to abide by the laws of their Indian host whose Constitution guarantees religious freedom

The very existence of the Dolgyal unit shows how gravely disingenuous the DoRC is in its claim to preserve Tibetan Buddhist culture, and how deceitful the CTA is when it states over and over again that it is a democracy that protects the people’s individual rights unlike their enemy, China. If the DoRC is true to its purpose, then surely its first duty is to remove this, the CTA’s own witch-hunting unit, because nothing threatens the Tibetan Buddhist heritage more than a corrupt government politicizing religion and hijacking issues of faith where it should have no involvement.

The damage inflicted on Tibetan Buddhism by the ban on Dorje Shugden is greater than the CTA would admit. In the process of performing its unholy duties, the Dolgyal unit of the CTA created an alarmingly huge division within the Gelug monastic sect. Shugden monks were expelled from their monasteries and even the great Ganden institution founded by Je Tsongkapa himself was split into two. No amount of shelling by Chinese army cannons could have had as devastating an effect on Tibetan Buddhism as a corrupt government whose preferred instrument of control is manipulating its own people’s spirituality and superstitions.

The ban as enforced by the CTA successfully chased away learned masters and highly attained lamas who continue to practice their faith as they are supposed to and spread the Dharma as they have vowed to, but not under the traditional and official auspices of “Tibetan Buddhism”. Some of the biggest Dharma centers around the world today were founded by Dorje Shugden lamas without the backing of the Tibetan government and have nothing to do with Dharamsala. And as some of these centers are cut off from the religious base centered around the Dalai Lama and denied training and support, they are forced to adjust to fit the Dharma into a new environment. So the practice is evolved away from traditional Tibetan customs, which cannot be practiced without backing of the main monasteries in Dharamsala and elsewhere, which are prohibited from having any association with Dorje Shugden lamas.

For example, some new centers in the West no longer practice the recognition of tulkus and oracular divinations. Being cut off from the arterial support necessary for such uniquely Tibetan traditions to continue, these centers have no choice but to evolve away from it. This is just an example of how the unique Tibetan Buddhist culture is being eroded by the divisive policies of the CTA. Buddhism will prevail but the Tibetan Buddhist heritage may not, and if the CTA continues to wear away at the integrity of their religion, then slowly the Tibetans will lose what they have regarded as their inheritance for centuries. Under the Central Tibetan Administration, Tibetan Buddhism has been in a state of stagnation for some time and instead of growth and unity, huge divisions within the Gelug and Karma Kagyu [5] sects have appeared, both as the result of the CTA’s unauthorized incursions into spiritual matters.

The Tibetan Buddhist legacy is already in the process of decay because for decades, the Tibetan people have allowed the CTA to do as they will. And if the rot is allowed to continue, then the DoRC’s fears of the legacy of Tibetan Buddhism becoming lost (just like how India lost its hold on the precious Buddhist doctrines and eventually its Buddhist heritage) might well come to pass.

Ironically the greatest Buddhist philosophers and masters like Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Asanga, Chandrakirti, Shantideva, Shantarakshita, Dharmakirti and Atisha were from India and yet Indian Buddhist culture is faint in the country today. Similarly the Tibetans are losing their claim and ownership of the only asset of value they possess as exiled people – their spiritual inheritance. As much damage as the CTA has inflicted on their religion, the Tibetan Buddhist culture has survived the last century due to it being embodied in the form of the aging Dalai Lama. But what happens when the Dalai Lama passes on?

From left to right: Ven Tenzin Rabgye Rinpoche, H.H. Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche, H.E. Gonsar Rinpoche, H.E. Panglung Rinpoche, H.E. Gangchen Rinpoche – some of the highest Tibetan lamas who have moved away from the CTA’s reach to the great loss of the Tibetan people

It was foolish of the CTA to think that they could attack a highly venerated Buddhist deity who has been propitiated by the majority of Gelugpas, disparage Dorje Shugden masters like H.H. Pabongka Rinpoche and H.H. Trijang Rinpoche (whom all living Gelugpa lamas today are directly or indirectly students of) and force a wedge into the largest Tibetan monastic community, and not have the integrity of Tibetan Buddhism, as a body, compromised and weakened.

When the CTA disparaged Dorje Shugden, it miscalculated how such a move would undermine the credibility of Tibetan Buddhism as a whole. The line of Dorje Shugden’s incarnations include illustrious lamas such as Panchen Sonam Drakpa [6] whose works and writings are still in use as primary texts in the monastic curriculum of major Buddhist universities even today. If Dorje Shugden is indeed a demon as the CTA alleges, then the Tibetan Buddhist universities are using texts written by a demon-incarnate.

Similarly if Pabongka Rinpoche is truly a demon worshipper as he has been labeled for his strong worship of Dorje Shugden, and his great Lamrim work in the form of Liberation In The Palm Of Your Hand is being used by many students of Buddhism today, then it would surely mean that the evil has successfully infiltrated Dharma at its base and the entire Tibetan Buddhist structure is corrupt, tainted and defunct. These suggestions themselves, and what the CTA would like the unknowing observer to think and accept is insanely and obscenely ridiculous. And yet this is the lie that the Dolgyal unit perpetuates even as the DoRC claim to be preserving Tibetan Buddhism.

What will cause Tibetan Buddhism to go into extinction is the ongoing undermining by the CTA of the credibility of one Buddhist lineage, thinking that it will have no effect on the others. The simple fact is there is not very much that separates the beliefs and practices of the four main Tibetan Buddhist lineages and when the CTA undermines the credibility of the Gelugpa lineage, they are in fact undermining the essence of Dharma although expressed with subtle differences by the different schools. The teachings of the Gelug lineage are themselves syntheses of teachings from various other lineages, assembled by Je Tsongkapa.

Even without going into any close examination of the Dorje Shugden ban, the existence of the Dolgyal unit is a huge blow to the image of Tibetan Buddhism and the credibility of the spiritual head of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama. As the Dolgyal unit goes about its dirty business at home, the Dalai Lama is trotting the globe preaching peace and tolerance of all religions. The Dalai Lama has pleaded that;

“Harmony among the major faiths has become an essential ingredient of peaceful coexistence in our world. From this perspective, mutual understanding among these traditions is not merely the business of religious believers – it matters for the welfare of humanity as a whole”. [7]

And on another occasion, during the Anwar Sadat Lecture For Peace at the University of Maryland, the Dalai Lama said;

“Respect all religions and also respect non-believers, and no preference, this religion, that religion, but rather respect all religions”. [8]

And in yet another address, this time to the inter-faith seminar organized by the International Association for Religious Freedom, Ladakh Group, in Leh, the Dalai Lama said;

“I always say that every person on this earth has the freedom to practice or not practice religion. It is all right to do either. But once you accept religion, it is extremely important to be able to focus your mind on it and sincerely practice the teachings in your daily life. All of us can see that we tend to indulge in religious favoritism by saying, “I belong to this or that religion”, rather than making effort to control our agitated minds. This misuse of religion, due to our disturbed minds, also sometimes creates problems” [9]

How does one reconcile the Dalai Lama’s statements and his strong advocacy of religious tolerance with his own government’s unashamed practice of religious persecution at home? Does the Dalai Lama condone the activities of the Dolgyal unit? Because if the Dolgyal unit operates with the blessings of the Dalai Lama, it would mean that His Holiness is not true to his words and if the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism is not honest, then how credible is the religion he preaches and leads?

And if the Dolgyal unit operates without the approval of the Dalai Lama who is the spiritual head of the people, then the CTA is in fact working to undermine the spiritual authority of the Dalai Lama and the integrity of Tibetan Buddhism. If that is the case, then is it not true that the CTA is the biggest threat to the sanctity of Tibetan Buddhism and the most likely cause for the extinction of the Tibetan Buddhist heritage that the DoRC was concerned with?

The CTA’s persecution of Dorje Shugden worshippers and the presence of the Dolgyal unit in the government make a mockery of the Dalai Lama’s message of religious tolerance

The Dolgyal Affairs Scrutiny Section is the Tibetan people’s badge of shame and the ban on Dorje Shugden is the legacy of discrimination and persecution that the Tibetan government will be remembered by. Unfortunately after centuries of synonymy with the greatest Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan peoples’ image is being replaced by the actions of their government, known for the shallowness of its promise to govern its own people as free citizens, for its schismatic actions that have gravely divided the monastic community and for its precipitating the demise of the Tibetan Buddhist heritage.

References:

  1. http://tibet.net/religion/
  2. http://tibet.net/about-cta/executive/programs/political-and-public-affairs/
  3. http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/point-13-documentary-film/
  4. http://www.jamyangnorbu.com/blog/2013/05/07/highest-peaks-to-lowest-gutters/
  5. http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/features/is-it-interference/
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panchen_Sonam_Dragpa
  7. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/opinion/25gyatso.html?_r=0
  8. http://sathiyam.tv/english/world/dalai-lama-pleads-for-religious-tolerance-during-first-stop-of-u-s-tour
  9. http://www.dalailama.com/messages/religious-harmony
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  1. Yeshua (Jesus Christ) is the Son of God and we must repent to Him. God sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins, he was raised from the dead, and resurrected to heaven. He will come back to rule the earth. The wicked who don’t repent and follow Jesus ( and don’t have their hearts changed into loving hearts ) won’t make it.

    God said ” Say unto them: ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?’

    True peace and love is taught by God and Jesus Christ. Jesus said “love your enemies” and ” pray for those who persecute you”, Jesus Christ said ” love your neighbor as yourself”. Jesus said ” For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

    A person will either be with Jesus in paradise for eternity or the person will be sent to hell (and stay there for many years) and then be judged and sent to the ” Lake of Fire” for eternity. It depends on if we accept Jesus Christ, repent, and follow Him or if we reject Him. What do you want? I everyone on earth to FEEL loved by God and Jesus and be in paradise with God and Jesus. I don’t want people to feel lonely while they are on earth or go to hell. I want them follow Christ and given new hearts.

    Lhamo Thondup ( the ” dalai lama’s” real name ) is NOT ” his holiness”, Mr. Thondup sins as everyone else. He needs to repent to Jesus Christ. He will stand before Jesus Christ some day like everyone else. I pray he repents to Jesus Christ. Siddhartha Gautama ( called “the buddha”) abandoned his wife and child to follow his false beliefs centuries ago. I don’t want to learn lies from that man.

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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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