The last time the monks ‘protested’ peacefully in Gaden Monastery against the ban on Dorje Shugden in the 1990′s, they were severely attacked by the lay people with stones, curses, sticks and breaking of windows. Many had to be taken to the clinic. As scary as it sounds, monks were attacked by the laypeople surrounding Gaden Monastery. Gaden is currently located in the Mundgod Tibetan settlement, in South India, which at that time had around 14,000 – 16,000 Tibetans. Gaden Monastery made up 3,300 of the population; Drepung Monastery nearby comprised around 4,000 monks. So the remaining half of the population were lay people who were incited by the representative of Dalai Lama to attack the monks. I have close friends who were there who recounted this. You can also see here a video of the Tibetan government representative of Mundgod inciting the laypeople and Drepung monks to attack the Shugden monks of Gaden.
There are 24 official Tibetan Settlements throughout India. Each settlement has an office where a Tibetan government official is seated to ‘run’ each settlement; he reports back to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in Dharamsala (now known as the Central Tibetan Administration, or CTA). Any orders, news or announcements from Dharamsala are disseminated through these representatives in each of the settlements. In this case, the official representative for Mundgod settlement encouraged the people to rally against the monks who were peaceably protesting against the ban. Of course the CTA condoned the Mundgod representative’s actions because they had given the orders in the first place for him to do as he did.
Any protests – even if they are peaceful – about taboo subjects such as the Tibetan government’s corruption, the inability to achieve autonomy for Tibet, biasness or Dorje Shugden are not allowed. The CTA’s definition of democracy is very different to say the least. Actually everything is handpicked and chosen by the Dalai Lama himself. Even the abbots of each of the monasteries – Sera, Drepung, Gaden, Gyuto, Gyurme, Namgyal and Nechung, to name only a few – are all chosen directly by the Dalai Lama himself. All the abbots these days must fall in line with his policies or they will be asked to remove themselves as in the cases of the previous abbots of both Gaden Shartse and Gaden Jangtse. Hence, the 101st Gaden Tripa defected to Shar Gaden Monastery after his 7-year term as the Gaden Tripa ended (see the full story to this here).
Protests against prevailing policies by Dalai Lama and his government are an absolutely no-no. A clear example of this is that no one within the Tibetan community is allowed to say, “When I grow up, I wish to be the president, the next Dalai Lama or the Prime Minister” as that would be tantamount to treason. Hence, the community is now facing a huge dilemma. The Dalai Lama has been in power for the last 50 years or more. No one within this community is allowed to be groomed to be the next leader, because it is inconceivable to them that another person can be allowed to replace the Dalai Lama. They feel that only his ‘enlightened’ rule can save Tibet.
The irony is that Tibet has lost its country and are not getting it back in the near future. Buddhists would believe that it is the karmic fate of the country; that is what I believe too. However, having said that, many would also say that other countries like the G-8 are run by democratically elected heads and they are doing fine. So why isn’t Tibet doing fine??
This opinion piece has been extracted from the DorjeShugden.com forum. Please add to the discussions on the forum if you have further perspectives, comments and thoughts. We always welcome debate and exchange. The original thread can be viewed on: http://www.dorjeshugden.com/forum/index.php?topic=588