What does the Dalai Lama’s ‘retirement’ means for religious freedom?

There are recent reports that the Dalai Lama’s decision to retire from politics, expressed earlier this month, has been accepted by the Tibetan Parliament. So does this mean that the Dalai Lama has really retired, and what are the implications for Dorje Shugden practitioners who are still experiencing discrimination at the hands of the Tibetan Government in Exile?

Time will tell. Perhaps the Dalai Lama has simply retreated into the background to create a ‘democracy with ‘Tibetan characteristics’ (a continuing Theocracy) and from a practical point of view will continue to control all aspects of life for ordinary Tibetans, as has been the case for the past sixty years and beyond, or perhaps his decision heralds a new era of openness and true democracy with a genuine democratically-elected secular leader, the Kalon Tripa. The main question is – what will happen to religious freedom in this new system; will things be better or worse?


The hypocrisy of the Dalai Lama’s ‘non-sectarianism’

Although the Dalai Lama has encouraged Tibetans to freely practice all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and not to see any differences between them, a policy that heralds disaster for the future of Tibetan Buddhism and that is not even in accord with the Rime or non-sectarian movement of the last two centuries, he has been consistently hard on those who practise Dorje Shugden. To the Western world, the Dalai Lama proclaims that we should be respectful and open minded towards all faiths, even writing a book on the subject, but, with characteristic hypocrisy, he has been less charitable towards the followers of Dorje Shugden, the main Protector practice of many powerful Gelugpa Teachers for four hundred years, and has preached anything other than peaceful co-existence. He has introduced an undemocratic ban on the practice, galvanising both Tibetans and Westerns to abandon the practice and ostracise those who refuse to give it up. Tibetans have had to swear an oath to do these two things, even in free, democratic countries such as Switzerland and the USA.

Editor’s Note – In a story about Buddha Shakyamuni, in the same day in the morning he agreed with a person that there is no god, in the afternoon he agreed with another person there is a god. So does that make him a hypocrite or inconsistent? Things are required to be taken in context.

For one to be sectarian one must be totally biased towards one view or one method. But the Dalai Lama has both Gelugpa and Nyingma practices, can he really be sectarian?


Ostracism and discrimination

The ban has meant that Shugden practitioners are denied basic rights, such the freedom to travel, enter certain shops and receive medical treatment and education. You can watch Al Jazeera’s unbiased report on this issue. It seems that Dorje Shugden has been the Dalai Lama’s particular political obsession of the past thirty years, along with the problem of Tibet, but it has only ever been a means to an end, a smokescreen to distract from his failure to secure any autonomy for Tibet. Behind the scenes, he has tried to cement his position of holder of supreme spiritual and political power in Tibetan society while at the same time, showing a public face of tolerance, peace and compassion to the Western media. This policy of having two faces has served the Dalai Lama very well up to this point, but what does the future hold?

Editor’s Note – This is part of subterfuge to make people believes the ban is real. All things are illusory and so is the ban. The Dalai Lama if he is realized he has control over his rebirth, if he is realized his actions are Buddha like. We can then try to judge his actions based on our samsaric views but it is like a dog barking at a mountain. If the Dalai Lama is unenlightened, whatever political or spiritual power he has, he can’t bring it to his next life. So what is the point of worrying about power he can’t bring it to the next life if he is unenlightened.

dalai lama


What is the Dalai Lama’s role now?

Although loved by the Tibetan people and held to be a Buddha by Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama’s role as a spiritual leader is completely unnecessary because each tradition of Tibetan Buddhism has its own Head, so what is his role? It seems that, over the past nearly four hundred years, the Dalai Lama has made himself indispensable to the Tibetan people, where they cannot think to do anything without his guidance. He built the Potala palace and made himself into a God-King. It’s shocking to realise that the Dalai Lama has played the role of the cloying mother for four hundred years who, out of fear of redundancy, has refused to let her children grow up and stand on their own two feet. He has dictated Tibetan religio-political policy, creating the ‘Lama Policy’ that has poisoned Buddhism and threatened the pure teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni in this world, and he has used them to build a fortress of respectability to the point where he is considered one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine.

Editor’s Note – The Fifth Dalai Lama did not ascend the throne all by himself, he had the Gelugpa hierarchy to support him. If the Dalai Lama is guilty of anything, then the people who supported him are also guilty too. Where does this lead to? Everybody is wrong?


The future for Shugden practitioners

What does the Dalai Lama’s retirement from front line politics mean to Shugden practitioners who have been persecuted by him and his followers for the past thirty years? At this point, it’s hard to say. It’s hard to imagine that the Tibetan Government in Exile will immediately change their policy, given that it is clearly one of the Dalai Lama’s most treasured, but maybe over time a true democracy and non-sectarianism will emerge if the Dalai Lama’s influence is allowed to fade. The draconian ban of Shugden practice is clearly not a democratic policy but the heart aim of just one person, so there is every hope that things will change. However, in the meantime, as a ‘spiritual leader’. the Dalai Lama will have more time on his hands and this doesn’t bode well for Shugden followers as he will have many opportunities to speak out and further poison the hearts of Tibetans and Western followers of Tibetan Buddhism towards the practice and its devotees. It’s hard to believe that he will stop following his long treasured aim of destroying the practice and only time will tell what this all means for true democracy and religious freedom.

Editor’s Note – Since Dalai Lama announced retirement and has gotten the TGIE to accept it the instances of Dalai Lama speaking about Dorje Shugden has decreased. I quote Sun Tzu, “In times of peace prepare for war, in times of war prepare for peace”. Peace among Gelugpa practitioners is coming sooner than you think.

(Source : http://wisdombuddhadorjeshugden.blogspot.com/2011/03/what-does-dalai-lamas-retirement-means.html)

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  1. In any ideal governance of a country the political and judiciary powers should never be one, that is a form of true democracy. The Dalai Lama is both inclusive of being the spiritual head until he relinquishes his political powers.
    Therefore being only the spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama has more time to “look” into the reasons why Dorje Shugden ban should be greater enforced, but if Tibetans choose otherwise, then will discrimination against them be just as stringent as it is before Dalai Lama relinquishes his political status. Would judgement and worshippers of Dorje Shugden still be punished and if so by who. Or would the legacy so created be continued?

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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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