The Tibetan leadership has destroyed Tibetan Buddhism

The opinion piece below was sent to dorjeshugden.com for publication. We accept submissions from the public, please send in your articles to [email protected].

 


 

In Tibet, politics and religion have always been inseparable. At the beginning, the justification for this dangerous mix was that Buddhism would ‘cleanse’ and protect politics from abuse but this would only hold true if the principles of Buddhism are sincerely brought into play, to influence political decision-making. Instead it is much more common to see the religion being abused to explain away certain actions and decisions by the Tibetan government which seem to be devoid of logic and common sense.

 

1. A History of Oppression

For the Tibetan people, Buddhism has always been more than a belief and a system of worship. Buddhism, as it turns out, is also the instrument of social control that the Tibetan government uses to keep the people under its thumb. The Tibet before a young 14th Dalai Lama was catapulted into the world was a feudal theocracy and the vast majority (over 95%) of the Tibetan people were slaves and serfs who had to accept their fate ‘happily’ as they were told that this was their karma and it was wrong to resist their feudal lords.

By invoking distorted religious principles, the Tibetan leadership made the people believe that it was virtuous to accept their forced servitude, and with that, the populace was molded into an obedient workforce for the Tibetan lords. Every aspect of the Tibetan slave’s life was controlled from birth to death and everything was taxed including marriage, planting crops and owning an animal. Whatever of these taxes could not be paid were passed to the next generation, thus enslaving them as well.

Cangued serfs were a typical sight in feudal Tibet

When the Dalai Lama escaped Tibet in 1959 and formed the Tibetan government in exile, this culture of subjugation and the use of religion as a political tool continued. But this time, the Tibetan government disguised itself as a libertarian leadership, a government of the people, a constitutional democracy and celebrated September 2nd each year since going into exile as ‘Democracy Day’. The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), which Gaden Phodrang was now called, even declared that its Constitution was built upon the foundations of Dharma or the Buddha’s teachings. People the world over cheered the triumph of classless equality and the enfranchisement of every single Tibetan man, woman and child and suddenly the Sino-Tibetan conflict became a struggle between a reformist David against the intolerant and oppressive Goliath, the red peril known as the CCP (Chinese Communist Party).

Millions poured in from Tibet sympathizers around the world and even more in the form of subsidies and grants from Western liberal governments anxious to keep communism at bay. The Dalai Lama was given a Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful and non-violent struggle against China even as Tibetan mothers mourned the loss of family who fell in a secret and vicious CIA-sponsored guerilla war that the Dalai Lama waged against China. In truth, little had changed for the Tibetan people who now lived in exile under a more well-practiced theocracy. The ‘law’ was still what the Dalai Lama and CTA deemed it to be. The CTA disbursed aid according to pledges of loyalty and those who did not toe the line were excluded from participation in financial and social welfare programs, denied political and legal processes and have been set upon by vigilante groups, resulting in greater hardships and isolation.

H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy for a peaceful solution to the issue of Tibet

That the Tibetan government would deceive the people of the world, many of whom sympathized with the Tibetan plight, is something to be alarmed at and demands closer inspection of who this government really is. And when we actually look into their acts and recent history, we see an insidious government who has extorted the Tibetan people endlessly and wreaked untold damage unto the credibility, integrity and reputation of Tibetan Buddhism. Whereas the administration of the 5th and 13th Dalai Lamas were known to be ruthless politicians, it would be the government of the 14th Dalai Lama who would treat the ancient religion with such callousness whilst simultaneously drawing authority from it.

 

2. Religion at the Brunt of Politics: Some Evidence

(i) Going into exile provided the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan establishment with an unprecedented opportunity to seize absolute power. In old Tibet, the people’s allegiance to their respective Tibetan Buddhist schools stood in the way of Gaden Phodrang claiming totalitarian power. The Tibetan leadership, namely the Dalai Lama’s brother Gyalo Thondup (who is a significant figure in the Dalai Lama’s government), saw that as a great inconvenience. He sought to demolish all the different Tibetan Buddhist schools and merge them into a new one under the Dalai Lama and his government in exile.

This was in effect an attempted religious coup d’état not because those in power sincerely believed in the doctrinal superiority of their religious tradition but because they wanted absolute authority. All the four major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism – Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug – represent the entire composite of the Buddhist path, and comprise the essence of both sutra and tantra. Each one is precious and bears rich religious heritage, and together they weave a sacred and mystical tapestry that has come to characterize Tibet since the 2nd century CE. And this was what the government of the 14th Dalai Lama wanted to forcibly lay by the wayside to pave the way for them to enjoy absolute power.

There are two ironies here – first, the Dalai Lama and his government present themselves as great protectors of the Buddhadharma and indeed this is the spiritual leader’s appeal to the world. And yet, we see how they were going to unravel the rich fabric of Tibetan Buddhism that countless enlightened masters over the centuries had woven together. The second is that this happened merely one year after the Dalai Lama himself declared the Tibetan government-in-exile to be a democracy and had the year before (1964) promulgated a draft Tibetan Constitution to govern the Tibetans in exile that, amongst other rights, guaranteed the free worship of any religion a Tibetan chooses.

The plot for the Tibetan establishment to seize absolute power failed but not before Gungthang Tsultrim was found brutally murdered. He was the head of a group known as The Fourteen Settlements which had been formed to resist Gyalo Thondup’s attempted coup. When the murderer Rekhang Tenzin was caught, he admitted that he was paid by the Tibetan government-in-exile to assassinate Gungthang Tsultrim. In addition, he confessed that the CTA had also offered him a bounty to kill the 16th Karmapa, Ranjung Rigpe Dorje, the head of the Karma Kagyu school who were historically the greatest rivals to the Dalai Lamas. News such as this would have brought down any government where laws are upheld, but as this case revealed, the Tibetan leadership is a law unto itself. And so nothing happened although they had been shown to have had a direct hand in someone’s murder.

(ii) The 16th Karmapa was a prime target of the CTA due to his stature and high regard in the eyes of the Tibetan people. When The Fourteen Settlements group wanted a prominent religious figure to represent their collective ideals, they chose the 16th Karmapa who became the symbol of spiritual correctness and the heart of The Fourteen Settlements’ resistance. The Karma Kagyus were also the second largest Tibetan Buddhist school after the Gelugpas, the Dalai Lama’s own religious tradition, and therefore were perceived as a constant threat by the CTA. And true to the Machiavellian minds in the Tibetan government, this threat had to be dealt with.

H.H. the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje and H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

The opportunity came after the 16th Karmapa passed away and there were two rival contenders to the highest seat of the Karma Kagyu. In 1992, the Dalai Lama used his unrestrained authority to force his endorsement of a candidate in a process that has historically been a private Karma Kagyu affair. The CTA then carried out what some have described as a medieval dictatorial command – over and over again, the Dalai Lama appeared in photographs and at events with his chosen Karmapa candidate, thereby signaling clearly to the Tibetan people who they should direct their allegiances to. As these repeated appearances reinforced that one candidate was favored over another, the Tibetan leadership forced a wedge into an internal split that may well have found its own solution, and hammered into place with brutal force an intractable divide. The Tibetan leadership had succeeded in its plot to essentially undermine a sacred and ancient religious order which it regarded to be its spiritual and political rival and in the process held the new head of the Karma Kagyu beholden to its authority. And so forever, the holy lineage of the Mahasiddhas Tilopa and Milarepa, which has held its integrity for almost 1000 years, was compromised and even today violent clashes break out between the two rival groups from what was formerly a united school.

Karmapa Ogyen Trinley has long enjoyed a close relationship with H.H the 14th Dalai Lama

Had the interest of the Tibetan leadership been on the preservation of the sanctity of this precious lineage, it would have acted differently. It could have stayed out of an internal quarrel – after all, when did it become the policy of a democratic government to interfere in religious matters? Or it could have arbitrated the disagreement and brokered a solution. So again, it is evident that the CTA will not hesitate to destroy religion to stay in power.

(iii) For a self-professed democratic government upholding Buddhist principles, the attitude of the Tibetan government is more that of a war chieftain than a fair and equitable administration of the people. In such an environment, high lamas, scholars, politicians, monks, the people and religious institutions of the various traditions are merely pawns to be mobilized in a power game. If you toe the government’s line and even avail yourself to bolster its power base, then the Tibetan leadership will turn a blind eye when its allies engage in immoral activities, much like how an army general might allow his soldiers to plunder and loot a conquered town.

In September 2014, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, the head of the Drukpa lineage, issued a statement informing the public that Drukpa temples were being forcibly taken over and converted into Karma Kagyu monasteries allegedly under the instructions of the Dalai Lama’s Karmapa candidate, Ogyen Trinley. However, the plot was revealed to be more sinister than meets the eye. In his statement, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa further said,

I did not believe then that His Holiness Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorjee would have given such an instruction because he was just a child at that time. Even today the name “His Holiness Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorjee” is being used to forcibly take over and convert the Drukpa Lineage monasteries to the Karma Kagyu. Historic pictures, images and art of Drukpa Lineage Lamas are being defaced and removed by the Karma Kagyu in an attempt to rewrite history. Despite what I have been informed, I still do not believe that His Holiness Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorjee would give instructions to forcibly take over Drukpa Lineage monasteries and convert them to Karma Kagyu.

The Gyalwang Drukpa’s open letter regarding the forced conversions of Drukpa Monasteries and holy sites (Click to enlarge)

And yet, Dharamsala remains silent on this ongoing transgression by a member of its own coterie. Firstly, we see that abuse of power is rife amongst those close to the Dalai Lama. In addition, not only is this forced conversion a breach of the law but also a serious infraction of the vows that Kagyu monks are bound by. And yet, the Dalai Lama and CTA allow this. By remaining silent to such obvious acts of aggression, the Tibetan government in fact encourages more such activities to happen when people know they will not face consequences for such behavior carried out in the leadership’s name.

In the meantime, practices such as Dorje Shugden are unilaterally banned without recourse and without the CTA having to provide sound reasons for declaring a 400-year old practice to be a criminal activity. It is clear therefore that whether a spiritual activity, prayer, ritual, religious school, lineage, monk or an ordinary person is good or bad is purely based on the whims of Dharamsala and not based on any code of conduct or the law.

(iv) But the forced conversion of Drukpa monasteries is not an isolated case. In an open letter to the Dalai Lama dated May 1, 2016, Lodreu Rabsel Rinpoche, the General Secretary to the Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, the rival to the Dalai Lama’s Karmapa candidate Ogyen Trinley, described very troubling developments. The open letter spoke of how the Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje was continually being harassed and prevented from performing his official spiritual duties by groups of people apparently “acting according to the Dalai Lama’s instructions”. Lodreu Rabsel Rinpoche went on to ask in his open letter,

…You [Dalai Lama] travel the world complaining about others not respecting the religious freedom of the Tibetan people, why do you not respect them yourself?

And in one sentence, Lodreu Rabsel Rinpoche addressed the crux of the Tibetan paradox – why is the CTA committing the same crimes that it wants the world to sanction China for?

Page 1 (click to enlarge)

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Again, there was no response from the CTA or the Dalai Lama’s office. Before that, Dharamsala had made sure the Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje was marginalized by spreading the rumor that he worships the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden, whom the CTA had banned and criminalized by alleging rather irrationally that everyone associated with this practice is on the payroll of their enemy, China.

(v) The Dorje Shugden conflict is by far the clearest and most irrefutable example of how the Tibetan government uses religion as a political instrument that they wield ruthlessly. It is also a blatantly obvious illustration of the CTA’s disregard for its own Constitution and the Tibetan people’s rights.

For reasons that have never been made clear, the highly regarded Dharma Protector of the Gelugpas, Dorje Shugden, was suddenly outlawed in 1996 after the Tibetan leadership began to speak against it in the late 1980s. Dorje Shugden had been central to the Gelugpas’ spiritual life for centuries and prior to the ban on the practice, over 90% of Gelugpas including the Dalai Lama worshipped this deity.

Even though the most senior lamas in the Sakya and Gelug traditions worshipped Dorje Shugden as a Buddha over the centuries, none of that stopped the Dalai Lama from suddenly declaring this deity to be an evil spirit that should be forbidden. In this, the Tibetan leadership showed complete disregard for the beliefs of others and afforded even less respect for their rights which are supposedly guaranteed by law. Later on, when the claim of Dorje Shugden being a demon could not be sustained because it was easily debunked, the justification to criminalize the religion suddenly shifted to Dorje Shugden being a Chinese ghost and all of its practitioners (including the Dalai Lama at one time) being agents of Communist China working to destabilize the Tibetan government. The magnitude of this idiocy is difficult to articulate in words; it is like a world leader banning Catholicism and declaring that if you are a Catholic priest, then you must be a pedophile.

As can be seen in this case, whatever the Tibetan leadership says automatically becomes a law that all Tibetans are obliged to obey lest they are accused of being anti-Dalai Lama or pro-China. All they have to do is say “The Dalai Lama said so” and their diktats are automatically enshrined as law. Even so, the Tibetan leadership’s Cabinet and Parliament went so far as to pass various official resolutions making it mandatory for all Tibetans to hate worshippers of Dorje Shugden. Thus in the years after 1996, the CTA successfully spawned a vicious hate campaign against core members of the Gelugpa monastic community and drove a wedge deep into the heart of the Tibetan populace both in Tibet and in exile.

 

3. Conclusion

Dharamsala’s war against Dorje Shugden is in fact a war against its own monastic establishments because virtually all the highest and most senior monks of the tradition practiced the deity Dorje Shugden. And if the Tibetan people were to believe in the CTA’s version of the story, they must absolve their allegiance to their respective lineage masters who regard Dorje Shugden as a benevolent Buddha. In the same manner that the Karma Kagyu school was divided irreparably over the Karmapa issue, the Gelugpa tradition was torn asunder and the lay and monastic community scattered. The main Gelugpa monasteries – Ganden Monastery and Sera Monastery – were split, old and established bonds were severed, and monks were expelled or disrobed in disgust, because they could not withstand the hate campaigns the Tibetan government had initiated.

The CTA have broken the backs of the Gelugpa and Karma Kagyu schools of Buddhism. Together, these two spiritual lineages account for the bulk of the Tibetan population inside and outside Tibet. As a result, the majority of Tibetans are now confused and dislodged from old loyalties, precisely the result the CTA had originally intended from the time Gyalo Thondup sought to weaken the influence of the various schools to strengthen the secular leadership’s power. But the damage stretches far beyond sectarian lines as many around the world have lost confidence in the religion after witnessing the vicious infighting and endless barrage of propaganda and disinformation.

How is anyone to know what is true and can be believed and what is false? If the government of Avalokiteshvara can commit such heinous crimes, then there is nothing sacred about this religion. And so, in the wake of the Tibetan government’s political scheming, Tibetan Buddhism lies broken, uprooted and defamed. Never has Tibetan Buddhism been so weak as it is today and finally the Tibetan government-in-exile seems to be succeeding where the evil king Langdharma failed. The Tibetans may have lost their country to an external challenger but the spiritual tradition of the people, which is the heart and soul of Tibet, has been lost to the greed and corruption of their own leadership. What took attained masters centuries to build and assemble has been dismantled in just a few decades, and this will be the legacy of the 14th Dalai Lama’s Central Tibetan Administration.

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  1. Dear Dalai Lama,

    Since you started the cruel ban against the 350 year Dorje Shugden practice, how has it benefit your Tibetan society and Buddhism in the world? Things have become worse and most educated Tibetans can see this. They don’t speak out not because they don’t see your ban as wrong, but you instill fear in them and not respect. It is like fear of a dictator. I am sorry to say so. Everyone is divided. There is no harmony. Before your ban there was more harmony and unity.

    By enacting the ban, you split the monasteries, split so many families, split regions in Tibet apart, split your disciples from you, split your own gurus from you, split Tibetan Buddhism apart. You have created so much disharmony.

    It is not democratic what you have done to ban a religion within your community. You always talk of tolerance and acceptance and democracy and yet you do not accept and tolerate something different from your beliefs. When people practice Dorje Shugden you ostracize them, ban them from seeing you, ban them from using Tibetan facilities. You know you have done that. There are videos that capture your speech and prove this point. You even had people expelled from monasteries just because they practice Dorje Shugden. Some of the monks you expelled have been in the monastery for over 40 years. Many older monks shed tears because of this.

    Many young educated Tibetans lost confidence in you as they saw the damage the Dorje Shugden ban created and they lose hope. Many have become free thinkers. They reject what you have done. So many people in the west left Buddhism because of the confusion you created with this ban against Dorje Shugden which is immoral.

    You could of had millions of people who practice Dorje Shugden to support, love and follow you, but you scared them away. They are hurt and very disappointed. They loved you and respected you deeply before the ban. It has been 60 years and you have failed to get Tibet back. Your biggest failure is not getting Tibet back after 57 years in exile. Now you are begging China to allow you to return to Tibet to the disappointment of thousands of people who fought for a free Tibet believing in you. So many self-immolated for a free Tibet and now you want Tibet to be a part of China with no referendum from Tibetans. Just like a dictator, you decide on your own. It was your government and you that lost Tibet in the first place. Your policies and style of doing things do not benefit Tibet and Buddhism. You have been the sole ruler of Tibet your whole life and you still have not gotten our country of Tibet back for us. Our families and us are separated. Yet you create more pain by creating a ban to further divide people. Please have compassion.

    No other Buddhist leader has banned or condemned any religion except for you. It looks very bad. You are a Nobel laureate and this is not fitting of a laureate. You should unite people and not separate them by religious differences.

    You said Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi did not do right to the Rohingya people in Myanmar due to religious differences, but you are doing the same thing to the Shugden Buddhists within your own society. There is a parallel in this. You separate the Shugden Buddhists from the others in Tibetan society.

    You have lost so many people who would have loved and supported you. You have lost so much support around the world. The Shugden Buddhists who love you number in the millions. When you are fast losing support from governments and private people, it will not do you well to lose more.

    After you are passed away in the future, the rift you created between the Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people will remain for a while and that will be your legacy. Disharmony. You will be remembered for this. Not as a hero but a disharmony creator.

    Dorje Shugden will spread and further grow, but you will be no more as you are a human. No one wishes you bad and in fact we hope you have a long and healthy life, but we have lost so much hope and have so much despair because of you. All the hundreds of Dorje Shugden lamas, tulkus and geshes are maturing and there are hundreds of Dorje Shugden monasteries in Tibet who will not give up Dorje Shugden. You have made a mistake. These hundreds of teachers and teachers to be will spread Dorje Shugden further in the future.

    The gurus that gave us Dorje Shugden as a spiritual practice and you have called these holy gurus wrong and they are mistaken in giving us Dorje Shugden. How can you insult our gurus whom we respect so much? If they can be wrong, then you can be wrong. Then all gurus can be wrong. So no one needs to listen to any guru? You have created this trend. It is not healthy. Your own gurus practiced Dorje Shugden their whole lives. Your own gurus were exemplary and highly learned.

    Dalai Lama you have created so much pain with this ban against so many people due to religion. You are ageing fast. Are you going to do anything about it or stay stubborn, hard and un-moving. You show a smile and preach peace and harmony wherever you go. But will you do the same to your own people? Please rectify the wrong you have done. Please before it is too late. You can create harmony again or you can pass away in the future with this legacy of peace. May you live long and think carefully and admit what was a mistake in having this unethical ban against Dorje Shugden religion.

  2. Why doesn’t the United States and its allies end Refugee Status for the useless Tibetans? They have been refugees for 60 years now and don’t tell me they still cannot get their lives back in order?

    Tibetans really know how to put on a good show and use people, take their money and do nothing in return.

    Trump and Allies Seek End to Refugee Status for Millions of Palestinians
    In internal emails, Jared Kushner advocated a “sincere effort to disrupt” the U.N.’s relief agency for Palestinians.
    BY COLUM LYNCH, ROBBIE GRAMER | AUGUST 3, 2018, 2:12 PM
    Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, has quietly been trying to do away with the U.N. relief agency that has provided food and essential services to millions of Palestinian refugees for decades, according to internal emails obtained by Foreign Policy.
    His initiative is part of a broader push by the Trump administration and its allies in Congress to strip these Palestinians of their refugee status in the region and take their issue off the table in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, according to both American and Palestinian officials. At least two bills now making their way through Congress address the issue.
    Kushner, whom Trump has charged with solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been reluctant to speak publicly about any aspect of his Middle East diplomacy. A peace plan he’s been working on with other U.S. officials for some 18 months has been one of Washington’s most closely held documents.
    But his position on the refugee issue and his animus toward the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is evident in internal emails written by Kushner and others earlier this year.
    “It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA,” Kushner wrote about the agency in one of those emails, dated Jan. 11 and addressed to several other senior officials, including Trump’s Middle East peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt.
    “This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace,” he wrote.
    The United States has helped fund UNRWA since it was formed in 1949 to provide relief for Palestinians displaced from their homes following the establishment of the State of Israel and ensuing international war. Previous administrations have viewed the agency as a critical contributor to stability in the region.
    But many Israel supporters in the United States today see UNRWA as part of an international infrastructure that has artificially kept the refugee issue alive and kindled hopes among the exiled Palestinians that they might someday return home—a possibility Israel flatly rules out.
    Critics of the agency point in particular to its policy of granting refugee status not just to those who fled Mandatory Palestine 70 years ago but to their descendants as well—accounting that puts the refugee population at around 5 million, nearly one-third of whom live in camps across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza.
    By trying to unwind UNRWA, the Trump administration appears ready to reset the terms of the Palestinian refugee issue in Israel’s favor—as it did on another key issue in December, when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
    In the same January email, Kushner wrote: “Our goal can’t be to keep things stable and as they are. … Sometimes you have to strategically risk breaking things in order to get there.”
    Kushner raised the refugee issue with officials in Jordan during a visit to the region in June, along with Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt. According to Palestinian officials, he pressed the Jordan to strip its more than 2 million registered Palestinians of their refugee status so that UNRWA would no longer need to operate there.
    “[Kushner said] the resettlement has to take place in the host countries and these governments can do the job that UNRWA was doing,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
    She said the Trump administration wanted rich Arab Gulf states to cover the costs Jordan might incur in the process.
    “They want to take a really irresponsible, dangerous decision and the whole region will suffer,” Ashrawi said.
    Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator, told reporters in June that Kushner’s delegation had said it was ready to stop funding UNRWA altogether and instead direct the money—$300 million annually—to Jordan and other countries that host Palestinian refugees.
    “All this is actually aimed at liquidating the issue of the Palestinian refugees,” hesaid.
    The White House declined to comment on the record for this story. A senior executive branch official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. policy regarding the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee program “has been under frequent evaluation and internal discussion. The administration will announce its policy in due course.”
    Jordanian officials in New York and Washington did not respond to queries about the initiative.
    Kushner and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, both proposed ending funding for UNRWA back in January. But the State Department, the Pentagon, and the U.S. intelligence community all opposed the idea, fearing in part that it could fuel violence in the region.
    The following week, the State Department announced that that United States would cut the first $125 million installment of its annual payment to UNRWA by more than half, to $60 million.
    “UNRWA has been threatening us for six months that if they don’t get a check they will close schools. Nothing has happened,” Kushner wrote in the same email.
    State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said at the time that the U.S. had no intention of eliminating funding for Palestinian refugees, and that it was taking time to explore ways to reform UNRWA and to convince other countries to help Washington shoulder the financial burden of aiding the Palestinians.
    But the following day, Victoria Coates, a senior advisor to Greenblatt, sent an email to the White House’s national security staff indicating that the White House was mulling a way to eliminate the U.N.’s agency for Palestinian refugees.
    “UNRWA should come up with a plan to unwind itself and become part of the UNHCR by the time its charter comes up again in 2019,” Coates wrote.
    She noted that the proposal was one of a number of “spitball ideas that I’ve had that are also informed by some thoughts I’ve picked up from Jared, Jason and Nikki.”
    Other ideas included a suggestion that the U.N. relief agency be asked to operate on a month-to-month budget and devise “a plan to remove all anti-Semitism from educational materials.”
    The ideas seemed to track closely with proposals Israel has been making for some time.
    “We believe that UNRWA needs to pass from the world as it is an organization that advocates politically against Israel and perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem,” said Elad Strohmayer, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
    Strohmayer said that Palestinians are the only population that is able to transfer its refugee status down through generations.
    The claim, though long advanced by Israel, is not entirely true.
    In an internal report from 2015, the State Department noted that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees “recognizes descendants of refugees as refugees for purposes of their operations.” The report, which was recently declassified, said the descendants of Afghan, Bhutanese, Burmese, Somali, and Tibetan refugees are all recognized by the U.N. as refugees themselves.
    Of the roughly 700,000 original Palestinian refugees, only a few tens of thousands are still alive, according to estimates.
    The push to deny the status to most Palestinians refugees is also gaining traction in Congress.
    Last week, Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, introduced a bill that would limit the United States to assisting only the original refugees. Most savings in U.N. contributions would be directed to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United States’ principal international development agency. But USAID is currently constrained by the Taylor Force Act, which restricts the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Authority until it ends a policy of providing aid to families of fallen terrorists.
    “Instead of resettling Palestinian refugees displaced as a result of the Arab-Israeli Conflict of 1948, UNRWA provides aid to those they define as Palestinian refugees until there is a solution they deem acceptable to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Lamborn’s bill states.
    “This policy does not help resettle the refugees from 1948 but instead maintains a refugee population in perpetuity.”
    A congressional aide familiar with the legislation said its intent isn’t to gut UNRWA funding, but redirect assistance to descendants through USAID.
    “The people that are suffering should still get assistance, but through appropriately defined humanitarian channels and aid programs,” the aide said.
    Similarly, Sen. James Lankford, (R-Okla.), has drafted legislation that would redirect U.S. funding away from UNRWA and to other local and international agencies.
    The bill, which has not yet officially been introduced, would require the U.S. secretary of state certify by 2020 that the United Nations has ended its recognition of Palestinian descendants as refugees.
    “The United Nations should provide assistance to the Palestinians in a way that makes clear that the United Nations does not recognize the vast majority of Palestinians currently registered by UNRWA as refugees deserving refugee status,” reads a draft obtained by Foreign Policy.
    Previous U.S. administrations have maintained that the vast majority of Palestinian refugees will ultimately have to be absorbed in a new Palestinian state or naturalized in the countries that have hosted them for generations.
    But the fate of the refugee issue was expected to be agreed to as part of a comprehensive peace pact that resulted in the establishment of a Palestinian state.
    “It’s very clear that the overarching goal here is to eliminate the Palestinian refugees as an issue by defining them out of existence,” said Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.
    “This isn’t going to make peace any easier. It’s going to make it harder.”
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/03/trump-palestinians-israel-refugees-unrwaand-allies-seek-end-to-refugee-status-for-millions-of-palestinians-united-nations-relief-and-works-agency-unrwa-israel-palestine-peace-plan-jared-kushner-greenb/

    DS.com Trump and Allies Seek End to Refugee Status for Millions of Palestinians (1)

  3. Supreme Court of India JUSTICE Mr. MARKANDEY KATJU (RETD) writes that Tibet is much better under the Chinese than it was under the lamas who only wanted to make the populace slaves. It was feudal and it will never return to the backwardness again.

    Time has come to acknowledge that Tibet has vastly improved under Chinese rule
    JUSTICE MARKANDEY KATJU (RETD) | 12 August, 2018
    From a terribly poor state hinged on a feudal system, Tibet has modernised and grows faster than the rest of China
    This article has been prompted by Jyoti Malhotra’s article in ThePrint ‘Tibetan government quietly changed its PM’s designation. India won’t be unhappy about it‘.
    China’s annexation of Tibet in 1959, ousting the Dalai Lama, had attracted it worldwide criticism. The Dalai Lama fled and was granted asylum in India, where he set up a government-in-exile with its headquarters in Dharamshala.
    The Chinese claim Tibet on the grounds that it has been part of the country since the Yuan dynasty of the 13th century, which is disputed by the government-in-exile. But let us leave this that matter aside.
    The more important question is whether Chinese rule has benefited Tibet.
    The answer is that it undoubtedly has. As the Reuters’ Ben Blanchard writes: “Today Tibet is richer and more developed than it has ever been, its people healthier, more literate, better dressed and fed”.
    Although Ben goes on to argue that this development masks “a deep sense of unhappiness among many Tibetans”, I will disagree. How can anyone be unhappy if s/he is healthier, better fed and better clothed?
    Under the rule of the Dalai Lamas (Buddhist priests), the people of Tibet were terribly poor, almost entirely illiterate, and lived like feudal serfs.
    Today, Tibet presents a totally different picture. The illiteracy rate in Tibet has gone down from 95 per cent in the 1950s to 42 per cent in 2000. It has modern schools, universities, engineering and medical colleges, modern hospitals, freeways, supermarkets, fast food restaurants, mobile stores and apartment buildings. The capital Lhasa is like any other modern city.
    While the economic growth in the rest of China has slowed down to about 7 per cent, Tibet has had a 10 per cent growth rate in the last two decades.
    Tibet has huge mineral wealth, which was only awaiting Chinese technology to be tapped. Nowadays, it has numerous hydro and solar power plants and industries running with Chinese help.
    Tibetan literature is flourishing, contrary to claims that the Chinese want to crush Tibetan culture.
    Of course, now the lamas cannot treat their people as slaves.
    The so-called ‘government-in-exile’, of which Lobsang Sangay claims to be the President, is a fake organisation, funded by foreign countries. They only want to restore the feudal Tibet, ruled by the reactionary lamas, something which will never happen.
    The writer is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India
    https://theprint.in/opinion/time-has-come-to-acknowledge-that-tibet-has-vastly-improved-under-chinese-rule/97172/

  4. While the government of Nepal has framed a policy to tighten the noose around non-governmental organisations, they have welcomed 30 Chinese NGOs to enter the country. These NGOs will penetrate the country’s social sector at the grassroots level. This is the first time such a large number of Chinese NGOs have entered Nepal at one time. Nepal is increasingly open to Chinese influence, a sign that ties between both countries are strengthening, while India’s influence is being reduced. The time has passed for India’s monopoly to remain uninterrupted in Nepal as opportunities to engage with China are being welcomed.

    30 Chinese NGOs all set to work in Nepal
    REWATI SAPKOTA
    Kathmandu, July 30
    At a time when the government has framed a policy to tighten the noose around non-governmental organisations, 30 Chinese NGOs have entered Nepal to penetrate the country’s social sector and the grassroots.
    The Social Welfare Council Nepal and China NGO Network for International Exchanges, an umbrella body of Chinese NGOs, have signed a memorandum of understanding to enable Chinese NGOs to work in Nepal. The agreement was signed yesterday between SWCN Member Secretary Dilli Prasad Bhatt and CNIE General Secretary Zhu Rui in the presence of Minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizen Tham Maya Thapa and Chinese Deputy Minister of External Affairs Wang Yajun.
    The agreement has paved the way for the first batch of 30 Chinese NGOs to work in Nepal for a period of three years. Their contract will be extended based on the consent of SWCN and CNIE. Representatives of these 30 Chinese NGOs were also present during yesterday’s signing ceremony. They have agreed to work in partnership with local NGOs to implement their programmes and projects.
    The Chinese NGOs are eyeing areas such as livelihood, healthcare, education, skill-based training, community development and disaster management. This is the first time such a large number of Chinese NGOs has entered Nepal at one time. The Chinese assistance so far in Nepal has largely been limited to development of infrastructure projects. But the entry of these NGOs indicates China is keen on making its presence felt in Nepal’s social sector and the grassroots, which, till date, have remained domains of the West and countries such as Japan and India.
    The MoU signed between SWCN and CNIE states that Chinese NGOs will be mobilised for ‘the benefit of needy Nepalis and to enhance ties between China and Nepal through people-to-people support programmes’.
    “The Chinese NGOs will abide by the law of Nepal in its entirety while carrying out development cooperation in Nepal,” says the MoU, adding, “Chinese NGOs will submit programmes to the SWCN to carry out development activities in partnership with Nepali NGOs and SWCN in line with plans and policies of the government of Nepal.”
    The MoU was signed at a time when the government has drafted the National Integrity Policy to limit activities of NGOs and INGOs, as some of them were found ‘trying to break communal harmony and proselytising Nepalis’. There were also concerns that high administrative cost of many NGOs and INGOs was preventing money from reaching the real beneficiaries. The policy clearly states that NGOs and INGOs cannot spend more than specified amount under administrative and consultant headings. They will also be barred from working against Nepal’s interests, culture and communal harmony and conducting activities to promote their religious, social or other agenda, adds the policy.
    Around 48,000 NGOs are currently registered in Nepal, of which only 1,600 have been receiving funds from INGOs, as per SWCN. The SWCN has directed INGOs and NGOs to spend 60 per cent of the budget to generate tangible results, while the remaining can be used to cover administrative costs and organise training, meetings and seminars.
    https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/30-chinese-ngos-all-set-to-work-in-nepal/

  5. The cracks in Tibetan society are starting to show, and it is now coming to the attention of local Indians who have all but identified the Tibetan leadership as the source of the divisions. According to this author, disunity amongst the Tibetans is now creating problems for Indian law enforcement agencies, and this disunity may culminate in young Tibetans holding silent grudges against their host country. It is incredible that after six decades of generosity from India, Indians are now facing the very real possibility Tibetans can be ungrateful towards India. The Tibetan leadership totally failed to impart positive values upon their exiled community, like gratitude for those kindest to them and the need to repay these kindnesses with real, tangible results. It’s also very unlikely that the Tibetan leadership will now start to do this, after six decades of failing to do so. Indians need to realise this, and see that there is no benefit for their nation to align themselves with the Tibetan leadership, and there never will be.
    Tibetan disunity not in India’s interest
    John S. Shilshi
    Updated: August 7, 2018, 11:00 AM
    India is home to the Dalai Lama and an estimated 120,000 Tibetan refugees. Though this humanitarian gesture on India’s part comes at the cost of risking New Delhi’s relations with China, India has never wavered in ensuring that Tibetans live with dignity and respect. Notified settlements across the country were made available so that they can live as independently as possible and practice Tibetan religion and culture. They are also allowed to establish centres of higher learning in Tibetan Buddhism. As a result, several reputed Buddhist institutes came up in Karnataka, and in the Indian Himalayan belt. In what may be termed as a gesture well reciprocated, and because of the respect and influence His Holiness the Dalai Lama commands, the Tibetan diaspora also lived as a peaceful community, rarely creating problems for India’s law enforcement agencies.
    The situation, however, changed from 2000 onwards when unity amongst Tibetans suffered some setback due to developments like the Karmapa succession controversy and the controversy over worshiping of Dorje Shugden. In a unique case of politics getting the better of religion, two senior monks of the Karma kargyue sect of Tibetan Buddhism, Tai Situ Rinpoche and late Shamar Rinpoche, developed serious differences after the demise of Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the 16th Karmapa, in 1981. This animosity ultimately led to emergence of two 17th Karmapa candidates in the early nineties. While Tai Situ Rinpoche identified and recognised UghyanThinley Dorje, late Shamar Rinpoche anointed Thinley Thaye Dorje as his Karmapa candidate. Enthronement of their respective protégés at the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, the supreme seat of the Karma Kargue linage, being their primary objective, both started indulging in activities monks normally are expected to, and bitterness spewed against each other.
    The bitter rivalry assumed a new dimension when UghyenThinley Dorje suddenly appeared in India in January 2000. The competition became fiercer and hectic political lobbying, never known in the history of Tibetan Buddhism on Indian soil, became common place. Apart from pulling strings at their disposal in Sikkim as well as in the power corridors of New Delhi, these senior monks spat against each other with allegations and counter allegations, widening the gaps between their supporters. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, choosing to favour one of the candidates—a decision many Tibet watchers felt was ill-timed—had also limited possible scope of rapprochement. Hence, the Karma Kargyue followers are now vertically divided, while the camps are dragged into a long drawn legal battle.
    Another development that unfortunately split the Tibetans is the controversy over Shugden worshipping, which again is an internal matter of the Gelugpa sect, to which the Dalai Lama belongs. It erupted as a result of the Dalai Lama urging Tibetans to refrain from worshiping Dorje Shugden, a deity believed to be a protector, according to Tibetan legend. Shugden practitioners, who felt offended by the call, describe it as an attack on freedom of religion, a right, which Dalai Lama himself tirelessly fought for. On the other hand, die hard Dalai Lama followers perceived the questioning of the decision as one challenging the wisdom of the Dalai Lama and mounted massive pressure on Dorje Shugden practitioners to relent, with some even demolishing the statues of the deity. The rivalry ultimately led to split in two Gelug monasteries in Karnataka, and Serpom and Shar Garden monasteries in Bylakupe and Mundgod respectively came under the control of Shugden followers. The bitterness associated with the split is exemplified by the fact that till today, members of these monasteries are treated as some sort of outcasts by the others. Thus, for the first time, the Tibetan diaspora in India gave birth to sections opposed to the Dalai Lama, with spillover effects in Tibet and elsewhere.
    For India, with a fragile internal security profile, a divided Tibetan population on its soil is not good news. It has several long-term implications. It is common knowledge that China considers Dalai Lama as a secessionist, one plotting to divide their country. The latter’s claim of “all that Tibetans were asking for, was a status of genuine autonomy within the Constitution of the Peoples’ Republic of China”, had fallen into deaf ears. China also considers him as someone who plays to the Indian tune to tickle China. Therefore, at a time when China has successfully shrunk the Dalai Lama’s space internationally, India continuing to extend the usual space for him is viewed as complicity. Sharp reaction from China when he was allowed to visit Arunachal Pradesh in April 2017, is a recent example. Such being the delicate nature of India-China relations on matters and issues concerning Tibetans, India can hardly afford to ignore the division within the diaspora. Past experience of dubious elements from Tibet having succeeded in infiltrating the Central Tibetan Administration, including the security wing, should be a warning.
    It is also time India understands the reason behind Tibetans seeking Indian passports, despite an existing arrangement for issue of Identity Certificates, which is passport equivalent. Some had even successfully taken recourse to legal remedy on the issue, and left the government of India red-faced. These changing moods should not be viewed as desires by Tibetans to become Indian citizens. They are triggered by the pathetic state of affairs associated with issuing of Identity Certificates, where delays in most cases are anything between six months to one year. Early streamlining of the process will drastically reduce their desire to hold Indian passport. It will also remove the wrongly perceived notion among some educated Tibetan youth, that the cumbersome process was a ploy by India to confine them in this country. While India should not shy from requesting the Dalai Lama to use his good offices to end all differences within the community in the interest of India’s internal security, it will also be necessary to ensure that young Tibetans do not nurse a silent grudge against the very country they called their second home.
    https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/opinion/tibetan-disunity-not-indias-interest

  6. Although the Dalai Lama has offered an apology, the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) still expressed their disappointment over his controversial comment on Nehru, the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC). Dalai Lama called Nehru self-centred.

    The Congress said Dalai Lama being a foreigner should shun and refrain from interfering in the internal as well as external affairs of India.

    Dalai Lama should abstain from imparting controversial information to students: Arunachal Congress
    Dalai Lama should know that a spiritual leader like him is shouldering great expectation: APCC
    | DAMIEN LEPCHA | ITANAGAR | August 12, 2018 9:58 pm
    disappointment over the recent statement made by Tibetan Spiritual Leader the 14th Dalai Lama in which he called Jawaharlal Nehru, the former Prime Minister of India as “self-centered” and the one responsible for parting India and Pakistan.
    “Although Dalai Lama expressed regret over his controversial comment, the APCC is extremely thwarted by it. A Tibetan spiritual leader calling names to an Indian leader who sweated most to keep him and his followers safe from Chinese aggression is simply not acceptable. Today, India is home to lakhs of Tibetan refugees who are living in 37 settlements and 70 scattered communities across different states of India,” APCC vice-president Minkir Lollen said in a statement on Sunday.
    “Dalai Lama may have forgotten that India provided a beam of light and hope to Tibetans remaining in Chinese-dominated Tibet and in the neighbouring Chinese provinces politically cut off from the Tibetan heart land. All these happened only because India has great leaders like Gandhi and Nehru who took the responsibility of social burden to shelter thousands of persecuted Tibetans then in 1959,” Lollen added.
    Minkir said Dalai Lama should know that a spiritual leader like him is shouldering great expectation, hope and trust of millions on record and the same are watching his contribution towards the mankind.
    “In such circumstances, Dalai Lama should abstain from imparting partial and controversial information to the students who are the torch bearer of the nation,” the Congress said.
    Further stating that the statement of the spiritual leader could be a politically motivated one and made with an effort to approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi for survival of his continuation in the country, the Congress said Dalai Lama being a foreigner should shun and refrain from interfering in the internal as well as external affairs of India.
    https://nenow.in/north-east-news/dalai-lama-should-abstain-from-imparting-controversial-information.html

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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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