July 6th, 1935 – The babe Lhamo Thondup (Wish-Fulfilling Goddess) was born in the province of Amdo. By 1940, he had been relocated to Lhasa and was renamed Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso and named the Spiritual leader of Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama. While it lacks detail in many areas, you can find a somewhat more detailed version of the chain of events at His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s website.
Most people are aware of who the Dalai Lama is, either from simple trivia to those who have absolute faith in the Dalai Lama and literally follow him religiously. Like many in the western hemisphere, I’ve bought a handful of his books, read more than a handful of his books and have always had a great deal of respect for the man*.
I have always wondered about the Dalai Lama fleeing Tibet for fear of death considering the Buddhist views on death, or no death as I understand it. I am by no means even remotely close to being an expert on Buddhism in any form, enough to place me in a position to place much weight on what I perceived to be an odd action.
I stumbled across a reference to the Dalai Lama being guilty of religious persecution. I blew it off as it’s most likely about some radical group that was upset at something he had said and I didn’t give it any more thought. Some time had passed but after seeing several references to Shugden and my views of the Dalai Lama changed to say the least.
In 1996, the Dalai Lama, depending who you listen to, caused a ban on Shugden Buddhism. A quick overview can be found on Wikipedia or a more detailed but one sided account can be found at The Western Shugden Society website.
In 2008, the Dalai Lama said “Recently monasteries have fearlessly expelled Shugden monks where needed. I fully support their actions. I praise them. If monasteries find taking action hard, tell them the Dalai Lama is responsible for this.”
How can a man in this Dalai Lama’s position, especially considering his personal history, encourage or call for religious persecution? Shugden practitioners in Tibet have become pariahs.
While it is undoubtedly above my current understanding to judge whether or not that search party found the correct person in 1938 or 1939 but I am left wondering. I’ll leave that to the hundreds of millions of Buddhists around the globe. I can’t help but wonder how can I trust anything from a man who preaches love and compassion while demonstrating exclusion and persecution.
I’ve always wondered about selling books as opposed to freely distributing his wisdom or charging fees for his talks instead of spreading the message freely but I no longer worry about such things about the Dalai Lama anymore. You won’t find me lining up at a bookstore to buy his latest book or paying to hear him speak. You won’t find my nose buried in a book authored by the Dalai Lama.
I’m Gonna Leave You.
* man, some might argue he is more than a man but for the purposes here I will refer to him as a man
(Editor’s Note: This link appears to have been removed from the mentioned website)