Chronology of Key Events: 1997


  • Tibetan newspapers such as She-Ja and Bokyi Dhubab publish advertisements stating that those who resist H.H. the Dalai Lama must be treated ruthlessly by all means, including violence. Tashi Wangdu, president of the Tibetan Regional Council and the person responsible for the advertisements, states that his actions are in accordance with the wishes of the Tibetan exile government and the Dalai Lama.


May 10, 1997

  • The Tibetan Youth Congress passes a resolution on Dorje Shugden.
    8. If anyone in the youth congress membership is found as still worshipping Dholgyal that member will be immediately expelled from Tibetan Youth Congress membership


June 6, 1997

  • The Tibetan constitution is amended:
    Original Version: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: The chief justice of the Supreme Court should be a Tibetan national, and in a court of law…need not be referred to…
    New Version: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: The chief justice and two other justices of the Supreme Court, in addition to being a Tibetan national, should not be a devotee of Gyalchen Shugden and in a court of law… need not be referred to.


June 19, 1997

  • The Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama sends a letter to Ganden Monastery instructing that monks requesting full ordination from His Holiness must submit a letter from their abbots, certifying that none of them have any connection with Dorje Shugden.


July 9, 1997

  • Dhomey Association (a regional group from Amdo) circulates a resolution and their “patriotic request” which amounts to inciting their members, in no uncertain terms, to fight the enemies, i.e. the Dorje Shugden groups in general, and specifically singling out Geshe Dragpa Gyaltsen, spokesperson of the Dorje Shugden Society.


July 14, 1997

  • 73 residents of the Tibetan community of Majnu-Ka-Tilla, Delhi sign a letter written to the Commissioner of Police in New Delhi, asking for police protection. This letter makes clear their fear and their feelings of isolation and helplessness in the face of hostility within the exile Tibetan community.


September 18, 1997

  • The Tibetan Exile Government’s Department of Security publishes and distributes information (names, addresses, occupations, photographs) on 10 prominent opponents of H.H. the Dalai Lama’s ban against Dorje Shugden, naming them the 10 most hated enemies of Tibet and H.H. the Dalai Lama. Three of them feature in a Swiss news report 10 vor 10, January 1998.
  • The information on one of the people includes the names and addresses of his brothers. One brother repudiates him, another flees the country, and the third changes his name and moves to an outlying settlement.
  • Another gives details on where the children of one of the dissidents are being educated. Because of this and due to death threats made by telephone, one saying to the man’s six year old daughter, “We will kill your Daddy”, the man sends his family abroad for their safety.


September 20, 1997

  • Reference is made to a second signature campaign against the worship of Dorje Shugden during the summer session of the Exile Tibetan People’s Assembly, which had been held among 200 government employees in Dharamsala on September 17th.


October 14 & 15, 1997

  • H.H. the Dalai Lama continues to increase the pressure on Dorje Shugden practitioners by stating that monks from Sera-Mey Pomra Khangtsen and Ganden Shartse Dhokhang Khangtsen who continue to practice Dorje Shugden, do not like him; a statement designed to inflame opposition to these monasteries.


October 17, 1997

  • The fourth session of the 12th Tibetan parliament adopts the 10-point resolution, signed by Thubten Lungrik:
    *1) To extend repeated support to all the resolutions adopted by the Tibetan peoples’ parliament on June 6, 1996 by general consensus, and thereby arouse the interest of the general public on the intent of those resolutions;
    *2) To continue clear campaigns about the negative aspects of worshipping Dholgyal (Shugden), and to lay emphasis on the distribution of literature, audio and video cassettes to the general public;
    *6) In particular, effort has to be made with respect to the monastic colleges. Efforts should be made to ensure that restrictions against the worship of Dholgyal (Shugden) in these monasteries, which are already in place, should be continued.
    *11) There should be a complete ban on the worship of Dholgyal (Shugden). Tibetan Govt. offices, NGOs, private individuals should as a whole make this possible.


December, 1997

  • H.H. the Dalai Lama is interviewed by the American Magazine Mother Jones, and says:
    …if there is the situation such that there was only one learned lama or genuine practitioner alive, a person whose death would cause the whole of Tibet to lose all hope of keeping its Buddhist way of life, then it is conceivable that in order to protect that one person, it might be justified for one or ten enemies to be eliminated – if there was no other way.


December 4-6. 1997

  • The Private Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama orders the removal of the recently elected disciplinarian, one of the three highest offices within the monastery, on the grounds that he is a Dorje Shugden worshipper.


December 25, 1997

  • In light of an upcoming visit to Sera-Mey monastery by H.H. the Dalai Lama, Mr. Tashi Wangdu, the minister for the Tibetan exile government, visits the office of Sera-Mey monastery. He directs that seven out of the 600 monks of Pomra Khangtsen be barred from attending any of the forthcoming programs during H.H. the Dalai Lama’s visit. One of the seven monks is Ven. Ngawang Namgyal (75), the head of Pomra Khangtsen. No reason is given.
  • Later, he orders that none of the 600 monks of Pomra can attend H.H. the Dalai Lama’s teachings. Petitions requesting to be allowed to attend H.H. the Dalai Lama’s teachings sent by Pomra Khangtsen to the Minister of Security on December 26 and 27 are ignored.


December 29, 1997

  • H.H. the Dalai Lama arrives at Sera Monastery at 1 p.m. Without prior warning, he gives his first talk at 2.00 p.m. during which he says that:
    anyone who worships Dorje Shugden, if they do not want H.H. the Dalai Lama to die, should get up and leave the prayer hall.


December 30-31, 1997

  • H.H. the Dalai Lama’s Private Secretary, Lobsang Jinpa, sends a message via the abbot of Sera-Mey, saying that those students who have successfully completed their Geshe degree studies but who engage in the worship of Dorje Shugden will not receive any certificates for their examination. These include seven senior students who give regular classes at the monastery.
  • Five of them respond by saying that if this is the condition required for them, they will not accept their Geshe degree. The Private Office later retracts this condition and the students receive their certificates.


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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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