Intermediate Information Kit

(Click to download this information kit in PDF format)

1: Introduction to Dorje Shugden

Dorje Shugden is the Wisdom Buddha, Manjushri, manifesting in the form of a wrathful and worldly Dharma Protector and has been propitiated as such by the highest Gelugpa and Sakya masters for some 360 years. While Dorje Shugden’s function is to protect the Dharma practitioner’s spiritual path by helping them overcome obstacles that hinder their dharma practice (such as health, livelihood, emotional and mental problems), his specific purpose is to protect Je Tsongkapa’s key teachings on Emptiness. Without non-conceptual understanding of Emptiness, it is impossible to attain the state of enlightenment. Therefore Dorje Shugden plays a very crucial role in the serious dharma practitioner’s life.

Dorje Shugden arose from the reincarnation line of Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen, a contemporary of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen in turn is recognized as the reincarnated mind-stream that traces all the way back to Manjushri and had taken embodiment in some of the most well-recognized Gelugpa masters such as Lama Tsongkapa’s main student, Duldzin Drakpa Gyaltsen and Panchen Sonam Drakpa, whose works are still being used as textbooks for Gelugpa monastic education. These personages famed for their recognized enlightened mind attest to the enlightened nature of Dorje Shugden.

The worship of Dorje Shugden in the modern era was popularized by the example of the highest Gelugpa lamas such as Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Kyabje Domo Geshe Rinpoche, the 10th Panchen Lama and many more, all taking Dorje Shugden as their Dharma protector. Even the 14th Dalai Lama was an ardent believer and wrote a famous praise to the deity, called Melody of the Unceasing Vajra.

Further Reading:

  1. Introduction to Dorje Shugden


2: History of Dorje Shugden

The story of the origins of Dorje Shugden is testimony to his noble purpose, which is to guard an all-important aspect of a practitioner’s quest for enlightenment – the wisdom of Emptiness. The timing of the deity’s rise also indicates present threats to the pure practices of the lineage. This section explores the rise of Dorje Shugden, the deity’s incarnation lineage, his sacred oath and his place in the Sakya Buddhist tradition.

  1. History of Dorje Shugden
  2. The Nature and Function of Dorje Shugden
  3. History & Lineage of Dharmapala Dorje Shugden by Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
  4. Lineage (The Emergence of Dharmapala Dorje Shugden)
  5. The Story of Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen
  6. VIDEO: Dorje Shugden – An Illustrated Story
  7. A Sakya Tale
  8. Dorje Shugden on a Black Horse
  9. Download The First Ever Dorje Shugden Graphic Novel in the World! (English)

Further Reading:

  1. Dorje Shugden History: Among Shugden Texts
  2. Dorje Shugden History: Dorje Shugden and Vajrayana


3: The Dalai Lama’s Ban on Dorje Shugden

Dorje Shugden is the holy Dharma Protector of the Gelug lineage and has been practiced for 360 years. The Dalai Lama himself worshipped Dorje Shugden and yet in 1996, the Dalai Lama imposed a prohibition on the practice of this deity without providing any logical or scriptural reasons. The Dalai Lama’s act constitutes a breach of Shugden worshippers’ rights and in addition, forcing practitioners to abandon a sacred practice given to them by their teachers is forcing them to violate their religious vows and commitments.

  1. The Illegal Ban On An Authentic Buddhist Practice: This article narrates the Dalai Lama’s ban and provides a good overview of the controversy.
  2. Parliamentary Resolution That Calls For Discrimination Based On Religion
  3. Tibetan Government Cabinet That Promotes Religious Bigotry
  4. The Shugden Ban – Chronology of Events: The 1950s to 1986
  5. The Shugden Ban – Key Events 1996
  6. The Shugden Ban – Key Events 1997
  7. The Shugden Ban – Key Events 1998
  8. The Shugden Ban – Key Events 1999 to 2007
  9. The Shugden Ban – Key Events 2008: The Dalai Lama pushes for Shugden monks to be expelled from monasteries.
  10. The Shugden Ban – Recent Events


4: The Shugden Ban Has No Real Basis

The reasons the Dalai Lama gave for the Dorje Shugden ban were not consistent and changed from one set of reasons to another based on the audience. To Tibetan audiences, the Dalai Lama claims that the practice of Dorje Shugden harms his life and jeopardizes the Tibetan effort to regain their country. To Western audiences, the Dalai Lama advises that the Shugden practice is nothing more than ‘spirit worship’ that degenerates the Dharma. None of these reasons have any logic and in fact, at various points and at different locations, the Dalai Lama himself refutes these justifications by his words and actions.


4.1 That the Shugden practice harms the Dalai Lama’s life

  1. VIDEO: Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden, Part 2 [See from 4:57 to 5:53]
  2. The Dalai Lama’s Two Points for Imposing the Ban


4.2 That the Shugden practice jeopardizes the Tibetan effort to regain their country

  1. Refuting the Claim
  2. Basis of the Shugden Ban Proven False


4.3 That the Shugden practice is spirit worship that degenerates the Dharma

  1. Why does the Dalai Lama Prosecute Shugden but not the Bon Religion
  2. Dalai Lama Angrily Replies to Peaceful Nun
  3. Is It Alright Not To Obey The Dalai Lama Now?
  4. Dalai Lama Recognizes the Bön
  5. VIDEO: Dalai Lama and Oracle


5: Casus Belli – The Shugden Ban

In reality, there is no valid reason for the Dalai Lama to impose the religious ban on Dorje Shugden’s practice but he could not do so without providing any reasons. The triple murder of Geshe Lobsang Gyatso and two of his students in 1997 provided the Dalai Lama with an opportunity to portray all Shugden practitioners as violent and dangerous. In addition, the publication of Zemey Rinpoche’s private study notes was pounced upon to establish that both Shugden the deity and his practitioners were violent and therefore had to be stopped. The articles in this section factually rebut both claims and show the ban to be void of any legitimate causes.

  1. How the Dalai Lama’s Actions are Affecting Religion:The 1997 Triple Murder was wrongly blamed on Dorje Shugden as justification to criminalize his practice. The first part of this article addresses the oft-quoted accusation that Dorje Shugden practitioners were behind the 1997 triple murder. This event is falsely used to portray Shugden as a dangerous and violent cult.
  2. The Yellow Book
    • Zemey Rinpoche’s Yellow Book Incident: This is often used by anti-Dorje Shugden people to accuse Dorje Shugden of being a jealous and sectarian spirit that harms practitioners and therefore his practice should be banned. This article gives a commentary on the Yellow Book to dismiss the allegation that its contents warrant the Shugden ban.
    • The Yellow Book Controversy: This article refutes that the contents of the Yellow Book justify the Dalai Lama’s ban.


6: The China Factor

China is seen as the arch enemy of the Tibetan people and Tibetan Buddhism due to the way the Tibetans lost their homes and country in the 1950s. Taking this to their advantage, the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration created propaganda to incite hatred against Shugden practitioners by labeling them Chinese spies. This is part of the campaign to marginalize Shugden worshippers and force them into abandoning their religion.

  1. The Dalai Lama’s Secrets: A Precarious Relationship with China: Dorje Shugden is used as an easy scapegoat to justify the failure of the Tibetan leadership to re-establish autonomy in Tibet.
  2. Are Dalai Lama’s Critics Backed by China?: Various statements from the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) presenting baseless links between China and Dorje Shugden practitioners, in an attempt to incite hate and potential violence. This article shows how Dorje Shugden is used by the CTA as a political tool.
  3. Video: People & Power: Dorje Shugden Controversy: Al-Jazeera explores the Dorje Shugden controversy in India.


7: A Campaign of Lies

  1. How the Dalai Lama’s Actions are Affecting Religion
  2. Refuting the Dalai Lama’s Statements Concerning Dorje Shugden
  3. Samdhong Rinpoche and the CTA Scam


8: Effects of the Ban

Seeing that the Gelugpas represent a large percentage of the Tibetan community, and that most of the Gelugpas were worshippers of the deity, a ban directed at them would inevitably divide the Tibetan people. Strangely, the Dalai Lama accuses Dorje Shugden of being a divisive element and yet it should be pointed out that for 360 years since the practice was introduced into the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon, the people lived in relative peace until the ban forced a wedge between them.


8.1 Social Apartheid

  1. Evidence of the Ban
  2. The Segregation Wall at Ganden Monastery: One of the five heinous crimes that the Buddha warned against was creating schism within the monastic community. However, this is precisely what the Dalai Lama’s ban spawned.
  3. VIDEO: Forced to Abandon the Practice
  4. Untouchables: Shocking Posters in Monasteries
  5. Dorje Shugden Practitioners Are Still Discriminated Against
  6. Tibetan Youth Questions Dorje Shugden Ban
  7. VIDEO: Ganden Monks Forced To Swear (Part 1)
  8. VIDEO: Ganden Monks Forced To Swear (Part 2)


8.2 Testimonials

  1. Evidence of the Ban – Tibetans speaking up against the CTA
  2. VIDEO: Tibetan Public Talk – The True Facts Part 1
  3. VIDEO: Tibetan Public Talk – The True Facts Part 2
  4. VIDEO: Tibetan Public Talk – Banned by Dalai Lama
  5. VIDEO: Advice on Dharmapala Dorje Shugden By H.E. Kyabje Kundeling Rinpoche


9: Central Tibetan Administration Says “There Is No Ban”

To avoid accountability for multiple violations of human rights provisions, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) insists that there is no ban on the Shugden practice. Yet the following articles show clearly HOW THE CTA ENFORCES THE PROHIBITION by inciting the Tibetan public against those who do not toe the line. Would anyone go to such lengths if the “ban” on Dorje Shugden’s practice was merely advice?

  1. [Must Read!] Tibetan Leadership Publishes Hit List: In the absence of having a law enforcement unit, the method the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) uses is to incite the Tibetan people into a mob and direct them towards those whom the CTA want punished or coerced into obeying the ban. 20 Tibetans were criminalized solely on the basis of protesting against His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
  2. [Must Read!] CTA Creates Violence Again: Similarly, the Dalai Lama provokes the Tibetan people’s ire against Dorje Shugden practitioners by taking advantage of their blind allegiance to him. By falsely claiming that Dorje Shugden practitioners are enemies of the Tibetan people who wish harm on the Dalai Lama, he sets an angry mob upon those who oppose the ban, even those who are merely refusing to obey an illegal diktat. An 84-year-old Shugden monk was attacked just hours after the Dalai Lama spoke negatively about Dorje Shugden during a religious discourse in December 2013.
  3. Shocking Letter: Threatening letters were sent to various western Shugden practitioners in an attempt to scare them into submitting to the Dalai Lama’s views on Dorje Shugden.
  4. Another Threatening Letter: A pro-Dalai Lama group issues yet another subtle threatening and denigrating letter concerning Dorje Shugden practitioners.
  5. Attack on Dorje Shugden Followers: A Dorje Shugden practitioner is stoned and stabbed due to his religious beliefs.


10: The Shugden Ban is a Breach of Constitutional Rights and Basic Human Rights

  1. The CTA Violates Its Own Constitution
  2. Shugden Ban is Illegal and Unconstitutional


11: The Shugden Ban Has Had A Significant Impact On Tibetan Society Due To The Large Number Of People Affected

In order to downplay the severe impact the Dalai Lama’s religious ban has had on the Tibetan community, the Central Tibetan Administration claims that Dorje Shugden is practiced only by a small minority that represents the fringe of the Tibetan Buddhist community. To the contrary, Dorje Shugden was a core practice of the Gelugpas, who constitute the majority of the Tibetan population.

The reality is that the Dalai Lama’s actions have split the Tibetan Buddhist community and affected an estimated four million lives. Yet, this atrocity has escaped prominent attention by the world media and human rights watchdog organizations. By contrast, the oppression of Timor East, which has since won its independence, attracted the attention and support of the world. This can only be explained by the global popularity of the Dalai Lama, who has successfully branded himself as ‘a simple Buddhist monk’ to deflect attention from the fact that he is a political gamesman of the highest caliber.

  1. Over 400,000 Tibetans Made A Pilgrimage to Shugden Monastery in Chatreng: During the Losar (Tibetan New Year) celebrations in 2014, more than 400,000 Dorje Shugden devotees from Chatreng and neighboring villages in Tibet made a pilgrimage to Sampheling Monastery, the traditional seat of Trijang Rinpoche. This is just one segment of the population of Shugden practitioners whose lives have been affected by having their religious practice declared a criminal act.
  2. Denma Gonsa Rinpoche’s Enthronement: Approximately 200,000 Shugden practitioners attended the enthronement ceremony of the present incarnation of Denma Gonsa Rinpoche, a number higher than the total population of Tibetans in exile. This event itself indicates that (i) Shugden practitioners are not some small cultish fringe of Tibetan Buddhism and (ii) contrary to the Dalai Lama’s claim, it is not true that worshipping Dorje Shugden will cause the practitioner to take rebirth in hell.
  3. 20,000 in Chamdo and Kongpo: 20,000 Dorje Shugden practitioners gathered in Chamdo and Kongpo.
  4. So Who is Telling the TRUTH? Glenn H. Mullin wrote in his book that Dorje Shugden is one of the most popular Protector Deity practices within the Gelugpa School. This is proof that Shugden Buddhists are not a minority.
  5. The Dalai Lama Imposes A Ban On Shugden
  6. True Harmony Or A Change Of Tune
  7. Is the Dalai Lama Preying on Tibetans’ Spiritual Fears and Superstitions?


12: International News Covering The Ban

  1. Al-Jazeera Reports: The Dalai Lama, The Devil Within: One of the earliest reports on the Shugden controversy. Al-Jazeera, a news media famed for circumventing censorship, tells the story as it is.
  2. France 24 Reports: The Dalai Lama’s Demon: The Dorje Shugden Controversy as reported by France 24 clearly illustrates how Dorje Shugden practitioners are deprived of fundamental human rights e.g. medical attention. We see how a once-peaceful little town is torn by separation due to the ban imposed by the Dalai Lama.
  3. Al-Jazeera Reports: Samdhong Rinpoche was caught lying about Dorje Shugden practitioners: This is a collection of video clips on the recent documentary by Al-Jazeera titled ‘The Dalai Lama, The Devil Within’ that highlights Professor Samdhong Rinpoche’s blatant lies.
  4. Oslo, Norway Peaceful Demonstration Coverage: Compilation of news reports, videos and pictures from the Dalai Lama’s visit to Oslo, Norway in May 2014. The peaceful demonstrations conducted by the International Shugden Community received much media attention and the truth behind the Dorje Shugden ban was transparently communicated in various Norwegian media.
  5. Rome, Italy Peaceful Demonstration Coverage: Compilation of news reports, videos and pictures from the Dalai Lama’s visit to Rome, Italy in December 2014. The International Shugden Community gathered for a peaceful demonstration as the Dalai Lama arrived to attend the 14th World Summit of Nobel Prize Laureates. Every media channel that covered the summit inevitably wrote about the demonstrations and the suppression as well as oppression resulting from the Dalai Lama’s decision to impose a ban on Dorje Shugden.
  6. Birmingham Peaceful Demonstration Coverage: As the Noble Peace Laureate gave talks about harmony and compassion, peaceful demonstrators consisting of sangha members, Tibetans and international Buddhists ask His Holiness to lift the ban that has caused suffering to millions of people, especially within his own community of Tibetans in exile.
  7. Vancouver Peaceful Demonstration Coverage: The Dalai Lama travels to Canada to meet with students and celebrities to teach about “educating the heart” while his own people are ostracized and deprived of fundamental basic needs like education and medical attention.
  8. Hamburg Peaceful Demonstration Coverage: The coverage of the peaceful demonstration in Hamburg reflects the character of Shugden Buddhists and their practice.
  9. 700 protesters in Washington DC demand religious freedom: Many of the Tibetan protestors suffered tremendously as a result of the ban, yet patiently stood in the cold to request the Dalai Lama to lift the ban and allow them to return to their families.
  10. Mixing Religion and Politics: The Dalai Lama’s ban on Dorje Shugden Prayer: A compilation of news coverage by Al-Jazeera and New York Times
  11. VIDEO: Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden controversy: The issue of Shugden was covered by Australian News Channel in June 2008. The international community was surprised at how an icon of peace is causing division in the Tibetan society in exile and the monastic community.
  12. Video: Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3): This important and comprehensive Swiss documentary highlights the issues revolving around Dorje Shugden and the Dalai Lama. Listen to the painful and tearful encounters of steadfast Dharma practitioners as they face the Dorje Shugden ban. They suffer alone and with little hope as the threat is coming from within, imposed by their trusted leader to whom they pledged alliance.
  13. VIDEO: Contradictions in Dalai Lama’s speeches on Dorje Shugden: The Dalai Lama forcefully says he is happy that Shugden monks have been expelled from the monasteries. He also encourages further expulsion of monks who refuse to abandon their faith in Shugden. His tone with his own Tibetan people is starkly different from the speeches he gives in Western countries of openness, dialogue and tolerance.


13: Additional Reading

  1. The Dalai Lama Denies the Truth About His Teachers
  2. Dalai Lama Will Stop Condemning Dorje Shugden
  3. The Dalai Lama’s Secrets: The Other Side of the Dalai Lama
  4. Dalai Lama: Whatever “fierce spirit” you choose is up to you
  5. Tibetan Buddhism Erosion From Within Or Without? The fight for Tibet is not for a country but for a greater cause of humanity, preservation of culture and tradition, and the precious Buddhadharma. However, if the fighters of this cause are inflicting oppression, suppression and threat to the very thing they claim to protect, is there credibility behind the quest for Tibetan freedom? Is the destruction of Tibet’s hope caused by the visible enemy, China, or parties closer to home?

(Click to download this information kit in PDF format)

Please support this website by making a donation.
Your contribution goes towards supporting
our work to spread Dorje Shugden across the world.

Related Topics:

Share this article
Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Please enter a valid email address

Please enter your message

Show More
Show More

(Allowed file types: jpg, jpeg, gif, png, maximum file size: 10MB each)

You can now upload MP4 videos to the comments section. "Choose File" -> click "Upload" then wait while your video is processed. Then copy the link and paste it into the message box. Your video will appear after you submit your comment.
Maximum size is 64MB

Contemplate This

.…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.

Dorje Shugden and Dalai Lama – Spreading Dharma Together | Terms of Use | Disclaimer

© 2024 | All Rights Reserved