Dear Dharma friends,
I hope you are in good health. I am writing to bring your attention to an important issue within the Tibetan Buddhist community today and hope you will join us to make a change for real religious freedom.
While Buddhism is a very open religion which encourages tolerance and harmony between all people, there is now a big division within the Tibetan Buddhist community. This is because of an instruction that the Dalai Lama issued to stop the practice of the Protector Deity Dorje Shuden. People are now not permitted to practice this Protector or associate with anyone who does. If they do, they are expelled from monasteries, excluded from all Tibetan communities, refused access to welfare and suffer verbal and physical attacks.
The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the governing body of the Tibetan exile community living mainly in India, have been very aggressive in maintaining this ban. They exert a tremendous amount of pressure on Dorje Shugden devotees, accusing them of being traitors to the Tibetan cause and being Chinese spies.
This is contradictory to the practices of Buddhism as a whole. Buddhists are encouraged to be kind to all beings, including animals and even spirits! Anyone of any religion and culture is permitted to attend Dharma teachings and the Dalai Lama’s talks – except for Shugden practitioners. For anyone to associate with Shugden practitioners is considered a very bad traitorous act and they risk being completely excluded from their community. Should this be the behavior of a culture and people who are most famous the world over for their spirituality?
It seems to us that it is because the CTA failed to obtain independence and freedom for Tibet that they have turned their attention to Dorje Shugden instead. Because of their failed policies and their inability to get their country back, they have lost much respect in the eyes of their own people. So they have placed the “blame” onto Shugden instead, declaring that this practice threatens the Tibetan independence cause. Naturally, while everyone got caught up in the “excitement” of the Shugden ban, everyone forgot about the Tibetan freedom cause for a while and the attention moved away from the CTA to Shugden. Was this just a convenient action for the CTA, to distract the public’s attention and blame away from them?
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, there are many groups engaged in practices that are questionable or which appear to move away from the established lineages and practices. An example currently being discussed online is an organisation in Australia called Chinese Han Tantrayana Buddhism – Holy Tantra Jin-Gang-Dhyana Buddhism: www.jingangdhyanaincnet.org (Photos and extracts of the discussion are attached below). We are not in a position to judge all religious groups but this clearly does not seem to be in accordance with traditional Vajrayana practices. Even the shape of their hats have never been seen or recognised in any established Vajrayana or Tantric schools.
Our question is this: Why don’t the CTA examine groups like this further? They are using the sacred name of Tibetan tantra but not following the established practices – shouldn’t this be under investigation? The CTA speak openly and issue public statements about the need to preserve the purity of Buddhism; this is their reason for stopping Dorje Shugden’s practice because they claim it is not a pure practice. If this was really the case, then why do the CTA put so much effort, time and money into stopping the practice of Dorje Shugden, but allow all these other strange practices and groups to continue everywhere else? If they want to protect the purity of the Buddhadharma, then they should monitor all such strange groups that use the name of tantra so casually.
The CTA cannot claim to be a secular government but issue orders and instructions only for selected religious issues. On the other hand, IF they are going to start commenting on religion and establishing themselves as a religious authority or monitor, then they should also do this fully and investigate all questionable tantric groups. To focus only on Shugden practitioners is very selective and makes the CTA seem very biased against a minority group. Is this a fair way for a democratic government in the modern world to treat their own people?
We do not mean disrespect towards anyone, but we call for fairness and equality. If Shugden practitioners are being constantly questioned and examined, then other unconventional groups also should be. To act in any other way reflects on the CTA badly and shows them to be biased, undemocratic, intolerant and not progressive. We hope you will heed our advice and create a better religious future for all Buddhists.
Topic: Maybe CTA should look into this Chinese Tantra Buddhism Organisation?
Discussions on the dorjeshugden.com forum:
Topic started by “namdrol”
I don’t know how to begin, but I just found this in some Chinese forum, it is an organization in Australia called Chinese Han Tantrayana Buddhism – Holy Tantra Jin-Gang-Dhyana Buddhism…something like, even the name is confusing, but looks like it has something to do with Vajrayana/Tibetan Buddhism.
I am not in a position to judge another guru/organization so I will not comment on their authenticity, but from the physical outlook, it is quite unorthodox if it is a Vajrayana group.
Since it could be Vajrayana, then perhaps the CTA should look into it? Didn’t CTA persecute Geshe Michael Roach for his long hair and other stuff a few years ago? And I think this Chinese Tantra Organization surpasses Geshe Michael Roach’s “weird look” by miles?
And what about the Tsongkhapa-hat-look-alike thingy? Can CTA please kindly write to them and ask them not use a hat similar to Gelugpa’s yellow hat because it may create confusion to the public? Please help us to protect the purity of Gelugpa’s image will you CTA since you are the Vajrayana’s highest authority.
Since CTA is so engrossed to be a religious police in Vajrayana, can CTA pls go check this organization out? Give the Shugden monks a break will you? At least Shugden monks still wear proper monks’ robes, hold their vows, do their pujas, serve their gurus…
I will keep looking out for organizations like this for CTA to keep them busy, so that they can leave Shugden monks alone for a while…
Other comments and responses:
Why is the CTA so selective and target only the Dorje Shugden practitioners? Why the selective witch hunts targeted at only Dorje Shugden practitioners? Well, the CTA may say they have the right only over Tibetans who are Dorje Shugden practitioners, so should not CTA also ban Tibetans who are practitioners of Bon or other religions and deprive them of their basic human rights?
It is time already for CTA to focus and help Tibetans in their daily needs and lives and STOP playing being the highest governing spiritual body for Tibetan people!
in response to samayakeeper
It is what they should do and focus on since day one. They just hide behind Shugden issue and did not do their best to improve the living quality of their citizen, worse is that they create disharmony and doubt between their people.
I am hopeful Dr Lobsang Sangay, the present Kolan Tripa of CTA, will slowly relax the pressure for DS practitioners, after all this is the 21st century, how he runs CTA is being watched and observed by heads of other countries. And the language spoken in the 21st century is freedom of religion, freedom of human rights. Why prosecute your own people because of a difference in belief in one dharma protector and accept all the other religions with even more differences in the whole context of the spiritual practices?
I remember when I was holidaying in Singapore one time, there was this YELLOW BOOK that were placed in several strategic center around Singapore… they even got it translated in to Chinese! Well this is the kind of ways that the CTA poke their noses and centres that like to rub shoulder with His Holiness to get fame and sponsorships do, could do to make other people’s life difficult even though it is not in their jurisdiction to do so. Many accounts of such negative experiences, really you cannot even practice Dorje Shugden freely even though you are outside of Dharamsala. There are many centers who will judge, ban and condemned you, sometimes even smear your name to others saying you worship a “demon” hence you cannot even enter their center or events! Down right religious discrimination!
Basically a statement was put out in every forms of Amitabha Buddhist Center, Singapore (http://www.fpmtabc.org/), whether it is a trip to attend Dalai Lama’s teaching in South East Asia, Kalachakra, or a trip to Dharamsala. On top of name, passpost number, addresses etc. personal details, you need to declare that you do not practice Dorje Shugden first.
So yeah, not only our dear sanghas in Dharamsala are going through injustice, we outside of India and Nepal are also going through such ridiculousness which why it is high time we put a stop to such injustice. And we shall do so by working harder to educated anyone who crosses our path on Dorje Shugden.
Thank you Namdrol for saying it! CTA why don’t you look at those who are more weird then the Shugden practitioners?
CTA may not have the authority over others outside of Tibetan community of India, however they have done a lot to destroy reputations of certain lamas which creates a rippling effect to other mindless Vajrayana/Buddhist councils around the world.
There are politics involved everywhere and not only within the Indian community. CTA … please focus on organizations that looks weird rather than lamas which are proven authentic already. If this will get them off their case, then I support Namdrol to continue scouting.