An Unusual Dilemma

Dear friends of Dharma,

It was predicted by the Buddha that Buddhism will be destroyed not by external forces but from within, by Buddhists themselves. Since the Dalai Lama announced the ban of the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden, Buddhists the world over have found themselves facing an unusual dilemma – to continue a practice given to them by their teachers, which they have followed their whole lives or to give it up, just to please the Dalai Lama?

The greatest irony is that until this controversy arose, many of the most highly recognised masters in the Tibetan Buddhist world engaged in this Dharma Protector practice for most of their lives. Imagine a lifetime of devotion to your spiritual practice, only to be faced with a question you never thought you would have to consider – whether to continue propitiating Dorje Shugden… or not. For those who no longer do the practice, the question still hangs over their head, forever reminding them of the choice they made; for those who choose to continue, they are persecuted, ostracized and face physical threats to their lives.

The article attached shares valuable insights into this current dilemma faced in the Tibetan Buddhist world and what it really means to have religious freedom. In particular, it reveals the actions of one of the world’s most famous Buddhist masters – Lama Zopa – and the special relationship he maintains with one of the world’s most famous Dorje Shugden practitioners, Trijang Rinpoche.

We hope that by sharing this information, we can bring greater awareness of the issue to the world, help people understand the situation and thereby create more religious freedom, harmony and peace between all Buddhists.

Our best wishes,


Lama Zopa worships at Trijang Rinpoche’s stupa

His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche is the irrefutable guru of the majority of great Gelug Contemporary masters. Many of the teachings His Holiness the Dalai Lama passes on now is from Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. The Dalai Lama studied under Trijang Rinpoche for 30 years. Trijang gave teachings in Gaden, Sera and Drepung. All the attained and great masters around the world are his students.

In Vajrayana Buddhism we are taught to visualize our teachers as one with our meditational deity (yidam) or simply as a living Buddha. This way the blessings are greater when we do our practice. Whatever the teacher gives us we should follow diligently and never disparage the teachings and teacher, to do so would break all of our words and commitments related to tantra and attainments. We would never gain realizations or attainments if we dare disparage our tantric guru. Vajradhara, Guru Rinpoche, Tsongkapa, Panchen Sonam Drakpa, Tilopa, Shantideva, Naropa, Milarepa, Atisha, Kyabje Pabongka, Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche, Sakya Kunga Nyingpo, Drigung Gyabgon Rinpoche, Gaden Tripa, Jamyang Konchok Shepa, Trichen Ngawang Chokden, Panchen Lama have all stated this clearly.

Such erudite masters and scholars such as Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche spent his whole life until 81 disseminating the Buddha Dharma tirelessly holding the pure morality of a monk. All the teachings Trijang Rinpoche has generously given have lineage, source and athenticity without a doubt. Besides being highly attained, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche was a scholar of the highest caliber therefore chosen to be the Junior Tutor (Yongzin) to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Why choose a Dorje Shugden practitioner to be the tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama and then disparage him for it? Trijang Rinpoche did not ask for the position. With so many masters and scholars, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche was chosen from among thousands during that time. This is clear what it says about his qualities. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche for many incarnations has practiced the Heruka, Vajra Yogini and Dorje Shugden diligently as his heart practice. Incarnation after incarnation he would engage in the same practices never taking a rebirth without control. If his practice of Shugden was wrong, then he would not be able to take rebirth life after life benefitting others.

After the death of His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama started to ban and criticize Dorje Shugden the root protector of his root teacher. How can such a great master be blind to not knowing if Dorje Shugden was something not positive. How can only the Dalai Lama see what is right or wrong and not his teacher. If the Dalai Lama can criticize his teacher and say Trijang Rinpoche is wrong, then students of the Dalai Lama can say Dalai Lama is wrong. Once the doors open, it opens both ways and for everyone. If the Dalai Lama starts the unheard tradition that his teachers can be wrong, then Dalai Lama can be wrong also. The very foundation of Vajrayana Buddhism is destabilized if we go that route. Everything becomes uncertain. In fact His Holiness the Dalai Lama says those who practice Dorje Shugden we should not associate with them on both a secular level or a spiritual level. If that is the case, then we cannot associate with our teachers such as Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche as his practice was ‘wrong’. We must never practice anything Trijang Rinpoche taught us and abandon him as our teacher. We must abandon any of our teachers that practice Dorje Shugden? Doesn’t make sense. So all the practices, yidams, commentaries we received from our teacher should be abandoned and immediately stopped?

Dalai Lama says we have the freedom to practice or not practice Dorje Shugden. But if you do practice Dorje Shugden you will be banned from his teachings, ex-communicated from the Monasteries, you cannot enter into any Tibetan institutions, hospitals, markets or meetings. Tibetans that do not practice Dorje Shugden may not associate with those who do even if you are family. As strange as it sounds, that is what the Dalai Lama has said clearly and openly within the Tibetan communities repeatedly.

His speech outside of India in Europe and America are much more toned down of course. You can find his speeches for Tibetans all over Youtube. Every other citizen of this planet no matter their religious orientation may associate with the Dalai Lama except Dorje Shugden practitioners. It’s not Dorje Shugden practitioners need to associate with Dalai Lama, but why is the such segregation from a spiritual leader? That does not sound like the words that should come from the mouth of a Nobel Laureate of Peace. You are effectively not part of Tibetan society anymore if you practice Dorje Shugden.

That is not freedom of religion but blackmail of sorts. This is what His Holiness that Dalai Lama says now. If that is the case all teachings, sadhanas, practices and lineages by Trijang Rinpoche and Dorje Shugden master practitioners for the last 350 years are wrong? That does not make sense. Trijang Rinpoche was a lineage holder within the Gelug School and many important lineages come through him. If we were to have negative view or abandon Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche we cannot gain any tantric attainments from our practice.

The Gelug school as we know it becomes nullified of blessings and authenticity. Impossible. How can we meditate our Guru who is one with our Yidam to be wrong? Dorje Shugden practitioners should not be prejudiced against in anyway. They should be able to enjoy the rights, dignity and privileges like every other Tibetan. The Dalai Lama should accept, love and be close to all Tibetans regardless of their personal religious beliefs. This is religious freedom. Religion should never be factor for effective governments and leaders in today’s day and age. Can the president of any country ostracize citizens in their own country or disallow their equal rights based on religious beliefs? Of course not. But this is happening now within the Tibetan communities of India and Nepal. Do your research please.

These days professing you have faith in Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche or associating with his young incarnation in the USA is tantamount to saying you believe in Dorje Shugden or you are against Dalai Lama. What I find interesting if this is the case, in this recent video, Lama Zopa Rinpoche is doing puja, prayers and worship in front of the most famous Dorje Shugden practitioner, His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s stupa. This stupa contains the remains and relics of the late great Tutor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama or Yongzin Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang. So since Lama Zopa is worshipping in front of the stupa, is it right to assume that he finds Trijang Rinpoche faultless and his practice of Dorje Shugden correct after all? Or Trijang Rinpoche is faultless except for Dorje Shugden? So Trijang Rinpoche is with fault. It becomes confusing.

Remember Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa both received the Dorje Shugden life entrustment empowerment (sogtae) from Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. This is a promise to practice Dorje Shugden for all of this life until you achieve Bodhicitta. In Tibet at Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s personal Dungkar Monastary, Dorje Shugden took trance of the then oracle and pronounced Lama Zopa to be a genuine Tulku and he should be taken care of. Lama Zopa’s Tulku or reincarnation status was accepted by the sangha because Dorje Shugden had recognized him officially back in the 1950′s. This one is written clearly in Lama Zopa’s biography “The Lawudo Lama” by Jamyang Wangmo published by Wisdom Publications, page 172-173. (see full story here “Who Made Lama Zopa a Rinpoche?”: /?p=20 )

Now we see Lama Zopa worshipping in front of Trijang Rinpoche’s stupa. Depending on what side of the fence you are forced to choose, it can be good or bad. This is not to attack the Dalai Lama or Lama Zopa. But this is to express the difficult situation that occurs when religious freedom is curtailed. Whatever you do is observed and subject to criticism. Worshipping at the stupa of your guru is considered a negative action now if your holy master was a Dorje Shugden practitioner. This does not make sense to anyone who understands the Dharma, especially tantra.

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  1. I only believed in the Buddha and don’t respect The Dalai Lama. He is too political and as a Buddhist, we should not side or involve in political. Did the Buddha gave up the Kingdom and becomes a Enlightened Buddha so why the Dalai Lama can’t do this and want to go against China?..

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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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