Letter from Kensur Sonam Gyaltsen

An Open Letter to Gelug Monasteries & Sangha regarding Dorje Shugden

Gyudmed Monastery (Lower Tantric College) Kensur Sonam Gyaltsen’s Letter to Tibetan Buddhists and Tibetan Government-in-exile

Dear all Gurus and monks,

Regarding the letter sent December 30, 2010, and received on January 13, 2011. The content of this letter asked me to give up the protector practice, let me explain:

In 1996 I was the Khenpo (abbot) of Gyudmed Monastery, at that time, from the Khenpo to the new monks at the end of the seats, everybody was to submit a statement to stop propitiating protector. Besides this, the letter also mentioned that we must make sure to cut off all Dharmic and worldly connections with people who pray to Gyalchen (Dorje Shugden) Protector. Such an order is impossible to carry out, please allow me to state my reasons:

Jangtse Dratsang (Gaden Monastery North College) is not a newly built monastery in India, there have been many Gurus, Rinpoches, and Geshes who propitiated Gyalchen Shugden: the attained Gurus that spread the Dharma nectar to learning monks in the Dratsang – Serkong Dorje Chang, his incarnation the 2nd Serkong Dorje Chang, Kenchen Tendakwa Rinpoche, Phara Rinpoche Lobsang Yeshe Sonam Chokyi Wangchuk, (Hardong) Geshe Rinpoche Kenrab Samten, (Gowo) Kensur Yeshe Gawa, (Tsawa) Drokmi Jampa Lodro Rinpoche, (Gowo) Geshe Nyima Gyaltsen, (Gowo) Ken Rinpoche Sonam Kunga.

These great Lamas are great masters who taught Sutra and Tantra teachings in Jangtse Monastery, if we swear to cut off all Dharmic and worldly material relationship with them, it is totally unacceptable. Forcing ourselves to cut off all Dharmic and worldly material relationship with our Gurus is something impossible to do even for non-Buddhists, let alone Buddhists like ourselves. Where did you get your Sutra and Tantra lineage from? Maybe you dug it out from the ground. Ken Rinpoche Sonam Kunga tirelessly taught us a lot of great scriptures, he received the teachings from his Gurus and Geshes. From Serkong Dorje Chang to Ken Rinpoche Sonam Kunga, and all the Dratsang great masters in between, it is widely known that they practiced protector Gyalchen Dorje Shugden.

You forced us monks to cut off all Dharmic and worldly material relationship with them, I cannot do it, because I am a monk, according to Tibetan traditional vinaya code a monk is not allowed to swear. This code is also in Shakyamuni’s Vinaya scripture towards the end, page 392, you can go and check for yourselves. You should request Samdhong Rinpoche, “Please be compassionate, don’t let the monks swear, because monks are not allowed to swear.” But you didn’t request, and you followed Samdhong Rinpoche’s order and you swore, and caused the great Gaden Monastery to fall apart into different factions. I did not swear because I did not want to create schism among Sangha. Some people abuse the vinaya power in their hands, this is widely known, it is like our Tibetan proverbs “The person in charge of the water flour mill is not the main person-in-charge, the head of the farm village is not the government officials.”

I have already quoted the scriptures for you in my letter above, and have shown to you with valid and solid proofs that Gyalchen Dorje Shugden is a saint, is a protector, is a Gelug protector. I am not trying to show off my knowledge in my letter, I wrote it because I had no choice.

It seemed like our government-in-exile had nothing better to do, they spent so many years to create chaos, excommunicate many monks, divided a fine dratsang into two factions, I wrote this letter because I had enough, it is too much.

Regarding Dorje Shugden, we just have to check the historical materials and we will understand the original facts. I wish the unnecessary chaos created in these 40 years can be pacified very soon.

This letter is sent to the religious department, Samdhong Rinpoche and various dratsangs, please read it openly in front of all sangha.

Gyudmed Monastery Kensur Sonam Gyaltsen
January 13, 2011
written in West Europe

Gyudmed Kensur Sonam Gyaltsen Rinpoche

Gyudmed Kensur Sonam Gyaltsen Rinpoche, or known as Geshe Sonam or Gen Tati, was born in the Year of the Tiger fire, the 13th day of the first Tibetan month (March 13, 1926), in a large family of nomadic herders in Atsa Region, between Kongpo and Kham in central Tibet. Rinpoche entered religious life at the age of 5.

On March 23, 1959, like thousands of his countrymen, Rinpoche fled Tibet for exile in India. In 1971, Rinpoche passed the exams of “Geshe Lharampa” (Doctor in Buddhist philosophy) where he obtained the first rank.

While at Gaden Jangtse, Rinpoche studied under teachers like Phara Rinpoche, Geshe Samten Kenrab, Geshe Nyima Gyaltsen, Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche.

In 1974, Rinpoche completed a 600-pages doctoral thesis which the theme focuses on “mental images” at the University of Varanasi, India. Rinpoche arrived in France in 1980, where Rinpoche lived until 1990. That year, Rinpoche was appointed as the Vice-Abbot, then three years later, the Abbot of Gyudmed Dratsang until 1996. After that, Rinpoche returned to and lived in France.

From 2002 to 2006, Rinpoche went into a solitary retreat. Since 2004, Rinpoche devotes his time to writing. Rinpoche completed a treaty on the Vinaya, specifically the ordination of Bhikshuni. It traces the history of the introduction of the Vinaya in Tibet and chronicles the debates, the decisions taken by great masters, and supporting references.

For more information on Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche: http://anecdotesbouddhistes.blogspot.com/2008/01/gen-tati-gyudmed-khensur-rinpoche-sonam.html

on The Conpendium of Vinaya by Khensur Rinpoche: http://www.choeurdutibet.chezalice.fr/documents/CompendiumOfVinayaTexts.pdf
(Editor’s Note: This link appears to have been removed from the mentioned website)


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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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