To: The Head of the Central Tibet Administration
First and foremost, I want to thank you for creating and maintaining the website of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. I am doing a bachelor degree in Theology and this website is one of my most visited and credible sources of information for my projects.
Whilst I respect the Dalai Lama very much, and have no doubts on his sincerity and compassion in wanting world peace and happiness for all, I have one bone to pick with regards to his website: why must it discuss about Shugden in such a negative light? It does not jive at all with the rest of the website. It sticks out like a sore thumb in fact.
Actually, I do not believe that the Dalai Lama actually wrote the content of the Dolgyal (Shugden) section of the website, in particular the article “His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Advice Concerning Dolgyal (Shugden)”. The logic given is hilarious. I take it that this article is meant to be a summary of the Dalai Lama’s reasons for why Shugden should not be practiced. Here are my humble two cents, from the perspective of a Theology student:
The first point: The danger of Tibetan Buddhism degenerating into a form of spirit worship – it practically translates to “INSECURITY”. Come now, I am sure the Dalai Lama is confident in the strength of pure Dharma teachings and practices? How could an unenlightened spirit cause the degeneration of Buddha’s teachings? Based on interviews with Shugden practitioners, I do not see how they are causing Buddhism to degenerate. They are just like any other Buddhist, wanting peace, harmony, happiness. Frankly this first point reminds me of some of the backward measures taken by certain Muslim political parties in some countries in the name of “protecting” Islam. It is a joke to the international community and to the locals. In their quest to maintain the purity of Islam, they themselves have in fact twisted it, and arguably to serve their own self interest.
Second point: Obstacles to the emergence of genuine non-sectarianism – This paragraph does not explain well why Shugden worship creates sectarianism. To me, having this section in the website IS creating sectarianism in itself, as it is denouncing Shugden practitioners. There is no evidence that they are the sole culprit for creating disharmony in the Buddhist community. One hand cannot clap.
Last point: Especially inappropriate in relation to the well-being of Tibetan society: Propitiating Dolgyal is particularly troublesome, given the Tibetan people’s present difficult circumstances – This paragraph is really too vague, and leaves my head full of “why?”.
I read about the fighting between Shugden supporters and non-supporters, and I was in much despair, disbelief, confusion… all the feelings which are not supposed to arise when one hears about Buddhism (or any religion for that matter)!
From all my years of study, Buddhism is my favourite. It is a much more higher level or the most evolved form of religion. It is so saddening that now, Buddhism has been brought down to such a low level. The essence is lost in the fight between believing and not believing a particular deity, because-someone-else-said-so. What has Buddhism become now, a popularity contest? What happened to offering the victory to others? So much precious time is being wasted on this debate. But what really matters ultimately?
The more I think about it, the more it just does not make sense why the Dolgyal chapter should be in the website. You may say I am cursed or blessed with a strong, rational and logical mind to not be too shaken by the Shugden issue, but I cannot say the same for people of weaker minds. The internal fighting between Shugden and anti-Shugden practitioners is bad bad bad publicity for Buddhism. And having this section on Shugden is contributing to the wider schism within the Buddhist community.
Please do seriously consider taking down the Dolgyal webpage from the Dalai Lama’s website, if you wish to maintain the credibility of the Dalai Lama. Otherwise, please put in a section on what Dolgyal practice involves, and let the readers decide whether it is an evil practice or not. Afterall, Buddhism is about seeing from different perspectives and not just one view.