FPMT, Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden

The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) is an international, non-profit organization founded in 1975 by Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935- 1984) and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, devoted to preserving and spreading Mahayana Buddhism.

Recent Facebook postings regarding Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa have brought attention once again to FPMT and its relationship with the 14th Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden.

 

Lama Yeshe

It is public knowledge that Lama Yeshe’s main protector was Dorje Shugden, on whom Lama Yeshe fully relied. Keeping clean samaya with his teachers, Lama Yeshe remained a devoted Dorje Shugden practitioner till the very end, even requesting great lamas to confer Shugden sogtae (empowerment) onto his students and encouraging his students to also take Dorje Shugden as their dharma protector.

Kopan Monastery, which Lama Yeshe founded, has also been perpetuating Dorje Shugden since its beginnings. Lama Zopa said:

Lama (Yeshe) and I practiced Shugden for many years. That was always the main thing that Lama did whenever there were problems to overcome. At the beginning of every Kopan course, Lama always did Shugden puja to eliminate hindrances. 1

Lama Yeshe (far right) performs puja in front of a Dorje Shugden thangka, with Lama Zopa (second from right)

The current incarnation of His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche was often invited to Kopan Monastery to participate in pujas with Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa. Many Dorje Shugden pujas were done on the land before laying the foundation for Kopan’s new prayer hall and Pabongka Rinpoche was there to perform them. When anti-Shugden campaigns started however, Kopan severed their ties with Pabongka Rinpoche.

In their efforts to remain politically correct, the monks of Kopan even got rid of Lama Yeshe’s personal Dorje Shugden statue after he entered clear light. The precious statue was given to Gangchen Ladrang, where it remains to this day.

The personal statue of Lama Yeshe

 

Lama Zopa

After Lama Yeshe’s passing, his heart son Lama Zopa became the spiritual director of FPMT.

From a very young age, Lama Zopa claimed that he was the incarnation of the Lawudo Lama. Not many believed him at first but Lama Zopa’s claim was later confirmed upon consultation with Dorje Shugden through the famous oracle of Dungkar Monastery, a monastery under the spiritual guidance of the illustrious master, Domo Geshe Rinpoche in north Sikkim. Lama Zopa was ordained and educated in Dungkar Monastery before he became the disciple of Geshe Rabten and later, Lama Yeshe.

In the mid 1960′s, an unusual meeting led to a strong bond between 3 people who were instrumental in the founding of the Nepal Mahayana Gompa Centre in 1969. In her search for Domo Geshe Rinpoche in Darjeeling, American Zina Rachevsky mistakenly believed Lama Zopa to be the one she had in mind, because he had been known as Domo Rinpoche ever since his stay at Dungkar2. She was the first Western disciple and patron of both Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa, and was credited as someone “who helped make Kopan happen” 3.

Lama Yeshe, Zina Rachevsky and Lama Zopa

 

FPMT chose the Dalai Lama over Lama Yeshe

According to its mission statement, FPMT is “based on the Buddhist tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa of Tibet as taught to us by our founder, Lama Thubten Yeshe and our spiritual director, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche” 4. However, FPMT’s recent activities in relations to the Dalai Lama’s policies have left many bewildered. Are FPMT trying to be politically correct in appearing to be ‘non-sectarian’? Or is FPMT/ Lama Zopa heading the Rimé direction?

For instance, the recent Jangchub Lamrim teachings in December 2013 saw a tremendous break with tradition when Sera Je monastery decided to display a huge applique thangka of Guru Rinpoche instead of the traditional Lama Tsongkapa or Gelug refuge tree thangka. Made by FPMT for the Lawudo Retreat Centre, the thangka was sent to the Dalai Lama for his blessings before unveiling it in Lawudo 6.

Many have wondered why Sera Je monastery chose to hang this thangka of Guru Rinpoche during the Jangchub Lamrim teachings and why FPMT allowed it to be displayed, yet disassociated themselves with it at that time. It was only recently in 1 July 2014 that Lama Zopa acknowledged the thangka was FPMT’s on his Facebook page. It is also known that when he was younger, Lama Zopa received the tantric initiations of the Nyingma tradition from the head lama of Thami Gompa and received the full investiture of the Nyingma tradition 5.

FPMT broke tradition with this thangka of Guru Rinpoche

The most obvious sign of FPMT deviating from Lama Yeshe’s teachings is in its stance towards Dorje Shugden practice. Below is the excerpt from the FPMT website 7:

  • Those in service or teaching in FPMT centers and projects do not engage in the practice of Shugden.
  • Students regularly attending FPMT centers should not practice Shugden.
  • FPMT teachers and key staff should not attend teachings by teachers who are known Shugden practitioners.

As early as April 2001, Lama Zopa wrote to Lozang Jinpa, the private secretary of the Dalai Lama, to inform him that FPMT would not invite anyone who practices Dorje Shugden to be a resident or visiting teacher 8. FPMT’s website also provides advice about the Shugden issue, first given by Lama Zopa to the students of FPMT’s Masters Program at Istituto Lama Tsongkhapa 2000, entitled “Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden” in which Lama Zopa said:

The time has come for all of us together to offer His Holiness every possible service. Therefore, each of us should generate the most extensive thought of benefiting others and ourselves. In this way, please follow His Holiness’s advice and wishes as much as you possibly can.

The Dorje Shugden issue aside, Lama Zopa also falls in line with the Dalai Lama’s official position on other controversial matters. Earlier this month, a photo of Lama Zopa visiting the young Domo Geshe Rinpoche Geshe Rinpoche in Sera Je Monastery on January 2014 was posted on Lama Zopa’s Facebook page. This Domo Geshe Rinpoche Tenzin Jigmey Lhundup was officially recognized as the “true and lone reincarnation” of the previous Domo Geshe Rinpoche Rinpoche by the Dalai Lama at the request of a renegade group of monks from Tharpa Choling monastery. However, most students of the previous Domo Geshe Rinpoche follow another reincarnation – Domo Geshe Rinpoche Losang Jigme Ngak–Gi Wangchuk – who was recognised by H.H. Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche and enthroned at Shar Gaden Monastery in 2009.

Lama Zopa has received the Dorje Shugden life entrustment empowerment (sogtae) from Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche Dorje Chang, along with two other students of Lama Yeshe, Claudio Cipullo and Piero Cerri. Part of the sogtae ritual includes a promise to take Dorje Shugden as one’s protector until one achieves Bodhicitta. As far as we know, Lama Zopa still considers Trijang Rinpoche to be his root Guru 9 and was recently seen doing puja in front of Trijang Rinpoche’s stupa in Dharamsala, India back in 2012 10. Yet, Lama Zopa has broken the commitments he made to Trijang Rinpoche pertaining to Dorje Shugden.

 

What about others in FPMT?

The Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Italy has highlighted the broken samaya and rifts caused by the Dorje Shugden issue.

In the spring of 1975, Claudio Cipullo, Piero Cerri and Massimo Corona each separately requested Lama Thubten Yeshe to come to teach in Italy during his second world tour; to each of them, Lama Yeshe agreed. Several months later, they began working together to organize the first meditation course with Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa in Italy.

In May 1977, a large castle-style villa set on a small hilltop overlooking the rolling countryside became the premises of the Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa (ILTK), which would later develop into one of the largest and most active Tibetan Buddhist Centers of the Gelug tradition in the Western world.

Geshe Rabten and Gonsar Rinpoche, after giving a course in Milan, had gone to Pomaia to bless the site during that time. In 1978, Zong Rinpoche conducted a large course as well as a Yamantaka initiation there. These premises have also hosted Ling Rinpoche, Ribur Rinpoche, Denma Locho Rinpoche, and many other elite lamas 11. His Holiness the Dalai Lama also visited and stayed there during his first visit in 1982.

Today, the Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa is famous for its “Masters Program” consisting of four years of Sutra studies, two years of tantric studies, and one year of solitary retreat. But behind the scenes, things are murkier. What has happened to the students who received teachings and empowerments from these Shugden Lamas, given that Lama Zopa has expressed the wish “not to have a guru-disciple relationship with anyone who is practicing Shugden”?

Fabrizio Pallotti, a translator at the Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, has completed many translation projects for FPMT and has been recently seen translating for the Dalai Lama. Having previously received teachings from Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, Mr. Pallotti now condemns the practice of Shugden, dismissing it as “Dolgyel” 12 – defined as something along the lines of “the king spirit that dwells in the area of Dol” by the Dorje Shugden Research Society.

Fabrizio Pallotti and the Dalai Lama at the end of the teachings in Italy, June 20 2014

Fabrizio Pallotti translating for Lama Zopa, June 29 2014

Claudio Cipullo, one of the founding members of Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa has remained loyal to Lama Yeshe, continues his practice of Shugden and is now with Albagnano Healing Meditation Center in Italy instead 13. Mr. Cipullo received the Dorje Shugden life entrustment empowerment (sogtae) together with Lama Zopa from Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche.

Kopan Monastery in 1971. Front row (left to right): Zina Rachevsky, Lama Zopa, Geshe Thubten Tashi, Age Delbanco (Babaji), Lama Yeshe and Losang Nyima. Claudio Cipullo is circled in red

A more recent picture of Claudio Cipullo

Another important anchor in the ILTK was Geshe Jampa Gyatso. Geshe-la was originally invited by Lama Yeshe to teach in Kopan and upon completion of his duties there, he was asked by Lama Yeshe to travel to Italy.

Geshe-la arrived at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in 1980, became one of its resident teachers, and remained until his passing 27 years later in 2007. Geshe-la set up a seven-year teacher training program in Sutra and Tantra as well as a twelve-year Geshe Studies Program. He was directly and indirectly involved in the founding of many Dharma centers in Italy, a monastery and nunnery at the Institute, and the acquisition of twenty acres of land near the Institute for the future construction of a joint monastery and nunnery.

Interestingly, in his autobiography, Geshe Jampa Gyatso wrote that before he left India for Kopan, he “received the special permission of the protector of the Gelugpa school, Dorje Shugden, and the day after that, the protectress Palden Lhamo” 14. Geshe-la’s teachers include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Ling Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche from whom Geshe-la received the initiation of Hayagriva.

Geshe Jampa Gyatso

Geshe Jampa Gyatso, Lama Zopa, Lama Yeshe

 

Tenzin Osel Hita

Perhaps the most relevant question pertaining to the future of FPMT is about Tenzin Osel Hita (Lama Osel). Lama Zopa maintains a close relationship with Lama Osel, the incarnation of Lama Yeshe, and recently both Lama Zopa and Lama Osel attended the Dalai Lama’s teachings in Livorno, Italy. Since the Dalai Lama has proclaimed that those who continue to propitiate “Dolgyal” may not attend his teachings, would this mean that both Lama Zopa and Lama Osel have given up their Dorje Shugden practice? Perhaps, answers can be found in Lama Zopa’s letter to Lozang Jinpa:

Of course sometimes it is difficult to say if someone is hiding the practice.

Regardless, perhaps what Dorje Shugden practitioners wish to see most is what Geshe Kelsang Gyatso wrote about FPMT recently:

I have great sympathy for them because they have had to stop their daily practice of Dorje Shugden, which is their commitment. They have no choice about this. Day and night I pray how wonderful it would be if these Lamas could have religious freedom. Because we all are disciples of HH Trijang Rinpoche, these Lamas are my vajra brothers, we have the same spiritual father.

The main reason why I have involved myself in this debate, and why I am telling the truth about the Dalai Lama, is in the hope that his mind will change and he will give these Lamas and other practitioners the freedom to worship in the way they wish. It is my choice to help in this way.15

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso of NKT and Lama Yeshe of FPMT

 

References

  1. http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=335&chid=1398
  2. http://mandala.fpmt.org/archives/older/mandala-issues-for-1997/may/kopan-monastery-the-wellspring-of-fpmt/
  3. http://www.wisdompubs.org/sites/default/files/preview/Wisdom%20Energy%20Book%20Preview.pdf
  4. http://fpmt.org/fpmt/fpmt-mission-statement/
  5. http://www.wisdompubs.org/sites/default/files/preview/Wisdom%20Energy%20Book%20Preview.pdf
  6. http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/politically-correct-at-the-expense-of-the-lineage/
  7. http://fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/advice/shugden/#policy
  8. http://fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/advice/shugden/#lj
  9. http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=335&chid=1398
  10. http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/lama-zopa-worships-trijang-rinpoches-stupa/
  11. http://mandala.fpmt.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2004/04/how_it_all_began.pdf
  12. http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/news/fabrizio-pallotti/
  13. http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/news/a-true-inspiration-claudio-cipullo/
  14. http://archive.org/stream/AnAutobiography-GesheJampaGyatso/AnAutobiography-GesheJampaGyatso_djvu.txt
  15. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/talk.religion.buddhism/xxpKNrSuIEM[101-125-false]

 

For further reading:

Where is Lama Yeshe? (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/features/where-is-lama-yeshe/)

FPMT Lineage Masters are Dorje Shugden Believers (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/features/fpmt-lineage-masters-are-believers-of-dorje-shugden/)

A True Inspiration: Claudio Cipullo (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/news/a-true-inspiration-claudio-cipullo/)

Fabrizio Pallotti (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/news/fabrizio-pallotti/)

Politically Correct at the Expense of the Lineage (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/politically-correct-at-the-expense-of-the-lineage/)

Lama Yeshe and Geshe Rabten (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/mail-out/lama-yeshe-and-geshe-rabten/)

The Broken Samayas of FPMT (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/the-broken-samayas-of-fpmt/)

The Questionable Policies of the FPMT (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/the-questionable-policies-of-the-fpmt/)

Lama Zopa admitted to being recognized by Dorje Shugden (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/others-old/lama-zopa-admitted-to-being-recognized-by-dorje-shugden/)

Recognized by Dorje Shugden, but Speaks against Dorje Shugden (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/recognized-by-dorje-shugden-but-speaks-against-dorje-shugden/)

Kopan Monks Asking for Dorje Shugden Puja for Lama Zopa (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/kopan-monks-asking-for-dorje-shugden-puja-for-lama-zopa/)

Dakini Healed Lama Zopa? (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/dakini-healed-lama-zopa/)

Who made Lama Zopa a Rinpoche? (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/features/who-made-lama-zopa-a-rinpoche/)

A Tribute to Ven. Lama Yeshe Rinpoche (http://www.dorjeshugden.com/great-masters/a-tribute-to-ven-lama-yeshe-rinpoche/)

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  1. His Holiness Kyabje Ling Dorje Chan gave the Initiation of Yamantaka Ekavira and one month commentary around 1985 at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute,at that time Claudio Cipullo was the director of the centre in Pomaia italy.
    When H.H.The Dalai Lama came later at the Institute he adviced that people practising Dorje Shugden better don’t attend His Initiations.
    After that Claudio met the small in stature but big in wisdom Geshe Champa Gyatso and ask him:
    “Geshela did you ear what H.H.Dalai Lama said?
    He replied:Our Guru has said like that,not to go to His Initiations if one practise Dorje Shugden so we don’t go as He said.”
    Praise to the Great short in stature high in knowledge Geshela.
    LONG LIFE TO ALL THE LAMAS OF THE GADEN NIENGYU TRADITION.
    your servant

  2. Very sad to see Lama Zopa actually following DDLM instruction to stop associate with Dorje Shugden followers. I can feel that Lama Zopa did this from the right intention. He do not want his students to go through whatever that DS followers had gone through. Hence I believe he did this for the sake of his students.

  3. Very sad to see Lama Zopa actually following DDLM instruction to stop practicing DS with his students and stopped associate with Dorje Shugden followers. I can feel that Lama Zopa did this from the right intention. He do not want his students to go through whatever that DS followers had gone through. Hence I believe he did this for the sake of his students.

  4. Kopan monastery was Lama Yeshe’s hard work right till the end. Lama Yeshe was the one who could open doors to people’s heart through his style of engagement, and even till his last breath he was devoted to Zong Dorje Chang. Zong Dorje Chang till his last life was a grand lama who was loyal to Dorje Shugden.

    The root of FPMT is with Lama Yeshe and Dorje Shugden, then all the foundational buildings and infrastructure that were under Lama Yeshe should be offered up to Serpom for that matter. Why pollute themselves with offerings from a Demon Deity?

  5. It’s shocking to see how Lama Zopa chooses to break his commitment so that he gets into HHDL’s good books. Or is Lama Zopa still doing the Dorje Shugden practice secretly? The ban must be lifted regardless because religious freedom is basic human rights.

  6. i don’T KNOW MUCH,BUT I ALWAYS HEARD THAT THE TRADITION OF LAM-RIM STARTED FROM LAMA TZONG KHAPA AND THE LAM-RIM IS A COMMENTARY OF BODHIPATAPRADIPAM OF ATISHA SHRI JINANA.

  7. How very sad that such devout practitioners feel they have to break their vows and commitments in an attempt to please or appease their spiritual leader. It is regrettably the HHDL who is at fault. I p ray that he will listen to Shugden practitioners and talk to them with a view to resolving the issue of religious feedom.

  8. Is very frustrating to read all these post because of the DS band a lot of high lama who are devotees of DS have to force to not practice this DS , as soon as the ban lift there will no such controversy will be happen in the buddishm communities.

  9. Not opposing to the Dalai Lama’s ban on protector Dorje Shugden practice & being silent about it does not necessary mean that Lama Zopa supports nor he is encouraging others to abandon the protector practice. Perhaps he is just protecting his people from being ill treatment, harassment & even harms from the CTA. Hence, saving his people & the CTA from creating unnecessary karma & harm to each other.

    Despite of what seemingly Lama Zopa’s deviation from his guru Lama Yeshe’s teaching as publish in FPMT website, Lama Zopa was seen doing puja in front of Trijang Rinpoche’s stupa in Dharamsala, India back in 2012 & most recently together with Lama Osel (the incarnation of Lama Yeshe) attending Dalai Lama’s teaching in Livorno, Italy. These clearly shown strength of Lama Zopa’s guru devotion & hence not disparaging the teachers & the teachings.

    It is very sad to see that many great lamas like Lama Zopa has to “give up” their daily practice of Dorje Shugden for the welfare & benefits of their followers. Perhaps the Dalai Lama should consider the sacrifice & true spirituality of these great masters such as Lama Zopa & quickly lift the ban to give back religious freedom to all, in particular the Tibetan people.

  10. As of September 2014, the FPMT are aligning themselves with hard-line pro-Dalai Lama groups those sole purpose is to destroy the reputation of those organizations that have remained loyal in their veneration of Dorje Shugden.
    A tragic turn of events!

  11. Thank you very much for this very informative article. I am so happy to see that the genuine teachers of Buddhism such as Lama Zopa Rinpoche, along with the FPMT in general, are supporting His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on this important issue. It is clear that Dorje Shugden is a dangerous practice, and I have every confidence that the Dalai Lama is correct to discourage the practice. It warms my heart to read that Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the FPMT have taken a firm stance against Shugden. It seems a strong possibility that the aims of some people in promoting Shugden practice are to split the Sangha and undermine the activities of the Dalai Lama. Perhaps some of them at the top are even receiving guidance from Beijing? If so, they are surely doing themselves great spiritual damage. The bad karma associated with splitting the Sangha is well documented, and for their own sake, I hope anyone involved in such activities will change their ways and purify their karma. As the article above clearly shows, there are many genuine Buddhist practitioners who wish to keep the Sangha strong and united. There are many also who recognize His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama as the head of Tibetan Buddhism, not due to mere political or hierarchical power, but because he has attained the very highest levels of Buddhist practice and insight. If anyone knows the truth about Shugden, it is surely the Dalai Lama. And I am so happy to see that the FPMT is fiercely loyal to His Holiness. Once again, thank you so much for this interesting and informative article. Best wishes, David

  12. ☹️It is sad what happened- Lama Osel disrobed, never finished his studies, achieved nothing much in his secular life, just running around with his girlfriend and clubbing in Ibizia, Spain. His previous life accomplished so much with the help of his determination, hard work and Dorje Shugden. Lama Yeshe credited much of his success to the help he was bestowed by Dorje Shugden. By FPMT abanding Dorje Shugden, they broke their samaya with their lineage gurus such as Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche from whom they received the Dorje Shugden sogtae commitment practice. Also it was with Lama Yeshe’s permission they received sogtae from these great masters. By abandoning the practice, they broke their spiritual bond (samaya) which is sacred in tantra with Lama Yeshe and lineage lamas. So it is no surprise Lama Yeshe came back in this incarnation unable to manifest being a great dharma teacher like his previous life. It is a shame and embarrassment to FPMT that Lama Osel ended up not doing much. It is a testimony to their failure in keeping their samaya to their guru and lineage lamas. FPMT wanted fame and rub shoulders with the famous and in return, they lost Lama Yeshe. After Lama Zopa passes away, FPMT will just go down for sure. No one can take over. Breaking their samaya was the wrong thing to do.

    So many more pictures and information to read here: http://www.dorjeshugden.com/forum/index.php?topic=6197.0

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  13. Lama Zopa, who has received sogtae (initiation of Dorje Shugden) from His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, had said that:

    “Lama (Yeshe) and I practiced Shugden for many years. That was always the main thing that Lama did whenever there were problems to overcome. At the beginning of every Kopan course, Lama always did Shugden puja to eliminate hindrances.”

    “My root guru, His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche; Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s guru’s root guru; His Holiness Zong Rinpoche, from whom many of the older students received the initiation of Shugden; and the previous incarnation of Gomo Rinpoche, who has a strong connection with Istituto Lama Tsongkhapa, here in Italy, all promoted the practice of Shugden.”

    Photos: 1) Teachings by H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to FPMT students. 2) As Lama Yeshe reached the end of his life, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche came to the hospital to do prayers for Lama Yeshe. Lama Yeshe was very devoted to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Dorje Shugden till the end. 👍

    fpmt01

    ZR - LY

  14. In FPMT’s centre called Tushita in Dharamsala, North India, they have a statue of Lama Yeshe in the form of Vajrasattva with consort. Now the question is simple: If Lama Yeshe practised Dorje Shugden, then he is a bad lama, so why doesn’t FPMT stop the homage/respect to their founding father Lama Yeshe? If they trust him, they will go to three lower realms for worshipping Lama Yeshe who worshipped Dorje Shugden. And all statues of Lama Yeshe should be discarded from all their centres right? In fact, in nearby Gaden Choling Nunnery in Dharamsala, the nun’s took their Dorje Shugden statue out of their main prayer hall where it was worshipped for decades and destroyed the statue in the garbage dump and jumped up and down on it to further desecrate it.

    Furthermore they make a Dorje Shugden worshipping Lama Yeshe in the form of divinity as Buddha Vajrasattva. That is a double-whammy no right? Why is FPMT so contradictory? Why are they blind to this double standard?

    If they wish to disassociate from Dorje Shugden lamas, they have to disassociate from their own centre-founding Lama who is Lama Yeshe. They must set the example right. Everyone knows Lama Yeshe worshipped, trusted and believed in Dorje Shugden till the end of his life. Lama Yeshe is the one that founded FPMT, so they have to be clean across the board and be honest right? If disassociate, then do it all the way. They should have no pictures, statues and images of Lama Yeshe at all. They should not be making images of him as a deity (Vajrasattva) as that is even more wrong according to their stance against Shugden and Shugden Lamas.

    Why encourage their members to worship a Dorje Shugden loving Lama like Lama Yeshe? That is what they are doing when they keep all his images in their centres around the world. They are sending the wrong message out. Lama Yeshe was wrong in their view to practice Dorje Shugden. Lama Yeshe broke his refuge vows by practicing Dorje Shugden. Lama Yeshe’s lineage, teachings, initiations and commentaries are all corrupted because he worshipped Dorje Shugden. So they should ritually expel his images from their centres with immediate effect to be in the clean arena.

    Dalai Lama said if you worship Dorje Shugden, no one should associate with you and you will go to hell. So how come FPMT still keeps a statue of Lama Yeshe in many of their centres? Is that not hypocrisy?

    Photos attached: Lama Yeshe as Vajrasattva with Consort housed in Tushita Centre (Dharamsala) AND Lama Zopa prostrating to a statue of Lama Yeshe

    Picture1

    Picture2

  15. I do not understand how a Lama like Lama Rinpoche can write things like this, when it is well-known that he himself gave Dorje Shugden initiations and told the initiates that they were incurring a lifelong obligation to continue the practice, and that breaking such an obligation would incur grave negative karma. It is very confusing and frankly, depressing.

    Lama Zopa has written some excellent books, such as his work on the Medicine Buddha. However, his logic in this foreword is gravely flawed and perhaps even essentially anti-Buddhist. For instance, he says, “If the Precious Victorious One, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is not the actual Buddha and Arya Avalokiteshvara, then you can say that in this world there is no emanation of Buddha benefiting sentient beings. In this way bodhicitta and the entire teachings of the Buddha become false.”

    Say what??? I do not know whether the Dalai Lama is or is not an emanation of Avalokiteshvara, though, based on his words and actions, I sincerely doubt it. (I mean, the man has repeatedly stated in countless interviews that he is not enlightened, and seems to relish scoffing at the notion that he might be). Regardless, the fact that the Dalai Lama is or is not such an emanation has nothing whatsoever to do with whether there are other emanations of Buddha currently on earth benefitting sentient beings.

    Logically, one does not rule out the possibility that other living Buddhas exist today, or other emanations of Avalokiteshvara, simply by denying that the Dalai Lama is such a one. If I deny that my wife is a panda bear, I am not denying that pandas exist. Indeed, to make a claim of exclusivity on the Dalai Lama’s behalf, as Lama Zopa has done, is really anti-Mahayanan in spirit, for it belittles and denigrates the efficacy of all other Buddhist schools and traditions. Someone seems to have imported the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility into Dharamsala, and now they are beginning to round up the infidels and burn them at the stake.

    It is the height of irony that Lama Zopa urges practitioners to examine their beliefs openly and honestly, and then states as a matter of fact that the Dalai Lama is omniscient and one must adhere to what the ‘omniscient one’ says. Am I not permitted to question whether the Dalai Lama is truly omniscient, and to judge this claim by the evidence of the man’s words and actions? Am I not allowed to take him at his word when he says he is NOT omniscient? Am I not allowed to question his lack of success in defending the cause of Tibet, or his lack of compassion in his treatment of Shugden practitioners, or his bumbling manner in any number of interviews, or his willingness to be used as a CIA puppet or guest editor of a highly immoral fashion magazine?

    Sadly, the recent actions of Lama Zopa and the Dalai Lama have completely soured me on Tibetan Buddhism. I have been forced to turn back to the Theravadan and Chinese teachings, because I will never again turn my will and intellect over to a guru who demands total obedience, even when he teaches one thing today and a completely different thing tomorrow. With this version of Buddhism, it’s a heads-you-win, tails-I-lose situation for the sincere follower … any faults of the guru are really the fault of the practitioner, whose bad karma has caused those faults to manifest. And even when the guru manifests obvious error, he still is not to be questioned because the error again is in the eye of the practitioner and only through blind loyalty can he cleanse his karma to the point where sincere questioning is of any value. If this is the case, then there is no point in advising practitioners to question and judge the teachings, because their bad karma will not allow them to make reasonable judgments. Reason itself is banished; it has become soiled and fallen and no longer can be trusted. Blind obedience becomes the only permitted path … you must believe in the Dalai Lama because he is a priori infallible and any evidence to the contrary is not credible, because ONLY the Dalai Lama represents Buddha in today’s world and EVERYONE ELSE is deluded.

    And so the question arises: if I am required to have blind faith in the Dalai Lama in order to be “saved”, what separates this form of Buddhism from any other exclusivist, country-club members only, religion? What separates Buddhism from the monotheistic religions once reason has been outlawed? You can use the same “your bad karma prevents you from seeing things as they are” argument to justify any religion, any cult, any superstition, any belief whatsoever. It might take a slightly different form — “your ways are not God’s ways,” or “your reason was broken in the original fall from grace of sinful man,” but the essence is the same: don’t trust yourself, look to others, particularly those who are held up as masters, for the truth. In this way, Lama Zopa’s attempt to defend the Dalai Lama becomes an atomic weapon capable of destroying any and all religious belief, or empowering any and all zealots of every stripe.

    I find all of this unworthy of the spirit of inquiry I believe Buddha Shakyamuni promoted, and the spirit of compassion that Avalokiteshvara represents. I hope that one day all the confusion that these modern-day avatars have sowed will be cleared up and those of us who relied upon them as examples and guides on the spiritual path will have our disappointments honestly and frankly acknowledged and rectified.

    Comment left by a Howard from http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/recognized-by-dorje-shugden-but-speaks-against-dorje-shugden/comment-page-1/#comment-911810

    Pictures attached: Kyabje Zong Rinpoche performs last rites for Venerable Lama Yeshe. Both these lamas were totally devoted to Dorje Shugden until the end of their lives. Decades later, Lama Zopa who has abandoned his guru Lama Yeshe’s practice of Dorje Shugden, to befriend the Dalai Lama.

    003

    002

  16. I do not understand how a Lama like Lama Rinpoche can write things like this, when it is well-known that he himself gave Dorje Shugden initiations and told the initiates that they were incurring a lifelong obligation to continue the practice, and that breaking such an obligation would incur grave negative karma. It is very confusing and frankly, depressing.

    Lama Zopa has written some excellent books, such as his work on the Medicine Buddha. However, his logic in this foreword is gravely flawed and perhaps even essentially anti-Buddhist. For instance, he says, “If the Precious Victorious One, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is not the actual Buddha and Arya Avalokiteshvara, then you can say that in this world there is no emanation of Buddha benefiting sentient beings. In this way bodhicitta and the entire teachings of the Buddha become false.”

    Say what??? I do not know whether the Dalai Lama is or is not an emanation of Avalokiteshvara, though, based on his words and actions, I sincerely doubt it. (I mean, the man has repeatedly stated in countless interviews that he is not enlightened, and seems to relish scoffing at the notion that he might be). Regardless, the fact that the Dalai Lama is or is not such an emanation has nothing whatsoever to do with whether there are other emanations of Buddha currently on earth benefitting sentient beings.

    Logically, one does not rule out the possibility that other living Buddhas exist today, or other emanations of Avalokiteshvara, simply by denying that the Dalai Lama is such a one. If I deny that my wife is a panda bear, I am not denying that pandas exist. Indeed, to make a claim of exclusivity on the Dalai Lama’s behalf, as Lama Zopa has done, is really anti-Mahayanan in spirit, for it belittles and denigrates the efficacy of all other Buddhist schools and traditions. Someone seems to have imported the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility into Dharamsala, and now they are beginning to round up the infidels and burn them at the stake.

    It is the height of irony that Lama Zopa urges practitioners to examine their beliefs openly and honestly, and then states as a matter of fact that the Dalai Lama is omniscient and one must adhere to what the ‘omniscient one’ says. Am I not permitted to question whether the Dalai Lama is truly omniscient, and to judge this claim by the evidence of the man’s words and actions? Am I not allowed to take him at his word when he says he is NOT omniscient? Am I not allowed to question his lack of success in defending the cause of Tibet, or his lack of compassion in his treatment of Shugden practitioners, or his bumbling manner in any number of interviews, or his willingness to be used as a CIA puppet or guest editor of a highly immoral fashion magazine?

    Sadly, the recent actions of Lama Zopa and the Dalai Lama have completely soured me on Tibetan Buddhism. I have been forced to turn back to the Theravadan and Chinese teachings, because I will never again turn my will and intellect over to a guru who demands total obedience, even when he teaches one thing today and a completely different thing tomorrow. With this version of Buddhism, it’s a heads-you-win, tails-I-lose situation for the sincere follower … any faults of the guru are really the fault of the practitioner, whose bad karma has caused those faults to manifest. And even when the guru manifests obvious error, he still is not to be questioned because the error again is in the eye of the practitioner and only through blind loyalty can he cleanse his karma to the point where sincere questioning is of any value. If this is the case, then there is no point in advising practitioners to question and judge the teachings, because their bad karma will not allow them to make reasonable judgments. Reason itself is banished; it has become soiled and fallen and no longer can be trusted. Blind obedience becomes the only permitted path … you must believe in the Dalai Lama because he is a priori infallible and any evidence to the contrary is not credible, because ONLY the Dalai Lama represents Buddha in today’s world and EVERYONE ELSE is deluded.

    And so the question arises: if I am required to have blind faith in the Dalai Lama in order to be “saved”, what separates this form of Buddhism from any other exclusivist, country-club members only, religion? What separates Buddhism from the monotheistic religions once reason has been outlawed? You can use the same “your bad karma prevents you from seeing things as they are” argument to justify any religion, any cult, any superstition, any belief whatsoever. It might take a slightly different form — “your ways are not God’s ways,” or “your reason was broken in the original fall from grace of sinful man,” but the essence is the same: don’t trust yourself, look to others, particularly those who are held up as masters, for the truth. In this way, Lama Zopa’s attempt to defend the Dalai Lama becomes an atomic weapon capable of destroying any and all religious belief, or empowering any and all zealots of every stripe.

    I find all of this unworthy of the spirit of inquiry I believe Buddha Shakyamuni promoted, and the spirit of compassion that Avalokiteshvara represents. I hope that one day all the confusion that these modern-day avatars have sowed will be cleared up and those of us who relied upon them as examples and guides on the spiritual path will have our disappointments honestly and frankly acknowledged and rectified.

    Comment left by a Howard from http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/recognized-by-dorje-shugden-but-speaks-against-dorje-shugden/comment-page-1/#comment-911810

    Image attached: Kyabje Zong Rinpoche performs last rites for Venerable Lama Yeshe. Both these lamas were totally devoted to Dorje Shugden until the end of their lives. Decades later, Lama Zopa who has abandoned his guru Lama Yeshe’s practice of Dorje Shugden, to befriend the Dalai Lama.

    003

  17. Lama Yeshe entered into the clear light at such a young age was really a pity. A high lama with his caliber could have benefited many people. His early death was probably a result of disharmony with the FPMT.

    Before Lama Yeshe passed away, he said harmony is very important. This is very true, without harmony, an organisation will not be able to progress. When the advice of the lama is not followed through, the students create the cause for the lama to leave.

    For Lama Osel to not coming back to FPMT, it might be that the students do not have enough merits to have their lama back. Perhaps Lama Osel does not want to students to create more negative karma if they don’t listen to him so he chooses to stay away from FPMT. In a way, he is trying to protect his students.

    • I just listened to one of Tenzin Ösel Hita’s dharma talk. He spoke really well and full of confidence. It’s such a shame FPMT not being able to keep him in the center. But it’s their own karma, they created it. When they decided to abandon the Dorje Shugden practice that Lama Yeshe hold so dear to heart, they should have known that already. How do you expect a real guru to come back to you so easily after you broke the samaya with him?

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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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