Lama Zopa’s perplexing foreward to ‘The Golden Key’

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By: Shashi Kei



In 2014, the Dalai Lama’s supporters published a book entitled Opening the Eye of Discernment: A Golden Key (The Golden Key) as part of the campaign to discredit Dorje Shugden. The Golden Key is an attempt to rewrite Tibetan Buddhist history because Dorje Shugden has been hailed as a Buddha in the Sakya and the Gelug lineages, and also attracted worshippers from the Nyingma and sub-sects of the Kagyu, but this book tries to portray a different picture.

In 2019, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), which has been at the forefront of anti-Dorje Shugden activities, published an English translation of The Golden Key. The translation was written by Gavin Kilty, a senior member of the FPMT and the book was printed by FPMT-owned Wisdom Publications. Lama Zopa, the head of the organization, wrote the Foreword.

Understanding the Case against Shukden. Click to enlarge.

Ironically, the FPMT was founded by one of the most famous Dorje Shugden masters, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche. It is widely known that Lama Yeshe consulted Dorje Shugden before making important decisions. It is no coincidence that the Tibetan Buddhist lamas who have done the most to spread the dharma – Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, Trijang Dorje Chang, Geshe Rabten Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe and Geshe Kelsang Gyatsoall relied on Dorje Shugden.

Lama Zopa, who was Lama Yeshe’s heart student, inherited the FPMT and was also a Dorje Shugden practitioner until it became politically efficacious to abandon the deity and support the Dalai Lama’s persecution of Shugden Buddhists. As a student of teachers who trusted Dorje Shugden and yet seeing a need to support the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa was pulled in two diametrically opposed directions.

Due to the FPMT’s deep roots in the Dorje Shugden practice, Lama Zopa’s refutation of Dorje Shugden often takes awkward twists and turns, with some of his arguments against the Shugden practice amounting to nothing more than gross distortions of facts. His Foreword in Understanding the Case against Shukden is a good illustration of this awkwardness.


Inconsistencies in Lama Zopa’s Foreword

The Foreword is a litany of contradictions. Lama Zopa could not defend the Dalai Lama’s anti-Dorje Shugden stance without also undermining the integrity of Lama Yeshe, his own credibility and the FPMT’s claim of being the source of an authentic lineage.


1. Naming names

Lama Zopa started by citing high lamas whom he claimed opposed the practice of Dorje Shugden. The lamas named were Yongzin Yeshe Gyaltsen (tutor to the 8th Dalai Lama), Thuken Chokyi Nyima, Purchok Ngawang Jampa, Changkya Rolpai Dorje (who, interestingly, returned as Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, probably the greatest advocate of Dorje Shugden of this era) and Ngulchu Dhamabhadra. In addition, Lama Zopa insisted that the Dalai Lama’s teacher, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and his own guru, Geshe Sopa were not Dorje Shugden practitioners.

In naming these high lamas, Lama Zopa intended to give the impression that Dorje Shugden was never an accepted Gelugpa practice and that the reputable lamas mentioned shunned the deity. However, it should not have mattered what anyone else said about Dorje Shugden. Lama Zopa lists as his teachers Gelugpa greats like Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, and of course Lama Yeshe. They were emanations of Buddhas who were also the greatest advocates of Dorje Shugden. Trijang Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe took Dorje Shugden to be their personal Dharma Protector and so why would Lama Zopa regard these great lamas to be his teachers and ignore their opinion about Dorje Shugden and instead listen to someone else? Anyone who regards himself to be a worthy student of a Vajrayana teacher knows to follow only the teacher’s instructions.

Left to right: Venerable Lama Yeshe, His Holiness Zong Rinpoche and Lama Zopa.

In any case, Lama Zopa’s point is easily rebutted for two main reasons:

Firstly, it would be impossible to find any Tibetan Buddhist who has engaged in the practice of all yidams, protectors and divinities. This cannot be taken to mean that the deities a lama does not practice are demonic and should be banned.

If the legitimacy of attacks on Dorje Shugden is to be found in the masters who (supposedly) opposed it, then great masters and enlightened luminaries who have championed Dorje Shugden over the centuries must be taken as reliable sources of its legitimacy. If this is a good benchmark of a Buddhist ritual, then Dorje Shugden passes easily as one of the most authentic and sanctioned practices in the Gelug and Sakya lineages.

The worship of Dorje Shugden was started by the Great 5th Dalai Lama himself. It was he who made the first Dorje Shugden statue with his own hands, built Trode Kangsar (the first Dorje Shugden chapel) and wrote the maiden prayer to propitiate the Protector. Why would one of the greatest Dalai Lamas, himself an emanation of a Buddha, pave the way for a demonic practice to come about? It is common for anti-Shugden exponents to cite the Great 5th Dalai Lama as an authority for their negative view of the deity, but they conveniently forget that the Great 5th initiated the Dorje Shugden practice.

There are many other sources that lend authenticity to the Dorje Shugden practice:

  • Dorje Shugden was enthroned by the 11th Dalai Lama Kedrup Gyatso as the Dharma Protector of the Yellow Hat (Gelug) Teachings;
  • At a time when the Great 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso cautioned against an over-reliance on oracles, he willingly accepted the advice of Dorje Shugden who took spontaneous trance to warn of an impending threat to Tibet at the time;
  • The 14th Dalai Lama worshipped Dorje Shugden for 40 years and wrote a praise to the Protector;
  • The Great 10th Panchen Lama, who is none other than Amitabha, wrote prayers to Dorje Shugden;
  • The Mahasiddha Tagphu Pemavajra who is the source of the holy Cittamani Tara practice is also the source of the Dorje Shugden practice as it exists within the Gelug tradition,
  • The greatest Gelug lamas of the modern era, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, Trijang Dorje Chang, and Zong Dorje Chang who were regarded as enlightened beings, and Domo Geshe Rinpoche who was an extraordinary lama, all took Dorje Shugden to be their personal Dharma Protector and wrote extensively about propagating the practice.
  • In the Sakya lineage, at least 6 Sakya Trizins (Sakya throne-holders), who were regarded as emanations of Manjushri, worshipped Dorje Shugden. They were the 30th Sakya Trizin Sonam Rinchen, the 31st Sakya Trizin Kunga Lodro, the 33rd Sakya Trizin Pema Dudul Wangchuk, the 35th Sakya Trizin Tashi Rinchen, the 37th Sakya Trizin Kunga Nyingpo and the 39th Sakya Trizin Drakshul Thinley Rinchen. These lamas are the historical pillars of the Sakya lineage and if they were all mistaken about Dorje Shugden, then the Sakya lineage today should be invalidated.

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For every lama whom Lama Zopa claims were opposed to Dorje Shugden, there are many more who have regarded Dorje Shugden as a Buddha. Therefore, merely naming a few lamas who supposedly did not worship Dorje Shugden cannot in any way invalidate the Dorje Shugden lineage.

For that matter, neither can the pronouncement of the Dalai Lama. While the Dalai Lama may command greater prominence and worldly status than other lamas, he is not spiritually supreme nor more learned and attained by virtue of his title.

If the 14th Dalai Lama is Avalokiteshvara, then so was the 11th Dalai Lama Khedrup Gyatso. Pabongka Rinpoche was regarded to be one with Heruka and Trijang Rinpoche was commonly regarded to be Vajrayogini. The 10th Panchen Lama was recognized to be Amitabha Buddha. There is no scriptural authority or any Tibetan Buddhist tradition that claims Avalokiteshvara is superior to Heruka, Vajrayogini, Amitabha or indeed any other Buddha.

So why are we obliged to follow only one Buddha emanation and oppose and reject all the others?

Furthermore, it was misleading for Lama Zopa to state that Kyabje Ling Rinpoche did not practice Dorje Shugden. Dorje Shugden may not have been Ling Rinpoche’s personal protector but it is an irrefutable fact that Kyabje Ling Rinpoche wrote prayers to Dorje Shugden. Both Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, who were chosen to be the 14th Dalai Lama’s tutors because of their high attainments and remarkable erudition of the Dharma regarded Dorje Shugden positively. If both the Dalai Lama’s tutors failed to discern the fundamental difference between a Buddha and a demon, then the foundation of the 14th Dalai Lama’s learning is seriously compromised.

Geshe Sopa, the great master regarded as the teacher of renowned scholars and Lama Zopa’s own teacher, made his opinion about the Dorje Shugden issue very clear in his autobiography, Like a Waking Dream. He wrote, “The idea of these ritual texts of Shukden is to spread and strengthen the pure teachings and destroy wrong views and practices, so their language and imagery tend to seem rather sectarian and aggressive”.

Geshe Sopa made it very clear that Pabongka Rinpoche recommended Dorje Shugden to stop the deterioration of the Gelug lineage. Far from agreeing with the Dalai Lama’s view that Dorje Shugden is a dark and malicious force seeking the destruction of the Dharma, the Protector practice was described by this learned Geshe to be a measure taken to keep the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa pure.

In other words, there is nothing wrong with the practice. However, the Dalai Lama made the decision to ban the practice to appease parties that were unhappy about their position vis-à-vis the supremacy of the Gelug lineage.

It is somewhat strange that Lama Zopa was silent on Lama Yeshe in writing the Foreword. However, this is understandable because no matter how Lama Zopa tries to manoeuvre, he cannot escape the fact that his root teacher practised Dorje Shugden his entire holy life. The FPMT was built on a foundation of trust and reliance on a deity that Lama Zopa is now helping the Dalai Lama to destroy.


2. Renouncing the Guru is bad…or is it good?

It is here that Lama Zopa is most confusing and self-contradictory. He has said:

If you have received tantric initiations from a guru, it is essential that you protect your pure vision and do not see the guru as an enemy… It is a great loss if you take someone as your guru and later err in your devotion to that guru… Belittling your guru is the same as belittling all the buddhas of the past, present and future… The risk (of erring in our devotion to the guru) is not only to the happiness of one’s future rebirths; it also makes it incredibly difficult to meet a guru or the Buddhadharma for eons to come.

To be accurate, once a practitioner has entered the Vajrayana path, he must regard the spiritual bond between the teacher and student to be sacred. To break this bond, also known as ‘samaya’ with the Vajrayana teacher results in taking rebirth in Vajra Hell. Lama Zopa gave a hint of that when he wrote, “…renouncing one’s guru is the worst of all negatives and the source of great suffering”.

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On the other hand, Lama Zopa and the FPMT are prominent supporters of the Dalai Lama’s Dorje Shugden prohibition. This prohibition requires practitioners to denounce their guru on account of that guru’s practice of Dorje Shugden. In the Dalai Lama’s many anti-Shugden speeches and in various statements by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), Dorje Shugden was portrayed as an enemy of the Tibetan people and a dark force antagonistic to the Dharma. It is also inferred that anyone, including teachers, who engage in this “harmful” practice wish ill to befall the Dalai Lama, the Dharma and the Tibetan cause, and should be regarded as an enemy.

The Dalai Lama’s Dorje Shugden ban compels students to break samaya with any teacher who practises Dorje Shugden and to sever ties with those who do not support this religious persecution. To refuse, it is said, is to be anti-dharma and anti-Dalai Lama.

So, how are we to reconcile Lama Zopa’s advice on the importance of not breaking samaya with the teacher and his advocacy of the Dalai Lama’s religious ban which obligates one to do so?

Hasn’t Lama Zopa broken his samaya with Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, Trijang Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe by supporting the persecution of his gurus’ personal protector and by implying that his teachers were mistaken? If so, then what is Lama Zopa’s spiritual authority based on now? What is the foundation of his spiritual attainments? Can it be said that one’s political allegiance to the Dalai Lama is sufficient to replace the spiritual bonds Lama Zopa has broken with his other teachers?

Clearly, Lama Zopa recognized the absurdity of this situation when he wrote, “Whichever side (of the Shugden conflict) we take on this issue, we face grave risk”. If this is so, why would the FPMT publish a book that seeks to entice even more people to fall into this “grave risk”? The entire book for which Lama Zopa wrote the Foreword serves to encourage students to break samaya with their Shugden-worshipping teachers. Yet, Lama Zopa tells us that breaking samaya with the teacher is patently wrong.

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3. Biased view

Further in the Foreword, Lama Zopa writes, “If one guru says not to practice Dölgyal (a derogatory name for Dorje Shugden) and another guru seems to be practising, both are correct. The appearance of contradictions comes from our own mistaken mind”. On this point, Lama Zopa is correct.

However, if both Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden gurus are not in error, then why is it that only Dorje Shugden gurus and worshippers are persecuted, discriminated against and marginalized? And why is Lama Zopa fostering this prejudice even though he recognizes that Dorje Shugden gurus are not wrong, and practitioners similarly not in error when they follow in their teachers’ footsteps?

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If the Dorje Shugden guru is correct, and keeping samaya with the Shugden guru is correct, then how can following the advice of the unmistaken guru lead to the creation of heavy negative karma that ends in great suffering?

This is the kind of incoherence that characterizes Lama Zopa’s Foreword to ‘Understanding the Case against Shukden’. Lama Zopa and the FPMT could have chosen to remain silent and neutral on the Dorje Shugden conflict. That they chose one side and decided to agitate this unholy row further would indicate that there is a hidden agenda.


4. The Buddhas were mistaken but Lama Zopa is not

Perhaps the greatest inconvenience to Lama Zopa, the FPMT and opponents of the Dorje Shugden practice is the fact that the greatest lamas of our time, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo and Trijang Dorje Chang both trusted Dorje Shugden and were strong advocates of his practice.

So highly acclaimed was Pabongka Rinpoche that he was referred to as ‘Dechen Nyingpo’ which means ‘The King of Bliss from the Palace of Bliss’ or a master who is already one with Heruka. He wrote the Vajrayogini Sadhana, Dechen Nyur Lam (Short Path to Great Bliss) and combined various techniques for practitioners to attain the state of Vajrayogini. Pabongka Rinpoche is also well known for his absolute mastery of the Lamrim and stories abound of his spiritual accomplishments.

Trijang Dorje Chang was widely recognized as an emanation of Vajrayogini, whose reincarnation can be traced to Chandra, Lord Buddha’s charioteer. The name Trijang Dorje Chang has become synonymous with the perfect practice of the Dharma by an enlightened master. To this day, no one can find a single fault in Trijang Rinpoche.

Lama Zopa acknowledged that both these masters are Buddhas but went on to say that these Buddhas were showing “ordinary aspect” in their practice of Dorje Shugden. This is a subtle way of saying that these two Buddhas were wrong. However, since it is accepted that Buddhas are omnipotent and omniscient and therefore cannot make mistakes, Lama Zopa phrases it in such a way that these Buddhas merely manifested having made mistakes. In other words, it is still wrong for them to have worshipped Dorje Shugden.

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Again, this raises more questions than it answers. How could two enlightened masters who were flawless in all aspects of their Dharma practice and teachings, who demonstrated perfect understanding of the sutras and highest tantras, and who were flawless in their elucidation of even the most subtle aspects of the Buddha’s teachings, be so mistaken about Dorje Shugden? In fact, before the Dalai Lama’s campaign against Dorje Shugden started in 1996, most Gelugpa lamas worshipped Dorje Shugden. So if we are to accept Lama Zopa’s skewed reasoning, then we must conclude that for hundreds of years, the majority of Gelugpa lamas and geshes displayed flaws because worshipping Dorje Shugden was prevalent.

Lama Zopa also fails to explain why it is a flaw only when one prays to a deity that the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa object but not a flaw to abandon the holy teacher, break vows to uphold practices given by the guru, participate in schisms that divide the Dharma community, and then publish and endorse books to encourage students to break their spiritual bond with their teachers. Should it not be the other way around?

Also, it should be noted that worshipping Dorje Shugden only became a ‘flaw’ after the Dalai Lama’s anti-Dorje Shugden proclamation in 1996. Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, Trijang Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe worshipped Dorje Shugden long before 1996. So is it truly a flaw or is it a case that worshipping Shugden had to be regarded as one because it stood in the way of one single lama who has the political power to enforce this view?


Conclusion: Ramblings of a confused mind or act of a Mahasiddha?

The main thrust of Lama Zopa’s message seems to be pure devotion to the guru. His advice is that students should hold on to a “pure vision” of the guru and not see the teacher as anything but perfect even when the guru manifests an error.

But this advice contradicts the behavior of the 14th Dalai Lama and that of Lama Zopa Rinpoche himself. The Dalai Lama has directly accused his teacher Trijang Dorje Chang of being wrong about Dorje Shugden. Lama Zopa’s attempts to undermine the reputation of Dorje Shugden lamas suggests that Lama Yeshe and Zong Rinpoche were both mistaken.

Where was the Dalai Lama’s pure vision if indeed Trijang Rinpoche made a mistake? Where is Lama Zopa’s?

It does not make sense for Lama Zopa to stress the great importance of guru devotion and to proclaim that the guru is never mistaken, and then proceed to encourage students to see errors in their teachers, and to break their spiritual bond with them over the Dorje Shugden issue.

There can only be two possible reasons for Lama Zopa’s muddled explanations.

The first is that Lama Zopa is a hypocrite and has chosen political correctness over true guru devotion. He cannot be an apologist for the Dalai Lama’s anti-Shugden stance without sounding absurd because the reasons for the ban are absurd.

The second is to read between the lines and see that Lama Zopa’s allusion to the appearance of flaws in the guru’s actions is not directed at Pabongka Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche but in fact a reference to the Dalai Lama’s ban on Dorje Shugden and his denouncement of the greatest Gelug lamas.

Could Lama Zopa be saying that in conflicts such as the Dorje Shugden ban, one must have faith in the guru and maintain one’s devotion to the teacher regardless of whether he/she is a Dorje Shugden practitioner or not, since “…devotion is the cause that allows us to achieve full enlightenment”? In other words, was Lama Zopa advising readers to ignore the Dalai Lama’s ban?

Lama Zopa and Lama Osel (the current incarnation of Lama Yeshe)

This seems to be a logical conclusion at which Lama Zopa intends for readers to arrive. It suggests that he does not spell it out because it would undermine the Dalai Lama’s position on the issue.

The reason for the cryptic manner in which Lama Zopa has delivered this message is a matter of speculation. The inconsistency is indicative of the groundless nature of the opposition to Dorje Shugden, especially given Tibetan Buddhism’s foundations of logic and reason which have been articulated eloquently by enlightened masters for centuries.

Lama Zopa’s Foreword in ‘Understanding the Case against Shukden’ is another unfortunate development in Tibetan Buddhism. In essence, it says that lineage masters such as Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, Trijang Dorje Chang and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche – who were the teachers of teachers – were flawed in their practice and understanding of the Dharma. This itself would bring everything they have ever taught into question. Such books only serve to damage the reputation of great masters and holders of Lama Tsongkhapa’s lineage.

It seems, though, that Lama Zopa has inflicted the most harm on the FPMT – he has revealed its claim to be an upholder of the Mahayana tradition to be truly hollow. Perhaps that is why the FPMT lacks the merits to hold on to the reincarnation of the founder, Lama Osel who has disrobed and chosen to live the life of an ordinary person.

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  1. I can hardly understand what Lama Zopa is saying. Things are getting more and more confused. Reason being:
    1) it is very difficult to listen to his speech due to his stroke
    2) he goes round and round with his speech
    3) he never addresses any of the issues

    I have basically given up on trying to figure out his message to the mass. I am no longer interested in following the FPMT’s news. I just want something easier and less complicated.

    We, ordinary people, are too stressed to understand his seems to be high level message.

    • I really don’t mind if Lama Zopa has slurred speech. in fact I respected him for continue to turn the wheel of Dharma even after his stroke. However, what I can’t accept is why he always support those who have problems? Dorje Shugden ban is one thing, cover up for criminal is worse.

  2. 1. It is said that a Lama often manifests a reflection of his students, like a mirror, in order for the student to see for themselves how they are behaving, and take steps to correct their behavior/actions. In this case, and in my humblest opinion, Lama Zopa’s students ought to strongly ponder his medical, physical, speech and other conditions that make him quite an ineffective teacher. What causes have his students created for him to be such an “ineffective” Dharma teacher?

    2. Lama Zopa’s advice in the Foreward about maintaining the pure vision that one’s tantric master is Buddha Vajradhara himself, cannot be challenged, whether one is “for” Dorje Shugden or “against” Dorje Shugden. It is a fundamental principle of Guru Yoga practice.

    What should be asked instead is “Where on earth in the 50 Verses of Guru Devotion by Ashvagosha does it say that one must also force everyone else who is not a tantric student of your Guru, or the public, to hold this same view?”

    In fact if one practises tantra and holds all the requisite vows, one should not be ever criticizing other teachers, other lineages, create schism amongst Sangha, etc. among other things. This is AS FUNDAMENTAL as viewing the Guru as Buddha Vajradhara when it comes to gaining attainments from one’s practice.

    In summary, in my honest opinion, Lama Zopa is trying to inculcate high Dharma practice in his students and others who may be interested. But it is sad that there are too many in FPMT who don’t get it and I sincerely don’t mean this as criticism but a mere statement of fact.

    Keep your practice secret. Keep it to yourself. Hold the pure view. Don’t force it down others as it is not your “business” (one of Lama Yeshe’s favourite verbs).

    Lastly, Dharma Protector practice is also tantric practice and to act to influence or even force practitioners to halt their practice is a very. very major transgression.

  3. I find Lama Zopa’s words so contradictory. It is as if he does not want to be held responsible for a firm stance or he just simply does not know which side he wishes to go with. It is very clear how the ban on Dorje Shugden is really splitting people apart, especially practitioners who had many different Gurus, some of which are Dorje Shugden practitioners and some are not, just as Lama Zopa. Either way, you will break samaya with the Guru. However, having been the heart son of Lama Yeshe, won’t that make Lama Yeshe his root Guru? Just because Lama Yeshe has passed, a promise or vow is still a promise given to Lama Yeshe when Lama Zopa took the initiation of Dorje Shugden practice. In breaking his samaya with Lama Yeshe to side with the Dalai Lama, he has caused Lama Yeshe’s reincarnation, Lama Osel to disengage with his monk vows and to take on a worldly life (now with wife and child). Such a great loss since Lama Yeshe returned in his Western form to better disseminate the Dharma to the West, a continuation of his past life’s activities. If the samaya had been strong, Lama Osel could have spread FPMT’s activities even wider and farther than before, continuing the legacy he left as Lama Yeshe. But I guess that is not to be. Instead, Lama Zopa suffered a stroke and now with the nonsense of having Dagri Rinpoche, an FPMT certified teaching lama, embroiled in a court case of sexual misconduct (allegations had arisen that he has a history of molestation against women and young monks at the monasteries). There goes the reputation that took such effort and years to build but so easily tarnished by just one person’s sins. Dorje Shugden is not the devil but it is the people’s minds that are the devils to see him as so. After all, what has Dorje Shugden done but to benefit practitioners in their spiritual path?

  4. Why is Lama Zopa such a hypocrite? He breaks his samaya with his Guru, Lama Yeshe by going against Dorje Shugden practice and yet, there he is in front of Lama Yeshe with a body language of abject sadness. Even his mind is in such conflict as can be witnessed by his writing. One minute he is praising the DS lamas and the next saying they are wrong. Such sufferings that had been brought on by the illogical ban of DS and his practice. Why did the Tibetan Leaders bring such divide into their people, especially when they are already in the turmoil of losing their country with no hopes of returning to an independent Tibet? The Tibetan Leaders never seem to have their people at heart from all the harmful actions taken and results seen. And Lamas such as Lama Zopa who should uphold the purity of the lineage practices give up on their guru samaya for the sake of popularity. What a hypocrite!

  5. This is really ironic. The Guru and Buddha can be wrong but not Lama Zopa. The Guru who passes down the teaching to Lama Zopa can be wrong and Lama Zopa who received the teaching from his Guru still can be right. Illogical at all.

    If Lama Zopa Guru is wrong how can his teaching passes down to Lama Zopa is right? If Lama Zopa not following Lama Yeshe teaching then where is what is the lineage that FPMT following now? It cannot be from Lama Yeshe because he practices Dorje Shugden.

    Can one choose what he wants to follow and just base on one like and dislike? Can spiritual teaching work in such a way that the Guru is wrong the student is right?…

    This is totally confusing because looking at the latest issue of Dagri Rinpoche, FPMT would rather protect sex abuser and ostracise Shugden practitioners which not harmful to anyone.

    There is no basis at all!

  6. After FPMT covered up the scandal of Dagri ‘Rinpoche’ molesting so many women, FPMT has lost their prestige ..many out there lost respect for FPMT. I have lost respect completely for FPMT -too bad …

    • Totally agree with you. In the past, even though FPMT holds a different view regarding Dorje Shugden issue, I am still have some respect to Lama Zopa, thinking that at least he is trying to save the whole FPMT from being banned by the Tibetan Buddhist world. However I can no longer find any excuse for him on this Dagri case, covered up is one thing, when things are exposed, they still try to twist things around. This is unbearable.

  7. My honest opinion, Lama Zopa is trying to inculcate high Dharma practice in his students and others who may be interested. But it is sad that there are too many in FPMT who don’t get it and I sincerely don’t mean this as criticism but a mere statement of fact.

  8. I’m new to Tibetan Buddhism. As what I been taught is once you have taken a teacher as your Guru, whatever he practice you have to follow. Your promise, your refuge on your Guru is the one holds bond of responsibility. It’s bad to see FPMT is encouraging their people not to trust their guru practice. 😞

  9. It is not only Lama Zopa’s writing and speech are perplexing, so are his students and members of FPMT. They act as they are the dharma police in the Tibetan Buddhist circle. Why does Lama Zopa allow that? 

  10. Lineages passed down by authentic Lamas and teachings can never be wrong. It’s where we get our blessings and go higher on our path. Even if at the slightest moment we doubt our Lama we will not excel no matter how hard we try. No merits no blessings. All those who talk bad about Dorje Shugden do not check the authenticity nor even bother to understand the facts like the ones written in the post above. One of the fundamental teaching I learned was not to have wrong view. Always study and understand before having projections.

  11. I think words coming from Lama Zopa cannot be trusted and followed 100%. Why? Because what preach and what he does contradicts. So why should we listen to him. Everyone has their own freedom to choose their religion and practice.

  12. Writing this book is like slapping Dalai Lama in the face really. Lama Zopa and FPMT has no integrity and creditable reputation after what had happened. It’s clear that this is a CTA motivated move to smear the good name of Dorje Shugden again.

    “The worship of Dorje Shugden was started by the Great 5th Dalai Lama himself. It was he who made the first Dorje Shugden statue with his own hands, built Trode Kangsar (the first Dorje Shugden chapel) and wrote the maiden prayer to propitiate the Protector. Why would one of the greatest Dalai Lamas, himself an emanation of a Buddha, pave the way for a demonic practice to come about? It is common for anti-Shugden exponents to cite the Great 5th Dalai Lama as an authority for their negative view of the deity, but they conveniently forget that the Great 5th initiated the Dorje Shugden practice”

  13. It is sad to see people like Lama Zopa and organisation like FPMT who wanted to speak out, and act like there are some one else, but didn’t base on any fact finding. If Lama Zopa is so correct about practicing Dorje Shugden is wrong, then what about all the High Lamas that practiced Dorje Shugden before? Does that mean that they were all wrong? If all the High Lama practiced Dorje Shugden were wrong, then I think his Guru were also wrong. The whole lineage is wrong including The Dalai Lama’s tutor Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. Then the whole Tibetan Buddhism is wrong, because the most important thing in Tibetan Buddhism is Guru Samaya. Lama Zopa and FPMT are slapping their own face. Just like CTA.

  14. Very disappointing seeing such a large Buddhist organisation making Buddhist confused. Sorry to say Lama Zopa’s decision to ban dorje shugden practice is nothing more than a financial motivated decision. If he has received teachings from Dorje Shugden lamas such as Lama Yeshe, then what he is teaching now would be corrupted. He should just close down all his centers. So confuse of what he said and did.

  15. If we follow blindly what others say, without examine & investigation. Trouble is going to fall on us.


  16. All these contradictions, confusion, long-winded explanations make people wonder the purpose of religion and Buddhist. I didn’t sign up for controversies, conflictions and deceptions. I come into Buddhism for peace and liberation from myself. Yet, FPMT bought me no peace but fight and lies. I do not know where else should I go for authentic lineage and teachings anymore…

  17. FPMT stands really confusing people. All teaching should be able to trace their sources. If FPMT is so eager to be political correct in Dorje Shugden issue ti’s will be a big confusion and a big contradiction.

    Lama Yeshe the founder himself is a Dorje Shugden partitioners. If the founder is the practitioners and pass on what he learn to Lama Zopa with his great lineage blessing, then Lama Zopa pass down again what he learned from Lama Yeshe, isn’t that the teaching being polluted since FPMT is going against Dorje Shugden?

    So how is FPMT deal with the teaching passed down from Lama Yeshe the Dorje Shugden practitioners? How FPMT telling people that their lineage traced all the way up to the Lama that practice Dorje Shugden? In another words, FPMT is saying their founder Lama Yeshe is wrong for practicing Shugden but it’s right for Lama Zopa discriminate Shugden practitioners and there is no problem from Lama Yeshe to pass down the teaching to Lama Zopa because the practitioners can choose and pick what they want to believe even it is illogical.

    Isn’t that what FPMT doing bringing huge confusion to the people and just more negative impact towards the practitioners and the public.

  18. Lama Zopa gave a hint of that when he wrote, “…renouncing one’s guru is the worst of all negatives and the source of great suffering”.

    It’s ironic that this statement comes from Lama Zopa. So what happened with Lama Zopa renounce his Guru Lama Yeshe who is a Shugden practitioner? What is the logic of him abandoned his lama instruction for his practice? Lama Zopa learns mostly everything from Lama Yeshe and how could Lama Yeshe only wrong fro Shugden and right for all other things?

    If Lama Yeshe is wrong for practicing Shugden and supposed to go to hell then why is he able return back which is recognized as Lama Osel. This has proven that the Shugden practitioners will not go to hell just because they practice Shugden.

    On the other hand, we can see very clearly that Lama Zopa and FPMT renounce their Guru for practicing Shugden resulted from Lama Osel unable to go back to FPMT to continue to teach. Lama Osel not only didn’t go back to teach but also disrobe. This purely results from the broken samaya of the students.

    This is a very clear scenario that we can understand and be clear of Dorje Shugden practice doesn’t bring anyone to hell but instead, one with attainment will take good rebirth.

  19. The main message of Lama Zopa’s is to have great devotion to the guru. His advice is that students should hold on to a “pure vision” of the guru and not see the teacher as anything but perfect even when the guru manifests an error.

    But what he says here contradicts the behavior of the 14th Dalai Lama and that of Lama Zopa Rinpoche himself. The Dalai Lama has directly accused his teacher Trijang Dorje Chang of being wrong about Dorje Shugden. Lama Zopa’s attempts to undermine the reputation of Dorje Shugden lamas suggests that Lama Yeshe and Zong Rinpoche were both mistaken.

    This confusing situation is leading their student to go away as well as people that are non-Buddhist which make them have negative impression on Buddhist as a whole.

  20. If the Guru can be wrong then sure the student also wrong because the student learns from the Guru. So how can Lama Zopa be right and Lama Yeshe is wrong? Have ever FPMT student think of this or even ask about it? This is logic, right?

    So if Lama Zopa is right and his Guru is wrong why Lama Zopa follow and serve Lama Yeshe for so long as Lama Zopa will not gain any attainment from a false Guru.

    So my next question is since Lama Zopa renounce his guru Lama Yeshe then how with the teaching and blessing that Lama Zopa bestow to others which were passed down and blessed by Lama Yeshe the great Dorje Shugden practitioner? Still effective?

  21. Lama Zopa can say whatever he wants but in actual FPMT had renounced their founder. With this how is FPMT going to tell what lineage they follow and how can their Guru be wrong but the disciple is right where the disciple learn from the Guru? Isn’t that interesting?

    If Lama Yeshe practices Dorje Shugden which is a spirit how could they recognize Lama Osel and how can FPMT allow Lama Osel to give teaching?

    What is actually FPMT basis here? To say Dorje Shugden is evil but still recognize Lama Yeshe reincarnation which is Lama Osel but FPMT openly say Dorje Shugden is spirit and should not associate with their practitioners. Whare is FPMT stand here? Why make yourself so confuse and directly confuse people who want to pursue spiritual in Buddhism with FPMT.

    Stop being a hypocrite and face the truth. Buddhism is about the truth of life. Pls quickly repair your samaya with Lama Yeshe before it’s too late.

  22. It is really heart-warming to know that there is still someone who did not give up Dorje Shugden practice and keep his commitment with Lama Yeshe. Lama Yeshe worked so hard to build Kopan Monastery with the assistance from Dorje Shugden but his students gave up the practice just to look good and so they can have an easy life.

    Not only did they give up the practice, they also criticise how bad Dorje Shugden practice is forgetting how Dorje Shugden had helped them to manifest their Dharma centre. After Dagri Rinpoche’s sex scandal is exposed, we can clearly see how corrupted and hypocritical FPMT is, they are slowly going downhill.

    By giving up Dorje Shugden practice, they have broken their samaya with Lama Yeshe and also lost the blessings from the lama. They are starting to suffer from the consequence now, more negative consequence will come, they better be prepared for it.

    Lama Yeshe DS final

  23. Guess what!!! I heard from a grapevine that some Sakya monks in Nepal are visiting Dorje Shugden related websites. Hahaha!! The Tibetan leaders have no control at all and can’t stop them. More and more will do the same and soon people will know the truths to stop believing in CTA’s lies. Whatever CTA says, the people will doubt. No more control! No more power!😂😆😂

    • Hahaha! So true! Lobsang Sangay and his CTA has absolutely no control over what his people do. More and more are visiting Dorje Shugden related websites and learning the truth about Lobsang Sangay’s lies. Soon CTA’s words will always be doubted and never trusted. No more power! No more control! 😂😂😂

  24. “The main thrust of Lama Zopa’s message seems to be pure devotion to the guru. His advice is that students should hold on to a “pure vision” of the guru and not see the teacher as anything but perfect even when the guru manifests an error.”

    This must be a joke from Lama Zopa.
    What Lama Zopa saying here contradict with his action. Lama Yeshe practices Dorje Shugden but FPMT disowns Lama Yeshe for the practice and also condemn other lamas and center for practicing Dorje Shugden.

    How Lama Zopa gives his teaching to his students when she has disowned his guru and look at what happened Lama Osel (Lama Yeshe incarnation) where he doesn’t come back to teach. Obviously, the students have broken the samaya with the Guru. All this is very obvious and I don’t know why Lama Zopa doesn’t want to mend it and how actually FPMT give teaching where they don’t have the blessing from their lineage Guru? or I should ask where is FPMT lineage come from? It cannot be from Lama Yeshe because he practices Dorje Shugden and that is what FPMT is having an issue with. If there is no lineage mean the teacing is not authentic and how can people learn?

    Something to really to about……..

  25. I found FPMT to be quite commercialised. Did you know they charge USD5000 for a course? This is a lot of money. If they are set up to spread and preserve Dharma, shouldn’t they consider charging less? Not everyone can afford to pay so much for a class.

    To give up the practice given to them by Lama Yeshe is a form of broken Samaya. If the Samaya is broken,
    they are many things that we can’t do because there is no more lama’s blessing.

    FPMT gave up Dorje Shugden practice so they can be politically correct and things will be easier for them. For their own comfort, they can betray their teacher and their spiritual practice. This is a very bad behaviour and example set for other spiritual practitioners.

  26. Did you know Lama Osel is more like a new-age instructor than a Buddhist master now. He is not really teaching Buddhism but meditation to the public. The students of FPMT have broken their Samaya with Lama Osel, that is why he is not going back to continue to turn the wheel of Dharma.

    Maybe it is because he wants to protect people, knowing not many people will understand what guru devotion is, it is probably better not to have any spiritual student. Hence, Lama Osel turns to using new age way to teach people about our mind and be responsible to beings around us.

    It is such a pity that in this current life, Lama Osel is not able to manifest as a great Buddhist teacher. Students in FPMT should really look into why they are not able to get their teacher back to the centre to teach. Lama Zopa is also getting older, he needs a successor to continue to manage and lead FPMT.

  27. Why can’t lamas just use their real names? These pretentious names are very frustrating to keep track of.

  28. I cannot understand how can FPMT reject Dorje Shugden practice which is given by their Lama. Lama Yeshe is the founder and it’s so blessed that the students received the practice from the great lama and also the founder. Lama Yeshe himself holds the lineage and is authentic.

    Since now the students have rejected the practice is as good as rejected the lama himself because how can the Lama be wrong only for certain practices? The most important point here is that how can the students say the Lama is wrong? If the student is so great then they don’t need the Guru then. And since Lama Yeshe is rejected then what lineage is FPMT based on? Can a center stand without a lineage or can the center choose what they want to follow and reject the one they don’t from a Guru?

  29. Lama Zopa’s advice on the importance of not breaking samaya with the teacher but how can one agree with the Dorje Shugden ban where the practitioners received the practice from their Guru and Dalai Lama is asking the practitioners to denounce the practice which is as good as denouncing their guru. This goes the same as Lama Zopa and his guru, Lama Yeshe. So since Lama Zopa supports the ban, will his teaching, initiation, prayers carry the blessing and whether it’s still authentic since he has denounced his guru?

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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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