The Rome Report 2014

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ROME REPORT 2014

December 17, 2014

I, as a stonemason from Tibet, for the first time am visiting the ancient city of Rome, Italy known for thousands of massive, impressive marble and granite stone structures. We saw the Vatican, the Basilica and then to the Coliseum and many others.

The stone work and art here with so many carved columns and statues is so amazing. As a man who has worked with stone, I know how fantastic the work of these ancient craftsmen was.

I almost forgot the purpose of my coming to Rome. I was there to participate in an awareness event against the current ban on Dorje Shugden practitioners and segregation by the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama was in Rome to celebrate with other recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize but he was the only one who is facing protests by his own people.

I was told that we had received permission to protest for only two days not all three full days because the Dalai Lama’s family is close friends with the Mayor of Rome. So the Mayor limited our protest to only two days.

But that did not affect me because it gave me a chance to explore the ancient ruins and art and stonework and the opportunity to see Rome and the Vatican.

While listening to our guide there, I understood that the Vatican places are free for anyone to come and visit! So, as a Buddhist it occurred to me that I was able to enter and visit these old Christian churches but we now cannot enter into Tibetan temples, monasteries, and libraries.

We are even prevented from entering restaurants, shops and we see signs at the public dump that say, “If you still practice Dorje Shugden or if you have anything to do with Dorje Shugden practitioners, you must take your garbage somewhere else”.

The segregation sign at the dumpster at Tibetan settlement Bylakuppe, India

The Dalai Lama has ordered signs posted in front of all these places including his palace gate denying entry to any who practice Dorje Shugden. So, here I am in Rome and witnessing the freedom of western religions to visit their special places and wondering how can the Dalai Lama who accepted his Nobel Peace Prize now enforce segregation and religious persecution in his own community?

I then went to visit the Coliseum and marveled at the stone work there, too. We found that this place was where the emperors brought unbelievers to face wild animals like lions and tigers while the people in the stands cheered as the infidels fought among themselves and then were eaten by the wild animals.

While we have been hosting awareness events of the ban these past few months in many sites around the United States and Canada, attended by the Dalai Lama, we have been insulted, yelled obscenities at, spit on and told that we were unworthy by the supporters and staff of the Dalai Lama’s office. After all the insults, the Dalai Lama thanked his supporters and said they did a good thing. It occurred to me that if it were possible, if the Dalai Lama had the same powers as the kings and emperors, there is no doubt he would do the same thing to us and maybe he would enjoy watching also from his throne.

In those days the people were made to chant, “Long Live the King!!” to intimidate the people. Now the Dalai Lama’s supporters shout loudly and try to intimidate us and hold up banners saying, “Long Live the Dalai Lama!” in the same way.

The ISC (The International Shugden Community) were not permitted to host our awareness event on the first day. They obtained permission to sing, but for only five or six people each group.

So they organized many groups in several public places in front of the Vatican and other public entrances with a donation hat in front and singing, “Please Dalai Lama Stop Lying”. The singing was very beautifully done and large crowds gathered to listen.

The second day we got on the bus at 7 a.m. and went to the protest site which was only a couple of miles from our hotel and a half mile from where the events of the Dalai Lama were happening.

Then I have to say that I thought Rome’s Mayor was trying to favor his friend over the freedom of speech by limiting our activities and keeping us as far away as possible. Perhaps, he might be trying to return some favor from the Dalai Lama? Then I learned that both Dalai Lama and his sister were made honorary citizens of Italy by the Mayor.

It is clear though that Italy’s democracy has worked well for us, the ISC. We have been able to speak out and express our views. So many people from the media came to us to cover our views as never before. The media coverage was very good here. Several major papers and other media outlets covered our events.

For me, the most interesting interaction was with two people while I was offering information and brochures. They showed me their phone with the Dalai Lama’s photo. After our conversation they told me that they were staying in the same hotel as the Dalai Lama. The hotel was very luxurious and expensive and the Dalai Lama had many people surrounding him with expensive suits and dresses and partying. The woman said, “How can he afford all these things when he claims to be a simple monk and a Tibetan refugee?” There must be something wrong here. Now we are standing in the street asking to end religious segregation. She thanked me and said she would help us and took many brochures and information packets. She said, “Now I know the truth about the Dalai Lama”.

Our campaign and hard work is beginning to have an effect and to be worthwhile. The world is beginning to see the truth about the Dalai Lama.

The third day we started early at six a.m. and I didn’t get breakfast or even coffee. We got on the bus and went to the site. It was only one block from where the Dalai Lama’s party was happening.

I went to get myself some breakfast and a coffee at a place on the corner. Before I could pull out my wallet some young Tibetan came up. He had already paid my bill. That happened a few times after again and again. So, clearly, people who practice Dorje Shugden help and care for each other. The second day’s dinner was sponsored by people from Dorje Shugden.com, a platform which strives to educate and create awareness about Dorje Shugden and the plight his practitioners are facing.

During the events in Rome, the media coverage was very, very good. Even some well-known musician, Romina Power, spoke saying the Dalai Lama is a liar. Most media were covering us including AP News and many Italian agencies and newspapers and television networks. Rai News 24 and others were amazing.

During the demonstration in New York City, the Dalai Lama supporters said that ISC protesters will not last more than five years because they will run out of money. But if this continues, the Dalai Lama’s reputation will run out sooner than ISC’s money. It is clear the Dalai Lama’s reputation is fading. The Dalai Lama and his agents tried to meet the Pope desperately but the Pope did not waste his time to meet him. The Pope must realize that the Dalai Lama is a hypocrite. Members of the ISC all pay their own way so it is not likely that the effort will run out of money. We work overtime to pay our way. The day ended with all Dorje Shugden practitioners feeling proud and happy about their efforts to stop segregation and persecution and stand up for religious freedom. We all know this is a very good cause.

Please support and join us on our next awareness event in Basel, Switzerland on February 6-8 and then in Trondheim, Norway on February 9th and then in Copenhagen, Denmark from February 11 to 12th.

We look forward to seeing you then.

Sonam Lama from Sonam’s Stonewalls

Disclaimer: This article was submitted by a third party author and does not necessarily reflect the official opinion of DorjeShugden.com. We accept submissions from the public, please send in your articles to [email protected].

 

Demonstrators singing about Dalai Lama lying

Demonstrators showing evidence of segregation

Tashi Phuntsog, President of Dorje Shugden Association with Lobsang Dorje, Former President of NAGBA, and Sonam Rinchen, Tibetan Spokesman for ISC

The coliseum of Rome

Sonam Lama meeting the press

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11 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. dear friend,
    thank you from heart for what you did and for this beautiful report.
    sorry to hear you were not given full permit for the three days, I am italian and I hope next time Italy will do better!

  2. The truth will not stay hidden. It will come out.

    I am happy to read your report. Great to hear that Romina Power joined the protests. She is very well know all over Europe. Media will reach more and more people. People all over the world will be shocked when hearing about the ban.

    Thank you for being there and showing the injustice to the world.

  3. We are grateful to all the protesters who braved discomfort and difficulties to be there to fight for the lifting of of the ban.

    Time and money are required to sustain the protest and bring people to the actual site of the protest, permits etc etc .

    If Dorje Shugden practitioners do receive Chinese money then many of those who arrived for protest should be existing in luxury or at least partying all the way.

  4. Dear Sonam Lama,

    I love so much when you say “..we are free and allowed to visit Vatican places – this Christian holy places, even you are not a Christian”, but as a Buddhist you are prohibited to see your religious leader HH Dalai Lama, to step into some monasteries, libraries, even non-religous places like hospitals, temples, clinics and restaurant when you are a Dorje Shugden practitioner…

    This sounds so ridiculous to non Buddhist and Buddhist. What is the feeling like to be in Vatican freely, compare toto be so restricted and life being threaten when you are on your “own land” with so many people practising Buddhism like India and etc…

    Sounds like a joke, no it’s a sad history which is still happening until today!

    Lift the Dorje Shugden ban to practise! Stop the discrimination! We have to raise awareness on the unfairness, bias and cruelty wherever we go, to whoever we meet and through internet!

    Thank you to all who go to Rome and other countries to protest against the BAN!

  5. Dear Eli,

    Thank you for reading my article. Dalai Lama accuses Dorje Shugden people to receive Chinese money purposely to mislead and cover up human rights violation , segregation, and religious persecution that he committed. This also shows Dalai Lama and his organization still has the mentality of a dictator. If, we receive Chinese money, Dalai Lama will not post a law for segregation because only the segregation law is purposely for Dorge Shugden people to suffer from finance.
    And also, I will not use for luxury or partying if we did receive money. For example, I am only able to attend demonstrations a few times because of financial difficulties. If this wasn’t a hardship, I would have never missed a demonstration and done a lot more to educate the world about Dalai Lama. Dalai Lama will have no choice but to lift the ban and stop segregation.

  6. Dear Joo Won

  7. Dear Joo Won,

    Thank you for your response. It was a feeling of amazement visiting the Vatican and especially the fact that everyone was equal and it was open to everyone regardless of faith. The Dalai Lama posted segration signs on temples, monasteries, libraries, etc. but we helped build these structures together. Now, we are not allowed to enter? Does this Dalai Lama sound like a fair man?

  8. Dear Sonam Lama and website administrators,

    Thank you for posting this report up. It is good to know that there is cohesion amongst the Dorje Shugden practitioners worldwide. But i really wonder how effective the fight against the injustices perpetrated against Dorje Shugden practitioners will be now that the ISC has stopped their protests. I have no idea why they stopped their protests but one fact is for sure. The end of the protests came about after representatives from the ISC had meetings with the Dalai Lama’s representatives. As far as i can see on the internet, there is not statement as to what was discussed and what was decided at these meetings. Why the secrecy? I really do not understand why the ISC would give in to the demands of the Tibetan Administration given their vocal support for Dorje Shugden practitioners all over the world.

  9. What an admirable account of Sonam Lama and his fellow demonstrators’ activities in Rome, Italy. I agree with him, Rome is beautiful, full of architectural and historical places of interest. Italians are very artistic and passionate in everything they do. Therefore they are very open to discovering truths rather than be blinded by the facade of the Dalai Lama and CTA. I was amazed by his account that there is even a ban on throwing garbage. I especially love his sharing of two persons who stayed in the same lavish hotel as the Dalai Lama and his entourage, witnessing the opulence enjoyed rather that living the simplistic ways of monks. Of course the lavishness could be offerings from his supporters but the image is not good. I must commend the media agencies for their fairness in giving coverage to the Shugden protestors.

    I wish to thank all those involved in the protests that had created so much awareness on the illogical ban on Dorje Shugden and his practise by the Dalai Lama and CTA. They had been courageous to carry on with the protests despite the threats and abuses by the supporters of the Dalai Lama and CTA. Sorry that the organisers had decided to stop all protests as they had made so much progress towards forcing the Dalai Lama and CTA to face their lies and their conduct.

  10. I can understand that high lamas are to be accorded the utmost respect and to be treated as one would a Buddha, offering the best that one can afford. But, as the Dalai Lama no longer has a country and the CTA is a government in exile, I think at least some money must trickle down to the Tibetans in exile for their survival if not comfort. They have to eke out a living in a foreign land that is not their own. Quality education must be ensured so that they can move forward come the day when the settlement has to be returned to India. The Tibetans must worried about their future or are they so distracted by the Dorje Shugden ban that they cannot see beyond the tips of their nose?

    I’m glad to read that Sonam Lama has managed to correct the misinformation on the whole issue to some of the people in Rome. But, at the same time, concerned that this situation is viewed as a waiting game by the Dalai Lama and his supporters – the wait for the Dorje Shugden practitioners, who have no funding from anyone to run out of funds; while the US continue to pour funds into their coffers.

    Sad, and sick situation indeed.

  11. Dear Dalai Lama,

    Since you started the cruel ban against the 350 year Dorje Shugden practice, how has it benefit your Tibetan society and Buddhism in the world? Things have become worse and most educated Tibetans can see this. They don’t speak out not because they don’t see your ban as wrong, but you instill fear in them and not respect. It is like fear of a dictator. I am sorry to say so. Everyone is divided. There is no harmony. Before your ban there was more harmony and unity.

    By enacting the ban, you split the monasteries, split so many families, split regions in Tibet apart, split your disciples from you, split your own gurus from you, split Tibetan Buddhism apart. You have created so much disharmony.

    It is not democratic what you have done to ban a religion within your community. You always talk of tolerance and acceptance and democracy and yet you do not accept and tolerate something different from your beliefs. When people practice Dorje Shugden you ostracize them, ban them from seeing you, ban them from using Tibetan facilities. You know you have done that. There are videos that capture your speech and prove this point. You even had people expelled from monasteries just because they practice Dorje Shugden. Some of the monks you expelled have been in the monastery for over 40 years. Many older monks shed tears because of this.

    Many young educated Tibetans lost confidence in you as they saw the damage the Dorje Shugden ban created and they lose hope. Many have become free thinkers. They reject what you have done. So many people in the west left Buddhism because of the confusion you created with this ban against Dorje Shugden which is immoral.

    You could of had millions of people who practice Dorje Shugden to support, love and follow you, but you scared them away. They are hurt and very disappointed. They loved you and respected you deeply before the ban. It has been 60 years and you have failed to get Tibet back. Your biggest failure is not getting Tibet back after 57 years in exile. Now you are begging China to allow you to return to Tibet to the disappointment of thousands of people who fought for a free Tibet believing in you. So many self-immolated for a free Tibet and now you want Tibet to be a part of China with no referendum from Tibetans. Just like a dictator, you decide on your own. It was your government and you that lost Tibet in the first place. Your policies and style of doing things do not benefit Tibet and Buddhism. You have been the sole ruler of Tibet your whole life and you still have not gotten our country of Tibet back for us. Our families and us are separated. Yet you create more pain by creating a ban to further divide people. Please have compassion.

    No other Buddhist leader has banned or condemned any religion except for you. It looks very bad. You are a Nobel laureate and this is not fitting of a laureate. You should unite people and not separate them by religious differences.

    You said Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi did not do right to the Rohingya people in Myanmar due to religious differences, but you are doing the same thing to the Shugden Buddhists within your own society. There is a parallel in this. You separate the Shugden Buddhists from the others in Tibetan society.

    You have lost so many people who would have loved and supported you. You have lost so much support around the world. The Shugden Buddhists who love you number in the millions. When you are fast losing support from governments and private people, it will not do you well to lose more.

    After you are passed away in the future, the rift you created between the Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people will remain for a while and that will be your legacy. Disharmony. You will be remembered for this. Not as a hero but a disharmony creator.

    Dorje Shugden will spread and further grow, but you will be no more as you are a human. No one wishes you bad and in fact we hope you have a long and healthy life, but we have lost so much hope and have so much despair because of you. All the hundreds of Dorje Shugden lamas, tulkus and geshes are maturing and there are hundreds of Dorje Shugden monasteries in Tibet who will not give up Dorje Shugden. You have made a mistake. These hundreds of teachers and teachers to be will spread Dorje Shugden further in the future.

    The gurus that gave us Dorje Shugden as a spiritual practice and you have called these holy gurus wrong and they are mistaken in giving us Dorje Shugden. How can you insult our gurus whom we respect so much? If they can be wrong, then you can be wrong. Then all gurus can be wrong. So no one needs to listen to any guru? You have created this trend. It is not healthy. Your own gurus practiced Dorje Shugden their whole lives. Your own gurus were exemplary and highly learned.

    Dalai Lama you have created so much pain with this ban against so many people due to religion. You are ageing fast. Are you going to do anything about it or stay stubborn, hard and un-moving. You show a smile and preach peace and harmony wherever you go. But will you do the same to your own people? Please rectify the wrong you have done. Please before it is too late. You can create harmony again or you can pass away in the future with this legacy of peace. May you live long and think carefully and admit what was a mistake in having this unethical ban against Dorje Shugden religion.

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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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