Interview with CTA Representative, Thubten Wangchen

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During the recent European demonstrations by the International Shugden Community (ISC) in May 2014, the ISC successfully obtained an exclusive interview with Thubten Wangchen, a representative of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). The interview centered around several issues relating to Dorje Shugden practitioners, which resulted in clearer answers for everyone in regards to the many false accusations made towards this marginalized section of the Tibetan community.


Point 1: Shugden Demonstrators are Paid by the Chinese Government

For the longest time, Dorje Shugden practitioners have been baselessly accused of being paid by the Chinese government to cause trouble for and defame the Dalai Lama. As Dorje Shugden practitioners, we are extremely puzzled by this statement made by the CTA officials as we know for a fact that the Chinese government have not given a single penny towards our sole effort to obtain religious freedom.

The ISC raised this point with Thubten Wangchen, and lo and behold, despite being a representative of the CTA, he was unable to provide any proof that warranted these allegations. It is clear that the CTA, in their efforts to stamp out the religious freedom rights of Dorje Shugden practitioners, have stooped so low that they would blatantly lie about this point – a point that would galvanize the support of the Tibetan community for the CTA’s unjust cause.

Thubten Wanchen attempted to justify the CTA’s declarations, claiming that he received word from the demonstrators themselves about the support they received from Chinese officials, even stating that it was the Chinese people in the crowd that informed him of this fact. However, the ISC – being the organizers of the demonstration – checked their records, proving without a doubt that there were no Chinese demonstrators in their circle.

To be accused of being a Chinese spy does not concern most Dorje Shugden practitioners outside Tibet, who are beyond the direct reach of the CTA and the Tibetan populace in general. However, for those living within the Tibetan refugee communities, the CTA is abusing their authority and their position of power, misleading and misdirecting the Tibetan people to turn against the Dorje Shugden practitioners who live amongst them. Such blind obedience to the CTA along with the stigma of defying the Dalai Lama is a recipe for disaster and without international intervention, the CTA will continue to make policies that continue to impact its own community disastrously.


Point 2: Ostracism of Shugden Practitioners within the Tibetan Community

After the ban was implemented in 1996, Dorje Shugden practitioners have been social outcasts, mentally and physically tormented, and economically boycotted by the local Tibetan community. While the world clearly does not agree with this discrimination, especially with the “International Religious Freedom” report released by the U.S. State Department in May 2013, the Dalai Lama, the CTA and all their supporters CLEARLY BELIEVE THAT SUCH BEHAVIOR IS ACCEPTABLE.

Thubten Wangchen’s acknowledgement of the discrimination within the community shows that the CTA are well aware of the unjust acts taken against Dorje Shugden practitioners but have chosen to turn a blind eye, refusing to protect their civil rights and human liberties. In fact, contrary to Thubten Wangchen’s statement, it is a known fact that Dorje Shugden practitioners are not welcome in any governmental position within the CTA. The fact that Thubten Wangchen had to lie tells us that despite knowing how wrong it is to deny Shugden practitioners equal rights within the government, it is still practiced by the CTA. Clearly, the CTA’s crime of discriminating against Dorje Shugden practitioners is done with full awareness and with the intention to harm.

There is no safe place in the world for Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners. Here, the representative of the CTA in the United States violates the civil rights of Tibetans residing in America.


Point 3: Shugden Practice is Harmful

The Dalai Lama and CTA have long claimed that the practice of Dorje Shugden is harmful to the long life of the Dalai Lama, to the cause of Tibetan independence, and that Dorje Shugden practitioners support China’s cause. Dorje Shugden is also falsely accused of being a demon. These 4 accusations have practically sealed the deal, making Dorje Shugden practitioners the new found enemy of the Tibetan community.

Despite these claims, it is undisputed that H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama himself and many other high-ranking Tibetan lamas and government officials also practiced Dorje Shugden in the past. On this point, Thubten Wangchen clarified that THEY DID NOT EXPERIENCE ANY HARM WHILE PRACTICING DORJE SHUGDEN BECAUSE THEY DID IT WITH SINCERITY. So why would the Dalai Lama ban a deity’s practice and claim it to be harmful when he and others did not experience any harm from Dorje Shugden? In fact, contrary to their accusations, the Dalai Lama was saved by Dorje Shugden during his escape from Tibet to India.

The Dalai Lama and CTA keep harping on the unresolved murder of Lobsang Gyatso, claiming that Dorje Shugden practitioners were responsible for his murder and hence is definitive proof that the practice of Dorje Shugden is bad. However, isn’t such thinking too narrow minded for someone as great and peace-loving as the Dalai Lama? If, as Thubten Wangchen claims, the Dalai Lama experienced no harm from Dorje Shugden’s practice because he was sincere, it would then logically follow that there is nothing wrong with the practice of Dorje Shugden (or any other deity or religion for that matter) and that the actions of a practitioner is purely dependent on himself/herself. To blame a deity for the misdeeds of the followers is illogical, for if that were correct, should we then ban God whose followers created the likes of Sodom and Gomorrah according to the Torah, Bible and Quran?

For the past 18 years since the ban on Dorje Shugden has been enforced, the CTA have been singing the same song. Despite the repeated efforts of Dorje Shugden practitioners to have a peaceful dialogue, the CTA’s answer remains the same:

The Dalai Lama said Shugden practice is not good, thus we need to follow without question.

This statement was repeated by CTA representative Thubten Wangchen, and remains the stance of the CTA who values the opinion of one over the welfare of the people they are supposed to protect.

The Dalai Lama and CTA may continuously make public declarations that no ban was enforced on Dorje Shugden’s practice, and that the Dalai Lama merely gave spiritual advice to Tibetan Buddhist practitioners. However, nice words and proclamations cannot deny the result of the Dalai Lama’s so-called “spiritual advice” – discrimination, violence, and prosecution against Dorje Shugden practitioners on a daily basis. We at strongly encourage everyone to watch the interview with Thubten Wangchen, and call upon the Dalai Lama and the CTA to abolish the ban on Dorje Shugden and to send a clear message to the Tibetan people that discrimination against Dorje Shugden practitioners is no longer to be tolerated.

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7 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. We are Nepali living high himalaya of Nepal and practicing Dhorje shugden since the very beginning. I am really surprising with the statement of Dalai Lama why he is protesting against Dorje shugden. We respect Dalai Lama as living Buddha . I think there should be clear justification why Dorje shugden is harmful for the human kind ? What are the reason ? Is it merely politics ? Those people who are against the Dorje shugden should be able to give logical justification in order to motivate common follower of Buddhist? Or is it religio politics ? I could not understand these things.

  2. Dorje shugden was strongly condemned as a hungry ghost , some blaming as backing of the Chinese government by so called Buddhist scholar . I am really feeling pity and sad that those people are destroying the principle of siddhartha gautam . How to analyse every facts positively ? they all forgot the basic principle of Buddhism . Blaming without justification is foolish and not good for human kind . If Dorje shugden is not good and feeling harmful then why the Dalai lama practice it in previous time what are the reason he left it ?

  3. I find it particularly said that this CTA representative refers to the practice of Dorje Shugden spreading like cancer. This is so incredibly unkind. How can he denigrate other people’s spiritual practices in such a way? It shows how far people’s minds have been twisted. There is so much hate towards Dorje Shugden practitioners and often no restraint in people’s expression of their religious discrimination. They seem to think that because the Dalai Lama holds a certain view (that Dorje Shugden practice is wrong) they can be as rude (sometimes posting pornographic images and death threats) and unkind as they want (call it cancerous) to those who continue with the practice. The Dalai Lama should address this issue or he looks like he is condoning it. The only reason he would not do this is if he is directly behind it and wishes it to continue.

  4. Typo – “particularly sad”

  5. Tibetans are born since generations kneeling down for the Lamas,Monks,Cheftians,Landlords,Upper Classes etc. Even modern education in 55 years in Exile hasn`t helped much to keep ones head up, cos they failed to understand the essence of Modern education`s application. And they also failed to understand the essence of Buddhist teaching during many centuries.
    The trouble is they are absolutely detached from the REALITY and FACTS.
    They need re-education as what the Communist Chinese call it.

  6. I find this interview very sad. I am not as concerned about the content of what the person being interviewed is saying, whether it’s truth or lies. When I look at that monk/official, I see someone in terrible distress. I see a hurt little boy who desperately needs a hug, some care, some help.

    I do not see someone who is at peace, free, happy, or calm–some of the fruitional marks of the ordained who have understood and practiced well the Buddha’s teachings. This interviewed monk’s body language is disturbed with twitching stress. This is not a person in charge of his faculties and for that I am deeply sad and deeply sorry. He is my child and I his mother in some life. My heart aches for him.

    May all beings and all sides be free of all suffering. The Buddha Dharma belongs to the world, not to one culture or another. If the culture through which it has been well preserved and transmitted to the tiniest segment of the Tibetan population can no longer bear the responsibility of carrying it with integrity, realization (most critically), actual bodhicitta, and the ability to dialogue with those outside of their given clans, it will be carried otherwise, by others in this global arena, because the Buddhas have vowed to come in exactly the forms most needed for our times and in our places, not just in those that were useful or necessary centuries ago, or only those labeled “Buddhist.”

    It would be good if those of us who call ourselves Buddhist could apply the Buddhist teachings to this crisis, instead of adding to the growing mountain of hatred and ignorance and misunderstanding. And if we can not do that, maybe we should start more simply, more universally, with the golden rule: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

    There are representatives on both sides of this controversy that are guilty of not bringing the highest within human beings to bear on it: heartfelt empathy, respect, love, kindness, listening. Interviews like this are naturally polarizing, and incite more afflictions and boundless delusions.

    What we have so much of and which the great Jowo Je Atisha himself fought against nearly a thousand years ago in dealing with the Tibetan people is superstition. So much superstition. And yet the Buddha himself admonished his followers to investigate the Teachings and not accept them out of faith in him, but on the basis of our experience.
    I pray that all beings everywhere have access to useful education.

    Since no one is willing to listen deeply to the other, we have a continuing crisis evidencing that the practice of the Buddha Dharma is not being carried out.

    You are surprised? Outraged? The problem is not the Dharma. The problem is us and our having forgotten ourselves, our choices, our capacity for rational thought, measured behavior, and respect for cause and effect.

    I have had to ask myself: Does it increase my virtue to watch these videos, read the words on this site? Does my mind improve by engaging here instead of in study, practice, or service? Am I watching my mind? What is my moment to moment experience in proliferating thoughts about this issue? What is my motivation for coming to this site? Does this site help me cultivate virtuous attitudes and actions?

    I could die today having this site be the last thing I saw. Can you imagine? What imprints would I leave this world with and bring to the next?

    If Buddha or Je Tsongkhapa were among us today do you seriously think that they would approve of what we are doing in response to this crisis? Would he feel that we were exercising our rights, our leisure and fortune, in the best way?

    It is ironic that discussions about protectors and protecting the Dharma have come to this utter chaos. A good way to protect the Dharma might be to study it, practice it well, and to manifest by one’s behavior of body, speech and mind its benefit for ourselves and others.

    Think carefully. Lest we all make a mockery of the sacred Dharma. Perhaps it’s too late.

  7. The CTA should stop this ban as I think most of the Tibetan people know who is DS they should not blindly believe in CTA the ban has created so much pain and suffering for the DS pratitioner even little a suffer from this ban imagine these kid are so innocent, the best for everyone the CTA should lift up the ban.

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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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