Dalai Lama’s office disapproves Singapore Expo on “Buddhist Relics”

 The Buddhist Channel, December 4, 2006

Relics Expo organizer “Gelugpa Buddhist Association Singapore” not recognized by HH Dalai Lama

Singapore — The office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama has expressed its concern about the so-named “The Buddha and His Principal Disciples’ Relics Grand Cultural World Exhibition”, from December 9 to 17, 2006 at the Singapore Expo, hosted by the “Gelugpa Buddhist Association Singapore”.

A statement from H.H.’s office also states that the organizing party of the expo – although branding itself as a Gelugpa centre, is not recognized as such by H.H. the Dalai Lama nor H.H. the Ganden Trisur Rinpoche (the Official Head Emeritus of the Gelugpa Tradition). Therefore, labelling itself as a “Gelugpa” centre is inaccurate and misleading.

The Dalai Lama’s office further clarifies that its position is clear and consistent with regard to the worship of “dolgyal-shugden” which it strongly considers as “worship of the unenlightened evil spirit”.

The statement further elaborates that students of the Dharma who continue to rely upon a worldly spirit such as dolgyal-shugden actually contradicts the Buddha’s own advice against taking refuge in samsaric spirits.

By participating in events related to the practice of this worldly spirit, one effectively “breaks” one’s Refuge Vows and will effectively become a Non-Buddhist, negating the source and root of all Dharmic practices, the statement continues.

In a separate announcement, the Charitable Assistance Society (CAS) of Thousand-Arm Chenrezig have, on behalf of the Tibetan Buddhist community in Singapore, urged all to adhere to the H.H. Dalai Lama’s office advisory.

The CAS statement further urged Tibetan Buddhist practitioners to ….inform all other unknowing Buddhists, that, according to the Buddha’s holy Teachings as preserved in every tradition and lineage as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s advice, taking refuge in worldly-spirit, in this context, this programme’s uncompromising stand of practising and taking refuge in dolgyal-shugden, effectively contravenes one’s Refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

The CAS also said the organizing party have failed to clarify or justify the authenticity of the source of their claimed “relics”, most of which were presented as plasticine-looking coloured balls. “The organization too claimed many of their “relics” as being originated from Lord Buddha’s blood, bones, saliva and other bodily parts,” the statement concluded.


The Dalai Lama is no Pope
by Visakha Kawasaki, Kandy, Sri Lanka, The Buddhist Channel, Dec 6, 2006

I write with regards to the article, “Dalai Lama’s office disapproves Singapore Expo on ‘Buddha Relics’

Aside from the fact that the Dalai Lama seems to have some problems with discipline within his own sect, with the expo’s organizers claiming to be Gelugpa, it needs saying that the Dalai Lama is not in a position to declare that all Buddhists who revere relics of the Teacher or his chief Disciples are somehow worshipping “the unenlightened evil spirit!”

He is certainly mistaken too when he claims that by showing reverence for the relics of the Buddha and other Arhats, a Buddhist “effectively ‘breaks’ one’s Refuge Vows and will effectively become a Non-Buddhist, negating the source and root of all Dharmic practices.”

The Dalai Lama’s followers have been urged to ….inform all other unknowing Buddhists, that, according to the Buddha’s holy Teachings as preserved in every tradition and lineage as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s advice, taking refuge in worldly (sic) -spirit, in this context, this programme’s uncompromising stand of practising and taking refuge in dulgyal-shugden, effectively contravenes one’s Refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

Although the Dalai Lama may deserve respect as the head of his sect, he is not a Buddhist Pope, and might do well to educate himself about other Buddhist traditions, and avoid pronouncements of such a “catholic” nature.

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  1. The main reason for the Dalai Lama not recognising the Gelugpa Buddhist Association Singapore (GBAS) as a member of the Gelupa Lineage is because this Association practices Dorje Shugden. Dalai Lama says that practicing Dorje Shugden is praying to an evil spirit which will harm the members and the Tibetan Government including Dalai Lama. So when the GBAS hosted an exhibition of the so named Relics from the Buddhas and his deciples which they had advertised themselves as saying they are from the Gelugpa Lineage The Dalai Lama says is inaccurate. Even the H.H. Ganden Trisur Rinpoche (official Head Emeritus of the Gelugpa Tradition does not recognise GBAS as a Gelugpa centre.

  2. The only reason that I can think of for the Dalai Lama to not recognize Gelugpa Buddhist Association Singapore (GBAS) as members of the Gelugpa lineage is because the are Shugden practitioners. With the ban going on and such, to have situations firm like in Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama claims that the GBAS is not part of the lineage. It is unfair for them as it is not their fault that they practice Dorje Shugden. It has been given to them by their Gurus. With Guru devotion, they would have to follow what is being given to them to practice by their Gurus.

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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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