Point 6: Kashag’s Statement Concerning Dolgyal

Point 6: Kashag’s Statement Concerning Dolgyal

http://dalailama.com/messages/dolgyal-shugden/kashags-statement

(Cabinet of the Tibetan Government in Exile – Dharamsala – May 31, 1996)

After nearly forty years in exile under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the chances of achieving our goal of freedom for Tibet continues to improve. Tibetans stand out among all the refugees in the world for their unique achievements.

(Ed: what achievements are there? Apart from the Dalai Lama, there isn’t a single famous Tibetan in any field throughout the world. The Tibetan Government in Exile (now the CTA) has not provided any opportunities for their own people to excel or progress)

This is no doubt the result of the Tibetan people’s courage and perseverance in attempting to restore the freedom of their country, which they enjoyed for more than two thousand years of its recorded history. However, we are yet to achieve the ultimate triumph. Obstructive factors of various kinds, emanating from beings of both the form and formless realms, continue to hinder our efforts.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has investigated these obstructions and their causes for many years. One of the findings of his investigations is that depending on the spirit, Dolgyal, otherwise known as Dorje Shugden or Gyalchen Shugden, conflicts with Tibet’s two protector-deities (Nechung and Palden Lhamo) as well as the protector-deity of the Gelugpa tradition, Pledge-holding Dharmaraja (Damchen Choegyal). The inclination of this spirit is to harm, rather than benefit, the cause of Tibet.

(Ed: How is it logically possible for a deity to inhibit the cause of any country? Further, the spiritual and political head, for so many years, has been the Dalai Lama, who this same Government believes to be an emanation of Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion. Is this to say that the efforts of Chenrezig are threatened and undermined by a mere “spirit” or deity? Is that to say that a spirit is more powerful than a Buddha? This completely defies the logic of Dharma.

Further, there has been documented evidence which states that it was Dorje Shugden in trance who adviced and guided the Dalai Lama to leave Tibet at the most dangerous time. Why would he lead the Dalai Lama to safety and then destroy all that he is working towards? It is contradictory and illogical.)

Understanding this, His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself made a complete break with the Dolgyal in 1976. Since then, His Holiness has regularly explained to the Tibetan people why depending on the Dolgyal was inappropriate. Many Lamas, abbots, geshes, as well as the general Tibetan public, both lay and ordained, heeded his advice and stopped propitiating Dolgyal. As a result, the Tibetan situation has taken a turn for the better.

(Ed: How has it turned for the better? Surely the situation for the exiled community has only worsened in the last few years. They are more dispersed than ever and hopes for a free Tibet seem further and further away. It is not clear not proven in any way how the ban on Dorje Shugden has improved the lives of Tibetans. Where is the real proof of this? If anything, a large part of the Tibetan exile community is worse off than ever – Dorje Shugden practitioners are denied any form of basic welfare like education, medical welfare or even access to shops and basic amenities. They are also subject to attacks and ostracism by their own people, making them twice exiled. How has the situation “taken a turn for the better” for a community that is now divided among itself and excluding / attacking their own people? From the outside, it seems the Tibetan community are more disjointed than before and falling apart within themselves.)

However, some people have continued to propitiate Dolgyal, either because they failed to appreciate the threat it poses to the Tibetan cause or because they have decided to disregard it. There are yet others who not only propitiate Dolgyal themselves, but also actively encouraged others to follow suit. This has impaired the sacred relationship between the people of Tibet and their protector-deities. Today, this is one of the greatest dangers to the cause of Tibet and the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

(Ed: again, how can ANY practice cause a danger or threat to the cause of Tibet? How is this karmically or logically possible? This is never explained by the Tibetan government or those who are upholding and implementing the ban.

By the laws of karma, nothing bad happens to us unless we have created the karma for it. Simply doing a practice or not does not have a simplistic and directly bearing on whether we can lose an entire country! In any case, we can see the results clearly: Since the ban has been implemented, has the situation for a Free Tibet improved or progressed? No, it hasn’t. This proves that doing or not doing Dorje Shugden’s practice does not directly affect this cause.

Again, as mentioned above, it is totally illogical and totally against all principles of Dharma to say that any practice can pose a danger to the life of the Dalai Lama, who is so highly attained and recognized as a fully enlightened being, with complete control over his death and rebirths. At the most basic level, one of the basic benefits of taking the most basic set of Refuge vows is that one is protected from negative interferences, demons, spirits etc. The Dalai Lama has certainly taken Refuge vows, as well as many other more advanced sets of vows, such as the ordination vows, Bodhisattva and Tantric vows. At the most fundamental, lowest level, surely all this vows would be able to protect him from a mere “spirit” (as they claim). To say that a deity / practice can harm him is to say that he is not holding his vows properly and therefore karmically subject to attack by these negative forces. This is again illogical if these same people also consider him to be an enlightened being! It is all very contradictory)

During this spring teaching this year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that it was very important at this point in our struggle that the people and protector-deities of Tibet maintain a harmonious relationship based on their mutual commitments to each other.

(Ed: There are many, many people who have received the practice of Dorje Shugden directly from their root Gurus and hold this as a sacred and central commitment in their spiritual practice. If they give up the practice, it means they break a commitment to their root Gurus. How can this be beneficial or “harmonious” in any way, either for the individual or for an entire religious organization (in the case of a monastery, for example?). The Dalai Lama seems to contradict himself here because he had also received the practice and commitments of Dorje Shugden from his Guru. Forbidding and giving up the practice breaks this most important samaya with his Gurus. This causes a break in the lineage. It brings up many doubts and questions: If a student can give up a commitment that was given to them by their Gurus, what’s to say they can’t also give up all other commitments? If a student declares that one practice from his Guru is wrong, what’s to say all the other practices and teachings were also not wrong? It creates a lot of confusion and difficulty in one’s practice. How can this be harmonious?)

He repeated what he had declared on many previous occasions that just as a person’s breach of honor can create difficulties, so can a breach of commitments among the protector-deities. He reiterated that what he has previously announced remains unchanged. He conceded that restrictions on Dolgyal would not apply to any monastery, lama’s household or private individual who has no concern for the general interest of Tibet. His Holiness made this absolutely clear.

His Holiness clearly explained the point again on 21st March 1996 during the preparatory ritual for the Very Secret Hayagriva (Tamding Yang-sang) empowerment. He said: “Recently I have conducted a number of prayers for the well being of our nation and religion. It has become fairly clear that Dolgyal is a spirit of the dark forces. Therefore, during the Hayagriva invocation last year, I specifically mentioned Dolgyal by name and an incantation was made to ward him off.” He continued: “I wonder if any among you here today continue to propitiate Dolgyal and still feel comfortable receiving this Hayagriva empowerment. This is the reason why I suggested yesterday that it would not be appropriate for those who propitiate Dolgyal to attend this empowerment. When the protector concerned is disloyal to its commitments, the person concerned becomes disloyal in turn. As I said yesterday, this gives rise to a breach of commitments which carries with it a definite threat to the life of a Lama.

(Ed: There are many contradictions in these supposed rituals to destroy Dorje Shugden. There were many attempts to destroy Dorje Shugden through many complex and powerful rituals during the time of the 5th Dalai Lama. Then, there are accounts which state that a fire puja was done to finally kill this “spirit”. Witnesses even declared that they smelt the smell of burning flesh, which supposedly proved that this “spirit” of Dorje Shugden was totally killed and destroyed. If this is the case, then why are we still talking about this spirit today? Why is everyone so afraid of a spirit that was supposedly destroyed over 300 years ago?

Now, they are doing rituals to destroy him again. This means they are destroying something that was already destroyed? How is this logical? So, if he was not destroyed the first time around, what’s to say he is able to be destroyed this time around?

In fact, he wasn’t. It was widely known that the very next day after he was supposed “destroyed” in his Hayagriva Tamdin ritual, he took trance through an oracle and continued to give advice and divinations as usual.

Why is it so difficult to destroy this spirit? Surely, with the combined attainments and power of all these high Lamas throughout history, someone should have been able to subdued / tame / control of destroy a mere “spirit”? If they weren’t able to, is that to say none of these Lamas – including the Dalai Lama himself – had any power over a spirit? Or that this spirit was more powerful and overwhelming than any of these Lamas? It is illogical and impossible.

Since it has been impossible to “kill” this being after so many attempts through so many hundreds years, done by so many highly attained Lamas, there can be only one logical conclusion: that this being is not a spirit after all. There is only one type of being which cannot ever be destroyed: a fully enlightened being, a Buddha. This necessarily follows that Dorje Shugen is therefore a fully enlightened being who cannot be destroyed.)

“If any among you here are determined to continue propitiating Dolgyal, it would be better for you to stay away from this empowerment, get up and leave this place. It is improper for you to continue to sit here. It will not benefit you. On the contrary it will have the effect of reducing the life span of Gyalwa Rinpoche (The Dalai Lama), which is not good. However, if there are any among you who hope that Gyalwa Rinpoche will soon die, then you can stay.” Therefore rejecting Dolgyal has become a matter of the highest importance to the cause of Tibet, which is dependent on the personal security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

(Ed: It is not logical. Anybody of any religious denominations – even atheists, cultists from very dangerous and harmful groups, such as the Aum group in Japan, devil worshippers etc. – are allowed to attend the Dalai Lama’s teachings and initiations. But Dorje Shugden practitioners are not permitted. How is this logical or compassionate in any way? Is that to say that Dorje Shugden practitioners are such a huge threat to the Dalai Lama? Is it to say that the Dalai Lama has no ultimate control over these practitioners, this deity or his own life? This isn’t possible, considering he is an emanation of Chenrezig and a fully enlightened being. The fact that he has returned over 14 unmistaken incarnations and lifetimes is proof that he has control over his death and rebirth. But, with Dorje Shugden, he has no control?)

His Holiness also remarked: “The biography of His Holiness the Great Fifth Dalai Lama contains a reference to discord between him and Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen (whose spirit is alleged to have become Dolgyal). The matter is made very clear in the Great Fifth’s Extensive Collection of Secrets (Sangwang Gyachen). On the basis of this evidence, the 13th Dalai Lama imposed restrictions on Dolgyal. I am a successor to the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and, likewise, have a unique karmic relationship with the previous Dalai Lama. I have therefore a duty to carry out the legacy of the Great Fifth and the 13th Dalai Lama. This is my responsibility, although some people may not like it. But then, this is not a matter of what is in the Dalai Lama’s interest, but what is in the interest of the Tibetan nation and its religion.

(Ed: The 5th Dalai Lama had also written praises and prayers to Dorje Shugden, referring clearly to his enlightened nature. So which do we choose to follow? It is not very logical to say that he has a “unique karmic relationship” with the fifth and 13th Dalai Lama. He has a unique karmic relationship with all his incarnations since they are of the same mindstream! This present incarnation itself practiced Dorje Shugden! The 14th Dalai Lama propitiated Dorje Shugden in the earlier part of his life and has even written praises in this lifetime which indicate Dorje Shugden’s enlightened nature. So doesn’t he have a responsibility towards the commitments made within this life to his Gurus and practice too? What makes his responsibility to his previous lifetimes’ decisions more important than a responsibility to this lifetime?)

“When it comes to the interests of the Tibetan nation, I will carry through to completion the work I have begun. I will not back off because of a few disgruntled individuals. I am determined to implement the conclusions of my careful research and will not let it be. In the great monastic universities – Drepung, Sera and Ganden, the majority are faultless. However, it is clear that a tiny number among them are stubborn. Even private individuals may later have cause for regret if you take this lightly now in the hope that perhaps things will turn out all right after all. …Some of you feel that your business and ability to earn a living do better if you propitiate Dolgyal. This is ill-omened talk. It is an example as the notable lama and writer Gung-thang Tshang remarked, of how we human beings end up embracing evil friends.”

Propitiating spirits is a practice originating in pre-Buddhist Tibet. However, when Guru Padmasambhava was helping to establish Buddhism in Tibet in the 8th century, He recruited some spirits such as Nechung, the State Oracle, to protect the Buddhist doctrine. Due to his high spiritual attainments, he was able to subdue such spirits and bind them by oath. Propitiating of spirits, therefore, is not a Buddhist practice itself, but a means to help sustain spiritual practice. Over the centuries the practice of propitiating spirits has instead become widespread as a means to achieve fame, fortune and the general well-being for this life, concerns that run counter to general Buddhist outlook.

(Ed: Yes, this practice and ability is widely acknowledged. Why doesn’t any high Lama or the Dalai Lama himself subdue Dorje Shugden too if he is just a spirit? Surely, there must be at least one or two Lamas that are highly attained enough to be able to subdue and control one spirit! If there are no Lamas who are able to do exercise this control, that is to say that Buddha’s teachings and the practices are no longer effective nor powerful…which of course we know not to be true.)

His Holiness has commented on this too: “Those who can afford us protection and bounty in this life alone – be they humans, deities and nagas, mountain-dwelling protectors, and so forth – are all objects for whom we might feel compassion. There is no reason for holding them in awe. Seeking refuge in them is a disgrace to the Geluk tradition. It is disgraceful to seek refuge in such beings while failing to see benefit in the Six-armed Mahakala (Gonpo Chagdrug) and Pledge-bound Dharmaraja (Damchen Choegyal), the worthy appointed guardians of the immensely valuable teachings of Je Tsongkhapa.” Allaying any fears Tibetans may have about ceasing to propitiate Dolgyal, His Holiness said: “Lamas, Geshes, religious students, and laity need not fear that they will be harmed if they stop propitiating Dolgyal. Nothing will happen. I will face the challenge. As Gelugpas, recite the migtsema prayer, it will be enough if you also recite the Condensed Extensive Praise to Dharmaraja (Choegyal Gyi Toepa Kyangkumma). No harm will befall you.”

(Ed: There is a great deal of harm in not honoring our commitments to our Gurus, particularly if we choose not to uphold the practices and teachings they have entrusted to us. It is not that the Gurus or deities will harm us, but we create very negative karma in forsaking the commitments made to our Guru – a being who we regard as an enlightened being and who we have trusted fully to bring us to enlightenment. It is saying that we not value his teachings nor believe that they can take us to enlightenment; it is like giving up on the spiritual path and our spiritual relationship from him. Giving up a single practice that the teacher has given us affects the rest of our practices. If we say that one practice he gave us is wrong, it opens the possibility that other teachings from him are also wrong. We create the cause to abandon all teachings. The karma from this is very heavy – it either leads us to wrong views or we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot find any qualified teachers or practice to engage in proper Dharma practice. Is this not harmful? It is not correct to say that giving up one’s practice – whatever that may be – is not harmful.)

It is the duty of the Tibetan Government-in-exile to encourage compliance with any advice given out of concern for the cause of Tibet, the security of its head of state and the honor of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions including the Geluk tradition. Consequently, it has initiated a programme to be prevailing upon those still following Dolgyal to make a break with it. We are doing so out of concern for the greater welfare of Tibet and so that the Gelugpa teachings of Je Tsongkhapa remain pure.

(Ed: It is ironic that it was in fact Nechung to first spoke to Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen (one of the previous incarnations of Dorje Shugden), requesting him to arise as a Dharma protector to protect the purity of Tsongkhapa’s teachings. Now, one of the reasons Dorje Shugden is being banned is “so that the Gelugpa teachings of Je Tsongkhapa remain pure”. How contradictory! Dorje Shugden arose as a protector precisely to safeguard the teachings of Tsongkhapa! (The full historical account of how Dorje Shugden arose as a protector can be viewed here)

Representatives visited Tibetan religious seats in South India to read out His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s statements. Most people with connections to Dolgyal have come to understand that propitiating him undermines the cause of Tibet, compromises the personal security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and brings harm to the individual propitiator himself or herself

(Ed: There has never been proof that doing Dorje Shugden’s practice is harmful to any individual. This has never been documented nor recorded anywhere. There have also not been any clear examples of the harm caused by Dorje Shugden.)

Many of them stood up amidst the assembly of Lamas, Geshes, and the general body of monks to state that they were giving it up. Likewise, many letters undertaking to cease propitiating Dolgyal have arrived from monasteries, public and private organizations and the general public. We consider this an acceptance of responsibility for the greater good of Tibet.

(Ed: It is common, widespread knowledge that monasteries were forced to participate in a kind of ballot vote, wherein every single monk was made to choose between two colored sticks. One indicated that they would give up their practice and the other, that they would continue their practice. Everyone was forced to ballot. If they chose to continue the practice, they would be immediately ex-communicated from the monastery and would have to cut off all communications with anyone in the monastery, including their Gurus and fellow Sangha friends. In many cases, the monks have no money for themselves and have spent their entire lives in the monastery. To be cut off from the monastery is literally to severe their lifeline. So while it seemed a democratic “vote”, it became very clear that only voting for one side was acceptable. The other would mean that you became cast out from your monastic family, home and society. In many cases, the monks had to outwardly denounce their practice for the most basic reason of survival. This is not a democratic process at all, nor indicates any type of freedom of religion. True freedom would denote that whatever choice people made, they would be granted the same rights, welfare and respect as everyone else, which is clearly not the case here.)

However, a few Lamas, Geshes, lay people and organizations have adopted an extremist posture and continue to follow Dolgyal thinking that what they are doing accords with Gelugpa practice. Besides these, a handful of people are seeking to exploit the issue to create discord within the Tibetan community. They are spreading baseless rumors and accusations in the international community, thereby playing into the enemy’s hands. We, therefore, request them to stop.

(Ed: the “baseless rumors” actually do have basis. There is recorded documentation of how Dorje Shugden practitioners have been persecuted, attacked and denied welfare. There is an abundance of news coverage of this, as well as personal testimonials, many of which can be viewed on online video channels such as YouTube.com. The allegations of the harmful nature of Dorje Shugden however has never been substantiated nor clearly proven.

Dorje Shugden practitioners, as a whole, wish to be able to practice in peace. The practitioners within the Tibetan community still have tremendous respect for the Dalai Lama, with many of them regarding him as their own Guru. They have neither incited violence nor disharmony, wishing only to be left alone. Any protests that are organized are done peacefully, without any physical violence. On the contrary, it is the Dalai Lama’s supporters who have been inciting violence against the Dorje Shugden practitioners, with many reports of physical attacks against Shugden practitioners, their homes, business and families. It is very clear that any “discord within the Tibetan community” has not been caused by Dorje Shugden practitioners – who have been practicing independently and peacefully – but by supporters of the ban.)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has raised concern about the question of propitiating Dolgyal only because it has a great bearing on the cause of Tibet. It is precisely because of this that he has conducted extensive research and investigation on the matter for more than two decades. He explained his findings to his tutor, Kyabje Yongzin Trijang Rinpoche. The tutor graciously acceded to it, acknowledging that the findings were entirely faultless. This should be firmly borne in mind by all concerned.

(Ed: Trijang Rinpoche spent his entire life teaching and passing on the practice Dorje Shugden. Why would he then acknowledge that Dorje Shugden was a harmful being? Further, his current incarnation has been permitted by the Dalai Lama to continue doing the practice. Why would the Dalai Lama allow the incarnation of his own Guru to practice something that is supposedly harmful? And if it is because Trijang Rinpoche is the only person powerful enough to “handle” the practice, then why doesn’t Trijang Rinpoche just subdue and tame Dorje Shugden, if he’s so bad? It is widely recognized and acknowledged that Trijang Rinpoche himself is a highly attained and enlightened being. Why would he be so contradictory to continue to do the practice if Dorje Shugden is a harmful spirit? Why would such a highly attained Master lie that Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being if he is not?

Interestingly, Trijang Rinpoche had also prophesied in his writings that there may arise conflicting views about Dorje Shugden and the Dalai Lama. He advised then that we should not take sides but remain patient and persevere in our practice:

“But some who are narrow minded, not understanding this point, consider this Dharmapala to be like an ordinary worldly being and, with supposed faith in the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, disparage him; or else they indeed admire this great Dharmapala but criticize the Dalai Lama or Panchen Lama. Using either one as a reason not to admire the other and speaking badly about either in any way is the conduct of an ordinary being who, under the influence of attachment and hatred, just tries to help friends and hurt enemies; it obscures the increase of these great holy Aryas’ deeds and creates the karmic cause to experience unbearable suffering in the future.”

Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s advice in Music Delighting The Ocean Of Protectors: 1967

When we consider these points, it is illogical that Trijang Rinpoche would then concede to these supposed findings of the Dalai Lama that Dorje Shugden is harmful.)

In one of his recent statements, His Holiness said: “You should not think that dangers to my life come only from someone armed with a knife, a gun, or a bomb. Such an event is extremely unlikely. But dangers to my life may arise if my advice is constantly spurned, causing me to feel discouraged and to see no further purpose in living.” In a subsequent statement, he said: “I am now a man in his sixties. Owing to some merit accumulated in my past lives, I do not see any substantial danger to my life. …In the light of the Tibetan people’s plight and the tragic situation in Tibet, I will try to live long so that I can share in their sufferings and console them as well as I can. Apart from that, I have no personal interests whatsoever.” All Tibetans should think hard about this both as individuals and communities.

(Ed: This is true. Broken samaya with our Gurus does cause the lifespan of our teachers to be shortened, for we create the causes for him not to remain and teach us. However, the greatest dilemma that the Dalai Lama has created for many people is that they have both the Dalai Lama and other Lamas as their Gurus. They may have received the practice and commitments of Dorje Shugden from another Guru. When the ban came about, it forces these people into a very difficult position: if they continue with the practice, they will break samaya with the Dalai Lama BUT if they give up the practice, they break samaya with their other Gurus. A Lama is not more or less important because of his status. I.e. we should not just choose to follow the Dalai Lama’s advice because he is of a higher ranking status. The karmic repercussions of breaking samaya with a teacher are equal, whether the teacher is a high Lama or just a simple monk. So how does a student reconcile this situation? He risks breaking samaya either way. Why would the Dalai Lama create a situation like this where so many thousands of people around the world are doomed to fail and create negative karma with whichever decision they choose to make??)

It is pointless to pay lip service to religious freedom and democracy if a lack of trust amongst us undermines our cause and the personal security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. There is no question of His Holiness the Dalai Lama ever trampling upon or neglecting any aspect of religious freedom. In fact, no one has ever attempted to prevent any Tibetan from embracing Buddhism or a non-Buddhist religion, or any school of Tibetan Buddhism. This is why Christians, Muslims, followers of the four great traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Bön enjoy complete religious liberty in the Tibetan community. What needs to be stressed here is that there never has been, nor could there be, any attempt to impose Buddhist, Christians and Muslims. Similarly, religious freedom has never been used as a pretext to impose Kagyu, Sakya or Geluk doctrines and practices on Nyingma monasteries. On the contrary, there is a law which lays down that Christians and Muslims should follow their own respective religious doctrines and practices and that the doctrines of other religions, and practices inconsistent with their own character should not be imposed on these religious centres. This is a spiritual tradition that accords with the principles of democracy and freedom.

(Ed: This is a total contradiction. How can they say that there is religious freedom and democracy when there is persecution and discrimination within their own religion? In this case, it is Buddhist pitted against Buddhists, just because of a differing practice… As mentioned above, anyone of any religious denomination is allowed to attend the Dalai Lama’s teachings; further, they mention here that a Tibetan is allowed to choose any religion he pleases. The only exception is the practice of Dorje Shugden. This is not even an entirely separate religion. It is only one practice within a religion. An important point to note is that apart from the practice of Dorje Shugden, the teachings and practices these practitioners follow are exactly the same as all other Gelugpa Buddhists and, in fact, all Buddhists around the world. They are still studying Buddha’s teachings of mind transformation, karma, the four noble truths, the Lamrim etc etc. But they are the only ones being discriminated against. How is this democratic or fair?)

According to Tibetan religious tradition, it is the responsibility of the founding lama or leader of monastery of any sect to give spiritual guidance as to what guardian protector, practices and doctrines the monastery should follow. But monks of the monastery do not question that guidance in the name of religious freedom. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the supreme religious and temporal head of Tibet. It is his responsibility, in his capacity as the spiritual leader, to give spiritual guidance for the benefit of the Tibetan people. As the temporal head of Tibet, it is his responsibility to give political direction to the Tibetan people and to seek to restrain activities that would bring harm to the cause of Tibet. Fulfilling his responsibility in this way cannot amount to a violation of religious and democratic freedoms.

(Ed: It is illogical and not fair at all to confuse religion and state in this way. Fulfilling a political responsibility is a very different thing from stating that a spiritual practice is harmful! It makes the Tibetan government look extremely backward and outdated to be talking about spiritual matters within the context of how they run their country and make policies.

Also, it has been widely accepted throughout history that while the Dalai Lama is the spiritual head of Tibet, matters within each school are decided upon by their respective heads. E.g. the Sakya Trinzin within the Sakya sect; the Gaden Tripa within the Gelugpa sect; the Karmapa for the Kagyus. If the Gaden Tripa deems that this practice of Dorje Shugden is acceptable, that is actually all that the Gelugpas need as validation. It is incorrect to mix these spiritual matters within individual sects with affairs of the larger Tibetan state – how are they related?!)

The essence of His Holiness’ advice is this: “Propitiating Dolgyal does great harm to the cause of Tibet. It also imperils the life of the Dalai Lama. Therefore, it is totally inappropriate for the great monasteries of the Gelug tradition, the Upper and Lower Tantric Monasteries and all other affiliated monasteries which are national institutions ever to propitiate Dolgyal. The public should be thoroughly informed so that they can gain a clear appreciation of the situation themselves. However, everyone is completely free to say: “If the cause of Tibet and the Dalai Lama’s life are undermined so be it. We have religious freedom. We are a democracy. We are free to do as we please. We will not change our tradition of propitiating Dolgyal.” The overwhelming majority of the Tibetan people will remain steadfast, keeping in mind the greater good of the Tibetan cause, and contribute as best as they can to fulfill His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s wishes. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that far from restricting religious freedom, the choice is left open to the individual concerned.

(Ed: It is clear that it is NOT a democracy and people are NOT free to do as they please. It is not a democratic choice that they are allowed to make. Yes, Tibetans can “choose” to continue their practice of Dorje Shugden but this automatically means that they are excluded from their community, denied access to the most basic welfare, not permitted to attend the Dalai Lama’s teachings. In some cases, they are not even permitted to see their non-Dorje Shugden practitioner friends any longer for mere association can get people into trouble. Worse than that, they are also subject to brutal attacks; smash up or burn their homes. They literally have no rights nor any access to the most basic necessities of life.

It is the same for monks. Sure, any monk can “choose” to continue his practice of Dorje Shugden but he will then be excommunicated from his monastery and denied any access to his friends of his Gurus. As monks haven’t a single cent to their name, being ex-communicated is literally to cut off their lifelines and send them out to starve.

How is any of this democratic or free?)

 


 

The original article at dalailama.com in full:

Kashag’s Statement Concerning Dolgyal

(Cabinet of the Tibetan Government in Exile – Dharamsala – May 31, 1996)

After nearly forty years in exile under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the chances of achieving our goal of freedom for Tibet continues to improve. Tibetans stand out among all the refugees in the world for their unique achievements. This is no doubt the result of the Tibetan people’s courage and perseverance in attempting to restore the freedom of their country, which they enjoyed for more than two thousand years of its recorded history. However, we are yet to achieve the ultimate triumph. Obstructive factors of various kinds, emanating from beings of both the form and formless realms, continue to hinder our efforts.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has investigated these obstructions and their causes for many years. One of the findings of his investigations is that depending on the spirit, Dolgyal, otherwise known as Dorje Shugden or Gyalchen Shugden, conflicts with Tibet’s two protector-deities (Nechung and Palden Lhamo) as well as the protector-deity of the Gelugpa tradition, Pledge-holding Dharmaraja (Damchen Choegyal). The inclination of this spirit is to harm, rather than benefit, the cause of Tibet.

Understanding this, His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself made a complete break with the Dolgyal in 1976. Since then, His Holiness has regularly explained to the Tibetan people why depending on the Dolgyal was inappropriate. Many Lamas, abbots, geshes, as well as the general Tibetan public, both lay and ordained, heeded his advice and stopped propitiating Dolgyal. As a result, the Tibetan situation has taken a turn for the better.

However, some people have continued to propitiate Dolgyal, either because they failed to appreciate the threat it poses to the Tibetan cause or because they have decided to disregard it. There are yet others who not only propitiate Dolgyal themselves, but also actively encouraged others to follow suit. This has impaired the sacred relationship between the people of Tibet and their protector-deities. Today, this is one of the greatest dangers to the cause of Tibet and the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

During this spring teaching this year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that it was very important at this point in our struggle that the people and protector-deities of Tibet maintain a harmonious relationship based on their mutual commitments to each other. He repeated what he had declared on many previous occasions that just as a person’s breach of honor can create difficulties, so can a breach of commitments among the protector-deities. He reiterated that what he has previously announced remains unchanged. He conceded that restrictions on Dolgyal would not apply to any monastery, lama’s household or private individual who has no concern for the general interest of Tibet. His Holiness made this absolutely clear.

His Holiness clearly explained the point again on 21st March 1996 during the preparatory ritual for the Very Secret Hayagriva (Tamding Yang-sang) empowerment. He said: “Recently I have conducted a number of prayers for the well being of our nation and religion. It has become fairly clear that Dolgyal is a spirit of the dark forces. Therefore, during the Hayagriva invocation last year, I specifically mentioned Dolgyal by name and an incantation was made to ward him off.” He continued: “I wonder if any among you here today continue to propitiate Dolgyal and still feel comfortable receiving this Hayagriva empowerment. This is the reason why I suggested yesterday that it would not be appropriate for those who propitiate Dolgyal to attend this empowerment. When the protector concerned is disloyal to its commitments, the person concerned becomes disloyal in turn. As I said yesterday, this gives rise to a breach of commitments which carries with it a definite threat to the life of a Lama.

“If any among you here are determined to continue propitiating Dolgyal, it would be better for you to stay away from this empowerment, get up and leave this place. It is improper for you to continue to sit here. It will not benefit you. On the contrary it will have the effect of reducing the life span of Gyalwa Rinpoche (The Dalai Lama), which is not good. However, if there are any among you who hope that Gyalwa Rinpoche will soon die, then you can stay.” Therefore rejecting Dolgyal has become a matter of the highest importance to the cause of Tibet, which is dependent on the personal security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

His Holiness also remarked: “The biography of His Holiness the Great Fifth Dalai Lama contains a reference to discord between him and Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen (whose spirit is alleged to have become Dolgyal). The matter is made very clear in the Great Fifth’s Extensive Collection of Secrets (Sangwang Gyachen). On the basis of this evidence, the 13th Dalai Lama imposed restrictions on Dolgyal. I am a successor to the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and, likewise, have a unique karmic relationship with the previous Dalai Lama. I have therefore a duty to carry out the legacy of the Great Fifth and the 13th Dalai Lama. This is my responsibility, although some people may not like it. But then, this is not a matter of what is in the Dalai Lama’s interest, but what is in the interest of the Tibetan nation and its religion.

“When it comes to the interests of the Tibetan nation, I will carry through to completion the work I have begun. I will not back off because of a few disgruntled individuals. I am determined to implement the conclusions of my careful research and will not let it be. In the great monastic universities – Drepung, Sera and Ganden, the majority are faultless. However, it is clear that a tiny number among them are stubborn. Even private individuals may later have cause for regret if you take this lightly now in the hope that perhaps things will turn out all right after all. …Some of you feel that your business and ability to earn a living do better if you propitiate Dolgyal. This is ill-omened talk. It is an example as the notable lama and writer Gung-thang Tshang remarked, of how we human beings end up embracing evil friends.”

Propitiating spirits is a practice originating in pre-Buddhist Tibet. However, when Guru Padmasambhava was helping to establish Buddhism in Tibet in the 8th century, He recruited some spirits such as Nechung, the State Oracle, to protect the Buddhist doctrine. Due to his high spiritual attainments, he was able to subdue such spirits and bind them by oath. Propitiating of spirits, therefore, is not a Buddhist practice itself, but a means to help sustain spiritual practice. Over the centuries the practice of propitiating spirits has instead become widespread as a means to achieve fame, fortune and the general well-being for this life, concerns that run counter to general Buddhist outlook.

His Holiness has commented on this too: “Those who can afford us protection and bounty in this life alone – be they humans, deities and nagas, mountain-dwelling protectors, and so forth – are all objects for whom we might feel compassion. There is no reason for holding them in awe. Seeking refuge in them is a disgrace to the Geluk tradition. It is disgraceful to seek refuge in such beings while failing to see benefit in the Six-armed Mahakala (Gonpo Chagdrug) and Pledge-bound Dharmaraja (Damchen Choegyal), the worthy appointed guardians of the immensely valuable teachings of Je Tsongkhapa.” Allaying any fears Tibetans may have about ceasing to propitiate Dolgyal, His Holiness said: “Lamas, Geshes, religious students, and laity need not fear that they will be harmed if they stop propitiating Dolgyal. Nothing will happen. I will face the challenge. As Gelugpas, recite the migtse ma prayer, it will be enough if you also recite the Condensed Extensive Praise to Dharmaraja (Choegyal Gyi Toepa Kyangkumma). No harm will befall you.”

It is the duty of the Tibetan Government-in-exile to encourage compliance with any advice given out of concern for the cause of Tibet, the security of its head of state and the honor of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions including the Geluk tradition. Consequently, it has initiated a programme to be prevailing upon those still following Dolgyal to make a break with it. We are doing so out of concern for the greater welfare of Tibet and so that the Gelugpa teachings of Je Tsongkhapa remain pure. Representatives visited Tibetan religious seats in South India to read out His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s statements. Most people with connections to Dolgyal have come to understand that propitiating him undermines the cause of Tibet, compromises the personal security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and brings harm to the individual propitiator himself or herself. Many of them stood up amidst the assembly of Lamas, Geshes, and the general body of monks to state that they were giving it up. Likewise, many letters undertaking to cease propitiating Dolgyal have arrived from monasteries, public and private organizations and the general public. We consider this an acceptance of responsibility for the greater good of Tibet.

However, a few Lamas, Geshes, lay people and organizations have adopted an extremist posture and continue to follow Dolgyal thinking that what they are doing accords with Gelugpa practice. Besides these, a handful of people are seeking to exploit the issue to create discord within the Tibetan community. They are spreading baseless rumors and accusations in the international community, thereby playing into the enemy’s hands. We, therefore, request them to stop.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has raised concern about the question of propitiating Dolgyal only because it has a great bearing on the cause of Tibet. It is precisely because of this that he has conducted extensive research and investigation on the matter for more than two decades. He explained his findings to his tutor, Kyabje Yongzin Trijang Rinpoche. The tutor graciously acceded to it, acknowledging that the findings were entirely faultless. This should be firmly borne in mind by all concerned.

In one of his recent statements His Holiness said: “You should not think that dangers to my life come only from someone armed with a knife, a gun, or a bomb. Such an event is extremely unlikely. But dangers to my life may arise if my advice is constantly spurned, causing me to feel discouraged and to see no further purpose in living.” In subsequent statement, he said: “I am now a man in his sixties. Owing to some merit accumulated in my past lives, I do not see any substantial danger to my life. …In the light of the Tibetan people’s plight and the tragic situation in Tibet, I will try to live long so that I can share in their sufferings and console them as well as I can. Apart from that, I have no personal interests whatsoever.” All Tibetans should think hard about this both as individuals and communities.

It is pointless to pay lip-service to religious freedom and democracy if a lack of trust amongst us undermines our cause and the personal security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. There is no question of His Holiness the Dalai Lama ever trampling upon or neglecting any aspect of religious freedom. In fact, no one has ever attempted to prevent any Tibetan from embracing Buddhism or a non-Buddhist religion, or any school of Tibetan Buddhism. This is why Christians, Muslims, followers of the four great traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Bön enjoy complete religious liberty in the Tibetan community. What needs to be stressed here is that there never has been, nor could there be, any attempt to impose Buddhist, Christians and Muslims. Similarly, religious freedom has never been used as a pretext to impose Kagyu, Sakya or Geluk doctrines and practices on Nyingma monasteries. On the contrary, there is a law which lays down that Christians and Muslims should follow their own respective religious doctrines and practices and that the doctrines of other religions, and practices inconsistent with their own character should not be imposed on these religious centres. This is a spiritual tradition that accords with the principles of democracy and freedom.

According to Tibetan religious tradition, it is the responsibility of the founding lama or leader of monastery of any sect to give spiritual guidance as to what guardian protector, practices and doctrines the monastery should follow. But monks of the monastery do not question that guidance in the name of religious freedom. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the supreme religious and temporal head of Tibet. It is his responsibility, in his capacity as the spiritual leader, to give spiritual guidance for the benefit of the Tibetan people. As the temporal head of Tibet, it is his responsibility to give political direction to the Tibetan people and to seek to restrain activities that would bring harm to the cause of Tibet. Fulfilling his responsibility in this way cannot amount to a violation of religious and democratic freedoms.

The essence of His Holiness’ advice is this: “Propitiating Dolgyal does great harm to the cause of Tibet. It also imperils the life of the Dalai Lama. Therefore, it is totally inappropriate for the great monasteries of the Gelug tradition, the Upper and Lower Tantric Monasteries and all other affiliated monasteries which are national institutions ever to propitiate Dolgyal. The public should be thoroughly informed so that they can gain a clear appreciation of the situation themselves. However, everyone is completely free to say: “If the cause of Tibet and the Dalai Lama’s life are undermined so be it. We have religious freedom. We are a democracy. We are free to do as we please. We will not change our tradition of propitiating Dolgyal.” The overwhelming majority of the Tibetan people will remain steadfast, keeping in mind the greater good of the Tibetan cause, and contribute as best as they can to fulfill His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s wishes. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that far from restricting religious freedom, the choice is left open to the individual concerned.

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  1. All the reasons to counter the statements are valid. It shows Dorje Shugden is indeed a Buddha. Because that is the truth, all claims are baseless. It is deemed valid for those with superstitious beliefs.

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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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