The Dalai Lama: a Spiritual Conundrum – A Reply to Criticism

HH 14th Dalai Lama

Recently, someone posted the following on an anti-Shugden website regarding my previous post The Dalai Lama: a Spiritual Conundrum:

According to NKT, the Dalai Lama has inflicted more harm that those who have killed millions of people, tortured millions of people and raped millions of women in modern times.

What could be more harmful than murder, torture and rape?

This was in response to my statement in the article that the Dalai Lama was the “Spiritual Teacher who has inflicted the greatest harm on the greatest number of people in modern times”.

I said that the Dalai Lama was the Spiritual Teacher who has inflicted the greatest harm on the greatest number of people – this is patently true. If we consider the nature of a Spiritual Teacher, their job is to benefit others, not to harm them. That a Spiritual Teacher would inflict ANY harm is anathema and completely contrary to their nature and function.

How has the Dalai Lama harmed others? He has forced thousands of Tibetan Gelugpas to break their commitments to their Gurus by swearing an oath to Palden Lhamo. He has called the realizations of his own Teachers into question by saying that they were wrong about the nature and function of Dorje Shugden.

Although he talks about non-sectarianism, it seems that, out of sectarianism, he is destroying the Gelugpa tradition by casting doubt on its Lineage Gurus and practices. He threatens their very validity.

In answer to the question “What could be more harmful than murder, torture and rape?” my reply would be “destroying the spiritual lives of others, and destroying the future happiness of millions of people by forcing them to break their spiritual commitments”.

Let me explain.

While murder, torture and rape are terrible crimes and reprehensible, for the victim they only affect one life. Far worse is the breaking of spiritual commitments and negative actions towards the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha), which can affect people for countless lifetimes.

There are hair-raising stories of people who took many lower rebirths due to disparaging monks, for example. One man once insulted a monk by telling him that he looked like a frog. As a result, he was reborn 500 times in succession as a frog. Breaking spiritual commitments endangers the happiness of many future lives.

The Dalai Lama has blackmailed and coerced thousands of Tibetans to swearing an oath to Palden Lhamo (a Protectoress of the Gelugpa tradition) that they will no longer practise Dorje Shugden, even though they may have made a promise to their Spiritual Guides to do so, and furthermore, not to share material or spiritual resources with those who continue to do so.

This promise will adversely affect them for many of their future lives. The Dalai Lama has created a schism in the Sangha, which is one of the five heinous actions of immediate retribution. It is said that someone who commits such an action will go straight to hell at the end of that life, which is why it is called an action of ‘immediate retribution’.

For this reason, we can feel sorry for the Dalai Lama, but we must also acknowledge the enormous spiritual damage he has inflicted on those who are in his mandala and under his power. This damage not only destroys their spiritual life now, but endangers the happiness of their countless future lives. This is an action of unparalleled cruelty.


As Shantideva says in Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:

If all living beings, including the gods and demi-gods,
Were to rise up against me as one enemy,
They could not lead me to the fire of the deepest hell
And throw me in.

But this powerful enemy of the delusions
In an instant can cast me into that fiery place
Where even the ashes of Mount Meru
Would be consumed without a trace.

(Chapter IV, verses 30 and 31)

So, if all the murderers, torturers and rapists were to rise up against me as my enemy, they could destroy my life, but they couldn’t cast me into hell. Breaking spiritual commitments through the power of delusion can cast me in an instant into hell. This is the reason why forcing people to break their spiritual commitments is far more harmful than murder, torture and rape.

It’s therefore clear to me that no matter how much the Dalai Lama speaks about peace, harmony and non-sectarianism, his actions, which are spiritual violence against those who, unfortunately, have the faith to follow him, are the worse kinds of actions leading to the worst kind of results. The suffering he is inflicting will last not only in this life but in future lives as well. Therefore, controversially, I have to say that his actions are more cruel than that of any murderer, torturer or rapist for the clear spiritual reasons I have explained.

Many people regard the Dalai Lama as the living embodiment of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, but as Geshe Kelsang Gyatso said in an interview in Tricycle magazine in 1998:

If he is an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara why he is causing so many people suffering? Why is he causing the spiritual life of so many people to be destroyed? Now there is big confusion. Since His Holiness the Dalai Lama removed Shugden statues from Gelugpa monasteries and temples and claimed that Shugden is a worldly, harmful spirit, people throughout the Buddhist world have begun to have doubts about the general dharma of the Gelugpa tradition, and in particular the dharma of Je Pabongka and Trijang Rinpoche.

Now you can see the belief pervading everywhere that these lamas and their tradition are invalid and impure. How can His Holiness the Dalai Lama do this, unless he thinks that the dharma taught by Trijang Rinpoche is not the real dharma? What he is doing now is putting great effort to destroy the Dharma taught by his own spiritual guide.

This is a very horrible example, because every Buddhist practitioner believes that relying on the spiritual guide is the root of the path and the very essence of the practice. He is showing that the lama or spiritual guide doesn’t matter. How can Avalokiteshvara do this?


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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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