The Dalai Lama’s Words in the Mirror of Reality

Why the Dalai Lama’s Justifications for the ban of Dorje Shugden are not logical nor true

The justifications the Dalai Lama gives for his ban of the worship of the deity Dorje Shugden vary considerably depending on his audience.

The justification given to the Tibetan public, which destroyed the entire harmony of the Tibetan community, is: “Worshipping this evil deity is a danger for my life and for the freedom of Tibet. If you Tibetans want me to be dammed and don’t care at all about the cause of Tibet, then go ahead with the worship of this deity.”

On the contrary, to Western audiences the Dalai Lama repeatedly says that he issued this ban “In order to save this pure and profound Tibetan Buddhism from degenerating into spirit worship”. And “This ban is applied in order to promote peace and harmony between the four Tibetan Buddhist traditions.”

A further justification that the Dalai Lama sometimes mentions, and which he repeated on his recent visit to New York in July 2008: “This is for my personal gaining of religious freedom. I had the wish to ask Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen to give me the transmission of the Sangwa-Nyingpo-Tantra, and I consulted my teacher Ling Rinpoche about it, and he responded negatively, saying there is a lot of discussion about it. Actually my teacher was afraid of Dolgyal (Dorje Shugden). Thus I lost my religious freedom.”

What is the reality behind these statements?

Anyone who accepts whatever the Dalai Lama says as literal, infallible, and unquestionable makes no attempt even to question any of these points for a second. However, if an analytical mind investigates the validity of these words of the Dalai Lama, comparing their meaning to reality, a big surprise about the enormous discrepancy between the Dalai Lama’s statements and the factual truth will be inevitable.

Justification for Tibetans:

Worshipping this evil deity is a danger for my life and for the freedom of Tibet……
Dalai Lama

First justification for Westerners:

In order to save this pure and profound Tibetan Buddhism from degenerating into spirit worship……
Dalai Lama

Leaving aside the discrepancy between the justifications used for Tibetans and for Westerners, we can just look at the validity of the points repeatedly given to the Western public:

The fact is that all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and in particular the Dalai Lama, his government, and his entourage, intensively rely upon not just one so-called protector deity, but a great number of such deities from various origins. In Tibetan society, hundreds of such deities are regularly worshipped with elaborate rituals. Despite the Dalai Lama claiming to “save this pure and profound Tibetan Buddhism from degenerating into spirit worship”, worship of such deities has never decreased, nor has there been any effort to make it decrease.

On the contrary, since the end of the 1980s a new fervour of worshipping such protector deities has flourished among the Tibetans in exile, and this fervour originates from nowhere else but Dharamsala. Five oracles are regularly invoked at every ceremony around the Dalai Lama, special temples have been built and new rituals and prayers have been composed, a number of them even by the present Dalai Lama himself.
dalai lama and tutors The traditional trio-photo of the Dalai Lama with his two masters, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, on each side has been completely replaced by another trio-photo of the Dalai Lama with the protectors Nechung and Palden Lhamo on each side. Except for the ban on Dorje Shugden, not a single Tibetan god or demon has been discriminated against or abolished, and no other practitioner of any other Tibetan god or demon has been persecuted.

Second justification for Westerners:

This ban is applied in order to promote peace and harmony between the four Tibetan Buddhist traditions.
Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama implies that the followers of Dorje Shugden are impossible sectarian Gelugpas who can’t stand any other school and thus naturally create disharmony.

The reality is that adherents of Dorje Shugden are like any other Tibetan Buddhist, practising their own Dharma given to them by the great masters of their tradition without causing any trouble to any other fellow Dharma practitioner. There is more than enough evidence to prove this fact. To give just one example:

After Tibetans came into exile, about 1500 Tibetan monks and Lamas of all four Tibetan traditions lived together from 1960 to 1968 in a place called Buxaduar in West Bengal. Among the Gelug and Sakya monks, the majority were practitioners of Dorje Shugden. They lived harmoniously without any problems or tensions with monks from the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions, all sharing the same houses, same food and same prayer gatherings in a true sense of brotherhood.

In general, and especially compared to many other religious groups in the world, the relations between the four Tibetan Buddhist schools is very wholesome and harmonious — for as long as the exile Tibetan government does not mess in their affairs.

sera monks

A good proof of such brotherhood was recently demonstrated in South India in Bylakuppe, when the monks of Sera Mey Pomra Kamtsen were expelled from the rest of the Sera monastery as well as Tibetan society as a whole due to their refusal to renounce their faith in Dorje Shugden during the forced signature campaigns. In the course of these events, some Tibetan groups in the settlements completely denied these new outcasts any access to Tibetan shops, the monastery’s clinic, or he monastery’s food supplies and distribution. With no nearby source left for purchasing daily living necessities, the Tibetan Camp Number Four, headed by His Eminence Penor Rinpoche, openly welcomed the monks of Pomra Kamtsen to purchase their living necessities such as milk and so on from the camp’s shops and outlets. Camp Number Four is populated by a majority of Nyingmapas, who had no hesitation in helping Gelugpas worshipping Dorje Shugden. Is this not a clear sign of the solidarity of Dharma practitioners that goes far beyond the boundaries of Tibetan Buddhist schools?

Third justification for Westerners:

…… to give me the transmission of the Sangwa-Nyingpo-Tantra. I consulted my teacher Ling Rinpoche about it, and he responded negatively, saying there is a lot of discussion about it. Actually my teacher was afraid of Dolgyal (Dorje Shugden). Thus I lost my religious freedom.
Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama blames Dorje Shugden for the negative response he received from his teacher Ling Rinpoche concerning his taking the teaching of Sangwa-Nyingpo-Tantra. There is in fact “a lot of discussion” about this Tantra, but these discussions have nothing whatsoever to do with Dorje Shugden.

Many great earlier Tibetan scholars, especially those with a precise knowledge of Sanskrit, such as master Jangchub Woe, translator Goe, translator Chak, great Sakya Pandita, the great master Bhutoen, etc., have classified a number of Tibetan Tantras as lacking the authenticity of being original Indian Buddhist Tantras. These texts, including the Tantra in question, were classified separately. Kyabje Ling Rinpoche’s comment that “there is a lot of discussion about it” refers to these discussions of many earlier and later Tibetan scholars about the authenticity of the Sangwa-Nyingpo-Tantra.

Ling Rinpoche’s answer has therefore nothing to do with Protector Dorje Shugden. Ling Rinpoche had no reason to be afraid of the deity nor any reason to frighten the Dalai Lama about such a deity. Unfortunately, the former Kyabje Ling Rinpoche is no longer among us, but many of his respectable and trusted disciples are still alive.

Source :
From the Dorje Shugden Devotees Charitable & Religious Society in India, July 2008

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  1. Dalai Lama has given different justifications to his Tibetan people and to the Westerners. To the Tibetan people Dalai Lama has said that they should abandon Dorje Shugden practice as Dorje Shugden is a spirit and will harm his the Dalai Lama’s life and will be an obstacle to the freedom of Tibet. But to the Westerners Dalai Lama gave another sort of justifications. Dalai Lama says the Ban will help to preserve the pure Buddhism from degenerating into spirit practice. And two other justifications is that denouncing the Dorje Shugden practice will bring peace and harmony to the people. And also because Ling Rinpoche do not want to give him the Tantra of Sangwa Nyingpo because it has a lot of discussion to be done. To both parties the justifications are different. Why?

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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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