Wisdom from an American Shugden-pa

Personal Observations of An American Shugdenpa in India: More about “My Position on Dorje Shugden”

Ven. Lozang Gyaltsan

Some friends have recently asked me what the situation is like here in Bylakuppe for Shugdenpas and for me in particular. So far, I have not been the object of any abuse or harassment at all. Being the only western monk in residence here and having a prominent double-dorje tattoo on my upper arm, I have been the object of ongoing curiosity and pretty much everyone around has either heard something about or seen the American Shugdenpa. There are portions of the colony in which it has been made it clear that Shugdenpas are not welcome to either congregate or shop. We simply stay away from those intolerant areas. The colony is relatively small in size and passing through it is a short trip. Beyond the very limited area the colony occupies, the “Shugden” matter is of no concern. The Indian population has far too much on its own plate to notice the petty concerns of Tibetan politics. It should be noted that the Nyingma Monastic Community of The Golden Temple here in Bylakuppe and the lay population of the nearby Nyingma Camp do not engage in this bigotry. In both places we are freely welcomed and treated warmly . The same cannot be said to be true for the Tibetans living here and in the other Tibetan colonies of India who are not monks or nuns who have both the social status and relative safety of their monasteries to protect them. For them, life is constantly unpleasant and often dangerous.

I know that many have been the object of much criticism and abuse from what my own Root-Lama, a well-respected tulku from Kham, called the poor, ignorant, largely uneducated Tibetan population who think HHDL is a god-incarnate capable of no wrong or error in judgment. A concept that is nothing less than laughable, generally-speaking, and too downright ludicrous in Buddhism to even contemplate. Those who are more well-educated and well-informed who engage in this outrageous and unseemly behavior are those who think they have something to gain from publicly currying the favor of HHDL and the largess that ensues when the “line-is-toed”. Fortunately, the influence of these people and the influence of HHDL himself are both waning. Despite the celebrity and reputation he has enjoyed for so long as a religious leader and prominent world figure, the more widespread his unrelenting attempt to ban Shugden practice becomes known the more the world-at-large is coming to see that he not only openly advocates but persistently encourages religious intolerance and social ostracism among his own people and in his own faith. This can, in the end, only diminish his reputation, tarnish the public image of the Tibetan people and irreparably damage the cause of Buddhadharma. The simple truth is that this whole business is a disgraceful display of institutionalized ignorance, intolerance, hatred and bigotry.

HHDL speaks of peace, harmony, and universal brotherhood in some parts of the world and of intolerance against Shugden practitioners in others. One would think that someone as well-educated, well-traveled and constantly in the spotlight of the world stage as the Dalai Lama would have figured out that, in the 21st century, under the scrutiny of a large cadre of journalists catering to the insatiable appetite of a prurient population eager for any scrap of controversy or unguarded moment and in the constant line-of-fire of I-phones, Blackberrys and similar devices, that one cannot speak in condemnation of others or say one thing in one part of the world and something completely different in another and not have the expectation that, sooner or later, it will rise up and lash out at unexpected moments and in unforeseen ways.

It is up to the generations now practicing Buddhism, regardless of the particular tradition to which they belong, to maintain, promote and pass on the pure, undiluted teaching of Shakyamuni free of politics and dissention.

Many Lamas, and the monastic communities continuing to openly practice Dorje Shugden are passing to their followers a pure, unspoiled lineage. My own Lama and the others from whom I continue to have the blessing of receiving teachings pass the same purity of unbroken lineage. Their endless sacrifices and unswerving dedication serve as an example that encourages us all to do everything we can to maintain our practice, strengthen our samaya, keep unswerving faith in our precious Lineage Lamas, and never surrender our devotion to Gyalchen Dorje Shugden. For those of us who have spoken the vows of ‘srog rtag’, this is nothing less than a sacred commitment to which we have dedicated “our lives and our sacred honor”. I will continue to relentlessly share this oft-repeated teaching my Lama. “It does not matter what anyone thinks of you or your practice, regardless of who they are.”

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(We find this well written and comes from someone who has observed the situation with intelligence. We do not condone all ideas shared but nevertheless it will throw more light on the Dorje Shugden’s ban. We hope Ven Lozang Gyaltsan will share more of his wisdom in the near future. Admin www.dorjeshugden.com)

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3 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Thank you Ven.Lozang Gyaltsen,
    For taking the time and caring enough to share your experiences for rest of us.

    We need dharma specifically Gyalchen Shugden, my heart is open in the knowledge that our practice continues unbroken with powerful blessings behind them…in truth it is not the power of our prayers or practice but the people who practice them who inspire others also to practice amongst the very best and worst in our communities.

    You are Buddha’s and Bodhisaatva’s in my humble opinion.
    I can always rely on DS over many years and specifically DS.COM to be my rock and spiritual centre in time of need and what is good for me at times.

    How wonderful to find logical proofs followed by insightful comments exactly what I had been contemplating and wanting to find out about.


  2. Just some thoughts…

    The BAN is a mountain seeming unsurpassable…

    We are told that people can move MOUNTAINS…

    We are all EXCEPTIONAL in many ways but first and


    We will move MOUNTAINS…

    But more important is we can INSPIRE OTHERS

    Today I have been inspired to do more with my ideas to contribute to growth of DS.COM

    It is the PEOPLE that make things happen in secular or spiritual Life…How we make a mark in this life or work towards our next life? Is literally in our hands NOW.

    Today I realised that I cannot give up my practice…too many other great Shugdenpas have done so much for many to find and practice DS Manjushri Buddha – Unbroken Lineage.

    Thank you Ven.Lozang Gyaltsen.

  3. This is truly beneficial, Ven Lozang Gyaltsan writes candidly about his opinion based on his own personal experiences. While it is wonderful to read that monastic and lay Shugdenpas are welcome near the Nyingma camp in Bylakuppe, it is sad to read of other Shugdenpas especially the lay people not accorded the same treatment in and around other Tibetan camps in India.

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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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