Author Topic: 5th Dalai Lama and Pehar - when state politics encroached the spiritual  (Read 3596 times)

Ringo Starr

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I've been doing some research on Pehar/Nechung who as a protector of the Dharma under oath to Guru Rinpoche, created the conditions for Dorje Shugden (the protector of the Dharma, in particular the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa) to arise.

I came across this rather well researched article which amongst other things concludes the following:

"Before the Fifth Dalai Lama's rule in the seventeenth century, Pehar was
actually not acknowledged by the Tibetan intellectuals as an important
protector of Tibetan Buddhism.
Not many historical writings have depicted
Pehar as a guardian deity of bSam yas.

The small number of historical literatures that have referred to Pehar while delineating the construction of the first Tibetan Buddhist temple bSam yas either belonged outside the "mainstream" tradition or are renowned for utilizing special sources as
reference materials.

With the Fifth Dalai Lama's coming to power, Pehar's role changed significantly. In his writings the Fifth Dalai Lama not only affirmed Pehar's identity as a protective deity of Buddhism, but also remarked on how Pehar had come to Tibet. At the same time, the state oracle gNas chung had begun to convey messages from Pehar. After the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama, many important figures who played key roles in the
political and social fields of Tibet successively composed various ritual-texts
for praising Pehar as a Buddhist protector, while Pehar has repeatedly given
crucial advice to the questions raised by the Dalai Lamas or the government
The fact that Pehar had become an object of popular worship in
Tibet apparently has a close connection with the promotion and support of
the dGe lugs pa school."

So it is quite clear that the turning point of Pehar's role from a Dharma protector to a politically supported "state oracle" was at the same time that Dorje Shugden arose. 


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Re: 5th Dalai Lama and Pehar - when state politics encroached the spiritual
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2016, 03:00:37 PM »
Dear Ringgo Star

Thank you for the post. I found it interesting that the tradition of invoking Pehar as state oracle was started by the 5th Dalai Lama. Other than the Tibetan government, I have never seen any other government in the world relying on a deity to make their decision. Not to mention that the deity they are relying on often gave false prediction and unenlightened. No wonder the Central Tibetan Administration policies and decision are often confused and does not make sense.

Dorje Shugden ban is one of them. Why instead of promoting unity and harmony, they promote division among their own people.


Ringo Starr

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Re: 5th Dalai Lama and Pehar - when state politics encroached the spiritual
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2016, 01:51:20 PM »
Dear Michaela,

This could be the original reason as to why Pehar/Nechung, of all deities, was chosen by the 5th Dalai Lama to be the "official state oracle".

"The question soon arises as to why of all gods Pehar, the former ferocious and cruel opponent of the Land of Snows, was given the delicate office of being a supernatural governmental advisor to the Tibetan “god-king”. Surely this would have sooner been the entitlement of a Bodhisattva like Avalokiteshvara or a national hero like Gesar of Ling.
With this question too, the key is to be sought in the “political theology” of the “Great Fifth”. We may recall that both the conferring of the title of Dalai Lama and the establishment of the hierarch’s secular power were the actions of the Mongolians and not of the Tibetan people.

In contrast, as we have reported, in the 17th century the national forces of the country were actually gathered under the kings of Tsang and around the throne of the Karmapa (the leader of the “red” Kagyupa sect).

Thus, it does not take much fantasy to be able to sketch out why Pehar was chosen as the advisor of the “yellow” Buddhist state (then represented by the Fifth Dalai Lama). It was expected of the former Mongolian god and opponent of Tibet that he tame the recalcitrant Tibetans (who supported the Karmapa). In this his interests were in complete accord with those of the “god-king”.

Additionally, the “Great Fifth” himself was a descendant of an aristocratic family which traced its lineage back to the Hor Mongols.

Pehar, the later state oracle, is thus a foreign deity imposed upon the Tibetan people."



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Re: 5th Dalai Lama and Pehar - when state politics encroached the spiritual
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2016, 09:53:24 AM »
But, then again, the 5th Dalai Lama was no man's fool. Instead he was a scholar and monk of high attainments. Surely, he would have the wisdom and clairvoyance to see through the intentions of the Mongolians? And, that in the long run, it will bring conflict to the Tibetans. Or, is it a case of political theology expediency to install Pehar as the state Protector? Or is it just political expediency?

So, was it a spiritual or secular decision to install Pehar?