Free religious ‘choice’?

To the Central Tibetan Administration and related members,

Whenever people raise questions about the ban on Dorje Shugden, the Dalai Lama and CTA deny that there is a ban. The Dalai Lama and his people claim that people have the ‘freedom’ to make their own religious decisions and to practice Dorje Shugden or not.

In almost every country in the modern world, people are still entitled to the benefits, rights and welfare of all citizens, no matter what religious practice they choose. Whatever someone’s religion is, they can still receive education, medical aid, hold jobs within the government, receive identification and travel documents, and have voting rights. They are still allowed to participate in all activities of the country, as equal citizens.

However, it is clear that this is not the case in the Tibetan community. This so-called ‘religious choice’ IS NOT democratic. Anyone who chooses to practice Dorje Shugden is automatically excluded from Tibetan society and cut off from receiving all state benefits. Shugden practitioners cannot receive medical welfare. They cannot keep their jobs in the government or state-related organisations. They are excluded from all political and social activities. Their children cannot attend Tibetan schools. They are denied any identification and travel documents. They are not even allowed to go to certain shops to buy groceries! How can this be a free religious ‘choice?’

This is not a choice. It is forced induction and a dictatorial imposition. People are ‘making their choices’ because they are forced into a corner. In many cases, they have no other option but to give up their practice. If they do not give up, they become completely abandoned by their own government and people; they will have nothing. If Tibetans choose to side with the Dalai Lama and give up their Shugden practice, then they are included as a part of the mainstream Tibetan community. If they do not follow the Dalai Lama’s ban and choose to keep the Shugden practice, they are excluded from everything. In the case of the monks and nuns, they are kicked out of their monasteries, the only home they have. What kind of government makes their people make life-destroying choices like this?

The situation in the Tibetan community now is like what happened in South Africa in the past. In South Africa, there was discrimination against the black people. Among Tibetans, there is the same kind of bias against Dorje Shugden practitioners. The strong difference is the fact that the South Africans have progressed and no longer have this separation. However, it is still happening among Tibetans. The Tibetan community has not progressed and is not keeping up with the democratic standards of the world. They are still living in the past with archaic, outdated policies that everyone else in the world has given up long ago.

I urge you to reconsider the ban on Dorje Shugden. It is so damaging to your own Tibetan people. More importantly, it gives your own Tibetan governing bodies an extremely bad and backwards image.

With concern and respect,


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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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