No Dorje Shugden Practitioners Please!

I just read this on Dorje Shugden Blog.

I have to post it here as it is just the kind of thing that shouldn’t go unnoticed:

 

Dorje Shugden practitioners denied medical care and friendship

Report from South India, November 7, 2008:

(1) Denying medical care to Buddhist monks at their own monastery
A meeting was held in Gaden Lachi to discuss the dispensary run by Shartse monastery. They came to this conclusion:

“The dispensary has a relationship with the Dholgyal* organization and some Shugden monks are coming to the dispensary. Therefore, the dispensary must post a notice on its door, announcing that Shugden devotees are not allowed in the dispensary.”

(*Dholgyal is a disrespectful term for Dorje Shugden. )    
      

I have never been to this monastery, but I spent some time with a very sweet Geshe from Ganden Shartse, and have to say that this kind of thing I find very hard to fathom. Unfortunately since (not meaning to be disrespectful), the Dalai Lama has spent such time stating bad things about Shugden practice and practitioners – this kind of behaviour is the inevitable (and arguably intentional) result. 
I have just written to the blog author to ask the source and reliability of this report. Does anyone else have info to establish the validity of this report?
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Dorje Shugden Practice and Advice of the Dalai Lama

What is Dorje Shugden practice must be a fairly important question at the present (especially considering the relationship between phenomena and their characteristics). Even with a minimal probing of events and facts this appears to be a practice that the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile (TBIE) is determined to eradicate. In terms of what is Dorje Shugden practice, I can principally only comment on what this practice is for me. This is a good place to do it as I can speak easily within an anonymous blog.  

First of all any explanation on this practice I received only from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Geshe Kelsang states that he received the instructions from Trijang Dorjechang.

Anyway I regard Dorje Shugden as the protector of the lineage as passed on by Je Tsongkhapa and received recently by the precious teachers Je Phabonkhapa and Trijang Dorjechang. One of Je Tsongkhapa’s foremost and enlightened disciples called Duldzin Dragpa Gyaltsen promised to protect his tradition in the future – from being mixed with other traditions or disappearing altogether. Duldzin Dragpa Gyaltsen I believe to have been a Wisdom Buddha – & it is this person who I regard as appearing later in the aspect of Dorje Shugden to fulfil this function. 

I do a short prayer to Dorje Shugden daily and when I think of and pray to Dorje Shugden, I do so principally as an expression of my wish for Je Tsongkhapa’s lineage to be protected and remain. What this means for me is to practically preserve 2 lineages: Je Tsongkhapa’s lineage of instruction; and his lineage of Realisation. For me, the principal method to accomplish these 2 aims is via my personal spiritual dedication. I study and try to learn the essential teachings of the Lamrim, Lojong & Mahamudra. Then in dependence upon this and of principal importance, to preserve the lineage of realisation, I dedicate myself to gaining the inner realizations of this Dharma. 

My method for doing this, is to use Lamrim contemplation in general to improve my motivation and pacify somewhat my delusions, so as to enable a reasonable level of moral discipline. On the basis of this, I am able to have a simple and un-distracted life with a stable routine. Within this routine, I then mainly train in developing concentration on my one simple object of meditation. In this training I sincerely strive to increase the quality of that particular concentration and gradually increase the number of minutes of concentration so as to progress through the 9 mental abidings to attain Tranquil Abiding.

In dependence upon this, I know I will then be able to easily achieve any spiritual realisation completely,  such as Renunciation, Bodhichitta and Emptiness.

So that’s about it. As said, I am glad this blog is anonymous – so it is possible to chat about things like this. Anyway this is what Dorje Shugden means to me.  To summarise, when thinking of Dorje Shugden – I pray for Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings to remain always and in particular I am reminded of my responsibility to apply effort to maintain the lineage of scripture and realisation. I know that people practice in different ways (fortunately) but this is my way of relying – which came about in dependence upon thinking about the teachings I have had from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

So when the Dalai Lama says to everyone “You should stop the practice of Dorje Shugden.” Then for me, the above view and motivation are what is involved – and therefore I must refuse.

When the Dalai Lama says the “practice of Dorje Shugden harms the life of the Dalai Lama,” then this too must apply to my practice (since I do practice Dorje Shugden) – and so I have to say, how can my view and intention and practice harm your life? It makes no sense.

When the Dalai Lama says “the practice of Dorje Shugden harms the cause of Tibet,” I look within my practice and see nothing there that according to the understanding of cause and effect could be the cause of harm to be received by Tibetan people. 

When the Dalai Lama says he checked, and it is not good to practice Dorje Shugden and that Dorje Shugden (or ‘Dholgyal’ as he says) is an evil Chinese spirit/ ghost as the Nechung Oracle has repeated to the Dalai Lama so often – then I have to say that he cannot be correctly taking into consideration the many Buddhists like myself, for whom Dorje Shugden only functions as a Buddha who inspires me to practice Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings. 

Furthermore when the Dalai Lama and ministers in his Government say that these “Shugdens”  – commit murder, beat people and start fires (see news report) – I have to say, that I haven’t felt this impulse yet. However if I do start to get any sudden urges of pyromania I will at least limit these to November 5th (and here I mean in my own back garden – not somewhere underneath the HP).

Now the Dalai Lama has given some scriptural information in an attempt to refute Dorje Shugden practice, but as yet none of these have stood up to scrutiny, and are now appearing to be somewhat unreliable and possibly contrived.

So for the time being, I do refuse to listen to the superstitious suppositions (ooh don’t you love a bit of dramatic alliteration) and contrivances. Instead I will continue to rely on a reasoned practice of my chosen tradition, whilst speaking out when having the opportunity, against the current anti-Dorje Shugden propaganda.

Is the Dalai Lama authentic?….calling Reting Rinpoche

I recently read an article about whether the Dalai Lama is actually the Dalai Lama or not. It is quite a shocker in all, especially since many of the events refereed to were very public. Some of the points which really stand out relate to the political and religious environment around the time of the choosing of the 14th Dalai Lama and after.

The regent at that time we know to be Reting Rinpoche (the fifth) and it appears as if his own position and power were very much related to the finding of the new (14th) Dalai Lama. A rival minister at that time called Langdun put forth that the of one of his relatives was the re-incarnation of the Dalai Lama. However later, in contradiction to this, Reting himself stated having had prophetic visions when he visited the Holy Lake of the deity Shri-Devi (aka cho-kor-gye), which indicated where the new Dalai Lama would be found. The results of these visions were followed up, and a group led by an associate of Reting Rinpoche went to the Muslim town of Taktser. Then it was the associate of Reting Rinpoche namely Ketsang Lama who performed the tests on the young boy (such as picking out various items belonging to the previous Dalai Lama). This is also stated in the Story of Tibet by Thomas Laird. Upon returning with the chosen boy, there was considerable disagreement regarding accepting him as the Dalai Lama by the government ministers.
So it seems that the whole choosing of the 14th Dalai Lama was based principally upon the prophetic visions of Reting Rinpoche— and then followed up by his friend Ketsang Lama. These things are publicly known. Now one would think it wise to rely on visions and clairvoyant experiences of only those known to be highly realised beings. Or at least (since such things are hard to know) then those who are seen to be of exceptionally pure conduct and moral standard – like the old Kadampas. However Reting Rinpoche is described in the article mentioned above as someone who coveted power and had broken his celibacy vows whilst remaining as if a monk. I have no idea whether this a true reflection of him or not. However the Historian K.Dhondup wrote that it is a dismal fact of modern Tibetan history that Reting Rinpoche had “extremely callous handling of the Tibetan administration treating it merely as a source of personal enrichment and an avenue to reward friends and supporters and punish enemies and critics. It was one of the darkest points of Tibetan history” Also Reting Rinpoche is mentioned in Making of Modern Tibet as being a “bon vivant who cherished luxury items”. Further to this, in Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947 By Clare Harris, Tsering Shakya, Pitt Rivers Museum, International Association for Tibetan Studies Seminar it says, “Despite the general criticism, the public tended to excuse the lama himself for the excess and blamed the Labrang Changdzo – the estate manager. The frail and small-framed Reting Rinpoche was known within courtly circles for his avaricious sexual appetite for both male and female lovers.” 

Now although it seems obvious, upon investigation, that the fifth Reting Rinpoche found himself with somewhat of a compromised reputation, I have to add that none of this forms hard fact. No matter how many reputedly reliable people repeat similar views, it doesn’t thereby make what they are saying conclusive. If I have learnt one totally unexpected thing as a member of the NKT it is this.

However, one has to nonetheless consider the import if these things stated about Reting Rinpoche (the 5th) were true, as so many believe to be the case. Since it is the so-called visions and actions of Reting Rinpoche that principally led to the current Dalai Lama  being found, tested and appointed, the Dalai Lama’s own authenticity must be brought into question.

My final point would therefore be that any balanced and reasoning individual considering this should find themselves holding the question “Is the current Dalai Lama really the re-incarnation of Je Gendundrub?”

Views on the NKT Internal Rules

I have just been looking at the New Kadampa Tradition Internal Rules. Has anyone else noticed the ‘new’ 4 year term for future Spiritual Directors. I say new, but it looks like this was introduced sometime over the last 12 months:

In the following extract GSD stands for General Spiritual Director (the main Spiritual Director), and DSD stands for the Deputy Spiritual Director,

 

5§8. The term of office of the GSD shall be four years. At the end of his or her term of office, a person serving as the GSD shall not be eligible for immediate re-election. The term of office of the DSD shall be four years.

5§9. At the end of his or her term of office, a retired GSD shall normally return to his or her previous Dharma Centre, to serve as the Resident Teacher there once again…

 

Please post me your reactions to this, as I would be really interested to hear the points of view of others. I think this makes a massive difference, that will have a fundamental effect. For starters there will be less pressure on the individual(s) who later become the Spiritual Director. Also there will be far less emphasis on who is the individual or figurehead of the tradition – since after four years they go back to being a Resident Teacher and cannot be immediately be re-elected. In this case the emphasis can go to what remains unchanged (so to speak) i.e. the teachings we are focused upon and trying to realise these. Individual practitioners will be able to focus principally on the meaning of the teachings and their origins in Je Tsongkhapa and Buddha Shakyamuni. In this way because Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has put in his books the essence of Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings – it will be Je Tsongkhapa (and through him Buddha) that we will be trying to rely upon, mainly by attempting to understand and then integrate the meaning of his teachings. For those practising in the New Kadampa Tradition, Geshe Kelsang’s books will be the principal means for accessing the meanings in Je Tsongkhapa’s mind, with assistance and support from the Sangha including the Spiritual Teachers at that time. 

This is just my opinion, but please let me know what you think, and I am especially interested in the point of view of those who feel critical of the NKT, and those who may have had disappointing or bad experiences with teachers in the past.

Animal Suffering and a Kadampa Buddhist’s Musings

I noticed a few festivals ago that Geshe Kelsang Gyatso talked briefly about animal suffering in comparison to human suffering. He stated at that time that (dispelling) animal suffering was more important than human suffering. Prior to this I have thought about this subject and have thought that, other than my feeling instinctively a stronger wish to protect animals (than humans), dispelling their suffering is more important from the point of view of numbers. What I mean is that when working to dispell the suffering of animals or even praying for animlas to be free of suffering, one is at that time acting (or wishing) to dispel the suffering of unimaginably huge numbers of living beings. Whereas even when genuinly feeling cherishing towards all humans you are cherishing only a tiny number of beings (in comparison). Anyway, putting my own musings aside (for the time being), this was not the reason Geshe Kelsang gave at the teaching I referred to above. He said that alleviating the suffering of animals is more important (than that of humans) because when humans suffer they have some opportunity to do something with that suffering, for example to learn from it or transform it by increasing their endurance, or their compassion. In contrast, when animals suffer they do not have this opportunity and all they can do at that time is just suffer. This is a very clear reason and seems to me to be all about the over-ridding importance of protecting the protectorless.

       While I am on this subject, let me refer to a post on another blog – A Meat Eating  Buddhist – which I find hard to come up with reasons against thier argument. It reminded me of another thing Geshe Kelsang said on the subject more recently which was that humans abuse animals, and we talk about human rights but we abuse the rights of animals. He said that if they (the animals) had a lawyer then they could sue humans, yet almost no-one protects their rights except for a few small groups. I looked at some figures on animals killed for human consumption. The figures were nearly 60 Billion. Bear in mind that there is less then 7 Billion humans at present. So that means that in just over a month humans kill (just for food) a number of animals equal to the human population. So let me set up a scenario. If you convinced evryone in the world to just avoid killing animals for food for one month – This would be equal to an action of saving every single human being alive from being slaughtered. I find this a bit staggerring. I’ve got another scenario, Lets imagine if one country were to make war on all other countries and as a result enslave, imprison and then brutally kill every other human in the world one by one. This would be some feat, and take some time and I think everyone would agree that such a thing would be unimaginably horrific, and create untold amounts of negative karma. The collective negative actions of the country in my example however does not even equal the collection of negative actions that the animal trade (for human food) accrues in one year. It does not even get close. Why? – just look at the numbers.