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.

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Dalai Lama – Dorje Shugden speech by Helmut Gassner, translator for the Dalai Lama

I have recently spent some time looking at the transcript of a speech by a previous translator for the Dalai Lama in Europe, Helmut Gassner. I was so interested in his experiences that I have included the whole transcript on this blog as a seperate page (see at bottom of right hand column).

One special point of interest is where he mentions Tashi Wangdu (minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile) accusing the Shugden Society of commtting murder, on Swiss TV. Tashi Wangdu is holding up a paper with Tibetan script on it  and he is claiming that this is a death threat. I remember seeing this particular clip many times in the past. Anyway in Helmut Gassner’s speech he states

     ” I could not resist stopping the video to copy the Tibetan text and translate it.  It contained no death threat at all, simply an impertinent letter containing a challenge to debate the issue so as to settle the difference. By now I was convinced that something foul was going on. Otherwise, why would Tashi Wangdu go to such lengths as to show a fake death threat on TV? “

News RE: Dalai Lama’s View on Shugden Practitioners

In my previous post I talked about the Al Jazeera news report and some of the details it gave regarding Dorje Shugden practitioners not being allowed in various shops and restaurants in the Tibetan community. This is the result of the Dalai Lama trying to ban the practice.

Anyway one thing I thought was that presumably even though I am a European, if I went to a Tibetan settlement in India – then as I practice Dorje Shugden I would also not be allowed in many shops etc.. 

So I wondered how would the shop keepers know? and indeed how do they know when ordinary Tibetan people or monks are Dorje Shugden practitioners? So I checked into this – and now I know. At least one way that they know, is that if you practice Dorje Shugden and therefore refused to sign a declaration (which has been put to all) saying that you would abandon the practice – then you would not have an identity card – stating as much. For example the Great Payer Festival was organised in a slightly different way this year by a specially set up team. It was organised so those not in possession of an identity card, which stated they had signed the declaration (to not practice or support the practice of Dorje Shugden) , could not attend at all! It was organised so that such people would not even be able to make or pay for offerings to the monks. Incredible! and at a prayer festival (you would think such things were sacred).

Again I am left wondering why so many Buddhists in Europe and North America continue to only criticise those who are demonstrating against the Dalai Lama. Of course it is no wonder there is such hatred of Shugden practitioners by Tibetans who look up to the Dalai Lama: since at public events he continues blaming Dholgyal (Dorje Shugden) practice for the Tibetan Independence problem – stating again and again that the practice harms the cause of Tibet and that those who practice are in league with China. Please remember that huge numbers of Dorje Shugden practitioners have lived their lives quietly in their monasteries such as Ganden Shartse, having no involvement with politics.

Even on religious occasions this happens, for example January 9th 2008 in front of many many people the Dalai Lama gave Yamantaka  Empowerment at Drepung Loseling Monastery in Mundgod. At this time he said,

“Those who practice Dholgyal (Dorje Shugden) are taken care of by the Chinese government. It will be best if they return to where they are cared for. There is no reason for them to live here. Do you understand?”

In this way any who practice Dorje Shugden are convicted, without trial, of being enemies of Tibet. Without being critical, but merely trying to report events and what has been said: I cannot avoid saying, that it appears to be the Dalai Lama who can be observed to be intentionally promoting this.

World Media Investigates…Dalai Lama Soon to be Taken to Court

 

The news report below is worth watching, whether you are a Buddhist practitioner or not. For years now nearly everyone has been denying that there is a religious ban in place on the practice of Dorje Shugden in the Tibetan community. A ban put in place only by the Dalai Lama. Although this was a practice done by the Dalai Lama’s own teachers who were respected throughout the different traditions and showed the best of Buddhist examples, the Dalai Lama is currently causing all Shugden practitioners to be treated as outcasts within their own communities and monasteries. To see shop and restaurant owners putting up signs saying no shugden practitioners reminds me of one thing, namely the lead-up to the second world war when in Italy and Germany signs began appearing in shops reading “No Jews.” Shugden practitioners are being denied identity papers and are steadily being denied more and more rights within their home towns under the control of the Tibetan Government in Exile. I wish that the blame for this could simply be passed off onto that Government alone however the whole drive behind this anti-Shugden campaign has the Dalai Lama behind it at every turn.

I am reporting on this because I am a Dorje Shugden practitioner and I believe in religious freedom. Almost everyone in the international Buddhist community who knows of the Dalai Lama is living in wilful denial at what is going on. Within the Tibetan community in Exile if you are any other type of Buddhist, or a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, ..whatever then you can go and attend teachings, receive empowerments go in shops and restaurants as you please. You can get travel permits and find employment etc.. However if you are known as a Shugden practitioner then the following list I have given are now facts of life – if you doubt this please just do the research:

You cannot work in any part of the Government (TGIE)     

You cannot work in any part of the Health Service            

You are not allowed in the Tibetan Youth association        

You are not allowed in the Womens association                

You are not allowed to remain in many monasteries         

In those monasteries you can stay in you are totally segregated for example by a dividing wall, which also prevents you eating with others                                       

You cannot be a judge or juror                                        

Your goods are not bought at marketplaces                    

You are not welcome in many shops                                

You are not welcome in many restaurants                         

Pictures of you are often put up in public accusing you of receiving funding from China 

Whenever you argue or try to stand up for your rights you are accused of being in league with China

Just because of your religion you are accused of wishing to harm the Dalai Lama             

Just because of your religion you are accused of harming the Tibetan cause                     

As a group, Shugden practitioners are accused of being terrorists without evidence or trial

As a group, Shugden practitioners are accused of being murderers without evidence or trial

and the list just goes on,

All these things are facts, and some you can see in the above news report – including the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Prime Minister acknowledging such things are going on, as if they are fair, whilst adding on unfounded and random accusations that  – well these Shugdens are murderers, and some are terrorists and some start fires don’t you know! –  (remember the Dalai Lama used to be a Shugden practitioner as were his saintly teachers)