Newsgroups: alt.religion.buddhism.tibetan, uk.religion.buddhist, alt.religion.buddhism.nkt, talk.religion.buddhism
From: zmadhy...@mail.rmplc.co.uk (Geshe Kelsang Gyatso)
Subject: Replies to Chris Fynn - PART ONE
Due to the length of this posting it has been posted in TWO PARTS.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to clarify some important issues.
You wrote:As I already said to you, in Tibetan society, both the Lamas and the
>Geshe-la, when you say that you are not sure of the truth of the
>made by Trijang Rinpoche and quoted by Tseten Samdup - what do you
>mean? - are you saying that Trijang Rinpoche may not have been
>speaking frankly - or are you suggesting that you feel Trijang Rinpoche
>never made such a statement and therefore Tseten is either lying or
>As Tseten and the Information Dept. of the Tibetan Administration have
>said that H.E. Trijang Rinpoche's statement was made "to a gathering of
>monks at Drepung" there should be many witnesses who were there at the
>time - I'm sure at least some of them known to you.
>It seems that, - at least in public or in front of H.H. the Dalai Lama -
>Trijang Rinpoche was unwilling to dispute the Nechung oracle and the
>divinations carried out by H.H. the Dalai Lama in front of the "speaking
>thanka" of Palden Lhamo.
>Since H.H. the Dalai Lama has stated that H.E. Trijang Rinpoche told him
>that he could absolutely depend on the oracle of Nechung and on the
>divination of Palden Lhamo in this matter, do you think that His Holiness
>the Dalai Lama was lying when he said this? If not, why do your students
>disparage H.H. for relying on the divination of Palden Lhamo and the
>Nechung oracle? Surely by doing this H.H. was depending on the advice
>of your own teacher?
people, even today, have no freedom to speak out. If they ever oppose the
wishes of the Dalai Lama their very lives are in danger. So, therefore, it
was, and still is, frequently necessary for them to verbally follow the
wishes of the Dalai Lamas even though it is not their real intention.
My main point is that HH Trijang Rinpoche never encouraged the Dalai Lama
I can give you examples of how, even today, Tibetans have no freedom to
>I spent years living in India amongst Tibetans and, during that time, II agree when you say that many people are against the views of the Dalai
>known many Tibetans who have disagreed with and spoken out against
>certain policies of the Tibetan Government in Exile or have disagreed with
>some of the views expressed by H.H. the Dalai Lama.
>Surely you know just as well as I do that there have always been quite a
>number of Tibetans who have openly disagreed with the Tibetan
>Government in Exile on many issues - and those who have questioned
>some views and decisions of H.H. the Dalai Lama himself. These people
>are not living in fear of their lives or livelihoods. So, in general, I
>think that it is fair to claim that Tibetan people living in India
>have no freedom to speak out or oppose the wishes of His
Lama but they speak, as we say in an old Tibetan proverb ‘inside the bed’,
to their friends, family, etc. If they spoke out publicly against the
Government or the Dalai Lama himself, they would have big problems.
>It seems to me that, in India, the controversy over Gyalpo ShugdenYour question here is an important one and quite subtle. Regarding Dorje
>became a public matter only after the learned Zemey Tulku Lobsang
>Palden, published his book "The Oral Instruction of the Intelligent
>Father" (pha-rgod bla-ma'i zhal-lung) which states that Shugden will
>destroy any Gelugpa practitioner who supplements their Gelugpa practice
>with the practice of other Tibetan Buddhist spiritual traditions -
>particularly those of the Nyingmapa. Similar claims were made by other
>lamas and proponents of Shugden such as Geshe Yonten Gyatso and the
>Mongolian Lama Gurudeva. Apparently, some of these Lamas even
>claimed that these views reflected those of H.E. Trijang Rinpoche. Now,
>since you say that you spoke at length with H.E. Trijang Rinpoche
>directly concerning these matters, can you tell us frankly whether H.E.
>Trijang Rinpoche ever held such views?
Shugden, there are two different ways of perceiving him. One is according
to the ordinary appearance of Tibetan people, and the other is according to
the appearance of the qualified practitioner. These two appearances came
originally from the 5th Dalai Lama. First Dorje Shugden appeared to him as
a harmful spirit which he tried to destroy, (albeit unsuccessfully), and
because of this many people came to view Dorje Shugden as a harmful spirit.
In this way the ordinary appearance of Dorje Shugden developed. Later, the
5th Dalai Lama realized that he had misunderstood the real nature of Dorje
Shugden, and he then began to engage in the practice, and composed prayers
to him. In these prayers he invites Dorje Shugden to come from Chöku, the
Dharmakaya, clearly indicating that Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being.
Since that time the appearance of the qualified practitioner developed.
Later Lamas such as Tagphu Dorje Chang and Je Phabongkhapa perceived Dorje
Although Je Phabongkhapa’s view is that Dorje Shugden is an enlightened
As I said earlier, anything that Trijang Rinpoche said in public was not
Also, about the source of this present problem, it is not Zemey Tulku's
As you know Chattral Sangay Dorje and Geshe Yonten Gyatso engaged in a
>Geshe-la, you tell us that people such as yourself, who have spoken outThe UK police have been notified by the NKT about the threats to my life.
>against H.H. the Dalai Lama's decision to prohibit the worship of
>Gyalchen Shugden in monasteries and temples, have been threatened and
>feel that their lives are in danger. In your own case you say that you
>had to altered your travel plans after receiving such threats. But I
>heard, from equally reliable sources, that threats have been
>the side of those who uphold the worship of Gyalpo Shugden against the
>lives of learned lamas who are outspoken opponents of this practice like
>the Sakya scholar and historian Dhongtog Tulku Tenpai Gyaltsen and the
>Nyingmapa Yogi Chattral Sangay Dorje and that they too have decided to
>alter their own travel plans as a result of such threats.
They have taken these threats seriously, and have suggested various
security measures. I don’t know anything about the situation of these other
Lamas, but I will take your word for it. If any threats have been made
against these Lamas, then I condemn these threats unreservedly.
You wrote:In comparison with Tibetan politics, the politics of democratic countries
>I think that lies, half-truths and omissions are weapons used in all arenas
>of human politics. In this respect Tibetan politics and the politics
>surrounding this issue are generally no different from any other kind. ..
is very clear and honest. In countries such as the UK and US people don’t
follow their leaders with blind faith. They elect their leaders only after
careful checking, and always investigate whether they are acting correctly
or not. People have freedom of speech to publicly criticize if they feel
their leader is not doing his or her job correctly. None of this happens in
>perhaps you can tell us the details of exactly why you think thisAccording to my understanding the Dalai Lama’s main wish is to integrate
>has arisen - leaving nothing aside.
the four Tibetan traditions into one. The leaders of the other traditions
will gradually disappear, leaving him alone as head of Tibetan Buddhism. In
this way he will be able to control all aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. In the
beginning this plan was rejected by the leaders of the Sakya, Kagyu and
Nyingma traditions, while the Gelugpa remained neutral.
Later, the Dalai Lama changed his approach. He is now trying to destroy the
Therefore this present situation has developed because many people did not
You wrote:Maybe you are mixing the programme of daily practice in the monasteries etc,
>Can you tell me who should determine what is worshipped within a
>particular religious body or institution if it is not the leaders of that
and religious freedom in general. Each monastery or Dharma Centre has its
own abbot or spiritual director who is in charge of organizing the daily
practices, or programmes throughout the year. At certain times particular
practices are emphasized, and at other times other practices. This is not
the job of the Dalai Lama, but of the individual abbot or spiritual
director. The practice of Dorje Shugden is not new, but has been passed
down through the generations, and people enjoy it very much. No-one can
control Dorje Shugden practice in this way, because it is practised by
people everywhere, not just in the monasteries. So when the Dalai Lama
suddenly banned this practice, it is clearly against religious freedom.
>At Manjushri Centre while Lama Thubten Yeshe was there, I’m sure thatYou are right. Lama Yeshe was the general spiritual director of Manjushri
>an image of HHDL occupied a preeminent place in the shrine room
>...................... from all reports now, images of HHDL are no longer
>displayed openly in your Centres ................... presumably you felt
>it was within your rights as senior spiritual leader ......to ..........
>it that any image of HHDL was removed from the shrine room
Centre, while I had the responsibility of organizing the daily programmes.
were both very happy to have the picture of HH the Dalai Lama on the shrine
because we hoped that the people of Manjushri and HH Dalai Lama would
develop a good spiritual connection and relationship. Many times we invited
the Dalai Lama to come to Manjushri Centre, although we both knew, even
then, that he had rejected the practice of Dorje Shugden. We assumed it was
not his real intention
because we found it difficult to believe that he really wanted to destroy
the practice of Dorje Shugden.
So for a long time we continued to practise Dorje Shugden and kept faith in
>Isn’t it equally within the rights of HHDL, HE Ganden Tri Rinpoche, HEIn reality, the Gelugpa spiritual leader is Ganden Tri Rinpoche who is the
>Jangtse Choje, as the spiritual and temporal leaders of Gelugpa sect to put
>an end to particular practices and forms of worship within these
>institutions belonging to the Gelugpa sect if they feel these practices
>useless or doing more harm than good?
throne holder of Je Tsongkhapa. The Kagyupa spiritual leader is Gyalwa
Karmapa, the Sakyapa spiritual leader is Sakya Trizin, and during Dudjom
Rinpoche’s time he was the spiritual leader of the Nyingmapas. These
spiritual leaders have responsibility for the development of their own
tradition in their monasteries, communities and Dharma Centres. Of course
Ganden Tri Rinpoche should have responsibility for the development of the
Gelug tradition in general, but at this present time he is powerless. I do
not believe that it is Ganden Tri Rinpoche’s wish to ban the practice of
Dorje Shugden. Even if Ganden Tri Rinpoche was in control of the
development of the Gelug monasteries, he would still need to discuss his
ideas with the majority of monks. He could not make unilateral decisions.
In any case he could never control individual practitioners, they always
had the freedom to choose and maintain their own personal practices.
For instance, although Sera, Ganden, and Drepung (in Tibet) were Gelug
Although most of my family are Gelugpas who rely on Dorje Shugden, some of
When I lived in Mussourie I had many good friends from the Nyingma
(Continued in PART TWO....)
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