A response to the posting by Tseten Samdup: 'Shugden versus pluralism and
national unity controversy and clarification',
which came from the Department of Information and International Relations,
Central Tibetan Administration, Gangchen Kyishong, Dharamsala 176 215, INDIA
Concerning whether or not Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being, there can
be no final
conclusion through negative debate, mixing religion with political aims.
This is because from
the point of view of many people he is a worldly being, but at the same time
from the point of
view of many other people he is the Wisdom Buddha. This reasoning applies
not only to
Dorje Shugden, but to all holy beings.
If someone asked you how to prove that the fifth and fourteenth Dalai Lamas
you would most certainly find it difficult to give clear reasons. On the
other hand, if someone
asked you how to prove that these two lamas are not Buddhas, you could
easily give a clear
answer. You could say: they are not Buddhas because they need translators,
they get sick,
they are unable to come to their own decisions but have to rely on those of
sometimes they even get angry. How can a Buddha get angry, get sick, and so
Buddhas do not need oracles? So talking about this subject is completely
only destroys peace and harmony in Buddhist circles.
Therefore, I do not wish to respond to all the allegations mentioned in the
letter distributed by
Tseten Samdup from the Central Tibetan Administration, although there are
many that are
untrue. However, I would like to clarify two points:
1. I understand that in this letter you are saying that Dorje Shugden is
harming the Tibetan
national cause. In many previous letters, and in the Dalai Lama's public
talks it says that
Dorje Shugden harms Tibetan independence, and the Dalai Lama's health. This
completely untrue. If this were true, then the Dalai Lama is contradicting
himself. In many
previous newspapers, and on TV interviews given recently in the USA he said
that he has no
intention of working for Tibetan independence but for autonomy under Chinese
rule. This is a
contradiction; how can he say that it is Dorje Shugden who is endangering
the cause for a
free Tibet? The Dalai Lama is not working to free Tibet; his wish is for the
Tibetans to live
under Chinese rule.
2.You say in your letter: 'Trijang Rinpoche told His Holiness that Palden
Lhamo would never
deceive anybody, therefore it would be better to cease propitiation of
Shugden'. Of course
HH Trijang Rinpoche gave permission to the Dalai Lama to stop engaging in
Dorje Shugden practice. HH Trijang Rinpoche never tried to control his
disciples, but always
gave them freedom of choice. I clearly understood that HH Trijang Rinpoche
permission to ban the worship of Dorje Shugden within Tibetan society. A few
his death I met HH Trijang Rinpoche in South India. He told me everything
situation between Dorje Shugden and the Dalai Lama. He was very disappointed
Dalai Lama, that he was not allowing other people to practice Dorje Shugden.
In conclusion, until now there have been no problems between the majority of
the four schools such as Gelugpa, Nyingmapa and so on. We live naturally in
respecting each other's tradition and we would like this state of affairs to
I would like to request to the Dalai Lama, the Central Tibetan
Administration in Dharamsala
and the Tibetan people: could you please stop completely this meaningless
talking and give
everyone religious freedom to worship whoever they choose.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
13th November 1997
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso wrote in message <64hir3$hmp$1...@panther.rmplc.co.uk>...
Hello Geshe Kelsang,
Hope this posting finds you well.
I read your posting concerning the dharma protector Dorje Shugden - as well
as having followed the wranglings between the Shugden Supporters Group (ala
Nick Gillespie) and the supporters of the Dalai Lama over the last year or
I find it quite fascinating especially in the light of the teachings and
training I received as one of your students between January 1993 and
From your teachings I learned that Dorje (ie Vajra = Mind of Great Bliss
realising Emptiness) Shugden (ie most powerful) was none other than
Manjushri, the Wisdom Buddha. Wow, what greater protector of our mind of
Dharma could we hope for? Only that degree of Wisdom would protect us from
samsaric delusions. So I felt most priviledged to receive the blessing
empowerment of Dorje Shugden from you at Madhyamaka Centre, from which your
e-mail seems to have been sent. I also received the Highest Yoga Tantra
empowerments of Heruka and Vajrayogini, the Body Mandala of Heruka, and many
others from you.
As one of your students, I taught Dharma in Greater Manchester for a time -
the publicity that the NKT put out for this descrlbed me as a "close
disciple" of yourself - most flattering of them really.
I also taught on ocasion in Macclesfield, Stockport, Birmingham, Burton upon
Trent, and so on - quite an eventful time.
I was also a student on the Teachers Training Programme (TTP) from Sept 1993
to Sept 1995. I lived in both Tara Centre and Manjushri Centre for over 2
So, it's probably fair to say that I have some knowledge of the New Kadampa
I was therefore interested in your plea to the Dalai Lama for religious
In September 1995 on returning from my mother's funeral to my home at
Manjushri Centre, I was given notice to leave the centre by Roy Tyson-the
director (also signed by Peter Davis- Educational Programme Co-ordinator,
and Samten Kelsang -principle teacher after yourself). Apparently my
questioning of the principal doctrines and dogmas of the NKT was felt to be
disruptive to the community. For instance I'd tried to engage people in the
issue of the Shentong-Rangtong debate, as I felt that the Prasangika
vajrayana (as opposed to the Prasangika sutra) teachings were much closer to
Shentong rather than Rangtong view.
We were told by Samten Kelsang during one of the TTP classes that you were
very concerned that TTP students were reading the books, following the
teachings, etc of other buddhist teachers (yes, even other Gelugpa teachers)
and that this would have a very negative effect upon the NKT and yourself -
perhaps even damaging your health. Samten told us that we should cease from
any contact with the teachings and practices of other teachers, and learn to
rely only upon yourself. Given that a number of students had received
teachings and empowerments from other lamas (eg Lama Yeshe who'd actually
founded Manjushri Centre), the instruction from Samten was a very heavy
weight - and many students said in private that they could not abandon their
other teachers and the commitments that they'd received from them. All in
all it was not a well-received instruction.
It also became known that the practice that a number of people had of
keeping a picture of the Dalai Lama on their shrines was inauspicious. And
several ordained people told me that this had been pointed out to them.
So, Geshe Kelsang, whilst I rejoice in your plea for religious freedom (and
may it be granted to all beings), I am concerned. Concerned that whilst you
ask for religious freedom for Dorje Shugden practitioners, that you do not
offer the same freedom to those who live within your domain. Is it right
that someone in your position asks from another that which they themselves
will not give to others. To say, as I've heard NKT people say, that those
who want to worship other than in the NKT manner, should leave the NKT
centres, is surely little different from the intolerance you accuse the
Dalai Lama of?
May you continue to benefit all beings,
Avyorth in the Dh (ark)
Response to Avyorth Rolinson by Geshe Kelsang
Thank you for your letter and information. I agree very much with what you
say but there are some misunderstandings. The NKT people have complete
choice to read whatever books they choose, to follow other Teachers and to
practise in whatever way they want. There are no rules limiting people's
freedom. However, I have understood according to experience that many
Westerners find themselves in conflicting situations because of following
many Teachers who give them opposite advice. Therefore they find serious
obstacles in their spritual path. But still individuals have choice to
practise in the way they choose.
About the photos of the Dalai Lama, in NKT Dharma Centres we do not put his
photos on the shrines or public areas indicating that he is not our Guru,
but there is no other negative attitude in this action. Individually people
have freedom to do as their wish.
Thank you and best wishes,
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Over eighteen years ago the Tibetan teachers such as Lama Thubten Yeshe,
Geshe Rabten, Song Rinpoche, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and many other
disciples of HH Trijang Rinpoche taught Buddhism extensively to western
students. Thousands of western practitioners came to rely upon their
teachings. Since all these Gelugpa lamas were disciples of HH Trijang
Rinpoche they relied upon Dorje Shugden, in the same way their western
students also relied sincerely upon Dorje Shugden. As western students
we came to realize that their Dharma teachings and the blessings of
Dorje Shugden are immensely valuable and help us in our daily life. The
holy Dharma we received from these kind teachers was the most meaningful
gift we could have received and transformed our lives.
Some ten years ago we heard that the present Dalai Lama was not allowing
Tibetan people to engage in the practice of Dorje Shugden, saying that
anyone who engages in this practice cannot be a friend of his. We also
heard that a precious statue of Dorje Shugden which had been offered to
the monks at Ganden Monastery by HH Trijang Rinpoche, and was in the
main temple, had been removed at the orders of the Dalai Lama. We saw
copies of his public talks where he indicated that the practice of Dorje
Shugden was no longer acceptable. This disturbed our inner peace and joy
in the practice of Dharma, causing us many difficulties in our spiritual
life. This has continued now for over ten years.
Then in 1996 the Dalai Lama began to increase the persecution of Dorje
Shugden practitioners, publicly saying that Dorje Shugden is an evil
spirit who is harming both the cause for a free Tibet and the Dalai
Lama’s life. Due to this, in order to fulfil his wishes his followers
began removing Dorje Shugden statues from temples, destroying images and
statues of Dorje Shugden, and intimidating people physically and by
using signature campaigns to force them to stop their practice. In this
way much disharmony and divisiveness was created in the Tibetan
community and now in the larger Buddhist world.
We understand clearly that the source of this problem is the fifth,
thirteenth and fourteenth Dalai Lamas. Firstly, the fifth Dalai Lama
indicated that Dorje Shugden is a harmful spirit and this falsehood
spread throughout Tibet. People believed him because he was both their
king and spiritual leader. The thirteenth Dalai Lama, following the view
of the fifth Dalai Lama, also did not allow the practice of Dorje
Shugden. In particular he caused many difficulties for Je Phabongkhapa
by using his political power to prevent him from engaging in the
teaching and practice of Dorje Shugden. The fourteenth Dalai Lama has
carried on this persecution even more virulently than his predecessors,
showing little or no regard for religious freedom and no compassion for
the Tibetan and western practitioners suffering as a result of his
I have discussed this religious issue with many other practitioners, and
we have decided that now is the time to clarify this situation through
public debate. We also understand that until the fifth, thirteenth and
fourteenth Dalai Lamas are clearly proven to be Buddhas that we cannot
accept their views. Therefore I would like to suggest that the issues to
be debated are:
1. Whether these three lamas are Buddhas, pure beings or not.
2. Whether we accept their view that Dorje Shugden is a harmful spirit
3. Whether Buddhists accept the mixing of Dharma and politics or not.
If we can clarify the first issue then the others will naturally follow.
In Newsweek magazine (April 97), Robert Thurman publicly criticized and
humiliated both practitioners of Dorje Shugden and members of the New
Kadampa Tradition. We understand that he is acting like the Dalai Lama’s
representative and trying to destroy both Dorje Shugden practice and the
credibility of the NKT. Therefore we recognize him to be the actual
representative of the Dalai Lama. Also the Central Tibetan
Administration in Dharamsala and Fred Little seem to be acting as the
Dalai Lama’s representatives.
There are three questions to be addressed to these representatives
regarding the first issue: Whether these three lamas are Buddhas or not.
1. What are valid reasons for saying that the fifth Dalai Lama is a
Buddha, a pure being?
2. What are valid reasons for saying that the thirteenth Dalai Lama is a
Buddha, a pure being?
3. What are valid reasons for saying that the fourteenth Dalai Lama is a
Buddha, a pure being?
If we do not receive clear answers to our questions, we can assume that
they are not Buddhas, not pure beings. If this is the case there is no
need to accept their views on Dorje Shugden, or to follow their example
of mixing Dharma with politics.
Vajralama Buddhist Center
vajralama buddhist center wrote in message <346F75...@ix.netcom.com>...
>Is the Dalai Lama a Buddha?
>If we do not receive clear answers to our questions, we can assume that
>they are not Buddhas, not pure beings. If this is the case there is no
>need to accept their views on Dorje Shugden, or to follow their example
>of mixing Dharma with politics.
Greetings Jagsem, you old NKT dog! Still in Seattle I see, and still up to
your old tricks with Mr Nick Gillespie of the NKT's Shugden Support Group.
You boys always did stick together at Madhyamaka NKT Centre (Pocklington,
for non UK readers).
So not giving clear answers to those questions nullifies the belief in the
DL being a pure being, hmm!
Ok, whilst in the NKT I, and your good self, frequently heard and no doubt
repeated that Geshe Kelsang was the Third Buddha of this Age. Gen Thubten
Gyatso (your old and much loved teacher, and GK's Heart Disciple) was
particularly fond of this saying, I'm sure you remember.
So, is Geshe Kelsang the Third Buddha, or any Buddha for that matter?
Please answer with VALID reasons. Your failure to do so will indicate that
he is not a Buddha, not a pure being! Wow, get your debating hat out, J!
Nice speaking to you again,
Yours in the Dh (ark)
Lati Rinpoche gave us a wonderful guru devotion teaching this weekend,
and I do think Rinpoche answered the questions above: If you regard your
root gurus as Buddhas you get the blessings of Buddhas, if you regard
them as Bodhisattvas you get the blessings of Bodhisattvas, and if you
regard them as humans you get the blessings of a human. Anything else is
PS: I think we should follow the excellent examples of our Gelug gurus
that don't get involved in this political game, rather spent time with
> Lati Rinpoche gave us a wonderful guru devotion teaching this weekend,
> PS: I think we should follow the excellent examples of our Gelug gurus
> that don't get involved in this political game, rather spent time with
> dharma practices.
We all would like to have it nice and easy... but it's a fact that HH the
Dalai Lama is continuosly trying to ban the protector practice of the
Ganden Oral Transmission Lineage and that this is the only cause for all
this trouble. If he would stop this ban and his public statements (see the
homepage of the London Tibet office), the problem would immediately be
He did say and is still saying the following thing:
"If any among you here are determined to continue propitiating Dolgyal
<...> it will have the effect of reducing the
life span of Gyalwa Rinpoche (The Dalai Lama), which is not good. However,
if there are any among you who hope that Gyalwa Rinpoche will soon die,
then you can stay."
This is a heavy accusation which has to be investigated in debate according
to the tradtion - as debate is practiced in all of the Gelug monasteries.
The problem is, that HH the Dalai Lama is refusing to debate this issue.
For instance last year there was a meeting of Gelug masters in Germany
where a letter was composed to ask HH the Dalai Lama to talk about this
issue. The letter was written in a very traditional, humble and polite
form. It was composed by 19 Rinpoches and Geshes of the Gelug tradition.
The request was refused and in the reply letter it was stated that these
masters would better study the scriptures of Lama Je Tsongkhapa... This was
told to Geshes with Lharampa degree and Rinpoches who had been educated by
Masters like Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche since the age of 5.
Now either the Dalai Lama has officially to stop this ban or he has to
acceppt a public debate. It is inacceptable to give such official
statements as the one mentioned above and not accepting a debate about it.
In one thing, Kent, you are right: "...we should follow the excellent
examples of our Gelug gurus"- During this year I had the opportunity to be
there several times when Lati Rinpoche was doing the prayers of Dorje
Shugden. He is not making a lot of fuzz about it, but he is rock solid in
his practice and he would not give up a practice that was given to him by
his own Master.
Kent Sandvik wrote in message <347140...@best.com>...
>: If you regard your
>root gurus as Buddhas you get the blessings of Buddhas, if you regard
>them as Bodhisattvas you get the blessings of Bodhisattvas, and if you
>regard them as humans you get the blessings of a human. Anything else is
IMO, Kent, this issue has little to do with one's "root guru", an entity not
to be found sitting up on a very large cushion, wearing tibetan robes. The
root guru is 'your' own innate seed of wisdom and compassion that might just
move you that little bit further towards integrity - system theorists call
them strange or chaotic attractors. Worshipping anything else is idolatry.
Jangsem's questions were directed to that human (and IMO cool dude) the
>PS: I think we should follow the excellent examples of our Gelug gurus
>that don't get involved in this political game
This bit had me falling off my cushion with laughter - thanks Kent!
vajralama buddhist center wrote in message <3470D9...@ix.netcom.com>...
- I can see that you
>spend a great deal of time wandering in cyber space - one of the weirder
>realities of our time.
Come off it my old vajra-brother! What of the weird phenomenon of seeing
Western people dressed up in Tibetan gear offering marzipan to statues of
indo-tibetan deities? And that's just for starters - the marzipan, I mean!
>I would prefer to wait and see what
>they come up with before I engage in a debate about whether Venerable
>Geshe Kelsang is a Buddha or not.
Yeh, definitely safer. If they do come up with some good points, you can
then use them to support your belief that Geshe Kelsang is also a
Buddha/pure being/or whatever. If they don't, then you're reticence covers
your posterior. Good thinking.
>Perhaps you could attempt to answer my questions since you seem so fond
>of this medium.
hey! have you something against this "medium" - again understandable, the
NKT doesn't exactly like people talking back to them. Pity that, because
they're going to have to get used to it.
Yours in the Dh (ark),
Guru devotion is not idolatry at all, this is a big misunderstanding and
most likely a misinterpretation.
As Nagarjuna stated:
If a person fell from the peak of the king of mountains,
he would still fall, even though he thought, "I shall not fall."
If you receive beneficial teachings through the kindness of the guru,
you will still be liberated, though you think "I shall not be.".
Atisha had many hundred gurus, and maybe most of us agree that Atisha
was a very special buddhist practitioner.
For me, I do think guru devotion is very suitable for westeners, as we
have the mentality that we could do anything, learn anything, without
the help of others, leading to a very dualistic view of the world,
forgetting the interbeing part and what enlightenment really is about.
> >Maitri, Kent
> >PS: I think we should follow the excellent examples of our Gelug gurus
> >that don't get involved in this political game
> This bit had me falling off my cushion with laughter - thanks Kent!
I've received a huge amount of wonderful teachings the last three months
from wht I consider the top of the Gelug teachers, and never did these
lamas mention this controversy, and there's no need to extend it either,
as most of us have seen, better practice than get involved in this
> For instance last year there was a meeting of Gelug masters in Germany
> where a letter was composed to ask HH the Dalai Lama to talk about this
> issue. The letter was written in a very traditional, humble and polite
> form. It was composed by 19 Rinpoches and Geshes of the Gelug tradition.
> The request was refused and in the reply letter it was stated that these
> masters would better study the scriptures of Lama Je Tsongkhapa...
Will you please be so kind to give the exact date and place,
where this 'meeting of Gelug masters' did take place in Germany?
I am seriously interested -
The Dalai Lamas have always been involved in politics to one degree or
another, with the exception of the first and second, who were recognized
posthumously with that title. It is thanks largely to them, especially
the Great Fifth, that the Kadam-Gelug tradition became the largest and
most politically powerful Buddhist tradition in Tibet. So whether you
think he was a Buddha or not, you owe him and the other Dalai Lamas a
debt of gratitude.
And as for politics, all the high lamas of the three seats -- Sera,
Drepung and Ganden -- have always been involved, whether they wanted to
or not. Large monasteries endowed with large estate holdings providing
their financial and other resources could not possible avoid political
controversies. So before you go pointing your finger at the Dalai Lamas,
why don't you read up a little on the political history of Central
Tibet? It's always been a jungle.
> If we do not receive clear answers to our questions, we can assume
> they are not Buddhas, not pure beings.
The absence of a clear answer does not constitute a disproof. This is
taught in the first chapter of the Pramanavarttika, under the subject of
"evidence of non-perception" (mi dmigs pa'i rtags). Dharmakirti states
that the absence of evidence does not constitute a disproof of the
existence of something else unless all the right conditions for
perceiving that something else are present. In the case of judging the
Dalai Lamas to be Buddhas, the only condition for perceiving whether
they are Buddhas or not is to be a Buddha, or at least a 10th-bhumi
Are you, in fact, going to claim that you are a 10th level Bodhisattva?
I doubt it.
Just because someone else fails to answer your question hardly
constitutes a disproof.
Lamas are Buddhas because we imagine them that way. It's a matter of
The reason we think the Dalai Lamas are Buddhas is the same reason you
think your Lamas are Buddhas. Are you really so naive as to think this
is a subject for proof or disproof?
john pettit wrote in message <34759DE7...@columbia.edu>...
>I'm reluctant to your message on the newsgroup because your response to
>me is all mixed up with a lot of personal raving and invective which I
>think is unbecoming of anyone who would call himself a Buddhst, whatever
>the basis in fact may be. Frankly, and I mean this with kindness, I wish
>you'd leave the dirty laundry out. I'm sure there's a lot of it but it
>does not good to drag it out like you're doing.
Thanks for the feedback, and I can understand your plea for keeping the
'dirty laundry' hidden. After all dirty laundry points to rather unsavoury
functions of reality.
Yes, there is a lot of it - and believe me - I try to handle it
hygienically, as best I can. Nevertheless, as any visit to the local
hospital will quickly bring to your attention, 'dirty laundry' doesn't go
away. Rather it spreads leading to more serious complications. Fortunately
we have medications that can often clear up such suppurating sores. But in
order to do so the initial process can be rather unpleasant as the 'dirty
laundry' is exposed, lanced and then cleaned up. If you have no experience
of this process, then a brief talk to any doctor or nurse will quickly
confirm my point.
If only 'senior' people within the eg NKT had been willing to address the
'dirty laundry' as it came up then the situation would be very different.
Personally I was fortunate and was not directly 'hurt' by any of it. But I
did see quite a number of people who were. DOUBLY HURT!
Once by the incident, and then by the refusal of the organisation to look
at, and attempt to address, the 'dirty laundry'. Those who persisted in
bringing out the 'dirty laundry' were, quickly or slowly, dumped - and in
the process often dumped upon. One very fine elderly nun at Manjushri Centre
comes to mind - she's no longer there I might add as her life was made very
unpleasant until she disrobed and left. Her continual willingness to address
'dirty laundry' issues against the consolidated stonewalling of the
'authorities' at the Centre still continues to inspire me.
Some people were also 'spiritually' hurt. By that I mean that they now
associate Dharma with buddhism and/or buddhist organisations, and now have
nothing to do with either. That is a very great pity.
So John, I would be interested in your suggestions as to how the 'dirty
laundry' should be addressed, because it's not going to go away by itself.
There is yet more 'dirty laundry' gathering in the shadows,even as I type
this, and (so I've heard) is close to bursting.
Some of the other issues, perhaps more peripheral to this central point,
I'll address in other postings.
Yours in the Dh (ark)
>Really Ayforth, people like you give Buddhism a bad name. Have some
>sense of decency!
PS Quite the contrary, I think you're mistaking Vipaka and Karma ie effect
Reply to Terry Stone from Khyenrab
Jangsem asked for valid reasons to prove that the 5th and 14th Dalai
Lamas are Buddhas. Terry replied that we could say that these Lamas are
Buddhas because other Lamas said so.
Let's see if this reasoning works. In general we could say for instance that the 14th Dalai
Lama is a Buddha because HH Ling Rinpoche recognised him as such. But for the same
reason we can say that Dorje Shugden is a Wisdom Buddha because HH Ling
Rinpoche, HH Trijang Rinpoche (the 5th Dalai Lama at the end of his life
and the 14th some years ago) recognised him as such. So this reason does
not function as a valid one.
In the Sutras Buddha said: 'You should test my words as a jeweller assays
gold', I think that we should apply Buddha's advice here too. His words mean
that in order to prove a statement it is not enough to say 'this is true
because Buddha said so', so we need to examine the facts we can see now.
What we see now is that the present Dalai Lama is destroying the spiritual
freedom of thousands of people, violating their basic human rights, forcing
everybody through unacceptable methods to follow his beliefs, relying on
worldly spirits and oracles while going against his own root Guru's advice,
destroying the harmony amongst his people, ruling under the manipulative
union of State and Church, etc., so how can we say that such a person is a
> In the Sutras Buddha said: 'You should test my words as a jeweller assays
> gold', I think that we should apply Buddha's advice here too. His words mean
> that in order to prove a statement it is not enough to say 'this is true
> because Buddha said so', so we need to examine the facts we can see now.
> What we see now is that the present Dalai Lama is destroying the spiritual
> freedom of thousands of people, violating their basic human rights, forcing
> everybody through unacceptable methods to follow his beliefs, relying on
> worldly spirits and oracles while going against his own root Guru's advice,
> destroying the harmony amongst his people, ruling under the manipulative
> union of State and Church, etc., so how can we say that such a person is a
From Pahbonka Rinpoche's Liberation in the Palm of your Hand, and
Pabhonka Rinpoche supported HH Dalai Lama XIII:
"There is a danger that some may think, 'Spiritual guides are not really
buddhas, so we must rethink this section of the Lam-rim on devotion to a
spiritual guide'. But the point of this heading is that we should not
put wrong concepts such as these into the deepest recesses of our mind.
You should think as follows. The Guru is the Buddha but you do not
perceive it. The reason is as follows. Vajradhara is at present among
us, takin the form of gurus. Havajra's Royal Tanta says:
In future times, my physical form
Will be that of masters...
Also, for five millenia
I will take the form of masters
Think that they are me,
and develop respect for them
In these times...
In future degenerate tims,
My form shall be that of churls;
These are the various means I shall employ,
I will show myself in these forms. ".
In addition, from my side, the scriptures say that Buddhas could
manifest as *anything*, persons, trees, enemies, deities, dogs, whatever
is needed for the emanation body to tame and redirect sentient beings in
regenerate times. I.e, never, never, never make assumptions about
others, as this just shows the degeneration of not thinking everything
as pure and perfect, all such thoughts are the results of our inpure and
Please, let us all stop with this name calling and such on this
newsgroup. It does not help any sentient beings, quite the opposite.
Imagine someone interested in Buddhism, has the first small tingle of
bodhichitta, then opens up this newgroups and reads about Buddhists
speaking of ill will with other buddhists, and about other buddhists. If
we turn this sentient being that has the first step towards not only his
or her own salvation, but also might become a buddha and save countless
other sentient beings from suffering forever, then what we have done is
against the Bodhisattva vows, and even creates huge karmic obstacles for
many sentient beings, including oneself, later.
This is the last thing I have to say about this all, and I'm happy to
share the little, tiny bits I know about buddha-dharma, but not get
involved in negativities, and I've already in this due to responding to
May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of
Remove z from my email address above if you want to respond directly
(this is to avoid spam emails).
Kelsang Khyenrab wrote in message <654l34$dis$1...@panther.rmplc.co.uk>...
>Reply to Terry Stone from Khyenrab
>What we see now is that the present Dalai Lama is destroying the spiritual
>freedom of thousands of people, violating their basic human rights, forcing
>everybody through unacceptable methods to follow his beliefs, relying on
>worldly spirits and oracles while going against his own root Guru's advice,
>destroying the harmony amongst his people, ruling under the manipulative
>union of State and Church, etc., so how can we say that such a person is a
Greetings o noble Khyenrab,
I hope that you are well and enjoying life.
So, let's see. Geshe Kelsang tells us that in a previous life the (to-be)
buddha whilst travelling on a boat, knowing that a person onboard was
planning to kill many fellow travellers in order to rob them, killed this
person. So superficially we can say that this person (a very holy being)
acted unskilfully. How could we say that such a person is a Buddha-to-be?
Yet according to Geshe Kelsang, this being was worthy of the highest praise.
By his apparently unskilfull act, he prevented great harm to many, many
beings. How wonderful!
In his commentary to the Boddhisattvacharyavatara (Meaningful to Behold"),
Geshe Kelsang reminds us that Buddha Shakyamuni points out that it is more
important to prostrate to the new moon (ie a Boddhisattva, one about to
become a Buddha) than to the full moon (a Buddha). So you, seeing the Dalai
Lama acting in a way that is (to you) unskilfull, want to deny his being a
holy person? Yet you do not see that those he acts against are perhaps just
like that robber who wanted to kill his fellow travellers. How can we hold
that you are following your own teacher's advice?
Yours in the Dh (ark)
Reply to Kent Sandvik from Khyenrab
I agree with everything in your quote from Je Phabongkhapa’s Lamrim teaching
about guru devotion. It is also clearly explained by Ven Geshe Kelsang
Gyatso in “Joyful Path of Good Fortune”. I try to put these teachings into
practice myself and regard my root guru as a manifestation of Buddha
The thing that Terry and Jangsem were debating is not how to rely upon our
spiritual guide but one particular issue regarding Dorje Shugden and the
present Dalai Lama. I appreciate that you don’t want to put negative things
on the newsgroup and I agree with you. However, our problem is this: over
the past nineteen years the Dalai Lama has continually tried to destroy the
practice of Dorje Shugden and has been indirectly attacking the Dharma
taught by Je Phabonkhapa and HH Trijang Rinpoche (his own root guru).
If the Dalai Lama were to stop the persecution then there would be no basis
for this debate. Did you read the recent article from Tseten Samdrup of the
Tibetan government-in-exile? It was extremely disturbing for many people
and the accusations in it were false. So for as long as this abuse and
humiliation continues to the Gelug tradition passed down to us by Je
Phabongkhapa and HH Trijang Rinpoche we must reply and tell the truth. We
hope that if we explain the real situation to people then soon the Dalai
Lama and his government will end this repression.
Let me ask you some questions:
1. What do you think about Dorje Shugden - do you think that he is an evil
spirit because the Dalai Lama said so?
2. Or do you think that he is the Wisdom Buddha because Je Phabongkhapa said
3. How will you decide which one is reliable - or are they both reliable?
I have not seen such a problem, and those teachers I've had teachings
from, Lati Rinpoche, Ribur Rinpoche, Zopa Rinpoche and many other top
Gelug teachers you could find on this planet, and who have HH Trijang
Rinpoche as their root guru, are also 100% loyal and behind HH Dalai
Lama. Thus the whole issue what's been mentioned above is totally
irrelevant and without any references for me.
> 1. What do you think about Dorje Shugden - do you think that he is an evil
> spirit because the Dalai Lama said so?
Dharma protectors are personal, and should not be discussed and argued
about openly. This is true of any tantric practices in general, there's
a reason they should be secret.
> 2. Or do you think that he is the Wisdom Buddha because Je Phabongkhapa said
I follow the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa, and that includes of course
Pahbonka Rinpoche, HH Trijang Rinpoche and anyone who belongs to the
Gelug tradition, and not excluding any other Tibetan traditions either.
I'm a simple practitioner, Bodhichitta is an excellent dharma protector,
same with the three jewels. As for other dharma protectors, those are
personal choices and should not be argued about and so forth.
> 3. How will you decide which one is reliable - or are they both reliable?
If someone wants to cause controversies, it's all doable. It's much
harder to create equanimity and peace amongst all sentient beings,
something that is part of a Buddha activity.
>>>...I have not seen such a problem, and those teachers I have had
teachings from, Lati Rinpoche, Ribur Rinpoche, Zopa Rinpoche and many other
top Gelug teachers you could find on this planet, and who have HH Trijang
Rinpoche as their root guru, are also 100% loyal and behind HH Dalai Lama.
Thus the whole issue what's been mentioned above is totally irrelevant and
without any references for me,..>>>
I think you must know that previously in Kopan monastery they used to
practice group puja of Dorje Shugden, and in the temple there was also a
statue and tangkha of Dorje Shugden placed there by Lama Yeshe. Lama Zopa
himself received life empowerment of Dorje Shugden and he also sincerely
engaged in this practice. Now they have stopped the practice in Kopan and
removed the statue and tangkha. Lama Zopa himself also stopped this
practice. If there is no problem, then why did Lama Zopa remove the statue
and tangkha of Dorje Shugden from the temple, why was the group puja stopped
and why has Lama Zopa broken his heart commitment?
You said: 'Dharma protectors are personal, and should not be discussed and
argued about openly. This is true of any tantric practices in general,
there's a reason they should be secret.'
I agree with you, so then why is the Dalai Lama publicly discrediting the
Dharma protector Dorje Shugden? It was he who first began to discuss this
issue publicly and continues to discredit the practice around the world.
Office of Tibet web sites for example.
You said: 'As for other Dharma protectors, those are personal choices and
should not be argued about and so forth'
Thank you for supporting us here. We, the practitioners of the Dharma
taught by HH Trijang Rinpoche, choose Dorje Shugden as our Dharma protector.
But the Dalai Lama has not allowed people to engage in this practice and
has continually repressed many Tibetan practitioners of Dorje Shugden and
they have thereby lost their religious freedom - including the practitioners
Khyenrab, I truly pray that you will get the pure view concept of
everyone being pure and pristine, and there being no problems other than
those generated by mental afflictions, and that the natural view of the
world is of happiness and bliss.
Sarva mangalam, Kent
Kelsang Khyenrab wrote:
I think you must know that previously in Kopan monastery they used to
> practice group puja of Dorje Shugden, and in the temple there was also a
> statue and tangkha of Dorje Shugden placed there by Lama Yeshe. Lama Zopa
> himself received life empowerment of Dorje Shugden and he also sincerely
> engaged in this practice. Now they have stopped the practice in Kopan and
> removed the statue and tangkha. Lama Zopa himself also stopped this
> practice. If there is no problem, then why did Lama Zopa remove the statue
> and tangkha of Dorje Shugden from the temple, why was the group puja stopped
> and why has Lama Zopa broken his heart commitment?
> You said: 'Dharma protectors are personal, and should not be discussed and
> argued about openly. This is true of any tantric practices in general,
> there's a reason they should be secret.'
> I agree with you, so then why is the Dalai Lama publicly discrediting the
> Dharma protector Dorje Shugden? It was he who first began to discuss this
> issue publicly and continues to discredit the practice around the world.
I take it from your words above that if I choose to embrace a karma mudra in
your meditation hall you will have no objection. After all, it would be a
personally chosen tantric practice, and you have already taken a stand against
publicly discrediting personal practices simply on the basis of one's own
feelings because of the hurt that may be caused to the faith and aspirations of
Avyorth wrote to Khyenrab:
“I used to be your personal driver, taking you to and from Tara Centre
in Buxton and Madhyamaka Centre in Pocklington. Strange how spiritual
friendship is so dependent upon loyalty to the group-mind!”
You were very kind to give your time to drive me and luggage to the
in Sheffield so I could catch the train to York. Thank you Avyorth. I
conversations on those trips. I remain your friend and am happy to give
to try to be of assistance to you if you want.
You also said:
“.. and anyone who questions or disagrees with his position
is seen as obviously deluded.”
All living beings are deluded whether in agreement with someone else or
We are simply trying to protect the lineage we have received from our
root gurus Je
Phabongkhapa, HH Trijang Rinpoche and Ven. Geshe Kelsang. Whether or
agree with us we believe that our lineage is under threat of
destruction through forcible
repression of the practice of Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden and bad
being spread worldwide by the Dalai Lama. If the Dalai Lama would
change his mind and stop this then immediately we would stop raising
It’s that simple. Apart from this single issue we have no other debate
with the Dalai Lama.
“Even the very Articles of Association of NKT Centres demonstrate the
unwillingness of the NKT to be open to democratic processes. Let me
"where a resolution is proposed which if passed would result in the
amendment of this Article 19, or Article 2, Article 11, Article 18, or
amendment of more than one of the aforesaid then any Member voting
such amendment (whether the Member is voting for or against the
resolution) shall whether present in person or by proxy be entitled to
You need not worry. For example, if you read the twenty pages of
the constitution you can see it is democratic. How do I know this?
I know a little about this having registered one society with the
government in the UK. Many societies and organisations include in their
main objects clause (usually clause 2 or 3) a phrase to the effect that
“ the main
object is fixed and cannot be changed”. This means that the main
which that society was set up cannot be changed without winding-up the
and starting again. The clause you point out above is another way of
saying the same thing.
That’s all. They are democratic in their functioning and are accepted
as such by the Charity Commisioners.
Avyorth , you clearly disagree with NKT in general and I respect your
to do so. We can discuss these differences either privately or publicly
I am happy to meet with you at any time to talk about them.
>Is the Dalai Lama a Buddha?
He doesn't claim to be one.
>We understand clearly that the source of this problem is the fifth,
>thirteenth and fourteenth Dalai Lamas. Firstly, the fifth Dalai Lama
>indicated that Dorje Shugden is a harmful spirit and this falsehood
>spread throughout Tibet. People believed him because he was both their
>king and spiritual leader.
>The thirteenth Dalai Lama, following the view
>of the fifth Dalai Lama, also did not allow the practice of Dorje
The 6th-12th Dalai Lamas probably never had much opportunity
to prohibit this practice.
>In particular he caused many difficulties for Je Phabongkhapa
>by using his political power to prevent him from engaging in the
>teaching and practice of Dorje Shugden.
Did not Phabongkha and a number of his followers who were devoted to
this Gyalpo Shugden use their own political power to destroy and take
over many monasteries and temples of other traditions esp. in the
region around Chamdo and other parts of E. Tibet? In particular
didn't they suppress the ancient teachings and tradition of
Padmasambhava - through whose enlightened activity Buddhism
gained hold in the land of Tibet?
[c.f. Beyer, Stephan "The Cult of Tara"; Samuel, Geoffrey "Civilized
Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies".]
Frankly speaking, if these reports are even partially true (and I have
spoken to Tibetans who witnessed some of these events and the
aftermath) - then I don't find it very difficult to understand why a
Dalai Lama would oppose a practice largely promoted by
Of course Phabongkha was one of the most brilliant commentators
on the teachings of the Gelugpa tradition, an extremely popular
teacher and a powerful political figure. That doesn't mean that
he was automatically always right or that he was an enlightened
For the most part the thirteenth Dalai Lama seems to have represented
a more liberal, tolerant and reforming side of the Gelugpa
establishment than that represented by Phabongkha (though the 13th
Dalai Lama too extended the hegonomy of the Gelugpa school). If many
of his reforms had not been undone following his death, and Tibet
once more became more inward looking, Tibet might have gained more
international recognition and stood more chance of retaining it's
>The fourteenth Dalai Lama has
>carried on this persecution even more virulently than his predecessors,
>showing little or no regard for religious freedom and no compassion for
>the Tibetan and western practitioners suffering as a result of his
The senior incarnate lama [HHDL] and the highest office holder [Ganden
Tripa] of the Gelugpa tradition have prohibited worship of this
particular entity in the monasteries, temples and other institutions
of their tradition. This might be compared to the Pope derecognizing
certain Xtian Saints, and forms of worship within the Roman Catholic
Church - and it seem to be no more religious repression for the Dalai
Lama and HE Ganden Tripa to forbid a particular religious practice
within their Buddhist denomination than it is for the Pope to prohibit
particular practices within the Roman Catholic Church.
>I have discussed this religious issue with many other practitioners, and
>we have decided that now is the time to clarify this situation through
>public debate. We also understand that until the fifth, thirteenth and
>fourteenth Dalai Lamas are clearly proven to be Buddhas that we cannot
>accept their views. Therefore I would like to suggest that the issues to
>be debated are:
>1. Whether these three lamas are Buddhas, pure beings or not.
Now just what would constitute valid proof of this as far as you are
concerned? AFAIK the Dalai Lama has never claimed to be an
Enlightened Buddha - though his devotees may look upon him that way.
HHDL usually refers to himself as a Buddhist monk not as a Buddha.
You are the one who is maintaining that Gyalpo Shugden is a Buddha
- the current leaders of all the main traditions of Tibetan all say
this is not so. Who are we supposed to believe? HH the Dalai Lama,
the Ganden Tripa and the main teachers of the Sakya, Kagyu and Nyingma
traditions or you, Geshe Kelsang and Jim Burns?
If you can establish your claim that Gyalpo Shugden is a Buddha then
I'm sure someone will be able to establish that HHDL is a Buddha too
( a claim which, afaik, he himself has never made).
>2. Whether we accept their view that Dorje Shugden is a harmful spirit or not.
If you believe in things like harmful spirits - then there is prob. as
much evidence of Gyalpo Shugden causing harm as there is
of harm caused by any other spirit.
Even if Shugden is perfectly benign - that doesn't make him a Buddha
or an object of Refuge.
>3. Whether Buddhists accept the mixing of Dharma and politics or not.
Buddhism has pretty well always been mixed with politics and what you
have engaged yourself in here is very much a kind of politics too.
Although you may wish to believe that the Gelugpa tradition rose
to prominence in Tibet simply through the great merit of Je Tsongkhapa
there is a great deal of evidence that this was mostly accomplished
by political (and military) means.
Every Tibetan Buddhist school has been involved in politics at one
time or another - in recent centuries, the Gelugpa more than any
other. The surviving tradition that has probably been the least
involved in politics (anyway since the time of Rinchen Zangpo) is
probably the Nyingmapa - and they have often suffered materially
as a result.
From all accounts I've heard it seems that your teachers Phabongkha
and Trijang Rinpoche were at times very much involved in politics too.
You may consider their engagement in this field "skilful means" or
"Buddha activity" but that does not mean it was not politics.
>If we can clarify the first issue then the others will naturally follow.
>In Newsweek magazine (April 97), Robert Thurman publicly criticised and
>humiliated both practitioners of Dorje Shugden and members of the New
Big deal, Prof. Robert Thurman may be considered to be an authority on
the Gelugpa tradition by a few people in the western academic world of
Tibetan Buddhist studies but outside of that rather small circle, I
doubt if anyone pays much more attention to what he says than to what
you or I say here.
>We understand that he is acting like the Dalai Lama's
>representative and trying to destroy both Dorje Shugden practice and the
>credibility of the NKT. Therefore we recognise him to be the actual
>representative of the Dalai Lama. Also the Central Tibetan
>Administration in Dharamsala and Fred Little seem to be acting as the
>Dalai Lama's representatives.
Isn't the Central Tibetan Administration supposed to be HHDL's
Government just as the British Govt. is supposed to be Her Majesty's
Fred Little the Dalai Lama's representative? - come on now.
(And before you accuse me of the same thing I can assure you
that I only represent myself.)
>There are three questions to be addressed to these representatives
>regarding the first issue: Whether these three lamas are Buddhas or not.
>1. What are valid reasons for saying that the fifth Dalai Lama is a
>Buddha, a pure being?
>2. What are valid reasons for saying that the thirteenth Dalai Lama is a
>Buddha, a pure being?
>3. What are valid reasons for saying that the fourteenth Dalai Lama is a
>Buddha, a pure being?
Perhaps you can tell us first what you consider to be valid reasons
for saying that any lama is a tulku, a Buddha or a pure being? We
need to establish just what you mean by "valid reasons" here -
otherwise any reasons that may be put forward you can simply declare
>If we do not receive clear answers to our questions, we can assume that
>they are not Buddhas, not pure beings. If this is the case there is no
>need to accept their views on Dorje Shugden, or to follow their example
>of mixing Dharma with politics.
Your opinion of the Dalai Lama is beginning to sound like the Rev. Ian
Paisley's opinion of the Pope.
You don't _have_ to accept HHDL's views on Dholgyal Shugden just
as Catholics now don't _have_ to accept the views of the Pope (in this
day and age they are free to go away and join another church or set up
one of their own). Whenever we are members of something like a
religious body or a political party sometimes we have to accept the
dogma, doctrine, creed or policy as it is set forth or interpreted by
the _current_ leaders of that religious body or political party. If
the leadership insists on a doctrine, dogma or policy that we cannot
in all conscience accept then, even if we have devoted our whole life
and resources to that organisation, we may have to go away and form
our own church or party - in time perhaps we may even be regarded by
the majority as the ones who were right.
So long as the Dalai Lama is not forcibly preventing you or others
from purchasing land and establishing there monasteries or temples
where you can worship Shugden to your heart's content I think your
charge of religious repression on his part does not hold any water.
To compare this to the repression suffered in Tibet during the
cultural revolution etc is outrageous.
There may of course be some hotheads who disagree with your
views on this issue so much that they stoop to issuing (or even
carrying out) threats of violence. This is reprehensible but I have
seen no evidence at all that HHDL has condoned anyone or anything
Similarly there seem to have been threats made by hothead devotees of
Shugden against those who are known to oppose their views. (In one
case it is alleged that people like this are responsible for the
murder of the Ven abott of the Dialectics School in Dharmsala and two
of his students.) Now I don't think that Geshe Kelsang has anything to
do with these threats nor would he condone them.
>Vajralama Buddhist Center
If you truly believe that Gyalpo Shugden is an emanation of Manjusri
you could always try worshipping a form of that Buddha which everyone
accepts in his stead. Je Tsongkhapa and all those who preceded him
going right back to the Buddha seem to have managed quite well without
Gyalpo Shugden. Why are you so attached to this particular form?
Lama Zopa and many other worthy teachers, also disciples of Trijang
Rinpoche, seem to have accepted the Dalai Lama's policy, views and
wishes on this matter - perhaps at first with some regret. I expect
though that in the end they decided that he knew best and that the
divisions being caused by continuing this practice did more harm than
any benefit that might accrue.
Of course I can see why Geshe Kelsang may be so committed to this
practice - after all his uncle is an oracle (Kuten) of Gyalpo Shugden
- and I expect that Shugden is also his family protector. If
Shugden is called by some "a harmful spirit", he may see this as a
direct insult to his whole family and tradition and it is only human
if he is upset.
Similarly Gyalpo Shugden was considered to be a special protector of
Trijang Rinpoche's monastery in Chatreng so naturally he made daily
offerings and pujas to him.-Iin Tibetan eyes if this protector gained
status and influence so did his monastery - If it looses status in
some peoples eyes so do they.
Does this mean that Geshe Kelsang and lamas who are students of
Trijang Rinpoche and their students should be initiating student's
into this practice or calling on them to take their side in this
Can you blame an average western dharma student who has never seen a
Shugden - benign or malign - in the flesh for suspecting that there
may be some fierce Tibetan tribal loyalties operating here and that
there maybe those who are trying to rope us in to an arcane, rather
bizarre, Tibetan factional struggle that has probably been bubbling
along since one faction's candidate got chosen as the Fifth Dalai Lama
and the other faction's cadidate lost ?
Sure this entity Gyalpo Shugden is supposed to have been around
since that time (he's alleged by his devotees to be the spirit or
embodiment of the losing candidate) - but as far as I have been able
to determine until fairly recently everyone considered him to be just
another one of Tibet's innumerable worldly religious protectors -
somewhere beneath the status of Gyalpo Pehar. There may have been
many people who considered him to be the special protector of their
family, locality or monastery and made offerings to him daily in order
that he would help them succeed in their endeavours but that does not
necessarily mean they considered him to be a wisdom deity or took
refuge in him .
It seems that only after Phabongkha (this centtury) had a "vision" of
Dragpa Gyaltsen (the losing candidate for the position of the fifth
Dalai Lama - subsequently recognized as a tulku of Panchen ) that
Shugden was suddenly elevated to the status of a "wisdom protector"
and emanation of Buddha. There are even those who claim this "vision"
of Phabongkha is apocryphal and that it was Trijang Rinpoche himself
who is largely responsible for elevating Gyalpo Shugden to the status
of enlightend being and object of refuge.
Even at the time Nebesky Wojkowitz gathered material for his book
(1950-53) - which devotes moe than a whole large chapter to Shugden -
there seems to have been no widespread belief (at least amongst
Tibetans in Kalimpong & Sikkim) that Shugden was an enlightend
protector as there is no mention of this in his book where he is
treated like Pehar, Tsi'u mar etc as a . This is strange as his main
informants seem to have been Dhardo Rinpoche , Tratung Rinpoche
and Lhagpa Dondrub (an Oracle of Shugden). Surely in the three years
he was going over this material with these informants they would
have mentioned that Shugden was an enlightend protector if they
believed this to be so.
Anyway, whatever the case, do we in the west really need purely
Tibetan protectors like Gyalpo Shugden? If we need Dharma protectors
can't we get along perfectly well with those protectors which have a
long and far less controversial pedigree going back at least to the
great maha siddhas of India and the tantras themselves?