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Controversy involving Dalai Lama and Shugden

Is anyone familiar with this issue and if yes, can you please explain it. Thank you

Comments

  • DharmaMcBumDharmaMcBum Spacebus Wheelman York, UK Veteran
    I think this is an issue the New Kadampa Tradition Buddhists have. It runs along the lines of they pray to Dorje Shugden as a protector and other Buddhists say they shouldn't as he is bad/they are wrong for another reason. Some folks say the Dalai Lama was good with it then changed his mind, some say he didn't. There are many, many, many, many, many articles, claims and counter claims on the subject. Mainly all available online handily enough. Once you've read them all you'll have the same level of insight into it after reading this post.
    how
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    Or any other post on NB ;)
    DharmaMcBumNirvana
  • DharmaMcBumDharmaMcBum Spacebus Wheelman York, UK Veteran
    Or even this most insightful of posts...image
    ChazNirvanaanatamanBunks
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    Who cares?

    No disrespect; but really does it affect you? If so in what way. In mediation I have various emotions that arise; and whilst today I had a very fearful and emotional experience that made me want to get up and run screaming down stairs I observed it and it passed.

    Mettha
    Bunks
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    I would like to hang out in the view beyond the post @DharmaMcBurn

    Metta
    DharmaMcBum
  • DharmaMcBumDharmaMcBum Spacebus Wheelman York, UK Veteran
    anataman said:

    I would like to hang out in the view beyond the post @DharmaMcBurn

    Metta

    Insight and enlightened views are far more likely to be found wandering and practicing in that view beyond that post :om:

    Linc
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    Lii said:

    Is anyone familiar with this issue and if yes, can you please explain it. Thank you

    It's a pretty big deal on some Buddhist forums. Very controversial. The old eSangha bord was notoious for the controversial policies they had.

    What boils down to, HHDL repudiated Shugden practice. This caused problems where a particular teacher had student doing Dorje Shugden as their main practic. These kinds of practices are often part of the bond between teacher and student, called samaya. To stop a pracrice given by one's teacher is to break samaya. Some people take that kinda seriously.
    It caused a scism which led to the formation of NKT.

    I never took the whole thing very seriously. I practice in the kagyu lineage and we don't do shugden practice. What HHDL repudiates doesnt matter much to me.
  • LiiLii Explorer
    I attend NKT. It is easier for me to ask about this here than with someone at the Temple. I have been seeing a lot of references to it lately. Thank you.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 2014
    I went to a New Kadampa Tradition center after I heard an old friend had joined and worked for NKT briefly before his premature death. I was interested in experiencing the Dalai Lamas 'bad boy' practice. Due to politics I believe the practice is now good again with the head of Tibet in exile aka Chenresig incarnate HH Dalai Lama, globe trotting Bodhisattva etc . . .

    Briefly the worship of the doll/demon/yidam in the tin hat (Dorje Shugden) had been considered very naughty. Cool!

    Whilst I was there the teacher or at least his picture was offered a cup of tea before I was. In fact they got me cleaning or doing something before offering me supper. I declined the supper but saw the statue and examined some of their service/puja books which were in English.

    I should imagine that eventually a lot of Tantra will be in English after we break from using Tibetan/Sanskrit/Latin or other regional languages . . . wait Latin is for Catholic Tantra . . .

    Personally I am at present not inclined to hear tantra practices in English. They sound infantile, which they may well be . . .

    The point is this, if it effects you, for example @TheEccentric goes to NKT then you practice as advised. Otherwise find something better to do. If NKT is not your cup of tea, go elsewhere. Simple really.

    Anyway that was many years ago, time to visit them again, thanks for the reminder :)

    image
  • LiiLii Explorer
    Thank you Lobster. I am in the USA so it is all English. NKT is amazing in that the Monks and Nuns are very helpful. The Dalai Lama is far away... Thank you Lobster.
    Chaz
  • DaftChrisDaftChris Spiritually conflicted. Not of this world. Veteran
    edited March 2014
    Unlike others, I'm not great at explaining this particular controversy (I don't identify as NKT or TB in general); so I'll leave you with the almighty Wikipedia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorje_Shugden_controversy
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    I've been involved in Tibetan traditions on both sides of the controversy and IMO it's a shame they can't just agree to disagree and move on.
    lobsterDaftChris
  • I've heard that in Tibet, where Dalai Lama is pretty much worshipped by his branch of Tibetan Buddhism, the Shugden sect has been discriminated against and outright banned from some towns because of the Dalai Lama's actions. But except for the real suffering this issue might have caused there, I remain as puzzled as any outsider at the level of animosity between the factions of Tibetan Buddhism at times.
  • cazcaz Veteran United Kingdom Veteran
    As someone who's been a Kadampa/NKT practitioner for most of my life this issue is fairly close to my heart. It simply boils down to it being a Human rights issue the Dalai lama has issued various decrees within the Tibetan community that have lead to the ostracism and discrimination against Shugden practitioners who where very much mainstream within the Gelug tradition.

    Shugden practitioners have been banned from shops, hospitals,monasteries and face daily harassment and violence from Tibetans who follow the Dalai lama.

    The Dalai lama is free to have his own personal view of this practice however he has forced this view on many within his community who have had no choice but to loose their freedom to do this practice or face various unpleasant results, The Tulku of HHDL's Tutor Trijang Rinpoche had to flee abroad in the early 90's away from Gaden Monastery because of the Death threats he was receiving from Tibetan locals at the behest of the Dalai lama's advise to purge this practice from their community.

    There are on going protest against the Dalai lama to try and get him to lift this ban and heal the schism he has created within the exile community if he can do this then the problem he has created will be instantly solved.
    TheEccentric
  • LiiLii Explorer
    In my own humble opinion the Dalai Lama has welcomed the perception that he is a powerful person rather than a confident one. Even a celebrity instead of a teacher. That has always raised my fur a bit. I have never felt that way in the NKT. Thanks for sharing all this information. Using force to keep people loyal seems out of the scope of Buddhism although very common in other religions. I hope he is compassionate enough to see the goodness in Dorje Shugden and those who find purpose in him.
    I am so fortunate to have found NKT and have always been grateful to be born in the USA. (Not saying that the USA is better than anywhere else, just that I have only loved living here).
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    caz said:


    There are on going protest against the Dalai lama to try and get him to lift this ban and heal the schism he has created within the exile community if he can do this then the problem he has created will be instantly solved.

    I wish I could share your optimism. I don't think HHDL will recant and even if he did I doubt that much would change. I don't think NKT would go running back to the Gelug. The bad blood wouldn't just go away.

    Some things won't simply won't go away.

    It's kinda like memory of the 5th DL persecuting the Kagyu. Relations are good, but there are no long life supplications for the DL in our current liturgies that I know of.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    The HHDL is, in no way, the head of NKT, correct? (I do not know much about NKT so forgive me if I am wrong but that seems to be the case). If the HHDL is not directly the head or leader of your lineage, why does it matter at all what he thinks of how you or anyone else chooses to practice? Just because he is a prominent figure in Buddhism doesn't make him the pope and it doesn't make him important to your specific practice unless you choose to make him important. For good or bad.
    LiiDaftChrisChazCinorjer
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    karasti said:

    The HHDL is, in no way, the head of NKT, correct? (I do not know much about NKT so forgive me if I am wrong but that seems to be the case). If the HHDL is not directly the head or leader of your lineage, why does it matter at all what he thinks of how you or anyone else chooses to practice? Just because he is a prominent figure in Buddhism doesn't make him the pope and it doesn't make him important to your specific practice unless you choose to make him important. For good or bad.

    Caz can give us spe ific deatils on how NKT sees its relationship to the Gelug lIneage, but no, the DL isn't the head of NKT.

    My understanding is that NKT arose from the DL's policies on and repudiation of Shugden practice.

    Seeing as NKT is separate from the Gelug, it shouldn't make any difference what the DL's policy is. People seem to not let it go, though.
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited March 2014
    Don't forget though that in Tibet, while supposedly the temples are no longer running the country, they certainly have a deep hold on the Tibetan people. Different sects of Buddhist monks even have fought before in other cultures. In Korea, after WWII monks and their followers came to blows over who followed the Japanese rules and who kept to the Korean rules for the monks. The government had to step in, since monks were being beaten and driven from their little shrine homes by other monks. The Sangha can be a messy place sometimes.
    Chaz
  • cazcaz Veteran United Kingdom Veteran
    karasti said:

    The HHDL is, in no way, the head of NKT, correct? (I do not know much about NKT so forgive me if I am wrong but that seems to be the case). If the HHDL is not directly the head or leader of your lineage, why does it matter at all what he thinks of how you or anyone else chooses to practice? Just because he is a prominent figure in Buddhism doesn't make him the pope and it doesn't make him important to your specific practice unless you choose to make him important. For good or bad.

    @Chaz

    Yes the NKT is separate from the Gelug tradition however curriculum wise nothing essential has changed, Just because we are separate from the Gelug it does not mean we do not care about preserving the teachings of our lineage which are at great risk of destruction due to the Dalai lama's actions.

    @Karasti

    Your correct HHDL isn't the head of our lineage Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is he recieves his lineage through Trijang Rinpoche (the Dalai lama's spiritual guide) and Trijang Rinpoches Spiritual Guide Je Pabongkhapa all the way back to Je Tsongkhapa.

    Why does it matter what HHDL thinks of how we practice ?

    It matters a great deal HHDL wields tremendous temporal power over his community (the tibetan exiles) and as a result of his speech against Dorje Shugden sections of the community have turned against one and other and repeatedly acted horrendously to practitioners of Dorje Shugden, Monks have been expelled from the monastery's they helped build, Spiritual bond between student and teacher have been broken or damaged as a result of people following HHDL speech, Shugden followers are harassed, ostracized and subject to violence on a regular basis.

    As a result of HHDL dislike of these prayers towards a being he previous regarded as a Buddha he has caused immense suffering which still continues to persist.

    Although western Shugden practitioners may not be directly effected we are standing up for the ones with no voice who live in these communities.

    Some links you may wish to check out to understand the situation in futher detail.

    http://wisdombuddhadorjeshugden.org/

    http://www.dorjeshugden.com/

    http://www.westernshugdensociety.org/
    TheEccentric
  • LiiLii Explorer

    Thank you Karasti. I am more informed now. This certainly seems far off the path of Buddhism.

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited March 2014

    Frankly no one comes out of this mess untainted.
    Not the mobs who barrack the DL.
    Not the mobs who barrack the Dolgyal supporters.

    Its worth contemplating the origins of the feud.
    Its complex and historical but basically Dolgyal practice was seen as perfectly respectable well into modern times.
    In fact one of the DL's main teachers Trijang Rinpoche, was a Dolgyal practitioner.
    Among other modern Dolgyal practitioners was the highly regarded Lama Yeshe founder of the FPMT who did much to introduce Buddhadharma to a western audience.
    Another was Tomo Geshe who will be well known to readers of Anagarika Govinda's " The Way Of The White Clouds ", he was his guru.

    Then at some time in the 1990's the Dalai Lama's oracle made a pronouncement.
    The oracle was and is a man who goes in a trance state, and is apparently possessed by a spirit who uses the oracle to transmit messages. This oracle said that the Dolgyal was intent on shortening the life of the DL.
    This soon became widely accepted as fact and the DL issued a decree forbidding Dolgyal sadhanas.
    The rift began.
    Whatever one thinks of the rather medieval idea of spirits locked in conflict..the fact is Tibetan Buddhism is and always has been shot through with political battles and power struggles.
    I suspect we do not need supernatural explanations to account for the present hostilities...its the usual wheels within wheels that is part and parcel of the Buddhism of the Land Of Snows.

    ChazZenBadger
  • LiiLii Explorer

    @ Citta, In Shakespeare's Macbeth, as well in several of the Greek tragedies the oracles are not interpreted correctly. Maybe this is the case here as well. Is the Dalai Lama running from his death? If so that does not seem like Buddhism either, but more like self grasping.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I don't think anyone here can pretend to know what the Dalai Lama (or anyone else) thinks or whether he is running from something. Nor do I think second guessing him or anyone else is helpful to anyone else's practice.

    Chaz
  • LiiLii Explorer

    @Karasti Did the Oracle say that the Dolgyal was intent on shortening the life of the Dalai Lama and is that why the Dalai Lama issued a decree forbidding Dolgyal sadhanas?

    Making assumptions I agree is not helpful to anyone's practice. What is most helpful is asking a person to explain her/his self if the communication is not clear.

    When we assume we do not have a clear understanding.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I was commenting in regards to your last sentence questioning of the HHDL is running from death and that if he is, he is therefore grasping. It seems like kind of a silly thing to worry about.

  • There is a fascinating report sent to the British Foreign office way back in the 1800s from a diplomat sent to check out the Tibet government and see what it would take to basically take advantage of the people for trade, etc.

    The diplomat had an interesting description of the way the lamas were chosen as children and raised in the temples with a select group of regent monks actually running the country, and once the child reached a certain age, he would announce he was retiring from government and never heard from again, or dying from some mysterious illness. The diplomat was under the impression the regent monks had made sure the various Lamas would serve as figureheads during their childhood, but could not interfere with their positions of power once grown up.

    Maybe having to run for his life was actually the best thing that happened to the Dalai Lama.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    The fact is we are all human and we are prone to error.

    Buddhist politics: http://www.dorjeshugden.com/introduction/faqs/how-can-dorje-shugden-help-me-what-are-some-of-the-benefits-of-doing-dorje-shugdens-practice/

    Our father who art in heaven,

    wrong site...

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I'm confused. Are we talking about him running for his life from the Tibetan invasion or are we talking about him "running for his life" by banning Shugden practice because of what the oracle said?

  • LiiLii Explorer

    @ Karasti. I was talking about running for his life because of the Oracle. Frankly I am just trying to figure out why there is this problem in the religion of peace, tolerance and compassion. It would be important to know why the Dalai Lama refuses to talk about his ban.

  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran

    @Lii said:
    Thank you Karasti. I am more informed now. This certainly seems far off the path of Buddhism.
    @Cinorjer said:
    There is a fascinating report sent to the British Foreign office way back in the 1800s from a diplomat sent to check out the Tibet government and see what it would take to basically take advantage of the people for trade, etc.

    The diplomat had an interesting description of the way the lamas were chosen as children and raised in the temples with a select group of regent monks actually running the country, and once the child reached a certain age, he would announce he was retiring from government and never heard from again, or dying from some mysterious illness. The diplomat was under the impression the regent monks had made sure the various Lamas would serve as figureheads during their childhood, but could not interfere with their positions of power once grown up.

    Maybe having to run for his life was actually the best thing that happened to the Dalai Lama.

    If you read lineage histories, high-ranking lamas such the DL or Karmapa often lived well past childhood. I wonder what the Brits were talking about?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    There is a problem because Buddhism is a religion that aims for peace. It isn't peace itself. Buddhism is wholly made of human beings who still make mistakes and still suffer and as a result sometimes make others suffer. Even the HHDL, who is still a human being as well. As we well know in other areas, just because one is a leader of some sort doesn't mean they are infallible.

    lobsterChazCinorjer
  • LiiLii Explorer

    Don't you think that there is a larger problem if the one who knows for sure that no person is infallible behaves as though he is? A lot of suffering is resulting from the Dalai Lama's orders.

  • I would suggest learning or doing meditations independent of regional controversy. There are many, taught by the Dalai Lama and NKT.
    http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/advanced/tantra/level1_getting_started/practicing_tantra_effectively/transcript_3.html

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited March 2014

    I don't think one can say he behaves as if he is infallible if he hasn't even answered beyond the short letter on his website, the reasons for his ban.

    I think, that like other really big, political issues, we can't armchair quaterback them. I'm not saying HHDL is right. I'm not saying he's wrong. Personally, I don't understand deity practices at all, so I don't get the desire to do them. But I do think that it's easy to sit at home and in our lack of understanding, make a LOT of assumptions about why decisions are made. From presidents to spiritual leaders, to church leaders, to PTA heads, to principals of schools. Anyone who is a leader in any capacity has to make decisions we can't fathom having to make when we aren't in that position. We don't have the information they have that they use to make the decisions. Their decisions are likely to be unpopular with someone. I think there is a complexity in truly knowing and understanding these situations that we lack, and thus it's impossible for us to declare unequivocally that the person making those decisions is right or wrong (in most cases).

    Look at the Pope. He appears, to many people, to be doing an amazingly good job. He's well liked in most circles and seems to have the church heading in a better direction. But even there, he has detractors, people who are angry, people who dislike him, people who disagree with them. Heck he has lay people telling him he doesn't know how to do his job, LOL. Why? it seems to me it's because they are clinging to their beliefs. They don't like the boat rocked. Perhaps the HHDL is clinging to his lineage following in the steps of the previous DL. Perhaps he is clinging to his culture in wanting to protect precarious (or at this point non-existent) negotiations with the Chinese to restore Tibetan culture and religious freedom. I don't know. But I know it's probably leagues more complex than I can even imagine.

  • LiiLii Explorer

    Thank you Lobster. This topic was one I wanted more information on, but not one that effects me very much. I stumbled upon NKT and found the message to be amazing. Before then I never gave Buddhism much thought. I will continue with NKT because in this life it is enough. I will not get involved in the politics. Perhaps the meditation for this is the "taking meditation."

    Chaz
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Also, I think it's worth keeping in mind that Buddhism, no matter which area it originated from, carries a lot of culture with it. That culture doesn't fit in well with the western world all the time, which is kind of taking on it's own version of Buddhism. Problems with translation of languages, problems with adjusting to Eastern art forms, problems adapting to deity worship that most of us aren't raised with or used to. It is a lot to bring a religion that until a few decades ago was isolated in it's various regions on the other side of the world, to the western psychology and mindset. And I think because of that, some things just get lost in translation because we don't have the generations of experience and lifetimes of lineages being spread. We don't understand it as I think sometimes we try to apply Western thinking to Eastern culture and history and it doesn't always work well. Heads and famous teachers like HHDL are tasked with knowing their culture and history but presenting it in a friendly way to the rest of the world.

    CinorjerCitta
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran

    @Lii said:
    Don't you think that there is a larger problem if the one who knows for sure that no person is infallible behaves as though he is? A lot of suffering is resulting from the Dalai Lama's orders.

    Impossible, if you mean suffering as in Dhukka.

    The suffering of beings is a product of their own delusions and ignorance and not what someone esle does.

    The DL gave orders, sure, but it's how people react to those orders that determines suffering and not the orders themselves.

    If poeple want to do shugden, fine. The should do it. They don't have to get all worked up about it. That's their choice. However, if they chose to do it, they'll have to do so outside the auspices of the Gelug lineage - at least for as long as the current DL lives. The next can always repudiate the ban, or not, if he/she so chooses or. Meanwhile Shugdenpas should continue their practice and their Guru's direction and not worry so much abpout the Dalai Lama

    karasti
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran

    @Lii said:
    Thank you Lobster. This topic was one I wanted more information on, but not one that effects me very much. I stumbled upon NKT and found the message to be amazing. Before then I never gave Buddhism much thought. I will continue with NKT because in this life it is enough. I will not get involved in the politics. Perhaps the meditation for this is the "taking meditation."

    Well said!!

  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited March 2014

    It's strange, reading what scholars and historians and archeologists now are saying, versus the "official" history. As far as native Buddhism and what form it took for the first monks who spread the Dharma, the early manuscripts found in caves are giving a picture of a much more diverse religion than we thought in India and the East at an early date. The one thing I think we can say is that the reality of Tibet and Indian Buddhism is hard to pin down. The info on the problems of the Lamas can be found in a discussion of the diplomat's once secret reports here: http://earlytibet.com/2013/07/04/captain-bowers-adventurous-journey/

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited March 2014

    Interesting though it may be it is not necessary to go to the history books to see the politics that is woven right through the Buddhism of Tibet.

    I could give lots of current examples but its not very edifying.

    It is important I think for westerners to know that the DL is not the head of Tibetan Buddhism, there isn't one. There is no Buddhist pope.

    And that the power- play and internal politics of Tibet were exported with the Tibetan diaspora.
    BUT this does invalidate the core insights of the Vajrayana.

  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran

    @Citta said:
    Interesting though it may be it is not necessary to go to the history books to see the politics that is woven right through the Buddhism of Tibet.

    I could give lots of current examples but its not very edifying.

    It is important I think for westerners to know that the DL is not the head of Tibetan Buddhism, there isn't one. There is no Buddhist pope.

    And that the power- play and internal politics of Tibet were exported with the Tibetan diaspora.
    BUT this does invalidate the core insights of the Vajrayana.

    Quite right!

    Politics and power struggle are ever-present in TB. The trick is to not get emotionally caught up in it. There more important things than fretting over who wants to run the show.

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