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Monlam Log Pai Dhamsi (Violation of Pledge)

posted Nov 22, 2014, 5:48 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Senge Rabten (New York)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings recently at the Beacon Theater on Tsong Khapa’s Essence of True Eloquence was truly amazing.  Even though it was hard for was hard for for me to fully understand what was being explained by His Holiness and eloquently translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, I could feel a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation to the Buddha Shakyamuni and all the great masters who paved the way so that ignorant people like me could walk on the path to self-liberation.  As I sat there watching His Holiness explain the text in great detail and often times interrupting only to make sure he didn’t miss relevant points, I could see a man so full of compassion and a sincere desire to help in every possible way  so that we may walk on the right path to liberation.

And yet, just outside the Beacon Theater were a group of  people, mostly western monks and nuns backed by a few Tibetans who were shouting “religious freedom, stop lying, false Dalai Lama” etc.  Obviously they were part of the Dorjee Shugden group and had gathered there with the explicit intent to malign the Dalai Lama with their false allegations and fabricated lies.  Even as a common layman, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pity on these protesters who were ignorant of the true story surrounding the Shugden spirit and who were being used as pawns by the organizers of the New Kadampa Tradition headed by Geshey Kalsang Gyatso.

Well, I thought, the Shugden group could howl and shout for as much as they wanted but this one thing I was absolutely sure.  They could never succeed in their attempts because His Holiness the Dalai Lama has the love and support of the entire Tibetan people who have this unique spiritual relationship which is so special and so precious that not even the strongest of force on this earth can break it.   

They may call him what they want - “false Dalai Lama”, “lier” etc. (the Chinese called him a “demon”, a “wolf in sheep’s coat” and a “jackal”.  And god knows what else they might call him.  But the fact of the matter remains that he is still the simple Buddhist monk and, most important of all, he is still the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet who is adored and loved not only by his own people but by tens and thousands of people around the world. 

So why is this small group of people so hateful in nature?  What is it they want?  Their claim that they have  no religious freedom is not at all true as they continue to worship the Shugden spirit with full freedom just like they used to and, in fact, with even more zeal and enthusiasm. So where does the question of religious freedom come from?  Oh, wait a minute, do they mean the deprivation of their own religious right in their own center where, we are told by former members, they are forced to listen only to Geshey Kalsang Gyatso’s teachings and read books written only by him?  We don’t hear something like this anywhere else! The Dalai Lama admits that he himself lost his freedom when he practiced the Shugden spirit many years ago due to ignorance but says “he is now free to listen to and receive valuable teachings from all the teachers of the Sakya, Kagyud, Nyingma and Bon traditions” without any fear or reservations.

I ask again, why are they so hateful in nature?  Has this something to do with the Shugden spirit itself? When we look back at the violent activities of the Shugden followers in the past, (the brutal murder of the Principal of the School of Dialectics and two of his students in Dharamsala in February of 1997, the beating of the settlement officer Mr. Phurbu Sithar and his wife in the middle of the night in Bylakuppe, the beating of Khensur Rinpoche, burning down of the common storage room where food grains are stored and the death threats to scores of individuals) it certainly looks like the spirit had its hands in all these and had sowed the seeds of hatred and violence in the minds of the people who committed these ghastly crimes.  It is now very clear to us all why it is in our own interest not to engage in the practice of this spirit because of the harm it brings not only between individuals and communities but also between the different schools of Tibetan Buddhism.  The Dalai Lama, mainly out of concern for the Tibetan people, had disapproved the practice of the Shugden spirit but had left it wide open to the people whether to take his advice or not.  He often repeated this.  Khache balue ki ningtam shey yo to.  Nyen dang ma nyen so soi lagpa re” (I have revealed the secrets of Khache Balue but whether you want to take note of it or not is up to you.)  

The Shugden issue, however, has now reached a disturbing level with the intervention of the Chinese government.  It is disturbing because the Chinese are now using the Shugden issue to blame the Dalai Lama for violation of religious freedom and deliberately worsening the situation by destroying statues of Guru Rinpoche in direct show of support to the Shugden followers.  Anyone with the right frame of mind can see that this is politically motivated by the Chinese and the Shugden followers are playing their paid role as puppets made in China. It is so sad and pathetic that Geshey Kalsang Gyatso, Ghangchen Lama and the lot can bow down to such a low level as to bring harm and suffering to their own people.  But then isn’t this the very nature of the Shugden spirit which does nothing but harm?  It is no wonder it has earned the name of “monlam log pai dhamsi”. 

In short, the nature of the Shugden practice can best be described as violent, fundamentalist, fanatic, sectarian and divisive.  Let us all be aware of this.


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