Can’t we all just get along?

For most non-Buddhists, this topic is not that big of a deal. But for some, within the Buddhist community, it is a red hot topic. I don’t want to go into specifics about the “controversy”, you can Google the info and read it yourself. What I simply would like to do is question each and every one of you, regardless of your thoughts on this. My question(s) is very plain and to the point.

Alot of this stuff began when a few of the Dalai Lama’s confidants were found murdered. It was believed that the Shugden worshipers were to blame, reason being is that the Dalai Lama had banned all Shugden worship, angering those that believed this deity was a protector for them. As a Buddhist, I cannot condone any violence, especially murdering another being. But I say this, with every culture, religion or whatever, there are always a few bad apples. How can all Shugden worshipers be bad?

They aren’t! As a matter of fact, after reading quite a bit about the subject, I attended an NKT (New Kadampa Tradition) Center to see for myself what the whole hubbub was about. The Nun that I met there was nothing but cordial. I was there to take a precept ceremony. This was my first time entering a Buddhist meditation center, so I was a bit nervous, at first. But that all went away when I introduced myself to the Nun, and she spoke back to me. It was no big mystical experience, it was a simple human experience. I took the precepts and afterward she took us out for a coffee. It felt like I had always known this woman. Nothing whatsoever was brought up about Shugden, neither in the ceremony or afterward at coffee. We talked about music, art and how great life really was. There was no bullshit, just straight love and compassion emanating from every pore of this woman.

I am not a card carrying member of the New Kadampa Tradition but I do enjoy attending their events. I enjoy the company and conversation I’ve had with other members. The core of the Dharma is present in most traditions. I read alot of books from various schools, traditions and sects of Buddhism. I respect teachings of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Kelsang Gyatso, Noah Levine, Pema Chodron, Thubten Chodron and tons more. At the core of everything they have all written about is compassion for all beings. Why can’t it really be like that?

When Buddha (Siddhartha Guatama) started teaching do you think this is what he would have wanted? Was this his intention to claw us apart from each other?

I think not! The Buddha taught that we are ALL interconnected. We are all in this world together. One way Buddhists like to describe this interconnectedness is, think of every being as your mother. Buddhists believe in rebirth. And if this, rebirth, is something you as a Buddhist believe in, than this disdain you feel is disdain for your own mother. How would she feel about that?


  1. Thank you for posting this,as the NKT is my tradition I appreciate the non-biased blog.

    I also read books by geshe Rabten and communicate periodically with one monk in their western monasteries.They also use Geshe Kelsang’s books for their schooling.

    Thank you again,i respect all tradtions and wish this to be resolved soon.

  2. Hi,

    I have an NKT centre just down the road from my house, I’m wandering more to Zen myself, but my first taste of Buddhism was them, and I am ever grateful to them.

    I have to say I found them to be brilliant, enormously understanding, the centre has a sense of serenity and I loved the World Peace Cafe.

    I tend to ignore the Shuk-Den affair as I think “spirits” and “gods” are psychological archetypes, rather than concrete beings. I agree with you the most important thing is compassion and the recognition that we’re all connected.


  3. hey pm, i’m late with comment, but horse found me on myspace which lead me to check his friends cause i do so like the zine, which lead me to your blog…. i had to check out anyone blogging under the name “precious metal!”
    i’ve wrestled with this question for many years, since the early 90s, for the NKT is not alone. There are a few other gelug traditionalists in the world of tibetan buddhism who adhere to this practice.
    i’ve paid keen attention, because the recognized reincarnation of my root guru, Geshe Rabton Rinpoche, who died in 1986, is under the care of Gonsar Rinpoche, a Shugden practitioner, in switzerland. Likewise the recognized reincarnation of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, HHDL’s junior tutor, was also under the care of Gonsar for many years in switzerland.
    In 1970/71, under the auspices of HH the Dalai Lama, Gonsar was Geshe Rabten’s translator for the majority of Teachings I received while residing in mcleod ganj for nine months. Without Gonsar’s great effort as translator, devotion to the dharma, and skill in english i would be sorely adrift in samsara.
    However, the great kindnesses i received from Geshe
    Rabten, and additionally through philosophy classes from Geshe Dhargyey (different translators) at the tibetan nat’l library and archives in dharamsala, were all surrounded by a wing of the maroon robes of His Holiness. most importantly, HHDL’s superb efforts on our behalf during the indo-pakistani war when the indian government tried to force all westerners from mcleod ganj, and thereby interrupt our studies.
    Consequently, after much questioning, reading, watching across time, I continue to abide by the Dalai Lama’s wishes regarding this practice:
    As to folks not getting along….yes, the internet “wars” are disconcerting, but they are propagated for the most part by those less close to the heart of the matter. after much searching i did find some sanity on the issue and have come to rely on wisdom from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition.
    Lama Zopa discusses devotion to the guru, including Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, here:
    Lama Zopa offers commentary on a letter he sent to the reincarnation of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche here:
    as a footnote i would recommend this primer on the centuries old history of the issue:
    The Shuk-Den Affair: Origins of a Controversy, Georges Dreyfus
    i remain deeply indebted to all of those people who first introduced me to the dharma, across all boundaries and differences. i have tried to follow a measure of logic based on my own experiences, which is all any of us can do, eh?
    long life to you!

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