Are Dalai Lama’s critics backed by China?

From The New Statesman
by Meindert Gorter

Followers of the Dalai Lama claim that China is behind dissent by those who question his ban on the worship of Dorje Shugden

It has been 12 years since I first heard Dorje Shugden’s name. Under normal circumstances it’s best not to talk about protectors openly. This is because protectors can lose their strength for a person, and you don’t really want them to expire. Best kept in silence, they serve as fuel on the path to enlightenment. In monasteries protectors’ shrines are closed, only to be opened on special occasions. That is how one should treat their guardian angel, for to secretly cherish them helps to fulfill one’s commitment.

Lets have a look at a non-Buddhist example. Elie Wiesel, the Jewish writer, said that his thoughts when waking up were always of war and how it could be possible for mankind to be so cruel. He used the thought of suffering as an anchor in his mind. In this way the suffering during the war provided him with the energy to work relentlessly to gain insight and write, with the hope of preventing the human race from making the same mistakes again.

Buddhists too are worried about human suffering and want to work towards enlightenment.

Now a person could try and be a good Buddhist, but at the same time they could be having mundane things on their mind that are likely to take them offtrack. Not every Buddhist wakes up with the thought to relieve mankind of suffering, most need a special wake up call. My teacher’s teachers used the thought of Dorje Shugden to keep their mind on the right track, as did the Dalai Lama’s teachers, and many more in Gelugpa and Sakya lineages.

Buddhists generally don’t say one lineage is better than the other. However we do place maximum trust in our own teachers, while at the same time always examining the purity of their words. Their words are not easily put aside and are highly respected. This is because they are seen to be Buddha’s own words coming to us in the present. The wisdom they carry has the power to cause enlightenment, with which a lot of suffering could come to an end. If you find you can’t trust your teachers purity, either your teacher is no good and has other things than Buddhism on his mind, or you yourself are having trouble understanding what Buddhism is all about.

Deity Dorje Shugden is said to be the spirit of Tulku Dragpa Gyalchen, a famous enlightened practitioner living contemporaneously with the fifth Dalai Lama. He turned out to be more famous and loved than the Dalai Lama himself, which incited jealousy amongst the Dalai’s entourage. Eventually he was brutally killed by some of the servants of the fifth Dalai while he was away from home. Being enlightened, the Tulku had to help his assailants in the killing of himself. Being absolutely pure their arrows and spears could not hurt him, they only produced extra eyes on his body.

He told his assailants he had a little leftover negative karma that could be used to kill him in a very violent way. This made him a powerful protector. At the moment more versions of this story circulate, but this is the one that the present Dalai Lama himself must have heard from his teachers who initiated him in the practice, the ones he now says made a mistake in relying on this deity. His criticism of his own teachers comes conveniently at a time when they have all passed away. So now others who shared the same teachers criticize the Dalai Lama. In response, some of the Dalai Lama’s supporters claim his opponents are being supported by China.

“The Shugden and the Chinese are obviously allies,” the Tibetan prime minister in exile Samdhong Rinpoche said in a recent interview with France 24 TV. “Their cults all over the world are financed by the Chinese.”

The Dalai Lama says he has investigated this matter to his utmost capacity. However in the end this was his decision: Ban the ghost.


  1. Ever thought about why the Dalai Lama is acting in very unholy and un-Buddhist ways- even though he is supposed to be a re-incarnation of Avalokiteshvara -the Buddha of compassion? Is it possible that perhaps he is not the re-incarnation of Buddha of Compassion? Yes it is possible! Is it possible that the Shangri-la was never the Shangri-la westerners thought it was? Yes it is possible!
    Perhaps the Dalai Lama is not really the Dalai Lama? Check out this really interesting article called ‘Reting Lama – How he chose the false Dalai Lama’. Explains a hell of lot!
    Here is the web address;…lse-dalai-lama

    If that is a possibility – then it is also possible that the Dalai Lama’s actions and behaviour are completely contradictory to Buddhism or even to humanity! Check out this excellent article by Ron cook called ‘Six principal reasons why the Dalai Lama is not a Buddhist’ on…not-a-buddhist.

    It is hard to accept but the evidence is there if you care to look!

  2. Do check out this news article today on Cincinnati City Beat:

    The Dalai Lama hasn’t simply discouraged honoring Dorje Shugden. Declaring the deity an evil spirit, he’s vowed to crush the tradition.

    The Tibetan Government in Exile denies identity cards to Tibetan nationals who refuse to sign oaths renouncing the deity, leaving them unable to travel, hold jobs or receive aid, according to Lisa Farnsworth, a law professor at Indiana University. Monks who hold fast to their loyalty to Dorje Shugden have been expelled from monasteries, she says, and others have been denied food or barred from participating in prayer rituals.

    “We’re talking about basic human rights — being able to eat, being able to have housing, (not) having your life threatened,” Farnsworth says. “You can talk about love and compassion all you want, but people are being hurt by the Dalai Lama’s actions.”

  3. This man Dalai Lam’s political involvement betrays the spiritual tradition of Buddhism. His minions are paid agents of western interests looking to undermine China. Someone needs to abandon history and hide himself in the hole to claim that Tibet is not part of China. Dalai Lama should embrace Shugden. Why the fear ? He was a privilege feudal leader surpressing the gullible peasants before China under communism liberated them. Why anyone should blindly follow Dalai Lama claims and exaggerate his importance is baffling. This whole game is western sponsored sabotage of China.

  4. Of course the Dalai Lama has lots to hide. His financing by the CIA is legendary. This man is no saint. He desires for power and privilege put him in cahoots with Western interests. Surely he must have partied too hard with likes of Nacy Peolsi to have the stomachache and i am glad he is recovered.

  5. Meindert Gorter is a complete charlatan who is only trying to make his career on criticizing the Dalai Lama. He actually implies that a cultural genocide is no longer occuring and that Tibetans are living harmoniously under Chinese rule “as long as Tibetans don’t mix religion with politics…”?? Hey Meindert Gorter! What is the political message of the Tibetans again? Is it “Please get out of my country and stop oppressing my people?” I wonder if you could continue being so callous if the Germans returned to the Netherlands.

  6. Wikipedia’s article – though clearly bent in one direction – shed some light. I am reminded to carry my skepticism over claims of Truth just a little higher.

  7. Hi Doug

    “Gyaltsen manipulated others into causing his own death so he could be reborn as a spirit protector? ”

    As bizarre as it sounds, it is what Trijang taught.

    It’s not exactly the kind of story that fits well with NKT’s image of Shugden as the wisdom protector or Je Tshongkhapa’s emanation.

    “What does he protect?”

    supposedly Je Tshongkhapa’s teachings. But the strange thing is Je Tshongkhapa never enlisted his help to start with.

    In Trijang’s words, Shugden protects the purity of Gelug by killing and punishing those who “mixed” practices from other schools.

    “Is this division is based on some centuries old political resentment?”

    Hardly anyone today can put a finger on the origin myth of Shugden. Scholar Georges Dreyfus suspects it’s a later fabrication surrounding the mysterious death of Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen.

    In the end, the what NKT taught is a whitewashed version of Shugden. Many elements were screened off to present a rosy picture of him. So i’m not surprised if most NKTers
    do not know.

    The facts are obvious to see and not hard to investigate tut then it’s not at all easy to swallow either. For those who have already placed their trust in Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for example, seeing the truth means questioning the creditbility of their teacher and the organization.

    Many of them have already learnt about these things. Some are obviously torn and some are still in the denial phase.

    As i have said elsewhere, GKG is willing to break with the past in order to establish Shugden on a modern footing. That means he has to lie about the true nature of Shugden as a harmful sectarian spirit.



  8. I asked my friend – as I do not know, and haven’t yet found an explanation of why Shugden is a protector, and what exactly he protects – if he could tell me, offering Avalokita as an example, just what emanation, manifestation or quality of Buddhism Shugden protects.

    He did not have an answer, except to then cant about the terrible things the Dalai Lama has done.

    Gyaltsen manipulated others into causing his own death so he could be reborn as a spirit protector?

    What does he protect?

    Is this division is based on some centuries old political resentment?

  9. “At the moment more versions of this story circulate, but this is the one that the present Dalai Lama himself must have heard from his teachers who initiated him in the practice, the ones he now says made a mistake in relying on this deity.”

    Yes, Dalai Lama’s teacher Trijang eventually wrote that in his book defending Shugden’s legitamacy. (p.94, Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectors)

    According to Trijang, Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen rememebered his promise in his previous incarnations, so he arranged his own death with the help of another institutinoal protector Nechung.

    Nechung, using his power, emanated many worshippers from all over Tibet. These pious emantions came to see and offer the Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen, apparently to provoke jealousy in the Fifth Dalai Lama’s servants.

    In the end, these servants came to Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen’s quarter and tried to stab him (but he couldn’t be stabbed for some reason) and choked him to death.

    That’s how Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen fulfilled his promise, killing himself in the hands of others, so that he could die and rise as Shugden.

    This is the Shugden that NKTers and many other Shugdenpas are taking refuge in.


  10. Probably not NKT. At least I don’t see no evidence of the sort.

    But other Shugden heads like Kundeling Lama (India) and Lama Gangchen (Italy) have good relations with Chinese government.

    In the French documentary, Kundeling Lama denied he was backed by China but did not deny he had Chinese “friends”.

    In order to ridicule the Dalai Lama, Kundeling even apologised for the CCP’s crimes in Tibet was not as severed as it is in mainland China, obviously refering to Mao’s period. He ought to read more Chinese history.

    He says, ‘political revolution without mistake is impossible.’

    So it’s better if NKT can distance themselves from Kundeling.


  11. “The Shugden and the Chinese are obviously allies,” the Tibetan prime minister in exile Samdhong Rinpoche said in a recent interview with France 24 TV. “Their cults all over the world are financed by the Chinese.”

    How can you trust a government that is represented by someone who lies so obviously?

  12. In the french documentary on the Shugden controversy mentioned above a French journalist is asked the question: How taboo it is to criticize the Dalai Lama in India? “If you critcize the Dalai Lama you are judged to be a Chinese spy and someone who goes against the cause of Tibet” she replied.

    These journalist had their cameras destroyed while they were documenting the persecution of Shugden practitioners. Many of the Dalai Lama’s followers don’t want the persecution to be exposed.

    It is interesting that because the NKT and Gelugpa traditions who now criticize the Dalai Lama for his ban on Dorje Shugden practice are labeled as Chinese spies. It is really ridiculous and shows how weak the reasoning is behind his religious discrimination toward Shugden practitioners.

    The Dalai Lama tries to destroy the reputation of anyone who criticizes him. He won’t even debate with his critics. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso invited him to a debate on the Shugden issue, but he declined. Instead, he’s just been trying to destroy Geshe Kelsang’s reputation for the last 10 years.

    “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    The Dalai Lama’s hatred of Shugden practitioners and his persecution will eventually be exposed.

  13. I had a chance to speak with a friend recently who follows NKT. I have also been engaged in some, uhm, net discussion threads over Tibet with Chinese citizens. The constant pounding similarity in their arguments is distressing.

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