Smear: NKT students worship Geshe Kelsang

January 22, 2009

This is the final article exploring how Kadampa students rely upon the Spiritual Guide in these modern times. For the previous articles, click here:

Smear: Geshe Kelsang calls himself the third Buddha and seeks veneration from his students

Relying upon the Spiritual Guide in these modern times

NKT detractors sometimes make unjustified claims about the NKT’s supposed cultish devotion toward Geshe Kelsang. The trend was started in a 1996 article by Madeleine Bunting in the Guardian newspaper, where she said that NKT members “pray to and worship Geshe Kelsang”. One recent example of a public attack on a website (by someone called “Truthsquad”, who has never been to an NKT Center):

“Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, now 78 and worshiped by his devotees as a cult hero, as the greatest Shugden protector, and as a supreme omniscient being whose narcissistic visions, power goals, dharma interpretations, lineage anaysis and fundamentalist politics are infallible.”

There is never any evidence provided for attacks of this nature. Geshe Kelsang has never claimed to be an omniscient being or a Buddha. He rarely talks about himself at all. He is a very humble monk and renunciate. He spent sixteen years blissfully happily in strict retreat, only emerging to bring Dharma to the West because his Spiritual Guide Trijang Rinpoche asked it of him.

While he is in the UK over the summer period, Geshe Kelsang lives modestly and simply in one small room at Manjushri Centre, the same room he lived in when he first came to the UK, and never leaves his room except to teach. He possesses very little. He does not even own a car, having sold the one car that was offered to him in 1986 so that he could donate the proceeds to ‘Live Aid’. He does not own a house, having given away the one he was given for a retreat center. He gives everything that he is offered away, including the royalties on his books and all gifts of money, property, statues and so on.

When he is not at Manjushri Centre, he lives quietly in unknown locations with just one or two assistants, and rarely travels or even leaves the house. There he engages in meditation retreat and continues to work tirelessly to help others by writing beautiful and acclaimed Dharma books and helping to preserve and promote the Kadampa Buddhism of Je Tsongkhapa in accordance with his own Spiritual Guide’s wishes.

Geshe Kelsang does not have one single trapping of luxury, power or worldly success. Nor is he interested in or engaged in politics. Although he is in good health, in Summer 2009 he will voluntarily step down as General Spiritual Director of the NKT, in a democratic system of succession that he himself has established.

As mentioned in an earlier article, relying upon the Spiritual Guide, or “Guru devotion”, is a teaching common to all of Mahayana Buddhism. However, Geshe Kelsang has managed to introduce these teachings in a skilful way that is acceptable to our individualistic Western sensibilities. In the West, people are suspicious of religious systems that promote another person and demand unswerving allegiance (except, curiously enough, when that person is the Dalai Lama!)

In recent years in particular, Geshe Kelsang has been explaining a profound and skilful method to practice relying upon the Spiritual Guide, which enables students to regard their Spiritual Guide as an emanation of Buddha during teachings whilst also giving them the freedom to relate to them as a more ordinary person at other times. It seems that by following these instructions, Buddhist practitioners of the future will be able to continue to make progress toward enlightenment in dependence upon Buddha Shakyamuni’s instructions on relying sincerely upon a Spiritual Guide. However, they will be able to do this without having to adopt unskillful, extreme or societally unacceptable behavior, and without the potential danger of being “cheated” or betrayed by a worldly or badly motivated teacher. For example, in Paris 2008 Geshe Kelsang said:

“It is necessary to clarify what happens during teachings. For example, if I have a pure motivation giving teachings to people out of compassion, and the teaching itself is pure, then the wisdom being of Buddha will enter my body and remain in my heart. In particular, I mainly give teachings from Lama Tsongkhapa, and so I have deep faith in Lama Tsongkhapa. If my motivation, view and actions are pure, and the teaching is correct, then the wisdom being of Lama Tsongkhapa will enter my body, remain at my heart inseparable with my mind, and speak through me. At that time I am like CD player, but the real teachings are coming from Lama Tsongkhapa or Buddha Shakyamuni. This means that at that time, practically, I can be an emanation of Buddha or Lama Tsongkhapa. For as long as that wisdom being remains, I am an emanation of Buddha, an emanation of Je Tsongkhapa. I can say this. If my pure motivation, view, or actions change, then the wisdom being will disappear and I will not be an emanation, I will become ordinary.”

This applies of course not just to Geshe Kelsang but to all those giving correct Buddhist teachings out of faith and with pure motivation, view and actions. “Emanation of Buddha” can refer to those who have attained full enlightenment as well as to those who are temporary emanations, functioning as Buddhas through the force of their faith, motivation and so on. Students can receive Buddha’s blessings from these emanations.

“It is important to distinguish these kinds of things. An emanation of Buddha can have many meanings. One meaning of emanation of Buddha is a person who really is Buddha, but there are other people who are temporarily functioning as Buddhas through the wisdom being of Buddha entering and remaining at their heart when they give teachings. At that time they have the same function as Buddha, and are also an emanation of Buddha. When the wisdom being disappears, they are no longer an emanation. Therefore, at different times, different situations will arise. Sometimes I can be an emanation, sometimes maybe not necessarily.”

Hopefully these three articles have helped to clarify how relying upon the Spiritual Guide is practiced in the New Kadampa Tradition. Similar teachings on pure view, Guru devotion and so on can be found in Geshe Kelsang’s books. For example, in Mahamudra Tantra pps 28-9 he explains how we should not reveal our Tantric realizations as this could result in inappropriate behavior:

“Even if we have the realization that spontaneously believes that we are Buddha Heruka, we should never indicate or declare this to others, as such behavior is inappropriate in normal society. People will still see us as John and not Heruka, and we also know that John is not Heruka. The realizations of divine pride and clear appearance are inner experiences that have the power to control our delusions, and from which pure actions will naturally develop. There is therefore no basis for us to show inappropriate behavior; we must continue to engage in our daily activities and communicate with others as normal.”

Geshe Kelsang himself is a very good example of what he teaches as he never indicates or declares his realizations to others. He gives his students the freedom to develop whatever view they wish of him. They can view him as an ordinary Teacher, or as a kind person, or as a Bodhisattva, or even as a Buddha, as is their wish. But this is their choice and it is a private matter of the heart.

Let us know if you have any questions or comments.


Another Reply to Bodhisattva Centre Protestors, Part Three

September 17, 2008

Dear Carol and friends, here is the final installment of answers to your questions.

Is Dorje Shugden harming the Dalai Lama?

You said: It was often said that the practice of Dorje Shugden would shorten the life of the Dalai Lama. This recent tour seems to be proving that prediction to be correct as the Dalai Lama is now seriously exhausted.

Do you not think that the exhaustion might have something to do with a 74 year old man spending his year jetting around the world giving teachings and meeting thousands of people? Ageing, sickness and death are facts of samsaric life. Are people going to say — when the Dalai Lama naturally dies from old age or sickness — that it was people praying to Dorje Shugden that killed him? Surely such superstitious views have no place in this modern world.

Ask yourself, seriously and rationally as a Westerner who has been educated in science, do you really believe that the practice of Dorje Shugden can harm someone? What words in the prayers are harmful? What quality of the practice is harmful? I think you may be superstitiously believing the Dalai Lama’s propaganda, which has no logical basis. Such blind belief has no place in Buddhism – it is the real ‘evil spirit’ here!

The explusion of monks from their monasteries

Is the explusion of people from NKT Dharma Centres analogous to the Dalai Lama expelling monks from their monasteries?

You say “Long term practitioners, including people ordained and practising moral discipline in the NKT, can be made homeless and/or ostracised by their previous community if the Resident teacher finds their criticism inappropriate”.

It would be wrong for someone to be asked to leave a Centre simply because they had a criticism of a Resident Teacher. Resident Teachers need to deal with personal criticism in a fair and reasonable manner. If someone in a Dharma Centre has a criticism of the Resident Teacher, Geshe-la has said that the student should respectfully discuss this with the Teacher, asking why they acted in the way that they did. If the Teacher has made a mistake, they should admit to it and take steps not to repeat it. The Administrative Director and EPC are also supposed to act if the teacher is behaving incorrectly – this is now in the Internal Rules.

Of course, it doesn’t always work like this as the NKT is not a perfect organization and people make mistakes. For example, I am aware that in your case, Carol, this did not happen and your criticisms of your teacher engaging in sexual conduct might have fallen on deaf ears. It seems at that time that no one in the community of Bodhisattva Centre believed it could be happening. A lot was learnt from the disrobing of Lodro and Thogme and of course it is greatly hoped and prayed for that something like this would not happen again. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to you for any mistake. If this was the only reason you were asked to leave your Centre, I think it was wrong. I don’t know the details of why you were asked to leave, and your teacher is no longer available to question; so I invite you to write about it to New Kadampa Truth if you wish us to look into it (we will respect your privacy).

In general, what the NKT is working towards is accountability on the part of the teacher and the student. If, upon honest reflection, the teacher does not find their criticism to be valid, but the student still does, they can take it up with the National Spiritual Director or the NKT Secretary in an attempt to find a resolution (the student can do this anonymously if they wish). However, if a student is openly criticizing the Resident Teacher, thereby destroying the harmony of the community, they should be asked to stop by the Administrative Director of the Centre. If their open criticism is not valid and they do not stop, they will be asked to leave to maintain the harmony of the community. In almost every case, they will still be able to attend classes, even if they are no longer living at the Centre.

This is a reasonable way to deal with disagreements and disputes in a Dharma Centre, but what you say is not analagous to what the Dalai Lama is doing. Here is an analagous example based on what you have said. Suppose that the Resident Teacher of the Dharma Centre said to the Administrative Director:

Manjushri is not a Buddha but an evil spirit. I have made detailed investigations and have concluded without doubt that this is true. Geshe Kelsang was wrong to see him as a Buddha. We must tell everyone that from now on they must not worship Manjushri. All residents must sign to say that they will not worship Manjushri and if they do not they will be expelled from the Centre. If they ask why, tell them that the Resident Teacher said so and this is very urgent.

Residents would then be forced to swear an oath abandoning Manjushri practice, on pain of being expelled from the Centre. Does this seem right to you?

Furthermore, at least in the case of this happening in the NKT, the residents could go to the NKT Secretary and say “our Resident Teacher has gone crazy!” and that Teacher could be removed. Shugden monks in India have no such recourse. The Dalai Lama is the sole authority – whatever he says goes.

If the same kind of thing happened at the highest level of the NKT, with the General Spiritual Director declaring a complete change of spiritual direction away from Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition, according to the NKT Internal Rules he would be removed by the Education Council.

You say: Just as the resident teachers of the NKT centres of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso promote peace and harmony in his communities by quietening criticism and doubt, the Dalai Lama has needed to reduce the conflicts surrounding Dorje Shugden practice by, in consultation with other senior practitioners, withdrawing support for practitioners.

It is not the same situation at all. If a Dharma Centre resident continually disrupts the harmony of the Centre, and every effort has been made to address their problem to no avail, they will be asked to leave. But the Dorje Shugden monks have not caused any problems. They are simply following the 400-year old tradition of their own Spiritual Guides such as Trijang Rinpoche. It is they who are following tradition, the very tradition that established the Gelugpa monastery in the first place. Since they are actual Gelugpas, why should they be punished?

Furthermore, if a Dharma Centre resident is asked to leave, they will find other accommodation, food and so forth. Residents, ordained or lay, choose freely to live as tenants in Dharma Centres and no expectation is set up that the Centre, their landlord, is responsible for housing them from then on. In the NKT, individuals are responsible for their own livelihood. Sometimes the NKT will offer to sponsor students to do certain jobs, and those students are free to choose whether to accept those jobs. However, again, being sponsored does not automatically guarantee that the person must be sponsored for life, anymore than being employed in any other job.

The Shugden monks have vows not to handle money and so forth that makes it very difficult for them to get jobs or procure food, and they have nothing other than a monastic education. Many of them have been in the monasteries since they were small children. These monks have no way to support themselves. Many have unwillingly had to disrobe over the years so that they could work in menial jobs – some of them are now in America working 12 hours a day in a restaurant where before they were esteemed monks and teachers. Even if those in India had the money, for example from their families, they are not allowed into the shops to buy anything.

You say: He is supporting a majority view. For many years, even though the practice was already ‘banned’, monks and nuns who practised Dorje Shugden were still living in these monasteries.

No, the Dalai Lama is creating a majority view. Let’s pretend for a moment that monks who do not practise Shugden are angry and offended at having to share their resources with Shugden practitioners and that this is why the Shugden monks have to be expelled.

Why would these monks be angry? The only reason would be because they have been told that the Shugden monks are spirit worshippers, not Buddhists, and that their daily practice is sectarian and harms the Dalai Lama and the cause of Tibetan independence. But who told them this? The Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama created the schism, just as he is creating a schism between Western Buddhist practitioners now over the same issue (see the previous point about the FPMT). Shugden practitioners are becoming the ‘Jews of Buddhism’, a persecuted minority because of the Dalai Lama’s propaganda.

We can also ask, “Why were the Shugden monks allowed to live in the monasteries until now?” Bearing in mind that Shugden monks had been living peacefully side by side with all the other monks for decades, and they were all like brothers, perhaps it is because the Abbots of these monasteries know that there is nothing wrong with Dorje Shugden. They just hoped that the Dalai Lama was experiencing some temporary madness and would change his mind. Their heart was not in it. This seems to be born out by some of the Dalai Lama’s increasingly insistent speeches, a sample of which I’ll repeat here:

The Dalai Lama gave a speech at Drepung Monastery on 7th January 2008 saying:

With strong emotion, Samdhong Lama accused Shugden devotees, saying that they have made open and overt contact with the People’s Republic of China.

He adds that he thinks it is very difficult for the monks to remain like fish and tadpoles together in the three monasteries of the Gelug Tradition.

The Dalai Lama is preparing a reason to purge the monasteries. Later the Dalai Lama had a meeting with the abbots of the monasteries. He rebuked the Shartse abbot, saying:

‘Shugden devotees are growing in your monastery. If you are this inept, you had better resign.’

The Dalai Lama also reprimanded the Jangtse abbot, saying:

‘You said that the monastery is clean, but there are still some Shugden devotees. You must do better.’

Who is the driving force behind ‘purging’ the monasteries’? Only the Dalai Lama. In his crusade to stamp out the practice of Dorje Shugden, everyone has to do what he says or leave.

The status of the ban and treatment of monks in India

You say: If this ‘ban’ was illegal then surely some government or human rights association would be backing your claims.

It is progress that the fact of the ban is no longer being disputed due to the wealth of evidence on the Internet, including in the Dalai Lama’s own speeches, that a ban is in force. This ban is illegal. There is currently an attempt to get the Dalai Lama to answer for his ban of Dorje Shugden in court in India because he has broken the Indian law by practising Deity discrimination.

As far as support by human rights associations are concerned, there are two things that need to happen. Firstly people have to accept that human rights abuses are taking place and secondly they have to want to do something about them.

It is going to take time for them to want to recognize that the Dalai Lama is abusing human rights. Because the Dalai Lama’s media profile is so high and positive, there is a natural resistance to taking these stories of abuse seriously. It’s like being told that the Husband of the Year is beating his wife! Also the plight of the Tibetans is so poignant – someone recently described them as the “seal pups of the international community” – and people have felt (though of course this is changing) that the Dalai Lama is their only future. So people are not in a hurry to accept such truths.

However, when it becomes clear what the Dalai Lama is doing, it is going to be hugely disappointing to many people. The Dalai Lama was a symbol of hope for many people, but when they realize that the Nobel peace prize winner has been waging his own private war against his own people, while at the same time hypocritically talking about love, compassion, tolerance and religious freedom, they will be understandably upset and their faith in Buddhism will be shaken.

Although the Dalai Lama’s supporters accuse us of being his enemy, actually we are trying to protect the Dalai Lama from the inevitable embarassment that he will experience when all this politicking and abuse become public knowledge. It may not be in the interest of Buddhism for the Dalai Lama’s reputation to be destroyed, but so far he’s doing a very good job of destroying it himself through his own un-Buddhist actions.

So far, a few brave Buddhists are shouting “Dalai Lama, stop lying” and perhaps it is not getting widespread media attention. However, as time goes on, more and more people will become aware that the Dalai Lama is not what he seems. How much better it would be for the Dalai Lama and his followers and supporters if he lifted the ban now, before it is too late


Another Reply to the Bodhisattva Centre Protestors, Part Two

September 14, 2008

Dear Carol and friends, here we continue our answers to your questions!

Questions about Dorje Shugden

Is the practice of Dorje Shugden modern?

The practice of Dorje Shugden can implicitly be traced back to the time of Buddha Shakyamuni because, at that time, one of Buddha’s eight Bodhisattva disciples was Manjushri, and Manjushri and Dorje Shugden are the same person.

Buddha Shakyamuni encouraged many of his disciples such as King Ajatashatru to rely on Manjushri because they had a strong karmic connection with him. In the same way, Gelugpa teachers such as Je Phabongkhapa, the late Panchen Lama Chokyi Gyaltsen, Tomo Geshe Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche and Geshe Kelsang and Sakya Teachers such as Sachen Kunga Lodro, Morchen Dorjechang Kunga Lhundrup and Dagchen Trinley Rinchen have encouraged disciples to rely on Dorje Shugden because of their strong karmic connection with this particular embodiment of Manjushri.

Manjushri manifests as many different Dharma Protectors, such as the various Mahakalas and Kalarupa. It is accepted by the Dalai Lama and his followers that these Protectors are manifestations of Manjushri, but not Dorje Shugden. Why? If your Teacher tells you “Mahakala is Manjushri” and he also says “Dorje Shugden is Manjushri”, why believe one statement and not the other?

The point is the Dalai Lama doesn’t trust his own lineage Gurus, and in particular his teacher Trijang Rinpoche. The Dalai Lama previously referred to Trijang Rinpoche as his root guru:

‘I received the transmission of the guru yoga (Lama Chopa Guru Yoga Practice) from my root guru, the late Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche.’  – Dalai Lama  – The Union of Bliss and Emptiness, Snow Lion Pub.1988.

Rejecting any Buddhist teaching is one of the “great faults”, but the Dalai Lama seems to think he has the wisdom to decide what people should practice and what they should not, even though his view is clearly not in keeping with his teachers’ and he does not have the spiritual authority of being the head of any lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Such interference in the religious practices of others by a political leader is unheard of in the history of Buddhism.

Refuting that Dorje Shugden is separate from Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition

You ask: If you live in a residential centre of the NKT you are also not allowed to engage in the religious practices of another tradition. For instance, you would not be allowed to have a picture of the Dalai Lama on your shrine. What difference is there in this and in the situation in India?

(It is not completely clear to me what you are comparing here, so let me know if I have missed your point). I personally know of several NKT residents who have pictures or books of the Dalai Lama in their rooms, and this is not disallowed — much less have these residents been asked to leave, as is sometimes claimed elsewhere. We don’t have pictures of the Dalai Lama on the Centre shrines as he is not the NKT’s (or Gelugpa’s for that matter) Spiritual Guide or lineage Guru (see Smear: NKT has split away from the Dalai Lama). It is unlikely that many of the Dalai Lama’s followers have a picture of Geshe Kelsang on their shrines for the same reason! In India, even pictures of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche are currently being removed from monasteries.

The situation in the monasteries in India is that over a thousand monks have been expelled (from the homes they have lived in since they were children, in many cases). This is for the crime of continuing to do a beneficial spiritual practice they have done their entire lives in those same monasteries, taught to them by their beloved Spiritual Guides who were Abbots, high Lamas and so on of those monasteries. In many cases, they have a life entrustment to do this practice. Some who chose the expediency of giving in to the Dalai Lama and giving up their reliance on their Spiritual Guide have described it as having their heart ripped out.

Just to get this into context, the practice of relying upon Dorje Shugden was a key practice of Je Phabongkhapa (the most famous Gelug Lama in the first part of the twentieth century) and of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche (the most famous Gelug Lama in the second half of that century). Since the Gelug tradition was by far the largest of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, it is safe to assume that relying upon Dorje Shugden was a key practice of a large proportion of Tibetan Buddhists at the time of the Chinese invasion and in the early years of the Tibetan diaspora.

Meanwhile, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) have followed the Dalai Lama’s suit and recently barred from their Centres anyone who practices Dorje Shugden. This policy of discrimination is stated clearly on their website, and it seems extraordinary that, in this day and age, no one in the FPMT or elsewhere has questioned it. The NKT does not have anything remotely comparable to this policy and allows anyone to attend teachings; and yet it is accused by its detractors of sectarianism. If the NKT had a blatant policy of sectarianism like the one spelt out on the FPMT website, there would be a huge outcry. Naturally, the NKT would never hear the end of it. So why is there not even a small outcry about the FPMT’s policy? It seems because they feel safe hiding behind the popularity of the Dalai Lama, assuming that people will not question it; and, so far, they are correct in this assumption.

It may be worth pointing out that the Dalai Lama’s discrediting of Dorje Shugden is not simply an attack upon a Dharma Protector who, being a Buddha, needs no defending. Because relying upon Dorje Shugden was a key practice of Je Phabongkhapa and his disciples, an attack on Dorje Shugden is an attack on the spiritual heritage of all these Buddhist masters. If it is true, as the Dalai Lama claims, that Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit, it follows that these and many other Buddhist masters were relying upon an evil spirit — thus discrediting them, their followers, their Gelugpa tradition and their lineages of spiritual transmission. It is this, along with the unprecedented attempt to forcibly ban this practice, that Dorje Shugden practitioners find so unacceptable. They are not saying that non-Dorje Shugden practitioners are not entitled to their own religious practices and traditions, only that they are entitled to theirs.

Is the ‘Dorje Shugden problem’ a political issue?

You say: Concern for the ‘Tibetan people’ is a ‘political’ cause but concern for Dorje Shugden practitioners is not?

Tibet is a country that has a Government in Exile (TGIE) and the issues of Tibet are the issues of the government and political by nature. The practice of Dorje Shugden is an essential part of Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition and it is a spiritual practice. Campaigning for religious freedom is very important because it affects the spiritual lives of Buddhists. The WSS believes that by practising Buddha’s teachings people can attain permanent liberation from suffering. If these teachings are lost or corrupted, there will be no possiblity of finding permanent release from suffering; so maintaining these teachings is a religious and not a political issue.

It may be uncomfortable to hear but, according to Buddha’s teachings, politics, such as campaigning for a free Tibet, will never lead to permanent liberation from suffering, whereas restoring and protecting a pure spiritual practice that can get people out of samsara will.

You say: If this is about religious freedom and not a political issue, why can’t the NKT itself protest against the Dalai Lama? If it is a political issue then why are members of the NKT engaging in Tibetan politics when the NKT pertains to be non-political?

I can understand your confusion. This problem comes from not distinguishing between the religious and the political dual role of the Dalai Lama. I believe even the Dalai Lama has this problem.

The pure practice of Dorje Shugden has never been ‘Tibetan politics’. The Dalai Lama has made Dorje Shugden into a political scapegoat, blaming his failure to get Tibetan independence on the worship of this Deity. All the WSS is trying to do is to protect the lineage of Je Tsongkhapa. Why is this political? Who is engaging in politics here?

The NKT itself does not protest against the Dalai Lama because many more people than those in the NKT are affected by the Dalai Lama’s ban. As mentioned above, there are many Gelugpas in this world. The WSS is an ad-hoc association of Dorje Shugden practitioners. It is not only the NKT that disagrees with what the Dalai Lama has done.

You say: If Tibetan problems are nothing to do with the WSS then why are you protesting against the Tibetan political leader about his management of Tibetan monasteries? There is no ban on practising Dorje Shugden for NKT practitioners. Do you wish to have the approval of the Dalai Lama?

If the Dalai Lama is a political leader, why is he involved in the management of Tibetan monasteries? This would be like President Bush making decisions about what US Dharma Centres do.

The Dalai Lama wants to have his cake and to eat it – he wants to be a politician and he wants to be a spiritual leader at the same time. These roles are incompatible. With all due respect, confusion over what he is seems evident from your questions and responses, and I think this confusion stems from his ambiguous dual role – is he the political or the religious leader? What does he want from the world and its people? Even the media is often unsure how to refer to him and world politicians are ambivalent about whether or not to meet with him. His theocratic role is unique in this modern world and, for those who disagree with him, there is no recourse because of it.

Practitioners of Dorje Shugden will probably never get the Dalai Lama’s approval, which of course makes many of them very sad, as you can see from their stories on this video. But what they need is the freedom to practice, the freedom not to be ostracised from their communities, and the freedom not to be demonized as non-Buddhists engaging in ‘cult-like’ practices worshipping an evil spirit. Since the Dalai Lama is the source of this slander, the Western Shugden Society need him to retract his statements and give religious freedom; nothing more.

I’ll post the final part of the replies tomorrow. Once again, thank you Carol for the opportunity to answer your questions. Hopefully these answers will be helpful for others also who are wrestling with doubts, at least enough for them to respect this position even if they do not agree with it.


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