Gaden Phodrang [the Dalai Lama Institute] and Dolgyal

As far as the position of the Great 5th Dalai Lama is concerned, he had recognised Dolgyal as a pitiable spirit of strained commitments, born from erroneous prayers. As such, His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama also opposed the practice of Dolgyal. Some elderly monks told me that once when His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama visited Drepung Ngagkhang [Tantric Monastery], he instructed them to remove a statue of Dolgyal that they had there. His Holiness was also not happy with Kyabje Phabongkha for his promotion of Dolgyal; this is very clearly mentioned in the two-volume biography of Kyabje Phabongkha, written by his secretary Lobsang Dorji. As such, the propitiation of Dolgyal is not beneficial, and is wrong. I don’t feel I am wrong in discouraging it. However, I made the mistake of propitiating this spirit that His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama had recognised as a spirit with distorted commitments who came into being by the force of erroneous prayers, and whose propitiation was said by His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama to be a breach of commitments pertaining to the refuge mind. In the Vinaya tradition, during the confession ceremony for the monastics, one is asked this: “Have you recognised these mistakes as mistakes? To that, one responds: “Yes, I have”. Again one is asked: “Will you observe proper abstinence from committing these mistakes in future? To this, one replies: “Yes, I will”. In the same manner, I have accepted my past mistake and made a commitment not to repeat it. In this manner, I gave up the propitiation of Dolgyal. Not only that, but as Dolgyal had strained his relationship with the Great 5th Dalai Lama, the founder of Gaden Phodrang, as well as the institution of Gaden Phodrang itself, I feel that hailing such a spirit as a holy being is detrimental to the wellbeing of Gaden Phodrang’s political activities. Therefore, this is one reason why I have opposed the practice of Dolgyal.

Dolgyal’s spirit house known as Trode Khangsar used to be in Lhasa. I know a monk from Pomra Khangtsen of Sera-Mey Monastery. He told me that the caretaker of Dolgyal’s shrine room at Trode Khangsar was an elderly monk [of Sermey Pomra called Minli Jangchup Gyaltsen] who did not know much about Tibet’s political affairs. He had shared this with the other monk whom I met later. This monk relayed this information to me that when Gyalchen Shugden came into trance, probably on some important occasions, he would go to the gate of his shrine, and by hurling a lance [spear] in the air [probably in the direction of Potala Palace], he would say: “Gaden Phodrang, take this, or may this hit on the head of Gaden Phodrang”. I was told that he even saw obtrusive marks on the ground made by hurling the lance over and again. I am not sure if this happened every time he went into trance; but it probably happened on important occasions. So, it is quite clear that from Dolgyal’s side, there is animosity against Gaden Phodrang.

[On 15th March, 2000, in Mungod Tibetan settlement in south India, His Holiness spoke on Dolgyal during a long-life ceremony that they conducted for His Holiness. The following is an excerpt from that.]      

My opposition to Dolgyal is not something that I have come out with on a whim. His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama was also strongly opposed to Dolgyal, and had recognised him as a perfidious spirit with strained commitments. This is very clearly written in his own works. Phurchok Ngawang Jampa and many other eminent Geluk Lamas were also very critical of Dolgyal. We must look into their works and think. Since he was born as a perfidious spirit after falling out with Gaden Phodrang, that he would try to bring disasters on Gaden Phodrang is inevitable. The 13th Dalai Lama also opposed Dolgyal’s practice.

Is it not pathetic on his part that when Dolgyal came to know of the demise of His Holiness in advance, he rejoiced about it by announcing the date in advance in a high triumphal tone of celebration? Although the whole of Tibet was overwhelmed with sadness when His Holiness passed away, that Dolgyal spoke of this day in a high triumphal tone of celebration proves his ruthlessness. Someone who believes in and has love for the government of [Tibet] Gaden Phodrang, and who remain grateful to it should really think properly on this matter. In a document disseminated by Shugden followers, they said that their argument is against Gaden Phodrang. It is true that this issue of Dolgyal started from the time of Gaden Phodrang’s establishment. At the time of the Great 5th Dalai Lama, the residence of Zimkhang Gong [of Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen] was destroyed after Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen’s death, and all the stones and earth were moved to where they were gathered from. If their argument is on this, I would welcome it. Starting from the Great 5th Dalai Lama, the stench of animosity held by Dolgyal continued throughout the successive reincarnations. This disagreement, if traced backward, will also need to begin with 1st Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Gedun Drupa, and his successive reincarnations. They [Dolgyal and his advocates] may have some reasons for their arguments against Gaden Phodrang.

In gist, it is important to know all aspects of this issue. Recently, some research on the past historical backgrounds was conducted; still it is vital to carry further research in the future. However, when you look into past historical accounts, we should be free from all prejudice and misinterpretations. As far as history is concerned, we cannot simply pick up what is in our favour and overlook or reject the other unfavorable and unfortunate events. We need to present history honestly as it actually happened, without any alteration. However, in being overwhelmed by a biased state of mind and loyalty that is overwhelmed by ignorance, if you fail to see the truth, it is sad. Having looked into all aspects of the issue and while being fully aware of everything, if you protest against the Dalai Lama’s position, then you have complete freedom to do as you deem appropriate; on a personal level, it will not affect me.