Choosing one’s own path by a democratic referendum

[An excerpt from His Holiness’ speech given at Drepung Loseling Monastery in south India in 2008]

At such a time, if people were still to live together with Dolgyal practitioners, many will continue to face problems. Not long ago, Dolgyal practitioners have written petitions to the Indian government requesting their intervention and protection from the violation of their religious right being pursued by the Dalai Lama. The Indian government has also given them their answer. So, now this has reached a critical phase. Until now, I have expressed my view on the risks and benefits associated with the propitiation of Dolgyal. It is my moral responsibility to warn people of the faults of the practice, which I have realised through my own experiences. I have also given historical references from the authentic Buddhist scriptures to support my points. To listen to me or not is your individual decision. I have never forced people to give up their propitiation of Dolgyal.  Right from the beginning, I have been citing from the text of Cache Phalu that says thus:

‘I, Cache Phalu, have given you my heartfelt advice;
Whether to listen to them or not is entirely up to you.’

I have neither forced people to listen to me in the past nor am I doing it now. However, it is improper if you maintained an indifferent stance; it’s time to make one’s position clear. In the supreme Vinaya tradition, there are seven means of resolving differences such as the choosing of coloured sticks or the distribution of grasses. In the modern democratic tradition, there is the word ‘referendum’ which means resolving differences by reaching a decision through a majority vote. Now, the time has come for us to ask the public and find the majority.  As all of you return back to your own respective monasteries after this ceremony at Loseling monastery, you will vote whether or not you would favour the practice of Dolgyal. You will also decide through referendum whether you want to socially and religiously associate with the practitioners of Dolgyal. You can sign either in favour or against these two questions. Nobody will be forced to any choose side. If the outcome is that a majority of 60% favours the practice, henceforth, I will never speak even one word on this issue. From then onward, whatever outcome might ensue, you will be accountable. However, if more than 60% or 70% of you vote not to practise and vow to entirely disassociate socially and spiritually from the practitioners of Dolgyal, then we have to think about what measures should be taken.

Actually, the practitioners of Dolgyal have no reason to come here to India. We have come here because of our disapproval of the Chinese policies in Tibet. The Dolgyal practitioners are being cared for and favoured by the Chinese government.  So, it’s best for them to go where they are given solace. There is no reason why they should stay here. Have you understood? If the majority of you decide to propitiate Dolgyal, I have nothing to say except ‘Okay, fine’. Personally, your decisions will not make any difference to me. In the past, I had also propitiated Dolgyal. However, I had confessed my mistakes in front of all past lineage masters and made a proper decision of embracing the proper and abandoning the improper. If many of you were to side with the practice of Dolgyal, it is entirely your right to do so.