The Gist of Dolgyal/Shugden’s Controversy

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is the most widely known face associated with Tibet on this earth. Although His Holiness had devolved his political power, he continues to remain an indispensible source of inspiration for the Tibetans and a symbol of compassion for the world. Having passed on the torch of Tibet’s political struggle to an elected leadership, His Holiness now focuses more on fulfilling his first two commitments, promotion of human values and religious harmony. Being the most respected Buddhist leader in the world and the highest religious authority in the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism — that fundamentally adheres to the Nalanda tradition of Buddhism — His Holiness the Dalai Lama has the moral responsibility of guiding his followers in general, and particularly the six million Tibetans who revere him as the Buddha of compassion.

One of the advice of His Holiness is his warning on the risks associated with the propitiation of a controversial spirit called Shugden. This advice comes from years of experience and religious modes of investigation. The acceptance of Shugden [Dolgyal] in the Buddhist community has always remained controversial since its coming into being at the time of the Great 5th Dalai Lama [1617-1682] who explicitly referred to Shugden as a perilous spirit. Except a handful of unfortunate Tibetans who did not understand his advice and others who are driven by their influence, the rest of the Tibetans have taken His Holiness’ advice very seriously.

Shugden’s initial name was Dolgyal, and according to Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s Commentary to the Eulogy of Shugden, Dorje Shugden is the name given to it by the Sakyapas. Although local land deities and spirits are traditionally propitiated in the Tibetan society, this practice is not an integral part of Buddhism. Seeking refuge in a worldly spirit automatically disqualifies oneself from being a Buddhist. Thus, the propitiation of worldly spirits or protectors is only done by keeping them in their place as spirits or worldly protectors and not elevating them to the status of Buddhas or as objects of refuge. An individual practitioner might view a particular spirit as an emanation of a Buddha or a Boddhisattva on the higher paths, but so long as it appears as an ordinary spirit that enters a medium, we have to base our practice on that appearance. This is in line with the Buddhist precept of not taking refuge in anything except the Three Jewels. Many past masters had declared Dolgyal as a perfidious spirit. However, Kyabje Phabongkha Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche — who did not seem to have come across the works of the Great 5th Dalai Lama that reveal Dolgyal’s true nature — had accepted him as a protector. However, as there is much inconsistency in their own version of Dolgyal’s story, one wonders how much investigation they had done before accepting him as an authentic spirit.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama initially got associated with Dolgyal due to many factors, one of which was his closeness to Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. However, after years of investigation, His Holiness finally gave up propitiating Dolgyal. His Holiness was totally convinced that the propitiation of Dolgyal was more harmful than beneficial. However, he never made that public in the beginning; he only gave advice to a few individuals. Later, proponents of Shugden overtly declared the practice of Shugden as an indispensible and integral part of Buddhism. Consequently, His Holiness had to explain his position properly and started speaking more emphatically on the issue.

His advice against the practice of Dolgyal comes not only from his years of experience as a practitioner, but also from historical sources traceable to more than three hundred years back. The 4th Panchen Lama, Lobsang Choekyi Gyaltsen [1570-1662], and the Great 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso [1617-1682], were the two most important Lamas of Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen [1619-1656]. In his auto-biography, the Great 5th Dalai Lama mentions about a perilous spirit from Dol Chumi Karmo [a place in the Lokha region of Tibet] on which and its following of vicious spirits he had performed wrathful exorcisms to stop their vicious activities. However, it was not mentioned who the spirit was. The auto-biography states that an attestation was written at the time of exorcism. This attestation is found in the Volume Da of his work. In it, it states very clearly that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen was born as a perilous spirit called Dolgyal. The attestation also states that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen succeeded in being wrongly recognised as the reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Gelek Pelsang due to the deceitful ploy of his mother, and that he took birth as a sanctimonious and perilous spirit after his untimely death due to distorted prayers and evil motives. The Great 5th Dalai Lama declared that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen was not the true reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Gelek Pelsang. Thus, if this is true, then relating Tulku Dakpa Gelek’s story of past reincarnations to Panchen Sonam Dakpa or Buton Rinpoche has no basis at all; above all, the claim of his being an emanation of Manjushri has no formidable basis if he was not the true reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Gelek Pelsang [the third reincarnation of Panchen Sonam Dakpa]. However, Shugden fanatics have a different version of history. It is therefore crucial to have a good understanding of both positions and see which makes more sense.

The practice of Shugden initially started with the Sakyas, although it was not practised widely among them. However, its acceptance was not without contention. Shugden’s association with the Sakya tradition started with Sakya Dakchen Sonam Rinchen [1702-1741] and was continued by some of the Sakya hierarchal heads. Despite that, many other eminent Sakya masters vehemently opposed its practice. Presently, no individual or monastery in the Sakya practises Shugden. As far as its association with the Geluk tradition is concerned, its practice was initially taken up by a few individuals in Gaden Monastery around the time of Trichen Ngawang Chogden [1677-1751], the principal tutor to the 7th Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Kelsang Gyatso. Trichen Ngawang Chokgden expelled Dolgyal from Gaden Monastery during his term as the Gaden Tripa [the hierarchical head of the Geluk tradition] there. It was only in the beginning of the 20th century that Dolgyal’s practice became something of a fashion during the time of Dakpo Kelsang Khedrup, Kirti Lobsang Trinley and Phabongkha Dechen Nyingpo. Thus, as all of them belonged to the same time, it can be safely concluded that Dolgyal’s active association with the Geluk tradition happened only in the 20th Century. To confirm this truth, you may refer to the Shugden Bebum. The first volume of the Shugden Bebum was initially compiled by the Mongolian scholar Lobsang Tamdin; the second was later added by Sogpo Lama Gurudeva of Mongolia who included the works of Phabongkha Rinpoche and others in it.

Kyabje Phabongkha Rinpoche and some of his disciples were responsible for the rampant spread of Shugden’s practice after the 13th Dalai Lama passed away. In due course of time, many Geluk monasteries adopted Shugden as one of their protectors. Kyabje Phabongkha’s legacy was continued by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche. Gradually, most of the Geluk monasteries in which these three Lamas had influence came to associate themselves with the practice of Shugden. This is how the practice of Shugden got its way into the Geluk tradition.

For sometime in the middle of the 20th century, Shugden became popular with its overt nature of practice in many Buddhist monasteries. This was solely due to the promotion of its practice by Kyabje Phabongkha Rinpoche who was the root Lama of Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, both of whom were the two official tutors to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Kyabje Ling Rinpoche never practised Shugden while Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche upheld the Shugden teachings of Phabongkha Rinpoche. Beside these two masters, His Holiness had more than twenty other masters from whom he had received innumerable teachings. Except Trijang Rinpoche, none of them practised Shugden. Basically, it is also not mandatory for a student to follow his teacher in every step, especially if a particular practice deviates from the mainstream of the Buddha’s teaching. His Holiness started advising his followers against Shugden’s practice since the late 1970’s when Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche was very much alive, and who at the time never objected to His Holiness’ advice. Although Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche wrote quite extensively on the practice of Shugden, unlike the contemporary Shugden fanatics who are vehemently criticising His Holiness for giving his advice, no Tibetan ever staged any form of public protest against Trijang Rinpoche for his difference of opinion on Shugden with their own masters, or for writing so much in favour of a spirit that has remained controversial ever since its coming into being.

His Holiness’s advice against the propitiation of Shugden/Dolgyal was taken seriously by majority of those who used to practise it; they forsook the practice for the greater good of themselves and of Tibet as a nation. However, a handful of unfortunate Tibetans have been raising their objections against His Holiness’ advice. It is allegedly believed that they receive financial support from China. These Tibetans and their gullible counterparts, western Shugden fanatics, are the ones who stage protests against His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his international visits. NKT’s role in spearheading their defamatory campaigns against His Holiness is led by Kelsang Gyatso, who himself had received many teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He had received the Kalachakra empowerment at Norbulingka palace in Tibet in 1954, the White Tara initiation and the explanatory transmission of the whole set of Lamrim Chenmo [Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment by Tsongkhapa] at Dharmasala in 1966, the lengthiest Lamrim teaching that His Holiness ever gave which lasted for two months. These are those that are recollected by one of his classmates, the present Jangtse Choeje Rinpoche, and remembered by Gen Lamrimpa Jamphel Tenzin, a hermit [as written in his rebuttal that refutes the practice of Shugden], both of whom remembered sitting next to Kelsang Gyatso during those teachings. There might be many other teachings that Kelsang Gyatso had received from His Holiness but chose to forget. He now pretends that he is not bound by any religious commitment to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and openly instructs his students to protest against His Holiness. His western students, who are spiritually no match against the knowledge, experience and realisation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, are now blindly following their master’s order to bring maximum pressure on His Holiness, hoping that such pressures would let His Holiness forsake his position on Shugden.

They have now formed various groups such as International Shugden Community, Western Shugden Society and so forth, all of which have only one agenda, vilifying the Dalai Lama. They run various websites that only work on highlighting their concocted version of the Tibetan politics and try to create an impression that Shugden practitioners in India and Tibet are facing great danger from the Dalai Lama and CTA. Such people share their common vicious designs with a few Tibetans who have betrayed their own Lama, their own nation and its people. While these Tibetans are overwhelmed by their own ignorance of the ideal practice of Buddhism, it is also believed that they receive financial support from China which uses them to meet her own political agendas. Lama Tsetra Rinpoche from the erstwhile Pomra Khangtsen of Sera Mey Monastery — who was one of the four top executives of the Dorje Shugden Devotee’s Religious and Charitable Trust since 1997-2008 — publicly testified that Shugden fanatics like Gangchen Lama and Kunchok Gyaltsen have been working closely with the Chinese and that attempts have been made on the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The VOA Tibetan program interviewed him and broadcasted the interview on its evening program in India on the 14th of Oct, 2015. He had apologised to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan public for his own role which he confessed was a big mistake on his part. Earlier, he also gave many other such public interviews elsewhere. Recently, Gangchen Lama and Dechen Tulku, two Shugden fanatics living in US and Italy have attended the World Buddhist Forum in China. Although there are so many great masters in Tibet and outside Tibet who could represent the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism, why did China chose two of the most aggressive Dalai Lama critics and Shugden fanatics for this conference?

From these, it can be safely concluded that under the pretext of defending their religious freedom and preserving the purity of Tsongkhapa’s tradition, Shugden fanatics are blindly walking towards the precipice, not knowing that they are completely deluded either by the falsified stories of Shugden’s miracles, or by the lure of money that brings an ephemeral sense of achievement.

As His Holiness is the most learned, renowned and respected Buddhist master in our world of Buddhism, a Buddhist master of his calibre and stature has every right to advise his followers, who look up to him for guidance, in a manner that accords with the Buddha’s teachings. This is not a deprivation of religious freedom as nobody was forced to give up his/her propitiation of the spirit; neither was there any exploitation of their human rights or persecution of those who did not give up Shugden. Tibetan Shugden fanatics have founded their own separate monasteries to conduct their own Shugden practice; they now live in them along with their Nepalese recruits gathered from poor Nepalese villages and enjoy every freedom of worshipping Dolgyal as long as they desire. Giving them separate lands with a place for practice within the Tibetan settlements in India is actually more of respecting their religious right than depriving it. The fact that the general Tibetans have shunned themselves away from them is not any religious or racial segregation, but purely a public movement that sends a clear signal to the Chinese that they cannot lure us all with their money to give up our struggle; those few short sighted Tibetans have fallen prey to the vicious designs of the Chinese government that pretends as if it cares about them, although the truth remains that the Chinese have befriended them only because they have found an easily accessible tool to be used against the Dalai Lama and his people. Therefore, this stand by the majority of the Tibetans — of disassociating ourselves from the Shugden fanatics — amounts to taking a stand that benevolent citizens of any country would take against those who threaten their national security and unity. For the patriotic Tibetans who dream of returning to Tibet and reviving her freedom, this stand is a significant one if we were to fence ourselves against Chinese infiltrations that derail our national struggle or impede its momentum. In our dedication to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and our common cause for Tibet, no force can break our spirit. Therefore, those who have openly declared their animosity against His Holiness will never find friendship in our Tibetan society as ours is a society in which the His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the heart that beats and the blood that runs in its veins.

Tibet has been a country of spirituality for centuries and the sentiments connected with religious belief are very strong in our society. Although the real taste of Buddhism lies in its profound philosophical views and its rational and scientific approach to reality, unfortunately, it is also true that many practise it as more of a faith than a systematic practice of personal development through recognising the improper thoughts and combating them with the proper ones and enhancing them. Although worshipping mundane spirits for seeking mundane help is not totally forbidden in Buddhism, it is not an integral part of Buddhism and seeking to do so or portraying it as such is a deliberate act of exploiting and diluting the authentic form of Buddhism; thus, either intentionally or unintentionally, it contributes to the degradation and devaluation of Buddhism.

With regards to the practice of Shugden or Dolgyal, although they have no real authentic sources in any of the more than 100 volumes of the Buddha’s own teachings translated into Tibetan and more than 220 volumes of commentaries by our ancient Indian masters, they have lifted the status of an ordinary spirit to the height of a Buddha, even calling it an emanation of Manjushri, the Buddha of wisdom. Although a few Tibetans Lamas’ writings of eulogy for the spirit carry such a reference, we have to see how far such references could be trusted, and what kind of authentic scriptural sources and valid reasonings they have for calling the spirit a Buddha. Beside, Buddhism is the teaching of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni. Therefore, without any origin in the authentic teachings of the Buddha, such a claim cannot be considered valid.

His Holiness’ difference of view on Dolgyal with Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche cannot be considered an act of repudiating his master. This is also not a violation of anyone’s religious freedom. However, his advice against the practice of Shugden has been attacked with a lot of biased and bogus accusations. Dolgyal fanatics have approached the Amnesty International and the Human Rights Commission of India for intervention, accusing His Holiness of human rights violation. Finding no basis for such accusations, their case was rejected by these two human right bodies. They also tried to file a case against His Holiness in the Delhi High Court but got rejected due to lack of credibility and evidence.

The practice associated with this spirit is a sectarian one. Phabongkha Rinpoche [1878-1941], who was a staunch proponent of this practice, is their main inspiration behind it. His promotion of the practice of Shugden was received with great displeasure and reprimand by His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama [1876-1933], who was Tibet’s spiritual and political leader at the time. Although Phabongkha Rinpoche’s attainment of prominence was solely due to the favouritism and compassion showered upon him by the 13th Dalai Lama, in the later part of the 13th Dalai Lama’s life, he restricted the public teachings of Phabongkha Rinpoche for many years until His Holiness himself passed away.

In the spiritual world of religions, many religious bigots try to portray the greatness of their own tradition, often in a despicable manner of denigrating and belittling other traditions. Phabongkha’s association with Shugden/Dolgyal led to the destruction of statues of Padmasambhava— the apostle and the most prominent religious saint who founded the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and one of the most important figures among those who laid the foundation of Buddhism in Tibet — as well as the destruction of many religious texts of the Nyingma tradition and the conversion of many monasteries of other traditions into the Geluk tradition to which he belonged. This is clearly mentioned in the biography of Jigme Dhamchoe Gyatso [1891-1946] who was one of the most famous Buddhist masters during Phabongkha’s time. In the biography of Jigme Dhamchoe Gyatso as written by his student Tseten Shabdrung Rinpoche [1910-1985], it speaks about a petition a prominent Nyingma master Jamyang Khyentse Choeki Lodro [1893-1959] had sent to Jigme Dhamchoe Gyatso, requesting his intervention in stopping the religious sectarian movement being carried out by Phabongka Rinpoche’s students who blindly followed the deceitful instigation of Shugden or his retinue. This account is a reflection of the sectarian attitude Phabongka Rinpoche had held, which was not his own initiative, but rather an unfortunate example of how a sincere Lama could fall prey to the heinous designs of a perfidious spirit.

Traditionally, we have a practice of summoning spirit through a medium by performing invitational and invocation-rituals. Some of the spirits are known to have limited clairvoyance and Tibetans like to consult them on many matters. That’s how these spirits came to be linked with social as well as religious activities in Tibet. The story behind the origin of Shugden is connected to his fallout with His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama, one of his own teachers. According to the biography of Terton Gyurme Lingpa, one of the main Lamas who had performed wrathful exorcisms against Dolgyal, Dolgyal had even cast his hexes against the Great 5th Dalai Lama, and that the Dalai Lama’s illness faded away after the last exorcism on Dolgyal and his following of evil spirits was performed. Trijang Rinpoche’s Commentary to the Eulogy of Dolgyal states that even Potala Palace was shaken by the power of Shugden’s wrath. The Great 5th Dalai Lama’s autobiography states that his principal minister Desi Sonam Rabten succumbed to the spell cast upon him by Dolgyal. Shugden fanatics consider this as a means of displaying Shugden’s spiritual attainments and power. One wonders if such a display is needed to be performed against Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen’s [Dolgyal in his past life was Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen] root master [the Great 5th Dalai Lama] from whom he had received many Tantric empowerments and other teachings, and who ideally should be revered as a real Buddha. Dolgyal’s killing of Desi Sonam Rabten naturally casts doubt on his devotion to the Great 5th Dalai Lama. Desi Sonam Rabten was also the chief attendant of the 4th and the 5th Dalai Lama. Choesang Gyaltsen [Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen’s initial name as a child] did not succeed in getting enthroned as the reincarnation of the 4th Dalai Lama despite all efforts by his mother, before she succeeded in getting him recognised as the reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Gelek Pelsang. Had he been recognised as the reincarnation of the 4th Dalai Lama, he could have become the ultimate political and spiritual authority in Tibet. His failure to dethrone the Great 5th Dalai Lama by colluding with Nangso Norbu, an official in the cabinet of the Great 5th Dalai Lama, by marrying the latter with one of his own sisters further disappointed Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen. These are some of the main reasons for his antagonism against the Great 5th Dalai Lama and Desi Sonam Rabten. We will provide more clarity with evidence to support this conclusion. Dolgyal continued antagonism against the Institute of the Dalai Lamas and the vicious designs of Shugden fanatics in opposing the present Dalai Lama [the 9th reincarnation of the Great 5th Dalai Lama] only seem to support the story of Dolgyal’s birth as a perilous spirit from having fallen out with his own master.

Shugden groups such NKT continue to lure innocents with promises of much spiritual achievement, ultimately letting them succumb to the invasion of cultism. Stuck deep in such cultish behaviour, they have deviated from the main stream of Buddhism. Sources tell us that the NKT community receives considerable funding from the British government. If this is the case, then it is unfortunate that the money that comes from the people of UK, which was meant for good purposes, is somehow being used for promoting a cultish tradition. The members of NKT have founded groups such as International Shugden Community, Western Shugden Society and so forth, and sheltering under the masks of such groups, they plan their ruthless protests against His Holiness and make it appear as if NKT is not directly involved in it. These western Shugden devotees are only amateurs misguided by their Tibetan compatriots, and as a gesture of showing undeserved loyalty to their teachers they blindly take on to the street, thus shaming themselves as well their own communities. For any sensible person, the act of trying to argue with His Holiness on such a technical spiritual issue amounts to arguing against the world’s most renowned quantum physicist that his theory of relativity is a bluff.

Tibetans involved in the practice of Shugden could easily go to Tibet or China and receive special Chinese favoritism even if they are outside China. Shugden monasteries and practitioners in Tibet are well looked after with special privilege by the Chinese government. Isn’t it paradoxical that China that considers Tibet’s religious belief as the strongest threat challenging her annexation of Tibet now accuses His Holiness the Dalai Lama of depriving the Shugden followers of their religious freedom? A huge statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Samye monastery in Tibet had been demolished by the Chinese at the instigation of Shugden followers in July, 2007. There have been such cases elsewhere in other parts of Tibet. Although the Chinese justified this ruthless act of demolition as an implementation of State’s Religious Policies, insiders in Tibet say that Shugden followers had colluded with the Chinese in destroying it. The Communist Chinese, who do not believe in any religion, now seem to be concerned over matters relating to Shudgen. Even in the free world, these Tibetans are seen openly inviting the Chinese Embassy members to their places and vice versa.

It is quite clear that China uses these easily accessible, vulnerable Tibetans as tools to destabilise Tibet and strengthen their claim over Tibet. These short-sighted Tibetans have no other thought than their lust for money and short-lived euphoria. Therefore, they have abandoned their own people and country. The Chinese found them useful in creating chaotic situations in our exile community, while these people found easy money, albeit by selling their own conscience: they have created insurmountable unrest by threatening, beating, arsenal, killing, and abusing those who support His Holiness or voice objection against the practice of Shugden. The spiritual director of the Tibetan Buddhist Dialectic School in Dharmsala, who wrote extensively in support of His Holiness’s advice on the practice of Shugden, was killed with seventeen stabs of knife on his body along with two of his students. This barbaric act took place on the 4th February, 1997, just near the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Indian Police had found out in their investigation that the six murderers were sent by Dorje Shugden Devotees’ Charitable and Religious Society based in Delhi. The culprits immediately escaped to Tibet and since then they have been enjoying the Chinese protection and hospitality. As all six of them escaped to Tibet, the case has not been fully tried yet. On the contrary, there was not a single case of brutality from our side although Shugdenpas claim that some of them had been attacked. Responding to such dubious accusations, CTA has told them to take legal actions if anyone has ever attacked them or threatened their livelihood.

As the Chinese found a means of disorganising, disuniting and destabilising our Tibetan society through these Shugden followers by giving them financial as well as other supports, the Tibetan monastic communities took a stand to disassociate themselves from them so that they could remain united under His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In other independent countries around the world, there are legal means of bringing under justice those who betray their own nation at the expense of their personal desire. Such people are termed as traitors, criminals, extremists, and terrorists. What such legal actions could we Tibetan refugees — who have no country and law to govern and secure our own national interest — take against those deceitful Tibetans who continue to betray our people and nation to the Chinese, other than shield ourselves against their heinous designs by disassociating ourselves from them? Their ruthless and despicable attacks on His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the exile-based Central Tibetan Administration under the garb of fighting for their religious rights, while pretending to be religious practitioners although they are against the very tradition they claim to belong to, are only devious means of carrying out tasks that they have been put to by the PRC. The Indian and the American Intelligence, that provide security for His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his visits to America and within India respectively, have listed Shudgen activists as the number one threat against his life.

It is also important to know the reasons behind His Holiness’ opposition to the practice of Shugden. Firstly, there is a risk of the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism degenerating into a form of spirit worship. Secondly, Shugden’s practice is a highly sectarian one and is one of the biggest obstacles to the emergence of genuine non-sectarianism with mutual friendship and appreciation among the different Buddhist traditions of Tibet. It is a known fact among the Shugden fanatics that if anyone from the tradition of Tsongkhapa adopts any Nyingma practice, he/she would be persecuted by Shugden. To support that, the late Zemey Rinpoche [a staunch Shugden follower] wrote a book called The Nectar from the Mouth of My Heroic Father that cites the names of ten high Lamas and three high ranking Tibetan officials who they claim were killed by Shugden for practising the Nyingma tradition. Thirdly, Shugden’s hostility towards the Institute of the Dalai Lama and its creation of rift and antagonism among the different religious traditions of Tibet due to the highly sectarian nature of its practice is a big obstacle to the unity of Tibet, which is crucial during this difficult period and for the future in the long run.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has three basic commitments:

  1. Promotion of human values
  2. Promotion of religious harmony
  3. Commitment to the Tibetan issue

His first commitment comes from his being a human being on this earth while his second commitment comes from his being a religious practitioner. With a history of much antagonism in the name of religion in his own country and elsewhere in the world, His Holiness has felt the need to promote religious harmony in this world if we were to thrive harmoniously as social species. He feels that people with religious beliefs can live peacefully without abandoning their own faiths and yet respecting others for their beliefs. Since all the major religious traditions on this earth basically carry the same message of love and compassion, there is every basis for understanding and reconciliation. This being one of his main commitments, the practice of Shugden that creates sectarianism and denigrates other traditions is not only a hindrance to the promotion of mutual friendship and appreciation among Tibet’s own religious traditions, but it also alters the growth of friendship with other non-Buddhist traditions. Thus, His Holiness has consistently advised the Tibetans against any kind of sectarian practice. Since the 1970s, His Holiness has been continuously advising people against the practice of this controversial deity. The practice could have stopped forever had it not been for the Chinese interference by luring the vulnerable ones with money.

The few gullible western followers of these Tibetans know very little about Buddhism and its Tibetan tradition; they neither have any formidable scriptural understanding nor any experiential or logical support to challenge the most respected Buddhist master of this century. We only view these westerners deeply entrenched in this cultish practice as victims ignorant of the true face of their unfortunate Tibetan associates.

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