His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama and Dolgyal

Button_Eng[On 20th Dec. 2006, His Holiness gave teachings on Nagarjuna’s ‘Praise to the Bodhichitta’, Changkya Rolpai Dorji’s spiritual song on view called ‘Recognising the Mother’ and an empowerment of Avalokiteshvara. The following excerpt is from his advice on the propitiation of Dolgyal at that time]

The controversial issue in connection with Dolgyal started during the time of the Great 5th Dalai Lama. He was a person who was very much familiar with the circumstances surrounding Dolgyal, his birth into a wrathful form as well as his real nature. His Holiness, who had shown much compassion to the Tibetan people, was a great being with an unfathomable wisdom, and was definitely not a foolish one. He was an extremely intelligent Lama who was well informed about all the circumstances that surrounded him. If he was an ordinary overwhelmed by gross delusions such as anger and attachment, it would be a different matter. However, His Holiness was not like that: he was a great bhikshu well learned in the monastic disciplines of Vinaya and strictly abided by them. He was also a great custodian of the Buddha Dharma in general, and of all the teachings of all divisions within it. He had genuine concerns for the Buddha Dharma and the people of Tibet, and for his immense contribution and kindness to the Buddha Dharma and the Tibetans, we should always remain deeply indebt to him. From an ultimate point of view, he was an emanation of ‘the swift activity’ of Tibet’s Dharma King-Trisong Detsen, who himself was an emanation of Manjushree. This fact has both logical and scriptural validation. King Trisong Detsen invited Shantarakshita and Guru Padmasambhava to Tibet, and facilitated the establishment of the very foundation of Buddhism in Tibet. A compassionate being like him with great altruism and aspirations — who continues to appear over and again through strings of successive reincarnations, with care and concern for the beings of Tibet — definitely has attained the realisation of impeccable understanding of all phenomena [omniscience]. It is clear that he was a totally reliable Lama who would never lie. In the biography Dukulai Goesang of the Great 5th Dalai Lama, it is clearly mentioned how he had performed wrathful exorcisms in order to stop the sorceries of Dolgyal. The biography also mentions that he had written an attestation at that time. This attestation is found in the ‘Na Volume’ of his writings. At the beginning of the attestation, there is a statement explaining the purpose of the exorcism and says thus:

“Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen, the son of La Agyal, who was successful in getting recognised as the reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Geluk Pelsang due to the deceitful ploys of his mother, was born as a spirit with strained commitments out of distorted prayers and aspirations. Seeing the spirit inflicting harm on the Dharma and beings with his sorceries, prayers and wrathful exorcisms were performed to stop him”.

In the actual attestation, there are several stanzas of a libation-ritual. It says thus in the attestation:

Dakpa Gyaltsen, the sanctimonious one pretending to be noble although he is not.
This pitiable spirit of strained commitments, born out of distorted prayers,
As he harms all beings as well as the Dharma,
Never be his refuge, protection or support:
But grind him to dust.

Thus, this attestation calls on Mahakala, Dharma Raja, Kali Devi, the Five King Protectors, Setrab, Tsimar and others, and asks them to perform necessary actions. All the words in this prayer are very explicit and emphatic.

[On 11th Jan. 2007, His Holiness spoke on Dolgyal during his teachings at Sera to a gathering of abbots, ex-abbots, Lamas, Geshes and monks of Sera Monastery, ministers and secretaries from the Central Tibetan Administration, local Tibetan officials, representatives of different associations and the general public. The following is an excerpt from that talk.]

What we need to look into properly is the origin of Dolgyal or Shugden. Shugden proponents go by this assertion that Dulzin Dakpa Gyaltsen had arisen into a wrathful form. Whether or not Dolgyal is a manifestation or another birth of Dulzin Dakpa Gyalsten is a very crucial matter. For us ordinary beings, this is something beyond our ordinary understanding. This issue is an extremely subtle matter for us; we can only analyse it by depending on the words of a genuinely reliable being with higher attainments. Whether or not Dolgyal is Dulzin Dakpa Gyaltsen is a matter beyond our ordinary modes of investigation and decision. His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama was not an ordinary being. You might think that as I have the name of the Dalai Lama, I might be prejudiced towards him. However, you should ask any neutral person who knows about the 5th Dalai Lama. Traditionally, although there were four Dalai Lamas before the 5th Dalai Lama, none of them are associated with the term ‘the great’ as people refer to them. However, His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama is always referred to as the Great 5th Dalai Lama. His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama was someone who had been extremely kind with his contribution to the Tibetan civilization, politically, religiously, and culturally. For his great contribution and his outstanding scholarship and attainment, he is referred to as the Great 5th Dalai Lama. His works consists of outer volumes, inner volumes, secret volumes, and sealed words. Judging by his works, you will come to understand how vast and flawless his understanding was. He was someone who received continuous blessing of the Deities of the Three Roots through uninterrupted pure visions. With regards to the teachings that he had received through pure visions, he had received them [not through dreams or other means but] from the sublime beings by interacting with them directly, just as two people would interact with one another.

As far as his kindness for the political and spiritual well-being of Tibet is concerned — just as the saying goes, that even if the stupa was turned upside down, the middle part would still remain intact in the middle — in the same way, although we lost our country and have been facing innumerable hardships, the fact that the Tibetan community on the whole continues to thrive despite all odds is due to the kindness of the Great 5th Dalai Lama. The respect that our monastic universities enjoy within our society was surely due to the kindness of the Great 5th Dalai Lama. Speaking in terms of controversy, the Great 5th Dalai Lama had converted many small monasteries of Jonang, Kagyu, Sakya and others into Geluk monasteries. Khenpo Sangye Tenzin, a great scholar from Sakya, once shared with me that His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama is not so popular among the Sakyas. However, as he had composed the remaining part of the Three Continuums of the Lamdre [result and path] commentary by Kyunkhen Khyentse Wangchuk, some from the Sakya would complain about having to submit themselves to the Great 5th Dalai Lama who had completed the remaining part of one of their most important teachings. In gist, His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama was a genuinely reliable Lama, an iconic master of political and religious affairs, who, in fact, was an emanation of the Tibetan Dharma King Tritsong Detsen. I personally feel we can trust his words on such an important, and yet an extremely obscured phenomenon [Dolgyal’s true nature] since His Holiness had very explicitly mentioned about it in his writings.

The fact that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen was not the true reincarnation of Dulzin Dakpa Gyaltsen was stated very firmly by the Great 5th Dalai Lama. In the introductory note of the attestation, it speaks of how Dakpa Gyaltsen took the wrathful form of a perfidious spirit, harmful to both the Dharma and beings, and how wrathful exorcisms were performed to stop his harmful hex. The exact words of the introductory note are as follows:

“Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen, the son of Lak Agyal from Gey Khasa, who was successful in getting recognised as the reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Gelek Pelsang due to deceitful ploys of his mother, was born as a spirit with strained commitments out of distorted prayers and aspiration. Seeing the spirit inflicting harms on the Dharma and beings with his sorceries, prayers and wrathful exorcisms were performed to stop him”.

Gey Khasa was the name of the place in Tolung district of U-Tsang where Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen was born. Lak Agyal was the name of Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen’s mother. Lak Agyal must have been a capable woman, and could have been someone well known to Panchen Lobsang Choeki Gyaltsen. Due to deceitful ploys of Lak Agyal means that she must have come up with many stories for letting others into believing that her son was the reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Gelek Pelsang, who was the second reincarnation of Panchen Sonam Dakpa. As Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen succeeded in getting enthroned as the reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Gelek Pelsang although he was not the real reincarnation, the Great 5th Dalai Lama referred to Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen as a fake reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Gelek Pelsang. His enthronement succeeded because of the deceptive nature of his mother, and so His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama said, ‘due to deceitful ploys of Lak Agyal, the fake reincarnation was successful in getting recognised’. As such, it was clearly and decisively stated by the Great 5th Dalai Lama that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen was not the genuine reincarnation of Dulzin Dakpa Gyaltsen. The attestation then states that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen was born as a spirit with strained commitments from erroneous prayers. It says thus:

“Dakpa Gyaltsen, the sanctimonious one pretending to be noble although he is not,
This pitiable spirit of strained commitments, born out of distorted prayers,…”

‘Dakpa Gyaltsen, the sanctimonious one pretending to be noble although he is not’ means that Dakpa Gyaltsen was not the true reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Gelek Pelsang. The second line says that due to unfavourable causes, he was born as a pitiable spirit with strained commitments. The third line, ‘as he harms both the Dharma and beings’ refers to his activities since his birth as a perilous spirit. The fourth line, ‘never be his refuge, protection or support, but grind him to dust’ speaks of the need to pacify his evil activities.

In the past, I did not know about these accounts of the Great 5th Dalai Lama. However, as the debate over Shugden’s propitiation heated up, they founded the Dorji Shugden Devotees’ Charitable and Religious Society in order to protect their god; how absurd it is that although it should be the gods to protect the humans, unable to do so, nowadays, their god needs to be protected by his worshippers. This organisation then started a vigorous campaign in support of Shugden and distributed many documents, claiming that even the Great 5th Dalai Lama had propitiated Dolgyal. They also mentioned about me writing a eulogy for the spirit. It is true that in the past, due to my ignorance and other circumstances that surrounded me in those days, I also propitiated Dolgyal and had written a eulogy for it at Domo. Previously, I have confessed of having made that mistake and again I am confessing here that it was a mistake.

In those documents that the proponents of Dolgyal’s practice have disseminated in our society, they have produced a eulogy for Dolgyal, which they claim was written by the Great 5th Dalai Lama. As I have all the volumes of the Great 5th Dalai Lama in my procession, I looked into all of them closely. Instead of finding the eulogy that they claim was written by the Great 5th Dalai Lama, I found the attestation that they will only despise. I have just mentioned some of the words of the attestation, so you know what’s in there. It appears that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen, while he was alive, seemed to have been relatively close to His Holiness. However, eventually, after his [untimely] death, he became a spirit with strained commitments.

His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama had declared him to be a pitiable spirit with strained commitments, born out of erroneous prayers. Until someone with the spiritual realisation that equals the Great 5th Dalai Lama interpreted his statements differently — by stating the Great 5th Dalai Lama’s intents or purpose behind the statement, as well as his actual thoughts on the matter, thereby challenging his earlier claims with logical contradiction — we will have to rely on what His Holiness the great 5th Dalai Lama had decided. If someone of equal calibre as the Great 5th Dalai Lama in regards to spiritual realisation firmly contradicted him, it would be a different matter. Until now, this has not happened.

Although Kyabje Phabongkha propitiated Dolgyal, he was of no match against the Great 5th Dalai Lama. Some others from Sakya also propitiated Dolgyal, but against His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama, from any perspective, political, spiritual and so forth, they would be of no match. In terms of carrying the responsibility for the political, as well as the spiritual affairs of Tibet as a nation, none of others could compete with the contribution of the Great 5th Dalai Lama. It would have been a different matter if the 13th Dalai Lama, the one who had authority to overrule the Great 5th Dalai Lama’s statement, stated otherwise. However, the 13th Dalai Lama pursued the same course taken by the Great 5th Dalai Lama.