Is there really any inconsistency?

Button_EngSome Shugden advocates attack His Holiness with an accusation that earlier His Holiness the Dalai Lama venerated Shugden as a Buddha, but now believes the opposite. Thus, they also snub our belief in His Holiness of his being an emanation of Avalokiteshvara by pointing out inconsistency in his former and present position on Dolgyal. The following is our response:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is believed by all the highest Buddhist authorities of Tibet to be an emanation of Avalokiteshvara, the supreme saviour of all. Although completely enlightened, that Avalokiteshvara has appeared as a monk in an ordinary human form to help wild sentient beings who are difficult to tame is because ordinary beings like us do not have sufficient karmas to see the true body of a Buddha. In Panchen Lobsang Choeki Gyaltsen’s work, Guru Yoga Practice Called the Inseparability of Bliss and Emptiness, it says thus:

‘As the Tathagata whose body is adorned with the wheel of ornaments,
Is skillful with his remarkable display of emanations,
He leads wondering beings by appearing in ordinary forms:
Thus, to the compassionate guardian, I offer supplications.’

As such, it is through this skillful means that we have the fortune to see His Holiness and taste the nectar of his speech. That His Holiness has appeared in our time to benefit beings of the three universes in general, particularly of this world, and more specifically the people of Tibet, is due to the combination of His Holiness’ strong altruism and our good karmas. However, even as they are bereft of the wisdom to discern between good and bad, and are deeply bewildered by their sins and deprived of the guidance of a true spiritual master, they claim to be Buddhist and Gelukpa, although because of dual-refuge, they do not qualify as Buddhist. These Shugden fanatics have not only deprived themselves of the so precious opportunity to benefit directly from His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s sublime activities, but have become so radicalised to turn against him, the most respected Buddhist icon on this globe. Such actions or attitudes only amount to following the legacy of Sunakshatra, who did not see even a single virtue in Buddha Shakyamuni, or of Devadatta who always tried to compete with the Buddha. Shugdenpas continue to indulge in hideous sins of false accusations and abuses against His Holiness. When seen by the eyes of a genuine Buddhist, their activities totally fall in line with what Maitreya says in The Ornament of Clear Realisation. In this text, Maitreya states:

‘Even if the king of gods caused rainfall,
Seeds that are decayed would not yeild any fruition.
Likewise, even as Buddhas continue to appear,
Bereft of good fortune, we do not experience anything good.’

Therefore, not only are they unfortunate, but their despicable attitudes and activities would only lead them from low to even lower realms. In Tsongkhapa’s aspirational prayer called Virtuous in the Beginning, in the Middle and in the End, it says thus:

‘Having strayed away from the intentions of the Buddha
They teach the views of nihilism and eternalism.
May I never fall under the influence of
Such non-virtuous teachers who are only friends in sins.’

Thus, it is crucial that like Tsongkhapa, we should also make such prayers over and again on a daily basis.

Having established the background knowledge for you to follow my clarifications, I would now set forth to critically examine if their allegations have any basis.

When His Holiness was a young teenager, he did not have much knowledge about Dolgyal. When His Holiness had to flee to Domo Dungkar Monastery due to the Chinese infiltration, he was accompanied by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and other members of his entourage. The concerned monastic staff of Domo Dungkar Monastery at that time requested His Holiness to compose a euology for Shugden. As Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, who was then His Holiness’ debate assistant, was familiar with Dolgyal’s practice and the legacy that was widely believed, His Holiness consulted Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, who in turn offered him the contents of the eulogy. Thus, those verses of praise of Shugden came into being. Although it is true that such a eulogy was composed under the name of His Holiness, the contents of the eulogy were ideas of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. Critically speaking, that was His Holiness’ first encounter with Shugden, and any rational thinker would agree that His Holiness could not really write a eulogy for a spirit new to him on his own accord. Therefore, that eulogy was more of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s work than His Holiness’. His Holiness has accepted that he had made a mistake at that time. That eulogy was composed when His Holiness did not know Dolgyal well. However, His Holiness’ position on Dolgyal as a result of his thorough investigation is that Dolgyal is only a perfidious spirit, born from erroneous prayers, who is harmful to the Buddha Dharma and sentient beings. Generally, even in ordinary terms, can you say that you would not trust a person for the right spelling he writes when he grows older, just because he wrote it differently earlier when he did not know the spelling well? In the same manner, you cannot contradict His Holiness saying that His Holiness said it differently earlier because His Holiness got to his present conclusion through his years of investigations.

Lama Tsongkhapa’s works on the view of emptiness as well as others are classified into two: those that he composed when his analysis was not complete, and others that he composed later when he was completely decisive. Tsongkhapa’s genuine followers rely on his works that were written later as the final positions of Tsongkhapa and consider them as more authoritative than his early works. In the same way, although it is true that — based on the content offered by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche — His Holiness wrote such a eulogy when he was only 16 years old, His Holiness’ position on Dolgyal changed drastically when he came to his age and after conducting thorough investigations on Dolgyal. So, His Holiness’ words on Dolgyal since he started speaking on the issue are his words that are born from experience and investigations. His Holiness wrote the eulogy in 1956, but started speaking against Dolgyal from 1978 onward. So, between his early position when he was only 16 and the latter when he was around 38, any sensible person would trust his words that were spoken very decisively after his years of thorough examinations, and not those that were written when he was just 16.

Vasubandu initially did not believe Mahayana to be an authentic teaching of the Buddha. Thus, he even snubbed his brother Asanga as well as the Mahayana and wrote thus:

‘Mahayana is like the flower in the sky [that does not exist],
And yet my brother still follows it.’

Although initially he tried to challenge the authenticity of Mahayana teachings by saying that the Buddha did not teach them, on thorough analysis, he was convinced that his initial thoughts were wrong. He then became a Mahayanan practitioner and wrote extensively on the Mahayana teachings, even confronting the views of his teacher Lopon Dhonsang. However, the followers of Vasubandu never forsook Mahayana by relying on his initial thoughts; neither did they accuse Vasubandu for his initial stand that was a result of his ignorance, or of straining his relationship with his master. Thus, if you are smart and educated, you should learn to rely on those works that have resulted from thorough analysis than those that were acquired from hearsay.

Similarly, Jestun Milarepa, the king of Tibetan yogis, learnt black magic and defeated his enemies in the early part of his life. With deep remorse over his past sins, he then practised so tenaciously and diligently that he attained enlightened in one lifetime. However, no sincere Buddhist would despise Milarepa who made mistakes, when he was young and naïve, which he rectified thoroughly when he came to his good sense.

Arya Shuur initially did not believe in Buddhism and challenged it by engaging in fierce debates. Later, he was defeated by Aryadeva and became a Buddhist. He later became an extremely talented and a diligent practitioner. Following one of the legacies of Buddha Shakyamuni in one of his previous lives as a Bodhisattva when he gave his entire body to feed a tigress and her cubs, Arya Shuur did the same and died. His legacy was inconceivable and people still visit the sacred site where he gave his body to the tigers. However, nobody is critical of him for his initial thoughts on Buddhism and neither is anyone critical of Buddhism by relying Arya Shuur’s early position.

Likewise, the same thing can be said for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. When His Holiness was only 16, he came across Dolgyal through many factors, among which one was his faith in and closeness to Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. However, later, when he came across many stories about Dolgyal, he thoroughly investigated Dolgyal’s true nature and came to his present position. Finally, His Holiness decided to give up the practice of propitiating Dolgyal, but did not speak about it publicly. Later, when situation got overheated and the issue was used for political purposes by China, and when people went out of their way by flaunting their overt nature of Dolgyal’s practice, His Holiness had to talk strongly on the issue. Is there any real contradiction? No genuine follower of His Holiness sees any contradiction here, but of course, Shugdenpas are different as their eyes of wisdom are extremely blurred.

In the Rakshatrapalprachiin Sutra, it says thus:

‘Deprived of wisdom that sees the reality
Of emptiness, freedom, and non-production,
Migratory beings wonder around [in samsara].
The one endowed with compassion
Has explained them through hundreds of means and reasonings.’

Thus, we only view those different activities of His Holiness as different ways of helping beings. By doing so, we take them by our stride and enhance our own faith in and devotion to him, instead of using them to denigrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We do not purposely embrace hideous sins that only lead to lower realms in the same way radical Shugden fanatics do. So long as the Buddhas manifest as ordinary beings, they sometimes appear to be sick or ignorant, just as ordinary beings get sick and are ignorant. Thus, simply because outwardly there is a seemingly contradiction does not entail that there is real contradiction within. Your logics are too weak to wither our faith in His Holiness of his being an emanation of Avalokiteshvara. Although I do not have the aggressive nature of claiming Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche as an emanation of Buddha Shakyamuni himself like you did, and although I do not wish to challenge this blind statement of yours, however, I do see an insurmountable contradiction in your assertion of Kyabje Trijang as a Buddha and your position that Buddhas do not engage in deeds that appear as inconsistent or ordinary. This paradoxical logic is reflected in your abuses against His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I am also one of the lineage students of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, and do not hold any aversion against him. On the contrary, I always remain indebted to his divine service to Tibet and his kindness to its people. Here, as it serves a good purpose of defeating the bigots, I am going to debate by using Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche as an instance while challenging their crooked logics. May all the genuine students of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche permit me to use him as an example and debate against the extremists.

I have read in one of your documents sent to different Tibetan organisations in which you claimed that Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche is actually Buddha Shakyamuni in person. However, your abuses against His Holiness of not being a Buddha definitely infer that in your view it is untenable for Buddhas to act ordinarily. Against this paradoxical logic, I want to debate rigorously with strings of continuous contradictions within your different positions.

You maintain that Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche propitiated Dolgyal and there is no doubt about this. Now the question is, when propitiating Dolgyal, did he treat Dolgyal as a worldly protector and put him under his control like a servant, or did he take refuge in Dolgyal? If the answer is that he put Dolgyal under his control like a true vajra master and propitiated him by treating him like a servant, then you also have to accept that Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche treated a Tantric deity [Buddha] as a servant. If this were to be accepted, you are only pioneering a new religion where a Tantric deity is put under control and treated like a servant. There is no escape for you as you have already accepted Dolgyal as a Tantric deity. If you were to maintain that he did not put Dolgyal to his servitude but took refuge in Dolgyal when propitiating him, then in your view, as Trijang Rinpoche was already enlightened, how do you justify a Buddha taking refuge in Dolgyal? Generally, if a Buddha needs to seek refuge in another Buddha, it infers that he is not enlightened as enlightenment means being totally free of all forms of incompetence. As he was already enlightened, and as Buddhas do not take ordinary appearances, it also inadvertently implies that he did not study at Shartse College. This is because in your view, enlightened Buddhas do not take ordinary appearances of being under the influence of delusions. This logic is applicable to you as you have accused us of blindly believing in His Holiness of his being an emanation of Avalokiteshvara, saying there is inconsistency in his initial and later position on Dolgyal. Even if you try answering these qualms, so long as you do not abandon your childish, aggressive and fallacious views, you will never be able to come out with any proper answer even for eons and thereafter.

Also, as per your logic, you have to accept that Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche neither became sick at all in his entire life, nor grew older but, maintained an appearance of a sixteen year old youth [as Buddhas would appear] until the very end of his life. This is because according to you, Buddhas do not take ordinary appearances, and as Buddhas, they are free of sicknesses and aging. If your answer is that he did not become old or sick at all, you are contradicting a reality that people saw with their naked eyes.

Also, you have to accept that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen did not die — either from sickness as we believe, or from succumbing to secret plots of others who were jealous of him as you believe — because according to you, he was a Buddha, and Buddhas never appear ordinarily, but in their enlightened forms only. If this were the case, reverse your history of Shugden and rewrite it properly. Also, rewrite the biography of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche in sharp contrast to his own auto-biography. Probably, you will have no hesitation in doing so since you are so accustomed to your vicious designs of lies and deceptions to defend your biased and childish thoughts.

However, in your defense, you probably have nothing else than to say that just as ordinary beings have ignorance, become sick, and grow older, Buddhas who manifest as ordinary beings would also appear to have ignornance, and could appear as sick or old, and the same thing applies to Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche although he is a Buddha. If this is so, why can’t we use the same defense for His Holiness, and argue that although enlightened, His Holiness only appeared to have made mistakes because he took an ordinary appearance?

In Tsongkhapa’s biography written by his chief disciple Khedrup Je, it also states that Tsongkhapa had experienced some health related obstacles at the age of 57. It also says that when Tsongkhapa received instructions directly from Manjushree, he initially confessed that he did not understand the subtle instructions on emptiness. Manjushree then advised him to rely on the impeccable modes of reasoning as presented by Nagarjuna and his heirs, engage in purifications and accumulations, and make fervent supplications to the Lamas and Tantric deities, and that with the culmination of wisdom and merit, he would be able to perceive emptiness directly. Thus, according to your logic, you have to accept that either Tsongkhapa was not an emanation of Manjushree or that Khedrup Rinpoche was only lying. When Tsongkhapa passed away from this life, he also displayed a slight sign of sickness. This is also unacceptable to you because for you, Buddhas do not become sick or die, or display any sign of ordinariness. If they do not know how to act ordinarily, to act as if they were sick or mistaken, then you have to accept that they are not omniscient as they have no skills to act ordinarily. If this were the case, you have to accept that the Buddhas are not better than ordinary magicians.

Thus, your own abusive attack against His Holiness with this falsified logic would only infer that the Buddhas are not skillful in taming beings, or that they do not know how to appear as ordinary beings. This also makes it impossible for you to accept the concept of the four kayas or bodies of Buddhahood since it is untenable for you to accept the emanation body.

For those who are familiar with classical Buddhist treatises and debate, let me go a little more subtler. According to Tsongkhapa’s The Essence of Excellent Instructions, it says that when the Buddha turned the first wheel of Dharma and taught the Four Noble Truths, he taught that all phenomena — ranging from form up to ‘the Thirty Seven Paths that Accord with Liberation — have their own self-characterised or independent nature. However, when he turned the second wheel of Dharma, he taught that all phenomena — ranging from form until the omniscience of Buddhahood — are devoid of any self-characterised or independent nature. Thus, everything was taught to be empty of any independent nature. So, according to your logic, is Buddha Shakyamuni not a Buddha because you see inconsistency in his teachings, one taught earlier and the other later? However, if the reason is because the first wheel of Dharma was taught to the Hinayanan or general practitioners who were more inclined towards the paths of hearer or solitary realiser, where as the second wheel of Dharma was taught to the Mahayana practitioners, and because of this there is no contradiction as there was this special purpose to teach according to their mental inclinations and latencies, the same thing can be said for the two different positions of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Dolgyal.

Again, although Dolgyal is indeed a vicious devil, all of you Shugdenpas accept that he is a Buddha. If this were true, then according to Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s commentary to Dolgyal’s eulogy, it says that Dolgyal confessed in front of the Sakya Dakchen [the throne holder of Sakya] Sonam Rinchen that he was a spirit of Gendenpa [the Geluk tradition] with strained commitments. The Tibetan words he said were ‘Nga Gedenpai Damsi Kho Yin’. Nga stands for I; Genden is another term for Gelukpa; Pa– is a conjunction which in this context refers to ‘of’; Damsi stands for a spirit with strained commitments; Kho means ‘the’, and Yin means ‘am’. Thus, when translated, the meaning of his own confession is, ‘I am the spirit with of Gendenpa with strained commitments’. However, when he enters a medium and communicates with the Shugdenpas, he speaks of being a protector of the Geluk tradition and pretends to be an emanation of Manjushree. So, don’t you see a contradiction in Dolgyal’s own statements? Either he was bluffing and deceiving you, or if you accepted both of these as valid, you would have no alternative than to accept a union of a spirit with strained commitment and Manjushree. Wouldn’t those who are familiar with Buddhist approaches laugh at your face for your contradictions? Or can Dolgyal and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche make mistakes? If so, they are not Buddhas for you. If you assert that outwardly, to the appearance of ordinary beings, they only pretended to have made mistakes, but in truth they are enlightened, then, why can’t we say this for His Holiness? Perhaps you thought you can say anything against us and we would be defenseless. Well, when it comes to reasoning and Buddhism, in front of our scholars who are students of His Holiness, you are just amateurs. But just like spoilt kids, you make nuisances.

Again, you accept Kyabje Phabongkha Dechen Nyingpo as Heruka in person. I am not saying he is not because I feel there is more merit in believing him to be a Buddha. However, according to you, there is contradiction that you need to answer again. His biography as written by his secretary Lobsang Dorji contains Kyabje Phabongkha’s letter written to His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. In that letter, Kyabje Phabongkha accepted Dolgyal as a worldly wrathful being, and apologised to the 13th Dalai Lama for his seeking refuge, in this life, with a worldly spirit. He also made a strong commitment to give up Dolgyal’s propitiating that he said he had acquired from his mother who was propitiating Dolgyal as her land-god. However, in his own writings about Dolgyal, he writes that Dolgyal is a wrathful emanation of Manjushree. Thus, as you see contradiction in his words, you have to inevitably accept that Kyabje Phabongkha is not Heruka in person. With this and others, I have thoroughly grinded to dust the fallacious and childish logics of Shugdenpa such as the pathetic Jampa Lobsang and others of his kind.

Generally speaking, as there are different deeds of Buddhas and seemingly contradictory teachings, a genuine Buddhist practitioner should use scriptural sources and valid modes of reasoning to ascertain their definitive and interpretable meanings. Thus, through investigations, we have to practise abandoning or embracing whatever needs to be abandoned or embraced. In sharp contrast to this approach, engaging in Buddhist practice simply by relying on a misguided blind-faith or prejudicial inclinations only speaks of how vulnerable you are.

Although I have many other more profound things to argue with, for one, you Shugdenpas who would read this are people who are extremely and unreasonably critical of His Holiness the Dalai Lama; therefore, to me, you are all disgraceful ones. Secondly, as your wisdom of discernment is so weak and blurred, and in my eyes as you are all full of yourselves, if those that I have spoken failed to create any positive impact on you, it would imply that you are corrupted recipients of good instructions. Thus, no matter how much I would try, there would be no concrete result. So, I will stop here.