The quintessential intents of innumerable sutras and tantras

Button_Eng[A work on authoritative scriptural sources that support our stance to distance ourselves from contemporary Shugden fanatics]་
It is a well known fact that Shugden fanatics around the world have been extremely critical of the stand taken by the majority of Tibetans to distance ourselves from associating in either religious or worldly matters with them. Disillusioned that they are doing some virtuous activities, and under the garb of pretending to be Buddhists or Gelukpas, although they do not know the demarcation between virtues and sins, these Dolgyal fanatics engage in all kinds of campaigns to bring about maximum embarrassment and pressure on His Holiness through every possible accusations and abuses. When we all took a stand and vowed to totally disassociate ourselves from them, they became extremely critical of our position, not acknowledging that we were driven to this extreme by their strings of devious and dubious activities aimed at creating disunity and instability in our society. Just like a group of mentally crazed people stricken by diseases of their delusional perceptions, these Dolgyal fanatics run here and there creating rumours, hoping that they would find some sympathisers, but any sensible person would definitely give a second thought on how valid their claims are. However, some who do not know anything about Buddhism or know very little might think that we have treated them very badly. Some among the Dolgyal fanatics would also think likewise. They would think that such a stand amounts to segregation, and is against our religion, and inconsistent with the ways of the world. If we do not show proper evidence in the Buddha’s own scriptures and support our present position by valid modes of reasoning, they and others might think that the Dalai Lama and his people have only acted hastily, but have no source in any authentic Buddhist Tantra or Sutra. Thus, they might succeed in luring some innocent ones into believing in their lies and joining their cause. In order to dispel such speculations and misconceptions, I will explain in detail by citing authentic scriptures and through valid reasoning to help many who might be vulnerable and easity swayed.

Although there is no need to question the credibility of the great scholars of the three major monastic universities as well as that of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, there is still a need to dispel others’ misconceptions, and to bring conviction in those who stand by this stance. Besides, without explaining the authoritative sources and logics to support our stance, there is no other way to save those who have fallen into the extremes. The reason why I still hope to make a difference for those who are not totally radicalised is because the real intrinsic nature of our minds is not negative, and at the ultimate level, our minds are not totally obscured by delusions. This position of Dignaga, Dharmakirti, as well as Arya Nagarjuna, is also the ultimate intent of all the Sutras and Tantras. This gives me hope that perhaps some might care to see the other side of the story rationally, without being negatively influenced, but by being in the middle. If that happens, then I am sure that they will direct themselves to the proper practice of abandonment and engagement. Therefore, these are the reasons why I have decided to write this work.

In Tsongkhapa’s praise to the Buddha called The Third [Kabsumpa], it says thus:
‘Just as you do not falter even for a moment
In pursuing the welfare of migratory beings,
May all migratory beings, too,
Never ever falter in proclaiming your excellent qualities.’

In the same way, although none of the activities of His Holiness the Dalai Lama — the very embodiment of the compassion of all Buddhas combined together — are directed towards himself alone, the Tibetans among the Dolgyal fanatics have completely strayed away from the path led by His Holiness. Having deviated from the proper path completely, they believe in a mundane spirit and have accorded him with the accolade of ‘the Gelukpa’s Protector’, although it is highly questionable whether they themselves are Buddhists, let alone Gelukpas. Although there are numerous wisdom-eyed protectors whose practices have a source in the Buddha’s own Tantric scriptures, just like tying one’s own neck with a noose, or like people who are totally addicted to narcotic drugs, these people seem to think that without Dolgyal, there is nothing that matters at all. Some blindly believe themselves to be Gelukpas who should never abandon their own protector [Dolgyal], as if no other protectors are capable of protecting Tsongkhapa’s tradition; others tend to think that the propitiation of Dolgyal is the most important deed of Kyabje Phabongkha and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and that they must continue the legacy, not knowing that this only denigrates the spiritual accomplishments and practices of these two great masters. Just like small dust particles and leaves that are powerlessly swayed and driven by the wind, many, who are deprived of any wisdom to use their own common sense, are likewise easily swayed by the devious designs of some sanctimonious Dolgyal fanatics. Many Tibetan Dolgyal fanatics only wear the face of a religious figure, and so willingly embrace the Chinese government for the sheer lure of money and short term euphoria, not knowing the Chinese only care for their own vested interests. TheseTibetans will neither find peace in this life, nor will they ever escape from the flames of hell. Although they have deserted their own people, their own leader, country, and are basically uneducated or ill educated who know nothing about the true Dharma, it is really absurd that even they have find some gullible followers. Thus, there are so many dreadful activities that make me wonder how foolish these people could be by diving into negativities for a cause that is totally bogus.

As such, I have very little hope that my work will benefit others such as the Shugden fanatics who are deeply engrossed in their own narrow thoughts, or those who are concerned by very small matters, and those who have no real understanding of Dharma to discern between the right and wrong. However, when such false accusations and abuses are on the rise continuously, people might be swayed to believe the false to be true if they hear too much of them. In order to help those who might have some rationalism hidden behind their fearsome outlooks, and to ensure that our future generations as well as some contemporary sincere aspirants might benefit from this, it makes sense to pursue this response. Many of their bogus claims that have stemmed from misconceptions need separate clarifications and I will do them elsewhere. Here, the emphasis must stick on to ascertaining, with evidence, why we chose our own way to avoid the meddling from the Shugden fanatics and the Chinese infiltration, both of which aim to create instability in our society.

To speak on this, I will divide the contents into four parts:

  1. Recognising those with strained commitments
  2. Scriptural sources in the Sutras and Tantras to support our position of avoiding engagement with them in religious and worldly affairs
  3. Ascertaining that such a position is in line with the ways of the world
  4. Ascertaining that this is logically consistent, and the final conclusion

Recognising those with strained commitments has two:

  1. Recognising the differences between 1) the early, 2) the middle and 3) the present followers of Dolgyal
  2. Establishing all contemporary Dolgyal fanatics as people with strained commitments

Recognising the differences between the early, the middle and the present followers of Dolgyal:

When we refer to or talk about Dolgyal’s followers, it is important to make a precise distinction between those from the begining, others in the middle and the present ones. It is improper to look at all of them with the same attitude. In the past since the inception of Dolgyal’s practice, although people from the Sakya and Geluk tradition did propitiate Dolgyal, it is clear that those masters and practitioners viewed Dolgyal as a worldly, wrathful being, and they propitiated Dolgyal while keeping this view intact. This becomes clear by looking into the rituals of requesting Swift Action or eulogies of Dolgyal that were composed in the past to support the propitiation-practice of Dolgyal. The fact that they have no other reliable and authoritative texts on Dolgyal with authentic origin — except for those few written by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Phabongkha which we don’t consider as having any reliable source in Tantra or Sutra — only points out that Dolgyal was propitiated in the past, but with the recognition and in a manner that was not overt and extreme. If Dolgyal’s credibility as a genuine protector has any source in any writings of Tsongkhapa or his chief disciples, or any of the renowned Gelukpa masters before Kyabje Phabongkha, they should have produced them and we could have debated on them. However, since the controversy picked up, Shugden fanatics have failed to produce any reliable evidence to support their claim of Dolgyal’s being a protector of Tsongkhapa’s tradition. It is very clear that they do not have even a single word from any Sutra or Tantra to validate their tall claims about Dolgyal. We have 100 volumes of authentic translations of the Buddhas direct teachings and more than 220 volumes of their Indian commentaries or Shastras. Tsongkhapa had written 18 volumes and his other direct disciples had also written extensively. There are also volumes of Dulzin Dakpa Gyaltsen who they claim has arisen as a Dharma protector in the form of Dolgyal. Show us one word that unquestionably supports the story of Dolgyal. For more than two decades, Dolgyal fanatics have done everything from killing people to almost all imaginable measures to show their commitment to Dolgyal, but failed short of providing any reliable scriptural source. Why? The answer is because there have no source in any of the scriptural authorities mentioned.

In the middle, from the time of Kirti Lobsang Thinley, Dagpo Kelsang Khedrup and Sopo Tayang to Kyabje Phabongkha Rinpoche and Khyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Dolgyal had succeeded in deceiving them with his devious means, and he came to be called as a protector of Tsongkhapa’s tradition in their writings. Although Dolgyal was praised for being an emanation of Manjushree in their writings, studying the history of Dolgyal and his vicious activities that even Shugdenpas consider to be true will cast doubts on such tall claims. None of the past masters before them ever praised Dolgyal in the same fashion. On the contrary, one could see the exact opposite in the writings of His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama and many other Geluk Lamas. Contemporary Western Dolgyal fanatics have been brainwashed into believing that Kyabje Phabongkha was the only reliable Geluk master of his time, whereas during his time, there were many like him such as Khangsar Dorji Chang and others who did not practise Dolgyal, and His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama, the highest religious figure in Tibet who was totally against the propitiation of Dolgyal. Besides, when Kyabje Phabongkha was confronted and questioned by His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his vigorous propagation of Dolgyal, and when His Holiness the Dalai Lama started opposing Dolgyal, why did Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Phabongkha Rinpoche not respond with evidence in Sutra or Tantra to support Dolgyal’s infallibility? Why did Kyabje Phabongkha respond apologetically if indeed he had reliable evidence? Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche should have also written by producing evidence to support his points if he vehemently believed in this position of Dolgyal’s being an emanation of Manjushree. Perhaps you might respond that they were being respectful or feared His Holiness the Dalai Lamas. However, nowadays, your lips and hands are not tied by anyone, and neither are your eyes and ears shut by any. Why don’t you show us sources in any Sutra or Tantra? We would definitely consider your claim seriously and sensibly with all due respect if you have real source in any authentic Tantra or Sutra. We will verify and examine how true your claim is. Show us the story of Dulzin Dakpa Gyaltsen’s arising as a Geluk protector in Tsongkhapa’s works, or Dulzin Dakpa Gyaltsen’s or any work of any direct disciples of Tsongkhapa. As on how Dolgyal’s story of being an emanation of Manjushree gained credentials, I will explain it separately.

The present day Dolgyal fanatics consider Dolgyal as the embodiment of the Three Jewels combined together, and offer their hearts, lungs and chests, or in short, offer themselves entirely to Dolgyal. These Tibetans consider a perfidious spirit as much more important than their own Lama His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Their western or other counterparts are no better, and in the event of a choice to be made between Buddha Shakyamuni and Dolgyal, they will definitely and with all gladness choose the latter.

Now that I have fully explained the differences, from this point on wards, whenever I make a reference to Dolgyal fanatics, bear in mind that I mean the contemporary ones. Although Dolgyal fanatics might claim to be Buddhists, taking refuge in worldly spirits even without abandoning refuge in the Three Jewels only amounts to forsaking the refuge mind, and automatically disqualifies them from being Buddhists. If these Dolgyal fanatics take refuge in Dolgyal, they are no more Buddhists since on the level of appearance he is a worldly wrathful being, and this holds true irrespective of whether Dolgyal is a Buddha or not. I will write more about this elsewhere.

Establishing that all contemporary Dolgyal fanatics as people with strained commitments

Although there is no doubt about this fact that Dolgyal fanatics are people with strained commitments, it is not enough to label them as such. So, this naturally calls for scriptural evidence and logical validations to prove this point. As such, I hereby set forth to truthfully unveil the ignorance of many, and although my words may not be gentle to hear, bear in mind that you will never be deceived.

Trisur Lungrik Namgyal, Gen Drati, Kelsang Gyatso, Yongya Tulku, Achok Tulku, Gangchen Lama, Gonsar Tulku, Serkong Tritul, Nga Lama, Tsem Tulku and so forth, all of whom are now considered the highest authorities championing the cause of Dolgyal by Dolgyal fanatics, had received Tantric empowerments and other teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. However, they not only chose to abandon His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a mundane spirit, but continue to engage either directly or indirectly in activities aimed at vilifying His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and have vehemently despised His Holiness and denigrated his advice. Not only do they engage in such hideous sins, but for their mundane benefit of this life, they continue to lead many on to the erroneous path of worshipping a spirit in the name of religion. Thus, they are not just people who have strained their commitments, but are the worst of all with strained commitments in the whole universe. This is because despising one’s vajra master is said to be the worst among all extremely hideous sins, according to the Highest Yoga Tantra by Tsongkhapa in his commentary to Guhyasamaja Tantra called The Four Interwoven Commentaries. These Tibetans not only propitiate Dolgyal, but continue to vilify His Holiness the Dalai Lama and deprecate his advice. Despising one’s own vajra master as well as deprecating his advice are said in the highest yoga Tantra as the most hideous of all sins that would throw us into the most appalling of all hells, to be tormented there for the same number of eons as the number of minute moments of despising the Lama. Thus, for someone who cares to believe in these karmic consequences, the mere thought of burning one second in the hellish realm is dreadful enough. Although even the mere thought of suffering there for countless of eons continuously would make anyone dread anything that would bring such sufferings, and any sensible person would care to at least ensure one’s future with happiness, these Tibetans neither seem to care, nor could they imagine the disastrous karmic consequences of their actions. As far as embarrassment, dignity and any sense of concern for their own image are concern, these people do not have the slightest of idea how they portray themselves to the rest of the world. Hence, there is no doubt anyone could be more foolish and disgraced than them.

All of these Tibetans have acquired the Tantric root-downfall of despising their spiritual master, denigrating his advice and befriending the dreadful ones, which in Tantrayana are the first, the second and the tenth root-downfall respectively. Despising the Vajra Master is considered the most hideous of all sins a Buddhist could ever commit. In the Tantra of Initiating the One with Vajra in the Hand [Lagna Dorji Wangkur Wai Gyud], it says thus:

“‘The Subdued One’ was asked this: ‘What will be the ripening effect of those who despise their masters?’ To this, the ‘Subdued One’ responded thus: ‘Vajrapani, don’t ask about it as the gods and the beings of the universe would be terrified to hear of it. [However], the Holder of the Secrets, I will explain a little; Oh the courageous one, listen intently.

‘Whatever kinds of hellish realms there are
That I have explained as the fruition of uninterrupted [hideous] sins,
Are also the places for those who despise their masters;
In there, they will live for limitless eons.
Therefore, dare not despise them [your masters] at all.”

The great Indian Scholar Asvaghosa states thus in the Fifty Verses on the GuruDevotion:

With epidemics, leprosy, and other diseases,
By devils, curses, and poison—
This greatly bewildered being who despised his master
Will die thus.
These beings will be killed by kings,
Fire, snakes, water, sky farers, robbers,
Devils and those who only lead to perversion;
They will then go to the hell.

Therefore, do not cause any disturbance
To the mind of these masters;
If you do that out of ignorance,
You will definitely fall into hell.

The ‘Limitless’ and other terrifying dwellings,
Which have been explained as hells,
In them would live those
Who have despised their masters’.”

It says further:

‘Such compassionate guardians,
If you despise them knowingly,
This amounts to despising all Buddhas:
Such a person will forever experience sufferings.’

Thus, it says here that despising one’s own master is equal to despising all the Buddhas.

In the great Indian saint and scholar Shantipa’s commentary on the Black Yamari called The Commentary on the Difficult Points, it says thus:

‘If someone has heard even one verse [of Tantra]
And yet does not consider that person as a Lama,
He would take a hundred births
As dogs who would be stricken by diseases.’

A vajra student who has strained his commitments to his teachers would only accomplish the hell realms by trying to practise Tantra. In the Ornament to the Essential Vajra Tantra, it says thus:

‘The one who despised his own vajra master,
Even if he tried to accomplish the supreme of all Tantras
By abandoning sleep and worldly preoccupations,
And preserve properly for countless of eons,
His actions would only accomplish the hells and others.’

If he generated anger against his vajra master, it would not only destroy his own merits accumulated over the same period of eons equal as the number of minute moments of anger, but he would also have to live in the hell for the same period of eons as the number of moments of anger against his vajra master. This is stated in Kalachakra Tantra:

‘Disrespecting the vajra master
Would destroy merits accumulated over eons,
And for the same duration of eons,
He would experience the excruciating sufferings of hell.’

Although it is extremely important for the vajra student to follow his vajra master diligently, however, if the master gave an advice inconsistent with the Dharma, there is no sin in not following it. Even if the advice is consistent with Dharma, if it is something not possible for you to accomplish, there is no sin in explaining your difficulties to the master and not acting on it. This fact is explained by Tsongkhapa in Lamrim Chenmo [Graduated Steps of Path to Enlightenment] by quoting from the Vinaya Sutra, Clouds of the Tri Ratna Sutra, Tales of The Buddha’s Legacies as Bodhisattva’ and Fifty Verses of Guru-[Devotion]. However, with no plausible reason to disobey him, or without explaining your reasons properly, if you held any despicable attitude towards your Vajra Master and deprecate his advice, it is extremely sinful. In the eighth chapter of the VajraTent Tantra, it says:

‘Having well received the supreme empowerment,
If a student disobeyed his master’s instruction,
There will be sufferings in this life;
In the next life, he will go to hell.’

In Kyabje Phabongkha’s Liberation in the Palm of Hand, it says thus:

‘If you belittle or snub your master, even in this life, there will be innumerable tragedies: One instance was the story of Archarya Bhudda Gyanpaath who pretended as if he did not see his own master Mahasiddi Phagtsangwa when he was giving a teaching. Later, when he lied to his master that he did not see the latter, at that very instant his eye balls fell down on the ground.’

Thinking of all the drawbacks and the severe karmic consequences of not properly following your master as expounded by Tsongkhapa in Lamrim Chenmo, undoubtedly, these pitiable, rebellious Tibetan Dolgyal fanatics will experience such misfortunes in this and the future lives. However, it is not too late to repent their mischievous sins and follow the path of the majority. I sincerely request them not to deceive themselves, or remain oblivious to, or snub these scriptural teachings.

Having discussed the fate of the Tibetan Dolgyal fanatics, the doubt that arises is about their western counterparts who appear so passionate in shamelessly trying to bring dishonour on His Holiness. These western Dolgyal fanatics might think that as they have not received any teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, they are free of such karmic reprisals as stated above. However, since His Holiness the Dalai Lama is one of the direct Lamas of their own direct Lamas, he is also their lineage master. Thus, the same karmic reprisals remain intact for them as well. Although they might think that keeping up commitments with one Lama would suffice for other commitments, and that they could continue with their ruthless campaigns of abusing His Holiness continuously, it is wrong. Severing relation with one of your direct or indirect Lamas amounts to severing relations with all of your Lamas. This is explained in the Commentary to Potowa’s Heap of Precious Jewels by Tsunpa Sherab Dorji. In the text, it says thus:

‘Some would embrace any Lama they came across, but won’t receive any spiritual benefit because of having strained relations with their former masters. Having strained relations with their former masters, they have become corrupted, and because of that, they won’t receive the blessing of the future masters as well.’

Thoyon Lama Yeshi Tenpai Dolme, one of the most respected Tibetan Kadampa masters, also says thus in his work Excellent Instructions from the Precious Kadampa Teachings Called the Treasury of Precious Jewels [in the forth chapter that covers instructions of the Kadampa master Kamapa and his chief students]:

‘The Dharma is deeply rooted in this. Therefore, if someone forsook his respect for and faith in one Lama, there would be no chance of developing any spiritual attainment. This is because by abandoning one Lama, he also abandons all the other lamas as well.’

Even if His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not your lineage master, by supporting others with strained commitments in their abusive campaigns against His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the same unwanted consequences still prevail. Tsongkhapa, in his Commentary to Fifty Verses, says thus:

‘Even if you do not despise or abuse your own masters, should you support others in despising their masters, the same unwanted consequences will still prevail. ‘

Generally speaking, abusing or despising any genuine upholder of Dharma or a sublime being is an extremely hideous sin. Although it is extensively covered in many scriptures of Tantra and Sutra, I feel there would be some benefits by citing some sources here so that those who have not studied or heard much about them would benefit immensely from this.

In Shantideva’s Engaging in the Deeds of Bodhisattva, it says thus:

‘The Buddha has said that if anyone harnesses
Any negative thought towards such a Bodhisattva benefactor,
They will remain in hell for the same number of eons
As the duration of the negative thought.

However, if they were to develop a genuinely pure attitude,
Its fruits will multiply even more than that.
Being cautious, for the Bodhisattva’s,
Sins will not arise: virtues will be born spontaneously.’

In Chandrakirti’s Engaging in the Middle [the third chapter on patience of Madkyamika Karika], it says thus:

‘A single instant of anger against the Bodhisattvas
Will destroy virtues from generosity, discipline [and others]
Accumulated over a period of one hundred eon.
As such, there is no [greater] sin like impatience.’

These two works of those two great masters are not spoken on their own accord, but have origin in the Buddha’s Sutra. In the Sutra called Miracles that will Ascertain Absolute Peace, it says thus:

‘Majugosha, anyone who harnesses anger against a Boddhisattva or despises him will only lead himself into the hell to live there for the same duration of eons as the moments [countable in seconds] of anger. He will have to wear his armaments again for the same number of eons.’

What this means is this: Suppose he developed two seconds of anger against a Bodhisattva. This anger of two seconds against a Bodhisattva [as well as a Buddha] will destroy his virtues of two eons. The phrase ‘wearing the armaments for the same number of eons’ means he will need to develop the merits [which are like armaments to fight against delusions and samsaric sufferings] for the same number of two eons; until then, there will be no possibility of enhancing on the path further.

In the Sutra called Sealed Sutra on Engaging in the Means to Generate Strong Faith, it says thus:

‘Majugosha, suppose any son or daughter of the lineage destroyed or burnt stupas as numerous as the sand particles in the river Ganga [Ganges]; also, if any son or daughter of the lineage develops any inflictive attitude, anger or hatred against a Bodhisattva — a heroic being who has a good aspiration for the Mahayana — and if these negative emotions linger on, this [the latter] will generate sins multiple times far more greater than the earlier [destruction of stupas by a Bodhisattva]. If you asked me why, it is because the Buddhas, who are perfectly subdued, were born from Bodhisattvas. From these Buddhas are born the stupas, all means of happiness, and all [celestials or] superior ones. If you treat Bodhisattvas disrespectfully, it amounts to treating all Buddhas with disrespect. However, if you hold them in high esteem, it amounts to holding all Buddhas in high esteem.’

In the Sutra called Magical Displays of Arya Majugosha, it says:

‘Manjugosha, the so called anger destroys merits accumulated over eons. Therefore, [always] refrain from anger.’

The Exalted Mulasarvastivadha Sutra also states:

“Oh bhikshus, look up to this bhikshu who, with all parts of his body, venerates even a piece of hair or a nail [of a monastic] and generates genuine respect for it’.[They replied thus]: ‘Oh the ‘Most Disciplined One’, it is indeed so.’[The Buddha said:] ‘Oh bhikshus, as much as there are subtle particles beneath the feet of this bhikshu that goes down to eighty four thousands yojanas [paktsed] until it touches gold, he will enjoy leisure of that many numbers of powerful kingdoms’. His immediate followers approached the Buddha [again], and by sitting with hands folded respectfully, they asked him thus: ‘Oh the ‘Victorious One’, if this bhikshu’s virtue [of revering a monastic] is said to be this great, what would degrade it, or eliminate it forever, or make it extinct?’ To this, the Buddha replied: ‘My followers, until you have generated a mind of anger against these monastics who engage in proper deeds, I see nothing at all that would cause its extinction or degradation. As such, as anger causes degradation, elimination and extinction of virtues, and if you should not be angry even at the inanimate objects, then what need is there to speak for getting angry at living beings?’…”

Although you might think that I might have invented these scriptural sources, or that these may not necessarily hold true and could be interpreted differently, if you look at the commentary of Pragyakaarmati on Shantideva’s text, and the third chapter of Tsongkhapa’s commentary on ‘Madyamika Kari’, you will realise that no authentic Indian and Tibetan master interpreted them differently, but accepted them literally. For the sake of clarity, I would like to quote them here.

In the commentary of Pragyakaarmati, it says thus:

‘Harming a Bodhisattva destroys the Buddhahood from its very root; as this destruction is a complete destruction, the well being of the celestials and other universal beings are also completely destroyed.’

In Tsongkhapa’s commentary to Madhyamika Karika called Explicit Illumination of the Intents, it says:

‘For a great being such as a Bodhisattva — due to his/her being accustomed to delusions, and by exaggerating on faults that may or may not be true — if developing even a moment of anger towards another Bodhisattva would destroy that much of his collection of merits [collected over eons] such as those acquired from habituating oneself with the practice of the perfection of generosity and discipline as mentioned earlier, and if this holds true for a Bodhisattva, then what to speak of those who are not Bodhisattvas if they developed anger against another Bodhisattva?’

Scriptural sources in the Sutras and Tantras to support the position of avoiding engagement with the Shugden fanatics in religious and worldly affairs:

  1. Sources in Sutras
  2. How it is extensively covered in Dharmapada
  3. Establishing this as the true intent of the Kadampa tradition
  4. How this intent has sources in Tantra
  1. Sources in Sutra

Having explained how all of the contemporary Dolgyal fanatics are people who have strained their spiritual commitments and tainted their sanctity, it is now important to ascertain how Sutras have instructed us to keep our distance from them.

In the Sutra of Absolute Mindfulness, it says thus:

‘Those who are totally infested by attachment, anger and ignorance are accomplices in sins, and therefore, they are like poisonous trees.’

In The Sutra of Liberation, it says thus:

‘A Bodhisattva would not fear a wild elephant and the likes as much as he fears a dangerous friend; this is because they would destroy only the body of this life, while the latter would destroy both the virtues and the naturally pure mind.’

In the Sutra called The Chapter of the Truthful, it says thus:

‘Those who are totally influenced by accomplices in sins
And have abandoned the medicines of sublime masters to cure poison,
Even if they heard the ever so rare and precious teachings of the sublime Dharma,

Alas, being unconscientious, they would only stumble into the great steep’.

In our eyes, all of the Dolgyal fanatics are accomplices in sins and teachers of negative karmas since they either deprecate their Lama [His Holiness the Dalai Lama] outwardly, or support others, mentally and physically, in their vilification of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Many of them continue to strongly despise His Holiness throughout the day and night, thus engaging in karmas of deprecating a sublime being, while others continually rejoice in them or support them. Thus, irrespective of whether they come at the front or not, it appears that all of them have been diseased with radicalism, extremism, sectarianism, ignorance etc. Considering that their understanding of Buddhism is so marginalised and because of their radicalised viewpoints, which sensible person on this earth could believe that these Dolgyal fanatics are capable of challenging the spiritual accomplishments of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s greatest Lama of our time?

In Tsongkhapa’s Lamrim Chenmo, it says:

‘A non-virtuous master is someone relying on whom past — natural and prescription based — negativities will not decrease at all, but even new negativities that never existed before will arise and continue multiplying.’

[Note: Transgressions of prescribed vows are called prescription based negativities]

Those who have the title of Lama and who succeed in luring and leading their gullible followings of Dolgyal fanatics with their sanctimonious appearances all fall within this characteristic of a non-virtuous master. Hence, those who do not want to sacrifice their own future should know what to choose when you have the chance. In Tsongkhapa’s aspirational prayer called Virtuous in the Beginning, in the Middle and in the End, it says thus:

‘May I never fall under the influence of friends of non-virtue
Who only cause others to commit sins
And stray away from the intents of the Buddha
By teaching views of nihilism and eternalism.’

Therefore, it is not enough to pray or know that such a prayer exists, but it is equally important to ensure that you do not fall under the influence of negative teachers, and make efforts to find truly qualified masters who would not mislead you. If you do that to ensure your well-being, you will be doing yourself a big favour.

  1. How it is extensively covered in the Dharmapada

The Dharmapada has thirty three chapters, and from the twenty forth chapter, I will quote here some directly relevant verses:

‘Those who have no faith and are miserly,
And those who create schism, or are deceptive,
The wise should never rely on them;
Do not befriend the sinful ones.

Those who have faith and speak well,
Who are learned and well disciplined,
The wise should rely on them;
And befriend those supreme ones among beings.

Never rely on accomplices in sins;
Avoid relying on those who are deceitful.
Rely on masters who teach virtues;
Rely on the supreme beings.
If these are relied upon,
There will be no disasters, but only goodness.

Those who have heard much and can think comprehensively,
Such people with faith and wisdom should be relied upon.
If you listen to their excellent advice,
You will quickly attain superior results.

If those who commit sins
Are befriended by those who refrain from them,
They would be suspected of committing sins
And unpleasant rumours would continue to multiply.

Those who rely on the unreliable ones
Would be infested by faults of the unreliable ones.
Just as an arrow put into a poisonous hole
Would be stained by poison even as there is no deliberate staining,
Likewise, seeking support in those who are stained with negativities is dangerous.
Do not befriend those who are only accomplices in sins.

Whatever friend you choose to befriend,
Whatever person you choose to be close to,
Whatever the person to be relied on is,
You too, will become likewise.

Therefore, just like [choosing the proper] container,
Know how to choose a support.
Do not rely on those who are not noble;
The wise should rely on the noble ones.
By following the path of this bhikshu,
You will obtain liberation from sufferings.

Do not befriend the childish beings,
For those who befriend such beings,
Will be let down into the hells.
Recognise childish beings as childish
For those who know this are wise.

Those who recognise childish beings as wise
Are known as being childish themselves.
Relying on the childish brings sufferings;
Thus, without hearing or seeing these childish beings
Who are like foes,
It is best never to rely on them at all.

Just as it is when you meet loved ones,
It would be likewise if you depend on the stable ones.
Just as the moon is in the midst of stars,
Rely on him who is supreme; compassionate and wise;
Stable and learned; who leads to the supreme;
Who is well disciplined and abides in the meticulous practice of the exalted ones.’

As such, someone who is not only so actively driven into negativities, but also leads others into the same abyss is called a childish being. By being so preoccupied with the concerns of this life, he would go to any extent by indulging in all kinds of negativities without any sense of modesty or restrain. Therefore, keeping our own distance from them is totally pertinent with the intents of the Sutras and the Dharmapada.

  1. Establishing this as the true intent of the Kadampa tradition

Generally speaking, a true Kadampa practitioner is someone who takes to heart each and every word of the Buddha as a personal instruction and applies them into his practice. The term ‘Ka’ means ‘Sutras’ or direct teachings of the Buddha, while ‘Dampa’ means instruction. In Maitreya’s Abhisamaya Alankara, it says thus:

‘Those aspiring to benefit wandering beings accomplish the welfare of universally vast number of beings by means of their realisations of [different] paths.’

So, if you wish to practise according to this supplication verse of Abhisamaya Alankara, then it is not sufficient for us to only have a respectful attitude towards all traditions of Buddhism; we have to complement our practices with means to accomplish the welfares of different beings by being able to teach different traditions that suit their varied inclinations and potentials. Just as a Bodhisattva should not just teach properly but practise whatever is taught to others, likewise, we should all try to do the same by engaging in different aspects of the Buddhist practice. Otherwise, how could you help others when you are not properly educated in these traditions? The same thing is said by Dharma Kirti in his work Pramanavartika:

‘If the results and their causes are obscured to you,
It would be difficult for you to teach them.’

The reason why the following excerpts from the teachings of former Kadampa masters are quoted here is not to find the support of the Kadampa masters for the Buddha’s intent, but because many might think that although the Buddha had taught so, the Kadampa masters did not take them literally and seriously, but interpreted them differently, and with such lame excuses, people might not give credit to the teachings of Sutras and discard them. To ensure that people accept them with seriousness, I would like to quote from the works of past Kadampa masters.

In Thoyon Lama Yeshi Tenpai Gyaltsen’s work, Excellent Instructions from the Precious Kadampa Teachings Called the Treasury of Precious Jewels, he quotes Geshe Sharawa as saying thus:

‘The reason for not following an aberrant teacher is because all sins arise from associating with negative friends; therefore, it is important to never associate with any of them. Do not associate even for an instant with those who have failed in their vows, or have strained their commitments, or are influenced by devils.’

The same text quotes Kadampa Geshe Kamapa as saying:

‘Initially, you would look at a negative friend in disdain. Gradually you would associate with them, and then, it may not be impossible for you to become even worse than these negative friends.’

The text also says further by quoting Geshe Kamapa:

‘There is no blunder worse than befriending a negative friend. Although you might have good aspirations, it is important to know that you should not accomplish them by befriending negative friends. On the contrary, you might only accomplish what they desire, but never fulfill your own aspirations’.

In Tsunpa Sherab Dorji’s commentary to Potowa’s teachings called Heap of Precious Jewels, it says thus:

‘Potowa’s phrase ‘like a diseased frog’ means this: When frogs sleep, they cramp over one another, and become a lump. So, if one of the frogs has a skin disease, the rest of them also get infected. In the same way, among the monastics, if we have one with a broken vow, due to the impact of his degeneration, not only will we not gain any good quality, but we would only associate with many negativities. Therefore, it is important for us to be careful about this. As for the commitments that pertain to Tantra, they are so extremely delicate that we are advised to not even drink water from the river that flows in the same place [as those with severed commitments].’

In the Thirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva Ngulchu Thokme Sangpo says thus:

‘As associating with them increases your three poisonous delusions,
And causes degradation of activities of study, contemplation and meditation,
And bring about transformation into beings with no love and compassion,
It is the practice of Bodhisattvas to abandon negative friends.’

Here, I also want to follow the same rhythm and say thus:

As associating with them increases negative karmas,
And causes degradation of commitments towards the precious Lama,
And brings about transformation into beings with no shame, modesty, conscientious and faith,

It is the practice of Bodhisattvas to abandon those with strained commitments.’

  1. How this intent has sources in Tantra
  • Establishing the Lama as the supreme field of merit
  • Establishing that despising the lama is as same as despising all the Buddhas
  • Sources in Tantra on stopping engagement with them spiritually and materially

Establishing the lama as the supreme field of merit

In Buddhism, a spiritual master is considered an extremely important and a very sensitive field of merit. Therefore, proper obedience to his advice is considered extremely beneficial, practically and karmically, while disobedience and denigration of his advice and despising him are considered utterly dreadful. This is because the master’s benevolence towards us in being our spiritual master is considered even more than that of the Buddhas.

In the Tantra called Compendium of Intents, it says thus:

‘The Buddhas from thousands of eons before,
Have all got enlightened by relying on the spiritual masters.
Before the spiritual masters, even the name ‘Buddha’ did not exist at all.’
Thus, an accomplished vajra-master is considered the supreme among all fields of merit for the vajra-students.

In the Fifty Verses, it states thus:

‘The vajra master from whom the supreme empowerment is received
Who resides in all the ten directions of the universe,
Is venerated with prostrations by the Tathagathas,
Throughout the three phases of time.’

In its commentary by Tsongkhapa, it says thus:

‘Since even the Tathagathas [Buddhas] of the ten directions such as the east and so forth, who have realised emptiness as exactly as it is, offer prostrations to the vajra master as they descend down three times, in the morning, at noon, and in the late evening, what need is there to speak for his vajra students?’

Thus, that the vajra master who bestows the ripening empowerment is revered by all the Tathagathas is not only the intent of this text [Fifty Verse], but is also explained as such in both the seventh chapter of the Guhyasamaja Tantra and the tenth chapter of the Illusory Net Tantra. Tsongkhapa also says in his commentary that as none of the authoritative Indian masters interpreted this differently, but accepted it literally, we should also do likewise.

In his commentary, Tsongkhapa says thus:

‘This assertion is maintained literally [without interpretation] by Chandrakirti, Chilupa, Shantipa and Dreme Bepa [Tibetan/Sanskrit] and many scholarly adepts. As their view on this perfectly coincides with the view of the ‘Fifty Verses’, here I also would like to follow them: As such, the fact that even the Tathagathas revere and make offerings to the vajras masters is a very strong reason for us to hold them in the highest esteem.’

In a Sutra quoted in Nagarjuna’s Compendium of Sutras it says thus:

‘Ananda, if there is a Bodhisattva freely indulging in all the five kinds of pleasure in a chariot, and if there isn’t any to pull the chariot, Ananda, put the rope of the chariot on the head of the Tathagatha.’

As the Lama is the treasury of blessing, venerating and making offerings to him would enable one to attain realisations without much difficulty. This point as emphasised by Kadampa master Gonpawa is quoted in the Compendium of Kadampa Teachings. The text says:

“Gonpawa says thus: ‘Dromtonpa did translations and Neljorwa served him [Atisha] as an attendant. I practised meditation in seclusion. However, they have attained realisations higher than me’.”

As cited above, it is very important for us to show the utmost respect to our spiritual masters.

Establishing that despising the lama is as same as despising all the Buddhas

The fact that the Lama is the supreme field of merit inevitably implies that being unfaithful to him and treating him with disrespect also amounts to being unfaithful to all the Buddhas and treating them with disrespect. In the Compendium of Kadampa Teachings it quotes Kadampa master Kamapa as saying thus:

‘If you do not have faith in your Lama, then note this: In the Tantra of Conquering all the Dakas and Dakinis the sin of disrespecting even a small piece of hair on the body of the Lama is said to be more hideous than disrespecting the Buddhas of the three times.’

This Kadampa instruction is consistent with the Fifty Verses on Guru-Devotion in which it says thus:

‘To such compassionate guardians,
If you despise them knowingly,
This amounts to despising all Buddhas:
Such a person will forever experience sufferings.’

Thus, if being mentally disrespectful is said to be this sinful, this same scriptural authority will also imply that the karmas of mentally, physically and verbally abusing the Lama and flouting his sincere advice are even more hideous than physically, verbally and mentally abusing and flouting the sincere advice of the Buddhas of the three times. For this reason, which wise one would indulge in such self destruction?

Some might maintain this stance and say thus: ‘I have many Lamas and therefore, by keeping my allegiance to some other Lamas, even if I have despised this particular Lama, I could still venerate others and expect their blessing to flow into me.’ However, Kadampa master Kamapa says this in the Compendium of Kadampa Teachings:

‘If anyone forsook his faith in one Lama, there would be no way to actualise Dharma within oneself: This is because abandoning one Lama is similar to abandoning all Lamas. Therefore, if you venerate even the nails and pieces of hair of a Lama who has the look of grandeur, but have no respect for the humble Lamas, this would stop the flow of blessing, and your allegiance to a superior Lama will not bear any blessing. Mahayana in general, and particularly Tantrayana, is heavily dependent on blessing.’

It may be noted here that the benefits and risks associated with a Lama as taught in Tsongkhapa’ss Lamrim and others is probably in connection with a qualified Lama, and definitely not in terms of a sanctimonious person whose deception is difficult to unveil if not properly scrutinised. However, if you have already received teachings from such Lamas, the question that arises is, how should one relate to them? For this, I have neither seen in any authentic scriptures that came to my sight, nor do I have any other valid sources to give you good guidance. So, my only suggestion is that you should seek counsel or advice from more reliable, authentic spiritual masters, and if such suggestions conform to the mainstream of Buddhism, then those are well said pieces of advice for you to implement.

Earlier, I have quoted from authoritative scriptures in which it says that disrespecting one Lama is tantamount to disrespecting all the Buddhas. Logically, it will also infer that disrespecting one Lama is tantamount to disrespecting all the Lamas as there is no way you can maintain the goodwill of your other Lamas by despising one Lama. Since it also says in the Ornament to the Essential Vajra Tantra that you could never achieve anything even when you struggle for eons if you have despised your vajra master, the pretext of showing faith in some master while despising and abusing other masters and denigrating their advice will lead you nowhere. Thus, it is extremely important that your own practice accords perfectly with the authentic Tantra as taught by the Buddha himself, because only this approach will ensure your safe future; straying apart from that will only strengthen your samsaric revolution with chains of successive hellish births. If this happens, you can only blame your own stupidity and inappropriate approach to Buddhism instead of following the authentic version of Buddhism.

Hence, it says thus in the Sutra:

‘I have shown you the path to liberation;
Know that liberation depends on you.’

In another Sutra, it says thus:

‘The Buddhas do not wash away your sins,
Neither do they relieve the sufferings of wandering beings by their own hands;
Nor can they transform their own realisations onto wandering beings:
Only by imparting this truth of emptiness can beings be liberated.’

The King of Concentration Sutra says thus:

‘For humans stricken by illnesses whose bodies suffer
While holding them closely with compassion,
Medicines are given with advice to eat them;
By taking bountiful [supply] of good and precious medicines,
Just as those who wish to recuperate fail to take medicines,
And as this is neither the doctor’s fault nor the medicines’ failure,
But failure on the part of the patients only,
Likewise, having received monastic ordination in this tradition of the Buddha,
When endowed with strength, concentration, intelligence and abundant knowledge,
If you do not persevere and meditate rigorously,
How could liberation be attained without persevering in the trait [of the Buddhas]?’

It also says thus:

‘Although I have given you excellent teachings,
If you do not practise even as you have heard them,
Just like a patient carrying a bagful of medicines,
My medicines will not be able to cure you.’

In Shantideva’s Engaging in the Deeds of Bodhisattvas it says thus:

‘All these should be physically put into action:
What could be achieved by speaking mere words?
Just by reading medical prescriptions,
Would that bring benefit to the patients?’

So, when people deflect from the proper path even as they have been shown the right path, the Buddhas as well as the Dharma cannot be held accountable for the ruinations people land themselves into with their own distorted thoughts and perverted actions, for neither the Buddha has shown them to abide by the improper, nor could such things be found in his teachings.

Just as those who fell into lower realms, due to their failure to properly abide by their monastic vows, could not blame the Buddha for their fate, likewise, those Shugdenpas who have strayed away from proper paths — even as His Holiness has been advising them against the practice for more than three decades — cannot hold His Holiness accountable for their own fate in the lower realms since they themselves continue to stack up their negative karmas that will only result in unfortunate births. Even in this life, that they have become the object of ridicule can only be attributed to their own negative actions.

Qualm: Some unfortunate ones might think thus: ‘We have Dorje Shugden who would protect us from the sufferings of hell and therefore, there is nothing to fear for us.

However, even if Dolgyal were a Buddha, he would still not be able to save you for the following reasons: The Buddhas have no biased inclinations towards any, and neither do they have internal differences in their wisdom and power. However, once the time for your own negativities to ripen unfolds, nothing can save you from experiencing your own karma since in Maitreya’s Abhisamaya Alamkara, it says thus:

‘Even if the rain was caused by the king of gods himself,
Just as a ruined seed cannot germinate at all,
Likewise, although Buddhas have descended on our world,
Bereft of fortune, we have never attained liberation.’

Hence, our continous existence in samsara can only be attributed to our failure to practise the proper and abandon the improper. Also, as Dolgyal has been recognised by many past masters as a perfidious spirit, there is no way he can save you.

In the Thirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva Ngulchu Thokme Sangpo says thus:

‘As they themselves are bound by the imprisonment of samsara,
Who could be saved by these worldly gods?
Therefore, it is the practice of a Bodhisattva
To seek refuge with the Three Jewels that are infallible.’

Even if Dolgyal were a genuine Dharma protector, he would not be able to save you. This is because Tsongkhapa says this in his commentary to Fifty Verses:

“In the horrific hells such as the limitless realm where there are sufferings of extreme heat and so forth, in such hell realms with maximum sufferings, those who despise their masters are said to live long, experiencing only sufferings. This is derived from the 14th Chapter of The Ornament to the Essential Vajra Tantra and the first part of Illusory Net Tantra. Protectors too, will not be able to protect: In the Ornament to the Essential Vajra Tantra it says thus:

‘This great fool who is committed to aggression,
To whichever four directions he might go,
Those with wisdom would not protect him;
With weapons such as javelins,
Those who have committed negativities would be killed’. …”

Having committed such hideous sins, you might think that you could confess them in your next life and that in this life you could continue with your shameless activities. However, these uninterrupted [tsam-med] karmas will lead you directly to hell once this life comes to an end, and there would be no escape until your karma is totally spent. This nature of uninterrupted karma is explained in Abhidharma Kosa Karika by Vasubandu and is also the intent of Tantrayana. Thus, refer to Lamrim Chenmo of Tsongkhapa or other Lamrim texts available to you, or sources in Sutras, and read about the duration of life in the hell realms, the nature of such torments there, and consider this: Isn’t it high time to save your own head before it’s too late?

Instructions in Tantra on stopping engaging with them spiritually and materially

Together with those who continue to despise His Holiness with Dolgyal as the reason behind it, there is no way we Tibetans and the rest of the followers of His Holiness could associate with them spiritually or materially, until they have adopted the proper path as shown by His Holiness. This approach is also the intent of the Buddha’s own Tantra. In the fifth chapter of the Root Text of Guhyasamaja, it says thus:

‘For those beings who have committed greatly hideous sins
Such as the uninterrupted and so forth,
In this great ocean of Vajrayana,
The supreme accomplishment is possible even for them;
Those who wholeheartedly despise their masters
Would never accomplish anything, even if they tried very hard.’

In its commentary called Illuminating the Lamp as composed by the great Indian luminary Chandrakirti, it says thus:

‘Uninterrupted sins committed by sentient beings are: killing their father, mother and foe destroyers [1, 2, 3] destroying images of Buddha [4] and abandoning the sublime Dharma [5]. As these hideous sins will lead you plummeting down to hell immediately after death, they are known as uninterrupted. Thus, the word uninterrupted in the root text refers to the actual act of committing such sins. The word ‘so forth’ in this context refers to both the uninterrupted and the auxiliary-uninterrupted sins. The phrase ‘committing greatly hideous sins’ in this context refers to the four-root downfalls which are analogous to cutting the trunk of the banana tree; if through the kindness of the Lama, even those sentient beings who have degenerated their own Dharma and are bound for hell could strive and accomplish the completion stage and get enlightened, then, what need is there to speak for those who belong to the lower caste? Thus, it means here that they would be able to surpass their shortcomings.

However, some have this misunderstanding that as Vajrayana is the one that completely subdues all the sinful beings, even those who have wholeheartedly despised their master would be able to attain accomplishments [the completion stage and so forth]. In order to counteract this misunderstanding, it [the root text] says, ‘those who have whole heartedly despised their masters’ and so on. This means this: Having first venerated their masters, and then having pursued their study and contemplation systematically until they have realised the suchness, some then think ‘what good have they done to me’ and despise them; this is called wholeheartedly despising the Lama. Indulging in material pleasure with those who despise their masters is also an act of despising the master; if the latter cannot accomplish the paths, what need is there to mention about those who wholeheartedly despise their masters: Thus, there is an emphasis put on this statement when it says ‘they would never attain accomplishments.’

This interpretation of Chandrakirti is accepted literally without further interpretation by Tsongkhapa. In his Commentary on Illuminating the Lamp Tsongkhapa says thus:

“In [translator] Patsab’s translation of the root text, it says thus:

‘Those who despise their masters and others too,
Will never accomplish anything even if they persevered.’

In its commentary by Chandrakirti, it says thus:

‘Some happily indulge in material pleasures with them. If others who did not [directly] despise the master cannot achieve any accomplishment, what need is there to speak for those who actually despise their masters? The phrase ‘will never accomplish anything’ is an emphatic expression which means there will be no accomplishment at all: This assertion is a definitive one.’

Thus, it has been explained as the meaning of this Tantra [The Root Verses of Guhyasamaja] in this commentary that even their friends who indulge happily in material pleasure with those who despise their master will not accomplish anything. Maintaining this explanation and the classification of the latter of the second two lines [of the four-lined verse] as definitive assertions [which means they cannot be interpreted otherwise] is an extremely precise translation [by Phabtsab].”

Jestun Sherab Senge was entrusted with the Tantric teachings of Tsongkhapa amongst all of Tsongkhapa’s most accomplished disciples. He founded the Gyumed College to preserve the tradition of Tsongkhapa’s Tantric teachings. In his commentary to Tsongkhapa’s Four Interwoven Commentaries it says:

“In the Root Text it says thus:
‘Those who have wholeheartedly despised their masters,
Will never accomplish anything, even if they persevered.’

The meaning of this is as follows: As there is a possibility for even those who have committed uninterrupted sins to accomplish the supreme feat [Buddhahood], some might wonder if even those who have despised their masters could attain the supreme feat by relying on this path of the Guhyasamaja Tantra. By giving up the duty of respecting their masters as the supreme field of veneration, those who speak abusive words against them will never accomplish the supreme feat, no matter how much they persevered in this life; not only them, but even those who befriend them by sharing foods and clothes will never accomplish anything at all. Therefore, such beings who wholeheartedly despise their masters must never be seen even in our dreams since the Illusory Net Tantra says thus:

‘Those who despise their masters,
Must never be seen even in dreams.’……”

Chandrakirti says thus in his commentary Illuminating the Lamp:

“In the Illusory Net Tantra, it says thus,

‘Those who despise their masters,
Must never be seen even in dreams;
Those who despise their masters
Will be captivated by obstacles and devils:
Thus, the wise one should always abandon
Such despicable actions of aggression.’……”

Just as stated above, it is a definitive assertion [that cannot be interpreted otherwise].”

Thus, if people who despise their own masters are not to be seen even in the dreams, it inevitably infers that we should never see them, or engage with them in any religious or worldly affair while we are wide awake.

Tsongkhapa also mentions this point in his Commentary to the Fifty Verses:

“As it is said that those who have wholeheartedly despised their masters will not accomplish anything even if they persevered, its commentary Illuminating the Path says thus: ‘Those who have committed either of the five uninterrupted sins, such as killing their father or mother, or killing an Arhat [foe destroyer], destroying a Buddha image, and abandoning the sublime Dharma; or the auxiliary-uninterrupted sins; or breaking of any of the fourteen root-commitments that are greatly sinful, even they could achieve Buddhahood by developing the generation stage within them. However, having first venerated their master, and then having pursued study and contemplation systematically until they have realised the suchness, some then think ‘what good have they done to me’ and despise them; this is what ‘wholeheartedly despising the Lama means’. Indulging in material pleasures with them happily is also an act of despising the master. If the latter cannot accomplish the paths, what need is there to mention about those who wholeheartedly despise their masters.’

Thus, it [commentary] says that this [act of despising the Lama] is even more sinful than the uninterrupted sins or the sin of abandoning the sublime Dharma.”

Tsongkhapa further says this in his Four Interwoven Commentaries:

“Even if those who have accrued the root-downfall of despising their Lamas generated extremely strong regrets by entering the mandala again, receiving the commitments, the vows and the complete empowerments properly, and then practised the vows and commitments tenaciously, thus, doing everything to purify their sins, although this would stop their birth in lower realms, they would never attain the ‘supreme feat’ in this life since this sin [of despising the master]is said to be the ultimate of all sins in the authoritative scriptures; therefore, be mindful: May this also serve as a basis to develop firm conviction on this.”

In the commentary to Fifty Verses of Guru-Devotion, Tsongkhapa says thus:

“Since these sins would rob you of the attainment of all ‘spiritual feats’ and as these are roots of extremely horrendous sufferings of lower realms, and because this has been exphasised multiple times in many Tantras, it is very important to be mindful of this issue. This depends on habituating with the law of Karma in general; especifically, it depends on being conscious of the risks associated with the masters, the risk of creating mental disturbances to them, and the ensuing consequences that will bring great fear. This depends on developing a firm conviction that such miseries arise from these causes: if these two convictions remain only in word, restraining from such negativities will also remain only in word.

By engaging in these root-downfalls without even a slightest inkling of discomfort and by completely neglecting the vows to be guarded, even if you claimed to be practising the path, it is said that you would only open your own gateways to unfortunate realms. As such, with your commitments and vows that you have pledged as the foundation, you should practise meditating on the path: The fourteenth chapter of the Ornament to the Essence of Vajra Tantra says thus:

‘He who has completely despised his own master,
If he tries to accomplish the supreme of all Tantras
Even by abandoning sleep and leisure,
And rigorously perseveres in this effort even for eons,
It only amounts to accomplishing the hells.’

The first chapter of the Root Text of Chakrasamvara Tantra says thus:

A meditator in stringent equilibrium
Must always abide by the commitments;
In the mandala of the one with broken commitments
No one would accomplish any spiritual feat through empowerments.”

Thus, from these, it is very clear how hideous the sins of knowingly despising your Lamas or disturbing their minds are. Such sins are said to be the ultimate sins since no other sin is more hideous than them. Therefore, materially and spiritually disassociating from those who vehemently abuse His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as well as their followers who support them, is totally consistent with Dharma by all means. On the contrary, if anyone with Tantric vows engages with them spiritually or materially, they would acquire the tenth root-downfall of befriending the dreadful. In the Excellent Explanation on the Vows of Tantra Tsongkhapa says thus:

“The tenth root-downfall is this:
Being always kind to the dreadful,
Is an act that is considered the tenth.

This has two parts: Firstly, the objects of engagement are those who have despised the Three Jewels and the masters, or caused damage to the Dharma, and all those who are objects to be dealt with exorcism. They are called the dreadful objects.

As for the limit that would cause the downfall, it is by befriending them, showing physical and verbal kindness to them.”

Thus, although there is no restriction from mentally holding them with compassion, those with Tantric vows should not treat them with any aspect of physical and verbal kindness, since doing so would only acquire for themselves the tenth downfall of befriending the dreadful. For these reasons and many others, the Tibetans as well as other students of His Holiness the Dalai Lama decided to severe all ties with contemporary Dolgyal fanatics. This position has both a spiritual and political aspect to it. Here, I have set forth the sources for such a stance as prescribed in the authentic Tantras and their commentaries by the great Indian luminaries, as well as by Tsongkhapa, the most respected Buddhist scholarly adept in the history of Buddhism in Tibet.

Ascertaining that such a position is in line with the ways of the world

Thus, from the Buddhist perspective, these Dolgyal fanatics are either those who engage directly in the most hineous of sins as explained above, or those who lend them all kinds of support. Since not befriending the sinful ones is consistent with the ways of the world, and just as people living in the same family who do not get along well would legally opt for separation and the world finds no difficulty in accepting this, likewise, there is nothing wrong with the Tibetans choosing their own separation from those who treat His Holiness the Dalai Lama as their main enemy. The animosity against His Holiness is clear from all their ruthless campaigns and activities throughout the world. When Dolgyal practitioners in the Tibetan settlements in South India were given their own share of land and property to set their own separate monasteries so that both could live their own traditions separately, what wrong is there in this?

Generally speaking, any action that has more benefits than risks is advisable. However, due to their treacherous activities, living closely with the Dolgyal fanatics brings more disharmony in our society than benefit for both sides. As both sides do not find it easy to live peacefully with mutual respect, going separately is the most plausible solution for both.

For those who side with the majority of the Tibetans and His Holiness, this move by Dolgyal fanatics in seeking Chinese support that causes much instability and fear in our Tibetan society is the worst act of betrayal of one’s own nation. In the rest of the world, such people are called traitors, and traitors are not integrated in any standard human society, but are considered dangerous and avoided. For the Tibetans, during this most difficult time in the history of Tibet, there can be no worst act of betrayal than betraying one’s own country by siding with the Chinese, and bringing Chinese infiltration in our exile community. Thus, for the Tibetans, this present stand of keeping them at bay is an act of safeguarding our own national interest in this difficult time. Just as the traitors are avoided like poison in the rest of the world, the Tibetans have been compelled to do the same. Thus, how can you call this segregation?

  1. Ascertaining that this is logically consistent and the final conclusion

In Chandrakirti’s Madyamika Karika, it says thus:

‘Just as the ocean would do to a corpse [wipe away to the shore],
And just as the auspicious ones would do with the inauspicious ones,
Likewise, those who are strictly consistent with discipline,
Would naturally not associate with those who have deflected.’

In the same way, with successive resolutions at different levels of meetings at the major monastic seats, they resolved to disassociate with Dolgyal fanatics whose growing collaboration with the Chinese and their disruptive activities — of confronting His Holiness and those who stood by him — had crossed the limit of tolerance. Based on this resolution, the Tibetans decided to make a stand. For the Tibetans, in the face of our national disaster, this stance is not just politically important, but spiritually very consistent with the teachings of Lord Buddha. I have cited from many Sutras and Tantras to validate this. This was the only reasonable approach because these Dolgyal fanatics would never listen to either His Holiness or their own Lamas who support His Holiness’ advice. On the contrary, they have reacted very negatively to a sincere piece of advice urging them to forsake the worship of a perfidious spirit. They have not only revolted against His Holiness, but also threatened those who support His Holiness. These people would neither consider the kindness of His Holiness, nor would they ever listen to reason and common sense. As they have become tools for the Chinese to weaken the Tibetan national struggle and are dancing to the tune of Chinese money that they could have in abundance, the only way to stop their influence is to distance ourselves from them. For the unity of the Tibetans, for our present and long term benefits in terms of good collective karma that would serve as seeds for the future of Tibet, just as choosing medicine over poison is reasonable, so too, is our united stand in support of His Holiness.

Ask anyone, why would he not drink poison? The answer will be because poison is a threat to one’s survival and that he wants to live. In the same way, associating with Dolgyal fanatics would risk our wellbeing in our successive lifetimes, and therefore, our stance is an act of self defense. Also, as these people are obstacles for us in our Tibetan national struggle and pursuit of enlightenment, just as gathering conducive factors and tackling obstacles is reasonable, our own position of not associating with them is also very sensible. From every aspect, there is logical sense in this approach of the Tibetans to choose the interest of our country Tibet, and be guided by the Dalai Lama’s in this life and successive lifetimes. This naturally led to our present position of shielding ourselves from their vicious designs.

There is no segregation here because it is an act of safeguarding our own interests in the face of difficulties during our national struggle. Therefore, this is only reasonable. Besides, as Buddhists, we do not give priority to the worship of a spirit which they seem to portray as the core essence of Buddhism. No genuine Buddhist would ever tolerate such misrepresentation of Buddhism. Thus, just as distancing from obstructions and embracing conducive-factors is reasonable for any religious or other important or trivial matters, the same can be said for this stand taken by the Tibetans.

There is no deprivation of religious freedom as they were given their own share of land and property, and have founded their own monasteries where they could worship Dolgyal as much as they desire. Strictly speaking, although worshipping a spirit cannot be called a religious practice in Buddhism, even if it were so, as they have every liberty of practising Dolgyal, where is there any deprivation of religious freedom?

These people have not been expelled from the midst of Tibetans as they still have their own monasteries in the Tibetan settlements, upholding the tradition of Dolgyal’s worship. They have not been deprived of rights as Tibetans; however, if this were to be done, there is nothing wrong in it as these people never shoulder the responsibility of being Tibetans, but only pose severe threats to our stability and struggle for Tibet.

Thus, so long as they do not stop the worship of Dolgyal and their abuses against His Holiness, there is no way we can ever be on good terms with one another; this is also not unreasonable for us to cut our association with them since we have irreconcilable differences. It appears there is a ‘NKT survivors’ group, and this indicates that they expel those who are not consistent with their approach. If this is their own practice, how do they justify their opposition to our stance and yet, defend their own treatment of the NKT survivors? Or is being hypocritical and paradoxical all that they are good at? Isn’t it better if they first made sure the same arrows they throw at others do not return back?

Although I have many more arguments to set forth by using logic and scriptural quotations to prove my points, if you have some sense of discernment, this much should suffice. Others whose wisdom are blurred by their egoistic self righteousness would never understand anything if even I were to spend my whole life explaining these to them. So, I would prefer to stop here.