At the time when Tibet is going through one of its most difficult times in history, to be compelled to speak about Tibetan internal problems we find most disheartening. If the problem were a minor one, certainly the right thing would be to down-play and ignore it.
However, the difficulty we face, is neither simple nor limited to just a small number of individuals. Rather, it has affected the lives of countless Tibetans, both in exile and in Tibet. In short, our problem is a most serious religious prosecution with violation of basic human rights - a situation without precedent in all of Tibetan history and irrational to such a point that it can hardly be grasped by any sensible person of this world.
To give a better understanding of the unimaginable scope of the present situation among the Tibetan people, let us try with this analogy:
If H.H. the Pope would denounce one particular saint out of the many widely venerated saints of the Catholic church, such a step would certainly become an issue. However, if H.H. the pope would then declare that saint an evil spirit, with the reasoning that the veneration of that specific saint is harmful for his own life as well as for the political freedom of Italy, the issue would become ridiculous. On top of that, if the Italian government would then implement the pope's antipathy for that saint in government policies, forcing all Italians to testify their abandonment of that saint in public swearings, and forcing them to publicly sign that they will no longer maintain any spiritual or material relation to anyone not obeying the pope's decree, then the honest people of this world would certainly rise upon such an outrageous act - but just that is our case.
This present situation has its roots in the late 1970ies, when H.H. Dalai Lama increasingly succumbed to the influence of ill-intending advisors, such as the the so-called 'state oracle' and other policy-makers in the exile government. These people have managed to change H.H. Dalai Lama's attitude towards one specific deity out of many hundreds of similar ones respected in Tibetan Buddhism. Hundred thousands of Tibetans have relied on this deity called Dorje Shugden for many generations, among them many extraordinary personalities of outstanding service to the Tibetan people, including the Dalai Lama's own personal guru Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, his lord chamberlain who organised the safe escape to India, his body guards and many Khampa freedom fighters giving their lives for the safety of His Holiness.
After initial critics against the deity by the state oracle and His Holiness in 1978 the subsequent allegations worsened year by year. In spring 1996 His Holiness made his first public denouncement of the deity in Dharamsala during spring teachings, with the words: "If you people want me to be damned and do not care about Tibetan freedom, you go ahead worshipping that evil spirit."
These words have been followed by tremendous turmoil in the exile Tibetan community up to this day. The Tibetan exile government implemented His Holiness' personal dislike for the deity as a government policy and started to wage a world-wide campaign against the deity and each and every individual connected to it.
Thanks to the generosity and protection of the government and the people of India, Tibetans have enjoyed decades of harmonious life in exile, rebuilding their monasteries and following their studies and religious activities in peace and security. Under the continued pressure of the exile government, that peace and harmony were quickly destroyed and a tremendous schism throughout Tibetan society created.
Many times signature campaigns for the abandonment of every practice linked with this deity have been conducted, which lead to some individuals complying as a result of their respect as well as their fear of upsetting the Dalai Lama. Others expressed their sincere dilemma to choose between His Holiness and ones own religious faith and practice, comparing such a choice to the unacceptable obligation to choose by signature between ones father and ones mother and thus declined their signature. Whoever declined to abandon the deity was looked upon as traitor. Such proceeding automatically created heavy divisions in the Tibetan community in exile, and under all kind of pretexts the exile Tibetan government made strongest effort to transport this mysterious campaign to the Tibetan homeland, thus causing the unfortunate schism to spread in Tibet as well.
The worsening situation led to the necessity to organise ourselves, this way the Dorje Shugden society has been founded in 1998. Since its founding, our organisation has tried every reasonable method to solve this problem, like submitting appeals to H.H. Dalai Lama, to our religious department, to religious and political dignitaries - requesting understanding, a compassionate regard to our situation, and petitioning to let us continue our own religious practice as our masters and forefathers have done. All these attempts have been dismissed with harsh rejection. Instead, pressure and restrictions imposed by His Holiness and the exile government were continuously increased, up to the point where the deity now-a-days is publicly denounced as a Chinese demon and all its adherents accused of being Chinese spies and collaborators.
Particularly this January have His Holiness and Samdong Lama, prime minister of exile Tibet, publicly and vehemently called the public opinion to rise against followers of Dorje Shugden. Again public signature and swearing campaigns in and out of the monasteries were held to make everybody swear not only to abandon every link to the deity but also to abandon any spiritual and material link of any kind with any adherent of Dorje Shugden.
As a result, the monastic community was forced to separate, breaking all their links of studying and praying together. Likewise, also on the worldly level, any social link such as eating together or living together or making business together have been forbidden. Some organisations are even urging that every adherent of Dorje Shugden should be expelled from India. Children of practitioners are harassed in schools and even some shops carry signs stating that Shugden practitioners are not allowed to enter.
This way we have been classified and discriminated as total outcasts to our Tibetan society. Such a most unbelievable situation has become true and an unfortunate reality for us in everyday life.
With our limited means we have approached the government of India as well as some international organisations, but due to the paramount reputation of H.H. Dalai Lama and the inconceivableness of the issue little attention has been received until now. Therefore we have taken the opportunity of the present situation, where the attention of the world is focused on Tibet, to make this problem known to the world, especially to the government and the people of India, who are our sole hope, refuge, and source of protection. We ask the genuine attention of the honest people of the world as witness.
As long as there is disregard and violation of human rights and religious freedom within our own community by our own leaders, there is no solving of the Tibetan problem on the international level.
It is also important to note that all those persons, who have venerated the deity Dorje Shugden in the past and do so at present, do not belong to any strange sect and have never been an organised formation. If the veneration of protecting deities besides Lord Buddha, who is the central and supreme object of refuge for all Buddhists, would classify a person to be a follower of a sect, then all Tibetan Buddhists will fall in such a category, because the adherents of all four Tibetan traditions, including H.H. Dalai Lama, commonly venerate a multitude of protecting deities.Contact:
Geshe Konchok Gyaltsen, Dorje Shugden Society,
House No 105, Old Tibetan Camp, Majnu Ka Tilla, Delhi-54Phone:
(91) 11-23921169, Mobile:(91) 9910262029Mail: