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NKT's Anti Buddha: Shugden

NKT claims all kinds of fake proof that its Shugden is a Buddha.

However, Buddha's do not speak through oracles. They speak for themselves.

NKT's founder's uncle was a Shugden oracle (until he left NKT to return to the Dalai Lama). There are several other Shugden oracles.

NKT's political war against the Dalai Lama and Buddhism is not shared by others.

For example,

June 9, 2014
We the undersigned Buddhist centers wish to express our full confidence in and respect for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and our complete agreement with regard to the dangerous nature of the practice of the Dogyal/Shugden cult.

Since 1978 His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in his capacity as spiritual leader, has repeatedly stated publicly the extent to which the practice of the spirit called Dogyal/Shugden has degenerated, to the point of becoming a real cult, with strong sectarian features. In the past, this spirit was often invoked both as a Dharma protector as well as for more mundane purposes, but there have always been contradictory points of view about its nature and function. Thus, even though the Dalai Lama himself engaged in this spiritual practice until the age of forty, in 1975, after extensive research, he decided not only to cease this practice, but also to speak out publicly about the historical, social and cultural issues associated with this practice.

In short, the harmfulness of Dogyal/Shugden can be summed up as follows:

In spite of what his followers affirm, Dogyal/Shugden is not an enlightened protector, but a being arisen as an effect of distorted prayers and invocations.
His nature is that of a devilish harmful spirit.
His effect is that of destroying the Buddhadharma and harmony among practitioners.

The problems deriving from this practice can be summed up in three essential points:

There is the danger that Tibetan Buddhism could degenerate into a kind of spirit cult, as the practice of Dogyal/Shugden brings its followers to consider this spirit as more important than Buddha himself.
There is the actual possibility that this practice could be an obstacle toward the creation of a true non-sectarian culture, in total contrast with one of the objectives that His Holiness is mostly concerned with, namely, the fostering of true harmony amongst all religions.
Finally, there are problems connected to the preservation of Tibetan culture, which have existed since the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama (seventeenth century).

For these reasons, the Dharma practitioners belonging to the undersigned centers are constantly engaged in informing the public about the truth regarding this ancient issue, supported – as mentioned – by broad and carefully examined research. Out of great compassion, feeling strongly his responsibility as a religious leader – namely, as one who should indicate the correct spiritual path to be followed – His Holiness advises against the practice of this cult. He does this not for personal profit, but because the danger has been clearly shown.

Therefore, we the undersigned centers dissociate ourselves from and firmly condemn any protests against His Holiness the Dalai Lama carried out by organizations devoted to the Dogyal/Shugden cult, which organizations are carrying out an exploitative and denigrating campaign against Him, spreading accusations totally lacking any foundation:

1) His Holiness is accused of banning this practice. This is untrue, as the Dalai Lama himself has repeatedly stated that this is a decision that lies with each individual, and must be taken after a thorough analysis of what He says and not by a mere acceptance of His words. As for the request of His Holiness not to attend his teachings or empowerments, transmissions, and instructions as well as not to receive religious vows from Him by those who follow Dogyal/Shugden, the reason is that this will endanger both teacher and students because of a tainted relationship. As a spiritual master, His Holiness has every right to allow or not to allow anyone to access His teachings.

2) His Holiness is accused of suppressing freedom of religion. This is untrue, as nobody has ever been banned from invoking this spirit privately, in temples and monasteries where this practice is followed. There have been instances wherein Dogyal/Shugden followers left their monasteries of origin. This happened as a result of a referendum carried out in accordance with the rules of the monastic tradition of Vinaya. These monks were free to keep their own shares of money and land, and have been completely free to practice Dogyal/Shugden on their own without any threat to their activities. In addition, if they don’t have religious freedom, then how is it that the practitioners of Dogyal/Shugden can travel freely to all parts of the world, raising this issue and trying to find new supporters from amongst those who are in the dark about the facts?

3) They maintain that the Dalai Lama is lying. Such criticism has no solid base, since holding a different point of view from that of the Dogyal/Shugden practitioners is not lying, but only exercising one’s right of opinion.

4) They accuse the Dalai Lama of being the only one to hold this point of view. This is absolutely untrue, as the first controversies about this matter date back to the seventeenth century.

It is worth noting that the protests of some Shugden practitioners have degenerated to the point of criminal acts, such as the one perpetrated near Dharamsala in 1997, when two Shugden followers, currently wanted by Interpol, killed the Headmaster of the School of Dialectics at the time, together with two of his disciples. Moreover, it appears that these organizations have sided many times with the decisions by several Western governments not to meet with the Dalai Lama, because of the strong political and economic pressures exerted by the Chinese government (as recently happened in Norway), thus demonstrating that there are other interests at play beyond those aspects related to the religious tradition.

We invite all those who are unaware of this issue to pay careful attention when choosing their spiritual path, on the basis of thorough analysis and research, and we strongly reaffirm our full support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the international activities he has carried out for more than fifty years all over the world, where his figure is recognized as one of the greatest advocates for world peace and harmony in our time.

S.No Tibetan Buddhist Centres in Italy

1. Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia (Pi)

2. Ghe Pel Ling Istituto Studi Di Buddhismo Tibetano, Milano

3. Centro Milarepa Torino

4. Comunita’ Dzog-Chen, Arcidosso (Gr)

5. Fpmt Fondazione Per La Preservazione Della Tradizione Mahayana, Pomaia (Pi)

6. Centro Studi Kalachakra, Bordighera (Im)

7. Centro Dharma Visuddha, Verona

8. Centro Cenresig, Bologna

9. Centro Buddhista Muni Gyana, Palermo

10. Centro Tara Cittamani, Padova

11. Istituto Samantabhadra, Roma

12. Mandala Centro Studi Tibetani, Milano

13. Centro Studi Tibetani Sangye Cieling Sondrio

14. Monastero Mandala Samten Ling Biella

15. Centro Studi Tibetani Mandala Deua Ling, Merano (Bz)

16. Centro Terra Di Unificazione Ewam, Firenze

17. Centro Vajrapani, Bosentino (Tn)

18. Centro Dharna Karuna, Modena

19. Centro Lama Tzong Khapa, Zero Branco (Tv)

20. Centro Studi Tibetani Tenzin Cio Ling, Sondrio

21. Centro Gajang Giang Chub, Paladina (Bg)

22. Centro Buddhista Cenresig, Domodossola (Vb)

23. Centro Sakyamuni, Messina

24. Centro Di Meditazione Kushi Ling, Livorno


Statement of the Deutsche Buddhistische Ordensgemeinschaft (DBO, German Buddhist Monastic Association) on the Protests against the Dalai Lama by the International Shugden Community (ISC)
Berlin, Schneverdingen, Hannover
May 1st, 2014

The Deutsche Buddhistische Ordensgemeinschaft (DBO) formally dissociates itself from the protests against the Dalai Lama, which are being staged worldwide, and also in Frankfurt (Main). The DBO remains of the conviction that opinions among Buddhists should be expressed in a peaceful, respectful, truthful and reasonable manner. The DBO is very concerned about the protesters’ aggressive, misleading and unethical behaviour and the false image being presented by them to the public. The DBO emphasizes that the protesters belonging to the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) are no Buddhist monks and nuns according to the monastic rules of the Buddha and that their behaviour in public represents neither the Buddha nor his teachings (Dharma) nor the Buddhist community (Sangha).

We regret that a Buddhist group is trying to cause further damage in the West to the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism at a time when the Tibetan Buddhist teachings are under great pressure in their country of origin, Tibet.

The background: As early as 1996 to 1998 and especially since 2008, an inter-national media and rally campaign, conducted professionally and aggressively, is being waged by mostly western followers of the so-called protector Dorje Shugden against the Dalai Lama.

The reason is as follows: Since 1978, the religious leader of the Tibetan people has been publicly emphasizing that the invocation of Shugden has degenerated to a cult practice with strongly sectarian characteristics, a practice of which he could not approve. In fact, religious scientists and Tibetologists confirm that the organized form of the invocation of Shugden is tied to the conviction that the Gelug school is superior to the other schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Dalai Lama further criticizes that this practice has veered farther and farther away from the Buddhist teachings.

Dorje Shugden (also called Dholgyal) is a so-called protector who has been controversial since his origination in the 17th century. In the Tibetan cultural area, protectors are entities which are invoked and asked for help, e.g. for the protection of the Buddhist teachings, but also in worldly matters such as the harvest, the building of houses, et cetera. There are different and contradictory views of the nature and the functions of Shugden.

The protesters, usually appearing in public as Buddhist monks and nuns, accuse the Dalai Lama of the suppression of religious freedom, even calling him the “the worst dictator in the modern world”. However, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and centers as well as the practitioners themselves are free to decide whether or not they will follow the Dalai Lama’s advice. And a majority among them have spoken out against a controversial practice such as that of the organized followers of Shugden that causes disharmony and depreciates other religious communities.

The internationally well-linked protesters are for the most part members of the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), a charitable organisation that was founded in England by the Tibetan scholar Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. It is one of the fastest growing organisations in the UK. On the outside, it presents itself as modern, contemporary and democratic, internally however – according to testimony by former followers – the organisation is marked by rigid, sectarian structures, with Kelsang Gyatso as its intangible and sole ruler.

To organize its worldwide protests, NKT keeps founding new “front organizations”, which serve to veil the protesters’ background. The ISC is already the third of its kind. The Shugden websites, which it operates, do not cite any official contact information or legal registration, are run anonymously (domains by proxy), and do not name anyone legally responsible for the accusations.

Media contact:
Tenzin Peljor (Michael Jäckel) +49 176 996 527 29 | +49 30 21 23 88 33

Supplement to the statement of the German Buddhist monastic community (DBO) on the protests against His Holiness the Dalai Lama by the International Shugden Community (ISC)

The DBO has already pointed out that in its opinion that the allegations are factually distorting and misleading.

Here are some examples:

Assertion: “There are 4 million Shugden devotees.” – Correction: Since 1996 academics repeatedly state that this number is “very much exaggerated.”
Assertion: “Shugden devotees are excluded from medical assistance, education and the issuance of passports because of the Dalai Lama’s politics” – Correction: Individual cases like this may have occurred due to overzealous Tibetan individuals; however there is no policy on the part of the Tibetan Central Administration or the Dalai Lama to exclude Shugden devotees from medical care, education or the issue of documents. Neither Amnesty International (1998) nor the Supreme Court in Delhi (2010) was able to ascertain a violation of human rights or religious rights.
Assertion: “The Dalai Lama has banned Shugden.” – Correction: There is no general prohibition of Shugden, but there are restrictions. For example, monasteries have made decisions, on the basis of democratic majority votes, against the invocation of Shugden, and the Dalai Lama has asked those who regard him as their teacher to abandon Shugden practice. He has repeatedly emphasized that everyone is free to ignore his advice and can practice Shugden privately.
Assertion: “The Dalai Lama suppresses religious freedom.” – Correction: Shugden may very well be invoked privately or in Shugden temples and monasteries by his devotees, and this happens. It is the Shugden practice itself that restricts religious freedom by threatening those who exercise the spiritual practices of other Tibetan-Buddhist schools with severe penalties. Restrictions of this practice would therefore increase the freedom of all others to practice what they wish to practice. In any society it is necessary for the protection of freedom of the majority to restrict religious extremism and to exclude their advocates from public institutions.
Assertion: “The Dalai Lama is lying.” – Correction: To have a different perspective on Shugden than its devotees is not a lie, but the exercise of the right to have one’s own opinion.
Assertion: “The Shugden issue is the fault of the Dalai Lama alone.” – Correction: The Shugden issue has existed since the 17th century. Radical Shugden devotees have alienated monasteries and Tibetan Buddhists against them. Two radical followers are sought by Interpol for the triple murder of a Shugden opponent and his two students. It is absurd to make the Dalai Lama responsible for these developments.
Assertion: “The invocation of Shugden is just a simple prayer for the development of compassion and wisdom.” – Correction: This allegation ignores the widespread sectarian and violent background of Shugden worship which can be proven by reading the scriptures.


Published February 27, 2014

We, the members of Tibetan Community Associations of Northern California and Los Angeles, have been dismayed by the behavior of a small group of people shouting insults at His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his recent visit to California. Many of them appear to have been monastics shouting insulting slogans like “Dalai Lama, stop lying” outside venues where His Holiness was speaking. They have distributed pamphlets containing the outrageous accusation that His Holiness is “the worst dictator of modern time.” It is hard to describe the deep hurt Tibetans feel in the face of such slander of their respected leader. It is particularly painful for us Tibetan Americans since we are acutely aware that His Holiness represents the only source of hope for millions of our compatriots inside Tibet. Their dignity and freedom are under constant threat under repressive communist Chinese rule.

On the one hand, given the preposterous and offensive nature of their allegations – “His Holiness being the worst dictator of our modern time” – it is tempting to dismiss these protestors as crazy people. On the other, the apparently effective logistics of their campaign makes us wonder if there is not more to their operation than meets the eye. Who, for example, is meeting the expenses for the transport, accommodation etc of this group, many of whom do not sound like Americans?

Ostensibly, the group describe themselves as members of the International Shugden Community. However, monastic names given by their spokespersons suggest that the majority belong to the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) a sect headquartered in the United Kingdom that has voiced an animosity towards His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the past. In his capacity as the pre-eminent Tibetan Buddhist leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama encourages his Tibetan Buddhist followers to engage with the Buddha’s teachings in a spirit of critical enquiry and understanding, rather than blind faith. In this context, he has spoken of the negative aspects of the worship of Shugden – a form of spirit worship – that has also historically been a source of sectarian disharmony, including violence, among Tibetan Buddhists. And as the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism His Holiness feels that it is his moral responsibility to explain to his followers what he understands to be in the best interest of the tradition.

The NKT sect has, for whatever reason, chosen to identify with the already highly divisive worship of Shugden and have for some time sought to slander His Holiness personally. They claim his advice violates their religious freedom. Since they do not consider themselves his followers, it is hard to understand how his advice has any bearing on their freedom to worship whatever they want. They further claim that Tibetans who worship Shugden have been banned from conducting such practice. This, again, is completely untrue, since Tibetan monastics who choose to worship the spirit Shugden continue to do so. They have been able to establish their own communities in the Tibetan settlements of Mundgod and Bylakuppe in Karnataka, known respectively as Shar Ganden and Pompora monasteries. They remain completely free to pursue their worship of the spirit Shugden and whatever else they choose.

We know for a fact that no Tibetans in the exile community have been deprived of their rights, whether these relate to education, health, jobs in the administration or their retirement plans, on account of their attachment to the worship of Shugden. We see no motive for these protests other than to cast insults on our spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We register our strong objections and urge whoever is orchestrating them, be they the leadership of the NKT or other forces, to cease this belligerent activity immediately.

Out of respect for the compassionate leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we have restrained the members of our community from confronting these provocative protestors on this occasion. To approach these issues more rationally, if members of NKT or their affiliates have any specific complaints against the Tibetan community and its leaders, we urge them to bring them to the attention of our representatives in the appropriate way rather than resorting to insulting one of the most acclaimed leader of our time.

Tenzin Dorjee
President, Tibetan Association of Southern California

Kunjo Tashi
President, Tibetan Association of Northern California

NKT poisons its followers with false Buddhism for wealth and politics. It is a geopolitical business.