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Westernized Shugden, NKT's cult source needs NKT's protection

One angry brand trying to save another

NKT vehemently argues that its main god, Shugden, is not a spirit but rather a Buddha as well as one of the many emanations of Buddha Manjushri (as was, according to NKT, Tsongkhapa; notably, NKT claims that Tsongkhapa became a Buddha only after death, meaning that Tsongkhapa was an emanation of a Buddha during his life without knowing it but became his own Buddha after he died; in contrast, according to NKT, NKT's only leader, Gyatso, is this world's 'Third Buddha' and only living Buddha, not an emanation of any other Buddha).

NKT claims that anyone believing that Shugden is a spirit is a deluded liar, and as such does not merit religious freedom.

For NKT, two heads are better than one, except for its private Buddha Gyatso who wears only one persona - a Buddha, not a Buddha emanation. So angry is NKT about anyone questioning its god mythology that they protest against the Dalai Lama's spiritual and political leadership of his country now in exile in India.

Shugdenites, at least those aggressively defending Shugdenism and NKTites calling attention to the following, have a contradictory view of Shugden from what NKT is trying to sell. A widely trumpeted Shugdenite web site (Dorje Shugden HIstory) asserts that Shugden is indeed a wrathful spirit who began to be worshiped in the 17th and 18th centuries.

"In Drepung monastery near Lhasa...there were two principal recognized reincarnation lineages: the upper and lower residences. Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen (1619-1656) was the recognized reincarnation of the upper residence, while the Fifth Dalai Lama was the recognized reincarnation of the lower residence...Both reincarnations were students of the great Gelug master Lobsang Chokyi Gyaltsen and took Vinaya ordination (from) him on the same year of 1638.

As expected, both masters were spiritually realized beings, but according to the worldly view it would appear there was a rivalry due to the various power struggles by the administration of the Fifth Dalai Lama.

Sonam Rabten saw this equal status as a threat the Dalai Lama’s prestige. (Sonam Rabten was an associate of the fifth Dalai Lama)

Sonam Rabten’s protege, Nangso Norbu, already had some previous entanglements with Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen’s family... According to the Fifth Dalai Lama’s autobiography, in 1638 he seized their land after some members of the family were killed by Mongols...From the Fifth Dalai Lama’s autobiography:

...until then [his] seating and so forth were accorded the respect due to a great lama, but since the water-horse [year] (1642) he had been downgraded to the third rank by the decision of the Regent [de sris Sonam Rabten] himself.

On the year of Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen’s demise, 1656, the Fifth Dalai Lama himself, according to his autobiography, set off to perform a ritual on behalf of Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen who had fallen ill, but his plan was called off by an order of Sonam Rabten. Using this illness as a cover, Sonam Rabten and Nangso Norbu, with the motivation to suppress Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen’s rising fame, murdered him. The Dalai Lama’s autobiography notes that Nangso Norbu took on the aspect of guilt for his murder, which is the only authoritative source on culpability of this incident.

This gruesome incident was merely a condition necessary to allow Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen to fulfill a pledge from several lifetimes earlier. According to the law of interdependent origination — a rule Buddha posits as a definitive truth — Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen arose as the protector deity Dorje Shugden as a result of being killed. Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen made a promise lifetimes earlier to the official state protector, Nechung, in the presence of Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug sect, to become a protector himself. The situation with Sonam Rabten, provided the catalyst or conditions for this to happen.

Just as a reincarnate lama depends on a father and mother to take birth as a human Buddha, all the conditions consistent with the phenomenal world must be met. Similarly, a state of anger, such as when one is murdered, is concomitant with taking birth as a spirit.

Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen’s life and murder has been historically accepted by many as true, not a myth, with no official explanation why his reincarnation lineage was not sought out or continued after this. There are some accounts that claim he committed suicide, but these are most likely distorted oral accounts or were politically motivated to cover up the Fifth Dalai Lama’s administration.

As a result of the incarnate master Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen being killed, there were many ill omens and strange occurrences in Lhasa that year which even affected the Dalai Lama himself according to his autobiography. At first the Dalai Lama sought to subdue the effects by inviting masters to subdue Dorje Shugden through wrathful rituals, but this was ultimately not successful.

As for the final events that led up to his reconciliation of the events regarding Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen and his recognition of Dorje Shugden as a protector, Kangyur Rinpoche gives the following account,

The Fifth Dalai was on retreat in the Potala when the Potala began to shake. When the Potala began to shake Dorje Shugden had his right foot pressing on the top of the “mi drug” boulder mountain and his left foot pressing on the top of Drepung Gepel mountain. His pressed down on the Potala with his trident...The Fifth Dalai Lama felt remorseful and confessed to Dorje Shugden."

(Shugdenites appear to be claiming that the fifth Dalai Lama conspired to kill Dragpa Gyaltsen and thus had a direct hand in creating the wrathful vengeful Shugden, who induced sufficient fear to cause acquiescence by the fifth Dalai Lama, thus instituting Shugden as a malevolent protector - hardly a benevolent and holy Buddha. A few hundred years later, Pobangkha (1878-1941) would , based on a dream, promote Shugden to a Buddha deployed to kill and destroy non-Gelug Buddhists and properties in Tibet. No wonder most Buddhists in the world reject the fabrication and NKT hideous protest theology that Shugden is a Buddha. No wonder the last two Dalai Lamas (13th and 14th) recommended against Shugden worship. On the other hand, due to the vengeful nature of Shugden, no wonder NKTites promote him to rationalize its hateful attacks against the Dalai Lama and other Buddhists.)

Note the following quote contained in the above passage...

"a state of anger, such as when one is murdered, is concomitant with taking birth as a spirit...Sonam Rabten and Nangso Norbu, with the motivation to suppress Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen’s rising fame, murdered him...Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen arose as...Dorje Shugden as a result of being killed. As a result of the incarnate master Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen being killed, there were many ill omens and strange occurrences in Lhasa that year..."

That is to say, a murder created a revenging anger spirit called Shugden (who might rattle you with fear into submission by pressing his mammoth right foot down on your roof).

Well, there you have it. Shugdenites view Shugden as a spirit born from a state of anger

However, NKTites market Shugden as both a Buddha and an emanation of Tsongkhapa and view Tsongkhapa as an emanation of Buddha Manjushri but becoming his own Buddha after he died. NKTites demand allegiance to Shugden or else they will protest and create web sites against you.

Most Buddhists in the world and the lineage of Dalai Lamas for hundreds of years do not view Shugden as a Buddha. Only NKT markets its main god Shugden as a Buddha while most other Shugden worshipers view Shugden as a wrathful spirit and worship Shugden for their protection from his harm.

Neither version justifies the ugly attacks of NKTites and Shugdenites against the Dalai Lama, Tibetans, Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan Lamas and other individual Buddhists orchestrated for media consumption. If you want to waste your lives in hateful squalor, please do so privately. We pray that you will soon atone.

NKT's Buddha mythology is surely sacrilegious; it certainly is harmful to Buddhism and the Tibetan people.


The 'official blog for Shugden' trumpets the web site Dorje Shugden HIstory as a collection of proofs that Shugden worship began before Pabongkha. Indeed this is true. However, another web site that the 'official blog for Shugden' trumpets is the 'scholars and yogis please check web site', which claims:

"Pabongka Rinpoche, a recognized reincarnation of Chankya Rolpai Dorje, was the one who was responsible for widely propagating the practice of Dorje Shugden among the Gelugpa tradition."

According to NKT's Lucy James,

"the present close lineage practice of Dorje Shugden that we rely upon was given to Tagpo Kelsang Khedrub Rinpoche by Dorje Shugden himself in Tushita Pure Land"

(Is Lucy saying that Shugden began only with Pabongkha's teacher? If so, Shugdenites would disagree. Perhaps, however, Lucy is focusing on the role of Shugden as a Buddha (see last paragraph below))

Interesting, Pabongkha is and is not 'the one who is responsible for Shugden', and Pabongkha (1878-1941) is the reincarnation of Chankya Rolpai Dorje (1717-1886), meaning that Pabongkha was born before Chankya Rolpai died. Is this some form of reincarnation trickery, or what? Did Chankya Rolpai leave his body in 1878 to reincarnate as Pabonghka 8 years before Chankya Rolpai died? (Gyatso claims that Pabongkha is a reincarnation of Tsongkhapa)

As for Shugden, indeed the wrathful spirit Shugden was appeased to reduce his harm before Pabongka, but Pabongkha granted Buddha status to Shugden so that Shugden could be called on by Pabongkha to murder and destroy Pabonkgha's enemies. Thus, Shugden's 'birthday' depends on whether one discusses his mundane status or his purported supra-mundane status. Either way, Shugden is harmful, and NKT's anger and egocentricity on display reflects this adverse personality.

And, Pabongkha, because of his threatening Shugden rhetoric the 13th Dalai Lama requested that he tone it down. Pabongkha did, but only until the 13th Dalai Lama died. Then Pabongkha resumed (1930s, 1940s) his Shugden militancy against Shugden disbelievers, particularly from the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. Obviously, Pabongkha had little respect for the 13th Dalai Lama's being and to Tibetan Buddhism itself by defying the spiritual presence and holy leadership of the 13th Dalai Lama. When the 14th Dalai Lama (the current Dalai Lama) similarly urged lower volume about Shugden militancy, NKT's Gyatso separated from Tibetan Buddhism to start a westernized derivative with substantial worldly ambitions and stepped in to confront his life-long rival, armed with a PR machine to introduce protests and web sites against the current Dalai Lama in 1996. Though Gyatso promised to abandon his fight with the Dalai Lama forever in his 1998 letters to the media, he waited a few years for the clamor to settle, then started up bigger than ever early 2008 with a bigger better PR machine armed with the Internet and sufficient cash in the bank to fund his venture.


Editor's Note:
The Shugden zealotry of NKT's minions backfired. Trying to prove that Shugdenism began before Gyatso's teachers created the false notion that Shugden is a Buddha, NKTites have confirmed that and explained why Shugden is an angry spirit (as most Tibetan Buddhists believe). Indeed, the name Shugden can be found briefly and occasionally before Pabongkha and Trijang, sometimes mentioned in prayers for safety, but not as a Buddha; rather, as a demon to be appeased or as a wrathful spirit sacrilegiously seeking revenge in the name of Dharma protection. Pabangkha granted a Buddha status for Shugden to aid Pabonkha's desire to crush opposition to his political and religious fundamentalism.

Analogous to Gyatso's fake Geshe degree and so-called 'new tradition' (seeking to undermine the Dalai Lama in concert with the communist Chinese governments's determination to terminate the Dalai Lama's spiritual and political rule over Tibet) Shugden is a fake Buddha employed to harm others.

Furthermore, Gyatso's few thousand NKTites seek (through their screaming and raising fists at protests and widely on the Internet) to negate the beneficial spirituality of hundreds of millions of Buddhists, the respect for the Dalai Lama around the world, and the peace of everyone else, demonstrating again that NKT is an self-centered cult rebelling against Buddhist wisdom and compassion. NKT is doing what it can to make a joke of Buddha.