Collated Comments His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made about Dolgyal 2014

(http://dalailama.com/news/post/1215-final-day-of-lam-rim-teachings-at-ganden-jangtse-monastery)
Final Day of Lam Rim Teachings at Ganden Jangtse Monastery
Mundgod, Karnataka, India, 28 December 2014

The description of hungry ghosts, that their mouths are like the eye of a needle, while their necks and throats are as thin as the needle, reminded His Holiness of the case of a Namgyal Monastery monk called Choenze Goshak who was born as such a spirit. He was someone who often used to visit Trijang Rinpoche when His Holiness was at the Norbulingka in Tibet. The Namgyal Monastery chant master intervened and asked Trijang Rinpoche what had happened. It seems Choenze Goshak favoured some spirit to whom a shrine was dedicated and prepared some small shoes to offer there. As a result, when he died, although it may have seemed that the spirit was helping him, in fact he ended up being reborn in the retinue of that spirit.

His Holiness remarked that those who propitiate Dolgyal run a similar risk of being born as ghosts or spirits.

“They may dismiss my advice, but the risk is there.

(http://dalailama.com/news/post/1213-commemoration-of-tawang-teaching-long-life-offering-and-lam-rim)
Commemoration of Tawang Teaching, Long-Life Offering and Lam Rim
Mundgod, Karnataka, India, 26 December 2014

“Dagyab Rinpoche and the people of Dagyab have made this offering and Rinpoche has made things very clear in his speech. Inside and outside Tibet, people have to be rational and realistic, not clinging onto some custom just because you think it’s old. Rinpoche has suggested that when we Tibetans go back to Tibet, I might also visit Dagyab. I hope I may.

“But, do you Geshes from Shartse remember I once told you that if you clung onto this practice I wouldn’t come to Shartse again, that I would only come again if you gave it up. It’s the same for Dagyab. Why should I go somewhere where my life may be threatened? The US and Indian security services have confirmed there is such a threat. If the people of Dagyab and Chamdo do not keep their spiritual bond with me, why should I go there? If you invite me, but don’t want to listen to what I say, why should I come?

“The Dolgyal supporters who have been demonstrating against me in the USA and elsewhere call me a 'false Dalai Lama'. I don’t mind the bad names they use; I only feel compassion for them. It’s my custom to visit churches, temples and mosques when I can, and I pay respect when I do. The demonstrators recently displayed a photograph of me wearing a Muslim skull cap and claimed that I’m a Muslim. On the one hand these people say I’m a false Dalai Lama, but on the other Trijang Rinpoche is using my name when he visits Mongolia introducing himself as the reincarnation of my Tutor.

“Whether you want to propitiate Dolgyal or not is up to you, but Dolgyal broke his pledges to the 5th Dalai Lama. People of Dagyab, I hope you hear what I’ve said. You’re welcome to argue with me, but if you do you’ll also be arguing with the evidence of 400 years of history as described in the book the International Gelugpa Association published.”

(http://dalailama.com/news/post/1211-second-day-of-the-stages-of-the-path-teachings-at-ganden-jangtse-monastery)
Second Day of the Stages of the Path Teachings at Ganden Jangtse Monastery
Mundgod, Karnataka, India, 24 December 2014

In contrast to this he said that increasingly today people fail to see their disturbing emotions as negative.

“Look at those who follow Dolgyal,” he said. “I feel sorry for their being full of misconceptions and misunderstanding. I’ve given my advice, but they don’t listen to it. If we consider ourselves followers of Je Tsongkhapa, we should be unbiased and follow reason. But if even the Buddha couldn’t command others to do something, who am I to do so?”

(http://dalailama.com/news/post/1210-first-day-of-resumed-lam-rim-teachings-at-ganden-jangtse-monastery)
First Day of Resumed Lam Rim Teachings at Ganden Jangtse Monastery
Mundgod, Karnataka, India, 23 December 2014

His Holiness mentioned that the 13th Dalai Lama favoured Phabongka Rinpoche in the early part of his life when he took an ecumenical stance, citing the Hayagriva retreat and the making of pills that Trijang Rinpoche had told him about. However, after Phabongka’s encounter with Shugden, as a result of which he became overtly sectarian, in the latter part of his life, the 13th Dalai Lama and he were distant.

(http://dalailama.com/news/post/1202-mongolians-gather-to-hear-a-teaching-of-the-great-stages-of-the-path-to-enlightenment)
Mongolians Gather to Hear a Teaching of the 'Great Stages of the Path to Enlightenment'
Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India, 2 December 2014

The next question was about Dolgyal. His Holiness said that the story begins at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama and he was someone who knew how it went. In his autobiography he recounts that the so-called Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen was not the true incarnation of Tulku Gelek Palsang. Drakpa Gyaltsen’s mother Lha-agyal through cunning prevailed on Panchen Lobsang Chögyan to recognise her son as such. The Fifth Dalai Lama did not accept this recognition. He writes that Dolgyal arose from distorted prayers, manifesting as a perfidious spirit doing harm to beings and the Dharma. His Holiness explained further:

“My precept master, Kyabje Ling Dorje Chang, the master from whom I received my bhikshu vows, was not at all pleased about the practice of Dolgyal, but because Trijang Rinpoche, my Junior Tutor, practised it strongly, he refrained from criticising it openly. However, he instructed his close disciples not to do the practice. I began to do it because of Trijang Rinpoche. Later, I became suspicious of the practice and investigated its history. This is how I came to know Dolgyal’s real nature and the controversy connected with it. I stopped the practice. Ling Rinpoche was my main teacher, the teacher from whom I received the main philosophical instructions and so forth. When I told him I’d stopped the Dolgyal practice, he was very pleased. He said: “That’s excellent”. I also told Trijang Rinpoche that I’d stopped doing it and explained to him the steps I’d taken to investigate the issue, which led me to that conclusion. He concurred that those procedures were infallible and stated that there was no error in what I had done.

“I didn’t go public with this information to begin with. But eventually I began to advise people about Dolgyal, making clear that how they responded was up to them. I did not insist on what others might do. Many Tibetans and Westerners understood the history of the practice and stopped doing it. There were several great masters who staunchly opposed the Dolgyal practice in the past, Trichen Ngawang Chokden at the time of the Seventh Dalai Lama and Khangsar Dorje Chang in the 13th Dalai Lama’s time, for example. Dolgyal expressed elation over the 13th Dalai Lama’s death. Although I have explained the situation to people, how they respond is up to them. Nevertheless, there are practitioners of Dolgyal now who are waiting for my death.

“If you Mongolians want to stop this practice, do so on the basis of understanding. Find out about Dolgyal’s nature. If you feel worried that he may harm you if you stop, tell him you’re innocent and if he has any complaints he can bring them to me. If you take my advice and stop, nothing bad will happen to you.”

His Holiness mentioned that under the Ganden Tri Rinpoche’s guidance the Gelugpa Association has produced a book that investigates the whole issue very thoroughly. He recommended that it would be good to translate it into Mongolian. In relation to a later question His Holiness explained that the sectarianism associated with Dolgyal practice that forbids Gelugpas from even keeping a Nyingma text in their house amounts to a restriction of religious freedom. He said it is much better to adopt a non-sectarian approach, while at the same time being true to the tradition you belong to. He recommended taking interest in and studying the texts of all traditions.

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1189-addressing-the-tibetan-community-and-meeting-with-chinese-students)
Addressing the Tibetan Community and Meeting with Chinese Students
New York, NY, USA, 5 November 2014

His Holiness spoke at some length about the matter of Dolgyal. He said:

“I was at Dromo, Nechung and Gadong were not with us, but there was a medium there, who although illiterate, was reputed for giving good predictions. This is how my relationship with Dolgyal began. I am also a custodian of Pabongka’s tradition, so from 1950-70, I propitiated Dolgyal. In the 60s Nechung mentioned that is was not good to propitiate the vagabond, Asay Khenpo. I told him to keep quiet and he did and I continued the practice.

“Then the Yellow Book came out suggesting that for a Gelugpa to practise other traditions would arouse Dolgyal’s anger. I consulted Nechung again and he told me a long story. Consequently I did a divination involving special offerings to Palden Lhamo, attended by the Abbot of Namgyal Monastery. He didn’t know what it was about, but when I told him he remarked that it had been a powerful ritual. The questions were whether I should stop the practice, whether immediately or gradually. I stopped. I informed Ling Rinpoche who was pleased, having earlier been very apprehensive about my relations with Dolgyal. I also explained everything to Trijang Rinpoche, who said divination involving Palden Lhamo was infallible. He cast no doubt over it and said that Nechung was very reliable too. He said there must be reason for what we had learned, but he was not annoyed or anything like that.

“The pro-Dolgyal demonstrators shout about religious freedom, but my religious freedom was restricted while I did that practice. I wanted to receive teachings of the Guhyagarbha from Khunu Lama Rinpoche, but because he was apprehensive about Dolgyal, Ling Rinpoche advised against it. I was only free once I gave Dolgyal up and was able to receive many teachings from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

“Dolgyal is a mundane deity. Some say he is a manifestation of Manjushri, but we could also say that Nechung is ultimately something transcendental too. The 13th Dalai Lama warned Pabongka Rinpoche that relating to Dolgyal as he did he risked breaching his refuge, which is recorded in Rinpoche’s own biography. The 5th Dalai Lama said Dolgyal arose from distorted prayers, that he is a ghost of the dead and his function is to do harm. Many other great Gelugpa masters like Trichen Ngawang Chokden opposed this practice. These protestors are mistaken and full of ignorance, but I don’t feel angry towards them.

“They say, ‘Stop Lying, stop lying’, but you stood behind me; I thank you. The thing is it’s harmful, but whether people listen to this or not is up to them. My responsibility anyway is to warn people and to make the situation clear. I have never said anyone has to listen to me.”

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1181-audience-for-tibetans-interfaith-discussion-and-secular-ethics-public-talk)
Audience for Tibetans, Interfaith Discussion and Secular Ethics Public Talk
Birmingham, Alabama, 26 October 2014

Referring to the pro-Shugden demonstrators on the street, he noted that they are exercising their right to freedom of speech. And since this large group of Tibetans have come to demonstrate that they have that right too, His Holiness wanted to say “Thank you.” However, since there is no Dharma teaching being given here, he thought he might say a few words at this meeting. He referred to a quotation from Chandrakirti that says: ‘Just as the rays of the sun open the lotus, so the words of the Buddha dispelled the darkness of the world.’ However, he added:

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1180-neuroplasticity--healing-in-birmingham-al--a-visit-to-16th-street-baptist-church)
Neuroplasticity & Healing in Birmingham AL and a Visit to 16th Street Baptist Church
Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 25 October 2014

While waiting for the Mayor in the church upstairs, His Holiness answered questions from the media. With the mechanical drone of the Dolgyal demonstrators outside clearly audible, he was asked for a statement in response to their complaints. He replied:

“This controversial issue is 400 years old. At one time I too recited these prayers but I stopped when I realized that previous Dalai Lamas has strongly opposed the practice. I have never banned the practice, but it is my responsibility to make clear the reality about it. My Senior Tutor, my main teacher, was always sceptical about it and the 13th Dalai Lama strongly opposed it. Whether these demonstrators listen to what I have to say or not is up to them. If you are interested to know more about it, look into its history both inside and outside Tibet.”

Eight Verses of Training the Mind & Avalokiteshvara Empowerment
Vancouver, Canada, 23 October 2014

After lunch His Holiness held a meeting with about 1000 Tibetans. 270 were from Vancouver, while the rest came mostly from Calgary, Seattle and Portland. A traditional song was followed by a reading of the local representative’s report. This mentioned the fundraising support the local community are trying to give Tibetans newly arriving from Arunachal Pradesh as part of the latest wave of Tibetan resettlement in Canada. The report also stated how appalled Vancouver Tibetans are by the demonstrations by Shugden supporters against His Holiness. They called them a source of hurt for Tibetans all over the world.
***

Taking up remarks about the Dolgyal / Shugden issue, His Holiness said it began at the time of the 5th Dalai Lama, who wrote about it in his autobiography, mentioning the harm the spirit was doing the Dharma and sentient beings. He said the 5th and 13th Dalai Lamas had restricted the practice, but even during the time of the 7th prominent masters had opposed it. In this context, he said it was a mistake that he took up the practice, but when he saw it was a mistake he stopped.

“I feel sorry for these demonstrators,” he said, “because they are misinformed. For example, in Hamburg they displayed pictures of me wearing a Muslim skull-cap and said I was a Muslim instead of a Buddhist. I’m not worried, the truth will out. Some of the demonstrators are Tibetans. I feel sorry for them and don’t feel anger towards them.”

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1161-concluding-the-guide-to-the-bodhisattvas-way-of-life-and-37-practices-of-a-bodhisattva)
Concluding ‘The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ and ‘37 Practices of a Bodhisattva’
Hamburg, Germany, 25 August 2014

Once he and the audience were settled in their seats, he invited them to ask questions. The first person to step forward turned out to be an NKT/ISC demonstrator who stridently challenged His Holiness with the allegation that Trijang Rinpoche had described Shugden as an enlightened being, asking why he had lied in contradicting his own lama. His Holiness chuckled and began:

“But that’s just your side of the story. I’ve been a Buddhist monk almost all my life, and I’m now nearly 80 years old. A key aspect of a monk’s discipline is not to tell lies; all my actions have been transparent ... “

Despite being afforded the opportunity to make his point, the questioner did not do His Holiness the courtesy of listening to his answer, but continued to heckle him about lying. Since he had become disruptive, security personnel quietly removed him from the hall.
***

His Holiness explained that he will lead a ceremony for generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta and the Bodhisattva vow tomorrow prior to giving an empowerment of Avalokiteshvara. While the teachings he has given so far have been open to everyone, he mentioned that in order to create and maintain a pure teacher-disciple relationship he requests that people who persist in propitiating the spirit Dolgyal, which it is entirely a matter of their own choice to do, should not attend tomorrow’s teachings. Because there will be an opportunity to meditate on them together tomorrow, he recommended that his listeners think about bodhichitta and their understanding of emptiness this evening in preparation.

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1159-discussing-secular-ethics)
Discussing Secular Ethics
Hamburg, Germany, 23 August 2014

Another questioner observed that there were demonstrators on the street outside asserting that His Holiness has banned their practice of Dolgyal and asked what he had to say. He answered:

“If you investigate the four century history of this spirit you can find out. Out of ignorance I propitiated it 1951-70, but once I understood there were drawbacks to it I researched its origins at the time of the 5th Dalai Lama and I stopped. A monastery turned to me for help when it faced unusual difficulties and it emerged that propitiating this spirit was at the root of it. Right from the start I have tried to be transparent about this and have tried to make things clear. Whether other people listen to what I say is up to them. The people demonstrating outside don’t seem to be properly informed. They are ignorant of the facts of the case. I haven’t banned anything and have only tried to tell the truth about it.”

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1151-preparatory-procedures-for-the-kalachakra-empowerment)
Preparatory Procedures for the Kalachakra Empowerment
Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India, 10 July 2014

“With regard to Dolgyal or Shugden, I used to propitiate him, but once I discovered documents that showed that he arose at the time of the 5th Dalai Lama and that the 5th Dalai Lama saw him as an evil spirit who harms both the Dharma and living beings, I stopped. Dolgyal was propitiated mostly among Sakya and Gelugpa practitioners. It was said that if, as a Gelugpa, you were even to keep Nyingma texts or images in your house, Dolgyal would punish you. During the time I propitiated him, I could neither study nor practise the teachings of other traditions. Once I stopped I was free to do so.

“If you are someone who propitiates Dolgyal, it will not be good for you to stay here in this place at this empowerment, because to do so will give rise to a breach in the Lama-disciple relationship. Whether you want to keep up the practice is up to you.’

His Holiness explained that both the 5th and 13th Dalai Lamas before him had placed restrictions on the practice of Dolgyal because it shattered the spiritual bond between master and disciple. He remarked that it is very important to be non-sectarian. Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam, for example, have long been of benefit to their adherents, so we should respect them. That they are beneficial is good. He stressed the need for people to follow their faith sincerely. Religious harmony and mutual respect is very important. Within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition it is especially important that whether we belong to Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug or Bön we should respect each other.

He pointed out that Bönpos had originally done other practices but with time adopted classic Buddhist like Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering the Middle Way.’ He said that given the strength of the Nalanda tradition that Tibetan Buddhist traditions have in common, it is inappropriate to focus on minor differences between them. Trust and friendship are what is needed at this time.

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1142-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-speaks-on-compassionate-ethics-in-livorno)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Speaks on Compassionate Ethics in Livorno
Livorno, Italy, 16 June 2014

There was one question on the subject of the demonstrations held for the past two days by Shugden supporters. One man asked His Holiness how does one differentiate between the actor and action in this case and what should the attitude of Buddhists like him be towards these protestors.

His Holiness replied that the Shugden problem is nearly 400 years old and that the Great 5th Dalai Lama and the 13th Dalai Lama considered this spirit harmful and advocated against its worship. He said that he considers Shugden worship as just a spirit worship and not a religion. His Holiness further said that this practise was very sectarian, while he always advocated non-sectarianism. He said that even he had worshipped this spirit from 1951-70 out of ignorance. But after thorough investigation and experimentation he found the practise very sectarian in that it restricted him from taking teachings from other Buddhist sects. After stopping this practise he became free to receive teachings from the Tibetan traditions of Nyingma, Kagyu, and Sakya, thereby actually gaining freedom of religion, he said, refuting the baseless charges of the Shugden followers that His Holiness restricts their freedom of religion.

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1130-final-talk-before-leaving-for-india)
Final Talk before Leaving for India
Frankfurt, Germany, 16 May 2014

The group representative asked:

“When I leave the room today, I’ll take your inspiration with me, but it wears off. How can we keep it fresh?”

His Holiness replied:

“Familiarize yourself with what you hear. This is what I do every day, in fact several times a day. For example, faced with the challenge of the pro-Shugden group shouting at me, in a corner of my mind I generate compassion for them because they are doing what they’re doing out of complete ignorance. In this regard analysis is very useful and with it familiarization. Even in dreams I reflect on what I have analysed   

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1128-meeting-the-press-and-tibet-house-board---and-a-public-talk-on-self-awareness-and-compassion)
Meeting the Press and Tibet House Board - and a Public Talk on Self-awareness and Compassion
Frankfurt, Germany, 14 May 2014

Asked whether he could resolve the controversy regarding Shugden he briefly summarized the history of the issue, saying that his responsibility is to make clear that the practice involves worshipping an evil spirit. He reiterated that whether people choose to heed what he says is entirely up to them. He drew attention to a book ‘The Dalai Lama and the King Demon’ written by Italian journalist Raimondo Bultrini that gives a thorough account of the affair, which anyone wanting to know more could read.

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1127-arrival-in-frankfurt)
Arrival in Frankfurt
Frankfurt, Germany, 13 May 2014

For dpa, Germany’s largest news agency, Jakob Blume posed a question about the pro-Shugden demonstrators who have been dogging His Holiness’s steps round Europe on this visit. He answered:

“I also used to propitiate this spirit, so I have experience of the ignorance they are labouring under. When I realized there was something wrong with it, I stopped doing it. More and more people came to know that and asked about it. It was necessary to tell the truth; it is my responsibility to tell the truth, to explain the reasons why I stopped that practice. Whether people listen or pay heed to what I say is up to them.”

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1126-meeting-with-members-of-the-dutch-parliament-foreign-affairs-committee-and-friends-of-tibet)
Meeting with Members of the Dutch Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee and Friends of Tibet
Rotterdam, Holland, 12 May 2014

With regard to human rights violations, His Holiness explained that about 15 years ago a Chinese Communist Party Secretary announced that Buddhist religion and culture was a major factor compounding Tibetan separatism. Consequently, he cracked down hard on monasteries and nunneries, exerting tight control over their activities. This is what provoked the 2008 unrest.

“In the context of this real violation of religious freedom in Tibet, I’d like to mention the members of the pro-Shugden group demonstrating against me on the streets here. They are allegedly seeking religious freedom. In fact, when I propitiated this evil spirit, I forfeited my religious freedom. The practice and the spirit are very sectarian. It is said that if you are a follower of the Yellow Hat Sect and you so much as keep a text belonging to one of the Red Hat Sects in your room, he’ll punish you and do you harm.

“My Senior Tutor, Ling Rinpoche strongly opposed this spirit and the practice associated with it and yet when I wanted to receive a Nyingma teaching from another Lama, he cautioned me not to do so. Therefore, restriction of this practice actually protects religious freedom.”

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1125-teaching-buddhism-in-the-morning-secular-ethics-in-the-afternoon)
Teaching Buddhism in the Morning, Secular Ethics in the Afternoon
Rotterdam, Holland, 11 May 2014

Regarding pro-Shugden demonstrators on the street outside, he said:

“They chant “Stop lying”, but I don’t know what they are referring to lying about. I have been very straightforward about this. “
   
(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1124-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-travels-from-oslo-to-rotterdam)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Travels from Oslo to Rotterdam
Rotterdam, Holland   10 May 2014

A journalist who writes on religious affairs said that demonstrations by pro-Shugden supporters are expected and asked what His Holiness considers to be bad about the practice. He responded:

“We’re Buddhists and the Buddha advised us not to take refuge in ordinary deities and spirits. This is a basic Buddhist principle. The Shugden followers as good as take refuge in that spirit. The spirit arose in the 17th century at the time of the 5th Dalai Lama. He wrote that it was a harmful, evil spirit. One of its harmful aspects is a strident sectarianism, whereas I am committed to an inclusive non-sectarianism. Because of this spirit, people have destroyed the images and scriptures of other traditions, particularly the Nyingmapas.

“I started to propitiate it out of ignorance in 1951 and did so until 1970 when I realised there were complications with it which prompted me to investigate it. I have 20 teachers from various traditions and all but one opposed this practice. After I stopped doing it in the early 70s people gradually got to know about it and I explained why.

“Normally we would expect the spirit to be protecting people, but in this case there are people trying to protect the spirit. They shout: “Stop lying,” but I don’t know what they think anyone is lying about. It’s my duty to let people know about this. The demonstrators say I’ve banned this practice, but that’s not so, I haven’t and the monasteries associated with Shugden in South India are evidence of this.”

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1123-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-visits-norwegian-parliament-and-nobel-peace-centre)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Visits Norwegian Parliament and Nobel Peace Centre
Oslo, Norway, 9 May 2014

When a Shugden supporter raised a question he explained that he had propitiated Shugden himself from 1951 until the early 1970s, when he realised there was something wrong with it. He stopped and eventually others came to know that. He said that since the 5th and 13th Dalai Lamas had opposed the practice he felt a duty to explain that to others. He went on to answer questions about the status of men and women in Buddhism and how to respond to the loss of loved ones.

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1121-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-arrives-in-oslo-to-warm-public-welcome)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Arrives in Oslo to Warm Public Welcome
Oslo, Norway, 7 May 2014

The question of the pro-Shugden demonstrators on the street outside came up. His Holiness’s response began with his statement that he always stresses that it is better and safer to stick to the religion you are born to. However, if someone thinks that Buddhism is useful to them they are free to follow it. He mentioned the Buddha’s encouraging his followers to examine what he had said, to investigate and experiment with it, rather than just accept it at face value. About these demonstrations he said:

“It’s a long story. This spirit, Shugden, has been controversial since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama nearly 400 years ago. The 5th Dalai Lama said it had arisen as a result of distorted prayers and was doing harm to the Buddhadharma and beings. Many prominent Lamas after that took a similar view. The 13th Dalai Lama placed restrictions on this practice, even though it didn’t have so many followers.

“Then the disgraceful thing that happened was that that out of ignorance I propitiated this spirit from 1951 until the early 1970s. I began to realize there was something wrong with it and when I looked into it found that both the 5th and 13th Dalai Lamas had opposed it before me, so I stopped the practice. Eventually the public came to know about this and I consider it my duty to inform them.

“Worshippers of this spirit set up their own group. They accuse me of imposing a ban on it, but that’s not so. Anyone who wants to can go to South India and see the large monasteries of those who wish to continue this practice.

“A spiritual bond is formed between a teacher and disciple and I have asked that if people want to worship this spirit they don’t take teachings from me. This is what they are calling a ban. They chant “Stop lying,’ but I think you should ask who is lying here. I try to be non-sectarian. This practice has long been associated with sectarianism. I feel sorry for these demonstrators because of their ignorance about this issue.”

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1120-second-day-of-his-holiness-the-dalai-lamas-teachings-in-riga-latvia)
Second Day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Teachings in Riga, Latvia
Riga, Latvia, 6 May 2014
       
Mention of taking refuge in the Three Jewels, the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha prompted His Holiness to remark that in the Himalayan region are many spirits, ‘gyalpos’ to whom some people make offerings. However, if you go so far as to take refuge in them you lose your Buddhist refuge. He said he had relied on Shugden, which is such a spirit.

“My tutor Trijang Rinpoche and his teacher Phabongka Rinpoche, who also relied on Shugden, did not see him as a refuge, so they did not place him in the refuge tree. However, it is recorded in Phabongka’s biography that the 13th Dalai Lama took him to task over the way he relied on it, saying it was tantamount to defying his refuge in the Three Jewels.

“I did the practice until investigation and analysis indicated that it would be better to stop. Since then I have advised others to give it up too. If people choose to continue I have asked them not to take pledges and empowerments from me. The 5th Dalai Lama saw Shugden as arising from distorted prayers and as doing harm to beings and the Dharma.

“Nowadays, people who worship Shugden are angry with me. They are planning to demonstrate against me in Norway and elsewhere as they did earlier this year in the USA. I feel sorry for these people because they do not properly understand the nature of Shugden.

“The Buddhist refuge is in the Three Jewels.”

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1092-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-visits-the-national-cathedral-and-national-institutes-for-health)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Visits the National Cathedral and National Institutes for Health
Washington DC, USA, 7 March 2014

His Holiness was interrupted by a member of the audience calling out a question about Dolgyal-Shugden practice. His Holiness told him that at one time, out of ignorance, he had done the practice himself, but had come to realise it was a mistake. Research showed that the 5th Dalai Lama and the 13th Dalai Lama had strongly opposed it. Having realized it was a mistake, His Holiness said, his responsibility was to let other people know. How they choose to act on the basis of that knowledge is up to them. He said it was good that demonstrators were drawing attention to the issue and encouraging people to clarify what it’s about.

“As a human being I promote human values; as a Buddhist I encourage religious harmony and as a Tibetan I am concerned about preserving the Buddhist culture of Tibet and the country’s natural environment.”

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1083-how-to-achieve-happiness-and-the-unsung-heroes-of-compassion)
How to Achieve Happiness and the Unsung Heroes of Compassion
San Francisco, CA, USA, 23 February 2014

This morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove from San Francisco out to Richmond, where the Tibetan community that has grown from a handful in the 1980s to about 1500 today had invited him to inaugurate their new Community Center. Tibetans of all ages lined the street as he arrived to a traditional welcome. ...

He said these days the Sikyong has taken on political responsibility and the Tibetan spirit is robust. Tibet has the support of many people around the world. The Middle Way Approach which does not seek separation from China has the support of Chinese people in China and abroad. To seek total independence undermines that support and any chance of opening a dialogue with the authorities.

“If we are granted the rights we deserve and which are guaranteed by the Chinese constitution it will do us good. So, the Middle Way Approach is beneficial. Meanwhile, reports I receive from Tibet about monasteries that have turned away from Dolgyal practice and are developing harmony and friendship with other monasteries in their region are encouraging. Be happy”

(http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1082-american-himalayan-foundation)
American Himalayan Foundation
San Francisco, California, USA, 22 February 2014

At this point His Holiness digressed to speak about the worshippers of the perfidious spirit Dolgyal or Shugden who had been demonstrating in the street outside the hall as he arrived. They were shouting and waving banners, their faces contorted in aggressive expressions. It was people like these who murdered a good monk and his students as they worked to translate a scripture into Chinese one night in 1997 near His Holiness’s residence in Dharamsala, he said. Today, their slogan was ‘Stop lying’, but the question is who really is lying.

 

Explore