Fourth Day of Lam Rim Teachings at Sera Jey

December 29th 2013

Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India, 28 December 2013 - This morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked briskly from his car to the teaching venue in the Sera Jey courtyard. He smiled and waved to well-wishers in the crowd, but did not stop. Once the recitation of the Heart Sutra was complete, successful Lharampa Geshe candidates received their certificates and posed in groups for photographs with His Holiness. Before the teaching began, Chairman of the Geluk International Foundation, Lama Chosphel Zotpa addressed the assembly.

Acknowledging His Holiness, Ganden Tri Rinpoche and other honoured guests he announced that his request for a special ceremony had been accepted.

“With regard to the practice of Dolgyal, which has caused no end of trouble in the monasteries in India, it has been discouraged and the Ganden Tri Rinpoche and others have made it clear that we should put a stop to it. Consequently, we have compiled a book containing all the relevant documents. With due respect I would like to ask His Holiness to launch the book, which is being published by the Geluk International Foundation under the auspices of the Department of Religion & Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration. Ganden Tri Rinpoche is the head of the Geluk International Foundation, which consists of the 11 major Geluk monasteries. It has been set up to look after education in those monasteries and to improve it where we can. For example, at our instance, the Geluk exams will include science from 2014.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama holding a copy of "Opening the Eye of Discernment" introduced at the start of the fourth day of teachings at Sera Jey Monastery in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India on December 28, 2013. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
“This book is called ‘Opening the Eye of Discernment: a Golden Key’ and I invite the Shartse Abbot, Jangchup Choeden, to introduce it.’

Ven Jangchup Choeden stepped forward and explained that the book had been compiled by three bodies among which the Geluk International Foundation (GIF) had played the leading role. It is not a document that has been compiled under His Holiness’s or anyone else’s order, but as a result of decisions made by GIF. As a result of many years of investigation, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made it clear that the practice of Dolgyal should be stopped. As a result, there are some who say that His Holiness is snatching away their religious freedom. This, Jangchup Choeden said, is untrue. While Buddhism flourished among Tibetans, Dolgyal followers say Dolgyal is an authentic Geluk protector. Others say Guru Padmasambhava bound him by oath and that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen was asked to arise as a Geluk protector. These are all false tales. As interest in Buddhism extends around the world, more and more people want to know the truth.

“I’d like to explain how it was compiled,” Ven Jangchup Choeden said. “We investigated all the relevant documents, starting with the 5th Dalai Lama’s statement that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen was recognised through the manipulations of his mother Lag Agyal and later arose in the form of a wrathful spirit. We concluded that Dolgyal has not only not been helpful to the Gelugpa tradition, but has actually been harmful to it. This is why it’s important to make clear what the Gelugpa position should be about this in the future. Finally, our teacher and guide His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been giving vast and profound advice about the practice of Dolgyal. We pray that he may live for aeons and aeons for the benefit of sentient beings.”

Chosphel Zotpa asked the Sera Jey abbot to present the book to His Holiness for him to launch it, which he did, unwrapping and presenting it to the assembly and adding his comments:

“I saw a copy of this book in Delhi and glanced over the contents. It seems to have been done thoroughly. It has been claimed that Dolgyal is a protector of Jamgon Lama Tsongkhapa’s tradition and at one time I propitiated it on this basis. When I was at Dromo, the medium of Dolgyal and Dulzin was there while the mediums of Nechung and Gadong were absent. As a follower of Phabongka Rinpoche’s tradition and a student of Trijang Rinpoche, I made a connection with Dolgyal.

“However, after coming into exile, Gyen Pema Gyaltsen and others, including my spiritual abbot, Ling Rinpoche, evinced great reluctance about the practice, which made me pause and look more closely into it. I did a series of tests and examinations culminating in my doing a divination to decide whether I should stop the practice or not. I looked back on Dolgyal’s history, to the works of the 5th Dalai Lama, who was the most influential person to know him. In his biography he wrote starkly about Dolgyal, saying that due to the devious manipulation of Lag Agyal Gekhasa the wrong candidate was recognised as Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen. He stated clearly that ‘because of distorted prayers he became a perfidious spirit (dam sri) and brought serious harm to sentient beings.’ He also mentioned that when the spirit went to Tashi Lhunpo, he was stopped by the guardians at the gate so he went on to Sakya where, when challenged, he identified himself as a ‘perfidious spirit’.


Some of the thousands of monastics listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the fourth day of teachings at Sera Jey Monastery in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India on December 28, 2013. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“In the early part of his life Phabongka Rinpoche was an eclectic non-sectarian. The 13th Dalai Lama admired him. He did a retreat on Tamdin Yang Sang (Hayagriva, a wrathful aspect of Chenresig and a protector of Sera Jey Monastery) when Trijang Rinpoche was a small boy. Rinpoche told me that he remembers the attendants making pills in connection with it. Later, when he openly propitiated Dolgyal, this changed. There are claims that his teacher Tagphu Dorje Chang composed the life entrustment ritual, but there don’t seem to be records of this. Tagphu Dorje Chang was a Gelugpa who also did Nyingma practices. He’s said to have written down a vision he had of the Ka-gye. Trijang Rinpoche had a copy of it. Later, as Phabongka Rinpoche became more sectarian, he stated that Tamdin Yang Sang should not be included in the merit field. By his propitiation of Dolgyal and his propagation of the practice Phabongka Rinpoche upset the 13th Dalai Lama.

“There is a report that one of Phabongka Rinpoche's disciples, an attendant of Nguru Ta lama, dreamed of Dolgyal in trance. The spirit announced in a high-pitched celebratory tone: “It will be on the 30th after the 9th is finished.” This may be taken to have been a celebratory prediction of the 13th Dalai Lama’s passing away. Was this something to celebrate? Compare it to a dream someone had when Je Sherab Sengey passed away in which Palden Lhamo cried, ‘My brother has passed away.’

“The 13th Dalai Lama had a broad vision for Tibet, but many of those who worked for him didn’t fulfil it. He didn’t give extensive teachings, but he was strict about how monks studied in the monasteries. After the 13th Dalai Lama passed away, Phabongka Rinpoche escalated the practice of Dolgyal. I too became involved in the practice out of ignorance. After I began to speak about stopping the practice Gyen Ugyen Tsetan said to me that between the lama and the protector, in terms of tantra, going against the lama’s word is more serious.

“Many people followed my advice; the abbots told me many people had stopped the practice. And yet there are those who would deceive others by saying that I am still propitiating Dolgyal, showing pictures of me with an image of Dolgyal in the background. In Tibet there are even stories that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen is an emanation of Je Rinpoche arisen as a haughty wrathful spirit. When he died, Je Rinpoche merged the mother and child clear light and attained the illusory body. Would such a being arise as a haughty wrathful spirit? The suggestion is just defamatory.”

His Holiness commended people not to dismiss this book which contains facts and true accounts of what happened. He said:

“If you want to dispute what it says, that’s up to you. If, after studying the book, you want to oppose the Dalai Lama, that’s also up to you. To make a mistake out of ignorance is understandable, but to act knowingly is another matter. There are those in the USA and Europe who publicly demonstrate against me over this. People call me an enemy of Buddhism and Je Rinpoche’s tradition. In this connection I quote Khache Phalu: ‘I have given my heart’s advice to you, you can pay heed to me or not as you wish.’ In the USA and here in India I am provided with security protection because of the perceived threat related to this issue.

“The Dolgyal people are quite rough. They killed the Director of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics by stabbing him and cutting his throat along with two other young scholars. They have threatened people in Mundgod and elsewhere. Because of this we need to be careful.


Some of the over 30,000 people attending the fourth day of teachings listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Sera Jey Monastery in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India on December 28, 2013. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“Gyen Pema Gyaltsen was strongly opposed to the propitiation of Dolgyal; Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche strongly supported it. Ling Rinpoche and others remained quiet about it, but Pema Gyaltsen told me he was very unhappy about it. I stirred up this turbulence where there was calm. Palden Lhamo has a role in this and I’m acting on her behalf. It’s necessary to be clear about what should be known, but once you know you can do what you wish.”

Resuming his reading of the 5th Dalai Lama’s ‘Sacred Words of Manjushri,’ His Holiness remarked that meeting Dharma in this human life happens only once, not over and over again. He remarked that this text contains the entire meaning of the Great Stages of the Path. He also reiterated that all Tibetan Buddhist traditions follow the Nalanda tradition of study and practice and that is something to be proud of. He also read from ‘The Swift Path,’ the Stages of the Path text by Panchen Lobsang Yeshe and from ‘The Southern Lineage,’ the Stages of the Path text by Je Gendun Jamyang, which follows the instructions of ‘The Sacred Words of Manjushri’. Transmission of both of these latter texts His Holiness received from Trijang Rinpoche.

He repeated the story of Dromtonpa’s passing away. Dromtonpa had laid his head in Potowa’s lap, when a tear fell on his cheek and he asked what the matter was. Potowa answered, “Who will I rely on when you’re gone?” and Dromtonpa told him to rely on scripture. His Holiness commended this as very appropriate advice. He concluded the day’s session saying:

“The question is whether we have put our precious human life to any meaningful purpose or not.”
 

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