Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 14:52:16
From: James Burns <>
Subject: Gelug Tradition Threatened
To: Multiple recipients of list TIBET-L <TIBET-L@IUBVM.UCS.INDIANA.EDU>
Content-Length: 16898


A warning was sounded on the 11th November 1996 that the Gelug Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism was under threat. The threat was coming from an unexpected source; His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. The warning was given in a post from the Dorje Shugden Devotees Religious and Charitable Society in Delhi as a prelude to an account of an incident affecting the family and property of Dr. Losang Thubten, a prominent Dorje Shugden Devotee. The claim which could have been previously dismissed as extravagant rhetoric now seems to be authenticated.

On the same day that Dorje Shugden Society was making this incident known, a directive was being issued from the Private Office of the Dalai Lama prohibiting the attendance of any Dorje Shugden devotee at the Guhyasamaj empowerment at the Gyuto Tantric Monastery.

Between the 19th and 21st Of November His Holiness was in Mudngod, Karnatak State. The Dorje Shugden Society, in the hope that a reconciliation process could be initiated, called off a proposed peace march and made overtures to His Holiness for a meeting. Their aims were publicised in the press and local officials fully informed. The hopes of the society were dashed by Mr. Lobsang Jinpa, the private secretary of His Holiness, who informed the society that unless the delegates gave up the worship of Dorje Shugden there was no point in any meeting with His Holiness. Despite this fact on Nov. 20th, the society submitted a petition to His Holiness respectfully requesting him to remove the ban on Dorje Shugden.

On the morning of the same day, His Holiness gave a teaching and talk from 8am to 11am in which two important topics; one political and the other religious, were addressed. The first related to the situation in Tibet where His Holiness made it clear that rather than strive for a completely independent Tibet, the emphasis would now be on an autonomous Tibet within China. The second issue related to Dorje Shugden where His Holiness thanked those who supported him in his ban and said that the Tibetan Govt had been wrong earlier in the year when they had said that Dorje Shugden posed a danger to his well-being. The issue was further brought up by His Holiness at 6pm on the same day where he gave a stern warning in particular to the Elder Monks Of Shartse Monastery who he implicitly accused of continuing with Dorje Shugden worship in private against his wishes.

In the general address he made it clear that he would not under any circumstance change this stance and that in the advent of continued opposition such as letter and pamphlet campaigns that his resolve would only harden and he would make matters worse for Shugden Devotees.

In a subsequent development, which must dismay all Gelugpas, His Holiness is proposing that the names of Phabongkha Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche be removed from the list of the Lamrim Gurus and all other lineage's. The current Lama Choepa (Offering to the Spiritual Guide) is also to be forbidden and an amended one is to be issued to take it's place.

------------ References: The contents of the documents relating to this post are:-

------------ Dorje Shugden Devotees Religous and Charitable Society, Tibetan Colony Delhi 110054 India

November 11, 1996 Posting No.2

In view of the current religious repression within Tibetan society by Dharamsala which started as a ban on the worship of Dharmapala Dorje Shugden in March this year and has now assumed a full flegded attack on the Gelug Tradition as a whole, here is an update on the latest development, for your information and support:

At midnight November 7-8 this week, at the Tibetan Colony in Clement Town, near Dehradun, northern India, the family of Dr Losang Thubten was attacked. The FIR, which Dr Thubten gave to the Police, is reproduced here in full. This is the background for the attack:

Dr Thubten is a Tibetan scholar who have been brought up at the 'Tse-Labdra', the school for nobleman at the Potala Palace. In India, he served as a Tibetan school teacher, with distinction, for more than 33 years. He lives with his wife, Pema, aged 44, and daughter Kalsang, aged 24. He has wriflen a book on Tibetan culture, prefaced by the Dalai Lama, and is hoping to publish two more books, currently in manuscript form. To augment Dr Thubten's small pension from the central govt. of India, Pema la engages in a small sweater business in Delhi.

In August this year, we published a 6-cassette pack of talks explaining the background of Dorje Shugden, an analysis of His Hliness' conflicting stand on this topic, and the constitutional, moral and ethical invalidity of this ban. Cassette 2 is a detailed talk given by Dr Thubten.

Since mid-August, there were rumblings that Dr Thubten 'had spoken against His Holiness the Dalai Lama'. This expression, in Tibetan connotation, conveys verbal attack against the Dalai Lama's person. Fused with this emerging 'public' view aganst Thubten was the emphatic attitude of the Tibetan' Representative Office, Tibetan Youth Congress and Tibetan Womens' Association in the nearby Rajpur Tibetan settlement, in support of the ban. At the end of August, office-bearers of a relatively new Tibetan organisation formally petitioned Rev. Khorchen Rinpoche, the head of the Tibetan Colony in Clement Town, to remove Dr Thubten from the settlement since, in their words, he 'spoke against the Dalai Lama'.

On the night of November 7-8, the attackers, 12-14 masked Tibetans, first bolted the doors of the ground floor of Dr Thubten's house from the outside. With his daughter and cousin trapped inside, the attackers then threw a bottle of petrol on the door and set it on fire. Gripped by mortal fear of physical danger and imminent death, Kalsang sreamed time and again for help. Surprisingly, not even one neighbour responded to her desparate calls. When the fire did not catch, the attackers started attacking with fist-sized stones at the wondows, doors, and gates. One stone would have been enough to fell a person unconscious. Besieged by stones and sticks with not a soul to help, the obsenities intensified and in the  attack one hate filled voice with an Amdo-dialect could be heard shouting: stop your worship of Shugden; if you still do not follow the Dalai Lama's ban we will exterminate your entire family'.

With no help in sight, the attack went on for more than an hour and a half. It was only the next morning that Kalsang, the daughter, in deep emotional trauma, brutal attack and exhausted, managed to unbolt the door from the inside using her hair pin.

Upon prodding from Delhi, Dharamsala said it will order an inquiry. Five monks sent by us reached Dr Thubten's home late Nov. 8. At noon the next day, Dr and Mrs Thubten, together with four other people from Delhi, reunited with their daughter. Dr Thubten has challenged that he wll be in the colony for ten days, and if within this period the attack is not redressed, he will take the matter to court for the perpetrators of this attack, and their abettors.

Dorje Shugden devotees all over India are deeply disturbed and angered by this personal attack and attempt to wipe out Dr Thubten's family. They fear that, unless the Dalai Lama himself checks this trend in Tibetan society, this attack will encourage other Tibetan settlements to try to evict not only Shugden devotees but anyone who holds a different religious view. When this happens, since Shugden devotees have now decided not to give up their religious faith at any cost, there could be a sad, cyclic, violent confrontations amongst Tibetans themselves, everywhere. Time is fast running out for our peaceful efforts. Even at the cost of permenent disunity amongst his people, the Dalai Lama still remains adament to 'finish what the great Fifth Dalai Lama had started', notwithtsanding the fact that Tibetan then was under absolute theocratic rule with no room for dissent or had awareness of Human Rights.

For direct contact: Dr Lozang Thubten's family, C-65, Tibetan Colony, Clement Town, Dehradun, U.P.

For further information, please contact us at Fax no: 0091. 11.2932536/294 184 Thanks for your attention.



As requested by Gyuto Tantric Monastery, as part of the inauguration of the monastery's new prayer hall near Norbhu Lingkha, (His Holiness the Dalai Lama) will give the empowerment of Guhyasamaj from the 9th- 11th of this month. However, as decided through the resolution of the Chithued (the Tibetan exile parliament), it will impair the spiritual relationship between the spiritual master and disciple if devotees of Dholgyal or Gyalchen attend this empowerment. Therefore, these devotees are prohibited from attending this teaching.

By order of The Private Office of the Dalai Lama, Nov.11, 1996.

---------------- Background Excerpt from Shugden Society Internet Post:-

The Dalai Lama abandons Free Tibet and takes harsh attitude on deity ban

Following the ban against the protector deity of the Gelug tradition pronounced by the Dalai Lama in March this year, harmony in the Tibetan society and the great monasteries has degenerated rapidly.

At this year's annual meeting of the council of Gelug masters in Europe, on October 6th in Langenfeld (Germany) sixteen Geshes and Rinpoches followed a through discussion on present developments. All members showed great concern and unanimously agreed to appeal directly to the Dalai Lama, requesting an audience with the hope to find a peaceful solution to the situation. The private office of the Dalai Lama replied defiant and ignored the request.

The abbots of the three great monasteries, Sera, Ganden and Drepung, the abbots of the tantric colleges Gyuto and Gyume, the abbot of Tashi Lhunbo and 200 further participants concerned with the tension and upcoming schism in the monasteries and the Tibetan society at large, took initiative seeking to mediate between the Shugden Support Group in Delhi and the Dalai Lama. They met with both parties on Oct. 30th and reported the full extent of the damaging developments to the Dalai Lama. In reply to this request, the Dalai Lama announced to visit the three great monasteries, which roused great hopes for a conciliation.

Yet during his visit the Dalai Lama presented a harsh appearance and shattered all hopes. He even threatened to expel the Ganden Shartse college from Tibetan society all together. Ganden Shartse is the college of many great masters, like the Dalai Lama's own teacher Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche.



Nov. 19, 1996

Your Holiness,

On behalf of all Tibetans both within and outside of Tibet who worship Dharmapala Dorje Shugden, we take this opportunity of Your gracious visit to Mundgod, Karnatak State, to submit this petition for your compassionate attention:

Ever since a statue of Dorje Shugden at a Tibetan nunnery in Dharamsala, H.P., was abused, defiled, and finally destroyed in April in line with your ban against our deity, our exile govt.--joined by the Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women's' Association and a host of other Tibetan organisations and associations--joined hands together and have launched an unprecedented campaign of harassment, defamation and ostracisation against our fellow devotees throughout every Tibetan exile community in India and outside. We in particular feel totally abandoned by your exile govt. We are also deeply concerned that Your Holiness is not fully aware of the full dimension of this conflict and the suffering it is causing your people.

Under the auspices of Your current visit to Karnatak State, which is to solve this religious conflict, we earnestly pray You to review this ban and kindly initiate the process of revoking this restriction against our religious faith. With our deepest respects and humility, we remain

Respectfully yours,

Ven. Geshe Cheme Tsering General Secretary Dorje Shugden Devotees' Religious and Charitable Society Tibetan camp, Delhi 110054.


1) The Prime Minister's Secretariat, South Block, New Delhi; 2) The Minister of Home, North Block, New Delhi; 3) Minister of Home, Vidhan Soudha, Bangalore; 4) Deputy Commissioner, Karwar Dist., Karnatak State.



1) In the hopes of a reconciliation speech, devotees of Dorje Shugden have called off their proposed peace march. They published this in the local paper also. They even called personally on the Deputy Commissioner as well as the SP of Karwar to assure the concerned authorities about this good will gesture. The headquarters of the Shugden Society in Delhi even sent a delegation to request an audience with the dalai lama, in the hopes of reconciliation during this visit. The Private Secretary, Mr Lobsang Jinpa, told the delegates there is no point in seeing His Holiness by the delegates if they do not want to give up their worship of Dorje Shugden.

2) On Nov. 20th, at Drepung lama camp, the Dalai Lama gave teachings and talk from 8am to 11am. The highlight of his talk was on two topics:

a) On his part, the Dalai Lama said, he was no longer striving for complete independence for Tibet from China. Tibetans, in view of their small population ,large land mass, lack of natural resources, need for industrialisation, should therefore again much more by striving for genuine autonomy under China rather than complete independence. As times change later on, independence can be mooted;

b) During this year's new year teachings, I spoke against the worship of Shugden, and expressed my feeling. I did not ask the Tibetan exile. Cabinet or the exile Tibetan parliament, to enforce the ban. However, they voluntarily supported me. I appreciate their show of support. Likewise, among the abbots, there have been many who gave up worship of Shugden after my talks, I give them my thanks for their compliance:~

In significant contradiction to allegations made by the exile Tibetan govt. earlier this year that the worship of Dorje Shugden poses danger to the dalai lama's well-being, the Dalai Lama himself assured the public that 'there in no need to worry about his well being', adding further that 'he is confident of living up to the age of eighty' at least.

3) Background:

On this day, there was a monastic debate examination. Members of both Shartse and Jhangtse monastery (approx. 2,000) participated. The program began at 2pm, and lasted till 7.30pm. During this program, at about 6 pm, the Dalai Lama spoke and delivered an address.


'When I was visiting sera monastery (in Byalakupee, Nov.15- 18, 1996), a representative of Shartse and Jhangtse monastery called upon me, formally inviting me to visit these two Monasteries. I playfully asked them about recent demonstration against my officers...

'This time I will visit Shartse; in the future, however, if the monastery continue to worship Dorje Shugden, build images of this deity, then I must decline to visit Shartse. In that case, neither they should invite me, nor will I come even if invited.

'Likewise, in Tibet in the future, if any Monastery worships Dorje Shugden, neither they should entertain any hopes of inviting me, and even if invited, I shall not feel comfortable accepting such invitations.

'Likewise if there are still people who feel they cannot give up this worship who feel they will continue to worship Dorje Shugden, I do not see any benefit for them to remain under the auspices of Ganden Phodrang Tibetan govt.

'You might feel that by published letter, pamphlets etc., against this ban, the Dalai Lama will revoke this ban. This will never be the case. If you take a hard stand, I will tighten this ban still further.'

After these words, the Dalai Lama stood up from this throne, and pointing at his left and the right, asked' which is Shartse and which is Jhangtse '. Then, pointing towards the Shartse section ,His Holiness remarked:' I warn you, elder monks of Shartse. You must not say one thing and do another. The elder monks should change their mind, and guide the junior monks'.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: James Burns: