Tibetans Warn Dalai Lama’s Visit to Washington DC is Under Threat

Minnesota: As the Tibetan Spiritual Leader the Dalai Lama leaves Minnesota for Washington D.C. on Monday, twenty five Tibetan Associations in the States warned the government of Washington D.C. that the security of the Tibetan spiritual leader is under threat.

The warning comes following a series of protests by a group of “Shugden” followers, alleging the Dalai Lama of persecuting the followers of the controvertial Buddhist “deity Shugden” that the Tibetan spiritual leader had denounced decades ago.

In a press statement endorsed by two elected members of the Tibetan Parliament in exile from North America— Tashi Namgyal and Norbu Tsering, Tibetan Associations in America strongly condemned the recent Buddhist faction protest while urging the Washington government to strengthen the security of the Dalai Lama.

“We the elected members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile from North America and Tibetan Associations of North America are gravely concerned by recent events that took place during the current visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the United States,” read the statement on Tuesday, a copy which is with this reporter.

“While thousands of fellow Americans celebrated the Dalai Lama’s visit to California, we Tibetan Americans have been shocked to see our respected leader, His Holiness (Dalai Lama), personally slandered by a group of religious extremists calling themselves the ‘International Shugden Community’ approaching His Holiness at close quarters and slandering him,” read the statement signed by twenty five Tibetan Associations in the country.

“The Shugden group has caused security concerns to the person of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” added the statement.

On Sunday thousands of Tibetans filled an auditorium at Augsburg College in Minnesota, celebrating the Tibetan new year and rejoicing the presence of the Tibetan spiritual leader who was in the twin cities for a series of events including a meeting with a group of Chinese and Tibetan students in the state.

Hearing the news of protests in San Francisco on Saturday, Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota held an urgent meeting before the Dalai Lama’s visit to the state, urging its members to be vigilant during the Dalai lama’s visit.

The Losar (Tibetan new year) celebration went without interruption but many have celebrated the Dalai Lama’s first ever Losar outside India under fear in light of recent protests by the “Shugden” followers.

During his five-minute speech at the Losar celebration, Tibetan Prime Minister Dr. Lobsang Sangay also expressed grave concern about the safety and security of the Dalai Lama, comdemning the protests by “Shugten” practioners.

The Dalai Lama who is currently on a three-week talking visit to the United States had urged his devottees to ban “Dorje Shugden”, saying it’s a spirit, not a deity and posing a threat to the interests of all Tibetans.

Tendar Tsering is a freelance journalist based in Minnesota, U.S.A. Previously he worked with ibtimes.com, hngn.com, pagalguy.com, phayul.com and he also regularly blogs at www.tibettelegraph.com

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18 Comments

  1. says: Gen Kelsang Wangden

    The logic in this piece is extremely weak. The Dalai Lama is under grave threat of . . . slander? The only specific incident cited is members of the ISC “approaching His Holiness at close quarters and slandering him”. That’s it?

    If the Dalai Lama is as holy as his followers claim, surely he can handle a little criticism, even at close quarters. That’s just part of being a public figure. One would hope that someone who is renowned for speaking around the world on compassion would have the capacity to remain unruffled in the face of “slander”.

    The author of this piece also made no attempt to present a balanced report. Where are the quotes from the ISC? Did they decline to comment for this story? If so, why not mention that?

    What if the ISC’s allegations are true? In that case would they still be slander?

    I can only conclude that this is not journalism but merely propaganda.

  2. says: Jennifer

    Free speech and freedom of religion are not a threat to any compassionate, democratically inclined person.

  3. says: Kelsang Lhadron

    The recent peaceful protests against a religious ban imposed by the Dalai Lama pose no security threat. They are an expression of freedom of speech and freedom of religion that we hold so dear in the United States. The real threat is coming from this outrageous ban on the religious freedom of thousands of sincere, peaceful practitioners.

  4. says: Chris Fisk

    I was at 4 of these peaceful demonstrations. In LA the police thanked us for a peaceful demonstration. In Berkley some of the officers were bouncing to the beat of our joyful chants. The staff person from the Forum said he had a great time hanging out with us, although he had been dreading the thought of spending the day in the parking lot with us. There were Tibetans who came up to us and whispered, thank you.

    Je Tsongkhapa protected the lineage in the land of the snows, it is now being protected in the land of free speech. We are simply giving a voice to those who are oppressed.

    If you want to see a threat, have a look at the group antagonizing us in New York in 2008 on youtube. WE were escorted to safety.

  5. says: Tashi Phuntsok

    Well written. However, the problem is not with the Shugden group but the with Chinese government, and a minor of section of the Shugden group is being used by the Beijing government. These few people are taking money from Chinese government and using the money to hire foreigners to protest against the Dalai Lama. One might wonder how can I establish my statement. Well, ask around, a section of Shugden followers have settled down in Beijing, enjoying Beijing’s money and they have suddenly become rich.

    1. says: Freda Simms

      Oh dear, what nonsense! Many Tibetans have settled in Bejing and have done well; some of them are Dorje Shugden practitioners brave enough to refuse to give up this precious practice. Many Tibetans have settled in other parts of the world like Switzerland, America and Canada and have done well; some of them are Dorje Shugden practitioners. It does appear that those who have managed to shake off the shackles of the Dalai Lama’s ‘protection’ are doing well wherever they are and however they choose to practice. This is religious freedom – which is being denied to Buddhists around the world including yourself.
      .

  6. says: John Peter

    As head of the Tibetan Buddhism and reincarnation of “Buddha”, Dalai Lama has the moral authority to tell what is wrong and what is right and he did what he had to. There is nothing wrong in that. But I also understand these Shugden followers are still having bit hard time to be accepted by rest of Tibetans, who were Dalai Lama’s devotees. Otherwise, Dalai Lama has made it clear that he is ok as long as these Shugden practitioners draw a line between him and the controversial deity “Shugden.” I once attended Dalai Lama’s teaching in Dharamshala, India and he clearly said “I am ok if you follower Shugden but don’t attend my teachings if you want to follow him because I have denounced Shudgen after through study about the Shugden.” He said Shugden is a spirit, not a god.

  7. says: Ngawang Thikmey

    The Dalai Lama has not banned a religion. He had said that Shugdhen is a spirit and not deity and that he didn’t see it good to be worshipped. But the religious freedom is in an individual’s conscience. You follow it, and you will not even be said anything insulting, leave away persecution. I have friends from childhood who follow Shugdhen, but that’s their freedom,they were fine people and nothing changed for US given that i am a Buddhist and a follower of His Holiness. The point is you have religious freedom in the Tibetan community. you are free to believe any god.
    But there is enough reason to fear about the safety of His Holiness. There were high ranking Lamas who were butchered by Shugdhen followers for asking and alerting to be following Shugdhen.They were slaughtered by Shugdhen followers in unbelievable fashions. Such things make US wary about His safety.
    The Shugdhen followers are same people like me, as i said i had them many friends. But they should stop debating His Holiness and troubling the Tibetan struggle and having close links and support from the Communist party of China. I doubt they are linked to intelligence and espionage in our community. That’s my doubt and estimation.
    They are having their opinion and i am having mine. But i totally respect them as equal people and their freedom of faith. That everybody in our society feel the same.

  8. says: Lobsang Dorjee

    The Dalai Lama has not banned a religion. He had said that Shugdhen is a spirit and not deity and that he didn’t see it good to be worshipped. But the religious freedom is in an individual’s conscience. You
    follow it, and you will not even be said anything insulting, leave away persecution. I have friends from childhood who follow Shugdhen, but that’s their freedom,they were fine people and nothing changed for US given that i am a Buddhist and a follower of His Holiness. The point is you have religious freedom in the Tibetan community. you are free to believe any god.
    But there is enough reason to fear about the safety of His Holiness. There were high ranking Lamas who were butchered by Shugdhen followers for asking and alerting to be following Shugdhen.They were slaughtered by Shugdhen followers in unbelievable fashions. Such things make US wary about His safety.
    The Shugdhen followers are same people like me, as i said i had them many friends. But they should stop dtaming His Holiness and troubling the Tibetan struggle and having close links and support from the Communist party of China. I doubt they are linked to intelligence and espionage in our community. That’s my doubt and estimation.
    They are having their opinion and i am having mine. But i totally respect them as equal people and their freedom of faith. That everybody in our society feel the same.

  9. says: Tenzin Choekyi

    The foreign practitioners of Dorjee shugden or the so called group bribed by the Chinese govt. are making it worse and more difficult for the Tibetans living in exile. There are few Tibetans who follows Trijang Rinpoche or Gangchen rinpoche without harming His Holiness Dalai Lama. And due to this outrageous acts and attacks on his holiness hurts the sentiments of the tibetans who respect him for decades. At the end the innocent tibetan who couldn’t refused their root lama like Trijang rinpoche and still worship dorjee shugden, they have to face the consequences. They were not provided any beneficiaries or were isolated from the tibetan society and Central Tibetan govt. in Exile took every tibetan’s signature not to have any relation or whatsoever with any of the dorjee shugden devotees. Which i think was the most embarrassing decision took by our government and my people. They were left with no choice rather than to migrate. I believe they were neither benefited nor have any ill will for his holiness the dalai lama. I request everyone to tackle the problem in harmony. let’s all live peacefully and happily. This is the main concept being a buddhist. OM MANI PADME HUN.

    1. says: Dorjee

      I am sure you know that Dalai Lama is a refugee living in India. He is in no position to tell anyone what to do, unlike the Chinese communist party bosses. He only makes suggests and gives advice. He is no position to lift any kind of ban. India is a free country, if you want to practice Dorjee Shugden you are free to do so. If you have proof that Dalai Lama is not allowing people to practice let us know. Show evidence, instead of just shouting and name calling in the thin air.

  10. When the Dalai Lama says Shugden practice harms his life and the Tibetan cause, his words go beyond a difference in religious view and enter into the realm of Tibetan identity. Not only is he creating the view that Dorje Shugden practitioners wish harm to these two corner stones of the Tibetan diaspora, but he does so with no logical or factual validity.

    Just look at the impact of his words, monasteries split in half by 9foot walls, shops and medical facilities with signs disallowing Shugden practitioners.

    Of course every right minded person must protest this and ask the Dalai Lama to correct his terrible mistake & injustice.

  11. says: Tenpa

    They say BAN to give his holiness a bad name but what they meant is “His Holiness’s” approval. Could or should His Holiness give approval to a practice that preaches sectarianism and discrimination. When you preach sectarianism, it divides the community and country.

  12. says: Lucy James reply

    I haven’t read your “first hand” story so my reply won’t be based on it but regarding the claims by Shugden people, all they talk about is medical service or room service. at the same time they support the Chinese governments imprisonment of youngest political prisoner of the world and approves the Chinese government’s choice. They force Tibetans in Tibet to practice Shugden with the help of Chinese government, the same government that has imprisoned thousands if Tibetans just for seeking basic human rights including religious freedom. Due to Shugden practice and because it promotes sectarianism and discrimination, it has resulted in many Nyingma monesteries being forcely made to practice Shugden and their monks disrobed if couldn’t be converted. Guru Rinpoche idols and pechas were burn or thrown into river. Even the Gelukpa lamas, when they practice Shugden they are not allowed to practice Guru Rinpoche or non Shugden tradition, if they do the Shugden harms them. There have been many such stories according to Shugden lama, Zemey. Regarding the his holiness so call BAN, it’s really stupid lie to call it a ban and Delhi court case is an prove of it. All his holiness did was disapproved it. And Shugden people are trying to forced his holiness to approve it. These days it’s all about appeasing Chinese Government and trying to get as much support(financial and power) form Chinese government.
    Whenever someone writes or posts reasonable reply to their lies on their page, all they do is ban that person and delete their comment. This is how you only get to read one side of the story.

  13. says: Robert Thomas

    From the official home page of the Dalai Lama: “Today, this is one of the greatest dangers to the cause of Tibet and the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.” Kashag (Tibetan exile Government) Statement Concerning Dhogyal

    http://www.dalailama.com/messages/dolgyal-shugden/kashags-statement

    From the above you can see it is quite clear that this is not presented as a matter of religious conscience but as a criteria for national identity.

    And yet it is clear that Shugden practitioners before the ban made some of the greatest contributions to the Tibetan cause. For example,
    – Trijang Rinpoche wrote the Tibetan national anthem, or
    – Geshe Rabten who first invited the Dalai Lama to teach in the West, or
    – Lama Yeshe whose FPMT (www.fpmt.org) is one of the most popular custodians of Tibetan Buddhist teachings and culture throughout the world
    – Rilbur Rinpoche who spent 20 years within Tibet through the oppression of the cultural revolution, but still kept the Tibetan identity and culture alive through his bravery and personal integrity http://inpursuitofthebuddha.tumblr.com/post/17924359973/ven-rilbur-rinpoche-was-born-in-eastern-tibet)

    The list can be very very long. And my point is that there is not a shred of evidence to support the Kashag statement above. Authentic Shugden practice as taught in ancient lineage is solely concerned with developing wisdom and universal compassion.

    Activities of Chinese spies or despicable murders have no more to do with Shugden practice than Shoko Asahara has to do with the Dalai Lama’s teachings on Buddhism. (http://falsedalailama.com/friendship-shoko-asahara/)

    Please help end this ban and stop lying

  14. says: Kelsang Norden

    Racist remarks from Shugden cultists. Here’s a quote from Maclean’s Magazine blog from Thomas David Canada aka “Lhakpa Gyaltshen” who is married to the heirss of lily Pharma. It is addressed to Tibetans whom he also referred to as “dungeaters”–

    ” No wonder you lost your land, only cowards run away”
    THOMAS DAVID CANADA
    
CEDAR CITY, UTAH 
USA
    
”Come on down and we’ll check your skin or better yet, We’ll just deport you back to China”

    Julio Springer Pitanga, from 2004:
    “the foolishness of the Jewish belief in depraved scriptures such as the Torah.”
    “the crooked ideology ascribed to a mafioso called “Moses”
    “Since the term “anti-Semitism” is widely recognized as a failed piece of Jewish propaganda, who would care about this Jewish garbage anyway? Except for stupid Torah and Merriam-Webster believers, of course!”
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/soc.culture.australian/FGRotaEMfi4
    More recently in 2013, he writes, “Aung San Suu Kyi is a Western puppet”
“The old hoax of “millions of Tibetans” killed by the Chinese are just the usual Jewish-Western propaganda cover for their own continuous and systematic massacres of Buddhist people, from Japan to Korea to Laos to Cambodia to Vietnam. Lucky were the Tibetans, as they were under direct Chinese protection, and therefore the Jewish-Westerner mass murderers, the Muslim Dalai allies, did not dare to openly attack.”
    But wait, there’s more from the self cherishing ‘practitioners’:
    Racist remarks from Shugden cultists. Here’s a quote from Maclean’s Magazine blog from Thomas David Canada aka “Lhakpa Gyaltshen” who is married to the heirss of lily Pharma. It is addressed to Tibetans whom he also referred to as “dungeaters”–

    ” No wonder you lost your land, only cowards run away”
    THOMAS DAVID CANADA
    
CEDAR CITY, UTAH 
USA
    
”Come on down and we’ll check your skin or better yet, We’ll just deport you back to China”

    Julio Springer Pitanga, from 2004:
    “the foolishness of the Jewish belief in depraved scriptures such as the Torah.”
    “the crooked ideology ascribed to a mafioso called “Moses”
    “Since the term “anti-Semitism” is widely recognized as a failed piece of Jewish propaganda, who would care about this Jewish garbage anyway? Except for stupid Torah and Merriam-Webster believers, of course!”
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/soc.culture.australian/FGRotaEMfi4
    More recently in 2013, he writes, “Aung San Suu Kyi is a Western puppet”
“The old hoax of “millions of Tibetans” killed by the Chinese are just the usual Jewish-Western propaganda cover for their own continuous and systematic massacres of Buddhist people, from Japan to Korea to Laos to Cambodia to Vietnam. Lucky were the Tibetans, as they were under direct Chinese protection, and therefore the Jewish-Westerner mass murderers, the Muslim Dalai allies, did not dare to openly attack.”

    Publicly making inappropriate statements that express disrespect for an ethnic group is more than just a matter of questionable taste: inciting hatred against any ‘identifiable group’ is an indictable offense. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law” NKT: shame on you!

  15. says: Saldon

    I really dunno abt this god but wht i hav seen is in our settlement few family who believe in this god had gone crazy n whole family died not only that they took my grand father who went to help them for prayer as no other lamas was helping them, that day my grandfather got stroke n he passed away after few days, my grandfather was totally normal untill tht day, than we got to knew from our root guru its because we are not follower of shugden thats why my grand father was harmed by tht god..now m wondering why he harm someone innocent who was trying to help his followers??? I think this is the reason why other tibetan r staying away from those follower..so i think its better just let all us follow wht we believe n stay away from eachother

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