Comparisons of the Dorje Shugden Ban With Historic Persecutions

By | Oct 7, 2016 | Views: 645
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We respect and admire His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso for his constant effort to spread the Dharma and benefit millions of people. However, in 1996, the Dalai Lama made a controversial statement about Dorje Shugden that essentially degrades an enlightened deity as a mere worldly spirit and a damaging practice that encourages sectarianism. In addition, the Dalai Lama alluded to the fact that the Dorje Shugden practice might have adversely affected Tibetan independence efforts and worse, shortened His Holiness’ life. This statement was confusing because the Dalai Lama himself was a Dorje Shugden practitioner for over 30 years and had composed a prayer acknowledging the deity’s precious qualities. What is more, the Dalai Lama received this precious practice from his own root teacher, His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche.

Following the Dalai Lama’s declaration, a wave of negative reaction swelled against Dorje Shugden practitioners and it has sustained ever since. Nearly 20 years later, Dorje Shugden practitioners continue to suffer violent and vulgar persecution for their refusal to give up the practice.

Although recently, in September 2016, the Dalai Lama has refuted his previous statements and said that Dorje Shugden is not harmful to his life, the persecution of Shugden practitioners by the Tibetan leadership and self-proclaimed followers of the Dalai Lama continues. Please watch the video below:

“God is harming! Naga is harming!

For example, Gyalpo Shugden. I have put him [Dorje Shugden] in a position where he is a recipient of my compassion. Besides, I do not nor have I ever had any feeling that Gyalpo Shugden will harm me. Do you understand?

No matter how pitiful or wretched we are, however if we practise the Bodhicitta, love and compassion, no god or ghost can harm us.

In fact, if one were an honest to goodness protector on the side of virtue then it would not matter. The ones who have attained the ten stages of saintly perfection (ས་བཅུ། / sa bcu) like Palden Lhamo and Gonpo [Mahakala] who are almighty… ”

[Then the Dalai Lama turns and addresses someone else about an irrelevant topic] [So if the Dalai Lama cannot be harmed by Shugden and not one can be harmed by Shugden especially if they practice love and compassion, then why is there 20 years of so much literature, speeches, talks, videos against Dorje Shugden? In the beginning the Dalai Lama said Shugden is a danger to his long life and Tibet’s fight for freedom. Shugden harms the Dalai Lama and harms Tibet. By worshiping Shugden you hurt the Dalai Lama’s life and endanger the cause of Tibet’s freedom. Now this year the Dalai Lama is saying the exact opposite. So why persecute Dorje Shugden and his followers then all these years? Why have the ban? Wouldn’t it have been better if nothing was said against Dorje Shugden in the first place and all harmony and unity was kept intact?]

Hence, in light of the ongoing and continued persecution they suffer, this article analyses the many similarities between the experiences of Dorje Shugden practitioners against similar historical narratives. By these comparisons, we can see that through persistent peaceful efforts in creating public awareness, we can reach our objectives to clear Dorje Shugden’s name and eliminate discrimination toward Dorje Shugden practitioners.

Valentina Suhendra

 


 

The Background of Dorje Shugden Ban

Prior to 1996, Dorje Shugden practice was widespread within the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and there was no hint of discrimination against its believers. Unlike the situation today, Shugden practitioners were allowed to hold positions within the CTA and participate in social events. In short, the Dorje Shugden prayers and rituals were an accepted part of Tibetan society and not subjected to state surveillance and religious discrimination.

In 1996, the Dalai Lama openly declared Dorje Shugden to be a worldly spirit. Since then, many of the Dalai Lama’s followers have discriminated against Dorje Shugden practitioners who have been progressively marginalised. From the time of the statement, they have no longer been able to hold positions within departments and bodies related to the CTA. Dorje Shugden practitioners have been refused entry into certain public premises (e.g., shops, restaurants, monasteries, etc.) and it has become taboo to be friends with Shugden believers or even to have any form of association with them. Even family ties are not spared.

In June 1996, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile’s Parliament passed a resolution regarding Dorje Shugden practice:

Resolution issued in June 1996. Click on image to enlarge.

Resolution issued in June 1996. Click on image to enlarge.

On September 17, 1997 the Tibetan Government-in-Exile’s Parliament passed another resolution that negatively affected Dorje Shugden practitioners:

Resolution passed on September 17, 1997. Click on image to enlarge.

Resolution passed on September 17, 1997. Click on image to enlarge.

Another resolution passed on March 17, 2014 that reaffirms resolutions previously passed in 1996, 1997 and 2008:

Resolution passed on March 17, 2014. Click on image to enlarge.

Resolution passed on March 17, 2014. Click on image to enlarge.

As we can see in the images above, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile repeatedly imposed policies aimed at forcing the cessation of the Dorje Shugden practice and in the process breached the rights of Dorje Shugden practitioners.

The Shugden community are in fact ordinary Tibetans engaging in an age-old spiritual practice that the bulk of the Gelug community have engaged in as well. The CTA’s actions against them grossly contradicted The Charter of the Tibetans in Exile which was supposed to encapsulate the Tibetan leadership’s promise of freedom to the people, a promise the CTA officially denied to a part of their community through the Dorje Shugden ban. The Charter was drafted by the Constitution Redrafting Committee, ironically set up by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and submitted to the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile for implementation. The Parliament, in turn, adopted the Charter on June 14, 1991. The Charter, based on the spirit of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, guarantees equality before the law and enjoyment of rights and freedom without discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, language and social origin to all Tibetans. In addition, the Charter guarantees “All religious denominations are equal before the law”.

Excerpt from Charter of the Tibetans in Exile. Click on image to enlarge.

Excerpt from Charter of the Tibetans in Exile. Click on image to enlarge.

For the CTA to pass official resolutions designed to eliminate a religious practice, contravenes the Tibetan Charter it is supposed to uphold and flies in the face of its own credibility. Instead of defending the Tibetan people’s rights to practise their respective beliefs, it spreads misinformation and propaganda reinforcing false assertions that it knows will incite the public due to their loyalty to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

A good example of discrimination against Dorje Shugden practitioners by the CTA is the length the Health Department goes to, to make sure Shugden practitioners do not gain employment with bodies under its governance.

Notice from the Health Department. Click on image to enlarge.

Notice from the Health Department. Click on image to enlarge.

Further Parliamentary resolutions were passed accusing Dorje Shugden practitioners of being supported or paid by the Chinese government to sabotage the Tibetan cause. These accusations have never been substantiated.

As a result, this discrimination caused a division between Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden supporters. The strong bond between the Tibetan people and their collective political commitments for their home country was henceforth drowned by waves of suspicion, hostilities and segregation within Tibetan communities throughout Asia, Europe and America.

According to a TIME magazine article titled The Dalai Lama’s Buddhist Foes by David Van Biema, “What pushes the current allegations into a potential human rights matter is the contention that those who won’t take the oaths (i.e. a signed documents to state that the person is not a Dorje Shugden follower) are denied monastery I.D. cards that the Tibetan Government in Exile allegedly requires to process visa requests through to the Indian government. (Most of the Tibetan diaspora lives in India.)”

Monastery ID issued after taking the oath. Click on image to enlarge.

Monastery ID issued after taking the oath. Click on image to enlarge.

On May 20, 2014, the CTA published a hit list titled List of Dolgyal followers who protested against the Dalai Lama in the United States and Europe on their official website. This itself is abusive and it is questionable the way a supposedly democratic government uses an official platform to persecute its own citizens unfairly. The hit list contains the full names, pictures and personal details of 20 Tibetans who were lawfully permitted to protest the Dalai Lama’s religious ban in Europe and the United States. The list was published with the intention to provoke the Dalai Lama’s loyalists to act aggressively against the Shugden community whose only crime was to exercise their basic human rights.

The discrimination that Dorje Shugden practitioners are experiencing today have similarities to other historic bigotry and prejudices such as the African American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, the Women’s Suffrage Movement and The Spanish Inquisition.

 

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Civil Rights Movement

Historical Background

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Slavery in the United States was abolished in 1865 following a bloody civil war, which was eventually won by the North. The American Congress and the States voted to change the Constitution in order to make slavery illegal. On the one hand, the abolition of slavery appeared to be a matter of mere formality and physical abuses toward the slaves lessened and their family members could not simply be taken away without their consent anymore following the constitutional amendments.

And yet, it failed to stop white Americans from continuing in the old ways to intimidate and coerce the black people to do their bidding as if they were still slaves. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was established in 1865 to undermine the effort to abolish slavery. The KKK frequently carried out persecutory expeditions throughout the countryside, beating up and murdering many black people and white sympathisers. In addition, no white judge or jury in the South would impose capital punishment on any white man for the crime of murdering a black person. On the other hand, black people accused of crimes continued to be summarily lynched and punished without proper trial.

Workers’ unions controlled by white management saw to it that the black people did not get jobs. White employers often assigned the worst manual labour to black workers and paid them lower wages compared to their white counterparts.

In the now-famous case, Plessy vs. Fergusson, Hommer Plessy, a man of mixed race was indicted for sitting in certain communal facilities reserved for whites. The U.S. Supreme Court found that the blacks were ‘separate but equal’ which in essence improved the status of the blacks but only superficially. In his dissenting decision, Justice John Marshall Harlan protested that the decision was an expression of white supremacy; he predicted that segregation would “stimulate aggressions… ‘arouse race hate’ and ‘perpetuate a feeling of distrust between (the) races. The segregation between whites and blacks were so tense, even the jails were segregated.”

American sports culture was also prone to segregation until the mid-20th Century. Racial segregation in basketball lasted until 1950 when the NBA became racially integrated. To make matters worse, many states also banned interracial marriage. In 1967, Mildred and Richard Loving were sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for engaging in an interracial marriage. Their marriage violated the state’s anti-miscegenation statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited marriage between people classified as white and people classified as “coloured” (persons of African or Native American ancestry). Eventually, in 1967, the Supreme Court invalidated the laws prohibiting interracial marriage in the United States.

Race segregation signboards

Race segregation signboards

Prior to the 1960s there were also many signs and boards installed to prohibit black people from entering restaurants, convenient stores and other public places.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

There were attempts to improve the status of black people before the 1950s. For example, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was set up in 1909 but it was not until the 1950s and 1960s that the Civil Rights Movement, led by Dr Martin Luther King Jr., seriously challenged the culture of white race supremacy.

The following is the list of several brave men and women who took up the struggle and inspired the fight for racial equality for the African Americans:

  • In 1954, Rev. Brown won the right to send his child to a white school.
  • In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white person, inspiring the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • In 1957, nine black students, with military protection, went to a white school in Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • In 1963, after sit-in campaigns in the restaurants, Freedom Rides on interstate busses and bloody civil rights marches, a quarter of a million people marched to the Lincoln Memorial to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s now-famous “I have a dream” speech.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

An excerpt from the famous speech:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

The courage of a handful men and women changed the lives of so many, and African Americans finally gained legal equality. In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court declared all forms of segregation as being unconstitutional and in 1970, the legal framework that had supported segregation was dismantled. The decision related to the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas in 1954 that formally outlawed segregation in public schools. Then the Fair Housing Act of 1968 administered and enforced by the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity prohibited discrimination in the sale and rental of housing on the basis of race, colour, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability. Formal racial discrimination became illegal in school systems, businesses, the American military, other civil services and the government.

 

African Americans Today

Since the success of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, African Americans have made tremendous progress. The largest cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have had black mayors. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice held the position of Secretary of State and in 2009, Barack Obama became the first African American President of the United States.

The Civil Rights Movement was borne out of the initiatives of ordinary people. They did not hold high positions or massive wealth in the society. What they had in common was a strong sense of justice for all of humanity. They refused to be considered as lesser people and harnessed the power of the people to make sure their message was heard.

 

Historical Similarities with Dorje Shugden Ban

No What happened then What is happening today to DS practitioners
1. The KKK frequently carried out persecutory expeditions to beat and murder many African Americans and white sympathisers. The CTA and many self-proclaimed followers of the Dalai Lama often harass Dorje Shugden practitioners either verbally or physically. For example, the 84-year old Gen Chonze la was beaten by masked and armed men at Trijang Ladrang. Many DS practitioners have received death threats and were subsequently forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives.
2. Prior to the 1960s, there were also many signs and boards installed to prohibit black people from entering restaurants, convenient stores and other public places. Within the Tibetan-in-exile community in India, there are stores, monasteries and other public places that deny entry and service to Dorje Shugden practitioners. Hospitals have signs outside denying medical treatment for Dorje Shugden practitioners.
3. African Americans and whites are punished for forming family units. For example in 1967, Mildred and Richard Loving were sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for engaging in an interracial marriage. There is an abundance of documented evidence – videos, images, testimonies – especially within the Tibetan community in exile where family relations are severed just because their members choose to practise Dorje Shugden.

 

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Gender Segregation to Vote: Women Suffrage Movement in the United States

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The women’s suffrage movement was aimed at legalising a woman’s right to vote in public elections. Women in Finland, Iceland, Sweden and some western U.S. states only gained limited voting rights in the late 19th Century.

Before the American Civil War, women were expected to stay home and take care of domestic matters. For economic reasons however, by the late 19th Century, many families allowed their female members to work outside.

Between one and five American women held employment outside their household chores by the turn of the century and 25% of those women worked in manufacturing. However, they only got paid half the wages compared to their male counterparts because it was assumed that these working women were single and only had to provide for themselves, whereas men needed to provide for their whole family. Many uneducated women at that time worked on farms doing domestic tasks or went to cities to look for jobs as maids or dishwashers.

In the 19th Century, the United States experienced rapid economic recovery that led to more sophisticated job openings for women. The economic expansion created a bigger need for more educated women due to the higher demand for female teachers to teach the future generation. As industrial factories started to expand all around the United States, so did job opportunities for women. The women established groups to educate themselves in employable skills such as reading and writing. These groups in turn discussed the possibility for women to possess the rights to hold properties, speak their minds, seek higher education and be treated equally and most controversially, to have the right to vote (suffrage). However, during its inception period, many people thought the idea of women’s suffrage was too perilous and controversial. Therefore, not many dared to fight for such supposedly obscure requests.

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Despite having no political rights, women were still actively involved in the abolitionist movement. Frustrated by their political handicap, in May 1838, the Anti-Slavery Convention of Women created a big controversy because many conservative men and women thought that women should not make political statements. Those conservative men and women created angry mobs and burned down the convention building. The opposition continued at the World Anti-Slavery Conference in 1840, as women were not allowed to sit with men and debate over the issues because of their gender. There was a misconception about the reason for the women’s suffrage movement. Many thought the women were trying to be more superior than men. On contrary, the women only wanted to gain equal rights as their male counterparts.

In the 1800s, women organised, petitioned and picketed to win the right to vote. Some pursued a strategy of passing suffrage acts in each state; others challenged male-only voting laws in the courts. Another strategy used to gain the right for women to vote was more militant in nature. The militant suffragists used tactics such as parades, silent vigils and hunger strikes. The supporters of women suffrage movements often met fierce resistance. The opponents heckled, jailed and sometimes physically abused them.

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By 1916, almost all of the major suffrage organisations gathered and focused their mission on one goal: a constitutional amendment. After decades of fighting for their right to vote, on May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment and two weeks later, the Senate followed. When Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment passed its final hurdle for obtaining the agreement of 75% of the states. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification on August 26, 1920, thus changing the face of the American election demographic forever.

The U.S. Constitution: Women’s Right to Vote (1920). Click on image to enlarge.

The U.S. Constitution: Women’s Right to Vote (1920). Click on image to enlarge.

 

Historical Similarities with Dorje Shugden Ban

No What happened then What is happening today to Dorje Shugden practitioners
1. Despite having no political rights, women were still actively involved in the abolitionist movement. Frustrated by their political disability, in May 1838, the Anti-Slavery Convention of Women, started a big controversy because many conservative men and women thought that women should not make political statements. The CTA denies Shugden practitioners their basic rights, for example the Green Book which they need in order to vote in the Tibetan elections.

They are similarly denied other forms of ID, for example the monastic identity card needed to process visa requests through the Indian government. Thus they are denied freedom of movement and the right to travel freely.

Dorje Shugden practitioners are denied employment within the Tibetan leadership, for example in the Department of Health.

 

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The Catholic Inquisition

The Inquisition was a group of institutions within the judicial system of the Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy. Heresy is defined as the wilful and persistent rejection of any article of faith by a baptised member of the church.

The Inquisition was established in 12th Century France to handle religious sectarianism, in particular against the Cathars and the Waldensians. The Inquisitors were generally chosen from members of the Dominican Order, to replace the earlier practice of using local clergy as judges. The Dominican Order, or the Order of Preachers, is a mendicant Catholic religious order founded by the Spanish priest Saint Dominic de Guzman in France, approved by Pope Honorius III on December 22, 1216. The order was founded to preach the Gospel and to oppose heresy. It has produced many leading theologians and philosophers of their day, including those who have been elected as Bishop of Rome such as Pope Innocent V, Pope Benedict XI, Pope St. Pius V and Pope Benedict XXI.

The burning of a 16th Century Dutch Anabaptist Anneken Hendriks, who was charged with heresy.

The burning of a 16th Century Dutch Anabaptist Anneken Hendriks, who was charged with heresy.

In the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, the concept and scope of the Inquisition was significantly expanded in response to the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. As a result, its geographic scope was expanded to other European countries, resulting in the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. For the purposes of highlighting the discrimination and religious persecutions faced by Jews and Muslims during the Inquisition period, this article will focus on the Spanish Inquisition.

 

The Spanish Inquisition

The coat of arms of the Spanish Inquisition

The coat of arms of the Spanish Inquisition

The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, more commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition, was established by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in 1480. The Spanish Inquisition was supposedly established to fight heresy. In reality, it was a strategy to consolidate power in the monarchy of the newly-unified Spain using the papacy as an instrument of its means. It had a powerful and oppressive grip over all manner of operations in Spain, and her colonies and territories including the Canary Islands, the Spanish Netherlands, the Kingdom of Naples and all Spanish possessions in North, Central and South America.

The Spanish Inquisition was a religion-based political tool intended to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam to Catholicism. The King and Queen issued royal decrees in 1492 and 1502 ordering Jews and Muslims to convert or leave Spain.

Jews were expelled from Spain after the last Muslim bastion, Granada, fell in 1492. Afterwards, both Jews and Muslims were expelled from Portugal in 1497 or were forced to convert to Christianity. After holding mass forced religious conversions, the Spanish Inquisition primarily targeted forced converts from Judaism. These new converts fell under suspicion of either continuing to practise their old religions or of having fallen back into it.

The Spanish Inquisitions held several major advantages for the Spanish Kingdom, such as:

  1. increasing the crown’s political authority
  2. weakening the opposition
  3. suppressing converts (Jews who converted to Catholicism) and Moriscos (former Muslims who converted to Christianity) in Spain or Portugal by using mass [forced] conversions
  4. profiting from the confiscation of property belonging to convicted heretics
  5. reducing social tensions and protecting the kingdom from the danger of a fifth column (acts of sabotage, disinformation or espionage executed within defence lines by secret sympathisers collaborating with an external force)

Spain in the 13th Century was not a prosperous country due to continuous warfare with Italy, and the conquest of Granada that had drained Spain’s resources. Therefore, seizing the wealth and power of the Jewish community through the Inquisition was a golden opportunity for both the monarchy and the government to restore its influence, power and refill their treasury. The Spanish government also used the Inquisition to create a pure and unified Spanish-Christian race by controlling the Jewish population.

The Spanish Inquisition had a devastatingly effective way for identifying converts who still practised their old beliefs known as the Edict of Grace. Following Sunday Mass, the Inquisitor would proceed to read the edict that explained possible heresies and encourage the congregation to come forward to confess. Those who confessed would be pardoned or graced with forgiveness (hence the term Edict of Grace). After being pardoned, they were encouraged to give up the names of people who allegedly committed heresies. Denunciations of the guilty parties were anonymous, making it challenging for the defendants to know the identity of their accusers. As a result, false denunciations occurred frequently, motivated by genuine concern, rivalries or even jealousies.

Following the denunciation, the case would be examined by the calificadores (qualifiers) to prove whether heresy truly existed, followed by detention of the accused. The detention was in fact paid for by the victims of the Inquisition, through the confiscation their properties. To make things worse, the defendants were not informed of the charge for months or even years.

Torture was also used to obtain ‘valid’ confessions under duress. The Inquisitors were also seen as being above the law and often abused their power to falsely accused people of non-conformity then confiscate their valuables using the threat of imprisonment. During the Spanish Inquisition, there were approximately 150,000 cases of persecutions by the Inquisitors that resulted in the execution of 3,000 to 5,000 defendants.

An Inquisition torture chamber. Mémoires Historiques (1716)

An Inquisition torture chamber. Mémoires Historiques (1716)

The Inquisition was finally abolished in 1834 by a Royal Decree signed by the regent Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinand’s VII’s liberal widow during the minority of Isabella II and with the approval of the President of the Cabinet Francisco Martinez de la Rosa.

 

Historical Similarities with Dorje Shugden Ban

No What happened then What is happening today to Dorje Shugden practitioners
1. The Spanish Inquisition was a religion-based political tool intended to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam to Catholicism. The King and Queen issued royal decrees in 1492 and 1502 ordering Jews and Muslims to convert or leave Spain. The CTA and several monasteries administration have issued various policies that discourage Dorje Shugden practice. Monks who refused to give up the practice were expelled from their monasteries.
2. Those who refused to conform faced torture and imprisonment. The property of Jews and Muslims were confiscated. People were encouraged to inform on one another, resulting in denunciations of innocent people. There was a pervasive atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion. The Tibetan leadership and monastic authorities have encouraged identification of Dorje Shugden practitioners, for example by providing badges to non-Dorje Shugden practitioners to mark them as clean so it would be clear to everyone who should be discriminated against.

The ban was enforced through peer pressure, for example the ‘vote-stick’ referendum in Gaden and Sera Monasteries. In front of everyone, monks were forced to chose their Dorje Shugden practice. Those who refused to give it up, it was implied that they were against the Dalai Lama and were henceforth marked by everyone as deserving of discrimination and abuse.

People would be rewarded with positions and a good reputation (leading to greater fund-raising opportunities with Western donors) for informing on secret Dorje Shugden practitioners.

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Conclusion

Government policies like those issued to suppress African Americans prior to the 1960s (race discrimination), women’s rights in Europe and the United States (gender discrimination), and Jews and Muslims during the Spanish Inquisition (religious discrimination) affected the lives of many people and created a lot of suffering. The ongoing persecution of Dorje Shugden believers by the Tibetan leadership bears much resemblance to these historic tyrannies. However, many of the victims of these unfair policies refused to be undermined and despite the obstacles, fought for equality and the abolition of unfair government policies. Although the battle was heavily weighted against their favour, their efforts were not in vain and they succeeded in creating a legacy of fairness and equality. Even today, the amendment to the American Constitution related to women’s right to vote continues to be used as a basis by women all over the world to gain equality in their respective countries.

In the case of the Civil Right Movement, although the government had abolished slavery, they did not state that African Americans would hold the same equal rights as their white counterparts. Such segregation compelled a handful of courageous people such as Rosa Parks and Dr Martin Luther King Jr. to raise the stakes in their fight for equality. Up until the Supreme Court declared all forms of segregation to be unconstitutional, African Americans were treated as inferior. In the end, as history shows, their movement to abolish legalised segregation between whites and non-whites was successful.

Similarly, Dorje Shugden practitioners need to create awareness of their experience in order to make a difference and eliminate the discrimination toward Dorje Shugden practitioners.

The Spanish Inquisition is perhaps the most easily relatable example for Dorje Shugden practitioners because of its nature as faith-based discrimination. It is important to note that while segregation faced by Dorje Shugden practitioners appears to be relatively milder, the damages faced by Shugden practitioners are just as devastating. Similarly, the fear of being discovered as a secret Dorje Shugden practitioner is no less real.

During the Spanish Inquisition, the Inquisitors came to the House of God on Sunday and read the Edict of Grace. It led conversos to confess to committing heresy and after being forgiven, they were made or encouraged to report on their conversos friends and families. Dorje Shugden monks in Gelugpa monasteries faced a similar situation when they were forced to choose whether or not they would give up their belief. Those who refused to saw their pictures and personal details published on posters placed around the Tibetan settlements in India and on the CTA official website. In addition, monks have to swear oaths that they are not Dorje Shugden followers to obtain monastery identity cards, without which they are crippled. Without these cards, they do not belong to any monastic institution and are unable to access monastic housing, food and health care, not to mention teachings and practices. They are prohibited from exercising their basic rights such as travel because they cannot obtain visas without a monastery and government endorsement. The persecutions therefore extend profusely to all layers of government and community.

Religious segregation is defined as the separation of people according to their religions. The term has been applied to cases of religion-based segregation occurring as a social phenomenon, as well as to segregation arising from laws, whether explicit or implicit. In the case of the CTA, these laws and efforts have clearly been explicit. The CTA has, over the years, repeatedly stated that there is no ban to Dorje Shugden practice, and instead their policies are merely suggestions to not follow the practice of Dorje Shugden. However, the various Resolutions and strong official statements released by the CTA regarding Dorje Shugden clearly show a specific purpose, which is the eradication of Dorje Shugden worshippers. It is strange for a government like the CTA to be actively promoting segregation against their own people and in the process, destroy the unity of an already-small community. By doing so, their true purpose as a government body to protect its citizens without prejudice has not been realised by any measure.

 

The Dalai Lama on Dorje Shugden Practice in 2008

This is what the Dalai Lama said about Dorje Shugden practitioners in 2008 in Drepung Monastery, South India. Eight years later, in September 2016, His Holiness the Dalai Lama compassionately showed a change in approach to the Dorje Shugden situation, and we are grateful for this. We hope that the Dalai Lama’s previous approach towards Dorje Shugden, as captured in the video below, will soon and swiftly be a part of history and eventually, nothing more than a distant, albeit painful, memory.

 

For more interesting information:

 

References

  • http://tibet.net/dolgyal-shugden/#panel-py3mcuaSzCk
  • http://tibet.net/2014/03/tibetan-parliament-passes-resolution-concerning-dolgyal/
  • http://tibethouse.in/node/343
  • http://tibet.net/about-cta/constitution/
  • http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1824531,00.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_segregation#United_States
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_segregation
  • http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/is-this-true-religious-freedom.html
  • http://thedevelopmentofwomensrights.weebly.com/before-the-womens-suffrage-movement.html
  • http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=63
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_segregation
  • http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Inquisition.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominican_Order#Famous_members
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominican_Order
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_conversion#Spain
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Converso
  • http://www.donquijote.org/culture/spain/history/spanish-inquisition

 

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Valentina Suhendra
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About Valentina Suhendra

Valentina met H.E. the 25th Tsem Tulku Rinpoche in year 2006 and became his student one year later. Prior to joining Kechara, Valentina was an advisory director at one of the big four accounting firms.

Currently, Valentina is the chairwoman of Yayasan Kechara Indonesia, a foundation working on social community projects to benefit the community. Read more of her writing on her blog: www.valentinasuhendra.com
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22 Responses to Comparisons of the Dorje Shugden Ban With Historic Persecutions

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  1. MartinC on Feb 9, 2017 at 3:36 am

    It gave me great joy to read this comment by ‘Suzy in Hawaii’ that she left on Tsem Rinpoche’s YouTube channel-(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4&t=11s) After 2 decades of persecution and maltreatment by those who seek to destroy a holy practice, it is a pleasure to see the truth prevailing and more and more people like Suzy realizing the goodness and benefit of Dorje Shugden.

    Suzy

  2. Wan Wai Meng on Dec 15, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    It is a very good article to draw, references to other forms of oppression, that has happened in the past. We cannot be having double standards, in terms of defining what discrimination is.

    Thank you for all the work you have done, Valentina.

  3. Lowkhjb on Oct 28, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Thank you Ms Valentina Suhendra for the sharing on the Dorje Shugden Ban initiated by The current Dalai Lama.We certainly hope that the recent gesture by the Dalai Lama to lift the ban was motivated by his wisdom and inherit compassion.By doing so ,may the Buddhist community which is divided by this ban could reconsile with immediet effect.

    We understand that during the imposed ban,a lot of innocent practitioner are being treated in an gravely unfair manner.Out of compassion ,the Buddhist community should not look back now on the suffering and torment of the past .But take a step forward to bravely practice what they believe would greatly benefit them in their spiritual or dharma practice which will lead them to the true path.

    Place your trust in Dorje Shugden,may your dharmic obstacle be cleared if practice with true faith and sincerity.

  4. shelly tai on Oct 26, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Discrimination again anyone is very bad because everyone has our own right to choose what we believe and how we look no one suppose to judge anyone and in this case down to hurting that person this very inhuman . No one deserve to be hurt and take away any of their right this is unacceptable is like Dorje Shugden practitioners we just want to practice what we think is good for us we do not deserve to be judge or discriminated b anyone this is our choice of practice so I hope the Dorje Shugden ban can lift as soon as possible so that everyone live in peace.

  5. Samfoonheei on Oct 22, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Very good research done on these article by Valentina .I read it with interest and know better.Dorje Shugden ban was created based on the baseless information and false rumours that the practice was evil and will harm the Dalai Lama.Many of the Dorje Shugden practitioners suffered and religious disharmony due to it.The Women’s Suffrage Movement and the Spanish Inquisition is similar to the Dorje Shugden practitioners whereby they are too and faced discrimination. And recently the Dalai Lama said that Dorje Shugden cannot harm him .The Dalai Lama’s previous approach towards Dorje Shugden will soon be over and be part of the history then.I do hope the Dalai Lama will soon officially lift the ban.
    Thank you Valentina for sharing this interesting article.

    • Valentina Suhendra on Oct 23, 2016 at 1:45 am

      Dear Samfoonhei

      Thank you for your comment and interest in the article. I am glad that you enjoy reading it and learnt from the historical similarities between the Spanish inquisition and women suffragette movements vs the Shugden ban.

      But you can see that with perseverance and continuous effort, people will understand more about the issue and the injustice behind the discrimination. Therefore, we have to continuously build awareness about the suffering of DS practitioners with the motivation that the ban will be lifted one day very soon.

      Valentina

  6. shane jayasuriya on Oct 21, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Thank you Velentina for this will detail article..

  7. sweekeong on Oct 18, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Hi Stephen Ho,
    Valentina has done well to research the information and presented in an article. She has only this much time as a person in a day. It is thanks to her the readers can gain much knowledge.

    You can follow her example and write those topics you have listed since you seems to be aware and informed of such happenings? We can learn much from the history and benefit more people through writing by highlighting the lessons that can be learned.

    Also why don’t give a thank you message to encourage her more? As a writer won’t you prefer encouragement and giving suggestions?

    It would be good that everyone can share and gain wisdom on these historic happenings from multiple persons.

    You can even submit your article here.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/submit-a-story

    submit-a-story

  8. Stephen Ho on Oct 12, 2016 at 11:20 am

    One of the many highlights of discrimination and persecution in Tibetan history :

    “History shows that the present crisis is rooted in the past. For centuries, the Gelugpa lineage of the Dalai Lamas and the Karma Kagyu lineage of the Gyalwa Karmapas have been locked in a struggle.

    The CONFLICT started as early as the fifteenth century, at the time of the Seventh Karmapa and Fourth Shamarpa. This coincided with a period during which the Tibetan government was controlled by the Kagyupas. HOSTILITIES peaked in 1638 when the Fifth Dalai Lama invited the Mongolian army under Goshir Khan to INVADE Tibet. The Gelugpa and Mongol alliance was subsequently responsible for the DEATH by DECAPITATION of VIRTUALLY ALL ABBOTS from one THOUSAND Karma Kagyu monasteries. All these monasteries were CONVERTED to the Gelugpa order by FORCE . The Tenth Karmapa’s camp came under attack and over SEVEN THOUSAND of his MONKS were SLAUGHTERED. Only Karmapa and his attendant managed to escape. The Karmapa was FORCED to stay in EXILE for the next forty years.”

    FROM :

    “An Open letter to His Holiness the Dalai Lama”
    by H.H. Luehrs (Chairman)
    For and on behalf of all delegates to the International Karma Kagyu Conference

    LINK :

    http://www.karmapa-issue.org/arguments.htm

    • Ronan on Oct 12, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      Dear Stephen Ho,

      I am learning and enjoying from your posts.

      But what are you trying to say? The Gelugpa government under the Dalai Lama is harmful?

      Are you against Gelugpa and pro Karma Kagyu?

      I am not on either side, but wondering what message you are trying to convey with your comments?

  9. Joy on Oct 12, 2016 at 1:55 am

    Yes it sure feels like we’re the black slaves here and the funny thing is even AFTER His Holiness said that Dorje Shugden cannot harm him, how could it if we go along the logic athat he is after all Chenrezig, the anti-Shugden crowd still cannot accept and is still in denial. So much so this is the reaction we get, even more so now like you said in the article.

    I truly find that amazing that a group of people still wants and wished for us to remain shunned and discriminated. I guess their denial shows that they would have to eat their words is just too much for their ego. At the end of the day it isn’t the Dalai Lama they are protecting… it is more their own egos. This is so unfortunate because prior to the ban Tibetans were a bunch of happy, peaceful, harmonious bunch. What this ban has created is segregation of something that was once good, which is the difference from the black slavery in America and Spanish inquisition examples given here.

    And I really liked what Pavara said which is so true regarding the ban on Dorje Shugden… “What makes the situation worse is the fact that the Dorje Shugden ban was created from baseless rumours that are totally false.”

    The picture are just very very few of the vulgarities Shugden people are being spat on social media daily.

    BeCareful

    14610916_1817980111780408_8401795612172700067_n

    Bullshit

    LodayGatso

  10. Stephen Ho on Oct 10, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    The Tibetans themselves practiced discrimination and persecution because of religious sectarianism mixed with politics in its history long before the current Dorje Shugden controversy. Why use examples from the USA/West when it such things have been happening in Tibet itself for a very long time ???

    “ “Orientalism” and Aspects of Violence in the Tibetan Tradition” :

    http://info-buddhism.com/Orientalism_Violence_Tibetan_Buddhism_Elliot_Sperling.html

    • Valentina Suhendra on Oct 11, 2016 at 2:04 am

      Dear Stephen

      I believe my comment below has answered your question :).

      Valentina

  11. Uncle Eddie on Oct 10, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    In September 2016, His Holiness, The Dalai Lama compassionately showed a change in approach to the Dorje Shugden situation, and we are grateful for this. We hope the Dalai Lama’s previous approach towards Dorje Shugden as captured in the video, will soon swiftly be part of history and eventually nothing more than a distant, albeit painful memory. Our successive involvements may sometimes offer temporary relief, but, in sober truth lasting satisfaction from what turns out to be mere flickers may make us realise that this has become a realisation of succes of goodness! Yes, by this forced “Buddhist-divide” through an unholy campaign of persecutional action against religious freedom of those who practice Dorje Shugden through:

    (1) Expulsion from monasteries. (2) Forbidden possesion of I.D. documentary yellow pass (Likened a passport,) including tibetan monks (3) Discriminatory treatment, forbidding entry of Dorje Shugden practitioners into public places like schools, temples etc., (4) Forcing employees to give up their practices of Dorje Shugden in order to keep their jobs. As His Eminence, The 25th Tsem Tulku Rinpoche had said in answer to the advice, “How to help end this Ban” the answer was:- “Logically, don’t wait for the light, be the light”, as it is ultimately about Humanity and our innate nature to know right or wrong, as our integrity and dignity to do the right thing! Be the voice for those who are silence, “as Rinpoche has also uttered”. Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being, whose purpose is to help all sentient beings in an often chaotic and complicated situatuion, or world. Many have suffered to perservere for his practice for generations to come. Please steadfastly support and preserve the fundamental rights and honour of all human beings.

  12. Stephen Ho on Oct 10, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    I notice that the article by Valentina Suhendra carried examples of historical persecution ONLY from the USA/West and NOTHING of similar things from the East. Attacking the USA/West and ignoring similar things in the East while glorifying the East (especially China) has been the obvious pattern throughout all the articles on this website so far.

    Would Tsem Rinpoche and his disciples even consider being objective for once and cover all of the following items on the list I made immediately after reading that article ?

    ****************************************************
    HISTORICAL DISCRIMINATION AND PERSECUTION IN THE EAST
    ****************************************************

    ***************
    **** CHINA *****
    ***************

    ANCIENT CHINA

    ( a )

    “Four Buddhist Persecutions in China”

    The Four Buddhist Persecutions in China was the wholesale suppression of Buddhism carried out on four occasions from the 5th through the 10th century by four Chinese emperors.

    READ MORE AT :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Buddhist_Persecutions_in_China

    ( b )

    “Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution”

    The Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution initiated by Tang Emperor Wuzong reached its height in the year 845 AD. Among its purposes were to appropriate war funds and to cleanse China of foreign influences. As such, the persecution was directed not only towards Buddhism but also towards other foreign religions, such as Zoroastrianism, Nestorian Christianity and Manichaeism. Only the native Chinese ideologies of Confucianism and Taoism survived the upheaval relatively unaffected.

    READ MORE AT :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Anti-Buddhist_Persecution

    MODERN CHINA

    ( a )

    “Cultural Revolution”

    The Cultural Revolution, formally the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a sociopolitical movement that took place in the People’s Republic of China from 1966 until 1976. Set into motion by Mao Zedong, then Chairman of the Communist Party of China, its stated goal was to preserve ‘true’ Communist ideology in the country by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society, and to re-impose Maoist thought as the dominant ideology within the Party. The Revolution marked the return of Mao Zedong to a position of power after the Great Leap Forward. The movement paralyzed China politically and negatively affected the country’s economy and society to a significant degree.

    READ MORE AT :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Revolution

    ( b )

    “Human rights in Tibet”

    READ MORE AT :

    https://freetibet.org/about/human-rights

    ( c )

    “Persecution of Falun Gong”

    READ MORE AT :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Falun_Gong

    ( d )

    Regarding the 2001 destruction of Serthar Institute :

    “Destruction of Serthar Institute : A special report”

    READ MORE AT :

    http://archive.is/26qR6

    ( e )

    “China arrests Christians who opposed removals of crosses”

    READ MORE AT :

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/27/china-arrests-christians-opposed-cross-removals-zhejiang

    ************************
    ******** INDIA **********
    ************************

    “The biggest holocaust in World History…whitewashed from history”

    The genocide suffered by the Hindus of India at the hands of Arab, Turkish, Mughal and Afghan occupying forces for a period of 800 years is as yet formally unrecognised by the World.

    READ MORE AT :

    https://www.bnp.org.uk/news/national/biggest-holocaust-world-historywhitewashed-history

    ********************
    ******* Tibet *******
    ********************

    “ “Orientalism” and Aspects of Violence in the Tibetan Tradition “

    READ MORE AT :

    http://info-buddhism.com/Orientalism_Violence_Tibetan_Buddhism_Elliot_Sperling.html

    ( The Tibetans themselves used violence against each other in history , often because of religious sectarianism).

    I wonder if Tsem Rinpoche and his disciples will even consider being objective enough for once to cover all of those fine examples of discrimination and persecution in the East, namely, China (ancient and modern), India (ancient) and Tibet (ancient) I have gathered and listed instead of highlighting similar things in USA/Western history only as they have done so far.

    • Valentina Suhendra on Oct 11, 2016 at 2:02 am

      Dear Stephen Ho

      Thank you for your comment. I chose the topics of race discrimination in the US, Women Suffragette movement, and the Spanish inquisition due to the similarities between those events and what the Shugden practitioners are currently experiencing as you can see in the article the similarities have been described in the table format. There is no intention to glorify the east and nothing in the article that claim that that there are no discrimination in the east.

      I acknowledges that things have not always been smooth in the East and there were and are still discrimination in the eastern countries including India and China. Perhaps since you are so interested in this topic, you yourself can write articles highlighting the historical comparison of Shugden discrimination and the discrimination in the eastern countries if not in this domain, in other space. I am sure it will be an interesting read :).

      Regards
      Valentina

  13. Pastor Han Nee on Oct 9, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Is history repeating itself in a different guise? Take religious persecution for instance. Where before it was all the hate, discrimination against and persecution of groups like the Jews and Muslims by the Catholics of France, Spain and Portugal. Now it’s the persecution against and discrimination of Shugden practitioners by the anti Shugden camp, and that includes CTA and their stalwarts.

    It took a long time for the prejudice against women suffragettes to be recognized and given the right to vote. But they used peaceful means like petitioning and picketing to fight their cause.

    What is different between the different historical groups being persecuted and discriminated against and the current Shugden practitioners, is that for Shugden practitioners, we are supposed to be living in the post “enlightenment” age. In these modern times of liberation and equal rights, it is most regressive to practice discrimination. Even as the Dalai Lama has said that we can practice Dorje Shugden, the anti Shugden group seems to be not ready to ‘comply’ and agree to reconciliation. Nonetheless, it is still the peaceful means of urging peaceful negotiations that will work.

  14. Pavara Lam on Oct 9, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    In my opinion I think that the Dorje Shugden is just as cruel as the slave trade and the spanish inquisition. What makes the situation worse is the fact that the Dorje Shugden ban was created from baseless rumours that are totally false.

    Hundreds upon hundreds of monks, Lamas, Gheshe’s and Tulku’s have practiced Dorje Shugden, but instead of gaining bad luck and shortened lives they end up living longer and more joyful lives.

    I really hope that everyone will stop looking down on Dorje Shugden and start looking up to him as a highly accomplished Dharma Protector.

    • Valentina Suhendra on Oct 10, 2016 at 9:25 am

      Dear Pavara

      Thank you for your comment. I believe you mean Dorje Shugden “BAN” is just as cruel as the slave trade or the Spanish inquisition. I agree with you that the Dorje Shugden ban was created based on the baseless and false rumour. However, the Spanish inquisition and the race discrimination were also based on false rumours. The race discrimination in the old United States were based on the belief that the African Americans were inferior than their white counterparts and the Spanish inquisition was based on the belief that Roman Catholic belief was superior than other religion.

      Actually if we just practice equanimity to all beings, all these discrimination would not have happened. But what we can see from the article is with the perseverance and awareness building, the discrimination against Shugden practitioners will be ended soon. and therefore we must focus our effort towards it.

      Valentina

  15. Echeah on Oct 9, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    For centuries, unfair treatment, discrimination and bigotry have taken all forms and shapes, be it based on religious beliefs, race, gender, sexual preference, social status. It is the inability to accept a different point of view. It goes further to say that if your view is not the same as mine, you must be wrong, as I am right. Not only can I not tolerate your different view, I will take it one step further, I hate and will harm you for that. This is so wrong and creates so much discord and destruction in the fabric of society. This is certainly not what the Buddha or any religion taught.

    Even after the Dalai Lama made the pronouncement that Dorje Shugden cannot harm him and we can practice, those people who were persecuting the practitioners up till now, still cannot adapt and change their viewpoint.

    Hate can become so strong that it is so pervasive and blinds a person to the extent that the ego cannot accept that perhaps the self may have been wrong all this while and maybe it’s time to change and expand or take the opposite viewpoint. As long as this ego cannot back down, at shop level, the discrimination and harm can continue.

    With folded hands, I pray that the Dalai Lama will make a strong stand and initiate the lifting of the ban officially as worldwide, followers and sympathizers look up to him for guidance and direction.

  16. Pastor KH Ng on Oct 8, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    The Dorje Shugden Ban is indeed similar if not worse than historical persecutions like the Spanish Inquisitions, conditions leading to the Civil Right Movement and Slavery leading to the American Civil War. All these stems from some form of discrimination i.e. one is better than the other; a form of self protection; a form of fear and a form of stupidity and ultimately selfishness and protection of this selfishness.

    The results are sufferings on a massive society wide scale lasting ten of years and sometimes continue to be experienced for generations even though the original problem has been repealed! For example, even though slavery was made illegal after the Civil War, segregation still persisted; and even after segregation was made illegal, racist organisations continue to exist.

    Hence, I feel sadly that the effect of the Dorje Shugden ban will continue to be felt for ten of years even though the Dalai Lama has said that the practice does not harm him. I feel that it is never about the Dalai Lama or what He said.

  17. Datuk May on Oct 8, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Any form of oppression will come with the same repressive actions, discrimination and physical harm to the people who have conviction to the cause which is under oppression.

    The similar persecution efforts throughout history shows the same ways of repressive and unfair treatment.

    However, this is the 21st century and execution of primitive methods to subdue the human kind is definitely unacceptable as there are laws that are against such acts.

    Therefore in the case of the Ban on Dorje Shugden what is the recourse, can the CTA be held responsible and which international court can hear this case? Without alternatives, we Dorje Shugden are happy to know of the public declaration by the Dalai Lama that we can worship Dorje Shugden.

    Sad to note that even with such a declaration, Shugden Lamas are still abused and vulgarities thrown at them on public platforms.

    Are we seeing that the followers of Dalai Lama are so blinded with hate that they are prepared to disparage the Dalai Lama’s words.

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  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:07 AM
    This year Wesak Day fall on 10 of May. This day is very special and meaningful to me because I will visit Kechara Forest Retreat(KFR) to join some meritorious event there.
    For me, Wesak is a day to commemorate Buddha Sakyamuni in three aspect( Birth , Enlightened, Nirwana).
    While we celebrate Wesak, we must remind ourselves to learn from Buddha teachings and practice it in order to gain attainment.
    Thanks Rinpoche and Pastor Seng Piow for sharing in order to create more understanding on Wesak Day.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/wesak-day-special-on-rtm-2.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 06:10 PM
    OMG! This is very touching. To see a doggie who never left go of his owner in spite of death. Way more powerful than many who proclaimed “till death do us part.” Just like the human, not all doggies are as loyal as this tear-jerking pet, but I truly believe almost all doggies offer unconditional love to the person who feeds and cares for them. Even when they are stray animals. There was a stray dog who will run two streets from the entrance of the “Taman” until the car stops in front of the house, just to greet me. You can imagine the warm and conviction in my heart that these beings are more than capable of loving than many of us, human! Thank you for this lovely sharing. I miss my doggie, Sherab.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 06:00 PM
    Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow, for this amazing sharing. There is no doubt about the ability of our Guru, His Eminence the 25th Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. His incarnations have been compassionate and taken rebirth to return and spread the dharma so that sentient beings can benefit and learn some dharma in our short life.

    We shall never doubt our Guru; but must see that He is one with our Yidam and Protector, an attained being. Even if our Guru does not demonstrate clairvoyance abilities, we must never contest our Guru, for he holds the key (dharma) that can liberate us from eternal suffering in samsara.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-1-2.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 05:50 PM
    Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow, for the illustrated miracle story on how Rinpoche guided Cynthia and Marici away from danger through protector’s practice. The unseen exist, whether we like it or not. Some of them are malicious and have the affinity or karma with some of us. Hence they can cause harm and disturbance. By engaging in Protectors’ practice like Dorje Shugden and Setrap that have been practiced by the high lamas of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, we are protected and guarded against harm.

    Rinpoche is compassionate and only want the best for us. His teachings are not meant to show off the power of the divines but offer us a way out from our desperate samsara conundrum that binds us from engaging in deeper spiritual practice. Rinpoche always teaches us to focus on mind transformation and Tsongkhapa practice. How fortunate we are to have met Rinpoche in this lifetime. We must not let this rare and precious opportunity go to waste.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-12.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 04:30 PM
    Miracles do happen,when we have faith and trust in our Guru.What is important is to follow Rinpoche’s advice and do as instructed by our Guru to clear the osbtacles all the way.Angie and Herry were so fortunate to have meet Rinpoche.Its because of Rinpoche ‘s compassion and caring for his student Angie’s life was saved.Infact Rinpoche has helped many people through his intervention, advice and instructions.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing miracles stories which i enjoyed reading.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-2.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 02:45 PM
    WOW….interesting a miracles true story. Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing.Reciting mantras by family members and doing 20 pujas done at the monastery to help the baby. These proved that pujas, which have been done for hundreds of years in the monasteries are very powerful methods for us to overcome difficulties, create huge amounts of merit and for protection, good health and long life.This show us how powerful pujas can help us when we have trust and faith in our Guru.And with Rinpoche divination,the baby was born and now a healthy boy.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-1-2.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 12:47 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these powerful teachings.Its a privilege
    to do Dharma work to benefits other,do it with motivation and a good attitude when engaging ourselves It will be guide line for me.When we serve others to do Dharma work together at Kechara Forest Retreat ,we will improve ourself , purify our negative karma and to benefit others too.I will be sponsoring to the healings bricks soon and i will cherish every moment in supporting KFR.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/dharma-work-attitude-tdl.html
  • Lin Mun
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 11:06 AM
    Bigfoot is just another beings living in this world although not commonly seen and live in the deep jungle in high mountains. There were many evidences that people from many parts of the world sighted this beings. Whatever shape they are I think importantly we are all sharing this world and therefore need to have mutual respect and not intervene each others.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/its-in-the-scriptures-they-exist.html
  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 04:26 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline sharing this interesting post about Bodhidharma, a great master favoured meditation and introduced the Lankavatara Sutra to Chinese Buddhism.

    Here are a few points I have learned from this post:
    1. Bodhidharma had strong imprints of Dharma from the past and therefore he is interested in Buddha’s teachings and show his great wisdom. at a very young age.
    2. His strong guru devotion and determination in learning and spreading the dharma based on meditation though he confronted with difficulties such as Emperor Wu Di was not impressed by his teachings, being ostracized and rejected and lived as a beggar for many months. Notwithstanding, he continued and never give up to practice meditation in complete silence for nine years in cave wall when he was not accepted by Shaolin Monastery at the beginning .
    3. When Bodhidharma was allowed enter to the monastery, he had put a lot of efforts to help the monks in improving their physical body as well as their mind through the meditation. Then, Bodhidharma continued to develop a system of 18 dynamic tension exercises which were printed as Yi Gin Ching (Changing Muscle/Tendon Classic) in 550 CE. It is known as the Luohan (arhat) 18 Hand Movements today which serves as the basis of both Chinese Temple Boxing and the Shaolin Martial Arts.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/bodhidharma-the-founder-of-gongfu.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 04:10 PM
    Thank you, Grace, for sharing with us the many tips on how to care for and maintain our hair. Personal grooming is important because when we care for our appearance, we are respecting the people who have to deal with us. Caring for our hair, making sure that it is neat and clean should be something we need to take care of since young as it is part of personal grooming. The key is not to be attached to our body and outer-images, that results in spending much time and resources just to make ourselves look good.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/how-much-do-you-know-about-hair.html
  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 03:00 PM
    Thank you for sharing these wonderful and significant photos showed that Kechara Pastors’ tireless efforts to bring dharma to many others and do the blessings whenever is necessary.

    Basically, the pastorship role was conceptualized by our precious guru, H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, to preserve the Dharma and to give laypeople an opportunity to commit to benefiting others. Kechara Pastors are fully dedicated and selflessly serving others especially in spiritual growth and therefore this is good for us to support the Pastors so that they can focus and spend more of their time and effort to serve others and most importantly Buddhist teachings can be spread and shared to many others. The supports to Pastors including food, lodging, transportation, items necessary for their work, such as ritual items or spiritual gifts for those in need and many others. (If you are interested to know more about Kechara Pastors, please have a good read at http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/support-the-kechara-pastors.html)

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/10-amazing-house-blessings-by-kechara-pastors.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 02:13 PM
    Its such a great blessing for all of us to hear the holy voice recordings of H.H Kyabje Zong Rinpoche a great master..His profound teachings ,got to take seroiusly,more as an important advice on Dorje Shugden’s practice.H.H Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s explaination was very clear before any of the practitioner’s commitment and receive sogtae.They must keep the lineage practice and teachings no matter what ever happen.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing with us on the important advice by a great master.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kyabje-zong-rinpoches-advice-on-dorje-shugdens-practice.html
  • Lin Mun
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 11:50 AM
    Thank you Pastor Han Nee for your sharing your thoughts and review about the book “Be Happy” written by Rinpoche. It is indeed not easy to be happy as we all have various expectation in every situation and people.

    We may think having a big house, lots of cash and good career is happiness but this is the wrong perception. Being happy is not about material and everything about ourselves. It is only when we can do more for others and focus out that we gain happiness. I never realised this until I joined Kechara. I think we have such a fixed mindset of what happiness is and when our expectation is not met, we are unhappy.

    Rinpoche has pointed out many ways for us to rectify our thoughts and methods to be happy. Now it is for us to take initiative to change and transform our mind if we want to be happy.

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Han Nee for this article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/be-happy.html
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Apr 24. 2017 12:30 PM
    Many people do not believe in reincarnation and only relates it to certain religion such as Hinduism and Buddhism. However, there were many instances and signs that proven reincarnation exist. As Buddhist we will believe in reincarnation and karma. It is by understanding that everything has its cause and effect that we should learn to live life in the correct attitude and mindset. Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this interesting articles to remind us of karma and the importance of doing dharma practise.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/interesting-signs-of-reincarnation.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 08:29 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for your teachings.
    Always be generous and kind in what ever we could do even its little help.It’s the little things in life that bring the greatest happiness. Its between us and our Buddha ,so we would not bother what the receipient thinks and say of us. What ever was said ,should not deter our motivation to do Dharma work.
    (It will change people’s lives in one way or another. It will change your life for the better.)….well said by Rinpoche.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/its-not-between-you-and-the-recipient.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Messages from Rinpoche

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CREDITS

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Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
Design: Justin Ripley, Cynthia Lee
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Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
Admin: Pastor Loh Seng Piow, Beng Kooi

I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini\'s blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves.
~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini's blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves. ~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
2 weeks ago
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
2 weeks ago
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one\'s death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one's death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin\'s dog Snowy!
3 weeks ago
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin's dog Snowy!
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
3 weeks ago
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
 Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
3 weeks ago
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
3 weeks ago
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
 Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
3 weeks ago
Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
Tsem Rinpoche\'s Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
 It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and \'defeat\' the ones that hurt us because we don\'t become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and 'defeat' the ones that hurt us because we don't become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche\'s heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin  Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
3 weeks ago
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
 (left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
4 weeks ago
(left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s good to be with kind and sincere people.
4 weeks ago
It's good to be with kind and sincere people.
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
My Mumu boy didn\'t want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
My Mumu boy didn't want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
4 weeks ago
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
1 month ago
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn\'t move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn't move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
1 month ago
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don\'t have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don't have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
1 month ago
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 month ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one\'s head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book \"The Female Buddhas.\"- Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one's head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book "The Female Buddhas."- Glenn Mullin
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
2 months ago
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
2 months ago
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
3 months ago
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
3 months ago
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
This is a good one to read
3 months ago
This is a good one to read
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Videos On The Go

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ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

Scroll down and click on "View All Questions" to view archived questions.

  • April 20, 2017 10:45
    Ronnie asked: Dear Rinpoche and Pastors, I'm studying abroad and very far away from home, seeking guidance and advice as I have no one else I can talk to about this. Please read with an open mind, I don't know where else to go for help. I'm pregnant and it's an unplanned pregnancy. I'm stuck between keeping it or letting it go. I'm young and having a child at my age in the society we live in now would be considered taboo. The father of the child thinks I should let it go because it may cause a setback to both our careers and cause major family issues. He thinks we aren't ready to raise a child especially since we're both still in university and his parents think badly of me even though they've never met me or tried to get to know me. I'm sure no one would ever have the heart to take away a heartbeat but it seems like it isn't the right time to have a child now and if we did go through with it, the child probably won't be able to have the best things life can offer looking at where we are now in terms of finance and maturity. I'm lost, confused and unsure what the right thing to do is now. Any advice at all would be helpful right now. Thank you so very much for taking time to read my story.
    pastor answered: Dear Ronnie, I’m sorry to read that you are going through this situation. I can understand that this situation is tough to go through. You are always more than welcome to come here to ask questions. May I suggest that you talk to either someone in your family or your friends to help you come to an appropriate solution? This is because, what you feel, what you are going through, will change from time to time and you would need someone to talk to, someone that you can lean on through this situation you are facing. Depending on where you are in the world, professional help can also be sought to help you make a decision, which will be the best option for you seeking help. From a Buddhist perspective, the taking of a life is not considered a positive act, therefore those on the Buddhist path, would normally abstain taking a life if possible. However, that being said, one must always weigh the decision oneself. Everything we do in life, necessarily involves karma both positive and negative. That is why Buddhists try to overcome samsara in general. Your situation is complicated because you are abroad, but if possible you should really open up to someone you are close to in order to help you through making this decision on a personal basis. When you talk to someone, whom you are able to express yourself more, you may able to come to better decision that is right for you. There may be other options open to you if you seek help. I personally know women who have been in similar situations. One of these women, let the child go and the other went through the pregnancy and then gave the child up for adoption. You may or may not have thought of this option, but it is one that could be open to you, depending on where in the world you are. Any decision we make in life, however big or small it may seem, has far reaching consequences whether in this life, or in future lives. This is just a part and parcel of life within samsara. However, we should weigh the decisions we make clearly given the situation we are in. We cannot always do this weighing ourselves, but need to talk about our options with others we can rely on such a friends, family or professionals. You should consider doing this, which will help you greatly emotionally, and may give you the grounding you need to make the correct decision for you. I hope this helps.
  • April 19, 2017 04:57
    Dongho asked: What is a nyung ne practice? According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, it's a purification sadhana. However, what are the instructions for this? I'm guessing it's to Chenrezig, but how does it work? Also, from what I have read, Vajrasattva practice is only for broken vows while Akshobhya is for regular misdeeds. Does that mean one has to take the Akshobhya practice to purify bad karma from this life and previous instead of Vajrasattva? As for the purification practices, are some like Vajrasattva and Chenrezig only to purify the bad karma and let it come quickly or is it to prevent it from coming? I am confused in it. As for signs, I recited a mantra of White Yangchenma that a Sakya lama, Lama Kunga Thartse Rinpoche, gave me with the Sakya visualizations I read on, and after one mala, I heard some lady call my Korean name even though no one in my neighborhood knows of my name and my family members weren't in the area. What does this mean?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your questions, it’s nice to see you back here again. Nyung Ne practice is a purification practice that centres around Chenrezig. It is a very beneficial practice that stems from a holy nun named Gelong-ma Palmo. It is a two and a half day practice that can be repeated many times over and over again to intensify the purification and build a closer relationship with Chenrezig. As well as its purification aspect, the practice is known to generate vast amount of merit, and also compassion, as the practice centres around Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion. The practice involves taking the eight Mahayana precepts for the duration, fasting, meditating, prostrating and praying. The practice usually entails empowerment into the practice of Chenrezig, therefore the exact meditations, prayers can only be explained to those who have the empowerment. Vajrasattva practice is not necessarily only for repairing broken vows, etc. That’s why it is advised that you engage in the practice at the end of the day, to repair any vows that you may have broken during that day, as well as stopping any negative karma you created that day from multiplying. This would entail reciting the mantra 21 times, together with the four opponent powers. However, if you engage in this practice more intensely, it definitely has the capability to purify all sorts of karma. That is the reason why in Ngondro, or preliminary practices one engages in before tantra, the practice of 100,000 Vajrasattva mantra recitation is an integral part. You can read more about Vajrasattva and his practice here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/an-important-purification-practice.html. Within purification practices, some of the karma will be purified completely, so you do not feel its effects at all, but when purifying other karma you will need to feel its effects somehow. For example if you have the karma to be in a car accident and get seriously injured, and you are engaging in any practice, but especially the purification practice, since you have purified most of the karma, you will only experience being in a very minor car accident, with only very superficial injuries. Therefore, in this case, the karma has been purified to the extent that it does not affect you as much, but you still need to feel part of its effect. In regards to any signs that you receive which engaging in the practices given to you by one of your specific gurus, you should report the happenings to that particular guru. He will be able to give you more of an accurate answer, as it may be related to the particular practice that he gave to you. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • April 17, 2017 07:06
    Thomas asked: Dear Pastors, When a serkyem set has been used so much and one is ready to get rid of it and replace it with a new one. What is a respecful mode of disposal?
    pastor answered: Dear Thomas, Thank you for your question. Your question shows that you have a lot of respect for offering items, which is very good. If possible, you should try to repair the item if within your means, and doing so make embellishments to make it a better offering item, which can still be used. If this is not possible, then you should dispose of the item with a good motivation. You should think that this item has been used to make offerings to the enlightened beings, but now that it is broken or unusable, you are going to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. Since it itself is not a receptacle of energies of the enlightened beings, such as a statue, tsa tsa or thangka, it does not require a special dissolution before being disposed of. However since it was used to make offerings, it still requires some form of respect when disposing, and this comes from one’s motivation and the way in which you dispose of it. Usually, when disposing of items in this way, make the motivation that you have used it and that it is now time to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. When you do this you can dispose of it in a respectful manner. For example, if you are going to throw it away, you do not simply open the trash can and throw it in. You wrap it up in something, like a bag or newspaper and dispose of it respectfully. Another method you can dispose of it is to recycle the object, if the material it is made from can be recycled. That way you are more conscious of the environment as well. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 16, 2017 22:38
    Curious asked: Dear pastors In a recent youtube video something like paying respect to deceased ones, pastor Nirel Patel explained that merits are like the interest and good karma is like the principal sum. So merits always regenerate themselves and hence do not get used up but good karma is like the principal sum so it gets used up. So my question is what are practices that generate merit? And can we turn a mundane daily activity into a meritorious one? Maybe can you provide an example?
    pastor answered: Dear Curious, Thank you for your question. First, to clarify a point, in regards to good karma, you are right, it is like a principal sum in a bank account, but you take away from it when you experience something good in your life, and you add to it when you do good deeds. Merit on the other hand, once accrued never diminishes, therefore when something is based on merit, it is based on the energies of this never diminishing sum, which you could say is like interest. In short, the principal sum when talking about karma is always added to and subtracted from. However, when talking about merit, once you have it, there is no way to destroy it, you will always benefit from it. There are various ways to explain how to generate merit. I will explain a way that I find easiest to understand. In normal life, when we go about performing any sort of activity, be it ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we do so out of ignorance of the true nature of existence, and it is usually self-motivated. For example, we work our entire lives to generate monetary income, so that we have enough money, resources, and materials goods to be comfortable. This is self-motivated, but it is the accepted way the world works these days, and is part and parcel of being bound to samsaric life. On the other hand, the act of merit making can be categorised into three parts: i) motivation, ii) the act itself, and iii) dedication. Let’s start with motivation, when engaging in various virtuous acts, we should have the motivation that by engaging in the act, we have the motivation to alleviate the suffering of someone else, and that may we gain enlightenment so that we can benefit them in the future. The second is the act itself. The third is to dedicate the energy of the virtuous act to gaining enlightenment. These three are what make merit. This may be a little confusing, so let me give an example: giving help to a homeless person. Whereas in ordinary life, this is something praised as a very good deed, it does not create merit without motivation and dedication. In order for this to become merit, one must set the motivation that one is giving help to the homeless free of the eight worldly concerns, to alleviate their suffering and also making the motivation that you will achieve enlightenment for the sake of the person or people you are helping. Then after you have helped them, you dedicate the energy created to the spiritual journey towards full enlightenment to help all sentient beings, while at the same time benefiting as many sentient beings as possible on the way there. This transforms the act into not only a virtuous action but also one that generates merit. On the other hand, if you were to help the homeless without these, you are creating good karma, which although beneficial, keeps you bound to existence within samsara. As it is the goal of Buddhist practice to overcome the cycle of samsara, a Buddhist would want to generate merit instead of good karma. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 13, 2017 11:38
    D.A. asked: If Begtse Chan is not from Mongolia, what are his real origins or story exactly? And which lamas offer his empowerment? As for Manjushri Nagarakshasa, which lamas specifically offer his empowerment and practice?
    pastor answered: Dear D.A. Thank you for your question. Begtse, is also known as Chamsing, or Jamsaran in Mongolian. As mentioned in an earlier sharing with someone who also asked a question about Begtse, the practiced was introduced to Tibet from India by the translator Nyen Lotsawa, and is considered one of the main protectors of the Hayagriva cycle of tantras. According to the scriptures that derive from the Sakya tradition, who incorporated the practice from the translators, and in which tradition Begtse became a very important protector, Begtse in a previous life was born many eons ago. In that particular life, he was born as the younger prince in a royal family. His name was Drag Gye, and his older brother’s name was Drag Den. Over time both princes developed differing religious beliefs, to the point where they could not get along with each as they both held their own religious views strongly. As was the custom during that time, they decided to settle their differences through logical debate, with the loser having to convert to the winner’s religion. This custom was also prevalent in ancient India, and there are many stories of such debates occurring between the great masters of the past and those of other faiths. Drag Gye lost the various debates, but ran away instead of converting to his older brother’s religion. Drag Den caught him, and tried to punish him for breaking the rules of debate and going back on his promise. Drag Gye told his brother that even if he was killed he would not give up his religion, however if Drag Den let him go, that in the future when Drag Den became enlightened, he would protect his teachings. With that Drag Den let him go, and gave him a set of copper armour, a stick, and a bow and arrow. Drag Den also gave Drag Gye a new name: Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po. After this incident the two brothers never saw each other again in that lifetime. Many lives after that Drag Den was reborn as Prince Siddharta, who eventually became enlightened and is now known as Buddha Shakyamuni. Drag Gye, or Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po, was reborn in a cemetery in the North West direction. His parents gave birth to two eggs, one was a coral-like colour and the other was an agate-like colour. These two eggs flew high into the sky and reached the heavenly realms, there they subdued the gods. Then flying back down to earth, they subdued many nagas. Eventually they even came to threaten their own parents. The parents petitioned the Dharma protector Ekajati for her help, who threw her own staff (khatvanga) at the eggs, and broke them apart. From the coral-like coloured egg came a ferocious man with yellow hair, he proclaimed that his name was ‘Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po’. When he emerged he was wearing a set of copper armour, wielding a stick, copper sword, and a bow and arrow. From the agate-like coloured egg came a female who was blue in colour, her teeth were like shells, she had turquoise eyebrows, and her hair was made of fire. She emerged wielding a copper knife, ritual dagger (phurba), rode a terrifying bear and wore an intricate necklace made of agate and lapis lazuli. It was then that Ekajati once again took action, and subdued them, after which they became Dharma protectors. The male figure became known as Begtse, and the female as his sister. When you propitiate Begtse, his sister is automatically included and aids practitioners as well. As for which lama offer his practice and empowerment, most lamas do not advertise which teachings or practice they hold. Therefore you should respectfully approach lamas and ask them if they have the practice and can bestow it, or if they know of any lamas that have the practice, depending on how much you want to practice Begtse. Similarly, this applies to those lamas who have the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. However, this practice is included in the Rinjung Gyatsa series of empowerments. This unique cycle of teachings, includes all 4 classes of tantric practices, and includes the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. Therefore those lamas who have received the complete transmission, and have kept their commitments for this practice, are qualified to pass this on to others. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
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Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
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Senior students of the children class of Kechara Sunday Dharma School had their class in the ghompa every Sunday. Stella, KSDS
Besides young Karlson and Ern Ern, there are new faces in Kechara Sunday Dharma School 2-4 years old. Stella, KSDS
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
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Make your weekend meaningful! Contact Jace Chong to volunteer in Kechara Forest Retreat for the aviaries.
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