Comparisons of the Dorje Shugden Ban With Historic Persecutions
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.
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:
On September 17, 1997 the Tibetan Government-in-Exile’s Parliament passed another resolution that negatively affected Dorje Shugden practitioners:
Another resolution passed on March 17, 2014 that reaffirms resolutions previously passed in 1996, 1997 and 2008:
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”.
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.
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.)”
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.
Civil Rights Movement
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.
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.
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.
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.|
Gender Segregation to Vote: Women Suffrage Movement in the United States
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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:
- increasing the crown’s political authority
- weakening the opposition
- suppressing converts (Jews who converted to Catholicism) and Moriscos (former Muslims who converted to Christianity) in Spain or Portugal by using mass [forced] conversions
- profiting from the confiscation of property belonging to convicted heretics
- 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.
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.
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:
- Never Seen Before Footage of Dorje Shugden Oracles
- Our Lama vs the Dalai Lama – The Underlying Reasons For the Ban
- The Buddhist Divide – An Unholy Campaign Against Religious Freedom
- Is This True Religious Freedom?
- Badge of Shame
- China Officially Supports Dorje Shugden
- Will the Dalai Lama Agree With This?
- Why is she putting the Dalai Lama Down?
- The 14th Dalai Lama’s prayer to Dorje Shugden
- Dalai Lama Says We Can Practise Dorje Shugden Finally!
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