Shall We Hate The Jews and Those Different Than Us?
The Jewish people have been persecuted throughout recorded history, from their beginnings in the Middle East, through Europe during the Middle Ages, the Holocaust of the World Wars and into the modern era due to their race and religion. This persecution of a community has been sustained due to religious discrimination. We wanted to provide all of you with just a quick overview of what the Jewish people have been through. We hope you can learn from this, and understand the atrocities that religious persecution can lead to.
It is not only the Jewish people that have been persecuted. Many other people of various backgrounds have also been persecuted throughout history. They have been hated for being who they are or for something that cannot be changed. In this article we are highlighting the persecution faced by the Jews, however the Jewish people here are actually representative of all people persecuted because of their race, culture, religion, economic status or views. This article has been written to highlight how during the time of persecution, many thought it was right. It was only later on that people realised this was wrong. In hindsight, the persecution of any human being is wrong, especially when based on differences in race, culture, religion, economic status or views. May this article contribute to the understanding that people of all nations, backgrounds and religions should be accepted. May we all be able to live together in peace and harmony.
For those who have suffered persecution like the Jews, and in fact many other people too numerous to mention, we offer our humblest and profoundest condolences. It is our wish to share with people this particular example of persecution in order to highlight the causes and conditions of all forms of discrimination. With such knowledge, may we sow the seeds of peace, harmony and religious plurality so such terrible discrimination will never occur again.
Pastor David Lai and Pastor Niral Patel
Most of us around the world have heard the word ‘Jew’ and we may know a little about the religion or may even have family or friends who are Jewish. But how many of us really know what being Jewish means? The term ‘Jewish’ is applied to an ethno-religious group of people that practise Judaism. This means that it encompasses both an ethnicity (belonging to a particular social group that has common cultural traditions) and a religion at the same time.
The Jewish people trace their ancestry, either through blood or religion (in the case of those who have converted to Judaism) back to the Israelite tribes of the ancient Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. The word ‘Jew’ itself traces back to the Hebrew word ‘Yehudim’, which was a term used to describe a member of the tribe of Judah or the Kingdom of Judah.
Judaism is a monotheistic religion meaning that they believe in one supreme God. Their central religious text is known as the Torah, although they have many other texts that supplement the Torah. Among these are the Midrash and the Talmud. The Jewish religion plays an important part of everyday life, permeating every aspect of living. They have strong beliefs and practices that ensure a good life by following the commands of God as expounded in their religious texts. Judaism is one of the largest Abrahamic religions (meaning that they can be traced back to the ancient figure Abraham) in the world today, together with Christianity and Islam.
The Jewish people trace back their ethno-religious origins to patriarchs, such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel. According to Jewish narrative, these figures lived in Canaan, what is now known as the Middle East, and it was Jacob who moved his family to Ancient Egypt. According to the scriptures, the descendants of these figures eventually became enslaved by the Egyptian population. It was the prophet Moses, who having previously been raised as a prince, led the Jewish people out of bondage in Egypt, releasing 10 plagues sent by God in the process and parting the Red Sea for his people to cross. On the other side of the Red Sea, on Mount Sinai, he received the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets, which have become central to the Judaic faith.
After wandering for 40 years they arrived at the land promised to them by God. They settled there, founding the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah, until they split apart. The Kingdom of Israel was eventually conquered by the Assyrian Empire, while the Kingdom of Judah was later conquered by the Seleucid Empire. Since that time there have been waves of Jews migrating all over the world, especially to the Germanic and Spanish regions of Europe.
In the modern era, Jews can be found all over the world and cannot be identified by race, only by their ethno-religious practices, which they have maintained even in the most distant parts of the world. The largest populations of Jews can be found in Israel (the world’s only Jewish state), the United States of America and all throughout Europe. However, there are lesser-known communities all over the world
Ashkenazim and Sephardim
The majority of the Jewish population around the world descend from two distinct groups coming from Europe. The first is known as the Ashkenazim, or Germanic Jews. Ashkenaz is the old Hebrew word for Germany; as such this group stems from Central and Eastern Europe. The Jews have lived in this part of the world since the time of the Holy Roman Empire and it was during the Middle Ages that the population in this region grew. Towards the end of the Middle Ages the Ashkenazi population began to shift further east, to countries that are now known as Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus. The Ashkenazim made great contributions to European society, including in areas such as art, music, science and philosophy. During the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II, commonly called the Holocaust, the Ashkenazi population was severely decimated. This horrendous mass killing is said to have effected almost every Ashkenazi Jewish family living in these areas of Europe. This is the largest group of Jewish people around the world today.
The Sephardim on the other hand come from the Iberian Peninsula (modern day Spain, Portugal and a small part of France). The word Sephardim comes from the Hebrew word Sepharad, which was a location in the Hebrew scriptures that became identified with Spain. To this day Sepharad refers to Spain in Modern Hebrew. They are known to have established strong communities in the peninsula from 1000 CE. During the late 15th Century, this community was brought to an end, with the enforcement of the Spanish Inquisition, discussed below. This led to a huge migration internally within Spain and externally, drastic mass conversions of Jews to Christianity and the brutal killing of those that did not conform to the decree. Today Sephardim refers to a person, of any ethnic background, who practices the customs and traditions that evolved in this community. In a broader sense of the term, the word Sephardim can also be used to describe all Jewish groups not belonging to Ashkenazi descent. It was these two groups of Jewish people that travelled and prospered in the United States of America where they have strong communities, keeping the Judaic religion alive and well, despite millennia of persecution.
This community of Jewish people live in Kaifeng, Henan Province in China. Though they have integrated into Chinese society, they still preserve their socio-religious Judaic heritage. It is believed that this community has existed in China from the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127 CE), although some scholars suggest they lived in Kaifeng from a much earlier date. They most likely arrived in China along the Silk Road trading route from either Persia or India. Some even claim that they are one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel who had travelled eastward from the ancient city of Babylon. Despite this, no one can be certain of the exact date that the Jewish people arrived in China. They built their first synagogue (Jewish temple) in Kaifeng in 1163 CE. Though there are other Jewish communities in China, the Jews of Kaifeng remain the most well-known.
It is popularly believed that they spoke a New Persian dialect at first and made a living in producing cotton fabrics. During this time, China was only just introducing cotton products due to a silk shortage, brought on by an increasing population. Given their specialty in producing cotton fabrics and the increase in demand, the Kaifeng Jews were mostly like prosperous in the surrounding areas. In 1489, descendants of the Jews that arrived in Kaifeng inscribed the words of the Northern Song Dynasty Emperor that established their community onto a stone tablet that was placed in the courtyard of their synagogue. The inscription read:
“You have come to China. Honour and observe the customs of your ancestors.”
This inscription, now housed in the Municipal Museum of Kaifeng, also listed 17 clans that had settled in Kaifeng. However at a later period this dwindled to only eight clans. Subsequently the Jews in Kaifeng became known as ‘The Eight Clans with the Seven Surnames’ since the surname “Li” covered two distinct clans. From that time, the Kaifeng Jews were completely integrated into Chinese culture while maintaining their Jewish heritage.
The synagogue was destroyed during heavy flooding in the area and then rebuilt it 1653 by a Kaifeng Jew named Chao Ying Chen. He also replaced the holy Torah scrolls in the synagogue after they were destroyed in the floods. Over time the synagogue came into disrepair, most likely due to isolation from other strong Jewish communities.
In 1957, 700 inhabitants of Kaifeng still acknowledged their Jewish descent. Over the years, due to intermarriage with local Chinese and Muslims in the area, the community of practicing Jews dwindled. In recent times, with the establishment of the State of Israel some of the existing Kaifeng Jews have migrated to live there.
Jewish communities in India are the 4th largest population of Asian Jews after Israel, Asian Russia and Iran. These communities have not faced the level of persecution that other communities around the world have. In fact due to the religious pluralism prevalent in India, the Jewish population have lived in relative peace and harmony, allowing the adherence to their faith without much opposition.
The most notable of these communities include: the Cochin Jews; the Chennai Jews of Sephardim origin; the Bene Israel of Karachi who fled to Mumbai after the partition of India in 1947, fearing religious persecution in Pakistan; Iraqi Jews who settled in and around Kolkata; the Bnei Menashe who are converts from the Mizo and Kuki tribes in the Manipur and Mizoram areas; and the Bene Ephraim who are also known as the Telegu Jews.
The Cochin Jews settled in the Kingdom of Cochin, in what is now part of the state of Kerala. They are also sometimes referred to as the Malabar Jews. Following the Spanish Inquisition, some Sephardic Jewish families travelled to Cochin and established their community there, developing a distinct dialect known as Judeo-Malayalam and came to be known as Paradesi Jews, or ‘Foreign Jews’. Late in the 19th century some Iraqi Jews, hearing of the strong community of Cochin Jews, immigrated there to join their community. After the establishment of the State of Israel, the majority of Cochin Jews immigrated there. Most Cochin Jew synagogues have since fallen into disrepair or have been sold. The Paradesi synagogue located in Kochi, Kerala, still retains a strong congregation and has also become a tourist site in recent years.
The term ‘black Jews’ covers a diverse group of Jews from African or African-American heritage. One of the many communities of Jewish people that stem from Africa are known as the Beta Israel or Ethiopian Jews. This group of people lived mainly in the Kingdom of Axum and the Ethiopian Empire.
This group established the Kingdom of Beta Israel following a revolt against Emperor Ezana of Axum, who was crowned in 325 CE. The Emperor had declared Christianity the state religion and expected all his citizens to convert. Their capital city was named Gondar and their first king was Phineas, who was a descendant of a Jewish High Priest named Zadok. The Jewish High Priest was the religious leader of all Jewish peoples and belonged to one of the Jewish priestly families. The tradition of having a High Priest ended in 2nd century BCE.
In the early 17th century, Emperor Susenyos I of the Ethiopian Empire, invaded the lands of the Beta Israel and began a campaign to eradicate Jewish practice, through forced baptism to Christianity, burning of Jewish books and the ban on all Jewish practice. Despite this, the community still flourished, being employed by the succeeding emperors as carpenters, masons and craftsman. During the Zemene Mesafint, a period of history during which the Ethiopian Empire crumbled, the Beta Israel lost their position in society, often being exploited by local rulers.
Following World War II, many Beta Israel have since immigrated to Israel, after the country declared that they were recognised as Jewish according to Israeli law in 1977 and therefore eligible for citizenship. When civil war broke out in Ethiopia, the Israeli government began a series of covert military operations to rescue many of the Beta Israel population from the struggle. These took place between 1980 and early 1901. Since that time many of those that remained in Ethiopia have since migrated as well. As of 2008, there was an estimated 119,000 citizens of Ethiopian descent living in Israel.
There are other communities of Jews living in the African Subcontinent. These include the Jews that live in the Maghreb region and those that live in South Africa. Another group of black Jews include those of African-American descent, belonging to various American Jewish denominations.
A Long History of Persecution
Jewish communities around the world have had to suffer terrible persecution throughout history. This persecution of Jews is not based on race but on religion, which is also ingrained in their societal practices. The most well-known cases of this persecution occurred in Europe and the Middle East. From the Seleucid Empire, when the Kingdom of Judea fell, through to the highly anti-Semitic Middle Ages in Europe and the Holocaust of the World Wars, Jews have suffered greatly due to their religious beliefs. Below is a brief overview of one such period of persecution, other than the Holocaust.
One of the most horrific examples of Jewish persecution occurred during the Spanish Inquisition of the 15th century. It stemmed from what was officially known as the ‘Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition’, which was established in 1480 CE by the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile.
An earlier Inquisition was originally created by Pope Lucius III to combat various heretical movements in the south of France during the 12th century. An Inquisition is basically the formation of groups of tribunals within the Catholic Church in order to counter heretical movements. Inquisitors were friars (mendicants) mostly appointed from within the Dominican order to head the tribunals. Following the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation in the late Middle Ages, the Inquisition had expanded to include various European countries. This expansion culminated in the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions, which eventually spread to various colonies in Asia, Africa and the Americas.
In Spain, the Inquisition was primarily set up to consolidate Christian orthodoxy, especially amongst those who had converted from Judaism and Islam. The Inquisition intensified after the Spanish royal decrees of 1492 and 1502 that demanded Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity or leave Spain. Spain at that time had just been unified after the surrender of the last Muslim stronghold in the city-state of Granada to the new Christian monarchy. Muslim Spain was called Al-Andalus and was a prosperous period during which the Jews were tolerated as they were considered ‘al-dhimma’ or non-Muslims under the protection of the Islamic state. Hence, southern Spain became a safe haven for Jews emigrating from other countries that persecuted them.
Under Christian rule, Alonso de Hojeda, a Dominican friar from Seville had approached and convinced Queen Isabella of the existence of Andalusian ‘conversos’ (Jewish converts) that were secretly practicing their faith during her stay in Seville between 1477 and 1478. In a report by Pedro González de Mendoza, Archbishop of Seville, and another by the Segovian Dominican Tomás de Torquemada, Alonso de Hojeda’s claims were confirmed. In 1480, a plot to overthrow the government of Seville in an armed revolt led by Don Diego de Susona, who is a wealthy merchant ‘converso’ was uncovered and quickly suppressed.
Hence in 1478, the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella requested a papal decree to establish an Inquisition in Spain in response to the ‘conversos’ returning to the practice of Judaism. In response, Pope Sixtus IV granted a decree to allow the Spanish monarchs to appoint their own inquisitors. In 1483, Ferdinand and Isabella established a state council to administer the Inquisition with the Dominican Friar Tomás de Torquemada acting as its president.
At that time, Pope Sixtus IV protested the activities of the Inquisition in Aragon and its treatment of the convicted. The monarchs threatened to separate from the Church and the Inquisition when the pope wanted to investigate these abuses. In order to appease the enraged Spanish monarchs, Torquemada was given the title of Inquisitor-General by the pope and the Inquisition continued in earnest. The pope could have done more to address the gross abuses inherent within the Spanish Inquisition but didn’t want to lose his control of Spain. Hence, the pope quickly caved in to the demands of the Spanish monarchs. Without any further objections from the pope, the Spanish Inquisition would go on to become the largest and deadliest inquisition in medieval Europe, inflicting inhuman torture and death on thousands.
Subsequently, Torquemada quickly established procedures for the Inquisition. A new court was announced with a thirty-day grace period for confessions of ‘conversos’ who relapsed back to the Jewish faith and the gathering of accusations by neighbours. Those who still practiced Judaism despite the ban are called crypto-Jews, meaning that they were Jewish but publically adhered to another faith. Evidence that was used in court to identify a ‘converso’ who relapsed back to Judaism included the absence of smoke from chimneys on Saturdays, which was a sign the family might secretly be observing the Jewish Sabbath; buying of huge amounts of vegetables before Passover; or even the purchase of meat from a converted butcher. The Inquisition employed physical torture in order to extract confessions. Crypto-Jews were allowed to confess and engage in penance, although those who relapsed again were horrifically burned at the stake.
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII received news of abuses and allowed appeals to be channeled to Rome. In response King Ferdinand decreed in December 1484 and again in 1509, the death and confiscation of the estates of anyone who attempted to make an appeal without royal permission. The Inquisition became the only institution that held authority across all of the Iberian Peninsula and it was a useful tool for the Christian monarchy to persecute the Jews and increase the royal coffers.
If a ‘converso’ was deemed guilty, the condemned had to undergo a ceremony known as ‘autos-da-fé’, which literally meant ‘an act of faith’. The ceremony was meant to ‘celebrate’ the return of the condemned to the Church (in lighter cases), or as a punishment if the condemned was branded an impenitent heretic. The ‘autos-da-fé’ could be either a private or a public spectacle. It could last up to a whole day and involved a Catholic Mass, prayer, a public procession of those found guilty, and a reading of their sentences.
According to surviving records, the Spanish Inquisition charged an estimated 150,000 people with crimes and roughly 3,000 were executed or burnt on the stake. The arrival of the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ in Spain marked the decline of the Inquisition. The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement, which swept through Europe in the 18th century, sparked by a range of new ideas centred on reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy, as well as a slew of scientific discoveries.
Finally, on July 15, 1834, the Spanish Inquisition was formally abolished by a Royal Decree signed by Regent Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinand VII’s liberal widow, with the approval of the President of the Cabinet Francisco Martínez de la Rosa. With centuries of torture, bloodshed and death at the stake, the Inquisition had decimated the Jewish population in Spain. For those who could not leave Spain, they were either forced to abandon the spiritual traditions of their forefathers, go underground with their Jewish practices, or end up losing their lives. Unfortunately, the Inquisition was brutally efficient in uprooting those who kept to their old Jewish ways. Hence, the Spanish Inquisition brought about an exodus of Jews that identified themselves as Sephardim or the Jews of Spain. Thus the 400 year history of persecution against Jews by religious authorities on the Iberian Peninsula came to an end with the royal decree.
Comparison Between the Jews and Dorje Shugden Practitioners
Here is a brief list of how Jews have been persecuted and discriminated against. Studying these methods, we have also drawn a comparison to the discrimination against Dorje Shugden practitioners. While not nearly at the same level of persecution that was faced by the Jewish populace in Europe, the methods of religious discrimination do have very striking similarities. Through this we hope to highlight the fact that religious persecution in whatever form it takes is wrong. Instead we should focus on harmony and peace within all cultures and across all religions.
|The Jewish People||Dorje Shugden Practitioners|
|Jews were forcibly expelled from the country or converted to Christianity by royal decree in 15th Century Spain during the reign of King Ferdinand II of Aragorn and Queen Isabella I of Castile. ‘Conversos’ or converts who were found to have reverted back to Judaism were tried under a tribunal formed by what is known as the Spanish Inquisition. Converts found to have repeated offences were burnt at the stake. The Spanish Inquisition was known to be one of the worst persecutions of the Jews in Europe prior to the modern era and the Holocaust.||Dorje Shugden practitioners were forced to give up the practice of Dorje Shugden, especially in monasteries situated in Tibetan settlements of South India. Monks had to swear out from the practice or face expulsion in the late 1990s. A large group of Dorje Shugden monks from Pomra Khangtsen of Sera Mey Monastery were eventually expelled and had to establish Serpom Monastery in 2008, in order to continue practising their faith. Being forced to establish their own monastery represents the fact that religious discrimination existed, otherwise there would have been no need to set up their own monastery. Another group of Dorje Shugden practitioners from Dokhang Khangtsen of Gaden Shartse Monastery were expelled in 2008 and they formed Shar Gaden Monastery. Contrary to what some people say, the very existence of these two monasteries does not represent religious freedom. In fact the Tibetan leadership continues to enforce a policy of the ‘purity’ of Buddhism that led to these monks being forcibly expelled from their main monasteries. In actuality, these two monasteries are living proof of the existence of the ban.|
|Jews were demonised in Nazi Germany’s anti-Semitic propaganda between 1933 and 1945 in order to indoctrinate hatred and encourage discrimination. Prior to the Nazis, the Jews were already disliked by various indigenous ethnic groups in Europe due to a variety of reasons but mainly due to envy and discontentment. This was because many Jewish people were considerably wealthier and held prominent positions in society. Hence, Nazi propaganda sought to fan discrimination and hatred by popularising the view that the Jews became wealthy through the exploitation of the Aryan race. This was done in order to gather the people’s support for their ruthless pogroms (organised massacres) to exterminate the Jews.||Dorje Shugden practitioners, lamas and in particular, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso are demonised in anti-Shugden rhetoric on the internet. The basis of the entire Dorje Shugden issue stems from the fact that Dorje Shugden is wrongly viewed to be a powerful and malevolent spirit or demon. Hence, lamas and practitioners are demonised to be spirit worshipers. This inevitably evokes hatred and discrimination, especially amongst lay Tibetans or misinformed foreign Buddhist practitioners. Both of these groups may not know enough about the issue, so may simply follow common perceptions surrounding the issue. This was done to gather popular support for the implementation of the Dorje Shugden ban across the world. As a result, Dorje Shugden practitioners across the world have been shunned within their own Buddhist communities due to such propaganda.|
|Jewish businesses in Nazi Germany were boycotted through Nazi propaganda posters while German businesses had signs that prohibited Jews from entering or being served. This was done in the earlier stages as part of Nazi propaganda in order to incite popular hatred and discrimination against the Jews. Later, when the Nazis began to intensify their attempts to exterminate the Jews, there was little resistance although most Germans at that time were aware of what was happening.||Dorje Shugden practitioners are not allowed in monasteries, shops, schools, clinics, hospitals and other CTA (Central Tibetan Administration) institutions in India. This can clearly be seen in many signs that prohibit practitioners from entering these institutions and is part of the CTA’s Dorje Shugden ban that has instigated hatred and discrimination against the ordinary Dorje Shugden practitioner. Due to this atmosphere of discrimination there is little resistance from foreign Buddhists who also adopt this discrimination against Dorje Shugden practitioners.|
|The discrimination and persecution of Jews was institutionalised and sanctioned under the rule of Nazi Germany. Hence, the breadth and scale of the pogroms were extensive and included effort put into covering up the atrocities. Much of what is now known of the suffering faced by the Jews was only made known after the fall of Nazi Germany.||The discrimination and persecution of Dorje Shugden practitioners was institutionalised and sanctioned under the CTA’s mandate within the Tibetan communities in India. Hence, few people outside the Tibetan communities would fully understand the problems and issues faced by Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners. They are mostly silenced by lynch mobs and death threats. To watch videos on the persecution of Dorje Shugden practitioners, click here.|
|Jews were driven from their homes and had to flee Germany to other parts of Europe in order to escape the atrocities inflicted on them by the Nazi SS soldiers. Many Jews attempted to escape death by fleeing across Europe but ruthless Nazi SS soldiers hunted them down. It was due to the success of Nazi propaganda that even locals in other European countries would collaborate with the Nazis to reveal fugitive Jews.||Dorje Shugden practitioners were driven from their homes due to lynch mobs, stoning and death threats because the identities of Dorje Shugden practitioners was made publicly known by the Tibetan leadership. In addition, personal information of practitioners is made available to incite hatred and violence against Dorje Shugden practitioners. Many practitioners, especially prominent Dorje Shugden Lamas like Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and so forth, received death threats and had their ladrangs or homes stoned by the public.|
|Jews were segregated from German society and placed in one of several concentration camps situated away from ordinary society, where they faced terrible conditions and many millions were killed. Despite many denials, the ordinary Germans knew what was happening but did nothing to resist this systematic genocide. This bears testament to the success of the Nazi propaganda against the Jews.||Dorje Shugden monasteries like Shar Gaden and Serpom were formed because monks were expelled from their mother monasteries. In addition to that, a wall was built between Shar Gaden, the Dorje Shugden monastery and Gaden Monastery, the original monastery, in order to segregate those who practise Dorje Shugden. There are people who are aware of the existence of these monasteries and claim that there never was a Dorje Shugden ban. They do not realise that these monks have friends and family they can never meet due to the ban. In fact, the very reason for the existence of these monasteries bears testament to the existence of the Dorje Shugden ban.|
|Hitler indoctrinated the German public with the philosophy of the ‘pure Aryan race’ that encouraged segregation and persecution of what they considered ‘impure races’ like the Jews. Just because the masses adhered to this view in Germany does not make it a morally correct one. This propaganda allowed the Nazis to come to power and inflict unspeakable horrors on the Jews. The same propaganda was used to legitimise the genocidal pogroms against the Jews.||The Tibetan leadership (the CTA) proclaimed Dorje Shugden to be a spirit and encouraged the public not to worship him. Just because many adhere to this view does not make it a correct view. The CTA are adhering to the ideal of a ‘pure Buddhist’ which leads to the persecution of those who do not confirm. This ideal seems strikingly similar to the Nazi idea of the ‘pure Aryan race’. This wrong view counters the traditional teachings by lineage lamas like Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. These highly attained lamas all said he is an emanation of Manjushri and his practice has tremendous benefit for practitioners.|
|The basis of the 15th Century Spanish Inquisition of the Jews is based on the ruling of the Catholic Church. However, the torture and persecution of the Jews is actually antithetical to the teachings of Jesus Christ, which include love, compassion and acceptance. It is because the Inquisition was sanctioned by the church that the people of the 15th Century readily accepted the horrors of torture and the execution of the Jews.||The basis of the Dorje Shugden ban rests on the view that Dorje Shugden is a spirit and that it is antithetical to Buddhist refuge. However, the segregation, discrimination and persecution of Dorje Shugden practitioners contradicts the Buddha’s teachings on compassion, selflessness and the acceptance of all. Hence, it is strange that when Buddhist centres organise initiations and teachings, Dorje Shugden practitioners are not allowed to come or participate when the centres accept people of other faiths. Doesn’t this contradict the teachings of the Buddha on compassion, acceptance and love for all beings?|
The persecution of the Jews throughout history and that of Dorje Shugden practitioners are worlds apart. Both of these are from cultures and spiritual traditions that have virtually no connection whatsoever and yet, they share many similar traits. This is not because there is a link between the Jews and Dorje Shugden practitioners but the attitude in which ignorance, bigotry and discrimination have taken shape against people throughout history. In the case of Nazi Germany, they were defeated by the Allied Forces in 1945 due to the cracking of the Enigma Code that allowed Allied Forces the ability to intercept Nazi messages and the location of their armies. As for Dorje Shugden practitioners, they are still struggling with the ban and the prevalent discrimination from the Buddhist community at large. Their only defence is the truth and it is hoped that with articles such as this one, that enough light will be shed upon this issue. As more and more people realise the truth, the world may be able to put an end to all forms of religious persecution, including the Dorje Shugden ban and the discrimination against practitioners.
The methods of persecution against a group of people remain as timeless as shown above, leading to physical and mental harm. It is always about a ‘pure race’, ‘pure religion’ ‘pure doctrine’, ‘pure philosophy’ or ‘pure politics.’ In their search for purity, people use this as an excuse to highlight or espouse their hatred, greed, jealousy, or whatever human failings that they have. So people will be jealous or be biased against a group of people simply because they are different. That is the real basis for any type of persecution. Therefore persecution is in the name of something pure, but actually comes from the human failings of what we have mentioned.
Living in a modern age, we need to address our human failings and come to terms with people who are different, or those who practice a religion different that ours. When we come to terms with this, persecution will end as we will never use this difference as an excuse to hurt anyone again. With respect to the Jews, we use this example to highlight that everybody in history has been persecuted in one way or another due to human failings. No matter the race, religion or culture a person is from, they should not be persecuted because of this. From the many examples throughout history and what is occurring in the present, we should strive our hardest to live in peace and harmony with each other. Now is the time to give peace a change, and love each other.
Disclaimer: In writing this article we mean no offence to the various Jewish communities around the world. We simply wanted to highlight the level of persecution against Jews and compare this same type of persecution towards Dorje Shugden practitioners, simply based on religious practice. All people around the world should be able to live without the fear of persecution. No one should be persecuted, and so this article may have highlighted the plight of the Jewish people but it is representative of the plight of all people who have been persecuted, in an attempt to educate people against the dangers of discrimination.
Videos of Persecution Against Dorje Shugden Practitioners
Gaden Monastery Attacked
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/GadenMonasteryAttacked.flv
Since the inception of the Dorje Shugden ban 20 years ago, the CTA (Central Tibetan Administration) continues to organize a hateful campaign against Dorje Shugden practitioners. In doing so, the Tibetan leadership has gone against the very core teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on compassion and tolerance and thereby, misled the world over the nature of their activities. The Tibetan leadership pursues huge sponsorship and financial aid from the West in order to run its operations but they actually channel these funds towards campaigns that suppresses religious freedom within the Tibetan communities through various means to instigate violent suppression against Dorje Shugden practitioners.
This video footage shows clearly how Dorje Shugden practitioners have lived their lives in fear for the last 20 years due to the ban on Dorje Shugden. Although the Tibetan leadership and supporters have continued to use various violent and underhanded means to segregate and discriminate Dorje Shugden practitioners, the practitioners themselves have not fought back. Instead, they continue to uphold their peaceful reliance on their Dorje Shugden lineage lamas and especially the practices and teachings they have received in relations to the protector deity. The main part of the video was filmed in 2000 and it shows 3,000 lay and ordained Tibetans heading towards Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India in order to riot against a group of Dorje Shugden practitioners.
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/DenduStory.flv
The discrimination against Dorje Shugden practitioners is not only faced by those living in the Tibetan settlements in India or in Tibet itself, but also by those living in other countries. In this video interview we meet 18 year old Dendu, who was born in Tibet and went to live in the United States when he was 11.
Dendu and his family continue to face discrimination and violence due to the fact they practice Dorje Shugden, despite the fact that the United States constitution guarantees religious freedom, worship and practice. In this interview, he bravely speaks up about the persecution that he and his family have had to face.
Conflict in the Tibetan Community
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/ConflictTibetanCommunity.flv
This interview highlights the conflict and rift caused by the persecution and discrimination of Dorje Shugden practitioners. It was filmed on August 25th, 2014 at a protest organised by the International Shugden Community and Tibetan Buddhist practitioners opposed to the treatment they have received. Here we see a young woman who talks about the difficulties her family has had to face simply because of their religious practice.
Tibetan Public Talk – Interview with Ama Tsekye
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/TibetanPublicTalkAmaTsekye.flv
Dorje Shugden practitioners from all walks of life have suffered discrimination and even physical violence due to their religious beliefs. In this interview we meet Ama Tsekye, an elderly woman who has been persecuted due to her practice of Dorje Shugden. She faced difficulties arranging the funeral of her late husband and is now estranged with her own children because of her religious views. This was due to the intolerance and hatred directed at Dorje Shugden practitioners by those who do not believe in religious freedom within the Tibetan community.
Tibetan Public Talk – The True Facts – Part 1
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/TibetanPublicTalkTheTrueFactsPart1.flv
In this video, Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners give an account of the suppression and discrimination they had to endure because of the ban on Dorje Shugden which was enforced by the Tibetan leadership on the Tibetan community.
Tibetan Public Talk – The True Facts – Part 2
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/TibetanPublicTalkTheTrueFactsPart2.flv
In this video, Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners give an account of the suppression and discrimination they had to endure because of the ban on Dorje Shugden which was enforced by the Tibetan leadership on the Tibetan community.
Disclaimer: These videos belong to a third party(s). Permission was granted for us to upload here. These video are not being used for any commercial purposes, it is being used for educational purposes only.
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