China’s official stance on Dorje Shugden
Dear friends around the world,
The world is scrambling to get on the good side of superpower China in order to broker more economic deals to benefit their individual countries. China being the biggest economy in the world has vast economic benefits for many depressed economies around the world. World leaders, dignitaries and royalty are lining up to host Chinese leader’s official state visits to their countries in order to cement better ties. From Africa, Asia, Europe, South America to North America, countries are doing their best to increase good relations with this Eastern powerhouse. China has officially been known as an atheist country but they are moving towards a more open stance when it comes to religious practice at least. This is a very good direction. Democratic countries do give full freedom of any religious/spiritual worship without their leaders condemning nor ‘advising’ against any religious practice. His Holiness the Dalai Lama ‘advising’ against Dorje Shugden practice or any spiritual practice or any faith has created a very bad image of an archaic, theocratic Tibetan form of leadership that is outdated. No religious leader or head of state in a democratic country of the 21st century would look fair, open and democratic if he/she was to condemn or ‘advise’ against any spiritual practice including Dorje Shugden. The spiritual practice of any individual should be left to the individual to decide and not encouraged nor condemned by their governments or heads of state. Imagine the Prime Minister, King or President of your country advising against any spiritual practices in a pluralistic society on national TV? There will be an uproar. Imagine the Pope in the 21st Century criticizing any religion in favor of his own? This would be marketing suicide for him or anyone.
All religious leaders as well as secular leaders must give total religious freedom without bias, comments and favoritism. If this applies to all world leaders, why does it not apply to His Holiness the Dalai Lama? The Dalai Lama came out with the ban against Shugden and it has created tremendous upheavals within Tibetan societies around the world. The protests, websites, media and social media against the ban of Dorje Shugden exists because the ban exists. So remove the ban. I have no connections to the Chinese government although I have admired the vast and rich culture of China for over 30 years. If I did have connections to the Chinese government it is no one’s business. My practice of Dorje Shugden is totally spiritual in nature and in motivation and has nothing to do with China and her government and it never had anything to do with them. But I am discriminated against because I practice Dorje Shugden. This is wrong. This must stop. Because I practice Dorje Shugden then I am connected in a dubious manner to the Chinese government? How does that make any sense? The Dorje Shugden practice has been around for 350 years and this is way before anything to do with current Chinese-Tibetan issues. So it does not make sense. I will never give up the Dorje Shugden practice. I will always wish the Tibetan Government in Exile well. I will always send good wishes to the Chinese nation which I admire. I will always wish His Holiness the Dalai Lama well regardless of what anyone else thinks. I wish the Dalai Lama and China can be friends and unite as His Holiness is aging and that is worrying. My Dorje Shugden practice was given to me over 30 years ago by my guru and I have promised him to do that practice. Come what may, I will keep my promise to my guru.
The translation of the official stance of Dorje Shugden and religious practice in China is really encouraging as China is becoming more and more liberal. People like to scream “Human rights violations!” at China and accuse them of having a bad track record of it. But now China is moving in the direction of opening up more and progressing with giving religious freedom. China should be applauded for this if you wish to see more changes. I am happy to see the support China gives to all religious practice within their nation including Dorje Shugden. They clearly say that religious practice is up to the individual including Dorje Shugden. Tibetan leaders in exile should not use Dorje Shugden to divide and create social disharmony by enforcing the ban. I find this translation very encouraging and I wish China to slowly open more and more. The democracy in China cannot resemble that of the West as the culture and social norms vary greatly from the West. China will have to develop their own form of Democracy that may not resemble the West but that suits their own nation. How would you like China to tell you how run your country? No nation should force their form of democracy or governance on any other nation.
The official line on Shugden: translation
Translated from the Tibetan
The document, entitled “Some opinions on dealing correctly with the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue”, was issued by the Communist Party Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region on February 20, 2014. The document makes it clear that it is aimed at guiding understanding of the issue in order to convey this to the ‘masses’. A copy was received by International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and is translated into English below.
Some opinions on dealing correctly with the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue
Issued by Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee Office, February 20, 2014
The ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue is an important front in our struggle with the Dalai Clique, and since it is presently an important issue affecting the normal regulation of Tibetan Buddhism and stability in our region, the nature of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue must be correctly recognized, the principles and methods for dealing with the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue must be mastered, so that we take a firm stand, clearly display the banners, use skillful methods and are able to act unprompted, stand up to the fight without dithering, and find appropriate solutions, all of utmost importance for social harmony and stability in our region. With the publication and distribution of these opinions on our regional Party Committee’s handling of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue, you should study and master them in your own work, as well as educate and guide the masses.
1. The ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue should be given a high degree of importance, and be clearly recognized as a deceitful ploy by the 14th Dalai’s Clique to split the country. ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ is one of the important protector deities worshipped by the Geluk and Sakya schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Since the time of the 5th Dalai, successive Dalai and Panchen, ordinary monks of Geluk and Sakya monasteries, and even the 14th Dalai himself have all had faith in and propitiated “Gyalchen Shugden.” However, since the 14th Dalai Clique fled the country, in opposition to the Motherland, to [their own] nationality and to religion, undertook various activities to split the Motherland. After these ended in defeat, and internal dissension increased, they banned the propitiation of ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ in order to blame others for what are their responsibilities and transforming the contradictions, in an evil scheme to destroy the unity of the Motherland and destroy the social stability in Tibet.
In particular, as the 14th Dalai’s Clique’s attempts to fabricate extreme incidents such as self-immolation in the aftermath of the “3/14 incident” repeatedly met with no success, and as there was no way to fulfill their evil deeds, in their anguish in not being able to bear the defeat, they immediately launched a new evil action by reviving the dispute over the propitiation or non-propitiation of ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ by relying on opposition to it, with the evil hope to promote discord among believers within our borders. On one hand, they blamed their defeat on the harm caused by ‘Gyalchen Shugden,’using religion to continue misleading the masses, and on the other, they used the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue as a pretext for stirring up discord among ordinary believers, creating disagreements and incidents, with intent to breed chaos in Tibet and other Tibetan areas, in order to realize their goal of splitting the Motherland and destroying the stability in Tibet.
We must clearly recognize and give high significance to the long-term nature and acute nature of our struggle with the 14th Dalai Clique, and clearly recognize the complex, pervasive and deceptive nature of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue, taking the correct handling of this issue as an important front in our struggle with the Dalai Clique, and with clear awareness, firm mindedness and full conviction, exercising surveillance and challenging them on one’s own initiative, we must decisively grind into dust the Dalai Clique’s deceitful plot to split the Motherland and destroy the stability of Tibet on the pretext of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue.
2. We must unflinchingly and thoroughly remain committed to the Party’s religion policy in order to promote mutual adaptation between Tibetan Buddhism and the socialist society.
The basic principle of our Party’s policy on religion is to respect and protect the public’s freedom of religious belief. Freedom of religious belief is an important policy in Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas, and it is not only an important policy for each individual member of the masses of ordinary believers, but is also an important policy for dealing with the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue. With respect to the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue, believing or not-believing is up to each individual member of the masses of believers. For instance, whether the believing community keeps a statue of Buddha Sakyamuni in their homes, or a statue of Avalokitesvara, is the public’s freedom; the Party and government need not interfere, and neither should Party members or officials. Our only standard and position, which complements our basic issue, is that they uphold the leadership of the Communist Party, respect socialism with Chinese characteristics, preserve the unity of the Motherland, and respect laws and regulations. With those preconditions in place, the Party’s religious freedom policy must be firmly implemented, respecting, as best as possible, the wishes of the believing masses.
We should not publicize the issue of belief in ‘Gyalchen Shugden,’not interfere, not politicize, not see belief or nonbelief in black and white terms, and not make belief or nonbelief in ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ as the basis for drawing a clear line with the Dalai Clique. Rather, it is those who love the country and love religion, respect regulations and abide by laws, preserve the unity of the Motherland , maintain stability in Tibet, and contribute to Tibet’s development and stability who are good citizens, good members of the public, and good monks/nuns.
No one may create contradictions or disputes among monastic communities or masses of believers over the issue of religious devotion. We should win over the hearts of the masses to our side, and not fall for the deceptions of the 14th Dalai Clique.
With regard to basic management of monasteries and other centers of religious activity, the approach should be that there should be regard for history, maintenance of the present situation, no new strategy, and no creation of complications.
3. Those who, following the 14th Dalai Clique, create disturbances or incidents, or form organizations using the pretext of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue, must be punished strictly according to law and with firm determination, and should not be tolerated at all cost. We must continue to maintain a clear attitude and be clear minded on this issue, not change the present situation, not get into disputes or allow incidents to occur. Thus, first, we must respect the public’s religious freedom and allow the masses to choose for themselves. Secondly, those who, with the confidence of having truth, and wearing the armor of legality, and under the pretext of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue, instigate deception and cause public gatherings and disturbances, irrespective of whether they represent the believers or non-believers or what banners they carry, should be strictly punished according to law as and when the incidents occur. If there is involvement by Party members or officials, they must be strictly dealt with on the basis of disciplinary regulations, so that enemy forces do not get so much as a sesame seed’s chance of an opportunity.
4. Reinforce the education of the monks, nuns, and the believing community by expressing, as best as possible, the strengths of representatives from the religious community who love the country and love religion. By deepening the conduct of service activities for religious persons at the lower levels, we should organize visits, by respected religious figures in favor of love the country, love religion, to monasteries and villages to strengthen the publicity on freedom of religious belief policy and the good traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, so as to expose and challenge the politically reactionary, religiously misleading, and methodologically deceptive nature of the 14th Dalai’s Clique, and to expose and denounce the 14th Dalai’s Clique’s ban on ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ propitiation as an unwarranted grudge and a plot that is ruinous for Tibet and divisive for religion. Instead, monks, nuns and the believing community should be shown that all citizens of new Socialist Tibet have freedom of religious belief. Everyone has the freedom to believe in any religion and sect.
The believing masses are equal; they should not interfere in each other’s matters; nobody should coerce anyone or show condescension. They should be made known that anything against this would be considered damaging to human rights and action that violates the rules and regulations.
To the broad mass of monks and nuns and believing community, differentiation should be made between Tibetan Buddhism and the 14th Dalai and between the 14th Dalai and the Dalai title; through self-awareness make a clear differentiation with the 14th Dalai and thus not fall under the deception, incitement, and enticement of the 14th Dalai clique. They should be given education and training so that they can contribute to the best of their ability to the development and stability of Tibet through self-awareness, loving the country and loving religion; respecting the regulations and obeying the laws; eschewing sins and accumulating positive merits; and honoring peace and harmony.
5. All levels of Party and government institutions; the work units based in the village; the Democratic Management committees in the monasteries; the departments of “Shuang Lian Hu” [unit consisting of the joining of a village with households] etc., should through in-depth consideration, perform the political tasks well and together preserve and maintain periods of peace, harmony and stability in Tibet by assuming their own responsibilities and wholly fulfilling their obligations.
With continuation of the religious freedom policy as the basis, begin controlling ahead, controlling when small; quick control and good control. Beginning with understanding the issue, removing contradictions and deciding on issues, all necessary precautionary steps should be taken. Through in-depth performance of tasks relating to the monks, nuns and the believing community and with clear display of banners, explain clearly the religious freedom policy of the Party and the government; by explaining clearly that it is the public’s freedom whether to believe or not to believe, and not make a black and white differentiation between belief and non-belief. It should be clearly explained that among the believing community and among the sects, there should be mutual respect, mutual understanding, friendly co-existence and peaceful and harmonious togetherness.
Through calm and stable attitude, and through new methods of vanquishing the other side, on issues relating to ‘Gyalchen Shugden,’‘Gyalchen Shugden,’when there are early indications of expulsion, condescension, assembly and disputes, close attention should be paid and these should be automatically confronted, quickly and appropriately decided so that the bad causes are removed from source.
Deciding clearly on the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue is of great importance. Under the firm leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the General Secretary, hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics and Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of “Three Represents” and the Scientific Outlook on Development as guide to action.
Bearing in mind the successive important speeches of General Secretary Xi Jinping, in particular his important strategic thought: “To govern the country well, the prerequisite is to govern the frontiers well; to govern the frontiers well, maintaining stability in Tibet is a prerequisite” as well as “To make efforts to realize Tibet’s continued stability, long term stability and comprehensive stability; to guarantee lasting happiness in Tibet, to guarantee peace and stability in the frontier region” and to implement these important guidelines.
By resolutely implementing Chairman Yu Zhengsheng’s advice: “Rule Tibet as per law, develop Tibet for the long term, win the hearts of the people, and strengthen the foundations.” Thereby, in order to decide well on the issue of ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ there should be united thoughts, united pace, and united action. As per the guidelines issued by the [Tibet] Autonomous Region’s Party Committee and government, implement all measures and perform all tasks well, thus giving new and unceasing victory to the struggle against separatism. Resolutely strengthen the good circumstances of progress, peace and harmony and spare no effort to promote Tibet’s leap-frog development and long term peace and stability.
For more interesting information:
- The Dorje Shugden category on my blog
- China officially supports Dorje Shugden
- Dalai Lama, China & Dorje Shugden
- Dorje Shugden: My side of the story (多杰雄登：我这方面的说法)
- To Sum It Up
- Dorje Shugden people
- This happened in the USA
- I can speak up now about Shugden
Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma:
If you are in the United States, please note that your offerings and contributions are tax deductible. ~ the tsemrinpoche.com blog team