They said NO!
Dear friends around the world,
Here are some one-of-a-kind videos you are not going to want to miss, showing things that unbelievably are still happening in this day and age. It is frequently claimed that there is no discrimination against Dorje Shugden practitioners within the Tibetan communities. Most notably and recently, the Sikyong (Prime Minister) of the Tibetans in exile Lobsang Sangay appeared in a video saying that all Tibetans are treated equally and fairly. In reality however, the last 20 years of propaganda and indoctrination against Dorje Shugden practitioners has had an indelible impact on Tibetans, which has reverberated throughout the world and now affects non-Tibetans too. My students and friends for example, have experienced this discrimination even though they are not Tibetan but happen to rely on Dorje Shugden.
Just recently, one of my close students was in India to do some work. She happened to be in Majnu-ka-tilla in Delhi, India which is a Tibetan settlement or area in Delhi. After the Tibetans fled to India in 1959, the then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru granted 27 tracts of land throughout the country to the Tibetans in exile. Those in Delhi settled in the Majnu-ka-tilla area which is in North Delhi, and reestablished their lives there. So in this Tibetan colony, they set up their homes, shops and businesses. Some people, including the monasteries, also established guest houses in the settlement, as a place for tourists and visitors to stay. For the monasteries, these guest houses help to provide an income to support the sangha community they are associated with. So in Majnu-ka-tilla for example, Gaden Shartse Monastery has a guest house. This is where visitors can stay, and also monks from Gaden Shartse who have come up to Delhi to do some work or are stopping by on their way to somewhere else in India like Dharamsala which is even further north.
Anyway, knowing about the Dorje Shugden issue, my student wanted to see if what Lobsang Sangay said is true – that is, everyone, whether they practise Shugden or not, is treated fairly. The Gaden Shartse Monastery Guest House was nearby so she went to enquire if she would be able to stay there. She was extremely brave because she was in a totally unfamiliar place. She has no friends in Majnu-ka-tilla who would be able to help her if she was in trouble and definitely she could get into big trouble. Dorje Shugden practitioners, no matter how old they are, have been attacked just because they wish to maintain their commitments to their practice and teachers.
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/MKTHotel.flv
So my student walked into the Shartse Guest House which is newly renovated and looks nice, clean and safe, and she asked if she can stay there. She was expecting to be rejected but still the response surprised her. Watch the video closely and carefully. My student was well-dressed, professional-looking and presentable and not scruffy. She was also polite and asked questions that any potential hotel guest would be interested in. Once she asks about Dorje Shugden, the attitude towards her totally changes. The lady who is speaking behind the front desk is uncomfortable (but polite) and in a hurry to make my student leave and get out. And actually, you can see that she is scared because she looks around as she talks. She wants to make sure she’s saying and doing the correct thing, which is that she has to reject Dorje Shugden practitioners from staying there. And when she’s questioned, she doesn’t actually know why they aren’t allowed to stay there. All she can say is that it’s the monastery rules and they cannot accept Shugden practitioners as guests.
This is the type of atmosphere that the Tibetan leadership has created amongst their own people after 20 years of insisting that Dorje Shugden practitioners are bad. They have made Tibetans become suspicious of each other and fear one another. But my question is, in a business like a hotel, what is wrong with a Dorje Shugden practitioner staying there if they are a legitimate paying guest? What if my student had not declared herself as a Dorje Shugden practitioner? She would have been accepted and she would not have been treated any differently. So how come suddenly, just because people know what religion she practises, she cannot stay there? There was no change between the time she walked into the guest house and received a friendly greeting, to the time she revealed her religion. Instantly, upon revealing her faith, everyone’s attitude towards her totally changed. Think carefully please. Who told this lady behind the front desk to reject Shugden practitioners? Who taught her to be so afraid of someone because of their faith? Who gave her the instruction and the approval to treat people this way?
I don’t think the Shartse Guest House would have problems accepting a Satan worshipper or voodoo practitioner to stay with them, but if you are a Shugden practitioner clearly your money is not acceptable. But the point is this is a hotel and to put it very crudely, money is money. It isn’t a learning institution where people could possibly be rejected on the basis that their views don’t agree with yours. So why is there prejudice against anyone’s religion for staying in a hotel?
What is also interesting is that on the one hand, the monasteries have taken millions in sponsorship from Dorje Shugden practitioners to build their hospitals, debate halls, prayer halls, hostels, statues, pujas, stupas, etc. But on the other hand, they reject a Dorje Shugden practitioner from their hotel because it is not okay to take money from a Shugden practitioner for that. That is not right and it isn’t logical. So again to put it crudely, how come a Shugden practitioner’s money is not good enough for the hotel but it’s good enough for everything else? And if there is no ban, which is what the Tibetan leadership repeatedly and falsely claims, then why was my student rejected from the hotel as soon as they heard that she practises Dorje Shugden? She was rejected on the basis that it is the monastery’s rules not to accept Shugden practitioners so if there is no ban against Dorje Shugden, why does the monastery have such a rule?
Also, there was no sign outside the guest house announcing who can and cannot stay there. As an establishment within the service industry, the hotel itself is not providing a very good service to the traveller who gets inconvenienced because of this. What if someone were to turn up in the middle of the night and they were very tired? Would they still be rejected and put in an unsafe position with nowhere to sleep? I find it disappointing that a monastic institution, which is supposed to practise compassion and acceptance of all, would encourage their departments to behave like this.
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/AntiDSNepal.flv
At the same time, some of my other close students were in Nepal. They were trying to buy some jewellery to offer onto a Dorje Shugden statue which they wanted to gift to someone. Watch what happens when they pull the statue out of the box to measure how many pearls they need. Look at the jewellery seller’s reaction and how scared they are to reject the statue and get it away from them. They even check around to see who is watching because they don’t want anyone to know they came so close to a Dorje Shugden statue. Who taught them to be so scared of Dorje Shugden? If you question them and ask them why they are scared, they can give some basic answer but if pressed further, they actually don’t know why they should be scared. If Dorje Shugden is just a so-called spirit and you have all these other Buddhas and Protectors to help you, why are you so scared of him?
I miss Shartse and I love the monastery. I love the monks and the high lamas, and the activities, the rituals and chanting, and learning and practice and generally the life there. I wish I could go back there and see all of my friends but I cannot. I cannot because I practise Dorje Shugden and I would be harassed, abused and physically attacked for this. Can you imagine – if this is how a Dorje Shugden practitioner is treated in a hotel while she’s on camera, how will a Dorje Shugden practitioner be treated in the monastery when there are no cameras around and it’s the monastic rules to behave this way?
It deeply saddened me to see these videos and to see my students treated in this way, and even more so to see monks and lay Tibetans being forced to act this way. I know the monastery and I know the monks, and I know if they had their religious freedom, this type of behaviour is not them. They would not be instructing staff at the guest house to treat anyone in this way. They would be welcoming, warm and kind and totally accepting of everyone and anyone. So there is something seriously and deeply wrong if the monastic administration feel that they have to reject and shun someone on the basis of their religious faith. The Tibetan leadership really need to stop this ban and lift the prejudice against Dorje Shugden people, and stop forcing Tibet’s greatest treasure which is the Sangha, to behave in this most un-Buddhist (let alone un-monkly) way. The discrimination MUST END.
Majnu-ka-tilla: Some Facts
- Official name: New Aruna Nagar Colony, Chungtown and Samyeling
- Also known as: Little Tibet, Mini Tibet
- Established: 1960
- Population: approx. 2,500 (census in 2000)
- Economy: primarily centred on hotels, guest houses and restaurants, as well as home rentals, bookshops, curio shops and metal smiths.
For more interesting information:
- The Dorje Shugden category on my blog
- Tibetan Leadership’s New Anti-Shugden Video
- The Dalai Lama Speaks Clearly About the Dorje Shugden Ban
- Can Tibetan Lamas Make Mistakes?
- They want to kill me
- Dorje Shugden people
- Will the Dalai Lama agree with this?
- Why can’t we be friends?
- Dorje Shugden: My side of the story (多杰雄登：我这方面的说法)
- To Sum It Up
- I pray to what I want to
- I will not be pulled into conflict
- Reuters Anti-Dorje Shugden Report Backfires
- The Buddhist Divide – An Unholy Campaign against Religious Freedom
- Why aren’t the monasteries helping the drought?
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