Go On, Break Your Samaya
Any Dorje Shugden practitioner with an active online profile will know that we are often faced with vitriolic and abusive comments online. These range from how Dorje Shugden practitioners receive Chinese government funding, to our supposed inferiority as Buddhists because we are not Tibetan, to how we worship spirits.
Another frequent comment runs along the lines of:
Don’t believe your guru, he’s not a real Lama. He’s trying to trick you so stop listening to him. I’m telling you this out of compassion.
During one particular online conversation just a few weeks ago, this comment was directed at me over and over again. It was not the first time I had heard this – “friends” have written to me asking me to consider a different Lama who is “clean” and politically correct because my root Guru is teaching me how to rely on a spirit.
When told this, Shugden practitioners usually ask the speaker to show compassion and to focus on their own Buddhist practice instead. That Dharma is about mind transformation – our own mind transformation – and not about looking at others and blaming them. That if they are so compassionate, why not include Dorje Shugden practitioners in their compassion too?
But during that online conversation, as this person repeated over and over again how my Lama was somehow not genuine or real, I was given pause to think. What irked me was their repeated assertion that their harassment is somehow compassionate. If compassion is one of the key practices of a Buddhist, what kind of Dharma practitioner tells people to break their samaya with their teachers, on the basis of something that they, a random stranger on the Internet, said?
Since the ban on Dorje Shugden was enforced in 1996, thousands of Buddhist practitioners have been expelled from their monasteries, pressured to abandon their teachers and forced to leave their practices and homes behind. To this day, Dorje Shugden practitioners continue to be harassed, targeted and belittled into giving up the practice.
And at the same time, those who speak against Dorje Shugden will utter on the same breath that there is no ban on Dorje Shugden, that all of this is based on His Holiness’ advice and they are merely discouraging us from relying on Dorje Shugden because it means we are not engaging in true Buddhist practice.
Well, if we are not true Buddhists and that is why they are speaking up, why not direct their same harassment to Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jews who are not engaging in Buddhist practice? Why only target Dorje Shugden practitioners?
If there is no ban and if there is religious freedom, why do they feel the need to impose their opinions on our practice? Why do they feel the need to voice their objections to our personal choices?
If we are not Tibetan (and therefore not true Buddhists), why do they feel the need to impose His Holiness’ advice when we are not Tibetan?
On every level, from every perspective, there is nothing about the ban that makes sense.
So you give up your practice and your teacher, what will the random person on the Internet do for you? Pay your bills? Babysit your kids? Teach you Dharma? People who are considering giving up the practice just to end the harassment should think twice. These people – these faceless, random people – will never be able to do anything for you, not in the way your Lama will be able to help you, guide you and nurture you as he has been doing for years already. They will never be able to do for you spiritually what your relationship with your teacher can provide you with.
As I ended the conversation with the gentleman online, I could not help but feel very sorry for him. As he continues on his misguided crusade to pull people away from their teachers, every attempt he makes that is successful will never create the causes for him to develop greater clarity of mind, understanding and practice.
It has been 19 years since this ban started, and it has been 19 years too long. The ban on Dorje Shugden needs to end now, for the sake of everyone involved.
It has been taught that for the Guru to whom you have pledged your word of honour (to visualise as one with your meditational deity), you should willingly sacrifice your wife, children and even your life, although these are not easy to give away. Is there need to mention your fleeting wealth?
~ Ashvagosha, 50 Stanzas on the Spiritual Teacher
Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche
on guru devotion
Or view the video on the server at:
At this time, we see guru devotion in the great monasteries, it is like a vessel leaking. At this time, in the four great monasteries, I see the first [in guru devotion] is Tashi Lhunpo. I am not flattering. The better one is Tashi Lhunpo monks.
Before, Sera has a lot of monks joining…
(video breaks abruptly)
…What I am teaching you today, this is correct or not correct, you must examine. If it is correct, you must practice. If it is not correct, then you can discard it. That is okay.
In brief, you all must carefully examine Lama Tsongkhapa’s Dharma. Apart from that, at this time, Lama Tsongkhapa’s Dharma is like a butter lamp in the strong wind. It has very nearly extinguished, like that. Now you all must carefully examine Lama Tsongkhapa’s Dharma, must carefully examine Lama Tsongkhapa’s Dharma. Do you understand?
If you practise the Protector [referring to Dorje Shugden], you do the practice. If you don’t practise, you don’t do the practice. This is no problem. If you practise, say it very clearly – “I do the practice.” If you don’t practice, say it very clearly – “I don’t do the practice.” Don’t be two-faced.
Must have unity and solidarity. Do you understand? Then good. Then it will be useful that we are monks and stay in the big monasteries. [meaning if they are monks but have no unity, it will not be useful]
At night, all our virtues we must dedicate to enlightenment and the growth of Buddha Dharma, and all the holy masters’ long life, and make aspirational prayers for the growth of Lama Tsongkhapa’s combined sutric and tantric Dharma and for it to remain for a long time. Do you understand?
And if you are a Dorje Shugden practitioner, make aspirational prayers for Dorje Shugden’s blessings to spread all around the world. If you are not a Dorje Shugden practitioner, make aspirational prayers for all protectors’ blessings to be timely and for the Buddha Dharma to grow.
Then good. Then all of you work towards mental unity and pure vows. Please practise well. That’s all, thank you. Finish.
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