What Would You Do If Your Religion Was Criticised?
I am a Dorje Shugden practitioner. I received this practice from my Lama, H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche; my Lama received it from his teacher, and the lineage goes all the way back to the 15th Century. I am also a Vajrayanist who has suffered discrimination from other Vajrayana Buddhists.
Some of you may not know of this issue because the rot of discrimination against Dorje Shugden practitioners has not yet reached you due to various circumstances. I rejoice for you and I hope you will never have to face the ugliness that some people have shown me and my friends, solely because we practice Dorje Shugden. Those of you who have faced discrimination due to your practice may find some peace and safety in what I’m about to share.
In today’s modern and fast-paced world, people are quick to judge even though they do not know you. Strangers will judge and say negative fictional things about you just by looking at your Facebook profile. So, for the longest time, I lived carefully due to my practice. I have supportive friends who tell me, why worry about what others say about you? But when you know that hate and discrimination is going to pour in continuously on a daily basis, it makes you think twice about ‘coming out of the closet’.
Teacher fined RM4,000 for posting seditious statement about Thaipusam procession
A school teacher was fined RM4,000 by the Sessions Court today for posting an insulting statement on the Thaipusam procession in Batu Caves.
Hidayat Mohamad, 36, was unrepresented and defended himself after claiming trial last year under Section 4 (1) (c) of the Sedition Act 1948 which provides a maximum fine of RM5,000 or a maximum jail sentence of up to three years upon conviction.
He was found guilty for committing the offence on Jan 17 last year at 11.13 am in Ariza Garden Villa, Taman Rainfree in Batu Caves.
Hidayat had published the statement, laced with seditious remarks, on Facebook.
He posted “penyembahan iblis, syaitan dan berhala secara besar-besaran sedang berlangsung, kemudian mendapat liputan meluas media massa tempatan dan antarabangsa” (The worship of the devil and idols is happening now on a grand scale and subsequently, it got extensive local and international media coverage).
A total of 19 prosecution witnesses testified during the trial.
Sessions judge Tasnim Abu Bakar then ordered him to pay a fine of RM4,000.
Prosecution was led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Hamdan Hamzah.
I sighed with relief when I read the recent case “Teacher fined RM4,000 for posting seditious statement about Thaipusam procession” which was reported in The Rakyat Post website. Why? Because I am a fortunate citizen of Malaysia and my country’s policy advocates ZERO tolerance towards seditious acts by the public, whether it is through face to face interactions or electronically. This is the best gift Malaysia has ever given to me, which is the freedom to practice my choice of religion and curbing those who are ignorantly against it.
There are those in Malaysia, both organisations and individuals, who have publicly advocated that ‘Dolgyal’ practitioners be outcast and avoided. ‘Dolgyal‘ is a derogatory name for Dorje Shugden. ‘Dol‘ is a region in Tibet and ‘Gyal‘ is an abbreviation of ‘Gyalpo‘, which means spirit king. The direct translation means ‘The King Spirit of Dol’ and it is equivalent to calling the deity we practice a ‘demon’, just like Hidayat Mohamad’s seditious comment on the Hindu deities worshipped during the Thaipusam procession.
It saddens me greatly that our country, which is known for its cultural and religious diversity, has to resort to using the law to enforce harmony and tolerance among its citizens. But it is even more disappointing that some of my fellow Buddhists in Malaysia fail to recognise the ‘wrong conduct’ inherent in discriminating and putting down another’s practice. After all, how does one practise wisdom and compassion by excluding a group of people? What happened to the Bodhicitta vows and the motivation to return to samsara until all sentient beings are liberated?
I have seen too much nastiness that has befallen Shugden practitioners, and my Lama happens to be one of them. As a Dorje Shugden practitioner, I hope that we can all live in peace and practise our religion of choice without being attacked. After all, it is not about Dorje Shugden, it’s about behaving like a decent human being.
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