The Dalai Lama espressing his intention to continue the ban on worshipping Dorje Shugden
Dalai Lama Persecution
The Issue of Religious Intolerance
In March 1996, in an aggressive and threatening manner, the Dalai Lama stated that there would be a forceful implementation of the ban against those who persisted in the practice of Dorje Shugden.
Vigilante mobs of fanatical followers of the Dalai Lama, acting in the spirit of his public pronouncements, stormed into temples and private homes, seizing and destroying pictures and statues of Dorje Shugden – even taking them from shrines. Mobs attacked Dorje Shugden practitioners and their homes with stones and petrol bombs, destroying their possessions and threatening their lives.
People lost their jobs, children were expelled from schools, and monks were expelled from monasteries; foreign travel permits and visas were denied; refugee aid, monastic stipends and allowances were cut off; and forced signature campaigns were undertaken. In these and many other ways that made Tibetans outcasts from their own already exiled community, the Dalai Lama, in the guise of his government, ministers and associated organisations, introduced a reign of terror against tens of thousands of his own people, making restrictions similar to those imposed on the Jewish people in Germany in the early years of Hitler’s rule.
This persecution has been enforced since 1996 and still continues.
Photos of Shugden leaders are posted on city walls, branding them as traitors. Signs at the entrance of stores and hospitals forbid Shugden followers from entry. It’s apartheid, in Buddhist land.
Our reporters followed an ostracized Buddhist monk as he tried to affront the fellow villagers who have banned him. “We’re not violating Buddha’s teachings, and we’re excluded from everywhere just because of our religion” he complains.
The Dalai Lama's Demons, France 24
Capucine Henry & Nicholas Haque
Delek Tong [Pointing at a poster on the wall]: Look at this, it says: ‘No Shugden worshippers allowed.’ Hi, I worship Shugden, can I come in?
Shopkeeper: No, I am sorry, I don’t want you or any Shugdens in my shop.
Reporter: The Dalai Lama has asked the Tibetan community to stop the worship of the 400 year old Deity Shugden.
Delek Tong: When you followed the Dalai Lama’s advice, did you not forget that us Shugdens are also Tibetans like you?
Reporter: What this means in practice is that Delek Tong cannot walk into this shop because of his religious beliefs.
Shopkeeper: I have taken an oath and I won’t have anything to do with the Shugden people.
Whereas there has been negligence on the part of the public toward these addresses, with active propagation of this worship on the part of some (spiritual masters), and
Whereas this negligence is beyond tolerance any more [...]
This executive Committee will likewise announce this policy to all Tibetan monasteries and urge that everyone must abide by the address of the Dalai Lama;
Together with documents pertaining to this ban on the worship of Dholgyal, this Congress will urge each and every spiritual master, including geshes, that in the interest of the health of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Independence, they should stop worshipping Dholgyal;
If anyone in the youth congress membership is found as still worshipping Dholgyal that member will be immediately expelled from Tibetan Youth Congress membership;
Resolution passed by the Tibetan Youth Congress (1997)
Tibetan Youth Congress
These monks must be expelled from all monasteries. If they are not happy, you can tell them that the Dalai Lama himself asked that this be done, and it is very urgent.
The Dalai Lama's Demons, France 24
The 14th Dalai Lama
Buddhists picketed the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to the United States and Europe. They protested against the ban on the worship of the 350-year-old deity, Dorje Shugden, whom they say is one of the most revered in the Buddhist religion. In 1996 the Dalai Lama announced that worship of Dorje Shugden was banned and explained that his oracle, Nechung, has advised him that the deity was a threat to his personal safety and the future of Tibet.
According to P.K. Dey, a human-rights lawyer from Delhi: “Those worshipping Shugden are experiencing tremendous harassment … Dalai Lama supporters are going from house to house searching. For example, in Clementown, India, the house of a family of Shugden worshippers was stoned and then firebombed. Wanted posters describe people believed to be Shugden leaders as the top ten enemies of the state.”
Dorje Shugden worshippers say the ban and its implementation are in direct conflict with the proposed constitution of a free Tibet, laid down by the Dalai Lama in 1963. The constitution states that all religious denominations are equal before the law, and every Tibetan shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. But when Dorje Shugden worshippers challenged the ban, the Tibetan Government-in-exile stated that: “Concepts like democracy and freedom of religion are empty when it comes to the well-being of the Dalai Lama and the common cause of Tibet.”
During recent peace vigils a petition with 15,000 signatures was handed to the Dalai Lama stating the need for all Tibetan traditions to flourish. Protesters asked him to sign a declaration of freedom to worship Dorje Shugden. The Dalai Lama refused.
Frontline (India's National Magazine)
What has been the impact of the ban?
Kundeling Rinpoche: “Severe. I call it the Tibetan Inquisition initiated worldwide, but particularly in India. For example, the house of every Tibetan was searched, pictures and images of Dorje Shugden were trampled upon, desecrated, burnt or destroyed publicly. The houses of prominent people – followers of Dorje Shugden – were attacked during the nights, and death threats issued to all those who did not follow the dictates of the Dalai Lama. A number of monks were expelled from the monastery at the Mundgod settlement for having participated in a peaceful protest march organised by me on May 15, 1996 in the Mundgod settlement.
The New Statesman
Gradually the pressure on Dorje Shugden practitioners got worse. Fanatical Dalai Lama followers began to demolish statues of the deity, the existing social solidarity amongst Tibetans was gone. Even in Tibet itself, where restoration of temples is in full swing and people enjoy new religious freedom, this ban created suspicion. Dorje Shugden worshippers were accused of being part of the ‘Dorje Shugden sect’ and became outcasts. The Dorje Shugden Society was founded, an ad-hoc group of people working together to oppose the ban – not to save the enlightened deity from harm but to help thousands of people from becoming outcasts. But numerous appeals and worldwide protests have not helped. The Dalai Lama has not responded and refuses all contact. If you think the Dalai Lama is only in the business of provoking positive sentiments, as most Westeners believe, you have to firmly close your eyes to imagine this less romantic reality.
During speeches in India in January 2008, he has enforced the ban more strictly than ever before.
The New York Magazine
The Shugden Coalition ... has collected some 15,000 signatures petitioning the Dalai Lama to lift the ban, which, the Coalition claims, has incited human-rights violations―house-to-house searches, destruction of prayer books and images of the deity―among some of his followers, primarily in Dharmsala, India, seat of the Tibetan leader’s exiled government. ... also cites the Tibetan regional council’s statement that it is unlawful to worship gods not recognised by the government, and the fact that the Dalai Lama’s private office has asked for the names, birthplaces, and addresses of Shugden worshippers.
“The Dalai Lama portrays himself as a Gandhi figure,” says Jampel, “but he is acting more like a modern-day Hitler.”
James Belither, The Dalai Lama: A Report on the Dalai Lama’s Abuses of Human Rights and Religious Freedoms, (Ulverston, 1997).
Ursula Bernis, Exiled from Exile 1996-1999.
Video interview and transcript with Tashi Wangdu, the Dalai Lama's Representative and former Cabinet Minister, 29 April 2008.
BBC News, ‘Protest at Dalai Lama prayer ban’, 27 May 2008.
Cabinet of Tibet Government in Exile – Dharamsala: ‘points of the Kashag’s Statement concerning Dolgyal’, 31 May 1996.
The Government of Tibet in Exile: ‘Shugden verses pluralism and national unity controversy and clarification’, 2 November 1997.
‘Chronicle of Events – 2008’ The Tibetan Situation Today, (Western Shugden Society, London, 2008).
Statement by Samdhong Rinpoche, 30 August 2009, Radio Free Asia(Tibetan Service), Washingon D.C., USA.
- Why we are exposing the Dalai Lama
- The Issue of Religious Intolerance
- An Accessory to War and Violence
- The Illusion of Democracy
- Partnership with the CIA
- The Union of Religion and Politics
- The Nazi Connections
- Where has all the Money Gone?
- How Superstition Shaped History
- What has been Achieved for Tibet?
- Collaboration with Communism
- The Politics of Reincarnation
- Torture and Execution Ordered by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama
- Prisoners of the Potala: The Sixth to Twelfth Dalai Lamas
- Wars and Murders ordered by the Fifth Dalai Lama
- The Pure Dharma of the Early Dalai Lamas
The Western Shugden Society has based its research on the works of respected and independent scholars, investigative journalists and on original source material to demonstrate its position. Some of this material is freely available on the internet. Wherever possible we have provided links to the original documents or means to access them. We invite you to investigate them for yourself.