Why Are People Protesting Against the Dalai Lama?

Northampton, Massachusetts, USA, 10-12-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — As the Dalai Lama attends the world summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome, Italy this weekend, he will once again be heckled by loud protesters. They will shout, “False Dalai Lama, stop lying” over and over, accompanied by loud drums. These protesters claim they are being persecuted because they worship a controversial spirit (Dolgyal/Shugden), a practice The Dalai Lama advised against twenty years ago.

In giving reasons for his decision, the Dalai Lama cites the fact that this practice has a controversial history of sectarianism and violence. He says, “So in fact, restricting a form of practice that restricts others’ religious freedom is actually a protection of religious freedom.”


The protesters claim that the Dalai Lama is lying when he says that he has never “banned” this practice. As Dr. Robert Thurman of Columbia University states, “The worship of their chosen deity was not “banned” by the Dalai Lama, since he has no authority to “ban” what Tibetan Buddhists practice. “Banning” and “excommunicating” are not Tibetan Buddhist procedures.”


Regarding the controversy and the protesters’ allegations of persecution, The Central Tibetan Administration (the exiled Tibetan Government) states,

“His Holiness the Dalai Lama has advised Tibetans and Buddhist followers that propitiating Dolgyal will lead to sectarianism and spirit/cult worship, which is fundamentally against the teachings of the Buddha. As a spiritual leader, he considers it is his responsibility to guide his followers on the correct spiritual path. Ultimately, it is for each individual to decide whether or not to listen to his guidance. His Holiness has emphasised on numerous occasions that propitiation of Dolgyal (Shugden) is a personal choice.

“Despite this well-known fact, groups associated with Dolgyal propitiation persist with baseless allegations that Tibetans who are Dolgyal followers are discriminated against in their access to education, healthcare and other social services. There is no shred of evidence of this as Dolgyal followers continue to go to monasteries and send their children to schools run by the CTA and other autonomous Tibetan schools.

“In June 1998, after a thorough investigation, Amnesty International concluded there was no evidence to support these accusations against the Central Tibetan Administration. Similarly, in 2010, a verdict issued by the Delhi High Court, dismissed a case filed by the Dorjee Shugden Devotees’ Charitable and Religious Society against the Central Tibetan Administration and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

“The Central Tibetan Administration has repeatedly expressed its willingness to investigate any instances of discrimination if provided with concrete evidence.  Dolgyal-related groups have yet to provide such information.


The organizers of these protests have recently published a 280-page pamphlet entitled “False Dalai Lama: Worst Dictator in Modern History” (http://www.amazon.com/False-Dalai-Lama-Dictator-Modern/dp/0992643007/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418392501&sr=8-1&keywords=Dalai+Lama%3A+Worst+Dictator+in+Modern+History). In this, anonymous authors claim that the Dalai Lama is secretly a Muslim and deceiving the world about being a Buddhist monk:

“Although Lhamo Dondrub is a Muslim, throughout his life he has maintained the pretence of being a Buddhist holy being, giving Buddhist teachings that he stole from his root Guru Trijang Rinpoche. In this way he has cheated people throughout the world.” (p. 13)

In this publication, they have a section entitled “The Dalai Lama’s fascination with war and Nazism.”  They have a section entitled: “The Dalai Lama’s involvement with the CIA and the Tibetan Guerillas.” They make a connection between the Dalai Lama and the sarin gas attacks in Japan and hold him responsible for the self-immolations of Tibetans within Tibet. They state,

“…from a spiritual point of view there is no one who is more evil than this false Dalai Lama. We sincerely wish for the doctrine of Je Tsongkhapa to be free from being harmed by this enemy.” (p. 3)

The organizers of these protests claim they are seeking dialogue. However, many who oppose the protesters’ claims wonder if this is possible, given the extremist views held by the protesters and the possible threats to security such a dialogue would pose.


Why Are People Protesting Against the Dalai Lama?

Why Are People Protesting Against the Dalai Lama?

Protesters against Dalai Lama

Protesters against Dalai Lama

The protesters claim that the Dalai Lama is lying when he says that he has never “banned” Dolgyal/Shugden

The protesters claim that the Dalai Lama is lying when he says that he has never “banned” Dolgyal/Shugden

PR contacts:

Joanne Clark
01 413 570 4166 (US)
Joanne Clark, Student of the Dalai Lama, www.dalailama.com and supporting the New Kadampa Survivors group https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/newkadampasurvivors/info

Additional information and enclosed documents:


1) Statement of the German Buddhist Monastic Association

2) Statements From the Dalai Lama on the Protests and the Dolgyal

3) Recent Huffington Post Articles on the Protests

4) Statements From Academic Scholars Regarding the Controversy Surrounding the Protests Against the Dalai Lama


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