2015-09-21 20:39:38 UTC
Making history, as he does. Beautiful advice, jokes, infinite kindness and fun. Perspective, the finest knowledge, grounded,
sensible, sensitive and above all, deeply wise.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity and love, dearest Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, spiritual guide
for the lost and now found, returning to our own integrity through the gift of your precious time and attention.
May we have the sense and sensibility to try out what you suggest and to follow your example. May your love and wisdom
always sustain the fortunate Tibetan people. May your compassion always remain as hope for us.
Delighting in your skill and clarity, may you long remain to bless the people of this world.
His Holiness next met with members of a group who call themselves NKT Survivors, people who have left the new religious
movement the New Kadampa Tradition. One of several reasons for their discomfort has been the involvement of NKT members
in spiteful demonstrations against His Holiness the Dalai Lama in cities across the world. The focus of these protests is a
difference of opinion about a controversial spirit known as Dolgyal or Shugden. His Holiness began:
“I think you know the story of this spirit is nearly four hundred years old. At one time I too propitiated it. My Senior Tutor, Ling
Rinpoche, who gave me ordination, had nothing to do with it, but my Junior Tutor, Trijang Rinpoche did practise it. Having some
doubt about it, in the early 70s I asked some scholars to research the matter. We discovered that the issue dated back to the time
of the 5th Dalai Lama, who described Dolgyal as a perfidious spirit that had arisen as a result of distorted prayers.
“Later, during the time of the tutor of the 7th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Chokden, who also became Ganden Tripa, Throne-holder or
leader of the Gelug tradition, several abbots propitiated this spirit and a shrine was built at Ganden Monastery. Ngawang
Chokden, who was the first Reting Rinpoche, had this shrine demolished and restricted the propitiation. He stated that during the
life of Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug tradition, a shrine even to his ‘birth deity’ was not allowed within the precincts of
“Later still, the 13th Dalai Lama restricted practices concerning this spirit and wrote to Pabongka Rinpoche about it, saying that
the way he related to it risked breaching his Buddhist refuge vows. I discovered that no Dalai Lama had any involvement with
this spirit until I did. Perhaps if the 5th and 13th Dalai Lamas were to reappear now they’d send me back to Amdo!
“Once I made a decision to stop the practice, I kept it to myself. Then Ganden Jangtse Monastery got in touch with me to say
that they had been experiencing misfortunes and they had asked Trijang Rinpoche about it. He told them it was a result of
displeasure on the part of their traditional protector Palden Lhamo. They asked me what to do about it. I conducted a ‘dough-ball
divination’ asking first whether their problems were to do with Palden Lhamo’s displeasure. The answer was, “Yes”. Then I
asked whether the displeasure was a result of their adopting a new protector and again the answer was “Yes”. I informed some
senior Lamas from Ganden Monastery and asked them to decide what action to take.
“Gradually this advice became known. Inside Tibet some worshippers of Dolgyal said that the Dalai Lama was taking these steps
because he was trying to favour the Nyingmas, so I had to explain things more publicly. Previously, even my Senior Tutor, Ling
Rinpoche, who had nothing at all to do with this practice had been wary of my receiving Nyingma teachings because of Dolgyal’s
reputation. Once I stopped propitiating it I gained personal religious freedom and was able to follow an ecumenical, non-sectarian
approach to Buddhism like previous Dalai Lamas. I had confirmed this course of action through another divination before a
renowned statue of Avalokiteshvara.
“As a consequence of all this, supporters of Dolgyal set themselves up as a group in Delhi. Then the murder of Gyen Lobsang
Gyatso took place. The perpetrators, who had been identified by the Himachal Pradesh Police in their investigation, escaped back
to Tibet, where they were welcomed by Chinese officials.
“When I explain about all this, I make clear that it’s my duty to do so. If people disagree and continue the practice, that’s their
business. However, I’m concerned about their next lives. These demonstrators are angry with me. I try to cultivate the
awakening mind of bodhichitta and an understanding of emptiness, being angry with me won’t do them any good. When I see
them, I feel a lot of concern for them.
“As Buddhists we should follow authentic teachings, such as those of the 17 Nalanda masters. Depending on spirits like this is a
degeneration of the practice of the Dharma.
“Because of tantric tradition we tend to emphasise ‘Guru Yoga’ and following the Guru’s word. However, even the Buddha
advised his followers to examine what he said, to investigate whether it made sense, rather than accepting it just at face value.
Read more widely. Study the works of Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti and Shantideva. Also read Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘Great Stages of the
Path to Enlightenment’. Don’t worry about having made mistakes, the 14th Dalai Lama did too.
“Kelsang Gyatso’s commentary to Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ is good. Still, pay attention to the four
reliances: depend not on the person, but on the teaching. Depend not on the words, but their meaning. Depend not on the
provisional meaning, but the definitive meaning and finally depend not on a superficial understanding but on wisdom. Read books,
gather your friends together and discuss what you’ve learned. Give each other confidence. I admire your courage. Believe in
truth and the Buddha’s authentic teachings.
“I know Kelsang Gyatso. He was not a Geshe, but a good scholar. When I was in Mussoorie he gave me a copy of Gungthang
Rinpoche’s writings for which I was grateful to him. Lama Zopa invited him to teach in England, but later they quarrelled. I sent
an official to try to mediate. In 1981, he came to Deer Park in Madison Wisconsin to receive the Kalachakra empowerment that I
was giving at the request of his teacher Geshe Sopa. So although he has now taken against me, his own teacher, apparently he
insists that his own students only follow him. You should continue to regard him with respect, even if you tell yourself that you are
now trying to follow the authentic teachings of the Buddha and Je Tsongkhapa.”
His Holiness told the group to feel happy and that he would remember them. He again told them not to worry if they feel they
had made a mistake, they can remind themselves that he did too.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama with NKT Survivors during their meeting in Cambridge, UK on September 18, 2015.