Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Brendan O'Neill, "Is the Dalai Lama a religous dictator?" spiked, May 20, 2008.

[In May of this year, Brendan O'Neill, editor of spiked published an article on the Dalai Lama's relatively recent attack on the "heresy" of Dorje Shugden worship. -jlt]


In March 1996, the Dalai Lama decreed that the worship of Dorje Shugden was ‘evil’. In what is believed to have been part of an internal power struggle in his fiefdom-in-exile in Dharamsala, northern India, the Dalai Lama ordered all worshippers of Dorje Shugden to leave his temple on 21 March 1996. A week later, on 30 March 1996, the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (the parliament in exile) passed a resolution banning the worship of Dorje Shugden by Tibetan government employees, and the Private Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a formal decree for everyone to stop practising the Dorje Shugden prayer. The New Internationalist reported that the Lama’s office wrote to every monastery in northern India and Tibet demanding that they ‘ensure total implementation of this decree by each and everyone… If there is anyone who continues to worship [Dorje Shugden], make a list of their names, house name, birth place… Keep the original and send us a copy of the list.’ (1)

‘After the Dalai Lama’s decree, anyone who continued to follow Dorje Shugden got it in the neck’, Pema says. By 1998, two years after the Dalai Lama described Dorje Shugden as ‘evil’ and instructed monasteries to collect the names of those disobedient Buddhists who continued worshipping it, an Indian human rights lawyer, PK Dey, had collected 300 statements from Tibetans in exile in India who had been either threatened or attacked for failing to comply with the Dalai Lama’s orders. ‘Those worshipping Shugden are experiencing tremendous harassment’, said Dey. ‘This is not in any particular part of the country but everywhere there are Tibetans.’ (2) In December 1996, one 72-year-old woman, Sonam Bhuti, whose family had worshipped Dorje Shugden for generations, reported to the Office of the Notary in Delhi (a civil law institution) that Tibetan officials had ransacked her and others’ homes, ‘forcibly taking out the idols and paintings [of Dorje Shugden]’ and ‘burning’ and ‘breaking’ them (3).


Read the whole article here =>
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