A challenge to Robert Thurman

On 28 April 1997, Newsweek magazine published an article by Tony Clifton called “Cult Mystery – did an obscure Tibetan sect murder three monks close to the Dalai Lama”.  The article was the start of the propaganda against Shugden practitioners in general and the New Kadampa Tradition in particular by the Dalai Lama and his followers. It was in this article that the Dalai Lama unfairly and unjustifiably used the word ‘cult’ in relation to the NKT, mud that has stuck for ten years.

The article contained personal attacks and unjustified accusations from the Dalai Lama, supported by Robert Thurman.  Robert Thurman has always supported the Dalai Lamas views.  In the article Thurman claimed that  Shugden practitioners were responsible for the murder of Lobsang Gyatso and his two assistants.  He also made other unjustified attacks.  Here’s a selection of Thurman’s quotes from the article:

"I think there's no doubt that Shugden was behind the killings," says Robert Thurman, America's foremost Buddhist scholar and an old friend of the Dalai Lama's. "The three were stabbed repeatedly and cut up in a way that was like an exorcism."

Dorje Shugden has had an underground following among Tibetans obsessed with doctrinal purity for centuries. "It would not be unfair to call Shugdens the Taliban of Tibetan Buddhism," says Thurman, referring to the Muslim extremists of Afghanistan, who believe in swift and brutal justice.

"Shugden appeals to crazies by offering instant gratification," says Thurman. "Once you get involved, you're told you have to devote your lives to the cult, because the god gets very angry if you don't attend to him every day. It's really bad stuff, the way they're draining money out of people."

Now the Western Shugden Society has issued an open letter to Robert Thurman asking him to justify his claims.

If Robert Thurman uses his academic qualifications and his fame in the Buddhist community to lend weight to an attack on the reputation of Shugden practitioners you’d expect him to have some research and some data to back it up his claims as any good academic would, so let’s see if it’s there.

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12 thoughts on “A challenge to Robert Thurman

  1. Robert Thurman has long been involved in the corruption in the Tibetan Government in Exile. Anyone who gets too close to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government seems to become corrupted.

    It’s not just Shugden practioners and the Gelugpa tradition that Robert Thurman has violated.

    He has also had a role in the Karmapa controversy that has been going on for over 15 years. There is a side of the controversy that most people don’t seem to know about.

    Shugden practitioners are often accused of being associated with the Chinese. This is also true for those who side with the Karmapa Thaye Dorje who was appointed as the Karmapa according to the tradition of the Karma Kagyu lineage. They don’t have ties with China either, but they are accused of having ties with China, because they have spoken out against the Dalai Lama’s attempts to take control of their lineage.

    Urgyen Trinley was first recognized as the Karmapa by the Chinese government, then by the Dalai Lama. Before Urgyen Trinley, there has never been a Karmapa recognized by the Chinese or Tibetan Governments.

    At one point, in 1993, people with close ties to the Dalai Lama violently took over the monastery which was the seat of the Karmapa Thaye Dorje. This was an attempt to give the seat to Urgyen Trinley. They expelled all of the Karmapa’s loyal monks by force.

    From the Karmapa Issue website:

    “Meanwhile we analysed H.H.’s activities towards our school and resolved that he is motivated by his deep disappointment and dislike of the late Karmapa, who always strongly resisted H.H.’s numerous attempts to bring the Karma Kagyu School under his control. He had this basic disagreement with the Karmapa, who strongly upheld the spiritual freedom and independence of his school.”

    Robert Thurman had involvement in trying to take the Karmapa seat from Thaye Dorje and appoint the Dalai Lama recognized Karmapa to the throne. The Karmapa seat is regarded as the second most powerful in Tibetan Buddhism.

    Some people in the Kagyu school believe that the Dalai Lama intentionally split their school in order to prevent them from becoming too powerful. Thus protecting and increasing his own power.

    The Dalai Lama’s ban on Dorje Shugden practitioners has had the same effect. It has weakened the Gelugpa tradition and increased the Dalai Lama’s own power.

    The Dalai Lama wants the world to believe that he is the head of all Buddhist. He is hungry for more power. Robert Thurman and other “Buddhist scholars” increase their own power and popularity the more they side with him.

    It’s a sad story about how power hungry politicians and professors are destroying the Buddhadharma. Unfortunately, even after the current Dalai Lama passes the contoversies are likely to continue.

    I recently read an article which stated that the Dalai Lama might appoint his successor before he passes away. It is likely that Urgyen Trinley Dorje will become his successor. This would mean he would be both the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa (according to the Tibetan Government and people like Robert Thurman).

    This would create even greater divisions and confusion in both the Gelugpa and Kagyu schools.

  2. Goldenmala’s final speculation that the next Dalai Lama will also be the Karmapa simply fills me with dread for the future.

    I wonder when is the rest of the world going to wake up to the dirty political games being played by this Dalai Lama?

    The BBC should spend money on sending a well-briefed investigative team to India to interview all sides of these disputes and expose finally on the mass media what is happening. Please BBC dig into your pockets and get this story.

    Ordinary people are interested in this story – not just Shugden people fighting to keep their tradition. Such a documentary would be a smash-hit – a milestone of journalistic investigation.

    Where are the brave reporters willing to go for this?

  3. We do not need another Dalia Lama. The thought of such an abomination is deplorable and unconscienable to any rational thinking person to contemplate.
    The message to all concerned, is that we do not need this type of Lamism to guide us through the labyrinths of Lofe’s maze.
    The Practioners will decide the fate of The Teachings of Lord Buddha. Not this dictatorial mad man, this aboration of lies and deceit.
    It is clear and apparent this system will work in a modern world.’This system has benn relugated to Video Games and Free Tibet Idiots that have no understanding of the realites that lurk behind the facade of Dalia lamas.

    The Battle Of Shambala has begun and is won already with our truths against his lies.
    Give it Up Dalia!

  4. We do not need another Dalia Lama.
    The thought of such an abomination is deplorable and unconscienable, to any rational thinking person to contemplate.
    The message to all concerned is, that we do not need this type of Lamism to guide us through the labyrinths of Life’s maze.
    The Practioners will decide the fate of The Teachings of Lord Buddha.
    Not this dictatorial mad man, an aboration of lies and deceit.
    It is clear and apparent this system will not work in a modern world.
    ’This system has been relugated to Video Games and Free Tibet Idiots, that have no understanding of the realites that lurk behind the facade of Dalia lamas psychic drug program.

    The Battle Of Shambala has begun, and is won already with our Truths Against Tenzin Gyatso’s Lies.
    Give it Up Tenzin!

  5. Dearest Lineageholder,

    What I am going to write is going to be critical of an action of the Western Shugden Society. I am aware that the members of this Society are your friends, and because of this I apologize in advance for causing either sadness or anger. I hope that there’s no disagreement that causes us to loose mutual friendship.
    I am responding to them here, because it’s a good place to place a request to every one of us in a general way: please let’s be proper in the way we try to make the world understand our plight. In the first place because that is the correct thing to do, and we have to have not only the name “Buddhist” but also the behaviour, in this case, of good speech. And as a second reason, because this is the only way that we will have a chance to be heard, to be taken seriously and not as a band of extremists, such a nice gift to the other side! Please, please, let’s also be intelligent!
    ______________________________

    To the Western Shugden Society:
    You just published, originated through “various sources”, an account of events related to the finding of the XIV Dalai Lama.

    1-One of the well known dangers of fighting an opponent is the fact that one might become similar to him, adopting similar means to reach an end.
    In this context, I sternly oppose the publication of an article where the person of the Dalai Lama is attacked instead of just opposing his actions. To go ad hominem is not correct.

    2-On the other hand, the use of historic gossip should be left to the other side, since this is the path they’ve chosen. We should not use the same path to further our cause.

    3-On the other hand yet, even in the negated hypothesis that we were to accept such methods, it’s going to be demanded from you to give proof of what you are saying. Since you only have hearsay from later generations, who is going to give credit to your discourse? Even accepting the bad chosen pretext that this move is aimed to undermine the authority of the Dalai Lama among Tibetans themselves, it is pretty obvious that without historic irrefutable proof, your historic gossip is only going to produce more anger and suffering in that divided community.

    4-To those of us who have been perseverantly fighting with reasons the religious and civic persecution instituted by the Dalai Lama, the use of such methods as the one you are employing just now brings great prejudice, because it undermines our efforts at credibility, so difficult to obtain.

    I hope you are capable of listening to advice, and that you are going to change some of the means you chose to use.

    May the tradition of Lord Buddha and the Dharma King Je Tsongkapa bring benefit to all sentient beings.

  6. Dear Friendoftruth,

    Thank you for your honest and well intentioned criticism, I personally have no problem with this because we are all entitled to our own view and we have a right to express it.

    I don’t see it as a personal attack on the Dalai Lama, it’s simply a description of events. Since I became aware of how political this Dalai Lama is, I have doubted that he was genuine because his actions are so completely different from those of the First and Seventh Dalai Lamas. I have often found myself wondering if they picked the wrong person so, although I was surprised by the WSS report, I was not that surprised because it provided an explanation for something I have felt for a long time.

    Followers of the Dalai Lama such as Khedrup and Tenzin have been saying that it is the WSS’s intention to overthrow the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile and have branded the WSS’s actions as political. This is not so. The WSS is trying to do what it has always been trying to do – to obtain religious freedom for Dorje Shugden practitioners. Unfortunately, since the Dalai Lama will not listen to reasonable requests for dialogue, it seems as if WSS’s present strategy is to undermine the Dalai Lama’s authority and credibility.

    Because the Dalai Lama has had such a high, positive media profile for such a long time, his speech has had incredible power. When he has called Shugden practitioners ‘a cult’, people believe him simply because of who he is. They have a certain image of him in their mind. Many people think he is the head of Buddhism, like a Pope, and they may even believe he has the right to ban a particular spiritual practice so WSS’s strategy is to reduce the power of his speech by pointing out his hypocrisy and how his actions are not spiritual. Eventually, I suppose, it may involve destroying the power of his speech altogether. That’s not a very comfortable concept, but it may be necessary to protect Buddhism which is currently being destroyed from within by being mixed with murky Tibetan politics.

    I have no idea if the present story of how the Reting Rinpoche came to find a false candidate for the position of Dalai Lama is true but it’s another step in this process. To me, the actions of the present Dalai Lama are insane and unbelievable. It’s like Jekyll and Hyde – we have one Dalai Lama who speaks about love, compassion, tolerance and religious freedom and who is seeking autonomy for his own people and country and on the other we have a hypocritical Dalai Lama who is doing the complete opposite of what he says publicy in the West and who is giving no autonomy and no freedom to the disciples of his own Guru. It’s insane, but now, with the story of the Reting’s actions, I have an explanation that makes sense to me. I’m inclined to believe it but I would like to see more evidence, of course.

  7. Thank you dear Lineageholder for your prompt answer, that I respect, no doubt, since it comes from your own sincere thoughts and insights.

    What I am contesting it’s not the “facts” related by the WSS, I don’t know anything about them.
    My first point is that I am contesting the correctness of relating them.

    Personally I wouldn’t care a bit about those facts, had the Dalai Lama not enforced the religious persecution. I suspect that many that believe in him do not care either.

    Those who back the DL are going to have a weapon against WSS because I doubt that they can show any proof of what they are saying, whether they have it or not.

    The loss of credibility on our part, after so many efforts, is the second point of disagreement.

    Thank you for your tolerance.
    ______________

  8. We are not all perfect beings and neither are we journalist.
    Some of us realize that Tenzin Gyatso Norbu is a deceitful self cherishing incarante of a Feudal War Lord. Who slaughtered his own people to seize and maintain control of the different approaches to the Teachngs Of Lord Buddha. Some of us realize that he is antithesis of a man who trammpels daily by his ignorance or attempts to undermine the underpinning of the Bill Of Rights and Civil Liberties of the People. The Dharma flourishes because it has a home that respects and protects the rights of all to believe as they choose.
    This schism only magnified his abbhorrence of individual thought to reason and find the way to the truth that Lord Buddha taught to us.
    He prefers to lie and decive and use the mouthpiece of Bob Thurman to validate his claims that he actually speaks from the truth.
    They have no weapons to use against the WSS or any of us who are fighting to protect the rights of all People everywhere to believe as they choose.
    Why?
    Because, he as lied and violated the very principles I mentioned already.
    Justice they say is Blind. But not blind to the breaking of our laws that keep us from the darkness of lawlessness.

    Nothing that has been said can be disproved or proved within cetain disciplines.
    However, if enough people see the truth and think about it long enough. Then the truth will prevail.
    We do nothing to deserve this abuse and he says nothing that justifies his lies and abuse to those suffering due to his activities to maintain some power base.
    He is not a Buddha and lies with the ease of a Mississippi River Boat Gammbler.

    Not all of us are scholars or well versed, but we have the common sense that Lord Buddha attributed to we mere mortals, to reason ourselves out of ignorance and find libertaion one day.

    The only loss of credibility is his and Bob’s incessant lying and deception they spew from their mouths each and everyday.

    Only by the tenacious and continuous fortitude of each and every voice resonating with protest that he speak the truth will we all find what we seek in the least from all of us.

    Lord Buddha by all accounts fought against the status of deceit and lying of other intent to have their self cherishing lifestles maintained by the suppression of others by perverting the truths and creating all manners of maras to keep it that way.
    This is a democracy and not all voices may speak as you wish, but we speak with sincerity and a desire to eliminate ignorance and lies that hinder all from the seeking the way home safely.

    I hope they challenge any of us publically with a rational and logical defense of their actions and try to defend this insanity on the Global forum for all to witness.

    If he had aleg to stand on, he would have courageously pursued it already. They have not, nor do they intend to confront you or me or anyone else directly. Instead they have Death Squads slinking down dark alley ways and then have the audacity to point the finger at us. He cannot hold his own, unless he is speaking to his chorus of supporters.

    So Dear Sara, relax and let democracy protect us from these Monsters.
    Even Hitler had his day and was loved by the deluded and brainwashed and you can see what eventually happedened to them.
    As Dr, Bernis, who was in Munich during the bombing by the Allies in WWll. Yes! Thom,we are grateful even for this tragedy. Imagine where we Germans and the world would be today had Hitler had his way.

    This is warfare not a nuance of semantics and dialectics within the debate halls of a Nunnery or Monastery.
    We, The People, ill versed and flawed as we may be. Will fight on and on until we defeat this monster and his mimmicks who only care for personal power over others.

    Hey There! Tenzin Gyatos Norbu! It’s me Thom Canada calling you and Bob out to defend your lies.
    See……….not a word of reply!’ Why! Because they are cowards and thieves of the dharma and know to fear me and you and anyone else who shines the Light of Truth. We all attempt to say with the sincerity of our hearts and not the lies of a cheating mind portrayed by them.

  9. Be Reasonable Robert Thurman, and Debate This Schism With Freedom Loving People like myself.

    Robert Thurman,
    I challenge you to defend your lies!
    If you do not reply to me personally. Then you are all the things, I say of you. That you, Robert Thurman, are a Liar and Traitor to the Principles of Democracy and the dharma.

    We are not all perfect beings and this defeintely includes both of you, Tenzin Gyatso Norbu and Robert Thurman.

    Some of us realize that Tenzin Gyatso Norbu is a deceitful self cherishing incarnate of a Feudal War Lord, that slaughtered his own people to seize and maintain control of the different approaches to the Teachngs Of Lord Buddha.
    Some of us realize that he is the antithesis of a man who trampels daily by his ignorance or attempts to undermine the underpinning of the Bill Of Rights and Civil Liberties of the People.

    The Dharma Flourishes because, it has a home that respects and protects the rights of all to believe as they choose.

    This schism only magnified his abbhorrence of individual thought to reason and find the way to the truth that Lord Buddha taught to us.

    He prefers to lie and deceive and use the mouthpiece of Bob Thurman to validate his claims, that he actually speaks from the truth.

    They have no weapons to use against the WSS,or any of us!
    We,who are fighting to protect the rights of all People Everywhere, to Believe as They Choose.
    Why?
    Because, he has lied and violated the very principles,I’ve already mentioned.
    Justice they say is Blind. But not Blind to the Breaking of Our Laws. which keep us from the Darkness of Lawlessness.

    Nothing that has been said, can be disproved or proved within cetain disciplines.
    However, if enough people see the truth and think about it long enough. Then the truth will prevail.
    We did nothing to deserve this abuse, and he says nothing that justifies His Lies and Abuse to Those Suffering due to his activities to maintain his power base.
    He is not a Buddha, and Lies with the Ease of a Mississippi River Boat Gambler.
    Not all of us are scholars or well versed, but we have the common sense that Lord Buddha attributed to we mere mortals, to reason ourselves out of ignorance and find liberation one day.

    The only loss of credibility is his and Bob’s incessant lying and deception they spew from their mouths each and everyday.

    Only by the tenacious and continuous fortitude of each and every voice resonating with protest that he speak the truth. We expect even from the least of us.
    Lord Buddha by all accounts, fought against the status of deceit and lying of other intent to have their self cherishing lifestyles. Maintained by the suppression of others by perverting the truths and creating all manners of maras to keep it that way.

    This is a Democracy and not all voices may speak as you wish, but we speak with sincerity and a desire to eliminate ignorance and lies that hinder all from the seeking the way home safely.

    I hope they challenge any of us publically with a rational and logical defense of their actions and try to defend this insanity on the Global forum for All to Witness.

    If they had a leg to stand on, he would have courageously pursued it already.
    They have not, nor do they intend to confront you or me or anyone else directly.
    Instead they have Death Squads slinking down dark alley ways, and then have the audacity to point the finger at us.
    He cannot hold his own, unless he is speaking to his ‘Chorus of Supporters’.
    So, relax and let Democracy Protect Us from these Monsters.

    Even Hitler had his day. He was loved by the deluded and brainwashed, and you can see what eventually happened to them.

    As Dr, Bernis, who was in Munich during the bombing by the Allies in WWll, said. “Yes, Thom! We are grateful even for this tragedy. Imagine where we Germans and the world would be today, had Hitler had his way?”

    This is warfare, not a nuance of semantics and dialectics within the debate halls of a Nunnery or Monastery.
    We, The People, ill-versed and flawed, as we may be. Will fight on and on, until we defeat this monster and his mimmicks, who only care for personal power over others.

    Hey There! Tenzin Gyatos Norbu! It’s me, Thom Canada calling you and Bob out, to defend your lies.!
    See………………………………………..not a word of reply!

    Why? Because they are cowards and thieves of the dharma, and know to fear me and you and anyone else who shines the Light of Truth.

    We all attempt to say this truth with the sincerity of our hearts, and not the lies of a cheating mind portrayed by them

  10. I sent this challenge to Dalia Lama. So…………………. We’ll see what these cowards reply

    ohhdl at dalailama dot com

    Champion’s Challenge

    Be Reasonable Robert Thurman

    Debate This Schism !

    With Freedom Loving People !

    I’ve Thrown Down the Gauntlet

    To you,

    Robert Thurman !

    I challenge you to defend your lies!
    If you do not reply to me personally. Then you are all the things, I say of you. That you, Robert Thurman, are a Liar and Traitor to the Principles of Democracy and the dharma.

    We are not all perfect beings! This defeintely includes both of you, Tenzin Gyatso Norbu {dalia lama}, and Robert Thurman.

    Some of us realize, that Tenzin Gyatso Norbu is a deceitful self cherishing incarnate of a Feudal War Lord. Who slaughtered his own people to seize and maintain control of the different approaches to the Teachngs Of Lord Buddha.
    Some of us realize that he is the antithesis of a man who tramps daily by his ignorance and attempts to undermine the underpinning of the Bill Of Rights and Civil Liberties of the People.

    The Dharma Flourishes because, it has a home that respects and protects the rights of all to believe as they choose.

    This schism only magnified his abbhorrence of individual thought to reason and find the way to the truth that Lord Buddha taught to us.

    He prefers to lie and deceive and use the mouthpiece of Bob Thurman to validate his claims, that he actually speaks from the truth.

    They have no weapons to use against the Western Shugden Society,{WSS},or any of us!
    We who are Fighting to Protect the Rights of all People Everywhere to Believe as They Choose.
    Why?
    Because, Dalia Lama has lied and violated the very principles. I’ve already mentioned.
    Justice they say is Blind. But not Blind to the Breaking of Our Laws.

    Which keep us from the Darkness of Lawlessness.

    Nothing that has been said, that can be disproved or proved within cetain disciplines.
    However, if enough people see the truth and think about it long enough. Then the truth will prevail.
    We did nothing to deserve this abuse, and he says nothing that justifies His Lies and Abuse to Those Suffering due to his activities to maintain his power base.
    He is not a Buddha, and Lies with the Ease of a Mississippi River Boat Gambler.
    Not all of us are scholars or well versed, but we have the common sense that Lord Buddha attributed to we mere mortals. The inherent ability to reason ourselves out of ignorance and find liberation one day.

    The only loss of credibility is Dalia Lama and Thurman’s incessant lying and deception they spew from their mouths each and everyday.

    Only by the tenacious and continuous fortitude of each and every voice resonating with protest that they speak the truth. We expect this even from the least of us.
    Lord Buddha by all accounts, fought against the status of deceit and lying of other intent to have their self cherishing lifestyles. Maintained by the suppression of others by perverting the truths and creating all manners of maras to keep it that way.

    This is a Democracy and not all voices may speak as you wish, but we speak with sincerity and a desire to eliminate ignorance and lies that hinder all from the seeking the way home safely.

    I hope they challenge any of us publically with a rational and logical defense of their actions and try to defend this insanity on the Global forum for All to Witness.

    If they had a leg to stand on, they would have already courageously pursued their defense.

    They have not, nor do they intend to confront you or me or anyone else directly.
    Instead they have Death Squads slinking down dark alley ways, and then have the audacity to point the finger at us.
    He cannot hold his own, unless he is speaking to his ‘Chorus of Supporters’.
    So, relax and let our free will Protect Us from these Monsters.

    Even Hitler had his day. He was loved by the deluded and brainwashed, and you can see what eventually happened to them.

    As Dr. Ursula Bernis, who was in Munich during the bombing by the Allies in WWll, said. “Yes, Thom! We are grateful even for this tragedy. Imagine where we Germans and the world would be today, had Hitler had his way?”

    This is warfare, not a nuance of semantics and dialectics within the debate halls of a Nunnery or Monastery.
    We, The People, ill-versed and flawed, as we may be. Will fight on and on, until we defeat this monster and his mimmicks, who only care for personal power over others.

    Hey There! Tenzin Gyatos Norbu! It’s me, Thom Canada calling you and Bob out, to defend your lies.!
    See………………………………………..not a word of reply!

    Why? Because these cowards are thieves of the dharma. They know to fear me, and you and anyone else who Shines the Light of Truth.

    We all attempt to say this truth with the sincerity of our hearts, but not the lies of a cheating mind portrayed by Tenzin Gyatso Norbu and Robert Thurman.

    Thomas Canada
    Cedar City, Utah
    United States Of America

  11. Footnote: I think I may have more preparartory experience to debate or argue with Thurman and Tenzin Gyatso Norbu. Because I have had almost 30-40 years arguing with his brother, Thupten Norbu, on innumerable occassions.
    Hence, some of you may have noticed my temperament as I express myself within these postings.
    I had good[bad] teachers to learn how devious these people can become when challenged. This includes Bobbi Thurman.
    At the very least, this is an excercise for upcoming opportunities that will surely arise as we enter the court room proceedings and thereafter.
    I have no fear of these cowards as they have been calle out and continue to cower in their burrows in fear

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