Disputing Pico Iyer’s version of events regarding the Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden Part Two

Part Two of setting the record straight on Pico Iyer’s book, Open Road, The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.

Nechung, the unreliable oracle spirit who is treated like a Buddha

Page 114:

The Dalai Lama uses oracles (of which the most prominent is Nechung, whose trance we have just witnessed) as he might his left hand, he says, and he uses his Cabinet as he might his right, balancing visible and invisible worlds- the conscious and the subconscious realm- much as the Middle Way would suggest (though he also admits that he regards the medium who speaks for Tibet’s protector deity as his “upper house” and his regular political counsellors as his “lower’, perhaps because the oracle speaks for a wisdom that is beyond the human, and beyond the reach of human meddling. It was Nechung, after all, who told him when he was only fifteen that he had to assume temporal power early, as the Chinese advanced into Tibet; and it was Nechung who told him in 1959 that he had to flee Lhasa- and gave him the route to do so- that very night).

The Dalai Lama stresses that the oracle is in fact a healer and a protector, something more than just a spirit that can divine the future, but the fact remains that the spirit clearly lives in a domain very different from that of the lucid, analytical, doctor’s logic that marks the Dalai Lama’s mass public talks around the world.

Nechung never told the Dalai Lama to flee Tibet; in fact, when consulted the oracle for this spirit didn’t say much, only that the Dalai Lama “should remain in the land”. If he had listened, it would have been a disastrous course of action. Why does the Dalai Lama constantly rely on a worldly spirit who makes mistakes and gives bad advice? In everyday life, if you have something that doesn’t work, it’s sensible to get rid of it; however, the Dalai Lama’s irrational and non-Buddhist reliance on Nechung continues year after year. It’s completely mystifying.

It is a downright lie that Nechung drew the map that showed the Dalai Lama to safe route to escape to India. It was the oracle of Dorje Shugden that drew the map. This is confirmed by Lobsang Yeshe, the assistant of the Abbot of Sera Monastery at the time. It was Lobsang Yeshe’s job at that critical time to consult the oracle of Dorje Shugden. In 1998 when he was told that the Dalai Lama didn’t acknowledge the help of Dorje Shugden in his escape from Tibet, he said: “That contradicts the law of truth. Actually, how can he speak like that? If it had not been for Dorje Shugden’s help at that time, an escape would have been really difficult”

Pico Iyer says “…but the fact remains that the spirit clearly lives in a domain very different from that of the lucid, analytical, doctor’s logic that marks the Dalai Lama’s mass public talks around the world.”

This clearly shows that the Dalai Lama is being hypocritical. On the one hand, he is claiming to rely on logic and reasoning when talking to Western audiences and ‘having made an investigation’ with respect to Dorje Shugden, but behind closed doors he’s engaging in all kinds of superstitious practices that are not Buddhist, such as consulting oracles and throwing dough balls to make decisions! This is like examining chicken entrails to discover the future.

The Dalai Lama takes decisions with doughballs

It seems that the Dalai Lama is also rather fond of using dough balls to decide what spiritual practice someone should do. The following is from his own website, where he is talking about whether the reincarnation of his Guru,Trijang Rinpoche, should be allowed to engage in the practice of ‘Dholgyal’ (Dorje Shugden):


“Dholgyal is something with whom Rinpoche has a connection from past lives, and when the time comes, when Rinpoche’s personal realization reaches maturity, I will decide through dough-ball divination whether he should take up the practice.”

Why does the Dalai Lama, as the ‘Buddha of Compassion’ need to throw dough balls or seek the counsel of a worldly spirit to make decisions? Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of the tradition he is trying to destroy, is an emanation of the Wisdom Buddha and it is said that faithful followers of Je Tsongkhapa never have any difficulty in increasing their wisdom. This clearly goes to show that the Dalai Lama is not relying on Tsongkhapa and has no wisdom because he needs to rely on oracles, divinations and dreams. Did Buddha Shakyamuni rely on oracles, throw dough-balls or talk about his dreams? Apparently ‘Chenrezig’ needs these things! It’s like going to a pier-end fortune teller or Tarot reader every time you want to make a major decision.

Everyone acknowledges that Nechung is a worldly spirit but the Dalai Lama makes no major decision without consulting him. The Dalai Lama even treats him like a Buddha! Nechung is the only spirit that has a monastery dedicated to him. Why dedicate a Buddhist monastery to a spirit? It is ironic that the Dalai Lama upbraids Dorje Shugden practitioners for relying upon a spirit when he himself seeks the counsel of a ghost and treats him as if he were a Buddha. Even so, Nechung is notoriously unreliable and there is a long history of his disastrous pronouncements, such as there would be a free Tibet by the year 2000.

Once again, if Nechung is a ‘healer and protector’ and the Dalai Lama is a Buddha, does the Dalai Lama need healing by a spirit? Does he need protection from something? Does he need protection by something other than the Three Jewels? If so, then he is behaving like a non-Buddhist, even though he constantly goes on about how ‘the Nalanda tradition’ doesn’t worship spirits.

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4 thoughts on “Disputing Pico Iyer’s version of events regarding the Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden Part Two

  1. What is the truth about shugden? You know no truth. You are all bunch of idiots workshipping mad gelukpa monk who supressed his sexual desire for women and hated his teacher. There is no Gelukpa tradition that is destroyed. it is ego tradition that has not realised egolessness. You guys talk and debate too much without even learning how to sit and do simple meditation. Wasting your time protesting in front of Dalai lama says alot about who you are.

  2. Dear Shukze,

    I’m not sure who the ‘mad Gelukpa monk’ you mentioned is. I’m not worshiping any monk.

    With respect, I think you’re making a lot of assumptions about who ‘you guys’ are, you don’t know. You certainly can’t judge someone’s mind from their actions. Prostesting the Dalai Lama is certainly not a waste of time because it’s a pure spiritual action, regardless of whether or not he listens.

    There are inner problems and outer problems. All inner problems can be solved by meditation but you’ve got to engage in external actions to solve outer problems. The problem of the Dalai Lama destroying the Gelugpa tradition is not going to be solved by meditation but by demonstration because he refuses to talk.

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