Part Three of setting the record straight on Pico Iyer’s book, Open Road, The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama’s personal feelings about Dorje Shugden
One hot day in August 2005 in Zurich, at an eight day set of teachings on compassion the Dalai Lama was offering, the public address system suddenly declared- in German, Tibetan, and English- that followers of Shugden should take care not to attend the following morning, when the Dalai Lama was going to be offering some special initiations. Flyers were handed out to the same effect, and the announcement was broadcast again. Then, as he was nearing the end of his daily explication of the text, at 4pm, the Dalai Lama suddenly said “Today I am going to speak for 30 extra minutes. If that makes problems for you, please feel free to go. But I hope you will not mind my going on a little late today.” The audience, which could never get enough of him- many of its members had travelled across the world for these teachings- was clearly delighted.
Slowly at first, in long and forceful Tibetan sentences- rendered into German by a scholarly man on stage next to the Dalai Lama (and into other languages by unseen translators speaking into our transistor radios)- the Dalai Lama began to explain why he did not wish any followers of Shugden, to attend the special initiations, even if some of them had chosen, in spite of requests, to attend the other days teachings. For them to be present during these esoteric ceremonies would potentially impede the progress of everyone else, he said, and even do harm to the person giving the initiations, himself.
His voice began to rise, and soon he was speaking like thunder. Argument after argument followed as to why Shugden supporters should not come, and his bearing was as wrathful as I had ever seen him public. Occasionally his words would trail off, and the mild mannered Swiss professor in jacket and tie by his side would start translating the sentences; then, before the man could continue the Dalai Lama would start up again, drowning him out.
The audience laughed at such moments, but not with delight.
This is another oft-repeated lie from the Dalai Lama: Dorje Shugden harms himself and others. How can this be? One of the benefits of Buddhist refuge is that we are protected from harm inflicted by humans and non-humans, so if the Dalai Lama is a follower of Buddha Shakyamuni, how can he be harmed? Furthermore, how can others be harmed? This is a very irrational statement. The bogeyman under the bed is alive and well, appearing in the form of Dorje Shugden as far as the Dalai Lama is concerned. “Watch out, he is coming to get you….!”
I challenge the Dalai Lama to explain clearly and with logical reasons how and why he and others are being harmed by Dorje Shugden. He has been challenged on this before by Geshe Kelsang and other great Lamas, but has never replied.
This passage also clearly shows the strong negative feelings that the Dalai Lama has towards Dorje Shugden. What has Dorje Shugden even done to him except to save his life (by helping him to escape from Tibet)? How can you trust someone whose judgement is so erratic? One minute the Dalai Lama is your friend, the next he’s seeing you as his worst enemy! This is completely contrary to everything that Buddha taught.
The Dalai Lama has a right to believe whatever he wants about Dorje Shugden, but he has no right to enforce his view in Tibetan society or elsewhere. Here Pico Iyer shows that the Dalai Lama is a religious dictator, getting on his soapbox and subjecting an unsuspecting audience who came to hear about compassion to a thirty-minute tirade about his hatred of a Buddhist Deity and its followers.
The Dalai Lama is always smiling for the Western media but here he showed his true colours, inducing nervous laughter from an audience who had never seen this man act so extremely in public before. The smiley mask had slipped and what they saw was not very pleasant.
Part Four coming soon.