At Least Ten Years of Persecution

I found an article on the internet today, Through the Eye of Dorje Shugden Buddhists in which the author has compiled a number of resources on the Dorje Shugden controversy.

I was struck by one contribution in particular from James Burns, a great unsung hero of the 1998 internet debate on the newsgroup alt.religion.buddhism.tibet:

Burns explained his feelings in a post on Sept. 15, 1998:

“In the UK how would you feel if you were not allowed to travel abroad because you are a Buddhist?

How would you feel if you were not allowed to hold a legal, government or medical post because of your religion?

How would you feel if your children and relatives were banned from attending state schools?

How would you feel if someone was sick in your family but you were frightened to ask for medical help because people would find out what your religion was?

How would you feel if people boycotted your business or profession just because you held certain beliefs?

How would you feel if your relatives and friends were encouraged to spy on you and report what you did just because of what you believed?

How would you feel if people came into your house uninvited and removed those things that you held most sacred?

How would you feel if you lost your pension and state benefits just because you were a Buddhist?

How would you feel if, on the same basis, your UK citizenship was removed?”

Burns concludes his post with a question for the person who he was replying to:

Is this shocking enough for you Mike?

It is shocking.  What is so, so sad is that nothing has changed in ten years.  This was the experience of Dorje Shugden practitioners in India in 1998 and it still is.

How can anyone who has compassion read this, realize that this is what Dorje Shugden practitioners are going through in India and not be moved to stop it?

Is the Dalai Lama made of stone?

How can he be the Buddha of Compassion, much less a Buddhist leader when he is directly responsible for this terrible suffering?

In another post, James writes:

“The people on this newsgroup who continue to support the Dalai Lama’s efforts in persecuting a section of his own people are a disgrace to Buddhism and to humanity. Such people are not Buddhists. If they were then they would do what they could for those in distress. The sectarian and fundamentalist attitudes that these people complain of can most clearly be seen in their own ranks. The right of all people to enjoy freedom of spiritual belief and practice must be universally proclaimed. Where such freedoms are not to be found it must be condemned with the utmost energy. Tyranny in any disguise must be recognised for what it is and firmly opposed.”

Dalai Lama, please give religious freedom.

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2 thoughts on “At Least Ten Years of Persecution

  1. Dear Lineageholder,

    Thank you for reminding us of James Burns, I wonder where he is nowadays. You are right, he used to be just great.
    The other great hero, in this case heroine, of those epic days was Ursula Bernis.
    I remember Buddha-L and Buddhist, the two prominent through email discussion groups.
    Those people were heroic indeed, and the people attacking them … oh my, oh my! If you think that the ones attacking us today are … let’s say … immature, you should’ve seen those!
    Very interesting how this sad issue brought out the nastiest aspects of so many human minds among the defenders of the Dalai Lama, and at least in those days, such heroic efforts at knowledge and honesty among the defenders of his victims.

    Nowadays I have to question some actions from my fellow defenders of the holy tradition. But let’s put things in perspective, what I question is almost insignificant compared with the size of the persecution unleashed and sustained by the Dalai Lama.

    I wonder when and how this immensely sad issue is going to end.

  2. Dear Friend,

    It’s always good to hear from you. I have no idea how this is going to end. I do fear it will end in the destruction of the Dalai Lama’s reputation because, either he is too proud to reverse his persecution of Shugden practice and practitioners, or he really does believe that DS is an evil spirit. Do find the latter hard to believe.

    I believe it is most important that those of us who are defending Tsongkhapa’s tradition be very aware of our motivation. We must intend no harm to any living being and have utmost compassion for the Dalai Lama. I know I have to watch my mind to ensure that I’m doing this for the right reasons. The Dalai Lama is, in reality, very kind to me because how else could I create so much incredible merit by defending such a pure spiritual tradition? I view it as an immense privilege to have the opportunity to perform a similitude of our precious Dharma Protector’s actions.

    May Guru Tsongkhapa’s tradition shine forever.

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