The mixing of Dharma and politics: The Mongoose-Canine Letter

The article that I quoted from in my last post mentions the Mongoose Canine Letter.  I thought it would be helpful to post the letter in full because it further demonstrates the murkiness of Tibetan politics.

We have already seen in various posts, for example on the Western Shugden Society site, how the Reting Rinpoche chose a false Dalai Lama The Mongoose-Canine gives further information, written by a Tibetan insider, about the political actions of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile and how those actions have caused problems in Tibetan society.  The letter makes the accusation that the Dalai Lama is constantly trying to protect his power, even at the cost of the Tibetan cause, and even at the cost of the Dharma.

The letter was given to an English woman who was travelling in Nepal in September 1995.  Here is the text:

THE MONGOOSE-CANINE LETTER
============================
This anonymous letter, addressed to His Holiness The Dalai Lama was given by Tibetan people to an English woman now living in Italy while she was travelling in Nepal in September 1995.

The information contained in this letter is widely known within the Tibetan Community in India and Nepal.
============================

Your Holiness, in 1959 your country was invaded by the communist Chinese army.  You and about 90,000 Tibetans had to flee to India, Nepal and Bhutan. At that time you began to take the main responsibility for Tibet. Looking at what happened from then until now, Tibetan refugees have received aid from the Red Cross and India. They were given land in India and Nepal on which to live and were able to settle down. The Tibetans have survived and they have managed to become quite well off and have a comfortable life.

Your Holiness, you are the one who established the exile government. Therefore, I want to mention what has been going on under your rule:

1.  The problem of Dujom Rinpoche (the spiritual leader of the Nyingma tradition) caused by the jealousy of your government: your government made the Indian government accuse Dujom Rinpoche of being a Chinese spy and have him arrested in 1963 in Siliguri, after he had given an impressive religious teaching in Kalimpong.

2.  The problem of thirteen Tibetan settlements uniting against your exile government:  In connection with the events regarding Dujom Rinpoche and others, thirteen Tibetan settlements united against your exile government in Dharamsala from 1964 until 1981.

3.  The problem of your government splitting the Tibetan guerilla fighters in Mustang.  In fact, they were originally organised by your government with the help of the CIA.  In 1969, as a consequence of Nixon’s policy with China, you provoked a fight among the Tibetan guerillas over their weapons. This fight finally destroyed them.

4.  The problem of Mr Alo Choedzoe connected with your economics minister. Your government cheated Mr Choedzoe’s factory.

5.  The problem of your government assassinating (Mr) Gongtang (Tsultrim) in 1975. He was the leader of the thirteen groups.

6.  The problem regarding the late Gyalwa Karmapa Rigpay Dorje (the spiritual leader of the Kagyu tradition) because of his influence and the fact that the thirteen groups had appointed him as their spiritual leader.

7.  The problem regarding the misunderstanding between you and your tutor Yongdzin Trijang Rinpoche (one of the principal Spiritual Guides of the Gelug tradition) because of your brother’s slandering.

8.  The problem with the Tibetan-Mongolian Association in Taiwan. You were making money by sending your brother Mr Dondrub to Taiwan to trade arms between Taiwan, Pakistan and Burma. Because of the danger of this information leaking out to the public, you claimed that Taiwan goes along with China in the Tibet issue. Therefore, in order to keep Tibetans from going to Taiwan, you accused everyone travelling to Taiwan, even those engaged in private business only, of siding with China.

9.  The problem of Kunzang Lama pointing out faults in your government. In 1989 Mr Kunzang Lama found out that your government had received large amounts of money from the Tibetan-Mongolian Association in Taiwan and for this reason he accused your government.

10.  The current problem of the issue of the reincarnation of the Karmapa. You back up the candidate established by communist China; this causes tremendous harm within Tibetan politics.

11. The problem of Chu Shi Gang Druk [‘Four Rivers, Six Mountains’ Khampa Organisation] finding another way for the future of Eastern Tibet. You made a secret deal with communist China offering them the area of Kham in favour of your personal benefit. Chu Shi Gang Druk found out about this and the result has been continual heavy fighting.

During the last forty years your exile government has created problems non-stop. As for you, Your Holiness, what have you been doing during this time? You have treated your own Tibetan people as your enemies and, rather than working for Tibetan democracy, you have thoroughly challenged them as your main responsibility. If you had focused on making a proper democracy and thus had given up any concern for protecting your own power in religion and politics, these problems would not have had ground in which to grow. Even if these kinds of problem had occured, they would not have been connected with your government and they would not have kept recurring. How has this happened? If Your Holiness had really tried to be like Mahatma Gandhi, as you yourself repeatedly mentioned, all these matters would be problems of your children and not problems of you, the father. These problems arose not from the efforts of working for the freedom of Tibet, but from your trying to protect your own power.

Here I would like to comment a little further on what actually happened. First Your Holiness had good intentions. In 1959 you were young and it was a period of many great people, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Johala Nehru, J. F. Kennedy. Your Holiness had a hard and painful time being the leader of Tibet, but you were also dynamic. That is why you were able to challenge the power of Red China. You had joy in committing and dedicating yourself in being the number one leader of Tibet. Your plan was to make Tibet into a modern and democratic country as many other countries in the world. However, you still remained orthodox and hung onto your position as being the boss over religion.

In the beginning you expelled the hierarchical officials who accompanied you from Tibet. This was because it was clear that those who hold such positions could not sacrifice their prestige. They would not have accepted democracy and modernisation but would instead have objected to any reform. You also strongly went against re-establishing in exile the orthodox system of big monastic institutions with hundreds of monks.

However, you did not succeed and what was the real cause for that? The cause is the invisible disease which is still there and which develops immediately if met with various conditions. And what is this disease? It is the clinging to your own power. It is a fact that even at that time if someone would have used democracy on you, you would not have been able to accept it. The habit of being the powerful boss of the Potala palace woke up and showed its ugly face.

Look at the example of the great Mahatma Gandhi who served his country selflessly and managed to establish pure democracy in the great land of India.  The secret behind his success was that he realised from the beginning that one must sever all ties and attachments to one’s own life and welfare thoroughly.  If only a little self-concern is still there it can break out at any time and destroy everything, just as a small match can cause a whole forest to burn.

Look at Stalin and Chairman Mao on the other hand. They did not know that the ego has to be removed in order to serve the nation properly. When they reached the peak of their power they were so concerned about holding onto it that they became paranoid. To eliminate what they saw as dangerous threats to their power, they had to kill the people who had worked with them from the beginning. Then those people who know about this killing had to be killed as well. So it went on and on and on until hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people had to be killed.

Buddha said that one needs ‘right view’, ‘right meditation’, and right conduct’.  To fulfil this one has to truly commit and dedicate oneself with a pure mind; a mind of a Bodhisattva. The result, good or bad, of one’s work, whether religious or political, depends upon the degree of one’s dedication. Your Holiness, you wish to be a great leader, but you do not know that in order to fulfil this wish, a
‘political Bodhisattva vow’ is required. So you entered instead the wrong ‘political path of accumulation’ (tsog lam) and that has led you on a continuously wrong path. You believed that in order to be a great leader you had to secure your own position first of all, and whenever any opposition against you arose you had to defend yourself, and this has become contagious.

When I talk about the consequences of your work, I am not calculating the personal victories you have gained for your own fame. I am calculating how much benefit the Tibetan people have gained for their future aims. For example, when in the 1960s you tried to get rid of the influence of one great Lama’s power, such as Dujom Rinpoche and Karmapa, the side-effect was felt by many Tibetan Lamas, and you caused them to unite in opposition. You could not leave it lightly and you had to do something that caused a split within Tibetan society. Moreover, to challenge Lamas you have used religion for your aim. To that purpose you had to develop the Tibetan people’s blind faith. In the end you adopted the same activity that you yourself had pointed out was mistaken in other Lamas. For instance, you started the politics of public Kalachakra initiations. Normally the Kalachakra initiation is not given in public. Then you started to use it continuously in a big way for your politics. The result is that now the Tibetan people have returned to exactly the same muddy and dirty mixing of politics and religion of Lamas which you yourself had so precisely criticised in earlier times. The current events in relation to the controversy about the Karmapa reincarnation is one such instance. Your ministers will have told you that a Karmapa established in the Himalayas will affect the name and power of the Dalai Lama as before since he is very popular in the Himalayas. If the Tibetan exile government of Dalai Lama is really for the independence of Tibet, for the democracy of Tibet, and for the civilisation of Tibet, how can a private organisation, like that of the Karmapa, affect your government? There is no connection and no relevance. Or did the communist Chinese devise a deeply political game by establishing a Karmapa in Tibet? When your Holiness Dalai Lama gave support for this (backed the Chinese candidate) – how badly will this harm Tibet’s future? You think that if within your life you cannot be the leader of the Tibetans in Tibet, at least you must keep your position as leader of Tibet in India by using Dharma and politics. For that you calculate that it does not matter what happens for the future of Tibet after your life, as long as you can keep your power now. It is really sad.

Seen from another angle. In 1985-86 the Nyingma Shingchong Tulku of Katok Monastery, Dzongnang Tulku of Clementown, Dehradun, and Mr. Lingtsang Gyalsaw went to Tibet as guests of the communist Chinese government. At that time your exile government commanded us Tibetans to revolt against them because they were siding with the Chinese and we made a thorough attack on them. Today the Situ and Gyaltsab Rinpoches of the Kagyupa do everything with regard to the Karmapa reincarnation in favour of the politics of communist China. Instead of objecting Your Holiness is giving them your full support. Isn’t this surprising? This is what I meant when I mentioned above that you always give priority to your own well-being and power, even at the cost of Tibet’s future. I am not trying to tell you that you should be concerned with the future Dalai Lamas regarding them being leaders of Tibet. I am telling you that you are not working for the future progress and democracy of the Tibetan people in Tibet. Also, I am telling you that you are extremely dishonest and hypocritical.

When Katok Shingchong Rinpoche and the others went to Tibet and proclaimed that they will get the Kham autonomous region from China, your exile government told us to challenge them and we did very well. Nowadays you yourself have accepted both secretly and openly that the Tibet Autonomous Region and Kham is under China.  Whenever you give objections, be it to Katok Shingchong Tulku earlier on or to the Chu Shi Gang Druk nowadays, you do it only for yourself and solely out of jealousy and for power. It is very sad. Nowadays you have given the Kalachakra initiation so many times you have made the Tibetan people into donkeys. You can force them to go here and there as you like. In your words you always say that you want to be Gandhi but in your action you are like a religious fundamentalist who uses religious faith for political purposes. Your image is the Dalai Lama, your mouth is Mahatma Gandhi and your heart is like that of a religious dictator. You a deceiver and it is very sad that on top of the suffering that they already have the Tibetan people have a leader like you. Tibetans have become fanatics. They say that the Dalai Lama’s name is more important than the principle of Tibet. You have achieved your goal. In brief, if somebody like Mr.Dawa Norbu who is totally dedicated to Tibetan politics and society says something very important for the Tibetan cause, but his talk might affect your power you send your men secretly to encourage the public of fanatic devotees to protest and to spread the wrong information that Mr. Dawa Norbu is against the Dalai Lama and so on. Simultaneously you appear publicly and praise this man. Due to this double game, not one dedicated person can appear to do something for the good of Tibet. You are already so confident that you can use the Kalachakra inititation for repairing everything you might have done wrong, and, as a matter of fact, it works because the situation of Tibet nowadays is based on blind faith and continual talking.

I request you with my eyes filled with tears, ‘Please, if you feel like being like Gandhi, do not turn the Tibetan situation in the church dominated style of 17th Century Europe.’

You may wonder “what has this got to do with Dorje Shugden?”  My reason for re-publishing this is to provide more evidence for the mixing of Dharma and politics from which the Dorje Shugden problem has arisen.

I think the Dalai Lama should answer these accusations.  If they are true, his words and his actions are principally political and he can’t be trusted.  We should therefore also not trust what he says about Dorje Shugden practice being harmful.

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4 thoughts on “The mixing of Dharma and politics: The Mongoose-Canine Letter

  1. I’ve just finished reading The Great Deception and thought of sharing it here.

    I read this book with the intention to get a clearer picture of what’s going on with the many organized Western Shugden Society’s demonstrations telling the Dalai Lama to stop lying and their objective for doing so. The demonstrations are in such contrary to the person the whole world knows as a Nobel Prize Winner, and in my mind a freedom fighter and spiritual leader.

    I gathered that this book is written to defame and break the perception that the Dalai Lama is infallible, going as far back to the fourth Dalai Lama. The objective for this is so that the millions of Dorje Shugden practitioners will be left alone to continue their practice. I do find the statements made about the Dalai Lama to be very strong and I had hoped to see more citations to back up the claims.

    Though one of the objectives of this book is to free Buddhism from political pollution, I wasn’t very comfortable with the approach of using the entire book to just defame one man but rather to present more on the benefits of engaging in the practice of Dorje Shugden. Perhaps giving focus to the latter may contribute towards more spiritual harmony.

    In any case, I do recommend this book as it gives an insight to how politics and religion shouldn’t be mixed.

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