Venerable Geshe-la, along with 9 other lamas below him are the top 10 Shugden people heading Dalai Lama’s anti-Shugden list. Countless lamas from other traditions have reported issues in dealing with the Dalai Lama’s people; they face death threats; they face persecution, they have people hanging around them in monasteries to keep an eye (spy) on them. At the top of the list in in 1996, Ven. Geshe Kelsang has largely been in hiding in the UK in the past 19 years; despite the problems he and others overtly face, members of his NKT school in many cases, and most likely because they wanted to avoid inner conflict in the school, act as though it would be impossible that anyone would show up and be a long term Geshe Kelsang “disciple” with an ulterior motive (that of reporting back what Geshe-la does) or of sabotaging the school. Perhaps people think that since Ven. Geshe-la is Je Tsongkhapa, he wouldn’t allow this to happen; I take a different view; while I do believe Ven. Geshe-la to be in fact Manjushri/Je Tsongkhapa I also think he can give wisdom teachings by helping us learn to walk the path for ourselves; for instance he always reiterates to examine even Buddha’s teachings for ourselves; in Portugal he reminded us we are in a democracy; that is, we have the ability to elect and un-elect officials. It is important to realize that we are foolish if we think we will know when to un-elect officials if we follow them blindly; it is also foolish to think that all these lamas, including Ven. Geshe-la himself would have all these death threats and issues, but within the NKT itself we would politely be left entirely alone by Dalai Lama people. Beyond foolish, it is really ludicrous and illogical.
There are more than one group of Shugden Buddhists; that is, more than just Ven. Geshe-la has Shugden as their Protector. However, the NKT is obviously the largest western group of Buddhists, so when we staff a thing like the International Shugden Community (ISC) we do so with a lot of NKT people available. Now, not everyone who comes to the NKT has to be a Shugden at all— everyone is certainly welcome according to the posted sign and literature. I was welcome, along with my daughter, and we fully embraced Shugden Buddhism; I’d already been Buddhist for 9 years and was already inoculated against the Dalai Lama’s attempts at destroying Buddhism by having nothing to do with him whenever possible, as a result of having met the 17th Karmapa, the real one, that the Dalai Lama refuses to acknowledge, Thaye Dorje. Happily noticing that nothing the Dalai Lama says can have any validity if he cannot tell the Karmapa when he sees one, I also judged Shugden Buddhism worthy on its own merits; I don’t care about the Dalai Lama’s opinion on anything, you see, at all. I see he is a liar concerning Karmapa so that he is lying about other things certainly didn’t surprise or phase me. He says Shugden is a demon; he says the same about Shamar Rinpoche, or at least his followers do; no one could be more mistaken in either case. Shamar Rinpoche is recognized by the 16th Karmapa as the mind emanation of Amitaba and he is who recognized the real Karmapa, according to tradition. The Dalai Lama says Shugden is a demon when in fact Shugden is Buddha Manjushri. Forgive me, but if the Dalai Lama tells you it is safe to cross the street, do look both ways before doing what he says.
When I joined the NKT, I became integrated with the very small puja community at the temple, and did puja regularly for about 4 years (approximately once a week or sometimes twice) and was enrolled in a study program for most of the time between 2009-2015; my daughter and I attended a kids’ class for about a year and a half or 2 years, before the Dalai Lama people came in earnest to take over our temple. We did offerings, both water and Dorje Shugden for our temple on a scheduled basis at least 2x a week for over a year, gardened, and distributed publicity for 3 or 4 years. We did some light cleaning and were in attendance by video link to about 13 empowerments over 6 years; we have had almost no contact with the “Sangha” of that temple except occasionally at KMC California and Hollywood for California Dharma Celebrations and empowerments; it through KMC California’s Gen Rigpa, who seems like Je Tsongkhapa too, that I took the last 2 or so years of correspondence.
I know, as I have written that we have many people who came to change our transmissions after Geshe Kelsang retired as General Spiritual Director.
First we had Gen-la Khyenrab, who seems like a bona-fide excellent Geshe-la person and Shugden person; however, his second-in-command, Dekyong, stepped up into position when Gen-la Khyenrab stepped down due to illness. We did not officially vote on Dekyong being in charge until later is my understanding, but she had already begun re-arranging people, is my surmise, by then. (For instance almost immediately a former WSS spokesperson was tossed out of a position of power and influence over who works in the NKT offices, as far as I understand. Perhaps I am wrong on exactly her position, but I believe she could have helped ask for Gen-la’s removal or at least been in a position to keep the anti-Shugdens out. Forgive my lack of knowledge, but not a single person will actually discuss any of this with me, as it is seen as non-virtuous to talk against Gen-la Dekyong, as she supposedly is the very voice of Geshe-la. The person who was asked to step down was Kelsang Pema).
I notice that our own temple had a perfect disciple and monk of Ven. Geshe unceremoniously and acrimoniously tossed out to go work on computers; his replacement was an entirely unqualified teacher named Amy Peng who immediately allowed zen and other transmissions expressly disallowed by the NKT Internal Rules. Those rules, have only been (mis) used to keep Shugdens out as has the Dharma itself since Gen-la Dekyong took power. This woman shuffled everything around and stepped down; a subsequent teacher forbade my discussions of the zen being taught and my writing Dekyong or the ed council. When I did not listen, my Dorje Shugden -loving- kid and I were unceremoniously barred from everything that had anything to do with Dorje Shugden.
During this time, I had repeatedly asked for the Dorje Shugden empowerment to be given in San Diego; it had kept being re-scheduled and cancelled pretty much the same way the Shugden monk got tossed out. Finally, Gen Jampa gave the empowerment at a California Dharma Celebration; already having noticed there were many anti-Shugdens all over my temple, I soon noticed more. ( https://redblackfireandwind.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/18/ and https://redblackfireandwind.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/shugden-family-excluded-from-protests-and-nkt-events-by-nkt-people/ ) I took the Dorje Shugden Heart Commitment that day, from Gen Jampa from the NKT. It is with the Dorje Shugden heart commitment that I write, inspired by the blessings and knowledge of the Great Protector Dorje Shugden.
To be clear, it was a lot of people, several in California, all making issues to get rid of the Shugdens while they came in to pretend they were Geshe-la’s chosen ones. They are liars, in my opinion, as what they do is deceive people, and in some cases, I have heard them directly lying (as in the ones from my own temple).
The ISC itself, when I finally heard they were protesting, certainly did not inform me, who had already been tossed out for saying “Shugden is a Buddha” to the ed. Council. Better to get rid of the Shugdens in an area where we began the protests and where the two new spokespeople for the Dalai Lama in the ISC would now take center stage: Len and Rebecca Foley/Gauthier. I surmise they are Dalai Lama because they would not call Shugden a Buddha and other issues I delineate here: ( https://redblackfireandwind.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/isc-infiltration-the-ctas-shugden-hit-list-and-the-nkts-anti-shugden-interface/ ).
If we are so afraid to say that we are compromised, oh ye who remain in the Shugden parts of the NKT, then what will happen when we gather to protest?
- People will be not as informed of protests— like me on the first one; even later ones were hard to get info about.
- People in charge will run interference and make bad rules to keep people out.
- People who speak for us will downplay the ban in everyway possible with the press as Len and Rebecca whose guru yoga seems to involve Tenzin Gyatso rather than Kelsang Gyatso, will be the ones to speak. So this makes us wonder— what good would it do to have a giant crowd there if everything we are trying to do will be downplayed and sabotaged by the spokespeople. Do we want 500 people there so they can mention that a couple of shops didn’t let people who worshiped a certain deity in, or do we want to have 500 people and say there is apartheid, let’s tell you how it works. Well, with Len and Rebecca our only choice is downplayed. A lot of people who are actual Shugdens or are sincere Geshe Kelsang people didn’t come to the 2nd round of protests we had this past July. And why? Because perhaps they realize the protests are being sabotaged and can’t say anything.
- The negotiations will go horribly, not end the ban, and let the Dalai Lama off the hook should we ever get a chance to talk to him.
So, when we are blocked and over-run in every direction, when all hope is nearly lost if not lost for the NKT, then I rely on Shugden for helping us even more strongly. We must remove the Dalai Lama people from positions where they speak and influence others in the NKT and ISC. Regular people like me have no access to other Shugdens nor are we allowed to meet Shugden lamas, because all the money is being spent on the wrong people talking for us (the anti-Shugdens in America/England for instance).
May Dorje Shugden bless us until all beings become full Buddhas,